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You Can’t Block Black

“Keyword Blocking Hits ‘Black Lives Matter’ Content.”

That’s the Ad Age headline from last week that I can’t stop thinking about.

The article is about advertisers preventing their ads from running on stories about Black Lives Matter.

If you’re not an Ad Age subscriber and want the gist, you can catch Ad Age’s summary or the coverage in Search Engine Land.

My take: just because advertisers can do something doesn’t mean they should.

That is obvious enough. But I want to start with the “should” and then explore the “could.”

“Should” here applies to various levels

Should you or should you not have ads run around stories about what will likely be recognized as one of the most important movements in American history? Black Lives Matter’s support shifted from negative to positive the past two years, and then in two weeks, opinion changed overwhelmingly in its favor. Why should advertisers be so timid?

Should you make it harder for publishers to stay afloat when covering such meaningful stories? If advertisers blocked Black Lives Matter stories en masse, it would disincentivize the press to cover the movement.

Should you avoid appearing where audiences are? That’s fraught with danger. Isn’t the point of advertising to run ads where people are paying attention?

I didn’t want to talk about what you should do though.

Could you?

Can you block ads from running next to Black Lives Matter content?

I have two words for you:

Good luck.

Black Lives Matter isn’t just about protests.

It isn’t about police brutality.

It isn’t about social justice – if you can forgive a white guy for saying so.

What this one very white guy sees Black Lives Matter about is three things:



The pursuit of happiness.

Social justice is part of it. Police reform matters. So does access to quality healthcare. So does improving education – not just for blacks and people of color, but for whites too. When there are calls to shift military spending to education spending, it’s not about black education – it’s about education.

New York City has a $90 billion annual budget, give or take a few groschen. At least, that was the budget last year. The budget that’s due by the end of June for the year ahead is a Black Lives Matter budget, just like it’s a COVID budget.

It doesn’t matter if you’re black, and it doesn’t matter if you have COVID. What matters is that prioritizing the well-being of the greatest number of people at the expense and inconvenience of some others is the story of our era.

What won’t be affected in this budget thanks to Black Lives Matter?

Which fire station gets the next truck? Black Lives Matter.

Which after-school programs survive the cuts? Black Lives Matter.

Which streets get plowed first in a snowstorm? Black Lives Matter.

Which park benches get a new coat of paint? Black Lives Matter.

Which taxes get raised? Which fares rise? Which permit fees go up? Which red tape is dropped?

You know the answer.

This is happening everywhere. Every state. Every city. It has ramifications far beyond the US.

This is not about whether you turn your content black for a day. It’s not about how many black people are in your ads. It’s not even about how many black people are on your board (though that matters).

This is about the intersection of citizenship and corporate citizenship. This is about the social compact.

So yeah, go ahead, block a few keywords. Stick it to – your ad network?

If you’re advertising, you’re running ads around Black Lives Matter.



If you’ve joined First Wednesday, Serial Marketers Salons, or other virtual events, when’s the ideal time for you? Take this one-question survey. Thank you.

“How we treat people has never been more important.” Catch this gem and others in Laura Mignott’s piece on the future of event planning.

At Never Stop Marketing, Jeremy Epstein has a detailed look at how blockchain models could apply to police reform. “Don’t defund the police. Decentralize the funding of police,” he writes. And he acknowledges a lot of it sounds crazy. This is far less crazy than it should be.

What if the police don’t need to be defunded but unbundled? Thanks to Valeria Maltoni for sharing this.

My analyst friend Evangelos Simoudis has a new book out, Transportation Transformation: How Autonomous Mobility Will Fuel New Value Chains. Anyone remotely interested in such topics will love this. Buy it now and gift it for Father’s Day.

Adam Mendler, one of my newest acquaintances, gets a refreshing mix of guests on his “Thirty Miute Mentors” podcast including, recently, a bestselling author, a yoga guru, an MLB announcer, and a general.





  • Ally.wiki master guide to resources
  • Coursera: learn about race, inequality, and social justice

Speaking of sharing…
Thanks to Jeremy WoolfShelly LiptonLeo MorejonRob Beeler and Jacob Shwirtz for spreading the word recently. Here’s your own personalized link, with more referral rewards coming for sharing the newsletter.


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Please send over any events you’re hosting or attending, and I’ll add them to the list. All events below are virtual, and all times are EDT, unless otherwise specified.

June 25, 5pm
Join the virtual 1:1 rapid-fire speed-meeting event to connect with fellow Serial Marketers, hosted by the Upstream app. It’s iOS only, for now (iPhone or Android). If you can’t make the event itself but want to try it, join the group. Better still, take the one-question survey to share what event times are best for you.

