Death of a Marketer – Book Interview

Heidi Cohen Interviews Andrea Fryrear

New book – Death of a Marketer: Modern Marketing’s Troubled Past and a New Approach to Change the Future


Death of a MarketerQ: What’s your best piece of advice for readers looking to improve their marketing?

A: Process matters just as much projects. Fixing your process can improve every single aspect of your marketing, so don’t just let it cruise along on autopilot. I’m a big believer in Agile for managing work, but the important thing is to find the system that works for you, apply it rigorously, and keep improving it over time.

Q: What was the inspiration for Death of a Marketer?

A: I had a lot of anecdotal evidence for why and how Agile worked in marketing, but I really wanted to dig in to the historical forces that have brought us to where we are as a profession. The title, Death of a Marketer, comes from how beat down so many marketing teams are. We’re on a death march from deadline to deadline, from emergency to emergency. I knew it hadn’t always been this way, so I wanted to look back, see where we came from so I might be able to see a clearer path forward.

Q: What is the key concept behind your book?

A: In a nutshell, the book is about how marketing has changed but marketers haven’t. We’re doing vastly different work than our predecessors, but we’re still managing that work much the same way. If I proposed doing nothing but radio ads and billboards next quarter, I’d be laughed out of the room, but nobody bats an eye when we try to plan everything up front and stick with that plan for a year, even though a completely new social network might pop up next week.

Q: What do you want readers to take away from your book?

A: I want marketers to take back control of marketing. That can start with managing our own workloads better, but my hope is that it quickly spreads to include changing team structures, altering leadership roles, and shifting the whole way we think about creating marketing campaigns. The people doing the work know best how to get stuff done. I’d love to see more of them actively involved in creating amazing audience-focused experiences instead of trudging through their days just trying to make it to 5pm.

Q: How do you describe yourself professionally?

A: I’m an Agile marketing coach who helps marketing teams transform the way they get things done. I train marketers on how to adopt Agile methods to fit their unique situation so they can stop putting out fires and start doing work that matters.

Q: What are 1-3 books that inspired your work/career?

  • Scott Brinker’s Hacking Marketing was the first time I saw someone make clear, clever, sustained argument for Agile marketing. It’s really good writing about the emerging connection between marketing and software, and anybody working in digital marketing should read it.
  • Charles Duhigg’s Smarter Faster Better is another favorite. He’s my non-fiction writing crush. I just adore his style, and how he uses storytelling to craft complex arguments.
  • Personal Kanban by Jim Benson is my third. As an entrepreneur and Agile coach and writer and mom and triathlete and all the other things I have to be/do, this book is like my bible. It’s Agile for individuals. Everybody who has too much to do can use this book.

Q: What is the biggest challenge that you’ve had to overcome?

A: Definitely giving my first keynote speech last year. I’ve been speaking regularly for almost two years now, but my first time really anchoring a big stage was terrifying. I rehearsed SO much, and was changing slides right up until the night before, but ultimately the talk went really well. I didn’t fall off the stage or vomit on anyone, and as a fun bonus I now find “regular” public speaking less stressful.

Q: What’s something unusual or fun that most people don’t know about you?

A: Despite only being 5’ 3” I’ve been a competitive volleyball player since I was twelve.


Q: Is there a piece of content, a social media campaign or a marketing campaign that you worked on that you’re particularly proud of?

A: One of the recent pieces I’m most proud of is this huge What is Agile Marketing piece. I spent a TON of time researching keywords and analyzing competitors while writing it, and it’s one of my better efforts at balancing what I know my audience is interested in with what I need to create to rank well.

Andrea FryrearWhere to find Andrea Fryrear

Thank you Andrea.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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