Josh Steimle and How to Be an Empathetic Marketer

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Julia McCoy

Creator and Co-founder

Josh Steimle

Hey, Content Hackers!

We’re back with another Spotlight 💡 for your reading pleasure.

Ready for this one? Today, none other than Josh Steimle is answering our burning questions! 🔥

You may recognize him as a leading marketer and LinkedIn master. He’s the founder and CEO of MWI, a successful, global marketing agency that’s been around for 21 years. He also created The 7 Systems of Influence, a formula for building influence and serving others. And, on top of everything else, he’s authored two books (Chief Marketing Officers at Work and 60 Days to LinkedIn Mastery, coming in May)!

(Two surprising facts you may not know about Josh: He lives on a Boston farm with a menagerie of animals – just check his Instagram to see the beautiful scenery. He’s also Mormon.)

Needless to say, we have tons to learn from him.

Let’s get into the interview. Josh is sharing his beginnings, his thoughts on the evolution of marketing, and a major LinkedIn hack you need to read. 💯 Go!

Content Hacker Spotlight Interview: with Josh Steimle

Josh Steimle

1. When did you get started in marketing, and why?

A: I launched my marketing agency, MWI, in 1999, but you could say it goes back to my childhood. I grew up drawing pictures and writing stories and essays. An essay of mine got me expelled from a private school when I was in 5th grade.

When I was a teenager I started a small business and would design and print up ads to hand out.

Marketing was in my blood from a young age, I just didn’t know it was marketing.

2. What’s your favorite part of what you do today?

A: Teaching people how to get what they want.

I love writing, I love design, I love everything about marketing, influence, social media, and thought leadership. But what I really love is helping someone understand some aspects of LinkedIn, or writing, or speaking, and they take that small tip, use it, and come back and say “It worked!”

3. What’s one of the biggest challenges you have overcome in your work as a marketer?

A: Learning to, as Adam Grant says in Give and Take, become a matcher.

It’s easy to take. It’s easy to give. It’s hard to find the right balance of giving and taking so that you’re neither taking advantage of anyone, nor being taken advantage of, but rather working with others to 100% mutual benefit. I’m always looking for the win-win, but it’s often easier said than done.

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4. How has the industry landscape changed since you started?

A: The channels. When I started blogging, the word “blog” didn’t exist. I was in marketing before Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, YouTube, or any of these things existed. We used to have a handful of channels to distribute content. Now we have hundreds. I think it’s wonderful.

5. What does the future of marketing look like to you?

A: It’s Person A delivering a message to Person B to try and get Person B to do what Person A wants Person B to do. That’s what marketing has always been, and always will be. Only the channels change.

30,000 years ago the channel was the wall of a cave, and the marketer was a caveman. Today it’s a guy posting to his Facebook wall from his man cave. But the message is still the same, it’s about food and other things we like to have.

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6. What key traits or skills does it take to be a marketing leader?

A: Empathy. I interviewed 30 CMOs for my book, Chief Marketing Officers at Work, and that was the dominant theme. Not that they necessarily used that word, but it was clear that these top marketers, coming from companies like Spotify, Target, GE, PayPal, etc., had a connection with their customers that allowed them to know what the customer wanted before the customer did.

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7. What are some of your favorite tools or hacks for marketers?

A: Here’s a hack – go on LinkedIn for 10 minutes M-F, look at the feed, and comment on posts that are interesting to you. Don’t think about how it benefits you, just comment where you feel like you have something to add to the conversation.

Do this for one week.

Week 2 – Do the same thing, but shift your mindset a bit and each time you look at a post ask yourself, “Why did the person who posted this post it, what does he/she want, and how can I help them get it?” Then comment accordingly.

Try that out and tell me if that doesn’t give you some ideas about how to use LinkedIn in a completely different way than you’ve ever used it before, including for your own marketing purposes.

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8. Do you have any daily habits, hobbies, or rituals you couldn’t survive without?

A: I love the book The Miracle Morning and I have my own morning routine that starts at 4 am. It involves prayer, yoga, reading scriptures, reading other books, journaling, and planning my day. Perhaps I could survive without it, but I’m much happier when I stick to the routine.

Hint: The secret to a great morning routine is a great bedtime routine and for me, that starts by stopping work at 5 pm every day.

9. Coffee or tea?

A: I’ve never touched either, ha! That’s the kind of answer you get when you interview a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (A.K.A. Mormons).

Actually, I did drink coffee once, but only because someone told me it was a coffee substitute!

Oh wait, and another 15 times, because I was drinking those jamocha shakes from Arby’s like they were going out of style, and then someone told me they were coffee. I thought it was just an amazing new variation of chocolate I had never heard of. Whoops!

I better stop here before I confess any more sins 🙂

10. What are some great blogs we should be reading or people we should be following on social media?

A: On LinkedIn, some people who are keeping it real are Allen Gannett, Michaela Alexis, Yonah Weiss, Travis Chambers, and… there are so many others. LinkedIn has become such a rich environment these days. If you do anything that’s remotely B2B, and even if it’s B2C, it’s the place to be right now. Hopefully, we marketers won’t ruin it like we ruined everything else.

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Follow Josh Steimle on LinkedIn, Twitter, and More

Thank you, Josh Steimle, for lending us your time for our interview!

Since you’ll definitely want to follow Josh on social media, here’s where you can find him:

Finally, check out our other Spotlights! Besides Josh Steimle, we’ve talked to Sujan Patel, Rand Fishkin, Joshua Hardwick, and many more.

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