Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Fri, 20 Jul 2018 18:54:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Digital Marketing Spotlight: An Interview With Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/influencer-marketing-ursula-ringham/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/06/influencer-marketing-ursula-ringham/#respond Mon, 04 Jun 2018 10:15:48 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24348 Influencer Marketing Interview Ursula Ringham

Influencer Marketing Interview Ursula Ringham

They say curiosity killed the cat, but in Ursula Ringham’s case, curiosity is her special gift—both personally and professionally.

“I’m a fiercely curious person who loves storytelling,” Ursula told me. “I guess it’s my hidden talent; I can strike up a conversation with a stranger and get them to tell me their full life story. I’ll talk to anyone. I want to know people and how they think.”

Her curiosity and “love of story” have guided her throughout her marketing career—from early positions at Adobe and Apple to self-publishing a thriller novel to her latest role as Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP*.

“I’m no millennial, but I have the millennial mindset,” she says. “You have to go after what you want. You can’t let fear decide your future. And I know if I put my mind to something, I can do it.”

As influencer marketing booms and social media marketing experiences a quasi midlife crisis, I sat down with Ursula to talk misconceptions, tools, and tips on both marketing fronts.

Q&A with SAP’s Ursula Ringham

Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP1. Tell me about yourself. How did you come into the digital marketing space and eventually join SAP?

I was in the right place at the right time. As you know, I worked at Adobe and Apple, so I had a career in high-tech early on. I actually left Apple right before the first iPhone came out, and I stayed at home with my kids for about eight years.

When it was time to get back in, honestly, no one would hire me. They’d say: “You have great experience from back in the day, but you can’t compete.” Things had changed.

But even when I was at home, I was always doing something—I did some consulting and also worked on my passion for writing. That’s when I wrote and self-published my thriller novel, “Privileged Corruption.” I took creative writing classes, attended conferences and events when I could—and this is still something I do today; attend events to continue to develop because I still have several books in me.

Then in 2012, I was talking with a girlfriend and she said she needed someone to write customer success stories. And while I didn’t have the exact experience, I could write and I thought: “I can do anything if I put my mind to it.”

So, I got a job as a contractor; someone took a chance on me. And that someone was at SAP.

2. You have extensive experience with social media. What have you found to be the universal truths of social? (The things that stay the same no matter what platform or algorithm changes occur.)

Authenticity and storytelling; you need to own your brand—but you need to do it strategically.

As an individual on social or through your brand channels, you need to share the truths about who you are in a way that connects with your audience.

For me, these are the “five truths” I share with my following:

No. 1: My work.

Tell a story that enables people to come with you on the journey. Your audience doesn’t want to hear that your company just released a new product or service. They want to know how you’re solving problems or making a difference.

No. 2: My family.

I don’t give every detail here—just sprinkle some things in. This is how people see a different side and get to know me. You have to give something personal.

No. 3: My passion.

You have to share something you love. Dogs, skiing, Star Wars, poetry—the list goes on. Share something you’re passionate about because you’ll be able to form connections with people who have the same passions.

No. 4: Sports.

Whether you’re a sports fanatic or simply tolerate them, it’s something everyone can connect with and discuss—whether it’s your child’s little league baseball game or the NBA Finals.

No. 5: Third-party voices.

It could be an article from my favorite journalist or the latest commentary on the royal wedding. The point is to share things that you and your audience find interesting.

The bottom line here is: Be authentic. Be yourself (or your brand). But be strategic.

[bctt tweet="As an individual on #socialmedia or through your brand channels, you need to share the truths about who you are in a way that connects with your audience. - @ursularingham" username="toprank"]

3. What do you think is most misunderstood about influencer marketing?

For one, people often think that influencer marketing is all about celebrities hawking a product. It’s truly not about that—especially in the B2B realm. It’s about highlighting experts who have real experience on the business challenges a brand’s audience faces.

Secondly, it’s not always about the number of followers or connections an influencer has. Some people think: “Oh my God. We have to work with this person. They have a million followers.” Your influencers have to be able to relate to your audience and that skill isn’t necessarily determined by a large following.

Thirdly, influencer marketing is not a one-and-done tactic. You want it to be for the long haul, so influencer relationships are everything. You need to dig deep to learn who your influencers are and the expertise they bring, and build a relationship by consistent and thoughtful engagement.

Lastly, influencers can be found within your own company. Your employees can be influencers. People often forget this. You can and should combine internal and external influencers.

4. What’s one “influencer marketing must” that marketers often overlook?

You must have a call to action. What’s the point? What’s your end goal? How are you defining success? Where are you sending them?

Whether your goal is brand awareness or lead gen, if you’re telling a story that has people on the edge of their seat, you need to give them a natural next step to continue their journey.

[bctt tweet="Regardless of your goal, if you’re telling a story that has people on the edge of their seat, you need to give them a natural next step to continue their journey. - @ursularingham #InfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

5. Let’s say you’ve run into a long-lost marketer friend who’s considering working with influencers. Where do you tell them to start? What do you tell them to be cautious of?

The main thing is: If you want to succeed, you have to be in it to win it. You have to be on social media, you have to be engaged, you have to follow influencers, you have to engage with them, and you have to read, watch, or listen to their content. And all of this is before, during, and after you reach out for the first ask.

When it comes to vetting who you want to work with, start by digging into their social channels.

Twitter is a great place to learn about the topics and types of content they’re interested in. LinkedIn is great for this, too, but that’s where you can really vet whether they have the expertise and background to make a partnership a good fit. Facebook and Instagram are where you can see if you really want to work with them since you’re typically able to see more personality there.

As for something to look out for, as you’re viewing their social posts, see if they’re just sharing the same things on every channel. A post on Instagram with 10 hashtags will not work on Facebook. Every channel is different and if you keep seeing the same post, it’s like: Where are you? Where’s the authentic side?

Finally, you should be very selective on who you work with. You need to make sure they’re a good fit. Sometimes I’ll actually reach out to a mutual connection or a colleague at a different company to see if they’ve worked with an influencer before and get their read on them.

[bctt tweet="If you want to succeed at #influencermarketing, you have to be in it to win it. You have to commit. - @ursularingham" username="toprank"]

6. Where do you think GDPR and data privacy as it relates to social media and influencer marketing will have biggest impact on how brands engage? (What do brands need to consider?)

GDPR is going to be the stake in the ground for all data privacy—bar none. As GDPR kicks off, we’ll start to see lawsuits and controversies in the news and people will become increasingly aware and engaged. In the U.S., we’re already becoming more aware of data privacy issues, especially after Cambridge Analytica.

But bottom line, GDPR will be really important. And as a result, our influencers will become even more important and valuable. They’re going to be our trusted brand ambassadors; our trusted voices. They’ll be a huge asset because people don’t trust brands outright—they trust people.

[bctt tweet="In light of #GDPR, influencers will become even more important and valuable. They’re going to be our trusted brand ambassadors; our trusted voices. - @ursularingham #InfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

7. What’s in your social media marketing toolbox? (What platforms, tools or best practices are your must-haves for success?)

On the personal front, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. A key best practice for me here is tailoring the content and the messaging for each platform because my audience is different for each.

In addition, I post in the moment, every day. Authenticity is important, so I rarely use scheduling tools.

Now, for the brand marketers out there, you absolutely need a social media scheduling and management tool. You need help. And there are so many tools out there like Hootsuite or Buffer, but do your research and select one that meets your brand’s needs from a management and budgetary perspective.

8. How about your influencer marketing toolbox?

Brands engaging in influencer relations and marketing need a tool to help organize, identify, and manage relationships with influencers. A spreadsheet won’t get you very far. Tools can help you keep up with what your influencers are doing and sharing, so you can regularly engage and continue to build relationships.

Like with social media management tools, there are several options like Traackr or Onalytica, so do your research and pick one that’s the best fit.

9. Finally, what are you most excited for in your new role as Head of Global Influencer Marketing for SAP?

Building a world-class influencer program that helps SAP become a Top-10 brand. And we’ll do it through innovative storytelling. We make incredibly innovative products, so we need to tell our stories in innovative ways. And working with influencers will help us do that.

I love pushing the envelope. I love innovative content. And I’m excited about what can happen when we think a little differently.

10. Any final words for other marketers out there?

In marketing, story is everything. But in order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed. Bring empathy and understanding, bring purpose, and bring insight—the latter of which influencers can certainly help with.

Finally, embrace curiosity, think and do things differently, and embed yourself in your craft if you want to innovate.

[bctt tweet=".@ursularingham's message to #marketers: Embrace curiosity, think and do things differently, and embed yourself in your craft if you want to innovate." username="toprank"]

Ready to Take the Influencer Marketing Dive?

As Ursula so eloquently said, in order to succeed at influencer marketing, you have to be in it to win it. You have to commit. So, why not start with immersing yourself in influencer marketing tips, tactics, and strategies.

Check out some of these helpful posts to get you more in the know and help you make the leap:

Finally, a big thank you to Ursula for sharing her story and insights. You rock! If you want to connect with Ursula, follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Digital Marketing Spotlight: An Interview With Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Influencer Marketing Interview Ursula Ringham

Influencer Marketing Interview Ursula Ringham They say curiosity killed the cat, but in Ursula Ringham’s case, curiosity is her special gift—both personally and professionally. “I’m a fiercely curious person who loves storytelling,” Ursula told me. “I guess it’s my hidden talent; I can strike up a conversation with a stranger and get them to tell me their full life story. I’ll talk to anyone. I want to know people and how they think.” Her curiosity and “love of story” have guided her throughout her marketing career—from early positions at Adobe and Apple to self-publishing a thriller novel to her latest role as Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP*. “I’m no millennial, but I have the millennial mindset,” she says. “You have to go after what you want. You can’t let fear decide your future. And I know if I put my mind to something, I can do it.” As influencer marketing booms and social media marketing experiences a quasi midlife crisis, I sat down with Ursula to talk misconceptions, tools, and tips on both marketing fronts.

Q&A with SAP’s Ursula Ringham

Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP1. Tell me about yourself. How did you come into the digital marketing space and eventually join SAP?

I was in the right place at the right time. As you know, I worked at Adobe and Apple, so I had a career in high-tech early on. I actually left Apple right before the first iPhone came out, and I stayed at home with my kids for about eight years. When it was time to get back in, honestly, no one would hire me. They’d say: “You have great experience from back in the day, but you can’t compete.” Things had changed. But even when I was at home, I was always doing something—I did some consulting and also worked on my passion for writing. That’s when I wrote and self-published my thriller novel, “Privileged Corruption.” I took creative writing classes, attended conferences and events when I could—and this is still something I do today; attend events to continue to develop because I still have several books in me. Then in 2012, I was talking with a girlfriend and she said she needed someone to write customer success stories. And while I didn’t have the exact experience, I could write and I thought: “I can do anything if I put my mind to it.” So, I got a job as a contractor; someone took a chance on me. And that someone was at SAP.

2. You have extensive experience with social media. What have you found to be the universal truths of social? (The things that stay the same no matter what platform or algorithm changes occur.)

Authenticity and storytelling; you need to own your brand—but you need to do it strategically. As an individual on social or through your brand channels, you need to share the truths about who you are in a way that connects with your audience. For me, these are the “five truths” I share with my following: No. 1: My work. Tell a story that enables people to come with you on the journey. Your audience doesn’t want to hear that your company just released a new product or service. They want to know how you’re solving problems or making a difference. No. 2: My family. I don’t give every detail here—just sprinkle some things in. This is how people see a different side and get to know me. You have to give something personal. No. 3: My passion. You have to share something you love. Dogs, skiing, Star Wars, poetry—the list goes on. Share something you’re passionate about because you’ll be able to form connections with people who have the same passions. No. 4: Sports. Whether you’re a sports fanatic or simply tolerate them, it’s something everyone can connect with and discuss—whether it’s your child’s little league baseball game or the NBA Finals. No. 5: Third-party voices. It could be an article from my favorite journalist or the latest commentary on the royal wedding. The point is to share things that you and your audience find interesting. The bottom line here is: Be authentic. Be yourself (or your brand). But be strategic. [bctt tweet="As an individual on #socialmedia or through your brand channels, you need to share the truths about who you are in a way that connects with your audience. - @ursularingham" username="toprank"]

3. What do you think is most misunderstood about influencer marketing?

For one, people often think that influencer marketing is all about celebrities hawking a product. It’s truly not about that—especially in the B2B realm. It’s about highlighting experts who have real experience on the business challenges a brand’s audience faces. Secondly, it’s not always about the number of followers or connections an influencer has. Some people think: “Oh my God. We have to work with this person. They have a million followers.” Your influencers have to be able to relate to your audience and that skill isn’t necessarily determined by a large following. Thirdly, influencer marketing is not a one-and-done tactic. You want it to be for the long haul, so influencer relationships are everything. You need to dig deep to learn who your influencers are and the expertise they bring, and build a relationship by consistent and thoughtful engagement. Lastly, influencers can be found within your own company. Your employees can be influencers. People often forget this. You can and should combine internal and external influencers.

4. What’s one “influencer marketing must” that marketers often overlook?

You must have a call to action. What’s the point? What’s your end goal? How are you defining success? Where are you sending them? Whether your goal is brand awareness or lead gen, if you’re telling a story that has people on the edge of their seat, you need to give them a natural next step to continue their journey. [bctt tweet="Regardless of your goal, if you’re telling a story that has people on the edge of their seat, you need to give them a natural next step to continue their journey. - @ursularingham #InfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

5. Let’s say you’ve run into a long-lost marketer friend who’s considering working with influencers. Where do you tell them to start? What do you tell them to be cautious of?

The main thing is: If you want to succeed, you have to be in it to win it. You have to be on social media, you have to be engaged, you have to follow influencers, you have to engage with them, and you have to read, watch, or listen to their content. And all of this is before, during, and after you reach out for the first ask. When it comes to vetting who you want to work with, start by digging into their social channels. Twitter is a great place to learn about the topics and types of content they’re interested in. LinkedIn is great for this, too, but that’s where you can really vet whether they have the expertise and background to make a partnership a good fit. Facebook and Instagram are where you can see if you really want to work with them since you’re typically able to see more personality there. As for something to look out for, as you’re viewing their social posts, see if they’re just sharing the same things on every channel. A post on Instagram with 10 hashtags will not work on Facebook. Every channel is different and if you keep seeing the same post, it’s like: Where are you? Where’s the authentic side? Finally, you should be very selective on who you work with. You need to make sure they’re a good fit. Sometimes I’ll actually reach out to a mutual connection or a colleague at a different company to see if they’ve worked with an influencer before and get their read on them. [bctt tweet="If you want to succeed at #influencermarketing, you have to be in it to win it. You have to commit. - @ursularingham" username="toprank"]

6. Where do you think GDPR and data privacy as it relates to social media and influencer marketing will have biggest impact on how brands engage? (What do brands need to consider?)

GDPR is going to be the stake in the ground for all data privacy—bar none. As GDPR kicks off, we’ll start to see lawsuits and controversies in the news and people will become increasingly aware and engaged. In the U.S., we’re already becoming more aware of data privacy issues, especially after Cambridge Analytica. But bottom line, GDPR will be really important. And as a result, our influencers will become even more important and valuable. They’re going to be our trusted brand ambassadors; our trusted voices. They’ll be a huge asset because people don’t trust brands outright—they trust people. [bctt tweet="In light of #GDPR, influencers will become even more important and valuable. They’re going to be our trusted brand ambassadors; our trusted voices. - @ursularingham #InfluencerMarketing" username="toprank"]

7. What’s in your social media marketing toolbox? (What platforms, tools or best practices are your must-haves for success?)

On the personal front, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. A key best practice for me here is tailoring the content and the messaging for each platform because my audience is different for each. In addition, I post in the moment, every day. Authenticity is important, so I rarely use scheduling tools. Now, for the brand marketers out there, you absolutely need a social media scheduling and management tool. You need help. And there are so many tools out there like Hootsuite or Buffer, but do your research and select one that meets your brand’s needs from a management and budgetary perspective.

8. How about your influencer marketing toolbox?

Brands engaging in influencer relations and marketing need a tool to help organize, identify, and manage relationships with influencers. A spreadsheet won’t get you very far. Tools can help you keep up with what your influencers are doing and sharing, so you can regularly engage and continue to build relationships. Like with social media management tools, there are several options like Traackr or Onalytica, so do your research and pick one that’s the best fit.

9. Finally, what are you most excited for in your new role as Head of Global Influencer Marketing for SAP?

Building a world-class influencer program that helps SAP become a Top-10 brand. And we’ll do it through innovative storytelling. We make incredibly innovative products, so we need to tell our stories in innovative ways. And working with influencers will help us do that. I love pushing the envelope. I love innovative content. And I’m excited about what can happen when we think a little differently.

10. Any final words for other marketers out there?

In marketing, story is everything. But in order to tell a compelling story, you have to be immersed. Bring empathy and understanding, bring purpose, and bring insight—the latter of which influencers can certainly help with. Finally, embrace curiosity, think and do things differently, and embed yourself in your craft if you want to innovate. [bctt tweet=".@ursularingham's message to #marketers: Embrace curiosity, think and do things differently, and embed yourself in your craft if you want to innovate." username="toprank"]

Ready to Take the Influencer Marketing Dive?

As Ursula so eloquently said, in order to succeed at influencer marketing, you have to be in it to win it. You have to commit. So, why not start with immersing yourself in influencer marketing tips, tactics, and strategies. Check out some of these helpful posts to get you more in the know and help you make the leap: Finally, a big thank you to Ursula for sharing her story and insights. You rock! If you want to connect with Ursula, follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn. Disclosure: SAP is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Digital Marketing Spotlight: An Interview With Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing, SAP appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Social Media Wiz Beverly Jackson, MGM Resorts International http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/06/behind-the-curtain-beverly-jackson/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/06/behind-the-curtain-beverly-jackson/#comments Mon, 05 Jun 2017 10:30:38 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22388 Behind the Marketing Curtain with Beverly Jackson

Behind the Marketing Curtain with Beverly Jackson

It’s no secret that social media has become an important and necessary digital marketing tactic, giving brands the opportunity to create meaningful connections with their desired audience. But as most brands have found, the secret to social success isn’t achieved with a simple click of the heels.

Most often, the road to success is long and winding, requiring smarts, courage and heart to drive your message home to your audience. Of course, many marketers experience a few wicked hiccups along the way—all of witch require creative and holistic solutions.

The good news is that you can always look north to find colorful and creative inspiration from talented marketing sorcerers—like the intelligent, witty and tenacious Beverly Jackson, Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy for MGM Resorts International.

As part of our Wizard of Oz-inspired Behind the Marketing Curtain interview series, today we’ll pull back the fabric and get to know more about how Ms. Jackson arrived in the wonderful world of marketing, and share insights that can help you navigate new lands, improve your social media strategy, and drive business value in the changing social landscape.

Enjoy!

The Woman Behind the Curtain

Beverly is a child of the Midwest, growing up in Chicago. But while the rest of the neighborhood kids were outside playing and running around, Beverly was inside with her eyes glued to the television—watching the news.

“That was my Kansas,” she said. “I was obsessed with wanting to know about everything that was happening in the world. That’s when I became a news and political junky.”

With her passion for news and politics in tow, after high school Beverly headed to Washington D.C. to attend Howard University.

“I thought I would become either a television journalist or a justice on the supreme court one day,” she recalled nostalgically.

After completing her bachelor’s of science in marketing, Beverly launched her career. But not in marketing, but in environmental policy.

“Most people pick up my career in the late-1990s when I got my first job in advertising, but I had a long career doing environmental work before that,” she said.

After working for a handful of different environmental firms, Beverly went on to get her master’s degree in public administration.

“I wanted to keep doing my environmental work and save the planet,” she said.

So, after years of environmental work, how did Beverly become the marketer she is today? Keep reading.

Following Her Yellow Brick Road

By the late-1990s, Beverly had built a successful career in the environmental space. But while working on a project in Alaska, a figurative twister rolled through.

“I got so sick that they needed to send me home.” she recalled. “I had no idea what was happening to me, and spent about four months being poked and prodded by doctors.”

“As it turned out, I have a rare blood condition, and being in the presence of harmful chemicals and contaminants took its toll,” she went on. “So, I couldn’t go back to that kind of work. At that point, I did what my parents always taught me to do: rely on education.”

When Beverly recovered, she enrolled in a Women’s Extension Program, taking a series of personal interest and career assessments to learn where to go next. One of the assessments she took was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which revealed that she was an ENTP (extroversion, intuition, thinking, perception) personality type—a category that only 2-5% of the population falls into.

“I found out I was in the completely wrong career, which I already knew—but I had fought against it,” she said with a laugh. “I found out that I needed to be involved with innovation, technology, advertising and marketing.”

“And that was my twister event,” she went on. “I stopped taking calls from recruiters about environmental positions, and put my energy into getting into advertising.”

Her first advertising position was with J. Walter Thompson, where she played a role in developing interactive advertising tools in the early days of digital. Since then, she’s worked for Interactive Search, Octagon Worldwide, The Recording Academy and Yahoo!. Today, she’s based in Las Vegas heading up content and social media strategy for MGM Resorts International.

Her Scarecrow, Tinman & Cowardly Lion

Much like the companionship Dorothy found in the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tinman, every marketer’s career journey is impacted by people who lend support and words of encouragement, and enable us to achieve our goals.

For Beverly, her Scarecrow is Evan Greene, The Recording Academy’s Chief Marketing Officer.

“Evan was always there to be my and my team’s advocate. He trusted my intellect and skills, and he believed in me,” she said.

Her Tinman, is John Reese, who was her boss and the president of Interactive Search.

“John has a heart of gold, and he always talked about having heart. And he never put me down or chastised me for keeping my passions close,” she said. “When I was leaving the company to pursue another position, he gave me a heart-shaped paper weight as a parting gift, with a note that said: ‘Do everything you do with passion.’”

Finally, her Cowardly Lion is Larry Vincent, who was her boss at Octagon Worldwide.

“He’s my cowardly lion because he taught me to be brave,” she said. “He taught me that as a marketer you have to be willing to stand up for your ideas. You have to be willing to use your voice. And you have to be able to confidently raise your hand when you think things are going wrong. Because of him, I always feel comfortable and confident in my ideas.”

[bctt tweet="As a #marketer you have to be willing to stand up for your ideas. @BevJack" username="toprank"]

Meeting the Wizard

At TopRank Marketing we believe in taking a smart, creative and results-focused approach in everything we do for our clients, as well as our own personal growth. Beverly is someone who certainly exemplifies these qualities in her work as a social media marketing wizard, being a source of insight and inspiration in the field.

So without further ado, let’s dive into Beverly’s tips for better social media marketing.

Good witch or bad witch? What’s one bad social media marketing habit marketers should drop?

Too much self-promotion. I look around social media and there are so many people labeling themselves as marketing “ninjas” or “gurus”—and using the brand they work for to propel their own personal brand or fame. But for me, that’s just getting in the way of your brand’s story—and it can backfire.

The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects—not the marketers. And the bottom line is: marketers should never get in the way of that relationship.

Let’s face it. Most brand marketers are not tasked with being a brand evangelist or ambassador. Usually, it’s their job to work behind the scenes to tell the brand’s story.

So really, what you do on your own personal channels is what you do. And it’s OK to represent your brand there. But try taking yourself out of the equation. Try not to become a team of one. Otherwise, you won’t be impactful, and you won’t be able to scale marketing solutions.

[bctt tweet="#Marketers should never get in the way of their brand's story. @BevJack" username="toprank"]

Dorothy’s ruby slippers were the key to achieving her end goal of returning home. What are a few tools you believe are key for social media marketing success?

I believe that everyone should have a robust toolkit that’s tailored to their unique business, marketing needs and budget. And that toolkit should have a few staples:

No. 1 – A measurement tool. You need a tool to measure how effective your social communications are. My tools of choice are Sprinklr or Spredfast. They both function at scale, and the companies put a lot of time into research and development. Some other useful tools out there are SocialFlow and Hootsuite.

