The difference between knowledge and know-how

For many years, I’ve been a knowledge kind of guy in the marketing space.

That is, I write books, produce videos, hold webinars, and teach courses showing you how to do stuff.

It’s fun. It’s rewarding. And, if I look closely enough, it’s kind of frustrating and sometimes dispiriting.

“Give it away”

Many of us who make our living creating and sharing intellectual property are scared of “giving it away.” We think, “Why will they buy the cow when I’m giving them milk for free.” (Actually, I avoid dairy products, so my metaphor revolved around dating in a fairly disturbing manner ;)

But I discovered, as almost everyone does, that giving it away has the opposite effect.

My first book on marketing, Google AdWords For Dummies, consisted of everything I knew about AdWords in 408 pages.

And it retailed for $15, which computes to less than four cents a page. (And as the author, I got about a tenth of that.)

Pretty much “giving it away,” wouldn’t you say?

And of course, that book completely changed my career trajectory. All of a sudden, prospects who couldn’t get enough references about my work were climbing over each other to hire me.

And many of them were hiring me to teach them what I had written in the book.


The Inadequacy of Knowledge

What I didn’t realize at the time was, the same thing was happening further up the value chain. When I turned the book into videos showing exactly how to do keyword research, set up Ad Groups, etc. – a more engaging form of knowledge sharing – there were still lots of clients who needed more.

And the same is true of home-study courses, live courses, and workshops.

No matter how conveniently and clearly and engagingly I present the material, there’s still a huge gap between knowing and doing. Or between, if you prefer, knowledge and know-how.

One way I solve this problem is by having a PPC management company. My staff will literally do it for you. And that’s a perfectly fine solution if you want your online advertising taken care of and you don’t want to go to the trouble of learning.

But there are some aspects of running and growing a business that you just can’t outsource. So you’re gonna have to learn how to do them.

Which is a long-winded way of saying…

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re an “information junkie” who still has trouble executing the things you think you know how to do.

There’s a huge gap between knowledge and know-how.

And more often than not, that gap is filled with various kinds of “mental garbage.”

  • Thoughts of inadequacy
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Realization that you’re not really doing the work you were put on this planet to do
  • Outdated strategies that have morphed into rigid defense mechanisms
  • A million and five ways of “wasting” time to avoid the big, hard stuff
  • (Add your own several dozen here…)

The Knowledge Racket

Knowledge is necessary, don’t get me wrong.

It’s just not sufficient.

But the internet, as a medium of 1s and 0s, is biased toward knowledge.

When you read newsletters (like this one) and sales letters and watch sales videos and read special reports (ie sales letters with nicer graphics in PDF format), you’ll be told again and again:

Learn some more.

There’s a secret that’s the single thing keeping you from great things.

I guarantee you, it ain’t.

Think about it – there are many people a lot less informed and educated than you who are doing just fine.

If more knowledge were the answer, you would have figured it all out long ago.

The Structure of Success

So what else is necessary to achieve success in business?

I’ll be back next week with some thoughts. For right now, though, what do you think?

What are the things that hold you back that are unrelated to knowing what to do?

Post your thoughts in comments, below.

The Limiting Factor: Thoughts on the Coaching Relationship

Is there a single factor that keeps entrepreneurs and high potential employees from achieving their potential? I believe there is.

I’ve coached around 400 entrepreneurs and high potential employees over the past 15 years. As I think back, I’m truly amazed and humbled at the variety of situations, personalities, resources, mindsets, teams, markets, products, and organizations that I’ve worked with.

Early in my career, I was often giddy with the tools of the coaching trade that I’d studied and mastered. And in my eagerness to help (and let’s be honest, impress) my clients, I would frequently pull out all the stops.

Our coaching sessions were fast and furious affairs. We’d work on direct marketing strategy, copywriting, time management, diet, exercise, and mental stamina.

And these sessions weren’t ineffective. Frequently one of the issues we’d tackle would provide a breakthrough: a better understanding of the prospect, a better way of phrasing a benefit or presenting an offer, a technique to get two more productive hours out of each workday, etc.

But while those benefits were accruing, I was subtly but unmistakeably doing something not so smart: contributing to my client’s overwhelm.

Even the wins couldn’t erase the feeling of “not enough” that came from waging so many battles simultaneously.
Cliffhanger? Keep reading…

Does School Kill Entrepreneurship?

Quick link to today’s interview: Right-click to download the interview in MP3 format.

