How to Get the Most Out of Professional Conferences

Professional conferences are an exciting way to gain new knowledge about your field, share the knowledge you already have, and build your professional network. With so many ways to use conference attendance to advance your career, having an understanding of how to get the most out of a professional conference is key to avoiding information fatigue. In preparation for our upcoming Hero Conf Austin 2018, the world’s largest all-PPC conference taking place in April 16-18, I’ve compiled a list of the ways I ensure I get the most out of the professional events I attend.

Prepare In Advance

Share Your Knowledge

Most conferences accept open speaker pitches from individual professionals in the industry. A great way to gain visibility (or get a free pass!) is to submit speaker pitches for multiple conferences throughout the year. This can be a daunting prospect, but putting yourself out there has several advantages. You’ll increase your exposure, network with other professionals in your industry, and learn that you know much more than you think about your field. Some conferences have volunteer opportunities as well, which are a good way to dip your toes in the water if you’re feeling hesitant about putting yourself out there.

Do Your Research

Review the conference agenda well in advance of the event. By doing this you can learn which sessions are of interests for you, as well as which key experts in your field will be there. Look for the names you know, and identify the names of those you want to know. Researching the “who” and “what” ahead of time will help prepare you for the networking you will do at the event itself. Determine the goals you hope to meet by attending the conference, and identify how you plan to achieve them when you’re there.

Get Connected

Follow the relevant hashtags for the conference leading up to the event, and check out fellow attendees’ social media profiles to get connected early. This is a good way to find out what other people are talking about surrounding the conference, as conference hashtags are generally utilized leading up to and during the event. Find the people you already know and reconnect in advance, so you can go in on strong networking footing. If there are apps for registration and check-in, be sure you have downloaded these ahead of time as well.

At the Event

Get Acquainted with the Venue

Many conferences will hold orientation sessions for new attendees; be sure to get oriented with the venue and the conference structure early, because the hustle and bustle on the primary session days can overwhelm if you aren’t sure where you’re going. Organize your schedule with your own agenda before heading to any sessions. Also, be sure to schedule the “where” and “when” for time to yourself – to reflect and decompress – after sessions and before any schmoozing.

Choose Actionable Sessions

You prepared in advance and determined your goals for the conference. When you choose which sessions to attend, choosing actionable sessions can help you in several ways. If your company is paying for you to go to the conference, it is likely that you will need to justify the expense by providing actionable takeaways to implement upon returning. Even if it is your own dollars spent, you’ll want to utilize your time as a sort of individual training session to benefit your current role. Conferences are costly, and there is no need to feel as though you’ve wasted your time or your dollars in attending.

Participate in the Discussion

Whether it is raising your hand to speak up in a small workshop session, or participating in a social media conversation on a conference topic, being part of the greater discussion is another great way to maximize your exposure and stay active as a conference attendee. You are there to learn not only from the panelists and speakers, but also from your peers in attendance with you. Don’t be afraid to exchange business cards with those unfamiliar attendees who caught your attention during these discussions. I suggest setting a minimum number of people to introduce yourself to per day, and holding yourself to it.

Landing Back Home

Organize Your Takeaways

You’ve likely taken notes, exchanged business cards, and brainstormed plans for implementing what you’ve learned in your career moving forward. Following the conference, take some time to organize everything you’ve gleaned. I like to do a wrap-up “journal” after I attend professional events, as this gives me a sort of narrative way of organizing my thoughts and getting them all down in one place.

Follow Up

Use the business cards you received and the new social media connections you made and plan a follow up for each point of contact. Depending on the goals you identified for yourself in advance of the conference, these follow-ups may entail sharing, collaborating, or forming business partnerships. Whatever the reason for establishing contact, don’t wait too long to fortify any meaningful connections your made with your fellow attendees.

Teach What You Learned

To demonstrate the actionable takeaways from the sessions you chose to attend, plan to tangibly share what you learned with the rest of your teammates. Form a post-conference discussion with your colleagues who were also in attendance, or present session highlights to the members of your team who stayed at the office while you were away. Showing how the information you learned is useful to your company or career growth is a critical part of ensuring you got the best bang for your buck.

Wrapping Up

While conferences may be trendy in the current professional zeitgeist, they have plenty to offer you in your career development if you utilize them wisely. Understanding ways to get the most out of your conference ticket can ensure that you’ll have the opportunity to learn and grow from events in the future.



