Episode 155: AdScam, with Bob Hoffman

AdScam, with Bob Hoffman

My guest believes that online advertising gave birth to one of history’s greatest frauds, and has become a threat to democracy. That’s right. It’s actually the subtitle of a 2022 book he wrote called AdScam.  

It is the basis for our talk, which looks critically and conscientiously at the unsavory side of digital marketing. 

He’s not some advertising outsider wagging his finger at the industry. Bob Hoffman has been the CEO of two independent agencies and led a major international agency’s US operations. He has written numerous books, including “Bad Men” and “Marketers Are From Mars, Consumers Are From New Jersey.” 

Nicknamed the “Ad Contrarian,” his writings under that name caused Business Insider to recognize it as one of the world’s leading blogs about marketing. He has been honored as the Ad Person of the Year by the San Francisco Advertising Club and served as part of the Advertising and Marketing International Network and the California Academy of Sciences. In short, he knows what he’s talking about when he says there is something  wrong with advertising. 

He and I both agree that there is a war between the privacy-side and the surveillance-side proponents here. And  it’s unclear how this dichotomy we’re in is going to be resolved. I will say that his solution for how to fix this – to eliminate all tracking – is harsher than mine. I’d like to end up with some arrangement where buyers receive advertising that gets close to feeling personalized, but that doesn’t track them without their consent.

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show

Bob’s original AdContrarian blog

Bob’s website

Bob’s LinkedIn profile with details on his company, Type A Group

Association of National Advertisers

Stephane Hamel

Oxford philosopher James Williams

Episode 154: Masterful Marketing, with Lisa Larter

Masterful Marketing Lisa Larter

Throughout  our youth we are subtly encouraged to fit into our surroundings, staying on the expected path of taking our studies as far as we can before getting a job. Today’s guest didn’t do that, dropping out of high school to go work in the retail sector. 

Because she was a go-getter, she was recruited in 1997 to join in a retail experiment by a telecom carrier. At that time, cellphones were exclusively a corporate thing; they were seeing whether there could be a consumer market for them. That turned out to be a great money-making opportunity. 

That led to her owning her own physical store called Parlez Wireless, that operated as an authorized dealer for that carrier. She sold the franchise six years later and since then she has been providing consulting support to other businesses in Service and Retail sectors, as well as Speakers, Consultants and Authors.

After hearing the unconventional path she took, you can see why her philosophy on marketing isn’t the same as everyone else. She believes using those old tired ways yields merely mediocre results, and she wants companies to do better than that. So  she teamed up with Alan Weiss  in 2022 to write her second book. “Masterful Marketing” 

I first met her a dozen years ago at a Podcasters Across Borders conference and I’m so glad to have you join me to hear from Lisa Larter.

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show

Lisa Larter Consulting

Lisa on LinkedIn

Colleen Francis

Greta Bloskie

Co-authors Weiss & Larter

Episode 153: Boosting GA4 with BigQuery, with Johan van de Werken

Boosting GA4 with BigQuery, with Johan van de Werken

Johan van de Werken thrives best at the sweet spot between data, business & technology. 

Graduating with a philosophy degree from the University of Utrect, my guest started his career as a journalist for several Dutch publications, writing about everything from events and  pop culture to media, politics and economics. Around 2014 he switched from letters to numbers, working in CRO for several European e-commerce businesses. That led him to building dashboards and leveraging cloud platforms to turn raw data into usable marketing insights.

Working at an analytics firm that exposed him to BigQuery, he thought about sharing  what he was learning. Seeing that the  domain GA4BigQuery.com was available, he registered it and started posting there as a side gig. It got noticed by Simo Ahava, the founder of Simmer. That led Johan to release the GA4 and BigQuery course on their training platform. As we fast forward to 2023, GA4BigQuery is now a well-known resource for marketers. And its creator is now consulting full-time on data analytics under his own brand, Select Star.  Except for when he’s having fun playing in a punk rock cover band. 

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show



Johan on Medium

Funnel Reboot episode with “Learning Google Analytics” author Mark Edmondson

Definition of ETLDefinition of an IDE

Episode 152: Data doesn’t lie…or does it? with Yuliia Tkachova

Data Doesn't Lie...or does it?

