Monthly Archives: June 2017

8 Top Content Marketing Questions Answered

By Michael Brenner on June 12, 2017

What does a good content marketing strategy look like? Why is content marketing king? How do you get it right, measure it, improve it?

Whether you are new to the riveting world of content or are a self-ascribed expert (i.e. content addict), there is always more to learn. In fact, it is an inquisitive nature and a desire to know more and try out new things that has allowed content marketing to evolve into the dynamic, multi-dimensional, ever-shifting medium that it is today.

You may have noticed that we’re talking about more than a marketing tactic. What’s going on here is that marketers have become storytellers and concept creators. We’ve applied the age-old notion of communicating through narrative to traditional advertising concepts, enabling us to build a bridge with our audience. Never before has marketing been as rewarding, or as impactful, as it is today.

From the brilliant brand videos you’ll find on YouTube, the ones that can make you laugh or cry – and subconsciously bond with a brand – to the informative weekly blog posts that have become a part of all our lives, great content is everywhere.

They say ‘content is king’, but, if handled well, it is far more than this. Content, along with the digital innovations that have facilitated it, is transforming the way brands and businesses view one another. In effect, we’ve all become a little more human.

I’ve put together a list of some of the most important content marketing questions marketers have today. They may help you on your personal quest for content answers.

1. When Did Content Marketing Start?

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While we may think of content marketing as a modern concept, brands have been using stories to convey ideas to their audience for hundreds of years. And of course, narrative has been a medium of communication for as long as the human mind could comprehend a story.

Some early classic examples of content in action are Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, first published in 1732, and the American Bee Journal, launched by Samuel Wagner in 1861. The American Bee Journal is still published today!

2. What Is Content Marketing Not?

Bryan Del Monte, Managing Director of Clickafy Media Group, makes an excellent point about understanding what exactly content marketing is and isn’t. He explains it’s not really about the content – or even about storytelling – but rather about conveying value via the appropriate media.

“Content marketing is less about the sale of a product/service than that of an idea and the brand behind the idea. For this reason, it can ultimately be stronger than advertising in driving sales – and it explains why competitors cannot displace content-rich brands like Apple and Harley Davidson.”

While Del Monte is not comfortable with the term ‘story’, we can still see significant elements of storytelling in successful examples of modern marketing. It’s the ambiance created, the environment a prospect can step into when they click on your website, a feeling evoked. That is the story and conceit; It’s the thread that connects every piece of your content strategy.

Take Apple’s Carpool Karaoke as an example. Content for your viewing entertainment, and one more reason to accept the Apple brand as an essential part of modern life, bringing us the music and videos we want through the convenience of Apple technology. No traditional ad is required to convince and convert; just the concept of Apple’s value, and the demonstration of how it integrates into our lives.

Content marketing isn’t advertising. It’s not a billboard or poster. Nor is it a television, radio, or online commercial. It’s value conveyed through ideas, stories and concepts.

3. Why Does It Work?

Content marketing works because it uses the more subliminal power of attraction, rather than shouting from the rooftops about your existence and importance, as in the case with advertising.

By demonstrating value and worth, marketers are convincing consumers that a particular brand should be a part of their lives. Want to improve your small business with better accounting and informed financial decision-making? Read the QuickBooks blog. Need some inspiration for cooking healthy meals? Follow Whole Foods on Twitter for a constant stream of ideas and recipes.

These brands, through content marketing, have become valuable not just because of the products and services offered, but also by enhancing people’s lives with easy-to-access, helpful information. This is why content marketing works. Consumers seek out the brands they most engage with.

4. Why Does Content Marketing Fail?

This is one of the most important content marketing questions to answer. Content marketing doesn’t always work. The biggest reason? A lack of strategy. The best content marketing strategies are uniquely suited to the specific needs of each brand.

This means you have to take the time to think about what would work for your audience. What content forms would your buyer personas prefer? What style and personality would engage them the most? What content schedule would offer enough, without being overwhelming? A well-thought out strategy is necessary for success.

5. What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing and Social Media?

A brand’s social media sites can serve as channels for marketing content, but there is a key distinction between content and social media marketing. Even though the two should be included in a cohesive overall marketing strategy, it is important to have a strategy for each.

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Content is what your audience consumes, which then motivates them to sign up for your newsletter, subscribe to a service, or make a purchase. With social media, the focus is on engaging consumers. This is where consumers can reach out to one another or directly to a brand.

6. How Does Content Marketing Generate Leads?

Content marketing generates leads because it helps to attract more potential customers to your business. With SEO and social media marketing, you can direct organic (and qualified) traffic to your brand’s website’s blogs or to other content. Then, you have your chance to demonstrate value.

Once you do that, some of those viewers will make their way to your lead generation pages and, click your glowing CTA buttons and fill out your data capture form. Hey presto, you’ve got another lead.

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The best way to generate leads with content? Blogs.

7. How Do You Measure It?

There are numerous ways to track the success of your strategies. What you use depends on the metrics that matter to you, how equipped your marketing software is to automate a lot of your data gathering for you, and how good you or someone on your team is at data analysis.

Whether you have a dozen metrics or you just focus on the essentials – like organic traffic, conversion rates, lead generation, and your ROI – simply charting your progress over time will let you know if your strategy is helping you reach your marketing goals.

8. Where Is Content Marketing Going?

Is it a shift to more video? Will Instagram take over all our lives? Will content replace television completely by 2025? When will next-generation technologies like virtual and augmented reality take hold? Will something that hasn’t been conceived today change the face of content marketing tomorrow?

Consumers have endless options when it comes to choosing which content to consume and even how to consume it. Where content marketing goes depends on what they want. This whole content world has come about as a response to more sophisticated consumer expectations.

The biggest question for content marketing is then, what will they expect next? When we content marketers have the answer to this question, you can bet that we’ll be there to meet them.

7 Ways Small Business Can Catch Up Using Marketing Automation

By Michael Brenner on

Turning the tables on the big, established operators in your field can seem like an insurmountable task. But it needn’t be.

Marketing automation helps us to level the playing fields, giving our small business a fighting chance against the industry titans, and helping us to make up some serious ground. Here’s how…

Effortless resource coverage

For a small business to compete with the big hitters in the market, what are the options?

A: The small business attracts additional funding and spends millions developing its resources to reach the same level as its more established competitors.

B: The small business focuses on short term moves towards long term success, utilizing the resources it currently has in ever more effective ways.

Of course, the long-term goal might be to achieve option A, but in reality we can only work with what we have at our immediate disposal. In many cases, this means spreading our resources ever thinner as we aim to keep up with the industry leaders across an expanding array of channels.

With marketing automation, it need not be so difficult to achieve this. Instead of spreading ourselves too thinly, simply tap into the crafty marketer who exists within us all and take some of the pressure off with an automated system. With this in place, it becomes easier to make up the ground.

Streamlined cash flow

In the early days of business, reliable cash flow is vital. It is this flow of revenue which supports our strategies as we target growth, makes us a feel a little more confident about our business idea taking off, and gives us an additional element of security.

Automated processes can trim the fat from our lead nurturing strategies and clear the way for good, low level cash flow in the formative years of business. It helps us to optimize our conversion channels, reducing the time from first contact to full conversion.

