All Posts by Ben Hunt
My job is to look at the world and wonder... "How can we make things better?"

Fact-Checking Moby’s Vegan Propaganda

Published last week - 4 Comments

This piece of vegan propaganda came up on my Facebook feed today, via Moby, the music producer and well-known advocate of veganism. It immediately looked suspicious, so I thought I’d fact-check it, or at least offer some alternative information to help people make up their own minds.

Let’s unpick the claims in turn, but first we get this…

1) “If tomorrow, everyone in the world went vegan:”

Even before the claimed outcomes, let’s consider what would actually happen if the world went vegan, shall we? Massive depopulation would be the first problem that concerns me.

Let’s start with the numerous indigenous tribes all over the world who would be sentenced to starvation. Off the top of my head, I can think of… the Inuit people  of North America, Sámi reindeer herders in Northern Europe, and the Masai and bushmen who live on the African savannah.

These are folk who have lived for millennia in areas where you simply cannot grow crops for the majority of the year, if at all. They can only survive in those environments by getting protein and energy from animals and animal products.

So what do you want to do? Move them all into the cities where they can munch on carrot cakes and sip soy lattes in vegan coffee shops?

Oh, and of course when the next ice age comes around, that’s goodbye homo sapiens!

2) “250 Billion Animals Saved Every Year”

This implies that there would be 250,000,000,000 more animals enjoying life every year, which is clearly untrue. The reality is that the animals would be allowed to die out. Breeds would diminish or disappear. These lives would not be “saved” – they would not be lived at all.

One vegetarian friend commented with a very typical response…

Better they are not born than suffer the torment and cruelty we inflict on them daily.

I’ve discussed this plenty elsewhere, so won’t labour the point, just to sum up that I personally would rather see animals enjoying a good outdoor, pasture-fed life and a quick, painless death.

The fact is, good farmers don’t inflict torment and cruelty on animals. Sure, there are plenty of bad ones who do, but it’s wrong to lump them all together.

We should all stand against factory farming and industrial slaughter. It really comes down to the question of whether you think that all animal husbandry equals torment and cruelty. That’s the hard line over which an ethical omnivore and a militant vegan differ.

This point also states that, if we were all to move to a plant-based diet, fewer animals would die, which is simply untrue, because of the way most farming is done today.

Industrial arable agriculture destroys many times more animal lives than pasture farming of food animals – fact! Ploughing, tilling, and applying pesticides leaves fields almost lifeless, destroying the habitats of small mammals and birds as well as countless insects and invertebrates.

3) “Rainforest deforestation would be reduced by 90%”

This is a wild claim. I don’t know where Mr. Moby got his numbers, but the Wikipedia page on the causes of deforestation paints a much more varied picture:

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, the overwhelming direct cause of deforestation is agriculture. Subsistence farming is responsible for 48% of deforestation; commercial agriculture is responsible for 32%; logging is responsible for 14%, and fuel wood removals make up 5%.

Of course, agriculture means fields for crops as well as pasture for animals, and some crops are grown to feed to animals, but there’s no way you can arrange these numbers to make 90%.

Nobody is saying that deforestation is a good thing. It’s not, it’s stupid. But it’s not all being done so people can herd cows.

4) “Antibiotic resistance would be reduced by 75%”

The first part of this report from the United States National Center for Biotechnology Information starts by listing the five main causes of antibiotic resistance. They are…

  1. Overuse
  2. Inappropriate prescribing
  3. Extensive agriculture use (where it quotes, “In both the developed and developing world, antibiotics are widely used as growth supplements in livestock”)
  4. Availability of few new antibiotics
  5. Regulatory barriers

First, there’s no mention that agricultural use of antibiotics is the major contributor. So I don’t see how stopping animal production would reduce it by 75%.

But – far more importantly – this is not an issue that applies to ALL meat production. Pumping food animals full of antibiotics is caused by two main factors:

  • poor animal welfare (which makes them sick);
  • and faulty economics (which favours the production of meat as fast and as cheaply as possible).

That’s not how good farmers roll. In fact, I’ll go further and say, that’s not how farmers roll. The corporations who mass-produce animals for slaughter are not farmers in my thinking.

