Ashley Zeckman

Book Review: 5 Takeaways From Scott Brinker’s Hacking Marketing + Bonus Author Interview

Ashley Zeckman on Apr 13th, 2016     Book Reviews, Online Marketing

scott-brinker-book-review

Digital marketing is a very competitive race. The team that is nimble, creative and working smarter will almost always win and keep the business in the end.

Many tools and processes have surfaced over the years that can help marketers improve their efficiency and deliverables. However, there are still many antiquated processes that still exist that may be hindering success.

Scott Brinker’s new book Hacking Marketing: Agile Practices to Make Marketing Smarter, Faster and More Innovative takes a much needed look at the areas of marketing that are broken and ways that they can be fixed.

Ashley Zeckman

Keeping it Real with Content Marketing: Why Integrity, Storytelling & Creativity Reign Supreme

Ashley Zeckman on Apr 12th, 2016     Content Marketing, Online Marketing

KEEPIG-IT-REAL-WITH-CONTENT-MARKETING

Marketing is often seen as a game. A game in which the marketers are the strategists and the customers are the pawns. Unfortunately, that is a game in which nobody wins. Marketers may feel a quick rush due to their success but customers that feel duped or mislead will surely, and quickly spread news of foul marketing practices.

There is no shortcut to providing value to customers through your marketing. In fact, now more than ever self-directed buyers are relying on the content they read online to lead their purchasing decisions and if something “feels fishy” they’ll quickly move on to a more reputable source.

Because of the amount of content being created today, that also means that not only integrity, but creativity and storytelling are an incredibly important part of creating content that connects your customers to your brand.

Ashley Zeckman

7 Influential Software Marketers Creating Great Content (& Where You Can Find it)

Ashley Zeckman on Apr 11th, 2016     Online Marketing

influential-software-marketers

How often have you met someone that walks the walk, but can’t quite talk the talk? Chances are, we’ve all encountered marketers that fit that bill. Fortunately, there are many influential marketers that are consistently creating great content that showcases their expertise.

Upwards of 60% of B2B marketers have stated that creating engaging content is their top challenge. However, that does not seem to be an issue for the rockstars on this list.

This is by no means a complete list, but merely a sample of how some of today’s most influential software marketers that are putting their content where their expertise is.

Michael Gerard

Michael Gerard

Chief Marketing Officer, Curata
@michaelgerard

Tiffani Allen

Online Marketing News: A to Z of Content, Native Ads Dominate, Google’s Local 3-Pack

Tiffani Allen on Apr 8th, 2016     Online Marketing, Online Marketing News

a to z of content marketing

A to Z of Content Marketing: A 40 Point Checklist [Infographic]
Creating great content and getting it in front of the right people is harder than it may sound. This fun infographic shows the A to Z of great content marketing, including curating relevant content, having a solid strategy, and social media recommendations. PageTraffic

Native Advertising Dominates Facebook Audience Network (Study)
A new study from Facebook and IHS showed that 83% of Facebook ads use their native advertising format. Facebook also admitted in an email to SocialTimes that “the percentage of apps using the native ad format on Facebook Audience Network has increased tenfold since the first quarter of 2015, and that CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) for native ads are seven times higher than those for banners.” SocialTimes

Ashley Zeckman

Marketers Unite: Join us for April’s Mega Social Media Marketing Conference #SMMW16

Ashley Zeckman on Apr 7th, 2016     Social Media, Social Media Marketing World

smmw16-preview

Social media marketing is no longer seen as the passing fad it once was. In fact, brands have invested billions of dollars trying to build a social community that would ideally build awareness, engage potential customers and eventually lead to sales.

However, to this day over 65% of marketers are still challenged to assess the effectiveness of their social media activities and 62% are still struggling to design an effective social media strategy (eMarketer).

It’s clear that while there is opportunity with social media marketing, there is still much to be learned. Later this month some of the TopRank Marketing team will be attending Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. This conference is the largest of its kind and will not disappoint social media marketers looking for a way to improve effectiveness and create a more effective social media strategy.

Below are just a portion of the sessions that we are most excited to attend and cover at the upcoming conference. Let’s dive in!

Kevin Cotch

3 Ways to Gather Actionable Insights From Google Analytics to Inform Your Marketing Plan

Kevin Cotch on Apr 6th, 2016     Conversion Optimization, Digital Marketing

google-analytics-marketing-plan

Today’s marketers are lucky. Why? The amount of data and tools to help interpret that data present an opportunity to be far more effective than in the past. However, marketers may not be using one of the most well-known tools in the most effective way.

We’re talking about Google Analytics. Unfortunately, it can be incredibly easy to merely focus attention on the vanity metrics within the platform. By vanity metrics, I mean sessions, users, pageviews, and other metrics that sound important. Of course it sounds great to have one millions sessions, but that metric doesn’t provide me with any actionable data. In fact, vanity metrics don’t provide much, if any, value.