Most of the readers of this blog are entrepreneurs – out there in the world beating new paths, asking new questions, and questioning old answers.

And many of us are parents as well, trying to give our kids a good start in life.

One of the “givens” of that good start has been quality schooling.

So it was with some shock that I found myself, last fall, the parent of two “drop-outs.” Following our family’s year in South Africa, neither of my children could maintain their interest or their spirit in a conventional school setting. (And they went to a pretty alternative school, by most standards.)

As I struggled to make sense of their choices and keep in check my knee-jerk reaction to force them to go to school for their own good, I looked for guidance and advice from people who knew what they were talking about.

Luckily, through my 17-year-old daughter, I found Blake Boles.

Blake is an entrepreneur, educator, social activist, and force of nature. He runs, a travel and learning program for homeschooled teens. He’s written three books, including College Without High School, Better than College, and The Unschool Adventures Guide to Online Travel Fundraising (which is available for free at

I interviewed Blake about the connection between schooling, homeschooling, unschooling, and entrepreneurship. He shared a vision of Self Directed Learners (an all but extinct animal in our school systems) as a model for an entrepreneurial life.

If you have kids who are bored in school, or who feel like there’s so much more to life, or who feel bad about themselves because of their social or academic “shortcomings,” this could be one of the most important interviews you ever listen to.

Enjoy, and please comment. What did you agree with? Disagree with? Wonder about?

Right-click to download the interview in MP3 format.

Desire, desperation, and the curse of conventional wisdom (and a huge bribe ;)

I began my marketing career in 1999, and I knew nothing. I got the job thanks to my friend Peter Bregman, who hired me to become his company’s first marketing director because I could write.

Up to that point I had been a professional student and teacher, never making more than $29k a year. Peter’s generous offer and promise of advancement as his fledgling company grew made me very eager to get as good at marketing as I could, as quickly as possible.

So I did what all good students do: I went shopping for books.

I started with standard marketing textbooks and bestsellers: Kotler on Marketing, a book called “The End of Marketing as We Know It” by Sergio Zyman (of Coca-Cola), “Experiential Marketing” by Bernd Schmitt, and so on.

As I tried to implement their advice on behalf of a scrappy startup that was trying to change all the rules of the organization development business (our tag line was “Change Rules!”), I began to see that convention marketing wisdom was useless.

Worse than useless, in fact.

Following the mainstream playbook was a recipe for utter failure.

But I didn’t know where else to look. Or even if there was somewhere else to look. And based on results, I wasn’t earning my salary.

Stumbling upon good advice

By chance, I met a guy who introduced me to the work of Dan Kennedy. He lent me Dan’s Magnetic Marketing course, a giant sloppy 3-ring binder and 5 cassette tapes for the staggering price of $247.

I would never have paid that much money for the course, but once I started listening, I was hooked.

Here was someone who, despite the fact that I disagreed completely with his political and philosophical views, finally made sense about marketing.

I bought my own copy of Magnetic Marketing, and became a subscriber to Dan’s newsletter.

Through him I met Ken McCarthy, who taught me about using the Internet as a direct marketing medium before I could get corrupted by the dotcom bubble mentality of Silicon Alley.

Through Ken, I met Perry Marshall, who opened my eyes to AdWords and the wonders of digital split testing and psychographic segmentation.

I’ve read tens of thousands of pages about AdWords since 2002, and I’ve gotta tell you, the insights I gained from Perry’s first version of The Definite Guide to AdWords (which was about 23 pages long, as I recall) still guide me to this day.

And you know what? Unless you follow Perry, or me, or any of a dozen or so other “renegade” teachers, you’ll be building campaigns based on Google’s default settings, and you’ll be failing miserably.

I was open to this whole rich vein of “renegade” marketing because I was desperate. I would never have looked at Magnetic Marketing had I been chugging along doing mediocre work.

I was only open to this radical (and radically effective) approach because I had a strong desire to succeed, and was desperate at my lack of success.

Which brings me to the point of today’s email

I’ve just co-written a book about health, diet, medicine, and lies.

It’s as anti-conventional and renegade as anything I’ve ever seen on the topic.

Because mainstream health and diet advice is, if anything, 100 times worse than mainstream marketing advice.

The main author of the book is the famously controversial scientist Dr. T. Colin Campbell. He wrote The China Study back in 2004, and has been challenging the medical establishment and the food industry since the early 1970s.

Why am I telling you this in a marketing e-newsletter?

