In the 50s, women weren’t supposed to do stand-up comedy. They were supposed to watch the children, obsess over their waist sizes, and cook (if they didn’t have a servant).
But a brave few women did take to the stage and raise a middle finger to the patriarchy. These women went through hell to earn their right to make people laugh.
In an often hilarious and sometimes sobering way, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel encapsulates this struggle. And Mrs. Maisel, an upper-middle-class Jewish housewife gone rogue, is an example to all marketers and entrepreneurs who face great odds.
Here are a few things marketers can learn from Mrs. Maisel. Let’s take the microphone.
Sometimes You Just Need to Bare Your Tits
Within the first episode, Mrs. Maisel’s life gets turned upside down. Her husband (an aspiring yet awful comic) leaves her for his bland, thick-ankled, yet pretty secretary and uses Miriam’s womanly suitcase to pack up and leave.
Miriam Maisel is so pissed, she gets drunk on sherry and stumbles down to The Gaslight. She forces her way onto the stage and proceeds to bare her soul and ultimately her breasts to the meager audience.
What does she get for her brazen honesty? Roaring applause, an arrest, and a brand new life as a comic.
The Miriam Maisel of just a few hours prior wouldn’t have even thought to spill her guts in front of an audience. That kind of risk for an upper-crust Jewish woman in New York City was off-limits. But she still chose to take the risk and it eventually paid dividends.
Risk is part of being an entrepreneur and a marketer. Sometimes you have to do something brazen just to gain visibility. I’m not literally asking you to flash the world, but do something just as outrageous.
You Can’t Please Everyone
“Women aren’t funny!” Some jerk in the back of the audience yelled.
There will always be guys like that in the world. Mrs. Maisel learned first hand multiple times that you can’t please some people no matter how hard you try. That’s ok. Those people could go suck an eggplant; they weren’t really her audience anyway.
A real-world example is the recent Game of Thrones ending. Over 1.5 million have signed a petition to change the ending. That’s a good chunk of the 19.3 million. But the creators of the show aren’t going to listen. Why? Because it’s their art and those “fans” aren’t really their audience.
It’s like if you owned a fondue restaurant. No matter how many Facebook ads for restaurants you use, you’re only going to attract those who like fondue. People coming looking for a hamburger aren’t going to get a hamburger. And if you chose to add hamburgers to your menu, you probably wouldn’t please those people anyway.
Stick to what you know and what you do best. The people you don’t please aren’t your real customers anyway.
Authenticity is Always Your Best Bet
Susie Myerson is Mrs. Maisel’s agent. And she’s good. So good, in fact, that she gets Miriam a gig touring with one of the top female comics in the world, Sophie Lennon.
Sophie on stage is this Bronx wench-like woman who is crass and dirty and fat. And it’s an image she consistently shows to the public.
Sophie, before touring with Miriam, invites her to her house. Sophie is nothing like her stage appearance. In fact, she’s an ubber-rich-bitch socialite who hasn’t even stepped foot in her kitchen in years. She insults Miriam’s image and tells her that if she’s going to succeed, she has to be like Sophie.
In marvelous fashion, Miriam tears down Sophie. Trouble ensues, but eventually Miriam finds reward in sticking with her authentic act as a comic.
As an internet marketer, you have a tough audience. You’re looking at a mix of millennials and boomers and genXers. All of whom want authenticity in their brands. If you’re being fake, stop. Stop pretending to be a company who does more than you do. You’ll show your cracks eventually.
Admit to your faults and show how you’re constantly improving.
Mount That Stage
You face great odds as a marketer. You may not be a woman in the 50s (nobody today can understand their plight), but you’re pushing boundaries and setting trends.
Keep mounting that stage. Remain dauntless. Remain authentic and you’ll see great results.