100 Lessons from Real Marketers


I love crazy ideas. 

Anyone who’s worked with me can attest that I’m likely to bring up a new, crazy idea at least once a week. If I’m being honest, crazy ideas are one of my favorite parts of marketing because they’re all about doing the unexpected and pushing boundaries. With no surprise to anyone, the Real Marketers podcast came from a crazy idea. 

The show has come a long way since its inception. Originally launched as Mobile Matters in 2018, Real Marketers has taken on a brand of its own...and it’s all thanks to you!

I want to thank all of the amazing guests we’ve had on the show. It has been an absolute honor to hear from some of the top marketing and tech leaders in the world.

But more importantly I wanted to extend my gratitude to you. No matter if you’ve been a loyal listener since Mobile Matters, or if you’re just now joining us, you have helped us turn the show into what it is today. 

To celebrate our 100th episode, I’ve compiled a list of 100 lessons we’ve learned along the way. I wanted to create a resource for every marketer out there, because despite what social media makes it seem, marketing is hard. What works today may not work tomorrow, for any given reason.

Real Marketers is all about helping each other succeed, and I hope you find this book does exactly that.


Stephanie Cox

Best Practices

“We have to be in the mindset of creating delightful digital experiences that our users actually want to engage with and don’t dread using. This means we can’t be immediately prompting them for information the first time they come to our website.” —Ada Rose | MM Episode 32

“If you’re starting a community, ask yourself ‘What’s the value the community will provide members?’ Too many brands try to get something transactional out of their communities too soon.” —Amrita Gurney | RM Episode 32

“Data beats opinions. Consider tracking your time to see what your spending focus on.” —Anna Schott | RM Episode 26

“Email marketing metrics are more than just open rates. We should be measuring the effectiveness of nurturing each individual subscriber and driving an increased lifetime value for them.” Chad White | MM Episode 20

“I think to get in that top five home screen real estate, you’ve got to add value every single day. In the app world, there is this app apathy, where you’ve got a lot of apps and if you’re on that second or third screen, it’s like a graveyard.” —Dave Galante | MM Episode 25

“Reach out to your network to start link-building when it comes to SEO. It shouldn’t always be a cold email.” —Devin Pickell | RM Episode 28

“If you’re not best friends with your sales leader then you’re not doing your job. You should be 100% aligned and holding each other accountable.” —Edwin Abl | MM Episode 54

“Make sure you’re keeping a pulse on your opt-out rates. You’re likely already measuring them in your analytics, but how often are you truly diving into your opt-out numbers to figure out what’s really driving them?” —Guilda Hilaire | MM Episode 5

“It’s no longer acceptable to constantly bombard consumers with irrelevant messages that don’t provide value.” —Josh Kroo | MM Episode 21

“Consider partnering with your HR colleagues on any brand initiative to make sure your brand is incorporated into your company culture. This will drive incredible results and ensure your brand permeates throughout the organization.” —Lilian Tomovich | MM Episode 31

“Translating pre-existing content for your international marketing efforts is not a strategy. Look at what resonates with the target audience in your specific country.” —Katarina Hakansson | RM Episode 21

“No matter if it’s with your coworkers or target audience, you need to find common ground to make a better connection.” —Kate Bradley Chernis | RM Episode 11

“Influencers aren’t just found on TikTok. Look at individuals inside your business to become a thought leader in your industry." —Laura Rose | RM Episode 20

If I’m sending something repeatedly and you’re not opening it and you’re not responding, you’re not interested in my product, my message, or you don’t want to be engaged with through that channel. And that’s where you really want to look at the behavior.” —Marsha Villasenor | MM Episode 25

“Don’t be afraid to repurpose your content. Turn a bigger asset into 10 social posts, a few blog posts, or a video series. The possibilities are endless.” —Michelle Lawrence | RM Episode 17

“Field marketing is like the quarterback of the organization. Field marketers need to work cross-functionally with every department.” —Nick Bennett | RM Episode 12

“Don’t underestimate the power of iteration. Make small changes and see how customers react.” —Taylor Webster | MM Episode 10

Career Advice

Finding a work-life balance is a hard battle; you have to figure out what is more important and when. At the end of the day, our role as parents is one we can never give up on and one that will never be taken away from us as a leadership.” —Sangram Vajre | MM Episode 40

“Outsource the bottom 10% of your job. Find ways you can get time back to do some really big things.” —Andy Jolls | RM Episode 29

“Being empathetic isn’t always easy. Try to take a step back and look at situations through a different lens.” —Anthony Coppedge | RM Episode 14

