Product Documents

Sort by:
By: Crystal Vaughan Posted: December 15, 2015 | Modern Marketing If building a customer community for an organization were like planning a wedding and inviting guests, customer communities often are the second cousin who’s invited only when slots open up on the attendee list. But take it from me (I’m in the middle of planning my own wedding), they really should be a guest of honor. The Importance of Building a Customer Community Many companies see communities as a ‘nice-to-have’ and not as critical to the organization as sales and marketing, but the reality is that a customer community is a critical direct line to your customers and has the power to build your brand with your most powerful advocates. 2016 is the age of the customer, as the market moves at a speed not yet seen before, driven by customers’ high expectations for personalization of their journey. Businesses will need to realign and reorient their strategy specifically around the customer or risk losing out on developing and fostering a valuable channel as customers form communities of their own. During the last few months, I’ve researched and planned for the 2016 execution of an online community for Invoca. At the same time, I’ve also been planning a wedding and actively applying the lessons I’ve learned along the way to help lay a successful foundation upon which I’ll build Invoca’s community. Below, I share my advice on the three most important things I’ve learned from wedding planning that’s helped me assemble an online community proposal : 1. Get Executive Buy-In Early On While the tradition of asking the bride’s father’s permission before proposing is somewhat outdated and not as frequently used anymore, asking permission and getting buy-in is still a vital part of a community-building process. Getting internal buy-in and support is a rule of thumb within organizations as they build large initiatives. But, like a nervous fiancé about to ask permission, I bet you’re wondering: what’s the best way to set yourself up for success when you ask? Start by doing your research. Then create a project plan and define methods to measure your results—think about what success looks like for this initiative and ask yourself the hard questions you’ll likely get. Then present your plan to an executive sponsor. Their buy-in as you build an online community will help support your goals and guide you with your project plan, ensuring you stay in alignment with the overall business objectives. It will also assist with defining exactly what is being built and the importance of the initiative to the rest of the organization. 2. Customer Experience Matters Just like you have to understand your wedding guests and gauge their interest in the different elements of your wedding (did someone say photobooth?), you’ve got to gauge the level of interest your current customers would have in an online community. This may not be the main channel they are interested in actively participating on–perhaps they interact more with your brand on your blog or want instant support via chat or a Twitter account. But can you incorporate these elements into your community so they can get everything in one place? Getting consensus on what your customers want before throwing money into developing an online community should be part of your research. You want to establish a channel that supports development of the customer and helps them get value out of their current investment, while also ensuring you see a return from your investment. Establishing this type of customer experience broadcasts that you are listening to what they want and creates a strong foundation for your first interactions with them. So set up a primary channel to communicate with them and nail it. 3. You Need a Team to Bring It to Life When you’re planning a wedding, you’re either one of two brides: a bride that thinks in siloes or a bride that thinks all-encompassing. Those that think in siloes are the equivalent of marketers who have “tool bloat”, needing a decorator for wedding decor, florist for floral arrangements, and caterer for wedding menu. However, in my experience, I’ve found if you bind everything together, it’s a great way to indirectly support the main initiative. For instance, find a venue that incorporates catering, décor, lighting, floral, all in one complete package, and you’ll have an entire team working toward one main goal instead of trying to coordinate between all of them. The same goes for building an online community. Many think online communities are strictly for customer marketing, upsells and advocacy, and as such, marketing-owned. But it is much more than that–they allow for instant, unlimited communication and unparalleled networking, giving customers a chance to build stronger relationships with each other and the business. If your community is going to be a success, it needs to be rebranded internally, adopted widely and owned company-wide. Sales, marketing, customer success, product development and even finance need to work together in order for the business to have a successful community. By putting together a cross-functional team of champions, each person will be able to promote and indirectly support the online community. Aligning the goals of the community with the goals of all your organizational stakeholders is vital. When companies align the community goal across all departments, employees know to make decisions that put the customer first and are more likely to contribute to the world-class customer experience you are trying to build. Ready, Set, Plan The online customer community is often a neglected opportunity. Businesses that incorporate the launch of customer communities in their plans and immediately hire customer community managers know community is a strong driver of business value and revenue. When community is seen as an actual product of the business, organizations will invest in it because they understand that building engaged communities will keep their customers happy, which results in lower churn. Businesses that don’t incorporate communities into their plan will need to play catch up quickly in order to remain competitive in a customer dominated world. In 2016, my prediction will be that organizations will begin to reinvent themselves to focus on the value of loyal relationships and critical real-time customer engagement over resolutions and transactions. I want to invite you to join me as I traverse through the world of the online customer community (sorry, unfortunately, my wedding guest list is already at full capacity!) If you haven’t already, consider building one out yourself. It’s a great time to be a community manager! And if you’re already on top of it, leave me some feedback below on how you have built out your own community, what tips and tricks you can offer, or any other comments you may have!
View full article
Great infographic provided by our partner LookBook HQ Nick Edouard​
View full article
By: Jamie Lewis If you’re not tracking your website analytics, it’s time to step it up. Contrary to more traditional marketing channels, your website and web analytics are direct, specific, and measurable. So what exactly is website analytics? A good definition I often use is “The qualitative and quantitative analysis of your website and your competitors’ websites for the continuous optimization of business outcomes for all channels, both online and offline”. Essentially, you don’t need to use good ol’ faith any longer. Now you can use data to measure the things that drive revenue for your business. The benefits of robust website analytics include an increase in accountability within your organization, finding the best solutions faster, and delivering better business outcomes through enlightened decision making. Answer the Right Questions Let’s get started now. To begin, you need to start by tracking the most basic elements of activity on your site. 75% of the data you need is gathered just by placing a JavaScript code into the footer of your website. Simply place the code provided by a free service like Google Analytics or Yahoo Web Analytics or let a tag manager tool do this for you. Keep in mind this is just the start. Website analytics tools typically only help you answer the “What”: What are the top 10 pages visited? What are the top 10 products sold? What are the most popular downloads? While that’s a great start, to drive real improvement in revenue performance, you must be able to answer “Why”: Why did they go to those 10 pages? Should those have been the top 10 pages? Which ones should have been and why weren’t they? These questions are crucial to your business and a must-have for every digital marketer out there. To discover the “Why” of your website’s performance, implement these 5 processes: 1. Web Activity Analysis As we mentioned above, this will tell you what is happening on your website and can be provided to you quite easily through tools such as Google Analytics and Yahoo Web Analytics. The simple act of adding a tag to your website will give you access to a near limitless amount of visitor data. With it, you can better understand things such as what pages are working, what your visitors like and don’t like, where they come from, what time of day they visit, what pages or ads sent them to your site, and on and on and on. This will allow you to form hypotheses and draw conclusions that can shape your testing and web strategy—it’s wonderful! 2. Conversion Analysis Now that we understand what happened we also need to know how much and for whom. This is where we tie the web activity to online and offline conversions. We can continue to get all of our online conversion data from Google Analytics Yahoo Web Analytics, but offline data can be a little more of a challenge. A complete marketing automation solution can solve this problem by integrating with different CRMs and rolling the offline conversion data back into your marketing database. However you accomplish this, tie your digital marketing efforts to both the online and offline revenue data. 3. Customer Preference Analysis You should hear the voice of your customers loud and clear when performing your analysis. In fact, every web marketer should be able to answer three key questions about their visitors. “Why are you here?”, “Did you get what you came for?”, “If not, why?” The answers will provide insights about your customers and your website. You may find out that they are coming to you for things you never dreamed of. Only after you understand their reasons will you be able to better serve them and drive more revenue for your business. Answering these questions is typically accomplished by providing a survey for a small percentage visitors in two formats: Site-level surveys: for measuring session experience. These are done upon entrance or exit and are usually a pop-up. Site-level surveys are very good at understanding macro issues—big things that might be wrong such as experience, navigation elements, and overall effectiveness of site. Page-level surveys: for measuring micro issues. These are usually part of specific pages and are typically opened with a “plus” sign. In page-level surveys, you gain information about micro conversions, transactional efficiency, and overall experience with individual pages on your website. 4. Experimentation and Testing This is a key step to understanding your website in terms of what is working and what is not. Only through experimentation and testing can you determine how to improve and optimize your website. Typical types of testing are A/B testing and multivariate testing. A/B testing swaps one page out for another to see which one works better and multivariate testing swaps out one or more components of a page to do the same. This will give your customers a say in how your website will work going forward because the results will be based precisely on their behavior. 5. Competitive Intelligence Understanding how your competitors are faring in the marketplace will provide bountiful insights for your business because it will provide context to measure your own performance. For example, do you know who their customers are, their demographics, and their lead sources? Do you know how many visitors they are getting, the duration of stay and bounce rate? The ability to understanding your competitors’ performance on the web versus your own is vital to your success in the internet economy. Right now you are probably saying to yourself, “But my competitors won’t give me their data!” You’re right, they won’t, but www.compete.com will. Go check it out—most of this data is available for free. By tracking these 5 simple metrics, you can execute a true website analysis and provide tangible value to your company, and I’m talking dollars here people. Have you already uncovered meaningful insights with the metrics above? I’d love to hear what you found in the comments below!
