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I post ideas from crazy to great, share the best stories that I find on the net, and work hard to provide great content to my readers. From the practical business uses of social media to information on direct mail, I’ve probably written a post on it.

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Are You Ready For CASL?

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 in Ryan's Thoughts | 0 comments

Image From Wikimedia Commons by Christophe Finot.


It’s been coming for a while, but you’ve been busy thinking about other things – such as forming a marketing strategy, setting goals, and acting on your plans. Or maybe you’ve just been cruising Facebook.

Whatever the case, CASL is upon us. CASL (which stands for Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) goes into effect on July 1, 2014 – and it changes everything for marketers.

Well, kind of. First of all, if you’ve been paying attention over the past couple of years, and you’ve been following the rules for CAN-SPAM, then you’re more than half-way there. Two of the biggest requirements of CASL – having a clear unsubscribe option for your email lists and having clear contact information in your emails – will already be met.

Unfortunately for marketers, there’s more. In fact, there’s much more. Some of the new regulations are just common sense (don’t add random people to your email list), but others could potentially be quite onerous. And CASL has some pretty strict penalties too – up to $10,000,000!

And just because CASL is a Canadian law doesn’t mean my American friends can ignore it. CASL covers any email originating from or going to a digital address in Canada – and address includes not just email addresses, but any digital address – including a text message  (it doesn’t cover faxes or telephone solicitations because those are already addressed under other legislation). Where is your email provider located? How many of your customers are mail order customers from Canada? If you collect email addresses at point-of-sale, how many of those customers are from Canada? If you’re a mom and pop in Austin, Texas, probably not many. But if you’re located near a border or in a popular travel destination you may have a lot of Canadian customers, and you’ll need to be aware.

I can’t go into detail about the requirements because, frankly, I’m not a lawyer. What I can do is share a couple of resources with you that I have found helpful. The first is the CASL website; it has tons of information about the law and how you can make sure that you conform. The second link is this webinar that was done by Marketo a couple of weeks ago: Not only does it cover a lot of the highlights, there are also some great checklists provided by the host for you to use in your own business.

If you’ve been paying attention up to now, great! If not – you’ve got 4 weeks to get ready. GO!


Getting Out In The World

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Ryan's Thoughts | 0 comments

Last week I left my desk behind for a day and went out into the real world to do some one-on-one marketing. What a treat! I learned more about my current marketing campaign in 4 hours of talking to real people than I did in two weeks of looking at data from Google Analytics and social media.

Of course, that shouldn’t be a surprise. There is a reason why, despite having huge marketing budgets, companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi still have sales people on the ground and employ street teams. Meeting people in person and asking them questions works. It’s not scalable, but it really complements your other efforts. In addition, if you’re marketing something tangible, giving people a chance to interact and touch your product is something that you can’t simulate on a computer screen, on a billboard, or in a newspaper.

But don’t take my word for it. Some guy in Washington D.C. thought he’d give street marketing a try earlier this week, and he seems pretty pleased with how it worked out for him.


Congratulations To The Beancast On Episode #300!

Posted by on May 6, 2014 in Ryan's Thoughts | 0 comments

Finding a great marketing podcast is tough. They do exist, but they are a lot of work to keep producing week after week, and most of them eventually disappear. Sometimes the owners get bored, sometimes the podcast brings them enough fame that they get a new job and they don’t have time to produce a show anymore, and sometimes the race to produce new content just overwhelms the owner and the quality goes downhill. Whatever the reason, the podcast goes away and we, the listeners, are left hunting through iTunes once again.

I’ve been lucky enough to come across two podcasts that have continued to pump out great content week after week for years. One of them is Marketing Over Coffee, hosted by John J. Wall and Christopher S. Penn. The other is The Beancast, hosted by Bob Knorpp.

Today I’d like to talk about The Beancast. On Sunday, Bob Knorpp released episode 300, which is an incredible achievement.

I’ve been listening to The Beancast since 2009 – about episode 68 or 69 if I recall – and the show continues to be amazing. Knorpp brings together a handful of guests each week (usually 3) and talks about the latest marketing news, events, and tactics. Bob expertly moderates the panel as they discuss the topics of the day.

The Beancast works well for a number of reasons:


The Host

Bob is an expert moderator. This is clearly his show, and while he leaves the floor open for his guests to debate ideas, he keeps a respectful handle on them. When the guests begin to stray off on tangents, he guides them back to the core idea and has them refocus on the topic at hand. This helps the show move with purpose and keeps it tight.

The Topics

Mr. Knorpp selects quality topics week after week. He seems to have a knack for choosing topics that are both prescient and timely, but he also somehow manages to avoid the topics that have already been talked to death in other arenas.

The Guests

The Beancast doesn’t just let anybody on. The show’s guests are senior level marketing executives, cutting edge agency owners, authors, and experts in their respective fields. They aren’t afraid to disagree with each other, and that usually results in high-level conversations that make you, the listener, really think about your own viewpoints on the topic. I always find myself talking back to my car radio during my commute as I either agree or disagree with what is being said. Show regulars include John J. Wall, Peter Shankman, Saul Colt, George Parker, Joseph Jaffe, Mitch Joel… the list just goes on and on.

Advanced Marketing Ideas

I often lament the lack of advanced ideas in the marketing space. How many times can you sit through the same presentations on social media and marketing that talk about the same 5 basic ideas that you learned 15 years ago? I don’t need another podcast that tells me how to get Twitter followers. The Beancast moves far beyond Marketing 101 to challenge your assumptions and make you really think through your decisions. It is by far the best hour of professional development and entertainment that I do – and that fact that I am able to do it each and every week (FOR FREE!) is truly incredible. This show has truly helped to transform me into the marketer that I am today.


Congratulations to Bob Knorpp and The Beancast on 300 episodes of quality content. I truly hope that you continue to produce these amazing shows week after week. My Monday drive to and from work is always dedicated to your latest show, and I truly believe that it makes me a better marketer.

Thank you Bob, and please keep up the exceptional work.