Change Is the Means and the End — My Last Way of Thinking

We talk all the time about change in marketing. But change is not an event or a goal or even an obstacle. Change is the environment. If you’re moving with it, you’re constantly changing. If you’re not changing, you’re just fighting to stand still.

“Without change, something inside us sleeps, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken.” I read “Dune” at a young age, and that always stuck with me.

We talk all the time about change in marketing. From branding to direct, from direct mail to digital, from broadcast to targeted, from email to social media, from “then” past to “then” future. The truth is change is not an event or a goal or even an obstacle. Change is the environment. If you’re moving with it, you’re constantly changing. If you’re not changing, you’re just fighting to stand still.

That doesn’t just hold for marketing. For the past decade, it’s been the same for us covering the industry at Target Marketing.

I’ve been with Target Marketing for roughly 8 years, and with our parent company NAPCO Media for 11. I never expected to stay in one place for so long, but just because I’ve been “still” in my career doesn’t mean things haven’t changed. Every year has brought new challenges, new ideas, new changes.

The running joke at our annual reviews has been that this year looked nothing like the year before, and would look nothing like the year ahead. We’ve constantly been trying new things, taking on new challenges. And I love that.

Years ago, perhaps from Dune, perhaps from early jobs (I’ve been a grave digger, overnight Walmart shelf-stocker, headhunter, dot-com “business analyst” and more), I learned that without change, there is no opportunity — neither for the business or my own career. If there’s a job in this age that rewards stagnation, I haven’t seen it.

So when I see a chance to change, I try to treat that like a game of skill. An obstacle is an opportunity to find a new way forward. A mouse trap is nothing but free cheese and a challenge. (Thank you, Scroobius Pip.)

Sometimes we’ve been more successful than others, but as long as we’re pushing forward and embracing those opportunities, taking those smart chances and figuring out how to get the cheese without breaking our necks, I think we’re on the right path.

I hope our journey down that path has helped you seize the opportunity of change in your own companies and careers. If the things we’ve created have helped you meet any of those challenges and forge ahead, then I think we’ve done a lot of good.

And there’s going to be even more changes in the year ahead. Target Marketing has new events, new programs, new ideas that they’ll be bringing to you at a constant clip in 2019. Stay tuned, because we’ve been working on great things!

But, for once, you’ll be enjoying that cheese without me.

This is my last day with Target Marketing. You may see some content that’s been in the works trickle out in the weeks ahead, and I’ll likely pop up around an event or two, but after 11 years I am bidding a very fond farewell to my magazine and the wonderful team we have here.

I leave the publication in the very capable hands of Melissa Ward and Heather Fletcher, and they’ll be joined by Denis Wilson, who’s coming over from a sister publication to take over as head Editor. Keep an eye out for all the awesome things they’ll be working on in 2019!

As for me, I should still be pretty easy to find (I’m pretty sure I’m the world’s only “Thorin McGee”), but LinkedIn is always a good place to start.

Thank you for all the support you’ve given me and the whole Target Marketing Family over the past decade. I wish you many more years of great marketing, and great change, because we all need to learn how to stop worrying and love the change.

At least, that’s one way of thinking.