View full article
Stephanie Meyer is the woman behind GE Healthcare's successful marketing automation initiative. Here's how her team modernized and consolidated the company’s marketing tools. By modernizing and consolidating more than 100 marketing systems across the globe, Stephanie Meyer, head of marketing operations at GE Healthcare, and her team enabled the company to touch a total of $2 billion in potential revenue and yielded $600 million in new revenue last year. This initiative was part of a big renovation in marketing processes, role clarity, and organization improvements at GE Healthcare. Previously, the company had over 100 marketing tools across its seven regions: USCAN (U.S. and Canada), EU, China, Asia-Pacific, India, EAGM (the Eastern and Africa growth markets) and LATAM (Latin America). Such variety led to many challenges, including fragmentation and confusing hand-offs. "How the job was getting done required many processes, with each requiring different efforts. This led to redundancies, dropped balls, and inefficiency," Meyer says. According to Meyer, the modernization of marketing tools consists of three pillars: People: What talent does GE Healthcare need? How should the company train employees? Platforms: What global tools will support efficiency for GE Healthcare's marketing teams? Process: How can teams be effective at all points in the communication process? In mid-2013, Meyer and her team started integrating GE Healthcare's marketing tools around the globe, consolidating more than 100 systems into just three: Zinc Ahead, Salesforce, and Marketo. Previously, it took a few months for GE Healthcare to get approval on content. Now the company uses the medical compliance software, Zinc Ahead, to review and approve content, curtailing the process by 70 percent. GE Healthcare also uses marketing automation software from Salesforce and Marketo for consumer communication and consumer engagement. These platforms have helped GE Healthcare save time and resources, according to Meyer. Meyer and her team completed the integration in approximately 18 months. "I didn't sleep or have any social life. Project managing something of this size is the biggest challenge, next to getting people to accept the changes. You need very detail oriented leaders to run the cutover, and it's critical that they work to help gain acceptance for the change and [prove] the benefits," Meyer explains. She admits that her team made a few mistakes in the integration process. During the global roll-out of Marketo, her team focused too much on regional deployment instead of products. While GE Healthcare's region marketers are aligned to specific regions and oversee the commercialization of all products relating to their consumers, product marketers are responsible for the development of product-specific content that spans across all regions. When Meyer's team rolled out Marketo, they considered commercialization to be of primary importance, so put lots of effort into training and improving the skills of region marketers. "In hindsight, we should have paralleled this training with the product marketers, because great content in this new ecosystem is of equal importance," Meyer notes. While she is very focused on advanced digital marketing tools, Meyers believes that people are more important than platforms. In her words, "Marketing is not B2B or BC2 anymore, it's B2Human." Marketers have to think about how to promote their products and services in a more human way and have control over their marketing platforms. For instance, when a brand has an email marketing tool, it can send a promotional email to a consumer a few times a day, but there's a fine line between connecting with consumers via email and spamming them. "An organization should have a control mechanism in the process and say, 'We should not contact this consumer for more than X times in a week.' Don't be tempted by the platform's shininess - good governance will be a big win for you," Meyer says. Looking forward, good content is Meyer's next big push at GE Healthcare. In 2016, her team plans to train the company's marketers to think more holistically around consumers' buying cycles and ensure that GE Healthcare's content is based on insights. "It's really about looking at consumers' behavior and engaging in different ways. My marketers now have fabulous tools, but they don't have experience as content strategists. So for 2016, I need to work on making sure our marketers understand the difference between creating content and selling something," Meyer says. Marketing in the healthcare industry is more difficult than other industries, because some of the common marketing practices that have proven to be effective are strictly prohibited. Since marketing for healthcare products and services falls under a series of laws and regulations from a variety of enforcement agencies, GE Healthcare's digital channel strategy will remain less focused on social media. Instead, it will take advantage of email and other content distribution channels. By integrating and consolidating marketing automation systems, GE Healthcare is able to minimize its content cycle and has gained a great ROI. Given that GE Healthcare is an $18 billion revenue business, Meyer's team may still have a long way to go, but they are definitely headed in the right direction. The takeaways from GE Healthcare's marketing automation initiative are: Less is more. Don't put too many marketing tools in the arsenal. Effective marketing automation takes time and effort to implement and maintain for revenue growth. People are more important than platforms. While marketing automation provides efficiency, marketers should be careful about irrelevant automated messages. Remember that while advanced marketing tools provide helpful short-term solutions, quality original content is a long-term solution and should be the main goal. A good marketing strategy requires collaboration. If one doesn't have the right process for communicating with teammates, their marketing efforts will fall apart. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Yuyu Chen is a reporter at ClickZ. Her work has appeared in Local East Village, New York Daily News and Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce website. Yuyu received her M.A. in Business and Economic Reporting from New York University in May, 2013. Article originally appeared in ClickZ.
View full article
Author: Elaine Ip Halloween has come and gone, but the fright isn’t over just yet. With its passing grows a sense of panic among consumer marketers everywhere. We are now in the busiest selling season of the year, with advertisements hitting consumers left to right. From those eagerly anticipated holiday sales to Black Friday or Cyber Monday, consumers are receiving floods of communication every day. What will make your message stand out from the masses? Determining how to nurture your customers is a good start, but for your message to really catch their eye, you need to have compelling content. Follow these 4 guidelines to create content that resonates with your customers : 1. Trust is a Must Without any personal affiliations with your customer, your words (in this case, your content) are what they hold you to. And nothing speaks louder than words than your actions. Make sure that your marketing strategy and activities deliver on what you promise. If you offer them a coupon, fulfill it. If your customer asks to be unsubscribed from your mailing list, remove them. If you don’t, not only will it hurt your credibility, but you’ll start to see less engagement and, ultimately, less conversions. 2. Identify Your John and Jane Doe Understand who your target audience is so you can tailor your content to be relevant, interesting, and timed specifically for them. In this new digital age, customers share their information with you and in turn expect you to use it wisely. Use the data you’ve collected to properly segment and target your audience in order to build trust and relevance. Given the upcoming holidays and my affinity for buying beauty products, Sephora has nailed this down–targeting their audience *raises hand* with the right content. On the flip side, I’ve been receiving emails lately with the subject line: Senior Apartment Listings in Your Area. Since it’s outside my demographic, you can probably imagine how annoying these have been. Impersonal and poorly timed messages make your customers question whether you even know who they are or understand them. Relevant customer nurturing is all about timing and the ability to demonstrate that you understand your customer. 3. Be in the Right Place Consumers shift across channels throughout the day. Fine-tune your customer nurturing strategy for multi-channel engagement. Remember to be mindful of the content you put out on each channel to ensure that your customer experience is optimized and personal. Customers expect their experience to be a seamless, continuous conversation across channels and it’s your job to ensure this happens. In the example below, you can see the shoe retailer Sole Society advertises their Cammila loafer to a select audience on Instagram. Then later on Facebook, their ad targeting offers me the same shoe in a different pattern. Instead, I clicked on a Business Insider article and Sole Society was there once more via another advertisement to continue the conversation with me–finally convincing me to click through to shop. One of my favorite (and most dangerous) pastimes is online shopping. There’s nothing better than having access to a plethora of inventory at just the click of a mouse. Once in a while, even if I’ve already decided to buy an item, something comes up that distracts me and I won’t follow through and check out. With multi-channel marketing, I’ll receive an email a few days later reminding me about my abandoned item. “Still thinking this over? You have some great stuff in your Shopping Bag.” Thank you Nordstrom, I think so too! Time to check out! 4. Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is Justify your marketing spend. Your customer nurturing program needs to be measurable so that you can consistently track your progress and look for ways to improve it. Define the right set of metrics, review and adjust your nurture tracks along the way, and finally report your success. Since email is a large part of most customer nurturing programs, here are the 7 most common email metrics that you may want to track: Sent – emails that actually moved through your engagement marketing platform Delivered – emails that were sent and not rejected by a receiving server Bounced – messages that were permanently rejected (hard bounce) and messages that were temporarily rejected (soft bounce) Opened – recipients who opened (viewed) the email Clicked – subscribers who clicked on a link, button, or image within your message Unsubscribed – contacts who clicked the “unsubscribe” link in an email and then followed through to successfully opt out Marked as Spam – subscribers who reported your email as spam Take a step back and test your content on yourself. If you had received this from another company, how would you respond? Does it tell a continuous story? Would you open it and click through? Or would you unsubscribe or mark it as spam? Let’s not be biased here. By checking your content for these measures, you can ensure that your nurture campaigns aren’t going to waste. With customer nurturing, you can build effective relationships with consumers throughout their buying journey. Embrace these best practices and watch your customers move along the purchase cycle! For a comprehensive description of customer nurturing best practices, check out our Definitive Guide to Customer Nurturing. Have you seen an example of excellent customer nurturing in action? Or do you have tips to add? Please share them in the comments section below.
