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ABM – Always Be Marketing: What Does It Mean To You?

image At the recent 140 Twitter Conference, I sparked a bit of controversy on the branding panel that I participated on: I brought up a point that reminds me of the line in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross “ABC, always be closing” and I framed it as “ABM = always be marketing” and “always be me.”

I was fascinated to see the polarized responses from the audience, Twitterverse and one of my fellow panelists. (I’m a big fan of expressing opinions, but it’s not my style to polarize! Oh well!)

To me, Always Be Marketing means that I am extremely mindful and strategic about everything I do online and in public. For example, turquoise and bling is my signature branding color/look/feel – so that’s what I present in public. (Eighty percent of my wardrobe is a shade of blue!) And, my persona is upbeat, open, caring, genuine and always helpful, always willing to answer questions particularly about Facebook. This is all part of my brand.

In fact, the greatest compliment I receive is when people meet me in person and say I’m exactly like they thought I would be from how I am online.

imageWith social media so prevalent we are all EXTREMELY visible. Your prospective clients, your peers and your competition can drill as deep as they wish searching, reading and gathering information online about you and posted by you without you ever knowing who’s searching. Depending on what they find, your prospects may choose to do business with you or not.

Being mindful and in “ABM” mode helps with reputation management. To me, ABM means you’re never careless about what you put out there. You see the longevity of everything that’s published. (For the best book on reputation management see, Radically Transparent by Andy Beal and Judy Strauss).

To some folks, the word “marketing” has negative connotations. It’s a word often misinterpreted as meaning “hocking your wares,” “pushing” and being like a used car salesman. That’s unfortunate. There’s a big difference between ABP: always be pushing and ABM: always be marketing!

I unfollow the “ABP” types on Twitter and unfriend or even block them on Facebook. I’m all about connecting and building relationships… and yes, there’s strategy to all that too. What may seem as idle chit-chat on Twitter is 100% visible to the whole world on Twitter. It’s important to always do your best, because you just never know who is watching you.

Perhaps some folks have negative feelings associated with the movie, Glengarry Glen Ross – it’s an intense movie and the question of ethics and integrity in sales is a theme running throughout the film. I certainly would never recommend doing “whatever it takes” to market. It has to be genuine, positive and contribute to your community. Like I say, the ABM also means “always be me” (or, for me, “always be Mari!”

In fact, here’s a couple of my fave nuggets from the #140tc:



What are your thoughts? What does ABM mean to you? Do you consider yourself to be in “marketing mode” at all times – or is it something you turn on and off? Do you apply a special formula to your tweeting style with x% personal and x% business? Is there a clear line between the two, or are you like me and completely blend your social media personal/professional style because you know ultimately people are buying YOU first?! 😉 I’d love to hear from you – add your thoughts in the comments below:

Mari Smith

Often referred to as “the Queen of Facebook,” Mari Smith is widely known as the Premier Facebook Marketing Expert and a top Social Media Thought Leader. Forbes describes Mari as, “… the preeminent Facebook expert. Even Facebook asks for her help.” IBM named Mari as one of seven women that are shaping digital marketing. Mari is an in-demand keynote speaker, corporate social media strategist, dynamic live webcast host, and popular brand ambassador. She is coauthor of Facebook Marketing: An Hour A Day, and author of The New Relationship Marketing.

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  1. Michele Price on December 17, 2009 at 7:05 pm


    The delightful Scottish Queen of Positivity, it is awesome that it created some controversy. We all KNOW you do not position yourself as polarizing no explanation needed. (Benefit to always be marketing-your tribe knows WHO you ARE)

    We always want to be wiling to look at the hard things and if an example gives us moment to reflect and ask ourselves the hard questions then it was a GOOD MOMENT.

    Keep on sparkling!

  2. Jenny Brown on November 5, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    I loved this article, It caused me to think about my marketing face when I may not be marketing, and I need to get that face in the game.

    You are so right when we do marketing it does not stop at 5pm when we close shop it goes on all day and night when we are at the store, we never know who we may meet who will get to know us as a person and then one day need whatever product we maybe offering during our working hours. So we want to present a face that will cause people to remember us not only as a friend but also when they are in need of a service or product.

  3. Lynn Czarnecki on October 27, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Mari,

    I really like your distinction and think you have made a valid point. I had never really thought about considering “a color” part of your personal brand wardrobe, but being out in the public eye has an impact. And being able to continually establish a visual identity as well as a positive and upbeat persona can only help in personal branding as well as marketing the products and services you support.

    Thank you for your thoughts!

  4. Margarita I Cruz on October 23, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    To me ABM could mean alor of things. But for me personally it means Always Be Motivated ?

    Activate Business Mindset=there goes another one

    See you online,


  5. Joel Heffner on October 23, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Writers seem to be particularly concerned about the idea of marketing themselves. Unfortunately, they don’t realize that the ones who market tend to sell. The ones who don’t market tend to complain because they aren’t selling. 🙁

  6. Kevin Dugan on October 21, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    There is such a differnce between ABM and ABP. ABPs send the auto-dms with links to more about them. ABPs ask for your card at a conference and automatically add you to their email list.

    I’ve been trimming ABPs out of my Twitter feed as well. Appreciate you pointing out the distinction!

  7. Terry Schott on October 19, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    I agree with your thoughts on this topic 100% Mari, and it appears many others do as well. Many thanks for voicing your opinions in forums that matter. Many people would be silenced with criticism, bravo to you for standing up for your beliefs !


  8. Cathy Fletcher on October 16, 2009 at 3:26 am

    if I start off with “always be me” I can’t go far wrong 🙂

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