Ep 40: Guy Kawasaki on The Future of Marketing – Part Three of Three

In the third and final episode of the Guy Kawasaki mini masterclass on modern day marketing, Erica and Guy spend time discussing blogging, podcasting and whether these forms of marketing are still making an impact. Guy talks about how to know when you should pivot and when it is worth sticking something out. The episode wraps up with Guy talking about his current projects he’s working on, and he asks Erica to critique his podcast.


This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart’s final episode in a three part series with Guy Kawasaki on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!


podcast, hear, blogging, marketing, give, pivot, listen, thought, terry gross, direct mail, atheists, statements, work, music, convert, democratizing

Erica Mills Barnhart  00:36

Okay, part three of three in this mini series, modern day marketing with Guy Kawasaki and me. So part one and two of the series, Guy touched on democratizing technology and design and in this part, he talks about democratizing publishing. Did blogs do that? I’ve never quite thought of it that way. So that’s really interesting. We grapple with the role that podcast, direct mail, and blogging and other things play in modern day marketing. And of course, as a listener of the show, you’ll apply the Claxon Method, because this conversation is squarely in what I refer to as “how land”, which in the Claxon Method comes last. So the Claxon Method is, one, identify what success looks like, two, who are you trying to reach? Who’s your target audience? And then three is how are you going to reach them? So remember, that in order to decide whether or not blogging is not dead for you, and you want to have a blog, or a podcast or an E newsletter, but it doesn’t really matter anything, you have to have the what and the who firmly in hand, okay, so just be listening to all of this as fodder, and then know that you’re gonna need to put it through your filter, in order to make strategic decisions. At the end of this episode, and therefore, this mini series, we get into a really interesting discussion about pivoting versus sticking it out, and how do you decide to do which, because there is conflicting advice. This is really worth thinking about and listen for the very important point Guy makes about how narrative about success gets shaped in business. Plus, at the very end, you get to hear my feedback to Guy on his podcast, his Remarkable People Podcast, which is wonderful, by the way. So it was tough to come up with, you know, some sort of, I don’t know, input, critique, or whatever you want to call it, because the podcast is really great. But I did have one thing. So you’ll hear what that is at the end of this episode. Let’s dig in. Okay, I get this question a lot, do you think blogging is dead? Or is it having a renaissance?

Guy Kawasaki  02:59

Ah, yeah, I’m just thinking. I don’t read anybody’s blog anymore. Now, I guess,  do you count Medium as a blog?

Erica Mills Barnhart  03:12

Hmm. I don’t.

Guy Kawasaki  03:15

Okay, then I don’t. I read Medium. I get a daily email from Medium saying these are five interesting articles for you.

Erica Mills Barnhart  03:23

The only reason I don’t is because it’s somebody else’s realestate. I mean, it’s not your realestate. It’s somebody else’s real estate. The format is similar, right?

Guy Kawasaki  03:33

I certainly listen to more podcasts than I read blogs. That’s for sure. So in a sense, blogging democratize publishing. Anybody could now publish. But I don’t, I really don’t. I never thought of that.

Erica Mills Barnhart  03:51

I think it’s an interesting evolution. And that’s why I wonder if there’s gonna be a Renaissance. Because what I’m hearing people say so in full transparency, I’ve been at this for a year at podcasting. And what I’m hearing from folks is like, I find this stuff really interesting. I can’t listen to anything well, like once a week, I don’t, I just don’t have the bandwidth. And so I listen, I don’t listen, I listen, I don’t listen. I hear people sounding overwhelmed, at like, trying to keep up because there’s this like, unspoken rule that you haven’t released a podcast every week. Okay. And I get, some, but maybe we don’t actually, maybe that’s not in service to people’s empowerment. Because what I’m hearing now is like, I feel bad. I feel like I’m behind. Like, I’m not doing my homework. You release something else, you know. But I’m really attentive to that and that we’re coming out of this phase and you know, there’s a lot of us depleted.

Guy Kawasaki  04:50

But maybe podcasting has replaced blogging, to some extent? I think it’s easier.

Erica Mills Barnhart  04:57

Yeah. Well, and as we become more mobile and all the rest of it makes some sense. But sort of like direct mail. Direct Mail is actually more effective than ever before.

Guy Kawasaki  05:09


Erica Mills Barnhart  05:09

Yes. Because so few people do it.

Guy Kawasaki  05:15

I can’t remember the last time-

Erica Mills Barnhart  05:21

Well think aout it, it has to delight and it has to enchant. It can’t just be like, here’s the flyer. Right? That’s not gonna do anything.

