September 30, 2009

Wanted: Rock Star Marketer

Wanted: Rock Star Marketer Return Path is hiring a VP Marketing. This is a new position – we haven’t had the job filled in a couple years like this, reporting directly to me. The job spec is here. What it’s like to work here is pretty well captured here. Why should you pass this on to a friend who is a good fit? Because you will help a friend find the best job he or she ever had! Oh and because we will pay you a nice referral fee if we hire your friend. Why should you apply? That’s a longer answer: 1. We are inventive market leaders with a really unique business model, at a good scale, in a rapidly growing niche 2. We are reinventing our business in a way that is going to dramatically impact the entire email ecosystem in an extremely positive way for ISPs, filters, mailers, and end users alike 3. This position will be a hugely strategic role, managing a very strong marketing team as well as being an executive partner to the rest of the senior team around positioning and telling our story, both to all sides of the industry as well as […]


September 18, 2009

How Deliverability is Like SEO and SEM for Email

How Deliverability is Like SEO and SEM for Email I admit this is an imperfect analogy, and I’m sure many of my colleagues in the email industry are going to blanch at a comparison to search, but the reality is that email deliverability is still not well understood — and search engines are.  I hope that I can make a comparison here that will help you better understand what it really means to work on deliverability – they same way you understand what it means to work on search. But before we get to that, let’s start with the language […]


March 20, 2009

Book Short: A Marketing-Led Turnaround

Book Short: A Marketing-Led Turnaround Generally, I love books by practitioners even more than those by academics.  That’s why Steve McKee’s first (I assume) book, When Growth Stalls:  How it Happens, Why You’re Stuck, and What to do About It (book, Kindle edition) appealed to me right out of the gate.  The author is CEO of a mid-size agency and a prior Inc. 500 winner who has experienced the problem firsthand – then went out, researched it, and wrote about it.  As a two-time Inc. 500 winner ourselves, Return Path has also struggled with keeping the growth flames burning over […]


March 18, 2009

Book Short: Be Less Clever

Book Short:  Be Less Clever In Search of the Obvious: The Antidote for Today’s Marketing Mess, by Jack Trout, is probably deserving of a read by most CEOs.  Trout at this point is a bit old school and curmudgeonly, the book has some sections which are a bit repetitive of other books he and his former partner Al Reis have written over the years, he does go off on some irrelevant rants, and his examples are a bit too focused on TV advertising, BUT his premise is great, and it’s universally applicable.  So much so that my colleagues Leah, Anita, […]


February 12, 2009

Less is More

Less is More I have a challenge for the email marketing community in 2009. Let’s make this the Year of “Less is More.” Marketers are turning to email more and more in this down economy. There’s no question about that. My great fear is that just means they’re sending more and more and more emails out without being smart about their programs. That will have positive short term effects and drive revenues, but long term it will have a negative long term impact on inboxes everywhere. And these same marketers will find their short term positive results turning into poor […]


December 5, 2008

Book Short: A Brand Extension That Works

Book Short:  A Brand Extension That Works Usually, brand or line extensions don’t work out well in the end.  They dilute and confuse the brand.  Companies with them tend to see their total market share shrink, while focused competitors flourish.  As the authors of the seminal work from years ago, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, Jack Trout and Al Reis would be the first people to tell you this. That said, The New Positioning, which I guess you could call a line extension by Jack Trout (without Reis), was a fantastic read.  Not quite as good as the original, […]


November 11, 2008

If You’re Going to Do Something, Do It First Class

If You’re Going to Do Something, Do It First Class   I have long made this statement, not just about business, but about life.  Why bother doing something big if you’re not going to do it right?  Don’t just write a senior thesis, get an A on it.  Don’t invite the boss over for dinner and serve chicken nuggets.  You get the idea.   Our marketing team at Return Path totally nailed this last week with our IN conference on Reputation.  They selected a venue, the American Museum of Natural History, that wasn’t just a standard issue hotel conference room.  […]


July 7, 2008

Learn Word of Mouth Marketing

Learn Word of Mouth Marketing Our friend, former RP colleague, and WOM guru Andy Sernovitz is hosting a small-group word of mouth marketing seminar. Usually he only does private training for companies at a very large price, so this is a rare chance for 50 people to get the best introduction to word of mouth that there is.  I blogged about his book a while back here. We’ve arranged for a $250 discount for our clients. Use code “welovereturnpath” when you register (kind of catchy code, isn’t it?). This is a very practical, hands-on course. In one intense day, you […]


February 13, 2008

Book Short: What’s For Dinner Tonight, Honey?

Book Short: What’s For Dinner Tonight, Honey? The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, by Barry Schwartz, presents an enlightening, if somewhat distressing perspective on the proliferation of options and choices facing the average American today. The central thesis of the book is that some choice is better than no choice (I’d rather be able to pick blue jeans or black jeans), but that limited choice may be better in the end than too much choice (how do I know that the jeans I really want are relaxed cut, tapered leg, button fly, etc.?). We have this somewhat astonishing, recurring conversation at home […]


January 27, 2008

Book Short: A Must Read

Book Short:  A Must Read Every once in a while, I read a book and think, “This is an important book.”  Microtrends, by Mark Penn, was just that kind of read.  Penn is the CEO of one of our largest clients in the market research business as well as CEO of Burson Marstellar and, more notably, the Clintons’ pollster and strategy director for much of the last 16 years.  He’s a smart guy, and more important than that, he’s awash in primary research data. The premise of Microtrends is that America is no longer a melting pot, where lots of […]


June 4, 2007

A New (Old) Favorite Returns as a Blog

A New (Old) Favorite Returns as a Blog Andy Sernovitz’s very cleverly-named Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That is back, this time in blog and RSS feed format as well as, of course, email newsletter format.  Andy is a Return Path alum and does a great job of crystallizing smart and clever ideas for marketers into manageable nuggets, particularly around viral and word-of-mouth marketing (Andy wrote a great book on WOM marketing, which I reviewed here). He was nice enough to interview me for his blog.  As a teaser, Andy asked me (and a bunch of other people) three […]