Billionaire Affiliate Marketing

This morning I received an email I would ordinarily delete the instant I recognised the format – classic affiliate marketing.

However, two things were unusual about this particular email …

Premature Optimisation

The ability for online advertisers to optimise their advertising is not new. Almost 100 years ago, Claude Hopkins, the father of Direct Marketing, outlined all the principles of ad optimisation – still relevant today – in his classic book, Scientific Advertising.

The gift of Pay Per Click advertising is that online marketers no longer need to wait weeks to count returned snail mail coupons – we can now optimise in real time.

In fact, the pendulum has actually swung the other way …

Please mind the gap

If you’re creating content for your audience – ads, blog posts, YouTubes etc – there will inevitably be a gap between yourself and your market.

For most marketers, that gap is typically the difference between what you know you have on offer that would delight your customer vs what the potential customer thinks they know.

The job of your content is to …

Powered by Love

We can predict with over a third chance, whether two people are going to be in a relationship a week from now – Mark Zuckerberg, TheFacebook, 2005

Way back in 2005 Mark Zuckerberg revealed that his new social network, TheFacebook, could predict with over 33% accuracy whether two site members were going to start dating within 7 days.

Remarkably, Mark had surfaced a digital proxy of a real world thing – in this case an intangible, relational human quality we know as chemistry.

This was achieved by …

General Stan McCrystal quote on Efficiency vs Connectivity

“We were an outstanding 20th century organisation but that was of little use in the 21st century” –…

Cookies vs People (aka Google vs Facebook)

Facebook from day one, has always enjoyed one seemingly trivial (back in the day) benefit: users login as themselves and for 99% of users, only have a single account.

Google users however can have:

No logins. ie. when simply using Google search,
Multiple logins. ie. personal and work gmail, or
Multiple accounts for different services (eg. one account for Gmail, one for Adwords/Analytics)

What this means for Google is that …

Best Practise

‘Best Practise’ comes from the idea that there is ‘one best way’ to do things.

This works for closed Industrial systems – provide the right inputs in the right order to the right system and get the right output.

Marketing on the web however, is now not a closed, one-to-many industrial system, but an …

The (misnamed) Internet of Things

There’s much buzz regarding the rise of the Internet of Things and rightfully so.

However as has been the trend in every other area disrupted by the web, the real breakthrough for most brands won’t be the machine to machine communication that can occur when all of our devices are connected to the internet (though there will be *massive* transformative value here).

The real opportunity for brands will be …


I’m a self confessed sneaker fan.

Over recent years, I’ve noticed the rise and rise of the Cross Collaboration, or ‘X’.

In fact, a look at just today’s top stories reveals that 7 of the 21 new releases are X collabs.

What’s with all these X’s?

General Stanley McChrystal quote on leadership in a complex world

“Efficiency, once the sole icon on the hill, must make room for adaptability” – General Stanley McChrystal

Being right vs Connection

What’s the goal of your brand on social media?

Is it to drive awareness and sales?
Is it to beat competitor x in follower count?
Is it to ‘be part of the conversation’?

Its a small world after all

Its a small world after all

Turns out, Walt Disney was right.

For such a time as this

This is the first time in history that anyone can send a communication and have it received instantly almost anywhere on the planet and almost for free.

This is not normal…

Missionary or Mercenary?

Is the person who leads this company a Missionary or a Mercenary? The Missionary is building the product because they love the customer, the product, the service. The Mercenary is building the product or service so they can flip the company and make money -Elon Musk

Missionaries are those who are passionate, sold out and evangelical about The Mission.

The Mission is the reason …

Elon Musk quote on strategy

“Thinking in first principles protects you from following a herd right off a cliff, just because there’s a…

Pen License

Back in the day, once a child could write well with a pencil, they would be given a Pen License, allowing them to now write with a pen.

Proving yourself in one media, made way for promotion to a new media.

In a similar way, the web has given marketers a new ‘license’ and a new media to create with.

The wasted opportunity occurs where …

Its been real …

When we run workshops, we ask participants to take part in a social experiment.

we ask each attendee to take out their smartphone, open up their social app of choice then hand their phone to their neighbour (typically a stranger).