When a business is established, spending more time nurturing prospects of potentially extremely high value is certainly worth the time and effort spent, but – particularly at the start – short term cash flow needs to be supported. The efficiency and simplification of processes provided by marketing automation make this possible.

Boosted capability

It is not only the speed and efficiency of our processes which can be augmented by good quality marketing automation; we will suddenly find ourselves far more capable as well.

This is because marketing automation makes a little go a long way. Perhaps you only have a small team of staff, limited capital to draw upon, a slim number of business contacts, and only one or two lead generation channels. Marketing automation helps you to get the very best out of these resources.

So what does this mean in real terms? It means that, those strategies you have been dreaming of rolling out, those targets you’ve fantasized about hitting, they aren’t so far away. In fact, your business if far more capable than you had initially considered.


Strategic knowledge

So, our scope has suddenly broadened; we have found that our business was better positioned to achieve great things than we had first thought, so what now? We need to plan our next strategic steps.

But, our business is still young, it is not yet established, it lacks the robustness and structural integrity to weather any serious financial storms. With this in mind, can we mitigate the risks in our future strategy?

Marketing automation gives us data, and from that data comes knowledge; both of our business and of the market we operate in. This knowledge is what we need to make sure that the strategic moves we make are the right ones. Small businesses can ill afford to make mistakes; marketing automation means they don’t have to.

Be everywhere, without the hassle

Omni-channel, omni-channel, omni-channel; this is the mantra of the moment, the marketing zeitgeist of 2016, but it is far more than just a buzzword. Customers are engaging with our businesses in so many different ways, often switching between multiple platforms during a single transaction. It is up to us meet them, wherever they are.

It is simple math; utilizing the same amount of resources across an increasing number of channels means less resources per channel and a dip in performance across each. But what if we add marketing automation to the equation?

By implementing marketing automation, businesses suddenly find themselves able to interact with and support leads and customers effortlessly across all channels. Much of what makes omni-channel such a drain on resources can be automated anyway, and it pays to take advantage of this.

Understand demand

So, we are meeting the needs of prospects and leads across different channels, we are making the right moves to take us forward in the future, we are supporting our efforts with cash flow, and we are managing our resources well. What else can we do?

To go even further, we must understand the demand for our products and services. What are our customers interested in? What can we provide for them in the future? How can we augment their total lifetime value?

Data derived from marketing automation platforms will give us the answer to these questions, helping us to get to grips with what the customer wants and how we can provide this to them. We can’t know what moves to make unless we have an insight into the psychology of our customers; gain this insight and make up yet more ground on the industry leaders.

Proactivity, not reactivity

We don’t need to let things happen to us, we need to be the influencers, the movers and shakers, the organizations disrupting the markets we operate in. This requires a proactive, not a reactive approach; this requires us to understand the market and to predict its future developments.

To do this we need data; data which is provided to us by marketing automation systems. Analyze trends, observe fluctuations and changes, examine the actions of more established model-companies, and apply all of this to business.

Over time, the result is a keen understanding; a distinct knowledge of market behaviors and how to influence them. The building blocks are all in place and growth will surely follow; those breathing the rarefied air at the top better watch out, because we are coming for them!

This post  appeared first on GetResponse.

How to Guest Post for Traffic and Awareness

By Michael Brenner on June 10, 2017

A good business strives to diversify their traffic sources not to become dependent on a single one of them. One of the most successful tactics to build relevant traffic is still guest blogging, if you do it right.

Guest blogging can be directly converted into traffic for your own site. What’s more, it can be converted into high traffic, which is the real distinction you should be making. It isn’t the passive results you might be expecting from throwing a link into your byline and hoping for the best. You can work towards improving your traffic conversion by 60% or more.

Remember one of the most popular articles on guest blogging detailing how it helped Buffer founder to actually propel the site to success?

While I can’t promise that your own results are going to be that good (we can remain optimistic, though), a few simple tips can help your own conversion and so ultimately your traffic.

Build Relationships Before Pitching, Not After

Your first step towards gaining traffic from a guest post is going to be getting the chance to publish the post in the first place. Which means catching the attention of the blogger, and coming out on top of all of the other pitchers vying for their attention.

This is an even bigger problem when you are trying to get onto a well known or heavy traffic site. Building a relationship before you pitch something is crucial. The truth is, nothing happens unless you are well-connected in the niche.

Don’t build relationships for links though (this will always be obvious), build them for you brand exposure.

Start out by contacting other blogs and influencers. Again, don’t approach them about the guest blogging, as most are going to flat out ignore you. Instead, focus on commenting on their social networking pages (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc).

Every blogger at this point is on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or any other myriad of social sites. Become a frequent commenter, retweeter and influencer. Make sure what you share is high quality and engaging. Start up a discussion and wriggle your way into the door.

Leave comments on the blog itself, talking about the content and starting a dialogue. Let them know you are a writer or blog owner, as well. Discuss the industry and become a name they recognize, and perhaps even one they enjoy hearing from.

Use your sales generation process to find publishers among your past leads to further develop relationships with them. SalesMate can be a great help here: You can use their Sales Pipeline Feature to track leads and distinguish those that can result in more opportunities, beyond a direct sale, including guest posting, influencer marketing and more:

For those who are conference-goers, mention upcoming events you might both be attending. Or if they are local, suggest a professional meetup to discuss the industry, business and both your blogs. A Skype call can always be substituted for this, as it is still a sort of face-to-face meeting.

Over time, you will begin to see cues that they might be open to publishing your work. A big one is if they retweet you, link to your previously published posts elsewhere, or begin conversing with you regularly. Once you have become well acquainted, and you are seeing those signals, you can pitch your post with much greater chance of being accepted.

Know Who You Want To Pitch To

I considered putting this first, but the truth is you won’t always know until after you have started relationship building if you are targeting the correct blogger.

You should be keeping an eye out both before and after that process to make sure you actually want to pitch to someone. In the beginning, start looking at blogs that frequently publish guest posts, are within an industry you know well, and that you have an idea that matches their needs.

Once you begin the relationship building part, keep asking yourself if they seem likely to publish, if what they ask for is something you can deliver on, the amount of traffic posts tend to get, how they promote those posts on social media, and how they promote their guest bloggers themselves.

You want to improve visibility as much as possible, not just to the post but to your site. If they aren’t meeting your criteria, put the pitch on the back burner and focus on someone else.

Use all kinds of different ways to know more about the blogger you are pitching:

  • Run their sites through a Whois tool to see when they registered the domain
  • Use this tool to find more sites they may own
  • Find their competitors using SimilarWeb or a similar website
  • Read their bios on social media networks
  • Search their name on Google and Twitter, etc.

Keep Your Campaign Organized

Blogging is hard to organize: You have too many people to follow up with and too many commitments to keep up with. It’s always a nightmare to try and keep everything in mind.

