The Art Of Marketing 2012

Nope, not a typo – an attendee survey just landed in my inbox and one of the questions was asking who I’d like to see speak at next year’s Art Of Marketing.

One of the comments I heard many times last week was “isn’t it odd there’s no women speaking here?”. If you assume that women are equally represented in the field of marketing speakers, you’ve got a 0.5^5 chance of getting an all-male schedule. Wow… that’s one in 32 (yes, maths was my first love).

So, whilst I’m not in favour of positive discrimination, I was quite keen to get a couple of women on the schedule for next year. Let’s take a look at their suggestions on the survey form:

Biz Stone – co-founder Twitter
Charlene Lee – shoe designer
Chip Heath – professor of Organizational Behavior and co-author of “Made To Stick”
Chris Anderson – editor-in-chief of Wired, author of “The long Tail”
Chris Brogan – speaker, blogger, co-author of “Trust Agents”
Dan Ariely – professor of behavioral economics and author of “Predictably Irrational”
Dan Roam – author “The Back Of The Napkin”
Dana White – president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship
Daniel Pink – author of “Drive”, speechwriter and motivational speaker
Gary Vaynerchuk – wine expert, founder of, author of “Crush It”
Guy Kawasaki – co-founder of, previously chief evangelist at Apple, author of “Enchantment”
Malcolm Gladwell – author “The Tipping Point”, writer for NYT
Mark Zuckerberg – founder Facebook
Paul Lavoie – Co-founder TAXI (advertising agency)
Seth Godin – speaker, blogger, author of “Tribes”
[links will open in another window/tab]

They did allow space  for a write-in, but their suggestions are 14 men and 1 woman.
And I’m not entirely sure they mean Charlene Lee… I suspect they might actually mean Charlene Li – author of “Open leadership” and co-author of “Groundswell”.

Is there something wrong here? Clearly there is. But where’s the problem? Is it that the people behind The Art Of Marketing are horrendously sexist? Somehow I doubt it. Is it that marketing is an almost exclusively male preserve? Personal experience tells me that’s very much not the case. Is it that women don’t make good entrepreneurs? Certainly not. Maybe women don’t want to become public speakers? I don’t know… I’m at a loss to explain this.

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