No. 2 – An analytics tool. You need to be able to measure the impact your efforts are having on your business. I love TrackMaven for pulling out specific insights on how I’m doing against my competition, as well as how social efforts are stacking up against other marketing channels. Of course, Google Analytics or another preferred analytics tool are a must, too.

No. 3 – A multi-channel publishing and management tool. When you’re spreading your message across different channels and their respective audiences, you need a tool that allows you to publish and customize content to each of your channels. Again, my favorite tools for this are Sprinklr and Spredfast.

No. 4 – Image and video creation tools. Compelling visuals are so important from an engagement and a retention standpoint. Choose something that is scalable to your needs and budget—whether it’s a mobile app or an enterprise solution. One tool I love is Flixel—it creates moving pictures that are incredibly immersive and creative.

No. 5 – A team communications tool. Communication between team members is crucial. And if you have team members who are always on the move, sometimes you can’t catch them by phone and email isn’t fast enough. We use Slack to stay in touch, and share things in small bursts.

No. 6 – A “go-pack” with tools and resources to create content on the go. If you want to lead your followers on an experiential journey, you need to be able to grab stories in real-time and serve them up in snackable sizes. Everyone on our team has access to a variety of tools such as SLR cameras, tripods, mics and lighting kits so they can pick up what they need and get into the field quickly. All the stuff you’ve planned for is locked and loaded. But we all know that some of the best content is created in the moment. It’s the icing on the cake.

No. 7 – A kill switch. Any well-run social media marketing program needs to have a protocol in place that allows you to stop what you’re doing. For example, we’re in the hospitality industry, in a hospitality city. Our brand and messaging is fun, aspirational and designed to showcase an experience—and the last thing you want to be is tone deaf when a tragedy happens. When the Paris attacks and the Orlando nightclub tragedy happened, we deployed our kill switch. We stopped talking. We stopped selling. It would have been inappropriate to be spreading our message, when so many people were in turmoil.

[bctt tweet="Every well-run #socialmedia program needs a kill switch. @BevJack" username="toprank"]

That’s a horse of a different color. What creative tactics can marketers use to create an engaging user experience on social platforms?

Show don’t tell. In order to create an engaging user experience on social platforms, you need to be able to show users something from their perspective not yours. You need to be able to reach into their heart, put your fingers around it and feel the pulse beat.

And video, when done right, can do just that. We do a lot of video here. We’ve done short and sweet, and big, long and epic. Our brand is all about positioning entertainment as a fundamental human need. But we can’t just tell people this, we need to show them—and you need to be authentic.

[bctt tweet="You need to be able to show users something from their perspective not yours. @BevJack #socialmedia" username="toprank"]

What’s one thing you would ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? (More budget, more resources, better data?)

I would ask for more flexibility. And what I mean by that is: being more open to the possibilities of “what if?”

When you’re more flexible, you’re more willing to take risks. You’re willing to stretch your budget. You’re willing to allocate more resources. And you’re willing to step outside the prescribed way of doing things and do the amazing.

[bctt tweet="When you're more flexible you can step outside of the prescribed & do the amazing. @BevJack" username="toprank"]

We’re Off to Meet More Wizards

I’d like to sincerely thank Beverly for taking the time to open up about who she is, where she comes from and how she approaches social media and content strategy. Thank you, Beverly.

Of course, TopRank Marketing’s journey to Emerald City is just getting started. In the coming months, we’ll be bringing you more exclusive interviews and insights from industry wizards to add some smarts, heart and nerve to your marketing efforts.

Stay tuned for our next installment, my pretty!

What's one thing you'd ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Social Media Wiz Beverly Jackson, MGM Resorts International appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Behind the Marketing Curtain with Beverly Jackson

Behind the Marketing Curtain with Beverly Jackson It’s no secret that social media has become an important and necessary digital marketing tactic, giving brands the opportunity to create meaningful connections with their desired audience. But as most brands have found, the secret to social success isn’t achieved with a simple click of the heels. Most often, the road to success is long and winding, requiring smarts, courage and heart to drive your message home to your audience. Of course, many marketers experience a few wicked hiccups along the way—all of witch require creative and holistic solutions. The good news is that you can always look north to find colorful and creative inspiration from talented marketing sorcerers—like the intelligent, witty and tenacious Beverly Jackson, Vice President of Social Portfolio Strategy for MGM Resorts International. As part of our Wizard of Oz-inspired Behind the Marketing Curtain interview series, today we’ll pull back the fabric and get to know more about how Ms. Jackson arrived in the wonderful world of marketing, and share insights that can help you navigate new lands, improve your social media strategy, and drive business value in the changing social landscape. Enjoy!

The Woman Behind the Curtain

Beverly is a child of the Midwest, growing up in Chicago. But while the rest of the neighborhood kids were outside playing and running around, Beverly was inside with her eyes glued to the television—watching the news. “That was my Kansas,” she said. “I was obsessed with wanting to know about everything that was happening in the world. That’s when I became a news and political junky.” With her passion for news and politics in tow, after high school Beverly headed to Washington D.C. to attend Howard University. “I thought I would become either a television journalist or a justice on the supreme court one day,” she recalled nostalgically. After completing her bachelor’s of science in marketing, Beverly launched her career. But not in marketing, but in environmental policy. “Most people pick up my career in the late-1990s when I got my first job in advertising, but I had a long career doing environmental work before that,” she said. After working for a handful of different environmental firms, Beverly went on to get her master’s degree in public administration. “I wanted to keep doing my environmental work and save the planet,” she said. So, after years of environmental work, how did Beverly become the marketer she is today? Keep reading.

Following Her Yellow Brick Road

By the late-1990s, Beverly had built a successful career in the environmental space. But while working on a project in Alaska, a figurative twister rolled through. “I got so sick that they needed to send me home.” she recalled. “I had no idea what was happening to me, and spent about four months being poked and prodded by doctors.” “As it turned out, I have a rare blood condition, and being in the presence of harmful chemicals and contaminants took its toll,” she went on. “So, I couldn’t go back to that kind of work. At that point, I did what my parents always taught me to do: rely on education.” When Beverly recovered, she enrolled in a Women’s Extension Program, taking a series of personal interest and career assessments to learn where to go next. One of the assessments she took was the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), which revealed that she was an ENTP (extroversion, intuition, thinking, perception) personality type—a category that only 2-5% of the population falls into. “I found out I was in the completely wrong career, which I already knew—but I had fought against it,” she said with a laugh. “I found out that I needed to be involved with innovation, technology, advertising and marketing.” “And that was my twister event,” she went on. “I stopped taking calls from recruiters about environmental positions, and put my energy into getting into advertising.” Her first advertising position was with J. Walter Thompson, where she played a role in developing interactive advertising tools in the early days of digital. Since then, she’s worked for Interactive Search, Octagon Worldwide, The Recording Academy and Yahoo!. Today, she’s based in Las Vegas heading up content and social media strategy for MGM Resorts International.

Her Scarecrow, Tinman & Cowardly Lion

Much like the companionship Dorothy found in the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tinman, every marketer’s career journey is impacted by people who lend support and words of encouragement, and enable us to achieve our goals. For Beverly, her Scarecrow is Evan Greene, The Recording Academy’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Evan was always there to be my and my team’s advocate. He trusted my intellect and skills, and he believed in me,” she said. Her Tinman, is John Reese, who was her boss and the president of Interactive Search. “John has a heart of gold, and he always talked about having heart. And he never put me down or chastised me for keeping my passions close,” she said. “When I was leaving the company to pursue another position, he gave me a heart-shaped paper weight as a parting gift, with a note that said: ‘Do everything you do with passion.’” Finally, her Cowardly Lion is Larry Vincent, who was her boss at Octagon Worldwide. “He’s my cowardly lion because he taught me to be brave,” she said. “He taught me that as a marketer you have to be willing to stand up for your ideas. You have to be willing to use your voice. And you have to be able to confidently raise your hand when you think things are going wrong. Because of him, I always feel comfortable and confident in my ideas.” [bctt tweet="As a #marketer you have to be willing to stand up for your ideas. @BevJack" username="toprank"]

Meeting the Wizard

At TopRank Marketing we believe in taking a smart, creative and results-focused approach in everything we do for our clients, as well as our own personal growth. Beverly is someone who certainly exemplifies these qualities in her work as a social media marketing wizard, being a source of insight and inspiration in the field. So without further ado, let’s dive into Beverly’s tips for better social media marketing. Good witch or bad witch? What’s one bad social media marketing habit marketers should drop? Too much self-promotion. I look around social media and there are so many people labeling themselves as marketing “ninjas” or “gurus”—and using the brand they work for to propel their own personal brand or fame. But for me, that’s just getting in the way of your brand’s story—and it can backfire. The great thing about social media is that it allows brands to create one-on-one relationships with their customers and prospects—not the marketers. And the bottom line is: marketers should never get in the way of that relationship. Let’s face it. Most brand marketers are not tasked with being a brand evangelist or ambassador. Usually, it’s their job to work behind the scenes to tell the brand’s story. So really, what you do on your own personal channels is what you do. And it’s OK to represent your brand there. But try taking yourself out of the equation. Try not to become a team of one. Otherwise, you won’t be impactful, and you won’t be able to scale marketing solutions. [bctt tweet="#Marketers should never get in the way of their brand's story. @BevJack" username="toprank"] Dorothy’s ruby slippers were the key to achieving her end goal of returning home. What are a few tools you believe are key for social media marketing success? I believe that everyone should have a robust toolkit that’s tailored to their unique business, marketing needs and budget. And that toolkit should have a few staples: No. 1 – A measurement tool. You need a tool to measure how effective your social communications are. My tools of choice are Sprinklr or Spredfast. They both function at scale, and the companies put a lot of time into research and development. Some other useful tools out there are SocialFlow and Hootsuite. No. 2 – An analytics tool. You need to be able to measure the impact your efforts are having on your business. I love TrackMaven for pulling out specific insights on how I’m doing against my competition, as well as how social efforts are stacking up against other marketing channels. Of course, Google Analytics or another preferred analytics tool are a must, too. No. 3 – A multi-channel publishing and management tool. When you’re spreading your message across different channels and their respective audiences, you need a tool that allows you to publish and customize content to each of your channels. Again, my favorite tools for this are Sprinklr and Spredfast. No. 4 – Image and video creation tools. Compelling visuals are so important from an engagement and a retention standpoint. Choose something that is scalable to your needs and budget—whether it’s a mobile app or an enterprise solution. One tool I love is Flixel—it creates moving pictures that are incredibly immersive and creative. No. 5 – A team communications tool. Communication between team members is crucial. And if you have team members who are always on the move, sometimes you can’t catch them by phone and email isn’t fast enough. We use Slack to stay in touch, and share things in small bursts. No. 6 – A “go-pack” with tools and resources to create content on the go. If you want to lead your followers on an experiential journey, you need to be able to grab stories in real-time and serve them up in snackable sizes. Everyone on our team has access to a variety of tools such as SLR cameras, tripods, mics and lighting kits so they can pick up what they need and get into the field quickly. All the stuff you’ve planned for is locked and loaded. But we all know that some of the best content is created in the moment. It’s the icing on the cake. No. 7 – A kill switch. Any well-run social media marketing program needs to have a protocol in place that allows you to stop what you’re doing. For example, we’re in the hospitality industry, in a hospitality city. Our brand and messaging is fun, aspirational and designed to showcase an experience—and the last thing you want to be is tone deaf when a tragedy happens. When the Paris attacks and the Orlando nightclub tragedy happened, we deployed our kill switch. We stopped talking. We stopped selling. It would have been inappropriate to be spreading our message, when so many people were in turmoil. [bctt tweet="Every well-run #socialmedia program needs a kill switch. @BevJack" username="toprank"] That’s a horse of a different color. What creative tactics can marketers use to create an engaging user experience on social platforms? Show don’t tell. In order to create an engaging user experience on social platforms, you need to be able to show users something from their perspective not yours. You need to be able to reach into their heart, put your fingers around it and feel the pulse beat. And video, when done right, can do just that. We do a lot of video here. We’ve done short and sweet, and big, long and epic. Our brand is all about positioning entertainment as a fundamental human need. But we can’t just tell people this, we need to show them—and you need to be authentic. [bctt tweet="You need to be able to show users something from their perspective not yours. @BevJack #socialmedia" username="toprank"] What’s one thing you would ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? (More budget, more resources, better data?) I would ask for more flexibility. And what I mean by that is: being more open to the possibilities of “what if?” When you’re more flexible, you’re more willing to take risks. You’re willing to stretch your budget. You’re willing to allocate more resources. And you’re willing to step outside the prescribed way of doing things and do the amazing. [bctt tweet="When you're more flexible you can step outside of the prescribed & do the amazing. @BevJack" username="toprank"]

We’re Off to Meet More Wizards

I’d like to sincerely thank Beverly for taking the time to open up about who she is, where she comes from and how she approaches social media and content strategy. Thank you, Beverly. Of course, TopRank Marketing’s journey to Emerald City is just getting started. In the coming months, we’ll be bringing you more exclusive interviews and insights from industry wizards to add some smarts, heart and nerve to your marketing efforts. Stay tuned for our next installment, my pretty! What's one thing you'd ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Social Media Wiz Beverly Jackson, MGM Resorts International appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview with Influencer Marketing Wiz Amisha Gandhi, SAP http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/03/behind-curtain-amisha-gandhi/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/03/behind-curtain-amisha-gandhi/#comments Wed, 29 Mar 2017 10:30:20 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22079 From emerging social media channels to the rise of artificial intelligence, the exciting cyclone of change often drops us marketers into unfamiliar territory—and we have to find our way home. Thankfully, the marketing industry is flush with talented marketers leading the way, and we often look to them for tactical insights to navigate the winding [...]

The post Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview with Influencer Marketing Wiz Amisha Gandhi, SAP appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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From emerging social media channels to the rise of artificial intelligence, the exciting cyclone of change often drops us marketers into unfamiliar territory—and we have to find our way home.

Thankfully, the marketing industry is flush with talented marketers leading the way, and we often look to them for tactical insights to navigate the winding road and avoid fields of deceiving poppies. However, in our thirst more knowledge, we often don’t get to see who these leaders are in full living color.

To bridge the gap between person and marketer, we’re kicking off an exciting new “Behind the Curtain” interview series—which, if you haven’t guessed, is inspired by Dorothy Gale and the classic film, The Wizard of Oz.

In this series, we’ll take a peek behind the curtain to get know some marketing industry wizards on a more personal level, as well as gain insights that can help other marketers use their brains, hearts, courage and creativity to improve their marketing efforts and drive business value in the changing digital landscape.

Our first featured marketer is the brilliant and incredibly nice Amisha Gandhi, Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP.

Enjoy!

The Woman Behind the Curtain

Amisha was born in Bombay, India, grew up in New York, and now lives in San Francisco.

“New York is my Kansas,” Amisha said. “I’m definitely a New Yorker at heart—which is probably where most of my personality comes from.”

But Amisha didn’t always plan on being a marketer. Actually, Amisha studied both theater and biology/pre-med.

“One [degree] was for me and the other was for my parents,” she said. “I’ve always loved theater, and I think that’s where I honed the artistic part of my brain … which I definitely get to bring into marketing, especially influencer marketing.”

Amisha is also a working mom and avid traveler.

“I love to travel,” she said. “But wherever I go, I like to be a local—to be immersed in a different world and see it from a local perspective. When my son is older, I want to go to the Galapagos Islands.”

She’s also a huge Sci-Fi fan. Among some of her favorite films and TV shows are Blade Runner, Star Wars (leaving out Episodes 1, 2 and 3, of course), and Battlestar Galactica.

Battlestar Galactica is an all-time favorite,” she said. “It’s such a great story.”

Some of her other favorite flicks are Casablanca and anything by Alfred Hitchcock.

Following Her Yellow Brick Road

Amisha has had an interesting career path, starting her professional career working in a research lab for a pharmaceutical company.

“I really didn’t like it, so I quit my job and actually got a temp job as a data entry clerk at MCI,” she said.

Since then, Amisha has worked at startups, PR agencies such as Burson-Marsteller, and been a consultant to companies such as Accenture, Google, Merrill Lynch, GAP, HP and Time-Warner. Today, she’s well-known for bringing her mix of social media, communications and marketing skills together for creative campaigns and elevating executives profiles such as former CIO of SAP, Oliver Bussmann. She joined SAP team in 2010.

What was your Twister event? What moment or event put you on a path to a career in marketing?

While I working at a company that produced local market books, CitySearch.com—an online city guide and community—wanted a partnership. And I thought that was a really cool concept, and just in passing I mentioned that I’d love to work there, and ended up getting an interview.

After the interview, I showed up constantly. I brought the sales team doughnuts one day. Another day I stopped by with thank you notes. Finally, they just said “OK. Come on in and join our team. The other guy wants this job, but you want it more.”

It was a startup at the time, and when you work at a startup you wear many hats. I had a variety of jobs there and learned about marketing, sales operations, advertising, editorial, even movie promotions—you name it. But that’s how I got my start.

Dorothy found dear friends in the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tinman on her journey down the yellow brick road. Who are some of the people who’ve helped or inspired you during your career?

I have been so fortunate in my career to have worked managers, mentors and clients who’ve pushed me, guided me and inspired me.

While working at a political PR firm, I worked with an incredible PR executive named Barbara French, who taught me so much about storytelling.

Barbara was always pushing me to find that “so what” story. To this day, I still think about that. How do you tell stories that really excite and engage people? How do you find that really compelling, juicy story that people want to know about, read about or even care about? What’s the so what?

Also, one of my clients while working there was Kamala Harris—who is now Sen. Kamala Harris. Back then she was working in the city attorney’s office. She was trying to change the world, and it was so inspiring to watch.

Some others that I have to mention are Jim Dever and Penny Delgadillo Valencia here at SAP, who are great leaders and without whose support I would not have been able to build out the influencer marketing program.

It takes a community to help you build your career. I believe in nurturing talent and I’ve found it fulfilling to give back, especially to those who are early in their careers here at SAP.


It takes a community to help you build your career. I believe in nurturing talent. - @AmishaGandhi
Click To Tweet


Meeting the Wizard

At TopRank Marketing we believe in taking a smart, creative and results-focused approach in everything we do for our clients, as well as our own personal growth. Amisha is someone who certainly exemplifies these qualities in her work as an influencer marketing wizard, being a source of insight and inspiration in the field.

Good witch or bad witch? What’s a bad influencer outreach habit marketers should drop?

I think one of the worst habits is approaching influencers with a “What can you do for me?” attitude. Instead you should be approaching them with a “What can I do for you?” mentality.

If they’re a good influencer, everyone is hitting them up. So you have to be coming from a place that offers real value—and I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about personal and business value.

Influencers are trying to raise issues. They’re working to bring awareness around topics that are important to them. They’re not just there to sell your product. I’m interested in building mutually beneficial relationships for the long-term.


Influencers are not just there to sell your product. - @AmishaGandhi #influencermarketing
Click To Tweet


The Wicked Witch was defeated with a just pail of water. What’s one effective influencer marketing tactic that marketers often overlook?

I think that marketers often overlook the fact that you’re building something together with influencers. Collaboration is key, so I collaborate a lot.

Pick their brain. Ask them what value they see. Ask them what they think their audience wants to see. Ask them if they’ll help you build something amazing. When you treat them as a partner, rather than a participant, you’ll be able to create something more effective and meaningful.


Treat influencers like partners, not participants. - @AmishaGandhi #influencermarketing
Click To Tweet


Dorothy’s ruby slippers were the key to achieving her end goal of returning home. What are a few tools you believe are key for influencer marketing success?

You should absolutely have a good influencer identification tool; it’s worth the investment. We use Traackr, and that not only helps with identification, but also tracking and measurement—which is important for seeing your results beyond social media activity.

We also use VoiceStorm for the employee advocacy, and Sprinklr for social media amplification. Of course, not everyone has the resources to invest in these tools, but there are some good free tools like FollowerWonk, Klout and Hootsuite.

In the end, it’s all about being able to tie all your efforts together to show success and how that contributed to real business value—which is kind of like clicking your heels and getting you home.

What’s one thing you would ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? (More budget, more resources, better data?)

I’m always looking for ways to drive and find better data. The better the marketing insights we have, the better our results will be. So, I’d ask the marketing wizard for a tool that can bring together influencer data, insights, identification, tracking and measurement linking it back to sales—something that can bring all the external tools together.


The better the #marketing insights we have, the better our results will be. - @AmishaGandhi
Click To Tweet


We’re Off to Meet More Wizards

I’d like to sincerely thank Amisha for taking the time to open up about who she is, where she comes from and how she approaches influencer marketing. Thank you, Amisha.

Of course, TopRank Marketing’s journey to Emerald City is just getting started. In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you more exclusive interviews and insights from industry wizards to add some smarts, heart and nerve to your marketing efforts.

Stay tuned for our next installment!

What would you ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Digital Marketing Spotlight: Josh Mueller, SVP Global Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/09/digital-marketing-spotlight-josh-mueller/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/09/digital-marketing-spotlight-josh-mueller/#comments Mon, 05 Sep 2016 11:35:25 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=21022 Josh Mueller Interview

Josh Mueller Interview

Meeting and getting to know smart digital marketers is easily one of my favorite things about working in the marketing industry. I first meet Josh Mueller when he was at Director of Digital Marketing at Dell and I was presenting an integrated approach to search, social and content marketing. There was a palpable enthusiasm in the air for inbound marketing and it was exciting to see that kind of reception from a large company.

Fast forward to today and Josh is Senior Vice President Global Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet. He is definitely one of those people you want on your digital marketing team or more specifically, leading your team. He always seems to be two steps ahead, is results-focused and a genuinely nice human being.

In this interview, Josh talks about everything from career advice for fast-tracking digital marketing executives to the impressive digital marketing initiatives he's led at Dun & Bradstreet. He also talks about lessons learned, prioritizing for 2017 and examples of B2B brands doing it right.

Your career from MBA Intern at Dell to SVP at a major B2B brand in under 10 years is truly impressive. What best prepared you for that journey and what advice do you have for talented, aspiring marketing executives with eyes on a similar prize?

Looking back, I’m not sure if I was ever fully prepared, but my journey thus far certainly would not have been possible without focusing on a couple of fundamental things from the beginning.

Invest heavily in building, nurturing and leveraging real relationships. Success is impossible in a vacuum.

First, invest heavily in building, nurturing and leveraging real relationships. Success is impossible in a vacuum. The people you surround yourself with will have a significant impact on the trajectory of your career. You’ll know you’re doing this well when you realize you’re consistently willing to put more into a relationship than what you ask for in return.

Second, never take a break from learning. I read as much as possible and do so on a daily basis. If you can become a little more knowledgeable every single day, you’ll build a huge competitive advantage over time. This simple but powerful habit not only equips you to become a world-class expert within your discipline, but also allows you to see big picture trends, apply your expertise across disciplines, and prepare for the future.

I was really impressed with the Dun & Bradstreet website redesign earlier this year and what went into the real-time personalization experience. Can you share some context for the project and your expectations for such an ambitious undertaking?

This was so much fun and continues to pay dividends. What started as a traditional redesign project quickly transformed into a complete re-imagination of our brand’s digital experience. We wanted to ensure that the site truly represented the overall transformation of Dun & Bradstreet that has been progressing since our CEO, Bob Carrigan, joined the company in 2013.

To accomplish this, we needed to expand our primary online focus on SMB customers to include enterprise customers across five new lines of business, our partners and our worldwide network. From a KPI perspective, we initially wanted to maintain parity at launch and then improve from there. Fortunately, metrics were up from the very first week and continue to climb. (More information can be found here.)

Now that the new website has gone through some iterations, what have been some of your key lessons and best practices? What is on the roadmap for dnb.com going into 2017 when it comes to personalization?

