Hey folks! What are you using for dashboards? I’ve been exploring the Traction Scorecards, Brad Sugars’ 5 Ways, and Pirate Metrics for business and marketing tracking. I’d love to hear what is working for you. Here are more details on each as promised in my most recent Facebook Live.

I use the Pirate Metrics for campaign tracking, 5 Ways for business/marketing, and the Traction Scorecard as the overarching framework for organizing them and other metrics. The key is finding out what works best for your organization and what your goals are. Happy tracking!

Pirate Metrics

What Is An EOS Scorecard?

The 5 Ways to Grow Business Revenue and Profit

Marketing + Business Dashboards

What are you tracking and why? Let's talk about Traction Scorecards, Brad Sugar's 5 Ways, and AARRR Metrics.

Posted by Aha Marketing on Monday, June 18, 2018

Resources for Using Scrum + Kanban for Marketing

Resources for Using Scrum + Kanban for Marketing

I’ve been going down a project management and leadership rabbit hole lately. I started with Hacking Marketing last year, then starting reading the PMP exam book and Learning Agile recently. I love the scrum and kanban models and have started testing them on some of my projects. What I’ve learned though is that it is more about the principales and values behind the methodologies and tools than the tools themselves.

While I can implement backlogs, sprints and task boards, what is more important is that the team understands the scrum values of commitment, respect, focus, openness, and courage to become effective scrum teams. Since this is something I’m learning and applying, I’ll report back next month with an update on how it’s going! 

Here are a few articles, books, and notes to get you started if you are interested in applying this to your own marketing.

Think in Layers

I feel like this quote gives you a better idea of how to think of scrum. While the articles break down the backlogs, sprints, meetings, and other widgets that make up the methodology, this gives you the big picture of how it applies to your organization as a whole.

“Picture several layers at which the organization decides what it is going to do. The tasks on an agile team’s kanban board are the bottom layer, describing very specific activities that individuals execute in the scope of a sprint. Those tasks are derived from the prioritized backlog of stories, which is the layer immediately above the sprint. Clusters of related stories could be grouped into epics, which constitute the next layer up. And we can even envision a layer above that, a collection of themes that represent the highest level of strategic initiatives that the company wants to pursue. At the very top is the company’s overarching vision, a layer that encompasses everything.

These layers are distinguished from one another by their granularity and their timescale. Tasks are the most atomic units, things such as “graphic design of infographic.” Themes are big, high-level thrusts, such as “establish presence in the Asia/Pacific region.” An epic under that theme might be “launch Asia/Pacific content marketing program.” And a story under that epic might be “produce infographic of important regional trends”—of which our task example is one slice. The different timescales on which these layers operate are approximately tasks in a sprint, stories in a quarter, epics on a half-year horizon, and themes for the year.”

Full Hacking Marketing book notes. (More so my highlights and some notes.)

Say That Again

One of the differences between the books I was reading on scrum was the distinction that kanban is not a task board and is for work items instead. Below is a quote that better describes this description yet it still feels squishy to me. I’ll come back to this one later;) It was one of the sticking points for me and thought I’d mention it.

“These are not task boards. They’re called kanban boards. The way that you know they’re not task boards is that they don’t have tasks on them. They have work items. A work item is a single, self-contained unit of work that can be tracked through the entire system. It’s typically larger than an MMF, requirement, user story, or other individual scope item. One difference between a task board and a kanban board is that while tasks flow across a task board, work items are not tasks. The tasks are what the people do to move the work items through the system. In other words, the tasks are the “cogs” of the machine that push the work item through.”

Articles + Books

The articles and Hacking Marketing book are great places to start. I would recommend renting the Learning Agile book (instead of buying), it is more technical and for software teams yet is more detailed. A book for skimming and reference.

Agile Marketing Using Scrum

Break Down and Track your Marketing Campaign with Kanban

Agile Marketing: How to Implement Scrum for Digital Marketing

Full Hacking Marketing book notes. (More so my highlights and some notes.)