I always encourage a business to get things simple, yet organized:

  • It may be a good idea to use a separate email inbox for your guest blogging campaign. You’ll be able to easily find emails there and you won’t be lost. Something as simple and free as AOL mail will do (I usually stay away from Gmail for privacy concerns)
  • Use email follow-up reminders. FollowupThen
    works with any email provider. Simply include [any time] in the “cc”, “ccc” or “to” fields of your email when sending a pitch (In each case the follow-up email will be sent on the specified day depending on what you put in the [any time] part of your email):

    • BCC: You will receive a follow-up regarding the email, but we won’t bug the original recipient.
    • TO: Send an email to your future self.
    • CC: Schedule a reminder for you and the recipient.
  • Use a business dashboard to keep things together. I use Cyfe to keep my TO-DO lists, my integrate my spreadsheets, email inbox and many more within one page for easier management. It also makes it easy to share the dashboard with my employees or managers.

Take Advantage Of Allowed Links

Bloggers tend to be super squeamish about including links in their posts which is understandable, because link building has gotten a really bad rep in the last couple of years.

But remember that you have been building a relationship. If you have a related post on your site that works with what you are writing for your article submission, don’t be afraid to ask the blogger if you can include it in the text. You should also aim to include links to their other posts on their site. This shows that you are paying attention to and finding value in their content.

Reminder: Always keep the content original. And I don’t just mean changing a few sentences here and there. I mean completely unique. Use tools like Plagiarism Check to make sure your content is 100% original.

Changing Your Strategy

If all else fails – which it might, depending on the obscurity or competition of your niche – it might be time to change your strategy. For example, start by building up an impressive blogging portfolio which is always a plus when you are sending guest post pitches.

Here are some outside-of-the-box ideas for you:

This is probably something you should be doing anyway, in conjunction with everything else. So if it genuinely seems like guest blogging has become a hopeless endeavor, start spending more time with a new marketing tactic. After all, if it isn’t working, it just isn’t working.

These tips are guaranteed to bring you at least some positive results. Don’t just settle for a forgotten blog post with limit traffic. Get the most out of everything you write, no matter where you post it.

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5 Ways Startups and SMBs Can Chart Success with Content Marketing

By Rohan Ayyar on June 8, 2017

The digitalization of services and trade has changed the face of the advertising and marketing forever. Just a couple of decades ago, it would take huge budgets to fund things like TV commercials or radio jingles. Indeed, marketing has for long been like throwing out a giant net and hoping for a good catch. Now, it is much more targeted and companies can make their dollars go much further.

These days, consumers simply connecting with friends or family using their phones are exposed to more information and brand messaging than they know what to do with. The tactics and subtlety that worked a few years back could now be a nuisance to today’s audiences.

In such a scenario, one of the most effective and efficient ways startups and SMBs can compete with the big guys is with content marketing – it helps level the playing field for startups and local businesses. In fact, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads.

Sounds amazing right?

No surprise then, that upwards of 70% of both B2B and B2C marketers are planning to ramp up their content efforts throughout 2017. However, while content marketing is great (and easy to talk about), it is no undemanding task. Success is based on a brand’s ability to stand out in the crowd and define what makes them special. Here are several foundational ways in which smaller companies can accomplish that feat.

Research and Set Your Course

Everyone knows that any good strategy starts with proper planning. However, knowing how to gear your content strategy towards pre-set business objectives can be a big challenge. Perhaps the biggest mistake companies make with content is looking at it with their own mindset and not that of the potential customer. You’ll need to start by creating clear objectives for determining the ROI of your efforts. These might be:

  1. Increase leads
  2. Drive more traffic to your website
  3. Grow social media visibility

Once your goals are clear and KPIs are defined, focus on identifying exactly what makes your target audience tick, give them that content, and start developing a relationship with them.

For example, HubSpot has a great CRO checklist that most marketers would love to get hold of. Since HubSpot realizes the value of its content, it asks users for something in return for the unique content they’re about to receive.


The detailed questionnaire on the right not only collects email IDs, but also important profile information that HubSpot later uses to target the downloader and sell their marketing software. That’s authority building, lead generation, and customer profiling all accomplished with a single piece of content. Talk about marketing efficiencies!

Ultimately, your research should enable you to create the right forms of content that will further your business objective, which can be either to effectively deliver your brand messaging and increase awareness or recall, or egg them on towards a purchase.

Unsurprisingly, the top brands are sampling different forms of content that can help them do this. For instance, Boeing launched a website an interactive library that tells the story behind everything from World War 1 to the first stewardess, Ellen Church. Renault launched an interactive movie, the first big brand story in which viewers can decide the beginning, the middle, and the end.


While you might not have that sort of budget, interactive content isn’t all that hard (or expensive) to produce on a smaller scale. It might just give your otherwise ordinary content the crucial nudge it needs to go viral.

One of the big goals in content marketing is to create a community based on mutual interests and values. To do this, you must align consumer goals and desires with your strategy. What is the most important thing to your audience? What do they stand for? What are their biggest concerns or questions?

There are a lot of great tools out there to help gain answer these potent questions and chart your course accordingly. Buzzsumo, for instance, is a platform that lets you search for the type and formats of content performs the best within your field. It also helps you identify which influencers will fit best with your strategy for a given platform.


Another tool to consider using is Brandwatch, which lets you to tap into what people are saying about your brand or business on social media. From here, you can gain data-driven insights about you, your competitors, or your industry as a whole.


Guide Users through the Buying Cycle

The bottom line for any piece of content you produce is the value it provides to the consumer. This means shifting the focus away from self-promotion or sales – customers will see through this and you can end up coming off as insincere.

Consistently provide takeaway knowledge for your audience that answers common questions and sheds light with useful tips.

A great place to start is with a blog on your website that talks about all the ins-and-outs of your industry. Your content strategy needs to make sure that each of your posts is geared towards a customer segment at a particular stage of your sales cycle. For example, property search and records platform Arivify regularly creates blog postings relevant to their industry while touching on the specific intent of their followers or subscribers.


Every small business or organization can start with this fundamental approach to content marketing.

Keep in mind, every piece of relevant content you create should work to guide viewers to a reaction and eventual conversion. Even the most basic cycle consisting of just awareness, evaluation, and purchase can pose as extremely difficult when crafting content.

In the awareness stage, your content should address specific issues that the audience is likely dealing with. In the evaluation stage, the content should provide as much information as possible to help reduce the risk factor the user is about to take when buying. Post purchase, you should reassure them why they made the right decision and where they go from there.


There should always be a clear answer for how your content addresses every interaction along the consumer’s path to purchase. SiriusDecisions found that 65% of B2B content goes unused because content isn’t strategically mapped to buyer interests and topics they care about. Which is why it’s essential that you define the buyer’s journey, sales stages, and map the content associated with each of these stages so that it matches the customer’s intent at all touchpoints:


Creation and promotion of such in-depth, targeted content involves concerted efforts across your marketing, sales and customer service people, who need to have complete understanding of your content goals and KPIs. Only then can you hope for the buyer’s journey to be perfectly aligned with a closed-loop marketing-sales-support funnel:


Feel free to customize this template according to your content strategy and incorporate your own sales stages and goals.

The important thing to remember here is, every strategic decision you make should be backed up with data. This means using the proper tools to track each piece of content thoroughly to determine what components your audience is most receptive to. Content marketing is a process that should constantly be improving. Without data-driven results, you will not have insights to build on.

