Here’s the full transcript from Episode 41 of the Wild Business Growth Podcast, featuring Marketing Rebellion Author Mark Schaefer. Please excuse any minor typos from the transcription service. For more information on this episode, including the episode link, check out the show notes here.

Full Transcript – Mark Schaefer Podcast Interview

Mark Schaefer:                 00:00                     It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work.

Max Branstetter:              00:19                     Are you ready for the rebellion? Welcome back to the Wild Business Growth Podcast presented by Hippo Direct. This is your place to hear from a new entrepreneur or innovator every single Wednesday morning who’s unleashing creativity to grow their business. I’m your host, Max Branstetter digital marketing dude at Hippo Direct and you can reach me at for help with podcasting or digital marketing. This is episode number 41 and today’s guest is Mark Schaefer. He’s an all-time top marketing leader, speaker, and bestselling author of several books. His latest book Marketing Rebellion is completely shaking up the marketing world in making fortune 500 CMOs rethink what they’re doing. On your mark. Get Schaefer. Enjoy the show.

Max Branstetter:              01:03                     Alrighty, we are here with Mark Schaefer, the legendary marketing bestselling author, keynote speaker college professor. The list goes on and on and on and on and on. Repeat, etc. You name it. Mark, how are you doing today?

Mark Schaefer:                 01:18                     Legendary. Ah, that’s a new one. I think. Legend yea.

Max Branstetter:              01:22                     Oh, come on. You’re legendary. You know, I guess you’re humble as well, but you’re a legendary and humble them,

Mark Schaefer:                 01:28                     you know, it is, it is weird. It’s been such a weird trajectory. Somebody wrote me the other day, they said something like my favorite marketers of all time, my favorite business leaders are like Philip Kotler, Peter Drucker and Mark Schaefer. It’s like, oh, come on. You gotta be kidding me. It’s, it never really, honestly it is humbling and surprising to hear that. But anyway, I’ll take it legendary report that out to my mom today.

Max Branstetter:              02:00                     Okay, perfect. Hey, whatever you can report out to your mom. But, but thank you so much for joining us. This is really special and oh, we’ll get into a lot of stuff about your career, but also the latest stuff you’re up to, including your new book that is on fire Marketing Rebellion.

Mark Schaefer:                 02:14                     It really is.

Max Branstetter:              02:15                     Before we do, before we dive in, yeah, it’s a legendary marketing book if I might say so myself. But before we dive into that, Mark, do you mind giving a brief background, for anybody that’s not familiar yet, of how you got started and sort of the biggest things you’ve been up to in your career?

Mark Schaefer:                 02:32                     You know I just I hadn’t thought about this in a long time. I became an entrepreneur when I was 5 years old. It’s, it’s, it’s a funny story. So we lived in a, at that point I was living in Syracuse, New York, and we lived, the street that we lived on was the quarter of kind of a busy intersection and back then people would like smoke a lot. They’d smoke in their cars and they get to this intersection and they throw out these cigarette butts and I discovered there was unused tobacco in the cigarette butt. I was five. Keep this in mind. I was five. So you know what? I can collect this unused tobacco. It’s a, this resource is this goldmine and I can find a way to resell this tobacco. Then my mother figured out what I was doing and my entrepreneurial journey lasted one day and one deep scrubbing in the bathtub. (laughter)

Mark Schaefer:                 03:29                     Uh, I spent most of my career as a corporate pig dog, a working for a fortune 100 company and I gotta tell you, you know, I have no regrets. I had a great, great career. They paid for two masters degrees for me. I got to see the world and learn from some of the greatest minds in the world. I started my own company 10 years ago, 10 and a half as a consultant. Ah, my consulting business took off and back then 10 years ago, social media was really just starting to emerge as a mainstream marketing channel. Became fascinated with this and immersed myself in it and started a blog. The blog became pretty popular. Yeah. I still do it. I’ve never, in fact, last week was the 10 year anniversary of my first blog post. (Max Branstetter – Congrats) Thanks. And I never stopped. If I could figure out a way to, to make living just blogging, I think I would do it. I just have so many ideas that I like to explore and it’s such an intellectual challenge to create something every single week that’s interesting and relevant and entertaining. It’s, it’s a lot of fun. It’s, it’s sort of my drug of choice. So the blog, the blog did pretty well and that led to books and the people became interested in the books that led to speaking engagements and really last year for the first time, the lines crossed where I’m now making more money off of speaking then off of consulting. So that’s sort of a synopsis of where I am.

Max Branstetter:              05:11                     Wow. Well that’s amazing. Well, congrats for that as well. I mean, everything you’ve said is just legendary. It did like any story. No, know that that’s, that’s amazing. I mean, you hear, you hear so many stories of entrepreneurs and professionals about, you know, like the lemonade stands and the stories like that. But I don’t have too many people start at age 5.

Mark Schaefer:                 05:31                     I mean, I did everything. I literally did everything when I was a kid. There used to be, I love comic books and back of comic books, they had these things that they have these deals for kids. You could sell things door to door. And, uh, I grew up in a very modest family, so whatever I wanted, I had to figure out a way to buy it myself. If I wanted a bike, I had to buy it myself.