Using Pirate Metrics

Using Pirate Metrics

What metrics are you using for your marketing? One of my favorite tools is Pirate Metrics, AARRR. See how you can use these metrics for your marketing in the below Facebook LIVE video and article. I’m experimenting with more LIVE videos to explain the tools, tactics, and concepts I use for my strategy and planning work, stick with me as I get the hang of this lol!

The framework is based on the most important metrics to track:

  • Acquisition: Where are users coming from?
  • Activation: Are users having a happy first-time experience?
  • Retention: Do users keep coming back?
  • Revenue: Are you making money?
  • Referral: Do users tell others?

I’d love to hear how you decide to use this tool!

Pirate Metrics

Talking about pirate metrics! AARRR Matey

Posted by Aha Marketing on Thursday, May 24, 2018



How To Use Pirate Metrics, AARRR Matey



The 3 P’s + Strategic Project Management

The 3 P’s + Strategic Project Management

There’s a few questions that keep popping up for me lately, what do you actually do and when I talk about my experience people often ask why I closed Joy Works Marketing and how what I am doing now is different. I finally feel like I have an answer for those questions! As you know I love to pose questions in return, so what questions keep popping up for you? What patterns are you seeing?

It was on a walk after a chat with a friend about my work that I realized how to clearly and concisely communicate how what I am doing now is different from before. I call it the 3 P’s. They are Personal, Project, and Partner.

While Joy Works Marketing was based on having a team of contractors, my work now is based on partnerships. I’ve formed a web of partnerships for my  work and that includes other agencies and marketing collaboratives (like SheWolf, a women’s marketing collaborative).

The next P is project based, instead of doing ongoing marketing, I focus on project work. Ideally I’m working on a project for 3-6 months and it could include a website redesign, large scale video production, launch of a new campaign, product line, or program, or rebranding.  

Lastly, I feel what I am doing is more personal. You are working with me and my partners rather than a traditional agency. Hopefully that better explains the difference between my previous and current work. If not, please let me know! I want to be able to explain this to people:)

To answer the other question of what I actually do – I am calling it strategic project management. I love to help business owners with their marketing strategy and planning and that includes creating content calendars, brand documents, and promotional plans. Then after providing more clarity and direction in the strategy phase, I like to switch to planning and project management and make sure the strategy is seen through. Ideally I’m the person you talk to first before you give direction to your social media manager, email marketer, or other marketing folks. That way we know they have a solid foundation in the strategy in order to do their best work.

Businesses that have no marketing team or 1-3 team members are a fit for my services as I can help them on special projects. Most marketing people and business owners are so entrenched in day to day management that when a special project comes along like a website redesign or new launch they don’t have the capacity to give it the attention it needs. That’s where I help with strategy and planning and make sure it’s seen through to completion.

So how does this help you? Ideally this gives you an idea for new collaborative ways of doing business and when you have your next major marketing project you think of other ways to move it forward through partnerships and bringing on folks like myself to assist you. I know it can be overwhelming to manage your day to day marketing plus larger projects that come up. There is a way through the chaos though!

Books + Frameworks = My Favorite Shiny Objects

Books + Frameworks = My Favorite Shiny Objects

As an avid reader and life long learner, I love to read marketing books and learn new frameworks. These are the shiny objects I’m easily distracted by, in a good way of course;) Recently I’ve added a few new tools to my marketing kit and am excited to use them for myself and clients! Since I like to keep my posts short and sweet, I’ll give you a list and how I like to use each of them.

Building a Story Brand

  • I’m only 2 chapters in and I am loving this book! The author perfectly balances giving examples and explaining the principales. I also love it when authors include summaries and next steps at the end of each chapter! It shows that they have taken the time to be clear and concise in their communications and want people to use what they are teaching. I’d been wanting to read the Hero’s Journey and this is a digestible alternative for marketing folks and business owners. Below is an overview of the story brand steps, I’ll definitely be using this for marketing strategy and planning moving forward.

