The Confident Marketer

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Want to know a secret about me: I’m an introvert and I’m shy.

OK, that was two secrets (but don’t tell anybody). How can someone who is both introverted and shy run a multi-office company, speak in front of thousands of people and publish almost every thought they have about the media, marketing, advertising and communications space so openly and freely?


I get nervous. I get uncertain. I question my own ideals. I still hope that people like me. I want people to know that I’m trying to do the right thing. But, it is the confidence. Many people confuse being cocky with confidence (and that’s where the wires get scrambled). I’ve been interested in media and marketing since the mid-eighties. Even before working at it professionally, I studied it out of passion. I remember being very young and wondering to myself why one, specific story made it to the front of a magazine cover. Being the type of person I am, and finding a place where I am confident in what I do professionally has been a journey… and there is no destination… it still is a continuous journey. Much like finding a voice for this Blog (or for a newspaper column or for a book), the only way to get the confidence and find that voice is by picking at it – day by day and minute by minute.

Don’t confuse confidence with education or years of experience.

Education and years of work experience should help build some of the foundations for you to become confident, but at some point in time, you’re going to have to be able to look in the mirror and say to yourself that you know (literally live and breathe) the work you do, and that you’re beyond simply being competent at your work. You have to know that should your professional world implode tomorrow that you will be just fine because you know your stuff and you know how to make it work.

Express your confidence.

Many people use Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Quora and more to self-promote. They use it as a platform that says, "look at me" rather than a platform to say, "look at this." It’s fine to publish whatever you want. If you find an audience because you’re beating your own chest, good on you, but there is that other thing. The Confident Marketer can now (and finally) use these platforms and channels to inform, empower and connect. If you know what you’re talking about and can express it by pointing people in directions that adds value to their lives, makes them smarter, helps them become more informed and do better in their own lives, your confidence will jump… and it will jump a lot more (in my humble opinion) than if all you’re doing online is the Social Media equivalent of "look at me!"

What confidence does…

  • It allows you to express yourself.
  • It empowers you to push ideas through.
  • It enables you to connect to more people.
  • It teaches you to keep an open mind to new ideas and differing perspective.

Great ideas, stories and people happen when their confidence is honest and sincere. It’s not about ego. It’s not about success. It’s not about money. It’s about knowing that you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing… and you’re doing it well.

(small hint: this isn’t just about individuals… it’s about companies, brands and teams too).


  1. Very good Mitch. New level of honesty for a New Year? 😉
    I wonder if it’s only a successful individuals with such valid experience who can write such an honest articles giving away insights into potential weaknesses, but still come across as powerful and influential?
    It is the self promotion boom era, with multiple tools allowing the everyday Joe the capabilities to become an influencer in a short space of time. But it is and will always be experience, knowledge and ultimately consistently valuable original content that sets apart the everyday influencer from the experts.
    Happy New Year and all that good stuff sir!

  2. Wow, talk about timing. I’m going through a bit of a confidence drought just now. And this after reading lots of Chris Brogan!
    I find self promotion a very difficult thing to do. I’ve always managed businesses, not myself. And because of that, I’m questioning whether I have the entrepreneurial spirit to make a go of it on my own without a team to collaborate with.
    Am I confusing confidence with chutzpah?
    I agree with you. There is a difference between confidence and ego. All the people I follow and admire the most are anything but self-serving on their blog posts. Chris, Julien, Amber, Jay, Mari (and you, of course) show an openness to learn while all the while sharing tons of valuable knowledge with whoever follows them.
    Maybe it is just a question of finding my voice – or maybe a job.
    Thanks again for the brain food.

  3. Hey Joel, this article really resonated with me. I think if you look around at people who are using these tools to shout out to the world, “look at me!”, you’ll find more often than not it’s a sign of insecurity. I find those who have succeeded in a particular field want to share their knowledge and experience with others and they tend to use these platforms to do just that. Thanks for this!

  4. There are those who are self-anointed and then there are those who are given certain titles by those the general public would deem as credible. If you can flaunt what is given to you, I say go for it… but if you lack the confidence to stand up and defend those titles… be careful!

  5. I’m not sure… I see a lot of people use that tactic in a very successful way. To each their own. My strategy for doing what I do should (and is) very unique to other people’s strategies… and the same can be said about brands, etc…

  6. I see myself in this post Mitch! There it is.. we need to find the place where we belong to find our selves. I say this is very true. We can speak up our thought to the things we have compassion and confident.
    Thanks for this inspiring post Mitch!