Data warehouses are amazing things: you can toss all kinds of information into them then pull mind-blowing insights out the other end. This feat can happen because you’re connected to outside systems holding their own database tables. A copy of whatever has recently gone into the table is taken out and shot through a data pipeline and pushed into your data warehouse. But today’s data stacks contain Multiple clouds, hybrid environments, and so many data pipelines the programs in charge of monitoring and logging the flows almost can’t manage them. It becomes overwhelming to manually check and ensure the quality and integrity of the data.  The more sophisticated the systems, the more errors creep into the data. If we rely on flawed data, the outcomes and insights we generate will be equally flawed. This is where data observability comes in.

In this episode you will hear about something called an observability platform. It identifies real-time data anomalies and pipeline errors in data warehouses. Now there’s a twist here because we’re in a cloud computing environment that charges by number of computing cycles. You don’t want an observability tool that’s another pipe accessing client data and running up the meter. The good news is there’s an easier way to detect when data has gone awry, by comparing log files – basically  metadata – they are just as effective at alerting you to problems. 

If you’d like what this is doing described in a completely non-technical way, think of Hans Christian Andersen’s Princess and the Pea. There is a girl who comes to a castle seeking shelter from the rain claiming to be a princess. The queen doubts whether she is truly of noble blood, and offers her a bed, but this bed has twenty mattresses and twenty down-filled comforters on it. A pea is placed underneath the bottom mattress to test if this girl detects anything. The next morning, the princess says that she endured a sleepless night; there must have been something hard in the bed. They realize then and there that she must be a princess, since no one but a real princess could be so delicate.

I spoke with Yuliia Tkachova, the co-founder and CEO of Masthead Data, a company which recently received $1.3M in a pre-seed round. Originally  from Ukraine, Yuliia came to found Masthead after work that convinced her of the need for an observability solution. She had roles as a Product Manager roles at OWOX BI and Boosta, where their data solutions encountered problems. Prior to that, she did marketing for RAGT.  She has Bachelors and Masters degrees from Suma State University, specializing in MIS & Statistics. She also serves as an Organizer at MeasureCamp, a volunteer community where analytics professionals come together to learn.

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show

Masthead’s YouTube Channel

Connect with Yuliia Tkachova on LinkedIn 



Image credit: Edmund Dulac in Hans Christian Andersen tales

Episode 130: How to Interview Customers, with Ryan Gibson

Hot to Interview Customers with Ryan Gibson

We spend a lot of time demonstrating who our company is built around. We leave an open chair for them in board meetings. We put notices on the footer of our website, We provide automated feedback mechanisms so we can gauge how they feel, and when we hold in-person events or trade shows where they appear, we make every effort to give them swag and confirm their upcoming purchase plans (hopefully, buying from us). I’m talking about customers, of course, and though we do all these things, there seems to be one thing we dance around; the one simple  activity that could give the most intelligence –  talking to them. 

I’m not saying we don’t talk to customers. But most of that talk is anecdotal. I don’t know about you, but as a marketer, I wouldn’t go to the C-suite and defend a marketing program and budget based on a customer’s anecdotal comment. 

But done in the right way, that’s systematic and that follows qualitative Research principles, talking to customers can take the pulse of our market. We can analyze their experiences, making those findings available,  doing it in a way that would not only stand up to any Executive’s scrutiny, they’d insist on basing more corporate decisions on this information. 

Over his 20 years in marketing. Ryan Gibson has worked with dozens of businesses overseeing programs from the bootstrapped variety, on up to million-dollar budget variety.  

Using skills he got early in his career he worked in TV & Radio and film, doing a stint as reporter for Canada’s public broadcaster, CBC, which got him so used to interviewing, he kept doing it and figures that he’s now conducted over 1800 of them

He now heads up Content Lift, a Marketing Strategy consultancy centred around Customer Research. 

