Month: January 2014

Customer-Sourced Content: 7 Ways to Turn Questions into Content

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Content marketing must be consistent to be effective, but it’s not enough to just keep putting content out there. In order to stand out to the ideal customers you’re trying to reach, you have to speak their language and answer their questions.

If you bring the customer into your content creation process by listening to and answering their questions, you can achieve perfect harmony. You will ultimately create content that demonstrates your credibility and expertise, while satisfying the actual interests and concerns of your customers and prospective customers.

Here are seven ways to turn customer questions into content – and more customers!

1. Is it a direct “how to”? (Can you explain how to do what they’re asking in 5, 7 or 10 steps?)

2. Is it a series? (Sometimes in order to do the thing they’re asking they need to have already done several other things, so you have to back up and start from there.)

3. Is it more theoretical or complex, and will statistics help to explain or prove your point? (A graphical representation – “infographic” – might help.)

4. Do you have case study examples about the issue? (Bonus: Can you demonstrate how your product or service solved this concern?)

5. Do other people in your network struggle with the same issue? Can you “crowdsource” some solutions via your Facebook page, Twitter stream, LinkedIn group, Google+ circles or communities, etc.? (Bonus: You’ll get new content for your social media streams that you can then turn into a blog post.)

6. Is there an expert in a related field you could interview for their thoughts on this topic?

7. Can you record or find a video that shows a live demonstration of how to solve this problem?

That last tip leads perfectly into an example of a company that’s doing a wonderful job of creating customer-sourced content. Clean My Space is a Toronto-based cleaning company that provides residential cleaning services in both urban and suburban settings.

Related Class: Youtility: Why smart marketing is about help not hype

Let’s take a look at how they answered a common cleaning question in two different formats:

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you click through to watch this video on YouTube, you can see all of the text they’ve included in the description box, which is very important for getting your non-text content found online.

They also include a link to their corresponding blog post. That’s great for people like me, who prefer to get our information in writing rather than from watching a video or listening to an audio recording.

Read How to Clean a Bathroom on the Clean My Space blog.

I asked Melissa Maker, president of Clean My Space, to tell us more about how they turn questions into content:

"We receive so many questions, it can become absolutely daunting to determine what to write about next. Daily, we review all comments throughout our videos, blog, Facebook page and Twitter feed, and skim them for common questions or themes.

We then add the questions to a large white board, and then each week we select our next video or article based on what we want to do and what time of year it is.

For example, there is no sense in doing a video on how to clean your Ugg boots in July, so although a popular question, we would film and launch that video in January."

Want to create a customer-sourced content success story like this for your own business? Watch Customer-Sourced Content: How to Turn Customer Conversations Into More Customers for tips and strategies.

 

 


50% of Content Marketing Efforts Are a Waste, and Why That’s Good for You

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If you're investing in content marketing, there's roughly a 50% chance your efforts are a waste. And that's a good thing.

That number might seem extreme, but I'm going to back it up with 4 facts:

1. 59% of advertising & Fortune 500 leaders do not believe their digital talent has the skills necessary to be very successful in content marketing (source: OMI's State of Digital Talent study)

2. 42% of B2B marketers say their content marketing efforts are not effective. At least they admit it. We could probably bump up that number to around 50% for the people that won't. (source: the CMI/MarketingProfs B2B Content Marketing study)

3. That same study on B2B content marketing also found the #1 challenge facing marketers is producing enough content. Yet, frequency is the one of the biggest factors for content marketing effectiveness.

4. Although the quantity of content produced continues to increase exponentially, most of it is, for a lack of a better word, crap. (Okay, I don't even have data to back that up—it's based purely on what I see, and I think most of us will agree.)

Now, there's a lot of talk about the impending "content collapse", or as I like it, "Content Apocalypse 2014", just to give it that classy, Weather.com doomsday-style spin.

To get you up-to-speed, Mark Schaffer wrote a smart and thought provoking post on "Content Shock", which lead to a lot more chatter—and content!—about the "Content Collapse!". To summarize, as the rate of online content creation increases exponentially, so does the noise, and it's going to become harder for content marketing efforts to bubble up and be seen.

But there's a bigger problem—and opportunity here.

Most content marketing today is garbage, and 42% of marketers ALREADY KNOW their content marketing efforts are not paying off, so I'd say Content Apocalypse 2014 is a good thing. It's simply a reminder that lame content marketing efforts are not sustainable. But no matter the medium, they never were.

So yes, we're going to have to produce BETTER content and a SMARTER content strategy if we want to compete. Perhaps even, I don't know…. train people or hire creatives, copywriters, and journalists!

The bigger story—and opportunity here—is that companies and individuals that invest in producing brilliant, effective content marketing will have a significant competitive advantage.

It's fun to talk about Content Apocalypse. We are hard wired to react to headlines that produce fear. (Who doesn't notice those terrible "10 Signs You'll Get Sick Tomorrow" articles promoted through OutBrain? They never rotate that creepy "You'll Get Cancer" one out, either...)

But it's even more fun to think about the opportunities we have to get really great at content marketing, what that looks like, and what it means for our companies and careers. (Hint: it's not a soulless "Top 3 Tips About Data Storage" list.)

All you have to do is become really awesome at content marketing—which you can!—and there's a significant chance you'll be better than your competition.

With that, here are 10 ideas for smoking those content marketing underachievers (the 50%+!)—and turning content marketing into your secret weapon for success in 2014. While they struggle to produce bi-weekly Top 10 lists of animated GIFS or links to other popular articles, you can focus on this...

For your career

Marketers with impressive content experience and skills are in high demand. They get more job offers, consulting opportunities, and command a higher salary. You can too.

1. If you're new to content marketing, find opportunities to get involved with content marketing & strategy at your company.

It can be as simple as offering to write a blog post your company blog, or contributing insights from analytics to improve current content marketing efforts, or writing an email campaign. However you do it—just start somewhere, and offer to help whenever you can.

2. Take a writing class and expand your skill set.

I can't stress this enough. As the "Content Apocalypsecontinues to unfold, it's going to be harder for crappy content to get visiblity (thank goodness!). If you want to get better, you can, but it starts with educating yourself on content, including written content, video content, visual and more. And then a lot of practice, which is my next point...

3. Practice, practice, practice—starting now!

Do it while you can—and while everyone continues to underachieve. The bar for content is just going to get higher.

4. Create content, even outside of your main job.

Offer to develop content for another publication—free of charge—to try new ideas & showcase your capabilities. Years ago, while I was working in marketing at ion interactive, I produced content for the company blog, but then I started to write guest posts for Wordstream and Search Engine Journal etc… The content probably wasn't brilliant—and not that this is either!—but it ended up being great practice, and  I was able to write about a broader range of topics and get my toes wet. Writing outside of your day job can also be great 3rd party validation for future career and consulting opportunities.

5. To get ahead, stay ahead.

Evolving technology and content consumption trends continue to present new challenges and opportunities, and the best content marketers stay on top of those changes. Whether it's learning about visual content, real-time strategy, analytics or integration, it's important to stay ahead.

For your company

Companies that focus on improving the effectiveness of their content marketing efforts generate more leads, win more business, and gain more market share.

6. Put distribution at the heart of your content.

Most content today just gets added to the noise—very little content rises above it. Distribution should be at the heart of your strategy, and you can use search data to inform your content marketing efforts.

7. Incorporate real-time content into your digital strategy.

It's becoming more and more important to deliver exactly the right piece of content at exactly the right time. This doesn't necessarily mean producing garbage that capitalizes on Justin Bieber's arrest—but content that's fresh and in line with the pain points and opportunities your customers are facing—right then and there. Carmen Hill explains how in Real-Time or Die: Feeding the Content Beast.

8. INVEST IN WRITERS, EDITORS, AND TRAINING!

I'm sure it can be a hard line item to swallow. But isn't wasting money on ineffective content marketing even worse?

