Dear Boss: I quit…………… (An imaginary email)

Dear Boss: Believe me, this is tougher for me to write than for you to read. I’m quitting, effective in two weeks. You deserve to hear why because it affects you directly. When I joined this company 10 years ago, we were at the forefront of technology adoption. If it was new and would help…

What’s a “Go-to-Customer” Plan?

Since the dawn of modern B2B marketing, those entrusted to create “go-to-market” plans typically spent eons analyzing markets and posed some obvious questions: What market(s) should we pursue? Why should we pursue these markets? How do our key markets differ from each other? What revenue and share results can we expect from these markets? Which…

Think Like da Vinci: Be a Genius

For many, our impressions of the great Leonardo da Vinci were shaped by Dan Brown’s wildly famous book, The da Vinci Code.  In it, da Vinci and his secret society progeny of generationally-connected elites are riddled with enigmas wrapped in mystery. From our modern perspective, it is all sleuth and magic – a veritable puzzle…

Unleash Your Inner Granny

In 1995, I attended a conference of digital elites in Arizona called Agenda. Technology mavens like Gates, Ellison and McNealy were there, less to sell than to mingle through who was doing what and how they were doing it.  Powerful VCs and Angels who could stroke checks faster than the GSA on a Vegas boondoggle…

Buzz Kill of Arrogant Marketing

My Mom always told me, “Don’t toot your own horn. Let others do it for you.”  To some, this counsel runs counter to how Freud’s id has us wired and requires far too much patience and reliance on others to execute properly. In a society that fawns foolishly over red carpet poses from talentless reality…

Question Marketing

Several years ago while brainstorming with a team at an agency searching for a name for their creative process, I tossed out a phrase, quite by accident, that stopped discussions on a dime: Question Marketing. Recognizing an “ah-ha: moment had occurred, the team jumped on the phrase like white on rice and ugly on an…

Nevermind the Elevator Pitch? What’s their Elevator Catch?

A well-honed elevator pitch is important for companies whose value propositions are not immediately apparent. For the Home Depots and McDonalds of the world, we “get” what you do. Their elevator pitches are relatively straightforward.  But for the vast majority of unknown B2B companies slugging it out in the trenches, an effective elevator pitch is…

The new CMO: An old dog with new tricks

In conversations with clients and prospects, I’m often asked how my role as a CMO for tech companies has changed in recent years. My answer is always the same: “a heckuva lot and it’s going to keep changing.” A skilled CMO of a decade ago has no resemblance to a skilled CMO today. They’re two…

Marketing to Personas, Selling to People

As buyers perform more independent research prior to engaging with a B2B sales professional, it stands to reason the marketer’s job continues further into the buying process than before. For this reason, sophisticated marketers get serious about drilling into different personas, displacing generic content with specific, precise content for a particular persona. But they also…

Let’s Reinvent Press Releases, Please

Having worked in and around PR for the better part of two decades, I’ve written more press releases than I can count. Some even had real news in them. Never a fan of the boxy formula (headline, sub head, dateline, lede, executive quote, other company’s quote, more info, call to action, boiler, contact), I toyed…

Use Catalytic Questioning to Solve Significant Problems

In an earlier post entitled “Question Marketing,” I made the case for question-based exploration and deep diving to identify and solve issues. It’s part Socratic method, part trial and error, and part creative brainstorming. Specifically, I wrote: “Question Marketing…came to be the process by which marketers use questions to clearly identify the right messages, the right…

On Becoming a Marketing Yogi

The HBR blog is a fountain of excellent, thought-provoking content. It seems agile narratives are all the rage these days, as several blogs (including mine) are full of stories about how marketers can shape “bendable” and “shareable” stories. Agile narratives remind me of the old adage, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”…

The Permanent Temporary and Strategic Tweakonomics

Since the financial crisis, temporary hires have increased by more than 50%, owing in large part to companies wanting to maintain as much flexibility as possible as the economy lumbered along. Given this trend it’s no surprise, therefore, that many companies also leveraged fractional C-Level executives (like those at my firm, TechCXO) to help guide…

Customer is Always Right and Other Rubbish

In my first job as a stock boy at Toys R Us, an imposing sign barked on the wall in the break room in big block letters: “The customer is always right.” Young, green and inexperienced, I took it as fact and operated accordingly, despite encountering customers at times who were downright mean or deserving…

More on Marketing Automation

Here’s a video and transcript of a recent interview I gave to Martech Advisor, one of the top publications following the exploding martech space. Again, if you’re a marketeer interested in new tools to grow your business, perhaps you’ll find it insightful. Market well.