Tuesdays, 3pm
We have an incredible lineup:
-6/23: How to Communicate Effectively with Recruiters with Don Leon, Managing Partner of Donald Leon Search
-6/30: E-Commerce Trends with Sarah Hofstetter of Profitero
-7/14: Secret Financial Lives with Ben Zeidler and Gunny Scarfo, founders of Nonfiction Research
Request access to RSVP: 

July 1, 6pm
First Wednesday is back! We have dozens of great people RSVPing for this fun NYC tradition that is now open to anyone virtually. Len Bilello might even by you a drink.

July 7-8
Via my friends at the ANA: Register today to attend the 2020 ANA Digital & Social Media Conference virtually on July 7th and 8th.  You’ll stay ahead of the innovations in digital marketing by hearing the latest on personalization, channel optimization, influencer marketing, social listening, measurement, and developing responsive and engaging content from digital marketing leaders from Ford, Mondelēz, Molson Coors, Nationwide, Mastercard, Chipotle and more!  Buy ONE pass and you can register your entire company. Pricing starts at $299.

Events for May and June include conversations between Jack Myers and luminaries such as Ford’s Lisa Schoder and Jim Motavalli, Madison Avenue Manslaughter author Michael Farmer, and LUMA’s Mr. Lumascape Terry Kawaja.

Wednesdays, 2pm
Zeitguide’s Brad Grossman continues his weekly culture classes this week as the start of his 10-week summer semester. He always runs through the need-to-know cultural developments of the week, and features an expert guest each week.


I’m working on sourcing more jobs for this. In the meantime, check the resources below.

Keep checking out the #jobs channel in Serial Marketers too. I’ve added some descriptions of top-secret searches there, and others have posted some leads too. I have a couple more secret searches coming.

Digital Marketing Manager
Via their marketing lead Jen, who discovered the opportunity in this very newsletter: “I wanted to share a role we have open at Journey and are looking for a great candidate to come and focus on building out the email/push and overall CRM strategy, looking to optimize our customer journey for better growth and conversion. If you know of anyone great, please send them our way!” Apply below, and let me know if you want me to refer you.

Brand Marketing Manager
Philadelphia / Remote
Here’s a great role from an ERA-backed startup: “Stix provides women the products, education, and community they need, starting with a better pregnancy and ovulation test. Founders Cynthia Plotch and Jamie Norwood created Stix because buying high quality products should be easy and delightful, no matter the result you’re looking for… We are looking for a dynamic and creative individual to lead the charge on brand marketing and drive strategy for a rapidly growing marketing budget.

Various roles
Remote or MD
BurnAlong needs some marketing talent in various roles for this health & wellness tech company.

-Demand Generation Manager
-Senior Marketing Manager
NYC / Oklahoma City
Check the link for the detailed job descriptions; “Tailwind is a 50+ person, fast-growing, marketing tech company with offices in New York City and Oklahoma City.  Our visual marketing software is loved by 100,000s of small businesses, helping them grow through effective digital marketing.”

Other job resources:

  • Ad Ops Online: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more.
  • Advisable: Get instant access to top marketing freelancers
  • AMA Job Board: Listings from the American Marketing Association (maybe you can also ask them anything)
  • Built in NYC: Jobs at a range of levels and functions, as long as you’re okay working in this quaint, backwater hamlet.
  • CareerList: Here’s a form for companies hiring and a form for job seekershere’s the public list with tabs for both
  • Content Writing Jobs: Content marketers, enjoy
  • CoronaHub: Jobs relating to the crisis response
  • ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted (this uses my referral ID to get you in faster)
  • GLG: Get paid to share your topical expertise; it can lead to some interesting conversations at a potentially decent hourly rate
  • Grace Blue Transitions: A portal for hirers and seekers with resources from this exec recruiting firm
  • The Hired Guns: An array of jobs in marketing and related fields at brands, agencies, and media companies
  • Hunterz: A way for connectors to get paid to introduce startups to large enterprises
  • Lead5: A paid service for executive roles, plus intel on changes with companies and PE investments; you can try a risk-free weeklong trial to see if it’s any good for your needs
  • Lunch Club: Match 1:1 around predetermined goals with accomplished professionals (free)
  • NYC Ad Jobs & Networking: A popular Facebook group
  • One Club for Creativity: COVID-19 Jobs Board
  • TechNY Daily: While more technical, there are also some sales and marketing jobs at NY startups.
  • VC Job Boards: Eniac VenturesPearSequoiaUnion Square Ventures
  • VentureLoop: Free startup job listings; their paid option is $15/month and might surface more leads (but it might not).
  • Wanted: Wanted helps top talent in tech and marketing find a job at your desired pay. Plug in your salary, stay anonymous at first, and connect with companies that want to recruit you.

Do you run or enjoy other job listing sites? Let me know, and I’ll share them.

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