5) “Climate change would be reduced by 45%”

Um, nah. First, have some science.

The burning of fossil fuels for energy and animal agriculture are two of the biggest contributors to global warming, along with deforestation.  Globally, fossil fuel-based energy is responsible for about 60% of human greenhouse gas emissions, with deforestation at about 18%, and animal agriculture between 14% and 18% (estimates from the World Resources InstituteUN Food and Agriculture Organization, and Pitesky et al. 2009).

And here’s a picture that illustrates it nicely (same source).

One key point to note is that, even within the 13.5% of GHG impact attributed to agriculture overall, “Agriculture Soils” is the single biggest factor at 6.0%, compared to “Livestock & Manure” at 5.1%. This is because mechanical soil disturbance (ploughing, tilling etc.) releases a whole heap of carbon dioxide as well as potent nitrous oxide, and compacted wet soils can also generate methane.

So tell me again how everyone shifting over to a plant-based diet will halt global warming? How would we feed everyone, or would it only be the privileged few who get to survive in this vegan utopia?

There are vast areas of the world that cannot be used to grow veggies to feed our 8-billion-plus hungry mouths, but many of those areas (including remote grasslands, tundra, and hillsides) can be used for grazing.

Currently, according to the World Bank, just under 11% of the world’s land area is arable, i.e. used for growing crops. If we replaced all the grazed meat with plant crops, where’s the extra land going to come from? We certainly don’t want to be cutting down more rainforest!

Here’s more recent evidence that the 45% reduction claim is bogus, from Sara Place, Ph.D. (March 2018):

Researchers at USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and Virginia Tech just published a study in the Proceedings of National Academies of Sciences confirming this socially debated fact. The study examined what our world would look like without animal agriculture in the U.S.

The bottom line? We’d reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. by 2.6 percent, and 0.36 percent globally — but we’d also upset our balanced food ecosystem and lack essential dietary nutrients to feed all Americans.

Considering meat production in the West is particularly intensive, it’s reasonable to assume that if we were to extrapolate the U.S. result to the whole world, you’d be looking at a 2.6% global eduction at most. A long way off Moby’s number.

6) “Heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and most cancers would be reduced by over 50%”

This is a very tricky area, with so much information around that it’s possible to use the available data to come up with practically any conclusion.

For the past few decades, accepted orthodoxy has been that consuming saturated fats is a significant cause of heart disease, but the data are by no means clear-cut, and we have to be very careful to examine what we’re actually measuring.

A recent wide-scale study of mortality in a large group (covering over one million person-years) found no significant difference between overall vegetarian vs. various omnivore diets, but note that vegans seem to have a slightly higher mortality rate if anything.

Scanning over the “Summary table of data” on this Wikipedia page on the causes of heart disease will illustrate how little consensus there is across recent studies.

One study states:

Pooled data found that for every substitution of 5% of dietary energy from SFA with PUFAs reduced the risk of coronary events by 13%, and coronary deaths was by 26%, whereas replacing 5% of energy intake from SFAs with carbohydrates increased the risk of coronary events by 7%, with a non-significant trend of an increase in coronary deaths. Monounsaturated fatty acid intake was not associated with coronary outcomes.

So moving from the saturated fats most often found in animal products to polyunsaturated fats may have a negative impact on heart disease risk, but note that replacing the energy of saturated fats with additional carbohydrate increased the risks. (There is a large body of evidence that links refined carbohydrate intake to multiple health problems.)

It gets yet more complicated when (again) we distinguish between good and bad meat. Pasture-raised meat tends to contain a healthy proportion of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, whereas the more animals are fed on grains, the more Omega-6 their meat contains.

In a natural cycle, a grazing animal would be richer in O-3 during the summer months, when they can graze on grass and other vegetation, and perhaps a big higher in O-6 after consuming more grass seeds in autumn, which has the effect of storing fat and slowing the metabolism to save energy over the cold part of the year. As modern agriculture has replaced most of the fresh green grass in animals’ diets with grains – all year round – meat eaters are mainly consuming meat that’s rich in Omega-6 (which may encourage us to get fat and lazy).

