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    1. Buying MarTech with Today’s Transparency

      Buying MarTech with Today’s Transparency

      Every new challenge marketers are faced with births new technology solutions. These tools require rigorous evaluation to determine vendor and buyer alignment—but few tools deliver on expectations. Buyers continue to invest in software that falls short. Take these steps to avoid buyer's remorse.

      Outline Challenges

      This step involves people outside your immediate team. Share the pain you’re experiencing with stakeholders and tie it back to organizational goals. Marketing Insider Group contributor Jacob Warwick outlines the benefits of this collaboration: 

      By sharing your findings through a transparent and collaborative approach, you can earn internal support to find a solution, receive additional feedback to analyze, and give leadership teams insight to manage company-wide expectations.

      Consider Several Solutions

      Steps two and three are often poorly executed. Look for solutions that are a good fit for your needs and company. Make a list of products that you’ve heard of and solicit peer referrals for these products. Look at competitors, and seek out tools that might fit the bill by using an entirely alternative methodology.

      Use Transparency to Your Advantage

      Thanks to the era of solution sales, buyers now benefit from transparency. Without sacrificing negotiation leverage, share your notes during discovery calls and product demos. Use the availability of authentic peer reviews and third-party product reviews that fit your use-case, and don’t be afraid to reach out to reviewers directly for additional feedback prior to purchasing.

      Warwick has more detailed guidance in the original article below.

       

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    2. 3 Easily Overlooked Errors Hurting Your Content Strategy

      3 Easily Overlooked Errors Hurting Your Content Strategy

      Marketers agonize over the content creation process along with the promotion, measurement, and optimization that follows. The reporting process reveals insights for improving your content strategy moving forward. But there are many common mistakes to avoid during the creation process prior to reporting. Avoid these mistakes when creating content: 

      1. Overly Promotional Content

      To create content your audience trusts, avoid egocentric marketing. People want objective answers to their questions. Promotional content erodes your credibility by deviating from your audience’s interests. Marketing Insider Group contributor Kelsey Meyer offers her rule of thumb to avoid this pitfall: 

      If your article sounds more like a press release than a piece of educational content, it’s too promotional. 

      1. Sloppy Reader Experience

      Social media & other modern media platforms have popularized abbreviated and informal writing. This writing has no place in your brand’s content. Your content reflects your brand. When writing, consider flow, layout, proper citations, media enrichment, and grammar. An in-house editor is ideal, but tools and on-demand services are reasonable alternatives for marketers with limited resources.

      1. Content Lacking Creativity

      Original content creation is a check-box item for marketers, resulting in an Internet flooded with thoughtless content. We all crave compelling, creative content. This requires more legwork in the planning stage.

      For a creative edge, use a strategy framework to create premium, research-based content that can be  atomized into additional pieces of content.

      Meyer has more on potential content pitfalls in her original post below.

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    3. Email Mistakes That Will Cause You Unsubscribes

      Email Mistakes That Will Cause You Unsubscribes

      Seventy two percent of US adults prefer companies communicate with them via email. However, it's easy to watch unsubscribe rates climb if you execute newsletters poorly. Fortunately, there are many things we can do to improve lead generation while preventing unsubscribe rates from increasing.

      Here's how Malinda Wilkinson, CMO of SalesFusion, stays at the top of her email marketing game:

      One of the best things you can do to keep your email marketing strategy relevant and your list of email subscribers high is to regularly educate yourself. Join email communities for email communities for email marketers. 

      Check out these common mistakes that cause email unsubscribes, and what you can do to fix them:

      1. You're sending too many emails. Consider the purpose of the emails you're sending, the relationship your brand has with the recipient, and successful campaigns you've delivered to similar recipients before determining email frequency and type.
      2. You're ignoring them. Make sure you're responding to email responses, questions, etc. No one likes to feel neglected!
      3. You're using overdone, clickbait-style subject lines. These include: secret, shocking, you won't believe, etc.
      4. You're calling contacts by the wrong name. Unfortunately, this isn't entirely avoidable when using merge tags to personalize fields. The number one thing you can do to prevent more problems is ensuring you have a plan for when a field you're inputting isn't populated.
      5. You're ignoring mobile. Forty three percent of people check emails on their smartphones every day. Make sure the images in your email are optimized for mobile and the process to click through to your website is simple.