“Imposter syndrome is real. If you’re pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone in your career then you’re likely going to feel this way at some point. Don’t freak out. Work hard and you’ll succeed." —Ryan Bonnici | MM Episode 49

“We all make mistakes. Sometimes it’s as small as a typo, and other times it’s a lot bigger than that. Learn from your mistakes and move on.” —Brett Westerman | RM Episode 14

“There’s no such thing as a monopoly on good ideas. Just because you’ve done something before, doesn’t mean you know the best way to go about it.” —Michael Hartmann | RM Episode 8

“Marketing is a rollercoaster. Some days you feel like you’re a kickass marketer, and other days you deal with imposter syndrome. You’re not alone.” —Michelle Miller | RM Episode 7

“You won’t get promoted for doing your job. You get promoted for exceeding expectations in your job. If you want to grow, then you have to do more than what’s asked.” —Ryan Bonnici | MM Episode 48

“You need to find an inner circle where you can have really authentic conversations where you can share what’s worked and what hasn’t.” —Stephanie Cox | RM Episode 18

“Focus on the basics. If you have a strong fundamental and all the things that keep coming and going cannot influence you cannot have many upsides and downsides to you. You will always be solid.” —Senthil Padmanabhan | MM Episode 41

“Be the most helpful person in the room. It doesn’t mean you’re reactive, it means you’re proactive.” —Sara Pion | RM Episode 23

“Ask forgiveness, not permission. Start implementing changes in your business until someone tells you to stop.” —Stephanie Cox | RM Episode 1

Customer Experience

“Surprise and delight your customers. It could be something small, but think of ways you can make your customers feel appreciated.” —Elisa Padilla | RM Episode 25

“Find ways to get different members of your organization involved in hearing feedback directly from customers. The voice of customer shouldn’t be just contained to marketing, customer success, and product management.” —Eric Hauser | MM Episode 14

“Get your community of customers involved in content creation. There are individuals who are eager to give feedback and make a difference for the brand.” —Guilda Hilaire | RM Episode 33

“A lot of today’s marketing is boring. We need to all strive to bring true creativity and innovation to our marketing efforts so we can wow our customers.” —Sangram Vajre | MM Episode 39

“The beloved marketing funnel we all learned about in college is broken and it’s time to admit it. Now, we have to take the dynamic customer journey in account when thinking about delivering the right offer to the right person at the right place.” —Shawn Schwegman | MM Episode 8

“Make sure you’re asking what difference this will make to customers before you embark on a new digital project. If your customers won’t find value in what you’re doing then why are you doing it?” —Senthil Padmanabhan | MM Episode 36

“The best way to ensure there is an emphasis on your customer experience is by aligning your organization around it. Get rid of the silos and have a customer experience team that is all working towards the same goal.” —Sherif Mityas | MM Episode 28

“Loyalty programs are key to differentiating your brand now and in the future. Brands with loyalty programs that are highly- personalized to customers will dominate.” —Matt Sebek | MM Episode 30

“Focus on the fundamentals of who your customers are, who your brand is, and how you can make a great experience. I think when you do that, it dovetails nicely into something that’s really rewarding and adds value to your customers’ entire experience.” —Spencer Burke | MM Episode 25

“For marketers today, mobile is essential to creating the ultimate customer experience. Yet, many brands are doing it wrong and worse, even more don’t know they’re doing it wrong.”—Stephanie Cox | MM Episode 44

“It’s crucial to remember what industries you’re in and what really matters to your customers, especially in a world full of shiny objects. It all starts at your core customer base and then what your industry is.” —Taylor Webster | MM Episode 25

“Video should be used in the entire customer journey. When you use video in your efforts, whether it’s to outreach to people, to connect with their customers, you’re going to stand out.” —Tyler Lessard | RM Episode 30

Quick Takes

“Meetings in the middle of the day don’t work for content writers. Create a culture that’s conducive to everyone’s schedule.” —Christoph Trappe | RM Episode 19

“Generating leads shouldn’t be the goal of marketing. Start educating your team and your executive leadership team on how marketing really should be measured.” —Alon Waks | RM Episode 4

“There is no magical ‘viral’ button in marketing. Please don’t ask us to make something go ‘viral’ and then get immediately disappointed when it’s not immediately trending on Twitter.” —Ashley Shailer | MM Episode 53 “Things don’t have to work perfectly when they’re launched. It’s an ongoing effort to make them as good as they can be .” —Dan Laughlin | MM Episode 25

“The entire world has gone digital and I don’t even know if digital marketing is necessarily a thing anymore because digital marketing and marketing are one and the same. Perhaps it’s time for digital marketing to just be called what it really is - marketing.” —Brent Bouldin | MM Episode 25