Many scientists are now saying that it’s not fat itself, but the balance between these fatty acids, that has the biggest impact on health. One article sums it up neatly:

  • Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty acids are essential to health and must be consumed in our diet as they cannot be made by the body
  • The ratio of our fatty acid consumption has changed from around 2:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3 to around 16:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3
  • Many people, including a number of scientists, believe that this change in fatty acid ratio is having a negative impact on our health
  • Omega 6 increases inflammation in the body which has been linked with obesity and heart disease amongst other conditions

Chris Kesser’s article “How too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3 is making us sick” includes the following chart detailing the relative Omega-3 / Omega-6 content of various foods. So you can see how getting your dietary fat from many plant sources (and also grain-fed meat) could introduce its own risks.

So I think it’s safe to say there are a lot more factors in play here than simply saturated vs. unsaturated fats. Some communities like the Inuit who survive almost entirely on animal fats and proteins with practically zero fruits and vegetables have lower rates of both heart disease and cancer (see article), so it’s likely to be more of a case of the kind of meat that’s being eaten than meat vs. no-meat.

The health impact of consuming refined carbohydrates is another fascinating area. Many people now link cancer to sugar intake, for example. Humans did not evolve eating much refined sugar; we would only get a little through honey or fruits. Today, far more of our energy comes from refined wheat, corn (including the horrible high-fructose corn syrup), and of course refined sugars.

The area of diet merits a lifetime’s exploration, but my instinct is always to trust the natural diet we evolved with, which means I try to eat fresh, natural, recognisable foods and tend to avoid anything processed or manufactured.


I think there is lots of area for consensus between folk who are looking for a healthy, ethical, and sustainable diet. We should avoid processed and factory-farmed food, particularly meat, and go back to the stuff we can recognise as real food.

If someone chooses to go all plant-based, great, if it works for you! But I don’t think that throwing out memes with no sources or evidence to reinforce a particular ethical stance really helps us tackle the very real problems we’re facing as a world today.

You Don’t Eat Enough

Published a couple of weeks ago - 8 Comments

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with you: You don’t eat enough!

This is totally an opinion piece. I’m no nutritionist, I’m just fascinated with food and thinking about how we can feed the world without further screwing everything up beyond all recognition.

We all know something’s terribly wrong with the Western diet. Most of us are overweight, many are obese. We have type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, lactose/gluten intolerance, addictions, behavioural problems… blah di blah di bloody blah.

All this creates a wonderful environment for nutritionists, dieticians, and healthy living writers to make a good living out of telling us what to eat next. One month it’s Atkins or keto, then it’s juicing, then it’s plant-based, then paleo, then seaweed, then quinoa, and that’s not even mentioning the Harry Potter realm of “superfoods”.

Surely life isn’t meant to be so complicated. Our ancestors were fitter, stronger, and healthier than we are. Yes, they were. And before anyone starts arguing, “You know, people 500 years ago were lucky to live to 35!” let’s just say this:

We in the West are not living longer, we’re dying longer.

Who wants a life that’s mostly defined by stress? We worry about money, debt, bills, life, love, career, whether we’re living our potential, whether we’re being a good enough parent, whether our parents were good enough parents… all fuelled by endless advertisements showing us new ways that beautiful people are having a great time.

And, of course, on top of all that, we worry about our food. What food will give us vitality, what food won’t kill us, what food will make us better in bed, what food is carcinogenic, what food is killing the planet… AAAAAAGH!!!

If our hunter-gatherer ancestors were perfectly healthy (until they got killed by something with scary teeth), and we, with all our books and Internet and technology and labelling, can’t manage it, where did we go wrong and – more importantly – how can we put it right? More…

Animal Rights Activism’s Blind Spot

Published 3 weeks ago - 24 Comments

As part of my interest in ethical and sustainable food systems, I have spent a bit of time around animal rights groups on Facebook recently. Usually driven by the quite extreme vegan agenda, there are groups of people out there who genuinely believe that they need to “rescue” animals from human slavery (see e.g. Direct Action Everywhere).

