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How marketers can improve their impact and influence

With confidence in marketing hitting a low point, how can the industry change negative perceptions and reclaim customer trust?

From data hacks and the Cambridge Analytica scandal to ad bombardment, influencer fraud and brand safety issues, the crisis of confidence in marketing remains a persistent concern.

Public perceptions of advertising, for example – granted it is just one aspect of marketing – have been in decline for decades; from a 50% favourable perception in the early 1990s to just 25% in 2018, according to statistics from the Advertising Association (AA).

Marketers’ influence and reputation internally is also suffering. The fact brands including McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and Uber are getting rid of the CMO role, instead splitting the top marketer’s responsibilities across less senior, non-C-suite executives, should ring alarm bells.

It suggests Fournaise’s often-cited research that 80% of CEOs do not trust their marketers remains a cause for concern.

The rise of alternative titles such as chief customer officer and chief growth officer have also diluted the relevance of the CMO.

As Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson puts it: “With the CMO position, we had a rare opportunity to make marketing into an established, strategic and senior function within most companies. No surprise then that a bunch of idiot marketing commentators spent the past few years critiquing the role and suggesting it needed to be retitled for the new challenges of the 21st Century.”

With trust undoubtedly in decline, marketing is at risk of losing its positive influence. It is not too late to turn the situation around, but marketers need to work hard to reclaim consumer trust, forge stronger bonds with the C-suite and enhance the impact of their work. That is the advice of the judges of Marketing Week’s Top 100 Most Effective UK Marketers, sponsored by Salesforce.


Why B2B brands need to invest in brand marketing

Creativity and storytelling were previously seen as a luxury afforded to B2C brands but B2B marketers are waking up to the effectiveness opportunity investment can bring.

Businesspeople do not park their emotions and personality in a cardboard box when they come to work and buy products and services.

In fact, the way people interact with B2B brands is incredibly similar to how they engage with B2C brands. This means creativity, storytelling and long-term brand building are just as important as a product’s features and price.

The cardboard box reference comes from marketing consultant Peter Field who, along with Les Binet, head of effectiveness at adam&eveDDB, was commissioned by LinkedIn to assess the importance of brand building in the B2B sector. Binet and Field are well known for their work in the B2C space and their 2013 book ‘The Long and The Short of It’.

“There are huge similarities between B2B and B2C when it comes to brand but many B2B marketers need to revise their approach,” says Field. “Brand advertising really does work in B2B to drive buyer choices and revenues.

“Brands need a creative storytelling element because it is not enough to rely solely on rational product messaging. There has to be clear differentiation and a narrative that taps into business buyers’ emotions. Humanity must not be lost in a tech-obsessed world.”

The Binet and Field research was unveiled recently in New York and reveals that brand building in B2B should, on average, account for 46% of marketing spend and lead generation 54%. Many B2B brands spend considerably less than this proportion on brand building but the research concludes that investment should rise as a business matures and grows.

This follows research from Marketing Week and The Marketing Practice that showed that B2B brands that identified as outperforming their competition over the last two years were twice as likely to allocate 60% or more of their budget to achieving long-term marketing goals.

The hybrid advantage

The research also cites case studies from the IPA’s awards databank including BT and VW Commercial Vehicles. BT demonstrates a clear story around helping business customers in an emotional way by bringing people together, while VW Commercial Vehicles talks about being there for small business owners who can find running their business a lonely experience.

“Quite a few businesses have B2B and B2C divisions,” says Field. “These ‘hybrid’ companies seem to have applied their B2C learning to B2B with good effect.”

Another company to tick the hybrid box is insurer Direct Line. Head of transformation Claire Sadler says the Binet and Field research confirms what she has always felt, that reach and tapping into emotion through creativity and storytelling are as important to B2B brands as they have always been in the B2C arena.

“B2B advertising is often rational rather than emotional but in insurance the risk to a business owner can be greater than to someone personally,” says Sadler. “We are all human beings and we do not become a different person when we go to work.”

Technology has made buying business services easier but it has also meant that in many cases human interaction has been lost. “The salesman use to be the face of the insurance brand. Today, insurers have to tell their brand story through other touchpoints, including their website and B2B advertising,” she adds.

Short-term pressures

For purely B2B companies, long-term brand thinking can be a challenge because of the pressure to deliver short-term sales. But Field believes there is no better tool for driving growth than brand building, and marketers’ acquisition strategy must target a broad audience to generate long-term support. He says too much B2B marketing is narrow and focusing on targeting existing customers.

The findings of the research have gone down well with B2B marketers, who accept that storytelling and brand building are essential if a business is to grow and remain competitive.

The chair of The DMA’s B2B Council, Richard Robinson, is also chief commercial officer at data technology startup DPL. He says building long-term brand awareness is more integral to B2B companies than most marketers realise because growing sales depends on successfully building relationships and customer loyalty.

He believes B2B customers are often more emotionally engaged than B2C shoppers because the purchasing costs can be higher and there can be a serious financial impact if the wrong buying decision is taken.

“B2B companies will reach more customers and encourage them to keep coming back if they build brand awareness as well as trust,” he says. “B2B brands are beginning to spend a larger proportion of their marketing budgets and resources on building relationships. You can barely enter a B2B marketing event today that doesn’t cover account-based marketing and/or storytelling.”