View full article
Quick Event Checklist: Quick Event Checklist – Marketo.com Checklist for Webinars: Managing Successful Webinars: A Marketer’s Must-Have Checklist – Marketo.com Checklist for Setting up Webinars: Managing Successful Webinars - Marketo Checklist Social Media Calendar Template: Your Sample Social Editorial Calendar Worksheets for Lead Generation: Worksheets Marketing Measurement Checklist: The Marketing Measurement Checklist [Infographic] – Marketo.com Email SetUp Checklist: Secret Email Checklist Improve B2B Email Deliverability with Marketing Automation Marketo Email Marketing: Thinking Outside the Inbox Mobile Email Marketing Nine Signs That It's Time to Switch Automation Systems Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: Blogging 2015 Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: LinkedIn Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: Google+ Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: Pinterest and Instagram 2015 Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: Twitter 2015 Tips for the Social Marketer Cheat Sheet: Facebook Inbound Marketing Cheat Sheet The Marketing Measurement Cheat Sheet Online Community Cheat Sheet SlideShare Cheat Sheet Podcasting Cheat Sheet Content Marketing Cheat Sheet Lead Nurturing Cheat Sheet Email Deliverability Cheat Sheet Marketing Automation Cheat Sheet Lead Scoring Cheat Sheet B2B Email Marketing Cheat Sheet Landing Page Optimization Cheat Sheet The Changing B2B Buyer Salesforce.com for Marketers Cheat Sheet Sales 2.0 Cheat Sheet Social Sales - Truth about Sales 2.0 How to Attract, Hire, and Grow a Rockstar Marketing Team Marketing Automation and the Marketing Battles What to Test in Your Emails The Cost of Delaying Marketing Automation When "Boring" Means "Amazing": How Testing Makes Go-Live Day a Snooze 17 Email Rules You Absolutely Have To Break 5 Ways That a Solid Marketing Automation Solution Can Help Small Teams Succeed 30 Things to A/B Test for Lead Generation 5 Lead Generation Metrics Every Marketer Should Track Mapping Lead Generation to Your Sales Funnel Here's How to Make Your Website as Personalized as Your Email How to Create a Marketing Persona for Your Business Cheat Sheet: How to Design a Marketing Automation Discovery Guide SEO and PPC Keywords What To Seek In A Lead Nurturing Solution 4 Pieces of Social Media Real Estate You Shouldn't Ignore SEO Cheat Sheet: Best Practices for On-Page Optimization A Marketer's Guide to Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) Email Deliverability and Design: Email Deliverability Design and Creative Checklist – Marketo.com
View full article
Posted on behalf of our LaunchPoint partner Insightpool .
View full article
Posted on behalf of our LaunchPoint partner Insightpool.
View full article
Marketing and the Internet of Things, closer than you think For many years, we kept being promised that “the year of mobile” was upon us. When it failed to materialize, it was easy to become jaded and write off much of the discussion of that coming wave of innovation as hype. But somewhat suddenly, we now look around, with everyone reaching for their phones every other minute — or checking them on their Inspector Gadget watches — having integrated them into their soaring digital expectations of daily life, and we realize, “Whoa, it’s a mobile world.” Businesses who figured out how to leverage that ahead of the rest — Uber is the poster child example — gained a tremendous advantage. Keep that in mind as you read this Q&A with Andy Hobsbawm , the CMO of EVRYTHNG , one of the leading companies powering the emerging ecosystem of the Internet of Things. Surely, at least some of you rolled your eyes thinking, “Et tu, Scotte?” You’ve been hearing the drumbeat of the Internet of Things for long enough without seeing it materialize that you’re inclined to write off all articles like this as hype. My humble advice: don’t be so quick to dismiss this. The acceleration of technology adoption is real — revisit The Second Machine Age — and widespread distribution of the Internet of Things is probably much closer than you might think. Once it hits its tipping point, what we accept as everyday reality is likely to change very quickly. Now is a good time to start to learn about what’s possible, even today, and the challenges and opportunities that we’re going to face as marketers. Andy has a vested interest in this, of course. But in conversations with him, I find he does a wonderful job of explaining the technology and the scenarios by which it is able to impact marketing. More importantly, he has a wealth of real-world examples to share to demonstrate those effects. While we haven’t unveiled the MarTech Europe agenda yet — stay tuned for that next week — I am excited to say that Andy will be one of our speakers, helping to bring more of these examples to life for us. 1. Tell us a little about your background and how you came to EVRYTHNG. My background hasn’t involved a formal career path. I ended up following the things I’m most curious, fascinated, and passionate about and seeing where that led me. This explains a singular lack of cohesiveness in the story so far – or perhaps, as Steve Jobs pointed out in his epic Stanford commencement address, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” In any event, I’ve run entrepreneurial sales businesses while back-packing in Australia, written songs and played guitar in a spectacularly unsuccessful London rock ’n’ roll band, helped start the first international web agency Online Magic — later Agency.com, which went public in 1999 — co-founded an environmental non-profit Do The Green Thing, and most recently my IoT software company EVRYTHNG (with a bunch of other stuff in-between). The inspiration for EVRYTHNG was meeting a friend Niall Murphy, now fellow Founder and CEO, in a coffee shop several years ago. After co-founding European Wi-Fi network The Cloud, Niall had been wrestling with the idea of every object having an addressable, real-time presence on the Web. Why couldn’t the physical world be online and referenceable, searchable, mashable just like other forms of digital information? We both felt strongly that the Web will inevitably include billions of objects sharing dynamic information about themselves in real-time. And it seemed clear that some kind of transactional economy would emerge around this exchange of object information and that there needed to be a new kind of software infrastructure to manage the digital identity of physical things and make it easy for apps to access this data flow and provide new kinds of services and experiences. At the time it didn’t seem possible to realise this vision, but fast-forward a couple of years and mobile and web 2.0 technologies had become sufficiently widespread and cost-effective to make this scale of information exchange and dynamic service creation possible. And object connectivity tech like NFC, Wi-Fi chips, RFID and printable sensor tags had started to pass key tipping points in terms of cost. EVRYTHNG was incorporated in 2011. By 2012 all co-founders were assembled — which includes Dom Guinard, CTO and Vlad Triffa, EVP R&D, recruited from ETH and MIT — initial funding was raised and the early team was operational. EVRYTHNG is based in London and New York, with offices in San Francisco, Seoul and Minsk. 2. How real is the Internet of Things (IoT) for marketing today? A recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey reported that senior marketers globally believe IoT will make the biggest impact on marketing in the next five years, ahead of other related technology trends like big data, real-time mobile personalized transactions, and customer experience. Meanwhile, CTOs and CIOs are working on IoT strategies from the perspective of technology infrastructure and platforms to support the enterprise. And the range of products that can become part of the IoT is exploding based on the falling costs of connectivity technologies like printed electronics on smart packaging. Smart home devices with native, embedded connectivity are only the tip of the iceberg. Over three trillion consumer products are made and sold each year (some calculations put this as high as ten trillion). Of these, the most obvious IoT candidates like consumer electronics devices, home appliances, and cars represent 0.2% in volume. The wider IoT opportunity for marketers is the “Internet of Everything,” which includes everyday non-electronic ‘dumb’ household products that can also be given real-time, social web intelligence via smart packaging, smart software and smartphones. By our calculations, close to a trillion products shipped annually will be digitally-capable in some form by the end of this decade. By our calculations, close to a trillion products shipped annually will be digitally-capable in some form — from image recognition or RFID to printed sensor tags and embedded chips — by the end of this decade. 