5 Ways a Minimum Viable Audience Gives You an Unfair Business Advantage

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Editor’s note, this article was originally published in March of 2012.

Startups aren’t “real” companies, according to retired entrepreneur and author Steve Blank. At least not in the way we usually think of the concept of a “company.”

Startups are instead temporary organizations on a mission to find a scalable business model. Once that business model is found, a “real” company is born to execute on it.

For many years, Steve Blank has been a mentor to Eric Ries, whose book The Lean Startup took the entrepreneurial world by storm in 2011. If you haven’t read Eric’s book yet, you should as soon as possible.

For now, let’s dig in deeper on the meaning and origin of “lean” in the context of business.

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3 Vital Marketing Lessons From the World’s Most Offensive Doughnut Shop

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The line, even on the bitterest winter nights, extends out the door and down the block.

The neighborhood could charitably be described as “gritty” — known for marijuana dispensaries, tattoo parlors, and bars. (And those are the legal businesses.)

The walls are Pepto-Bismol pink, graced with a black velvet painting of a stern-looking Pam Grier. The place smells like … well, like a doughnut shop — that delicious yet faintly disgusting scent of industrial fryers.

The menu on the wall is illegibly tiny (even for 20-somethings on glaucoma medication), but everyone just pulls it up on their phone anyway. They take cash and only cash, and the cute tattooed employees at the cash register are friendly, if not necessarily efficient.

They’ve taken something ordinary (you might even call it a bit boring) and turned it into an enduring craze.

And yet, everything about the place turns off 95 percent of their potential customers.

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The Critical Thing You Need to Earn Targeted Traffic – Today, and into the Future

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There is nothing new under the sun. What was old, is new again. It’s all been said and done before …

Those adages are true in your university philosophy class, and just as true when it comes to your media strategy.

If you’re working too hard trying to keep up with every new tactic and technology and social network that bubbles up online … and wondering what the essential asset is in building an audience, then this episode of New Rainmaker is for you.

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SEO is Dead: Long Live OC/DC

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I want to let you in on a little secret …

I really hate the term “SEO.”

This may come as a surprise to many since I am the resident SEO guy at Copyblogger and very active in the SEO community.

But for the past two years I have felt that the entire concept of SEO, while an important part of online marketing, had a very “spammy” connotation.

The term too often aligns our work with unprofessional practices like link buying and web spamming for article placement.

And with the recent issues around the SEO effort of Rap Genius, and the resulting negative impressions about SEO with the wider public, I have made it my mission for 2014 to eradicate the term SEO once and for all.

Yes, SEO is officially dead. Not the practice, but the term.

But what term should take its place?

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8 Ways a Digital Media Platform is More Influential than “Marketing”

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Imagine this scenario.

Two attorneys are chatting against the beautiful tropical backdrop of the Cayman Islands. The elder lawyer suggests to the young rising star that he “grab a Red Stripe,” which leads to the selection of the Jamaican-brewed beer from an ice-cold fridge.

So simple … but it’s a powerful association between the “good life” and a particular brand of beer. Did it work?

Within a month, sales of Red Stripe in the United States increased by over 50%. Within a few weeks of that, the company collected a $62 million payday by selling a majority interest in the brewery to Guinness.

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Don’t Waste Your Time with Native Advertising

It’s a brilliant piece of native advertising.

Visually appealing and information rich, this sponsored content walks you through numerous variations of oysters, where they hail from, and interesting facts about each.

The New Orleans, we learn, was the preferred oyster of Jean Lafitte, and is the key to Oysters Rockefeller. The sweet and succulent Tangier oyster captivated Captain John Smith when introduced by Pocahontas, and the rest is history.

Next, you’re hit with the ultimate pairing sensation, as you imagine washing down these delicacies with a cold beer. Not just any beer, of course — a Guinness Extra Stout.

I don’t even like oysters, and this sounds amazing right now.

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