3 Crucial Traits of the Fearless Marketer

If you’re a marketer with aspirations to one day become a CMO, what or where do you look for inspiration and motivation to continue on your growth path to leadership? For me, the best source of inspiration is getting to know top marketing performers that have blazed a trail that challenged the status quo of our field. I’m not alone. Here at Marketo, we are always looking for the fearless marketers to promote as the shining stars of our craft. We believe that the next gen CMO is one that pushes the envelope, tries new and exciting ways to engage their customers, isn’t afraid to take risks, and charges passionately forward to drive business impact.

So, it begs the question: are YOU on the path to becoming a next-gen CMO? And what does it take to become one?

While there are MANY qualities reflected in fearless marketers, here are a few key traits that embody our most fearless customers. They are the ones teaching myself and others in the industry how to be better marketers and business leaders. 

The Fearless Marketer Takes Sales Partnership to New Heights

A fearless marketer aspires to bring true alignment across people and technology to target the right audiences and to meet company revenue goals. To do this, they know it’s not just about the right technology—it’s also about people. They are dedicated to breaking down silos across departments, teams, and technology regardless of how impossible it may seem to others.

People Silos

The next-gen CMO does not see sales as the enemy but as a critical teammate. They understand that sales’ success means their success, so they dedicate time and resources to build bridges across the aisle. Next-gen CMOs make sales and marketing alignment a pillar of their organization, and are committed to the following:

  • Listening to sales feedback to build informed, revenue-focused marketing programs
  • Continually developing ideal customer profiles to increase volume and velocity of leads
  • Celebrating victories big and small with sales, as a part of a single revenue organization

One sure-fire way to become a valued partner to sales is to make their jobs easier. Many trailblazing marketers leverage sales enablement platforms to give reps a comprehensive view of their accounts and contacts—a one-stop shop for all activities pertaining to a contact. When a marketer proves to be a true partner to sales, they become an invaluable member of the revenue tribe.

Technology Silos

Sales and marketing must align on the technology they want to use to attract, qualify, and transfer leads to sales. Sometimes, marketing and sales use CRM and marketing automation solutions that don’t easily or completely integrate, so there is hardly any opportunity to align. The next-gen CMO knows that this lack of integration only leads to further distrust between both teams and ultimately, lost revenue opportunities. When you see a marketer investing in technology that drives efficiency and trust between sales and marketing, and you’ve got yourself a next-gen CMO!

The Fearless Marketer Delivers Personalized Experiences Across Channels

The next-gen CMO puts the customer at the center of their marketing team’s strategy. A marketing channel is only as effective as its ability to be perfectly personalized to a single customer—not just on one respective channel owned by a team of marketers—but ALL the channels. This requires a level of commitment from the next-gen CMO to rally her team around the customer experience, not the channel experience.

That strategy must also include digital advertising. In many marketing organizations, channels like ads have been bucketed into totally separate categories, which has caused them both to exist on separate tools, teams, and analytics tracks.

Let me paint a picture of what channel over customer looks like. Let’s say your social media strategy is ON POINT. It gives customers exactly what they want when they want it, but then when they hit your website to learn more and are treated like a perfect stranger, you’ve put the channel ahead of the customer.

To personalize at scale, the next-gen CMO pulls it all to a single view of the customer that listen to and learns from customers behaviors and preferences across channels—and embraces new technologies like artificial intelligence within an engagement platform so every action taken maximizes individual engagement.

The Fearless Marketer Continually Learns What Works (and Doesn’t) to Prove Marketing ROI 

Understanding ROI ranked as the number one activity that marketers agreed will have the biggest impact on their business in 2018. Likewise, the Gartner CMO Spend Survey for 2017-18 stated that “Marketing analytics jumps ahead to the No. 1 area of spending compared with last year, when it came in at No. 4 behind the website, digital commerce and digital advertising [the year before]. ”

The next-gen CMO knows this and takes every measure to address this growing challenge for marketers today. It typically starts with the marketer deciding to measure and report their performance based on revenue goals rather than vanity metrics.

I want to be clear here, sometimes clicks and downloads reveal operational insights for your marketing team—like what topics are most interesting to customers so we can create and share more of what works and less of what doesn’t. But the hard truth is this: your C-Suite DOES NOT CARE about clicks and downloads, and the next gen CMO knows it and adapts their reporting accordingly. The next-gen CMO cares about dollars spent and dollars earned for the company, and how marketing contributes to this process. They do not shy away from this challenge—they stare it straight in the eye.

