The Comb-Shaped Marketer

A Project by Ben M Roberts

What does being Comb-Shaped mean?

Being Comb-Shaped is a philosophy, and a way of thinking. For Marketers it refers to the broadening of their knowledge. It’s about becoming more of a generalist, not a specialist.

Comb-Shaped Marketers don’t have specific roles, and aren’t necessarily experts at just one thing. Instead they work across teams. They are the managers, leaders and directors, orchestrating teams and helping the specialists do their roles effectively.

Being Comb-Shaped means to actually understand what other peoples’ roles entail, not just that they exist, and their goals. It’s about understanding the processes, nuances, and blockers that effect the ability to perform individual tasks, or work together as part of a project.

What is the role of a Comb-Shaped Marketer?

A Comb-Shaped marketer is a generalist. It is their role to constantly try to understand how things work, how roles fit together, and how individuals and specialists come together to form effective marketing teams.

The role of the Comb-Shaped marketer within this team is to lead and prevent the formation of silos. Because of their generalist skill set, Comb-Shaped marketers are the glue that binds a team together, and help specialists communicate and effectively work together. Their understanding of how elements of marketing fits together makes them highly effective, leaders, managers and directors.

The Future: As Leaders & Managers

Comb-Shaped Marketers are the present and future managers and leaders of both marketing teams, and organisations as a whole. Their broad understanding and knowledge of different peoples’ roles makes them the perfect candidate on paper to be an effective manager.

Of course there are many other factors that affect whether or not a marketer will be an effective leader or not, but by living up to the philosophy and creating a mind-set of being Comb-Shaped you are going to put yourself in an incredible position to become an effective leader.

The Future: As Individuals

On an individual level, marketers who pursue the philosophy of being Comb-Shaped, have to have a number of key traits. By having and developing these traits you are already on a path to becoming more Comb-Shaped.

The three core traits are: Expansionist – Someone who is curious, someone who wants to constantly expand their mind, and stretch their knowledge. Digger – Being a person who wants to not just scratch the surface, but also dig deeper to understand how things work, and how they fit together as part of the bigger picture. Leader – An individual who wants to help people come together, to achieve goals and complete projects.

Learn more about being Comb-Shaped

Diary of a Comb-Shaped Marketer Podcast

The Diary of a Comb-Shaped Marketer is a podcast by Ben M Roberts, covering what it means to be a comb-shaped marketer in the world, the role they play, the skills and knowledge they have and the influence they can wield across numerous areas of an organisation.

In each episode, Ben will share his ideas, views and thoughts on the world of marketing, the benefits and the issues associated with becoming more comb-shaped.

diary of a comb shaped marketer podcast

Blogs about being a Comb-Shaped Marketer

10 reasons to use interviews in your marketing strategy

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How do I start building my Personal Brand?

Taking control of your Personal Brand. I get this question a lot; “How do I start building a Personal Brand?” The answer is pretty simple… you already have. The question should probably be more like; “How do I take control of my Personal Brand?” The reason for this is you already have a personal brand, [...]

What is Earned and Owned Marketing? How can my business use it?

Earned and owned marketing in essence the marketing content you create that you don’t directly pay for, like ads. This includes your website, blogs, emails, guest posts, press mentions and social media content. This is the marketing that you have painstakingly build, worked at and developed over time. The real question is: How do you [...]