9. Tie your content back to measurable conversion goals.

Prove the value of your efforts (unless you're part of that 50% ;))—and gain leverage for a raise, too. Make sure to integrate conversion points, such as opt-ins and phone calls, throughout your entire content marketing program. Here's how to measure your content marketing efforts.

10. Test, test, test.

You won't know what works until you test it. So get creative, try new things. Inject a culture of speed and testing into your company, if you can. It's okay if the content is less than stellar—it's the only way to get to the place where it's not.

Now I know this list isn't complete. If you have any thoughts on the opportunities in content marketing, please leave them below! 

 


3 Alarming (but Exciting) Content Marketing Statistics

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Content marketing—including blogs, webinars, and white papers—is the heartbeat of successful digital marketing.

It can make a boring product exciting, a confusing message clear, a soulless website come alive, and perhaps most exciting of all, the catalyst to growing your company—and your career.

Most marketing leaders agree on the importance of content marketing. But when it comes their talent having the skills necessary to execute successful content marketing, that's another story.

Straight from OMI's State of Digital Marketing Talent study, here are 3 content marketing statistics that will get your attention... and hopefully get you pumped about the tremendous opportunities we all have in front of us!

Content marketing statistic #1

Content marketing is the 3rd most critical skill for digital marketing talent, behind analytics and email marketing. Tweet this stat!

content marketing statistic

Content Marketing Statistic #2

59% of marketing & ad execs don't believe their talent has what it takes to be very successful in content marketing. Tweet this stat!

Ouch.

content marketing statistic

Content Marketing Statistic #3

68% of advertising and Fortune 500 leaders believe content marketing is a very important skill for applicants to digital marketing positions. Tweet this stat!

content marketing statistic

So we all agree on the value of smart content marketing—now it's time to get great at it.

There's no better time to turn content marketing into a competitive advantage for your company and your career than now.

For companies, that means shifting resources to content marketing, and improving your talent's skills through internal training and education, including certifications and team training. As our study found, most marketers aren't great content marketers, so the sooner your team gets up-to-speed, the further behind your competition will be.

For individuals, that means improving your content marketing skills, and getting more involved with content marketing, whether at your company, or through outside projects, such as building a personal blog and guest posting.

In tomorrow's post, I will dive deep into ways companies and individuals can turn content marketing into their secret weapon for success in 2014! Stay tuned.

 


14 Basic Small Business Online Marketing Tactics To Do In 2014

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Something about the new year makes us want to start fresh. We reach for the clean slate and make new plans. It’s an exciting time of the year, but there are a few things to do first so that you know exactly where you stand before you make your spot-on plans.

Claim Your Pages: Most brands have many rogue pages living online. These pages may have been created by well-intending staff members but were later abandoned, or they may have been created by customers checking in to your location. Either way, it’s time that you claim them as your own. This gives you the ability to merge with your current page if it is a duplicate or to keep the page instead of starting from scratch if you don’t have a page on that platform yet.

Google Yourself: The first thing people do when they hear your name or company name is Google it!  We all do it, but do you know what comes up in the search results? Give it a try!

Do a Source Search: Knowing what’s already popular can really steer you in a direction that will help you get more exposure.  A favorite tool for this is to see what people are already pinning from your site.  Just type this url http://pinterest.com/source/padronsocialmarketing.com, but of course, use your url. Here’s a little more on How to Use Pinterest for Business and Why It’s Great!

Related Class: How Pinterest can help your brand

Check Search Inquiries: Similar to a Source Search on Pinterest, this search tells you what people are searching for on your site. If there is a popular search that you don’t have content for, it is the perfect opportunity to create popular content and to rank higher on Google.

Do a Keyword Search: Knowing what people are searching for helps you pinpoint your content strategy. The simplest way to do this is to access Google’s Keyword Tool and look for keywords and phrases with a high amount of searches and low competition.

Look at Your Open Rates: Check out what has been popular content from your email marketing efforts.

Know Your Analytics: Google has a suite of helpful tools for small businesses. One of these tools is Google Analytics. This shows how many people visit your site, where they come from before they get to your site and what they do on your site--very helpful information for developing your online strategy.

Related Class: Introduction to Google Analytics

Check Review Sites: There are many review sites out there; the most common being Yelp!, TripAdvisor and Urbanspoon. Take a look at those sites to see what people are saying. It’s likely there are positive and negative reviews. The negative reviews are a great way to find areas to improve for the new year.

Do a Related Search: This one is fun!  It’s always helpful to know what your competitors are (and aren’t) doing. Pull up a Google search page and type related:yoursite.com (e.g., related:padronsocialmarketing.com). When you click search, Google will pull up pages that are similar to yours.

List Influencers: Influencers are powerful. These are people who are already in front of your target market.  People (and your target market) are spending hours a day online. What blogs, websites, thought leaders, brands, local pages and celebrities do your audience already follow? These are influencers for your brand! The action step is to put them on a Twitter list and a Facebook list so that it is simple to engage with them frequently.

Invite Email Subscribers: It’s no surprise that I love email, and it’s still very powerful. People on your list have already raised their hand to say that they love your brand and they want to hear more! Fan gating content on your Facebook page and inviting your email subscribers to get the content will no doubt increase your Facebook fans with quality prospects.

Set Up Monitoring: Every day there are millions of tweets and posts going non-stop. In your Hootsuite account, add a panel that searches for your keywords. Include your name, your company name and relevant industry keywords. This will help you know what people are saying about your industry and brand.

Search Tweet Chats: Tweet chats are a wonderful way to connect with like-minded influencers. This opens the door to partnerships and gets you in front of their audience, too.

Subscribe to Alerts: Another option in Google’s suite of business tools is Google Alerts. When you sign up for this, Google will send you an email whenever there is an article for a specific topic. I like to set Google Alerts for my name, company name, “Call for Speakers” and industry trends.

The new year is fast approaching. What’s one thing you will do to get your ducks in a row? 

For the  latest best practices update to ensure you are fluent, aware and smart on all things digital for TODAY, sign up for Online Marketing Institute's Digital Marketing Essentials Certification Program 

 


4 Things You Need To Know About The B2B Content Funnel

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Does your content do most of the selling for your company? It should. But if it doesn’t, your problem may be rooted in not having a content strategy that mirrors an effective sales funnel. In my upcoming session for the Online Marketing Institute’s “B2B Digital Marketing Essentials for 2014” series of seminars taking place tomorrow, January 28, 2014, I’ll be explaining why competitive marketers need to understand the importance of the B2B content funnel in accelerating the sales cycle.

This session is based on best practices that TDA Group uses on behalf of some of the world’s biggest and most demanding high-technology brands.

My talk describes how and why a B2B content funnel is essential for selling to discerning audiences. Here are four takeaways:

1. Content matters throughout the entire B2B buyer’s journey. 

Sales needs to focus on closing, not explaining.

Not too long ago, marketing was typically responsible for only the beginning stages of the buyer’s journey: generating interest, awareness, and leads in the form of names, titles, and phone numbers. Salespeople handled much of the rest. Today, this model has changed dramatically. Potential customers are self-educated about products and services, define their own requirements, and contact salespeople only after they’ve already made much of their decisions. 

Since content fosters understanding, it is crucial—especially in markets characterized by complex product offerings.

Content increases the value of the customer over time.

2. Recognize that the funnel is also shaped like a megaphone.

Imagine a picture of a traditional sales funnel: wide at the top where you find new leads, narrower in the middle where consideration occurs, and tightest at the bottom where deals close. Now look at the bottom of the funnel and imagine it as a mouthpiece where thought leadership content is spoken and then grows louder, changing in tone and volume as it resonates outward to increasingly larger audiences.

Tweets, teasers, and abstracts represent the shorter-form content needed for the top end of the megaphone to hook increasingly distracted audiences and draw them into your content stream. These short, concise bursts of content pique interest and induce curiosity, and help ensure new leads progress, find interest in your thought leadership content, and become ready and willing to hear it. Tweets and teasers correspond with nascent brand awareness, and lead to posts and abstracts, which lead to interest in what you have to offer—and compel customers toward deeper engagement.