Max Branstetter:              05:57                     Right.

Mark Schaefer:                 05:58                     I would sell Christmas cards door to door, stationary, door to door. I was selling packets of seeds, which was hard to do in urban Pittsburgh, right? II think people felt sorry for me and I sold newspaper, I sold, I did everything you could that within the limits of my age group too, to make money.

Max Branstetter:              06:20                     Right. Did you go around selling Primanti Brothers sandwiches to everyone too? (Mark Schaefer – Oh, no, but I’m impressed that you know Primanti Brothers) Oh, of course. Well, I, I, you know, not to start a little football rivalry here, but I’m originally from Cleveland, and I have cousins, I have cousins that live there.

Mark Schaefer:                 06:37                     I’m sorry for you. I send condolences to you and your family,

Max Branstetter:              06:40                     Hey, that’s all in the past now. The future’s looking bright, starting to turn.

Mark Schaefer:                 06:43                     We’ll see. We’d better get back on topic.

Max Branstetter:              06:43                     There we go. All right. That’s going to be my favorite soundbite of all times. So thank you. But before we move on here, you mentioned your blog, which is very successful. The blog Grow. And it is as a blogger myself and content producer and in our company is getting more into content. It can become very challenging to keep coming up with these new ideas for blog posts and new topics. And, and in your case it, it’s turned into books and features as well. Well, what’s the best way that you come up with these ideas and decide, hey, okay, you know, this would be something that would be really good blog topic?

Mark Schaefer:                 07:22                     Well, it’s really more about discipline than creativity. It, it really is. And if you think about our, our world and you just pay attention to our world Max, you’re deluged with ideas, you’re just bombarded with ideas and it’s just a matter of having a mindset and a discipline to look at the world as potential stories or potential blog posts. So maybe someone could be inspired by something I say today, something you hear on TV, something you read on the Internet, something that you hear in a podcast. So that’s discipline number 1 is just being aware of everything going on out there and connecting the dots to something relevant with you, with your audience. Number 2 is having the discipline to write it down right away because you’ll lose it. Just write it down and it doesn’t have to be the whole idea. Just write the headline for whatever content you’re going to create. Then the third discipline is to schedule the time to create content every week. Just as though you schedule time to go on a date or go to the gym or go to lunch with friends, you’ve got to have the discipline to put that time aside, to be free to relax and create. When you, when you get to a point where you have to do it and you look at a blank screen, you’re never going to be able to do it. But if you have the discipline to keep those ideas coming every day, and then when it’s your time, you know that time is coming, you’re going to look forward to it because it’s fun because you’re going to open up that computer and see all those ideas you’ve collected for the week, And now it’s time to pick the most fun one and create some content around it. Then it becomes a joy. And when it’s a joy that shows through to your audience, uh, when it becomes a task, when it becomes a burden, then you’re, it’s never gonna work because your audience will be able to sniff that out.

Max Branstetter:              09:36                     Yeah, and it’s, so, it’s so important to remember that because I think a lot of times as content marketers, you get, you get kind of bogged down in it. You know, I got so much to get out this week or so much, and it becomes almost part of a chore. But when you, when you think of the parts that are positive and fun about it, I really liked what you said about find the most interesting thing you saw that week and write about that or expand that. That’s an amazing approach to it because if you find it the most interesting thing, surely your audience and someone else will find it interesting. At least another, at least one other person.

Mark Schaefer:                 10:09                     I’m guessing that everybody that has to create content is also consuming an enormous amount of content. Even if it’s the news or uh, or a Netflix show or a professional journal or something. Getting ideas for content is as almost unavoidable. It’s just making that part of our routine. That’s the real key to creativity I think.

Max Branstetter:              10:34                     Unless you’re walking around with blinders and, uh, earplugs and hiding from the content world that we’re in. You have a, a new book that is on fire, as we said earlier today. The new book, Marketing Rebellion, launched in January of this year and just not heard enough positive things about this book. Before we dive into the book, I just want to say, Mark, you’ve created the best hype video I’ve ever seen for a book. The video for Marketing Rebellion is unbelievable. It’s like watching a hype video for your favorite sports team or you know, before the super bowl or something. It’s really, really cool. Okay. Can you share a little bit about the idea for that video before even the book?

