Apr 22

My team at Heinz Marketing recently completed our 2014 Marketing Automation Performance Survey. The details of our survey are represented in the infographic below, designed by my colleague, Nicole Williams. Don Gregory and his team from OnTarget Consulting and Research performed the survey research and they were a great partner for this project.  And as always, the support and encouragement from Matt Heinz was instrumental in this project!  Preliminary survey data is provided here. Survey data is also available on SlideShare.

 

2014 Marketing Automation Effectiveness Survey [infographic] - An Infographic from Matt On Marketing

 

Embedded from Matt On Marketing

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Mar 14

2014 Marketing Survey Header

 

 

 

 

Heinz Marketing where I work as a client services director has partnered with market research firm OnTarget Consulting to conduct the 2014 Marketing Automation Effectiveness Survey. We are polling marketing automation and operations managers, sales VP’s, inside sales managers, marketing directors, VP’s and CMOs to determine the effectiveness of their marketing automation implementation to accelerate sales and acquire customers.  Companies from throughout North America are being polled.

Note: This is NOT a survey to determine the most popular marketing automation vendor.

Survey responses are anonymous and captured by OnTarget. We will share the overall results with the B2B sales and marketing community later this spring. Results will not be attributed to any individual or organization.

Heinz Marketing and OnTarget will provide a copy of the research to all participants.

 

Survey Button

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Mar 13

One of my favorite B2B marketing colleagues of all time, Patricia Mundarain, shared a brilliant open letter to all business executives who fail at online meetings. Are you guilty of any of these transgressions?

 

Dear Everyone-Who-Presents-On-A-Corporate-Online-Meeting: I am done with you.

I have lost my patience. I will not sit through another sub-standard amateur hour while you fumble through technology issues and thank attendees for their patience. To conduct a successful meeting via an online meeting platform, you must follow these 5 rules:

It's time to get online meetings right.

It’s time to get online meetings right.

1) Test your equipment prior to the meeting time.

I don’t want to hear that you have a bad Internet connection or sketchy cell phone signal. I don’t care that your computer has been “acting up” lately. You have asked for my time and my attention. The LEAST you can do is have things working properly at the designated time. And if, heaven forbid, something unforeseen occurs, HAVE A BACKUP PLAN. Don’t make me wait while you email your deck to an alternate presenter. You should have thought of that before you invited 30+ people to a call.

2) PowerPoint has a Presentation mode. Get it?

I don’t want to see your ribbon, I don’t want to see the thumbnails of upcoming slides, I don’t want to have to type you via IM to enlarge your poor eyechart of a slide so I can read it. Presentation mode. Use it.

3) Close all other apps.

You are presenting for crying out loud, so you shouldn’t be multitasking to other apps while you’re showing your screen during an online meeting. For the love of all that is holy, SHUT DOWN SKYPE. I don’t want to be distracted every time that one of your friends connects and disconnects. And SHUT DOWN OUTLOOK! Amateur! Meeting reminders and email previews needn’t pop up…although they’re occasionally unintentionally funny at your expense.
4) Don’t ask people to mute their lines. YOU mute them.

You’re the presenter and you’re in charge. Find out – BEFORE THE CALL – how to mute all attendee lines so I don’t have to hear dogs barking, airport announcements and loud typers. Unless you’re really holding a working session where you need to keep all audio lines live for audience participation, ask attendees to send questions using the IM function available in every one of the online meeting programs. If it’s something you want to address at that moment *light bulb* UNmute all lines to have the discussion with the audience. (And you, attendee with the snarky comment, learn the difference between IM’ing to your friend in private or to Audience-All. As in “ALL.” As in everyone on the meeting just read that. Rookie.)

5) Learn the presentation software you’re using to present.

It’s really not that hard. There are only a few key players in the field these days and their user interfaces are “relatively” straightforward. That said, even though these programs are intuitive, you shouldn’t be learning them while you’re presenting. I mean, would it kill you to unpin that damned menu bar in Lync so I can see the titles of your slides unobstructed?
Look. I get it. Remote meetings are hard. It’s much more difficult to capture and keep an audience’s attention than it is during an in-person meeting, but that’s why you CAN’T make these types of basic mistakes. So, per this post, you’re on notice. If you don’t, at a minimum, follow the rules above, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing now, surfing Facebook while you babble on. You have been warned.

 

What are the online meeting transgressions you are tired of? What rules would you add to this list?

 

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Feb 19
Help prepare your customers

Build a marketing automation program to support your customer onboarding strategy!

