Last Friday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.
And, yes, I realize that it’s a sad way to start a newsletter.
But I am NOT focusing on her liberal views or how she voted on the Supreme Court.
Rather, I’m talking about Justice Ginsburg because she has marketing lessons to teach us.
Justice Ginsburg was a physically small woman, but her carefully chosen words got her point across and made her presence known.
As marketers, we should stop and think about the words we choose. It’s not just the content and promotions we market but all of our communications.
It’s easy to copy what your competitors or others are doing. BUT, when you do, you risk having poorer results. Because it makes your business look and sound like theirs.
Despite being top of her law school class and one of a handful of women in her class, Ginsburg was turned down for the top jobs. And, for their reason, the rejections cited that she was a woman.
So to get her first job, Ginsburg needed help from one of her professors and she was told that she was being paid less because she had a husband.
If you’re a woman, you may feel that this does NOT still happen. BUT it does!
I’ve had it happen to me. And I’m sure that it happens to more women than you think because women don’t talk about their salaries. Also, research shows that women in marketing make less money than their male peers.
What does this mean for you as a marketer?
Help women to get ahead within your organization and to be paid fairly! You should do this because it’s the right thing to do. And, you should make sure that your business treats everyone, including customers, employees and others fairly.
But more importantly, do it because how you treat your employees reflects on your business and your brand. Your customers and community care about what you do!
For example, recently, Citibank announced that its next CEO will be Jane Fraser. She is the first woman to run a major US bank.
Ginsburg managed to make a statement with her black robe. She chose lacy collars to show her feminine side. In fact, she had a closet full of them. Further, she used her collars to signal how she voted on an issue. A crocheted beige and yellow collar with beads at the edge said she would vote with the majority.
From a marketing perspective, Ginsberg’s fancy collars were part of her brand.
For a marketing example, Convince and Convert’s Jay Baer wears loud plaid suits.
Like Ginsburg, as a marketer, you can make small signals to your audience. While you might not have to wear a uniform, you can use small things to make an impression over time such as your email sig file.
With the high use of Zoom for meetings and interviews across social media and news shows, many authors make sure that their book is in view. Jason Miller pointed this out in his article, “What Do Marketing Influencers Bookshelves Reveal?” (BTW, this article can help you add to your reading list.)
Like Justice Ginsburg, you have to make the case to keep your marketing budget.
When sales decline regardless of the reason, marketing budgets are often viewed by senior executives as the first place to cut costs. Joe Pulizzi has talked about how he learned to defend his departmental budget when he worked at Peyton Media.
Many executives don’t understand that they need marketing to help create sales and other opportunities.
So what do you do?
- Look at your budget. Figure out where you can make small cuts. At a minimum, you’ve got savings on conferences and travel (unless they’ve already been cut!) And I realize that you may be running lean already.
- Get more out of existing resources. For example, can you re-imagine your “How To” content marketing to help on-boarding new customers
- Make the case for your marketing budget. Where possible, show sales and results associated with your marketing campaigns.
One other point about Justice Ginsburg worth a marketing shout out:
- When she was past 80, she became known as “Notorious RBG”. In 2013, Shana Knizhnik, an NYU law student created a tumblr called Notorious RBG. It was a play on the rapper, Biggie Smalls’ nickname, Notorious B.I.G.. But, as usual, Ginsburg did her homework and found out the rapper was also from Brooklyn.
At an age when many women (and men) would be retired, Ginsburg leaned into her new fame as Notorious RBG. In 2018, she appeared in the film, Notorious RBG.
She shows the rest of us that we can choose to keep going regardless of our age or how we look.
Actionable Marketing Tip:
- Learn from Notorious RBG. Ask yourself, “How can I lean into a part of me that pushes me outside my comfort zone?” As we return to a “new normal”, think about what you like or don’t like about how you have been seen or see yourself during the past few months. (And, yes, I realize that it feels like life is playing in slow motion.)
Are you worried that you are alone when you answer this question? If so, checkout, Gini Dietrich’s column, Survive and Thrive. Leave it to Gini to create a regular article that’s consistent content and taps into what’s happening now. Even better, it’s written by a member of her community.
Thank you to our new subscribers: Bob, Joseph, Katie, Doug, Hemant, Lilyana, Bup, Pamela, Jade, Muni, Vinu, Joe, Mirza and Dennis.
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