It’s very typical with a major redesign to initially experience drops in your primary KPIs and that risk was even greater when we set out to completely transform our digital experience. Despite taking a data-driven approach and performing a lot of user testing, we were completely prepared to experience this drop. We formed cross-functional teams to meet daily to review the latest metrics, form hypotheses and quickly deploy tests targeted at getting everything back to parity and beyond. Fortunately, we never experienced this dip. Our metrics were up from the very first day. Because we had prepared ahead of time, we still followed the same approach, but instead of getting back to parity we were able to increase conversion rates to all-time highs.

Personalization is such a powerful customer experience and conversion optimization tool.

Personalization is such a powerful customer experience and conversion optimization tool. Most ecommerce companies have fully adopted it, but very few B2Bs focused on demand generation are doing it well. Currently, we’re personalizing dnb.com based on company size and persona. Late this year and in 2017, we plan to expand this by personalizing for specific strategic accounts as well as extending and coordinating personalization across other offline and online touchpoints.

What do the lessons you've learned tell you about how other B2B companies should be thinking in terms of digital strategy in 2017? What are some key areas to focus on and things to avoid?

Too many companies still treat their digital strategy as something separate from their overall marketing strategy. I believe Marc Mathieu from Unilever was one of the first to talk about moving away from the mindset of digital marketing as a standalone function to concentrate instead on increasing marketing effectiveness in a digital world. Making this shift is absolutely critical, but it doesn’t mean organizations should move away from hiring and training digital specialists with deep expertise. Those skills are more important than ever.

We’ve succeeded in modernizing our marketing mindset by formalizing cross-functional teams around each of our personas.

At Dun & Bradstreet, we’ve succeeded in modernizing our marketing mindset by formalizing cross-functional teams around each of our personas. Each team has experts across all the core functions such as messaging, content marketing, site strategy, outbound demand gen, SEO, communications, social media, events, etc. Organizationally, this expertise is aligned by function, but the cross-functional team operates as one on behalf of the customer with shared KPIs. This model ensures that digital strategy is always a core component of everything we do.

Today's marketers are faced with a cornucopia of options and challenges from continued emphasis on data and martech to creative opportunities with more visual and interactive content, working with influencers and investing in deeper content. What advice do you have for other senior marketing execs on prioritizing marketing tactics?

It can become overwhelming when the cornucopia of options become the focus without first implementing a framework to properly manage everything. This starts by getting back to the basics – using quality data and analytics to determine which customers or accounts to pursue, which personas to target within these accounts, and which solutions best fulfill their needs. Once these basic building blocks are in place, it’s easy to map out the customer journeys within that universe and set clear KPIs for each stage. The ultimate goal may be conversion and revenue, but the KPIs in the early stages are just as critical and allow marketers to track the progression of individuals and accounts throughout the journey.

KPIs in the early stages are just as critical (as conversion and revenue).

Using this framework as a reference, it becomes easy to see where an organization is having success and where change is needed. Will new marketing technology or a creative strategy overhaul have a bigger impact? The answer comes more easily when you can clearly see which KPI you’re trying to impact with the decision. This guides prioritization, not only for senior executives setting overall strategy and making resource decisions, but also for the teams executing the tactics.

Few marketing departments can execute well on all things they have planned. How do you balance hiring more marketing staff vs. using outside vendors and agencies? What trends do you see in terms of outsourcing vs. insourcing marketing talent?

Capacity is almost always our biggest challenge. The model I prefer – and one that I continue to see gaining traction – is to insource expertise across critical functions without making teams too large. Once you achieve this, you can leverage partnerships with agencies that bring an outside-in approach and act as an extension of your team over time. This hybrid model allows you to maintain a steady state across critical functions while maintaining the ability to dial up or dial down capacity based on current priorities.

As we get closer to 4th quarter and planning for the coming year, what are some of your top digital marketing priorities for 2017?

Our first priority is all about scale. We’ve built an amazing foundation that has enabled us to hit critical KPIs much faster than we anticipated. Now we are very focused on continuing to bend the curve and pushing the limits on how far we can take things.

Our first priority is all about scale.

The second is to continue drinking our own champagne and pushing the envelope in modern B2B marketing. I’m fortunate to work for the company that maintains the world’s largest commercial database that we continue to leverage for new use cases. We often get our hands on the latest and greatest marketing solutions before they’re widely available, which gives us a first mover advantage in predictive targeting, personalization approaches and sales acceleration techniques. Great marketing is always fun. Doing things for the first time can be even more fun.

What B2B brands' marketing do you admire most? Any examples?

Dell is definitely on the list, and I’m excited to see how its marketing team leverages the EMC acquisition. It’s amazing, looking at the amount of marketing talent that has worked at Dell at some point over the last decade, and how many individuals have gone on to become senior marketing executives or CMOs at other big brands. I certainly stay closely connected and follow those brands as well.

There are so many other great B2B brands to admire across industries for different reasons. A few that come to mind immediately are Adobe, LinkedIn, Salesforce, GE, Workday, Cisco, American Express and Accenture.

Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first thing or short reaction that comes to mind.

  • Facebook – changing the open web
  • Vine – initially interesting
  • LinkedIn – making all the right moves
  • Periscope – first mover advantage wasn’t enough
  • Twitter – one of the best, but time to evolve
  • Google+ – will its failures lead to success?
  • Snapchat – raising the bar on growth
  • YouTube – well positioned
  • Instagram – so simple yet so brilliant
  • Flickr – will it survive?

Thanks Josh!

Josh Mueller is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for Dun & Bradstreet where he has global responsibility for demand generation, digital, operations, marketing technology, creative and content. His organization is pivotal to Dun & Bradstreet’s transformation to a modern company with a focus on providing an amazing customer experience and scaling demand generation.

Prior to Dun & Bradstreet, Josh served as Director of Marketing for Dell, where he led B2B digital marketing teams responsible for demand generation, search, social media and content marketing.

Josh holds an MBA from The University of Texas and a BBA from Texas A&M University.

You can find Josh on the social web at:
LinkedIn: in/joshmueller
Twitter: @jmueller03

The post Digital Marketing Spotlight: Josh Mueller, SVP Global Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Josh Mueller Interview

Josh Mueller Interview Meeting and getting to know smart digital marketers is easily one of my favorite things about working in the marketing industry. I first meet Josh Mueller when he was at Director of Digital Marketing at Dell and I was presenting an integrated approach to search, social and content marketing. There was a palpable enthusiasm in the air for inbound marketing and it was exciting to see that kind of reception from a large company. Fast forward to today and Josh is Senior Vice President Global Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet. He is definitely one of those people you want on your digital marketing team or more specifically, leading your team. He always seems to be two steps ahead, is results-focused and a genuinely nice human being. In this interview, Josh talks about everything from career advice for fast-tracking digital marketing executives to the impressive digital marketing initiatives he's led at Dun & Bradstreet. He also talks about lessons learned, prioritizing for 2017 and examples of B2B brands doing it right. Your career from MBA Intern at Dell to SVP at a major B2B brand in under 10 years is truly impressive. What best prepared you for that journey and what advice do you have for talented, aspiring marketing executives with eyes on a similar prize? Looking back, I’m not sure if I was ever fully prepared, but my journey thus far certainly would not have been possible without focusing on a couple of fundamental things from the beginning.

Invest heavily in building, nurturing and leveraging real relationships. Success is impossible in a vacuum.

First, invest heavily in building, nurturing and leveraging real relationships. Success is impossible in a vacuum. The people you surround yourself with will have a significant impact on the trajectory of your career. You’ll know you’re doing this well when you realize you’re consistently willing to put more into a relationship than what you ask for in return. Second, never take a break from learning. I read as much as possible and do so on a daily basis. If you can become a little more knowledgeable every single day, you’ll build a huge competitive advantage over time. This simple but powerful habit not only equips you to become a world-class expert within your discipline, but also allows you to see big picture trends, apply your expertise across disciplines, and prepare for the future. I was really impressed with the Dun & Bradstreet website redesign earlier this year and what went into the real-time personalization experience. Can you share some context for the project and your expectations for such an ambitious undertaking? This was so much fun and continues to pay dividends. What started as a traditional redesign project quickly transformed into a complete re-imagination of our brand’s digital experience. We wanted to ensure that the site truly represented the overall transformation of Dun & Bradstreet that has been progressing since our CEO, Bob Carrigan, joined the company in 2013. To accomplish this, we needed to expand our primary online focus on SMB customers to include enterprise customers across five new lines of business, our partners and our worldwide network. From a KPI perspective, we initially wanted to maintain parity at launch and then improve from there. Fortunately, metrics were up from the very first week and continue to climb. (More information can be found here.) Now that the new website has gone through some iterations, what have been some of your key lessons and best practices? What is on the roadmap for dnb.com going into 2017 when it comes to personalization? It’s very typical with a major redesign to initially experience drops in your primary KPIs and that risk was even greater when we set out to completely transform our digital experience. Despite taking a data-driven approach and performing a lot of user testing, we were completely prepared to experience this drop. We formed cross-functional teams to meet daily to review the latest metrics, form hypotheses and quickly deploy tests targeted at getting everything back to parity and beyond. Fortunately, we never experienced this dip. Our metrics were up from the very first day. Because we had prepared ahead of time, we still followed the same approach, but instead of getting back to parity we were able to increase conversion rates to all-time highs.

Personalization is such a powerful customer experience and conversion optimization tool.

Personalization is such a powerful customer experience and conversion optimization tool. Most ecommerce companies have fully adopted it, but very few B2Bs focused on demand generation are doing it well. Currently, we’re personalizing dnb.com based on company size and persona. Late this year and in 2017, we plan to expand this by personalizing for specific strategic accounts as well as extending and coordinating personalization across other offline and online touchpoints. What do the lessons you've learned tell you about how other B2B companies should be thinking in terms of digital strategy in 2017? What are some key areas to focus on and things to avoid? Too many companies still treat their digital strategy as something separate from their overall marketing strategy. I believe Marc Mathieu from Unilever was one of the first to talk about moving away from the mindset of digital marketing as a standalone function to concentrate instead on increasing marketing effectiveness in a digital world. Making this shift is absolutely critical, but it doesn’t mean organizations should move away from hiring and training digital specialists with deep expertise. Those skills are more important than ever.

We’ve succeeded in modernizing our marketing mindset by formalizing cross-functional teams around each of our personas.

At Dun & Bradstreet, we’ve succeeded in modernizing our marketing mindset by formalizing cross-functional teams around each of our personas. Each team has experts across all the core functions such as messaging, content marketing, site strategy, outbound demand gen, SEO, communications, social media, events, etc. Organizationally, this expertise is aligned by function, but the cross-functional team operates as one on behalf of the customer with shared KPIs. This model ensures that digital strategy is always a core component of everything we do. Today's marketers are faced with a cornucopia of options and challenges from continued emphasis on data and martech to creative opportunities with more visual and interactive content, working with influencers and investing in deeper content. What advice do you have for other senior marketing execs on prioritizing marketing tactics? It can become overwhelming when the cornucopia of options become the focus without first implementing a framework to properly manage everything. This starts by getting back to the basics – using quality data and analytics to determine which customers or accounts to pursue, which personas to target within these accounts, and which solutions best fulfill their needs. Once these basic building blocks are in place, it’s easy to map out the customer journeys within that universe and set clear KPIs for each stage. The ultimate goal may be conversion and revenue, but the KPIs in the early stages are just as critical and allow marketers to track the progression of individuals and accounts throughout the journey.

KPIs in the early stages are just as critical (as conversion and revenue).

Using this framework as a reference, it becomes easy to see where an organization is having success and where change is needed. Will new marketing technology or a creative strategy overhaul have a bigger impact? The answer comes more easily when you can clearly see which KPI you’re trying to impact with the decision. This guides prioritization, not only for senior executives setting overall strategy and making resource decisions, but also for the teams executing the tactics. Few marketing departments can execute well on all things they have planned. How do you balance hiring more marketing staff vs. using outside vendors and agencies? What trends do you see in terms of outsourcing vs. insourcing marketing talent? Capacity is almost always our biggest challenge. The model I prefer – and one that I continue to see gaining traction – is to insource expertise across critical functions without making teams too large. Once you achieve this, you can leverage partnerships with agencies that bring an outside-in approach and act as an extension of your team over time. This hybrid model allows you to maintain a steady state across critical functions while maintaining the ability to dial up or dial down capacity based on current priorities. As we get closer to 4th quarter and planning for the coming year, what are some of your top digital marketing priorities for 2017? Our first priority is all about scale. We’ve built an amazing foundation that has enabled us to hit critical KPIs much faster than we anticipated. Now we are very focused on continuing to bend the curve and pushing the limits on how far we can take things.

Our first priority is all about scale.

The second is to continue drinking our own champagne and pushing the envelope in modern B2B marketing. I’m fortunate to work for the company that maintains the world’s largest commercial database that we continue to leverage for new use cases. We often get our hands on the latest and greatest marketing solutions before they’re widely available, which gives us a first mover advantage in predictive targeting, personalization approaches and sales acceleration techniques. Great marketing is always fun. Doing things for the first time can be even more fun. What B2B brands' marketing do you admire most? Any examples? Dell is definitely on the list, and I’m excited to see how its marketing team leverages the EMC acquisition. It’s amazing, looking at the amount of marketing talent that has worked at Dell at some point over the last decade, and how many individuals have gone on to become senior marketing executives or CMOs at other big brands. I certainly stay closely connected and follow those brands as well. There are so many other great B2B brands to admire across industries for different reasons. A few that come to mind immediately are Adobe, LinkedIn, Salesforce, GE, Workday, Cisco, American Express and Accenture. Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first thing or short reaction that comes to mind.
  • Facebook – changing the open web
  • Vine – initially interesting
  • LinkedIn – making all the right moves
  • Periscope – first mover advantage wasn’t enough
  • Twitter – one of the best, but time to evolve
  • Google+ – will its failures lead to success?
  • Snapchat – raising the bar on growth
  • YouTube – well positioned
  • Instagram – so simple yet so brilliant
  • Flickr – will it survive?
Thanks Josh! Josh Mueller is Senior Vice President of Global Marketing for Dun & Bradstreet where he has global responsibility for demand generation, digital, operations, marketing technology, creative and content. His organization is pivotal to Dun & Bradstreet’s transformation to a modern company with a focus on providing an amazing customer experience and scaling demand generation. Prior to Dun & Bradstreet, Josh served as Director of Marketing for Dell, where he led B2B digital marketing teams responsible for demand generation, search, social media and content marketing. Josh holds an MBA from The University of Texas and a BBA from Texas A&M University. You can find Josh on the social web at: LinkedIn: in/joshmueller Twitter: @jmueller03

The post Digital Marketing Spotlight: Josh Mueller, SVP Global Marketing at Dun & Bradstreet appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Digital Marketing Spotlight: Amy Lamparske, Head of Social Media at 3M http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/digital-marketing-spotlight-amy-lamparske/ Mon, 22 Aug 2016 10:00:19 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20920 Amy Lamparske

Amy Lamparske

One of the great benefits of social media is the dual effect of creating access to people of influence while helping individuals with expertise and points of view become influential themselves. One of my connections that serves as a great example of this is Amy Lamparske, Head of Global Social Media at 3M.

Local events and blogging undoubtedly created mutual awareness, but I didn't meet Amy in person until she was Director, Digital Marketing at Walmart and then again when she was Director, Digital and Social Media at General Mills. In her current role at 3M, I've been able to see Amy's thought leadership in action in situations ranging from being a keynote speaker at the first Brandwatch user conference to host of a Conference Board event on Social Media. Each time was a learning opportunity because Amy provides a view into enterprise social media marketing and advertising that is deep, insightful and fast moving. I'm not alone in this sentiment:

"Amy is a world class expert in social media strategy. She understands how to reach, influence and transform minds in the corporate setting and beyond. Genius and a fantastic execution partner!"
Kamal Manglani, currently Director at eBay

Amy has plenty of experience with large brand social media advertising, operations and governance, but I've chosen to focus on the topic of social media influencers. In this interview, Amy talks about how influencer marketing has had an impact on social social media marketing, how to activate influencers, scale influencer marketing in the enterprise and measures of success.

I believe in empowering small autonomous teams to plow through roadblocks and old school thinking.

You've worked for multiple global brands throughout your career, tell us what you’ve learned through your experiences?

Every company has so much potential in digital and social – it seems every executive leadership team sees the dollars and wants to embrace the opportunity. Change management and organizational readiness are the keys to driving transformation and enabling digital to thrive within large complex organizations. I’ve had some amazing sponsors throughout my career; a huge blessing that allowed me to have fun being a change agent - disrupting from the inside out. I’ve learned to be more patient and persistent while recognizing how best to influence, inspire and motivate others. I believe in empowering small autonomous teams to plow through roadblocks and old school thinking.

Brands don’t talk…People talk.

How are influencers, or how is influencer marketing changing your industry?

Early in my career, a close friend shared “brands don’t talk…people talk.” This remains true today – this space is about relationships not simply clicks. Plus, brands aren’t able to get as far as they once did with organic social. In terms of content creation, brands don’t need to be the experts anymore. What is shifting is we’re giving online influencers the ability, power and control to develop content on our behalf. Some large companies struggle with content creation while simply trying to remain relevant. It can be far more efficient and effective to go with a third party and look at their expertise, credibility and authority online.

Brands are partnering more and more with influencers to insert themselves, provide value or utility and share their stories. There’s tremendous value in speed to market activating the crowd. Buying behavior is shifting dramatically – we see an influencer publish content one day and the next thing we know, we are buying it. Influencers are growing trust, people relate to people like themselves, not always executives or celebrities.

How can brands best activate influencers to help share and promote brand content?

There are a lot of options for brands to partner and activate these days – technologies and solutions continue to sprout ongoing. I view partnerships both from a media standpoint as well as with customers to be a simple way to improve content performance. Demonstrate offline relationships online for transparency and reach purposes. Some brands still try to control the message and the way content is developed via influencers – the best approach is to provide appropriate direction from the start, and allow them to run with it. External ideas can be fresh and drive business growth in new ways. If you crowdsource content, embrace it and promote it even if it’s not 100% on brand.

You’ll want real friends online that have your back when negative sentiment comes knocking.

How can you scale influencer marketing at an organization?

Build an influencer or blogger network internally so the organization has a clear understanding and can tap their relationships on an ongoing basis. Ensure this isn’t simply paid influencer efforts – you’ll want real friends online that have your back when negative sentiment comes knocking.

With anything in social media, if you can’t scale it, don’t bother.

How do you know when its time to scale up with influencers?

We continue to grow within the B2B side of our organization. Some areas of the organization are new to working with influencers while other businesses have already built up relationships and programs. With anything in social media, if you can’t scale it, don’t bother. The idea is to provide something that is of huge value to be leveraged ongoing across the organization. Scale it yet be smart about how you make it relevant and customized for each individual influencer involved.

What are some of the most important measures of success for social influencer marketing?

Measures that drive business outcomes including: sales, stock performance, lead/demand generation, share of voice, enhanced sentiment breakdown and volume or mentions to influence the crowd.

I’ve seen brands invest too heavy on the paid side where it backfires eventually – brands need to balance.

Do you have any advice to share with other brand marketing executives when it comes to paid vs. relationship based influencer engagements? How do you decide?

It varies – if it’s something that simply makes sense for the brand and company to be involved with ongoing, true relationship based influencer engagements are the way to go. If you are looking to activate a chapter in your always-on book or align with a major tent pole event, product launch or seasonality; a blended approach is fine. I’ve seen brands invest too heavy on the paid side where it backfires eventually – brands need to balance this.

Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first thing or short reaction that comes to mind.

  • Facebook – Oldest yet most robust targeting
  • Vine – Short & sweet video
  • LinkedIn – B2B, requires real content marketing not simply snackable pieces
  • Periscope – Was pretty cool for six months
  • Twitter – When will you be bought? Partnership w/Google is good for SEO. Love you yet need you to be respected.
  • Google+ – Enhances SEO, good for brands w/reputation management issues, product could offer the world so much more coming from Google
  • Snapchat – Where everything is headed, wish I could just play here all day
  • YouTube – Oldie but goodie, will love you forever
  • Instagram – Requires high design, starting to provide analytics and better ads
  • Flickr –Old school photo sharing still kickin’

Thank you Amy!

You can find Amy on the social web at:
Twitter (@amylamparske)
LinkedIn (in/amylamparske)

The post Digital Marketing Spotlight: Amy Lamparske, Head of Social Media at 3M appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Amy Lamparske

Amy Lamparske One of the great benefits of social media is the dual effect of creating access to people of influence while helping individuals with expertise and points of view become influential themselves. One of my connections that serves as a great example of this is Amy Lamparske, Head of Global Social Media at 3M. Local events and blogging undoubtedly created mutual awareness, but I didn't meet Amy in person until she was Director, Digital Marketing at Walmart and then again when she was Director, Digital and Social Media at General Mills. In her current role at 3M, I've been able to see Amy's thought leadership in action in situations ranging from being a keynote speaker at the first Brandwatch user conference to host of a Conference Board event on Social Media. Each time was a learning opportunity because Amy provides a view into enterprise social media marketing and advertising that is deep, insightful and fast moving. I'm not alone in this sentiment: "Amy is a world class expert in social media strategy. She understands how to reach, influence and transform minds in the corporate setting and beyond. Genius and a fantastic execution partner!" Kamal Manglani, currently Director at eBay Amy has plenty of experience with large brand social media advertising, operations and governance, but I've chosen to focus on the topic of social media influencers. In this interview, Amy talks about how influencer marketing has had an impact on social social media marketing, how to activate influencers, scale influencer marketing in the enterprise and measures of success.

I believe in empowering small autonomous teams to plow through roadblocks and old school thinking.

You've worked for multiple global brands throughout your career, tell us what you’ve learned through your experiences? Every company has so much potential in digital and social – it seems every executive leadership team sees the dollars and wants to embrace the opportunity. Change management and organizational readiness are the keys to driving transformation and enabling digital to thrive within large complex organizations. I’ve had some amazing sponsors throughout my career; a huge blessing that allowed me to have fun being a change agent - disrupting from the inside out. I’ve learned to be more patient and persistent while recognizing how best to influence, inspire and motivate others. I believe in empowering small autonomous teams to plow through roadblocks and old school thinking.

Brands don’t talk…People talk.

How are influencers, or how is influencer marketing changing your industry? Early in my career, a close friend shared “brands don’t talk…people talk.” This remains true today – this space is about relationships not simply clicks. Plus, brands aren’t able to get as far as they once did with organic social. In terms of content creation, brands don’t need to be the experts anymore. What is shifting is we’re giving online influencers the ability, power and control to develop content on our behalf. Some large companies struggle with content creation while simply trying to remain relevant. It can be far more efficient and effective to go with a third party and look at their expertise, credibility and authority online. Brands are partnering more and more with influencers to insert themselves, provide value or utility and share their stories. There’s tremendous value in speed to market activating the crowd. Buying behavior is shifting dramatically – we see an influencer publish content one day and the next thing we know, we are buying it. Influencers are growing trust, people relate to people like themselves, not always executives or celebrities. How can brands best activate influencers to help share and promote brand content? There are a lot of options for brands to partner and activate these days – technologies and solutions continue to sprout ongoing. I view partnerships both from a media standpoint as well as with customers to be a simple way to improve content performance. Demonstrate offline relationships online for transparency and reach purposes. Some brands still try to control the message and the way content is developed via influencers – the best approach is to provide appropriate direction from the start, and allow them to run with it. External ideas can be fresh and drive business growth in new ways. If you crowdsource content, embrace it and promote it even if it’s not 100% on brand.

You’ll want real friends online that have your back when negative sentiment comes knocking.

How can you scale influencer marketing at an organization? Build an influencer or blogger network internally so the organization has a clear understanding and can tap their relationships on an ongoing basis. Ensure this isn’t simply paid influencer efforts – you’ll want real friends online that have your back when negative sentiment comes knocking.

With anything in social media, if you can’t scale it, don’t bother.

