Quoting Lewis Carroll, Keith Smith, the voice of business development in our house band, weighs in on the theme of this month’s issue: Should we build our audience on rented land, like social media, or develop a property of our own? And it’s typically no-nonsense..

“You couldn’t have it if you did want it,” the Queen said. “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”

Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Caroll

There’s a saying about prostitution that goes: it may bring pleasure for a while but the real pleasure ends up going to another person.

If you are goosing your market share by renting or paying for numbers, eventually you are empowering someone, or something else.

I host a podcast called Fuel and I recently interviewed the wonderful Phil Lewis (who has also appeared on RockstarCMO’s podcast), and we touched on the subject of why CMOs rarely get promoted to CEO. One of the reasons we uncovered was that a lot of marketing speak gets lost in translation in the boardroom. Namely, if you confront your shareholders with a chart full of likes, impressions, OTSs and OTVs they are going to ask one simple question:

How many boxes did you shift?

Just this week, I spoke with the former VP marketing strategy for Anheuser-Busch InBev who sagely informed me that he ensures every marketing campaign must shift product. Coincidentally, he is now CEO of another company owned by AB InBev, so he proves both statements: he was promoted because he speaks the language of the boardroom and he knows how to shift boxes.

Selling your product or service should be your North Star at all times.

When we launched The Fuel Podcast my friend and IT guru gave me a choice: take the easy route and host it on Podbean, Buzzsprout, Audioboom, or any of the big providers or take the hard route and host it on a dedicated domain and make sure all pages are optimized. That way, we’ll own the traffic and analytics and we’ll be able to control more of the data we generate. We chose the latter. It’s harder but it gives us a true picture of the challenges we face.

So my takeaway from recent months has confirmed my opinion on the subject of CMOs ‘Building on rented land’.

If you are doing it to earn hollow statistics that don’t shift boxes, then stop it. If you need to do it to sell products, do it, but bear in mind that you’re enabling someone else’s business.

Better to shift your own boxes by building a lasting strategy that has vision and clarity of purpose. Hard work is its own reward.

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