      For more common email mistakes to avoid, Wilkinson explores the topic in detail below.

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      Mentions: Email Marketing
    4. Four Keys to Improving Marketing Performance

      Four Keys to Improving Marketing Performance

      Accurately measuring content performance can feel elusive for many content marketers. While all good marketers want to prove the efficacy of their programs, not that many know how and have the time to calculate it.

      James Thomas, CMO of Allocadia, elaborates:

      Marketers often fail to understand the layers and inputs that go into optimizing their team’s performance. Instead, they defer to shortcuts or arbitrary measurements, putting them at risk of hurting performance, losing budget, wasting, resources, and diminishing their internal authority. Poor Marketing Performance Management (MPM) makes it more difficult to meet the demands of your role.

      Here are four things you can do to improve your marketing team's performance:

      1. Create high visibility around your data reporting.
      2. Think strategically about your tech stack and set a clear plan for its future.
      3. Store your data in one cohesive place to make sure all departments have the same information.
      4. In relation to the previous point, try to align marketing goals with the goals of other departments including finance and sales.

      Focusing on these four areas will help improve your marketing team's performance, but what's being measured is also important to consider.  

      To learn more about how these four traits of high-growth B2B companies can help your organization, check the full blog below. 

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    5. Is Interactive Content Right for Your Brand?

      Is Interactive Content Right for Your Brand?

      Today, 65% of content is consumed via mobile. As methods for content consumption evolve, interactive content is increasing in popularity and efficacy. 

      Anna Talerico, cofounder at Ion Interactive, gives her opinion on why interactive content is right for most brands today:

      As our medium for accessing content changes, the content itself must evolve to meet the changing demands of consumers. As mobile replaces desktop, interactive content that gets users tapping, swiping and scrolling is a better fit than static messaging. 

      Here are some other reasons why interactive content could  positively impact your marketing.

      • Social media is interactive: Your audience is becoming increasingly more likely to interact with a quiz than written content.
      • Reality is more interactive: Augmented reality such as Pokemon Go is becoming more popular. This will create more interactive opportunities for brands.
      • Static brands will become obsolete.

      While interactive content seems like the smart choice for most brands. You should make sure you're set to create it effectively before starting. Before developing, make sure you have a content strategy that includes interactive content. Also, consider what type of interactive content would work best for your brand. Here are some ideas:

      • Quiz
      • Poll
      • Calculator
      • Interactive video
      • Interactive eBooks

      For more information on interactive content, read Anna Talerico's entire article on the Marketing Insider Group blog at the link below.

       

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    6. B2B Marketing Strategies for Companies With Limited Resources

      B2B Marketing Strategies for Companies With Limited Resources

      This year, marketers spent $5 million dollars on single Super Bowl ads. While the Super Bowl has a large viewership (111.3 million people), it's hard to imagine how exactly these ads paid off. This is especially true for some of the B2B brands such as GoDaddy and SquareSpace that chose to advertise there.  

      With 80 percent of B2B decision makers preferring to get information from articles rather than advertising, and 40 percent of millennials not trusting ads, budget-friendly digital marketing options seem much more impactful. Here are some other marketing tactics that won't drain your resources:

      Mark Schmukler, Brand Strategist, Co-Founder, and Managing Partner of Sagefrog Marketing Group, advises how to use video effectively without a huge budget:

      Online video marketing presents a huge opportunity for B2B marketers. Although you may not garner the same viewer volume as commercials aired during the Super Bowl, a helpful video can help attract qualified leads to your business. In the world of B2B marketing, quality over quantity is our motto

      Just because you don't have the budget to run a Super Bowl ad, doesn't mean you can't use the Super Bowl to elevate your marketing. Heinz earned great PR by giving their employees the following Monday off instead of paying for a Super Bowl ad.

