At first, I wanted to cry.
Three of my longtime readers unsubscribed from my blog this week. I didn’t know which of their notes was more cutting.
One simply wrote, “delete me from your mailing list.”
“Mailing list?” “Delete me from your MAILING LIST?” Is that all we’ve meant to each other? These essays are the result of almost 35 years of work, four published books, more than 400 ad campaigns, at least 4,000 client meetings, and speeches in almost every state and 17 foreign countries. This ain’t no stinking “mailing list.”
How dare they? Who do they think they are unsubscribing? I pour my heart and soul into each one of these weekly essays. Don’t they know that? Do they think it’s easy to come up with 724 consecutive topics? Let them try it.
“Mailing list,” indeed. Harrumph.
Another longtime reader accused me of political bias. When my anger subsided, I became defensive. I reread my blog post three times. Yes, I was talking about current events, but I worked hard to be observant and honest, yet, remain unbiased. How dare they accuse me of taking a position?
I won’t even reprint what the third deserter wrote. Suffice to say they included questions about my parentage. They also suggested I was the result of a physically impossible inter-species union.
I wanted to vent my anger, to tell my ex-readers how hurt I was, to show them how wrong they were.
Instead, I counted to ten. I reread the serenity prayer.
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
Then I responded:
“I’ve enjoyed having you as a reader. I’m sorry to see you go. You are always welcome be re-subscribe if you change your mind. Peace.”
In 2019, everyone is sick to death of the “me, me, me” posture of sales. Competitors stab each other in the back to make a sale; telemarketers make the 419 Nigerian scammers who spammed me today alone seem ethical by comparison.
Cooperation and compassion might be found near each other in the dictionary, but they seem to have no place in branding – even though the whole point of building a brand is to build a relationship with your clients and your potential clients.
Trust In Yourself
But by being true to myself, I have built the truest brand there is – a brand I can believe in. If I can’t trust myself to find my own voice, speak my own truth, and take care of my own readers, then what am I doing? If I don’t believe in myself, how can I possibly expect anyone else to believe in me?
I’ve never suspected – nor have I ever implied – that my posts are always right. Nor do I assume that my recommendations are always correct. Instead, the observations I make and the suggestions I offer are based on my view of what’s going on at the moment. And they are offered to my readers with three goals in mind: my blog posts have to be enlightening, educational, and entertaining.
If I can present my readers with interesting and useful information that can help them build their brands and their businesses, then I’ve lived up to my part of the bargain. And if they enjoy what they read, forward their favorite posts to other people they think would benefit from reading what I write, and occasionally send me a note to let me know what they think, then my readers have lived up to their side of the deal.
Sometimes, those notes are positive. Sometimes, they’re negative. Either way, I’m happy to get them because it means that I’m not just yelling into the chasm, but that I’m actually reaching people and building relationships. Even if they don’t always like what I have to say.
In case I haven’t told you lately, thank you for being here with me.
Bam! This post was awesome. I’m there with you!
Their loss, they are fools. You ALWAYS give great information and I’m happy to receive it each month.
You’re probably better off without them, you don’t need to have negative energy in your ife.
Wishing you well,
I look forward to all your posts. Keep up the good work, and don’t listen to the ‘detractors.’
Always enjoy your blog Bruce regardless of whether I agree or not.
Having similar career paths as you, only in Broward, I definitely feel your emotions over being unsubscribed.
Before technology opened the dialogue / diatribe window necessary to create ‘ideas that spread’,
remember all of those print ad campaigns we both did to a guesswork demographic and an audience on one ( the client ) ?
No one likes being rejected or unsubscribed Bruce, but because of our history, we’ve already got a headstart on all those GenM’rs. Our professional skin just has to grow thicker.
Always enjoy your perspective Bruce….and your harmonica playing, too.
Write-on, dude !
“You can please ( fool ) some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can rarely if ever please ( fool ) all of the people all of the time. ” Unknown author
I don’t always have time to read everything you send but do save your emails in a file called “Inspiration”
Thank you for the inspiration and sharing the Good, the Bad and the Ugly …. Thank You!
Thank you Rozeta. I’m glad you find my posts worth saving — that makes it all worthwhile!!
Yes, dear Bruce, you are not yelling into a chasm. Your blog is thoughtful and thought-provoking and welcome in my inbox as your wisdom is welcomed into my business and personal relationships. Keep it up.