Become Part of the Big Picture

One of the biggest things startups and SMBs can learn from large companies is the power of storytelling and becoming part of something bigger than themselves. This is one of the integral parts of effective content marketing.

There are multiple ways in which businesses can create emotional connections with customers, one of the best of which is to become part of a social cause. This approach is extremely effective with younger consumers. In fact, nine in ten millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause that appeals to them.

A brand that deeply understands and rides this phenomenon is Patagonia, who are known for being environmentally-conscious in all their operations. They also promote their users’ stories (who brag about the amazing things they do while sporting their Patagonia purchases).

Patagonia used storytelling beautifully in their “Worn Wear” campaign, which aimed to encourage people to recycle or repair their clothing, eventually lowering the need for companies to make new items or spend resources.


Let Influencers Steer Your Marketing

Another great way to broaden your scope is influencer marketing, which involves finding a public figure to mention your brand to their large following pertaining to your industry. Three of the biggest reasons why influencers are effective in driving word of mouth are:

  1. Bigger reach – According to, the top 5% of influencers reach 85% of the extended social network. Finding the right influencers for your campaign is the key to escalating your current reach.
  2. Personal stake – In most cases, influencers support causes because in addition to spreading a positive message, it helps bolster their own reputation and credibility. This provides motivation for them to do a stellar job in promoting projects by getting the word out to the best of their abilities.
  3. Unbeatable ROI – Influencer marketing is by no means a new phenomenon. But with the rise of the internet and social media, it has become an extremely profitable strategy. In fact, a study by Ogilvy, Google and TNS found that 74% of people look to social networks for guidance on purchasing decisions.

For instance, back in 2015, the Bubble Foundation was in for a treat when they began the “Wear Yellow for Seth” campaign. Seth, a young boy with a deadly disease, happened to love the color yellow. So his parents kindly asked the world to wear yellow and post a picture with the hashtag. The campaign went crazy and attracted huge names like Ashton Kutcher.


This just goes to show that the size of an organization does not matter. With the right material and messaging, multiple influencers can hop onboard your “brandwagon” and skyrocket awareness. Assuming you play your cards right, your influencer marketing efforts could blossom into a full-blown campaign and a close partnership. In turn, your brand exposure and website visibility will go through the roof.

Measure Audience Retention

Retention metrics shed light on how well you are able to hold onto an audience with your content. It is absolutely imperative to find out what percentages and segments of viewers return to your website and individual pieces of content, if you harbor hopes of calculating the ROI on your content marketing with any degree of certainty.

It’s also important to keep tabs on the frequency of returns – this shows how relationships are developing between you and your audience, in terms of how they see you as a trusted resource. A study reported on Chartbeat found that people who visited a site at least five times per month were more likely to develop a pattern of returning, and eventually purchasing.


There are several key metrics that can help you analyze how your audience perceives the content on your website.

  • New vs. Returning Visitors – This ratio gives you an idea of how effective your content is in attracting new audiences and growing your community. Also, by drilling down into and comparing the number of sessions, pages viewed, and time spent each by both these segments, you can get a very good idea of the kind of content that either segment prefers.
  • Bounce Rate – This refers to the number of people who land on your website and leave without engaging. While a bounce can have a number of causes, it generally indicates how interested people are in your content, how useful the information is, or how relevant the landing page is to them. There are a several ways to improve your bounce rate, depending on your audience and industry.
  • Exit Pages – These are the last URLs visitors see before leaving your site. By analyzing reading patterns, scrolls and clicks on the elements on these pages, you can identify obstacles in your content funnel that are putting visitors off, and optimize for micro-conversions accordingly.

At the end of the day, retention metrics reveal whether how well your content is working to build a loyal following for your brand or not.

The Wrap

Startups and SMBs will always have a tough road ahead of them. As marketing continues to evolve in the years to come, content will consolidate its grip on marketing budgets and user imagination alike.

Luckily, content marketing has the ability to make their path to brand superstardom much more feasible. You don’t need a huge budget or big-name celebrities to become part of the big picture. No matter how big or small your company is, you never know where your messaging might reach.

Your strategy should always be evolving with creative breakthroughs that boost awareness, and ultimately conversions. The bottom line is: know what your audience wants and deliver it to them in an innovative way. Leave preset notions about your business behind and set out to create content that’s not just useful, but fascinating to users. Using influencers while supporting a cause should work to broaden your audience and appeal to consumer values in a profound, creative way. That is the beauty of content.

By following the fundamental rules outlined here, it’s hard for you to go wrong. If you turn your brand into a publishing heavyweight in the process, more power to you!

10 Top Marketing Automation Influencers You Need to Know

By Michael Brenner on

When we want inspiration and guidance in the world of marketing automation, the world wide web is always a good place to start looking. But with so much content and so many ideas doing the rounds, how can we be sure that we are learning from the best?

To help to cut through the confusion, here are ten of the most insightful, innovative and – in many cases – disruptive marketing automation influencers in the game.

Ryan Schwartz

Our run-down of the top marketing automation influencers working today begins with Ryan Schwartz, who is the Sr. Director, Marketing Technology & Strategy for MongoDB. Ryan’s passion lies in the application of diverse marketing automation systems within business, and the myriad possibilities which this leads to.

Ryan is also generous with his knowledge, sharing it with his numerous Twitter followers and in the form of blog posts and web content. Connect with him on social media to learn more.

Key Content: What B2B Marketers Need to Know About Video

Xand Griffin

For Xand Griffin, it is all about the experience. The Stratus Interactive Inbound Marketer is passionate about generating genuine worth from the experiences which customers and clients have, and understands how to utilize the data extracted from this within business.

To connect with the insight Xand provides, take a look at her personal blog, hosted on, or head over to her Twitter feed for up to the minute resources.

Key Content: 6 Things I Learned From a Marketing Conference

Howard Sewell

Spear Marketing Group are experts in applying the power of marketing automation to the B2B market. This is thanks – in no small part – to the guidance of their company president, Howard Sewell. Howard is a regular content publisher who mines a seemingly inexhaustible seam of great ideas and insight.

Howard’s content output tends to be a little different to that offered by other publishers, and often goes against the grain, which only serves to make him all the more influential.

Key Content: Which Comes First: Lead Nurturing or Inside Sales?

Jennifer Igartua

Jennifer Igartua is CSO at revenue operations consultancy Go Nimbly, where she has honed her skills and risen to the top of the industry. The Brooklyn-based automation expert produces regular content pieces and blog posts aimed at giving marketing professionals the tools and inspiration they need to succeed.

Jennifer both posts her own content and shares great ideas from others on her Twitter feed. Head over there and connect with some of these great pieces.

Key Content: What’s Behind Closed Loop Reporting?

Sean Si

With so many people offering their own personal take on the discipline of marketing automation and prospect nurturing, it can be difficult to decide who to trust. With Sean Si, the strength of his insight and the passion of his delivery is so strong, that it is impossible not to take notice.

Whether giving spoken word talks, hosting interactive seminars, or connecting marketers with influential ideas through his blog, Sean is an enthusiastic and profoundly expert communicator. Other strings to his bow include founding successful organizations, such as SEO Hacker and Qeryz.