      Read Schmukler's complete article on cost effective marketing tactics below.

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      Mentions: B2B marketing
    7. Why Aren't You Measuring The Revenue Your Marketing is Driving?

      Why Aren't You Measuring The Revenue Your Marketing is Driving?

      With so many tracking tools available, marketers have access to a wide range of analytics. Some of the most popular are:

      • Social shares
      • Value of site interaction
      • Conversion rates
      • Click-through rates on email marketing campaigns

      While many measurements are important when determining the success of your content marketing, Michael Brenner, keynote speaker, author of The Content Formula, and CEO of Marketing Insider Group offers this: 

      Demonstrating your return on investment may be more important now than it ever was. Most CEOs expect their CMOs to give ample weight to revenue growth in their marketing strategies. Companies today expect marketers to give them a clear view of their ROI in order to help them make smart budgeting decisions.

      Brenner also suggest that the metrics listed above offer a clearer picture of your content marketing ROI. While these numbers might give you a qualitative view of whether your marketing is generating a return on investment, the numbers aren't quantitative.

      To get a more quantitative view of your content marketing ROI, look at cost, utilization, and performance. Pawan Deshpande, CEO and Founder of Curata, shares his formula for determining ROI.

      For each piece of content x in Campaign C, take the $ amount of Revenue generated (a sales metric) by Content x and divide it by the ($ Production Cost for x + $ Distribution Cost for x) (a production metric). If the ratio is greater than 1, your content was profitable from a sales perspective. You can similarly compute this for a single piece of content, or all your content marketing.

      Find more of Brenner's insights about ROI in the full article below.

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    8. Big Data: Good or Bad for Small Business Marketers?

      Big Data: Good or Bad for Small Business Marketers?

      Big data, though hugely beneficial to many enterprise-size companies, can be a headache for small-business marketers. From where to get big data to what to do with it once it’s here, the questions and problems that arise for small businesses seem like they may be more trouble then they’re worth. Here are some strategies you can use to successfully leverage big data for you small business.

      Where to Get Big Data

      Big data is a challenge to get for small business. Ben Allen, a freelance content creator and digital marketer explains why:

      The first challenge of utilizing big data is where to get the freaking stuff. Data isn’t cheap, nor is it easy to come by. It’s why companies guard their data aggressively and don’t share with the public. But you have a small budget and limited resources to work with, so what now? Just give up on the big data dream?

      Here are some places small business can get big data on the cheap:

      • Website Analytics
      • Google Trends
      • Businesses that specialize in big data 

      How to Make Sense of the Numbers

      If you just have raw data and don’t have the budget to pay for an analyst or software to synthesize the information, you're left with a lot of data and nothing to do with it. Small businesses can use case studies, questionnaires, anecdotes, and other content to round out their big data and measure their marketing more clearly

      For a complete list of strategies you can take to leverage big data at your business check out Ben Allen’s entire article on the MarketingInsider Blog.

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    9. How to Write and Resonate with Real People

      How to Write and Resonate with Real People

      Successful content marketing delivers highly relevant messaging that resonates with a targeted audience. These variables will help improve your response rates.

      Be You

      Quirky, humanized writing lets the reader know you are a real person. Just as a keyword stuffed article is painfully obvious, an overly engineered note can seem flat and inauthentic. Try writing the way you speak in conversation.

      K.I.S.S.

      Less is more. After you’ve provided a solid point of connection (and perhaps some flattery), state your intentions promptly. The more information provided, the less is absorbed, and your desired messaging could be missed entirely.

      Be Thought Provoking

      Give your audience a prompt to get their gears turning and make them feel something. Offer questions that can provoke a novel line of thought for them.

