How Marketing is Like Ugly Betty

This is one of the posts based on the Small Business Trends list I’ll be blogging about this year.

PS Don’t forget to enter to win Allison Maslan’s book, Blast Off!


For this post, I’m supposed to compare my industry to my favorite show. Hands down, that’s Ugly Betty. If you haven’t seen it, it’s about a young woman who is trying to climb her way up the ladder at a fashion magazine. She’s had braces for about 4 years and has pretty bad fashion sense, despite working in fashion.

If you’ve followed the show over the years, you don’t notice many things changing from episode to episode. Like in marketing. It’s hard to see the changes from the micro picture. We’re still sending out press releases and emails with the goal of getting the attention of consumers and media.

But if you look at the larger picture, Betty is slowly evolving. She’s still got the braces, yes, but her clothes are slightly better (still wearing colored socks with heels) and her hair is styled. She has graduated from assistant to assistant editor. Look back over marketing in the past 5 or 10 years, and you see the huge leaps and bounds we’ve had. Social media, for one. Who would have thought we’d be communicating in 140 characters or less with potential customers and business partners?

Ugly Betty is full of interesting characters. There’s her sister, Hilda, who has big dreams and aspirations, but still manages to make mistakes. Or Marc and Amanda, Betty’s so-called friends who live to tease her. Everyone has a story that we love. In marketing, the big players tell their own stories. Take Chris Brogan, the master of the ceremony, without whom we’d be lost in marketing. Or Guy Kawasaki, who gives us an edge when it comes to marketing. There are dozens of others in this sitcom we call Marketing 2.0.

The best part of Ugly Betty is the storyline. From sex changes to jail time, viewers are kept on their toes each week. In marketing, it’s exciting to see what’s just around the corner (and there’s always something).

What about you? What’s your marketing story? What character do you play? For me, I think I’m the lovable marketing geek, ready to spout knowledge on passersby. I’m also the character most likely to trip over a blade of grass. Good for the laugh factor.

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