I believe these are all nice, mainly middle class folk who are genuinely passionate and motivated to do what’s best for animals… but I’d like to explain why I also think they’re also misguided. There are several arguments, which I’ll address in turn.

Ultimately, I hope to show not only that the idea of “rescuing” large animals from the food chain has practically zero benefit, but also that it distracts us from a far more serious crime against the animal kingdom being perpetrated by humanity. If animal rights activists are genuinely concerned with protecting animal lives, I believe the meat industry is the wrong area to focus their efforts. More…

Stories from People Who Have Given up Vegan Diets

Published last month - 0 Comments

This is as much a bookmark page for my own reference as anything else. It will help to counter the frequent claim that “Everyone can thrive on a vegan diet.” My intention is not to bash anyone for their life choice, but to show up that universal claim as untrue.

I simply don’t believe that’s true. I’m sure that some people do okay on a whole plant-based diet, at least for a while. But I’ve been coming across too many testimonies from people who’ve felt literally driven by their own bodies to go back to a more natural omnivore diet that they cannot be dismissed as just being bad vegans.

After all, if a vegan diet were natural for homo sapiens, it ought to be really difficult to mess it up, even in the long term! More…

Should We Eat Meat?

Published last month - 4 Comments

Over the past few years since I got the food and soil bug, I guess I’ve been pondering one big, central, hairy-arsed question:

How can we feed 8 billion (or 10 billion, etc.) people in a way that’s sustainable, healthy, and ethical?

And it seems to keep coming back to one equally big, difficult, and hairy crux question…

Should we eat meat?

I thought I’d publish one post that summarises the arguments on all sides, and where I currently stand.

In an attempt to make the issue easier to tackle, we can probably agree it all comes down to three criteria:

3 Criteria

  1. What’s healthy (and natural) for humans?
  2. What’s good for animals?
  3. What’s good for the environment?


How NOT to Handle a Groupon Promotion, According to Peter Drucker

Published 7 months ago - 10 Comments

I recently had an experience with a Groupon promotion run by a local hotel, which I think makes a great example of how NOT to do customer service.

Briefly, here’s how it went…

In May I signed up for a Groupon promotion by the Buxton Palace Hotel for “£59 for a leisure day with two treatments, cream tea and a glass of Prosecco for two”. I got a message saying they were already booked several weeks ahead, so I left it a while.

Yesterday (August 9), I looked up my Groupon account to check the promo was still valid. Yes, great!

So it’s still listed as “Available”, with “21 days left!”. I sent off an email to the hotel, excited to make my booking.

This morning, I was surprised to receive…

I enquired what they proposed to do next.

Only to be told…

OK, what’s so wrong with this “Customer Service”?

I can accept that I missed the window and I can say goodbye to my £59. My issue here is that the Buxton Palace Hotel seem to have missed an opportunity.

Let’s start by examining the whole point of running group-buying promotions like Groupon. As I explain on this post in Open-Source Marketing, the single biggest reason for doing these promos is to build your customer base.

The legend Peter Drucker

The legendary economist Peter Drucker wrote in his famous book “The Practice of Management” that…

…there is only one purpose of a business: to create a customer.

Businesses that don’t build a customer base don’t stay businesses for very long.

Now, I have to say that businesses can often lose money in the short-term with a Groupon campaign. That’s absolutely kosher marketing strategy (called a “loss-leader”): you sacrifice short-term revenues specifically in order to build your customer base.

It is worth noting that small businesses in particular should be aware there is a very real risk of bleeding themselves dry by running too successful a loss-leader campaign (so I hope that Groupon & Living Social etc. counsel their clients carefully before they let them take on too big a promotion).

(I’m sure I remember reading another quote by Drucker that most fundamental rule of business is, “Don’t run out of cash!”)

So, Buxton Palace ran this promo in order to build their local customer base. (Remember that, it comes up again.)

The model is straightforward:

  • you offer an attractive discount (on a product that should be a repeat buy),
  • then do everything it takes to delight your customers,
  • and hopefully they’ll come back many times,
  • so you make your money back manyfold in the long-run through repeat business

How they totally screwed it up

Here, the hotel has managed to screw up that simple process in style. They fell at the first hurdle, because they failed to get me and my wife through the doors.