Robinson says a long-term approach is important because the B2B buying process is counted in months or even years. “How many B2C marketers have to engage with a dozen or more decision makers, all with different needs and requirements, across multiple months, using different channels to consume information just to sell one product?” he questions.

One area that does need to change is that B2B marketers need to become more confident about sharing their stories and differentiating themselves.

Tim Matthews is CMO at cyber security vendor Exabeam and author of the book The Professional Marketer. He has built many B2B marketing teams over the years, including leading nine worldwide product launches at security products brand Symantec.

“People buy from people so it is crucial any B2B brand can find a narrative,” he says. “If there is an origin story around the founder then future buyers will connect with that and the brand.”

Exabeam itself was founded by Nir Polak after he received a security alert regarding one of his credit cards. “Stories will hook clients in because the marketing becomes more about the people behind the business rather than being too product focused,” claims Matthews.

He says the Exabeam product is about security but the marketing messaging focuses on the human element. “When there is a problem the IT team have to work overtime and weekends, which means they are not spending so much time with their family and friends.”

The lost opportunity

Colin Lewis, CMO at travel retailing platform OpenJaw Technologies, says that historically B2B marketing was seen as the ugly child internally. These were the guys who organised the client golf days and product photo shoots.

“The internet has changed this because it is clearly visible how leads are being generated,” he says. “Big B2B brands such as IBM, Microsoft or Intel have always needed a proper and evolving brand story because they operate in such a dynamic market, but for other companies the challenge can be getting the sales function to buy into the importance of long-term brand building.”

Lewis is proud of OpenJaw Technologies’ own brand story: “We were set up by three entrepreneurs and are now a 400-strong company with high-profile clients such as British Airways and Cathay Pacific. Telling your story and not just talking about product boosts your credibility and can change the perception buyers might have of your business.

“This is also important when we talk about improving the employer brand and attracting talent.”

Communications agency FleishmanHillard Fishburn has carried out its own research into how brand affects B2B marketing and sales. Its study reveals that 32% of people rank brand reputation as the most influential attribute they look for in a supplier. This was second behind value for money (57%). Buyers also want to work with brands that have built up a reputation as industry experts and storytelling thought leaders.

Claudia Bate, head of technology at FleishmanHillard Fishburn, says the C-suite is beginning to pay closer attention to how branding can help businesses stand out in a crowded market where the buying process if long and complex.

“Modern B2B marketing needs to appeal to both hearts and minds,” she says. “The decision-makers that matter do not leave their emotions and personalities at the door when they go to work. Creative storytelling, quality content and a distinctive brand identity are hugely important tools for breaking through the noise to drive real business value.”


Diversity In Influencer Marketing: Why Representation Matters

YouTuber influencer culture has seen a fair amount of drama lately. There was the famous feud between James Charles and Tati Westbrook, and during that timeframe, Gen Z fashion app Dote was called out across social media for their lack of diversity in their Dote Girls branded campaigns. 

At a recent influencer trip, YouTube star Daniella Perkins shared her experience with racial exclusion at the Dote house where the influencers were staying and promoting Dote at Coachella. This shocking revelation prompted many A-list Gen Z influencers such as Emma Chamberlain, Ellie Thumann, and Summer Mckeen to end their relationship with the fashion app. 

Dote vows to be a more inclusive brand, but it begs the question: how can the influencer marketing ecosystem be more representative of all genders, races, sexualities, and perspectives?

Here are how brands, influencers, and influencer marketplace and agencies can collectively work together to do a better job in promoting diversity and inclusion.

Brands: Highlight diversity in campaigns.

Brands are leveraging influencers now more than ever. They’re tapping into every type of influencer whether B2B employee ambassadors, fashion nano-influencers, or celebrities with millions of followers. With this immense investment in influencer marketing, brands need to think about inclusivity from the very start of their campaign strategy. 

Eric Toda, former marketing executive at Gap Inc., Airbnb, Nike, and Snapchat who has created high-visibility global campaigns with influencers like Beyonce and Kim Kardashian, shared his thoughts on how brands can do better: 

“You tend to see marketers let their unconscious biases’ make decisions. It’s not a secret that marketing is a predominantly white industry so naturally there are marketers who choose influencers who look like them; it’s safe, it’s relatable, but unfortunately, it’s not real life.

As marketers we continue to be one of the only industries in the world that can influence large masses of people; we can do that in the effort of good, or we can choose the other route. We need to put values-driven messages out there, show real life versus a sterilized mirage, and instill purpose. You can achieve this by partnering with influencers that represent different stories, races, socioeconomic backgrounds, etc.”

Influencer Marketing Takeaway: When crafting your campaigns, think about your target demographic and imagine how they’d react to a non-diverse influencer mix. Be strategic in finding influencers that represent your audience and brand values. This allows for more positive brand sentiment and affinity as you’re leveraging connectivity between community and influencer. 

Influencers: Research the right partnerships. 

Being an influencer is a business. With a high-followership, influencers have opportunities to produce content for a broader audience through brand partnerships. Influencers need to research the right brands to work alongside.

Indian-American beauty influencer Arshia Moorjani who has over 600,000 social media followers and works with top brands like L’Oreal and Estee Lauder is passionate about the choices she makes with brand deals:

“I have turned down many campaigns because the brand is not inclusive, and this goes beyond the products. Before agreeing to any campaigns, I study the brand from looking at their products, social media accounts, and past campaigns. 

