Collections to Regularly Add New Skills to Your Marketing Tool Belt
Multi-post deep dives that will help you stay ahead of the curve
Scott Adams is the creator of the world’s most popular office comic, Dilbert. Every month, millions of people benefit from his work. They laugh at the character’s quagmires and their own, they have new ideas, and they enjoy tiny moments of reprieve that make good days better and dark ones less so.
Of course, Scott Adams wasn’t born as a cartoonist in the digital age. He was born as a bank teller. At least, that was his first job after getting his economics degree. Unfortunately, he was terrible at it. He kept messing up transactions.
In his book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Adams recounts:
My supervisor warned me that unless I improved quickly, she would be forced to let me go. I knew I wasn’t likely to get better at handling details. I was a failure at my first job. I figured I had two ways to leave my job. I could get fired or — and here’s the optimist emerging — I could get promoted.
I wrote a letter to the senior vice president for the branch system, who was probably seven or eight layers of management above me, and described all of my naive suggestions for improving the bank. I closed my letter by asking for a rare and coveted spot in the management training program, a fast track to upper management.
Adams’ suggestions for the bank were quickly dismissed, but the senior vice president liked him and his witty presentation. Long story short:
A month later I started the management training program. Somehow I had failed my way to a much better job.
This story might not explain how Adams became a world-famous cartoonist, but it does explain why he was the kind of person who could get there. Most of us settle into our roles at work quickly, and most of us also decide to stay in those roles and hold on to them tightly. We’re afraid to color outside the lines.
Meanwhile, Adams not just took every company-paid training that was suggested to him, he also proactively asked for opportunities to learn new skills. Eventually, a combination of those many, hard-won skills led him to create Dilbert. So in a way, this story explains how he became a cartoonist after all.
Whether being a marketer is your equivalent of being a bank teller or your life’s calling, you can choose to do it one of two ways: You can color inside the lines, or you can acquire every new skill you can get.
If you choose to do the latter, which, after this story, I hope you will, reading Better Marketing will serve you well. To help you continue acquiring new skills, stay ahead of the curve, and never stop adding new gadgets to your marketing tool belt, we’re launching collections.
Every collection is a multi-part deep dive on a particular topic. Each set of articles will broaden your perspective with expert knowledge in a field you might not usually call your forte. You can read them in one go, one day at a time, or design your own self-education curriculum by combining them all.
Currently, the following collections are available:
- Book Bumps is a 3-part series by Shamontiel L. Vaughn on how to market your book via radio shows, book signings, and a great trailer.
- Intentional Social Media is a 6-part series by Katrina Loos on what it means to have thoughtful interactions in a noisy world — both on and off the job.
- Gods of the Valley is a 4-part deep dive by Matt Ward on the future of “The Big Four:” Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple.
- Tough Conversations is a 9-part collection Hurriya Burney about navigating the uncomfortable conversations we need to have to advance our lives and careers.
- Virtual Leadership is a 7-part series by Vy Luu about what it means to lead in a time of globally distributed teams.
- Uncommon Leadership is a 7-part exploration of how to be a better role model, sourced from unusual inspirations, written by Jake Daghe.
As a finite, focused means of learning specific skills, collections will nicely balance our ongoing coverage of important marketing topics through columns. We hope to bring you many more of them in the future, and you’ll find them all right here in this announcement.
Have your own idea for a collection? Please, pitch it to us, and we’ll talk. We might not accept it, but maybe we’ll like your witty presentation. You never know where that might lead — I’m sure Scott Adams would agree.