We haven’t asked participants to do anything with their neighbours’ social app.

You can imagine what happens next…

Facebook Line of Sight

Earlier this year, we wrote about an internal term we often use in our agency – Line of Sight.

That blog post broke down the anatomy of a search and the ‘line of sight’ that Google’s algorithms both judge you on (ie. Adwords Quality Score) and use to either reward/penalise you as an advertiser (with higher/lower ad positions and more expensive/cheaper CPCs).

Line of Sight makes sense with Adwords Search since there’s a clear intention behind the search and an objective for a searcher to arrive at.

Less obvious is that Facebook Ads also have a Line of Sight that an algorithm is judging you on (Relevance Score) and likewise rewarding or penalising you on.

The difference is, people aren’t searching in Facebook.

So how does Facebook’s Ad algorithm judge your line of sight?

Safety not guaranteed…

In 1997, this well known ad was written by a Classifieds editor as one of two ‘space fillers’ for ad slots that he couldn’t fill.

Thousands of responses and years later, this ad became an internet phenomenon and ultimately was turned into a classic indie movie.

Less known was the other ad – a standard ‘singles’ classified – that went virtually unnoticed.

What’s the difference?

African proverb on Connection

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” – African…

The 7 posts that redefined marketing

With 6 months left in 2015, its a good time for marketers to pause and take stock – to then setup where we will lead our brands and fans in 2016.

To appreciate where we’ve all come from, let’s take a trip back through time to the 7 posts (many of which became books) that redefined marketing for our new Connection Age.

Safety not guaranteed …

The illusion of validity

Daniel Kahneman’s role was to study new recruits in Israeli army training, analyse their interactions through a range of data models, then to provide recommendations on which officers would make it as leaders in the field.

It turned out that only nominal improvements in recommendations were found when using his data models compared to Commanders who simply used observation and instinct in their predictions.

Regardless, his team continued to run the tests, confidently believing …

“But I’m interested in so many things…”

We regularly chat with very talented, aspiring entrepreneurs and artists who are struggling to get started.

Their issue, they tell us: “is not that I don’t have any good ideas, but I have so many I don’t know which one to choose”.

In most cases, the subconscious question they’re really asking is …

Brand Duplicity

Say the words Brand Duplicity and it automatically paints pictures of brands attempting to ‘dupe’ their consumers in some way, shape of form.

But in reality, very few brands employ this kind of duplicity – for the most part, brands want to do the right thing by the consumer.

The duplicity many brands employ is far more subtle …

The Founding Fathers

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The brilliance of The Declaration of Independence isn’t that it merely documented the ills of a repressive government the united States should be free of.

Its that the founding fathers, instead of running away from a problem, defined an …

Screenwriters maxim on starting

“Don’t get it right, just get it written” – Screenwriter’s maxim on starting

Choke Point

On my recent trip to the Phillipines, I attended the local Manila @startupgrind meetup and was fortunate to hear GM, Natasha Bautista, share the journey of Grab Taxi – a company that is disrupting the taxi industry *and* beating Uber in South East Asia.

In listening to her story, there was one part of Grab Taxi’s marketing strategy that made my ears prick up …

Taylor Swift – you were right (again)

Last week the world watched in awe as a 26 year old with a Tumblr and Twitter account stood up to Apple and made them do an about face on their new Music streaming royalty policy.

Of course, this wasn’t your average 26 year old, this was Taylor Swift, queen of the internet and her army of Swifties.

Watching this Swift blow to Apple, I realised that one of our core Connection Economy maxims was wrong …

Three marketers walk into a bar …

Three marketers walk into a bar and order drinks, each takes a moment to share an update of their evening …


I love coffee. I love drinking coffee. I love talking about coffee.

A coffeeholic friend was telling me about a new cafe he’s been going to that have set a new standard in his mind – by rejecting him.

The (very experienced) Barista tried six times to pull a proper espresso with some new beans and just couldn’t get the shot right to his satisfaction. He ended up telling my friend “I’m sorry, I just can’t serve this”, then …

Walt Disney Quote on imagination

“We restore order with imagination” – Walt Disney, Saving Mr Banks


The problem with all online ad platforms is the auction model – over years, clicks become increasingly expensive. Higher click prices translate to higher costs to get each customer – ie. higher Cost per Acquisition, CPA.