Key Content: 8 Lessons I Learned Building my First SaaS Business in a Third World Country

Claudia Hoeffner

Claudia Hoeffner likes to gain multiple perspectives, adopting a considered approach on her way to reaching an effective solution. Her ability to view marketing quandaries from the point of view of the marketer, the product or service provider, and of the customer, is just one of the factors which has garnered Claudia so much acclaim in the industry.

Her insight into lead generation and into marketing automation is not to be ignored, and Claudia is sure to be one of marketing’s premier thought leaders for years to come.

Key Content: Ryan Skinner’s Podcast on Content Marketing, for Forrester Research, featuring Claudia Hoeffner

Steve Susina

Lyons Consulting Group provides the full gamut of digital advice and strategy to their clients in the eCommerce sector. At the heart of this is their Marketing Director, Steve Susina, who emerged from a background in electrical engineering to take the marketing world by storm.

Steve is a firm believer in the power of data – which makes us kindred spirits – and harnesses its influence within his work. He is also one of the marketing world’s key industry influencers, giving talks on how marketers can get the very best out of their endeavors using automation.

Key Content: Wine, Web and Marketing Automation

Eric Wittlake

Coming at marketing automation from a B2B angle is Eric Wittlake, providing valuable guidance and advice for marketers working to attract business clients. Eric’s expertise lies not only in direct marketing initiatives, but also in the technological and implementation side of things.

Any marketers interested in developing their understanding of the craft need to take a look at what Eric is offering. Via, he connects eager-to-learn users with a world of unbeatable business to business digital marketing ideas and innovation.

Key Content: 6 Ways B2B Markets are Falling Short Today

Michael Peggs

As a New York-based content expert and consultant, Michael Peggs understands organic lead generation and large-scale engagement. He also knows a thing or two about the power of marketing automation.

When not overseeing the Marccx Media content marketing agency, of which he is a founding member, Michael shares his insight across some of the industry’s most influential platforms, including the Huffington Post.

Key Content: 42 Online Marketing Tools to Make Your Life Easier

Jeff Shearer

Jeff works with Egencia, implementing the powerful software within the business’ procedures. In addition to this, he dispenses advice and insight on his personal blog, gained from his years spent at the top of the marketing automation tree.

His Protips page represents a marketing professional’s goldmine, and is an absolute must visit for anyone with a passion for marketing.

Key Content: One Landing Page Template to Rule Them All

This list contains some of the greats of marketing automation, but by no means all of them. Who else would you list as a top influencer? Tell us in the comments below.

This is post originally appeared on the GetResponse Blog.

How Much Should Marketing Executives Be Paid? This Calculator Will Tell You!

By Guest Author on June 7, 2017

If you decided your business needed a new SVP of Branding or Creative Director today, do you know what salary you’d need to offer to to bring an A-Player into your business?

If you were an ambitious marketing executive considering a great job opportunity in a new city, would you know what a fair rate would be to ask for?

Good marketing is essential for a business to grow and keep up with its competition. And good marketing begins and ends with exceptional leadership and strategy. The right executive talent is absolutely worth its weight in gold; creating a foundation for strategies and policies that will pay dividends for years to come.

The price tag for elite marketing leaders, especially those with a strong digital background, has risen substantially over the last 5 years. Many organizations are out of touch with what it takes to hire the best.

That’s why the executive recruitment specialists at MarketPro developed a free tool to help businesses understand competitive salary rates for common marketing executive jobs across the country (and for marketing execs to have an idea of what they’re worth): meet the Marketing Executive Salary Calculator.

The interactive calculator enables you to filter by location, job title, and company size. It was built using data gathered from years of executive search results, candidate interviews, industry reports, and client input from around the country.

A few things to note before diving in:

  • Keep in mind that this tool is designed to only estimate base salary. Executive compensation often involves a variety of other factors like bonuses, benefits, stock options and more.
  • The estimated salaries ranges only include companies starting at $25 million in annual revenue. Compensation can vary erratically below that range, and the firm didn’t have enough data to form a reliable claim.

Some Interesting Trends

CMOs Leading the Charge

Unsurprisingly, our research found that the CMO/Head of Marketing leads the way with the highest base salary ranges across the board. However, Head of Digital and Head of Ecommerce have been gaining ground and aren’t far behind. Creative Directors on average made the least out of all the roles we evaluated–however, they were still competitive with many of their peers.

Size Matters

Salary ranges could vary widely depending on company size–not something many salary guides account for. For instance, here’s the breakdown of what a VP Marketing Analytics in the San Diego area might make at businesses of various scales:

You’ll notice the minimum bound rises fairly consistently, while the upper limit can get quite high once you start hitting the billion-dollar plus range. This trend is consistent with most of the executive jobs that were researched in almost all locations.

Location, Location, Location

Geographic location also plays a big factor. Localized industry trends and cost of living can significantly impact what companies can expect to pay a senior marketer. I selected a few cities around the country to show how an SVP or Head of Brand of a $300 million company could expect their base comp to very depending on where their job was based.

Contributors to Rising Salary

With a few exceptions, compensation for marketers in general and marketing executives in particular is rising across the board.


The first reason is a simple matter of supply and demand. Smart businesses are catching on to the fact that they need clever marketing leadership to engage today’s consumers and stay on top of digital trends, and hiring is up. However, the supply of talent with a proven ability to fulfill those needs hasn’t kept up, inflating salaries of top talent.

Second, senior marketers (the good ones, at least) are in a stronger position than ever to make a case for higher compensation. Thanks to refined attribution tactics and the development of advanced analytics tools, they’re able to point directly towards indisputable evidence of the value they’ve provided. They can then leverage that for a raise at their current business or use it as ammunition during salary negotiation at their next gig.

29 Amazing Content Marketing Quotes To Inspire You

By Michael Brenner on

What are your favorite content marketing quotes?

In my Content Marketing Strategy work, I help brands build and hone their content marketing strategies, taking into consideration their marketing goals, brand positioning, and the competitive landscape.

In our research and conversations, we’ve come across insights from top marketers, business leaders, and content experts that have educated, motivated, and inspired us.

We’ve already published and updated some of the best marketing quotes to inspire your strategy overall.

But before we get to the best content marketing quotes from some of the top influencers in content marketing, here’s some of my own most popular content marketing quotes:

The difference between Content and Content Marketing is the destination.” (Destination = a website or print magazine that you own to build an audience, by publishing customer-focused content, consistently.)

The difference between Content and #ContentMarketing is the destination. Click To Tweet

Content marketing is the gap between what brands produce and what consumers actually want.

#ContentMarketing is the gap between what brands produce and consumers actually want. Click To Tweet

“If great content is the hero, then banners are the villain.”

If great content is the hero, then banners are the villain. Click To Tweet

“Behind every piece of bad content is an executive who asked for it.”

Behind every piece of bad content is an executive who asked for it. Click To Tweet

I hope you liked some of those?

Here are some of our favorites Content Marketing quotes (updated for 2017).

We hope you you find some inspiration in these. Have other quotes you love? We’d love to hear from you!

