Digital Marketing Trends, Part 1 of 5: Discontent Marketing

As part of the daily curation I do with #the5, I get a chance from time to time to aggregate all the news I collect to look for trends. In this 5 part series, we’re going to examine some current trends in digital marketing and what they mean for you.

Discontent Marketing

Here are a few of the choice headlines in the last 7 months worth reflecting on:

“Is podcasting the next big thing in sponsored content?”
“Why content marketing is like a food truck”
“Right and wrong ways to ignite your content”
“Media must differentiate your content”
“Don’t let secret sauce thinking ruin your content marketing”

The reality is that much of our thinking about content marketing is still highly executional. How do we know this? Consider the evolution of any marketing methodology:


In the beginning, we talk shop. How do you write a blog post? What microphone do you use for podcasting? We focus on the how – and when you examine much of the content being created about content marketing, it’s very much about the how.

Once you’ve figured out the how, you evolve to thinking about what to do, what choices to make. Content marketing isn’t there yet.

The last stage of evolution for any marketing method is strategy, why you’re doing what you do (and how you do it). We’re still in the nascent days of understanding content strategy in a concrete way.

This isn’t to say that businesses and marketers have no strategy at all; content strategy itself hasn’t developed because we still don’t have a great grasp of what works and what doesn’t. Strategy only evolves out of the complex collection of data, analysis, and insights that precede it in execution and tactics.

How To Make Use of This Trend

If you don’t have a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t, you cannot evolve content marketing beyond the execution phase. You simply throw things at the wall repeatedly and hope. Thus, the foundation of evolving your content marketing to higher levels is based on the accurate collection of data, thorough analysis of the data, and development of insights from your analysis.

Chances are, your competitors haven’t figured out content marketing in any meaningful way. You likely have an opportunity to seize the space and own it, but the window of opportunity is narrow. Try things out with a rigorous discipline of measurement behind your efforts. Quickly identify what works, then scale those efforts while testing new ideas. By doing so, you’ll develop your tactical cookbook faster than your peers. Ultimately, you’ll be able to craft content marketing strategy that’s efficient and effective.

Stay tuned for the next parts in this series!

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Sales or relationships is a false choice

Is there a sale on? @ Lowestoft, Suffolk

From the mailbag, Luke asks:

“I lately have been told to add people on LinkedIn and then cold call them about our products. I haven’t received a lot of good results. How do you choose between relationship building and sales?”

Great question. The strategy you’ve outlined above is immediately doomed to failure, because it’s the equivalent of walking up to someone and asking them to marry you without ever having gone out for a date, or even a cup of coffee. Whoever gave you that advice should stop giving advice for a little while.

Relationships versus sales is a false choice. It’s not an either/or; it’s a dependency. In order to get the sale, you need to have the relationship first.

The easiest way to begin building relationships is through what’s called giver’s gain: be the first to offer value, to give something freely, without asking for anything in return. You may have to do this half a dozen times, but it nets results.

Create content that solves people’s problems and offer it to them, as I do on this blog. If you’re using LinkedIn, first build out your profile to incite curiosity, then jump into communities and conversations where appropriate and offer general solutions that your products fit, without mentioning your products.

For example, if someone were to say, “My laptop keeps overheating, anyone know a way to handle this?” and you sold The Chillerator 2500 laptop cooling fan, you could offer as suggestions, “Definitely don’t use it on a padded/cloth surface – hard surfaces with plenty of ventilation will help. Could put your laptop on a sheet of aluminum foil like a baking tray, too, for passive heat reduction. Have you thought about a cooling fan for it?”

Thus, you’ve offered value, you’ve provided at least two solutions, and you’ve hinted at a general solution that matches your category of product without blatantly plugging your product.

If your product has no name recognition, you may want to look at investing in an influencer program to get some reviews of it. Distribute review units to people and direct them to post their reviews in LinkedIn’s publishing program, with all the necessary caveats about disclosure.

Ultimately, to build a relationship, be the first to give, give often, and give without immediate reciprocal expectation. It will take time to grow your professional relationships, as it does all relationships, but you will see results from it.

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Are you on the MAP? (Marketing Affiliate Program)

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I’m grateful that many of you have enjoyed my books and publications over the years, from Marketing White Belt to the most recent Marketing Blue Belt. Today, I want to unveil a new way for you to be a greater part of these books: join the Marketing Affiliate Program!

What’s in it for you?

By becoming a marketing affiliate, you’ll earn a commission on each book or webinar you sell to your audience. The more you sell, the more you earn.

How much will you earn?

Here’s the good part. If you’ve already been reselling my books using an Amazon affiliate link, you know that Amazon pays a paltry 4% to affiliates. For every $9.99 book you sell, at Amazon you only earn 40 cents, and you can’t even buy webinars on Amazon.

In my Marketing Affiliate Program, you’ll earn a 25% commission on anything sold.

So for my books, you’ll earn $2.50 per book. For webinars, you’ll earn $7.50 per webinar.

How do you get started?

This is an easy two-step process. First, you must register for a free account on This is mandatory – I can’t set you up as an affiliate until you’re in their system.


Once you’re done, and only after you’re done setting up your free account, just fill out this form. I’ll get you customized URLs for the products you want to resell, normally within 3-5 business days.

Join the Marketing Affiliate Program (MAP)

Register to become an affiliate for my marketing books and webinars. YOU MUST ALREADY HAVE A FREE ACCOUNT ON GUMROAD.COM BEFORE STARTING! New affiliate registrations will be processed in 3-5 business days or less.
  • You will receive an emailed invitation from me with customized links for the products you want to sell.
    Choose any of the above.
  • Yeah, it's a CAPTCHA. Any time you dip your toe into affiliate marketing, the spammers come out in droves.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

If you’re reading this in an RSS reader, chances are no form will appear, so you’ll need to visit this post on my website.

I look forward to having you in the program! Oh, and a reminder that if you do participate, be sure to read FTC guidelines on disclosing that you are an affiliate.

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