I'm Martin Couture, but people call me "MC"
Content Marketing Consultant
My work has been seen by millions of people.
In the course of my digital career I worked with startups, inventors, entrepreneurs, SMEs, as well as brands like Disney, Nike, Porsche, Tiffany, Mercedes, Fendi, BMW, Bosch, Porsche, Costa, Beats by Dre, and many more. Details below!
Blog post editorial content.
As a Content Marketing Consultant I help entrepreneurs and agencies create and promote what the internet and people like best: CONTENT.
I prefer to say that I build Digital Experiences.
I have built websites, niche sites, digital campaigns, eCommerce stores, SEO audits, social media strategies, shot video ads, etc... for the American, European, Chinese and Japanese markets.
I worked at the biggest and most creative agencies in the world: Wieden+Kennedy, Serviceplan and Schwann; I also worked with agencies like DDB, Jung von Matt, etc.
I have lived in Tokyo, Beijing, Montréal, Bangkok, and I am now based in Shanghai.
I also build niche websites and do affiliates marketing targeting the US and European markets.
I run a small digital agency, focusing on the Chinese market.
A lot of people ask me why my nickname is "MC" (just like "MC Hammer" the 1990s singer.)
Well, the story dates back to... before I jump into the mystery of my nickname's origins, please allow me to introduce myself.
In the meantime, if you would like to reach out to me, feel free to do so. Facebook and a link to the Contact page are at the bottom of this long webpage.
Clients I Worked With
Credentials? Look below.
In my past digital career, I have worked with and for the following brands:
*All images and logos on this website are used in fair use only. The purposes of the usage of fact-based public content is for editorial content, report, review, educate, inform, and express opinion protected under the Constitution's First Amendment of the United States of America. All images and logos used on this website are low resolution. None of the logos are owned or licensed by Martin Couture except the Art Of Growth Marketing logo.
Other than building digital experiences, I enjoy 3 hobbies:
I love cycling on my roadbike; I am also a tea afficionado, almost Tea Master level. I'm also a big fan of traveling (mainly in Europe and Asia.)
My "Kung Fu tea set" at home (yes, that's how it's called), and my roadbike (got it in Tokyo in 2007, still running like a Porsche) below.
But before I had this great career and those great hobbies... I started from the bottom.
1980 Universe: +1
I was born in 1980, in a small Native American city in the heart of the Laurentian forrest, in the province of Québec, Canada.
Nice e-meeting you!
I am a very private person and seldom post stuff on social media.
However, I decided to put a face on the story behind the website.
I hope that my story will inspire you.
I believe in you, I believe in us, I am persuaded that you can achieve anything you want if you have a clear VISION.
I believe in the Law of Attraction and if you are here, something, somehow, brought us together here. The virtuality of the internet is just another channel to communicate and connect.
Nothing esoteric, I just believe in positive vibes.
This is me when I was 4 years old, already very stylish indeed (I know I know, the bowtie matches with the curtains haha.)
The cool thing with being born in a village is: being close to nature. As a youngster, I used to spend a lot of time playing outside. The area was frequented by animals such as moose, deer, hares, birds, wolves, raccoons, black bears, and even skunks.
I loved spending time outdoor, even when it was -20°C (-4°F) outside.
This is me fishing on a lake (yes, the car is on a frozen lake!)
I remember the ice cracking under us and asking my dad if we were fine... I was 5 years old.
We moved to a big city, Montréal, when I was 6.
1985 A working class family into games and computers
I come from a working class family, but my dad was really into games, and computers.
He was a real geek.
Our first "techy" purchase was a Coleco... around the same I got the tape cassette "Thriller" by Michael Jackson. If I remember correctly, it was around 1984.
Our first home computer was an Atari. I loved that machine; we had about 1,000 floppy disks of games and software in the library. People would not believe me until they saw it. Then I got all the usual suspects: Pentium PCs (386, 486, etc.) Nintendo, IBM monochrome laptop, MacBook, etc.
I played games like Police Quest, Zak McKraken and ManHunter. Games were different in the 1990s, we had to type in text on the keyboard to play games: e.g., type in "open door" then the door opens!
I don't play games anymore due to lack of time, but I had a lot of fun.
Here is me playing a WWII flight simulator (around 1992.)
My dad had almost no education. He learned about computers all by himself. Back in the days, there was almost no information on the internet. We would either read books to learn, or try on the fly. My dad was more of an experimenter, tried everything without reading anything.