I also love to meet brands in person to understand their core values. It’s not just about accepting another paycheck; it’s about aligning myself with brands who actually create products for my skin tone but represent a large group of people. 

I want brands to continue to work with a diverse group of people, not for the sake of being inclusive but from an understanding of why actually diversity matters. Everyone should feel represented in this industry and that goes beyond one’s skin tone. True diversity means showcasing people with different backgrounds, genders, body types, ages, sexual orientation, audience size, and more.”

Influencer Marketing Takeaway: Influencers need to align with forward-thinking inclusive brands like Fenty Beauty, MAC Cosmetics, and NARS that are creating products for a wide audience, but are also showcasing diversity on their social media accounts and campaigns. 

Influencer marketplaces and agencies: Educate clients.

Influencer marketplaces and agencies help facilitate connections and campaigns for brands and influencers. Employees at these marketplaces and agencies can help educate their clients on how to optimize successful campaigns by showing data and insights that highlight the importance of inclusivity. 

Kate Edwards, COO of influencer marketplace, Heartbeat, is actively encouraging brands to work with influencers of all ethnicities, genders, sizes, and perspectives. She explains:

“We are on the front lines of showing brands the value of working with diverse, everyday people who are actually the brand’s consumers. Millennials and Gen Z are actively looking for brands to represent people who look like them and share their values, and this is a major shift in how “influence” is perceived.

Sometimes, when we go to a brand to talk to them about influencer marketing, they are looking for a cookie-cutter influencer, many of whom represent traditional standards of beauty. However, we have to sit the brands down and tell them that working with real people, serving their actual demographic, is much better for their brand. It’s been an uphill battle, but we’re making progress. Plus, the data in terms of our campaign results speaks for itself.”

Influencer Marketing Takeaway: Influencer marketplaces and agencies need to be at the forefront of leading the charge in providing a diverse array of influencers to their clients. By showing data points and leveraging insider knowledge they can help to create impactful campaigns that transcend the traditional standards of beauty.


Direct-To-Consumer Brands Are Out-Marketing Traditional Retailers–But It Comes At A Cost

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands continue to up-end business models and rewrite the playbook on how to engage customers. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone in retail that a new report from CommerceNextshows an increasing divide in ecommerce marketing spending and priorities between traditional retailers and digital-first DTC brands.

The research clearly demonstrates that one of the biggest differences between traditional retailers and DTC brands is their investment in marketing. Marketing budgets across all retail business models are on the rise: 65% of respondents said their 2019 budget increased over the previous year. Conversely, only 10% of marketers indicated that they are reducing their budget. However, DTC brands’ budgets are increasing at a higher rate. In 2019, 78% of DTC marketers said their budgets had increased, compared to 60% of traditional retailers.

With larger marketing budgets and consumer tastes veering sharply in their favor, DTC brands are now dictating the terms of a new ecommerce customer experience. DTC brands have methodically seized market share by innovating on product, marketing tactics and technologies. The mattress industry serves as a stark example—dozens of new DTC bed-in-a-box mattress brands have sprung up while the incumbent retailer, Mattress Firm, had to restructure the company in bankruptcy in order to survive.

Unfortunately for DTC brands, the research also shows how this relentless focus on marketing comes with its own subsequent set of growing pains—those that traditional retailers have already worked through. All this innovation has its price, resulting in some notable differences in priorities and challenges between traditional retailers and DTC brands:

  • DTC brands are starting to focus on achieving profitability at scale. Nearly 45% of DTC brands named “achieving profitability at scale” as a top barrier to meeting 2019 marketing goals. In contrast, less than 18% of traditional retailers named this as a barrier.
  • DTC brands are experiencing concern over finding and retaining top workforce talent. Twenty-six percent of DTC brands named this as a barrier for 2019, compared to 20% of traditional retailers.
  • DTC brands focus on new channels over promotions. DTC brands are turning away from the use of promotions in favor of other channels, such as programmatic TV, to attract new customers. Once the domain of only the largest retailers with the biggest budgets, television is now a hearty feeding ground for many digital-first DTC ad campaigns.

Despite varying marketing spends and the resulting challenges for DTC brands, retailers of all business models reported sharing many of the same business woes and goals:

  • Acquisition marketing is still the prime directive.Acquisition marketing transcends business models as a top priority for all ecommerce marketers. A full 81% of ecommerce marketers named acquisition as a top investment priority. Ecommerce marketers plan to spend even more on acquisition in 2019.
  • Getting a unified view of the customer remains a struggle. Most marketers are not satisfied with their efforts to create a single view of the customer and personalize the customer experience. In 2019, the top innovation investment priority for all ecommerce marketers, regardless of business model, is in customer data platforms.
  • Marketers must make faster, more informed decisions.About 30% of ecommerce marketers from both traditional and DTC brands were most challenged by executing quickly enough on marketing initiatives.

Unencumbered by legacy technology, DTC challenger brands are reporting heavier investment in modern marketing solutions that help them respond more quickly to trends, acquire new customers across multiple channels and build loyalty. If they can overcome some of their early-stage growth challenges of profitability and talent, they will continue to take market share.

Traditional brands now have a choice: they can up their marketing investments and adopt new approaches to ecommerce that will help them grow; or, they can slide silently into the history books of traditional retailers unwilling to adapt to changing times.


