The Key To Changing How People Think

Michael Troiano is unstoppable.

Marketing expert and entrepreneur Michael Troiano knows how to motivate people. After being the first in his Italian family to go to college, Michael went on to work at top ad agencies in New York, attend Harvard Business School and currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer at Actifio.

Michael believes that success involves listening, learning, kicking ass and celebrating your wins. We can get used to that.

Gary & Mike Chat

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Let’s see… Italian guy from RI, first in my family to go to college. Went to Cornell, played football there, best time in my life. 10 years in New York at McCann-Erickson and Ogilvy, then a year in San Francisco at Foote, Cone & Belding in San Francisco. Back east for B-school at Harvard, 6 startups later I’m a middle aged white guy in the Boston suburbs with a wife and 4 kids. Who knew.

What are the keys to great marketing?

Great marketing changes what people do. It does that by changing what they think (sometimes), and what they feel (always). It’s about touching something human in people, something that first engages and then moves them.

Doing that starts with understanding the people you’re talking to… where they are now, and where you want them to be. It means boiling your message down to a simple story, and telling that story consistently. Listening to how people respond, and refining your message. That’s it.


What career advice do you have and what have been some of your secrets to success?

Don’t be a “growth hacker.” Don’t kid yourself into thinking knowing how to do the math makes you special. It doesn’t. It makes you average.

Be persuasive. Learn how to sell, one-on-one, to a real person. Then learn how to scale that. That’s marketing.

Work with the smartest people you can find. Work harder than them. Listen. Learn. Kick ass, and celebrate your wins.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Focus. Decide what you want, then figure out what it takes to get it. Do that, with everything you have. Don’t be a victim of your opportunities.


Who inspires you?

Springsteen. Louis Ck. Bill Murray. It takes balls to be an artist, to share something so intimate it’s universal. The people that can sustain that level of courage over time are the real deal. The older I get, the more I respect and aspire to that.

Why do you use

One of my favorite Walt Whitman lines is “I am large. I contain multitudes.”

While I’m no Whitman, my content and ideas are spread all over the web. It’s nice to have a place where they all come together, a kind of calling card across networks that provides a more complete picture of who I am. is that for me, a simple way for people to first see the total picture, then connect wherever they like, or just pint me one-on-one.

It’s a simple and powerful way to connect with people. And that’s what it’s all about.


Anna Lizaur is a Marketing Manager with She graduated from the University of Virginia. Anna is fluent in Spanish and can count to 100 in Chinese.


5 responses to The Key To Changing How People Think

  1. Donnalee T. Garofalo

    Thank you for sharing Michael…..

  2. Sean Lindsay

    Love this: “Work with the smartest people you can find. Work harder than them. Listen. Learn. Kick ass, and celebrate your wins.” Universal words to live by.

  3. Domenic A Troiano

    Very Proud of the Person you have become.

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