But they also know reporting on these revenue metrics is only possible if they can effectively access the right data when they need it on a moment’s notice. They know they can’t wait days or weeks for performance reports from outside their department. They take reporting into their own hands, and leverage dashboards purpose-built for marketing, to share visual reports in an instant with executives.

When fearless marketers can truly drive and report activity that directly impacts revenue, they find themselves sitting squarely at the leadership table. They have now positioned their team as a revenue machine, not a cost center.

What qualities do fearless marketers embody in your mind? Who do you know who is poised to be a next-gen CMO? Tell me about them in the comments.

The post 3 Crucial Traits of the Fearless Marketer appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


New Paid Social Insights to Maximize Your ROAS

We all know that social is always changing, but especially now it seems that there are some major trends shaking up the PPC industry. When it comes to paid social, advertisers need to stay on top of it, or they’ll be left in the dust. That’s why we have some awesome experts to discuss what’s going on right now in social, and how you can utilize each platform to bring your brand the most return.

In this webinar panel discussion, Hootsuite’s Ryan Ginsberg, AdStage’s JD Prater, and Hanapin’s Steve Burnett will team up to walk you through all the new and exciting changes in social and offer opinions and strategies to use them for your benefit.

You’ll learn:

  • How you can navigate the new Facebook algorithm to find advertising success
  • What challenges we see coming down the pipeline and how to combat them
  • What trends we see coming in 2018 and how they’ll impact the industry



Key Content Marketing Metrics For the Fearless Marketer

Digital, social, and mobile technologies have dramatically changed the world we live in. And no function has been more disrupted than marketing. Executives won’t fund marketing if it doesn’t demonstrate real results. That’s why marketing ROI—including content marketing ROI—is one of the top challenges for CMOs and marketers. Social shares have no real value unless they drive engaged visitors back to your website. Ads have no quantifiable value unless they deliver leads or sales you can measure.

So before we can start to measure marketing ROI, we have to have the courage to stop doing things that don’t deliver real value. Stop creating content that no one wants. Stop advertising if you can’t measure click-throughs. Stop any marketing tactic that you invest in just because someone asked you to.

How are you doing? Still with me? It’s OK. We can do this together. Fearless marketers have the courage to stop investing in under-performing marketing activities and to start creating content that buyers want. And to invest in programs that deliver real ROI for the business. But how?

Let’s start with a definition of content marketing:

The difference between just any piece of content and content marketing is a destination you own, where you publish customer-focused content, with the goal of measuring value. Click To Tweet


Step 1: Build The Business Case

If you have don’t have a blog or resources section on your website, maybe you need to build the business case for content marketing to present to less fearless marketing executives.
I suggest you start by looking at your marketing ROI overall. When I hear the question about the ROI of content marketing, I always ask: “Well, what’s the ROI of your marketing overall?” And too often, I hear the answer: “We don’t know.”

Think about this: The majority of content discovered by your audience comes from just three channels: email, search, and social. Click To Tweet The best marketers focus their efforts on creating content that can be discovered across all of these. And what powers those channels? Of course, the answer is customer-focused content marketing.

Some questions to get you started building the business case:

  1. Do you rank for the keywords your audiences use the most?
  2. Do you create content that your audience chooses to subscribe to?
  3. Do you create content that actually gets read and shared?

If not, you can identify the business case as the potential to reach (organic search traffic), engage (social shares), and convert (subscribers and leads) buyers you would have never reached if you hadn’t done content marketing. You can find this data quickly using some available tools like SEM Rush, BuzzSumo, your website analytics platforms like Google Analytics, and your engagement platform. Then you can quantify the opportunity in the size of that audience you are NOT reaching.

Unlike campaigns that only achieve results while you are actively investing in them, content marketing requires a consistent investment over time, but you get increasing rates of return. This should be music to your CFO’s ears. It’s like a retirement account. Invest a small percentage of your budget over time. The first dollar you invest continues to deliver value to your brand long after the publish date. You compound those returns by continually making that investment.

Compound interest model

If the math doesn’t convince executives, try tapping into fear. “Fear of loss” is considered one of the greatest human motivators. Executives are scared of being left behind their peers, and asking questions like the ones below are a great way to start the conversation:

  • Do you show up first when someone searches for the category of your solution?
  • Or does a competitor beat you on organic search?
  • Does your competition create content with more social shares?