Tweets lead to paragraphs, paragraphs lead to posts, and posts lead to articles and white papers. As the funnel narrows, articles, case studies, and brochures integrate with direct response and conversations. Ultimately, thought leadership content generates serious consideration and purchase decisions. Ideally, all of this content is premeditated and coordinated, and supports an effective messaging theme.

Effective content strategies must correspond with the sales funnel.

3. Drive all forms of content with thought leadership.

Effective B2B social content starts and ends with thought leadership. All those tweets, posts, and articles must have a foundation to be meaningful. Found in your meatiest content such as white papers and bylined articles, thought leadership is truly useful and hard to fake. To produce it, you must have genuine subject-matter experts in tune with the challenges that actual customers face—subject-matter experts equipped with thoughtful opinions about how to best address those very real customer challenges. 

Since that kind of expertise is rarer than it should be, prospects and customers appreciate it when they find it. When developing thought leadership content, focus on three crucial qualities:

Expert. Be genuine and deliver real value—not invented or phony—and certainly not arrogance masquerading as expertise.

Original. Make the content uniquely yours. Represent the distinctive and timely perspective your brand has on the industry, marketplace, or other topic at hand.

Comprehensive. Cover your bases frankly and honestly. You know those questions your sales team is hoping don’t get asked? Your prospects will inevitably ask them, so don’t just ignore them.

4. Understand that your goal is to sell.

The goal is sales, sales, sales. Leads and market interest are critical for getting the customer to choose your product or service, but unless your content leads prospects to the point of purchase, something’s probably broken, missing, or muted.

Discover more tactics about the B2B content funnel on Jan 28th.

Join me at the “B2B Digital Marketing Essentials for 2014” virtual event. You’ll get more details about the fundamentals of the B2B content funnel, and discover how to implement it in your own marketing practice.

 


Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing for 2014

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The Online Marketing Institute is proud to recognize 40+ digital marketing strategists, selected as the luminaries who have paved the way for digital marketing innovation and education throughout the past year.

The list is comprised of distinguished OMI educators, authors, digital strategists, contributors and speakers, known for:

  • Embracing the latest integrated digital strategies and technologies 
  • Advancing the industry through education — speaking, blogging, and teaching
  • Driving game-changing results for their clients and organizations

As the digital marketing landscape continues to evolve, it's critical that marketers embrace the latest changes, create proven best practices, drive new opportunities, and ultimately stay ahead of competitors. Through their involvement in the professional community, whether speaking, blogging, or teaching, these leaders are empowering marketers to do just that. 

In conjunction with this announcement, we asked these top digital strategists to share their best digital marketing insights for 2014. We will be releasing their insights in a series of upcoming posts: Part 1—Social Media Insights, Part 2—B2B Marketing Insights, and Part 3—Digital Marketing Insights.

Here is our annual list of 'Top 40+ Digital Strategists in Marketing' in alphabetical order:

 

1. Feras Alhlou 

Principal Consultant and Co-Founder, E-Nor, Inc.

Feras Alhlou is the principal consultant and co-founder of E-Nor, Inc., a digital analytics and marketing optimization firm serving some of the world's most recognized brands and is a leading authorized reseller of Google Analytics Premium. Feras is a blogger and a frequent speaker at industry events including eMetrics, Google Analytics User Events, Tableau User Conference and others. He is a Certified Web Analyst and a co-chair of the Digital Analytics Association (DAA) San Francisco Bay Area chapter.

 

2. Susan Baroncini-Moe

Executive Coach, Business & Marketing Strategist, Author, Business in Blue Jeans @suebmoe

Susan Baroncini-Moe is the author of the bestselling, Business in Blue Jeans: How to Have a Successful Business on Your Own Terms, in Your Own Style. She is an executive coach and a marketing consultant for B2B and the wellness and hospitality industries. She regularly speaks to audiences of all sizes and has shared the stage with business giants like Michael E. Gerber, Bob Burg, and Larry Winget, among others. Susan and her businesses have been featured in Redbook Magazine, USA Today, MSN Living, Investor’s Business Daily, Yahoo Finance, and American Express Open Forum, and she is a Guinness World Records® titleholder.

3. Brian Basilico

Director of Directions, B2b Interactive Marketing, Inc.

Brian Basilico is a nationally recognized speaker, author, trainer and adjunct professor. He brings over 30 years of marketing experience to his award-winning Internet marketing company, B2b Interactive Marketing, Inc. Brian is a syndicated blogger, and has been featured as a guest expert in Entrepreneur and Inc. magazines, as well as various news articles, radio shows, and podcasts.

4. Amanda Batista

Content Marketing Manager, Oracle Eloqua@AmandaF_Batista

As part of the Oracle Eloqua Marketing organization, Amanda drives Eloqua's major content initiatives to support thought leadership, team enablement, and educate customer communities. She also manages the award-winning 'It's All About Revenue' blog, crafting content that helps marketers and salespeople bridge their gaps and rethink technology to meaningfully engage with their communities.

5. Lisa Buyer

CEO, The Buyer Group@lisabuyer

Social PR author, evangelist, journalist and publicist. Author of Social PR Secrets and named one of the top 40 Digital Strategists for 2013, Lisa Buyer is passionate and ambitious about how public relations, social media and online marketing influence each other. She is president and CEO of The Buyer Group, an interactive public relations and social agency located in Celebration, Florida and editor for Social #PR Chat covering trends in social PR, mobile PR, brand PR and SEO PR. Lisa writes for several industry publications covering how public relations influences search and social and is a regular speaker with PubCon, SMX, ClickZLive (formerly SES) and OMI. She is also an instructor of the University of San Francisco’s online Advanced Social Media certificate program. Lisa graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism. Go Gators! Her favorite hashtags are #yoga, #sunsets and #surfing. 

 

6. Julia Campbell

Owner, J Campbell Social Marketing

Julia Claire Campbell received her degree in Journalism & Communications from Boston University and earned a Master in Public Administration from Old Dominion University as well as a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Tidewater Community College. A Beverly native, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a mom of one, and a social media marketing enthusiast, Julia helps nonprofits and small businesses maximize their impact and accomplish their missions by effectively harnessing the power and potential of online marketing and social media tools. Julia’s clients include local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and universities, and she also offers one-on-one coaching sessions, group seminars and college courses. She writes a twice-weekly blog about nonprofits and social media. Julia has been featured on Social Media Today, Business 2 Community, Forbes and The Glass Heel.


7. Karri Carlson

VP, Social Insights, Leadtail

Karri drives the technical side of Leadtail’s marketing services and in-house product development. She works closely with clients to put the right tools and platforms in place to help them achieve their online marketing and social media goals. Prior to Leadtail, Karri spent 10 years creating and delivering products at the intersection of marketing and social media for technology companies such as: Quinstreet, Friendster, Technorati, AOL and Zuberance.

 

8. Alessandra Ceresa

Director or Marketing, GreenRope

With an iPhone, MacBook and iPad on hand at all times, Alessandra’s enthusiasm for marketing and social media landed her the position as the Director of Marketing for a leading software company, GreenRope. After graduating from the University of Southern California, Alessandra gained years of experience as a Public Relations executive in both San Diego and Los Angeles. She was responsible for developing and executing marketing campaigns, both online and offline, for numerous companies across multiple industries. Her passion for small business and online marketing led her to her current position, Director of Marketing for GreenRope, and as a freelance marketing consultant, content creator, and overall marketing strategist. Alessandra has since developed her expertise to include CRM, marketing automation, and email marketing.


9. Dave Chaffey

CEO and Co-founder, Smart Insights

Dr Dave Chaffey is CEO and co-founder of Smart Insights, a digital strategy advice portal that helps businesses manage their online marketing activities to compete more effectively through practical guidance in templates, ebooks, video training, free blog posts and the weekly Emarketing Essentials newsletter. Dave is author of five bestselling books on Ecommerce including Emarketing Excellence has been recognized as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have shaped the future of marketing.