How do you know when its time to scale up with influencers? We continue to grow within the B2B side of our organization. Some areas of the organization are new to working with influencers while other businesses have already built up relationships and programs. With anything in social media, if you can’t scale it, don’t bother. The idea is to provide something that is of huge value to be leveraged ongoing across the organization. Scale it yet be smart about how you make it relevant and customized for each individual influencer involved. What are some of the most important measures of success for social influencer marketing? Measures that drive business outcomes including: sales, stock performance, lead/demand generation, share of voice, enhanced sentiment breakdown and volume or mentions to influence the crowd.

I’ve seen brands invest too heavy on the paid side where it backfires eventually – brands need to balance.

Do you have any advice to share with other brand marketing executives when it comes to paid vs. relationship based influencer engagements? How do you decide? It varies – if it’s something that simply makes sense for the brand and company to be involved with ongoing, true relationship based influencer engagements are the way to go. If you are looking to activate a chapter in your always-on book or align with a major tent pole event, product launch or seasonality; a blended approach is fine. I’ve seen brands invest too heavy on the paid side where it backfires eventually – brands need to balance this. Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first thing or short reaction that comes to mind.
  • Facebook – Oldest yet most robust targeting
  • Vine – Short & sweet video
  • LinkedIn – B2B, requires real content marketing not simply snackable pieces
  • Periscope – Was pretty cool for six months
  • Twitter – When will you be bought? Partnership w/Google is good for SEO. Love you yet need you to be respected.
  • Google+ – Enhances SEO, good for brands w/reputation management issues, product could offer the world so much more coming from Google
  • Snapchat – Where everything is headed, wish I could just play here all day
  • YouTube – Oldie but goodie, will love you forever
  • Instagram – Requires high design, starting to provide analytics and better ads
  • Flickr –Old school photo sharing still kickin’
Thank you Amy! You can find Amy on the social web at: Twitter (@amylamparske) LinkedIn (in/amylamparske)

The post Digital Marketing Spotlight: Amy Lamparske, Head of Social Media at 3M appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Content Marketing World Keynote Interview: John von Brachel, Bank of America http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/interview-john-von-brachel-bank-america/ Mon, 08 Aug 2016 10:01:24 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20836 One of the most valuable resources for just about any company is the talent, expertise and insight from internal experts and executives, especially when it comes to content marketing. However, understanding the best practices and putting them into action within a large, complex organization is another thing entirely. That’s why we are fortunate to hear from Content [...]

The post Content Marketing World Keynote Interview: John von Brachel, Bank of America appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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John von Brachel Bank of America

One of the most valuable resources for just about any company is the talent, expertise and insight from internal experts and executives, especially when it comes to content marketing. However, understanding the best practices and putting them into action within a large, complex organization is another thing entirely.

That’s why we are fortunate to hear from Content Marketing World 2016 keynote speaker John von Brachel. John has a deep editorial background at companies ranging from Time Inc. to Merrill Lynch to his current role as SVP and Content Marketing Executive at Bank of America. These roles have positioned him with very unique insight into the role of content marketing at the enterprise level.

In this interview, John talks about his editorial background, how he stays current, motivating executive participation with content and a preview of his keynote and breakout session presentations at CMWorld.

As Senior Vice President, Content Marketing Executive at Bank of America, what role does content marketing play in your responsibilities?

I manage the content marketing center of excellence within Bank of America. The content marketing center of excellence was created to help Bank of America better deliver education and insights to the audiences we care most about. That means being more efficient at creating higher quality content experiences.

“My job is to connect our content marketing teams so we can work together more seamlessly and effectively.”

For instance, my job is to connect our content marketing teams so we can work together more seamlessly and effectively, whether it’s through processes that help with collaboration, or new technology platforms that make our work more accessible and transparent.

What is great about the bank is that we have so many people who are considered experts in the investor relations industries—people want to hear their stories and what they have to say. To help make that happen, we work to package their reports and thought leadership in creative ways that makes it easy and compelling for people to access when and where they want it and, ultimately, share that content with others.

How has your editorial background best helped to prepare you for your roles in managing content marketing programs?

“Good content marketers need to have both left-brain and right-brain skills.”

I believe good content marketers need to have both left –brain and right-brain skills. It is especially important to be able to identify higher-quality content and to provide strong direction to both your internal teams and your agency partners. In fact, helping your partners and teams create great content starts with the clear and confident direction you give them. My editorial background has given me the perspective to recognize what great content looks like.

Information overload applies to content marketing advice as much as it does to consumers. What kinds of information sources do you rely on to stay sharp, current and on top of content marketing best practices?

I try to connect with peers as much as possible in and outside of the industry for best practices. I also rely heavily on agencies to inform me on what they’re seeing. I read a lot of trade publications and blogs like yours. And, of course, I attend conferences like Content Marketing World, which offers a great opportunity to connect with talented people and talk about where they see the proverbial puck is going in the content marketing industry.

I’m also a social media wonk – mostly because it helps me stay connected with my two daughters. It is important for me to know how to connect with them — I learn a ton from that.

“Learning is all about having a sense of humility – be open minded and assume there are others who know more than you.”

But to be honest, I think that learning is all about having a sense of humility – be open minded and assume there are others who know more than you. Then it’s your job to find and connect with them. That’s how I try to stay ahead.

Considering your work on ensuring internal thought leaders inform content programs, what advice do you have for other marketing executives that want to collaborate with executives more on brand content initiatives?

I’d tell them that it’s their job to socialize the value of what they’re doing and offering. I am often in meetings with the sole purpose of talking about how content marketing adds value to our business, employees and customers. And do it with empathy — these executives have a ton on their minds and their plates. Go into these meetings with the goal of solving their problems. Empathy matters.

What do you think are some of the fundamental obstacles companies face when trying to execute an integrated content marketing strategy? What are some possible solutions to those challenges?

“A compelling and consistent story allows you to build better relationships with your audiences.”

They have to have volition to create a strong strategy and to truly connect their teams and agencies teams. It takes work and resources to do this. The benefits are clear—you have a compelling and consistent story to tell, one that allows you to build better relationships with your audiences.

You can also do more to sequence these stories to your audiences in ways that keep them connected to you and your brand over longer periods of time. They are coming back to you because they value your stories and the innovative ways you are delivering them.

At this year’s Content Marketing World you are giving a keynote presentation, “Take Notice: What it Takes to Inspire Audiences and Distinguish Your Brand”. What can attendees look forward to most from this presentation?

This presentation will focus on what it means to understand your audience and to understand a new form of storytelling. I will also talk about the importance of differentiation your company through higher-quality content –and what that means as content quality evolves and changes.

You are also presenting, “How to Build an Audience-First Approach to Content Marketing”. Care to share a few of the most important takeaways?

In this presentation I will focus on contextual relevance; what it means and why is it important. In a world where people are looking for personalized information in context, every day, it’s important for brands to be contextually relevant. I’ll share my perspectives on how to do that.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Content Marketing World conference?

I’m looking forward to learning from the smart people who are there, and networking between the sessions. I am always looking for top talent, people who are doing great things with content marketing. I will attend sessions as well, looking for great ideas I can borrow or apply.

Any predictions about what the state of content marketing will be by 2020? Will it have something to do with Pokemon Go or VR?

Absolutely. Those are two good examples of audience based connection – being where and how people want to consume content.

“More companies will work directly with distinguished media brands to help tell their story.”

But it’s not just about the technology or the platform. I think you’ll see more and more companies looking to work directly with distinguished media brands to help tell their story.

Basically, it will likely move from creating a ton on your own to curating via closer media partnerships. Companies who stay close to these media companies and their audiences can go along on the ride with them. And think differently about the definition of ‘media giant.’

For example, General Electric (GE) took over Lena Dunham’s newsletter to honor women in science. That kind of partnership could happen between companies and other brandividuals as well.

Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first word or short reaction that comes to mind.

  • Facebook – Reach
  • Vine – Concise
  • LinkedIn – Career
  • Periscope – Voyeur
  • Twitter – Connected
  • Google+ – Option
  • Snapchat – Ethereal
  • YouTube – Must-see TV
  • Instagram – Moments
  • Flickr – Archives

John von Brachel is Senior Vice President, Content Marketing Executive at Bank of America.
John leads content integration for Bank of America Global Wealth and Investment Management businesses, as well as Content Marketing for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. Prior to joining Bank of America, John was Group Managing Editor at Time Inc. Content Solutions. John joined Time Inc. from Individual Investor magazine where, as senior editor, he covered equity investing. John has also served in Germany as the Foreign Correspondent for Faulkner and Gray. He earned his B.A. at Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Masters in Science from New York University.

You can connect with John on Twitter: @vonbrachel

Content Marketing World

If you would like the opportunity to learn more about an audience focused approach to content marketing as well as anything and everything else to do with content marketing, then Content Marketing World Sept 6-9 is a must attend event.  There you can learn from any of over 150 industry experts in a variety of presentations and workshops on everything from strategy and planning to content and media creation to measurement and optimizing ROI.

You can also network with a group of over 4,000 attendees from companies of all sizes. I’ve been to every CMWorld conference and it is a great networking and learning opportunity!

In case you missed one, here is a list of Content Marketing World 2016 keynote speaker interviews we’ve published:

 


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Content Marketing World Keynote Interview: Kathy Sterio, GE http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/08/interview-kathy-sterio-ge/ Mon, 01 Aug 2016 10:00:30 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20786 Update: Kathy is unable to make it to Content Marketing World and Jenifer Walsh, director of customer engagement marketing for Current, powered by GE will be taking the stage in her place.  Content Marketing within large, complex organizations is not for the faint of heart. Many big companies are legacy brands with years of history behind marketing status [...]

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Kathy Sterio GE

Update: Kathy is unable to make it to Content Marketing World and Jenifer Walsh, director of customer engagement marketing for Current, powered by GE will be taking the stage in her place. 

Content Marketing within large, complex organizations is not for the faint of heart. Many big companies are legacy brands with years of history behind marketing status quo. Today’s business environment calls for constant innovation and for marketers that can champion the necessary change, there can be significant impact.

In that context, I introduce you to Kathy Sterio from General Electric. Her time with GE has spanned several decades and undoubtedly, she has observed and championed her share share of marketing innovation.

With our agency’s client mix, this is something we are often involved with navigating and that’s why I’m really looking forward to Kathy’s keynote panel at Content Marketing World: “Content Marketing and Change Management – Making It Real“. Despite being on vacation, Kathy was kind enough to make time to answer questions about her role as a marketing innovator at GE, overcoming strategic obstacles, facilitating organizational change, predictions and the role of gamification in marketing. Yes, I asked about Pokemon Go!

Your career at GE has spanned 23 years in a mix of roles. What are some of the lessons that have best prepared you for your current role as General Manager for Product Management & Marketing for GE Lighting? What do you like best about your role?

I learned the most by taking a variety of roles in order to deeply learn about our customers and our business. I have had roles in operations as well as commercial functions and appreciate that I was able to gain new skills or deepen my understanding of our customers’ problems to solve in each one. I’ve learned that in a dynamic industry that you need to understand the market environment in order to lead through change.

I’ve learned that in a dynamic industry that you need to understand the market environment in order to lead through change.

I am thrilled about my new role leading Product Management & Marketing for GE Lighting as the industry is in the midst of a technology change to LED lighting as well as a move to “smart” products that will ultimately change buying behavior for our product. Navigating that change successfully for our customers and our business is an exciting challenge.

Congrats! You have been instrumental in repositioning GE Lighting as a software infrastructure business which is impressive given the 140 year-old, traditional light bulb history of the company. What role did content marketing play in that transformation?

Content marketing played a large role in helping us to tell the story of the transformation of our business. Lighting is often taken for granted and we needed to have our customers understand the value of their lighting fixtures as an existing infrastructure poised to be the data collection point to help them learn more about their operations.

Content marketing played a large role in helping us to tell the story of the transformation of our business

Lighting is in the perfect position for sensors, is everywhere, and is powered – a great story to tell, but one that changes the value proposition of LED lighting from just energy savings to productivity outcomes for our customers. Content marketing helped us to get that message across to our customers.

What do you think are some of the fundamental obstacles companies face when trying to execute a global content strategy? What are some possible solutions to those challenges?

Global content strategy can be tricky as many of the topics need to be executed locally. The content needs to be relevant to the specific market and meaningful to those customers. However, the tools and processes we use are the same around the globe. The way we work through this is to have a consistent set of messages that are relevant for our business and then tailor the story as needed to meet the local requirements.

A recent study by Forrester Research cites culture as the biggest barrier to CMOs’ success which dovetails nicely with the topic of your keynote panel at Content Marketing World, “Content Marketing and Change Management – Making it Real”. What broad advice can you share when it comes to inspiring organizational change needed for a strategic approach to content marketing strategy?

This is a big topic and I am looking forward to the discussion at Content Marketing World. For me it boils down to talent, proof points and making it easy for everyone to participate.

Having the right talent on the team helps to inspire change quickly.

Having the right talent on the team helps to inspire change quickly. We have opted to hire from outside of the company to ensure that we get experts to helps us on this journey rather than to develop talent from within the company. This has accelerated our learning and success.

Additionally, in order to get other functional teams bought in to our strategy, we are tracking the impact of our work and publishing success stories of how marketing influenced an order.

Finally, we are utilizing LinkedIn Elevate to make sharing our stories easy for employees and to engage their networks in our storytelling.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Content Marketing World conference?

I’m excited to learn about what’s next. This space is evolving so quickly that there is plenty to learn daily and I know that I will gain insights from the event that I can apply right away.

What advice would you have for a brand that is on the cusp of committing to a more content and customer centric approach to communications and marketing? Any suggestions on what role their first hire should be?

For a content strategy to be successful, it has to be relevant and meaningful to your audience.

I would advise everyone to start with the customer. Identifying the problem the customer is trying to solve is job one. For a content strategy to be successful, it has to be relevant and meaningful to your audience. Additionally, I would advise to hire the right talent that will help you come up to speed as quickly as possible and to invest into tools / infrastructure to execute.

There’s no shortage of content marketing advice in the industry right now from the importance of mobile experiences and predictive analytics to working with influencers on co-creation and truly measuring content marketing ROI. What sources (types) of information do you rely on to help with prioritization of approach and tactics within your marketing organization?

The key for us is to look at typical “vanity” metrics (views, downloads, forms filled…) PLUS tie them to revenue. We measure marketing effectiveness in terms of ‘marketing influenced’ revenue and deals in the pipeline. Content Marketing is one part of the story of the sale and we have worked to tie that to our lead management process.

We leverage tools like Google Analytics to help us understand which topics and keywords are resonating and to try to identify why certain pieces are more effective than others.

Any predictions about what the state of content marketing will be in 5 years? Does text still have a future?

Wow – 5 years is a long time in an area like this that is transforming rapidly. I think that the future is a blank slate and that storytelling will still be critically important as the amount of available content will be dramatically increased. It will be interesting to see how companies navigate the ability to deliver messages directly to their customers and balance their sales channels.

Eventually, I see everything being personalized and customized.

Eventually, I see everything being personalized and customized due to increased machine learning capabilities. I believe that text will still be relevant – there will be a customer who prefers text over video / graphics and those preferences will be enhanced, not lost.

What do you think about Pokemon Go? Do you see any applications for GE when it comes gamification and virtual reality for consumer marketing?

I’m completely intrigued by Pokemon Go – my son and his friends have logged a lot of miles on their bikes this summer to play at various locations around town. I think gamification has an application in our space to help customer find the proper product at the shelf. Also, virtual reality could be helpful for customers to see the impact of lighting on their environment – something a package alone cannot convey.

Now let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first word or short reaction that comes to mind.

  • Facebook – Friends
  • Vine – short
  • LinkedIn – network
  • Periscope – broadcast
  • Twitter – soundbite
  • Google+ – not on my radar
  • Snapchat – ?
  • YouTube – carpool karaoke
  • Instagram – engagement
  • Pinterest – homey
  • My Space – done

Kathy Sterio is General Manager for Product Management & Marketing for GE Lighting where she is responsible for setting and executing a growth strategy in a transforming industry within the retail channel of distribution. Prior to this role, Kathy was the Chief Marketing Officer for GE Lighting & Marketing Leader for current, powered by GE where she led global B2B global marketing efforts. Kathy’s experience includes roles in: Sourcing, Supply Chain, Pricing, Customer Service, Sales and Marketing.

Kathy is also an active member GE’s Women’s Network serving as a sponsor, mentor and advocate. She is a recipient of the Diversity MBA Award and serves on the Board of Directors for the Lake County YMCA.

Content Marketing World

Whether your business is Fortune 500 or Inc 5000, be sure you check out Content Marketing World in Cleveland, which is happening September 6-9. Over 4,000 attendees from 60 plus countries will be there right along with you – a great networking and learning opportunity!

Content Marketing World provides a cornucopia of opportunities to find answers to all the questions you might have about content marketing and is probably the highest concentration of content marketing experts, vendors and practitioners than you’ll find anywhere else in the world. It’s a must-attend event!

In case you missed one, here is a list of Content Marketing World 2016 keynote speaker interviews we’ve published:


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Content Marketing World Keynote Interview: Stephanie Losee, Visa http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/07/cmworld-interview-stephanie-losee-visa/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/07/cmworld-interview-stephanie-losee-visa/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 11:11:23 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20774 The digital world is often a small world. For example, when working with Dell on an influencer content program I met Dell’s Managing Editor at the time who seemed to be a cocktail of sophistication, intelligence and just a lovely person. She reminded me very much of Rebecca Lieb, another force of nature in the [...]

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Stephanie Losee
The digital world is often a small world. For example, when working with Dell on an influencer content program I met Dell’s Managing Editor at the time who seemed to be a cocktail of sophistication, intelligence and just a lovely person. She reminded me very much of Rebecca Lieb, another force of nature in the content marketing world. Why does this make digital a small world? Despite being based on two different coasts, they’re great friends!

This serendipitous content sage is none other than Stephanie Losee, who is now Head of Content at Visa, Corporate Communications. Along with many others, I’ve learned many important insights from Stephanie and I can’t wait to see her keynote panel at Content Marketing World in September.

In anticipation of CMWorld 2016, I reached out to Stephanie to catch up on her new role and get her current perspectives on the world of content. In this interview she discusses the most important changes in content marketing, a content report card for brands, predictions, career advice, and insight into more cross-functional content marketing success.

Oh, and she also has thoughts on what will be the ruin of Snapchat.

I’m thrilled with what I get to do every day.

You’ve had an amazing journey in your career from PC Magazine and Fortune to years later when we met while you were at Dell and now you are at Visa. When it comes to content and marketing what has stayed the same?  What has changed the most?

What has stayed the same is that brands need journalists, period. They used to need them at publications for media coverage, to tell their stories, to get the word out. Now they need them in-house, to craft and push out content that is worth their customers’ precious time.

What has changed is everything else. It’s dizzying to think of the career I imagined for myself as a baby editor at PC Mag and a tech writer at Fortune versus the life I have now. Other journalists mourn, but frankly, I’m thrilled with what I get to do every day.

What does your role as Head of Content at Visa entail? What does your day look like? What do you like best?

I learned that my favorite thing is intrapreneurship, and that’s the opportunity I have here at Visa. They’ve engaged in a variety of editorial content marketing efforts in the past, such as a financial inclusion content partnership with The Guardian, but for all intents and purposes I’m here to launch an integrated content strategy across the org.

Every day since Day 1 has been different, but then again I just passed my 100th so I’m not even close to the point where I could establish anything resembling a routine.

Brands now have the freedom to speak to their audiences directly.

One of my favorite quotes from you is, “Brands no longer need to rely exclusively on traditional publications to create content to gather audiences for advertisers. Rather, brands now have the freedom to speak to their audiences directly.” What is your report card for companies overall when it comes to creating their own audiences with content vs. relying so much on advertising in publications?

The ones that are doing it well are doing it astonishingly well. I wouldn’t say that they are creating their own audiences so much as reaching their audiences wherever they are spending time and driving clicks back to their own domains where there is more content and of course opportunities for conversion.

In the case of Visa, our traffic on Visa.com is very high—millions upon millions of visits a year—but visitors are on a fact-finding mission that can be a misfire, since they’re often hunting for cards and we don’t issue cards. My remit is to take those visitors and serve them so well that they have a reason to return.

As for advertising, I learned at POLITICO that although laypeople rue banner ads, there are a lot more types of digital advertising that still work than we think. Sponsoring Playbook, for example, is a very effective strategy for organizations that want one of the most influential audiences in the world to see their messaging.

That being said, I’m still amazed when I’m on various websites and have to X out of interruptive digital advertising. Why? Do they really think any of us is enjoying it? Getting anything out of it? Are they?

What do you think are some of the fundamental obstacles companies face when trying to actually execute on a content strategy? What are possible solutions to those challenges?

To us, it’s not early days in content marketing. Not in the least. But to many brands it’s a mystery. I think they often make an inadequate commitment, or hire the wrong person – someone who isn’t experienced or senior enough. Or they think they need a head of digital when they need a managing editor, or vice versa. It’s hard to get right if you haven’t done it before.

With content strategy, hire a change-maker who loves what they do.

More than with many other functions, with a content strategy all it really takes is one person. Hire a change-maker who loves what they do. Who knows how to make a lot with a little, and then who will take a growing budget and use it to create next-gen brand journalism that makes news on its own merits and converts viewers into customers.

Let’s say you meet someone new to a senior content role at a company and they’re asking you for baseline change management advice in that new role. What do you tell them?

I have this conversation a lot. I think that a new hire offers fresh eyes, and that’s an easy way to provide early value. Oftentimes current staffers are serving internal stakeholders at the expense of their external audiences, and for obvious reasons.

It’s important to flip the equation. What kind of content are external audiences expecting when they visit your owned channels, both content and social? What would benefit them? Ask for data about visitors and use it to inform your first few moves. Use existing staffers and resources and get to an always-on strategy that puts customers’ needs first as fast as you can. It’s very impactful.

Any career advice for those coming up from content creation to strategy and management roles?

Most content marketing aspirants I know are using LinkedIn and Glassdoor to identify existing openings and apply for them, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the best approach.

At this stage, the roles are rarely one-size-fits-all. Most successful roles are a fit on an entirely different level that often requires candidates to identify a company where their strengths and passions make the most sense and then get in, rising into roles that are created for them as their skills build.

What are you looking forward most to at Content Marketing World?

Canoodling with my far-flung content marketing peeps, in particular friends from the Danish Native Advertising Institute Jesper Laursen and Pontus Staunstrup, as well as the gang at the cutting-edge Slovenian agency PM (poslovni mediji) including Nenad Senic, Igor Savic and Primoz Inkret.

Rebecca Lieb and I joke that we are each other’s conference wives because even though she is in NYC and I’m in SF, we see each other more on the road at content marketing conferences than we do at either of our homes. And I miss Michael Brenner—I haven’t seen him since he launched Marketing Insider Group. So thank you Joe for the family reunion!

Content Marketing Tom Fishburne
Content Marketers love to create content about content marketing
. What are some of your most trusted sources of information around content and marketing to stay smart, current and inspired?

I read a ridiculous amount of content about content, and yet I always feel behind. I wouldn’t know where to start. I trust Michael Brenner and Rebecca Lieb and try not to miss anything they publish. Contently and Newscred have terrific blogs. Of course Joe Pulizzi/CMI and you.

I have a number of Google Alerts that fill my inbox daily and I have a hard time deleting them without opening them and reading at least 3 articles.

In 5 years, VR, AR, MR and some other R will be ubiquitous.

Any predictions about what the state of content marketing will be in 5 years? Is the death of text really a thing?

I can’t imagine text could die. It doesn’t make sense. We are a distracted bunch. In what universe are we going to give up the act of reading one thing while sitting in public and listening to something else—a presentation, a discussion, a conference? Even when I bump into a story that comes from a TV news station or NPR, I always scroll down to read the article. I watch a lot of videos and I listen to a number of podcasts, but these are situational behaviors.

In 5 years, VR, AR, MR and some other R will be ubiquitous. Everyone keeps telling me I’m wrong but I don’t know why they would think otherwise. [Stephanie answered these questions just prior to the explosion of Pokemon Go.]