Step 2: Find or Reallocate The Budget

You don’t necessarily need additional investment to fund content marketing activities. Instead, just move budget from programs that aren’t working. You can find that using a campaign ROI report or ask yourself questions like these:

  1. How much content do we create that never gets used?
  2. Is the content we are creating driving leads and sales?
  3. How many marketing programs have delivered little or no leads or revenue?
  4. What do you spend on paid search because you don’t rank organically for those keywords?

Once you’ve identified the content and programs that haven’t worked, shift a portion of those marketing dollars into funding an annual, consistent content marketing program. Easy, right?

Step 3: Measure the Results

If the business case of content marketing is to reach, engage, and convert buyers. Then that can serve as a model for how to measure the ROI of content marketing.

ROI Content Marketing

The value of organic search traffic can be identified by looking at the average cost per click (CPC) you would have needed to spend in order to drive that traffic to your website or landing pages. Then simply multiply the CPC by your content marketing organic search visits.

If you get 10,000 visits from organic search and your average CPC is $2, that traffic is worth $20,000. This is a nice way to look at the value of reaching new customers, but you can’t take that money to the bank. So let’s look at something with real value:


Subscription rates are not only one of the best ways to measure the value and engagement of your content, but they also measure real value. You can quantify email subscribers’ monetary value if your email database has ever been used to nurture leads or present direct offers to sales/revenue.

To calculate the value per email address, take the total revenue from email campaigns and divide by the number of emails in your database. To calculate the value of subscribers, multiply the value per email address by total content marketing subscribers, and that’s the value of your subscribers.

If you generate $1 million in revenue from your email database and you have 250,000 subscribers, then each new subscriber is worth $4.00. Email is one of the highest producing ROI tactics marketers can use. And email subscribers are many times more likely to convert to real customers than non-subscribers. Click To Tweet


Many B2B marketers look to conversions and leads as the main objective of their marketing activity. For consumer marketers, they want to show actual revenue. One of the best ways to track this within content marketing is to define the customer journey.

For B2B, that should include the creation of mid-stage content offers such as a buyer’s guide, or webinars or event registrations to your annual user conference where sales can close all those leads. For B2C, we are talking about direct e-commerce revenue (L’Oreal’s is my favorite example).

Once you map content to the buyer journey, you will soon realize that most blog readers don’t immediately convert to customers. But if you offer them deep content to help them navigate their buyer journey, you can generate leads that ultimately convert to sales.


We’ve talked about the value of traffic, subscribers, and leads, but what about customer retention? Research has shown that a small investment in retention can deliver much higher ROI than investments in acquiring new customers. Click To Tweet But how do we measure this?

If you focus on subscribers, you can match customer email addresses with content subscribers. Then just do some simple math: How much more do subscribed customers spend vs. non-subscribed customers? How much longer do they stay as customers?

This is one of the best ways to demonstrate the value of content marketing. My clients who tracked customers who engage with their content marketing found these customers spend on average two to three times more and stayed three to four times longer than non-subscribed customers.

There is a formula for measuring the ROI of content marketing. But you need to be fearless. In short: Build the business case, find the budget, and measure the results.

For more on how to be a fearless marketer, follow Michael on Twitter @BrennerMichael or see his session on the Future CMO at Marketing Nation Summit. 

The post Key Content Marketing Metrics For the Fearless Marketer appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


Amazon Updates AMS Reporting Abilities

If you have ever used Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), Amazon’s PPC platform, I guarantee you remember the absolute hassle of pulling a report for a campaign. Getting account level reports wasn’t even an option. It made managing a difficult task and getting a high-level view of an account nearly impossible. Luckily, the Amazon reporting gods have smiled upon us. We can now download account-level data in AMS as well as download a number of new reports that are going to bring valuable insights into your account.

AMS Account-Level Reporting – Custom Date Ranges

Amazon Custom Date Ranges
Image Via, Inc.

With the new account-level reporting not only can you pull your account data, you can also choose custom date ranges for the past 90 days. This allows you to get granular with the data. You can now see how new campaigns are doing over the first few days after launch to seeing how a campaign ran the last 45 days to the previous 45 days. If the data you want to split out is from the last 90 days, the world is your oyster. Beyond 90 days the data is still available, but only in the set options provided by Amazon:

  • Today
  • Yesterday
  • Week to Date
  • Last Week
  • Month to Date
  • Lifetime

The new custom data range option is also available at the campaign-level, giving you even great control over your AMS data.

New AMS Reports

AMS Marketing Reports
Image Via, Inc.

