September 4, 2013

Your Job In Marketing & PR Is Dead in the Water

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What is the issue?

Sorry. Your marketing job just became obsolete.

That communications degree is worthless. Those business books you read were wrong. The internship at a PR firm last summer? You could have done without even bothering.

I know, I know. It seems like everything is well. You heard how much money you could make, the kinds of fees and retainers those firms charge.

I know, deep down you relate *so much* to Peggy Olson.

But none of that matters. Because a bunch of nerds who didn’t care about parties or celebrities or black cars or cool blogs, basically reinvented marketing right in front of us. And the first thing they did was cut deadweight like you.

These guys are called growth hackers. They built Facebook and Twitter and Airbnb and Dropbox and Instagram and a bunch of other billion dollar companies using techniques that you can’t learn in school.

Their names? Sean Ellis, Josh Elman, Chamath Palihapitiya, Noah Kagan, Aaron Ginn, Dan Martell, Micah Baldwin.

Growth hackers, all of them. There wasn’t a traditional marketer or a traditional marketing firm in sight in any of those massive success stories.

Sure, the marketing those guys did doesn’t really look like marketing. In fact, some might call it product development or analytics or engineering. But the reality is that those efforts brought in millions of users, got them splashed across every media outlet on the planet and just flat out worked. If it builds a brand, it’s marketing, PR and advertising. End of story.

So the fact that it’s “nothing like what I do” is a big, big problem. The fact that you’re “really good at social media” is not an asset either. Because what they do is trackable, it generates results, it’s cheap, and most importantly, it’s scalable. It’s real.

And that’s why your skill set is increasingly unnecessary and undesirable. It certainly didn’t justify whatever NYU or UCLA charged you for it (which is criminal and they lied to you).

It’s not your fault. I don’t think it’s too late either. We’re early into this thing–but make no mistake, it is here.

You can still find a mentor, you can study this new science and master it. You can carve out a new niche for yourself because you’re young enough to change. Your bosses–the twice divorced but still super cool and rich execs–at the firm? Not so much.

Good, let them burn.

The reality is that growth hacking has fundamentally interrupted and changed the landscape of marketing, of advertising and of public relations. It’s changed or will how movies are sold, how books are marketed, how brands are built, how celebrity is made. It remade marketing from the ground up.

But that leaves you with a choice: Scrap the old stuff–the methods that are basically 100+ years old at this point–and get on this train early. Or you can keep doing what you’re doing and be surprised when sometime very soon it all comes crashing down–just like it did for A&R reps, studio executives and bank tellers.

What are you going to do?

Are you going to become a growth hacker?

I hope so. TC mark

See Ryan’s new book Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising. It’s $3. All the guys who invented growth hacking said it was good.

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