Guy Kawasaki  05:31

I have not received a piece of enchanting direct mail.

Erica Mills Barnhart  05:36

I hope everybody listening to this heard that and now sends Guy some enchanting direct mail.

Guy Kawasaki  05:44

I have had some enchanting emails. But direct mail, no.

Erica Mills Barnhart  05:48

I’m always curious about trends and where things are going. And that was one that was sort of I wasn’t expecting, and I’ve just been thinking about blogging and whether or not now there’s space for people in organizations and companies to start blogging again, because people are doing it less.

Guy Kawasaki  05:54

I wonder what’s more effective? A blog or a podcast?

Erica Mills Barnhart  06:14

It’s gonna depend on your audience. Do you know one thing you said 20 years ago that stuck with me? And when I teach-

Guy Kawasaki  06:22

Oh, yeah, sure I know exactly what you refering to.

Erica Mills Barnhart  06:24

You’re gonna remember this because this wasn’t the only time you said this: You’ve got believers, agnostics and atheists. Okay, sound familiar?

Guy Kawasaki  06:31

Yeah, I can tell you what I said. I said, Oh, obviously, you want believers, but the second most desirable is agnostic and the worst and probably you should just, you know, consider them futile, just give up on people who are atheists. Yeah, it’s hard to convert someone from one religion to another, or the total lack of religion to a religion. But an agnostic who is not sure and is willing to entertain the idea is possible. But to convert someone from Catholicism to Buddhism? Man. Forget it.

Erica Mills Barnhart  07:14

So with attribution, well, I created something that I refer to as the belief-o-meter based on this.

Guy Kawasaki  07:19


Erica Mills Barnhart  07:19

Just to give people visual. Okay. And inevitably, somebody says, they have a story. They’re like, I hear you about atheists. But there’s this guy, Guy, and he was so against what we were doing, but we just stayed in conversation and they go on, finally they convert. And what I say is, how much resources did it take? And what else could you have done with the same amount of resources had you reallocate them? Just because you did, doesn’t mean you should have. Especially in the space that I work in, in social impact, you know, people, they care so deeply that actually they do this weird mental thing where they can’t believe that somebody else doesn’t believe what they believe, like, how can you not be for animal rights? What are you? An asshole? And so people in the social impact space, spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convert atheists. I’m like, stop doing that.

Guy Kawasaki  08:11

Yeah, and you know it, but this is, you could apply what you just said, to basically every business book, because, to my knowledge, there is no business book that is based on sort of scientific controlled experiments. Right? So one group of business books says you should pivot, think lean and fast. Another series of business books says, you should believe and in the face of doubt and negativity, you need to believe, you need to follow your passion and eventually it’ll work out. Well, those two things are in direct opposition. Which one is right?

Erica Mills Barnhart  08:51

I think it depends on where you’re at in life cycle and what the actual scenario is.

Guy Kawasaki  08:57

It depends on which book you read.

Erica Mills Barnhart  09:00

True that, yeah.

Guy Kawasaki  09:01

Right? So then how do you truly determine whether you should pivot or stick it out? I think the only way is hind sight.

Erica Mills Barnhart  09:12

I think everybody over time has had to do both. There’s times when people are gonna be like, You’re crazy. That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, Erica, marketing’s never really going to be a force for good. You’re nuts, give it up. And in those instances, I stick with it.

Guy Kawasaki  09:30

Well, you know what the problem is? The problem is, you only hear about the success stories. So the fact that one person pivoted or one not for profit, spent an inordinate amount of effort and converted an atheist is an interesting episodic story. It doesn’t mean it’s optimal.

Erica Mills Barnhart  09:53

No, it doesn’t mean it’s optimal. But the other thing is, and I forget who said this, so I do a lot of work with leaders and organization’s about what I refer to as identity statements. So mission, vision, values, purpose. And I am unapologetic about the fact that every company, every organization should have those. And, they should just be like, here’s our mission statement. And by the way, your vision isn’t that we’re the most awesome organization ever. That’s not a vision statement. Like, what is your vision of the better world, where you’re going? And why? Mission, what are you doing and how are you doing it? But I heard somebody say, and I cant remember who was, that you should be unapologetic, like, never give up on your vision. Right? And yet be willing to shift on your mission. So both of those things that seem in opposition are true, but it just sort of depends on like, are you asking the right question? Right? So is it a matter of giving up on your mission? Well, maybe you should think it’s not working. So pivot on mission. Never give up on vision.