Even IF they had to lose a bit of money by honouring the offer, they would still have the chance of making a new regular customer. I am actually actively looking for a spa that we can visit regularly for a monthly wind-down!

Plus, by showing good grace, I would also feel an automatic sense of goodwill or indebtedness, making me actually more likely to become a frequent flier.

Tip: Always be the first to give, and the last to give.

So they missed out on the opportunity to delight me and Mrs Hunt, and they lost the chance to get our regular spend.

And to fall back on, “It says in the small-print that we don’t have to honour this” is basically giving your prospect the bird. Sure, it’s legally fine, but it’s a terrible way to do business!

And now a message from Buxton Palace Hotel and Spa

What they could have done

First, never, ever, insult your potential customers! (Did I just have to say that?)

(Feel free to disappoint those who will never be your customers, but take care whom you insult, because the market is a fuzzy, rich soup and word gets around.)

Here’s what I would have preferred to see…

  1. Any kind of taking responsibility or apology. Even saying, “I’m so sorry, but the promotion actually closed on {x}.” (Signing off “Sincere apologies” does not count!)
  2. Any kind of alternative offer. “While I cannot honour that voucher, we would love to see you, so here’s what I can do. I’m sending you a £15 voucher for…”

The point is not that they are obliged to give me £59 of value. I’m a reasonable person and understand how these deals work. I have missed the window on group buying deals before and was not 100% confident I would still be able to claim this one.

But manners cost nothing, and even a token offering of alternative compensation has significance, because it respects the business-customer relationship.

As things stand, Buxton Palace Hotel has lost any chance of this previous customer’s business, not just in 2017, but for ever, which is a great shame.

Peter Drucker would not be happy.

I am Selling Web Design From Scratch (SOLD)

Published 9 months ago - 0 Comments

Update: WDFS is up for Auction on Flippa, ends August 24, 2017

Okay, I have finally taken the plunge and have decided to sell WebDesignFromScratch.com.

I know it could do a lot of good for some people out there. I know that because, when I was in the web design business, that site generated all the leads I could handle. I was able to run a six figure web agency with very little marketing effort or spend.

The truth is, this site really was one of the first tutorial sites in the industry, and has been very influential for a lot of people. But my interests and business have moved on from “web design” into broader marketing and green issues, so sadly I have not found very much to talk about around that topic.

This is an incredible resource, and it would be a huge shame to see it go to waste, so I’m looking for someone who will be able to profit from the site.

Traffic Erosion

The result is that, lacking fresh new content, the traffic has very slowly died off over the years.

WDFS traffic erosion over nine years

For several years, while I was more active, WDFS was getting 100,000 monthly visits or more, hitting a peak of 229,000 in September 2011. Now, we’re looking at just 20,000 visits each month.

That can be reversed! All it needs is someone who cares and is active in the web design space. Could that be you?

Massive Ranking Potential

The site still has plenty of page-1 rankings, and will have a MASSIVE ability to rank for any new terms related to web design.

Here’s today’s Open Site Explorer snapshot, showing the very respectable domain authority of 54!

OSE summary

Here’s a summary from Analytics of the most popular search terms (2017).

Top search terms

Aside from HTML/CSS reference terms, I still have pages ranking very highly for phrases around “best websites in the world”, which is clearly a massive opportunity for anyone in the website delivery business (designers, producers, or theme vendors).

And clearly anyone who wants to sell courses in website production (HTML / CSS) will find it very easy with the traffic this site gets (197,046 visits from organic search terms that include “HTML” since January 1st).

What’s the Offer?

I’m open to selling the domain and all the website content. (If it’s feasible, I can even transfer the Moz Pro property, so you can use the historical data.) I don’t have a price, will probably take the best offer I get in the next two weeks.

Alternatively, you may prefer to lease the site! If so, just let me know.

In addition to individuals or businesses, perhaps you may like to go into a coalition with others? If so, I’ve set up a temporary Facebook group where you can post your ideas and invitations, or look for other people who might have compatible goals.