Content Marketing is all the Marketing that’s left.” ~ Seth Godin

#ContentMarketing is the only marketing left, says @SethGodin Click To Tweet

Banners have 99 problem and a click ain’t one.” ~ Scott Sorokin, Chief Strategy Officer at Razorfish

Banners have 99 problem and a click ain’t one. Click To Tweet

We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in.” ~ Craig Davis, former Chief Creative Officer at J. Walter Thompson.

We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in and be what people are interested in. Click To Tweet

Make your customers the her of your stories.” ~ Ann Handley, , Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

Make your customers the her of your stories. Click To Tweet

Content Marketing provides 4x the ROI of our traditional marketing spend.” ~ Julie Fleischer, VP Marketing, Neustar

Content Marketing provides 4x the ROI of our traditional marketing spend. Click To Tweet

It’s not the best content that wins. It’s the best promoted content that wins.” ~ Andy Crestodina

It's not the best content that wins. It's the best promoted content that wins Click To Tweet

The buyer journey is nothing more than a series of questions that must be answered.” ~ Analyst Firm IDC

The buyer journey is nothing more than a series of questions that must be answered. Click To Tweet

Content is fire. Social media is gasoline.” ~ Jay Baer

Content is fire. Social media is gasoline. Click To Tweet

Content is the reason search began in the first place.” ~ Lee Odden

Content is the reason search began in the first place. Click To Tweet

What helps people, helps business.” ~ Leo Burnett

What helps people, helps business. Click To Tweet

Content is king.” ~ Bill Gates

Content is king. Click To Tweet

Content isn’t king, it’s the kingdom.” ~Lee Odden

Content isn't king, it's the kingdom. Click To Tweet

Content is king, but distribution is queen. And she wears the pants.” ~ Jonathan Perelman, Buzzfeed

Content is king, but distribution is queen. And she wears the pants. Click To Tweet

Great content is the best sales tool in the world.” ~ Marcus Sheridan

Great content is the best sales tool in the world Click To Tweet

Market like the year you are in.” ~ Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO and Co-Funder of Vayner Media

Market like the year you are in. Click To Tweet

Content Marketing is a commitment, not a campaign.” ~ Jon Buscall, Head of Moondog Marketing

Content Marketing is a commitment, not a campaign. Click To Tweet

Content marketing is no longer a numbers game. It’s a game of relevance,” ~ Jason Miller

Content marketing is no longer a numbers game. It's a game of relevance. Click To Tweet

Google is the new corporate homepage.” ~ Jeremiah Owyang, Founder of Crowd Companies

Google is the new corporate homepage. Click To Tweet

You need to create ridiculously good content – content that is useful, enjoyable and inspired.” ~ Ann Handley

You need to create ridiculously good content... Click To Tweet

Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them.” ~Doug Kessler

Traditional marketing talks at people. Content marketing talks with them. Click To Tweet

Content is the atomic particle of all marketing.” ~ Rebecca Lieb

Content is the atomic particle of all marketing Click To Tweet

Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue.” ~ Andrew Davis

Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. Trust drives revenue Click To Tweet

Your brand is not what you sell.” ~ John Iwata, IBM

Your brand is not what you sell. Click To Tweet

When creating content, be the best answer on the internet.” ~ Andy Crestodina, and Lee Odden have both made similar comments that roughly translate to: If you want to rank for search, you need to create the best answer to a customer question.

When creating content, be the best answer on the internet. Click To Tweet

The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” ~ Tom Fishburne, Founder and CEO Marketoon Studios

The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing. Click To Tweet

Brands need to take the phrase ‘acting like a publisher’ literally.” ~ Dietrich Mateschitz, CEO of RedBull

Brands need to take the phrase 'acting like a publisher' literally. Click To Tweet

If you don’t like what is being said, then change the conversation.”  ~ Don Draper

If you don't like what is being said, then change the conversation. Click To Tweet

Content marketing is really like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won’t be a second date.” ~ David Beebe, former head of content, Marriott

#ContentMarketing is like a first date. If all you do is talk about yourself, there won't be a second date. Click To Tweet
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In 1958 A Marketing Legend Revealed These Secrets For Creating Powerful Headlines

By Scott Aughtmon on June 6, 2017

The Marketing Legend Who Was Behind the Success of “How to Win Friends…”

You might not have heard of him, but Victor O. Schwab is considered to be one of the top copywriters of all time. He was a marketing master. 

Many people don’t know it, but he was the copywriter who helped Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People become a best-seller.

He was also the man behind the ads for the famous body-builder Charles Atlas.

And he was a copywriting pioneer. He would use coded coupon ads to test and track ads. (The codes enabled him to be able to track which ads the coupon came from, which headlines, appeal, etc. was used in that ad, etc.)

Can you imagine what it would be like to sit down with him and learn some of his hard-earned secrets?

Well, the good news is that we can. Because he revealed some of his marketing secrets in a most unlikely place: in an ad itself.

The Amazing Secrets Victor Schwab Revealed in a 2-Page Ad

There was one thing Schwab understood deeply and that was the power of a headline.

In 1958, he did something very unusual, something that we should all be grateful for today, because it leaves us an amazing trail to follow.

Not only that, but it secretly provides us with an awesome content marketing example. (I’ll explain what I mean in a little bit.)

What did he do that was so unusual and that benefits us today?

In 1958, Victor Schwab took out a two-page ad that revealed what makes a great headline. The title of his ad was “100 Good Advertising Headlines… and why they are so profitable.”

But he didn’t just reveal 100 examples of what he considered to be the 100 best headlines. He also revealed some powerful truths about headlines.

The Two Attributes of Good Headlines 

At the beginning of the ad, Schwab revealed two things that make good headlines…

“There are two principle attributes of good headlines. They select, from the total readership of the publication, those readers who are (or can be induced to be) interested in the subject of the advertisement. And they promise them a worthwhile reward for reading it.” – Victor O. Schwab

Think about those two purposes of a headline:

  1. To select the people who would be most interested in what you’re advertising
  2. To promise them a reward for reading the ad

Most people who create ads never do either of those things, let alone both of them.

SOME good copywriters accomplish the first task, but only the GREAT copywriters also accomplish the second.

If we just stopped here and you learned how to master those two things, then your ads would outperform any of your competitors or fellow copywriters.

But Schwab reveals more in the ad…

The Unmatched Power of a Good Headline

If you aren’t convinced that headlines are that important, then you need to pay close attention to what he reveals next. He says…

“Perhaps you’ve read somewhere that 50% of the value of an entire advertisement is represented by the headline itself. Or 75%. Or 80%. The truth is that you cannot possibly evaluate it in percentages.

“For example, what percentage better is an automobile that runs beautifully as compared with one that won’t run at all?

“It’s the same with headlines. One can be almost a total failure in accomplishing its primary purpose: to induce people to start reading the body matter (the copy) of the advertisement.

“Another headline can work almost like magic in enticing readers by the thousands into an ad whose copy moves people to action and thus moves products off the shelves.” – Victor O. Schwab

He went on to reveal some other powerful and little known truths about writing powerful headlines, which I’ll mention in a minute.

But first, I want to show you that this ad wasn’t just powerful teaching about headlines. It was a great example of content marketing.