Marketing Engagement Shouldn’t Stop – Ever

Congratulations! You have a new customer.  Now it’s time to help your customer through the onboarding process. Waiting to ask for renewal is the wrong time to reach out to existing customers.  This is especially true if your organization hasn’t had any customer communications or touches leading up to that point.  Marketing should begin immediately after the sale to help new customers through their on-boarding process.  Even if a company doesn’t have a customer success team, marketing automation is perfectly suited to help support customers as they get up to speed with their new purchase.  Just to clarify, marketing automation only helps automate the process of engaging new customers.  The people behind the program still need to design the process, develop the content, and continually measure customer responsiveness and satisfaction.

Here are some tactical ideas to use marketing automation with your customer on-boarding process.

CRM Campaign Triggers

When the sale is tracked as “Closed-Won” in the CRM platform, this can be the trigger point in the marketing automation platform to launch the on-boarding program.

First Trigger Message – Personalized Gratitude from the CEO

The CEO should never be above thanking customers for business.  The first trigger message from the CEO is the perfect way to start. Make sure the message is personalized and offers a way for the customer contact to reply directly to the CEO.  If the CEO’s proxy receives customer replies, make sure they get a response!  Marketing automation is perfect for delivering this message.

Second Trigger Message – Customer Onboarding Process and Setting Expectations

New customers should receive a road map for an on-boarding process that maps timelines for communications and goals to work towards.  Marketing automation can support the scheduling for training classes and the distribution of content assets for new customers.

Additional Triggers – Scheduled and Personalized Communications 

How-to tips and ideas, training schedules, milestone checks, access to customer portals, and customer satisfaction surveys are all communications ideas that marketing automation platforms can deliver and measure. Based on the CRM trigger point, a marketing automation program can initiate the onboarding communications, and personalize the messages.  Scheduling the messages is helpful but can seem too canned.  A really cool idea is to send a follow up message if marketing automation determines the prior message wasn’t read.  This confirms the customer is ready to move forward with the onboarding process.  If the customer is stalled for any reason, this helps the customer success team adjust the onboarding process accordingly.  This workflow can get complex.  But it can really help customers with their onboarding and solidify a new relationship.

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

Customer satisfaction surveys are very valuable for customer onboarding programs.  Surveys can be built directly into a marketing automation platform, or third party survey tools can integrate in several marketing automation platforms.  Using marketing automation and surveys during the onboarding process allows companies to measure the effectiveness of programs and overall satisfaction.  Measuring definitely helps manage and marketing automation facilitates this process very nicely.

Measuring and Scoring Content Consumption

Marketing automation can help customer success teams measure the most popular and effective content for onboarding programs.  Sometimes content can be a dud and customers don’t read it or use it. Lead scoring programs can be really powerful for measuring the interaction with onboarding programs.  Additionally, lead scoring programs can potentially help identify emerging advocates.  Which leads to the next idea…

After Onboarding – Integrating Gamification and Advocacy Programs

Customer advocacy platforms like Influitive or Traackr and gamification solutions like Badgeville offer some very interesting ways to engage customers through an onboarding process, and beyond.  These platforms provide ways to engage customers and reward them with recognition, and even compete against other customers.  Some customers become advocates, the ultimate customer ambassador, and they can provide referrals or references with these platforms.  Marketing automation platforms can integrate with advocacy or gamification platforms, offering a new channel to share information and score interactions.  These programs offer unique ways to ask customers for referrals which can trigger an entirely new lead response program.  I am very excited to see how these platforms continue to innovate and integrate with marketing automation to support customer onboarding and influence marketing.

What to Avoid

The reason your customers chose your organization is because they felt you were the best option or the only option to solve their problem.  Don’t take that for granted.  Marketing automation can help manage the workflow of onboarding customers.  But the level of service must still be excellent. Messages shouldn’t seem robotic and impersonal.

Marketing Automation Doesn’t Automate Relationships

Marketing automation can support a customer onboarding program, and it can help scale the communications for new customers. But don’t let marketing automation be the only way customers receive onboarding support and service.  Marketing automation may cover 80% of the required content delivery during the onboarding process.  But the remaining 20% may require personalized interaction.  Ultimately, marketing automation should enhance the customer onboarding process and help solidify relationships.  And that makes the renewal process a much easier sell.

Are you using marketing automation to help with customer onboarding? If so, how?

 

 

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Jan 05

“What marketing automation platform should I use?” I get this question all the time.

Don't get the cart before the horse with Marketing Automation.

Don’t get the cart before the horse with Marketing Automation.

The problem is 90% of the time the marketing exec asking doesn’t have a demand generation strategy.   Process of any kind isn’t defined. People resources aren’t considered. Content isn’t taken into consideration. And the hidden snare of data quality is almost always overlooked.  Marketing automation supports the overall demand generation strategy.  Marketing automation is NOT a demand generation strategy in itself.  Asking about the platform before having a plan gets the cart before the horse.