“It’s time for us to stop comparing our marketing to what our competitors are doing and looking at other industries for inspiration. There is so much we can learn from the marketing of companies that don’t look exactly like ours.” —Doug Tatum | MM Episode 26

“Just because you were successful at a large organization, doesn’t mean you’ll thrive in a start-up environment.” —James Winter | RM Episode 2

“Your content must be more compelling than Netflix. It takes creativity to understand where you can create little micro-content experiences to fit within people’s workday.” —JoAnn Martin | RM Episode 6

“Let’s stop saying marketing is fluffy. Marketing is about making people believe in what we’re doing and that we’ve got a very strong point of view.” —Justin Keller | RM Episode 24

“Don’t be afraid to go down a rabbit hole to get the best idea possible. Speed-to-market matters, but so does creativity.” —Lisa Vielee | RM Episode 27

“Marketing isn’t as glamorous as social media can often make it seem. We all need to be more transparent about what marketing is like on a daily basis and support each other through it all.” —Mark Wanczak | MM Episode 51

“It’s hard to purge subscribers and purposefully choose to decrease your subscriber list across any channel, but it’s something that you really need to make a cornerstone of your overall marketing strategy.” —Marsha Villasenor | MM Episode 2

“Niches make riches. You’ve got to focus your marketing efforts and not try to be all things to all people early on in your company’s history.” —Peter Schroeder | MM Episode 52

“Don’t assume that what your competitors are doing will automatically work for your business.” —Rand Fishkin | MM Episode 18

“Shiny objects are often both a distraction and a potential benefit. The secret is figuring out which one before investing a lot of time.” —Rochelle Hartigan | MM Episode 22

“There’s almost no technology you find in the marketing space that you just plugin and it magically starts generating happy customer experiences for you. When you look at the tools a particular company is using, you’re only seeing a tiny sliver of what’s actually happening there. ” —Scott Brinker | MM Episode 25

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to your dream podcast guest. It’s easier to get people to say yes than you would think.” —Stephanie Cox | RM Episode 34

“No two product marketers are the same. And they shouldn’t be! Because every product and business is different. There is so much that goes into product marketing, and it’s so much more than writing one-pagers.” —Yoni Solomon | MM Episode 50


Mobile Marketing

“We can cache way too much. If we were to cache every page that somebody visited, you’re going to fill up their desk space really quickly. And that just feels wrong to me.” —Aaron Gustafson | MM Episode 25

“The number of benefits of PWAs seems to be constantly growing. From managing one code base, to controlling your own publishing, to increased adoption and engagement, it’s hard to find a reason why you wouldn’t want to build a PWA.” —Alex Russell | MM Episode 12

“Email is NOT dead. It’s merely a clickbait headline. Email is very much alive and driving incredible ROI.” —Chad White | MM Episode 29

“If your business isn’t into high-end gaming, then it’s time for you to start developing your first PWA. No more excuses. ” —Aaron Gustafson | MM Episode 17

“Make sure you’re setting goals before your digital property launches so you can accurately track performance. Having targets will help you keep a real-time pulse on the success once you launch.” —Dan Laughlin | MM Episode 19

“You are not always your target audience. When designing your web application, you need to keep other communities in mind when it comes to the experience.” —Daniel Appelquist | MM Episode 33

“The benefits of voice aren’t only for consumers. You can benefit a ton from having a voice strategy because you’ll be able to get real-time insights on what questions your consumers are asking and not asking about your brand.” —David Ibitski | MM Episode 38

“If you don’t have brand guidelines for voice, then you need to start working on them. Your voice strategy is another extension of your brand and its importance is going to continue to grow over time.” —David Ibitski | MM Episode 37

“We should be thinking about QA processes that really replicate as much as possible the real conditions that our mobile experiences will be used in. That’s going to help us ensure that we’re aware of any potential issues and have the ability to fix them before they get released.” —Eric Hauser | MM Episode 25

“It’s time to make friends with legal and compliance and start involving them earlier in your mobile marketing efforts.” —Guilda Hilaire | RM Episode 25

“Marketers who aren’t including SMS or messaging tactics in their mobile marketing efforts are missing out big time. It’s the only channel where 98% of messages are read within two minutes and deliverability is almost 100%.” —Patrick Flanagan | MM Episode 1

“Even if you’re adamant on having an app in the app store, then you have options with PWAs. Both the Microsoft Store and Google Play have created a process to add PWAs to their app stores.” —Jeff Burtoft | MM Episode 16

