Do you want to be employable (self or otherwise) in the next five years? If so, then you’ll want to pick up a copy of Mitch Joel’s newest book, Ctrl Alt Delete.

President of Twist Image, one of the largest independent digital marketing agencies in North America and a self-proclaimed “media hacker,” Mitch is the guy Google summons to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California when they need a digital marketing tutorial for the world’s top brands.

The way we work and do business is changing faster that most of us can comprehend and keep up with. Technology has transformed how we create, connect and adapt in an ever-shifting new landscape. In Ctrl Alt Delete, Mitch offers a roadmap through a chaotic world. He delves into how you should be thinking and navigating your business through this time of great change and disruption.

If you don’t want to be left behind, he identifies five key movements that are already in play in the field of marketing and communication and includes actionable steps to incorporate each one into your business. Here’s what you need to know to adapt right now:


#1 – Direct relationships with consumers – own a strong and direct relationship with your consumers. Mitch writes, “This fostering of direct relationships is what will bring you forward through purgatory. It will bring you from a place where you are positioning messages to a place where you are providing true utility to your consumers.”

#2 – Utilitarianism marketing – provide something of real value and utility: something consumers want to use constantly and consistently. It’s not about you, it’s about them. This is what builds interest and attention – not traditional advertising.

#3 – The convergence of passive and active media – create media that touches consumers and creates interaction; don’t just broadcast messages. As Mitch writes, “Great stories are created, nurtured and shared over time…Active media is about creating real interactions between real people. It’s about building real relationships that count.”

#4 – Sex with data – mine data to determine what it takes to acquire customers and keep them. If you’re in business, you need to know the economic value of an end user and how to track that as a metric. Mitch recommends two books: Web Analytics: An Hour a Day and Web Analytics 2.0, both by Avinash Kaushik.

#5 – One Screen – it’s about the screen that is currently in front of your consumer at that moment. Mitch writes, “It’s not about three screens or four screens. It’s not about the Web, mobile, touch and what consumers are doing in their physical lives. It’s about the reality that they only screen that matters, going forward, is the one screen in front of the consumer’s face.” And you can be sure that screen will be mobile.


Book Review: Ctrl Alt Delete

Ctrl Alt Delete contains very practical actions you can take in your business and work to align yourself with these ideas and make them work for you and your company. But it’s not only companies that need to reboot, but individuals as well. In the second half of his book, Mitch outlines what you must do to personally thrive in this new world.

Highlights of these include: taking a “digital-first” posture, cultivating a culture of kindness, embracing the “squiggle” in your career path, making yourself indispensable and consistently adding value to others.


A few of my biggest takeaways from Ctrl Alt Delete include:

  • You must become more active with your media. You have to step out of the traditional mindset of broadcasting and define how you will best connect and engage.
  •  It’s not about you, it’s about them. You must understand and deliver on your customer’s greatest needs – again and again. Utility is the new marketing.
  •  There is only one platform. We are moving toward a world where we see simply see media as text, images audio and video on one mobile screen.
  •  If you don’t start to take a digital-first posture, you risk becoming obsolete. The first place consumers go to make a business decision is to their computers, smartphones and/or tablets. Consumers are highly connected and look to their networks for word-of-mouth information.
  •  Consumers increasingly expect transparency, openness and responsiveness as the order of the day. If you can’t provide these, your competitors will.
  •  Consistent and useful communication through powerful content in the new advertising. Always deliver value in the content that you publish.
  •  Real influence comes from connecting to your consumers, directly nurturing those relationships and consistently adding value (what they deem as valuable) to their lives.
  • Become a hacker – someone “messing about with something in a positive sense, that is, using playful cleverness to achieve a goal.” It’s time to embrace technology, innovation and constant change.

Ctrl Alt Delete is brimming with ideas, examples and suggestions. If you’re looking for a blueprint for running your business in the new digital landscape and a way to make the changes necessary in order to thrive both personally and professionally, then I highly recommend Mitch’s book.

Have you already read Ctrl Alt Delete? Please share your favorite takeaways in the comments below.

Mitch’s first book, Six Pixels of Separation, is named after his successful blog and podcast and was a business and marketing bestseller.

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