Serial Marketer Weekly #17: The Tortoise Wins Again

Here’s the latest edition of the newsletter. While I post much of the newsletter here, some sections such as jobs are exclusively available to subscribers. Sign up now to make sure you receive it.

“Thank you so much for your thoughtful note!!”

That message that I received yesterday didn’t arrive in response to an email.

It was an email that I received in response to something markedly different: a thank you note that I sent in the mail. With an envelope. And a stamp. And handwritten – well, kind of (a robot helped with that). More on that in a minute.

After wrapping up my previous job, I’ve been going through a lot of what feels like mid-year resolutions. This included launching Serial Marketers, something that was on my wishlist for years. I also tried returning to a more analog tactic: snail mail.

A few times this summer, instead of just e-mailing someone a note of thanks or thanking them over the phone or in person, I’ve sent letters. It’s one of those habits I’ve always wanted to practice more, especially as a writer, and yet have barely done over the past 15 years.

For this batch, I dusted off my Bond account, which allows you to customize stationary before sending a personal note. I added the Serial Marketer logo to the back, added the phrase “Serial Salutations” to the top of the front of the card, and then included my name and website at the bottom. The body of the card then has the message.

Bond, whose offices I had the pleasure of touring a couple years ago and is now part of Newell Brands, uses machines that simulate various handwriting styles and fonts with real pens writing on high-quality paper. I picked a font and style that was somewhat messy but still nicer than my own (pretty much anyone’s handwriting is nicer than mine, which borrows far more from my parent who’s a doctor than my other parent who’s a former schoolteacher). The hardest part is always figuring out what to say.

Bond isn’t cheap compared to alternatives, but they are so focused on quality and personalization that I keep winding up returning to them. There’s the emotional appeal too; I spent some time getting to know Bond, and their founder and CEO Sonny Caberwal is one of the more impressive entrepreneurs I’ve met over the years. After I sent the first card this summer, I pre-paid for 10 credits, and perhaps I’ll get into enough of a habit to pre-pay for more once I use those up.

It’s so satisfying to go slow. Some messages need to be sent right away; a prospective employer or customer may wonder why they haven’t heard from you in a week. I tend to use Bond to complement an email rather than replace it.

Even with Bond, I need to go even slower. When I returned to the site, I noticed I had a typo in “Salutations.” I was mortified. I hit “send” too soon, even when sending a physical card.

The recipient was kind enough not to notice or not to mind. I’m learning too – how to go slow, and then slow down again.

Feel free to take your time in responding to this: what are you making of yourself? (An email response is just fine anytime.)



Our latest report analyzes $250 million+ in advertising spent through 4C in Q2 across Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat as well as linear TV brand rankings.


Davis & Gilbert partner Gary Kibel penned a thoughtful column in Ad Exchanger, “Should Ad Tech Panic over the California Privacy Protection Act Now or Later?” His answer is essentially that it depends on how some of the act’s provisions are defined. Read his whole take though.

Come on, they’re naming the latest social network craze after something fossilized? Founders are making these headlines too easy. Last week, Product Hunt wrote, “Open-sourced Twitter-alternative Mastodon claims 170,000+ users, who join community-owned and operated servers that run the same open-sourced software (no blockchain required). With no ads (or algorithmic feed!), the site promises to allow users to ‘put social media back in your hands.'” I registered and promptly forgot about it. Meanwhile, Kelsey shared a Twitter thread in Serial Marketers about the security issues with Mastodon that are expected to get worse.

I’m usually impressed with how Mailchimp works, and they give a ton of value with their free version. As I started using Slack so much more as a desktop app, I started to wish Mailchimp had something similar so I could treat it like its own application, not just a tab in my browser. This article shows how make any site a quasi-desktop app. Note that in Chrome, the selection says “create shortcut” rather than “add to desktop” but does the same thing.

So much of my media consumption is from newsletters right now, so I’ll start featuring noteworthy newsletters here. I’ll kick it off with PARQOR, a newsletter I wound up sponsoring when I was with Storyhunter. Via their site: Every Sunday evening Andrew Rosen curates five articles from the past week for a newsletter about the digital video supply chain (one article per each step of the supply chain). Andrew offers commentary focused on the business implications of a story – what a writer is either suggesting, or simply missing, about the story they have reported.


With some upcoming events, you’ll find exclusive codes below. I don’t require this for sharing events here, let alone in the Slack group, but if you have a relevant event and want to extend an offer to the community, please reach out.

October 4-5
New York, NY
This event is really several in one, covering music, games, TV & video, and rights tech. I’ll be moderating a panel on voice-activated AI for media and entertainment.

October 10
New York, NY
I will go to pretty much anything Scott Galloway keynotes, and then bring a lighter to wave in the air during the ‘fifth horseman’ part of his speech. They have a fantastic lineup, and exclusively for you, if you use the code SerialMarketers2018 and register before the end of August, you get 50% off.

October 15-19
New York, NY
Kite Hill PR is back with another round of their annual Communications Week, with the theme of The Workforce of the Future. As always, they have a mix of paid and free events, including the PRSA Tri-State conference and some shorter events open to all. They always put a lot of thought into their programming; I’ve been going for years.

October 30
Hailed as “the largest one-day media event of the year,” hot topics include multi-screen marketing, location data, and new media models. Brands and agencies can attend for as little as $150, and I’m looking forward to attending.