10. Ian Cleary

CEO, RazorSocial

Ian Cleary, aka ‘the social media tools guy’, is a mediapreneur, speaker and technology expert who specializes in sharing unbiased information about social media tools through his award-winning website, RazorSocial. A well-respected thought leader in his field, Ian’s background in the technology sector means he presents complex information in an accessible way. A popular choice for speaking engagements, his specialist social media knowledge and passionate personality mean that the information he shares is easy to understand, actionable, and highly entertaining. Ian has spoken at many high profile social media conferences and his writing credits include high-profile industry websites like Social Media Examiner and Marketing Profs. He has also been quoted in The New York Times.

11. Frank Days

Vice President, Marketing, Correlsense

Frank Days is the VP of marketing at Correlsense, leading the marketing team for the Application Performance Management (APM) software company. Frank received his MBA from MIT Sloan School of Management.

12. Linda Dessau

Founder, Content Mastery Guide | @lindadessau

Linda Dessau is the author of Write Your Way to More Clients Online and the founder of Content Mastery Guide. Linda has been writing for the web since 2003, creating her “You Talk, I’ll Write” service in July 2005. Today, her hands-free blogging services help small businesses attract their ideal customers with captivating content.

 


13. Barry Feldman

Owner, Feldman Creative 

Barry Feldman of Feldman Creative is a veteran copywriter, creative director and content marketing strategist. He works with clients of all sizes to create effective online marketing programs. In addition to publishing his tips and tactics at the "The Point,". Barry contributes articles to many of the web's leading publishers of marketing and social media advice. Connect with Barry on Google+.

14. Christelle Flahaux

Senior Director, Global Demand Generation, Jive Software

Christelle is a senior marketing professional with over 15 years experience in various marketing management and sales operations roles. She has expertise in sales and marketing alignment for large enterprise software teams, and management of telemarketing teams with a focus on generating highly qualified net new inquiries for the field and building programs post inquiry to nurture and warm leads that are not ready to purchase. She has an extreme focus on conversions to pipeline and revenue, not just inquiry creation, and responsibility for all marketing operations, proposals, sales forecasting, sales database maintenance, tracking, and reporting. She has performed market analysis on various industries as a basis for targeted sales programs and lead generation. Christelle also leads cross-function teams to implement and manage customer satisfaction programs for key clients, and coordinates all external and internal communications (e.g., press releases, newsletters, email blasts, event management for tradeshows, conferences, seminars, webinars, and corporate hospitality programs at sponsored events).


15. Rachel Foster

CEO and B2B Copywriter, Fresh Perspective Copywriting @CopywriterTO

Rachel Foster is the CEO of Fresh Perspective Copywriting, where she helps B2B marketers improve their response rates, clearly communicate complex messages and generate high-quality leads. Rachel shares her insights on B2B marketing in her articles for The Content Marketing Institute and Business 2 Community as well as on her Fresh Marketing Blog. When she’s not writing, Rachel enjoys Lindy Hop (swing dancing), Pilates and sailing.

 

16. Rob Fuggetta

Founder & CEO, Zuberance

Fuggetta is the Founder & CEO of Zuberance, a social media marketing company that manages and powers Brand Advocate programs for leading brands. Prior to founding Zuberance in 2008, Fuggetta was the Chief Marketing Officer at Genuity, a Verizon spin-out. He also was formerly a partner at Regis McKenna, Inc., the legendary high tech marketing and communications firm in Palo Alto, where he co-led the global Apple account. Fuggetta has spoken at dozens of industry conferences and seminars including events sponsored by the American Marketing Association (AMA), the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), TedX, the Online Marketing Summit, the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG), and more. Fuggetta also has published articles about brand advocacy in AdAge, Forbes, iMedia, AMEX Open Forum, McKinsey’s Chief Marketing and Sales Officer Forum, and elsewhere. A resident of San Carlos, CA, Fuggetta is an avid tennis player, a rabid San Francisco Giants fan, and proud father.

17. Angela Hausman

Owner, Hausman and Associates

Angela Hausman, PhD is a marketing professor at Howard University in DC. She also owns Hausman and Associates, a full-service firm operating at the intersection of marketing and social media. She blogs at Hausman Marketing Letter, where she shares marketing expertise with businesses and brands. Dr. Hausman has written over 100 scholarly articles, contributed to several books, and written an eBook on how to create social media marketing success, available free. She is a frequent contributor to Business2Community.


18. Nancy Harhut

Chief Creative Officer, Wilde Agency 

Nancy Harhut is Chief Creative Officer at Wilde Agency, where she combines marketing best practices with behavioral science in order to get people to act. She and her teams have won over 200 awards for digital and direct marketing effectiveness, including two 2013 International Echo Awards for Nationwide Insurance and TripAdvisor.com. A sought-after speaker at industry events, Harhut has shared her expertise with audiences ranging from Moscow, Russia to the US Department of Defense.

19. Carmen Hill

Content and Social Media Director, Babcock & Jenkins |@carmenhill

Carmen Hill is the Content and Social Media Director at Babcock & Jenkins, a leading B2B marketing agency, where she manages an award-winning content marketing practice and avidly pursue the best new ways to tell and share brand stories. Carmen has two decades of experience as a journalist, writer, marketer and content strategist. She is a SXSW speaker, webinar and industry roundtable presenter, guest blogger and active Twitterphile.
  

20. Kelsey Jones

Search and Social Marketing Consultant, MoxieDot | @wonderwall7

Kelsey Jones is the editor of Search Engine Journal and owner of MoxieDot, which helps clients around the world grow their social media, content, and search marketing presence. Initially going into journalism and print writing, Kelsey's B.A. in English and creative writing from Kansas State University has helped her craft content and internet marketing strategies for companies of all sizes. She has written for and worked with brands like Yelp, Gazelle, HeyWire, Under Armour, and Mizuno. Kelsey's columns have been published on Search Engine Land, Marketing Land, BlogHerald, SEMRush, ToDoist, and more. She enjoys consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.

21. Amanda Kahlow

Founder and CEO, 6Sense Insights

Amanda has run an Enterprise B2B consulting company for 13 years. 6Sense Insights built a multi-channel B2B predictive modeling methodology called "ESP". ESP predicts when companies are going to buy (from our clients), what products they are going to buy, how much they are going to buy (relative to past purchase history), and when they are going to buy.

 

22. Jason King

Owner, Jason King Consultancy | @JKconsultancy7

By analyzing his clients individual needs, unique selling points and competitive environment Jason helps position them in the marketplace and promote their strengths to gain a competitive advantage. With the belief that small is good, Jason can help to prove that for Micro-Business and SME's.

23. Kent Lewis

President, Anvil Media | @kentlewis

Kent Lewis

With a background in integrated marketing, Kent Lewis left a public relations agency in 1996 to start his career in search engine marketing. Since then, he’s helped grow businesses by connecting his clients with their constituents via the Internet. In 2000, Lewis founded Anvil Media, Inc., a digital marketing agency specializing in search engine and social media marketing for Fortune 2000 companies. Under his leadership, Anvil has received recognition from Portland Business Journal and Inc. Magazine as a Fastest Growing and Most Philanthropic Company. Kent reveals best practices for social media analytics in this OMI class, What to Measure in Social and Why.

24. Amanda Maksymiw

Content Marketing Manager,  Lattice Engines |@amandamaks

Amanda Maksymiw is the content marketing manager for Lattice Engines, a Big Data for sales and marketing company in Boston, MA. She is responsible for setting and managing the Lattice’s content marketing and social media strategies including creating, producing, and publishing engaging content. Throughout her career, she has advised and worked with several technology startups on their content strategies. In 2012, Amanda was named Content Marketing Tactician of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.

25. Jason Miller

Senior Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn

Jason Miller is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn leading the content marketing and social media strategy for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions. Previously he was the Senior Manager, Social Media Strategy and Content at Marketo where he led the company’s global social media and content strategy driving over 1 million dollars in pipeline annually. He is the author of How to Optimize Your Social Media Channels for Lead Generation, The Big Marketing Activity Book, and co-author of The Definitive Guide to Social Marketing and The Definitive Guide to Event Marketing. Jason is a regular contributor to top marketing blogs Copyblogger, Marketing Profs, Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner, Social Media Explorer, Convince and Convert, and more. Before Marketo, Jason spent more than 10 years at Sony Music entertainment developing and executing marketing campaigns around the biggest names in music. 

