tl/dr: I have a new product coming out in March, an unaffiliated podcast launching in the next two weeks, and Marketing BS+ will be going on hiatus for three months (all subscriptions will be extended).
I started Marketing BS the newsletter in May 2019 as a way to build an audience before the book was published. It soon took on a life of its own. I wrote what I feel was an in-depth essay every week for almost 2 years now (taking off a ~4 weeks during that time for family holidays). Last fall I added the Weekly Briefing and the Two-Part Interview. Soon afterward that I moved to a “premium” model, where roughly half of that content was put behind a paywall. By January I was getting regular requests for sponsorship and added a “Weekly Sponsor” section of each (non-premium) issue.
I have enjoyed writing Marketing BS every week, but I cannot say it was a raging success.
Total subscribers are roughly 25,000, but that was largely from two “acquisitions” I made in the last two years (ipassexam and startup.currated). Organic growth has been limited. Either the content is not as good as I believe it is, or the advice to “just write great content and growth will come” is inadequate. Either way, growth has not been forthcoming.
On the paid product, roughly 100 of you have subscribed to the premium product (thank you!). There are also four companies subscribed each with 10-50 members. That is nice (and pays for my professional editor every week), but it’s only 0.5% of the free subscribers. And it is not growing dramatically every week.
I am not ready to give up yet, but I have decided I am going to put things on hold for three months while I consider next steps. I am going to use that time for four things:
Finish the book. The book was meant to be finished in 2019. The newsletter, plus a decision to radically re-design the book delayed things. But I am very proud of it now. It just needs a small push to finish the final edits and it will be good to launch. I am very excited about this finally happening.
Launch a a new product. I was approached by Mastermind.co to be a launch partner (along with luminaries with far bigger profile than mine). The idea will be a six-week program where a maximum of twelve participants would have two sessions per week directly with me and the others in the group. Each week I would have a personalized session with a participant. I will dive into their business and/or career the way I do with the clients I advise - only this time the other participants will listen in, and then we will all have a discussion afterwards. The ida is to form a tight-knit group who will have access to each other on the Mastermind platform. Come for the advisement, stay for the community. It will be an experiment. If you might be interested in being part of it, please reply to this email. More to come.
Super Serious 616. I have started a new podcast with a good friend that is not remotely marketing related. The premise is that we are radio commentators in 1961 within the fictional “Marvel Universe”. It is satire - our style and vocabulary is very “2021” - but we take the premise seriously, and talk about the ramifications of a world that is quickly populated by super heroes, monsters and aliens. We bring our “full selves” to the podcast and ask the questions that are usually ignored in these fictional worlds. Of potential interest to this group: Is Ironman joining the Avengers really a good use of StarkCorp shareholder capital? You can subscribe here (There are already a handful of Marketing BS cross-subscribers. I have no idea how you have found it! This is the first public announcement). We have recorded ~30 episodes, and should officially launch in the next week or two.
Personal Life. When an executive says he is leaving to spend more time with his family, you should be skeptical. But I do plan on using this time to spend more time with my family, and increase my exercise frequency and length.
I will continue to write. I expect to have either a briefing or an essay every week (just not both), and one part of the podcasts. So non-premium subscribers are not going to see much of a change. Premium subscribers will have their memberships extended by for these three months.
This is the only “text” content this week (I will be back with a briefing or essay next week). Part one of this week’s planned interview will go out on Wednesday (with Geoff Henshaw, former CMO of Stoko). Part two will go out next week.
Thank you for your understanding as I figure out what I am going to do with this brand. Your support means the world to me.
Keep it Simple,