Beyond the new account-level data availability, Amazon has also released four new advertising reports:

  • Keyword Report
  • Advertised Product Report
  • Search Term Report
  • Placement Report

Keyword Report

The keyword report provides KPIs for keywords in Sponsored Products and Headline Search Ads campaigns. The report filters out any keywords that did not receive impressions, leaving you with a clean report to dive in to. This data can help you see where you are performing best with your keywords and might help in deciding what direction to take your keyword targeting next.

Advertised Product Report

The advertised product report provides KPIs for ASINs in Sponsored Product campaigns that had one or more impressions. If you have a campaign with more than one ASIN, this campaign will help split out the data so you can see how each individual ASIN performed.

Search Term Report

For any AdWords or Bing account managers out there, this report will feel familiar as it is the AMS version of a search query report. The report shows the actual search terms used by customers on Amazon that led to at least one click for your Sponsored Products campaign. The report also includes KPIs that can let you take actionable insights from the data. This report is extremely valuable, as you can see what searches are leading to conversions, which you can then target in any of your keyword campaigns.

Placement Report

The placement report shows where Sponsored Products campaigns were placed on Amazon. Currently, there are only three placement options being reported; “Top of Search on Amazon”, “Other on Amazon”, and “Unclassified”. The report gives you data on where your ads are showing most as well as performance metrics for each placement. This report feels like it is in its infant stage. I am predicting as Amazon further builds out their placement opportunities this report will develop alongside those opportunities.

These reports can all be found under the “Advertising” tab and choosing “Advertising Reports”. Like the account-level and campaign-level data, you can choose date ranges set by Amazon or choose a custom date range. The custom date range for these special reports is only 60 days back instead of 90 days like the account and campaign level custom date ranges.


Overall, these reports are going to be extremely useful for any AMS account manager. The new tools allow you to report on data at a higher account-level with the custom date ranges to a more granular level with the advertising reports. If you are using AMS, now is the perfect time to get familiar with the new reports and use the data to build your Amazon strategy, keeping you ahead of your competitors and successful on the platform.

Have you used the new reports? What do you think of the level of data now available on AMS? Let me know on Twitter, I am always down to chat about Amazon.


Jungle Scout Web App New Feature Updates: New Design, Better Experience

Maybe it’s that I am now settling into and decorating a permanent home after years traveling as a digital nomad, but I’ve been consuming a lot of HGTV….for those that aren’t familiar, they have a great show called Home Makeover where they totally refinish and update a home into a completely new existence, while maintaining the same foundation. Why am I telling you about my newfound fascination with interior design? Simply this: because we recently did a whole new “makeover” to the Jungle Scout Web App! Same strong foundation, same benefits and value, just with a glossy new look and some very cool feature upgrades. And additionally we have even solidified the foundation with some more accurate sales estimates, but more on that later…. This new design is focused on creating a more intuitive flow for users, and simplifying the user experience to help drive a faster and more efficient experience finding and validating product ideas. The Web App Redesign: The Background We launched the Web App in August of 2015, with the mission of helping people find and validate profitable products to sell on Amazon. Nothing has changed in our mission. But we have continued with our laser-focus on … Read More

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How a Marketing Automation Platform Can Help With GDPR Compliance

The personal data economy has been increasing for years. Now with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deadline around the corner, data collection and enterprise responsibility will finally merge.

This is obviously great news for consumers, but what about marketers? Is GDPR a burden or a blessing?

On the surface, GDPR is a lot to take in. Nearly three out of every four marketers don’t fully understand the GDPR privacy laws they’ll be tasked to operate within, while one in four organizations say they’re still in initial planning stages.

But for marketers, GDPR doesn’t have to be intimidating. Being GDPR-compliant essentially means building trust and improving customer engagement—and hasn’t that always been the goal?

Let’s take a closer look at GDPR and the role marketing automation platforms will play in GDPR compliance.

The Effect of GDPR on Marketing Automation

Marketing automation platforms have long been a valuable tool to help teams track leads and subscribers via various profile segments, measure ROI, and give marketers a complete view of the customer lifecycle.

These platforms are even more crucial in a world governed by GDPR. Without automation infrastructure in place, companies can end up with disorganized data that leads to costly fines. A marketing automation platform can help you track and verify that data is managed in a GDPR-compliant way.