26. Stephanie Miller

Stephanie Miller, VP, Communications and Member Engagement, DMA |@stephanieSAM

Stephanie Miller is a relentless customer advocate and a champion for marketers creating memorable online experiences. A digital marketing expert, she helps responsible data-driven marketers connect with the people, resources and ideas they need to optimize response and revenue. She speaks and writes regularly and leads many industry initiatives as VP and “Chief Listening Officer” at DMA.

27. Jon Morris

CEO and Founder, Rise Interactive

With more than a decade's worth of digital marketing experience, Jon Morris, CEO and Founder of Rise Interactive, launched the business in Chicago in 2004. Since its inception, the company has seen triple digit growth every year. Morris is recognized as an industry thought leader who has pioneered a new discipline of online marketing—Interactive Investment Management (IIM). He has presented on main stages, workshops, webinars and more for groups such as Search Engine Strategies (SES), The New Media Optimization Summit, Chicago Association of Direct Marketing, The University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Online Marketing Summit, iStrategy and Vistage. As the CEO of Rise Interactive, Jon Morris brings to bear more than 15 years of IIM experience, including client relationships with Lexmark, Dale Carnegie Training, ULTA Cosmetics and Allstate Motor Club. Morris also serves as Instructor of Web Analytics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

28. Chris Muccio

Chief Technopologist, SFGI / Catapult Interactive Inc

Chris Muccio is a seasoned executive with a pattern of success in large businesses and start-up companies. Today, as a Hubspot Certified Partner, he has evolved with the digital world to be a leading voice in digital business development and branded content. Among his various achievements, he wrote one of the first books on LinkedIn that became an Amazon Best Seller.


29. George Musi

Head of Cross-Media Analytics, DG-MediaMind

George Musi is responsible for developing and leading DG-MediaMind’s proposition, capabilities and offering for data analytics and insights solutions for the purpose of supporting multi-screen campaign strategy and planning, measuring campaign effectiveness and impact, and optimizing campaign dollars. George has 17 years of expertise in marketing, media research, analytics, and insights consultancy. He has deep domain knowledge and experience with a variety of TV, digital (including mobile) and cross-platform research methodologies, data (such as transactional, behavioral, demographic, attitudinal, social media, CRM, etc.), measurement tools, and systems, which he has leveraged to developed research and analytic solutions (including marketing mix, optimization, predictive, attribution, etc.) to help advertisers and agencies understand campaign performance and effectiveness across platforms, devices and screens and make better media allocation decisions at strategic, tactical, and operational levels.

30. Amanda Nelson

Manager, Content, salesforce.com 

Amanda is manager of content for salesforce.com, leading a team of writers to create sales, service, marketing, and mobile content that's helpful, relevant, and lead-driving. She has a background in account management from interactive and full service advertising agencies. Amanda has spoken at over a dozen conferences and has won awards from the Direct Marketing Association, Content Marketing Institute, Publicity Club of New England, American Banker Association, New England Direct Marketing, University of Hartford and the Advertising Club of Connecticut. Amanda is passionate about content marketing, community management and border collies.


31. Susan Newman

Brand visibility designer and marketing director, Susan Newman Design Inc.

Susan Newman is celebrating 20 years in business as a brand visibility designer and marketing director. Susan Newman Design Inc., specializing in innovative branding and design for businesses, entrepreneurs and creatives, opened in fall 1993. For the past several years, this New Jersey-based businesswoman has defined herself as a brand visibility designer – a hands-on master communicator who shows companies and individuals how they can build their presence globally across all media.


32. Phil Paranicas

Director of Product Development, ThomasNet

Phil thrives in the fast-paced world of digital media where ThomasNet is serving a new generation of B2B professionals by helping their businesses connect, collaborate and grow. As the Director of New Product Development, Mr. Paranicas is responsible for creating new products and services that support the ThomasNet’s mission to help bring buyers together with sellers. His team is focused on innovating Internet-based solutions to address real-life business challenges. Completely at home in this new role, Mr. Paranicas brings 20+ years of expertise in both traditional and online B2B marketing, quality management and communications. Prior to this, Mr. Paranicas spearheaded ThomasNet’s Digital Media Team which develops effective social media, SEO and email marketing programs for the manufacturing community. He is a well-known speaker and author on all areas of digital media. Before joining ThomasNet, Mr. Paranicas was president of a leading digital marketing agency, specializing in website design, SEO and social media. Mr. Paranicas has a M.B.A. in Quality Management, and a B.A. in Management and Communications from Dowling College, Oakdale, New York.


33. Chad Pollitt

Director of Marketing, DigitalRelevance

Chad Pollitt is a decorated veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and former Army Commander; a member of a Forbes Top 100 List, and the Director of Marketing at DigitalRelevance. He's a regular contributor to the Huffington Post and has been published in dozens of newspapers, magazines, and other websites throughout the world.

 

34. Kevin Popovic

Founder, Ideahaus®

Kevin Popović is the founder of Ideahaus®, a creative communications agency that helps businesses figure out what to say and how to say it to their target markets. He is a nationally recognized sought-after speaker and author of 20YEARS Communications: 20 Leaders, 20 Questions, 100’s of Lessons, 20 leaders from different corners of the industry answer 20 questions on the evolution of communications, providing insight to where communications was, is, and will go.

35. Ramesh Ramakrishnan

Founder, RR Marketing Advisory

Ramesh Ramakrishnan, a marketing and organization culture enthusiast, is the Founder of RR Marketing Advisory and author of www.futuristCMO.com. He focuses on marketing/ad/social media technology, IT industry and emerging business models. He has held various leadership positions across EMEA marketing, 3rd party advisory and analyst relations in the enterprise information technology products and services sector.

36. Chris Raulf

Founder, Boulder SEO Marketing 

Chris Raulf is founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique online marketing agency located in beautiful Boulder, Colorado. The company assists local, national as well international clients with all of their SEO, social media and content marketing needs. Chris recently co-founded Piste Group, a business planning, marketing, sales and communication strategy consulting company and frequently presents and hosts and moderates marketing and business related events. Chris has two amazing kids, plays soccer, loves to ride the trails around Boulder, is an avid yogi and enjoys everything that Colorado has to offer. He has over two decades of hands-on online marketing consulting experience and gets a kick out of working with smaller and ambitious companies. Learn more and connect with Chris on LinkedIn.


37. Denise Roberts McKee

Chief Operating Officer, AboutFace Media

Denise McKee is the Chief Operating Officer at AboutFace Media, which creates branded documentary videos for the web. Denise’s decades of work within mobile media, gaming, and independent film industries includes teaming up with, and creating award-winning initiatives for, leading brands such as Time-Warner, NBC Universal, Bravo TV New Media, and Rachael Ray. Also a speaker, Denise brings her years of experience to conferences and seminars worldwide, with a focus on content development and marketing. 

38. Paul Roetzer

Founder and CEO, PR 20/20 @paulroetzer

Paul Roetzer is founder and CEO of PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency; author of The Marketing Agency Blueprint (Wiley); and creator of Marketing Agency Insider, the hub for a more open and collaborative agency ecosystem, and Marketing Score, a free assessment tool and marketing intelligence.


39. Ernan Roman

President, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing Corp.

Recognized as a marketing thought leader, Ernan was inducted into the Marketing Hall of Fame for creating three transformational methodologies: Voice of Customer (VoC) Relationship Research, Opt-In Marketing and Integrated Direct Marketing. He was named by Crain’s BtoB Magazine as one of the “100 most influential people in Business Marketing”. ERDM specializes in conducting Voice of Customer research to identify Customer Experience strategies that generate significant increases in response and revenue. Clients include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, NBC Universal, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp. As a leader in providing VoC research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with clients' customers and prospects to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships. Ernan’s latest book on marketing best practices is titled, “Voice of the Customer Marketing: 5-Step Process to Create Customers Who Care, Spend, and Stay”. Ernan writes the widely read and Huffington Post published blog, “Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices”. His other books include “Opt-in Marketing” and “Integrated Direct Marketing.

