The 4 Super Powers of Today’s Marketing Leaders

A couple weeks back I contributed to a Forbes CMO network in an article about the traits of successful marketing leaders. It’s an important topic, so I decided to expand on it here.

The marketing function is becoming more complex, more strategic and more interesting. More complex because today marketers need to take advantage of more tools and technologies available to us: from marketing automation to big data to social media.

More strategic because companies are recognizing the deep relationship between marketing and business strategy and CEOs have a better understanding of the value of marketing and its potential as a source of competitive advantage. More interesting because all these tools and channels are opening many new possibilities as areas like psychology intersect with marketing creating behavioral economics – an area that is both fascinating and fundamental to every marketer.

In this broader context of marketing, how do we marketing leaders need to grow? What are the most important traits we need to develop? There are four at the top of the list:


1. Revenue ownership and accountability.

Yes, metrics are important, but modern marketers can no longer claim success measuring their contribution to the business based on ambiguous metrics like followers, brand value, impressions, or clicks. We need to show how marketing directly impacts the business, we need to connect marketing activities result in growth. And we need to make sure every member of the marketing team is focused on business value, and not only metrics, every single day. Continue reading “The 4 Super Powers of Today’s Marketing Leaders”

Why Minimum Wage Increases are Bad for American Workers

Minimum Wages bad for working people

The Minimum Wage Increase Shows Our Congress Does Not Understand Fundamental Economics

21 states raised the minimum wage on January 1st. Many are celebrating this a civil rights victory and a great step towards fixing inequality. They are wrong; it is a sad day for US workers.

The increase has the right intention: everyone would like to see hard working people make more money. I do not know how families get by on minimum wage and I surely hope every hard working American had more means to cover their basic needs, education and to enjoy life.

The problem is that this is not how a capitalist economy works. Economic prosperity does not come as a result of legislation. In a market economy, artificial adjustments can harm the economy and result counter-productive. Continue reading “Why Minimum Wage Increases are Bad for American Workers”

9 Marketing Un-Predictions for 2015

marketing predictions for 2015

By now we have all read a handful of posts on marketing predictions for the New Year. While some predictions reflect trends and areas where marketers definitely need to look into, some are potentially more distracting than useful.

The marketing job never ends: there is always something else we could be doing to grow the business. Marketing is getting more and more complex. These two factors drive, today more than ever, the importance of focus.

The essence of focus are the things you will not do. Focus is about understanding the distractions, the buzzwords, the nice-to-haves and even the good opportunities that we must pass on to allow us to work on those activities that will have the best results.

This is why I wanted to share my Marketing Un-Predictions for the year:

  1. Mobile first is wrong. I am not saying to ignore mobile. I am suggesting we should kill mobile projects in lieu of thinking cross-device always. Today, there is no “mobile”: the line between smartphones, tablets and portable computers is blurred. Marketers must think cross-device (responsive design, device-neutral, cross-browser) from the beginning for all important channels: Websites to marketing campaigns should be designed for mobile and tablet and desktop and everything in-between.

Continue reading “9 Marketing Un-Predictions for 2015”

The Mirage of Data

The Mirage of Data

Big Data and data-driven marketing are two of the most prominent business buzzwords.

New technologies are giving businesses access to larger amounts of data and tools that help us analyze data faster, in larger volumes than ever before. It feels empowering in our quest for the answers. We want data to illuminate the way for us.

Data enables us to make the right decisions and to bulletproof our plans – Or does it?

[quote]”It is possible to be drowning in data and still none the wiser” – Paul Laughlin[/quote]

A couple years ago, one of the World’s most innovative companies was about to launch a massive project. They invested in a research project as large as they come, hiring three of the top consulting companies at the time, and spending 8 figures to interview 200,000 people in 54 cities and 22,000 individuals at 3000 corporations. All this research and data should have guided the project and ensured success, right? Continue reading “The Mirage of Data”

The Best Marketing & Strategy Books

Best Marketing Strategy Books

These are the Top Marketing & Strategy Books of all time.

My favorites, the ones that shaped my thinking and taught me the most. A few leadership and management books thrown in as an extra. These are the books I would recommend to someone who wants to become an awesome marketer, strategist or leader – students, product marketers and CEOs.

I would love to hear what books you think I should add to the list, please add your suggestions in the comments.

I love reading. In addition to Kindle, I have listened to probably a hundred books on I stopped listening to music on my commute, instead I have had the opportunity to learn a lot from dozens of authors. I really recommend it, try Audible here, you get two books free. Continue reading “The Best Marketing & Strategy Books”

7 Fundamentals to Build a Content Marketing Competency

7 Fundamentals of Content Marketing

This post appeared first as a contribution to Kapost’s Marketter blog –  

For most marketers, content marketing is a priority. If you are in this camp, perhaps you have been thinking about how to build a content marketing machine.

It is not easy. Most marketing teams fail at it. Either because they cannot produce the content they need or because the content they create is not effective. You can only build effective content repeatedly and consistently if you build a competency.

