Articles on Marketing, Technology, and Ideation

Superhuman software

Let’s stop afterthoughting software training, because it scales better than code I tried using Superhuman, a recently PR-blitzed  (Google it up against date of this article) Silicon Valley enterprise designed for people who live in their inbox. It costs $30/month. Maybe that’s worth it, but I tried the free version of Superhuman, which is called “Gmail”, …

Think Different, a Case Study

Relentlessly, I reassure my software industry clients that I have a tech background despite headlining my consulting business with dreaded marketing. In fact, the other day when I asked a client for access to their dev site, and they linked me to a github repository, wherein lived a roll-your-own CMS built in Jango… I almost …

Can you “write” SEO?

Have you ever wondered while reading something, “Who wrote this, anyway”? Well, Google is wondering the same thing. And they want an answer. So, while the battle between literate, well-written web copy and SEO rages on, just a word of advice: associate yourself with your content as its author. Writing compelling, detailed content without cultivating equally …

Upside down homepage and other lead generation UX design patterns

A while back, I wrote that copywriting is 20% UX design. (By the way, UX design is a fancy way of saying “layout for digital interfaces.)” Benjamin Franklin knew this and co-wrote and designed a Declaration of Independence with – for his day – ample whitespace. His declaration was not just a transactional document; it was meant …

Introducing yourself

When you enter a group of people unknown to you, do you introduce yourself, or wait to be approached? Unless one of you is Barack Obama is subscribed to my email list under a pseudonym, you probably introduce yourself.  Because who are you, Barack Obama? By that I mean – who are you, someone well …

Art Marketing

Can I become a successful artist by delegating content creation? Is your art itself not content? Would you delegate the creation of the art, like the old Masters did, and Jeff Koons does now? Maybe so, but you would set the strategic direction, and decide when the work is finished, otherwise the whole thing is …

Five More Things: Principles, Jargon, Campaigns, Pricing, and Meditation

Five things on my mind this week: 1. Book I’m reading Principles, by Ray Dalio, which I touched on briefly the other day. His approach to life and business, which has led to the creation of the world’s largest hedge fund, is “a game”. The game consists of failing repeatedly, then being presented with a …

Business at first sight

When does “first sight” happen in business? Sometimes it happens we “do” outbound lead generation. Sometimes it happens naturally in the context of inbound marketing. There’s lead generation and there’s lead generation. In fact, there are dozens of methods of lead generation, for thousands of business models. I don’t know about all of them. I …

Business Philosophy

First of all, let’s get something clear: I’m a “dumb shit”.  These words of modesty come from Ray Dalio, self-made (unlike Trump) billionaire hedge fund entrepreneur. They are the opening lines of his the dual-volume Principles (of Life and of Work), which I am reading this week and finding fascinating. Despite his modesty, Ray is …

Five More Things: Cold email, Clasico, Cialdini, Campaigns, Coworking, and the Craftsmen-style

Five things on my mind this week: 1. Insight I’m agreeing with I watched a talk that cold email expert Alex Berman gave last year. When asked about the success factors of cold email outreach, Alex said: The biggest factor I’ve found is your website. It’s not even the content of your email, it’s not …

Email marketing at work in 6 steps

In email marketing getting the recipient to take action is the whole point. So here’s your opportunity to practice email marketing at work. Use these 6 steps to practice asking for something and make sure it’s just one thing.

Positioning police to the rescue

This article is about the importance of positioning to business development, especially for digital agencies. Whatever the hell that is. More on that below.   Someone recently asked this question on Quora: What has been the best B2B marketing tactic to convert cold sales leads to warm ones?   One of the best answers”: “There is …

Mechanics of consultative selling

In the 2020’s, all successful expertise consultants will ply their trade from an interactive broadcast studio; this is the essential communications conditions for a consultive selling mindset to flourish. Are you prepared?

Why Cultivating Confidence is Essential to Lead Generation and Sales. And Vice-Versa.

Contents Why confidence matters Who uses confidence to generate demand and sell? What determines your ability to sell? How to develop confidence in the value of the services you sell Conclusion: business confidence cultivation is an essential practice I wanted to atone for the article I wrote earlier this summer on the psychodynamics of selling …

What is a complex services business? (And what isn’t it)

Is yours a complex services business? It could be if your firm is one of these: Design agency Marketing firm Advertising agency Software/data service company Sofware publishing company PR firm Web agency Digital marketing firm Management consulting firm If you’re one of these, you may have some things in common with the rest of the …

Google Brand Score: Major Creative and Digital Agencies

Page One Score for big creative & digital agencies. If you could write (and design) results someone gets when they type your name into the first page of Google, what would the results be? What’s your Page One Score?

