In Defense of the Digital Marketing Ninja

I await in the shadows of my niche for my next target. 

I await in the shadows of my niche for my next target. 

Mallie Hart recently let off some steam in her post, 4 Ways Ninjas and Digital Marketing Don’t Mix. She claimed the descriptor “digital marketing ninja” —  sometimes used in social media profiles —  was an irresponsible, inaccurate, and “dangerous” title because of the secrecy and lack of ethics associated with ninja-hood.

I say: eff that noise. Ninjas are awesome. And if you call yourself a digital marketing ninja, you should hold your black-clad head up proud and keep on doing you. Here’s why:

1) Ninjas stick to the shadows.

Let’s say you were the CEO of an SMB B2B LLC. You need a digital marketing expert to help your company shine. Who are you going to pick: a “guru” who is so busy on speaking engagements and selling webinars that his clients are taking a backseat to his self-promotion, or a ninja who quietly plots and executes impeccable marketing strategies, preferring to put the spotlight on his client? Ninjas are the wind beneath their clients’ wings.

2) Ninjas are Vigilant with a capital “V.”

An essential part of marketing and ninja-ness is competitive intelligence, aka spying on your rivals. A digital marketing ninja will watch the competition’s every move, anticipate their next steps, and provide detailed reporting on their movements and interactions. This saves the client thousands of dollars on advertising and hundreds of man hours, trying to figure out what works: the competition has already done this for you. All is clear through the eyes of a ninja.

3) Ninjas are Freelancers.

Do you know the origins of the term “freelance”? It comes from Ye Olde Dayes of Chivarly, when Knights Errant roamed the land, in search of adventure (and moolah). Their bread and butter was in tournaments; specifically, jousting, where they would be hired by the local king to wield a lance and bash the other guy at high velocity. The next month, they could just as easily be hired by the other guy’s king: he was free to sell his lancing services. Thus, “freelancer.”

Ninjas work under the same business model: they’re assassins and spies for hire.  A great digital marketing ninja will have the flexibility to work with clients of various needs, and can switch marketing platforms as easily as an actual ninja can leap from rooftop to rooftop (while gliding through the air with the help of invisible wires).

4) Two words: Throwing Stars.

Ok, so hopefully a digital marketing ninja isn’t tossing sharp-edged projectiles at her client’s competitors, but she should have an impressive arsenal of tools and resources at her disposal. Canva and Buffer are the Bo and poison darts  of marketing. So cool.

5) Ninjas have a Code of Conduct.

Mallie Hart asserted that ninjas had no code of honor. Mallie Hart, have *you* no honor, ma’am? Ninja absolutely have a code: Ninpo. While Ninjutsu is the physical combat and stealth techniques practiced by ninja, Ninpo is the fundamental spiritual training for a ninja. The Gojo are the Treasured Writings within Ninpo.

Here is the Gojo as written by Hatsumi-Soke of the Bujinkan Ninjutsu Organization:

Fumetsu no Fuse 不滅の不施 Everlasting giving

Mamichi no Jikai 真道の持戒  Vow of the true way

Shizen no Ninniku 自然の忍辱 Natural resolve

Shizen no Choetsu 自然の超越 Transcendance of nature

Komyo no Satori 光明の悟り  Illumination of the awakening

So basically, ninja believe in being of service, in staying true to themselves, in persevering over difficulty, in finding spiritual purity, and in finding illumination.  That sounds an awful lot like someone seeking growth, to me.

And that’s the ultimate goal of the digital marketing ninja: to use his training, experience, and knowledge of the digital marketplace to help his client’s company grow.

So, digital marketing ninja, wherever you are: continue your silent art. Mallie Hart may squirm at the notion of you, but your clients are reaping the benefits while you hone your throwing stars, waiting…quietly waiting…for the next assignment.


(PS, Mallie, if you’re reading this, thanks for the inspiration. You and Go Creative Go! are awesome — dare I say — digital marketing ninjas.) 

Do you consider yourself a digital marketing ninja?  Spread this post throughout your underground network of spies.