One day, I remember seeing a university professor sitting next to my dad, listening attentively to all the explanations coming out of my dad's mouth. A university professor was at our place to learn from someone who did not even finish high school!
It helped me tremendously to grow up in a technology-friendly environment. I built my first website at the end of the 1990s. In hindsight, it looked terrible, but it was still an accomplishment I was proud of.
I've always had a deep interest for technology.
Is it in our family's DNA? Probably not haha.
But I have always been very curious.
I did a DNA test 2 years ago, and unsurprisingly, the "curiosity" personality trait came up as "very high."
Curiosity trumps knowledge, and to a certain extent, experience.
We say that "Curiosity killed the cat," but the opposite is also true: "Curiosity made the cat catch the mice."
1996 Meeting THE man: my Vision was born
From age 15 to 20 I was going to Saturday school to learn German, something unheard of in my social circle and at my school. In the 1990s, the neighborhoods I grew up around were tough, and a little bit dangerous. Lots of drugs, and gangs.
The Vision. When I was around 16, I met a French-Canadian man who spoke fluent Vietnamese... and it picked my curiosity. I can even say that it hit me like a brick. There are things in life that influence us a lot, and we do not know why. We cannot explain it rationally. That was one of those moments in my life. Plus, I wanted something more. I had a bigger Vision than a life in the suburbs.
It sounds ridiculous, but I told myself "That's what I want to be, some dude who speaks an Asian language." I had no idea that I would end up speak TWO Asian languages, but anyway.
In 2000, I had the opportunity to live in Thailand for a few months (I was 20 years old.) I still remember the feeling when the doors of the Bangkok airport open and the hot sultry air my whole body. I spent a few weeks in Berlin right after that, flying from Bangkok to Frankfurt, then taking the night train. Remember that I am a country-side bumpkin... so traveling that far was a big step for me.
In Thailand I got hooked to Asia. I decided to go back home and apply for a scholarship to study in Japan.
Why Japan? Because I am a tea drinker and I've always been fascinated by their history, the samurai, the geisha, the traditional culture, the complicated language, etc.
The reaction of some people was something like: "Japan? You don't even speak Chinese!" (duh)
People tend to project their self-limiting beliefs onto others.
Some people never really understood me, even to this day.
(Note: My trips were all paid 100% by myself. I financed my trip doing odd jobs.)
This is a picture of Jing An zen temple in central Shanghai (2020.)
If there is one thing I could change in the past, I would spend less time studying at the university. I would rather spend more time learning, and working in a proper work environment.
Here is my Business School's student card (don't judge me, I was hangover.) HEC is a famous Business School in the francophone world.
HEC is close to MC, somehow.
When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
When the teacher is ready, the student appears!
2001 Hustlin' you know
I had to study full time, and work part-and-full time to earn money. I'd save every penny I could save. I'd cook all my meals and carry a lunchbox.
I worked at an online dating agency website for a few years. The team was cool. Lots of funny (and weird) stories. Before you ask: no, I never used our dating services!
Back then (in 2001,) people would send us pictures that we would scan and add to their profiles! Remember that digital cameras started to go mainstream around 2002-03. Then people would upload their pictures by themselves.
Basically, the website that company was developing and managing was a pre-Facebook social media. There was a profile, a description, friends, inbox, chat... the whole suite of features social media habe. Everything was coded in .php I have always had a foot in technology, but this was the beginning of something bigger. I worked there a few years before moving to Japan.
In 2003 I applied for a scholarship... and got it! But more importantly, I was accepted at one of the best universities in Japan, an "Ivy School" called Keio University. It was the first university in Japan, created in the 19th century. I studied over there for a year.
Later on I found out that studying at this university would open a lot of doors for me in the future. I was even offered jobs in Japan just because I studied there.
Just to give you an idea how famous the university is, the founder of the university is on the biggest Japanese note, the 10,000yen bill!
Here is a picture of my Japan visa. Cool haircut, eh?
I eventually came back to work in Japan for a few years. I got accepted into another "hard-to-get-in" program. This time it was a program sponsored by the Japanese government itself. I did that for three years.
Was I lucky? Maybe a little bit. But first and foremost, I HAD A VISION.
I had a plan. I was really determined. I was visualizing myself having what I wanted.
Nothing would stop me.
I was relentless.
I WORKED REALLY HARD, ALL THE TIME.
I sometimes wish I worked smarter, not harder!
Needless to say that Japan was AMAZING.
Grit+Focus... people will notice you.
People may not understand you, but if you are REALLY determined, they will remember you.
People who have the awareness of the world will know it when they meet someone exceptional. And if you are exceptional yourself, you will feel it when they realize how exceptional you are.
