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Q&A with Maverick Marketer Jeffrey Hayzlett: “My advice to marketers: don’t screw it up.”

The globally renowned business juggernaut talks candidly (as he always does) about digital marketing, social media and the future of our industry.

Written by, Jacqueline Lisk

Jeffrey Hayzlett is known for his decisive, no-nonsense approach to business growth, and when we got the chance to ask him some of our most pressing marketing questions, he didn’t disappoint. Jeffrey is a renowned speaker, the host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett on Bloomberg Television, a frequent TV and radio commentator, author of the best-selling books “The Mirror Test” and “Running the Gauntlet” and a keynote speaker at the upcoming Westchester Digital Summit. (And that’s the abbreviated version. Phew.)

Read on for Jeffrey’s thoughtful, direct and often humorous advice, and discover his knack for coining smart, pithy phrases. We call them “Hayzlett-isms.”

  1. As digital marketers, we wonder how to best spend our marketing dollar, and how to best fight for our audience’s attention in an increasingly crowded marketplace.  Do you have any general advice for effective digital marketing? 

Whether it’s broadcast, radio, direct mail or digital—if it sucks offline, it sucks online. You have to make your message relevant to the right audience with the right timing. If it’s not, you tend to get ignored whether you’re online or offline. Just because it is digital doesn’t meant the principles of marketing don’t apply. They apply more than ever.

  1. Do you believe that every company needs to be active on social media? 

You only need to be active on social media if you want to do business and stay in touch with your customers, because that’s where your customers are. There’s an old comedian, the late Sam Kinison, who used to say, “Go to where the food is.” He was talking about starving people who lived in the desert. He’d say, “You live in the dessert – move to where the food is.” That’s what businesses need to do. Social media is part of everyday business these days. It’s just the nature of the game. You get into the game or prepare to lose it.

  1. How should companies approach emerging platforms such as Snapchat?

Check it out and see if it’s right for you and right for your customers. Not every business is going to be on Snapchat. I’m not on Snapchat, because it’s not the place for my customers. You are not going to find a lot of B2B businesses there. Here’s the rule: If your customers aren’t there, don’t go there. If your customers are there, get there and get there as big as you can.

  1. What is the purpose of content marketing and is it a marketing must? 

Content marketing forms a deeper bond with your customer or prospect. It is a really cool way to differentiate yourself, and it allows you to tell stories. I don’t care who you are, we all like a good story.

People are always looking for the right information at the right time, so content marketing is exactly that. Nobody wants to have information thrown up at them. Nobody wants to be shouted at. People want to be educated. For example, I’ve had a number of speakers and authors ask me how I do my podcasts. Later today, I’m going to use my iPhone to record myself showing the equipment I use. Now that’s relevant to these folks who want to do their own podcasts. It’s highly valuable. But it doesn’t mean crap to an 18-year-old with no interest in podcasts. It has to be relevant to your audience.

  1. Any predictions for the future of marketing? 

Here’s my big prediction: Marketing will change. Every time we think we have it narrowed down to “this is the answer,” it changes! That is the nature of marketing. It is also going to get more personalized, but more restrictive. People will have tools, permissions-based systems that they use personally, that are actually better than some of the tools we use professionally. We are going to have to be constantly on our toes.

The other thing is that the business of marketing is going to get more like business. There will be less of the touchy-feely stuff. That’s a good thing.

  1. What’s the future of mobile advertising?

We are talking about the most personal device that’s ever been invented in the history of the world. It used to be that you identified with your house or car, now it is really, truly your phone. You know where your phone is more than you know where your children are. If you doubt that, go to the mall, lose your children and your phone at the same time and see which you go looking for first. If you are honest, it is usually your phone. We have a chance as marketers to engage one-on-one with people who want to be engaged with. My advice to marketers: don’t screw it up.

  1. How big a role will wearables play in our future?

They will be huge. If you think we are in data overload now, wait till the wearables start popping up everywhere. The amount of information that you are going to be able to have at your fingertips for your personal use or for marketing purposes is astronomical by more zeros than you can count. The key is whether you use that data and then how you use it.

  1. You’re a busy guy.  We’d be remiss not to ask for your best time management/productivity tips.  How do you balance it all?   

It is tough. I am a good delegator, although I should be better. I have people who are responsible for certain things, and I try to let them do their jobs. I organize my life so that all I have to do is hit the mark. That’s kind of a saying inside the company. My job is to hit that mark and be who I am supposed to be. Everybody else’s job is to make sure I hit that mark. If we do that, that’s pretty good.

I also use a lot of apps. I try never to keep more than 10 emails in my inbox at any given time. My best app of all is Linda Maschino. It is very expensive but well worth it. (Linda is Jeff’s assistant. She is not available for download.)

  1. As managers, how can we best identify and nurture potential future leaders?    

I create tension. I think tension drives the best in people, so competition, for example. I am constantly looking to keep people in a state of tension, whether light or heavy. Then you see who rises to the top. Cream always rises to the top.

Like what you learned? Join us on May 14, where Jeffrey will be teaching business leaders how to overcome common challenges to drive true change. Register Now! 

JR Lisk
Jacqueline Lisk