  7. I also believe there’s a lot to be said about having a relevant and well constructed “message”, or idea, to support that confidence…
    I, myself, have been living my professional life with a confidence I have yet to find in my personal life, simply because I love what I do, I never learn enough about it and I could not see myself doing anything else…
    This is true empowerment for me, and I’m not even at a level that comes anywhere close to what you, Mr Joel, have been able to reach.

  8. I’m gonna quote you on that and claim it was me who said it. No trackback, no RT @mitchjoel, no love.
    That’s because i’ve got the confidence to stand up and be something im not because my followers assume im an expert.
    Stick me in front of a crowd and watch me quote Mashable all day. Im the man!
    Now punch me in the face…

  9. Mitch as someone who has tried helping people get beyond their comfort zone for years let me say Bravo. Your article says it all and I hope alot of people read it and take action because of it. I am passing it on. I hope they read it more than once.

  10. I’ve been reading your blog since I saw you last May at Mktg Profs B2B and read your book thereafter. And it’s because you know your stuff and you speak in a very human, approachable manner that I respect your views. And give them more credibility than one who simply says “look at me”. That gets very old. And is not very interesting. Nor does it add value to the noise.
    As a fellow introvert, I subscribe to the “show, don’t tell” mantra espoused by one of my early professors.

  11. I agree, for that reason I find it easy to get people to visit my blog while I found it hard to get people to visit my real estate page (which I currently have shelved)
    Well Said

  12. Happy New Year, my friend!
    All threads lead back to Peter Druker… first, know yourself.

  13. You’ve just explained to me why I like your blog so much and how you write. It’s an incredibly good “learning” for me right now and reminder about making sure to be more “look at this.”
    As for confidence and shyness, I think the web and social media has been really great for those of us who are shy or lack confidence. The crazy thing is, almost everybody lacks confidence and if they say otherwise, they’re likely fooling themselves.
    Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this.

  14. Do you find that with how easy it is to publish on the web that introverts (myself included) can post before thinking too much instead of creating a framework inside of the head of what “might” happen?

  15. Hi Mitch,
    Your article completely resonated with what I believe about confidence. I am also a shy person but when it comes down to teaching people the truth, it fuels my passion, and allows me to hold on to the vision of helping others and allows me to express my true beliefs. Because I am confident to know that what helped me can and may help the people who listen to what I have to say. Cheers!

  16. Confidence also comes from results, positive feedback to what you do. And if you say “look at this” more often than “look at me” you’ll generally get widely more positive feedback, and you’ll build more confidence.

  17. Good post! I used to be an introvert and shy until something happen at one point of time in my life (Smile). But, even though, I am an extrovert, I still find self-promotion difficult. I have confidence in my work, but I rather see the ones I help shine and brag about their success. I believe, my client’s success is my success.

  18. I’ve always had self promotion, educator and shy sides. They often conflict with each other. Balance always seems to be the key approach. (I’m not always successful).
    I had to “fake it until you make it” when it comes to public speaking, but after years my confidence has grown and now I thrive on it. As a marketer, my years of experience and success does give me confidence especially when I get push back from clients.
    When in an unsure situation remind yourself of your successes. Feel the energy and dive in.
    Thanks for your honest insight Mitch.

  19. Dare I say that confidence also comes with age? Or perhaps I should substitute experience for the word age. I remember making partner with one of the ‘big 4’. Suddenly colleagues and clients listened with a different expectation and their expectations added to my confidence. And, because partners were expected to look at the big picture rather than the details, I could shed the details (which I disliked anyway) and concentrate on how things came together. I’m trying to bring that sense of confidence and big picture thinking to my blog. For the moment I am mainly writing for my own understanding however I hope that others will find value in it!

  20. Dear Mitch Joel
    this is my first comment in your website that i deeply admire. As someone that has build and amazing success through hard work and inspired knowledge and science i deeply admire the way you expose your honest approach to your work and the way you urge to get in that direction. It deeply inspire me. I wrote a text based partly in your post and took the liberty of using part of it:
    who knows our professional ways will meet one of these days. Hopw so. Until it happens I will continue a faithful reader and fan.
    Best regards
    Dinis Guarda

  21. Great post, Mitch. I’ve said something similar (though not nearly as well said) to many students and “juniors” I’ve worked with. It’s a hard business for introverts – asserting your opinion can be overwhelming.
    Confidence, peppered with a little self-doubt to keep you honest is a good combination. Go too far in either direction, and you’re going to make bad decisions.

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