Contributors of the year 2021: Steve Olenski


A writing advice school tells you to write like you speak. Steve Olenski clearly fits into this school. As a writer, as a marketer, as a human, Steve likes to say it the way it is. His enthusiasm for the potential good (and let’s face it, the bad) in the marketing world jumps off the proverbial page in his regular columns for the site.

When not sharing advice on how marketers can improve their customer experience, Steve is the CMO’s director of content and strategy at Oracle.

What matters is what consumers think

What excites you in your field today?

One thing that excites me is the impending loss of third-party cookies from Google. While it may sound odd – being excited about the demise of something that so many marketers have relied on for years – as a former copywriter I’m very excited about the importance both the writing and design.

If people could only use one word to describe you, which word would you like them to use?


What work-related trend will you see in the years to come?

The trend I will be watching is the history of brick and mortar locations. Before the pandemic, we heard and saw the great decline in brick and mortar locations. The pandemic has certainly exacerbated it. We started to see a bit of a comeback after the vaccination and now it’s coming back the other way. Being the person I am, combined with the marketer in me who has researched and written about customer experience, I am optimistic that the trend of in-person experiences will never go away completely.

What is the work-related trend that surprised you? (can be from any point in your career)

I don’t know if this is a trend but what surprised me and amazes me every time I read research to this effect is that marketers / brands / advertisers still don’t have the fact that ‘they no longer have control. It doesn’t matter what they think about a product, service, etc., what matters is what consumers think. How many surveys do we need to read to show what marketers think consumers want and like? Nobody cares!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Following up on the previous question, the best advice I ever received was to stop worrying about what other people think and say about me. To always be myself, stay true to who I am and those who matter to me will understand and those who don’t, won’t And you can quickly make that distinction and what you find may surprise and disappoint you .

If you could make one wish for your industry for 2022, what would it be?

My wish is this: to stop trying to sell us consumers every moment through every communication. Years ago, while digging in the basement of the Library of Congress, I discovered, in an old tin can, The NAS doctrine. Written on parchment paper, the Doctrine has decreed that those who peddle their products, services, and wares need not try to sell said items all the time. OK I really I haven’t found it in the Library of Congress, but there is such a doctrine. You can read about it here. But the point is, my wish is for brands of all sizes to stop the madness. We know you are in business to make money. We understood. But we will decide if / when we buy your (insert name here).


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