We had a strict French PhD-level professor from France. She was teaching Japanese history. As I was working night shifts from 4pm to midnight, I had to leave her lectures 80 minutes before the end... So I missed 80 minutes out of a 3-hour long lecture. From a European perspective, this is extremely disrespectful. I ended up being at the top of the class with A+.
A few years after, I asked this professor for a reference letter for a Japanese-government sponsored work program... She used to be on the board of selection, so I knew that her recommendation would weigh heavily in my application.
When I asked her for a recommendation, I told her "I am the student who got A+ and was leaving 80min in advance because of night shift." When she heard this she said: "How could I forget you! Yes of course, I would be glad to write you a recommendation letter."
The professor knew I had a lot of determination. She knew I was really serious. She gave me the recommendation letter. This little piece of paper opened another door of opportunities.
This story just reminds me of another story. This one in high school: the school made a special prize just for me at the end of the year. The two best students got official medals from the government, but one teacher in particular wanted to congratulates me on my exceptional array of knowledge. In the speech she made for me, she said I would have an international career, and probably end up being an ambassador or running a business. She was right!
Always be determined. Always be outstanding. Never give up.
People will remember you, and they may also go the extra mile to help you.
2004 Couture in Tokyo, Japan
Don't worry, I will tell you why my nickname is "MC" after this short introduction.
In Japan, I started doing freelance work to earn extra money. I was teaching French, English, doing translation, marketing, and I was also a part time model. A lot of Japanese brands go to Paris for the Fashion week and needed help with marketing stuff and modeling.
The images below are shoots I did in Japan. Keep in mind that the summer collections are shot in winter and the winter collections are shot in summer... imagine wearing winter jackets for hours outside when it's 35°C (95°F) outside.
Two things that really helped me get gigs: I could speak, write and read Japanese.
Plus, my last name fascinated Japanese working in the fashion industry.
My last name, "Couture," literally means "sewing."
The term "Couture" is used in Japanese when talking about expensive fashion clothes: Haute Couture (high fashion.)
I worked as a model for the most famous Japanese local brands. I was in catwalks, look books, live models, magazines, media kits, etc. On the pictures above I was 27, 29 and 24 respectively.
That's also when I discovered Kyoto. My favorite city in the world is Kyoto, Japan. It is the city of zen temples, Geisha, tea, and traditional Japanese culture. Since then I visited the city about 15-16 times.
A lot of people ask me how I could be a model, as I do not look like the typical "model." The answer is simple: I look younger than folks my age AND you just need to look good on camera (with all the make-up they can make anyone look good.)
One guy who liked me introduced me to everybody. He knew everybody and everybody knew him. Modeling also opened a lot of doors as it helped me get clients for freelance work. Later on it even helped me get a job in sales where one of the criteria was looks!
"Your network is your net worth." Find the one person that knows everybody... make sure the person likes you... and doors will open. Pareto's law, the 80/20 rule, applies to connections and networking too!
The magazine below is a famous Chinese magazine called Outlook Magazine (It's my real hair, no, not a wig. I know, I look like Spock in Start Trek.)
You can see my name "Martin" at the bottom-left. I was 30 years old (2010.)
80 hours a week? Really?
In 2006, I visited China for two weeks. When I was in Shanghai I loved the city so much that I told myself that I would be back. I did not know when, but I know that somehow, sometime, I would come back.
After achieving a high level of fluency in Japanese, I got bored. Yeah, bored in Japan. Unbelievable right?
I went back to Canada for some family stuff.
Back home I was doing freelancing like translation, building websites and marketing for a live-streamed event. I also worked in an office with clients like Starbucks and other big names. But I was even more bored.
I was working 80-90 hours a week and one day I came back home, and my whole body was shaking. In 2010, I told myself that I needed some change.
If you do not like your situation, take actions to update it!
Set goals, make a plan and take the series of actions needed to reach your goals.
It takes time, there are no shortcuts!
I had another Vision: go work full-time in a digital agency in China. Not as part of a business like I did in the past, but really an agency.
As usual, everybody thought I was crazy.
So in 2011 I made the big move, and I ended up in Beijing, China. I stayed for 2 years and decided to move to Shanghai. I have been installed here since 2013. We just bought an apartment as I am writing these lines.
My work permit in China (2011.)
2011 To Beijing, China
In Beijing I was working at a local digital agency, managing a team of about 15 people. I got the job by cold emailing the owner of the agency. He used to be a journalist, and he loved my writing style. I have to admit, I still remember writing the email; my soul was in every single line. I already had some digital experience, so it was a good match.