PS ~ If I was only rejected by three people, I’d be on cloud nine! 🙂
Thanks to YOU, Mr. Carlos Segura will be here on Monday in beautiful Traverse City. We will BUILD HIM UP.
Whew! I feared for a moment or two I would be looking for a comedic sympathy card.
Thanks for what you do for us all.
Nope, Rod, I’m still enjoying the hell out of writing these posts — just find it amusing to see how people respond! Thanks for weighing in. I appreciate it.
Bruce: Thank you for some of the best-written and most-incisive commentaries on branding and marketing available anywhere. Keep up the great work and please keep me on your list!
Thank you Timothy! With kind words like that I’ll keep writing forever.
I imagine that everyone has received an “unsubscribe” request at one time or another. This gives us all an opportunity to “Not take things Personally” – which is an important message to keep in mind. So, we continue to plant seeds, grateful that some will fall on fertile ground.
Indeed Chere. “Don’t Take Anything Personally” is one of “The Four Agreements”: (along with “Be Impeccable With Your Word,” “Don’t Make Assumptions,” “Always Do Your Best.”) Your note is a great reminder. Thank you.
I adore you! Perfect answer to a stupid person.
You challenge me, inspire me and teach me. In other words you rock.
I have a blog for my association and I get the same stuff. Their loss!
Thank you Molly – Molly was my grandmother’s name and I smile everytime I see it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I loved your post about “washing hands”. It was smart and funny. Sorry to be so superficial (I know most of your articles are about more serious stuff). Maybe I’m drawn to those articles because I come from the field of psychology and I like reading tales about everyday life experiences, with or without interactions with people, and you give it a funny and interesting perspective. Regards!
Thanks Melina. It’s funny — sometimes I write about serious issues and am surprised that no one responds. Sometimes I write about silly subjects (bathroom hand washing?) and get loads of comments and compliments. Either way, I’m always so happy to know that people actually read what I write and are moved to respond. Thank you for that!!
I appreciate your emails. I find then inspirational, down to earth and relatable.
Thank you for sharing them. I am even a little envious of your skills, but in a good way.
Please keep up the good fight
Thank you Kelly. I appreciate your very kind words.
Truly enjoyed this one. Caught myself chuckling out loud. Thank you for being authentic. Regardless whether I agree with you or not, everyone at my office enjoys reading your essays and being part of the mailing list – HA! Thank you for sharing your knowledge, wise counsel and perhaps biased content (we are on your side) .
Thank you Julie. I do like having conversations with people I disagree with as long as they’re respectful (and believe in facts). And I do try to keep my more biased opinions to myself but I’m sure they slip out unawares anyway. Thank you for letting me know you and your office peeps read what I write – it makes all the work worthwhile!
Wow, Bruce. This is most I have ever seen you expose your personal side in your writing…and the very reason I stopped writing myself. Each week was like cutting my veins to let out just a little more blood. And yes, given the political climate it is impossible to not be affected. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for noticing Jeff. I write about what I’m thinking about — and I try not to spend too much time thinking about myself. Heck, the title of my last book was “All About Them” so I should at least try it, right? Sorry you found the writing painful enough to want to stop — I actually enjoy it. Best, B
I am sorry you were abused by several of your uncivil readers (to say the least). Why they would complain about someone who is trying to find light in the place of the darkness that so much marketing has become is, unfortunately, understandable given the anger and fear that infects too many these days. Until I found your site I was one of those academics who rejected most of practical and academic marketing as providing information for consumers while actually promoting and using mental trickery (i.e. brain biases) to influence people to buy (economics) or buy into (political) inferior goods and false promises and seeing that as achievement. Your pointed comments about Fox “news” and like media made me a super fan. I and others appreciate and value your ideas and advice in promoting a kind of marketing based on authentic relationships, one that speaks to our better angels.
I recently ran into a former student of mine, one of our bright and thoughtful graduates, who went on to earn a PhD in marketing, now hired at the college he graduated from. Among my first words upon seeing him were that I would send him a link to a site that I hope might help shape his career. Keep up the good work, Bruce. You are appreciated and valued by many of us!
Emeritus Professor of Economics
Thank you Kenna. I think your note is the warmest and most meaningful response I’ve received in over 12 years of publishing my blog. Thank you.
Fuck em if they can’t take a joke….
Still very happy to be here with you and reading your messages, Bruce! Thank you!
Thank you Charlie.
