At work upon a client query, while I pondered, bleak and bleary,
Over many a bloated and drab volume of marketing lore,
While I nodded, nearly blotto, over another limp marketing motto,
Came to my cell a tweet so branded, deftly done, not underhanded,
Yet my attention it insisted, nay, its words did implore—
And my sagging jaw did hit my chamber floor.

For the tweet was followed by yet another, A/B testing, oh brother,
The thing was crafted to build my trust, yet its SEO stylings smelled of must.
As its finger beckoned to the funnel, fled I back to the skeptic's tunnel;
The words were struck as if conversation, but I detected automation.

Presently my soul grew stronger, when email announced the same fishmonger;
Such use of cross-channels is a bore, flooding my inbox to its floor.
In a moment, the dinging of my iPad, pinging so clearly that I'd been had,
By a mobile campaign with a powerful USP:
Content everywhere—you cannot flee.

Open now I flung my shutter, to air the chamber of my mutters,
When in popped the head of same marketing Maven, bearing a survey ever so craven.
Out with the clipboard to fill endless fields, but I was determined not to yield.
Yet I checked the box to post on social media, for the chance to win a vast encyclopedia.

Thought I the Maven was done and finished,
But she said she must run some analytics.
Doing thus she then offered me a bright coupon,
I naysayed, yet thought it a boon not to poop on.
But the coupon couldn't be redeemed—
Till I spoke with a chatbot, it seemed.

Surely the campaign had run its course:
Piled-on promotions should prompt remorse.
With strong heart I turned and impressively beseeched,
"No more ads, no more data, no leveraging for me!" did I screech.
But the Maven just laughed, and into my eyes hers bore,
Quoth the Maven, "Ever more!"

Thus the Maven now beguiling all my fancy into crying,
Pulled out a silk hankie bearing an embroidered sensation,
Read my initials there, the chill of personalization.
Then declared with much glee: "Engagement is key, and thought leaders are we."
"Point made" I said, "But this customer journey ends here at the door."
But the Maven croaked loudly, "Ever more!"

I slumped in my chair, and more tears did I cry.
For it's the loss of your soul for mere ROI.
But the Maven stood impassive, and into my ears two words she did pour,
Quoth the Maven, "Ever more!"

And the Maven, never flitting, still is standing, still is standing
Ever wheeling, ever dealing, most unseemly in her demanding;
I knew I had but one last fateful chance for glory,
So I quoted Handley, "Make the customer the hero of your story."
She shuddered and craftily looked toward my neighbor's door,
"OK for now, but I left my card in your drawer."

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The (Marketing) Maven

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image of Tom Bentley

Tom Bentley is a business writer, essayist and fiction writer, and author of Think Like a Writer: How to Write the Stories You See. See his lurid website confessions at The Write Word.

LinkedIn: Tom Bentley