The dreaded "Promotions" tab in the new Gmail inbox.

What scares you about the “Promotions” tab in the new Gmail inbox?

As you’ve probably seen, Gmail’s new tabbed inbox now automatically flags email newsletters (including marketing promos) in the “Promotions” tab. That is, your marketing emails (and your clients’ marketing emails) are no longer going directly into readers’ inboxes.

There’s an uproar online among marketers, about how this is terrible and that Gmail should stop doing this, and that it’s probably going to hurt email open rates.

My take? Stop complaining. It won’t do anything and it just wastes your time and energy.

Stop complaining

Your email newsletter is a promotion. Think about it for a moment.

Take off your marketer hat and think like a customer. If one of your competitors had emailed you the exact same message you sent out this week, would you think of their message as a promotion? I bet you would. [click to read more…]


Marketing agency business consultant speaks to marketing students at NC State University

My favorite part of marketing agency recruiting is helping find the right people for the team, while also helping marketers find the right job for them. Based on my guest lecture at NC State University, the Triangle Chapter of the American Marketing Association (Triangle AMA) recently published my 11 tips for entry-level marketing job-seekers.  (Part 1 and Part 2)

If you’re a hiring manager or recruiter at a creative agency, keep an eye out for new grads—and experienced candidates, too—who do these important things well: [click to read more…]


Marketing agency operations expert Karl Sakas speaking at conference in Raleigh, NC

Karl Sakas sharing advice about business operations for marketing firms at DMFB conference in Raleigh, NC

After a few years, many marketing agency owners find work isn’t fun any more. They’re getting pulled in a million directions, and there’s never enough time or money. And they don’t spend as much time on the work that got them started in the first place.

Fortunately, marketing firm owners don’t have to go it alone. I’ve found a solution to this problem by applying my business operations experience.

I shared my solution today at the Raleigh Convention Center during the Digital Marketing for Business (DMFB) conference, a conference reaching 400 marketing professionals and business owners from North Carolina and across the Southeast.

My presentation was on “5 Things You’re Missing That Are Killing Your Business.”

By creating and consistently applying systems in five key areas of their business—sales, marketing, accounting, recruiting, and project management—business owners can make more money, find more free time, and love their work again.

Download the slides, including tips & resources (PDF, 1.5MB)

Prefer to view the slides online? See the SlideShare version.

Question: What’s your favorite tip from my talk? Are you ready to commit to taking action on it in your business? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Image credit: Photo from Digital Marketing for Business via Twitter


Part of my job running the business operations side of a marketing firm is to help people be productive. One of our web developers has worked remotely for years. A designer recently went from working from home 40% of the time to 100% of the time. Both are productive, and I don’t have trouble reaching them during the day. We’re on IM and Google Hangout every day.

We’re all adults. Collaborating with remote workers is baked into our corporate culture. So when I heard Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer had banned telecommuting, I assumed it was a joke. Nope, not a joke.

Apparently a number of Yahoo! employees had been abusing the work-from-home policyWell then fire them. People goofing off all day is an accountability failure by front-line managers, not a company-wide HR problem. [click to read more…]


There’s more to marketing and design than creativity—it takes a strong business sense, too. To borrow from marketing agency consultant David C. Baker—marketing agencies don’t go out of business for lack of creativity; they go out of business for being poorly-run businesses.

Design entrepreneur and BLDG25 co-founder Raven Manocchio recently shared some important lessons about the business of design and marketing to a packed house at 18 Seaboard, during AIGA Raleigh’s Homegrown lunch & learn series.

1) Recognize that Entrepreneurship Isn’t Linear Any More

In the past, being an entrepreneur often involved writing a binder-sized business plan up front. A business plan is still important if you’re seeking venture capital or other funding, but most entrepreneurs are better served by designing, testing, and adapting. [click to read more…]