Fancy Goldfish Principle

The “Fancy Goldfish” Principle

Let me start this post by being 100% honest – I recently read a wonderful LinkedIn post by Tony Cañas, about the concept of the Fancy Goldfish principle.

To bring you up to speed: Tony travels a lot for his job as a Territory Manager for Liberty Mutual Insurance, and on one of his travels he decided to stop at a PetSmart location to pick up a gift for his children. Tony walked in, headed to the fish aisle, and was confronted by…well, fish. Classic goldfish, available for $0.32, swam in packs as Tony deliberated.

But just above the “regular” goldfish, Tony saw a sign reading “Fancy Goldfish”, priced at $32.

Like me, Tony had questions – what is a fancy goldfish? And what – aside from the fanciness – could possible make one goldfish worth 100 times a regular goldfish?

Turns out “Fancy Goldfish” is a wonderful (fish) industry catch-all top describe a goldfish that is “fancier” than a traditional fish, gold or otherwise. Or to put it another way, it’s a simple way to explain a complex idea (like subbing Fancy Goldfish for Carassius Auratus).

I love the Fancy Goldfish principle. Too often as marketers we get caught up in branding or approved language or trying to speak at customers and consumers. We forget that more often than not, our customers are looking for fancy goldfish, and probably don’t know what a caraasius auratus is.

Marketers “carassius aratus” when they should “fancy goldfish”.

I am often guilty of this: here at WorkBook6 we specialize in bringing like-minded companies together to monetize common target audiences in a bilateral, mutually beneficial capacity…but it took us MONTHS to boil that down to “We Power Partnerships”. The concept of strategic partnership development is easy to understand but incredibly difficult to write down. And I need to constantly remind myself of the fancy goldfish principle.

Tony summed this up beautifully:

I think there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this, for all industries, and especially for our insurance industry. The customer doesn’t shop for auto insurance, they search for car insurance. They don’t look for commercial insurance they want business insurance.

Are you using terms your customer will search for, or is your language on brand? How can you migrate your brand to better reflect the language your customers use on a daily basis?

And most importantly, how can you make your goldfish fancy?

Unit Economic Crisis

Marketing’s Next Big Hurdle: The Rising Cost Of Customer Acquisition & Solving the Unit Economic Crisis

At WorkBook6, we’re pretty passionate about forging strategic partnerships. It’s what we do (among many things),but it’s the one thing that drives us each and every day.

With Customer Acquisition Costs rise and LifeTimeValues fall, it can be hard (maddeningly hard) for marketers to build meaningful pipelines of engaged customers that convert. Competition for leads is fierce, and let’s face it – customers just aren’t as loyal as they used to be. We call this problem the Unit Economic Crisis.

Unit Economic Crisis

But do you know what’s cool? Forbes magazine calls it that, too – in fact, Steve Olenski from Forbes just interviewed our Founder and CEO JT Benton about the Unit Economic Crisis facing today’s marketers:

“Paid search, programmatic display, cost-per-everything affiliates and third-party lead generation, these are the tools today’s marketers leverage first when looking to acquire customers,” said JT Benton, founder and CEO of WorkBook6, a customer acquisition and demand generation firm specializing in partnership marketing. “It’s like fast food; it’s hard to beat the convenience of engaging a new prospective customer programmatically, but that has downstream consequences.”

It’s a great read – check out what else JT had to say!

Dress FOr Success

The case for: dressing for success

By Brett Kaufman

Dress for success or dress for your personality?

Everyday, we sit down for in-person meetings and there is always that fear: “Did I overdress? Or Worse, did I underdress for this occasion?”.

When you travel for days at a time, it can be tough to prepare for every circumstance. Do you need shorts, slacks, jeans or something else? Icons like Zuckerberg and Jobs kept it simple, we all knew what they’d be wearing, but what’s the common business executive to do?

Dressing for Success: when is business causal the right answer?

Do you try and tailor to the audience or do you always wear the same thing and set your own tone? Over my career I’ve been known as the sweater guy; you can usually can find me rocking one in NYC during my frequent visits.

Most important to me is to be comfortable and to reflect who I am. I’m a jeans and polo/button up – MAYBE with a jacket – type of guy, nothing more. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all show up in shorts and just sit by the pool to get deals done?