      Say no to Clickbait Anything

      While they may drive clicks, sensationalized titles create a poor impression when your audience reads the body of your message. Lavanya Loomba at the Marketing Insider Group blog argues that:

      “Though it might seem a faster route to get more traffic, it certainly won’t be the best of your writing and will undermine your credibility as a trusted source.”

      In short, your audience wants to read and feel something real. Click below to read the rest of Lavanya’s five hot takes.

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    10. Optimize Your Thought Leadership for Success

      Optimize Your Thought Leadership for Success

      Creating thought-leadership content that's interesting to your audience isn't easy. According to a Value of B2B Thought Leadership Survey, common content mistakes that consumers dislike include:

      • Too generic—not directly relevant to me (63%),
      • Lacked original insight or ideas (58%)
      • Promoted the adviser rather than addressing my problems (53%).

      Andrew Rogerson, co-founder of Grist content marketing agency, shares his opinion at the Marketing Insider Group blog on the first step to ensure your thought leadership content is working: 

      If you want to know how to create content that works—compelling, helpful, brand enhancing—first you need to face up to failure. You need, in other words, to identify what doesn’t work and understand why the content produced to date leaves readers underwhelmed or, more likely, the content unread.

      Here are a few things to ask yourself before publishing thought leadership content:

      • Does it provide actionable recommendations to go with the concepts?
      • Are the opinions in your content substantiated?
      • Is it easy to read?
      • Is the content fresh/forward thinking?
      • Is the content obviously self-promotional? If so, consider reworking to be more focused on providing insight and action items.

      Read Rogerson's full ruminations on thought leadership below. 

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    11. 6 Tactics for Improving Email on Mobile

      6 Tactics for Improving Email on Mobile

      According to the Radicati Group over 2.4 million emails are sent every second.  Litmus states 54% of emails on average are opened on mobile. With these two statistics top of mind, there’s no doubt it’s important for marketers to ensure their audience is having a positive mobile experience with emails as well as their website

      According to Corey Trajanowski,  Digital Marketing Manager at Delivra and contributor to Marketing Insider Group blog, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to grab consumer’s attention.

      It’s becoming increasingly difficult for brands to grab their consumers’ attention in their chronically overflowing inboxes.

      And with shorter attention spans for mobile users, brands really need to consider if their mobile email marketing strategy is where it needs to be.

      I’m talking attention spans shorter than that of a goldfish.

      Here are some tactics you can take to improve your email marketing strategy.

      • Even shorter subject lines: Try to keep it under 30 characters!
      • Use pre-header text: Make sure you get your point across in under 70 characters
      • Responsive design: Consider the width of emails on mobile when coding your emails and placing content.
      • Font size: 13 pixels or bigger is typically easiest to read on mobile
      • Include ALT text for all images to prevent going into the SPAM folder.
      • Include CTAs and make sure your website is optimized for mobile as well to create a seamless transition

      Read Corey’s complete article on the Marketing Insider Group blog at the link below. 

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    12. Which Content Marketing Metrics Matter?

      Which Content Marketing Metrics Matter?
      ‘We uncovered a bug in page insights. The bug has been live since May.’ The update on metrics by Facebook showed erroneous measurements of how people interacted with content on the platform. A statistical error undermined the trust of advertisers and publishers on Facebook, and the social media giant agreed to provide a third party […]

      The post Which Content Marketing Metrics Matter? appeared first on Marketing Insider Group.

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    13. Your 2017 Marketing Strategy for Wearable Technology

      Your 2017 Marketing Strategy for Wearable Technology

      Glasses, watches, shoes and other items in the wearable technology market have increased in popularity over the past year. As wearable technology emerges as something that’s here to stay, marketers need start preparing marketing strategies that align with it. 

      Ben Allen, a content creator, digital marketer and writer for the Marketing Insider Group blog gives his opinion on marketing in  a wearable technology age. 