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show

Ryan is prolific on LinkedIn 

Ryan’s How to Run Customer Interviews course

Related show: “Lean B2B” with Etienne Garbugli

Wynter online panel

Respondent software

As you interview, pretend you’re detective Columbo

Episode 129: Marketing a SaaS product, with Mark Evans

Marketing a SaaS Product

Let me run a scenario by you: I want you to have something I’m not finished making, and I’m not going to let you buy it, but I will let you pay to use it. and you will continue to pay me over time to use this thing that I continue to work on. And while you use it, I will get to see what you’re doing with my product. And I’ll use that information to figure out how I can sell you new things.

It doesn’t sound like a very good deal for you as a buyer,  does it? But this is exactly how SaaS works, and most of the software in B2B and the world for that matter is now bought & sold this way, marketers don’t skip a beat explaining this aspect of their product. But surprisingly, some things about SaaS products do trip them up. And today we’re going to talk with someone who’s seen almost everything that can go wrong in marketing SaaS.

Mark Evans has worked in & written about the SaaS space for his whole career.  He began as a technology journalist for the Globe & Mail, National Post, and Bloomberg News. Moving on from there, he co-founded what ended up being a wildly unsuccessful startup. Some of the mistakes you’ll hear are ones that he himself has made.

He now helps B2B SaaS companies accelerate growth with rock-solid marketing foundations underpinned by positioning, messaging, brand storytelling, and go-to-market plans. 

Through his consultancy Marketing Spark he works with B2B SaaS companies as a fractional CMO, strategic advisor, brand strategist and coach.

he spends a lot of time focused on positioning, strategy, and systems that drive consistent and successful marketing, 

We spoke to him in his hometown of Toronto, where in off-hours you can find him playing hockey and tennis.

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show

Mark on TikTok

Mark on Twitter

Mark’s Marketing Spark podcast

Mark’s book: “Marketing Spark”

Eric Ries, author of “Lean Startup”

Rand Fishkin

Episode 128: High Tech Marketing Simplified, with Ted Marena

High Tech Marketing Simplified, Ted Marena

This is the last episode we’re covering in our series around product marketing books. The books in the three previous shows gave foundational advice that would benefit any product manager or  product marketing manager in their career. But there’s a single vertical that has idiosyncrasies setting it apart from other industries, and you should know about them if you’re going to market these kind of products. 

The industry that does things differently is High tech – and today’s book not only explains how to market these products, it boils it down into simple steps that you can apply on the job.  

Ted Marena has been in the tech sector for  over 25 years, working his way from engineering to sales and onto marketing roles.

Marena came out with the book “High-Tech Marketing Simplified” in 2022. It builds upon his initial book “Marketing Simplified.” He earned a BSEE from the University of Connecticut and a MBA from Bentley University. I caught up with him in the High Tech mecca of Silicon Valley where he lives with his wife & sons. 

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show

Ted’s email: ted.marena@gmail.com

Get EducaTed by Ted – YouTube channel

High-Tech Marketing Simplified book on Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/High-Tech-Marketing-Simplified-Insiders-Experience-ebook/dp/B0BC83D4PC/

High-Tech Marketing Simplified book on Kobo – High-Tech Marketing Simplified eBook by Ted Marena – EPUB | Rakuten Kobo United States

If you are a fan of Tesla, check out Ted’s product reviews – Tesla Owners Silicon Valley – YouTube

Moore’s Law” coined by Gordon Moore of Intel

Raspberry Pi

Avoid the problem of marketing “Trombone Oil” or a product with too small a niche audience (illustration used with permission).

Episode 127: The Launch with Yasmeen Turayhi

The Launch with Yasmeen Turayhi

Product Marketing Managers go through trying times, but possibly the moments where these stresses are most concentrated are when their function is initially being formed, and of course when a new product is being launched. Key decisions are made at these times, and they are extra stressful when you have to make those decisions in a vacuum, without a formulated strategy to guide its development.  

Our guest’s book takes you through a dry run of this whole process. It gives you questions that begin at the genesis of a product, following through topics that you ought to readily answer at that particular stage. 

By testing how well you’re able to answer those questions, you can catch any gaps before they turn into stress-inducing all-night work marathons.

