I’ll admit… I am often late to crazes. It’s not that I don’t notice that something is taking off—be it Fitbits, smartphones or social media—it’s just that I suppose I like to come around to an idea on my own time, and not just because someone tells me I should be tapping into the latest fad.
I remember when I first heard of Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” two years ago. It sounded like something I would love. After all, as a woman in management, I understood that Sheryl was addressing managers like me and encouraging me to use my leadership position to help other women achieve their own ambitions. But again, I am slow to crazes.
This weekend, I decided to take a break from the fiction world of novels and pick up the book (in some strange way I really like coming into things later than everyone else. By doing so, I feel like I experience things totally objectively.) I’m about 70 pages in and I’m hooked; I may or may not be sitting here wondering how soon I can get home to keep reading.
For those of you who are like me and late to the phenomenon that is “leaning in,” Facebook’s COO contends that women need to “lean in,” or give their all and exhibit fierce, unwavering commitment to their pursuits. She challenges women to break ceilings, achieve the seemingly impossible and change the gender conversation.
The purpose of my blog is not a call to arms for women around the world to become overnight feminists and lean in starting tomorrow. Rather, it’s about how we as marketers can take Sheryl’s concept of “leaning in” and apply it to our marketing pursuits. Here are some of my thoughts just a few chapters in:
- Be Brave: We have to be brave when it comes to our marketing efforts. Write a contentious blog, host a marketing event to see if you can drive attendance, take a stab at a white paper that you are unsure will actually drive leads. Even if you lack the confidence, fake it. “Feeling confident—or pretending that you feel confident—is necessary to reach for opportunities,” Sheryl argues. So take more risks in the marketing world. Step into a sea of unknowns. Who knows… you may uncover the next greatest marketing campaign.
- Find “Mentors”: An entire section in Sheryl’s book is dedicated to the importance of women finding strong female mentors who will sponsor and guide them. In marketing, we should find similar role models. For example, find a brand that is killing it on the social media front and ask yourself “why?” Spend 10 minutes at your next marketing conference picking the brain of the keynote speaker. Grab coffee with someone who holds a role in marketing but operates in a vertical totally different than yours. You’d be surprised what you can learn from them!
- Challenge the Status Quo: I am just a few pages in, but it’s clear that “Lean In” is about changing the workplace conversation for the better. It’s about making small changes today that will lead to a more gender-balanced world tomorrow. So be the one to change the marketing industry for the better. You may stumble along the way (Starbucks certainly took heat for its #RaceTogether campaign). But you may also come out victorious on the other side.
As marketers, it is our job to find comfort in an uncomfortable place, to try something new that can take us down an unexpected avenue. So make this week—or next week—that you stop outside your comfort zone. You never know where it will take you.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, back to my work so I can get on home to keep reading!
Dubbed a “Chatty Cathy” from the time she uttered her first word, Content Boost’s Director of Content Marketing Carrie Majewski (née Schmelkin) is nothing short of verbal. Her love of talking matured into love of writing which inevitably transformed into a love of marketing. Carrie is responsible for overseeing the cutting-edge content marketing beast that is Content Boost—managing brand and editorial strategy, fostering client relationships, identifying new revenue opportunities and striking strategic partnerships. Carrie has worked with a variety of high profile clients on branding and copy creation from Sprint to Panasonic to AT&T to Emerson Network Power. When she’s not busy wordsmithing and debating content marketing versus traditional marketing, you can find her working on her swag in a hip-hop dance class, clogging her DVR with “Friends” reruns and trying desperately to make it up past 9:30 pm on the weekends with her hubby. #OldSoul.