Unpacking the Two Best Kinds of Leads: Referrals and Word-of-Mouth

I bet you’ve heard this one before: “Word-of-mouth and referrals are the best possible leads”. Or how about “Word-of-mouth and referrals are problematic”. These are true statements, but there’s something missing, something very important about these two best kinds of leads. Tell me if you agree.

Hybrid Expertise: Design, Technology, Marketing, and Management Firms

What’s the difference, between the difference, between a UX consultancy, a digital ad agency, and a tech consulting firm?  In my opinion, less than we think. All digital services firms should offer a hybrid mix of creative, technological, and marketing expertise. Lemme know what you think.

The Cannabis SEO Principle

This article dives into one of the fastest growing industries worldwide and in the US: Cannabis. It also defines The Cannabis SEO Principle. Lastly, it asks you to rethink your SEO strategy.

The true cost – and hidden benefit – of lead generation blogging

This is a long one, so feel free to skip ahead Content marketing is taking took over the world Don’t take this advice (without carefully considering it) Paper-napkin cost of blogging How to tell a good blog from a waste of time Content vs Insight Is thought leadership contagious? Caculating return on investment My first attempt …

Greatest Advertisement of All Time?

A popular question, an impossible question to answer, and an interesting mental exercise. This article reviews three advertisements singled out by David Ogilvy, including a “B2B ad” written by Raymond Rubicam, to try to find an answer.

What is Brand Messaging, Anyway?

I do brand messaging, which is the expression in writing of positioning and brand identity.  On the most basic level that means writing compelling words, which applies to every kind of sales and marketing. Sometimes it’s useful to refer to this as just key copy, or key messages. But to really understand how brand messages …

Here’s a Bad Idea: Commissions for Complex or Consultive B2B Services

A commission-based compensation arrangement is not a good idea when it comes to B2B marketing and business development. At least not when the sale of complex and consultive services is at stake. Not good for the business owner, not good for the sales and marketing consultant, and not good for the client. Lose-lose-lose. That said, …

David Ogilvy’s Secret Weapon

David Ogilvy’s secret was not direct response marketing – it was a book about direct response marketing called “Tested Advertising Methods”, by John Caples.

Turn the new Google Ad Grants rules into an opportunity

Standards, regulations, and rules. These are always problematic, right — really? Well, I’m not sure that’s true of the new Google Ad Grants rules that went into place on January 1st of 2018. Here’s a fact: Ad Grants–holders must now maintain an AdWords CTR (click-through-rate) of 5% or else their accounts will be suspended. There …

Digital marketing is a sales job

Anytime you go to the market, you are *marketing*. And that’s the point: marketing is selling. We divide the work of the so-called marketer and the salesperson into two for logistical reasons, not functional reasons.

What I learned about digital marketing from cold calling. Short story. Non-fiction.

This is a short story about digital marketing and cold calling. Fresh out of school, I got a paid internship in San Mateo, CA. It was in the heart of Silicon Valley, during the dotcom boom, with “NewMedia”, a print and online magazine right in the middle of the digital world — exciting, I know, …

Writing about your work

Back in the Clinton years, I interned at a publishing company in New Orleans and read “queries”, synopses of manuscripts that long-haul truckers, crawfish farmers, and microwave-oven chefs wanted to publish. That made me ask myself: what’s the value of writing about your work– does it make you think differently about it?

How to budget planning into digital projects

A collection of thoughts on project planning and especially the importance of budgeting the right amount of planning time into projects. #CatastropheAversion

Definición de la estrategia digital

Publicista y tertuliano tuitero Drayton Bird preguntó retóricamente: Why do people describe themselves so ludicrously here? As in "visionary", "thought-leader", "strategist" etc. — Drayton Bird (@DraytonBird) August 30, 2012 Me hizo pensar. Es verdad que es una especie de absurdez autodenominarse visionario o líder de pensamiento sin ironía. Es como calificarse a sí mismo “legendario”. …

How to get marketing ideas. Including digital ones

In the book, A Technique for Producing Ideas, author James Webb Young lays out an ideation method that is “as definite a process as the production of Fords.” I think the approach still works in the Digital era.

What is the definition of digital strategy?

David Ogilvy once said, “Drayton Bird knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world.” Wow, not a bad testimonial. Naturally, I tend to pay attention to what Drayton Bird says, especially when he says it ludicrous to describe yourself as a strategist. So what is the definition of digital strategy?