Mark Schaefer:                 11:17                     Yeah. Well I wanted to create an impact, something that would be so good that people would use it in a college class. That people would be able to take the main ideas from my book and use it like maybe even in their own speech to say this is, this is where the world is today. And of course, so for those that haven’t seen the video, which is almost everybody, uh, it is on YouTube and you can just Google Marketing Rebellion on YouTube and you can find it, it’s less than two minutes long. But, it’s sort of a heart pounding view of the current consumer world. And it sets up the idea for the book. Like, you know, this is where we are today and this is where we need to go. And you know, you better read this book. So the creative process to create the video, it was actually so interesting and a lot of fun. I have this thing on my website where anybody can sign up for an hour of my time. So it’s fun for me to sort of coach people and listen to problems from around the world. And maybe two years ago, this fellow that was in the medical device business, he sold his business, he made a lot of money, is trying to decide what to do next with his life. And he signed up for coaching call. And together we decided he was going to go into the animation business. (Max Branstetter – Of course, why not?) Of course it was a, it was a logical adjacency. And he found these, these friends in London who were great animators, and he sort of liberated them from their day to day jobs and they key created this animation studio. And so immediately I thought of him. So I had some examples of, of what I had in mind. I said, can you do this? He said, yeah, so this is a guy’s named John Briggs. He owns a company called Food Fight Studios. And it was literally this simple. I wrote, I found a piece of music because I wanted it to literally be like heart pounding music, uh, exciting music. I found the music and then I wrote a script to the beat of the music. So I could, you read it out loud and it just boom, boom, boom, boom. It goes to the beat of the music. I turned over the music. I turned over the script to John and what you see is 98% the first draft of what he did. (Max Branstetter – Wow) Literally, it was like, change of color here, change a color there and it’s finished. It was incredible how easy this was, how talented the people were at the studio. You know, the, the vision just matched. I mean, I wrote the script in 45 minutes, let’s say at the most. The hardest part was finding music. (laughter) You know, I bought the license for the music. I wrote the script to turn it over to John and the, and the video was done. There’s been people who love it. And now I’m also using that to open my speech. (Max Branstetter – Oh, I was, I was curious about that) And people when I play the video, they cheer that they didn’t, I’ve only given the speech three times for the new book. I’ve used the video and people cheer. They really liked, they liked the video. Go look it up on YouTube Marketing Rebellion and we’ll see what we’re talking about.

Max Branstetter:              14:44                     Yeah. And I’ll make sure to include a link in the show notes when we do the blog post for this episode as well. So, but that’s incredible. Have you thought about up a career as a songwriter full-time now?

Mark Schaefer:                 14:54                     No, no, not, not, not, not yet.

Max Branstetter:              14:59                     But I think, I think you’ve found a new talent there, but it was incredible. An incredible idea and execution as well. And everybody who has a book, I’ve written like 70 myself. No, I’m just kidding. But everybody who has a book is always looking for ways to break through the clutter and create buzz for it beyond just having the book,

Mark Schaefer:                 15:16                     That’s the key idea. I mean, you’ve got to do something extraordinary, right? for my last book Known, I did like a little movie trailer thing that had had me talking about, uh, why it’s important to become known in the sort of dramatic. But this time, I mean, you’ve got to cut through the clutter. You’ve got to do something that nobody’s done before and that, that really was the idea why I did it.

Max Branstetter:              15:47                     Right. So let’s talk about the book. I mean, I guess we could keep going on if you want about the video for the book and I feel like we should talk about the book itself. So Marketing Rebellion, uh, there’s this big concept of the most human company wins. Which is amazing. Uh, and as a company, Hippo Direct that’s focused on hippos, it definitely made me stop in my tracks and go, holy cow. But our hippos pretty human so we’ll say that. For anybody that’s not familiar with the book Marketing Rebellion yet, can you give a little intro to what the concept is?

Mark Schaefer:                 16:18                     Well, the main idea of the book is that marketing has become too much of a glorified IT department and that we are trying to automate things, and algorithm things and robocall our marketing and spam people and use all this wonderful technology and technology has become the enemy of great marketing. Not because technology is bad, but because it’s so good. It’s so easy. It’s so cheap. We can buy a million email addresses for $9 and 99 cents and even if just one person buys, we’ve paid for the thing. But meanwhile we’ve annoyed 999 people and that’s become our world. So what I’m saying in the book is that is that this just won’t work anymore because the power has shifted to our customers. Two thirds of our marketing is occurring without us and that number is growing larger because we used to think we were in control and we control the customer journey. And we control the sales funnel. And those days are over and it’s not just Mark Schaefer’s opinion about this, it’s this is, this is where the research is. McKinsey and Deloitte and Accenture and these big companies that the, the, the, the research is profound and conclusive and overwhelming that the old days of the ways we used to do our marketing, it is over and the customer is in control. The customer is the marketer, the customer is our marketing department and it demands a new mindset, a new approach to be invited into those conversations, into that two thirds of the marketing that’s going on without us. And it takes a new courage, really a new type of leadership, new ways to create our marketing that are unfamiliar, new ways to measure our marketing that are unfamiliar. But we don’t have a choice because that is where the world is. That’s where the world is going and nobody believes our ads. Nobody sees our ads. If they see them, they don’t believe them. And the companies of the past that were built by advertising impressions. We see this going on with the big CPG companies like Proctor and Gamble and Unilever their their brands are dying. And the companies that instead shed that tradition and build their businesses and brands on human impressions instead of advertising impressions, those are the companies that will win going forward.

Max Branstetter:              19:04                     Yeah. And it’s crazy. I mean we see it just in the social media world, how quickly things change, but on a larger scope over time, the marketing trends, when did you realize that when you were, when you were trying to put your finger on this and bring it to its most simple terms, when did you realize that this wasn’t just things changing over time? This deserves a marketing rebellion? This is something bigger here?

