The Great Marketing Business Card Scratch-off

Marketing people aren’t important, so let’s call ourselves something else

What would the title on your business card be if it reflected reality?
What would the title on your business card be if it reflected reality?

Jeffrey and Bryan Eisenberg make the point in their book Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? that the average tenure of a marketing executive is less than the gestation period of an elephant. WiderFunnel has summarized some of the findings of an Ernst & Young study confirming that CMOs and VPs of Marketing don’t have a seat at the executive table.  Anecdotally, many of my friends in marketing roles found themselves to be among the first to go when layoffs became popular in 2008 and 2009.

Clearly, marketing people aren’t all that important.

And then there’s the family reunion blank stare. Your cousins, aunts, uncles and some-how-relateds ask, “what are you doing these days?” You say, “I’m in marketing.” Long pause. They want to respond positively, but suspect that you may have just revealed that you’re being treated for some sort of incurable skin disease.

So, they just smile and stare.

Clearly, if we’re good at communicating, we would pick a word that, well, communicated what we do.

So, let’s call ourselves something else, something that reflects the value we add.

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I’m not a “Web Marketing Strategist”

If you were to look at my career, you would find the word “marketing” in most of my corporate titles. However, when given the opportunity to give myself a title, I always chose something that communicated what I did. When I was responsible for marketing at my own company, Soft Reality, I put “VP of Customers” on my cards.

Today, if you analyzed what I do for a living, you might call me a “Web Marketing Strategist” or “Internet Marketer” or “Online Marketing Strategist.” I do lots of marketing-ish things. But, I want my practice to survive the gestating elephant syndrome, so I call myself a “Conversion Scientist.”

Now, no-one knows what a Conversion Scientist is, but the word “scientist” delivers the message that I’m probably smart and most likely know a good deal that the listener doesn’t. That’s the truth. The lab coat seals the deal.

And I can explain what I do in one sentence. “Conversion is the science of turning Web traffic into leads and sales.”

Can you explain what you do without using words like “messaging,” “brand,” “demand generation,” or “campaigns?”

Send Me Your Business Card

If the title on your business card has the word “Marketing” in it, I want you to scratch it out, write in a better description of what you do, and post a picture or scan of it in the comments. I’ve added the ability to upload images to your comments.

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Brian Massey is the Founder and Conversion Scientist™ at Conversion Sciences. He is the author of Your Customer Creation Equation. His rare combination of interests, experience and neuroses were developed over almost 20 years as a computer programmer, entrepreneur, corporate marketer, international speaker and writer.

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