“She knew what I was without me having to explain it.”—my youngest daughter, delighted that someone understood her Halloween costume.

It was simple: a burlap skirt, a loose linen shirt, a straw headdress, and a bit of dirt smudged on her face.

But she was getting a whole lot of “Why do you have straw on your head?”

So when someone got it without asking, there was an immediate bond.

This was one of her people.

So much to unpack here, right?

First, you need to know she was Nori Brandyfoot.

And if that’s confusing to you, you need to know she was a Harfoot.

And if that’s confusing to you, you need to know that Harfoots are the ancestors of Hobbits (I’m using capital Hs here out of respect for fictional races of lovable halflings).

And that Bilbo and Frodo Baggins were like Nori, abnormally drawn to adventure.

It could also help if you’ve watched the Amazon series The Rings of Power, which is a prequel to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

All caught up?

Or not so Tol-keen?

Sorry. I had to.

Now we can talk about how, when we choose to do a thing few people really understand and we practice our craft out in the wild (aka dressing up as Nori Brandyfoot for Halloween), we have to be willing to live with the fact that a large portion of the people we encounter will be confused.

It’s frustrating, yes.

But here’s the thing:

When someone does recognize that thing you’re doing as incredibly valuable to them (aka is a fan of The Rings of Power and totally gets it), the connection is crazy strong.

They will feel drawn to you.

They’re your people.

I’ve been working on a go-to-market strategy with a service business that hired Audience Ops to help out, and, as we’ve been diving into who their Ideal Client Persona (ICP) truly is, there’s been some concern about my recommendation to niche down.

They do a handful of things incredibly well for a wide range of clients.

But what they want is a steady stream of qualified interest in one service in particular (the most lucrative and exciting one they offer).

To scale that type of growing interest, they need to figure out what will resonate strongly with clients who value that particular service.

Clients who will encounter them and think, “Yes. This is for ME. This is exactly what we need.”

They need to attract clients with a specific worldview by building a world they can inhabit.

A place where no one has to ask, “Why do you have straw on your head?”

Because they’ve got straw on their heads, too.

Ashley Guttuso | Audience Ops  

Newsletter Tips

Content Marketing


Looking Forward And Looking Back

It’s that point in the year when people predict the next year’s marketing trends and challenges.

Looking Forward

If you could narrow down marketing trends that have the potential to make the greatest impact on marketing in 2023, what would they be? Shann Biglione, writing for The Drum, says they’re:

  1. The sobering up of tech
  2. Partnerships leaning on the big guns
  3. Social media turns into social mayday

Similarly, Caroline Forsey lists 7 challenges you can expect in the coming year (as well as how to prepare) in this HubSpot article.

Looking Back

The Marketoonist has officially been in publication for 20 years now. Tom Fishburne shares a little of what he’s learned as well as some of his iconic cartoons here.

Best insight?

“Marketing is constantly in a state of flux, with an endless stream of shiny new things to distract us. But the more things change, the more they stay the same.”


Money Matters

Audience Ops InsightsAudience Ops Insights

Video Testimonials Are More Compelling Than Written Ones

Customer testimonial videos are incredibly powerful because there's way less skepticism about whether the brand made up what the customer is saying.

The premise

It’s not a text quote.

Or a written story your brand polished to perfection.

It’s a real person who spent their valuable time being recorded explaining why they love your brand.

It’s compelling proof a real person like your prospect has had success using your product or service.


What we’ve found

Part of what we love about the work as a content creation partner is that interviewing a brand’s customers for these videos really helps us understand their ICP and strategize additional meaningful content. It’s a wonderful first project for us to take on for new clients for that reason.

When we plan additional content after working on these testimonials, we have specific people in mind, and we can create especially FOR THEM because we have a much better understanding of what challenges and motivates them.

Bonus insight

Not only do videos resonate really strongly with buyers in a consideration phase, they can also work to increase brand awareness and help buyers understand what you sell.

Repurposing shorter versions of these videos as paid ads means they’re no longer just capturing demand, they’re creating it by delivering a micro story with the best details to educate right in the social feed (no click required to learn).

Interested in video customer testimonials and case studies your audience will love? Reach out to Audience Ops and mention Case Studies.


Opt In ChallengeOpt In Challenge

Like this newsletter?

Let me know. Reply, email me at Ashley[at], or find me on LinkedIn to hit me with some feedback. I’d love to know what you think.

Happy content marketing (and newslettering),

Ashley Guttuso | Audience Ops