3. Can you give a couple of examples of great IoT-enabled marketing? Maybe one for B2C, one for B2B? We believe that there are three main consumer use cases for smart products powered by an IoT platform like EVRYTHNG. Firstly: Products-As-Media . Once activated, products become a data-driven, owned media platform to launch digital experiences and content, and acquire ongoing 1:2:1 consumer relationships. Diageo use EVRYTHNG’s IoT platform to let consumers interact with bottles using smart tags and smartphones. For example, letting consumers personalize a gift by adding a unique video gift message to their bottle, or rewarding consumers with loyalty points for interacting with products in “on-trade” bar locations. Additionally, tracking these items in the supply chain to make logistics and product operations smarter. Secondly: Products-as-a-Service . Physical goods that are packaged and delivered with a digital layer of personalized services can adapt themselves to user preferences and get better over time as they learn and new digital upgrades are made. Like Tesla cars that can upgrade performance and fix product defects while you sleep. Smart products are easier to differentiate and charge premium prices for, harder to switch from, and create new revenue opportunities from subscription or usage-based services. Smart products are easier to differentiate and charge premium prices for , harder to switch from, and create new revenue opportunities from subscription or usage-based services. Our customer Gooee, which puts chips and sensors into bulbs to disrupt the industry by selling “lighting-as-a-service.” Running on the EVRYTHNG IoT platform, these connected bulbs lower electricity and maintenance costs, but also contain motion sensors to track retail footfall analytics or trigger security alerts, plus CO2 sensors for smoke detection. So a lighting company is now also in the business of security services, fire alarms, inventory management, and energy efficiency. Another example is Diageo Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Adding a printed sensor tag from EVRYTHNG partner Thinfilm, powered by our IoT smart products platform, lets Diageo know if the bottle has been opened or not. The ability of the printed electronics label to send a different signal based on a “sealed” or “broken” state, in combination with real-time cloud data analytics and alerts, tackles the issue of counterfeiters re-filling bottles with poor quality alcohol. It also means that when consumers tap the tags with NFC-enabled smartphones, the bottles can switch messaging from pre-purchase incentives to post-purchase cocktail recipes. Thirdly: Ecosystem-Connected Products . Products can unlock additional user and business value by making more connections with partner products, apps, and data services in the digital ecosystem. For example, your premium Spotify account can now stream playlists in your Uber rides, the new Jawbone fitness tracker offers contactless NFC terminal payment in combination with Amex, and Visa partnered with BMW and Pizza Hut to enable in-car voice-activated ordering and payments. An example for EVRYTHNG would be how iHome’s smart products use our IoT platform APIs, based on open web standards, to integrate with other clouds so their products plug in to third-party service like Homekit and SmartThings or Wink and Nest. 4. What are some of the other things that are possible, that you expect we’ll see over the next year? We are moving into the Third Age of Marketing: Product Voice. The industrial media age of Brand Voice gave way to a social media-powered age of Consumer Voice, and now the product itself is having a say. Products are dynamic, web-connected intelligent objects and can play an active, functional part in how they are made, sold and used. The industrial media age of Brand Voice gave way to a social media-powered age of Consumer Voice, and now the product itself is having a say . We are fascinated about how shipping and operating physical products with real-time marketing experiences and digital services creates new business value and transforms consumer relationships and product operations for brands. And we haven’t scratched the surface of what’s possible with manufacturer brands using an IoT smart products platform like EVRYTHNG to connect their products to the web and manage a combination of hardware, software, and real-time data to transform the product journey from factory floor to high street to living room and recycling back into component materials. We expect to see a greater use of streaming analytics and complex event processing software, as well as machine learning systems, in combination with IoT data streams. For example, triggering alerts of a poor user experience so brands can offer customer service prompts. If, say, a consumer who presses a button five times in a row on a new device, it’s a fair bet they’re having difficulty getting their new product to work. To avoid poor negative reviews on social media or expensive product returns, the brand could send a “how-to” video link or the offer of real-time chat support to the user’s smartphone. For example, triggering alerts of a poor user experience so brands can offer customer service prompts. Devices will be increasingly valued not just for their stand-alone functionality, but for how well they work within the digital ecosystem. Considering that simply switching on the washing machine will lead to communication with the appliance app, the home hub network, the clothes and washing powder that go in it, as well as other smart home digital service experiences, it becomes clear that silo operations don’t make sense for businesses or consumers. Success will depend on the ability to connect with an interdependent network of devices, apps, and services, which means that data is no longer to be collected and coveted, but shared. We also think that native apps will overload consumers and fade away as web apps provide users with everything they need in one place — their browser — transforming products into interfaces that are used to access one simple, unified platform — the Web. Finally, we expect more product engagement data to be combined with first-party data to offer more effective and joined up segmentation and re-targeting in the real-time advertising markets. So traditional and digital media use data-driven decisions to drive consumers to engage with products, and those product interactions are in turn fed back into the calculations about what messages to serve the next time. It clearly makes sense for, say, a shampoo manufacturer to understand that a consumer has digitally engaged with a sample in the last week, and make smarter decisions about where they are in the purchase journey when re-targeting them with an offer to convert to purchase. 5. What does EVRYTHNG do to facilitate all this? To explain what EVRYTHNG does, lets recap why its Internet of Things platform-as-a-service is needed in the first place. Consumer product manufacturers need to digitize their products at scale and connect them to the Web to get value from the Internet of Things. The kinds of things companies want to do include: Let customers digitally connect to products for a better user experience (e.g. your garage door alerts you if you left it open so you can close it remotely, or a designer bag you’re thinking of buying confirms that it’s the genuine article and not a fake). Make supply chain operations more efficient with real-time product tracking intelligence (e.g. know if parts of a shipment go missing, or products end up in the wrong place, or are being counterfeited, etc.). Acquire customer and product information they wouldn’t otherwise have had — e.g. who is using their products and where they are, what they are engaging with, and how content drives interaction and sales. EVRYTHNG exists to help manufacturers of consumer products do exactly these kinds of things with its IoT smart products platform. Manufacturers can connect their products to the EVRYTHNG cloud and access data management and analytics services to make them smart, interactive, programmable, and trackable. Our specific role in all this is to manage the digital identities of these products as active data entities on the Web — what we call “Active Digital Identities” — with associated real-time data to drive applications for end consumers and business users (e.g. supply chain tracking). The EVRYTHNG platform allows brands to digitize their physical goods using a range of connectivity technologies — from image recognition, QR codes, BLE, NFC, and RFID to printed electronics and sensor tags to embedded chips — and manages the real-time IoT data to run applications in real-time on the Web that unlock business and customer value. EVRYTHNG operates as a B2B cloud platform-as-a-service, so brands own all the data and control their digital consumer and supply chain stakeholder relationships directly. 6. What capabilities — not just technical, but organizational — do companies need to implement successful IoT-enabled marketing programs? People expect brands to play a useful, relevant, and meaningful role in their lives, and the media they consume is increasingly mobile, social, and powered by real-time data. However, marketers default to delivering advertising messages in a regular sequence of campaigns, instead of “on-demand” personalized services and experiences. Marketers default to delivering advertising messages in a regular sequence of campaigns, instead of “on-demand” personalized services and experiences . The more broadly IoT technology is used, the greater value it delivers. As an enterprise platform, for example, EVRYTHNG’s smart products software powers “always-on” content and digital experiences, and transactional services like e-commerce or supply-chain tracking to prevent piracy. Real-time purchasing and behavioral data create opportunities for cross/upsell and efficiencies in inventory and supply chain management. Marketers need to see IoT as an innovation and growth opportunity and not another ad tech campaign tool. Marketers need to see IoT as an innovation and growth opportunity and not another ad tech campaign tool . Additionally, we believe that the Internet of Things sits at the intersection of a convergence between the worlds of enterprise technology systems and marketing. The CMO has increasing responsibility for leveraging enterprise platforms to generate and capture demand and build brands, while CIO/CTOs are charged with implementing real-time technology systems that connect with customers and business partners to go-to-market more effectively. By activating products as data-driven interactive media and operating them as real-time digital information services, EVRYTHNG’s IoT platform enables a suite of applications across the enterprise — from consumer engagement, to supply chain operations, to connected product services — where these two domains meet. We believe that the Internet of Things sits at the intersection of a convergence between the worlds of enterprise technology systems and marketing . 