Perhaps because of the inherently smaller bidding pool, Australia somewhat lags the US, however they passed a significant CPA milestone over 2 years ago.

Back then US marketers had to …


“Prioritise: To decide the order of importance of items or tasks” – Oxford Dictionary

Facebook is offering users the opportunity to prioritise which friends’ or brands’ posts they would like to see at the top of their news feed.

Let’s consider a standard radio button survey. Be honest …

[Case Study] The Human Experiment

I was recently in the Philippines on business and gave myself a challenge for the trip: “What would happen if I put my money where…


Content that marketers love is content that you author once that keeps attracting visitors over and over again, potentially for years, without you having to touch it again.

Whether it be a blog post that stays number one on google or a YouTube that keeps racking views & shares, this kind of content is called …

Peter Diamandis quote on Disrupting Yourself

“The desire to not compete against themselves was actually a decision to put themselves out of business” – Peter Diamandis…

Give or take?

We have one client who continues to confound us (in a good way).

We’re the ones who are supposed to be offering services to them (which we do), yet time and time again, they end up serving us.

That client is …


If you’re from Europe or have friends from there, you may have been one of the lucky ones to be subjected to a recent Eurovision party 🙂

Today, the Eurovision song contest is one of the longest running and most watched events in the world, however its success is not accidental…

Artist in Residence

The idea of having an artist-in-residence is simple – that having an artist in our cafe/pub/hotel/institution benefits us and our community by creating a more human, interesting and remark-able environment (especially when compared to competitors who don’t have an artist-in-residence).

The online space is no different.

Congratulations to …

Being first

Being ‘first’ is critical in an Industrial Economy.

Al Ries & Jack Trout, name this as Marketing Rule #1 #2 & #3 in their classic marketing book.

While ‘first’ is still important in the Connection Economy, ‘relationship’ is what brings success.

One more thing…

Problogger quote on starting

“We all start at the same place – zero readers” – Darren Rowse, Problogger

Subtractive or Additive?

One of the most significant disruptive forces that we’re watching with interest is the Makers Revolution brought about by the rise of 3D printing.

At its core, the true disruption of 3D printing, is that it transforms the process of manufacturing from subtractive (cutting away waste material from a block to reveal a final object) to additive (creating new material from scratch to form an object).

In a similar manner …

Its official!

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ll know we write about the rise of the Connection Economy *a lot*.

In the last two weeks, the laggard of all slow moving organisations, the government, has now formerly recognised the Connection Economy as real.

As a sign of the genuine commercial disruption taking place …

The Rules

A scan of a typical marketer’s feed will reveal linkbait headlines like:

Four content marketing tips to use when …
5 social media trends to …
3 growth hacking tips for …
Sure, you may need to be across some of this material, but don’t make the mistake of …

Did you miss us?

For a number of reasons, we missed two posts late last week (truly sorry!)

Sure we have good reasons and some processes to address, but this brings up an interesting question:

Did you miss us? …

Bill Bernbach on Creative

“You can say the right thing about a product and nobody will listen. You’ve got to say it…


A friend of mine was researching some prosumer camera gear and said something about the process that made my ears prick up: it was impossible to search for.

The problem, it turned out, wasn’t a lack of information about this particular area.

It was the opposite – there was too much information..

Human Service

Years ago, petrol stations in Australia removed personal service – now you have to fill up your own tank.

Coles & Woolworths are also well on their way to removing check out staff, replacing them with self-service stations.

Even McDonalds is on the way, installing new self service touch screens that replace the need for counter staff (conveniently coinciding with the launch of their Create Your Taste menu).

The more that we become trained to accept self-service, the more that …

Eric Silver quote on Advertising

Advertising is what happens on TV when people go to the bathroom – Eric Silver


If you’re starting a business in a mature market, like Melbourne’s coffee scene, a strong Backstory is a non-negotiable to starting off on the right foot.

But even once you know your backstory, how do you use this to lead your tribe to greater connection with yourself and each other?

Serotonin recently opened their doors and is a model of how to disrupt a regular mature market using Connection Economics…