LinkedIn Improves Video Marketing Metrics via New Integration with Moat

Video is the best performing content type on all social media platforms, and that includes the professional social network LinkedIn. According to internal data, LinkedIn users are 20x more likely to share a video on the platform than any other type of post – while for paid content, LinkedIn members now spend 300% more time watching video ads, as compared to time spent with static Sponsored Content.

If you’re looking to maximize your LinkedIn marketing performance, video should be somewhere on your considerations list. Catering to this, over the last year, the platform has added new sticker and text options to give your video presentations another creative element, the aforementioned Video Sponsored Content (launched last July), and video for company pages.

And now, LinkedIn is improving its measurement options for video, to help assure marketers of their actual performance.

The platform has this week announced a new integration with Moat Analytics, which will provide additional, third party data oversight to further validate on-platform video data.

“Validating the impact of your LinkedIn video ads just became a no-brainer with Oracle Data Cloud’s Moat Analytics + LinkedIn. Moat Analytics is a third-party analytics and measurement platform that enables advertisers to consistently measure viewability metrics of their ads across multiple platforms. Using the Moat Analytics integration, LinkedIn advertisers can now validate their metrics for accuracy and compare video campaign results across platforms in one streamlined location.”

Moat’s video performance data has become the industry standard, with several other social platforms already offering supplementary Moat data to solidify their metric offerings (and provide additional, third-party reassurance).

LinkedIn says that the integration “gives LinkedIn advertisers the ability to validate their viewability metrics, while also providing traffic quality verification”. In addition, LinkedIn is adding in new analytic capability, with extra ‘audibility’ metrics.

“With a deeper understanding of the viewability and audibility metrics your video campaigns are producing, you’re able to better determine which messages best captivate your audience. That provides you with a recipe for finding what works and then following that template – rinse and repeat.”

LinkedIn was a little late to the video shift, with LinkedIn’s own native video option only released in August 2017, but as the stats here show, it’s already become a much bigger part of the LinkedIn ecosystem. That’s an important shift to consider in your platform approach – and when you also consider that LinkedIn is currently seeing ‘record levels of engagement‘ it may be worth giving both LinkedIn and LinkedIn video ads additional thought.


These Are the Biggest Job Opportunites in Content Marketing

It’s an exciting time to work in content marketing, and the possibilities for making an impact in the space seem endless.

Not only have more and more brands made content an essential part of their marketing strategy (and nearly 50 percent of their budget!) but more and more roles are opening for exceptional creative and strategic talent. For those interested in moving away from other related professions, such as PR, traditional journalism and copywriting, the newly created positions and ever-increasing salaries in content can be a real incentive.

As the founder of a content marketing company, what I find so inspiring about these jobs aren’t the powerful brand names or the perks that the companies offer–but rather, the incredible opportunities to they present do something meaningful, creative and industry-shaping every day at work.

Ready freshen up your resume and flex your skillset? Here are four ways that you could make a big career change–and a major impact through content. 

The Opportunity: Transform an Established Brand’s Strategy

Are you passionate about travel? A coveted role with the content marketing team at Marriott International provides an ideal opportunity to share amazing stories with a global audience.

Earlier this year I spoke with Scott Weisenthal, Marriott International’s Vice President of Creative and Content Marketing, about his team’s work. He revealed that storytelling is a core part of the company’s content marketing strategy.

Creative and personalized content helps to strengthen Marriott’s relationship with guests. “You have to have that connection with them to turn guests into brand advocates,” Weisenthal said. For example, Marriott’s documentary series StoryBooked follows artists around the world as they look for inspiration, and also highlights Marriott’s robust loyalty programs.

The Opportunity: Build a Content Strategy from the Ground Up

Direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands are flourishing, and with more than 400 of them across nearly every consumer category, it’s a smart time to lead an up-and-coming DTC brand’s content marketing efforts.

For companies offering a new spin on everything from electric toothbrushes to razors to vitamins, there are endless opportunities to establish relationships with customers, and add value to their experience, by providing them truly useful and relevant content. 

Because many of these companies are growing rapidly and offer plenty of creative flexibility, they’re able to lure away top talent from traditional publications to run their content divisions. One notable example: Betty Wong, one-time editor in chief of Fitness magazine and Runner’s World recently took the top content spot at the oral care brand Quip

The Opportunity: Bring a Trendy Brand’s Message to New Audiences  

Passionate about fitness? If you’ve ever been to a SoulCycle class, you know that the brand is a phenomenon in the industry. Now, it’s building a world-class media business to help maintain its momentum and the hyper-engaged community of riders who regularly interact with SoulCycle’s content on social media.

The media team is creating content across social, video, and even live experiences, like concerts. And with top marketing and content leadershipfrom Mashable, Glamour, and Vox, the brand is investing in content marketing initiatives in a big way.

But SoulCycle isn’t the only fitness brand focusing on content marketing. Peloton, a company known for its at-home workout offering and subscriptions for live classes, hired a Chief Content Officer who’s tasked with setting the strategy for all content marketing across the organization. By giving content marketing a dedicated voice in the C-Suite, Peloton is leading the way for other fitness brands to devote more resources to content and audience engagement across multiple platforms.

The Opportunity: Fuel a Mission-Driven Brand’s Story

If you love the great outdoors and want to think outside the box when it comes to content marketing, look no further than a role on the marketing team at REI. The popular outdoor gear brand is leading its category with creative content marketing.