Who Should Be Excited Right Now?

I have some ideas for who the ideal new owner of WDFS might be. These include…

  • Web designers / agencies (I ran my whole 6-figure business for years on the leads I skimmed off WDFS)
  • Theme vendors
  • Course vendors
  • SEOs who specialise in the web sector (the outbound link value of this content is terrific)
  • Entrepreneurs who want to run a blog or magazine to build an audience
  • Affiliate marketers who sell web/marketing related products
  • …or whatever you do, perhaps?

If you’re interested, please feel free to comment here, or email me (ben@benhunt.com) with any thoughts, suggestions, or offers. But my advice is to move fast! Even if you don’t have a firm offer, let me know if you’re interested, as I don’t want you to be disappointed.

The WDFS Facebook page is also included, obviously. It currently has 2770 likes.

Also feel free to ask me if you’d like any more data from Analytics, list building etc.


A Marketing Lesson from Land Fertility

Published 9 months ago - 15 Comments

If you know anything about me, you probably know that I think a lot about land, soil, the way we live, and where our food comes from.

One of the reasons for my fascination with dirt is that it’s extremely important. (Soil erosion may be the single biggest threat to humanity there is, as it’s happening at a predictable and frightening rate.)

But I also love to learn lessons about life, business, and marketing from meditating on dirt. It’s increasingly clear to me that everything follows the same natural laws, which are as beautiful as they are complex.

Here are some thoughts about how the life in our soil could relate to marketing.

The same patch of dirt could be abundant with life, or it could be practically dead.

You can change soil from being fertile to infertile very quickly. You can also make infertile soil fertile again, but it takes longer.

If you take too much from your soil, and put too little back, it becomes impoverished.

Strip away the dirt’s natural protective “skin” of decaying matter, leave it bare and open to the elements, and it will become parched and dry. When the rain comes, the precious topsoil will be washed away into watercourses, rivers, and eventually oceans.

So short-term thinking can be catastrophic for the land. When we take Nature for granted and think that we can take and take and take, without a care for her natural balance, the net effect is rapid impoverishment.

But when we work with Nature, revering the soil and caring for it, it will remain productive indefinitely. That approach is simply more profitable over time.

How does this apply to your business?

There’s a saying in gardening that I love…

Don’t feed your plants. Feed your soil; let your soil feed your plants.

I see two distinct approaches to business and marketing:

  • One common approach is to consider only what you can get or take from a market.
  • A second is to view one’s business and one’s markets as interdependent.

The first way is a kind of parasitic or cancerous behaviour. As Alastair Smith put so well in this interview before his passing, a cancer cell has “broken the sacred covenant with Life” in its quest for endless resources.

Ultimately, of course, cancers or parasites can destroy their hosts. Sometimes they are able to jump to new hosts. In marketing terms, that means taking so much that you constantly have to find new customers.

The second way is more symbiotic. Your business is not there only to take resources, but to enrich its environment, in the knowledge that, when we build up our ecology, everyone benefits.

The first approach seems to be short-term and separate; the second is longer-term and integral.

What would a symbiotic marketing approach look like? Some initial ideas might include…

  • Creating valuable free content (not sales material in disguise)
  • Pro bono work for good causes
  • Mentoring, speaking, or coaching without demanding direct reward
  • Freely sharing your experience on social media or forums
  • Promoting others without compensation

Which way is the right way?

Is there a right way?

Does it all come down to how one defines success? Do we measure success as short-term profits, long-term profits, value created, or through other, softer factors?

And does it really matter if we set out to take what we can? Life is short, so why not take everything it has to give? If there’s always a big enough market to sustain everyone who wants to take, can caveat emptor (buyer beware) provide all the cover we need?

It’s certainly clear that it’s possible to take the parasitic approach, bleed customers dry, cut corners, bend the truth, and “win” — at least through the measure of making good profits. I know plenty of people doing this.

And there is also plenty of evidence to support the idea that, when we give value with no expectation of reciprocation, that that value can come back to us in complex, fuzzy ways at some later time. (I’ve had people who have followed my work for years who suddenly pop up with a proposal or join a course etc.)