The Why Behind Marketing Automation

I participated in an Integrate & Ignite Podcast recently, so I’m sharing that episode here. If you’re at all interested in marketing automation, you might find the content interesting. Enjoy. Market well.

New Digital Index, Lab Measure Online Consumer Satisfaction Globally

Northwestern University and Performics announced yesterday the Digital Satisfaction Index (DSI), “a tool to understand how consumers make connections with a brand leading up to their final decision to either engage and purchase something or go elsewhere.” In developing the DSI, Northwestern and Performics conducted in-person consumer interviews, surveys with probabilistic and non-probabilistic samples of more than…

Why Marketers Should Care Why People “Pass the Buck”

New research shows people are two to three times more likely to delegate a tough choice on behalf of someone else versus making a difficult choice on their own. According to the chief author, “People care more about avoiding blame for bad outcomes than getting credit for good outcomes.” This research should be of significant…

The 20 most popular TED Talks, as of this moment

  Ted Talks are generally terrific, bringing information, inspiration and innovation to the fore. This article highlights the top 20 Ted Talks, many of which are on my list of all time favorites. Enjoy and feel free to share the link. Top 20 Ted Talks Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity (2006): 23,510,221 views Jill Bolte Taylor‘s stroke…

Best. Voicemail. Ever.

No matter how bad a day you might have had, it’s hard not to laugh listening to this voicemail. Share the laughter.  

A writer’s intervention

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Ernest Hemingway Always amazed but never astonished at how tech companies tell stories, I sometimes experience pangs of sadness when I read butchered sentences riddled with off-putting words. Bouncy, unbalanced constructions and aimless meanderings make me woozy, like a…

R.I.P. CMO (circa 2014)

As managing director of the marketing practice at TechCXO, I serve as a fractional CMO for several tech companies. So, it might seem strange for me to forecast the pending demise of the Chief Marketing Officer title. Career suicide? Hardly. Marketing’s role continues to expand inside most enterprises, driven by the need to get more…

Stop Worrying About Making the Right Decision

With a major hat tip to Ed Batista for his recent HBR blog post on decision making, I’d encourage everyone to take 5 minutes to consider Batista’s analysis within the context of your own life and career. In his post, Batista recounts a lesson he learned from Scott McNealy, founder and former CEO of Sun…

“Good morning, my name is Brad”: An Ode to Rosetta Stone

I laugh every time I see this now famous ad for Rosetta Stone. A young Dutch man repeatedly intones and interrupts an interviewer with, “Good morning, my name is Brad.” Brad, clueless about what was being asked, nevertheless manages to belt out precisely what he knows, what he feels comfortable talking about: Himself. Unfortunately, the…

The Power of Video: Watch, Share and Forward

This is one of the most moving videos I have watched recently. Please watch it, share it and forward to your friends. Thank you…on behalf of Undying Loyalty. I am Reporting for Duty. Will you?

Eat more oranges: A marketing conundrum

As someone who is trying to get fit, I found this news quite intriguing. The gist of the story, found here, is that eating oranges is far better than drinking orange juice. While I intuitively knew this, I wonder how the marketing folks at orange groves or at Tropicana & Minute Maid deal with this…

WOW: A Piano Class for 32,000 Students

Further to my post yesterday regarding Italy and getting in touch with one’s senses in terms of marketing, I found this post quite amazing. Pianist Jonathan Biss is teaching a class on Beethoven’s sonatas to more than 32,000 students. Philadelphia-based Curtis Institute of Music, and Coursera, the California-based provider of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are…

Why Twitter’s new Conversations view is a big deal and why it matters for its IPO

Since I became an active Twitter user, I’ve wondered why the micro-blogging service didn’t codify conversations into aggregated threads, allowing users to read and comment on them sequentially, much like blog posts. Twitter’s Conversations view addresses this void and is likely to have a dramatic impact on communications among and between users, rather than mere…

Does your company actively visualize its value to customers?

I hate numbers. They’re so numbery. That’s why I hated math as a kid. Too many numbers. I did like School House Rock…you know the 3-6-9 song…but that was it. All other numbers, not so much. But numbers do have a purpose. Begrudgingly, I’ll admit as much. I mean, what would baseball be without all…