40. Dayna Rothman

Senior Content Marketing Manager, Marketo

Dayna Rothman is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Marketo, a leader in the marketing automation space, and author of Lead Generation for Dummies, coming out in March 2014. Dayna leads content creation and strategy at Marketo and is the managing editor for the Marketo blog.

 

 

41. Jasmine Sandler

CEO, Agent-cy Online Marketing | @jasmine_sandler

Jasmine Sandler is a veteran in digital marketing. She was recently named (2013 and 2014) as a Top 40 Global Digital Marketing Strategists by the Online Marketing Institute. She has over 15 years’ client experience in helping corporations use the web to drive online brand awareness and generate new business. Some of her clients include: Citibank Mortgage, Intercall Corporation, Interactive Edge, Doublerock Corporation and hundreds of others. She is the founder and CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing, Inc. and consults in digital strategy for mid-enterprise B2B global corporations.

 

42. Matthew Savare

Partner, Lowenstein Sandler LLP

Named as one of Variety’s “Best and Brightest” upcoming entertainment and media attorneys, Matt Savare is a trusted and dedicated advisor to his clients regarding all things digital: content, data, and advertising. Matt is a partner at Lowenstein Sandler, LLP, and he focuses his practice on whatever his clients need, which most frequently involve new and social media, digital advertising, intellectual property, technology, privacy, and entertainment issues. He is a frequent author and speaker in those areas, and has founded a technology startup in the entertainment, sports, and technology space. Learn more about these areas by enrolling in his OMI e-learning course, Intellectual Property and Social Media, and connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

43. Nick Steeves

Chief Product Officer, Wishpond

Nick Steeves, Chief Product Officer, Wishpond: Nick is Chief Product Officer at Wishpond. Wishpond makes it easy to run contests and promotions on social networks. He and his team discuss social media for small business at blog.wishpond.com

 

44. Kaila Strong

Director of Client Strategy, Vertical Measures

Kaila Strong is the Director of Client Strategy at Vertical Measures, a Phoenix based search, social and content marketing company. Kaila works with her team of internet marketing specialists to market client websites online, obtain links, and improve metrics. She also works with clients to strategize their current link building campaigns and SEO campaigns.

 

 

45. Bonnie Taylor

VP Marketing, CCS Innovations, LLC

Bonnie Taylor is the VP of Strategic Marketing with the Washington D.C. Metro based marketing firm, CCS Innovations, LLC. Her close to 20 years of experience spent growing companies and generating large-scale awareness has included working with some of the world's biggest brands, such as Coca-Cola, Revlon, Deloitte, as well as countless mid-size and smaller companies in local, national, and international markets. Ms. Taylor has taken two companies from a single office without a marketing program to worldwide growth in just a few years, earning Inc. 500 and Business Journal 'Fastest Growing Company' awards along the way. Not one to always work behind the scenes, she is an internationally published authority on marketing, branding, and corporate growth and performs extensive work with nonprofit organizations.

 

46. Pelin Thorogood

CEO and Board Director, Anametrix |@PelinT

Pelin Thorogood, a new media marketing and analytics expert, is CEO and a board director of Anametrix, the first cloud-based, real-time marketing analytics platform. Previously Pelin served as CMO of WebSideStory (acquired by Omniture/Adobe). She was named one of the '20 Women to Watch' in sales lead management both in 2011 and 2012. Pelin holds a B.S. in Operations Research, Masters in Engineering and MBA degrees, all from Cornell University, where she also serves as Executive-in-Residence for the Johnson Graduate School of Management.

 

47. Katherine Watier Ong

VP Online Strategy and Market Insights, Ketchum Inc. 

Katherine Watier Ong, a Washington DC based digital strategist with nearly ten years of experience in SEO, social media, online paid and web analytics. Katherine provides online marketing services for Ketchum's clients globally including NY State of Health, HHS, Express Scripts, Gazprom, Cleveland Clinic, Hershey, and others. She has more than 17 years of experience in communications strategy and online delivery of communications messages, including 8 years of SEO, social media, SEM, and web analytics management.

 

48. Adam Wexler

Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Insightpool

Adam Wexler is the Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Insightpool, The Leader in Social Engagement Optimization. The software helps many of the most innovative brands in the world like Home Depot, Intercontinental Hotels Group and The Weather Channel drive their social goals and develop stronger relationships with their key influencers, prospects and customers. Insightpool was spawned from the creative social media marketing tactics Wexler employed on his prior startup, GoRankem, where they sought to reach a wide audience on a non-existent marketing budget (outside of being the first successful web startup to successfully raise money via Kickstarter's crowdfunding platform). Over the years, Adam has been invited to speak in front of thousands of students and event attendees about social media and entrepreneurship. Additionally, Adam has written for a wide variety of publications such as The Huffington Post, Digiday and Direct Marketing News. At different times, Adam has also been the voice behind numerous brands on social media including Sprite, NCAA March Madness and the band Cracker.

49. Kelly Wrather

Senior Manager of Content Marketing, Kenshoo

Kelly Wrather is the Senior Manager of Content Marketing at Kenshoo, a digital marketing technology company that engineers premium solutions for search marketing, social media, and online advertising. Prior to joining Kenshoo, she helped launch the Accuen brand, the trading desk of Omnicom Media Group. A graduate of Boston University's College of Communication, her previous experience also spans social media and online community management. Kelly contributes a monthly column on SearchEngineWatch.com covering topics across search, social, and beyond.

 


State of Digital Marketing Talent & Education

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It’s time for my favorite once a year note on the State of Digital Marketing Talent & Education, built for all my colleagues in marketing, advertising and, of course, digital. We’ll take a look at what we are seeing unfold in 2014 that impacts all of us on the digital marketing skills, talent and education front here at the Online Marketing Institute.

Massive Digital Talent Gap Across all Domains of Digital

If you missed it, OMI ran a massive Digital Talent Gap study at the end of 2013, hitting big brands, agencies and the SMB, and found that nearly 90% of companies hiring were not able to find folks matching the skills they needed to execute the job well. This led to a huge debate on how to fix this problem and who will fill the education gap left by the universities.

The OMI response to this has been to build what we call “Learning Paths” in curating our eLearning library of over 400 on-demand video classes and helping folks learn a skill (say, social media marketing) from point A to Z and leave with a certificate in B2B, Small Business, Agency or New to Digital for example.

Big 2104 Team Training & eLearning Adoption for Agency & B2B Brands

For the first time in my 15-year career in digital, I have seen a massive adoption of training and continuous eLearning programs. This stems from a combination of all the press eLearning (e.g., MOOCs) is getting as well as the realization from all levels that if we don’t set some standards, baselines and true best practices in digital, we’ll suffer greatly. Part of the driving interest is deep evaluation on digital marketing strategies, as we saw enormous interest in our Digital Strategy Guide.


Encouragingly, we are seeing agencies leading the charge (ain’t that a change!) with the global eLearning Digital Essentials program,the 10,000 worldwide for leader like JWT, or highly custom courses created for the smaller B2B agency to help tie digital knowledge to client services revenue/retention activity. Not to mention folks like Caterpillar training 1,000+ dealers or Staples providing eLearning access to an entire marketing team. It’s been a banner year for folks prioritizing learning over executing. Moreover, we’re seeing Digital IQ (from our Digital IQ Assessment) scores declining for most but improving for the agency.

There’s so much more here to talk about, so if you want to continue the conversation, ping me on email or LinkedIn. 