For two reasons:

1. I want this book to become a #1 Bestseller. I want it to change (and save) as many lives as possible. I want to share the truth – utterly suppressed by the mainstream media, by government, and by the medical establishment – that roughly 95% of all Western diseases are preventable through a proper diet.

2. You come to me for marketing advice: copywriting, strategy, metrics, etc. But the truth is, you implement only to the extent that you have energy and clarity. When you’re tired, sick, sluggish, foggy, then you won’t be able to implement anything effectively. So as far as I’m concerned, your health and wellbeing (and that of your family) is one of the keys to running and promoting a successful business.

The book was released today, May 7, 2013. I’d like it to hit #1 on amazon (it’s currently #34, so this is very do-able) so the mainstream media will not be able to ignore it (so far they’ve done a fabulous job).

The Big Bribe

And so I’m going to bribe you like I’ve never bribed before :)

The book is called Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition.


If you buy a minimum of three copies today (one to keep and two to give to people you care about), I will give you free and immediate digital access to my $999 Traffic Surge course.

You’ll get the PDF manuals, a couple of recording implementation webinars, homework assignments, and 38 short video tutorials showing you exactly how to use AdWords strategically to grow your business. I taught the course last in 2010, so some of the screen shots are dated, but the strategies are evergreen.

Three copies of the hardcover edition of Whole will set you back $51.06. And it will make a fabulous Mother’s Day gift :)

Here’s what you do

1. Go to amazon and purchase three or more copies of Whole from this link:

2. Go to this page and register for Traffic Surge:

Yes, it’s on the honor system. You don’t need to email me a receipt or anything like that. I trust you.

And please pass this email on to anyone you think could benefit, either from Whole or Traffic Surge.

Many thanks in advance
Howie (Howard) Jacobson

How to Double Your Google Leads and Sales

If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and become a Checkmate master, you can learn more about the Checkmate Home Study course here.

Or if you’d like my marketing agency,, to do it for you, give us a shout here.

How to Use Pinterest

Karen Tiede, my neighbor and Pinterest guru, came over and taught me the Mystery that Was Pinterest.

I screen-captured the session and uploaded it to YouTube for your viewing pleasure. (And for my SEO benefit ;)

Whatja think? Comments are open, below…

Leads into Gold Fire Sale – “Let’s Give the Original Picture Books”

True story about me being an idiot, and how you can get Leads into Gold for 75% if you act quickly.

Learn all about Leads into Gold

Snap up your copy of Leads into Gold for just $122.

The Power of Gratitude

Today I spoke with my longtime friend, Rabbi Debra Orenstein, about a topic that she cares deeply about: gratitude.

Right-click to download the conversation in MP3 format.

In the 54-minute conversation, Debra shared her powerful and compassionate insights about gratitude, life, productivity, peace and joy:

  • Why our obsession with productivity actually gets in the way of gratitude and, ironically, true productivity.
  • The number one enemy of happiness: our habit of comparison.
  • The link between feeling deprived and feeling entitled.
  • How to lick the habit of complaining.
  • The two words that help when we’re on a rant.
  • How we can play mental and linguistic tricks on ourselves to put ourselves in a good mood.
  • The incredible long-lasting power of a “gratitude letter” – and how to write and deliver one.
  • How to harness the power of curiosity to overcome ingratitude.
  • Why abundance can make us ungrateful.
  • How marketing that harnesses the power of gratitude leads to longer-lasting customer engagement.
  • The 80/20 gratitude secret of frozen yogurt punch-cards.
  • A definition of idolatry – and it surprised the hell out of me!

I left this conversation feeling so uplifted! My hope and intention is that Rabbi Debra’s words will have the same effect on you.

Right-click to download the conversation in MP3 format.

For more from Rabbi Debra:

The books she mentioned:

Thanks: The New Science of Gratitude

Titles by Zelig Pliskin

Rabbi Debra Orenstein’s books

ASJA Questions, Comments, Complaints, or Kudos

If you were on the line during the American Society of Journalists and Authors interview and have any questions, comments, or need my address to send me a big fat check, leave a comment below.

Thanks to Nancy Faass and ASJA for the opportunity to think out loud for an hour :)

O Vanity, Thy Name is Howie – shhh…

From the “Loving What Is” and “Manipulating the Hell Out of Myself” departments:

My 30th HS reunion is on March 23. Despite the fact that I am a mostly enlightened being, with no trace of shallowness in my soul, I find myself wanting to look really good that night. Like, 10-pounds-lighter good.
Cliffhanger? Keep reading…

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