Take the company’s #OptOutside campaign, for example. As part of the award-winning campaign, REI closed its stores on Black Friday and encouraged customers to spend time enjoying outdoor activities with loved ones. (REI’s Director of Content and Media was even named the 2017 Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute for his work on the campaign!)

REI also creates creative content across video, short films, and even podcasts to connect with customers in new ways. Through their work, marketers at the company have a chance to promote messaging around sustainability, activism, and wellness.


15 Awesome Marketing Tools I Use Daily

There are so many tools at a marketer‘s disposal.

You’ll find everything under the sun, including project management software, social media dashboards, Facebook Messenger chatbot builders and so much more.

With all the options, it can be come a little overwhelming — to the point that a lot of these powerhouse, unicorn tools get lost in the shuffle.

That’s why I rounded up the marketing  tools you actually need.

Every tool on this list is a tool I stand behind, and use in my day-to-day work life.

Read on to discover the 15 tools I can’t live without!

1. MobileMonkey

Facebook Messenger marketing is one of the hottest digital marketing trends out there, and with good reason.

Facebook Messenger messages earn an 80% average open rate an 20% open rate — and those numbers blow email marketing out of the water.

If you want those impressive levels of engagement for your own brand, then the first thing you need to do is a build a Facebook Messenger chatbot.

Enter MobileMonkey.

MobileMonkey is the best Facebook Messenger chatbot builder out there — and did I mention it’s free?

With this MobileMonkey, you can build your first Messenger chatbot easily, with no coding required.

You can use your bot to send out messages (a.k.a. chatblast), answer questions, interact with contacts, conduct surveys, and so much more.

It can help jumpstart your Messenger live support and marketing campaign.

Use your MobileMonkey-powered chatbot to attract leads and drive engagement!

2. VisualHunt

Good content marketing involves having high quality images to go with your text.

Having a source of those high quality images is necessary to deliver the best content possible.

VisualHunt is a great source of free high quality images pulled from many online sources.

Their photos have Creative Commons Zero license, making them free for commercial use.

They also have Creative Commons and Public Domain photos you can embed on your content directly from the website.

Just search the keyword or theme you’re looking for and you should find the images you need.

3. Venngage

Nothing beats infographics for delivering information in a visually engaging way.

They’re often better than text, video, and photographs alone, making them a must-have in your content marketing.

With Venngage, you can create amazing infographics for your content in three easy steps.

You can choose a template in Venngage, add your data into charts and visuals, and then customize your design.

With over a hundred templates to choose from, Venngage is one of the best places to create infographics quickly and easily.

4. Serpstat

If you’re looking to get serious with your digital marketing, then you need an all-in-one SEO platform you can depend on.

Serpstat was designed for professional marketers who are looking to gain that extra edge.

You can get that by having all the data before you to make decisions on any online business marketing plan.

Serpstat has research tools with advanced analytics for you to learn about your audience.

It keeps record of historical data over time, giving you a bird’s eye view of your performance.

You can also group keywords by tags while also gathering insights in your traffic distribution.

That lets you know where you’re getting results from and what needs improving.

5. Contentful

This service is great for those looking to add more juice to their content marketing efforts.

Contentful boasts a new, more flexible approach to content management, promising to make blogging and content creation a breeze.

It’s an API-driven content management infrastructure designed to create, manage, and distribute content to any platform or device easily.

Basically, it’s like WordPress, but has a lot more bells and whistles that make it more secure and does your content management for you.

Companies like Spotify, Urban Outfitters, Red Bull, and so on make use of Contentful for their websites.

Running your website on Contentful lets you be steps ahead of everyone else with your content marketing.

6. Hotjar

Being able to understand how your audience behaves when they view your website can give you tremendous insight.

Hotjar lets you see where your visitors tend to click with its heatmap, letting you know what catches their attention.

You can then adjust your web design and content to encourage more clicks and engagement with your content.

It can also give you recordings of where their mouse cursors tend to go, how fast they scroll, and so on.

You also get to see your conversion funnel, showing how much of your audience goes from landing page to actual conversion.

With the information you get from Hotjar, you can fine-tune your website to bring in more customers and increase your revenue.

7.  WP-Chatbot by MobileMonkey

Having a Facebook Messenger-powered chat widget on your website is a surefire way to take your engagement and time on page to the next level.

The WP-Chatbot plugin adds a Facebook Messenger widget on your website.

It has complete integration with Messenger and your Facebook business page.

Visitors can then engage with your business easily without having to leave your website.

Since chatbot is integrated with Facebook Messenger, every person who interacts with you on the site will be added to your ever-growing Facebook Messenger contact list — which means you’ll be able to follow up with your chat participants after that initial site chat.

No doubt about it, adding a MobileMonkey chat widget to your site will increase engagement, provide new leads, drive conversions and boost revenue.

8. Buildfire

Adding an app to your business can be quite an upgrade, letting you reach even more users who use mobile devices.

Buildfire lets you build your own app from simple templates with no coding required.

If you know how to build stuff like websites, chatbots, and so on with templates, then you should be able to build an app here.

It’s almost like MobileMonkey, but for mobile apps on iOS or Android instead of chatbots in terms of what you can do with it.

Of course, building apps involves a lot more than just setting triggers and tasks for a chatbot.

Buildfire helps you throughout that process, letting you create an app that works for your business as you like it.

The best thing about it is it’s free to build an app in Buildfire by yourself, and you can also choose to hire Buildfire to do it for you.

