Off-Mic with Masterful Marketers: How Jay Baer Does Great Work

May 16, 2017 Heather Hurst

This is the sixth post in our “Off-Mic with Masterful Marketers” series. We sat down with some of the most inspiring, influential speakers from marketing events around the world to discuss productivity, making work meaningful, and managing teams to do great work. The previous post featured advice on innovation, collaboration, and hustle from Carlos Gil.

“I love people and I love stories. Marketing done well is relationship building, at scale.” - Jay Baer

There’s an old saying that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. It’s been attributed to everyone from Confucius to Mark Twain, but the important part is not who said it.


See our post "How are You Measuring Employee Morale? 4 Things You Can do to Get Better" to learn how you can improve job satisfaction on your team.


The important part is that it’s not true. Not even a little bit. Work is work, regardless of whether you love it or not. The most pleasant hobby starts to feel like work if you have to do it for a living.

Better to say, “If you love what you do, your work will be meaningful and satisfying.” A day at your job may never compete with one spent lounging at the beach. But, genuine passion makes the work worthwhile.

When I think about passionate marketers, one name is at the top of the list: Convince & Convert President Jay Baer. Jay consistently inspires marketers to empathize more, care more about their audience, and demand excellence of themselves and their colleagues.

Jay’s passion is particularly inspiring considering he’s doing at least three people’s worth of work. He juggles speaking, running a business, and writing content—but he still has time and energy to spare.

We interviewed Jay to find out how he organizes his time to stay productive and keep up his enthusiasm for the work he does.

What do you love most about marketing?

I love people and I love stories. Marketing done well is relationship building, at scale.

You’ve done great work in your career, but really, what does “great work” mean today?

I don’t really think about it. For me, if I’m proud of it, and my team is proud of it, and our clients are proud of it, I’m okay with that. Of course, we look at metrics. But when you have a real impact, you don’t need metrics to tell you.

What are the biggest obstacles keeping marketers from doing their best work?

Believing that volume equals success. Constantly shifting best practices and required skill sets. Sub-optimal project management capabilities. Fear of delegation.

How do you balance your media empire with speaking and running a consultancy?

We have a truly extraordinary team at Convince & Convert. I spend a lot of my time setting strategic direction, speaking, and creating content. Our team executes on our media assets, and delivers top-shelf strategy recommendations to incredible clients.

I’m involved just enough to know what’s going on, but (hopefully) not so much that I’m constantly in everyone’s way. This is my fifth professional services company, so I kind of have a feel for when to dive in, and when to pull back.

As someone who consults with both enterprise and medium-sized businesses, what is a common pain point for companies large and small when it comes to process?

Collaboration (especially cross-departmental) is a hurdle, most particularly when it’s on stuff they don’t do routinely. Approvals are similarly affected. All the back and forth wastes time, causes deadlines to be missed, and creates drama and frustration among the teams.

How do you make the work of marketers around you more meaningful?

I wrote a whole book called Youtility that said that marketing should be so useful, people would pay for it. When you give customers and prospects something truly useful, inspirational, or educational it makes the work marketers do seem more purposeful, even if you’re ultimately just trying to sell something!

In the work you do as a marketer and thought leader how do you prioritize your time and energy?

The whole team and I work hard so that as much of my time as possible is spent on the things that I am uniquely qualified to do. There are a lot of other things I could do, and know how to do, but I’m not better at than anyone else.

Those are the tasks that kill your efficiency and diffuse your energy.

My friend Rory Vaden has a great book called Procrastinate on Purpose that really helps put this philosophy of “multiplying your time” into practice.

Can you share an example of where you were able to do your best work. And what made it successful?

I am really proud of my most recent book, Hug Your Haters. The team and I listened to our clients and uncovered a consistent challenge (customer service disruption). I dug deeper and realized it was a trend.

But then we went the extra step and did serious research to document and understand it. I augmented that data with first-person interviews and case studies, and you end up with a sound thesis and recommendations for how to make the original problem work to a company’s advantage.

Passion and Compassion Make Great Work

Perhaps the best version of the questionable quote in the introduction is, “Love what you do. Otherwise, why are you doing it?” Jay’s extraordinary success is a testament to how much you can accomplish when you’re genuinely passionate about your work and truly know that it’s meaningful.

Combine that passion with time management and delegation skills, and you have a recipe for success.

Thanks to Jay for sharing his thoughts with us. This is the last interview in the Off-Mic with Masterful Marketers series—but you haven’t heard it all from our experts yet.

Our next post will feature six fantastic tips for marketers to enhance their productivity, one from each of our experts. Don’t miss it! Subscribe to the Talking Work blog.


Check out some highlights of a Workfront webinar with Jay Baer to learn how customer experience is the new marketing.

About the Author

Heather Hurst

Heather has enjoyed playing the game of marketing for the past 15 years, at the agency and corporate level, in both B2C and B2B companies. She's run PR campaigns that took her from the MTV Beach House to NASDAQ and many media outlets and content channels in between. She is currently the Corporate Marketing Director at Workfront.

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