Once commerce comes into it, we’ll be living a mixed existence that will make our obsession with our smartphones seem like a minor distraction. Perhaps naysayers are imagining us wearing giant black things on our heads and they can’t picture it. But the technology will be far more elegant.

Show how your content can solve their problem. Do nothing that doesn’t amount to a brick in the house you want to build.

At Content Marketing World you’re going to be on a keynote panel, “Content Marketing and Change Management – Making It Real‘ with Kathy Sterio, CMO at GE. Can you share a tip for how companies can be more strategic and cross-functional in their content efforts?

Show them how your content can solve their problem. Offer them some of your budget. Lower the bar. Make it easy. Play nice. And do it all with a three-year plan in mind. Do nothing that doesn’t amount to a brick in the house you want to build. Brick by brick my citizens, brick by brick.

Wordcloud

Last, let’s play a little social network word association. After each platform, share the first word or short reaction that comes to mind.

  • Facebook – Home. I live there. But I hate what their algorithms do to reduce the richness of my feed.
  • Vine – I should think about it more than I do
  • LinkedIn – Is it snarky of me to wish it were more elegant, more beautiful, more engaging, more functional? It’s a vital component of any good content strategy.
  • Periscope – Trying to figure out if it will survive Facebook Live
  • Twitter – Please add features fast. Why haven’t they already?
  • Google+ –  Male. So, not even a little bit.
  • Snapchat –  Kids. Mine are devoted. I’m afraid the oldsters will ruin it, me included.
  • YouTube –  Thank God for you. Makes the world go round.
  • Instagram –  I wish I were a power user but I keep posting my pics on FB instead. I’ll get there eventually.
  • Flickr –  Core to getting my job done back at Dell
  • Pinterest –  My personal bulletin board, but I don’t interact much with other people’s content
  • MySpace – Ancient history

Stephanie Losee is the head of content at Visa. Her previous two roles were head of brand content at POLITICO, where she launched their custom content studio, and Managing Editor of Dell, where she directed Dell’s editorial content strategy and formalized Dell’s role as a brand publisher. The Holmes Report named her one of the Top 25 Innovators of 2015. She is a former writer at Fortune and editor at PC Magazine.

Follow Stephanie on Twitter at: @slosee

Content Marketing World
Better yet, be sure you register for Content Marketing World, which is happening September 6-9 in Cleveland. CMWorld is where you can learn from Stephanie plus over 200 speakers right along with over 4,000 other attendees from over 500 different companies. Along with Stephanie, you can connect with a Who’s Who list of content marketing experts from major brands, agencies and vendors.

On a personal note, I have attended and presented at every CMWorld conference since it was founded and there’s good reason why this is the largest content marketing conference in the world. If your work comes anywhere near content marketing and communications, CMWorld is a must-attend event.

I hope to see you there!

In case you missed one, here is a list of Content Marketing World 2016 keynote speaker interviews we’ve published:


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Healthcare Marketer Interview: Rob Birgfeld, AVP, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at Inova http://www.toprankblog.com/2016/05/healthcare-marketer-rob-birgfeld/ Thu, 12 May 2016 10:30:58 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=20438 In today’s world, marketers in all industries are working hard to keep up with technological innovation and changing consumer trends. But for some marketers, major shifts in the very foundation of their industry are presenting difficult hurdles as well as great opportunities. Yes. I’m referring to you healthcare marketers out there. Healthcare marketers are contending [...]

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Rob-Birgfeld

In today’s world, marketers in all industries are working hard to keep up with technological innovation and changing consumer trends. But for some marketers, major shifts in the very foundation of their industry are presenting difficult hurdles as well as great opportunities. Yes. I’m referring to you healthcare marketers out there.

Healthcare marketers are contending with an evolving industry landscape that not only involves new programs and regulations to abide by, but also new consumer expectations.

With that in mind, TopRank Marketing has tapped into the expertise of marketing veteran Rob Birgfeld, AVP and Chief Digital Marketing Officer at Inova, a nonprofit healthcare system based in Falls Church, Virginia. In this interview, Rob talks about how he came to the world of healthcare marketing, what he sees as the top three industry trends, and how his team is using digital marketing tactics to create a better experience for their audience.

You’ve worked in Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) marketing, media and nonprofits. What led you to the world of digital marketing for healthcare, and what lessons have you learned from your past experiences that help you lead the digital team at Inova?

I’d be lying if I said I knew what I was getting into when I started this journey into healthcare. I had an idea, and I knew that meaningful change, solutions and strategies could be implemented to an end-user eager for a better experience. In short, healthcare was (and still is) attractive to me because the opportunities to address consumer demand are vast.

If I’ve taken anything from other industries, it’s how to bootstrap — roll your sleeves up, deploy and fail as fast as you can. Not only is there great demand in healthcare — there’s scale. Quick wins/losses are possible in even the largest healthcare organization — but they are often buried in larger complex proposals or solutions. Pull out the quick tests, the quick wins and losses — and learn.

What does the digital marketing team at Inova look like? How do you divide and conquer your initiatives and tasks? It looks like you have been focusing your team’s efforts on driving consumer participation and engagement.

I have a team of about 8 and we split amongst content development, web production and functional expertise in email, social media, digital media and CRM. We primarily serve our “clients” as an internal agency of sorts, responding to requests for new products including websites, apps, campaigns, etc. But we make it a point to set strategies and deploy projects that move us in the direction our organization needs to go to remain competitive and innovative.

What have been your biggest challenges and successes?

The biggest challenges we face are around integration with large and/or disparate systems. Lack of integration leaves the patient or consumer with a fragmented experience, where continuity and consistency are impossible. Where we can get our arms around the entirety of a “digital patient journey” we can deliver a superior experience. Our greatest successes have been examples of organizational and technical integrations — bringing about great experience. One example of that has been the release of our physician ratings and reviews on Inova.org. It represented a truly coordinated effort and generated a truly differentiated and valuable tool for consumers looking for data to help them choose the right physicians.

What are three trends that you see as being specific for healthcare marketing?

  1. Consumerism. We’re moving from talking about being patient-centered to acting and building products and experiences with the consumer directly in the middle.
  1. Transparency. This is an extension of consumerism, and actually features three components — patient provided input via ratings and reviews; pricing transparency, performance and quality transparency. This will redefine the provider discovery process for consumers regardless of whether it occurs on owned digital properties or third party sites. It’s going to happen — and we have to be ready.
  1. Digital Experience. Generally speaking, there is a shift from just web or mobile strategy to a more holistic recognition of the “digital experience.” This means moving beyond just “digital marketing” as a standalone function and working collaboratively or on a wider scale to deliver solutions for today’s digital natives that see the digital experience as just as important as the physical experience.

What are some marketing technology tools that you’ve found work or that you would recommend to other healthcare marketers?

Most of the time, it is less about the tools than the execution and implementation of the tools. Free solutions are still amongst the most consequential for even enterprise-level marketers — and I think getting the most out of Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and keyword tools like Moz are critical. Some of the tools we utilize for directory management are indispensable — including directly via Google My Business or with tools like MozLocal to help manage the accuracy of data for our physicians, programs and facilities. Whatever your ESP or CRM, make sure they’re taken advantage of and working together.

What is the top priority that you think healthcare marketers should focus on this year?

Accuracy. I often say that directory management is the least sexy, but maybe most important job of a healthcare marketer. As consumers redefine how they find and choose providers, optimizing your listings wherever or however they may discover so the information is accurate, rich and optimized is essential. Marketers have a tendency to focus on the target not the intake — but having the right link, number, and address is what we should be fixing before any other work is done.

How do you stay current on marketing and technology and what information sources do you find most useful?

I tend to fixate on SEO and local focused blogs and newsletters, but still have an affinity for all the SmartBrief products since they help me sift through the noise. I’m increasingly dependent on LinkedIn as a source for ideas and content, but make sure to continue to learn via webinars, demos and occasionally an immersive course with General Assembly.

Any last words of advice for our readers?

The digital space is so fast moving, don’t ever give yourself too much credit. There is always, always, always someone who knows more than you. A thirst for learning new technologies, new platforms, analytical approaches and exploration will keep you, your projects and your strategies relevant and honest.

Thanks for sharing all your insights, Rob!

You can find Rob on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Are you a healthcare marketer? What are some of the trends you’re seeing in the healthcare industry? Tell us in the comments section below.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2016. | Healthcare Marketer Interview: Rob Birgfeld, AVP, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at Inova | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Digital Marketing Spotlight: John Bell, VP Enterprise Digital Marketing at Travelers http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/11/digital-marketing-john-bell/ Wed, 25 Nov 2015 13:21:14 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=19539 Star light, star bright, which digital marketer is next in our spotlight? Well, it’s John Bell of course, Vice President of Enterprise Digital Marketing at Travelers. John joined Travelers after 13 years at Ogilvy & Mather where he founded Social@Ogilvy, a global social and digital marketing practice. There, John drove digital and social strategy and programs for major [...]

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Digital Marketing Spotlight

Star light, star bright, which digital marketer is next in our spotlight? Well, it’s John Bell of course, Vice President of Enterprise Digital Marketing at Travelers.

John joined Travelers after 13 years at Ogilvy & Mather where he founded Social@Ogilvy, a global social and digital marketing practice. There, John drove digital and social strategy and programs for major brands including Ford, Nestlé, IBM, DuPont and more.

In this interview, John talks about his transition from the big agency world to a big brand, lessons learned, innovation, data, martech, content, hiring and digital marketing priorities for 2016. So put on your shades, no not really, and dig in:

John H Bell, TravelersYou made a pretty big change from Managing Director at Social@Ogilvy to VP Enterprise Marketing at Travelers. What are some of the most transferable lessons you’ve learned moving from agency head to a senior marketing executive for a brand?

There are some differences between my experience at Ogilvy and now leading Enterprise Digital Marketing for Travelers. Building a capability globally to serve many brands, many business models in an agency environment is one thing. Developing a new digital marketing discipline that is designed to help sell property and casualty insurance at the same time is another.

There are two lessons learned that I am applying every day at Travelers:

  1. The importance of establishing a learning and innovative culture within my team. We hire talented learners who have some key technical expertise – data-driven marketing, content creation, social media marketing and more – and they are willing to share that expertise. We all teach and learn, and we never feel like we know enough.
  2. Working in a matrix. It forces you to be thoughtful about socializing ideas, explaining and supporting your POV and being sensitive to the concerns of other business leaders and the goals they are measured against.

Without question, you are a digital pioneer, having had many opportunities to develop new ways of marketing and put them into practice. Which of those innovations are you proudest of?

We recently launched the Travelers Engagement Center. This is the nerve center of our digital marketing team.

We surround ourselves with data displays that tell us how our content, advertising, search and social media are performing. This helps us live the dream of data-driven marketing. Not only does it inform decisions we have to make every day, these big windows into performance spark conversations within our team that helps uncover regular insights.

It’s a terrifically different way to work.

You’ve talked about the importance of putting social and data-driven content into action. What are some steps or best practices you can share on how marketers can make data a bigger part of what informs their marketing strategy? Any examples worth sharing?

We hold weekly content marketing reviews. Our entire team comes together to look at the past two weeks of marketing performance and then looks ahead about two weeks. This shorter view helps us quickly look at the data and make decisions to strengthen an approach now, not during the next quarter.

We watch trends on content. We might see an unusual spike of interest around business continuity planning content. That gives us the chance to dig in and promote that with even more targeted media.

We saw a keen interest in cold weather planning content for business and consumers as early as October this year. We jumped on that with a quick paid and owned campaign. Different disciplines discuss the insights coming out of the data. That discussion and interaction is key.

What advice can you give to marketing executives on making marketing technology choices? Do you prefer specialty tools or all purpose?

I am a big believer in creating a meaningful marketing technology strategy to guide choices in “martech.” We all inherit a bunch of point solutions and if we are lucky these are pretty good platforms. But without a view of the marketing capabilities you want to develop and that are key to the business, it is too hard to choose technologies that will serve as a good foundation.

Creating that martech strategy starts with identifying those core marketing capabilities that you must get better and better at. From that, you have a better view of what technology you need.

For instance, ‘cultivating increasingly qualified leads that convert into business’ might be a priority. There’s a lot in that statement, especially the ‘increasingly qualified’ part which implies that you use data to refine the value of actual leads. Focusing on tech that will strengthen that then becomes the focus.

Strategy first.

How do you balance hiring more marketing staff vs. using outside vendors and agencies? What trends to you see in terms of outsourcing vs. insourcing marketing talent?

This is a great question as I see things changing quite a bit.

There’s great value in creating a ‘network team.’  This can span different groups within a company and also ‘partners’ from other companies. We need nimble teams that can grow and flex based upon what we learn. We also need a lot of fresh thinking pretty much all of the time.

That being said, what I turn to from our agency partners is changing. We have a focus on content marketing. That content is so close to our expertise that it is difficult for us to outsource much of that content.

Likewise, our data operation requires data sourcing from several places within Travelers. So, that is also difficult to outsource. I do look for help with media planning  – being up on all of the new choices like new data partners for targeting. I also look for specific creative help around defined projects. We have some terrific agency partners, and I definitely think of them as part of the team.

What are some of the priorities you think digital marketers should focus on in 2016?

Different brands are at different places in their marketing journey. It’s tough to generalize where marketers should focus. If you just read the marketing trades, you would think we are all spinning up these hugely sophisticated data-driven, technology-laden organizations.

It’s important to be  appropriately focused on the mobile experience, shifting from advertising to content (and other ways to deliver customer value), and integrating social media into complete marketing programs.

Three areas that many will likely focus on in the coming years include:

1. Building infrastructure and models for better and better marketing attribution. We all need to increasingly demonstrate the impact of marketing on core bottom-line results. With a more complex customer journey and different influences on a purchase, we need to instrument more of our marketing across devices and figure out the contribution of each piece.

2. Operationalizing content marketing. Developing and delivering great content where we once just pumped out advertising is a different discipline. Those companies who have been exploring this must spend energy to invest in the people, process and technology to make this easier and more efficient.

3. Using video online to drive action and brand. As the value of TV commercials continues to wane, we all know that we need video to engage people. It’s one of the few media types that can communicate emotion so well. And emotion drives most purchase decisions. How to create really meaningful video content and get it to people when and where they want it is still very hard. No one wants pre-roll. How can brands shift to creating value via a digital video program. Many brands are working on that.

How do you stay current on marketing and technology and what information sources do you find most useful?

I read a lot. I am old-school in that I still use an RSS feed reader that I first set up years ago. It gives me a great window into a ton of great thinking. Of course, I then pile Twitter, Flipboard, LinkedIn and a few other sources on top. Oh, and I talk to human beings. I never get tired of that.

Let’s play social media word association. I’ll list social networks and media sites and you reply with what comes to mind first:

  • Facebook – Ad network
  • Vine – Delightful
  • LinkedIn – Targeted B2B
  • Twitter – Influencers
  • Meerkat or Periscope – Macgyver
  • Google+ – Mystery
  • Snapchat – Just Enough
  • YouTube – TV
  • Instagram – Oddly niche
  • Flickr – Forgotten password
  • Pinterest – Ideas
  • My Space – Don’t call it a comeback….

Thanks John!

You can find John online at Twitter @jbell99 or his blog.

 


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Digital Marketing Spotlight: Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun & Bradstreet http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/09/digital-marketing-spotlight-rishi-dave/ Wed, 23 Sep 2015 11:43:25 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=19242 Marketing executives are more challenged than ever to create effective organizations and operations to succeed in an increasingly converged, content and inbound marketing world. In this latest TopRank Marketing Digital Marketing Spotlight interview, Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun & Bradstreet, talks about the strategic responsibility differences of entering a CMO role, advice on creating an [...]

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Digital Marketing Spotlight

Marketing executives are more challenged than ever to create effective organizations and operations to succeed in an increasingly converged, content and inbound marketing world.

In this latest TopRank Marketing Digital Marketing Spotlight interview, Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun & Bradstreet, talks about the strategic responsibility differences of entering a CMO role, advice on creating an effective inbound marketing organization, the importance of content, the convergence of marketing and PR and whether senior executives should focus on their personal brand.

Rishi Dave Dun & BradstreetIt’s been nearly two years since you moved from being Executive Director, Digital Marketing at Dell to your current role as CMO at Dun & Bradstreet. What are some of the changes you had to make in terms of your responsibilities, marketing organization and the change in industry?

A CMO role differs greatly from a senior marketing role. I cover a much broader scope beyond the digital focus I had at Dell.

As well, as the Dun & Bradstreet CMO, I spend a significant amount of time with my peers driving the broader company strategy beyond the marketing function. However, my modern marketing mindset contributes valuably to the strategy.

I also act in an external capacity, both in the offline and online world. This allows me to remain transparent and accessible to all audiences as the face of the company and its culture.

What are some of the criteria an organization should satisfy to have a CMO level marketing executive, vs. a SVP or VP of Marketing?

The answer depends entirely on the goals of the organization. Does the company merely need a great marketer, or a leader to implement a vision across the entire company with a marketing mindset?

A CMO drives customer experience – the totality of interactions a customer has with the company across all areas.

A CMO drives customer experience – the totality of interactions a customer has with the company across all areas (sales, marketing, service, product, contracting, etc.). Modern CMOs have the skills and authority to integrate all these silos to provide an integrated customer experience while other marketers may not.

While at Dell, you built the digital inbound marketing capability and organization. What advice do you have for other marketing executives challenged now to do the same?

Don’t simply jump into tactics…make sure you have something unique to say.

Don’t simply jump into tactics around analytics, technology, and content operations. Make sure you have something unique to say and that the organization understands what that messaging is. Until you have that, and a culture that supports it, great execution of inbound will not break through the noise.

At Dun & Bradstreet, I focused first on working with the Chief People Officer to drive a clearly defined purpose and values. My team then built a new go to market strategy and associated messaging. Only after this did we start to scale the inbound machine to drive pipeline.

Marketing and communications roles are converging within many organizations as owned, earned, paid and social media intertwine. With PR, AR and Marketing as part of your domain, what does the modern marketing and PR entity look like? Are they converged, independent or something new?

Communications plays a critical role in driving early stage thought leadership for the company as a whole to all the firm’s constituencies. Public relations experts are the storytellers to media, analysts, and influencers, leading to broad marketing and brand awareness, while other disciplines of marketing are concerned mostly with selling to customers.

Both PR and marketing functions leverage the same resources (content, digital, production, creative, etc.) to get things done which ensures integration of efforts and messaging.

According to the annual CMI and MarketingProfs study, fewer marketers are implementing content marketing and yet many organizations are still dealing with content shock (too much content). What role does content play in your demand generation and overall marketing plans?

Content is fundamental. I have a separate organization reporting to me that focuses on content marketing. However, they don’t just create content. They orchestrate the entire content supply chain which consists of coordinating all the people, both internally and externally, who are creating content and ensuring that there is a process from content ideation to creation to promotion.

There may not be a need for more content, but there is a need for higher quality content that delivers new insights.

The study referenced is more reflective of the fact that a handful of marketers are creating too much content that is simply repetitive and uninteresting, repackaging the same messaging in new and faux-clever ways as click bait. There may not be a need for more content, but there is a need for higher quality content that delivers new insights.

How do you balance hiring more marketing staff vs. using outside vendors and agencies? What trends do you see in terms of outsourcing vs. insourcing marketing talent?

External vendors and agencies generally possess a specialized skill or technology that we cannot replicate internally or one that we do not need on a consistent basis. This contrasts from the more general agencies of a long time ago. We evaluate our external provider portfolio constantly and make changes as needed given the rapidity of change.

How important is it for senior marketing executives to pay attention to their own personal brand? Any advice for those ignoring it?

Every marketer must meticulously manage his or her personal brand. I give this advice to undergraduates all the time. If you are not managing your personal brand, especially online, you don’t have a visceral understanding of how marketing works. Also, every hiring manager will look at how you manage your online brand first.

Managing your online profile provides an incredible opportunity to practice everything that makes marketers great.

Managing your online profile provides an incredible opportunity to practice everything that makes marketers great (writing, creative, tech savvy, etc.). In many ways, the CMO represents the company, and must manage his or her profile.

What are some of your top digital marketing priorities for 2016?

We’ll continue to refine our go-to-market messaging and strategy, and part of that work will include an increased and enhanced Web presence.

We will scale marketing more effectively globally, drive pipeline, and build the brand through efficient and effective communications / influencers. We’ve been testing Account Based Marketing successfully and we will look to scale this substantially.

How do you stay current on marketing and technology and what information sources do you find most useful?

I am a voracious consumer of content on the Web and books (mainly psychology and sci- fi). I find blogs and online influencers most useful in learning about the latest thinking in marketing, while books are most useful in understanding dense topics like psychology and the predictions of the future.

Let’s play social media word association. What’s the first word that comes to mind for each of the following social networks or apps?

Facebook – friends
Vine – hard
LinkedIn – B2B content
Twitter – Influencers
Meerkat or Periscope – Wait and see
Google+ – no
Snapchat – youth
YouTube – viral
Instagram – photos
Flickr – photos
Pinterest – beautiful
My Space –consumer

Thanks Rishi!

You can connect with Rishi on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Be sure to watch for the next in our series of digital marketing interviews with senior marketing executives at major B2B and B2C brands.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | Digital Marketing Spotlight: Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun & Bradstreet | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Digital Marketing Spotlight: Jeff Marcoux, CMO Lead at Microsoft http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/09/digital-marketing-spotlight-jeff-marcoux/ Wed, 02 Sep 2015 10:00:26 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=19117 What is predictive marketing and what are the future marketing technologies we should be paying attention to? To answer those questions and more, I am happy to share the next in our series of digital marketer interviews featuring Jeff Marcoux (@jeffmarcoux), CMO Lead, Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft. At Microsoft, Jeff has driven cross product and team collaboration, [...]

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Digital Marketing Spotlight

What is predictive marketing and what are the future marketing technologies we should be paying attention to?

To answer those questions and more, I am happy to share the next in our series of digital marketer interviews featuring Jeff Marcoux (@jeffmarcoux), CMO Lead, Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft.

At Microsoft, Jeff has driven cross product and team collaboration, supported multiple product releases and believes that every touch point with a customer is a marketing experience – from marketing to sales to customer service.

In this interview, Jeff talks about the most fun job in the world at Microsoft, marketing technology and predictive analytics, marketing executive career advice and how he stays current in the digital marketing world. We also get to peek into his crystal ball for upcoming digital marketing trends.

Jeff Marcoux What does your role as CMO Lead, Enterprise Marketing involve – what are your primary responsibilities? And what’s the best thing about working for Microsoft?

I have one of the most fun jobs in the world – to look across everything that Microsoft has from holo-lens to advertising, security to predictive marketing and figure out what Microsoft can do to empower marketers to activate around their data and to become more customer centric.

My role entails a lot of storytelling, engaging with customers, developing innovative content strategies, social, and working with our field teams to execute amazing campaigns. I get to dabble across all of the groups at Microsoft and help our own business transform in the digital age.

I think my favorite thing about working for Microsoft is the ‘New Microsoft’ that has started to shape under Satya’s leadership. It has brought about a new passion and innovation and I’m very excited to be a part of all the amazing work and innovations we are doing.

How do you balance hiring more marketing staff vs. using outside vendors and agencies? What trends to you see in terms of outsourcing vs. insourcing marketing talent?

I think it comes down to two simple things:

  1. Keep your core competencies core (and hired internally)
  2. Ensure you have the right resources to stay agile if the need arises

With things like analytics and strategy, it is critical to have the right people internally. As other areas like content marketing, marketing automation, or advanced analytics become critical, you should hire for those roles vs. outsourcing them.

I’m a fan of creating agile marketing pods that can tackle any project and quickly deliver against the team’s priorities.

Things like one offs and high production projects are great to give to agencies as well as tactics/strategies that you are piloting before determining if they are going to become core to your strategy.

I’m also a fan of creating agile marketing pods that can tackle any project and quickly deliver against the team’s priorities. These types of teams must be internal.