7. How should marketers address privacy concerns associated with these new capabilities? You can’t really talk about data privacy without also raising the issue of security, since one protects the other. A lack of consumer trust in IoT security and privacy was recently cited in the FTC’s “Privacy & Security in a Connected World” report as the biggest blocker to widespread adoption. As FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez noted: “The only way for the Internet of Things to reach its full potential for innovation is with the trust of American consumers.” A separate report by Business Insider in the UK came to the same conclusion: data security and privacy concerns are the biggest barrier to IoT becoming mainstream quickly. As EVRYTHNG’s CTO Dominique Guinard points out, “Private data, inevitably, will be exchanged, exposed and leveraged — there’s no going back from where the Web, social-media networks, and smartphones have already taken us.” The point is to make sure that these exchanges now happen inside certain frameworks. There’s no going back from where the Web, social-media networks, and smartphones have already taken us. The point is to make sure that these exchanges now happen inside certain frameworks . The question is partly about technology and partly about consumer perceptions and social norms: do people think it’s worth trading personal information for personalization? Technically, the IoT can respect consumers’ privacy and protect their data, but consumers may decide that the exchange of personal information is justified by the value of personalized services they get from their products in return. Manufacturer brands also need to decide where to draw the line and strike a balance between IoT data management and privacy. BMW deciding not to share any of the real-time data they collect from their vehicles with third parties is a good example. Yes, we want our connected cars to understand where we want to go and use information about environmental conditions and our personal preferences to get us there more intelligently, but we don’t want this digital data trail used by anyone else without our consent. From a technology point of view, the Internet of Things creates a multifaceted mesh of network connections, devices, data systems, and individual users — and this data is also transported or stored in different places. So it’s vital that multi-level security and privacy controls and policies are built into the core architecture of any IoT system managing this data flow. In other words, each part of the system should only access, manage, or share data that it’s allowed to. The EVRYTHNG IoT platform, for instance, regulates every step and exchange in this process. Each product layer in the ecosystem uses encrypted keys (or passwords) to identify itself, and fine-grained, customizable policies define the data that each specific component can access or influence. This lets a customer of ours, like iHome, program customizable granular rules into their smart products defining precisely who can do what in every part of the connected system. So if your neighbour comes over to borrow some milk, she won’t be able to discover your smart products on her smartphone, as she doesn’t have the required permissions or secure keys. Thank you, Andy. I’m looking forward to hearing your presentation at MarTech Europe in October!
View full article
By Sean O’Neill Many industries felt the impact of our recent financial crisis, including automotive. Traditionally an integral part of our economy and culture, car sales in once strong markets are in decline due to lack of consumer confidence and changes in the way people buy. Today, more and more people conduct research online instead of visiting car dealerships. These changes in the way people buy have affected the marketing landscape across the board, not just in automotive. With industries such as media, retail, finance, and education, the internet has changed the way people buy and has also led to increased levels of competition. As a result of this surge of information available online, the average buyer now spends more time independently researching purchases instead of visiting more traditional shop-fronts like dealerships. Today, as consumer spend is returning, consumer marketers of luxury goods must do more to attract and engage buyers and maintain loyalty with their brand. For example, one report from management consulting firm McKinsey showed that for an average automobile purchase there are now as little as 1.6 visits to car dealerships compared to the average of five visits from buyers 10 years ago. This is reflective of the challenge for marketing luxury consumer products across the board, where customers are now on multiple channels such as social, web, mobile, and email. In this environment, the physical store has become less important for information gathering. Consumer marketers now need to be wherever their customers are, not just in-store. They need to tie up all those data points and go beyond simply collecting information about potential customers to really keeping these potential customers engaged with the brand over time. To adapt to this changing market, here are three actions marketers can take to maximize the potential for growth: 1. Get Timely Data Like all marketers, those involved in leasing cars, selling insurance, and taking out contracts over several years find a lot of potential for generating new business from targeted and timely messaging. As a consumer marketer, you can align your sales and marketing process in such a way that cross-channel visits are tracked, messaging is automated, and persona-based and timely alerts are sent to sales for follow-up. The best way to do this is by using a marketing automation platform. For example, a challenge like creating an automated process to reach out to lease holders can be solved with marketing automation technology. In this case solving that challenge means that opportunities to help customers find a new car when their lease was coming to an end don’t fall through the cracks. Instead, a marketing automation platform can automatically generate a lead for each lease approaching maturity and send an alert to the account manager involved. So by using the right technologies to analyze interest and interaction and by triggering the right flow of content to engage the buyer, you can significantly increase customer retention. 2. Engage in Linked Multi-Channel Marketing Across almost all industries we see that customers use multiple devices to research and connect with products and services. This is particularly relevant when it comes to consumer-geared businesses; however, aligning a consistent message across all devices—led by insight and tracking all of that data—continues to be a big challenge. In many large organizations, there is often a hodgepodge of different tools, all operating in their own communication silos. By using a full marketing automation suite and not simply a standalone email marketing system, you will create a consolidated approach where it’s possible to connect with potential customers across all of their channels and build a profile based off of all of their interactions. Having this profile in one place helps you communicate with your audience more effectively and personally, making it more likely that they will take action and purchase. Let’s use the example of an automotive dealer. Say it wants to run a campaign targeting those who have purchased cars within a certain timeframe, interested in upgrading their vehicle. The first thing is to send some information on why it would be beneficial to change and what kind of deals they could get. If the dealer relies solely on email, then the messaging might not be consistent when the buyer visits the dealer’s website or social media pages. And if the buyer accesses the content via mobile it should be optimized for mobile. So, the best thing for the dealership to do in this case is to provide consistent and engaging messaging to the user across all of these channels, taking into account the actions they have taken previously. Without linking up all of these channels into one system, the communications will not be personalized and consistent with buyer behavior. If the buyer has received an email and then clicked on the website and then shared a picture of a car with their social network, then they should receive messaging personalized for their stage of the buyer journey. This can only be accomplished by mapping the entire journey. Here’s how this journey can be illustrated: 3. Perform Enhanced Analytics Increasingly, emerging markets are where businesses are now experiencing growth, which means they must improve segmentation by splitting their database into the most meaningful audience for each campaign and deliver more location-specific information. Behavioral data, such as understanding click-through rates, keywords, time spent per page, and repeat visits, is a vital part of creating targeted messaging. With traditional markets slowing, it is more important than ever to find ways to entice potential buyers and upsell to your existing client base. You can do this by tracking both demographic and firmographic data and understanding the value of your content not just at a first touch but at a multi-touch level. First touch attribution is great at giving an indication on campaign performance and how many potential customers have been brought in due to that campaign, but this can give misleading data in today’s world, where buyers don’t engage straight away with the business. Instead, these prospects often touch multiple channels before they engage. So only multi-touch attribution can show marketers the true value of their content on influencing deals over time. Tying It All Together There are several ways to get timely data, implement a multi-channel strategy, and monitor buyer behavior, but by providing one system of record for all of your customer engagement, marketing automation software provides marketers with an easy, centralized way to gain insight into your customer journey. By showing you which content is working for you and what can be enhanced, this will help you decide the best strategies to optimize revenue and accelerate growth for your business. How are you engaging with your customer in a coordinated, cross-channel way? Where are you struggling? Please share in the comments below.