 

Content Marketing & Analytics SkillsTop the List of Being in Demand

We are seeing a constant drum beat of content marketing needs from all levels, which was also reinforced in our Talent Gap study.  Using content marketing as a framework for great planning across multi-channel digital strategies is emerging as the leading area of interest for the B2B marketer as well as at the executional level. Analytics also stood out on everything from simple Google Analytics dashboards all the way to big data. This is a skill that is in high demand and will separate the winners from the losers on managing digital spends well.

This gets me juiced because we really made strides in providing complete coverage of every angle of Content Marketing in adding over 40 New Classes on Content Marketing to complement our Content Marketing Certification Program, as well as a nice little Content Marketing Planning Guide to support the planning efforts.

Small Businesses & Startups Gaining Upper Handin Market Share Online

In essence, small businesses are moving more nimbly and aggressively to take advantage of all the hugely impactful changes on major platforms like Google for SEO and Google+ Author Rank, Twitter and its new ad serving opportunities, Facebook Newsfeed changes as well as serious mobile responsive design and local ad and retargeting strategies.  The opportunity to level the playing field hasn’t been this good since the onset of SEO back in 1999. 

There are small business Learning Paths, certificates and an entire section that drives small business results in digital.

Managing the Younger Generation Common Challenge (& Focus) for All

Apologies to anyone who may fit this mold, but it’s a big challenge for the various marketing team managers and HR.  Over 81% of hiring managers said this is a major hurdle for them. The good news is there are some great strides being made in management structure and business knowledge being implemented, so this very smart and capable generation is molded into productive employees.

We took heed here and built a “New to Digital & Intern” program for folks to get a basic knowledge set so they can walk in the door better prepared. 

In summary, there are tons of opportunities for all of us, from Agency Client Service Heads to Brand Marketing Managers to Small Business Owners and Global Enterprise DigitalDirectors. And the Digital IQ (from our Digital IQ Assessment) scores going up across the board seems to indicate a renewed push to learn. All in all, the industry seems poised for real improvement on how we execute, drive ROI and instill true best practices. It goes without saying, but anyone who has interesting insights on these topics or needs on the learning and education side (both personally or for the company), please drop me a line.

Happy learning in 2014,

Aaron

 


3 Qualities of Super B2B Marketers: An Interview with Jasmine Sandler

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Do you and your team have what it takes to be successful B2B marketers?

In today's new world of B2B, it takes much more than a large sales force or dial list to be successful.

If you want to drive sales of epic proportions, you need to make sure you have the skills and experience necessary to make incredibly smart decisions, and be able to answer questions like:

  • What is the best way to prioritize my B2B marketing mix in 2014?
  • Or engage key decision makers through mobile?
  • Or leverage LinkedIn to generate and nurture leads?
  • Or improve the quality and quantity of my online lead gen?

That's where OMI instructor Jasmine Sandler comes in. Jasmine is the founder of Agent-cy Online Marketing, and for the past 8 years, she has been training marketing & sales professionals on the best ways to generate leads online and convert those leads into longtime customers. (Make sure to check out her OMI course on LinkedIn marketing.)

jasmine sandler

I recently interviewed Jasmine to learn more about her experience, and get her advice for transforming from the B2B professional of yesterday to the marketing superhero of tomorrow. Here's what she had to say:

1. Jasmine, how did you get started in B2B marketing? What were you doing before that?

I was entering graduate school in Miami in 1995 and started working for a small web design and development company, selling deals to local Miami businesses. Prior to that, I spent 2 years on Madison Avenue in NYC as a Media Buyer for Foote, Cone and Belding and then as a Marketing Manager for a small restaurant marketing firm, also in Manhattan. Since 1995, I have sold, build, solutioned and managed 1000’s of web projects, both for clients and other agencies.I also spent 5 years as a Data Manager at IBM Global Services.

2. What do you love most about it? What do you dislike the most about it?

Brainstorming ideas that result in audience development and working directly with clients to watch their businesses grow. I truly dislike the dishonesty in my field. I am in the process of writing a series of books on the Truth about Online Marketing.

3. Why did you decide to specialize in B2B social media and online marketing?

I have always had a strong interest and talent in B2B solution sales and marketing from my days at IBM through my sales of digital services to agencies. When I started Agent-cy in 2006, the mission was to provide an agency level of service that focused on delivering quality of service direct to the C-suite, while focusing on using the web as a cost-efficient medium. Social Media can be an excellent channel to drive up brand awareness and audience development. Couple that with effective Search Marketing and a B2B organization can truly win online. To me, that is pure marketing excellence.

4. What are the top 3 qualities of successful B2B digital marketers?

  1. A strong understanding of how decision makers use the web to obtain products and services.
  2. An advanced level of knowledge and use/experience in all levels of online marketing, including Search Marketing. E-Mail Marketing, Online Media and Social Media Marketing as Community Development.
  3. Strong analytic skills and experience in online marketing.
B2B super infographic

5. What is your best advice for brands and agencies that want to gain a competitive advantage in 2014?

Invest in a strong social media marketing team and management tools – all the way from providing current marketing managers and sales personnel with the tools and guidelines they need to be successful in using social – to acquiring solid content creators that are of the highest quality and have a true understanding of the company’s industry, business and competitive market place.

6. You train a lot of companies and professionals in social media and online marketing. Why is professional education important?

Metrics, technology and competition in our industry changes on a daily basis. For any corporate marketer or anyone who is looking to build a career in marketing, continuing education in this field is absolutely essential.

7. Now to some serious questions... what have superheroes taught you about marketing and advertising?

Be honest.

8. If you could be any superhero, who would you be?

I am a superhero 😉 — Wonderwoman and Shehulk

9. Who is your dream client?

LiveNation

10. What song best describes your work ethic?

“Lose Yourself” (Eminem 2007)

Learn the secrets of LinkedIn marketing success.

Take Jasmine's LinkedIn Marketing Crash Course now and arm yourself with proven tactics & tools to build your brand and boost your sales. You'll see rich demonstrations on how to use LinkedIn to maximize your leads, and review solid examples of LinkedIn users and influencers who are using LinkedIn as their #1 marketing channel. Take this course now.

 


How to Stop Leads from Leaking Out of Your Sales Funnel

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leaky sales funnel

In our final installment on how to develop and nurture sales-ready qualified leads (here is the last post on multi-touch email & teleprospecting), we will look at a second case study where a firm successfully incorporated a multi-touch, multi-channel marketing approach to boost sales. However, this case study is quite different than the previous B2B case study featured the glove manufacturer.

B2B Case Study: How a Software Optimization Company Stopped Warm Leads from Dropping Out of the Funnel

The product is a complex technology sale and required more fine-tuning of the strategy and tactics as the campaign progressed, as you’ll see in this case study.

The client, XYZ Software (not the real name), is a large wide-area network (WAN) software optimization company. The sales process for this category of product is complex—and not made any easier by the fact that XYZ sells to IT professionals at medium to large firms, who are extremely busy and difficult to reach. The pain point for these professionals is slow-running networks, but isolating the network speed issue is often difficult and easily trumped by daily fire-fighting situations that demand immediate attention. As a result, IT professionals may be so busy that they do not realize how poorly their network is performing until it goes down.

RELATED CLASS: How to Setup a Lead Management Process

XYZ Software had been focused on top-of-funnel marketing with email campaigns, webinars, pay-per-click (PPC), lunch-and-learn events and trade shows. As is often the case, there was no mid-funnel process in place for tele-qualifying inbound leads or generating pre-qualified sales opportunities. This resulted in a large number of unqualified “warm” suspect leads in the top of the sales funnel that either dropped out of the funnel or remained in the funnel without further attempts to qualify them. Consequently, sales was not following up on the majority of leads because they were not pre-qualified to meet the sales-ready criteria. (Figure 1 illustrates XYZ’s situation perfectly.)