      Wearables connect consumers even more to the web and, in turn, businesses. Before smartphones, people could only check their email at a computer. Now, it’s possible to check email at any time thanks to smartphones. But, it’s possible to miss things if the phone is in a pocket or purse. The average person checks their phone about 85 times a day, which might seem like a lot, but means there is plenty of chances to miss things. A smartwatch, though, can give immediate notifications for emails, apps, and even text messages.

      Here are some things to consider when forming your marketing strategy around wearable technology:

      • Keep messaging short. It’s hard to read paragraphs of text on a smartwatch screen.
      • Be aware of chatbots and voice search. Wearable technology makes voice search easier and could change the way search rankings work.
      • Take wearables into account when performing target market analysis. Consider what wearables your target market is using and how that impacts their buying habits and content consumption. 
      • Get ready for more data on target audience. As wearable technology becomes more popular, it will provide marketers with the opportunity for more location and relationship-based marketing. 

      Read Ben Allen’s complete article on the Marketing Insider Group Blog at the link below!

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    14. Create These 2 Types of Interactive Content to Engage Your Audience

      Create These 2 Types of Interactive Content to Engage Your Audience

      Interactivity offers an immediate, personalized content journey in which a website’s visitor is able to participate in their experience. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why interactive content is becoming increasingly popular in the digital marketing space. 

      Tom DeVoto, contributor to the Marketing Insider Group blog gives his opinion on how interactive content is easier to create than ever before.  

      Online interactivity requires relatively new technology, but it is becoming increasingly easy to build and integrate into marketing mixes. Sometimes, it’s just as simple as copying and pasting specific lines of code into your browser.

      You don’t need to be a developer to implement interactivity on your company’s website. There’s no need to be scared, because it’s far more accessible than you might think.

       With a wide variety of interactive content types, there’s a lot of opportunity to create something that resonates with your audience. Here are a few ideas on what you can do to create interactive content that makes an impact.  

      • Surveys, Quizzes & Assessments: Create something that helps your leads qualify themselves. Not only will you filter out unwanted leads for your sales team, but these content types will help you collect data on the types of people engaging with your content and ultimately create a more targeted marketing strategy for your audience.
      • Calculators & Simulators: ROI calculators can help potential customers select your product over your competitors. They allow for an easy, digital comparison and helps the visitors feel more confident in their decision.

      Read Tom Devoto’s full article and find out the top 13 examples of interactive content on the Marketing Insider Group blog in the link below.

       

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    15. Give the People What They Want: Personalized Content Experiences

      Give the People What They Want: Personalized Content Experiences

      Increasing personalization has brought powerful results to advertisers and marketers seeking to improve conversions. Look no further than Amazon as an example of how personalized experiences can work wonders. Initially an online bookstore, Amazon now dominates the e-commerce landscape in part because they provide visitors with specific personalized recommendations to drive new and return customers.

      Marketers are currently dealing with two challenges regarding a target audience that e-commerce dealt with: audience members are interacting with several content items, and they are free to determine their level of engagement. 75% of the audience surveyed by OneSpot/Marketing Insider Group agrees that content targeted to the individual is critical for getting them to interact, and to even consider brand selection with vendors.

      Content marketers now recognize the importance of providing an audience with relevant content, at the right time, on their preferred medium; as opposed to sharing untargeted content to an unspecified, broad audience, on limited channels.

      Marketing Insider Group CEO Michael Brenner affirms that:

      “As our research demonstrates, marketers need to move beyond just creating quality content. They need to build personalized content experiences across the customer journey.”

      Although much easier said than done, we’re seeing formalized ABM practices as a means that fit Brenner’s solution.

      Hear more about the research, problem, and solution for content personalization in Brenner’s original article below.

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      Mentions: Amazon ABM Blog
    16. Marketing Automation: Why You Need It

      Marketing Automation: Why You Need It

      Marketing automation software improves lead generation, optimizes process efficiencies and helps analyze the results of your content. More often than not, readers consume your content unsystematically, making it difficult to push a potential buyer down the funnel. Automation helps solve this by using potential buyers' actions to serve up personalized, impactful content to each consumer.