Mark Schaefer:                 19:28                     Well, there literally was a moment where, um, I haven’t, I haven’t talked about this. Uh, there was a moment where I was working on the book and it was, uh, about a year ago, actually it was, it was almost exactly a year ago. I realized I was wrong, that I was going down the wrong path. And I had to rewrite and I had to rewrite the book because when I write a book, unlike some people in our field, it’s not to prove my own ideas or prove my own hypothesis. I let the research write the book. And as I was doing the research, my original idea was that people were being overwhelmed by technology consumed by this need to keep up. And that’s partly right. But the bigger change is not the technology has moved away from us, but literally our customers are moved away from us. We are marketing in a way that is irrelevant. And when this dawned on me, when, uh, when I was just became overwhelmed by the implications of some of this research, there was literally a moment, or I, I sort of gaffes gasped and realized, I don’t know what it means to be a marketer today. The implications of this research are so profound. All this stuff that we used to believe about loyalty and sales funnels and the customer journey, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. We have to completely think about marketing in a different way. We have to reimagine what it means to be a marketer. And I was filled really with trepidation, thinking about, I don’t know, what does it mean to write about this? Are People going to just reject this? This is so, it’s so bold. It’s so provocative. I had fear about writing about this new world because I thought there would be a backlash and really the opposite has happened. People said, you know, I knew, I just knew it. I knew this was happening. I could, I could see it, I could feel it. I just couldn’t name it. And Mark, you’ve named it and you’ve sort of liberated us to do what we know we need to do instead of being constrained by what all the gurus think. I mean, a lot of the marketing advice out there is we’re in this echo chamber and we just soothe each other and, and we’re not, we haven’t looked up to see what’s really going on in the world. And this book forces you to look up and say, uh-oh, wow, the customers aren’t where I thought they were. We’ve got to change and we just don’t have a choice.

Max Branstetter:              22:29                     Yeah. You anticipated a rebellion against your own in your own rebellion. So pretty impressive that actually the opposite has happened and people are really, really embracing this.

Mark Schaefer:                 22:40                     Well, it was, it was a risky book. I mean it was just a risky book because I thought there’s a, there’s a good chance that people will really hate this. And, maybe they, maybe they do, but the ones that hate it, they haven’t said so. Really the feedback has been pretty big on the book as you mentioned. It’s just people are embracing it. They’re loving it, they’re talking about it everywhere. The reviews have been very good. Ultimately I was rewarded for taking the risk.

Max Branstetter:              23:10                     Yeah. At 100% and I think if there’s any backlash from it, it’s probably just the, the initial gut reaction from people going, Holy Shit, I’ve been spending so much money and time on the wrong things for years. And uh, but on the plus side of that glass half full side of that, after reading this book, you’ll have a much better idea of how to approach things. And how to spend your marketing budget and position your business going forward. So,

Mark Schaefer:                 23:37                     That was the goal and that, that was the hard part after having this realization, then what do you do about it? That was the hard part. And I’m, you know, I’m a teacher and I’m a consultant, so I had to figure this out. You just can’t say, oh, well the world has changed and things don’t, don’t work anymore. That’s not fair. Yeah, good luck. You’ve got to figure out, okay, practically what can a person do? What can a company do? And it’s hard, uh, what we need to do next.

Max Branstetter:              24:15                     Yeah. So what’s the biggest thing that any company or brand that can do to be more human and, and have more success going forward?

Mark Schaefer:                 24:24                     Well, the overarching idea of the book is that we need to get reconnected with our true customer needs, the unmet and underserved needs of our customers. And instead of talking about us and how great we are and the arc of our story and our why, nobody really cares. I mean, the people, people care about themselves. And there was a great story in the book from a, an executive at, at Nike, and they did this research and the customers were saying, we’re tired of you telling us about these heroes, these athletic sports heroes. When is it time for us to be the hero? And I think that’s really what’s in our hearts is we don’t care about the arc of your story. We want you to care about the arc of our story. We don’t really care about your why. We want you to care about our why. We want to be the hero. Put us in the ads. Make us the centerpiece of your marketing. And really, so I, I look at the book by exploring what I call the constant human truths that aren’t going to be changing over time. That people want to belong. They want to find meaning and purpose. They want to be acknowledged. They want to be loved. They want to protect their self interests and find some measure of success in this world. And that’s different than lemon scented. I mean, that’s different than, than 20 cents off. Yeah. And but that’s really where we are in the world and so I’d got into this and looked at, well, is it really possible for companies to connect that way and it was so hard. I mean there’s so much research that went into this book. That was another moment that I went through when I thought, why am I doing this? I am, I am never ever, ever going to make a profit on the hours I put into this book.

Max Branstetter:              26:45                     Yeah, you could have just made a lemon scented book and it would create it

Mark Schaefer:                 26:48                     Made a lemon scented book. But I went all the way with the thing and again to the into every inch and every rabbit hole and no kidding and explored very deeply how companies really are connecting to people in these meaningful ways and they are showing us a way forward. There are dozens and dozens of of examples and case studies in the book that show that it is possible to be invited to that two thirds. You can’t buy your way in anymore. You’ve got to be invited into these conversations that are carrying our messages forward and it’s happening.

Max Branstetter:              27:27                     Yeah, it is. And when you think back to, but by the nature of the marketing world or the nonexistence of the marketing world, however you want to portray it now, can you think back to it anytime in history that deserves this much of a change in terms of how businesses market themselves then what’s going on right now?