Running Lean

  • This is a great guide for startups or any company that is starting a new division or product line. The problem interviews in Chapter 7 are my favorite. I would recommend that every business go through this exercise to better understand their customers and their problems.

Good Strategy / Bad Strategy

  • An interesting read. More academic and less about application. I’d recommend skimming this or looking up a summary online. Basically, he breaks strategy down into 3 parts – diagnosis, guiding principales, and action. I’m not sure how to apply my learnings from this yet.

Pirate Metrics

  • My latest obsession. AARRR matey! Literally it means Acquisition, Activation, Revenue, Retention, and Referral. These metrics perfectly compliment the buyers journey and I recommend having a # and % for each. For example, for acquisition, track the # of website visitors and the % increase of website visitors month over month.

Design Thinking  

  • I haven’t used this yet so I’m putting it hear for me to learn soon!

Lean Canvas

  • A great business and marketing model to follow. Personally, I think I’ll use the story brand model with the pirate metrics and then cross reference it with this to make sure that the strategy is complete. A great tool for building a stronger foundation.



P.S. Apparently there is a scientific reason why we like shiny things…

Changes of Scenery

Changes of Scenery

I love to have changes of scenery to generate new ideas and boost my creativity. Whether it’s moving tables at the coworking space, working on a variety of client projects, or traveling. Meeting new people, going out of my comfort zone, and changing my habits all leads to new thoughts and ideas. Which all equals growth and expansion.

Recently I went to a Startup Grind event and a group of us went to dinner afterwards. We were talking about our various business and traveling came up as well. It was great to see the excitement and energy while the whole table engaged in the conversation. It reminded me of the power of travel, connecting with others, and that it’s time for another trip.

I had the opportunity to live 5 months abroad working and traveling 2 years ago and I yearn for that immersive experience again. It really opened my eyes to how others live, work, and play and I am so grateful that my entrepreneurial work allowed me to do that.

I’d like to share with you questions to ponder for your own creativity boost and resources for alternative travel opportunities. Here’s to your own journey!

Questions to Ponder:

  • How do you boost your creativity?
  • What gets you into the flow?
  • What are you comfort zones and habits that could be changed? What habits are working for you?
  • Why do you travel?
  • When do you know it’s time for a change?

Working + Traveling:

Coworkation offers great packages for a mix of work and play in countries around the world.

If you want something off the beaten path, there’s a remote coworking space in Montenegro that offers coliving, coworking, and adventure packages.

For those we want to have a longer experience and have everything planned for them, Remote Year is a popular option.

Roam also makes planning easier with it’s network of international coliving spaces.

20 Digital Nomad Retreats, Spaces, Communities and Conferences Around the World

P.S. So what will my next travel adventure be? Italy feels like home to me and I’d love to go back to Montepulciano and see my friends at Wisionaria, the coworking space in the historical plaza. I’d also like to stay at a castle in theScottish highlands. Here’s a few I’ve been dreaming about!



I needed a pick me up this morning so I decided to write about moodboards. Who doesn’t love the beautiful colors and imagery of a well designed moodboard? Yes, I get excited about marketing tools:) Here’s your #MondayMotivation through moodboards, the why, what, benefits, tools, and examples. Short and sweet.


  • Inspiration
  • Affirmation
    • If you already have brand guidelines, a moodboard supports and affirms the brand identity
  • Guidance
    • Defining your brand is key and with tools like this it gives you and your partners guidance on your look and feel
  • Communication
    • The more supporting documents you have for your brand the better. This applies to communications with all marketing team members and others that are representing your brand.

What to Include

  • Imagery
    • Visual metaphors
    • Photography style
    • Art
  • Colors
  • Words
    • Typography
    • Headlines and tone words
  • Texture
    • Patterns and shapes


  • Faster mockup production (especially for a website redesign, this helps inform pages before they are designed)
  • Smoother team buy-in with a visual
  • More fun, less frustration



dinnerguests moodboard







What Is Going On Here?