Joshua Nite

How Best-in-Class Brands do B2B Social Media Strategy [Report]

Joshua Nite on Apr 5th, 2016     Digital Marketing, Social Media

b2b-social-media-strategy

Social media is a mainstay of B2C marketing, but it’s hard to imagine B2B brands rocking the most popular platforms today. How can you promote sophisticated financial instruments, cloud software, or heavy machinery on Instagram? It brings to mind an image of, say, a construction crane on the beach, with the caption “Sipping margaritas and loving life! #CraneLife #Blessed #WokeUpLikeThis #NoFilter.” That’s not the way to promote a no-nonsense, professional B2B brand, surely.

Despite the cognitive dissonance, brands with a solid B2B social media strategy are finding and engaging an audience across social media. As the leading professional network, LinkedIn is a major part of that strategy, of course. Increasingly, though, brands are finding their niche on the more casual, less business-oriented sites like Instagram, Facebook, and even Pinterest.

Ashley Zeckman

7 Tools to Uncover Customer Needs & Map the Customer Journey to Create Better Experiences

Ashley Zeckman on Apr 4th, 2016     Integrated Marketing, Online Marketing

map-the-customer-journey

Marketers have become increasingly focused on the importance of understanding the customer journey and using data to lead their marketing strategies. Salesforce recently reported that 86% of senior-level marketers say that creating a cohesive customer journey is absolutely critical.

However, knowing where to start can be a daunting endeavour. But not taking action has the potential to put companies at serious risk as Gartner estimated that nearly 90% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience starting this year.

Tiffani Allen

Online Marketing News: MarTec Supergraphic, YouTube goes Live and AdWords’ New Look

Tiffani Allen on Apr 1st, 2016     Online Marketing, Online Marketing News

martec super graphic

Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic
In one huge supergraphic, cheifmartec.com lays out key players in advertising and promotion, content and experience, social and relationships, commerce and sales, data, and management. As you can see from the image above, there are a huge amount of service providers in the industry, more than we may have even anticipated as few as five years ago. How will this landscape continue to change? Cheifmartec.com

Report: Google Building YouTube Connect to Compete With Periscope
Streaming live video is not a new concept in the marketing sphere, especially since Periscope hit the scene in 2014. But Video mega-star YouTube is jumping into the realm with both feet, launching their new live streaming app ‘YouTube Connect’ to compete with the success of Periscope and services like it. Interestingly enough, users will reportedly be able to watch live streaming video in the app itself, or on YouTube.com. SocialTimes

Ashley Zeckman

[eBook] Influencer Engagement: 15 Ways to Fail & 25 Ways to WIN

Ashley Zeckman on Mar 31st, 2016     Influencer Marketing, Online Marketing

Influencer Engagement - 15 fails and 25 wins

Schadenfreude (n.): Pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.

Who doesn’t like watching a good fail? As long as the subject isn’t seriously injured, we can all enjoy a hearty laugh at the guy who slips on the banana peel, the woman who gets her shoe caught in a grate, or the kid getting bopped by the family cat. Even if you’re the one who fails, you know eventually it will be a funny story you can tell at parties.

While these minor pratfalls are all in good fun, failing at influencer engagement isn’t as entertaining. Instead of a few bruises and an amusing anecdote, an influencer outreach fail can end your campaign before it starts. And there are far more ways to fail than you might imagine.

Caitlin Burgess

Learn How to Create a Better Customer Experience with Omni-Channel Marketing

Caitlin Burgess on Mar 30th, 2016     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

omni-channel-marketing

In today’s world, the customer experience extends beyond the walls of a brick and mortar store. Customers engage with your brand through content that’s spread across multiple channels and accessed by multiple devices. And with so many possible touch points, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to ensure consistency throughout–especially for their millennial audience.

A survey by SLD, a customer experience software and services provider, revealed that 44% of millennials surveyed expect their experience to be consistent across all devices. In addition, 60% said that they expect the same experience across all customer touch points–from phone service to in-store and digital interactions.

So how do you create that consistent customer experience? Through omni-channel marketing.

Caitlin Burgess

What is a Content Marketing Strategy (And Why Do I Need One?)

Caitlin Burgess on Mar 29th, 2016     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

what-is-a-content-marketing-strategy

With traditional marketing tactics becoming less effective as the Internet breeds more self-guided buyers, content marketing has risen up to provide marketers with another way to engage with their target audience.

Rather than pushing out a one-size-fits-all message, content marketing allows you to give your audience tailored, relevant and meaningful information. It helps you build a trusting relationship with your audience–often times before they even become a customer.

But just because you do content marketing, doesn’t mean you’re doing it effectively. According to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs annual research report, 55% of marketers said they didn’t know what content marketing success or effectiveness looked like. This is where a content marketing strategy can help you define a path to successful content creation.