Mark Schaefer:                 27:47                     Well, absolutely. It would have been the late eighties early nineties when the Internet started. That was the last That was the last big cataclysm. And I, I was in the middle of that. We, we made businesses made money on what people didn’t know. We made money on, on the secrets. That’s how you sold cars and insurance and vacation plans (Max Branstetter – and that lemon scent) Yeah. (Max Branstetter – can’t reveal that secret formula) Yeah. It was the secret formula. It was the lemon scent. And then when the Internet started, all that, all that information, all those secrets transferred eventually to our customers. All the accumulated knowledge of the human race is now in the palm of your hands. And when you walk into a car dealership or an insurance agency, you know more about what they’re selling than they do. That was a, the other sort of cataclysmic time similar to where we are today.

Max Branstetter:              28:52                     Huh. And I have a new favorite word, so thank you. And cataclysmic. But what’s the biggest difference between that time and now? Like what sticks out to you the most?

Mark Schaefer:                 29:01                     Well, it’s, it’s um, it’s a continuation. This rebellion has been going on for a hundred years. We just haven’t paid attention to it. The lesson that we need to learn as businesses is that when we do things that don’t respect the customer, the customer will eventually win. And somebody asked me, what’s the point of this rebellion? Every rebellion has some purpose. And I said, in my mind, it’s these consumers marching on our doors who have just had it with all the crap, with all the abuse and the annoyance. And the interruptions and they’re holding this big sign that says, respect me. If you get the paper version of the book, when you open up the cover, the first thing you see is a picture of this revolution. There’s this woman holding a sign that says, respect me, because that’s the idea. I think that we need to keep in our minds that people are saying, respect my life, respect my time, respect my privacy, stop interrupting me. Stop showing up uninvited. Stop filling my mailbox with crap. Stop calling me in the middle of the, you know, important life event. Stop disrespecting my privacy. Just stop it. And in my talks, I end my, my new speech with this recommendation that the first step we can take to move toward more human centered marketing is to look at the things that we’re doing our companies and stop doing what people hate. Just stop it. Get out there, talk to people, connect to people, find out about these unmet or underserved human needs, these constant truths that our customers are crying out for. And think about where we fit in this puzzle and then go do that.

Max Branstetter:              31:05                     Yeah. And it goes back to, or you were saying earlier about things that you enjoy personally or take joy in or that you find are fun when you’re thinking of ideas to write about. Same concept goes when you use empathy to, to your audience and your consumers. What are they going to like, what are they not going to hate? Why would you do something that they hate? So it comes full circle.

Max Branstetter:              31:27                     Hey wild listeners, have you been wanting to start a podcast for yourself or your business but didn’t know where to start or do you have a podcast of your own but you’re struggling with the time commitment? I’d love to help shoot me an email at with any podcasting questions you have. I’m also happy to jump on a 30 minute call where we can discuss your idea, planning, production, promotion, and other elements of the podcasting world. Let your podcast run wild.

Max Branstetter:              31:53                     Let’s transition to a segment here on inspiration and creativity. So we’ve talked a little bit about creativity earlier and you made some really, really interesting points about, you know, it’s not just creativity, it might be even more being disciplined and being more focused on everything you’re soaking up. I’ve got an open end question for you here. What do you do to stay creative?

Mark Schaefer:                 32:16                     Well, I find that I’m not creative when I’m stressed. Yup. Sometimes it’s out of your control. When you’re a business professional that has customers, sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do. Sometimes you’ve got to do a sprint and get things done and it can be difficult and stressful, but that’s life. If that’s the sort of life that you live every day, well at least for me, then you’re not going to be creative. So perhaps that’s even like the fourth discipline is you’ve gotta find ways to let go and free your mind and relax or that creativity isn’t going to flow. It’s amazing how ideas just start to flow disconnected from the Internet and I’m like on a long plane flight or a long car ride. That’s really when I sort of get into a creative frenzy when, when you can let your mind just go and you’re not, you know, clicking on your smartphone every 10 or 15 minutes.

Max Branstetter:              33:25                     Yeah. And this is a, I mean, you are certainly a man of your word because when we were initially connected to get the ball rolling for this podcast, you said, I’d love to, but I’m going on vacation. So come speak to me later. And, you went down , I think you were on a Caribbean cruise at the time.

Mark Schaefer:                 33:42                     A cruise to me is, uh, we’ve, we’ve taken a few cruises over the last few years. We did the, a Baltic cruise. We did a Greek island cruise. And to me, fitting my lifestyle. It’s kind of cool because you don’t have to even worry about transportation or the hotel or a dinner reservation. I mean, you just kind of flow.

Max Branstetter:              34:05                     Yeah. Yeah. You know how you’re getting from A to B. Yeah.

Mark Schaefer:                 34:07                     And, and, and just trying to see when you’re out in the middle of a sea trying to get on the Internet, it’s just a hassle. It’s just just doesn’t belong. That has been a way for me to really unwind and I find when I get into those environments, when you’re sitting on a beach or something, you almost like need a notepad because there’s so many ideas coming to you because all of a sudden your mind is, is free to connect all those dots.

