Lane Ellis

How to Optimize Customer Experience with AI – Top Tips from Microsoft’s Purna Virji

Lane Ellis on Oct 18th, 2018     Digital Marketing, Pubcon

Microsoft's Purna Virji at Pubcon Las Vegas 2018 Photo by Lane R. Ellis

Purna Virji, senior manager of global engagement at Microsoft, has spoken at the Pubcon conference several times over the years, but the main stage presentation she gave yesterday in Las Vegas was her first time taking a deep look at the ever-evolving artificial intelligence landscape and how it can bolster customer experience.

“When it comes to optimizing the customer experience, design for conversation from the start. Remember, the most important thing for the user is convenience,” Purna recently told our CEO Lee Odden in his Pubcon preview highlighting nine top speakers at the event.

Is Voice Search Living Up To The Hype?

Purna began by asking the gathered audience whether they thought that voice search was generally overrated and not living up to all the hype it has increasingly attracted as more AI-assisted devices are in our homes, cars, offices, and lives in general.

Alexis Hall

Want to Go Stress Free? Here Are 6 Reasons to Hire A Digital Marketing Agency

Alexis Hall on Oct 4th, 2018     Digital Marketing

When to Hire a Digital Marketing Agency

From developing and executing your marketing strategy to measuring results, your plate always has a healthy heaping of responsibilities—all of which are likely served with a side of stress from time to time.

If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you’re certainly not alone. A couple years ago, Workfront released its Marketers Stress Report revealing that 80% of marketers feel they have too few team members and too much work. Furthermore, 1 out of 4 marketers said they were “overly stressed” or “stressed to the max.”

Fast-forward to today, the stress factor still remains as marketers contend with a myriad of challenges, from lack of internal resources to adapting to the changing digital landscape. The good news, of course, is that a digital marketing agency (like TopRank Marketing) can lend a helping hand.

Nick Nelson

How Brands Can Avoid the Dreaded Fauxthenticity Pitfall

Nick Nelson on Oct 2nd, 2018     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Fauxthenticity

Let’s be real for a second here.

Today’s marketers and brands are collectively recognizing the need to strike a note of authenticity with their audiences. That’s excellent.

But in the quest to get real, it’s all too easy to wind up making the exact opposite impression by trying too hard, especially on social media channels.

When I think about this subject I’m always reminded of Steve Buscemi’s attempt to conform with school kids on the TV show 30 Rock:

via GIPHY

So, we should ask ourselves: How can we, as businesses, avoid this “fauxthenticity” pitfall? How can we overcome the inherent barriers that inhibit genuine connections between brand and customer? How can we speak the language of our audience without looking like we’re trying really hard to speak their language?

Lee Odden

Stop Gambling with Your Marketing and Go Pro with Tips from Ten Pubcon Pro Speakers

Lee Odden on Sep 28th, 2018     Digital Marketing, Pubcon

Pubcon Pro

In the fast paced world of search and digital marketing, what separates amateurs from professionals often comes down one simple distinction: marketing as a gamble or marketing as a planned, measured and iteratively optimized discipline.

There are far too many marketing campaigns being implemented simply because “that’s how we’ve always done it”, as a reaction to the competition and as a limitation of the in-house team tasked with execution. Professional marketers go beyond wishful thinking and hopes of “better luck next time”.

So, what does it mean to be a “professional”?

Being a professional in any industry represents a combination of characteristics including:

  • Specialized knowledge
  • Competency
  • Honesty and Integrity
  • AccountabilitySelf-Regulation

Marketing professionals represent these things and more:

  • Creativity
Caitlin Burgess

How Can Marketers Create Stronger Customer Bonds? Focus on Convenience, According to Shep Hyken

Caitlin Burgess on Sep 17th, 2018     Digital Marketing, Interviews

Shep Hyken on Convenience Marketing

Savvy digital marketers have their ears to the ground and eyes to the sky, striving to be on the cutting edge of the latest and greatest trends, tactics, strategies, and tools. After all, change comes hard and fast in this industry—especially when it comes to evolving buyer demands and expectations.

However, innovation doesn’t have to be net-new. To put a slight spin on a classic line, everything old can be new again. And that’s where convenience as a strategic digital marketing tool.

Convenience has been a core customer service principle for decades. And more often than not, convenience is a defining characteristic of customer experience and the brand as a whole. Think about what 7-Eleven did for weary travelers or time-crunched professionals. Think about what Amazon first did for avid, deal-seeking readers—and what they’re doing now for folks from all walks of life.

Alexis Hall

Use It or Lose It: 8 Ways to Make the Most of Your Digital Marketing Budget Surplus

Alexis Hall on Sep 13th, 2018     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

How to Make the Most of Your Marketing Budget

For all marketing leaders, effectively managing your digital marketing budget is a delicate balancing act. Spend too much too early, and you’re running ultra-lean for the balance of the year and risk falling short of your goals. Spend too little, and you’ll likely lose those dollars at year’s end—and perhaps put yourself in a position to see cuts next year if your frugalness is taken out of context.