View full article
Author: Ellen Gomes According to Statista, there are approximately 1.2 million apps in the Apple App store and 1.3 million apps in the Android App store. So it’s no longer news that there is an app for everything, but it might make you wonder, “Do I need an app?” A question that’s often followed by the conundrum of what app to build, followed quickly by how to build an app and then “what’s my role in building an app?” Don’t let those questions or puzzlement be a deal-breaker or a barrier for you as a mobilemarketer. In this blog, I’ll walk you through evaluating how you can (and if you should) use an app to support your business and how to get the project moving along. Why Build a Mobile App? There are a ton of reasons, but let’s start at the top: mobile apps can support your business goal, whether it’s to extend your product, drive engagement, or support commerce. They provide an opportunity to drive deep engagement with your customers on the device that they use most (who else feels lost without their phone? I know it’s not just me…). Introducing a mobile app into your marketing plan is a critical and strategic move. It’s vital that you integrate its creation into your marketing strategy and that you’re involved in some of the technical aspects of the mobile app creation and implementation. As a marketer, it’s your job to ensure that the app includes multiple engagement touch-points that create a personal and relevant experience for your customers. Set Your Stakeholder Team So how do you get started? App marketing starts with creating a strategy that addresses and supports your mobile and organizational goals. The first step is evaluating whether a mobile app is right for your business, but to do that, you need to assemble a cross-functional team of stakeholders to determine whether an app will deliver the right type of value. First, you need to assemble your app team. This is often a large committee of involved stakeholders for key decisions, but you may also want to split into sub-groups focused on individual tasks. For example, maybe your engineering and user interface teams act as a sub-committee to project manage the development of your app, while marketing and sales works together to create an effective launch plan for your app. As you think about whom to include in your committee, here is a list of stakeholder groups you should consider: Executive Leadership (CMO, CEO): Supports the initiative with vision and buy-in. Marketing: Supports the initiative with go-to-market planning, app marketing strategy, and customer insights. Sales: If you have a sales team, make sure they support the initiative with customer knowledge and requests. User Interface and User Experience Experts: Support the initiative by providing app flow guidance and design expertise. Product: Supports the initiative by sharing data-based customer insights and market data. They may project manage the app build. Engineering: Supports the initiative by either building the app or helping source good developers to build your app. They may project manage the app build. Determine Your App Goals After you’ve defined your team, the next step is to reach a consensus and define your app’s goals. Defining the goals is important because it will shape how you make key decisions. To start, you and your team need to understand why you want someone to use your app. What is the purpose? The majority of apps boil down to trying to achieve one of these three goals: Acquisition: Your app provides useful functionality in exchange for the user providing contact information. These types of apps are typically promoted in the app store and via paid channels to drive downloads and subsequent sign-up. Engagement: The activities and associated actions in your app drive the user to engage with the app and your brand. These types of apps build relationships and loyalty. Conversion: The activities and actions in these apps may have components of engagement, but ultimately, they drive conversion. Get Started! Once you have determined the primary goal of your app, you and your stakeholder committee have important questions to evaluate and decide. These questions will shape how you go about the production, development, and promotion of your app. These key questions include: What type of app best fits your organization? How should you price your app? Will you design your app in-house or through an app design firm? What is your app development timeline? How will you take your app to market? How will you handle continued feedback and development of your app? I hope this gives you a good start in how to get started in evaluating if a mobile app is right for your business. Interested in learning more about creating your mobile app roadmap? Check out “A Mobile App Primer” for more info on how to get started. Have you created a mobile app? I’d love to hear about your process and how it was similar or different in the comments below.
View full article
By: Jamie Lewis Did you know that there are over 300 million active Twitter users? That’s a HUGE market for your business. So it goes without saying that I am a (vocal) advocate of all companies (B2B and consumer-geared alike) using Twitter as a marketing channel. I myself have had some pretty compelling results with Twitter. For example, I recently tweeted a link to a faux movie trailer that was used to advertise a product that was retweeted 198 times (impressive, I know), netting me dozens of new followers (which I immediately think: potential leads?). With the median Twitter account having about 100 followers, this particular piece of content had the potential of being retweeted nearly 20,000 times! Over time, I have learned through careful, and not so careful, trial & error how to be relevant to my particular audience, and I am achieving better results because of it. Cultivating a strong presence on Twitter has many benefits: you support your organization’s marketing efforts, you can use it to sell socially, you can build your personal brand, or any combination of these things. With all these benefits, I have wondered, why do some of my fellow marketing and sales professionals still struggle to gain traction on such a promising channel? Based on my first-hand observations, marketers and sales-people don’t treat their personal brand enough like a real brand. Here are four common mistakes they make when using Twitter and how to correct them: 1. They don’t pick a specific target audience This often overlooked task is actually pretty easy—just pick one or more of the top target audiences from your other channels and start from there. If you fail to properly identify your audience, your messages will not resonate with the majority of people who see it. The right message may be very different for a business audience and a consumer audience, executives and practitioners, and so on. Selecting an audience is important, because once you have identified a target audience you can address what exactly they’re looking for. Some audiences will be interested in product discounts, others in entertainment, and others in exclusive content. Having a clear idea of the audience and their wants and needs is crucial for capturing their attention. 2. They don’t create a compelling account In order to harness the true power of Twitter, you need to have the right people listening to your messages. This means that you have to be strategic about creating a highly networked account—one where you are following the right people and the right people are following you. With that in mind, I recommend you start by simply searching on Twitter for people to follow for 5-10 minutes a day, every day. Set yourself up for success by finding interesting content and contacts. Pinpoint people your target audience would be interested in, such as industry thought leaders, cultural icons, contemporary movers & shakers, and brands themselves. Next, start listening to those people by reading and engaging in their conversations for at least a few minutes per day. Begin by sharing some witty comments or valuable links and see what happens! Here you’ll learn what type of content is captivating to your core audience. It’s important to remember that Twitter is a social network, but often marketers and salespeople forget to be social on it—so, make sure you participateand listen. 3. They don’t create a logical posting plan A posting plan should be based on your overall Twitter strategy with the goal of engaging your target audience. First, you need to have business outcomes in mind for why you are using the channel to begin with. It could be for personal branding, lead generation, or customer service, to name a few. Make sure you know what the goal is! Then, determine when the target audience is listening and schedule posts accordingly. This is very important, because, according to Quora, retweets peak between the hours of 2pm to 5pm EST. If the target audience is listening during the afternoon, then why post first thing in the morning? Lastly, you should aim to create a detailed editorial calendar for your Twitter messages. This will allow you to create a series of related messages that work together in a coherent, branded pattern which makes sense to your audience. You might think “That’s just for brands”, but really an editorial calendar is for anyone who wants to be successful; often brands are. One more tip—when you post, ask for a retweet. Be explicit and actually spell out this request: “Please Retweet.” According to Fastcompany.com, you are 23x more likely to get a retweet when you do! 4. They aren’t using promoted tweets Promoted tweets are ordinary tweets that get a boost by an advertiser who wants to reach a wider group of users or to spark engagement from their existing followers. Anyone can be an advertiser and most platforms (including Twitter) offer tutorials on how to get started. It is important to use promoted tweets regularly to ensure that messages are seen by the largest audience possible, especially your most important messages. While a regular tweet is only seen by a fraction of the target audience, promoted tweets stay at the top of the Twitter feed for an extended period of time, guaranteeing that more of your target audience (follower and non-follower) see them when they log in. This is vital for growing a Twitter account and finding new followers. Promoted tweets are also great for testing your content types, time of day, and target audience, because the advertising platform gives you data on the success of your tweets. Lastly, explore the different ad options. Once you’re familiar with the Twitter advertising platform, try out other products like promoted Twitter Cards. These types of posts allow you to embed graphics into the tweet for an eye-catching effect. So, by correcting these four mistakes, you can harness Twitter to grow your audience, reinforce your personal brand, and support your organization’s marketing efforts. And remember, always observe the activities that brands do to be successful on social media and apply them to yourself—you’ll be surprised by how often they translate. Happy tweeting! Do you have any other tips for mastering Twitter as a marketing channel? Let us know in the comments below! Jamie Lewis s a Senior Solution Consultant at Marketo and has been in the CRM and marketing automation space for over 15 years. He works closely with marketing agencies and MSPs who leverage Marketo to provide state of the art marketing services to their clients. His focus is consulting on engagement marketing strategies and best practices, in particular regarding top of funnel lead generation using social platforms.
