Open Letter To My Marketing/Advertising/Media/PR Peers

Tommy Bunny is tired of the other Marketing Bunny's not being honest.

Tommy Bunny is tired of the other Marketing Bunny’s not being honest.

I must add a very important precursor here because I had some enlightenment tweeting with Adam Kmiec of Walgreens, this post is not aimed at Brand Side Marketers. Only Agencies and Personal Brand Marketers who work with Brands. Brand marketers just want to reach customers and sell product. They don’t make money from this process. They are the ones who pay for the process. And when they pay for processes that do not work, the Agency or Consultant doesn’t give back the money they charged. But the Brand Marketer loses theirs.

I sent this to someone who was upset I called them out for fraud. They tweeted me with their email asking why I had a problem with them. And decided it makes a great open letter to my peers. Italics were not part of the original letter. I have not heard back yet since sending on Saturday.

Hi (Insert most Social Media Expert”s name)

My issue is with so many industry peers fibbing and selling bs to clients to make money and industry peers clapping and cheering it on. To be honest I have zero respect for Edelman Digital. I feel they sell a line of bullshit. Social Business is bullshit. As was F Commerce, Social Commerce, Klout, Viral Marketing, geez so many things that once the fad is gone people jump on the next.

So a friend linked me your post and I was like whoa. How could you of been doing what you were doing not knowing much about data or PR (what you were blogging about)? And everyone selling social business refuses to talk money. I like Ted Rubin but he too refuses to admit that only businesses that pay employees well will ever have employees advocate for them. Which means only 20% of the US workforce ‘possibly’ could be conned into doing this. 80% of jobs make $33k or less. Those people don’t give a shit about their employers. (If your employees aren’t already your advocates in real life offline, they will never be online.)

So you can’t blog or pitch a one size fits all. Because it is wrong.

Now that my rant is done I give you huge credit for admitting things (that you once blogged about things you weren’t educated in and passed them off as expert advice) and also I agreed with your post on Data but it is hard to believe you mean it (your new position requires you to be an expert but you just admitted you have until now been clueless on the subject). Chris Brogan told me ‘marketers lie so its ok to have bad data on an infographic’. No it isn’t ok. Chris Voss hides behind other people’s data and shoves the same stuff. Brian Solis writes long posts about nothing with no proof anything works. Drives me bonkers. It is why marketers are trusted less than used car salespeople and just above politicians, never mind by CEO’s and CFO’s. Most social media stuff has been false. People don’t like talking with the brands they love. I wish a big name would admit it.

I have a finance degree and did B2B sales and worked on NASA programs, Missile Defense and big engineering projects for awhile. But I like consumer businesses better, but hate that I get thrown in with all those liars. It sucks.

So help me change that.


Howie Goldfarb
Founder and CEO
Blue Star Strategic Marketing
9 Trow Ave
Barre, VT
P: 802-234-3144
Twitter: @HowieGoldfarb

About Howie Goldfarb

Howie Goldfarb

Also playfully known as the Chief Alien of Blue Star Strategic Marketing, Howie Goldfarb relishes his role as an industry outsider. With 20 years of Sales, Marketing, and Business Operations experience founded Blue Star Strategic Marketing to serve as the objective and strategic adviser of brands to help them grow and thrive.

His Degree in Finance givess him a CFO’s view to marketing, bringing a dose of reality to the confusing world of jargon, spin, and hype. After a 14-year career in direct B2B industrial sales Howie decided to lighten up his dreary work life and move into consumer advertising and marketing. Now he champions up and coming Consumer Brands.

Formerly an Angelino and New Yorker, he currently lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont and is still seeking his first moose sighting. His passions are his family, community, art, music, and the outdoors, He tries to cook, has been known to hunt Fiddleheads and loves the Vermont Fresh Network and other sustainability initiatives like farm to table and buying local.


I think I mentioned this before, but I seriously love the line, "If your employees aren’t already your advocates in real life offline, they will never be online." Not being in the field, there's not a lot I can say specific to some of your points. I will say (to kind of get back to your quote) that a lot of businesses still want their employees to completely segregate themselves from their employer on social media ... well I can't quantify "a lot" but I do think it's true anecdotally. I was advised by my Executive Director "it's really best if you don't talk about us on social media." The leadup to that conversation is kind of long and complicated and I'd be glad to share sometime (and FWIW I don't let that admonition stop me completely but especially when I was our family's sole breadwinner I have to admit it kept me muted). // I also like the term "thought fad" (because I really hate overuse of the term "thought leader" .... there are many fewer true thought leaders around than people who proclaim to be that).


Amen, Howie. At the end of the day to me it's all about the meaningful work I get to do with customers. They are what drives the whole thing and I'm honored by the opportunity to build with and for them. The rest is just made up for the speaking circuit.

I wouldn't mind in the least if influence as a product died a fiery death. 


You may not be fully aware of what PR agencies and their digital arms actually do for large brands. While their marketing may not be what some people prefer, they are embedded at large organizations and provide them with scale. I was skeptical of PR companies running social and digital efforts a few years ago but nowadays that I've seen most of them at work, I realize the value they can uniquely provide to a large corporation. Just as ad agencies, production companies and consultancies aren't able to do everything (and most of their websites and marketing don't provide the full picture of what they do), PR / Corp Comm agencies all play a role within large brands.

Bloggers and independent short-term consultants (at their best) may inspire, enlighten, strategize and even more in some cases, but they are rarely *doers* when it comes to planning / executing / managing global digital efforts for a Fortune 100.  Large PR companies can get that done easily across markets, continents and languages.

Also, social media is no longer the fad that it once was. It's an integral part of every marketing budget and that will not change. There have always been "liars" surrounding social media but that is because they are trying to scrape off what they can from a very real pie and ecosystem, not because "People don’t like talking with the brands they love."  That is not only false, but also narrow as social media provides brands with much more than just a means to connect with their biggest fans.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb moderator

@socialnerdia hey Esteban! I agree with you. You know this from the brand side and I know many quality PR Pros and Agencies that are honest and do right by their clients. I also think tons of marketers and ad people are smart and know who is selling a load of bull. Its mostly from the people side, speakers, bloggers, authors trying to make money off of a thought fad.

Over the years running social for some consumer brands I never saw a lot of the behaviors being sold by the trade pubs and rock stars.