On the Thursday before Labor Day, good marketers across Canada and the United States are thinking  just one thing: How early can I sneak out today? Gentle friends, let me help you out. Go now. Run. And take with you these links to terribly important marketing things you need to ponder from home. Or maybe on a dock or a beach. Certainly, you’ll want a drink in hand. 

Insights from the Brink of Madness
Matthew Inman is a strange, strange man whose alter ego, The Oatmeal, has much to say about cats in the workplace, food, smartphones and, grammar.  If you have to work with people who’s inability to use an apostrophe is sometime’s frustrating; or those who really don’t understand semicolons; then you should check out his very funny cartoon guides to these and other vexing points of language. He also writes letters to chewing gum.  

A Time-Limited Way to Look Organized
You are probably feeling the tug of that black hole known as 2012 planning.  Before you slip past the event horizon, grab this helpful document from Marketing Sherpa. It’s a nifty overview of B2B budget allocations and it’s well worth stealing so you can pretend you’ve given the whole thing a great deal more thought than it really deserves. It’s free until September 16, so best hurry.  

Nerds Can be Snarky Too
Silicon.com has a daily feed with the usual updates on the comings and goings of the technology world. But on Friday, they publish a deliciously written, often bitchy round-up of the week’s drama. If you don’t care about technology you can give this one a miss but if you work in the business or just like a good bit of gossip, check it out here.  

All This and Clogs Too
Who says the Dutch haven’t got a sense of humour? Well nobody, I hope. After all, they’ve given us Gouda. But just in case the thought had occurred to you, a visit to this site is a must. It’s a department store with about the best online marketing department in the world. I have sent this link every day for a couple of weeks now to my friends in e-commerce asking when they can build one of these for me. Oddly, they haven’t responded. Click the link, let the page load and then wait a few seconds. Genius.  

Putting Simple in Marketing Where it Belongs
You just have to admire an organization that sets out to eliminate complexity in marketing planning  by publishing a 122 page document telling you just how to do that. This meaty document from the kind people at the Marketing Leadership bit of the Corporate Executive Board has some wonderful case studies about where things get weird in marketing planning and what smarter people than you have done about it. It’s probably only available to members but here is a blog post with most of the important bits . If you do get your hands on the document itself, you’ll want about 2 litres of ice cream and some absinthe to tackle this in one go, but it’s probably worth it if you are feeling the need to self-medicate your way through another planning season.

A Few Tiny Reasons Not to Hate Your Agency Quite so Much
Steffan Postaer’s blog, Gods of Advertising, reminds me that it’s wrong to be as mean to agencies as I often am. It doesn’t really stop me but it makes me realize that within the bloated, smug, latte-scented halls of the most loathed agencies, there are good, talented people who know the difference between great creative and work that sells things for other people. He has a wonderful writing style, stands up to the industry’s tendency to examine its own colon and generously celebrates good work wherever he finds it. If you’re pissed at your agency, read this before you start “losing” their invoices.  

It’s not your Fault. Really.
Do you cry a lot at work? Not sure why? This study from Booz & Co. may help you understand your despair. You see, it turns out that B2B companies lack a strong marketing tradition and basically the leadership sucks and fails to nurture what small amount of talent may be creeping about the hallways trying very hard not to be swatted with a broom. Actually, it’s a pretty stark, but blessedly brief look at some of the skill gaps that stand between most of us and the worship we so richly deserve. Free, Useful, What’s not to like?

Contentment by the Dashboard Light
For those of us who have trouble understanding our own dashboards, this e-book  just couldn’t come soon enough. It’s from Marketo, among the best content marketers on the planet, in my opinion. It’s easy to read, doesn’t try to sell you stuff and will make you sound waaaay smarter than everyone else in the room including the smug idiot from finance. Did I mention it’s free?  

It’s Okay, Nobody Else Quite Gets it Either
Most B2B marketers work so hard all summer it’s small wonder notable resources slip past us while we toil away on the shady patios of modern commerce. So you may have missed this gem from Hubspot . For reasons unknown, it doesn’t mention Google+ but it’s a very good primer on all other things Gooey, like Places, News, Docs, Grumpy, Bashful… oh dear. Well if you’re not too sure why you should both fear and worship the Big G, take a look at this. It’s free and it’s a quick read.