What makes you feel the most comfortable when you sit down for a big meeting? Would you rather be dressed for you or for the room?

Strategic Partnership Growth

WorkBook6 Expands National Business Development Team Focusing on Strategic Partnership Growth

New addition brings deep partnership development and engagement experience to the industry’s first full-service strategic partnership growth engine

WorkBook6 today announced the expansion of their national business development team with the addition of Keith Selvin as Director of Partnership Development.

In his new role, Selvin allows WorkBook6 to expand its reach across each of the company’s four service areas: Partnership Development, Marketing Program Management, Media Monetization and Affiliate & Membership Groups. Further, Selvin’s deep partnership and revenue stewardship experience in both business and consumer focused marketplaces will help WorkBook6 continue to drive meaningful results for its broad range of clients.

WorkBook6’s brings proprietary new efficiencies to the marketplace through a flywheel effect, meaning the model outperforms traditional business development efforts through the creation of a growth-oriented community of marketers which self-propel. The addition of Selvin to the team allows for expansion of the model.

“As mainstream customer channels become more competitive, many companies are now looking to add scalable strategic partnerships,” said Selvin. “Brands, media partners, affiliate groups, everyone is looking for out-of-the-box ways to build sustainable revenue streams that deliver maximum impact, and WorkBook6 is on the leading edge of exactly that.”

Prior to joining WorkBook6, Selvin served in senior sales and marketing roles at industry powerhouses Goji and Hubspot.

“I’m proud to have Keith aboard. It’s great validation of what we’re building at WorkBook6,” said JT Benton, founder and CEO. “For many people, enterprises like Hubspot represent the pinnacle of the career path. For us – a young and growing company – to be able to recruit a talent like Keith to the team is really encouraging.”

With demand for WorkBook6’s service area expertise continuing to increase, the addition of Selvin is the first of a new wave of hires WorkBook6 is planning through Q4.

“The expansion of our partnership development team is part of our continued investment in client success and support,” said Benton. “WorkBook6 is all about bringing great business partnerships together. While we continue to build great technology, our people are the foundation. In that sense, we’re all excited to make Keith’s talents available to our clients.”

About WorkBook6

We power partnerships. Uniquely positioned across four primary service areas, WorkBook6 combines strategic leadership with unparalleled experience across all facets of Strategic Partnership Development, Marketing Program Management, Media Monetization and Affinity Organizations & Membership Groups. Combined, WorkBook6 leverages the efforts of a diverse team to power dozens of partnerships throughout a wide range of industry categories, building sustainable revenue for our partners across the customer acquisition ecosystem.

For more information, please visit

Strategic Partnership Workshop

What is the Leadscon Strategic Partnership Workshop?

Guys! The WorkBook6 team has great news – we’re thrilled to partner with the 2018 Leadscon conference in Las Vegas to present the Strategic Partnership Workshop, March 5, 2018.

So, what is the Leadscon Strategic Partnership Workshop?

It’s no secret: the headwinds impacting customer acquisition are as strong as we’ve ever seen. Brands face stiff competition and must ask hard questions about the customers they acquire via the internet. Publishers and lead sellers feel this pressure as their brand partners look to right-size costs of acquisition and increase Lifetime Value (LTV).

Escalating costs. Fierce competition. Falling LTV’s. Oh, my.

But there is a solution. Forging partnerships can deliver the growth and economic outcomes we’re all seeking more of.

On behalf of the entire WorkBook6 team, we invite you to join our founder and CEO, JT Benton for a workshop built exclusively around this topic. JT will be joined by CEOs, CMOs and Business Development professionals from top US brands, publishers and membership groups. Broken into chapters, this workshop will cover everything one needs to know in order to build more revenue impacting partnerships.

What Will You Learn?

Among other takeaways, participants in this workshop will focus on:

  1. How to identify potential partnership opportunities and make sense of the revenue impact for your company
  2. How to form aligned partnerships with leading firms while staying true to your brand
  3. How to negotiate commercial outcomes that work for every stakeholder – especially the consumer
  4. How to track and manage multiple partnerships – with different conversion paths and commercial structures
  5. When to bring in outside products and services to increase your brand’s loyalty
  6. Which billing formats work best in competitive marketplaces

And much, much more!