“Mobile is more than just apps. It’s really about anything that involves a mobile device, whether that’s your phone, your tablet, wearables, voice, etc.” —Rand Fishkin | MM Episode 25

“It's an ongoing grind to rewire your team’s brain, and your enterprise’s DNA. Challenge yourself to test experiences on your mobile device. That’s what being mobile-first is all about.” —Patrick Flanagan | MM Episode 25

“Historically as marketers, we spend a ton of time thinking that the answer to mobile engagement is to develop another native mobile app or more landing pages, and we’ve never taken the time to take a step back and say, ‘What does the consumer want from us at this exact moment in time on their mobile device?’” —Stephanie Cox | MM Episode 00

“The best mobile campaigns are often the ones that do something unexpected. Don’t overthink your mobile campaigns. The best ones are often taking a concept that’s worked for you in the past and putting a completely new spin on how you execute it.” —Spencer Burke | MM Episode 13

“Near-field Communication (NFC) is much more prevalent than you might think considering many of us are already using it for Apple Pay, access cards for work, and more. We just don’t realize the technology powering all of these experiences is NFC.” —Tim Daly | MM Episode 9

“Don’t assume you can compare the engagement levels of your native mobile app to your PWA. If you want an apples to apples comparison, look at your native mobile app engagement with the engagement level of people who have installed the PWA on their home screen.” —Zack Argyle | MM Episode 27

“When you look at trends that are impacting technology going forward, many of them are based on connecting things that historically haven’t been connected, such as the IoT.” —Rob Martens | MM Episode 25

“Augmented Reality (AR) is more than just a “wow” factor that’s used for promotion. It is possible then so much more.” —Rob Martens | MM Episode 6


“Don’t miss out on opportunities for innovation because you’re only focused on what has worked in the past. Try to have 15% of each campaign focused on an innovation area.” —Brent Bouldin | RM Episode 23

“Just because you don’t think your potential audience is on TikTok doesn’t mean they aren’t there. There’s content for almost any niche community on the platform.” —Lauren Pope | RM Episode 10

 “All of us crave innovation in our mobile efforts, but sometimes we overthink what it means to be innovative. We should be focused on how we enable our brand to do something that hasn’t been done before.” —Stephanie Cox | MM Episode 7

“Don’t underestimate the importance of small tests. Launch and test your crazy idea today.” —Carla Cruz | RM Episode 3

“You’re going to need to level-up how you integrate video in your overall customer journey. If video isn’t a strategic component of your marketing strategy, then it’s time to put together a plan of how to significantly accelerate your video efforts.” —Bill Soards | MM Episode 4

“Start advertising on Spotify ASAP. There’s no excuse not to anymore; it’s great for reach and relatively cost-effective.” —Brett Westerman | RM Episode 16

“We’re so focused on getting reviews for our products and services that sometimes we overlook the power of actual referrals and the benefits of having a referral program.” —Dave Galante | MM Episode 3

“The way that we have to think about marketing is that we can’t just do a TV ad and reach the masses. We have to surround them with the content they are engaged in.” —Josh Kroo | MM Episode 25 “Want to be radically different? Keep narrowing down your target audience until you reach a solution that’s edgy.” —Louis Grenier | RM Episode 31

“Marketers are moving towards creating their own marketing digital IT groups. These groups are able to accelerate and accomplish a lot more because working with traditional IT has been such a challenge.” —Lilian Tomovich | MM Episode 35

“Marketing 25+ years ago was art + science and now I always say it’s art + science + technology. It’s time we get very comfortable with marketing technology because it’s powering everything we do.” —Lilian Tomovich | MM Episode 42

“Smaller to mid-sized content marketing teams should seriously consider a guest blog program. It gives you the ability to have more content that isn’t weighing on the shoulders of your in- house content team.” —Rebecca Reynoso | RM Episode 24

“We know that not every tactic that’s new and a new shiny object is going to be successful, right? There are going to be some that just don’t deliver what we thought they would. And that’s OK.” —Rochelle Hartigan | MM Episode 25

“We need to stop posting pictures of our tech stack on LinkedIn without providing any context around why we’re using each piece of software and how we’re using it in our strategy.” —Scott Brinker | MM Episode 15

“Marketing is no longer about how to get a consumer’s attention – context is the new foundation of our environment.” —Mathew Sweezey | RM Episode 5

“The media environment has dramatically changed how consumers buy anything and we need to make sure our marketing tactics have evolved to account for this change. Every purchase is now a considered decision.” —Mathew Sweezey | MM Episode 46

Digital Experiences for Every Moment

Create digital experiences for every touchpoint in the customer journey from product packaging to product registration to onboarding to customer support and so much more. What do you want to create first?