View full article
Written by  , one of Marketo's Champions. I often get asked where I do my research on various marketing automation and digital marketing topics. When I first started writing this post, I wanted to break out the top 5 blogs—then I gave up. It’s like picking players for the baseball Hall of Fame with only 1 pick. The fact is there are a ton of great resources you can lean on for digital marketing and technology content. In the end, I broke out some of the blogs based on what I consider to be the core part of digital marketing technology–that’s marketing automation and its effect on driving leads through the funnel. Content is the fuel that fills that marketing automation engine so you’ll find several content blogs on the list. And yes, there are a couple miscellaneous blogs included because the content is so good. What’s not included: There are some great general marketing, SEO and social blogs but they are not included in this list. And yes, I’m probably missing a bunch—I apologize in advance. If there are sites you find useful, please note them in the comments. A special thanks goes out to our content manager Alyssa Reeves who helped pull together this nearly 2,000-word post. The Blog Categories I did however break up the blogs into categories. Top Overall – Expert Blogs. These blogs may fall across several categories but they rise to the top in the content they provide. Marketing Automation/Technology Vendor Blogs. There are hundreds of vendor digital technology blogs out there. I focused on marketing automation blogs as I view these platforms as the engine that everything else feeds into. Professional Services and Agency Blogs. Like the vendors, these blogs put out some great best practice content. Blogs with a Marketo Twist. I am a little biased to Marketo so blogs that highlight Marketo get a little extra attention. Top Overall – Expert Blogs These blogs rise to the top for blogs to check out. There is some overlap with the agencies but the way I broke it out…if I think of the leader before the agency, the site falls into this bucket. Otherwise, the site drops into the Services category. In alphabetical order….. 1) BeachHead Marketo Champion Steve Moody and his team give tips on everything marketing automation with a Marketo focus. @ AskBeachhead Visit Site 2) Brian Solis Blog Brian Solis is a digital analyst, anthropologist, and futurist. Not sure I have ever seen those three words together. Brian’s blog focuses on digital marketing’s effect on transforming business. Brian’s blog is consistently ranked in the Top 10 of the Ad Age Power 150, and ranks among the top 1% of all blogs tracked by Technorat @briansolis Visit Site 3) B2B Marketing Insider Michael Brenner is the Head of Strategy for the leading content marketing platform, NewsCred. He created his blog to focus on emerging business and marketing strategy topics such as content marketing, lead generation, search marketing, digital media, and social media. B2B Marketing Insider is dedicated to sharing the ideas, topics and marketing strategies that drive real results. @ BrennerMichael Visit Site 4) Chief Martec Scott Brinker runs this blog on everything marketing technology including Marketing Automation. If you have seen that crazy Marketing Tech Landscape Supergraphicwith 1,876 vendors, that’s Scott’s baby. @chiefmartec Visit Site 5) Content Marketing Institute Content is what fuels the marketing automation engine and CMI covers everything related to content. Over 100K subscribers. @CMIContent Visit Site 6) Convince and Convert Jay Baer is a marketing visionary who has worked with more than 700 brands. His blog is one of the top content marketing sites on the web. @ jaybaer Visit Site 7) Duct Tape Marketing Content is what fuels the funnel and John Jantsch gives useful advice on how to create content that drives brand. @ducttape Visit Site 😎 Etumos Ed Unthank loves his whiteboard and puts it to great use bringing some key marketing automation concepts to life. Posts about once a month and the posts tend to be on the technical Marketo side. @ EtumosLLC Visit Site 9) Fill the Funnel Miles Austin spent 30 years in B2B Sales and Leadership roles. In addition to helping business with their demand gen needs, he now writes blog posts on email marketing for Fill the Funnel. Miles posts about Sales & Marketing tools and ways that they can be applied in your business. He also has a steady following of 11K. @milesaustin Visit Site 10) The Funnelholic Craig Rosenberg is the co-founder and Chief Analyst of TOPO. His blog was created so he can have fun talking about all things revenue. The Funnelholic focuses on sales, marketing and everything in between. @ funnelholic Visit Site 11) Heinz Marketing Matt Heinz is all over the place speaking on the importance of digital marketing. His blog covers everything from marketing automation to best practices in sales. @HeinzMarketing Visit Site 12) KissMetrics Although this site is not marketing automation at all, I had to drop it somewhere because their blog is just so good. They have great articles on analytics. @ KISSmetrics Visit Site 13) Marketing Land Marketing Land is a general digital marketing site that covers a wide variety of topics. It also has a great marketing technology section. @Marketingland Visit Site 14) Marketing Profs One of the biggest marketing blogs/portals on the web run by Ann Handley and team. Not marketing automation focused but it’s a must read for content marketers. 600K+ members. @MarketingProfs Visit Site 15) Marketing Rockstar Guides Don’t expect fancy graphics but Marketing Rockstar Guides gets my vote for the top Marketo-focused tips and tricks blog out there. Targeted at the Marketo practitioner. It is run by Marketo Champion, Josh Hill, and you get a 844+ page guide for signing up for blog updates–try reading that on the beach. @ jdavidhill Visit Site 16) Marketing Tech Blog This blog was founded by Douglas Karr and has over 75K subscribers.  It covers mainly marketing in new media but has a section focused on marketing automation. @douglaskarr Visit Site 17) Money Ball Marketer Channeling your inner Brad Pitt, Moneyball Marketer is Zak Pines’s blog on data-driven demand generation and marketing best practices. Great blog to check out once a month as it updates once or twice monthly. @MoneyballMktr Visit Site 18) Relevance Chad Pollitt cofounded this site and grew it to 50K subscribers in six months (Read amazing story here). The blog brings in industry experts to share expertise on content marketing and promotion. @relevance Visit Site 19) RevEngineInsider You are reading this post so you already know marketing technology is important to us. We cover everything digital that is related to moving leads through the funnel. At a deeper level, we also cover top tips for organizations leveraging Marketo. Primary contributor is Marketo Champion Jeff Coveney. @RevEngineMarket Visit Site 20) The Sales Blog Digital blog with a Sales focus. Anthony Iannarinno is a publishing machine and gives great Sales process tips EVERY day. I keep waiting for him to miss a day but he’s the Cal Ripken Jr. of Sales blog writing. Technology is not a big focus of Anthony’s but his Sales process stuff is vital to overall marketing automation and funnel success. @iannarino Visit Site 21) The Sales Benchmark Index Blog Here’s another site that doesn’t quite fit into “digital marketing technology.” However SBI’s content on Sales and Marketing methodologies and best practices is central to any company trying to develop a marketing funnel. Updates daily. SBI delivers some great  podcasts too such as this one: Case Study: Aligning the Marketing Strategy to the Skills of the Marketing Staff @ MakingTheNumber Visit Site 22) The Sales Lion Blog Mark Sheridan runs this inbound marketing blog with a Hubspot focus. Great podcasts also. In six years, Mark went from pool seller to content marketing king. That’s a career path you wouldn’t expect.Read more on Mark’s pool story success. @ TheSalesLion Visit Site 23) Sirius Decisions Sirius Decisions is where all the smart people go to try to get smarter about optimizing the revenue funnel. You sometimes need a MIT degree to completely get all the concepts but their forward thinking enables you to plan for the future. Jay Famico is the go-to guy for technology and services so make sure to follow his posts. @JayFamico @ siriusdecisions Visit Site 24) SmartInsights Blog This blog (and membership site) offers tons of actionable digital marketing advice. There are plenty of planning templates, ebooks and online training courses. Some are no cost, others have a fee. There is a no-cost weekly newsletter I’d recommend signing up for. 80K+ members. Co-founded by Dr. Dave Chaffey, Dan Bosomworth and Stu Miller. @SmartInsights Visit Site 25) Topo Blog Topo Blog is UK-based and covers a mixture of sales, marketing and technology data and research. @ scottalbro Visit Site 26) Top Rank Marketing Lee Odden’s blog is another extremely strong content marketing focused blog. I almost didn’t include it because the site is heavy on the social flavor and light on digital technology. The content stuff is just too good to leave off. Attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors and has over 50,000 subscribers. @toprank @ leeodden Visit Site
View full article
