Like a peacock, the sales rep was only focused on talking about himself. Photo by Srikanta H. U on Unsplash

The software demo started off like any other.

A few slides about the company’s client list. Some stats on the number of employees they had, how quickly they’d grown.

But as I listened to the pitch the rep gave about his company’s PR monitoring software, I started to feel pissed off.

Later on, I tried to deconstruct what the rep did that ticked me off. He didn’t say anything offensive. And he was a nice enough guy.

And then it dawned on me.

The company has plenty of expertise in PR. But the way it conveyed that expertise didn’t draw…

I originally published this on Forbes. Read there original here.

If you’re a startup founder who’s looking for someone to build your team, what do you look for in your first marketing hire? It’s a tough question.

Before you start holding interviews for your first marketing hire, ask yourself this: what is the purpose marketing in the first place?

There are two traps you can fall into if you don’t know the answer. One is that you have a limited view of marketing, and you hire someone who can deliver on a few tactics but fails to drive real impact.

I originally wrote this for HuffPost. Find the original here.

What does every (good) marketer do to develop a new brand? They spend time (and lots of it) trying to come up with a brilliant and unforgettable name.

But despite all that hard work, great brands often die. Meanwhile, some brands that eschewed the traditional naming process manage to last decades. Is that fair? Not really.

But it raises an important question: Why are some brands so successful even though they didn’t go through a rigorous naming process?

Random Acts of Naming

To find out, I looked at five iconic brands that didn’t come…

I orignally wrote this as a piece for Huffington Post, which you can find here.

Startups face no shortage of uncertainty, and nothing creates more uncertainty than going through a pivot. A pivot can be a soul-wrenching, sleepless, and hair-pulling ordeal that can leave you feeling like the whole startup thing was never worth it. That is, if you let it. But if you have the right attitude, a pivot can be a period of intense personal and professional growth — a unique learning experience that can help you grow in wisdom and fortitude.

I’ve gone through a pivot before…

I was standing there at my desk when a Slack message popped up: “Check this out…” with an innocuous link to a YouTube video. 78 seconds later I was desperately trying to pretend I had allergies as I fought to keep tears from welling up.

What happened?

A commercial for one of the most mundane objects on Earth: a battery.

To find out how a pitch for such an ordinary item could cause so many feels to come out of my eyes, I decided to deconstruct the ad.

John Rougeux

VP Marketing at Skyfii. I write about B2B marketing at

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