Masters are slaves to routine.

I walked and talked with Ali today on my morning walk with Charlie. He told me that his passion is running and that he runs about 40 miles a week to stay in shape.

Ali wants to be able to enter any partial or full marathon event he wants to participate in – knowing he’s in shape to do so. He went on to explain that he needs to run more – about 70 miles a week to make the most of his abilities. 

  • 40 miles a week ensures he’s in good enough shape to finish.
  • 70 miles a week ensures he’ll be able to place.

His passion + his regime reminded me of other oblique performance metrics I’ve encountered on my own journey. For instance:

  • while working 35 hours a week allowed me to keep professional pace with my peers,
  • it took a lot more effort (50-60 hours a week) to distance myself from the pack and become a leader.

Like Ali, a clear vision (seeing yourself in the lead + in great shape) helps you sort out how to get into there.

  • Vision – always be ready to compete + place.
  • Strategy – own and run a business that gives Ali time to run.
  • Tactics – living close to places he can run, wearing the same brand of shoes and clothing all the time to reduce the unknown variables, proper and consistent diet, etc.

All true masters are slaves to routine.


Integrated Campaign Planning


I hear people in advertising using this term all the time to describe the fact that they are able to develop communications that will somehow compliment or support your other existing communication elements. In my years of experience the adjective “integrated” has evolved from a strategy to a tactic in the vast majority of applications.

  • In the 70’s and 80’s I worked with ad agencies responsible for the Canadian divisions of American Brands like Levi, Lego, Samsonite, Johnny Walker, Chrysler and John Deere. Our clients expected their Canadian campaigns to be “integrated” with the American campaigns because the majority of the Canadian markets these brands served received a significant share of their TV, radio and magazine advertising (as spill) from the U.S.
  • Cable TV and Canadian content laws, as well as changes to our tax laws changed the impact of U.S. advertising and reduced the importance of Canadian + U.S. campaign integration.
  • In the 90’s integration came to mean one of two things to my National + International clients:
    • Are the English and French campaigns integrated?
    • Is the campaign integrated from a broadcast and print point of view?
  • In the 00’s it was all about online and offline message integration. By 2003 the emphasis in client meetings had shifted to the point where “offline” ads (TV, radio and print) were there to support the “online” (website and social) communications.
  • In June 2013 I attended a new global Business to Business product launch for Google where attendees were introduced to the latest definition of integrated communications – according to Google’s partners:
    • For Google’s business partners and their followers a well integrated campaign is online and has three important components:
      1. Owned media: like your website + social pages
      2. Paid media: like Google Adwords or YouTube
      3. Earned media: think online referrals

The marketing funnel rationale looks like this:

  1. Start with what you own – your website and your social pages. Keep them fresh and relevant to attract attention and boost your organic search rank.
  2. Support your organic search with paid search to expand the size of your marketing funnel by introducing new communities to your products and services.
  3. Provide your customers with a superior + memorable product or service experience that they like enough to talk about and share on their social pages. These unsolicited referrals are considered digital gold because they are authentic and have the potential to go viral.

So there you have it.


Nova Scotia Tourism, media adjacencies + premium positions


When I was a Media Director my job was to find cost efficient media placements as well as premium media adjacencies. For example, the last TV spot in the cluster just before the CBC National News is an affordable premium media adjacency. The last TV spot in the cluster just before the Stanley Cup Playoff is a good example of a far less affordable premium position.

The theory is that a great media position opens the mind and the heart and lets the message flows to the decision center of the brain more freely.

This 3D Lighthouse for Nova Scotia Tourism in the heart of Toronto’s financial district is a fantastic example of how a premium media position works.

  • In a sea of and the ebb and flow of cars and pedestrians this lighthouse stands out.
  • It’s eye-level and scaled to life.
  • It’s iconic.
  • But best of all - it’s parked right in front of the Royal Bank of Canada’s head office tower at Bay & Wellington here in my Toronto. The entrance of the building is behind the lighthouse.

Can you image the conversations going on between the RBC and BNS marketing departments.



116 Seconds

Because most people will spend no more time than that on your site, here’s what you can do to make every second count.

  • Add basic contact information to your home page. Don’t make me “look” for you or make me fill out a form. I haven’t used forms for years and the spam is minimal.
  • Keep your site content relevant and fresh: it’s a showcase not an archive.
  • Review your site’s traffic patterns to find out which pages are most popular and make sure that your most popular pages tell your visitors:             
    1. who you are, what you do and what your competitive advantage is,
    2. why your brand is a better choice than the competition’s, and
    3. how they can start a relationship with you.

Consider this website behavior profile based on my review of more than 50 websites:

  • About 25-50% of visitors arrived at the wrong place because they are not even close to your trading zone. They leave a few seconds after they arrive.
  • Of those who looked around, about ½ view a 2nd page.
    • So that’s about 25-37% of the initial “total page views”.
  • 25-50% are repeat visits.
    • So on new visits you’re down to about 13-25% of “total page views”.
  • About 50% of those visitors look at a 3rd page on your site.
    • So less than 10% of all visitors that viewed three pages.
  • Importantly only a small number of sites “held” readers interest for more than two minutes, and moved the retained audience to the “contact page” - typically the 5th or 6th page. Even then less than 10% of those who landed on the home page made it this far into the top sites.
  • While most sites I reviewed had more than ten pages and some had over 50, most pages simply are not viewed. "Out of sight, out of mind" seems to apply to web-sites as well.


While organic search scores can be improved with blogging, on line advertising, cross links, online PR, newsletters and social media (to help increase the marketing funnel diameter), “content” is still king.

If your website content isn’t 1st rate, your audience won’t stay long.


The man who sold hotdogs

I once knew a man who sold hotdogs. He had inherited the recipe from his parents, made each one by had and used to sell them on a busy street corner for 25¢ each. At the end of the day he took his earning home, paid his bills and reinvested the balance in his business.

Because people loved the man and his hotdogs, sales grew quickly. One day the man had saved up enough to build the restaurant of his dreams. It was located at the same corner where he sold his 1st hotdog about 20 years ago. Now the man could sell his wonderful hotdogs all day and all night long. And to ensure the old man could sell all the wonderful hotdogs he could produce he began to advertise.


All the time.

On the day the man’s son left for college, he stood in front of his beautiful restaurant and cried.

  • He cried because he was happy.
  • He cried because he was thankful for that little hotdog recipe that his parent’s had given him because it had enabled his wife and children to prosper.
  • He cried because he was so amazed at the growing line-ups that all the advertising brought to his restaurant.

One spring morning and many years later, the old man’s son returned from college and sat his father down. He explained to his father that there was a war on, that people were not spending money the way they used to, and that the recession, which was projected to follow, promised hard times for almost everyone. His son told him to stop wasting money on advertising. “No more TV, newspaper, radio or outdoor billboard ads. And no more big search lights on the roof all night long. O.K. Dad? All that’s gotta to stop.

The old man thought, “My Son must be right. He just came back from university where he studied business and economics for six years. What do I know? I’m just an old man that loves to sell hotdogs”

  • That night the searchlight was turned off.
  • The next day all advertising contracts were cancelled.

And the next week sales fell for the first time in 30 years.

When the man went to bed he counted and then thanked God for his blessings: especially for the return of his smart son and his amazing business acumen.