Episode 333: Why It’s Essential Marketers Think Smaller When It Comes to Creativity with Jay Acunzo

Episode Summary

Working for Google at the beginning of his career, Jay became fascinated with the overuse of marketing buzzwords, even ranking them weekly like a list of best sports teams. He eventually decided the buzzword “best practices” encompassed all the other buzzwords, which have a tendency to become meaningless and stunt both business and personal growth.

Success is a byproduct of diligent effort, not the reward of a grand moment of creativity. Jay learned by working, over and over again, educating himself about podcasts and how to interact with audiences, until he was able to put systems into place that aided him in sustaining higher success.

The podcaster has to balance creativity with results. One of the best ways to do so is to ignore overused trends and strategies, such as “gaining brand awareness,” in favor of doing the hard work of trial and error. Jay went from knowing nothing about podcasting in 2012 to running and owning highly successful podcast projects in 2020.

He didn’t get to that level of expertise overnight, and neither will the new podcaster if he or she rides the waves of popular buzzwords and trends. One key ingredient to successful podcasting is discovering why you want to make the podcast in the first place. What is your service goal, and who are you helping?

Guest Profile

Jay Acunzo

Key Insights

Episode Highlights

Buzzwords are slowing real innovation because they are less practical and more abstract. “[A]ll these buzzwords…community and customer centric and all these things that actually do mean [something]….I mean, we’ve made storytelling a buzzword….It’s just that we use this as a slogan and we lose sight of what it means.”

“So the mother of all buzzwords for me is best practices, and all the other buzzwords kind of dull up [into] that one….It really did claim number one.”

Creativity isn’t a separate action from what a team should already be doing. It’s not something you pull together to save a project. Creativity is “a way of operating.”

“When you actually execute every single day on a creative project, or you have a creative career, or you’re just creating…[i]t’s not to be creative. The job is to create.”

“If I put an x-ray sense over this big idea of a show, there are tiny parts and pieces I can master.” A show contains many small parts that must be executed well, so start looking at other successful shows for their parts. “When you suddenly see the code, you can control it. You’re not just accepting what’s washed over you.”
Instead of spending energy on extraneous aspects of having a successful show, you must build it first. “How do you say something that matters to your audience?” Your answer to this question influences formatting and content.

Podcasting is something Jay has always had a lot of fun doing. He didn’t wait to know what all the terms meant; he learned as he went and made adjustments. For example: “How do I come up with a concept for the show? And then later I learned, Oh, that’s called the premise and you can build it with intention, not just with gut-feel.”

Don’t wait for the perfected idea. That’s unnecessary. Learn by doing. “So I guess the short answer is I just made a ton of stuff with no agenda.”

Awareness is important to many companies, but awareness in and of itself means nothing in terms of new customers. To know something exists is not the same as wanting to interact with that thing. Affinity must be the aim. Getting customers to like you will translate to new customers.

“And by the way, in any relationship, the action come after you’ve earned it. So everybody out here is trying to do things that grow. No one is stopping and wondering, Are we doing anything?”

At Google, Jay had complete certainty about his check and job, but not job control. When he left to start his own company, he had complete certainty about control, but none about his check and job. A fifty-fifty balance between complete certainty and complete control doesn’t exist. “Do you want control? Do you want certainty, but more so to what degree? Because you’re not going to get both equally wherever you go.”

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