The last thing that I like to have is a vendor/agency on retainer for when things come up so that you can absorb fire drills, last minute requests, or project overload so that you can quickly load balance and ensure you are taking care of your internal marketing team.

Analytics Maturity Model - Gartner

For those not in the know, please define “predictive analytics”.

Predictive analytics is the 3rd step on the analytics maturity curve.

You start with analytics that give you hindsight:

  • Descriptive Analytics: What happened?
  • Diagnostic Analytics: Why did it happen?

Then you shift into analytics that give you insight. This is where predictive analytics comes in and helps to answer the question of: What will happen?

There is one more step on the maturity curve beyond predictive and that is prescriptive analytics which answers, “How can we make it happen?”, and provides foresight into your business. At it’s core, predictive is the ability to tell what will happen.

What kind of company or situation is an ideal candidate for predictive marketing? Is it only for large, enterprise organizations or can mid-market companies play too?

I think any company can benefit from predictive marketing. It is the level and complexity that vary based on size of company.

Pretty much any predictive scenario is based around the company wanting to use data to enhance their customer experience and provide more relevant marketing.

There are simple solutions out there that can help companies use machine learning to predict customer churn, create a predictive recommendation engine for a website, offer up the next best offer, and provide advanced lead scoring.

For bigger companies with more data you can get into things like predictive mobile content, prescriptive offerings and just in time delivery based on IOT. Predictive marketing can be for every business, it just depends how complex you want to go.

There are more marketing technology options available now than ever. What advice can you give to marketing executives on making marketing technology choices?

Look for things that are real innovations vs. shiny objects and keep data at the heart of all of your technology decisions, because data is the key to unlocking your customer.

What advice can you share with marketers who want to apply “every touchpoint is a marketing experience” into their programs?

I think the first step in this is to simply take your own customer journey from beginning to end to get a sense of everything your customers go through.

Take note of what was easy and what wasn’t. What enhanced the customer experience and what made you want to give up. This is one of the fastest ways to keep your customer at the center of your business and give you the data points you need to engage with your sales teams and customer service teams on the topic.

Customer experience is a role everyone at the company should be invested in.

Additional steps you can take are building out personas and customer journeys to clearly map out who your audience is and how they would like to do business with your company.

The last piece is to assign someone as your CX (customer experience) lead and give them the authority to stop any project when the experience is going to be bad.

Those are some simple first steps to implementing my philosophy on customer experience. The reality is, customer experience is a role of everyone at the company should be invested in.

Let’s break out your crystal ball: What are some of the hot digital marketing topic and trends you see coming up for 2016? Any shiny objects to avoid?

I think there are three big things coming in 2016 and beyond.

  1. The first is IOT (Internet of Things). I think this opens up the opportunity to take customer experiences to the next level through having sensors and data about the world around us to activate personalize marketing campaigns. This will give companies and marketers an unprecedented amount of data about their customers and the ability to really provide a service rather that an ad to their customers.
  2. The second, is mobile marketing and beacon technology. For so long we have thought that mobile marketing consisted of only pushing ads and notifications to our target audience. But now we have the ability to include indoor 3D positioning, custom curated content based on user preferences and the ability to incorporate IOT and other data sets to create amazing customer experiences.
  3. The last is predictive marketing and machine learning as it becomes more accessible to businesses of all sizes. This is going to enable companies to move away from simply having a dashboard to making data actionable.

All three of these digital marketing technologies can work in conjunction to help brands innovate in the marketing space and to truly provide amazing experiences for their customers.

You are on the board for the Internet Marketing Association. What advice do you have for marketing executives and volunteering time with associations? What do you get out of it and what do you get in return?

I think the Internet Marketing Association has been one of the most valuable times of my life and a huge accelerator in my career. The IMA has given me global adventures, amazing exposure, a platform for my innovation, and lifelong friends.

Volunteering time with associations enables you to be seen as a connector and a leader.

Volunteering time with associations that you find valuable enables you to be seen as a connector and a leader in the marketing space and helps to grow your network.

I am selective in what groups I give my time as many marketing associations are simply new sales people looking to sell or just out of college young professionals looking for a job. It can be hard for a marketing executive to find associations worth their time. I would encourage all marketing executives to check out the Internet Marketing Association and Content Marketing Institute.

What career advice would you give to rising digital marketing executives on skills and advancing their career?

I think one of the most important things you can do is get a mentor. Mentors are great at giving coaching and helping you navigate the road ahead given they have already been on it.

Second, I recommend pursuing a leadership role in a local or national marketing association to grow your profile and network.

Third, is publish on your own blog or LinkedIn profile to help gain credibility on the topics you wish to be known for.

The last piece I would recommend is always keep learning about new marketing technologies, strategies, and frameworks through books, podcasts, published research, TED talks, etc.

I read and learn as much as I can to enable myself to be a more effective marketing manager. These are the things that I recommend to my students at UC Irvine and to anyone I mentor as they are an investment in yourself and your future.

How do you deal with information overload in the marketing world and what marketing and technology information resources do you rely on to stay current?

There are a lot of ‘hot’ things always coming out in the marketing world and what I look for are the ones that seem like game changers.

Every day I start out reviewing TechCrunch looking for trends and things that are impacting companies I’m interested in. I also keep a pulse on VC investments in marketing startups to see where the innovation is at.

Monitoring upcoming trends like mobile marketing (not just push ads), IOT, machine learning, drones, etc. that are likely to impact customer experience are all on my watch list to understand how the technology could be applied for marketing.

So my shortlist for keeping up to date:

Let’s play social media word association. I’ll list social networks and media sites and you reply with what comes to mind first:

  • Facebook – The Original Social Network
  • Vine – Hold my beer, watch this
  • LinkedIn – My professional world
  • Twitter – ADHD #hashtag
  • Meerkat or Periscope – Watch me live
  • Google+ – Google employees & people on Gmail/YouTube
  • Snapchat – No one can copy this right…
  • YouTube – The new DIY site
  • Instagram – #foodstagram
  • Flickr – I’m a photographer and want to be social
  • Pinterest – All the stuff I would do if I had time, #pinterestfails
  • MySpace – Musicians who don’t get love, #middleschool

Thanks Jeff!

You can find Jeff on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Be sure to check out our next Digital Marketing Spotlight interview with Rishi Dave, CMO at Dun & Bradstreet.

Top photo: Shutterstock


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | Digital Marketing Spotlight: Jeff Marcoux, CMO Lead at Microsoft | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Digital Marketing Spotlight: Tami Cannizzaro, Senior Director of Marketing at eBay http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/08/digital-marketing-spotlight-tami-cannizzaro/ Wed, 19 Aug 2015 12:54:58 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=19063 Today we begin a new series of interviews with digital marketing professionals from the front lines of marketing to executives in the C-Suite. Our goal? To shine a light on the secrets to digital marketing success through strategy and tactics, challenges and wins, technology, operations, best practices and a little social media fun. Starting off the [...]

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Digital Marketing SpotlightToday we begin a new series of interviews with digital marketing professionals from the front lines of marketing to executives in the C-Suite. Our goal? To shine a light on the secrets to digital marketing success through strategy and tactics, challenges and wins, technology, operations, best practices and a little social media fun.

Starting off the series is Tami Cannizzaro (@tamicann) Senior Director of Marketing at eBay where she is responsible for global demand generation and driving lead targets across four major business units.

In this interview, Tami talks about what she’s learned from her years at IBM in her new role at eBay, tips on choosing marketing technology, outsourcing vs. insourcing, the convergence of earned, owned and paid media and insightful career advice for rising digital marketers. Plus we learn what she really thinks about the top social networks.

Tami CannizzaroYou recently joined eBay as Senior Director, Global Demand Generation (congrats!) after many years at IBM. What prompted the change and what’s your focus now?

During my time at IBM, I integrated new acquisitions and built our leadership in product categories – SOA, Social Business, Smarter Commerce, Smarter Marketing and finally, Cloud computing. I had done almost every job and was ready for the challenge of working for a smaller, high-growth company.

At a larger B2B brand, the sales force can rely more heavily on the brand name to drive new business. At a mid-sized company, every dollar spent in driving demand needs to drive leads and impact the bottom line. In my new role, I run the demand generation program for eBay’s Enterprise unit. Our company helps companies to grow and scale their ecommerce and in store business. I’m on the hook to drive new leads in support of sales growth.

What lessons have you learned from your experience as a technology marketer that translate to your responsibilities at eBay?

I have worked with many different marketing organizations in the past 10 years and I find that the most successful ones operate with a single focus – driving top line revenue growth. This mission aligns the entire organization to become results driven.

To rise above the noise, you need to increase your touchpoints by 10x if not more to reach a prospect.

In B2B, there’s a shift from product to category marketing. I have found the most success when aligning the entire organization to go after a new market. That means PR, AR, DG, partner marketing, social media, all coming together and aligning to drive a leadership message. Gone are the days when a single message or one way advertising campaign can break through. Tech has become incredibly saturated with new entrants given the low cost of entry caused by the onslaught of applications and rapid pace of innovation. To rise above the noise, you need to increase your touchpoints by 10x if not more to reach a prospect.

One of the biggest observations I’ve made in the last year or so is that the customer, the technology and the techniques to prospect are changing at a rapid pace. I work to embrace new techniques and pilot new programs all the time. I consider myself a student of marketing and I am learning something new every day. The reality is that If you aren’t evolving as a marketer in this landscape, you’re falling behind.

When you enter into a new marketing leadership role, what is your approach to getting things up to speed? How do you balance hiring more staff vs. using outside vendors and agencies?

I am not married to any particular agency or staffing model. Designing a team and hiring agencies all depends on your budget, the skills at hand and the agencies you have at your disposal. I love working with smaller agencies who can partner with you on driving business results.

There’s huge upside with the right investment in digital – most B2B companies are just scratching the surface.

For digital demand generation, it’s critical to have resources on your team dedicated to lead development. I learned about digital conversion from two companies I had the opportunity to work with very closely – Coremetrics and Softlayer. They both had models which depended almost entirely on digital for lead flow. Most B2B companies still use digital as a supporting function to their business versus an engine to drive the business. I personally think most B2B companies are underinvested in terms of skills, budget and digital programs. There’s huge upside with the right investment in digital. Most B2B companies are just scratching the surface.

Companies are maturing in their use of content, especially with the flurry of content hubs that are meant to support demand generation objectives. What do you think is the most important criteria for an established brand to be a “brand publisher”?

Producing sufficient content is the topic that keeps me up at night. Today, the first brand impressions are less likely to be advertising and more likely to be an article or a blog or piece of content. Take Salesforce for example. They do a great job of creating content to help a B2B marketer with CRM strategy. They have become the go-to brand for CRM by building their authority and giving prospects the confidence they are the right platform choice.

For my money, I suggest turning traditional ad dollars into a content engine.

You can hire agencies to help deliver content at scale – like NewsCred – hire external contractors, or turn your traditional product marketing team into a team of journalists. Many agencies these days will white label your content. It really depends on your business model.

For my money, I suggest turning those traditional ad dollars into a content engine. It’s more effective and works harder for you. You can hire an agency to do this, which is easier, or hire internally, which is more efficient.

Marketing Technology Scott Brinker
There are more marketing technology options available now than ever. I think Scott Brinker’s diagram is up to 1,800 different platforms and SaaS offerings. How do you make marketing technology choices? Do business units have autonomy or is it led by corporate marketing?

In my group, the technology choices are led by the demand generation team together with our operations and CIOs office. I agree it can be an overwhelming process. Integration of systems is key or you lose your view of the funnel. Simplicity and robustness are two trade-offs that also need to be made. Some tools are simple and easy to use but don’t have the functionality. I’ve often seen technology go unused or misused because it’s too complicated.

Corporate marketing has chosen the Marketo and Salesforce platforms for our business. At a unit level, we’re free to augment with analytics, custom dashboards, social media, re-targeting solutions etc. I’m leading that process now for our group. We’re actively shopping several technology ad-ons to augment the basic functions of marketing automation.

Marketing and communications roles are converging within many organizations as owned, earned, paid and social media intertwine. For example, PR is increasingly running ads as sponsored content, marketing is using social networks to connect with influencers and advertisers are creating content hubs. What does the modern marketing and PR entity look like? Are they converged, independent or something new?

I started working with a new head of communications recently who is very evolved in his thinking. A legacy PR person will try to land grab and own all communications, including social. They can feel threatened by an organization broadly engaged in social media.

An evolved PR person will understand marketing and PR need to support and amplify one another. Successful social takes engagement from across the organization.

There needs to be seamless collaboration (between marketing and PR) or it doesn’t work.

On balance, I would say it needs to converge and move from a command and control traditional PR model to shared ownership. For instance, a Brand Channel on Forbes is a marketing buy. I will make the buy and work with my PR team on the right story/placement. My team may apply paid against that channel to amplify something the PR team has done. There needs to be seamless collaboration or it doesn’t work.

What career advice would you give to rising digital marketing executives on skills and advancing their career?

My advice is to get in the mindset that you always need to be in learning mode and evolving as a marketer. The biggest mistake I see executives make is that they haven’t changed their game up in the last 5 years. Consumer behavior is changing rapidly. Every day new social platforms are being introduced. Every day traditional marketing programs are becoming less effective and so you need to be ready to try new things.

You always need to be in learning mode and evolving as a marketer.

I would also advise to embrace the next generation. I’ve worked with execs who find millennial colleagues very threatening in terms of their ability to question the traditional way of doing things. My advice is to learn from them and be humble enough to learn form the intern on your team who will likely bring the freshest perspective!

Finally, I would suggest building your public persona. Headhunters and brands are looking for someone who can bring credibility to their brand. Having industry credibility can only help to position you as a standout candidate and forward thinking marketer.

How do you deal with information overload in the marketing world and what marketing and technology information resources do you rely on to stay current?

I read my twitter feed every day – #Marketing #CMO #Digital.  I follow a number of people regularly who I respect in the industry. I have a must read list for certain thought leaders like yourself including:

These industry experts keep me current and I often learn about trends from their news feeds.

I also read several marketing and digital magazines on Flipboard. I search topsy.com which combs for the most shared social content to find new trends or topics.

Let’s play social media word association. I’ll list social networks and media sites and you reply with what comes to mind first:

Facebook – Personal Network
Vine – Video Shorts
LinkedIn – Professional Network
Twitter – Industry Network
Meerkat or Periscope – Real Time Video
Google+ – Search engine ranking
Snapchat – Teen platform
YouTube – Video platform
Instagram – High impact visuals
Flickr – Photo sharing
Pinterest – Mommy site
My Space – Is it still around?

Thanks Tami! 

You can find Tami on Twitter, LinkedIn and on her site, Digital Age of Marketing.

Be sure to read the next Digital Marketing Spotlight interview with Jeff Marcoux, CMO Lead, Worldwide Enterprise Marketing at Microsoft.

Top photo: Shutterstock


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Joe Pulizzi (The Godfather) Discusses the Content Marketing Revolution #CMWorld http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/joe-pulizzi-interview-cmworld/ Wed, 24 Jun 2015 10:30:46 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18770 Without anyone accusing me of exaggerating, I can safely say that Joe Pulizzi is a bona fide content marketing visionary. Joe started using the term “content marketing” in 2001, long before the rest of the industry caught on to its potential. In the past decade and a half, Joe has firmly established his thought leadership [...]

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Without anyone accusing me of exaggerating, I can safely say that Joe Pulizzi is a bona fide content marketing visionary. Joe started using the term “content marketing” in 2001, long before the rest of the industry caught on to its potential. In the past decade and a half, Joe has firmly established his thought leadership in the field, earning the nickname “The Godfather of Content Marketing.”

In 2007, Joe founded the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), which has grown into a vital resource for thousands of marketers worldwide. In addition to building a massive hub of marketing resources, classes, and training programs, CMI produces Content Marketing World, the world’s largest content marketing event.

I recently sat down with Joe for a sneak preview of his keynote address at the 2015 Content Marketing World. Read on for Joe’s thoughts on how content marketing is evolving, the strategies that led to CMI’s success, and how to become an “octopus of content love.”

If you focus on a subscriber approach to audience development, you can go deeper with your content and emphasize value.

Without giving too much away from your keynote, what are 3 exciting evolutions for content marketing that you see on the horizon?

  1. I’m really interested in the merger and acquisition scene. It’s going to hit people like a big surprise, especially in B2B. Particularly in tech, companies will see content factories already built and those will be attractive acquisitions when considering the time it takes to build.
  1. Only 30% of marketers have subscription growth as a key metric. It speaks to where we are with content marketing. The notion that we need to build content for the buyer’s journey and different stages has been overblown. It’s easier to simplify that idea and just become an ongoing guide and resource and we touch the customer with value – every day, every week. They’re going to create their own buyer’s journey anyways. If you focus on a subscriber approach to audience development, you can go deeper with your content and emphasize value. Instead of focusing on 57 segments and 5 stages, create an incredible experience for your customers and you’ll have an amazing outcome. Simplify and create more value.
  1. I’m excited about the field of journalism again. Marketers are bringing in professional journalists that have a nose for stories. The media business model is broken, but media itself is flourishing. There’s never been lower barriers to entry and easier ways for customers to access it. The more journalists in marketing, the better. If they want to tell great stories and have funding to do so, the opportunity is there.

Digital publishing has become more popular because we can, and not for the right reasons.

Based on your recent report at CMI, it appears that B2B and B2C marketers alike are continuing to struggle with measurement of content marketing activities. What do you believe are the biggest barriers to either collecting the data or focusing on the right metrics?

The clear majority of marketers have no documented content marketing strategy. If we can start with documenting the why, the business goal and audience, then you can begin to develop an action and execution plan that includes measurement. Digital publishing has become more popular because we can, and not for the right reasons.

People implementing content marketing do so because they’re told to, without understanding why. Content marketers need to ask the right questions relevant to achieving business goals.

We want to be an octopus of content love to provide them with options.

What are the biggest challenges that your own company faces when it comes to content creation, promotion and measurement?

Choosing the right activities – there are so many things we could do. Our key metric to everything is based on subscribers. I’m focused on creating a unique story that subscribers can’t get anywhere else. I’m focused on looking at subscribers and how we can improve.

Those people that engage with at least 3 different types of content, they are way more likely to attend CMI or buy something from us. We want to be an octopus of content love to provide them with options. The more we can do that the more positive results we’ll see.

Brands with huge budgets are struggling because they are so campaign focused.

What is the single most important thing you’ve learned in your journey from publishing to becoming the “Godfather of Content Marketing”?

If you build a loyal audience over time, you can sell them whatever you want. Focus on a content niche relevant to an area of business that you’re focused on, and develop an audience. As you build that audience, you can figure out what best to sell to your community.

Brands with huge budgets are struggling because they are so campaign focused.

There’s convergence – media companies are becoming product and product companies are becoming media companies. Soon you won’t be able to tell the difference.

What Content Marketing mix is CMI currently experiencing the most success with?

The podcast has been a pleasant surprise with a consistent flow of sponsorship that’s growing. In person events that I and Robert Rose speak at. The masterclass series of small workshops in different cities across the U.S. have been successful for driving registrations to the CMWorld event.

We have one person in charge of Internal content curation and repurposing that drives subscribers.

Do you believe that email marketing is dead or still very much alive? Why?

Not at all. It’s the most important thing we do. It’s harder to cut through the clutter but if you do, you get the lion’s share of attention.

Ready to Up Your Content Marketing Game?

Be sure to reserve your space at Content Marketing World for thought-provoking presentations from Joe and over 200 other luminaries in the content marketing industry.

Get a preview of Content Marketing World’s blockbuster lineup with Measuring Your Content Marketing Box Office Success, featuring advice from industry thought leaders Michael Brenner, Julie Fleischer, and of course, Joe Pulizzi.

Access All Three eBooks On-Demand

CMWorld 2015 eBooks

If you missed the premiere of any one of the eBooks in our triple feature, you are in luck! You can access all three of them anytime, anywhere. Select the links below, grab some Junior Mints and dig in.

The Big Picture of Content Marketing Strategy

Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing

Measuring Content Marketing Box Office Success


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Blockbuster Content Marketing Success: Xerox Marketing VP Jeannine Rossignol #CMWorld http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/jeannine-rossignol-interview-cmworld/ Tue, 23 Jun 2015 10:30:32 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18777 Everything is bigger on the silver screen: hopes and dreams, heroes and villains, successes and failures. Simple human drama can become mythical when projected onto a giant movie screen. We go to the movies to laugh, cry, and gasp along with our fellow moviegoers, all of us sitting in the dark together sharing the experience. It’s [...]

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Everything is bigger on the silver screen: hopes and dreams, heroes and villains, successes and failures. Simple human drama can become mythical when projected onto a giant movie screen. We go to the movies to laugh, cry, and gasp along with our fellow moviegoers, all of us sitting in the dark together sharing the experience. It’s a powerful example of how great content can create an experience that not only informs, but makes you feel. Creating those experiences is a whole crew of specialists, actors, director and producers, each playing their part.

Similarly, every successful content marketing program has a team of people working behind the scenes to create quality content that connects with customers. One trailblazing example of a marketing leader creating great content experiences is Jeannine Rossignol, VP of Marketing for Large Enterprise Organizations at Xerox.

Jeannine will be making her first appearance at Content Marketing World this year, discussing how senior marketers and CMOs can structure marketing around content. I connected with Jeannine to talk about content marketing strategy, top challenges facing content marketers, and content marketing lessons to be learned from Charlotte’s Web.

I work with amazingly talented people to tell stories that start conversations with the right people.

Can you share a little more about your role at Xerox and what you enjoy most about it?

At Xerox I lead demand gen, content marketing, digital, social and sales enablement globally for our Large Enterprise Operations division. I work with amazingly talented people to tell stories that start conversations with the right people. I get a rush when I think about all the changes that have happened to the practice over the past few years and can’t wait to see what the future holds… and maybe even help shape it a bit.

The key is that content provides insight, and valuable information they need.

How do you define content marketing?

Content marketing provides our clients and prospects with the insight they need to make a decision. It doesn’t have to be the decision to buy. The key is that the content – whatever form it takes – provides insight, and valuable information they need. Otherwise, we’d simply keep calling it marketing brochures (collateral). When you’re elbowing for position in the early stages of the consideration, good content marketing works hard. It creates brand awareness, differentiation and credibility.

When it comes to approach, never forget the customer is in charge.

It seems many brands’ approach to content marketing has focused mostly on creating more content with a recent emphasis on better quality content. What do you think are the major drivers for content marketing strategy and approach to content?

I have a hunch that the brands producing the most content are often the ones that lack a clear content marketing strategy. A clear strategy should include who you target, what their buyer’s journey looks like, and most importantly, what are the questions they need to answer to move from one stage in the journey to the next. Every piece of content should go back to that strategy.

When it comes to approach, never forget the customer is in charge. Be engaging. Add humanity.

Content is an integral component of every aspect of marketing.

How does content marketing relate to the overall marketing pie?

Content is the golden thread that brings marketing together, not just marketing but marketing and sales. It isn’t a separate program, but rather an integral component of every aspect of marketing.

Content marketing is growing for two reasons. 1) Many disparate marketing components are now taking roles within a larger content marketing strategy. With some adjustments and refocus on customer interest, they have become content marketing tools. 2) Content marketing is also taking on a bigger role because so much of it can be tied to measurable results.

We have to recognize that not everyone wants to consume information the same way.

How important are non-text content marketing assets to your marketing? For example: audio, video, and interactive.

Critical. We have to recognize that not everyone wants to consume information the same way. Just as important as understanding the type of content your audience wants, you also have to know what format they prefer it in. Added to that, we are a visual society. Memes. Instagram. Buzzfeed. Pinterest. Emoticons. They help us connect in ways that can often feel more real than words. Which is great news for international marketers, by the way.

What are some of your own content marketing examples that you’re proudest of?

In B2B marketing, especially for services, we talk to our clients about their challenges. We took a different angle with Optimism. One that is focused on the opportunities for that business … looking past the challenges and focusing on opportunities … We were excited about it, our management and sales organizations were excited, and the feedback we’ve received from customers demonstrates they like it as well.

