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You Ask, I Answer: Staying Current with Marketing Trends?

Lauren asks, “How do you stay current with all the digital/social changes that come up daily and how do you keep you team on the cutting edge?”

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Christopher Penn 0:13

In today’s episode, Lauren asks, How do you stay current with all the digital and social changes that come up daily? And how do you keep your team on the cutting edge? I mean, it’s, it’s a combination of a few different things.

One is lots of reading.

There are any number of really good industry sources in any part of marketing that you can read search engine, land marketing, land, martec.org, Social Media Examiner, you name it, there’s so many publications, so many blogs that cover our space as well.

So that’s one part.

Second part is having a community that is keeping an eye on things.

So one of the most valuable secret weapons that I have is belonging to five or six, Slack and discord servers, analytics for marketers, for example, the Trust Insights, Slack, where people can ask questions and bring up things that say, Hey, is anybody tried this has anybody working on this and they’ll be like, Oh, I didn’t even know that was out.

So time to start Googling, let’s, let’s go, go dig in.

And, of course, I contribute my things based on on what I’m working on.

So when stable diffusion got released by hugging face, I was like, Hey, I’m trying this out, and, you know, posted my picture Charmander, you know, eating at a dinner table.

So the other folks in the community benefit from that as well.

That community, those communities, and you don’t have to run one, you can just join them, those communities are how you stay on the cutting edge.

Because as problems occur, and as people have solutions to those problems, they share them, they talk about them, as long as you have earned enough trust to be part of the community, you can benefit from it and be faster.

The third thing is keep an eye on specific people.

You know, you can follow them on Twitter, or Instagram or LinkedIn or the you know, the service of your choice.

Keeping an eye on people and what they have to share and what they’re talking about.

And what they’re worried about is really powerful, particularly if you can do it, for example, you know, online and then meet up with people at events and say, Hey, what are your what’s keeping you up at night these days? That’s one of my favorite questions to ask people.

What’s keeping you up at night these days? For a lot of folks right now, it’s sort of this this marketing orchestration thing, the fact that we’ve got so many technology systems and so much marketing technology, and none of it talks to itself, none of it talks to each other.

It’s all so disconnected that people like I’m literally losing sleep, wondering what is going to go wrong in my MAR tech stack.

Or for analytics, folks, you know, people are literally losing sleep thinking about everything happening with Google Analytics, you know, the the transition to Google Analytics 4 And how bumpy that road has been for so many people.

Those are the three things, knowledgeable people to follow a community to ask questions with, then reputable sources for gathering information.

This is the same formula by the way that you use for anything.

So in January of 2020, a community of folks that I follow, started raising questions and concerns stuff about some novel Coronavirus out of China.

That popped up in December 2019.

And by the end of January, it was pretty clear this thing was on a exponential growth path.

And like, Oh, this is a thing.

And so what did I do with the first things I did, I joined some communities of people with actual medical degrees and PhDs in virology and immunology because I didn’t trust the mainstream media.

I rarely trust the mainstream media on any kind of scientific or technical reporting, because it just water it down too much.

Christopher Penn 4:18

I started following a list of people on Twitter again, looking for people who have been in their careers for 15 or 20 years, people who were invented mRNA and stuff like that.

And then looking at reputable publications and things, looking at expert opinions looking at studies and scientific papers.

So a community of people to ask experts to look at and a body of of work to read.

What did that get me? It got me to the point where I wasn’t surprised at the events that unfolded for the next two and a half years right with with COVID But we’re not what we now call COVID.

I knew about it sooner because it was following The right people keep my ear to the ground.

Someone was asking me the other day, what newsletters I read, I read, defense news early bird brief, that is a daily email summary of what’s going on in the US military around the world.

I look at Jeremy singer vines, data’s plural and interesting and unique datasets from around the world.

I read the BBC, as my primary regular news source.

I read very little marketing, actually, because the big picture stuff, it has the knock on effects to marketing, right? Marketing is, you know, a sort of a lagging industry to current events.

So if you know, in say, late February 2020, and you start emailing event organizers saying, hey, this thing looks like it’s gonna be a thing.

You want me a video, my session? Everybody writes back, what are you talking about? Sure enough, two months later, like, oh, that’s awkward.

Did you know about that, like, all the right people.

staying current with the macro stuff is really important, right? staying current on climate change is critical to your marketing and critical to your marketing, because you need to understand the effects of it.

And things like supply chain disruptions.

Things like the nation of Pakistan at this moment is one of the third of it is underwater.

And you might say, well, that’s on the other side of the planet for me, and well, yes, but a lot of stuff gets manufactured there that finds its way into all around the planet.

Same for India, like 70% of the world’s pharmaceuticals, there they are their precursors are manufactured in India.

So when India got hit hard with COVID, it’s like, okay, there’s gonna be some products that are going to be short on the shelf for a while.

Knowing that helps you run your marketing and helps you run your business better.

So look at the macro trends from as many different points of view as you can try to look for, from expert points of view, not not mainstream media points of view, because, again, mainstream media just a, it’s late.

And B, it just dilutes things to the point where it doesn’t make what they shared doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, particularly for very technical issues.

GDPR, for example, and how that legislation works.

I’ve seen a lot of coverage about GDPR in the regular news, and it’s generally dramatically over simplified to the point where it’s not helpful.

So that’s how we stay current community of people to ask and ask questions to reputable sources, and following the right experts.

Follow that template and for any field, you will be able to stay on top of what’s happening and not get caught by surprise.

Not get caught by surprise.

Well before anybody else.

Good question.

Thanks for asking.

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