Almost Timely News, 10 April 2022: Ownership, Women-Owned Agencies, Leadership Q&A (4/10) :: View in Browser

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What’s On My Mind: What Do You Own?

This past week, I had a chance to interview Christy Hiler, president of the Cornett ad agency and co-founder of the Own It movement, a platform for encouraging more women-owned agencies in the marketing space.

After the interview – as is usually the case – I thought up something else we should have talked about, so I’ll talk about it with you instead. Here’s the big question:

What do you own?

Whether you have a company, whether you’re just starting out in your career, the question I – we – need to ask ourselves on a regular and frequent basis is what do we own? What is ours, uniquely ours?

Why does this matter? My friend and former employer Todd Defren once quipped quite correctly that only owners make money. In any situation, in any business or industry, the owners are the ones who make money. Employees by and large do not receive large earn-outs when the company gets sold. At best, you have an employee stock ownership program that will give you a meaningful sum of money should the company be purchased, but those are relatively rare.

If you own something, you have the ability to make money with it, by selling it in some capacity to others. Obviously, this is contingent on others seeing value in it, but ownership is the first step in that process.

So, what do you own?

Now, your first inclination, your first knee-jerk response to that question is that in a professional context, you probably own nothing. (unless, like Christy, you own the company) But that’s not true, strictly speaking. Even if you’ve only been in your role for a year, even if you’ve never put any serious effort into building your own platform, it still exists.

Let’s look at a few examples.

Do you have a blog? You own that content. It’s yours, irrelevant of whether it has one reader or one million. The same is true for a podcast and other media.

Do you have a newsletter? You own the content for your newsletter and access to your audience. I own this newsletter and for brands who want to advertise to you, I own this particular channel. (note that I do not own you, obviously, just a tiny sliver of your very valuable attention, for which I am thankful)

Do you have a process? Again, even if you’ve been in a job for not too long, you’ve probably made a few tweaks here and there that help you do your job better. Those little fixes add up over time, until you have a unique way of doing what you do that makes you more valuable than other employees doing the same job.

One of my favorite examples of this is a marketing cookbook. What recipes do you know in marketing and business? What processes have you memorized and documented so that you do your job better? Here’s an example, a snapshot of a slide deck I keep called a golden cookbook. It’s got hundreds of frameworks, ideas, and processes that I’ve come up with in my career, and it’s something totally unique to me, something I own.

Golden Cookbook snapshot

Do you have knowledge? You own what’s in your head – what to do, why you do something, how you do it – and that knowledge is valuable. Ask anyone who’s ever had a valued employee quit how much it hurts to replace that employee. Not only are their skills and processes gone, but so is their institutional knowledge.

Do you have a personal brand? Personal brands have appropriately gotten a bit of a bad rap because many of the folks promoting “personal branding initiatives” come across as used car salesmen encouraging you to be just like them. The reality is a personal brand is little more than your reputation – and you own your reputation.

Do you have intellectual property? This is anything you create, really. If you write, draw, compose, video, dance, sculpt, carve… anything that becomes manifest in the world as a result of your creativity is intellectual property. As long as it’s outside of work, you own that. It’s yours.

When we take a step back from our day to day lives and think about ownership, we realize we own a lot more than we think we do. The process of ownership begins with the realization that you already own things, possibly things of value. We can and should talk in a future newsletter about how you turn what you own into tangible value, but the first step in that process is, forgive the pun, taking ownership of being an owner.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

Besides the new Search Console course I’m relentlessly promoting (sorry not sorry), I would recommend watching the interview with Christy Hiler. It was a lot of fun and also brought up some important issues in the marketing agency world.

Skill Up With Classes

These are just a few of the classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.

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Get Back to Work!

Folks who post jobs in the free Analytics for Marketers Slack community may have those jobs shared here, too. If you’re looking for work, check out these five most recent open positions, and check out the Slack group for the comprehensive list.

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When you’re done, you’ll have working knowledge of the entire platform and what it can do – and you’ll be ready to start making the most of this valuable marketing tool.

Click/tap here to register – and use discount code ALMOSTTIMELY for $50 off the registration »

What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Advertisement: Ukraine Humanitarian Fund

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Donate today to the Ukraine Humanitarian Relief Fund »

Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

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Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, April 2022, virtual – use code SP22CHRIS for $100 off your conference ticket
  • Spark.me Social Media, June 2022, Montenegro
  • MarTech Conference, June 2022, virtual
  • MAICON, August 2022, Cleveland, OH – use code PENN150 for $150 off any conference ticket
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2022, Boston

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn

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