Who Should Attend the Leadscon Strategic Partnership Workshop ?

This Leadscon Strategic Partnership Workshop has been designed for senior, revenue-focused leaders – CEO’s, CMO’s, CRO’s, marketing and business development leaders – each will benefit from this content, directly. We’ve also built content that will inform and educate the doers from within the business development and marketing teams. If you touch customer acquisition on the brand side, or media monetization on the publisher side, this workshop is for you. And if you represent a membership group or association, it’s a “can’t miss” curriculum.

Short topical segments will alternate with longer-form hands-on case studies designed to dive deeper into industry-specific challenges, and how best to analyze and overcome in a strategic and sustainable fashion.

Sign up today!



Is the #FullStackExecutive a good thing? 

By JT Benton

The #FullStackExecutive – if you haven’t seen it already, here it is. Seth Besmertnik’s article on Conductor’s website garnered a lot of attention. I’ve seen it on Twitter and Facebook, it’s been all over LinkedIn, and has now been emailed to me twice. So, yeah, it’s a thing.

In the article, Seth talks about the emergence of a new kind of leader – the “#FullStackExecutive” – who is effectively efficient in every area of the business. The FSE can pitch the sales deck, give development feedback, speak to sprint progressions and work with the finance team. Write content and decipher API documentation. Run a CRM report and conduct deal diligence. So, basically, a Swiss army knife sort of person at work.

So here’s the deal.

Everyone is going to say they’re a full stack executive. Doers. Roll-up-the-sleevers. Suck-it-up-and-dealers. We’re all FSEs! And no doubt it’s largely true – folks today are far more versatile than ever before.

But How is the #FullStackExecutive even possible?

Technology makes this possible – but so do the working environments we chose. This is good, right? Probably most of the time.

But what about the other side of this? I mean, this article is certainly sharable content, but is a workforce staffed primarily of multi-dimensional doers always a good thing? What happens when the software engineer blows a deal because she didn’t have the same training as the BD lead?

Or, as we saw recently, what do you do when the finance executive talks your client out of an engagement by pitching a SaaS model when a revenue share structure would make everyone more money?

Or, when a not-to-be-named CTO from years past insisted on being involved in, like, everything the business did? Weren’t these folks just “full-stacking” it?

Just to clear up confusion, there’s no doubt that broadly skilled beats a silo-ed expert most days. At WorkBook6, we’re stocked to the gills with super-talented folks like this – and we deploy them well beyond the areas their titles might suggest.

And while I certainly wouldn’t change that fact, I think each of us would admit to the occasional shortfall. We get distracted. We lose efficiency within our primary area of responsibility. And we drive one another nuts on occasion. Okay – I drive everyone nuts on lots of occasions.

My Life as a #FullStackExecutive

I love to write. And have all kinds of content ideas to share. But our VP of Marketing says I use too many commas. (I think, he’s just being, you know, kind of, well, ticky tacky, you know what I mean?) Our operational leader – my partner – becomes multi-colored when I derail meetings to allow for certain things to be further explored.

I bring random furniture to the office to be ‘helpful’ – but I really undermine the space’s flow which was actually the result of a lot of work. I suggest completely useless technical concepts which overcomplicate the business.

Helpful? Maybe. #FullStackExecutive? You betcha!

Now it’s your turn – tell me your greatest FSE challenges. Or better yet – tell me how I can overcome mine.

Strategic Partnership Development

Advertising Isn’t Dead…Yet

By Keith Selvin

First off, let me just say that I’m a sucker for good advertising. Awesome branded content, highly personalized and well-placed remarketing campaigns, Google Ad results that show me exactly what I was looking for – I love it all. But I think it’s safe to say consumers are getting really good at finding ways to block out advertising. TiVo, streaming, ad blockers, spam filters – the list goes on.

To be fair, marketers have gotten smarter too. Bogus ads and landing pages designed only to flood your inbox with irrelevant and uninteresting offers is largely a thing of the past. It doesn’t take being a digital native anymore to have a finely-tuned “marketing BS-meter”.

Even my 93-year-old Grandma Jean knows not to click on silly, too-good-to-be-true offers anymore (for the most part – yes, Grandma, I promise there’s no such thing as $9/month car insurance).