      Automation is grossly underutilized by marketers today however. 

      Marketing Insider Group contributor Johanna Rivard gives her opinion on the usage of marketing automation.

      At present, businesses have the tools needed to gain insight into client preferences and pain points... marketing automation still has a long way to go as far as full adoption goes. According to Sirius Decisions, up to 85% of B2B companies have yet to use these tools to their optimum potential. The reasons cited for this scenario include too much complexity, a prolonged implementation period, difficulty when learning how to use it, and a steep price tag.

      Despite these difficulties, the benefits of marketing automation far outweigh the drawbacks. These include improved lead management and nurturing, measurable results, and enhanced targeting and personalization. It’s easier to track campaigns and execution, improve productivity, align sales and marketing, and more. Customer relationships and experiences are also improved through marketing automation. 

      Nucleus Research states, “Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead.”

      Read Rivard’s entire article below for more insights on marketing automation.

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    17. How to Implement A Disruptive Growth Strategy at Your Organization

      How to Implement A Disruptive Growth Strategy at Your Organization

      According to Accenture Strategy’s latest research: The C-level Disruptive Growth Opportunity, only 37% of surveyed CMOs view disruptive growth as very important to their marketing plan, but three in four say they control the levers that drive disruptive growth at their organizations. CMOs are missing the opportunity to generate new value for their business through disruptive initiatives. 

      Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group and former VP of Global Content Marketing at SAP shares an example:

      Think Nike for leveraging its existing business model and market share to create a new business model with its launch of Nike+, which has offered more sales and profit potential. By mounting a chip under the sole of Nike shoes, personal workout statistics can be transmitted to a consumer’s digital devices for reviewing and tracking.

      Consumers can also access the Nike+ platform for personalized coaching and training tips and even participate in friendly challenges with other online users who have connected their digital devices to the Nike+ platform.

      Nike+ isn’t just about promoting and selling a new shoe, but launching a new digital platform that delivers new benefits to customers, which in turn creates new value and revenue for the business.

      There are several things CMOs need to start doing to make their marketing strategy disruptive: 

      • Focus on an outcome over product or service
      • Improve customer experience
      • Tap into unmet needs and create new needs of the customer

      Read Brenner’s original article and related infographic on Marketing Insider Group below.

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    18. Keywords or Quality for SEO: Where to Focus

      Keywords or Quality for SEO: Where to Focus

      Should you focus on increasing content quality (“white hat" SEO) or on keyword-centric, search-engine focused tactics (“black hat" SEO)? It's a question marketers have been deliberating over since the advent of search engines.

      For Marketing Insider Group contributor Tyler Tafelsky, as Google has continued to refine its ranking mechanism, the answer has become clear:

      The underlying difference between black hat and white hat SEO is that the latter focuses on producing meaningful, valuable, and audience-oriented content (as opposed to slapping-up a bunch of keyword-optimized doorway pages in effort to get them ranking in Google.)

      That’s not to say keyword data can’t instruct purposeful content marketing strategies. I’m just saying that black hat, keyword-obsessed tactics are marginally effective and they dilute user experience while disrespecting Google.”

      While taking a content-first approach is undoubtedly the better technique, using SEO tactics as one of many content amplifications strategies can help increase the number of eyes on your content. Here are some SEO-focused tactics to supplement your content marketing:

      • Use tools like the Google Keyword Planner
      • Find out the times of the year when keywords are most often searched for
      • Search Google for keywords that reflect your content
      • Use social media marketing and advertising to expand the reach of your content
      • Get your content published on other related websites. 

      Click on the link below for Tafelsky's full article arguing why beautiful content marketing (that ranks!) is primarily end-user focused, with SEO a supplemental focus.

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    19. Why Would You Directly Challenge Your Audience and Influencers?

