According to the New York Times, a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with up to 5,000 today. Consumers' lives are rife with marketing messages--on the Internet, on TV, reading newspapers or magazines. How do marketers cut through the noise? In particular, how do marketers make a memorable connection with their audience?
The challenge of reaching a captive audience gives B2B marketers like Jodie Ellis a passion for experimentation. He is the head of experimental marketing at Optimizely. We sat down with him to talk about his upcoming appearance at the FunnyBizz Conference in New York.
How do you see the marketing landscape changing? What are some trends that are happening right now?
The marketing landscape is changing faster than ever before.
There are a lot of tools that have made today's marketer much more aware of how their marketing is impacting their goals. The convergence of what we typically refer to as B2C marketing and B2B marketing is creating an exciting world of collaboration and knowledge-sharing between worlds that have traditionally been very different and separate.
Now you see e-commerce trying to use more digital tactics in their marketing efforts, whether that's how they are treating their online ads or how they are managing their email communications. A lot of them are adopting marketing automation and optimization tactics that have previously been used in the B2B marketing world much more effectively.
Conversely, you see B2B companies putting a lot more effort towards brand building, humor and experimental channels that Coca-Cola or McDonald's would employ.
You're speaking at the FunnyBizz Conference. Tell us more about that.
The conference is really centered around the utilization of humor in content marketing. Content marketers can understand how they can leverage humor in their marketing efforts, while another portion of the audience is humorists trying to learn how to better market themselves.
Is humor a learned trait or a gift?
I think it's probably a bit of both.
A lot of it is learned. Growing up in a family of seven kids necessitated having a good sense of humor, even in difficult times. I think from a pretty early age, I have appreciated, at a really deep level, the impact of laughter in my own life.
What kind of work are you up to now?
In addition to speaking at the FunnyBizz Conference, the Optimizely marketing team is conducting what we are fondly calling Marketing Hack Week. This is a week dedicated to everyone on the marketing team taking a break from their regular workload to focus on wild, crazy and fearless ideas.
What do you see as the greatest challenge ahead in your role?
One challenge is balancing how we draw from traditional models with a continued impetus to be our own selves and to do our own thing.
There is so much creativity in the world and so many incredible people out there doing some of the most wildly bizarre and yet incredibly awesome projects, and some of them are for business. Some of them are for nonprofit. Some of them are just because.
One of the biggest challenges that I have is trying to figure out how to cut through what has become a noisy space. Today, people behind their own computer can create some really magical experiences for others, and it's getting ever more difficult to try and cut through with anything that you do and to make a big splash for a small amount.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What's your secret?
I'd say being able to impact people's attitudes through interaction in a very immediate and short timeframe of interaction.
What do you do to stay inspired?
To stay inspired, I talk to a lot of people. I try to do simple things like remind myself to look up in a big city as I walk along the sidewalks and appreciate what's on floors 2 through 30, as opposed to what might be on my phone screen or right in front of me.
What's the best advice you've ever gotten?
To keep it to just a single piece of advice that stands out in my mind, there was a wonderful old classmate of mine in middle school and high school named Jan. Her mother, Linda, would say, "It's nice to be nice."
Fill in the blank. I would love to see ______ answer these same questions.
I'd love to see Larry David answer these questions.
Check out Jodie's latest fearless project here.