I Was Just Ahead Of My Time.

I don't write much about my professional work. I keep it to vague humorous references for the most part. Or mentions of how "super-duper-epically-busy" it keeps me.

That's how agency life is in the digital marketing world.

I mean... It's "digital." That means data is constantly flowing. So there's always something new and interesting to do... And thus, I am kept perpetually busy. Like a newsroom.


Speaking of which... I was reminded by a former colleague today that it was about two years ago, at my NYC agency job, I planned, developed and attempted to launch a digital newsroom.

I had the back of an agency within a solid holding company. I had access to vendors and tools to put in place technology to use to execute against my vision. I spent weeks doing an internal "pony show" of how it would all work. People got it. They all agreed it was a great idea, and the ideal solution for executing not only a content marketing program... But it would lead to understanding what to do in all of the digital areas: organic search, content, paid search, paid social, social, etc...

That's all just industry speak. Industry speak and talk that never went anywhere.


The thing I knew prior to launching this endeavor - which was reaffirmed by launching this endeavor - was that marketing agency people love to hold onto their budgets. Even when working with inter-holding company teams that have the same end goal: "Service the holding company's clients efficiently and successfully. Make the holding company a wonderful and continuous revenues stream."

So while everyone loved the idea and wanted to talk more about it... No one wanted to take away from their current budgets to execute against the idea.

"Why spend money to build something people on the Internet are asking for - which we can tell by the conversations they are having in social media and by the keywords they type into Google? We can just 'throw money' at the audience in paid advertising... Keep our good relationships with the advertising partner/vendors... And keep returning the same performance for the client."

Yes. I would mostly think but occasionally actually say. Let's not ever innovate. Let's keep telling the consumer what they want, rather than letting them easily show and tell us what they want.

I eventually became frustrated, and left the job for a variety of personal reasons... One of the biggest being that I simply lacked the confidence to keep fighting the fight. I pride myself on efficiency. I don't like to waste anyone's time or be a draining resource. As the head of an inter-agency team, I was effective and useful. Building a new product and service that clients weren't yet asking for, all in an effort to be innovative, made me feel extremely vulnerable.

I knew I wasn't wrong about my vision. So did everyone I talked to. They just didn't want to invest in it yet.

It's only now... Two years later... That I am starting to see my vision recognized and executed. More technology players have come about that fit the space. And I even spend seven weeks LAST Fall (before my world travel began) building out the process at an agency in Boston (after failing - again - miserably to build it out brand side at what I thought was a visionary company in Boston but proved to be too tied to the "old way" of doing marketing - throwing money at things in a wasteful way).

I was VERY successful at not only building the process at the Boston agency... I was able to help sell a multi-six-figure deal around it. Why was it so easy?

Because I had no one standing in my way.

No one was forbidding me from talking directly to their clients. No one was telling me, "Well, it makes sense and is a great idea. But we really want to stick with the paid media vendor that is super sexy, costs a fortune, but will make the client feel like we're doing something on trend."

Again, it's only now that I realize I lacked the confidence to keep pursuing it at the bigger company. The Boston agency was able to bring new and innovative ideas to their clients. It was expected of them. And when you can connect the dots and tell a great story, it makes it easier to get buy in from the client.

I don't live in regret. And I don't ever wish I could go back in time and do things differently. How it all evolved is how it evolved. Why bother wishing to change the past?

More amazing and awesome things will come along. And I have very much learned that I just need to trust in forward motion towards my vision... In whatever that is at the time.

Now... I work for a company that has evolved its own business model to fit the reality of what it is that needs to be done in this space. And they did it well before I ever got here.

Shows, yet again, that I was on the write path.