My first exposure to the name Eddie Haskell was from my Mom after I had my middle school buddies over for a sleepover in 7th grade.
It was one of those stay up until 2 in the morning drinking Mountain Dew and playing Mortal Kombat type affairs.
I was always Sub Zero. I never lost.
After my friends had been picked up and the basement was fumigated. I'll never forget my Mom saying, “Everyone was very nice, but that one boy reminds me of Eddie Haskell”.
Who in the heck is Eddie Haskell?
This was 1999. I couldn’t just get on my iPhone and search Google for the answers. I needed to source my parents for information.
I learned Eddie Haskell was on a TV Show called, “Leave it to Beaver” and it was popular when my parents were growing up. Eddie was the best friend of Beaver’s brother Wally. He would always say flattering things to Beaver’s Mom to try to win her over and then turn around when she wasn’t looking and treat Beaver like the dumps.
I always thought of it like Eddie Haskell was Bart Simpson before Simpsons creator Matt Groening brought Bart to life.
I am a marketer. A content creator with almost a dozen years of experience and I realize that for much of my career I have been the Eddie Haskell of B2B Marketing.
I’d spend time doing research on the market I was in.
Gain an understanding of the motivations and desires of my target audience.
Interview customers with the same profile to help validate the work.
Create a beautiful piece of content that was used to educate future customers.
….and then deliver an experience that would make Eddie Haskell proud trying to push content consumers through my process based on the KPI’s that I was tied to.
I knew getting the numbers would make my bosses happy, but realize now that I wasn’t being mindful of treating consumers like I would want to be treated when researching topics and trying to learn.
I know I’m not the only B2B marketer that has resembled Eddie Haskell in the past.
In fact the spirit of Eddie Haskell is still very much alive today.
In the latest episode of The 3C Podcast, Jonathan Gandolf talked about two separate experiences in content consumption that he was setting out to course correct with what we are building at Fathom.
Two Eddie Haskell like experiences:
- Forms: Marketers use them to collect information when content consumers are researching. Ultimately, they serve the marketer and create a miserable experience for content consumers that are just trying to learn.
- Search: Marketers pollute their content with keywords to trick algorithms into ranking their content for page 1 on Google. In this scenario machines assist Eddie Haskell like behavior by feeding all of the content that we think they want to hear and the content consumers are left banging their heads against the wall because the posts lack the substance needed to support the research efforts.
I think it’s easy to see why most B2B marketers select B2C companies when looking for inspiration on how to win the hearts and minds of their future customers.
Jonathan talked to 100+ marketers before I joined the business and here are some quotes that help validate this:
"It takes time to sort through the crappy content."
"There's a lot of work to be done to make B2B content as "bingeable" as B2C content. B2B shouldn't be of a lesser quality or any less engaging."
"The main point with content creation is understanding what people are looking for. What's relevant to them? How am I going to create what they're looking for and how do I cut through the noise?"
"We're doing all of the same things so how do you show the value."
"Everyone knows content is king but it's also the biggest pain in your ass.”
If so many marketers feel like this when they are the content consumers then why do we keep making our audiences jump through the same hoops when interacting with our brands?
Jonathan and I have spoken about these reactions a lot since I joined the company.
In order for us to not contribute to the problem we need to eliminate any Eddie Haskell type behavior from our content strategy and experience.
We are working on delivering a highly curated experience for B2B content consumers much like Netflix and Spotify deliver for the B2C experience.
We believe marketers can use the power of curation to ensure that your content is being consumed by the right audience at the right time.
One of the first things we are working on is building a waitlist for content consumers who will be the first to gain access to this curated content experience. We believe that future state of content discovery is:
- Content for humans; not algorithms
- Content experiences without painful forms
- The ability to make decisions with confidence
- Knowledge of what your colleagues, peers, and industry is reading
If you are interested in being one of the first content consumers to be a part of this experience you can join the waitlist here. We are developing our platform with authenticity in mind. We keep it 💯. We will leave the Eddie Haskell type marketing behavior at the door.