Allen Weiss founded MarketingProfs in 2000 and continues to provide strategic direction for the company. He's a professor of marketing at the University of Southern California. Prior to MarketingProfs, he served as a professor at Stanford University and a member of the technical staff at Bell Labs.
His research and consulting expertise is in the marketing of high technology products and in Internet marketing. He has consulted with leading technology companies, including Texas Instruments, Intel, IBM, and Hughes Space and Communications.
I invited Allen to Marketing Smarts to discuss the history of MarketingProfs (which celebrates 15 years this month), including how the brand has evolved and what role mindfulness plays in effective marketing.
Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:
To help your company to succeed, give your brand its own identity (11:10): "From a strategy point of view, we decided a number of years ago that 'MarketingProfs'—the name itself...would stand for something, and that would be the guiding force behind the company, rather than the individuals in the company. Especially me! That it wouldn't be so much about me, but it would be about MarketingProfs. MarketingProfs would stand for something that was really objective and trustworthy. We have these pillars of our brand: being objective and expert...and also fun. Those are the 'beaming lights' of our brand associations."
As your brand evolves, remember to update your messaging (12:11): "[MarketingProfs was] born on the Web, and so we...came from this background of being a content site, but as we've moved into training, we've had to become more clear about the fact that we're in training. It's only within the last couple of years that we've made that really evident on the site, which is why you go to the site and it says 'we're in the training business, we're in the event business, and we're in the newsletter business."
Effective education requires more than just great content (16:08): "What's happening in universities is that people are being taught how to do critical thinking, and the way that we're doing this is also through using...learning specialists and instructional designers, and so that's exactly what we're doing at MarketingProfs.... A lot of people could do just content, but to put it through the lens of somebody who understands how somebody learns, that's an instructional designer. That's what we're doing at MarketingProfs."
Mindfulness—being truly present right now in a nonjudgmental way—makes you a better marketer. (19:57): "While I've been running MarketingProfs, I've also been a teacher at InsightLA in Los Angeles, which teaches mindfulness and Buddhism and all sorts of things. I've been doing this for about 10 years.... For marketers, it's really clear that mindfulness helps people avoid burnout. It helps them with conflict resolution. It helps them deal with difficult people. Instead of...being motivated by stress, it gets them back to why they probably got into marketing: They were passionate about marketing. Mindfulness helps them reconfigure things to why they went [into] marketing in the first place."
Allen and I talked about much more, so be sure to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
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Show opener music credit: Noam Weinstein.