Let me put the question into perspective by using a fictional family scenario. An active family in the US Pacific Northwest has plans over the next three years for new adventures and exploration.  The plans require a reliable means of transportation to support an active lifestyle with kids, dogs, sports, outdoor adventures, and frequent regional trips throughout the year. In doing so, they require a reliable vehicle with significant power which allows for safe and comfortable travel in a variety of conditions.

Right away you probably a vision of the strategy this family has for getting around to support their lifestyle.  Most likely you are instantly thinking “mini-van” or “SUV” or even “Honda” or “Toyota” right?

If so, you are wrong in your assumption.

What if the family actually needs a boat or even a small airplane to support their 3 year plan? I didn’t say anything about driving. Even if a car was the requirement, what kind? A Porsche could fit all of those requirements. So could an RV.

The point I’m illustrating is looking for the platform before having a strategy is backwards.  Time and again companies are gambling on marketing automation platforms before they even understand their strategy to engage customers and help grow revenues.

Quite often companies I hear from companies that invested in a platform and after a period of 12 to 24 months they want to switch to a new platform.  Invariably this change in platforms could have been avoided with a better plan up front.

Build the strategy first. Then look at how Platforms, People, Content, and Data can support the strategy.  Don’t get the cart before the horse.

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Dec 02

I wanted to share some of the job interview questions I ask anyone who is interested in marketing agency roles.

Brace Interview QuestionsI’m fortunate that I started interviewing job candidates very early in my career over 20 years ago.  I have my own style but I find it helps me peel back the layers of the onion to identify the best people.  Interviewing is one of the most important skills I have simply because finding the best people is critical and an ongoing process.  And if I’m doing it correctly, I’m able to listen for important details.

These questions are especially important for people that plan to enter into a marketing career or recent college grads coming out of their university education.  Think of how you would answer these if interviewed for a marketing agency role.  When I ask these questions I’m not looking for perfect answers. But I am very focused on the candidate’s thought process and ideas. Even if you aren’t looking for a role with a marketing agency, these questions will help you prepare for an interview for a corporate marketing gig.  Let’s get started!

Question 1. Explain how you would plan a marketing campaign strategy.

Here’s what I listen for:

This is a BIG question and that’s intentional. I want to see how a candidate approaches any kind of marketing planning with customer focus.  Even the most basic university marketing class covers this information and if students were paying attention, they should easily share their version that covers a systematic approach.  However I am always surprised how even experienced marketing pros struggle with this question.  Even journalism and liberal arts students can answer this question using frameworks they’ve learned in history and political science courses.

Generally, marketing planning should cover these elements, no matter how big or small the effort involved.

  • Current Assessment (market and customer)
  • Objectives
  • Strategy
  • Tactics to support the strategy
  • Execution
  • Measuring success

One of the biggest tripping points is when a candidate leaves out “objectives” from their answers.  Sometimes I hear answers that dive right into the tactics without any objectives or strategy.  Most of the time candidates miss any discussion about the customer.  For example, I commonly hear answers such as launching an email campaign with really cool creative designs and getting a Facebook page created and maybe writing a blog. Those tactics may indeed be valid for a campaign.  However, what is the situation assessment for current programs?  What are the objectives and desired outcomes?  Who does the campaign need to reach and engage? What is the value proposition? What are the tactics that work best for the intended audience? What is the time frame to run the program? Who will run the program? How should success be measured?

If you can’t answer this question, chances are working at a marketing agency isn’t for you because you will need to know this inside and out with clients.

Question 2. Why are you interested in marketing?

What I’m listening for:

Passion. A focus on results. Helping companies engage customers to grow their business. Your answers should even describe what parts of marketing interest you.  Content development? Demand generation? Strategy? Marketing technologies? Analytics?  Geek out and let me know what rocks your socks.

Question 3. Tell me about marketing campaigns you’ve seen that you really admire.

What I listen for:

I want to hear the attention to detail, observations, and interest.  I don’t care if the campaign is for a local sandwich shop or a major airline.  Tell me about the details that helped that company engage their customers. Share why you think the campaign was successful and why.   Again, I’m not looking for right or wrong answers.  I am evaluating the thought process and critical thinking.  Bonus points for sharing a personal experience related to the campaign. Super bonus points for candidates who describe how it would be cool to test other elements in the campaign.

If your interview looks and feels like this, you're doing it wrong.

If your interview looks and feels like this, you’re doing it wrong.

Question 4. Why do you want to work at a marketing agency?