Look, there’s a reason that $72.5 billion was spent on digital advertising in 2016 (22% more than 2015). It works. The ROI is there. We’re getting smarter at targeting the right customers, in the right place, at the right time. But there’s an inherent problem with this: now everybody wants in.

It’s not just big companies anymore that have figured out effective, programmatic, targeted ad-buying. Pretty much everyone has it figured out now. Over the next 10 years, two critical things will happen:

Marketing costs will continue to rise.

Today, Facebook impressions are cheap – whether it’s pennies or dollars, your industry’s CPM on major platforms is going to increase 10x in as many years. But customer lifetime value isn’t following suit, which means one thing: margin compression.

It’ll be harder to break through the noise.

Consumers now have access to so much information, and so many offers, it’s difficult to know where to look to find the right solution. The key is to give consumers simple and easy ways to solve their problems. If it’s too hard to make a decision, I’m just going to give up and go with the first option presented to me, cutting your company’s entire value-prop off at the knees.

Oversaturation leads to increased supply-side cost, and decreased demand-side attention. That’s a recipe for disaster, and requires a way out. Think 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: high-pressure to low-pressure.

“Okay – so what do I do now?”

Well the good news is, there’s no shortage of new and innovative ways to get in front of potential customers. Direct mail is making a comeback (I know, not new and innovative, but it certainly bucks the digital trend). Content marketing is growing if you’re in the right space. However, we think partnership marketing is the next frontier.

Let me give you an example:

You’re just about ready to buy your first house. There’s six million things on your to-do list. Get the best possible mortgage rate, find a moving company, figure out cable and internet, look into a landscaper, install a home-security system, find homeowner’s insurance, look into getting a new car insurance quote while you’re at it, get an estimate on house painters because “eggshell white just doesn’t match our esthetic, hun”.

What do you do?

It’s daunting. There’s a ton of research that needs to be done. Reviews to read. Questions to ask. Quotes and estimates to receive. Decisions to make.

What if a single trusted company could point you in the right direction? Perhaps, by doing business with one reliable brand, you were then shown several others – with all of your options at your fingertips – no research required? What if you and your business were one of those brands? What do you think your conversion rate would be? Probably better than Google Adwords.

The beauty in partnership marketing isn’t necessarily exclusivity. It’s that it provides a path of least resistance. It cuts through the noise. It positions your brand, or service, or product, as one that can be inherently trusted, since it’s being recommended by a company the consumer is already doing business with.

Want to learn more about partnership marketing? That’s easy – drop me a line at, and let’s talk!

Marketing Foodies

Eight Bar – Oakland International Airport

At WorkBook6, we travel a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. And while time on the road is good for business, it can be even better for our marketing foodies, who love a great meal with great company. Join us on another edition of #MarketingFoodies as we rave (or lament) the cuisine we encounter on our travels. And we’re always looking for our next feast…any suggestions?

Marketing Foodies Review: Eight Bar, Oakland Airport

Restaurant: Eight Bar

Location: Oakland International Airport, Terminal 1

Service: 2/5

Food: 2/5

Intangibles: 1/5

What we ordered: Barbacoa Nachos (JT); Turkey Sandwich (Brett)

What we wish we ordered: Food from an actual restaurant

This place kinda sucks in a totally expected way. The options in Oakland’s terminal 1 are underwhelming, though, so you might end up without a choice. You’ve got your Chili’s Too, your Silver Dragon Café (think Panda Express), and Bar 8. Vino Volo is there, too, but we forgot they served food. So, you know, limited.

Let’s start with the nachos. These were not good. The chips are those thick corn ones you get at a high school football game and come in a giant bulk bag. The cheese is definitely of the pump variety. (Note: I’m no purist and I’m certainly not above pump cheese.) Super basic.

The fixins were OK, actually. The barbacoa tasted like it should and the guacamole (which comes at an upcharge) was legit. The sour cream was almost frozen, though, and the corn was mushy.

Brett’s sandwich looked like something you’d grab at a convenience store. It looked bready. I didn’t taste it, though, so we’ll take it from him. “It tasted like lunchables” was really all I could get out of him. Man of few words, I suppose.

There you have it, gang. Bar 8. Oakland. JT and BK, out.


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