9. DrumUp

If you’re looking for more help on your content and social media marketing, then this app may be for you.

DrumUp is a free and easy-to-use app that lets you manage multiple social media accounts more easily.

You can curate top content in your niche easily and save time on managing all your accounts by up to 90%.

It can even help you do more and reach out to more people with its great features and compatibility with many platforms.

DrumUp also lets you measure the social media engagement you’re getting through its analytics.

Keeping your profiles updated need not be such a big chore anymore thanks to DrumUp.

10. BrightEdge

Artificial intelligence has made digital marketing even more convenient in recent years, and BrightEdge takes advantage of it.

It lets you do SEO and content marketing more effectively through its AI to power organic search performance.

BrightEdge lets you track and use deep data and context to better your search engine optimization.

It also helps you run a high-performing website through its data intelligence.

You can then create high-quality content that satisfies customer demand through BrightEdge.

11. Todoist

The rigors of day-to-day digital marketing work can bog you down over time, making it seem like you’re no longer in control.

Todoist can help you take that control back by doing things like give you reminders on things you tend to forget.

You can enter your tasks for the day and have a list that lets you remember what to prioritize.

But Todoist isn’t just like any other productivity service as it’s designed mostly for business.

This lets you use a sleek interface for tracking your own thoughts, work tasks, errands, and so on easily.

Todoist can definitely help organize your work life with greater deal of clarity.

12. Visage

Visual storytelling is an art on its own, as it’s all about showing instead of just telling.

Visage is a visualization platform that lets content marketers create on-brand visual content easily.

This relatively new app features enable data visualization without all the finangling and hair-splitting.

You just need to enter your data and choose how it can be best shown, and you can edit it there like in Canva.

It also has additional features that makes it great for collaboration, which makes for seamless for group work.

Visage enables seamless ideation, design, distribution, and analytics for your visual content.

13. Oktopost

Managing all your social media activities can be tedious over time, especially for businesses.

Oktopost makes that easier for B2B enterprises, combining three separate solutions into one.

You get social media management, social employee advocacy, and social media promotions in one tight package.

If you’re looking to up your social media game for your B2B business, Oktopost is worth looking into.

14. Vidyard

Videos can be some of the best content you can make to increase engagement and conversions.

Vidyard is a tool you can use to make personalized videos easily without having to be an expert at video editing.

It lets you customize your video with ease, and you can then embed it anywhere you want.

With videos you make with Vidyard, you can maximize your first impressions and endear your business more to the people.

15. ContentCal

Making content is one of the more daunting tasks in marketing, but also one of the most crucial as it’s the meat of the campaign.

But it does get tedious over time and it may seem like you’re no longer in control of your time when you’re in the thick of it.

ContentCal can help you take back control with its visual calendar designed for planning and auto-publishing your social media content.

It’s used by many big companies and agencies for their content and social media marketing needs.

You can learn more on how to go about your content and social media through its analytics.

It also lets you customize your setup so you can tailor-fit ContentCal for every sub-brand, client, or company you work with.

Victory loves preparation, and you too can taste success every single day with a plan laid out in ContentCal.


Four easy steps to ensure your digital marketing success

Recently, I had a discussion with a new client during their intake meeting with my marketing agency team. Their medical practice has been in business for eight years and for the first time ever, they had an in-depth, meaningful conversation about how to grow their business, with professionals (my team) who had a process to help them deliver new patients to their practice.

Prior to working with my team, they had never really intentionally developed a marketing plan or strategy. They had been “winging it” for years.

As I outlined the marketing process to them during that meeting, I could see the light bulbs illuminating in their minds. This was an ah-ha moment for their team.

I had a few key take-aways from that business session that I wanted to share with you. The following is based on the presumption that your company has a modern, marketing-driven website.

Here are the 4 easy steps I shared with them that morning. If followed, your organization can ensure your digital marketing efforts are successful:

1. Attract Strangers

2. Convert Visitors

3. Close Leads

4. Delight Customers

So, let’s take a brief look at how this all should work:

Attract Strangers — Today it is vitally important to be publishing content that is relevant, reliable, and recent. If you want to be found online and attract quality customers, your content should answer the questions your potential customer, patient or client might ask. You want to be the go-to subject matter authority in your business category, so that people will come to your website. This will attract your best people-prospects to your website.

Convert Visitors — In digital marketing, the point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action, is known as a “conversion.” In other words, conversion is simply getting someone to respond to your call-to-action (CTA). Most often, it is a consumer filling out a form on your site, so that they can receive something of value to them.

Close Leads — Once a “Lead” is generated through the conversion event, we begin the “Lead Nurturing Sequence.” This is a term we use to describe the chain of events that usually are automated through software such as HubSpot. This can be emails, retargeted digital and social media advertising, videos, testimonials or blog content on your website.

Delight Customers — You can do this very easily today. Here are a few things to consider as you strive to delight customers: Solve customers’ problems. Be timely. Be helpful. Help them succeed. Listen to their feedback. Be enthusiastic.

Success in business is often determined by what we focus on. So, in your digital marketing, I encourage you to focus on the people you want to serve in your business. Serve your people and focus on how you can help them win in their life, business, family, community.

