Interesting Times (or “Why I Decided to Leave Archology”)

Chinese Proverb/Curse

Chinese Proverb/Curse

There is an old Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times.” It sounds very positive, but it was actually meant as a curse… referencing the difficulties of being interesting and having interesting things happen to you. When I started working in marketing 14 years ago, I knew that despite what other things marketing would be – lucrative, frustrating, challenging, fascinating – it would always be interesting. It has delivered on that promise for sure.

As I’ve watched the landscape of online marketing change from words on a page only afforded to the very elite to multimedia circuses that rule the lives of nearly everyone on the planet, I’ve realized that one thing stays consistent. There will always be needs, wants, and desires, and there will always be entities that fulfill them. I use the word ‘entities’ purposely, because it’s a concept recently popularized by people in my field but which has actually existed since the dawn of time. At its most basic level, marketing is simply the psychological connection that is formed between entities. Whether these are people, places, things, or concepts, there’s a rich connection between these that is formed by the human experience.

I’ve decided that I want to be a big part of bringing marketing out of the shadows of negativity. True, valuable marketing occurs when those who are seeking to fulfill a need delve deeply into the desires, moods, and needs of potential consumers to make an emotional connection. I have grown weary of the base principles of SEO; the data-hungry masses who seek numbers but not understanding. I am frustrated by the myriad tools that seek to commoditize and diminish the value of experience.

It is that last realization that has prompted me to make a significant change.  I have spent the past two years working with a business owner to develop a company that, while filled with quality people and excellent clients, does not take the path that I want to take. I don’t wish to diminish tools, automation, and data; they are required for every aspect of a successful marketing program. But I feel that these metrics and efficiencies must be matched with expert insight.

As I look around at my industry, particularly at SEO, I am disgusted by how much time (including my own) is essentially wasted chasing an ever changing set of rules developed by the search Giant. While I’m still happy to help people who sorely need to clean up bad habits and poor decisions, I long for the opportunity to help people develop true marketing campaigns.

This is why I’ve decided to go back to working in consulting exclusively. I won’t be developing tools, figuring out how to game the system, or spending time with clients whose goal is to get by with as little as possible. So, with that, JLH Marketing is officially re-opened, and I welcome clients, partners, friends, and colleagues who want to support this utopia that I am working towards.

As always, I thank my supporters, my friends, my family, and everyone who helps me make the hard decisions. Taking the road less traveled is bound to be difficult, fraught with challenges, mistakes, and victories. But it will certainly be interesting.

Feb, 07, 2014