You’re reading What They Said, a project by Chris Gallo since 2014.

Scott Stratten

This is a conversation between Scott Stratten and Todd Henry on the Accidental Creative podcast. The two rant and discuss how to show empathy in marketing and his book QR Codes Kill Kittens. Listen to the full conversation here.


12 years ago we formed the company to market the way people wanted to be marketed to. It was created out of, I was just fed up with hypocritical marketing.

Everybody hated getting a cold call. But they wanted to do it better for their own business. And it just hurt my brain. It doesn’t make any sense.

The internet at the time was really exploding. And now with the past 5 years with social exploding. It’s a point worth saying that cold calling and “blasting” is almost the lazy man’s way now.

And there is ways of positioning yourself in front of your audience that can be so much better.

Narcissistic Marketing

I think narcissistic is actually latin for marketing. Like I really think the translation of the word - you’re exactly right.

That’s what its turned into - look at me. That’s the totally backwards way of thinking about it.

Poor Marketing

What I’ve seen for a number years now, it’s both surprising to me and not, is people are trying to market the same way in every channel.

So they’re taking their old marketing methods, and not old - you can still use them if you’re effective, but they’re taking the commercials, the advertorials they used to put in newspapers and they’re just ramming them down social channels.

Or making YouTube videos of their own stuff. And then asking or incentivizing people to share it versus having them share it out of pure content. And excitement.

And that’s the problem where it doesn’t work. It’s why social has been such a failure for so many brands. Because you have people in positions who are paid shotgunners. That’s what they do.

They take the content and they shoot it out. You have some shotgunners. You have some snipers out there, who target who they’re going to shoot it at and then shoot it towards them.

But none of them are conversationalists. None of them understand the collaborative conversation that makes social “social”. They get in there and they wonder why they’re getting backlash or no response or no traction.

Good Marketing

The point is I love where we’re at now. Because creativity pays. I don’t mean we get paid to write very well anymore or create more. But it pays through content.

When we create great content it spreads. It takes care of itself now. It used to be you could only get your creative content out there if you had the budget or the contacts. The media may or may not put it out there.

But now we are the collective audience. And we decide how creativeness spreads. So if you write a really blog post, you don’t have to have an Uncle inside of CNN to help spread it. The audience will. The community will decide that.

And this is what I think people are doing right. They’re the ones just dropping off the armor and saying “you know what, this is what I think.” Because to me, when it comes to creativity, when you’re honest, when you’re raw, you polarize.

When you polarize you attract better and also push some away. You can’t be afraid to do those things. I’ve always said that for me and my day one of UnMarketing. And day one when we launched the UnPodcast. And day one when we launched every single book.

We’re not going to hide behind something. This is what I think. This is what I feel. And when people see that it either inspires them to like it or inspires them to hate it.

Either way they share it. Nothing is artificial in what I do. And nothing should be artificial if you take a stand or you believe or you create in a pure creation way.

It’s like the musician who doesn’t have to care about the record label anymore to appease them so they have to sound more “top 40”.

It’s like the artist who is painting something doesn’t have to listen to someone say “I want the red to be more red.”

You can just create for the sake of awesome creation. And that pays off now.

This is the first time I can really see it in a general population sense that creativity truly does pay.


If you want everybody to like you, nobody does.

When you create something, I don’t care what it is. When you create a bookmark, a TV show, a blog post, a brochure, or video or podcast. Whatever you do. When you put it out there. It’s very raw. It’s part of you.

And you’re very vulnerable when you put something out there. We don’t talk about this much at all really in business. But when we create and put it out there, we cringe for a second to see what the reaction is going to be.

So put out the UnPodcast eight years late to the party. And we put it out there, we hope people like it, and we know we put everything in to it. We have enough confidence to know it’s good content.

And the first comment on the first episode was a guy who commented, “56 minutes? I haven’t actually listened to it yet. But 56 minutes?”

So he’s ripping the show before even listening to the show. That was the first piece of feedback we got going into this new world. It’s like launching a new site or new book. It’s a new avenue for us.

And so what happened? We put him on a future episode for saying that.

For me, if I don’t offend at least a person a day - I’m not doing it right.

Todd on finding your own voice

People want quick success, and they’re in such a hurry to get it, they cannot take time to be true to themselves. This idea that people are so busy imitating other people’s tactics.

They see somebody who is successful so they immediately imitate they’re tactics and try to go for the quick success. But in so doing, they ignore their own voice.

It’s all the things you’re doing when people aren’t looking that actually prepares you for success when people are looking.

Yes, thanks Todd and Scott.

Find me on Twitter @thischrisgallo or GitHub @gallochris or Instagram @heygallo.