Interview with Patrick Byers of The Responsible Marketing Blog

Today we have the great privilege of talking with Patrick Byers, CEO of Outsource Marketing, a marketing firm that provides research, planning, and creative services for organizations of all sizes.

The Responsible Marketing blog is an excellent marketing blog that discusses issues of ethics in marketing. What was the inspiration of starting a blog about marketing responsibly?

It was something that inspired me, but it was also a little self-serving. Even though my job is to help organizations sell more products and services, I constantly found myself asking, “does the world need another widget?” I also realized the clients we liked serving the most were the ones that wanted to do marketing the right way and do the right thing.

So we decided that that’s where we put our energy as a firm–evangelizing and doing responsible marketing with clients, and only with clients that share our philosophy.

Why is responsible marketing important to marketers?

There’s an unholy trinity of things working against marketers today: Marketing as a discipline is broken, there’s too much information for any human to process, and consumers don’t trust marketers (for a number of reasons). Responsible Marketing tackles these three interconnected challenges by focusing marketing energy on building (or restoring) trust. We do this by helping our clients communicate their competence and character.

Isn’t marketing about selling the most products and services possible?

Sure. But Responsible Marketing is about building respectful, long-term relationships with customers, not about making a quick kill and moving on.

Will consumers really put the well-being of the world above their own needs and wants?

Not necessarily. But that assumes this an “or” question. Consumers want it all. They want to have their cake, but they want it to be organic and have a percentage of the $ earned by the company making that cake to be given to a good cause. Consumer research has shown a majority people will pay slightly more, even in a recession, for a “good” product from a socially responsible company product vs. a “cheap” product from one that isn’t.

You have previously taught marketing at the University of Washington. What career advice would you give new marketers who are trying to get their start in marketing during the worst recession in decades?

Get going with social networking and focus on the growth areas of marketing: digital, video, social media, search marketing (SEO and PPC).

And do the little stuff while interviewing: Create a killer resume that stands out. Approach the opportunity through connections on LinkedIn instead of going in cold. Show up on time for the interview. Follow-up with a handwritten note.

What advice would you give to marketers who would like to someday get to your position?

At the risk of sounding cliché, do what you love and do it with passion. If you are just showing up to collect a paycheck, find something else to do that you enjoy or find somewhere else to do it. Life’s too short to hate your job—even in this economy.

A recent intern here at Outsource worked with us all summer even though he has his degree. He’s been looking for a job but given the current job market, he decided to act instead of mope. In his words, he could be “sitting on his ass doing nothing or he could be building his resume and contacts.” If a position opens up here he’s suited for we’d certainly consider him–we know his strengths and know we can trust him. Even if we don’t hire him, he’s built his resume and my letter of recommendation for him will be, well, killer.

For more great content from Patrick Byers check out his killer blog, The Responsible Marketing Blog.