      Why Would You Directly Challenge Your Audience and Influencers?

      Sales and marketing challengers are those who challenge common practices, thoughts and approaches. Rather than reacting to a buyer’s agenda, they take control of the sales conversation. Taking a challenger perspective to your audience helps them develop alternative views and new solutions to their problems. 

      Reasons NOT to challenge:

      Being a contrarian: Challenging the norm can be very valuable, but it's not a full-time gig. Having your identity be “that person who disagrees with everyone” might earn an audience, but probably not the one you want. Pick your battles and don’t be the industry leading naysayer.
       
      Clickbait: Providing your audience value is the core goal of all marketing, and you will not fall into their good graces by pulling them in with just a provocative headline. Be prepared to back up your position. Kristina Jaramillo of Marketing Insider Group explains how she got the best impact:
      ... by getting specific and pinpointing the specific faults in the thoughts, ideas and actions of experts that many are following, we got prospects to stop in their tracks.
      Reasons TO challenge:
       
      Showcase the value of your alternative: Following up your critique with an alternative angle is where you earn the real points. If your perspective is coming from a product organization, suggest another product (or a DIY means) that can substituted. Otherwise, use your fresh idea to elevate yourself as a thought leader on the subject.
       
      Engage Influencers: Incorporating industry influencers into your conversations should be a recurring goal. Challenging your influencers is a great way to do this, and doesn’t necessarily mean calling someone out for being wrong. It might just be: “I’m not sure this is the best way.” Allow room for a candid, friendly dialogue.
       
      The most common formats for people using this strategy are blogs, curated posts, and via social media exchanges.
       
      Learn more about why Jaramillo engages influencers in healthy debate via her original article below.
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    20. Building Customer Loyalty Through Marketing Automation

      Building Customer Loyalty Through Marketing Automation

      In the fast paced world of marketing, leads and customers are first priority. We spend most of our time with the main focus on keeping the sales pipeline fresh and constantly delivering new leads. But what about the leads and customers we already have? If all our efforts go towards bringing in new folks, our existing customers can end up feeling neglected—making them prime targets for competitors to pluck away from us.

      Marketing automation is one of the most effective ways to build and maintain that customer loyalty. In his blog post "5 Ways Marketing Automation Builds True Customer Loyalty," Michael Brenner shows the different ways having a marketing automation tool can impact how your brand is perceived, and how it resonates with the people you regularly communicate with. These include: 

      1. Building brand advocates
      2. Personalizing experiences
      3. Creating end to end customer experiences
      4. Keep scoring leads after purchase
      5. Measuring loyalty

      Having an effective nurturing program goes a long a way towards establishing brand loyalty amongst your audience. Curata's Content Marketing Pyramid will help you create a strategy for nurturing customers through your content. For more of Michael's insights on customer loyalty, access his full post via the link below.

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    21. Use Interactive Content to Generate More Qualified Leads

      Use Interactive Content to Generate More Qualified Leads

      The traditional approach to marketing campaigns and generating new names typically involves sending out an something like an eBook, leads come in, 30-40 days later they're qualified, then finally once they’re considered Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) sales has a conversation.

      Why are we waiting so long to qualify these leads? If it's taking too long and we're also sending too many unqualified leads to sales, what could we do differently?

      We can qualify leads earlier in the funnel, writes Kara Widdison at the SnapApp blog, by having a conversation with our audience. One of the best ways to do this is to use interactive content and encourage them to actively engage with you. For example, if you add interactive content to your eBook you can ask the exact questions sales would, collecting valuable data—just earlier in the funnel.

      Widdison argues:

      If you’re ready to shake up the way you market to the middle of the funnel—or to your entire funnel, for that matter—interactive content can help support your campaigns and find you better, more qualified leads.

      For a documented, comprehensive content marketing strategy that allows you to build in initiatives such as this for every stage in the funnel, The Content Marketing Pyramid allows you to utilize (and reuse) core pieces of content such as eBooks in such a way that you can plan content that turns into qualified leads, which turn into predictable revenue streams. 