Our clients were big 4As ad agencies, but we also worked directly with some pretty big clients. Accounts we had were companies like Mercedes, Volkswagen, Skoda, HP, Audi, Durex, etc. We also had projects with local companies and startups. I got plenty of clients for the agency too, but after I left, the place went belly up.
I also started learning Chinese. Some people think Japanese and Chinese are the same, but the languages are completely different. I like to compare this to a native English speaker learning German. The grammar is completely different, even though some words look the same, they sometimes have totally different meanings...
Beijing was really cool, but instead of working 80 hours a week, I ended up working 100 hours/week, and I was even sleeping at the office. One of my clients who liked my work ethics offered a job. He was managing the digital production team at Wieden+Kennedy. I said yes and in 2013 we moved to Shanghai.
The world is a jungle, and you need to be a bit aggressive to survive, especially as a small digital agency.
You either grow or your competitors will grow over you.
SEO, Web Development, Design, Branding, etc.
I am skilled in SEO, social media, web development, design, branding, keywords research, etc. I overview digital projects from the brief, strategy, UX, wireframe, design, coding, prototype, testing, launch and maintenance. A lot of people ask me how I can be so savvy in different fields.
- because I used to work 80-100 hours/week for years;
- because I had to learn the skills when the team did not have the skillset to deliver the work.
2013 Wieden+Kennedy in Shanghai, China
Wieden+Kennedy is the biggest independent agency in the US.
At Wieden+Kennedy I made the first interactive campaign on WeChat. At the time of the campaign, WeChat was just beginning. I would even say that digital campaigns were started to get traction in China.
For those of you who may not know, WeChat is the BIGGEST social media platform in China. Everybody from teenagers to grandmas have WeChat on their mobile phones. With all the people in China, you can imagine the reach of our campaigns.
Tiffany Keys campaign for WeChat, above. Source of images: Tiffany WeChat Campaign.
My portfolio has (obviously) more case studies, but the About page you are reading is an introduction into my Vision, and how it can inspire you.
The campaign was with four famous Key Opinion Leaders: a painter who painted an actress, a tennis player and a singer. All mega famous women.
People would select a key, a quote, upload their image, then we would add about 75 different effects to the selfie, add the key, the quote, send it back to the user. At the same time, we would upload the image to a public image gallery on three different platforms. It may sound simple now, due to advances in technology, but at the time it was truly a hit.
It was such a successful campaign that the client sold-out its products (so I heard.) One day after work I was at a Thai restaurant, and two women were talking about my campaign!
Over the course of my time there I ended up working with plenty of big brands like Disney, Nike, Beats by Dre, etc. We did plenty of stuff: social media content, interactive installations, shootings, websites, eCommerce, WeChat campaigns, etc.
I got really sick one Spring, food poisoning that would not go away for months. I lost a lot of weight, it affected me mentally and physically due to nutritional deficiencies. I never really liked the team over there. Too much politics, very counter-productive.
In 2015 my daughter was born, and I wanted to take some time off.
Avoid places full of politics. Competition in the market is already ferocious, if on top of that you need to deal with internal politics, flee the workplace like the plague.
That's me with my daughter when she was still little. Yes, my beard is red-gold color under the sun! (2016)
I ended up helping a friend who had a consulting business; we helped foreign entrepreneurs enter the Chinese market.
One cool thing I did during that time was to meet an inventor. I am still in contact with him, I even talked to him literally 5 minutes ago.
The man invented a new type of water filtration system. It gave me the opportunity to learn a lot about making physical products, manufacturing them, branding and selling online. Furthermore, hearing how he came up with the idea was fascinating. That's for another time.
The inventor did not have a chemistry or physics background. But he was curious. He had a lot of imagination... and he never let the little problems stop him. He had a long-term vision and the little issues where just bumps on the road to success.
Like Einstein said: "Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere."
Done is better than perfect.
Take action NOW.
Stop learning and start moving.
You do not need to be an expert to get results, just keep the ball moving!
Working hard is good, but working smart is even better.
Why? Because we can have more time to spend with our loved ones.
I like to dress as Santa Claus. The kids love it, and that year, they could not sleep at night because they were too excited. The kids were incredibly tense when they got close to Santa, you can see it in the picture. My daughter told me that "Santa has a big nose and his beard is fake." (2019)
I discover niche websites & affiliates marketing
I now speak Japanese and Chinese. I fulfilled many of my numerous Visions. Now what? Around that time, I discovered something new: niche websites and affiliates marketing. I got really excited when I saw the first people coming to the first website I built. It WORKS! Then even more excited when I got the first email... It REALLY WORKS! The rest is history. In other words, making passive income online became my new Vision.