However, no one said building a solid data foundation to become GDPR-compliant would be easy. Expect the following challenges and changes from GDPR:

  • Current consumer data and email lists may no longer be valid, depending on how they were obtained
  • Less consumer data will be collected than historical norms
  • Trying to get existing databases to fully opt-in will be difficult
  • Consumer consent needs to be properly documented, including when and how it was collected
  • Consumers must be able to opt-out at any time
  • Specific types of consent must be matched with concrete goals
  • Department-wide security standards and best practices must be implemented for accessing and using automation platforms containing customer data

Under GDPR, gaining consumer consent doesn’t mean marketers have free reign to process or control all data they can acquire about a data subject. For example, if an auto insurance provider obtains a consumer’s personal details (such as name, age, address, driving history, and their vehicle make/model), that doesn’t mean the company can collect the subject’s health information, income level, or ethnicity.

In some cases, marketing teams should get in the habit of storing pseudonymous data, or data that cannot be attributed to a specific data subject without additional, separate data points. Setting up systems like this requires thinking critically about how and where you store data (and saying goodbye to the days of data dumps!).

Three Ways Marketing Automation Helps Achieve GDPR Compliance

GDPR compliance marketing offers the opportunity for marketers to learn more about their customers and handle their data responsibly.

There are plenty of ways a marketing automation platform can help, but there are three key points to keep in mind:

  • Setting prospect and customer permission levels
  • Allowing customers to manage their email preferences and information shared with them
  • Separating need-to-know info from nice-to-know info

1. Set Prospect and Customer Permission Levels

A hallmark feature of GDPR is giving prospects and customers the right to change their mind about consent at any time, and not in a black-and-white way. Prospects and customers can choose to give full consent, or they can say they only want their name stored. Whether they provide full or limited consent, they can decide to revoke this consent at any time. The amount of data shared is up to the customer’s discretion, and marketers have to make these data-sharing options explicitly clear.

An easy way to do this is to use unambiguous language (in a UX-friendly way) regarding what customers choose to share. Want to track a customer’s location? A message needs to pop up asking if that’s OK. Want to send a customer special offers and coupons through email and text? Include language like “Would you like to receive special offers and coupons via email or text?” with an unchecked box next to it, and make sure the box is not required to submit the form.

Keeping track of different levels of information might seem daunting, and it would be without marketing automation software. Within your automation platform, be sure to create separate permission lists and update them regularly based on customer withdrawal or updated permissions.

 2. Manage Customers’ Email Preferences

With the right strategy, GDPR and email marketing go together quite well. (After all, when has buying email lists and mass spamming ever helped a company win customers?)

Consider a customer who really enjoys a monthly newsletter with curated stories from around the web but absolutely hates the barrage of ‘updated feature’ announcements. This customer can indicate they don’t want to receive feature updates via email, but they still want the monthly newsletter. Instead of continuing to be frustrated by irrelevant emails (and eventually unsubscribing from everything), the customer is much happier and is encouraged to keep engaging with the relevant content.

Allowing customers to manage their email preferences is a win-win situation. Customers get information that is more relevant and interesting to them, and marketers get a more satisfied, engaged, and receptive audience. Putting the power back in customers’ hands can help email marketers improve open rates, deliver more precise messaging, and refine customer segments.

By using your marketing automation platform to create an email preference or subscription center, you can help customers choose the information they receive in a simple, user-friendly way.

3. Collect Only GDPR-Compliant Data

As marketers, sometimes we’re guilty of collecting too much data. It’s tempting to find as much out about a prospect as possible, hoping every collected detail will increase the chances of a conversion or long-term retention.

But unfortunately, the opposite is usually true. Databases become unwieldy and automated features don’t work as well as they could with a sharper data set. For example, think about the auto insurance example above: insurance agencies may want to know the income levels of their prospects and customers, but is it necessary to providing them with insurance coverage? In the case of GDPR compliance, can you prove why that data is necessary to provide the service?  Maintaining a healthy and compliant database can yield the added benefits of faster and easier searching and performance and better analytics.

Marketing teams need to be prepared to prove why they need every piece of data they collect. When your customer data is centralized in a marketing automation platform, you can easily analyze this data for GDPR compliance. Within your platform, review the information you collect, match it with a business case, and make a final decision about whether or not it meets GDPR standards.

Taking Steps Toward GDPR Compliance

GDPR can be overwhelming at face value, but at its core, it’s a huge opportunity for marketers. It strengthens consumer data protections and provides a unifying set of guidelines for companies and marketers to follow.

Want to continue learning about GDPR and how marketers can prepare? Check out our comprehensive guide to GDPR for marketers.

Peter Bell will also be giving a talk on GDPR compliance at our annual Marketing Nation Summit.