Guy Kawasaki  11:02

I’d have to think about that.

Erica Mills Barnhart  11:03

You think about that and I’ll circle back to that.

Guy Kawasaki  11:07

Circle back in another 20 years.

Erica Mills Barnhart  11:09

No! Not giving you another 20 years to think about things.

Guy Kawasaki  11:16

I’m like the cicadas, every 17 years I emerged with a thought.

Erica Mills Barnhart  11:21

What are you working on these days?

Guy Kawasaki  11:23

Podcasting and Canva.

Erica Mills Barnhart  11:25

Okay, no books in the works?

Guy Kawasaki  11:26

Listen, I just interviewed Jodi Kantor. She is the New York Times reporter who broke the Harvey Weinstein story. And I interviewed her two days after Bill Cosby was released. Holy cow, what an interview. So do you have any critique of my podcast? Anyway you think I can make it good or better?

Erica Mills Barnhart  11:51

You know, the one thing that I found distracting? Because, I mean, you create these wonderful conversations, that there’s music, at least the episodes that I’ve listened to, that comes in and out. And sometimes it started off so quietly, like is this part of the podcast or is something happening with my headphones? And so I became distracted trying to figure out if that was my phone or the podcast.

Guy Kawasaki  12:17

So you’re saying cut the music or start it louder?

Erica Mills Barnhart  12:20

I don’t know. Why do you have the music?

Guy Kawasaki  12:25

NPR envy.

Erica Mills Barnhart  12:29

But your’re Guy Kawasaki, not NPR.

Guy Kawasaki  12:31

Well, well, you know, you know, my positioning statement for my podcast? My vision statement, my vision statement for remarkable people is that it is NPR without the pledge drive. That’s my position. Is that the world’s best positioning statement you’ve heard?

Erica Mills Barnhart  12:54

You’re like the Terry Gross-

Guy Kawasaki  12:56

Like the Terry Gross without asking you for a donation.

Erica Mills Barnhart  13:00

That is amazing. Okay, I get that and I love it tremendously and deeply. But you’re not Terry Gross, or you would sound more like this when you did your interviews. Her voice is very melodic. Yeah, I don’t know. Yeah, I mean, that’s just one person’s opinion. Also I get really into what the content is so maybe I just get easily distracted.

Guy Kawasaki  13:26

Yeah, but listen, if the worst thing you can think of about my podcasts is that there’s music sometimes, I’ll take that. That is a frickin victory man. I’m declaring victory, my podcast is perfect. Put some music on my episode. I should put that in my writer, whenever I am recording, there must be music.

Erica Mills Barnhart  14:05

Per his request, we put a little music in there, oh yes, we did. So there you have it. Part three of three in this masterclass mini series on modern day marketing so many M’s, with Guy Kawasaki. It’s an interesting time for marketing. There’s tons of opportunity for marketing to be more inclusive, more engaging, to leverage things that we, you know, talked about in part two of this series like artificial intelligence and virtual reality. You know, it is poised to truly be primarily a force for good but marketing is only as good as we make it, both in terms of the product we put out there and how those products and by product I mean, you know the marketing products, so ads, social media posts, flyers, whatever you’re gonna be doing. It’s just so easy to fall prey to shiny object syndrome when it comes to marketing right now to get like super tipy. Stay grounded. Stay grounded. You know apply the Claxon Method. What does success look like? Who’s your target audience? How are you going to reach them? And here I am, yes going to make a shameless plug for having mission, vision, values, and purpose statements for your company that everyone believes them, not a set of mamby pamby words that live in a dusty strategic plan that nobody looks at anymore. That not a slight against the strategic plans, just dusty ones. But like a set of statements that truly communicate the essence and heart of what you do and why you do it, it’s going to ground it’s going to ground you it’s going to give you a filter through which you can make these decisions and again, combo meal with the Claxon Method, it really will set you up for success and absent that, it’s it’s just too easy. I mean, we’re human, right, it’s just really easy to make the very best choices we can, but how this trace has not necessarily be a strategic and therefore effective with the return on investment that we want to see from our marketing and our messaging efforts. So I hope you enjoyed this mini series. I love talking with Guy, you know like I said at the very beginning he was a dream guest for me and so it was fantastic to get his thoughts. I’m delighted that I get to share them with you. We’d love to hear your feedback and your thoughts. Did you like the mini series approach? Other mini series, if you did like it, that you’d like me to think about doing? I’d love to hear from you. I always love to hear from you. Do good, be well and we will see you next time.

Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?