It has been a full seven years since I began writing here on redmarketer.  At the time of inception, this blog was mostly oriented around marketing in the new age.  Digital presence for most companies was still relatively nascent.  I worked at a small company at that point but was readying myself for business school at the University of Minnesota.

At that time, the change that was happening in the world and business was crystal clear.  The proliferation of the internet as a source of information was bound to change everything for the better and it was exciting to be a part of it.

I had been doing direct marketing campaigns for my company of the time for roughly three years–quite a bit of direct mail, sales calls and presentations, but in addition we were starting to focus on email and digital marketing through search.  The business model was still primarily focused on outbound calls and in person meetings, but supplementing it with different marketing methodology was an eye opener for the company as it had strong results and could normally tie back an ROI as opposed to trade shows we frequented–which historically had been the go to for new business.

That job was amazing in and of itself as it was my first role outside of college.  My thirst for knowledge at that time was near insatiable and books like Permission Marketing, Tested Advertising Methods, Positioning, From Good to Great and In Search of Excellence were continually shaping my mind around what makes great companies.  Marketing itself is just a broad way to describe how a company differentiates itself to customers and creates and furthers relationships–but it’s imperative to think about it critically strategically and tactically.

Everyone at your company is a marketer, regardless of their function.  Companies thrive today by standing for something.  Apple is likely the most highly regarded organization in the world, or at least one of the most highly regarded.  They are seen this way because of the choices they make and how they represent themselves to their customers.  It starts with product and design.  It continues with packaging, distribution and customer service.  It raises the bar with brand management, advertising and challenging the status quo of what a company can be.  This sounds a bit on the fluffy side, but that’s why customers affiliate themselves with organizations.  They believe in their purpose and offerings.

There are many other organizations that do this same thing in many ways.  I work for an organization that continues to astound me, day in day out, with their commitment to customers and ability to innovate.  Companies like Nike, McDonald’s, Amazon, Starbucks, Zappos, Tesla, Brooks, Red Bull and many, many more continually show their understanding and connection with their customers.  That’s what businesses need to do in order to grow–they have to truly understand and connect with their customers, as well as potential customers, on their terms to provide them value.

It sounds simple.  It’s not.

Businesses are in a competitive environment and have organizational structures that desperately need the right human resources and talent pools to build value chains correctly.  Every decision matters.  Every customer interaction, or process leading up to one, is rife with opportunity to mess up that raison d’etre of the organization.  I marvel at the companies that have built management structures that allow them to continually outpace competitors and lead into new eras regardless of changes to tech or generational motivations.

Things have changed a lot in seven years.  But a lot has stayed the same.  I’m still fascinated with business and love being a part of it.  I love learning new things.  I don’t write as much about marketing per say, but in context it’s still primarily what drives my career.  The blog has become more personal.  My work eats up more of my time at home and thinking and writing about personal things seems more valuable to me in the long term, but I need to do a better job balancing it as I know many folks here come for business thoughts more so than personal.

Thank you for reading.