Figure 1: Low-Quality Leads from Marketing Tend To Drop Out of the Lead-to-Sales Funnel

Low-Quality Leads from Marketing Tend To Drop Out of the Lead-to-Sales Funnel

Source: Forrester Research

Step 1: Identify the Problem

XYZ called us in to diagnose and figure out how to turn more “warm” leads into sales-ready qualified prospects and turn more of those prospects into customers. As we did with ABC Glove Corporation, we first identified the problem. Then, in this case, we recommended a multi-touch, multi-channel lead nurturing program that integrated a tele-qualifying process owned by marketing.

a/b testsStep 2: A/B Test Two Offers

We tested two offers: a Gartner Magic Quadrant versus an on-demand webinar/seminar featuring a Gartner analyst. We also tested three lists: the house lead file, a rental list of the primary competitor’s customers, and a webinar/seminar attendee list. Later, as the program rolled out, we also included webinar attendees and inbound responders in the lead nurturing program.

As it turned out, both offers performed equally well, splitting nearly 50/50. All of the lists were productive, but because we tracked the metrics, we were able to determine that the webinar list outperformed the others.

Step 3: Track Attempts & Touches

We tracked the number of attempts to reach IT titles for each list. The number of touches required to convert a prospect into a sales-ready lead ranged from two to nine touches, with an average of 7.51. Please note this is significantly fewer touches than the 7-13+ touch range we have been saying are required. This is directly due to the recommended messaging and creative in a combination of multi-channel outbound marketing emails integrated with tele-qualification and tele-nurturing, which raises awareness and establishes a 1:1 personal relationship with the prospect. Webinar attendance outperformed the other outbound marketing techniques with an average of 2.5 touches from us, moving prospects through the buying process more quickly than other sources.

Step 4: Leverage Data to Improve Messaging

Because we were tracking all metrics, we were able to determine that the initial messaging wasn’t resonating with prospects the way XYZ thought it would. When conversion rates don’t manifest at a satisfactory rate fairly early, it’s time to make a refinement. We addressed this quickly, listening to prospects and revising the messaging to suit. We also provided more training to the tele-qualifiers, improving their product knowledge and teaching them different ways to overcome objections.

RELATED CLASS: Enterprise Sales Predictions: How to Use Big Data to Predict Sales & Increase Revenue

We also changed the messaging about XYZ’s prime competitor. Instead of talking about the competitor as such, we repositioned XYZ’s technology as a solution to problems encountered by users of the competition’s product—a subtle yet effective way to handle the objection and move the dialog forward in the qualification process.

Step 5: Conduct Live Follow Up With Relevant Content

As part of the lead nurturing program, the calling team followed up with prospects by sending relevant informational material such as white papers and case studies as well as invitations to on-demand webinars designed to refine the sequential touch points, improving the quantity and quality of dialogues with prospects. This peer-to-peer approach helped to establish a sequence of nurturing by educating prospects on the viability of XYZ’s offerings. Prospects then began to open up about their network problems, which made them more inclined to set up a consultation meeting with the field representative.

We cannot share the actual numbers that resulted from this lead development program, but we can say that the program is still in place at XYZ Software, and the competing company has experienced a loss of market share to XYZ as a result.

Key Finding: Marketing Must Tele-Qualify Warm Leads into Qualified Leads Before Passing to Sales

In summary, traditional outbound marketing programs are insufficient to develop and deliver sales-ready qualified leads to the sales funnel. Marketing must step up to the plate and take on the responsibility of tele-qualifying warm leads into qualified leads before passing these on tosales. This is a paradigm shift for marketing and will require marketing to justify the resources required to add multi-touch nurturing and tele-qualifying to its functions. It also means that marketing must become rigorous about tracking the metrics, because in these leaner times, nobody gets more budget until a strong case has been made for the ROI of such a step. The reward is a boost in qualified leads delivered to sales (making marketing of greater value to sales), and increased sales conversion rates (of value to everyone). Multi-touch, multi-channel programs represent a way for marketing to graduate from the position of being a necessary evil to become an essential and valued player on the corporate team.

Learn how to nurture more leads to qualified with an effective marketing automation program.

Watch Marketing Automation Best Practices for Success, and get expert advice to build your case for marketing automation, select the right solution, develop the right people with the right skills, and define your implementation strategy. Get instant access to this class now.

 


5 Reasons You Are Terrible at Content Marketing

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Everybody wants to be at great at content marketing, but not many people have what it takes to truly be a great online writer.

Marketing your content online takes a lot more than just publishing a blog post and expecting everyone to follow all over themselves in reverie.

Do you have what it takes to create awesome content marketing? Find out...

RELATED CLASS: Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

content marketing statistic1. You Don't Create Content Consistently

If you will want to be terrible at content marketing, go ahead and don't create any type of content on a regular basis. If creating infographics, video blogs, podcasts, or in-depth articles is something you do monthly or quarterly, congratulations—you will make a horrible content marketer!

The core tenet of crafting online content is to just do it already. Make yourself have a publishing calendar, even if you're a one-person operation. Writtent.com has a lovely post on the '15 most life-changing editorial calendar tools', which include DivvyHQ, Trello, GoogleDocs, and SocialCast.

Why is creation important?

According to Izideo, blog content leads to 434% more indexed pages, gives websites 97% more indexed links, and to 90% of consumers find custom content useful.

2. Your Blog Design is Outdated

Making sure that your design is ecstatically pleasing and all your CMS plug-ins are current is just as important to content marketing been the type of content that you create. You can have the best content in the world, but if it is delivered on a terrible looking platform, readers will subconsciously not take it as seriously or not read it at all.

3. Your Content Is Stale

Great content goes beyond the visual layout of your content and online presence. It also means that YOU must be up to date as well. How can you create good content if you don't know what's going on in your industry? Use a RSS reader like Feedly or BlogLovin' or a news source such as Google alerts, that will let you know when headlines concerning your top keywords appear in search results. Focus on using the most up-to-date news, trends, and statistics in all of your content.

Why is updating important?

Moz reminds us that Google had a freshness update in 2011, which was measured all indexed documents for freshness, then scored each page in relation to the type of query. The freshness and relevance to current events in your content can directly impact your search engine rank.

4. You Aren't Nice to Strangers

Some companies are so protective of what they're doing online making themselves terrible networkers. In order to get the respect from others in your industry and your consumers, you have to be willing to welcome him outside opinions onto your content platforms, as well as making it a priority to get your content published elsewhere. Guest blogging is a huge part of this strategy, and it should always go both ways. In addition to regularly posting guest post on your own website, you should also be asking other websites or companies that you respect if you can publish content on their site.

content marketing friends

If you are technically competitors or are providing the same service, don't automatically throw it out. While Pepsi and Coke should it be writing content free of each other's pages, two consultants that both specialize in public speaking shouldn't be afraid to collaborate with one another.

Why is guest blogging important?

Daily Statistic reports that 57% of companies that actively guest blog have acquired a customer exclusively through a guest blog. Furthermore, guest blogging companies generate 126% more leads than businesses who don't, and online users spend three times more time reading blogs and social media content, compared to email.

5. You Don't Talk to Anyone

Just as with guest blogging, other aspects of content marketing are a two-way street. As in a terrible content marketer knows, completely ignoring comments or questions on your blog posts or other platforms, such as social media, is almost the same as not publishing any type of content at all.

If the company won't take the time to interact with their target audience on social media or content platforms, what would make a user thinks that they would give them the courtesy of great customer service when they actually buy a product? Responding to feedback and questions on the content you published should be part of your editorial calendar strategy.

Why is online response important?

Social Media Today reported that customers end up spending 20 to 40% more with a company that engage and respond to their customer service requests over social media. Additionally, 71% of consumers who get a quick responses via social media are more likely to recommend that company to other people

If you want to get out of the terrible content marketing right, the first step is: begin to care. The second step? Get passionate about the type of content you want to put online and get to it. The sooner you start crafting great content for your own platforms, as well as others, the quicker you can start engaging with your target audience.

Learn how to create high-impact content at a higher velocity.

Watch Real Time or Die: Feeding the Content Beast and see how top brands, bloggers and media outlets are producing high-impact content at higher velocity. You’ll also get expert tips to plan for and produce real-time content—and feed your own content beast. Access it now with a FREE trial to the Online Marketing Institute. Get instant access now.