As I continue on my mission to help people with their marketing and advertising across the Mountain State, I want to thank you for reading. If you have questions on this topic, I’d love to talk with you. Email me:


How to Turn Google BigQuery Into A Powerful Marketing Data Warehouse

The Martech 5000 supergraphic highlights the big challenge facing marketers. As more products, tools, and platforms arise, so too does the amount of data marketers need to gather, monitor, and analyze.

To further compound this challenge, Scott Brinker, the man behind marketing’s most famous infographic, recently said that, “In some ways, forget about martech 5,000. Welcome to martech 50,000.”

This means it’s those companies and marketing teams who can better leverage the available data that will gain a competitive advantage over their competition.

Typically, spreadsheets have been the go-to option for marketers when it comes to gathering data in one place, but even they have their limits.

So, what’s the next option marketers have when it comes to gathering big data in a large repository?

The answer is a data warehouse.

What Is BigQuery & Why Should I Care?

Google BigQuery is a fast, scalable, and fully managed data warehouse that enables large-scale analytics.

There are multiple reasons why marketers should store their data in Google BigQuery.

Limitless Data

If you’ve used Google Sheets or Excel for marketing data analysis, you’ll know that spreadsheets have a limited capacity.

But in BigQuery, you can store an unlimited amount of data, which means you can transfer literally all your marketing data from every platform into one centralized place.

Access All Your Historical Data

Many native platforms limit the amount of historical data you can access. For example, Google Search Console offers six months of historical data within its native interface.

And while applications built on top of its API increases that figure to 16 months, you still don’t have a full overview of your past performance.

But with BigQuery you can use it to store all your past data, giving a complete overview of your historical performance.

Data From Different Platforms

As we saw in Brinker’s supergraphic, marketers have a lot of data on a lot of platforms.

Gathering all that together in one centralized repository is the only way to create a single source of truth for your marketing performance.

Analyze on a Granular Level

Within each marketing platform, you have a number of metrics and dimensions you can dig into.

However, when exporting your data into BigQuery you’ll often be able to have your data at a higher granularity than what is possible within these native interfaces.

For example, when transferring data from Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics into BigQuery, you be able to get granularity on an event or user level.

So say you run an ecommerce site, this lets you perform a deep path analysis to identify which are the most common page paths of your website visitors and how those paths differ between those who purchased and those who were just browsing.

This analysis would not be possible within native UIs as they don’t provide raw events data.

With BigQuery, it provides a whole new opportunity to really dig into your data and achieve levels of granularity not offered within native interfaces.

How Can I Easily Pull My Data Into BigQuery?

So how can you actually get your data in BigQuery?

Well, that’s exactly why we built Supermetrics for BigQuery.

Quite simply, it’s the first native BigQuery Data Transfer Service app that lets you move data from all your non-Google marketing platforms (including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Bing, and more) into BigQuery.

In addition, you can also move data from Google platforms that haven’t been integrated with BigQuery, such as Google Search Console and Google My Business, whilst also getting Google Analytics without the needing to pay for GA 360.

At Supermetrics, our mission is pure and simple: to let marketers easily move their data from wherever it is to wherever they want.

All our products are made by marketers, for marketers, and that’s why we wanted to make it super simple to transfer your data into BigQuery.

We eliminated the need to know the technical details of how to move your data and understand the basics of SQL. Instead, you just select what data you’d like to move into BigQuery and Supermetrics takes care of the rest.

Being able to extract the depth of data from your marketing platforms is also a vital component of conducting sophisticated analyses.

That’s why we spent a lot of time and effort to ensure our connectors provide marketers with more metrics and dimensions than any other BigQuery application available.

Furthermore, the data is also pre-transformed by our predefined schemas. This basically means that once your data is in BigQuery, you don’t need to do anything to it and it will be presented in the format marketers need.

How Can I Visualize My Data That’s in BigQuery?

Once you have your data in BigQuery, then comes the fun part: exporting it to visualization and BI tools.

Products like Tableau, Looker, and PowerBI provide robust platforms to turn your data into charts so you can monitor, analyze, and report on your marketing performance.

And in order to create a full end-to-end solution for marketers, we also built a dedicated connector to Google Data Studio so you can take all your data through BigQuery and into Data Studio using Supermetrics.

There are several benefits to the Data Studio connector that comes baked into Supermetrics for BigQuery, as it:

  • Automatically merges data from multiple sources without needing to write SQL.
  • Sets data types for all your fields with friendly naming structures (For example, “Account name” instead of “account_name”).
  • Adds calculated metrics like CTR, eliminating the need to manually define formulas.
  • Automatically includes time fields like week, month and year, which you would normally need to configure.

BigQuery: Common Use Cases for Marketers

There are endless scenarios for which marketers can use BigQuery, but here are three common ones to help get you started.

Cross-Channel PPC Analysis

Gather data from your PPC campaigns that run across multiple channels to identify which platforms are performing best for each campaign.

With Supermetrics for BigQuery, you can now pull data from heavily used paid marketing platforms including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Bing Ads into BigQuery so you’re able to do this.

This means you’ll have all of your data in a central location and can create all-inclusive visual reports of your blended data.

This, in turn, will ensure smarter allocation of your performance marketing budgets and improved ROI.

Web Analytics + CRM

It’s vital that digital marketers understand visitor behavior before and after conversion. Prospects often interact with several pages and content pieces across multiple visits before they do convert.

Pre-conversion, all this user data will be tied into a unique and anonymous cookie ID, which can be sent to Google BigQuery.