We brought the idea of Optimism to life with a publication called Chief Optimist.   We needed to get in front of decisions makers with our content. The idea of the publication seemed like a great way to get past the gatekeeper and end up in the “to-read” pile. We partnered with Forbes to publish the magazine. We knew their name would add credibility to the magazine, and most of all it would help us supplement our original content with theirs. As it turns out by partnering we are more credible than trying to do it on our own.

Do you have any advice for marketers who feel overwhelmed by the challenge of consistently producing a variety of engaging content?

  • Don’t do it alone! Partner – internal SMEs, 3rd party experts, your agencies, trusted business resources, analysts, etc.
  • Editorial calendar – map it out for the year, it won’t seem as overwhelming
  • Remember at the end of the day it is a person reading your content. Make sure it is interesting and has a point.
  • Never be afraid to fail. In today’s digital world it is easy to make course corrections, but you can’t correct (or learn from) what was never done.

Great technology can’t fix bad content, nor can great content deliver results without technology.

What are some of the biggest content marketing challenges facing large companies today? Or the biggest misconceptions. What should they do about it?

Content marketing can expose your “ugly baby.” If you have a product or service that doesn’t have a unique value prop or truly meet the needs of the marketplace, coming up with insightful content will be near impossible.

Great technology can’t fix bad content, nor can great content deliver results without technology.

Data hygiene is critically important. The best content is highly targeted and relevant. But if you can’t trust your data, you can make some silly mistakes on a massive scale.

Forgetting the first rule of content marketing: take your brand out and put the customer in.

Companies seem to be most challenged by measuring content marketing performance and ROI. What advice can you share?

Marketing went from not being able to measure anything, to being able to measure everything. It is overwhelming, but pick a place to start… pick one question you want to answer and go from there. Get it roughly right, and keep refining.

What are you presenting on at Content Marketing World? What do you like best about the conference?

I’m on the panel discussing “How Senior Marketers and CMOs Are Structuring Around Content Marketing. This will be my first CMWorld. I’m beyond excited; it has been on my list to attend for years. I would love to hear from veteran attends, tweet to me what you like best about the conference.

In the spirit of the CMWorld conference theme of vintage Hollywood “Big Lights, Big Content”, what is your favorite movie?

There are so many to choose from… I’m the mother of 4 small children so bear with me; the only movies I see these days are children’s movies! Let me give you a favorite that is not only a great movie/story, but also a great example of content marketing in action: Charlotte’s Web. Charlotte’s content, the words she spun in her web were creative, powerful and beautifully targeted to save the life of Wilbur the pig. It perfectly showcases that content can deliver powerful results, or in this case, save lives!

Ready to Become the Star of Your Brand’s Content Marketing Movie?

Reserve your space at Content Marketing World 2015 to learn strategies from over 200 top experts in the industry.

For a preview of coming attractions before the conference, dim the lights, silence your electronic devices, and read our new eBook, Measuring Your Content Marketing Box Office Success.

Binge Read the Entire Content Marketing World Triple Feature!

 

eBook covers - cmw15

Sometimes when you get really into a series, there is nothing more tortuous than waiting for the next release. By clicking any of the links below, you’ll get immediate, on-demand access to each of the eBooks in our series.

The Big Picture of Content Marketing Strategy

Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing

Measuring Content Marketing Box Office Success


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How to Create Oscar-Worthy Content Marketing: Ann Handley of MarketingProfs #CMWorld http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/ann-handley-interview-cmworld/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/ann-handley-interview-cmworld/#comments Wed, 17 Jun 2015 10:45:07 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18764 My pal Ann Handley has made it her life’s work to, in her words, “wage war on mediocrity in content.” Her best-selling book, Everybody Writes, is a practical guide to writing the kind of content that truly engages an audience. As the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs (the world’s first Chief Content Officer, in fact), Ann [...]

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My pal Ann Handley has made it her life’s work to, in her words, “wage war on mediocrity in content.” Her best-selling book, Everybody Writes, is a practical guide to writing the kind of content that truly engages an audience.

As the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs (the world’s first Chief Content Officer, in fact), Ann advocates quality over quantity in all of her content ventures. She also spreads the gospel of good content at speaking engagements around the world, including the upcoming Content Marketing World conference September 8-11 in Cleveland.

To get a sneak preview of Ann’s Content Marketing World presentation, Good Content Vs. Good Enough Content: A Fight For Sore Eyes, I did my best to catch up with her during some pretty crazy travels. Along the way, she shared her journey on learning to write compelling content, the role of technology in content marketing, and the death of the marketing funnel.

My mission is always to make the complicated way simpler.

As the CCO of MarketingProfs, best-selling author, keynote speaker, lover of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and the most influential woman in Social Media (according to Forbes), when you look back on your journey throughout your career what are three things you never lost focus on that helped you get to where you are today?

  1. When I was in journalism school, my professor Charlie Ball used to tell me, “Remember: No one has to read this.” That perspective changed my writing from self-indulgent (all about me) to reader-centric (all about the audience). It’s been invaluable as a content-centric marketer and blogger and (frankly) as a person.

(Side note to parents — of either a human, dog, cat, ferret, lizard, llama, or otherwise: Parenting reaffirms this idea. Because nothing is about you. Ever again. And I say that in the best possible way.)

  1. Charlie also told me: “No one will complain that you made things too simple to understand.” Life is complicated. Business is messy. “Solutions” are multi-faceted. If I’m being honest, most things in life confuse me. My mission is always to make the complicated way simpler.
  1. Finally: Deliver. Seth Godin calls this: Ship.

When I was in high school, the Pope visited Boston. I went to Catholic high school, where I was the editor of the school paper. I told the school I’d cover it for us. (The nuns were thrilled!)

But then I changed my mind, and I blew off the Pope’s visit to go hang out with my local public school friends. And when I got home that day, my Mom was unusually annoyed at me. I didn’t understand why — who cares? The Pope’s visit was all over the news anyway.

And my mom said, lips pursed and on the verge of losing it, “Because you had a responsibility to your position, and you ignored it for your own pleasure.”

At the time, I thought she was being ridiculously prissy. (I still feel bad to this day about my eye roll in response.)

But now, I get it. I said I’d do something, and then I didn’t. That’s not cool.

How I internalize that now: If you say you’ll do something, do it. Your word is more important than you might imagine it is.

You can’t code creativity. And you can’t program publishing. And quality definitely trumps quantity.

Your session at Content Marketing World will focus on helping marketers nail the basics of creating good content. What do you anticipate are the primary challenges for marketers today in creating quality content versus a quantity of content?

I’ve been thinking lately about technology. Because increasingly it’s heralded as the savior (or legitimizer?) of marketing.

Robots can write your posts. Tools can optimize them. Solutions can amplify them.

Awesome. I heart technology. I built my career on it, too.

But guess what? Technology is only as good as our story.

You can’t code creativity. And you can’t program publishing. And quality definitely trumps quantity. Always has. Always will.

Your story is the thing that sets you apart. So the question is: What’s your story? And how do you tell it?

There’s a growing rumbling in the marketing industry about the death of the funnel. Yea or nay?

The funnel was never a funnel. It’s always been an ecosystem, because the people who buy (the people at the end of the “funnel”) have always had the capacity to influence the decision of others. Social tools and technology make that information way more accessible, is all.

Which makes your sales and marketing efforts like the song that never ends. It just goes on and on, my friend, to quote Lamb Chop. (Is this the first time Shari Lewis has been quoted in a marketing context?)

What are your favorite examples of B2B or B2C brands that are creating great content for marketing?

B2B

B2C

Nonprofit

Government

  • This was a failed attempt, because the candidate didn’t get elected. But I believe it was groundbreaking storytelling in political marketing – The Best Political Ad Ever

What’s ordinary to you isn’t often ordinary to others.

Incorporating storytelling into content marketing has always been a big focus of yours. What advice would you give to marketers to help uncover these stories, even if they think they might not have any worth sharing?

Every company has a story to tell, if you look at the world from your customer’s point of view. The designer Michael Wolff says, “What already exists is an inspiration.”

Train yourself to look at things differently. What’s ordinary to you isn’t often ordinary to others.

What is the best piece of marketing advice that you’ve ever received personally?

“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing.” — Tom Fishburne (Marketoonist.com)

He didn’t say it to me personally — although he’s a friend, so he probably would if I asked him to. Regardless, I’ve internalized it as if he did. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I think of it every day.

Content Marketing World attendees, you are my people.

What do you like best about attending and speaking at Content Marketing World?

Content Marketing World attendees, you are my people. It’s not quite like being with family — but there’s a similar feel of a kind of posse.

“Community” is one of those words that’s overplayed in marketing. But CMW (and a few other select marketing events throughout the year) embody it for me.

Thanks, Ann!

Ready to Create Oscar-Caliber Content Marketing?

Reserve your space at Content Marketing World 2015 for inspiring and informative presentations from 200 superstars of marketing.

For a sneak preview of Ann and 13 other marketing matinee idols’ presentations, grab your popcorn and settle in with our new eBook, Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing.

Stay Tuned For the Thrilling, Final Chapter in Our Triple Content Marketing Feature!

CMWorld 2015 eBooks
Up next: the final chapter in our content marketing triple feature: Measuring Your Content Marketing Box Office Success. Featuring content marketing stars such as Joe Pulizzi, Andrew Davis, Michael Brenner and many more, you’ll be able to connect the content marketing performance dots with the strategy and tactics shared in the first two eBooks.


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Learn How to Land Your Content a Leading Role: Jay Acunzo of NextView Ventures #CMWorld http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/jay-acunzo-interview-cmworld/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/jay-acunzo-interview-cmworld/#comments Tue, 16 Jun 2015 10:10:27 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18749 A talented movie director makes sure that actors give an authentic performance that will emotionally affect the intended audience. A good content marketing strategist has the same goal: authenticity that creates audience engagement. And just like a movie director, content marketers are expected to deliver on time, under budget, and follow up each hit with a [...]

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A talented movie director makes sure that actors give an authentic performance that will emotionally affect the intended audience. A good content marketing strategist has the same goal: authenticity that creates audience engagement. And just like a movie director, content marketers are expected to deliver on time, under budget, and follow up each hit with a fresh blockbuster.

Jay Acunzo, VP of Platform & Content at NextView Ventures, has built his career on getting star-making performances out of content. He began as a Digital Media Strategist at Google and has spent time managing content for Dailybreak Media and HubSpot. In his position at NextView, Jay helps startup entrepreneurs with education and business development including content marketing strategies that addresses tech startups’ unique marketing challenges.

In advance of his presentation at the 2015 Content Marketing World conference, I interviewed Jay about the importance of personality in content marketing, his “Content Marketing Wheel” strategy and the most-overlooked metric for measuring content marketing ROI.

Innovation in content marketing isn’t about inventing wild new things or new ways of doing something.

What are three lessons you’ve learned that you believe have made you a better content marketer in your journey from Digital Strategist at Google, to VP of Platform & Content at NextView Ventures?

  1. All content marketing is supposed to be solving the same problems for your customers that your product does.
  1. Innovation in content marketing isn’t about inventing wild new things or new ways of doing something. Instead, I take my cues from Ev Williams (founder of Medium, Twitter, and Blogger) who said about innovation: “Take a human desire … and use modern technology to remove steps.” If you line up all the steps your buyer takes to do something, you can suddenly see all kinds of creative ways your content can be helpful and relevant and stand out more than the competition’s.
  1. Have a strong point of view! Ever since I started inserting my voice more strongly into my personal blog, and using really unique tones, storytelling styles, and angles on NextView’s podcast, only good things have happened.

Drive traffic to that pillar piece, which again, is built to hit your KPIs and built to be the most educational or entertaining piece for your buyer.

Can you provide a high-level description of ‘The Content Marketing Wheel’ and share how you believe it helps marketers get the most value out of core content marketing assets?

In one sentence, the content marketing wheel is about creating a single pillar piece (the hub) and then orienting all your marketing activity around that piece (the spokes) to drive traffic to it.

More specifically, you first create a core resource — some call this a pillar piece. The topic of the piece is driven by your audience, while the format is driven by your goals. If your audience thinks blogging is difficult, then you can teach them to blog more easily through any type of content, format aside. But if your goals are, say, broad awareness, than an infographic trumps other formats, while a gated eBook might be better for lead-gen.

Second, with that piece as your “hub,” you then orient your marketing around that resource for a time. The “spokes” that make up your distribution are tactics that feel natural to a marketer, but they now have a purpose and all topically relate to the original resource. For instance, your blog pipeline is easier to fill with ideas based on that bigger, pillar piece (excerpts, topical tangents, related news, repackaging to new mediums, etc.). And other channels like email, social, paid distribution, search, and third parties (PR, co-marketing partners, and guest publishing) all focus on either distributing that core piece or smaller pieces that relate.

Lastly, all of those “spokes” exist for one reason: Drive traffic to that pillar piece, which again, is built to hit your KPIs and built to be the most educational or entertaining piece for your buyer.

The Content Marketing Wheel helps you codify your work and stay relevant, creative, organized, and prolific.

What are three actionable takeaways that you want arm your audience members with after your presentation “The Content Wheel: Sustaining Momentum with Greater ROI While Punching Unicorns in the Face” at CMW?

This playbook really helps with three core things that we’ll discuss together:

  1. How to be relevant to BOTH your audience’s needs or desires and your own goals.
  1. How to be sustainable with your publishing. It can be really hard to continually publish content, especially for folks who don’t wake up eager to write and create things in the morning.
  1. How to be lean about this. I work with startups and have run this playbook dozens of times with them. Ditto for larger companies at which I’ve worked. This Wheel idea helps you codify your work and stay relevant, creative, organized, and prolific — but you can easily launch and iterate on the exact execution as you learn from your work.

(Oh, and as a bonus, I will teach you how to punch a unicorn in the face. Like, right in their big dumb faces.)

Bring lead-gen data to open the discussion, but close your boss by demonstrating an understanding of your L2CC metrics.

What do you think are the most often overlooked KPIs in determining content marketing success?

If I had to pick just one KPI, I’d say we greatly overlook lead-to-customer conversion (L2CC) rates in B2B. At the time I was leaving HubSpot, where I was head of content for a time, the company was heavily focused on that and rightfully so. Knowing which pieces convert people from leads to MQLs or SQLs or from leads to customers is invaluable. Want more budget for B2B content? Bring lead-gen data to open the discussion, but close your boss by demonstrating an understanding of your L2CC metrics.

The “right” mentality is to view content as a means to more efficiently scale your marketing a few months down the road.

In your role at NextView Ventures you oversee education and business development for many of NextView’s portfolio companies. What content marketing challenges have you found to be unique to this group of startup companies?

My biggest two challenges are getting founders and startup marketers to think about content with the right mentality while also balancing the near-term, scrappy, non-scalable tactics they need to do that fall under “marketing” at a startup. The “right” mentality is to view content as a means to more efficiently scale your marketing a few months down the road, since it’s far more beneficial to create a collection of useful content that continues to get engagement, rather than try to publish one hit after another, each needing to “beat” the last one.

What resources do you rely on most to stay current with content marketing trends?

Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose’s podcast, This Old Marketing, is invaluable because of how they run down the big news in our industry.

I also use a personal, private Twitter list, subscribe to 8-10 blogs in Feedly, and receive Digiday’s newsletter.

Thanks, Jay!

Ready to Create Blockbuster Content Marketing?

Get a sneak preview of Jay and 12 other marketing superstars’ presentations with our new eBook, “Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing”.

This eBook is part of a triple feature of content resources TopRank Online Marketing has produced in partnership with Content Marketing Institute and a select group of speakers from the Content Marketing World conference coming up September 8-11, in Cleveland.

Be sure to check out the next two content marketing ebooks in our series, “Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing” and “Measuring Your Content Marketing Box Office Success”.

CMWorld 2015 eBooks

Reserve your space at the 2015 Content Marketing World to hear even more useful content marketing insights from over 200 marketing thought leaders.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | Learn How to Land Your Content a Leading Role: Jay Acunzo of NextView Ventures #CMWorld | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Interview: Content Strategy Words of Wisdom from Kristina Halvorson #CMWorld http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/interview-kristina-halvorson-cmworld/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/06/interview-kristina-halvorson-cmworld/#comments Tue, 09 Jun 2015 10:30:21 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18665 When it comes to content strategy for the web, Kristina Halvorson wrote the book. Literally. Now in its second edition, Content Strategy for the Web is widely recognized as the go-to resource for content strategists all over the world. Kristina is also the CEO and Founder of Brain Traffic, and the founder of the Confab [...]

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KH---interview-header-V2

When it comes to content strategy for the web, Kristina Halvorson wrote the book. Literally. Now in its second edition, Content Strategy for the Web is widely recognized as the go-to resource for content strategists all over the world. Kristina is also the CEO and Founder of Brain Traffic, and the founder of the Confab conference series.

We sat down with Kristina in advance of her upcoming keynote presentation at Content Marketing World (September 8-11) for her no-nonsense, no-holds-barred-or-prisoners-taken opinion on the current state of content marketing. Read on for her thoughts on challenges content marketers face, how to really listen to customers, and why a sensible marketing approach is better than a sexy one.

When you first founded Brain Traffic, were you planning on becoming a content strategist?

No, I started out as a freelance copywriter. The reason I picked BrainTraffic.com was there were too many ways to misspell KristinaHalvorson.com. So my only goal was to figure out how to make a living as a freelance web copywriter. My, how things have changed!

What are you passionate about in regards to content marketing and content strategy?

I’m really interested in advocating for going beyond “we’ve got to deliver valuable content to build a customer relationship.” I think we need to take several steps back and find out what the customer wants from us.

Everyone is so enthusiastic about content marketing that it can be difficult to ask the tough questions. But I think we need to be really brave about asking those questions and willing to hear what the answers are. It’s easy to get excited about tactical stuff, and start executing without asking really tough questions about what is and is not something we should be spending money on.

What are some of the top-line measurement opportunities that warrant a lot of attention? What metrics should content marketers be concerned with?

Well, first I should say my work as a content strategist is not only in marketing. We work with folks all across the board, so marketing is only one part of what we do. But no matter what industry you’re in, there is always an end user. There’s a customer, even if it’s an internal customer or an employee.

So the shared metric across the board is customer satisfaction, for me. I think we need to look at sales support as part of the equation. We should be retrieving and reviewing ongoing customer feedback to really measure our content success.

I think customer satisfaction is very difficult to measure on the very front end of customer engagement when we’re still doing awareness and discovery phases. It becomes about getting people’s attention or getting the referral. So the follow-up needs to go beyond the lip service we sometimes pay to sales support.

What does content success mean to our customers?

I think that it only falls into a couple of categories. One is post-sales support. By that I mean ongoing customer relationship support, not just “engagement.” It’s a huge area we sometimes miss as purveyors of content. There are no blanket strategies or tactical initiatives that make sense for everyone.

Like, we often hear “there is no marketing left but content marketing.” That’s a blanket statement which may not apply to every single brand. Like, if my kid has a toothache, I’m not going to Crest.com to read about what to do. But at the same time, if I’m shopping at Banana Republic, I sure do want to read an article.

What are some of the challenges facing organizations as they develop a content strategy?

There is a lot of pressure to go after the next big thing: You’ve got to be on Facebook; you’ve got to be on Twitter; you’ve got to be on Vine. People are scrambling from thing to thing. Then suddenly you have content in a lot of different places and you haven’t touched it in years.

Our company infrastructures are not set up to deal with our websites, let alone any gigantic content marketing commitment. Sometimes, people rush after new opportunities without really cleaning house first. Businesses can end up spread thin across the content marketing landscape. And who decided that was what their customers wanted?

What does a successful situation look like, where someone is approaching content with a customer in mind?

I think that a real opportunity and one that is really difficult to get is going and asking customers “what do you want?” Because oftentimes the answer is either critical of what we’ve been delivering, or it has nothing to do with what we have been marketing.

And I also think it’s easier to listen to more things we could build versus more things we could fix. A lot of the stuff we should be doing for customer support is just not that sexy. Marketers are aspirational, we want creative opportunity, we are curious individuals who want an outlet for brand expression, and to represent what we spend day-in and day-out doing. And if our customer says, “put your coupon offer on your home page” versus “your fancy Instagram account,” that’s not as sexy. But that’s the kind of feedback we need to hear to be effective.

What’s the most common advice you find yourself giving in a marketing context related to content strategy?

Talk to your users. Over and over and over. Talk to them. Don’t run a poll. Don’t do “social listening.” Because then you’re only going to hear the super unhappy or the super happy people, not the people who don’t really care, whose attention we’re trying to get. Go out and just talk to them.

I think the number one reason we don’t talk to our customers is we’re really afraid of what they’re going to say. The number one thing they might say is “I don’t care.” But that’s exactly what we need to know.

Who comes to your mind as a great example of an organization listening to customers and taking action in the way they’re creating content?

Speaking as a consumer, somebody who has delivered useful content since way before the internet is USAA. I would expect based on their bundle of services and their niche market that they would be delivering very custom, targeted, educational content. And that comes in the form of their magazine. I still get their print magazine. They’re one of the original content marketers.

Room & Board send their people on the delivery trucks into people’s homes to find out how they live, what they want, what makes them happy. They’re seeing in a real setting how people use their products.

Would you say content strategy is more important than ever, with the content production overload that exists today?

Oh yes. The role of a content strategist is to help launch a scalable, sustainable content marketing program within your organization in context of everything else you’re already committed to, keeping in mind the skill-sets you have. Or, maybe after you do an analysis, you decide to make less of a commitment because there are other priorities.

The role of a content strategist is ensuring that business goals are very clearly articulated, that user needs and what they want from your product/service have been clearly articulated. We help identify scalability, internal capability, realistically what it’s going to take to make this happen. And then helping organizations to make decisions not only about what they are going to do, but what they’re not going to do. It’s making sure the content plan is in line with what, ultimately, the end user wants and needs.

For more insights into modern content marketing strategy, read the full eBook, “The Big Picture of Content Marketing Strategy” below.


Be sure to check out the next two content marketing ebooks in our series, “Making Content Marketing the Star of Your Marketing” and “Measuring Your Content Marketing Box Office Success”.

CMWorld 2015 eBooks

Reserve your space at Content Marketing World (September 8-11) to hear Kristina Halvorson’s keynote, as well as insights from over 200 content marketing thought leaders.


Email Newsletter Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | Interview: Content Strategy Words of Wisdom from Kristina Halvorson #CMWorld | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Success Story: Jolina Pettice Promoted to TopRank Marketing Vice President http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/05/jolina-pettice-vp/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/05/jolina-pettice-vp/#comments Thu, 07 May 2015 10:04:37 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18451 Jolina Pettice

Jolina Pettice

Note from Lee: My partner Susan Misukanis and I are thrilled to announce that Jolina Pettice has been promoted to Vice President at TopRank Online Marketing!

For nearly 10 years Jolina has helped TopRank Marketing clients and her consulting team achieve success through her fearless leadership, passion for digital marketing and an uncanny ability to “get sh*t done”. Few things are more satisfying to me than seeing smart, creative and results-focused professionals rewarded for their contributions and empowered to grow even more.

TopRank Marketing is on the cusp of some of the most exciting growth we’ve ever experienced in our 14 years in business and I am proud to see Jolina leading the way. Congratulations Jolina!  To learn more about Jolina, read on for Ashley's interview with her:

This is my second time working with Jolina. The first time I was here, I often wondered “how does she do it?”. Jolina has a real knack for assessing a situation, quickly determining a solution and providing actionable next steps. When I heard that Jolina was being promoted to Vice President of TopRank Marketing, I jumped at the chance to interview her about her new role.

In her years at TopRank Marketing, Jolina has exemplified many of the core values that our company stands for. She is incredibly hardworking, has built up credibility both internally and externally, is always humble, and has the utmost integrity.

I sat down with Jolina to learn a little bit more about her journey and experiences so that she could share what TopRank Marketing has meant to her, in her own words.