That’s the topic of this presentation, which was presented at the Austin Digital Marketing Summit last week. In it, I make 7 key points that might help you build a content marketing competency:

Continue reading “7 Fundamentals to Build a Content Marketing Competency”

Hook: 4 Steps to Building Habit-Forming Products

Nir Eyal on Manufacturing Desire - Hooked

This is a guest contribution from Nir Eyal, Nir writes, consults, and teaches about the intersection of business, psychology and technology. Nir founded two tech companies and has taught at the Stanford School of Business .Nir is also an advisor to several Bay Area start-ups , venture capitalists, and incubators. In addition to blogging at, Nir is a contributing writer for Forbes, TechCrunch, and Psychology Today. In this posts he walks us through the science of building habit-forming products.

Type the name of almost any successful consumer web company into your search bar and add the word “addict” after it. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Try “Facebook addict” or “Twitter addict” or even “Pinterest addict” and you’ll soon get a slew of results from hooked users and observers deriding the narcotic-like properties of these web sites. How is it that these companies, producing little more than bits of code displayed on a screen, can seemingly control users’ minds? Why are these sites so addictive and what does their power mean for the future of the web?

We’re on the precipice of anew era of the web. As infinite distractions compete for our attention, companies are learning to master new tactics to stay relevant in users’ minds and lives. Today, just amassing millions of users isno longer good enough. Companies increasingly find that their economic value is a function of the strength of the habits they create. But as some companies are just waking up to this new reality, others are already cashing in.

First-to-Mind Wins

A company that forms strong user habits enjoys several benefits to its bottom line. For one, this type of company creates associations with “internal triggers” in users’ minds. That is to say, users come to the site without any external prompting. Instead of relying on expensive marketing or worrying about differentiation, habit-forming companies get users to cue themselves to action by attaching their services to the users’ daily routines and emotions. A cemented habit is when users subconsciously think, “I’m bored,” and instantly Facebook comes to mind. They think, “I wonder what’s going on in the world?” and before rationale thought occurs, Twitter is the answer. The first-to-mind solution wins. Continue reading “Hook: 4 Steps to Building Habit-Forming Products”

Does Content Marketing Work in Boring Industries?

Content Marketing in unintteresting industrues

This is a guest post by Russel Cooke

One of the biggest challenges for many businesses is coming up with a content marketing strategy that stands out. Content marketing is a vitally important aspect of any modern marketing plan. One only needs to witness the success cultivated by GoPro cameras with their YouTube channel to show how content marketing can be the key to unlocking hidden sales opportunities and boosting user engagement.

But GoPro sells video cameras. Specifically, they sell portable, lightweight, water- and shock-proof video cameras aimed at extreme athletes, explorers, and daredevils. Their videos show people jumping off cliffs, testing homemade flying machines, and climbing mountains. People have used GoPros in space and at the bottom of the ocean. Even 99% of the people who own a GoPro don’t end up using it for such exciting things, it’s remains an instantly engaging, interesting product. Continue reading “Does Content Marketing Work in Boring Industries?”

Buyer Psychology and Customer Value: Why People Buy Starbucks coffee?

How Starbucks Differentiated in a Commodity Market

Hint: it is probably not because of the quality of the coffee.

This post was inspired by a question on Quora that asked if Starbucks coffee was really superior and how the company made it addictive. What i found very interesting about this question is that the quality of the coffee is not really that important. There are other psychological and emotional reasons why Starbucks is so successful worldwide.

After all, contrary to what most people believe, we all make purchase decisions emotionally and then (sometimes) justify them rationally. This is true in B2B and B2C, it is true for $1 or for $1 Billion purchases. And it is critical for all marketers to understand.

Continue reading “Buyer Psychology and Customer Value: Why People Buy Starbucks coffee?”

Embracing Market Disruptions – the End of TV as We Know It

Market Disruptions Strategy

Many products, especially technology products, are marketed as revolutionary or game-changing. Most people know better than to trust marketers at face value on claims like these.

Disruptions to the market could be defined as those who alter the balance of an industry between supplies, consumers, existing and new competitors and alternatives – Porter’s five forces. These changes alter the industry’s profitability, growth rates and expectations for future growth.

Examples of true disruptions include when streaming TV and movies over the Internet (Netflix, Hulu) became a viable alternative to in-store rentals (RIP, Blockbuster) or when computer components enabled smaller companies (Dell) to compete at lower costs than industry leaders (IBM, HP).

Market leadership is not powerful enough to stop market disruptions

In the majority of cases, the new technology was available to industry leaders who chose to disregard it as a fad or inferior to their existing technology. There were clear signals of the market disruption, which leaders chose to ignore.

Sony ignored the digital music revolution, allowing Apple to dominate the market with the iPod and iTunes. Sony had everything to win: the company invented portable music with the Walkman a few decades ago. Sony owns movie and music publishers and distributors. Sony produces consumer electronics, computers, and mobile phones. The company’s mission is to innovate around content to deliver new experiences. And yet, Sony chose not to participate in the disruption. Continue reading “Embracing Market Disruptions – the End of TV as We Know It”