In our experience, we often see organizations slow to spend the first nine months of the year and eager to spend in the final quarter. So, if you’ll soon find yourself in the “use it or lose it” position, absolutely use it—but be thoughtful.

Joshua Nite

How to Build a Resilient Evergreen Content Marketing Forest

Joshua Nite on Aug 8th, 2018     Content Marketing, Digital Marketing

Evergreen Content Marketing

Evergreen trees are a symbol of life and renewal because they never lose their leaves; they stay green year-round.

Tell that to anyone who has dragged a Christmas tree to the garbage on New Year’s Day.

The truth is, evergreen trees are part of an ecosystem. When they’re rooted and cared for, they thrive and the whole forest benefits. Cut one down and take it home, and it won’t be green for long.

Evergreen content is the same way. We tend to think of it as stand-alone pieces of content that bring in traffic without any additional effort. Something isolated, set-it-and-forget-it. But if you treat your content that way, it will start dropping needles on the carpet with a quickness.

Lee Odden

Trust in Marketing is at Risk. These CMOs and Marketing Influencers Share How to Fix

Lee Odden on Jul 23rd, 2018     Digital Marketing

CMO Half Life

The average tenure of a CMO is under 4 years representing a crisis in confidence amongst business leadership when it comes to marketing. Expectations for marketing are higher than ever amongst business leaders and customers alike.

To advance the valuable contributions marketing can make from boosting short term sales to growing long term market share, it is important for marketers to build trust and influence. But there are challenges:

  • A study from Fournaise Group that fond 73% of CEOs say “Marketers lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient growth and 80% of CEOs simply don’t trust marketers at all, while 91% do trust CIOs and CFOs.
  • New research from Marketing Week reports only 30% consider marketing ‘very important’ at large B2B companies.
Nick Nelson

Becoming a Better Marketer by Embracing Your Passions Outside the Office

Nick Nelson on Jul 4th, 2018     B2B Marketing, B2C Marketing, Digital Marketing

How Our After-Hours Passions Elevate Us as Marketers

In the first post I ever wrote for the TopRank Marketing Blog, I reflected on the marketing lessons I’d picked up through my baseball blogging hobby. Helping build an online community at Twins Daily has instilled many important fundamentals that, I feel, make me better at my day job.

I’m always fascinated by this interplay. We spend so much of our time each week alongside our coworkers, but are often unaware of the interests and side hustles that drive them outside of the office. Those very passions can be such integral parts of who we are and how we operate.

More recently, this has been a topic of focus for our friends at LinkedIn*. In April, Jason Miller wrote a piece about following your dreams while staying committed to your career, and in June, Sean Callahan profiled a LinkedIn marketer who moonlights as a DJ.

Alexis Hall

How to Rally Around ROI & Prioritize Your Digital Marketing Efforts in the Face of Budget Cuts

Alexis Hall on Jul 2nd, 2018     B2B Marketing, B2C Marketing, Digital Marketing

Prioritizing After Marketing Budget Cuts

Ask any marketer if they’ve ever had to contend with the shrinking or deep cutting of their budgets, odds are you’ll get a deep sigh and a “more than once” response.

Organizations are always looking for efficiencies and ways to tighten their financial belt, and marketing departments are among the first to be placed on the chopping block because it all comes down to ROI—something many modern marketers find hard to prove

In fact, according to a recent report from Demand Gen Report and BrightFunnel, 58% of B2B organizations surveyed said their current ability to measure and analyze marketing performance “needs improvement” or worse.

Nick Nelson

A Non-Agency Guy Reflects on His First Year at TopRank Marketing

TopRank Marketing Team

Liking where you work is not an optional luxury. At least it sure shouldn’t be.

Spending 40 hours of every week at a place you dread is a tough way to go through any stretch of life. I’ve been there and I’m sure many of you have as well — especially if you work in digital marketing, which can often be a fast-paced, demanding, and stressful field.

So last year, when I decided to pursue a new professional venture, finding the right culture fit was a huge priority for me. As I started exploring the possibility of joining the TopRank Marketing team, I had some reservations; not because of anything specific to the company, but because it’s an agency.

Alexis Hall

To Gate, or Not to Gate? Answers to an Age-Old Digital Marketing Question

When Not to Gate Your Content

Modern marketers understand that quality, engaging and relevant content is at the core of any integrated digital marketing strategy. After all, in a world where consumers are increasingly self-directed in researching their options to make purchasing decisions, that quality, engaging and relevant content aids their journey and decision-making.

But let’s face it. While marketers want to inform and engage their audience, they ultimately want to generate viable leads to meet their goals and grow their respective businesses. Oftentimes, that means deciding when, where and how to gate certain content assets. In fact, perhaps one of the most common questions we get from our book of clients is: “Should I gate my content?”

The answer? It depends.