Some of us still love you Bruce. Hang in there and thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Love your blog. You say your blogs are honest (and I believe they are, by the way), but reply to the deserters that “I’ve enjoyed having you as a reader” and “I’m sorry to see you go”. Did you really enjoy having these peckerwoods as readers and are you really sorry to see them go? Of course not. You those things because those are civil and polite responses BUT they are not really honest are they? A little internal inconsistency every so often, is not a terrible thing.
Good point but truth is I am sorry to see them go. When it comes to spreading the word, the more the merrier. And even negative comments help with SEO and help distribute the message. What I’m not sorry about are their nasty comments but I don’t believe I ever thanked them for those.
The degree of divisiveness and bias in society today is running rampant. It apparently been boiling right under the surface for a very lolng time, and recent local and global leadership has seemingly given the signal that it’s okay to come out from the shadows now.
I’ve always prided myself on being a critical thinker, so there’s certain minds I associate with that feed that part of my nature. Randy Gage, Alan Weiss and you Bruce are a few of those minds that help me with overcoming what may be the bane of humanity’s existence – confirmation bias. You guys are alway challenging us to stand on our own two feet and decide where we stand on issues as better informed people.
I suppose that means I’ll keep reading your posts, unless I find out you really are of alien dissent, in which case I may ask for a personal tour of the mother ship!
Thanks, Barry. I’m honored to be considered in the same set as my friends (and mentors) Alan and Randy. I appreciate your thoughtful commentary and your very kind words. Thank you.
I still love you.
I know that those of us who write blogs/newsletters on a regular basis are always weighing “should we write this or not?” and we have to go with our own heart, soul, ethics and beliefs, however those who stick with us know who we really are deep down deep!!!
YES!! Gayle, absolutely right. I think about that (“should I write this or not?”) every single week.
I would never leave you! But you need a treat so I am sending you cookies and if you and Gloria don’t eat sweets (shame) Gloria can take them to the office.
Thank you Brenda!!
I’m not going anywhere. I enjoy your e-mails and most often, see great value. I believe 100% in the “All About Them” attitude and have conducted my own business affairs and life accordingly. In essence, its living “The Golden Rule.” At it’s core, perhaps it is self-serving as well. I believe “What goes around, comes around.” It is my Kneina hura. And it has paid off in my business life; but more importantly, I sleep well at night knowing I’m doing what I believe to be in other’s best interest.
But your e-mails are more than that. You make me (people) think. And that’s good. Thank you. I should mention also, that I save some of your e-mails that I find most enlightening, and re-read them from time to time. I also collect quotes, enjoy books with thoughts of life, etc. We can always learn.
But you can’t please all of the people all of the time. So say good riddance to those that opt out… and know that there are many, many more that are grateful that you are sharing your wisdom. Thank you.
Thank you Chris. I really appreciate your kind words and I’m honored you hang on to my posts.
Bruce – I admire the way you handled those rotten deserters!
Thank you David
I value and enjoy what you do. If I always agreed with you I wouldn’t. Your inspire me to think and in some cases even take action.
Being vulnerable takes courage and so does being truthful.
You do both!
Thank you David. You are proof of why blogging works and why it matters. You and I have built a mutually beneficial relationship that started through blog and response. My life and business is richer because you’re in it. Thank you for that.
As a fellow marketing colleague, I always find value in your writings. Your thoughts are perceptive, logical and pertinent. Keep up the great work.
Your blog posts/mailings are always a pleasure to read and contain helpful and thought provoking insights and discussions. Can’t please everybody so if they want to unsubscribe so be it. That being said, your approach to sharing your hard earned wisdom s openly is rare these days and your growing audience is representative of the fact that the world needs and appreciates your efforts so keep it up. Everybody I turn on to your blog loves it.
Thank you David. I know you have shared my blog with lots of great professionals because they reach out to me and always let me know you were the catalyst.
When someone unsubscribes, quits, walks out, rejects you…it’s not really about you, it’s about them. Something happened that made them think differently about you. You can’t anticipate the changes in their lives or events that will cause them to react to you differently. You can’t count on your followers feeling the same about your message forever. Collecting followers is like collecting art. Some of your favorite things will cease to become favorites. Their batteries just wear out. This is to be expected and once we realize that the word “favorite” is not a permanent label we can begin to live with this rejection. People who work with audiences are not prepared for this, but it is nevertheless a fact of life.
Brilliant, Cliff. Thank you.
Bruce, please KEEP me on your mailing list…er…blog…um….bundles of unique insights served up with just the right dash of creative elan.