One way to answer the question would seem to be to choose a time scale. If we work quarterly, then long-term benefits may not factor. This seems to me a reductionist approach.

On the other hand, if we aren’t counting our returns and assigning them to specific actions (with associated costs), can we actually prove a return on investment from a more symbiotic approach?

This is anti-reductionism. We would actually have to let go of the notion that all returns are, or should be, measurable.

What’s true? Ultimately, it comes down to your world view.

Just like morality, ethics, politics, or spirituality, the way you see the world is a framework that you use to gather feedback. There is no right or wrong, only your truth.

Me, I see the world as one huge, messy, lovely, interconnected, symbiotic mess. To me, my market is like my soil. I have a duty of care to create value that I can’t measure, and that echoes beyond my lifetime.

The life I enjoy today is not my own. It is the result of the gifts of past generations, my parents, my educators, the peers who invited me to their conferences, the bloggers and podcasters who shared their wisdom, the crazy folk who let me interview them. So who am I to hold back my knowledge or gifts as “my own”?

Those are my values, and I really don’t care if they’re yours. You are free to judge me by your values, and I will judge you by mine. That’s the freedom we enjoy.

The Elephant in the Room

Published 11 months ago - 0 Comments

Thirteen people have already signed up for the Intensive Group for my new Marketing Strategy Course.

(To those 13, thank you so much, you’ll be hearing from me soon with details.)

If you haven’t decided yet, I’d like you to consider whether marketing strategy could play an important part in your professional business over the next few years.

Because I really believe it’s the missing element.

In Internet Marketing circles it’s the elephant in the room that nobody talks about. Why?

The first is, you can’t bottle it. You see, information marketing is easy money, and the way it works is that you take strategies and tactics that have been shown to work, document them, and then sell the how-to information to buyers, usually at a high price.

Ah, but there’s a problem…. You see, when you take one thing that works in certain contexts and you apply it in other contexts… it may not work.

What would you think if someone said, “Hey, this chat-up line worked for me, look at my beautiful wife! I’ll sell YOU my chat-up line for $1000!”

You’d tell them to stick their chat-up line where the sun don’t shine. Quite right.

But info marketing is very close to that. The info marketers say, “Hey, look at how well Strategy X worked for my launch! I made a gasquillion dollars!! I’ll sell it to YOU for only $4997!”

You see the problem. You can’t take A STRATEGY, transplant it to a different context, and expect it to work.

So you CANNOT say that the product launch strategy always works (at least not with integrity). I found that out only recently, when a team I’ve been advising followed Jeff Walker’s PLF and managed to reduce their sales from double figures to ZERO.

You CANNOT say that funnels always work! Yes, that model and methods will definitely work for some products in some markets some of the time, just like a cheesy chat-up line will work on some people in some bars in a certain state of inebriation, some of the time.

And you CANNOT take copy from a weight loss pill campaign, change a few words, and expect it to be effective selling

But there is NO STRATEGY that you can apply profitably in any situation. None.

That’s the big problem the info marketers don’t want you to know. That is the darkness they dare not face.

Because the truth is, the right STRATEGY is different in each scenario. It depends on a number of factors (but it’s a finite number). It depends on analyzing those factors with truth, integrity, and sensitivity. It requires creativity, sideways thinking, big thinking, analysis, imagination, courage… All stuff you can’t bottle.

The right strategy for you has not been created yet. The right strategy for each of your clients has not been created yet.

That’s why I believe you can’t sell STRATEGIES with integrity. But you can sell strategy as a service. Because there is a way to work it through, there IS a method. That’s what I’ve been working on for the past few years. That’s what Open Source Marketing is all about.

How would you feel about working it out together?

If you take one of the last places on my Intensive Group, I will personally help you master the marketing strategy process by applying it to your own real-world scenarios.

Whether it’s for your own business, or for clients, I’ll do what I can to apply my marketing strategy process so that you come out with a clear plan and you can proceed with more confidence than you’ve ever known.

Interested in a Course in Marketing Strategy?