Copywriter Victor Schwab’s Ad Harnessed the Power of Content Marketing

The purpose of his ad was not just to teach people about how to write great headlines. His purpose was to advertise his advertising agency Schwab and Beatty, INC.

How did he do that? He started with a powerful headline: “100 Good Advertising Headlines… and why they are so profitable.”

But for the majority of the rest of his ad, he used content.
And not just any generic content.

He created amazing content. Content that was so amazing that he hoped people would KEEP the ad for reference!

In fact, he says just that in a box at the bottom of the first page of the ad…

Brace Yourself… (Title at Top of the Box)

“This is only the first page of a two-page “article” about advertising. Since everyone’s reading speed is different we don’t know how long it will take you to read these 7,500 words. But we hope that you will find these two pages sufficiently interesting and informative to justify reading them all in full; that you will consider the time well spent; and that you might even want to keep them for future reference.”

(At the bottom of this box it reads…)

Schwab and Beatty, Inc., Advertising 
488 Madison Ave | New York City 22
Radio and Television Department | 510 Madison Ave
Member of American Association of Advertising Agencies

Now, why would he hope that they’d keep the ad?

Because if they kept the ad, then they would always have the name of HIS advertising agency right there in front of them!


Create content that is so powerful, so insightful, and so helpful that your prospects actually want to keep it and continually refer to it.

Now obviously, you can’t do that with every piece of content you create. But have created ANY content that falls into that category?

Make this your litmus test to determine if you’ve created any content that will stand out from the rest of the “me too” content that’s all over the internet.

When I came up with my 21 Types of Content We Crave infographic, I unintentionally did this. But I can’t tell you how many times people have told me that they’ve taken that infographic, printed it out, and keep it on their desk.

But there’s another content marketing lesson we can learn from Victor Schwab that I don’t want you to miss…


Create the most in-depth, thorough content that you can. 

I want you to notice that Victor Schwab didn’t just create a list of headlines, or 10 headlines, or even 20 headlines. No! He gave us a list 100 headlines!

Why is it important that you create thorough content like this? There are four reasons:

  1. Search engines like it (at least they currently do)
  2. You want your content to stand out.
  3. You want it to be worth keeping.
  4. It will attract your ideal prospects.

Let me explain the fourth reason, because I think it’s an often overlooked reason.

I’ve been thinking a lot about creating long, thorough content vs brief, shorter content and I’ve come to realize that it’s the same debate people used to have about long copy vs. short copy.

And I’ve realized the reason that you need to create in-depth content is because the people who will actually consume it from beginning to end are the people who care most about the solution your content is offering.

As Howard Gossage (1917 – 1969), who was an advertising innovator during the “Mad Men” era, once said…

“The real fact of the matter is that nobody reads ads. People read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.”

Howard Gossage – Advertising innovator known as “The Socrates of San Francisco”

That means that in-depth, thorough content will repel the people who don’t care about (or need) what your content is focused on. But it will attract the people who are passionate about (or crave), what your content is about.

Neil Patel is someone that understands the power of creating in-depth and thorough content. In fact, he has built his career and businesses by creating this type of content. He is the living proof that this kind of long-form content is important and powerful!

Again, I am not suggesting that every piece of content you create is like this. But you should create SOME content that’s like this.

Some Other Powerful, Little Known Truths About Writing Powerful Headlines That He Revealed

As I said, besides the 100 headlines and his teaching about why each one is so powerful, Schwab peppered his ad with some more secrets about powerful headlines.

He shared things like:

  • The Sole Purpose of a Headline
  • The Kind of Rewards Good Headlines Promise
  • The Attraction of the Specific in Good Headlines
  • Whether “Negative” Headlines Should Be Used or Not
  • The Importance of Subheads (He uses a REALLY cool analogy for them)
  • Some Ways to Use Subheads More Effectively
  • The Importance of Your First Paragraph

Do see how much incredible content Schwab included in this ad? Like I said, he didn’t skimp on the quality or the quantity of information.

That’s why I said that his ad wasn’t just an amazing piece example on how to create headlines, but also how to create unbelievably powerful content marketing.

The Incredible Way He Ended This Amazing Ad

After sharing all of this amazing information on headlines, Schwab ends the ad with a box. And it’s in this box, that I believe his copywriting skills really shine.

His exact wording is the most powerful, yet softest “soft sell,” you’ll probably ever see. But it is still PACKED with so much powerful “proof” that it had to have swayed any ideal prospect.

Check out what it says for yourself below. (His words are bolded and I have included my comments on his copy in-between the paragraphs.)

This is About Us… But May Interest You (Title)

“This is the age of specialization… and for 30 years we have been specialists. We are an advertising agency specializing in the preparation of couponed advertisements whose purpose is to produce an immediate reply going to the advertiser himself.

My Translation: We specialize in getting your businesses results: prospects contacting you directly.

“The quantity and the quality of this response is vital to our clients, regardless of whether it be followed up by their salesmen or sales literature alone.

My Translation: You don’t have to deal with these prospects yourself. You can get others to do it or you can use sales literature to do that (which I am sure he created for them, for an additional cost).

“An agency specializing in such advertising must prove, day after day, it is doing a good job. Its clients key each advertisement and keep records of the response each produces. If these results demonstrate the ability of the agency its clients may retain it for years. If not, the relationship is obviously likely to be short-lived.

My Translation: We prove our work every day to businesses that are checking for regular results. If we didn’t prove our work with results, then they would not continue to work with us.

“It is significant, therefore, that our clients have expended more than 77 million dollars for such advertising; that some of them are the largest and best known advertisers in their fields; and that many of them have been with us since the foundation of this agency thirty years ago.”

My Translation: How good are the results we produce? The largest and best known advertisers have spent $77 million with us and stayed with us 30 years. How good do you think our results must be?

Schwab and Beatty, INC., Advertising
488 Madison Ave | New York City 22
Radio and Television Department | 510 Madison Ave

Member of American Association of Advertising Agencies

My Translation: We’re obviously a legitimate and respected agency; otherwise we wouldn’t be a part of this association.

The Reason Schwab Left Out a Key Copywriting Element Every Top Copywriter Uses

The most amazing thing that I noticed is that he LEAVES OUT a “call to action” at the end of his ad. As a top copywriter, he knew how important “calls to action” are to creating effective copy.

So WHY would he choose to leave this out? I don’t have proof for this, but I THINK the reasons he left out the “call to action” are:

  • His goal was to create helpful content that would subtly, but powerfully, influence his audience to: like him, want to work with him, and prove his immense knowledge and unique ability.(The goal that every content marketer has.)
  • By NOT including a “call to action,” it removed any feeling on his prospect’s part of being sold to. (He must have wanted them to think something like, “Sales letters have ‘calls to action.’ This doesn’t have one. Therefore, it must not be a sales letter, so I don’t have to put my guard up.”)
  • By NOT asking for them to work with him, he was playing “hard to get” which, in the context of this ad, was more powerful than having a “call to action.”

Would You Like to See Victor Schwab’s Ad and Read it Yourself?

I have one last treat for you to reward those of you who read all the way to the end. I’ve included a link below where you can download the actual ad that I’ve been talking to you about.

