It seems obvious until you try to map it out.

“What is digital marketing?” seems like a trivial question. It’s right there, in the name — “marketing that is done with fingers”, obviously.

To break it down a bit — marketing, which let’s just say means “communicating value of product or service to potential customers”, and “digital” which is like, “using computers and stuff”. Easy, right?

Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

But, hold on, what doesn’t use digital tools in 2021?

Saying “digital marketing” is akin to saying “digital farming”, “digital accountancy”, or “digital shit-shoveling”.

Sure, growing corn and tracking payroll can benefit from the use of computers. It still isn’t really fair to say…


Why companies choose to ignore the problems that (eventually) kill them.

If you want to be an effective consultant or freelancer, you have to help your client deal with the big problems. You have to hunt these problems down, even as your client or employer actively tries to hide them from you. Weird, right?

I’m talking about those big, ugly problems that have become intractable, the ones that make everyone feel miserable. Those are the ones that people avoid talking about. Instinctively. The organization has learned to avoid mentioning them. These problems become “the thing that shall not be named”.

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

How an “Invisible Problem” Develops

I’ve seen this pattern develop in start-ups and in big, multinational…


The Trap That Eats Start-ups and Entrepreneurs.

You should be worried if your boss or client ever says “we have no competitors, we are the best at what we do, and no one does anything similar to what we do”. You should be downright scared if you ever hear yourself say something similar.

“But, having no competition is good!” a novice entrepreneur might say. Sure, the imagination of owning an entire market to yourself sounds like a shortcut to world domination. Someone has to be first, after all. …


Five non-obvious (and three obvious) mistakes you’re making on your landing pages — drawn from personal experience.

A good landing page will communicate the value of your product, provide reasons why what you have to sell is the best solution for the buyer, and give them a very simple binary choice — “buy” or “don’t buy”.

Simple, right?

Most Landing Pages are Broken

While the concept is simple, the execution of it often sucks. You get pages that don’t convert, turn off your prospective buyers, and maybe even damage the brand in the process.

These pages are often created by inexperienced marketers (especially if it’s a founder bootstrapping their own business). …


How a basic Kaizen principle applies to digital content marketing.

The Andon cord is a thick weave of synthetic highlighter-alarm-yellow that used to run the length of every assembly line of every Toyota plant. Along with the hundreds of metric tons of door assemblies and engine parts and radio knobs that snaked their way through these assembly lines, so did the cord. Gently swaying to the humming rhythm of heavy machinery and man working in concert, it was there, a safety measure, and a key to continuous improvement.

Pull the cord, and the machine stops.

An employee could, with a simple tug of the cord, bring the entire assembly line to a standstill. Any employee. Non-manager, non-supervisor…


2021/04/06

The Czech sky is gray today, churning. The winter that has been seemingly in retreat for a week now claws its way back from the moist crevices of afternoon shadows. A chill in the wind brings a light dusting of snow. These small white grains fatten up over the course of minutes until your field of vision is consumed with white streaks. Sakura flowers that have appeared only the past weekend are now surrounded by falling crystals.

The grains resemble styrofoam now, moving along with the wind in the wake of some great unboxing, little eddies form in them…


Old Marketing Campaign Rule That Every Digital Marketer Should Know

When you think of cutting-edge marketing, direct mail is not what comes to mind. And yet, despite previously declining numbers, it’s proving to be a resilient marketing niche, and still represents the largest local advertising spend of $38.5 billion in 2020. There is a sort-of minimalist purism in direct-mail marketing. The message is delivered to the prospect, and that’s it. No cookies, no click-throughs, just a pass or fail, convert or wind up in the garbage can. …


At least if you want to build a business, rather than a pyramid scheme.

Clarity is the thin membrane that separates disaster from success. That 5-degree difference in heading that separates the wayward cruise ship from a near-miss to “abandon ship” — that’s the importance of clarity. That time Pepsi had to buy a contest winner a harrier jet — that’s a lack of clarity. The feeling of confusion when you operate a new machine, and the manual just doesn’t tell you how to get the result you want — that’s is the cost of a lack of clarity.

Photo by Deann DaSilva on Unsplash

I am a fan of clarity. I see it as the cornerstone for strong communications…


In this clip from “You Don’t Know Nicotine”, filmmaker Aaron Biebert discusses the public association of “nicotine” with the harm of cigarette smoking. The word “nicotine” has become so closely associated with smoking that it’s often used as a synonym. Let’s be clear: Smoking is harmful. Smoking tobacco kills half its users, over 8 million people each year.

“Nicotine” and “cigarette” are the same thing to many.

But what about nicotine? Psychologists and tobacco-addiction specialists worldwide now think it’s time to distinguish this well-known alkaloid from the effects of smoking. With many smoking alternatives available, nicotine can and is being…


COVID-19 is transforming what it means to be a teacher, bringing financial opportunity.

Teaching is a noble but demanding job. It’s also relatively rare for a teacher to be paid well. Without an advanced degree and tenure, schoolteachers often get a pretty raw deal. It’s getting more difficult for a teacher to buy a house in the UK, and many U.S. teachers take a second job just to get by. Still, the emotional satisfaction of doing something truly important often helps teachers stick to their profession.

In 2020, teachers saw the typical lack of resources and support compound, as they went from educators to medical safety and logistics organizers, as well as de…

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