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Is Jeremy Epstein The Yoda Of Community Marketing?

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What Henry Ford, Espresso, And Community Have In Common

A little over two years ago, I spoke on a panel with Jason Falls and Jeremy Epstein at GrowSmartBiz Conference in Washington D.C. (Thanks to Shashi Bellamkonda for making that happen). It was my first interaction with Jeremy – I started reading and following his work. Now I read his blog more often than any other marketing blog. Why? Because he’s sincere, passionate, inspiring, and extremely insightful. I love his approach – he thinks aloud and collaborates in the open with the members of his community, shares best practices, and relentless connects people. He connected me to Dawna Maclean – who is one of the smartest people I know and a leading thinker in the field of “creating shared value”. And his thinking-out-aloud approach gives me food for thought on an almost daily basis.

While Jeremy Epstein is an accomplished marketing executive, it is his belief in the importance of sharing his learning with his community that inspire the comparison with Yoda (the great teacher from the Star Wars saga who arguably influenced all Jedi) and the fact that a photo of Yoda is in the first page of image SERPs on Google.

Here’s a bit of background on Jeremy. He’s a former Microsoft executive who use to help partner companies improve their marketing engines and operations. After leaving Microsoft, he started his own consulting firm – Never Stop Marketing. He’s worked with clients of all sizes from Fortune 50 to NY Times best-selling authors and many in between, creating and executing innnovative marketing programs. Most recently, Jeremy has gone on to become the VP of Marketing for Sprinklr, a company committed to scaling the vision of a new marketing reality to hundreds of thousands of customers. Thankfully, Jeremy will continue writing and sharing his ideas with the community he has built.

If you know Jeremy, you’ll enjoy many aspects of this interview. If this is your first exposure to Jeremy, I’m so excited to be the connector.

Why should organizations never stop marketing?

“Those who stop marketing to save money are like those who stop a clock to save time.” – Henry Ford

Or take it from Peter Drucker…”a business has two basic functions: marketing and innovation.” Would you stop innovating? No? Similarly, you should never stop marketing.

Why are some organizations talked about and others not?

I think that those orgs that spend the time to understand the core motivations of their customers (hint: it’s not money) are then able to speak to them in a way that connects. And, they inject those motivational drivers into every aspect of their customer-facing experience.

Is conversation important?

I can’t think of any better way to distill, refine, and improve upon ideas than in the forge of a great conversation with people who really care about a topic as much as you do.

Where does community live (in these days of attention deficit, reluctance to commit to traditional organizations)?

Not in one physical (or virtual space). It lives around an idea, a belief. Either you believe in the mantra “never stop marketing” or you don’t. And, if you do, you can join the community whenever, wherever you want. Be it on FB, LinkedIn, Twitter, my blog, an in-person event, a newsletter, etc. Doesn’t matter.

Are advocates important?

I’m so convinced on the importance of advocates that I believe you’ll see a line item on corporate balance sheets in the not too distant future listing their value as assets.

Can people tell the difference between slick and real? Does authentic work?

Yes and yes. This one, I’m afraid, I haven’t totally figured out yet. How’s that for authenticity? ;-)

What about trust? What role does it play?

Look at the Net Promoter Score surveys if you have any doubt that trust drives profitability significantly above average. Unless you are a tourist in the bazaar in Cairo, you usually don’t buy stuff from people you don’t trust. You don’t refer people you don’t trust.  Plus, in an age of increasing transparency, violations of trust will be amplified. Heck, they are amplified.

Finish these sentences…

At my core I am… passionate about using technology to improve relationships and understanding between people.

I love… the feeling of leaving it all on the field.

Don’t… let your babies grow up to be Cowboys.

The thing to watch in 2012 is… whether any US politician will have the cojones to admit that if we don’t get our entitlement programs fixed, address our country’s education pitfalls, and encourage risk-taking innovation, we’re screwed.

My drink of choice… coffee.

One thing about me that people don’t know is… I have a lapel pin collection of over 700 dating back 30 years.

Choose one…

Steak, Chicken or Fish? None of the above. I’m vegan.

Maserati or Prius? Prius. I compost and have solar panels.

Wine or Bourbon? Tough one. Probably wine.

Jeans or shorts? Man, another tough one. Probably shorts.

Guy Kawasaki or Seth Godin? Not even close. Godin by a country mile.

You can find Jeremy here:

Never Stop Marketing Blog

Twitter: @jer979

Google Plus

If you’d like to read more about Jeremy – here’s another cool post.

About Duncan Alney

is the leader of the passionate Firebelly Social team. He loves working with people with vision who expect the best of themselves and the people they work with. He also believes that happiness is a critical part of his personal and professional life equation, and works to be happy about whatever he's doing.

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