How to Stop Taking and Start Giving Back as a Marketer


We use the word “get” a lot in this industry. We’re inundated with articles about how to get more leads, engagement, conversion on our ads. And we ask a lot—for personal data, for consumers to give up their time to watch our ads, even if they’re just trying to watch a YouTube video on cats doing funny things (hey, don’t judge us), for the world to be patient with us while we figure out how to do our jobs better. It’s a little exhausting, isn’t it, all this getting on with getting?


There is no trigger for this post—it’s not Volunteer Week, World Philanthropy Day or any other sort of event that should make you want to give more than you get. We’ve simply noticed the common language we’ve all been speaking for a while, the vernacular of marketers out for acquisition, upsell and loyalty that is missing the other side of the value exchange. What can and should we be giving back to the people of whom we are asking time, attention, data and more, not to make our jobs easier and more successful, but to be better human beings who are, after all, the people with whom we’re trying to communicate?


  • Educate on data usage: The GDPR is but a symptom of the larger issue of consumers not knowing enough about which of their data is being used, or outright not liking how it’s collected and processed. There is not skipping over May 25th on the calendar. All there is to do is to comply and use legislation like this to get better—even if you’re not doing business in the EU. Whether it’s a revamped privacy policy, a series on data, an email to clients, or a webinar, we can all do our part to share knowledge with consumers about this very important facet of marketing.

  • Connect to a charity: Whether it’s time, resources or profit, if you’re not giving back to a charitable organization, it’s possible you’re going to lose business and talent. Seventy-seven percent of millennials want to donate their skills instead of money, according to the 2015 Millennial Impact report. You can partner directly with charities or allow employees to choose their own to which to give time and money.

  • Diversity your company and your board: Women are underrepresented not just in tech, but at the highest levels of many industries. You can change this by making an active effort to recruit, develop and promote more female talent. Among the 25 firms with the highest percentage of women execs and board members, researchers found that median returns on assets and equity in 2015 were at least 74 percent higher than among the overall group of companies surveyed. Offer mentorship with other women who have navigated a bit higher up the ladder. Provide training for women interested in learning more about different areas of the business or who are cut out for leadership.

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