Once a prospect converts, they’d then have a CRM record ID, which in turn can be associated with their anonymous cookie ID by sending the cookie ID to the CRM upon conversion.

With Supermetrics for BigQuery, you can track both pre- and post-conversion on-site activity from Google Analytics and combine it with enriched data from your CRM to generate an in-depth understanding of your prospective customers.

Attribution Analysis

Modern buying behavior makes attribution challenging.

As we discussed in the previous use case, it’s difficult to attribute every conversion to just one specific channel or touchpoint.

So gathering all the touchpoints someone has with you, across different channels, via multiple sources, and both pre- and post-conversion lets you not only gain a better understanding of your marketing funnel, but also – and more importantly – your customer journey.


4 Major Marketing Trends for 2020 and Beyond

Can you believe it’s almost 2020? When I began my marketing career over a decade ago in 2009, I could hardly imagine what I’d be doing today as a marketing leader at an enterprise organization especially with technology. But each year, new and disruptive technological innovations are forcing marketers like me to evolve our best practices. Digital marketing, once the only game in town, has given way to multichannel marketing; and today, we are rapidly approaching the omnichannel marketing age.

And that can be overwhelming: As the rate of marketing innovation continues to accelerate, most organizations are having a hard time keeping up. But the good news is that new ways of doing things bring new opportunities. Here are four major marketing trends I see developing among organizations for 2020 and beyond:

1. Optimizing for on-SERP SEO

Ever hear of zero-click results? You’ve probably seen them. A zero-click result is a search result in which Google automatically provides the answer to the search query in the form of an automated snippet.

For example, if you type in ,“What is the temperature in San Francisco?” Google will automatically provide you a result it generates on its own. You’d actually have to scroll down to see the Adwords results and organic search results.

Google auto-populates search results for much broader queries, as well. Everything from “What is a cryptocurrency?” to “How do I create a marketing funnel?” has a snippet that may prevent a searcher from scrolling down to see more results.

Why is this significant? Because 61.8 percent of search results in Google are now zero-search results, according to data from Jumpshot. As a result, more and more keywords are becoming less profitable.

While the automatic snippet sometimes comes from a website that ranks somewhere on page 1 of the search engine results page (SERP), companies are unsure how to optimize their content so that Google chooses them over anyone vying for the same spot. Needless to say, this is a concerning development for any business that markets or advertisers on Google.

Opportunity:The brand that figures out on-SERP SEO first will have a huge competitive edge.

2. Advertising on smart speakers (and optimizing for voice search)

Another major development in recent years has been the proliferation of smart speakers. In 2018, around 56 million smart speakers were sold to consumers, according to Social Report.

Yet despite the growing number of households asking Alexa, Siri and Google Home questions, smart speaker marketing and advertising opportunities have been scarce. But this seems to be changing.

In 2017, for example, Google Home users noticed that a universal ad for Disney’s Beauty and The Beast began playing shortly after scheduled morning announcements, called flash briefings. These types of ads were rare and infrequent at the time, but are now growing in popularity.

In 2019, we’re seeing better, less invasive, examples of branded advertising on smart speakers. One of the most customer-friendly ways to advertise on smart speakers is to make what’s called a “branded skill.” For example, if you tell Alexa “Ask Patrón for a cocktail recipe,” Alexa will respond with a diverse selection of possibilities, courtesy of the premium tequila maker. This strategy works:. Patrón gets more than 6,000 queries a month for its Alexa skill, according to Digiday.

Opportunity: Try the “branded skill” approach for your branded advertising, for a more customer-friendly tone.

3. Optimizing for voice search

Granted, most brands may not be ready to explore smart speaker advertising just yet. But in the meantime, they should explore optimizing their content for voice search.

According to Google, 20 percent of all Google search queries now take place through voice search. Even more telling is that 71 percent of all mobile users between the ages of 18 and 29 use voice assistants on their smartphones, according to Thrive Analytics.

Needless to say, it probably makes a lot of sense for all businesses to start optimizing their content for voice search, not just big enterprises. There’s a lot of advice from marketing experts on how to do this, and it seems that the consensus is that making content more conversational does the trick.

Opportunity: With most search happening on smartphones, optimize for voice search.

4. More chatbots and, yes, even more content!

Finally, as I’ve explained before, written content isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Not only is it predicted to be the marketing activity that will make the largest commercial impact three years running (according to Smart Insights), but written content is also the main throughput of chatbots, which are expected to see increased usage in 2020 and beyond.

According to a recent study by Juniper Networks, as AI-powered chatbots grow in popularity and sophistication, retailers can expect to cut costs by $439 billion annually and increase sales by $112 billion, by 2023. With numbers like that, it’s not too hard to see why large organizations will continue investing in newer and more helpful chatbots.

But chatbots aren’t useful just for big business. Any business that has a website with traffic can benefit from a simple chatbot that answers the most common visitor questions and helps convert visitors into warm leads.

Opportunity: Chatbots will help you cut costs.

Marketing is changing, and marketers must change with it

When I first got my feet wet in the marketing world, I couldn’t have imagined that I’d be helping run digital marketing transformation programs. But that’s what it takes to stay competitive in the world of 21st-century marketing.

It’s almost 2020; have you looked into any new and innovative ways to spend your marketing dollars? Or how to double down on the marketing channels that work best for your business?

Because if you haven’t, I guarantee your competitors have.