Summit CTA 2018

The post How a Marketing Automation Platform Can Help With GDPR Compliance appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


Market Research, Product Branding, and Product Development (Genius Series Episode 08)

In this episode of the Genius Series, I’ll explain why market research, product branding, and product development is important, then show you some cool tips, tricks, strategies and hacks to make your product stand out from all the other products selling on Amazon. Additionally, we’ll cover market research, product photography, and product design. You may remember from the last episode that there are four main marketing phases for selling a product. This is important to remember, because there are many out there who think that marketing a product starts after the product has launched. That could not be any further from the truth. Marketing starts during the product research phase with market research and product branding.   What you should know about product branding. Before we dive into the practices (and hacks!) that this episode will outline, I want to answer a few important questions regarding product branding and product branding strategies first. What is product branding? Product branding is the process of creating a name or design for your product that helps it differentiate from other products in your market. Thus, a good product branding strategy can help you dominate your competition and can lead to greater profits. What … Read More

The post Market Research, Product Branding, and Product Development (Genius Series Episode 08) appeared first on Jungle Scout: Amazon Product Research Made Easy.


Consider My Brand: How to Shine Through the Noise

When you meet someone for the first time, you tend to get a feeling as to whether or not they are your type of person. Subconsciously, you collect a lot of information about them and process it in nanoseconds. You analyze their sense of style, body language, cleanliness, hairstyle, language, tone of voice, and overall personality and decide if you have any commonalities.

In general, if there are enough commonalities, you’ll like them, and you’ll be more open to an actual conversation. If that conversation is about a topic you both share a passionate interest in, you’ll likely hit it off with them. As humans, we’re subconsciously judgemental and dismissive. We’re not consciously aware of these decisions, nor do we change how we make them based on whom or what we’re analyzing. We dismiss the majority of brands we see immediately because we analyze brands in the same swift subconscious way we do people. Arguably, even quicker given the market noise and the fact that we’re not bothered about hurting anyone’s feelings in the process.

These nanosecond judgments and dismissals are based, among other things, on a brand’s appearance, language, imagery, color, tone, and message.  You may have some commonalities with your audience but their hyper-dismissive default means you’re getting ignored unless you work very hard not to be.

In this blog, I’ll explain what a brand can do to avoid being cut from consideration before you even have a chance to relate.

What Can Your Brand Do?

First, start with visual appeal. Your identity needs backup (and maybe even a makeover). Your brand needs visual representation to form a look and feel that resonates with your audience. If your visual identity consists of a logo and a couple of stock images, you’re getting dismissed. Period.

Your brand identity, just like your individual identity, has many subtle nuances that shape its look and feel. Your logo, image style, typography, color palette, and graphic elements individually have their own characteristics. Working together as a system, however, they can create a look and feel as individual as any person.

Even if your marketing strategy is highly specific in it’s targeting, your identity needs to appeal to who your audience is, and as importantly, who they aspire to be. If potential customers glance your way and see themselves in your brand, you have just succeeded where the 3,000 brands that came before you on any given day have failed.

Competing for Brand Airtime

Once you have succeeded in grabbing some brief attention, you’re in a race against the clock. Whether your visual impact has won someone’s attention on your website, your social media account or your brochure, your collateral needs to instantly connect.

This is where nine out of 10 brands become another dismissed statistic. You only have a matter of seconds to resonate and most use this time to talk about themselves, which is the equivalent of a “so… what do you think of my guns?” pick-up line. If you have a someone’s attention, you have bypassed their subconscious filter, but they’re not interested in you yet. They’re interested only in commonalities, and you must be laser-focused on highlighting that you have some.

Their Problem=Your Solution

The commonality that your brand needs to highlight in those few seconds of attention is ALWAYS the problem they have that you can solve. When your audience hears a reference to the problem that they have, there’s instantly a sense of commonality, and their immediate thought is “That’s me, I recognize that problem because it’s my problem.”

In appealing to who they are visually and understanding them through their problem, your commonalities become obvious. Their fleeting attention becomes focused attention, and you have put your brand front and center for consideration.

Step Aside and Let Your Competition Scream

Market noise is loudest in the center. This is where all brands start out, shouting as loud as they possibly can, all looking and sounding like a version of each other. The further you push back from that center and distance yourself from the screaming pack, the less likely you are to be instantly dismissed.

The presentation and communication of your current brand will determine how close or far you are from the middle. Regardless, you should do everything you can to put as much distance between it and your brand. Do you need a re-brand? Maybe, maybe not. If you already have an identity that has a look and feel and your communication is tuned in to who your audience is, then making a few simple adjustments can give you some more breathing space from the pack.