2015 Serviceplan in Shanghai, China
I joined Serviceplan in 2015.
Serviceplan is the biggest independent agency in Europe.
The team was absolutely fantastic. I still talk to a lot of people from that time. The proof: I went to a wedding last Friday as an official witness, my old co-worker's wedding was held at the French consulate.
At Serviceplan I worked on plenty of different projects: WeChat campaigns, email marketing, SEO, WeChat mini-programs, shootings, interactive installations, etc.
I would say that problem-solving was my most useful skill during that time.
But after 3 years there, I got tired of the agency lifestyle, the long hours, the ups and downs.
Getting close to 40 made me realize that agency-work is too stressful. No amount of money is worth the Cortisol stress hormone!
That is me and my daughter, visiting a zen temple in the mountains (2018.)
Get multiple streams of income.
It will not happen overnight, but start now. Diversification also ensures that you will always keep money flowing in.
2018 My Own Agency [Worldwide]
I am now in my 40s and I do plenty of exciting stuff.
Hitting 40 made me realize that I had to share my knowledge with the public.
I am a Content Marketing Consultant: consulting on the best content strategies and the most efficient ways to repurpose content.
I run a small Digital Agency doing consulting and web development for the Chinese market.
I do Affiliates Marketing and I Build Niche Websites that I monetize.
The Art of Growth Marketing was created with an idea in mind: help people, entrepreneurs and agencies... start, grow and scale a future-proof business.
For the future I have even bigger plans. But this will be for another time.
Here is me when I did a livestream in Chinese for a famous German milk formula brand selling (2020.) Image source: Hipp's WeChat account.
Feel free to reach out to me. My contact information is at the bottom of the page.
Now, let' answer why my nickname is "MC."
Why is my nickname "MC" ??
Because people had a hard time pronounce my name!
The "r" in my first name is difficult to pronounce for some people in Asia.
So a co-worker of mine came up with "MC" as a solution.
What is the Art of Growth Marketing?
The Art of Growth Marketing helps you monetize your website to earn income, create a brand, build an audience, increase conversion and boost sales.
Instead of spending years learning how to start, grow and scale your online business, I provide you with all the tricks, tools and strategies to help you skip steps. I am also a huge fan of personal development and productivity tips, time is money after all.
Close your eyes, and imagine the new you, visualize the life you would like to have in the future, in 1 year, then in 5 years, then in 10 years from now.
You can get there. It is possible, plenty of people did it.
Why the Art of Growth Marketing?
Because growth is an art, and marketing is also an art.
We under-estimate what we can do on the long-term, and over-estimate what we can do on the short-term.
I help you:
- build an attractive brand, that engages people emotionally and rationally
- create certainty when selecting your business niche, the right tools and software for you
- maintain frictionless processes to build your website and manage content
- own your platform: no risk to lose your business
- switch to creator mode when creating content, planning SEO keywords strategies and market analysis
- reduce self-limiting beliefs to bring you into action with productivity and psychological tricks to balance emotions and logic
The value I bring helps you focus on your business, instead of spending years learning how to setup a website, review tons of different software, how to do SEO, generate leads, increase sales and build your own product, service or course... I bring you everything within one centralized platform.
The biggest challenges in building an online business are:
- our own emotions, feelings, limiting self-beliefs (there is one and only one way to overcome them)
- stickiness: building something that attracts people and make them buy
- getting the right tools combination (I used hundreds of tools over the years and I know which ones are the best depending on each scenario)
There are so many tools and tactics out there that we often get confused. Ever felt decision paralysis when looking for the right solution?
I add value by helping people just like you, website owners, bloggers, entrepreneurs and SMEs, find the best tools, software, strategies...
Contact Us. Reach Out!
I am currently based in Shanghai, China. I also lived in Tokyo, Beijing, Bangkok, Berlin and Montréal.
When I am not working on digital projects you will either find me traveling somewhere in Asia, in a tea house, on my road bike or at the gym.
I am fluent in Japanese, French and (intermediate) Mandarin.
If you have time have a look at the Art of Growth Marketing Manifesto.
Come find out insights provided to you by an industry veteran with more than 15 years experience in the field of "digital everything."
I love hearing your personal and business stories.
All my answers are personalized.
Content Marketing Consultant at Art of Growth Marketing
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