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E52 | Cutting through the marketing bullsh*t with Sander Arts

Today’s guest on The Melting Pot is Dutch-born Sander Arts. His list of titles is as long as your arm—Consultant, Strategic Advisor, Board Member, Author, Fractional CMO, Business Development, Strategic Alliances, Lecturer. 

Sander is a global award-winning CMO, strategic advisor, entrepreneur, and lecturer who has extensive experience increasing revenue and meaningfully reaching technical audiences that have been historically considered not to care about marketing—mainly hardware and software engineers. 

As the founder of his own strategic marketing consultancy, Orange Tulip, LLC, in Silicon Valley, Sander is renowned for his Dutch directness and his “no-bullsh*t” approach, as well as his ability to build global high-performing teams and generate results that matter. This dynamic, creative senior executive is clearly the ideal person to write a book called Cut the Bullsh*t Marketing

On today’s podcast:

  • Why he wrote Cut the Bullsh*t Marketing
  • Key nuggets from the book, including “Everything needs to be people-to-people”
  • Why he focuses on ROI in marketing, rather than branding and awareness
  • The main challenge for businesses doing work in China
  • Interesting developments in the IoT space out of Silicon Valley
  • Lessons from the Microchip acquisition


Today’s guest on The Melting Pot is a dynamic, creative senior executive Dutchman who has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, but who has called Silicon Valley his home since 2010. 

Sander Arts is a global award-winning CMO, strategic advisor, entrepreneur, and lecturer with extensive experience increasing revenue and meaningfully reaching technical audiences that historically aren’t considered to care about marketing—mainly hardware and software engineers.

Having been pushed out of Atmel when the company was acquired by Microchip in 2016, Sander found himself with time on his hands and a need to fill it. Together with colleagues he co-wrote Cut the Bullsh*t Marketing. We talk about the book and much more in this week’s episode. 

Marketing in the Semiconductor Market

Sander wrote his book about marketing because he wanted to get a few things off his chest, not because he wanted it to make a ton of cash. 

He was pushed out of his last company in 2016 and he had time to fill. Knowing his target audience as intimately as he does, he knew what a tough gig marketing is in the semiconductors market. In order to sell to hardware and software engineers, you need to talk about your products’ speeds and feeds, without talking only about features and benefits. And that is where the book fits in. 

Because, as Sander notes, everything needs to be ‘people to people’. There is a tendency in the marketing world to paint with broad strokes and create generic messaging. But that isn’t going to generate any revenue. Instead, you need to pay attention as there is granularity within the target audiences. If you can craft your messages accordingly, you will find and reach the right people on the right channels. 

Quite simply, you have to make the customer story the hero, and that is what will sell your products. 

Focus on ROI

Sander learned early on in his marketing career to focus on return on investment, rather than brand awareness. He discovered that when you bring money into the equation, people sit up and pay attention. 

So many people in marketing still don’t see sales as part of their measuring criteria. 

Working in China 

Sander likes working with China. Phillips was the first international company to do business with China over 120 years ago. There is no shortage of people in China wanting to do business with international companies; there is a deep desire there to participate in the global economy.

Sander notes that the main challenge for businesses doing work in China now is language. You have to make sure your messages and marketing material are correctly translated into Mandarin or Cantonese. 

Lessons from the Microchip acquisition

Microchip was a very successful company stitching together a bunch of acquisitions because from it they created a whole heap of shareholder value. One important lesson that shone through, however, was the importance of culture whilst stitching together these dozens of acquisitions. Having to integrate all these new people into your culture, whilst maintaining your own culture, is an incredibly difficult task. 

Book recommendations 

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