Max Branstetter:              34:32                     Yeah. It’s amazing the way your mind works when you’re not trying to use it. There’s so much in that sort of, yeah, the subconscious or however you want to call it, but you’re resting mind. So that’s a lot of stuff. In terms of sort of how you relax and spend your free time, I guess in that regard. How about people you know who’s been most inspiring to you on this business journey of yours?

Mark Schaefer:                 34:53                     I mean, Gosh, there’s just, there’s just so many. The person who’s had the most impact on me was Peter Drucker. Peter Drucker is a famous business management consultant and author and he’s one of the most influential thought leaders in the world. But the reason he’s special to me in particular is because he was my teacher physically in a classroom for three years. And when I was in graduate school and he was my mentor and my, and my teacher, I studied under him for three years and there’s not a week that goes by. Sometimes there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hear his voice in my mind. He had just an incredible impact on, on my business style, on my lifestyle, on my approach to consulting, approach to, to writing. Um, I mean when you read a Peter Drucker book, literally he’s talking to you literally, that is just the same exact way as he speaks to you in a, in a classroom. Yeah. People often tell me that same thing when they read my books. They say it just seems, it’s just, it’s like you’re talking to me across the table and certainly Peter Drucker’s style is showing up there. It’s not your typical business book. You know, it’s Doctor Drucker teaching you a lesson today over coffee. You, and it’s the same thing. You hear his humor in his books, you hear his experience in his books and you hear his kindness in his books. And that certainly shows up, I think in, in my rating to,

Max Branstetter:              36:32                     It’s so powerful when you when somebody creates such a voice for themselves that you can carry it with you even when you’re not directly talking to them. But you’ve had that very, very fortunate experience of actually learning from him directly. So that’s that. That’s incredible. So my dad is our company founder and president. He is a huge Peter Drucker fan himself. And one of the things that he talks about in terms of Drucker’s that one of his biggest lessons was, is often more important to decide what not to do then what to do. So, um, that’s a, that’s a legendary lesson for him. Are there any, any other lessons from a Peter that stick out to you?

Mark Schaefer:                 37:10                     He was one of the people in this world, one of those rare people in the world who could distill the most complex ideas into the very, it’s very essence. So one time somebody asked him, Doctor Drucker, you consult to tech companies and coal companies and food companies and aerospace companies, how can you possibly know so much about these companies that you can go in and and be meaningful? And he said, oh, well, he said, oh, it’s very simple. He said, any company you go into, you just look for a few things. He said, the first thing I look for is, is the place clean? And he said, if the main facility isn’t clean, that’s a sign of deeper problems. He said, if, uh, if, if some place is clean, I’ll never forget this. These were his exact words, is that if the place isn’t clean, spotlessly clean, then the people don’t respect the product, the process and the customers. That’s just an example of just the way he sees the world, these, the simplified way that creates these profound truths,

Max Branstetter:              38:40                     Uh Huh.

Mark Schaefer:                 38:41                     Yeah. So I mean, an amazing, unforgettable time of my life.

Max Branstetter:              38:47                     That’s an incredible one. And I think the same thing can apply for the Internet as well because you can very easily be turned off by the way someone portrays himself on their website or on their social media profile. So the same thing can go from offline to online there. How about resources? Do you have like a favorite business book or business podcast, other than your own of all time?

Mark Schaefer:                 39:09                     Gosh, just I’ll name a few. I love the people at, uh, BuzzSumo. Uh, they do incredible work. They give away a lot of free research. Their blog is, is very valuable because they analyze billions of pieces of content to try to find patterns to help you go forward. My favorite podcast is, uh, Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation and it’s weird because I think he’s done like, almost like, I want to say like 700 episodes now.

Mark Schaefer:                 39:46                     That was, I don’t know if it was luck or what, but I think that was the first podcast I ever subscribed to and Mitch is so wise and because he’s become so successful, he attracts the very best guests, the smartest guests. Um, he recently had Tom Peters on a show for example. So, uh, Six Pixels of Separation is an excellent podcast. I read a lot. I read a lot of business books. You know, most business books are fluffy to be honest with you, uh, pointed by most business books because they have like one idea and then 240 pages of examples of one idea. But I like Chip and Dan Heath wrote a book last year called The Power of Moments, which I feature in my book and that is my kind of book because it’s based on new research and new insights backed up with great case studies about how we can create business values by building peak moments into our customer experiences. So that’s a, that’s a recent book that I, that I liked very much.

Max Branstetter:              40:57                     Wow. Yeah. And we’ve had previous guests talk about that. I think it was, I think Rebekah Radice, and maybe Gina Schreck as well spoke about that book. It’s clearly an impactful, powerful book. So I definitely trust your tastes and knowledge. Let’s move on to another section here. This is a fan favorite section. So this is the Wild Business Shout Out of the Week. The Wild Business Shout Out of the week. So yeah, it’s just like your Marketing Rebellion video. But Wild Business Shout Out of the Week, this is where we talk about a recent marketing campaign or ad or brand that caught our attention, disrupted through the clutter, stood out to us and chat about it for a little bit. What’s the example that you want to use?

