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Leadership Edge with best-selling author Mark Schaefer

Mark W. Schaefer is a globally-recognized speaker, educator, business consultant, and author who blogs at {grow} one of the top marketing blogs in the world. Mark has worked in global sales, PR, and marketing positions for more than 30 years and now provides consulting services as Executive Director of U.S.-based Schaefer Marketing Solutions. He specializes in marketing training and clients include both start-ups and global brands such as Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Adidas, and the U.S. Air Force.

Mark has advanced degrees in marketing and organizational development and is a faculty member of the graduate studies program at Rutgers University. A career highlight was studying under Peter Drucker while studying for his MBA.

Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I have always wanted to be in marketing since my first marketing class at West Virginia University. I worked in the corporate world for 27 years before starting my own business 10 years ago. At that time, social media was getting hot and I was curious about it so I started a blog on the subject. That led to books, the books led to speaking deals and that led to consulting with big companies.

I also teach at Rutgers University.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Midway in my career, I worked to earn my MBA at Claremont Graduate School. I had the honor to study for three years under Peter Drucker, the most acclaimed business consultant and author in history. This had quite an impact on my thinking about marketing and business. I hear Dr. Drucker’s voice in my head every week!

Can you tell us about Marketing Rebellion? What are the key concepts of the book? How will this change the world?

I wrote the book because everywhere I traveled, marketing leaders were telling me they felt stuck and their marketing wasn’t working like it used to. I became curious about this and found that consumers have moved away from our traditional marketing.

In fact, what I discovered is that two-thirds of our marketing is occurring without us. The customers have become the marketers, they have become our marketing department.

A brand used to be what companies told customers it is. Today, a brand is what customers tell each other.

To succeed in this world, we need a new mindset. We need to figure out how we can be invited to these conversations. That’s what my book is about … teaching my readers how to do that.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

I thought a lot about this question and I can’t say that I have a great answer. The question assumes that there have been major problems or disappointments in my life that I would have liked to have avoided. And, of course, I’ve had my setbacks like anyone.

However, I wouldn’t trade those experiences, even the bad ones, They have forged me into who I am today and where I will be in the future. All those experiences make me unique.

Which principles or philosophies have guided your life? What are your success mindsets?

I suppose the over-arching philosophy is that I want to set a good leadership example with my career and online presence. The web is such a cesspool sometimes. I want to show people that it doesn’t have to be that way. We can support each other and lift each other up.

I also think that something I’m known for is my honesty. I don’t have an agenda to sell people stuff or evangelize a position. I build trust by being rational, honest and unafraid of the truth. People know I will say what needs to be said.

I want to be a person who dispenses hope. My books cover serious topics, but they are also fun to read and present a hopeful view of the world.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

It’s pretty easy to find me! Google Mark Schaefer and you’ll find me. If you go to, you can find my social channels, my blog, podcast, and books.

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