      For more about how to utilize interactive content in this process, click the link below. 

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      Mentions: Lead Nurturing
    22. Why Your Content Isn't Engaging Your Audience

      Why Your Content Isn't Engaging Your Audience

      We're spending more time and money on creating content than ever before, with B2B marketers spending $5.2 billion on content creation in 2015. Frustratingly, studies show most businesses waste about 25 cents of every dollar they spend on content—$1.3 billion hard earned dollars down the drain.

      Understanding why audiences are ignoring your content and then retooling to make it more engaging is crucial to ensuring maximum ROI. Helpfully, Anna Talerico at Marketing Insider Group has outlined some of the top reasons she finds that content gets ignored:

      • I never saw it.
      • I couldn't share it.
      • It didn't stand out.
      • It wasn't relevant.
      • It wasn't interactive.

      Talerica goes into detail about each point above and advises, "don’t let your content get lost in the shuffle by simply wishing for more engagement!" (Click on the link below this article to find out how Anna expands upon the above bullet points.)

      The best way to ensure readers see your content, it stands out, they can share it, it's relevant to them, and is interactive—is to start off with a well documented content marketing strategy. 

      Curata's Content Marketing Pyramid is one method for implementing such a strategy, explaining how to establish clear goals and priorities, how to increase production capacity by making more efficient use of valuable resources, and how to create a predictable stream of content that engages buyers and drives pipeline activity for marketing and sales. 

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    23. Not Everyone Needs to Care About Data

      Not Everyone Needs to Care About Data

      We all know how important data is to content marketing. How can you know what's working and what isn't if you don't have relevant data? If you don't know what your ROI is because you don't have data, how can you possibly justify what you do to the boss? Needless to say, it's important to care about data.

      But it shouldn't always be the most important thing.

      For content some, caring too much about data can blur focus from what should be more important: improving your creative chops.

      Influencer Jay Acunzo knows full well how much he's supposed to care about data, but in a revealing post, he confesses he just... doesn't

      There are others like me, others who create content for a living—damn good content at that—and we don’t really think about data all that much...

      We pretend to care. But we don’t really care.

      We really care about our craft. We care about making things others like, nay, love. And as it just so happens, this is the skill that many businesses are starting to realize they need but can’t often find... Because rather than get 1.2x the results through optimization, we strive for 10x the results through creation.

      This dynamic is the exact reason why content marketers are starting to hire more journalists.

      Your content marketing team leader needs to care about data. Your marketing ops needs to care about data. But your content creators? They don't need to care about data—at least, not as much. Clink the link below to examine Jay's argument for focusing more on creativity.

      Read Full Article
      Mentions: ROI CMO
    24. The Power of Personalizing Content Marketing

      The Power of Personalizing Content Marketing

      Content personalization involves getting content that's tailored to people's needs and interests in front of them at the right time, through the right channels, so you can more effectively engage and convert an audience into customers. It's a way to cut through the noise in a content-saturated world.

      Michael Brenner at Marketing Insider Group acknowledges that personalization can be difficult when it comes to content marketing—but that doesn't mean it can't be done. 

      Brenner advises:

      • Understand your target audience. Talk to people who work at the companies you’re targeting.
      • Start small and scale. Develop some template content which you can use to customize based on insights gained about a specific customer.
      • Leverage data and technology. Data can predict future trends and behavior patterns in order to personalize content and deepen engagement throughout the buyer journey.

      Personalization also goes beyond the content marketers produce. As the Founder and CEO of Curata Pawan Deshpande suggests, personalizing curated content is often easier and can be just as valuable for prospects and customers.

      (For more on curation, read The Definitive Guide to Content Curation.) Account based marketing's rapidly rising popularity is part of a broader industry move towards content personalization. Developing an effective personalization strategy now means being well positioned for content marketing's future.

      Read Full Article
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