Please share a little bit about your journey at TopRank Marketing.

First, let me start by saying that it’s been amazing.

I started at TopRank Marketing as a PR Associate. PR & Journalism is what I had studied, and after tinkering around a bit, it was time to put my degree to work (thank you mom for the nudge). My first year was focused on assisting clients with their PR efforts, through content creation and pitching journalists. Thankfully, I have pretty thick skin and getting hung up on several times throughout the day didn’t get to me.

This was 9+ years ago, so SEO and digital marketing in general was still relatively new to many organizations. I was really fascinated by the integration of a client’s PR efforts with a broader online mix and the results it could produce. And I mean really fascinated, like Googling all day and all night trying to figure out what was showing up for what terms, what did the sites look like that were ranking, what did they have (or not have) as compared to the clients I was working for. This was the start of my journey beyond PR and into Account management.

So all was pretty good, I was learning the ropes and finding my work to be satisfying. And then out to lunch one day, Susan Misukanis (TopRank Marketing’s President and Co-founder) asked me what I wanted to do next. Continue in PR or try something new?

I still remember it like it was yesterday, so new into my career and having someone genuinely interested in what I was thinking about and hoping to accomplish. So, without hesitation, I jumped in and said, “I want to be an Account Manager!”. The ability to learn more about all areas of marketing, and frankly get to be responsible for client programs, was really appealing to me.

And from that day and into the next year, Susan and Lee graciously taught me everything I needed to know, and beyond that gave me the freedom to test, create, fail, and flourish. And for that, I am so very grateful.

Fast forward a couple years, multiply clients a couple times over – and next thing you know we’re building out teams in areas from Account Management, to Social, to Content, and more. And here I sit, almost 10 years later, with the most talented team, clients I consider friends – and so excited to see what we accomplish next.

JNite-Jolina-Quote

What have you learned most from the clients you’ve worked with?

The best client-agency relationship is when you are both learning from one another. And I’ve been so lucky to work with great brands and the people behind them.

One of my favorite parts of being agency-side is that you catch a glimpse of so many different settings from startups to enterprises.  So, I’m probably most grateful for the sheer amount of business experience you can gain by paying attention to how different businesses operate. And of course, you can’t beat it when a client teaches you what is – and is not - authentic BBQ.

NEhrenberg-Jolina-Quote

What’s the best piece of advice you can give managers looking to grow into a position like yours?

I would say two things.  The first is to keep your eye on the prize, which should be whatever ‘success’ looks like to your organization.  It’s easy to get pulled in multiple directions, so you have to find a way to keep yourself and your team focused.

The second would be not to try and go it alone. When you’re new to management it can seem very daunting and you will come across situations that you can’t always plan for. Find a mentor, read books, do whatever you can to be prepared for whatever may come your way.

Ahall-Jolina-Quote

How do you believe that TopRank Marketing has proven to be “Smart, Creative and Focused on Results”?

Smart: Our team was one of the first to pioneer the idea of integration between PR and marketing and working with influencers and content marketing. We’ve avoided chasing shiny objects and instead focusing on what drives value for our clients.

Creative: We’ve been creative in the way that we recognize that for any given client there may be limited resources to get the job done. In these situations, the team has worked hard to create efficiencies and process that enable us to create the best possible solution for our clients.

Another creative approach that we’ve taken is to create content that allows us to build an asset and break it back down to create continuity of message and lot of promotable assets for our clients.

Focused on Results: We strive to recommend a marketing mix for clients that we think will drive the best results. If you can’t serve the audience you’re trying to reach and the marketing mix isn’t a fit for the culture that you’re working for, then it’s not worth the time and energy to go chase it. Staying really true to what can garner the best results for your client is the most important thing.

Sue-Jolina-Quote

TopRank Marketing Team Members Share:

In her leadership role at TopRank Marketing, Jolina has worked with the vast majority of our team members in one capacity or another. Here's a sample of the praise she’s received from her co-workers:

"Jolina has taught me how to have fun at work. “You don’t know what you don’t know” – Never be afraid to ask a question, or ask for help."
- Shaya Clark, Operations Coordinator

"Jolina has taught me the importance of keeping a positive attitude in any situation. Her stress on keeping team members upbeat and motivated helps me to reevaluate my actions and do the same."
- Kate Heithoff, SEO Copywriter

"From watching Jolina lead the team tirelessly and enthusiastically to improve client programs, I’ve learned that creativity is a team effort and going the extra mile is always worthwhile."
Brooke Furry, Account Manager

"Jolina has taught me many valuable things, but one particularly good piece of wisdom she shared with me is that you will always be busy and always have more tasks to complete than time to complete them. You can either waste time and energy stressing about it or just get moving on the most important things. If you knock out the big rocks, the little ones will fall into place."
Evan Prokop, Digital Marketing Manager

What our clients say about Jolina:

"I started working with Jolina back in 2007 when she was our account manager. I was immediately impressed with her – she’s smart as a whip and can rattle off SEO and content marketing tactics and strategies at a mile a minute (after all she does run on coffee and Twizzlers)! While she managed our account we saw significant improvements every single year. And, as she has risen through the ranks of TopRank Marketing, I can tell that her expertise and account management skills have rubbed off on others, as we are in excellent hands with our current account team. This is certainly a well-deserved promotion for Jolina! I am so happy for her and of course proud to say that she has led us on our path to online marketing success!"
- Barbara Feinberg: Product Marketing Manager, IWS Digital Marketing
Imaging and Workflow Solutions at McKesson Corporation

Opportunities Are Abundant At TopRank Online Marketing

Do you want to be a part of a team that encourages and rewards smart, creative and results focused work? View our current openings.

If your business is in need of a team of marketers that will work alongside you to define and meet your business objectives, let’s have a conversation.

 

The post Success Story: Jolina Pettice Promoted to TopRank Marketing Vice President appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Jolina Pettice

Jolina Pettice Note from Lee: My partner Susan Misukanis and I are thrilled to announce that Jolina Pettice has been promoted to Vice President at TopRank Online Marketing! For nearly 10 years Jolina has helped TopRank Marketing clients and her consulting team achieve success through her fearless leadership, passion for digital marketing and an uncanny ability to “get sh*t done”. Few things are more satisfying to me than seeing smart, creative and results-focused professionals rewarded for their contributions and empowered to grow even more. TopRank Marketing is on the cusp of some of the most exciting growth we’ve ever experienced in our 14 years in business and I am proud to see Jolina leading the way. Congratulations Jolina!  To learn more about Jolina, read on for Ashley's interview with her: This is my second time working with Jolina. The first time I was here, I often wondered “how does she do it?”. Jolina has a real knack for assessing a situation, quickly determining a solution and providing actionable next steps. When I heard that Jolina was being promoted to Vice President of TopRank Marketing, I jumped at the chance to interview her about her new role. In her years at TopRank Marketing, Jolina has exemplified many of the core values that our company stands for. She is incredibly hardworking, has built up credibility both internally and externally, is always humble, and has the utmost integrity. I sat down with Jolina to learn a little bit more about her journey and experiences so that she could share what TopRank Marketing has meant to her, in her own words. Please share a little bit about your journey at TopRank Marketing. First, let me start by saying that it’s been amazing. I started at TopRank Marketing as a PR Associate. PR & Journalism is what I had studied, and after tinkering around a bit, it was time to put my degree to work (thank you mom for the nudge). My first year was focused on assisting clients with their PR efforts, through content creation and pitching journalists. Thankfully, I have pretty thick skin and getting hung up on several times throughout the day didn’t get to me. This was 9+ years ago, so SEO and digital marketing in general was still relatively new to many organizations. I was really fascinated by the integration of a client’s PR efforts with a broader online mix and the results it could produce. And I mean really fascinated, like Googling all day and all night trying to figure out what was showing up for what terms, what did the sites look like that were ranking, what did they have (or not have) as compared to the clients I was working for. This was the start of my journey beyond PR and into Account management. So all was pretty good, I was learning the ropes and finding my work to be satisfying. And then out to lunch one day, Susan Misukanis (TopRank Marketing’s President and Co-founder) asked me what I wanted to do next. Continue in PR or try something new? I still remember it like it was yesterday, so new into my career and having someone genuinely interested in what I was thinking about and hoping to accomplish. So, without hesitation, I jumped in and said, “I want to be an Account Manager!”. The ability to learn more about all areas of marketing, and frankly get to be responsible for client programs, was really appealing to me. And from that day and into the next year, Susan and Lee graciously taught me everything I needed to know, and beyond that gave me the freedom to test, create, fail, and flourish. And for that, I am so very grateful. Fast forward a couple years, multiply clients a couple times over – and next thing you know we’re building out teams in areas from Account Management, to Social, to Content, and more. And here I sit, almost 10 years later, with the most talented team, clients I consider friends – and so excited to see what we accomplish next. JNite-Jolina-Quote What have you learned most from the clients you’ve worked with? The best client-agency relationship is when you are both learning from one another. And I’ve been so lucky to work with great brands and the people behind them. One of my favorite parts of being agency-side is that you catch a glimpse of so many different settings from startups to enterprises.  So, I’m probably most grateful for the sheer amount of business experience you can gain by paying attention to how different businesses operate. And of course, you can’t beat it when a client teaches you what is – and is not - authentic BBQ. NEhrenberg-Jolina-Quote What’s the best piece of advice you can give managers looking to grow into a position like yours? I would say two things.  The first is to keep your eye on the prize, which should be whatever ‘success’ looks like to your organization.  It’s easy to get pulled in multiple directions, so you have to find a way to keep yourself and your team focused. The second would be not to try and go it alone. When you’re new to management it can seem very daunting and you will come across situations that you can’t always plan for. Find a mentor, read books, do whatever you can to be prepared for whatever may come your way. Ahall-Jolina-Quote How do you believe that TopRank Marketing has proven to be “Smart, Creative and Focused on Results”? Smart: Our team was one of the first to pioneer the idea of integration between PR and marketing and working with influencers and content marketing. We’ve avoided chasing shiny objects and instead focusing on what drives value for our clients. Creative: We’ve been creative in the way that we recognize that for any given client there may be limited resources to get the job done. In these situations, the team has worked hard to create efficiencies and process that enable us to create the best possible solution for our clients. Another creative approach that we’ve taken is to create content that allows us to build an asset and break it back down to create continuity of message and lot of promotable assets for our clients. Focused on Results: We strive to recommend a marketing mix for clients that we think will drive the best results. If you can’t serve the audience you’re trying to reach and the marketing mix isn’t a fit for the culture that you’re working for, then it’s not worth the time and energy to go chase it. Staying really true to what can garner the best results for your client is the most important thing. Sue-Jolina-Quote TopRank Marketing Team Members Share: In her leadership role at TopRank Marketing, Jolina has worked with the vast majority of our team members in one capacity or another. Here's a sample of the praise she’s received from her co-workers:
"Jolina has taught me how to have fun at work. “You don’t know what you don’t know” – Never be afraid to ask a question, or ask for help." - Shaya Clark, Operations Coordinator "Jolina has taught me the importance of keeping a positive attitude in any situation. Her stress on keeping team members upbeat and motivated helps me to reevaluate my actions and do the same." - Kate Heithoff, SEO Copywriter "From watching Jolina lead the team tirelessly and enthusiastically to improve client programs, I’ve learned that creativity is a team effort and going the extra mile is always worthwhile." - Brooke Furry, Account Manager "Jolina has taught me many valuable things, but one particularly good piece of wisdom she shared with me is that you will always be busy and always have more tasks to complete than time to complete them. You can either waste time and energy stressing about it or just get moving on the most important things. If you knock out the big rocks, the little ones will fall into place." - Evan Prokop, Digital Marketing Manager
What our clients say about Jolina: "I started working with Jolina back in 2007 when she was our account manager. I was immediately impressed with her – she’s smart as a whip and can rattle off SEO and content marketing tactics and strategies at a mile a minute (after all she does run on coffee and Twizzlers)! While she managed our account we saw significant improvements every single year. And, as she has risen through the ranks of TopRank Marketing, I can tell that her expertise and account management skills have rubbed off on others, as we are in excellent hands with our current account team. This is certainly a well-deserved promotion for Jolina! I am so happy for her and of course proud to say that she has led us on our path to online marketing success!" - Barbara Feinberg: Product Marketing Manager, IWS Digital Marketing Imaging and Workflow Solutions at McKesson Corporation Opportunities Are Abundant At TopRank Online Marketing Do you want to be a part of a team that encourages and rewards smart, creative and results focused work? View our current openings. If your business is in need of a team of marketers that will work alongside you to define and meet your business objectives, let’s have a conversation.  

The post Success Story: Jolina Pettice Promoted to TopRank Marketing Vice President appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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An Authoritative Interview with Podcast Master Jerod Morris, VP of Rainmaker.FM http://www.toprankblog.com/2015/04/interview-jerod-morris/ Thu, 16 Apr 2015 10:07:50 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=18319 Who is Jerod Morris?  I think that’s an important question and one deserving of a public answer because if you’re in the online marketing and especially, the podcasting world, you need to know Jerod. So let’s get started. Jerod (@JerodMorris) is part of a small team that plans, produces, and markets the content for Rainmaker.FM, [...]

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Jerod Morris Interview

Who is Jerod Morris?  I think that’s an important question and one deserving of a public answer because if you’re in the online marketing and especially, the podcasting world, you need to know Jerod.

So let’s get started. Jerod (@JerodMorris) is part of a small team that plans, produces, and markets the content for Rainmaker.FM, Copyblogger’s digital marketing podcast network. He hosts two shows on the network: The Lede and The Showrunner and also develops new shows. Jerod speaks regularly at industry conferences and produces Rainmaker Platform webinars. Simply put, Jerod is an Authority on podcasting and Rainmaker for Copyblogger Media.

As part of our ongoing series for the Authority Rainmaker conference, check out this interview where Jerod provides a view into his start and success with podcasting including tips, examples and some insights into the top talent at Copyblogger Media.

Among many talents, you are widely considered a growing authority on blogging and podcasting. What has been your inspiration? What motivates you about creating content?

Many? That is very kind of you to say, even if my more self-critical side disagrees with you. 🙂 But what is perhaps ironic about what I’m about to say is that I do not feel like any authority I’ve been fortunate to attain is based on talent.

I think any authority I have is based more on the kinds of things I’ve done that do not actually require talent: showing up, working hard, and caring about what an audience takes away from my content. I do hope that my actual abilities improve with the repetitions of this process, but what truly inspires me and motivates me is how much a connection with an audience can be created independent of talent. It’s empowering.

Assembly Call
For example, I don’t feel like I had any particular “talent” to host a postgame show for Indiana University basketball when we launched The Assembly Call … but my co-hosts and I just kept on showing up, and we worked hard to provide good analysis, and we genuinely cared about giving our audience a good experience and connecting with them. Which is why our audience has grown like it has. And hopefully our ability to produce a compelling live broadcast has grown as well.

But the inspiring and motivating part is how we were able to develop a minimum viable audience before we really had what would be called “talent.” We had heart, desire, and empathy, and that was enough to start. I wish more people would realize that.

By starting in the content marketing and blogging world in 2008 (is that right?), you were ahead of a game that has exploded in popularity ever since. What has changed in business blogging and podcasting for 2015 and beyond? What advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Yep, 2008 is about right. That is when I joined Orangecast in Dallas, an SEO and social media marketing agency, and it’s when I launched Midwest Sports Fans to get my hands dirty in WordPress. 🙂 Wow a lot has happened since then!

The single biggest change I have seen is the return to empathy.

The single biggest change I have seen — both externally in terms of what is taught by the “experts” and internally in terms of what I viscerally feel is right and know works best — is the return to empathy. Back when I started, I viewed the Internet much more from a “what can I (or my clients) get out of it?” mentality. Now, it’s much more of a “What can we give to an audience?” mentality, with the knowledge that genuine giving is almost always reciprocated in ways that far exceed what is given. It’s a beautiful and flowery notion, yes, but it’s also nuts-and-bolts reality that works time and again.

So my advice to someone starting out would be to channel my inner JFK: “Ask not what your audience can do for you; ask what you can do for your audience.” Do that day after day and you’ll succeed.

Most podcasts that are now considered market leaders began in relative obscurity. Unfortunately, some podcasters run out of steam before they achieve momentum. What advice would you give to help motivate podcasting even when they aren’t seeing any significant business impact yet?

Podcasting may be the hot new content medium right now, but it follows the same fundamentals as text blogging, video blogging, and every other content medium. And chief among those fundamentals is that true success in online content is a long game. A few people might experience meteoric rises right off the bat, but ultimately they have to do something else to sustain it. Some do, many don’t.

So don’t worry about winning the web lottery. Just have faith in the long-term impact of showing up, working hard, and caring. Lay enough of those bricks day after day and you’ll eventually connect with your audience.

The dirty little secret of success online is that it more often is a war of attrition and attitude than a war of aptitude. If you are struggling, you may want to rethink your direction, or tweak your content, or dig into learning more about your audience … but success is out there for you if you’re truly committed to it over the long-term.

Many influential people who are considered subject matter authorities also have lesser-known skills or areas of expertise. An example is Bob Barker, best known as an authority in game show hosting, who also is a black belt in Karate, taught by the legendary Chuck Norris. What is one interesting skill or area of expertise you have that is not well known?

I grew up in Indiana, so if a game of H.O.R.S.E. or a three-point contest ever breaks out at Authority Rainmaker or Content Marketing World, I’d be a good guy to have on your side. 😉 A true Hoosier can always shoot it.

What are you most looking forward to at the Authority Rainmaker conference?  What sets it apart from other events?

Connecting and reconnecting with members of the Copyblogger audience. Nothing else is even in second place. (And then having my mind blown by Henry Rollins’ closing keynote is third.)

Henry Rollins

Source: SXSW.com

I made so many great connections last year that have turned into real friendships since, and I can’t wait to see those faces and hear those voices in person again. And having been to many other events before and since our conference last year, that is what continues to stick out to me about it: the sense of community and togetherness that was palpable.

Part of it is the attendees being part of the same online tribe, and the other part is the single-track format that gives everyone the same experience. I don’t even see it as “networking.” It’s connecting with friends and making new ones. That we’ll all be able to help each other out in business down the road is secondary, and that’s how it feels.

Most influential people have others they consider to be more authoritative than themselves. Who is an influential person who you consider to be an authority that influences your beliefs and work? In other words, when they talk, you listen.

I have a weekly call with Robert Bruce and Chris Garrett that almost always ends up being the most educational and inspirational hour or two of my week. I feel bad sometimes that I’m not chiming in enough … but then when I do chime in I feel bad for costing myself additional minutes of listening to them talk. 🙂

I didn’t come to Copyblogger with a wealth of experience in copywriting or content marketing or creating courses, or any of that. And so much of what I have learned has been simply by being surrounded by people like Robert and Chris and Brian Clark and Sonia Simone and Demian Farnworth and Kim Clark and scores of others at our company are so smart, so experienced, and so audience-focused in their approach.

You mentioned my “talents” above? Well damn near all talent or ability I have attained over these last few years has been simply because I was smart enough to show up for work every day — because that has meant exposure to the brightest minds in our industry. I’m really fortunate to have such an opportunity, and I try very hard to never take it for granted.

In addition to that, being part of the Copyblogger team has given me exposure to people I may never have met otherwise. Ann Handley inspires me to be more empathetic. Chris Brogan inspires me to care … and then care some more. Lee Odden inspires me with his consistency and reliability (and with his impeccably coiffed beard). I could go on and on.

There are many voices out there that are NOT worth listening to, but there are a handful that are absolute gold. A big key to success is identifying the people who are worth listening to … and then shutting up and listening. Something else I often remind myself to remember.

Are there any examples of brands you feel are really doing a great job with their content?

Grantland

I think what ESPN has done with Grantland has been phenomenal. It’s become my #1 stop when I am looking for sports content, and it’s because the quality is typically so high.

From a personal brand perspective, Michael Hyatt always impresses with his consistency, quality, and perpetual envelope pushing. He seems to always be working to take the next step.

Everybody starts somewhere, but we occasionally cross paths with people who seem destined to attain authority status in their fields. Who is one person that isn’t well known now but you feel will (or should) be considered an authority in the future?

I have had the good fortune of working with Stefanie Flaxman since she joined Copyblogger about a year ago. She has consistently impressed me with her relentless commitment to high standards, her indefatigable work ethic, and her immense team spirit. And two words I’d use to describe her are interesting and delightful.

Those two traits alone aren’t enough to get you anything. But when you take someone who is smart, hard-working, and entrepreneurial, and then mix in an interesting and delightful personality, and you’ve got a winning formula. I think Stefanie has that. I’m proud to work with her, and I’m excited to see what her future holds. Look what she has done with Editor-in-Chief already? And it’s her first foray into podcasting. Impressive.

Also: Will DeWitt. He started out as my intern on The Assembly Call, and he is now taking that concept and building on it, launching a postgame show of his own for the Chicago Bears. The guy has an impressive combination of initiative and work ethic, especially for being so young. He may not realize it, but he inspires and teaches me. And it was supposed to be the other way around. 🙂

What advice would you give a ‘rising star’ to help them achieve authority status quicker?

As for advice? Show up, be authentic, and give a damn about the audience you’re trying to reach. If Stefanie and Will just keep doing that, their content will get better and better and better, and their audiences will grow bigger and bigger and bigger.

Let’s play social network word association. How would you succinctly describe each network below?

Jerod Morris social wordcloud

  • Facebook – A double-edged sword. It’s a great place to connect, but you MUST guard against wasting time.
  • LinkedIn – A place I’m reconsidering
  • Twitter – A place most people go to talk, but a place smart people go to listen
  • Google+ – A place I no longer go very often
  • Vine – A place I’ve peeked into, but have not sustained interest in
  • Tumblr –­ A place I have found many, many hilarious GIFs
  • Snapchat – A place that reminds me how old I’ve become.
  • YouTube – An oldie, but ever a goodie. I want to do more here.
  • Instagram – A place I’ve given up trying to “figure out” and instead just enjoy
  • Pinterest – A place I’m sure I could do more, but with what time?
  • MySpace – Ah memories. 🙂

Thanks Jerod! We’ll see you in Denver May 13th for Authority Rainmaker

Check out our previous Authority Rainmaker interviews with Sonia Simone plus keynote speakers Daniel Pink and Sally Hogshead.

Authority Rainmaker

The Authority Rainmaker conference features an incredible lineup of authoritative marketers and business leaders offering inspiration as well as a framework for integrated marketing. Over two days, presentations will cover Design, Traffic, Content and Conversion topics.

Here’s the full list of speakers representing some of the top marketing talent you’ll ever get to learn from plus some of the biggest names in content, social media and search marketing:

  • CEO of ion Interactive, Scott Brinker
  • VP of Rainmaker.FM, Jerod Morris
  • Digital Marketer, Michael King
  • Co-founder of Idea Incubator LP and CEO of DigitalMarketer.com, Ryan Deiss
  • Marketing Strategist, Sean D’Souza
  • Director of Special Projects for Copyblogger Media, Pamela Wilson
  • Founder, The Story of Telling, Bernadette Jiwa
  • VP of Marketing at Porch, Joanna Lord
  • CEO of Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi
  • Chief Content Officer and Co-Founder of Copyblogger Media, Sonia Simone
  • The Definitive Expert on Search Marketing, Danny Sullivan
  • Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, Ann Handley
  • Best-Selling Author and Keynote Speaker Scott Stratten
  • CEO of Owner Media Group, Chris Brogan
  • CEO of Copyblogger, Brian Clark
  • Musician, actor and activist, Henry Rollins

If you’re looking for one of the best marketing conference experiences, from learning to networking – Authority was one of my top 3 events in 2014.  This year it’s going to be even better. Check it out at authoritywins.com while seats are still available!

Disclosure: Copyblogger Media is a TopRank Marketing client. 


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2015. | An Authoritative Interview with Podcast Master Jerod Morris, VP of Rainmaker.FM | http://www.toprankblog.com

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