Once a week or so , we will try and share 'what's in the news' about Marketing Automation, Digital Marketing and Engagement Marketing... Maybe even Big Data too. How Marketers Can Seize the Mobile Moment CIO A new report by Forrester says marketers and advertisers cannot afford to shun mobile. People are consuming mobile content more than ever. However, only two percent of online shoppers want to see offers from brands on their mobile devices. One of the mistakes marketers make is delivering content that markets products. The smartphone is very personal, and mobile users don't want to turn their device into a billboard for advertisers. Marketers who don't heed this advice are doomed to get abysmal conversion rates. How to Create a Data-Driven Marketing Team Computer World To succeed as a data ready enterprise, companies are faced with the imperative of building a data-driven marketing team that can put massive amounts of data to work. Interestingly, the biggest obstacle to creating a data-driven culture is a lack of leadership. Most people are afraid of data and are afraid of being involved in situations where they don’t know the numbers and don’t understand how the data represents their business. 80 Percent of Marketers Will Increase Digital Budgets in the Year Ahead Direct Marketing News According to the Direct Marketing Association’s “2015 Statistical Fact Book,” four out of five marketers will increase their spend on digital this year and 45 percent will focus on social media marketing as their biggest area of opportunity. Email marketing came in second as it was seen as continuing to deliver exceptional ROI because people continued to respond positively to the commercial messages that reached their inboxes. Most importantly, 77 percent of respondents said they'd likely buy more if their mail was personalized, and 69 percent said they were willing to share more personal information in return for that relevancy.
View full article
Some key theme for Marketers to think about: Mobile, Global and Local (Mo-Glo-Lo). Lots of data here.
View full article
This document was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Sprinklr. http://launchpoint.marketo.com/sprinklr/1746-sprinklr/ Landscape overview of social media content today, current challenges facing brands, tips for making your social media content stand out. Plus, articles from content marketing influencers like Joe Pulizzi (Content Marketing Institute), Jason Miller (LinkedIn), and Michael Brenner (NewsCred).
View full article
This document was provided by our LaunchPoint partner, Sprinklr. Read what these experts have to say about Customer Experience: Barry Dalton: Bigger isn't always better in the Customer Business Frank Eliason: The Role of Social Media Customer Service is Changing Andrew Grill: Customer Experience Management in the Age of Social Robert Rose: The Newly Empowered Customer Demands a New Marketing Approach Tim Walters: The Main Problem With CXM is Understanding that CXM is a Problem.
View full article
This document was provided by our LaunchPoint Partner, Sprinklr. We can't forget that there are good opportunities with paid Social ads.  This contains s tats on the growing paid industry, tips for running a successful paid social campaign, and advice from paid experts at Vodafone, Castrol, and more.
View full article
Making the decision to ramp up content production and promotion is the first (and in some ways, easiest) step. There’s a LOT to do once that decision is made, and it’s important that you don’t run out of the steam midway through the effort. A good content program is a train that keeps on going, a car that needs constant refueling, the truck that keeps on trucking—okay, enough, you get the point. For content to be a successful element of your marketing, you have to come up with a plan from the get-go for how you’re going to keep this thing running. This is where most companies falter. Everyone gets really excited at first, no one really owns the who/what/when/where/how/why aspect, and suddenly you’re down to producing sporadic content when someone finally remembers you haven’t done anything in a while. Don’t let this be you. I know you can be better than that. And here, I’m going to help you with a few tips to keep you on the right track (apparently I’m full of endless transportation metaphors). 1.  Establish who is / will be involved Don’t get caught in the infinite “it’s not my job” loop. Identify which team members will handle things like writing and designing the content, posting it or distributing it, and creating the follow-up funnel sequences. Make the expectations clear upfront so everyone knows who’s responsible for what. This step also helps you determine what you can handle in-house and where you might need outside help. 2.  Determine who / how outside writers and resources will be managed Make sure you create a plan for this. Someone should be responsible for securing vendors, working with them, reviewing their work and generally managing the relationships as a whole. Try to keep this streamlined—it can be difficult for contractors to have to deal with several people within your organization, rather than just one point of contact. 3.  Make a plan Know when, where and how content will be distributed or pushed. Be sure to create thoughtful follow-up communications where it makes sense, one that keeps content consumers in your nurture loop. 4.  Create clear processes and workflows This is so important. Like, I can’t stress how important this is. You need a simple way of managing all of your content projects and all the elements involved in each one. Luckily, there are so many sophisticated solutions out there for managing content workflow, and you’ll definitely want to use one of them. At LeadMD, we really like using Kapost , which lets us manage task assignments, deadlines and even ideas for everyone involved in content projects. 5.  Create a content-driven culture The people around you have great ideas for content—they just might not be thinking about it that way. Creating a content culture kind of changes your business a bit. Suddenly, interesting little tidbits become fun ideas for an infographic. A random comment could inspire a great blog post. Consistent questions from customers might make a good white paper. You never know when inspiration might strike, and you should not only encourage people to contribute ideas, but give them an outlet to do so. I mentioned Kapost before. One of the cool things in Kapost is that there’s an actual idea hub where people can contribute ideas, and the content manager can review and approve the ones that work. The road ahead might be bumpy, but with clear directions for how to get on your way, you can help ensure your new content program will never hit a dead end. (Just when you thought I was out of metaphors!)
View full article
Note: This content was provided by our Partner,  Elixiter, Inc. What are Media Queries? Media queries act as a trigger for a conditional portion of CSS (cascading style sheet). They have three main components: the media type, the text expression (condition), and the styles to display if the condition is met. Let’s break down the media query into its parts: Media Type The media type has four main options: all, print, screen, and speech. For email, you will be using the “screen” option to target specific devices. Condition Think of the condition as your “if” statement. For example, “if screen size is less than 480px, then display these styles.” Your condition can be based on multiple features such as: width, height, aspect-ratio, device-width, and color. For targeting devices, you will most often use width (max or min), device-width (max or min), and device-pixel-ratio (aspect ratio). Styles The styles that you place within your media query function the same as any styles outside your media query. However, these styles will only be applied if the condition of your media query is met. Why Use Media queries? With Marketo’s lack of support for regular conditional CSS statements, many of us are required to build fixed width emails, rather than a mobile-first approach. Media queries allow us to target mobile devices, so even though we are building for desktop, our emails still render nicely on mobile devices. The most common issue with mobile emails is horizontal scrolling; the email renders too widely to fit on our devices screen all at once. This can easily be remedied with the use of media queries by making the container of our email fit to 100% of the width of our screen. Now that our email fits nicely across the width of our screen, our text appears very small and difficult to read. Thankfully, with media queries we can target and increase the font sizes used throughout the email. A more advanced use of media queries allows us stack content, and even make some content appear or disappear depending on the device. For example, loading an animation on devices that will render it, while ignoring that animation for all other devices allows for the best degradation. Proceed with Caution As with most features in email and websites, media queries are not supported everywhere. The majority of mobile device’s default email clients will support media queries, while a number of webmail apps for the different operating systems lack support for the feature. It is important to know where your clients are opening your emails to know whether or not media queries are the best fit for your email design.
View full article