Here are some tips to stand out from the crowd:

  1. Understand who your audience is, but also who they aspire to be, and tune your solution story accordingly.
  2. Trade in your stock images for shots that appeal to that aspiration and paint a picture of achievement. Keep in mind that this needs to be related to your solution, a picture of life after an aspiration-fulfilling purchase.
  3. Identify the pain points that your audience has in relation to the problem you solve.
  4. Ask some simple questions around these pain points that will get to the core of your customer’s problems. The goal here is to extract the frustration and emotion they carry that is associated with the problem.
  5. Show understanding and empathy around those pain points. If you solve the problem, then you’ve seen these pain point before.

Conclusion? Keep it Simple

Now, if you’re thinking “Come on, it’s not that simple,” I can understand. Branding and the strategies that go with it can be intricate depending on the business, but at the core, branding is about simplification. As complex as we are as people, we’re still primitive. If we have a problem, we want to solve it. When we feel understood, we open up. Our filters for brands have kicked into overdrive, largely to protect our sanity. Brands that appeal to the primitive nature of their audience and understand their subconscious filters stand apart. With a clear point of view, you can help your audience instinctively know, “That’s my kind of brand.”

What brands are “your kind of brand?” How might you implement these tips with your own brand? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

The post Consider My Brand: How to Shine Through the Noise appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


4 Ways to Efficiently Manage Account Downtime in PPC

While every PPC account is different, all accounts have weekly fluctuations in the time required to keep the account on track.  We have all experienced this.  One week, you are working overtime to launch a major initiative and optimize campaigns, but the next week your account is running flawlessly with little effort leaving you with a ton of downtime.  Making effective use of the times when your account needs less of your time will make you invaluable account manager.

Where should you focus when you have some unexpected downtime? Below I’ve listed a few opportunities that have helped improve my long-term effectiveness as an Account Manager.

Automate What You Can

Everyone knows there is a massive upside to automating mindless tasks, like reports.  Despite the obvious time-saving benefits, many Account Managers have not adopted automation tools that will make their lives easier.  A situation often arises where an Account Manager will put off automating a report because they don’t have time to set it up ‘this week.’

While this logic seems counterintuitive, it makes sense that an Account Manager doesn’t want to add more work or complexity to a week where time is a scarce resource.  It is for this reason that you should tackle this type of project on a week where you have more downtime.  If a report or task is successfully automated, more time will be available every week. You will have more time each week to focus on exceeding goals, brainstorming new strategies, and exploring expansion opportunities rather than doing repetitive tasks.

Reevaluate Goals

Sometimes we get so focused on what is happening on a day-to-day basis within an account that we forget to take a step back and question if the overall direction of our daily work makes sense. It’s nearly impossible to be creative when your account performance is struggling and requires all of your available time and attention.  This reality makes it extremely important make effective use of downtime.

Account downtime provides a great opportunity to get a fresh perspective on the direction of your account.  Taking a step back allows you to evaluate goals and determine if they make sense from a PPC and business perspective.  Setting realistic and productive goals will allow you to make clear, incremental steps toward success, while clearly demonstrating the value of PPC efforts to all stakeholders.

Test New Initiatives

In an ideal world, digital marketers should continually be testing new initiatives to gain knowledge and find new opportunities.  The insights we gain from testing provide direction for future strategy.  Unfortunately, the PPC world is not ideal and testing occasionally gets pushed to the back burner when more immediate action needs to be taken.

Using downtime to set up a new test will provide more levers to pull when making future optimizations.  Testing initiatives can range from new ad copy to new a new ad platform, or anywhere in between.  Regardless of what you are testing, clients or managers will be happy that you are continually moving the account forward.

De-Stress and Enjoy Your Time

It’s fair to say that almost everyone in the industry has stressed over their accounts at some point.  Whether its dealing with clients or the seemingly infinite number of small details, we have something that pushes our stress button.

Be sure to leverage downtime to break away from the ever-present stressors that live in the PPC realm.  De-stressing will positively impact your communication, creativity, and focus.  There are many ways to go about this process.  Finding a de-stressing technique that compliments your work habits will help make de-stressing part of your regular routine.

Concluding Thoughts

Taking advantage of downtime to pursue productive initiatives keeps clients happy while putting the account manager in a position of strength when the account activity inevitably ramps up.  This is not an exhaustive list, but it should provide some simple ideas to stay on task when your account give you downtime.