What Is Going On Here?

I am reading Good Strategy / Bad Strategy by Richard Rumelt and would like to share my notes with you. The key point is in the title of this post, ‘What is going on here?’. The key to strategic work is figuring out what is going on. Not just deciding what to do, but the  problem of understanding the situation.

All of the below are my organized highlights…

Bad Strategy

First, let’s talk about what a bad strategy looks like.

To detect a bad strategy, look for one or more of its four major hallmarks:

  • Fluff. Fluff is a form of gibberish masquerading as strategic concepts or arguments. It uses “Sunday” words (words that are inflated and unnecessarily abstruse) and apparently esoteric concepts to create the illusion of high-level thinking.
  • Failure to face the challenge. Bad strategy fails to recognize or define the challenge. When you cannot define the challenge, you cannot evaluate a strategy or improve it.
  • Mistaking goals for strategy. Many bad strategies are just statements of desire rather than plans for overcoming obstacles.
  • Bad strategic objectives. A strategic objective is set by a leader as a means to an end. Strategic objectives are “bad” when they fail to address critical issues or when they are impracticable.”

If you fail to identify and analyze the obstacles, you don’t have a strategy. Instead, you have either a stretch goal, a budget, or a list of things you wish would happen.

When a leader characterizes the challenge as underperformance, it sets the stage for bad strategy. Underperformance is a result. The true challenges are the reasons for the underperformance.

A leader may successfully identify the key challenge and propose an overall approach to dealing with the challenge. But if the consequent strategic objectives are blue sky, not much has been achieved. The purpose of good strategy is to offer a potentially achievable way of surmounting a key challenge. If the leader’s strategic objectives are just as difficult to accomplish as the original challenge, there has been little value added by the strategy.

Good Strategy

Good strategy requires leaders who are willing and able to say no to a wide variety of actions and interests. Strategy is at least as much about what an organization does not do as it is about what it does.

The kernel of a strategy contains three elements:

  • A diagnosis that defines or explains the nature of the challenge. A good diagnosis simplifies the often overwhelming complexity of reality by identifying certain aspects of the situation as critical.
  • A guiding policy for dealing with the challenge. This is an overall approach chosen to cope with or overcome the obstacles identified in the diagnosis.
  • A set of coherent actions that are designed to carry out the guiding policy. These are steps that are coordinated with one another to work together in accomplishing the guiding policy.

Good strategy is not just “what” you are trying to do. It is also “why” and “how” you are doing it.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Optimizing Your Website

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Optimizing Your Website

Update: As promised, here is the full presentation and 15 questions. 

Actually, the 5 questions are a teaser. I’m presenting at Venture Cafe on the 15 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Optimizing Your Website and I thought it would be content you would be interested as well. I’ll give you the first 5 and then after my presentation on Thursday, I’ll post the full 15. I know you are so excited to optimize your website and want the full 15 now! It will give you time answer the first 5 and read a few articles before jumping into the process;)

  1. What are your top goals for the website?
    1. You need to know if the goal is to increase traffic, conversion rate, or brand awareness. Each has different metrics to measure and there needs to be one primary goal to give you focus.
  2. If visitors could only do 3 things on your website, what would they be?
    1. Once again a question to help you refine the purpose of the website or landing page.
  3. Who are your ideal customers?
  4. What differentiators do your customers say you have over competitors?
    1. The key word here is ‘customers’, now what you think your differentiators are but what your customers actually say. Have you asked them? How did you ask them? I recommend the Running Lean problem interview process or using a tool like
  5. Has your current content been written with your goals in mind?
    1. If not, how would you rewrite the content to better speak to your customers and goals?

To help with the process, here are a few articles on optimizing landing pages in particular. While you may be redesigning or updating your website, it’s helpful to test one page at a time. The principles here still apply to a whole website.

A 9-step guide to increase your landing page conversion rate

How to Make a Landing Page That C.O.N.V.E.R.T.S.