The Importance of Peer Feedback (Even from the Boss)


Even Grammy Award winners need feedback. Everybody needs and craves feedback, whether you think it or they admit it, regardless of their accomplishments and success. This point was reminded to me when I recently went to see Grammy Award-winning John Legend (Stephens), from my hometown of Springfield, play a homecoming show in support of his brother Vaughn’s “be about it” foundation. It was a great show.

For an hour, it was just John and his piano. Halfway through the show, John told a story. A while ago, Jimmie Fallon had a Bruce Springsteen tribute week. The show called and wanted John to do a tribute. He thought it was a little out of the expected. Most people, including John, didn’t link “the Boss” and “John Legend” together. (I think John might underestimate himself – my Pandora app pairs him with Ray LaMontage and Griffin House (another Springfielder – he literally goes with anything. But I digress).

They came up with a dark and jazzy take on Bruce’s 80’s pop hit “Dancing in the Dark.” It gave the song a completely different feel. And it  was completely awesome.

John hoped that Bruce would like it.

The Roots, the audience all seemed to like it. But nothing from the “Boss.” Not a note. Not an email from one manager to another. Not a tweet. Nothing. John was concerned. He really wanted him to like it, or at least to know that he didn’t hate it.

A week went by. A month. Then a year. Then there was another tribute to Bruce. He was being recognized as the 2013 MusiCares Person of the Year. John received a letter signed by the Boss. He had heard the version and really liked it. In fact, he wanted John to perform it at the ceremony.

Even Grammy Award-winning artists need feedback. More than just the acknowledgement, that he liked it meant a lot to the artist. It didn’t take a lot of time. But it would have meant a lot to the artist to have had it much earlier. But the important thing was that eventually came.

When people do things for your or produce things that you enjoy, recognize their efforts. It will be good for them and for you. You might be the spark that helps them create more of what you enjoyed in the first place.

Here is John’s rendition of the Boss’ Dancing in the Dark.

This entry was posted in Creative Marketing, High Bar Marketing and tagged Bruce Springsteen, feedback, John Legend on March 20, 2014 by Devin Meister.

Quick – Email The Fire Department!

Said no one ever.

Email is a great communication device. In fact, it might be my favorite. But it’s not for emergencies. That might be why I like it and why it is so successful in business. It’s non-interruptive – unless you want it to be. It will wait patiently until you are ready to address it. That’s also what makes it more successful in business applications than other devices, such as phone calls. But it’s not for emergencies precisely because it’s not interruptive.

That’s why if you have an emergency that requires me to stop what I’m doing immediately and address it, use the phone to text or call me. As a someone who spends significant portions of time writing I block off time when I don’t answer emails.

Here is my interpretation of the order of communication devices and how to reach me:

  1. Immediate: Knock on the door
  2. Urgent: Call or text
  3. Important, but not completely time sensitive: Email
  4. I’d like to tell you, but not annoy you: Twitter and LinkedIn.

In other words, if you have an emergency, don’t get mad that I didn’t read your email. If it’s important enough to interrupt everything, it’s important enough to call.

This entry was posted in Business Marketing, Rants and tagged business marketing, communicating with marketers on May 22, 2015 by Devin Meister.

Marketing with Fresh Breath

I once had a great coach who had chronic, I mean really bad, halitosis. While his insights during the game where outstanding and well received, half-time talks and individual conversations could be painful. On the field, his bad breath wasn’t an issue. In a huddle it was.

It’s the same with marketing communications. Marketing through many previous media, such as billboards and TV, had some distance between the piece and the actual recipient. If need be, the recipient could take the parts of the message they needed and move on. If it was uncomfortable, bordering on nauseating, they could ignore it entirely.

Now those messages are moving to our mobile and now wearable devices. Extremely close. As these communications move ever closer to their audiences personal space, marketers need to make sure that their breath is fresh – in addition to communicating the right message. Not doing so will create an uncomfortable and less than positive user experience.

Here are five things you can do to make sure your marketing has fresh breath every time.

  1. Have a point. And get to it quickly. When you’re interrupting someone (and you are) don’t waste their time.
  2. Don’t be boring. Seriously, you’re interrupting them, so this better be good. It’s your duty and you’re already on the back foot. Win them back by giving your point an interesting, thought provoking or humorous angle.
  3. Consider the time. “You should have turned there” is my instructional pet peeve because it’s too late to act. Thanks for nothing. Time your communications to a point where they can take the action you want and allow the time to take that action.
  4. Consider the place. Similar to above. You wouldn’t send a text message to someone who was driving. But I listen to a music service that I love on a mobile device – but it continuously has ads that ask me to click on a banner. Hello?! When I’m on a mobile device – I’m mobile, not looking at the device to click on anything. The message and moment are wasted and gone.
  5. Some things can wait. Better yet, they need to (see 3 and 4). Include a mechanism for your audience to revisit your message when they’re in a better position to respond. At the very least, provide a memorable offer or URL so that you audience can respond at an appropriate time.

Mobile and wearable marketing aren’t going to do anything but increase. All signs point to the messages getting even closer than the current consumer wearables we see now in May 2015. Let that sink in a bit. Marketing closer than a wristwatch … is likely literally right next to the face of your audiences. Be courteous. Make sure you have fresh breath.


This entry was posted in High Bar Marketing, Modern Marketing and tagged mobile marketing on May 21, 2015 by Devin Meister.

Include the Link


This is more than moderately irritating. When you ask people to look at something online – include the link please. Please. Email. Twitter. LinkedIn. Anywhere. Don’t make them search for it. While I’m sure they can find it, it’s a courtesy that takes maybe five seconds if you’re slow.

Secondly, and most importantly, it assures that everyone is looking at the same thing. For instance, I recently shared this stat: “72% of B2B buyers are most likely to share useful content via email.” Bucking the trend here, but makes sense.

If it’s worth sharing or talking about, it’s worth the extra step to make sure everyone is on the same page.

As an aside, why I think email is preferred, is I believe it’s the most assured method of delivery. It’s essentially a signed parcel of the digital delivery world. Posts and comments in social can get overlooked. Not email. It’s still business critical.

This entry was posted in High Bar Marketing, Rants on July 23, 2013 by Devin Meister.

Leaning into the Content Curve

I’ve been watching and thinking a lot about content creation and the strategy around it. It seemed to me that it was a lot like learning to ride a bike – you can only get so far without actually getting on and doing it. I did a guest blog post on the Business is Child’s Play blog that reveals my opinion of training wheels. Short answer, I’m not for them.