Mark Schaefer:                 41:43                     One of the things it’s, it’s still inspiring to me these days is that the, the young people, the digital natives in our world that are now coming into business leadership positions, they’re really showing us the way, because they look at what we’ve done through our traditional marketing and advertising programs and they look around and they say, who would do that? That’s just, I mean, who would do that? (Max Branstetter – Beats me) A lot of the great marketing today is coming from the next generation. The new people coming up and my favorite company right now is a Glossier. Glossier is not a familiar company to many people, but it’s one of the fastest growing skincare and cosmetic brands. It was started by a young woman named Emily Weiss. Emily was a blogger and a journalist and she, uh, had this sort of a beauty related a blog and she learned from the comments on the blog that people were really disenchanted with the world of beauty. It’s so, it’s so fake and so unnatural and they talk down to you like they’re from, they’re from Paris or they’re at some Italian chalet or something and you’ve got all these beautiful people swimming through the water and they come up and their hair is perfect (Max Branstetter – and you’re describing me swimming in the pool in the backyard) Yeah, Emily decided that it was time to create a brand that didn’t talk down to people that became their friend and she created this company called Glossier. It’s become a great hit and the thing that I love about her company is that it is the best example of a company that is succeeding in this new world of the, of the marketing rebellion where the customers are the marketers. 100% of her sales come from customer referrals. When she sends out her product, it’s shareable content because it’s wrapped in this pink bubble wrap that makes a perfect background for Instagram. She sends stickers and things that you can interact with and decorate your products with. She is accessible. She gets down into the trenches and she talks to people. She involves her customers in the R and D process. When you go to the website, uh, it’s filled with, with real life reviews, even when the reviews aren’t very good. The people who are demonstrating her products on the website are her customers. It’s not supermodels, it’s the people in the, out there in the world who want to be part of her company. It’s a business built from social media on up. I love what she’s doing. I’m thrilled with her success. It is, if you want to look at it at a company as a role model of how to win in this new world where the customer is in control, it’s Glossier.

Max Branstetter:              44:53                     Wow, that’s incredible. And they’re clearly doing something different and they’ve, they’ve thrived by not going with the traditional methods that those darn young kids are opposed against. But, uh, but how were you exposed to Glossier in the first place?

Mark Schaefer:                 45:09                     I was doing research or the book and when I do research, I talked to lots and lots of people who are experts in, in business and marketing. Um, because again, I don’t want this to be, you know, the Mark Schaefer opinion book. I want this to be really reflective of what’s going on in the world. At the end of my book, I have a list of people who I call my DaVinci team because Leonardo DaVinci was arguably the most creative person in history and yet almost all of his creativity was collaborative in some way. He was building on the ideas of others. And so I reflected on this and thought, well, I spent too much time alone to create a really great book, a rich book. I need to go out and talk to people. I need to bounce these ideas off of other people. And so, uh, Glossier was a name I came up with when I was asking people about companies who, who help you feel like you belong, like you’re part of the movement part of the company. And Glossier is just amazing. They’re, they’re inspirational about, about what they do and it’s, it’s, you know, mostly young women. There are a few men I guess that buy their products and their, they’re featured on the website, but it’s, it’s women who just love what they do and they really feel like they’re part of the brand. They really do belong. And, uh, it’s a great thing to see.

Max Branstetter:              46:40                     Yeah. And that distinction is so powerful. We only got a little bit of time left, so I’d love to wrap up with some rapid fire Q And A. Are you ready for it? All right, let’s get wild. What is your biggest pet peeve?

Mark Schaefer:                 46:55                     My biggest pet peeve is how marketers today flock to whatever’s popular until they ruin it. And, uh, we have a pattern of this, which, you know, whatever is emerging, then everybody just goes there. And yeah, it’s lazy, uninspiring marketing that marketers have to realize that great marketing is not about conformity and doing what everybody else is doing. It’s about nonconformity and finding a way, a unique way that you can maneuver that makes you stand out from the noise. It’s not being more noise and that’s, that’s what most marketing is today.

Max Branstetter:              47:39                     Yeah. Drop the mic. How about, do you have any weird talents? Like something that’s random and most people wouldn’t know, but you’re really good at for whatever reason?

Mark Schaefer:                 47:53                     Um, nope. Uh, you kind of caught me off guard. I mean, I, (Max Branstetter – that was my goal. So, we’re good) I am just like the most normal person. Uh, you know, I’m, I’m very, I’m just, I’m just average at everything. Basically. I’m average at sports. I’m average at music. I’m average at just about everything. I mean, I think my three, (Max Branstetter – I beg to differ, but) my three life skills are, I’m a good parent. (Max Branstetter – that’s a good one) You know? And so, you know, I am, I take it seriously because I think, well, God gave me the skills, I can’t waste that. I’ve got to find ways to blow these skills on the world. So I do mentoring, which is an extension of parenting. Yeah, I’m a good communicator and writer. I mean that is definitely a gift that I, that I know I have that I can write in a, in a way that moves people. And the third thing is that I’m good at coaching and counseling and I can, I can see things that other people can’t see in maybe in their lives. I can connect dots that people don’t normally connect. And so those are the three things that I’m good at. I don’t know if those are quirky or weird. Sorry to disappoint you, but those are the things I’m good at. Yeah. And everything else I’m average at.