Yasmeen Turayhi is an authority on  product management. She’s taught Bootcamps and workshops for Global companies and universities such as Harvard and MIT, and been a mentor at Founders Institute.

In addition to her three books on this subject,  she has also written dramatic screenplays, one of which was feted at International Film Festivals in Beirut and Hollywood. She is the host of “Gateways to Awakening” a podcast dealing with wellness, personal development, and higher consciousness.

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show

Yasmeen’s twitter profile

Yasmeen’s LinkedIn profile

Yasmeen’s Instagram profile

Yasmeen’s Medium profile

Yasmeen’s book “The Launch”

Yasmeen’s Latest book, “Breaking into Product Marketing”

Jobs To Be Done framework

Ed Catmull’s book Creativity, Inc.

Evelyn Watts

Episode 126: Lean B2B, with Etienne Garbugli

Lean B2B Etienne Garbugli

Unicorn, Incubator, Angel, Seed round, Pitch deck, CAC & CLV. These are all buzzwords used by startups. 

There is one word that’s used in startup culture which, unlike the buzzwords, is grounded in reality. Its methodology nudges them to design products that fit the dire needs of the early adopters, and then ride a wave of growth as the wider mainstream market adopts it. 

We call this methodology Lean and from Eric Ries on down, there have been some great founders who have taken time  out and written down how they have implemented lean.  Today’s guest is one of those people. He thought there ought to be a book explaining the differences in the lean approach when you’re in B2B. 

The resulting book,  “Lean B2B: Build Products Businesses Want”, guides those of us in these kinds of startup companies just as well as direct to consumer folks are helped by the best lean books out there that revolve around B2C. I know that B2B product Marketers, especially those trying to  generate demand for new products, will be keen to hear the methods in this book.

Etienne Garbugli is a five-time entrepreneur and in three of those, he was a Founder. Feeling he should help  other entrepreneurs and innovators build products for this market, he released Lean B2B initially in 2014 and the second edition in 2022. He is also the author of the books: Find Your Market, The SaaS Email Marketing Playbook, and Solving Product.

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show

Etienne’s Twitter profile

Etienne’s LinkedIn page

Etienne’s Medium page

Lean B2B Book website

LeanB2B podcast

Dixon & Adamson’s ‘The Challenger Sale’

Sean Ellis PMF survey

John Cutler, creator of ‘Your Customer’s World’ Venn diagram:

Episode 125: Loved, with Martina Lauchengco

Loved, with Martina Lauchengco

This episode is the first in a series on product marketing. In my opinion, this is one of the toughest roles someone can have in a company. As its two-word name suggests, it sits in no-mans land between other well entrenched corporate functions. Yet, to get external clients to fall in love with what you make, you’ve got to have good product marketing. 

As squishy as the concept of Love is, it’s what today’s guest chose as the theme for her book on Product Marketing, which came out in 2022.   

Martina Lauchengco is the product marketing partner at SVPG (Silicon Valley Product Group) and a partner at Costanoa Ventures, a boutique early-stage venture capital firm. Those positions combined have her advising Fortune 500 companies and early-stage startups on product marketing.  Her writing has been featured in TechCrunch and VentureBeat. Prior to this Martina worked at Microsoft and Netscape after receiving her BA and MA from Stanford.

She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two kids, and lectures at nearby Berkeley in their engineering graduate program.  

People/Products/Concepts Mentioned in Show

Pocket vs Instapaper

Questions Product Marketing Managers should ask about users:

  • What are they trying to do?
  • Do they recognize and prioritize this problem?
  • What is motivating them to solve the problem?
  • What compels them to take action?
  • What in this product delivers the most value?
  • Who is most likely to value and buy this product?
  • What starts the journey toward acquiring the product?
  • How might a product get discovered and become more desired over the entire journey?
  • How might we reduce friction in acquiring the product?

Malcolm Gladwell

HEART metrics: 

  • Happiness 
  • Engagement 
  • Acquisition 
  • Retention 
  • Task Success 

The book’s Amazon page: “Loved: How to Rethink Marketing for Tech Products”

Martina on LinkedIn