Published 11 months ago - 58 Comments

The Marketing Strategy Course is now live here.

I am considering running a short course in Marketing Strategy, and would like to get your views on it.

In brief, here’s the plan I have in mind.

  • One recorded video presentation per week for eight weeks (probably).
  • All the recorded sessions will be FREE for everyone to access (based on the views I made clear here)
  • In addition, and if there is enough interest, I may also run one or more premium live workshop sessions each week over the 8 weeks.
    • Here you get to explore the material in greater depth, and get direct support to apply it to your own situation.
    • The live workshops would be ideal for those who want to take marketing strategy further, whether to go in depth for your own business’s strategy, or to develop your skills for client service.
    • There would be a fee for these sessions, say $25 per week ($200 total).
    • These sessions would be recorded and shared only with the premium group.
    • Numbers will probably be limited to 50.

Why Marketing Strategy?

The importance of marketing strategy is explained pretty well in “Web Design is Dead”. If you haven’t read that, make sure you’re on my email list. But here’s a quick summary.

  1. Marketing strategy is about knowing where a business, brand, or organization wants to get, and why. It is absolutely central to business strategy, and ultimately, success. It answers the questions: “What does it mean for us to succeed, and how will we get there?”
  2. Any campaign that is based on a well-thought-out and articulated strategy knows exactly what it needs to do and what needs to happen to achieve that. As a result, the campaign will be far more effective and less wasteful.
  3. Marketing today is more complex than ever before, because we have far more options, channels, tactics, and advice. (And much of the advice is misleading!) That makes it confusing to know how the heck to proceed with any certainty.
  4. Many of the options open to us today make it far easier to burn through a pile of money without seeing a return on your investment. This is true for education programs, consulting and other professional services, as well as marketing channels like pay-per-click.
  5. All these factors mean we could be getting to a crisis point for business owners. They will cry out for help to know how to move forwards, but have been burned enough by service providers and so-called experts who peddle “cure-all” solutions that their trust and confidence are at an all-time-low.
  6. That’s where a new profession of Marketing Strategist comes in! A Marketing Strategist is an independent consultant who has the skills to interview a client about what they want to achieve, then help put together a plan for getting there before they think about investing in platforms or creative and technical services. A professional Marketing Strategist can advise on how to roll out a strategy, and even help manage the project, but will (importantly) remain independent from specific service providers.

People, the world is ready for talented and committed professionals to step up as Marketing Strategists. It is very early days, and if you’ve been around online marketing for long enough, you’ll know that’s exactly the best time to get involved.

I want to help launch this new profession, and to do that I need good people. You don’t need to know it all, because nobody CAN know it all. There’s simply too much to know.

Is This For YOU?

  • Do you genuinely enjoy working with clients to help turn their visions into reality?
  • Are you a high-level thinker, who prefers the big picture to day-to-day details?
  • Do you prefer planning and communication over technical delivery?
  • Is it in your nature to explore, to ask questions, to think bigger, or think differently?

If you answer “Yes” to these questions, the next question is: “How do you feel about being one of the first of this new breed?” If you answer “excited” or “inspired”, read on.

Marketing strategy has been one of my main roles for a few years now, and I love it! Why? Because it suits me! It’s the perfect match for the kind of person I am, the way I think, the way I communicate, and the way I want to serve clients. It challenges me in the way I love to be challenged, and it allows me to avoid the tasks that I don’t enjoy so much (and therefore don’t do so well).

And that all means I can deliver more value to more clients more of the time.

I know that now is the time to formalize the role into a well defined professional service. That’s why I have been working on turning my strategy development process into a step-by-step system that others can follow and help develop.

This is only the first phase in a significant strategy that I’m rolling out (with a few partners) over the coming months. (It’s too early to share details now, but this could be BIG. I’m talking about developing this into a recognized profession, complete with on-going professional development, certification, marketing and lead-generation, etc.)

All I need to know is, are you interested enough to know more? I don’t need a commitment yet, but please comment below, including your email address, and letting me know…

  1. If you’re just interested in following developments
  2. If you’d like to take the free course.
  3. Or if you’re also interested in the live training program.


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