That way you can read it, study it, and keep for your own personal reference. (Victor would’ve been so pleased to realize people STILL want to keep it for reference!)

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD VICTOR SCHWAB’S AD: “100 Good Advertising Headlines… and why they are so profitable”

Would You Like to Take a Marketing Class with Me at UC Berkeley Extension?

If you liked this post, then I wanted you to know that I am teaching a class for UC Berkeley Extension this summer. And these are the types of insights I plan on revealing in my “Intro to Marketing” class.  

In fact, I plan on teaching a really unique way to think of marketing that you have probably never heard before. With the unique definition of marketing that I’ve spent months coming up with – and with the way I am going to get you to think about marketing – by the end of my 10-week class, you will have an understanding of marketing that few of your colleagues or competitors do.

If you’re live near Belmont, CA (on the San Francisco Peninsula), and it sounds like something that would be helpful to you, then I’d love for you to sign-up and take the class with me! Once you go to the page at that link, then click on the “+” by the “BUS ADM X460.1 – 076″ in order to sign-up!

P.S. If the summer session doesn’t work out for you, I will be teaching it again this fall.

Modern Marketing Transformation – Why It Won’t Work Without the Right Culture

By Michael Brenner on

The digital experience, the power of Big Data, agile marketing, compelling content strategies, marketing automation, a customer-centric approach – the core tenets of modern marketing weren’t born yesterday. So, why are some marketing teams struggling to keep up? What’s holding back even some really top-notch, creative, and inspired marketers?

Change isn’t easy. A full-blown transformation involving an entire team of individuals can be a Mt. Everest-sized obstacle. Throw in problems with corporate management and getting the right employees, and the situation becomes even more pressurized. No wonder the CMO role is known as the most dangerous job title around.

41 percent of all marketers believe C-suite grasps the importance and potential of digital. On the employee side, 48 percent of marketing managers say that retaining good digital employees is a problem. Yet, 99.9 percent of your target audience expects more, the type of ‘more’ that can only be delivered via the power of digital.

Modern marketing transformation is a complete evolution in the marketing landscape. And, it’s not finished evolving. In fact, it’s not going to stop, slow down, or plateau, ever.

(Need help transforming your marketing organization? Contact me today.)

When you look at how comprehensive the shift has been from traditional to modern, it’s no surprise that marketing teams are having trouble. We used to work in a predictable world of investing weeks, if not months, into each campaign. We’d hit the launch button and let go.

Today, it’s a by-the-moment process of development, analysis, and refinement of current campaigns. It’s the sparking of new ideas for what we’ll work on after lunch – not after the holidays – and the ongoing learning of new skills, techniques, and methodologies.

We’ve gone from making a splash with each big unveil to rushing down the gurgling, effervescent river of modern marketing. We’re mobile, social, and agile. Many of us have minimized our advertising – if we’re even using ads at all – having already embraced the more impactful world of content marketing.

Marketing is different now. A new shape, a new mindset. From land-bound caterpillar to see-you-later butterfly. If you want this new creature to thrive, you’ve got to provide the right environment. Culture has to become unbounded.

Enough flowing rivers and fluttering butterflies. What does this look like in real terms? What is the right culture for a powerful, sustainable, modern marketing transformation?

What Happened When Marketing Transformed?

The biggest driver of the evolution of marketing is the consumer. Customer expectations have become more sophisticated. As a response, modern brands need to deliver what the customer wants to remain competitive.

This is true when it comes to both lead generation and customer retention. As a result, we’ve shifted from the marketing mix and the 7 P’s to the customer mix and the 6 W’s. The focus is no longer on what we’re selling but rather who we are selling to.

image source

What is it that customers want?

  • They want to plug a search query into Google and get back an answer to their question. The brand websites that have stellar online libraries of SEO optimized content are the ones who are going to capture this search traffic and generate the most leads.
  • To pull out their smartphone and look up a recipe on a brand’s website for the product they just bought, or watch a video on how to get the most out of a service they signed up for.
  • To contact a brand with a question, comment, or issue through social media, email, or better yet, real-time chat, and have the issue addressed that day.
  • A cohesive flow between on-site and online marketplaces.
  • Online brand communities where they can see what other consumers are saying about a product or service, hear inspiring stories about how another consumer improved their lives with the product they just bought or are considering, and get expert advice and guidance.

That’s quite a bit more complex than a collection of products and services, along with the billboards, radio ads, online ads, and commercials plastered in as many places as possible to let consumers know those products and services exist.

Both the solution to meeting these needs (and the root cause of the customer expectation revolution) lies in digital.

Digital tools, resources, skills, and the mindset to embrace this new, still largely unchartered territory. This is the foundation of a culture that can withstand a sustainable modern marketing transformation.

Key Features of a Modern Marketing Culture

So, how can today’s marketing managers facilitate this type of digital-friendly culture?

  1. With an evolved team structure. Modern marketing will have difficulty working in a traditional hierarchical culture. When creative, innovative ideas are a marketing team’s strongest asset, the most successful marketing teams are the ones that embrace input, communication, and collaboration in an environment that fosters workplace equality.
  2. With evolved skills. The right culture will look for people who have the skills that are necessary for a strong digital marketing team. Individuals who specialize in SEO, content management, website maintenance, copywriting, social media, data analytics, event planning, mobile strategy, graphic design, and lead nurturing are all important. A lot of the next-generation marketers are proficient in several skills and are hybrid professionals. Modern marketing agencies and managers are also filling skill gaps by outsourcing. From video production to coding, today there is such a breadth of essential skills. Few marketing teams are going to have someone who is strong in every area.
  3. With an evolved mindset. A modern marketing culture embraces an entirely different set of values. Taking initiative, asking questions, disruption, a willingness to try something, fail, and learn – these are the ingredients that go into a strong, agile marketing team that can live up to the modern consumer’s evolving expectations.

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Dr. Tim Sparkes, business psychologist of Hudson Talent Management explains this mindset shift well:

“With every indication that the workplace will continue to accelerate and fragment, mindset is entering center stage in defining talent for an unknown future. Of course, skills are crucial to do a job but identifying individuals with the right mindset to navigate business transformation and disruption, and to quickly learn and deploy new skills will – or already is – the key to competitive advantage in a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous at its heart.”

All marketing teams are changing. There’s not a CMO out there who denies digital or is still drumming up support for a major print ad campaign, at least without it being nothing more than a fragment of a holistic digital-traditional strategy. But not all marketers can go with the flow of the modern, digital, customer-centric reality.

If you want to get from point A to point B, from traditional to modern (and good at it), don’t take a linear approach. Don’t move towards point B, hitting your goal posts along the way. You’ll never get there. Transform point A into point B. Change your culture. Change the way your team interacts with one another. Bring in new talent and help your current employees take on new skills. And, consciously align values and mindset with this brave new marketing world. That’s how you make space for point B to evolve.

Maybe culture, innovation or the challenges of modern marketing transformation is something I can help you with?  I’ve helped dozens of companies, I’ve helped activate hundreds, even thousands of thought leaders. I’ve done it for numerous clients. And I can do it for you. Contact me today.