Max Branstetter:              49:16                     And you know what, Mark, that was a pretty average answer. So I’m a little disappointed. No, I’m just kidding. No, no, it’s certainly above average. We should call this just the average Mark episode. I know you are well above average and many, many categories. So those are very, very important things to be good at. But, in a totally different vein, what’s your favorite TV show of all time?

Mark Schaefer:                 49:33                     I think it’s The Office and that’s what she said. Yeah, that’s right. Here’s this, here’s the reason why I know conclusively it’s The Office because it’s the first TV series. I’m going back to watch a second time. Oh, Alexa just came on.

Max Branstetter:              49:59                     Oh, Alexa. Alexa, your podcast. We actually had a, we had the voice of Siri. Uh, Susan Bennett, the original voice of Siri. We had her on the, Oh, we had her on the show previously, so that one was cool. Really trippy in terms of you’re in that voice.

Mark Schaefer:                 50:14                     The three shows that I loved the most were probably Mad Men Breaking Bad.

Max Branstetter:              50:20                     Yeah.

Mark Schaefer:                 50:21                     The Office and uh, and Game of Thrones and it was time I just wanted to, uh, I just started a couple of weeks ago. I still started watching The Office again and oh my gosh. It’s just still as laugh out loud. Just laugh out loud. Funny.

Max Branstetter:              50:39                     Yeah.

Mark Schaefer:                 50:39                     Sometimes you need, you just need something like that.

Max Branstetter:              50:43                     Yeah. It’s so easy to put on. Yeah. And so many, I, I’ve never heard a show that was so well liked by such a large amount of people. And it’s really, it’s really evergreen because you can go back and watch it. I mean, some people just have it up and it feels like all the time in the background and there’s so many good ones there. And, and, and Michael Scott is just an absolute legend.

Mark Schaefer:                 51:00                     Maybe the, uh, the, the, the common thread of those four shows is that the writing is so good. Power comes from what’s not said. It’s a look, it’s a glance, you know, some of those powerful moments on, on Mad Men, were just the expression on someone’s face. Yes. So maybe I’m, so, I guess I appreciate great writing. All four of those shows just have amazing, amazing scripts.

Max Branstetter:              51:32                     Yeah. Well it was a highly touted, famous songwriter yourself. I understand the, the writing phrase. But last question here. I know you reside at least most of the time in Knoxville, Tennessee, correct?

Mark Schaefer:                 51:43                     Yes.

Max Branstetter:              51:44                     So what is your favorite part of living there? Shout out Vol nation.

Mark Schaefer:                 51:49                     The people are, are nice. It’s, it’s, it’s a very livable city. It’s a college town. If you like the outdoors, uh, there is no better place to be. We have a temperate climate. We actually have a forested mountain biking trail in the city limits of Knoxville. (Max Branstetter – Oh Wow) We have a river. You can go boating, you can do kayaking in downtown Knoxville. We have, uh, every kind of outdoor activity. We were in the foothills of the smoky Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Um, we’re just a short drive away from national forests and national parks and caves and camping and anything you, you want to do. And I love, I love the outdoors. Yeah. And it’s, so I moved here from Los Angeles in the 90s, and just fell in love with this area and I’ve had chances to move away and I’ve just, this is my home and this is where I’m going to stay.

Max Branstetter:              52:49                     I don’t blame you. Yeah. It’s a really special place. I’ve only been there once just for a day or two, but I can see for anybody who likes the outdoors, I can see that it’s just a dream, a dream on

Mark Schaefer:                 53:00                     And it’s, it’s springtime here now. And spring doesn’t come to East Tennessee. Spring explodes in East Tennessee. Boom. Wild flowers. And it’s, It’s, it’s a magical place. It’s and it’s, and Knoxville is a very, very cool city and I encourage people to come and give it a try because it’s, it’s a, it’s a fun, fun city.

Max Branstetter:              53:22                     Yeah. I think you got the new city slogan there in Knoxville and more magical than Disney world. All right, well thank you so much Mark. This has been amazing. And uh, before we sign off here, what’s the best place for people to connect with you?

Mark Schaefer:                 53:36                     You can find everything about me at you can find my blog, my podcast called The Marketing Companion, my books and lots of other cool resources on there,

Max Branstetter:              53:49                     Very cool. And now the stage is yours as it is very often. Any final thoughts? Anything you’d like to end with

Mark Schaefer:                 53:57                     The most human company wins. Go forward. Figure it out because that’s what’s going to drive your business success in the future.

Max Branstetter:              54:08                     Humans might as well be humans. Thank you, Mark Schaefer you wonderful human for coming on the podcast and thank you wild listeners for tuning into another episode. If you’re so kind to invite our podcast conversations and brand into your life, here’s what you can do. If you’re not already, make sure to subscribe on your favorite podcast app and leave us a five star review on Apple podcasts. You can also take a look through our marketing and business growth resources at and That newsletter is the Hippo Digest initial weekly recap of creative marketing from all around the web. Finally, you’re always welcome to say, hey, on your favorite social media platform at the handles, Hippo Direct and Max Branstetter. Until next time, let your Business Run Wild. Bring on the bongos.

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