Marketers, Stop Trying To Be The Loudest Voice In The Room

In a timeless 1970s book “Influence,” Robert Cialdini speaks of a hard-wired human behavior that drives a lot of our actions: reciprocity. It’s the principle that makes us want to give something back to someone who’s been kind and helpful to us. There’s an obvious evolutionary explanation: Imagine taking turns standing guard at night for wild […]

Strong beliefs, held loosely

As people managers, we often talk about creating an environment where each employee “feels like an owner.” We give out stock options, talk about aligned destiny (we all sink together or rise together in this startup!) and hire people who want to control their own future.   We accept the idea of ownership as an unbiased, […]

Ragnar Lothbrok vs Ira Glass: The Spectrum of Leadership

There are two kinds of leaders. One propels the team forward, aggressively tackling every problem. Fighting like hell to push everyone beyond the realm of possibility, exploding the obstacles along the way, motivating everyone with a battle cry and personally demonstrating what it truly means to struggle and win. Another creates emotional safety, an environment […]

The Wrong Incentives Are Killing Your Marketing

CEOs have complained for decades that half of marketing spend is wasted, and we don’t know which half. Despite the move to digital, the massive amount of data that Google and Facebook have collected about each of us and the near-Orwellian AI systems that can automatically pick a face in the crowd, we are close to where we started, with […]

Incrementality in Marketing: How to Be Confident in Your ROI (video)

I was at the MAU conference this year, discussing the topics of measurement and incrementality. How can you confidently tell whether the money you’re spending on marketing is bringing incremental customers or orders – those that wouldn’t have come anyway, without all your marketing hoopla?

Marketers, Your CFO Is Your Ally, Not Your Enemy

Many marketers have chosen our profession because we love the creative aspect of our work. We worship the brilliant campaigns of our colleagues, those that are remembered years later. We are constantly looking for an authentic, culturally relevant angle that pulls on heartstrings and creates an emotional connection that transcends the cold, transactional nature of commerce. For […]

The Dark Side of A/B Testing – Avoiding the Pitfalls

As product designers and marketers, we love the clarity that comes from A/B testing. We have an idea; we implement it; then, we let the customers decide whether it’s good or not by running a controlled experiment. We split the users into unbiased groups and watch one treatment overtake the other in a statistically significant, […]

Getting a Return from Awareness Marketing, or Measuring the Immeasurable

An engineer by training, I’ve always been attracted to problem spaces that offer a feedback loop. Got something right? Observe a metric go up. Want to know which approach your customers like better? Run an A/B test, look at the numbers, clearly see the best path forward. You can make a lot of product and […]

Incrementality in Marketing, or Marketing Economics 101

It’s easy to grow a consumer business: attract new customers, increase your sales. Just give your prospects money. That’s right, get on top of a nearby building and scream “Anyone want money? Take some of my money! I’ll pay for your first 5 purchases from me! And give you a $50 gift card!..” What, you’re […]

If your team isn’t on-track, try this

The most concise, truly beautiful definition of leadership I’ve heard is “having others WANT to follow you.” This definition means two things 1) that you’re actually moving somewhere, not standing still and 2) that others are convinced, not coerced, into going along. There are so many leadership books out there, some talking about vision, some […]

Your team just screwed up badly — here’s what you do next

You’ve been there. Someone on your team just screwed it up. Your production website went down in the middle of the night, it took hours to bring it back up. It’s 10am the next day, you’re at your daily standup, and the culprit is looking down, ashamed and quiet; the team is noticeably uncomfortable and […]