Here’s what I listen for:

Passion for helping companies engage with customers.  Focus on results for clients and not just on activity or something that simply looks cool. Tell me how you plan to join the team and immediately dive into an assignment for a client. Explain that you are driven by getting things done and doing them really well. That’s the type of energy and passion our clients expect.

One of the most common answers I hear from recent grads is how they “want to learn as much as they can” with the job.  YUCK! Learning is great and expected.  What’s more important to me is how the candidate will contribute.  Even with entry-level roles I expect people to focus immediately on contributing value. I hire people for their talent to make things happen, regardless of the level.  Here’s another way to look at it.  Microsoft hires platoons of the best and brightest software engineers and programmers fresh out of top-notch schools school every year.  Many are hired after an intensive internship program.  When they start their new roles they are immediately given a project to begin coding or testing.  These engineers are not being paid by Microsoft simply to learn, but to contribute as quickly as possible.  I expect the same from people that will work on my team.

Question 5. Did you check my background on LinkedIn?

Here’s what I listen for:

I don’t expect everyone to say they looked me up on LinkedIn and this isn’t about my ego.  But I am impressed with those that do and are able to share some details about my background.  I am even more impressed when they ask me a cool question about my background, just to keep the conversation engaging.  This is important to me because I want my team to build relationships with clients.  It also shows a natural social curiosity that is very valuable today.  Social platforms like LinkedIn can help us understand the background and experience of the people we work with.  The more we show we’re interested in our clients, the better.

Question 6: Describe the Customer Lifecycle and how we engage with Demand Generation processes.

Here’s what I listen for:

For internships and entry level positions I am looking for a general awareness of demand generation processes from awareness, consideration, evaluation, purchase, and post-sale customer relationships.  Business grads often share the general information they learned in their marketing classes.  Liberal arts students should NOT be discouraged by this.  There is so much information on this topic that anyone interested in B2B marketing agencies or corporate roles should thoroughly research this topic.  For senior level consultant and director positions I expect significant knowledge and experience to describe the process, as they understand it.  This part of the interview can be incredibly interesting and engaging.  The ideas a candidate shares can follow the traditional funnel discussion to how customers follow unique paths to buying from companies.  I enjoy and respect unique ideas and vision because those are the root of innovation.

Question 7. What questions do I need to ask you about your background that I haven’t already? =OR= What do you really want me to know about you and why you’re the best person to hire?

I don’t hesitate to test the confidence and communications skills of anyone I interview.  This question can be a differentiator.  Here’s what I’m listening for:

Articulate with confidence.  Even if we talked in depth about your experience, give me the summary so I’m left with a solid and positive final impression.  Don’t hesitate to share a brief final detail on your background that may seem minor but could actually sit very well.  DO NOT just sit and look blankly at the interviewer.  Think like the interviewer is your client and you want to knock their socks off with great ideas.

 

Every interviewer has their own style. I wanted to share some of the meaty questions I ask that help me learn about candidates I may add to my agency marketing team.  These interview questions should help you prepare for agency marketing roles you’re interested in, and the conversations that follow.

What are some of your favorite interview questions?

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Nov 19

Return Path conducted an excellent webinar on email deliverability and avoiding spam traps. The information was incredibly helpful and takes the mystery out of managing data health to ensure optimal email performance.

I wanted to share the highlights and takeaways from their webinar that you can use your marketing operations.  Many thanks to the Return Path team of Kelly Hogan, Lori Vaughn, and Tom Sather for sharing this helpful content.  Providing educational content like this helps organizations improve their practices and ensure reputable marketing practices and strong customer relationships.

Blacklist What are these dreaded Spam Traps you speak of?  

Spam Traps come in two categories: Honey Pots  and Recycled Traps.

Understanding these two categories helps marketers manage their database assets and data health practices. Honey Pots are set up specifically with the intent of capturing and reporting malicious or poor email practices. Recycled Traps are those that have addresses that are out of date or no longer used for legitimate communications.  These addresses are placed in Recycled Traps to capture email sends over a period of time, sometimes for 6-12 months.  Because the address is inactive, emailers with strong practices should remove or segment those inactive contacts out of the database.  If after a period of time an organization continues to email, they can be reported and blacklisted.

Who Uses Traps?

Return Path provided a listing of organizations who regularly employ spam traps and broke them into three categories.  I recommend that anyone working in Marketing Automation or Email Marketing be very aware and track these organizations and how they operate and track spam issues.

Spam Blacklist Organizations

Some of these organizations are a collective of various groups that share information on problem spammers.

3rd Party Spam Filters (Note: This is a crowded category with many vendors, products and solutions. This listing is by no means complete.)

Good Data Bad Data

Risky and Bad Practices 

Avoiding spam traps requires an ongoing effort that utilize multiple tactics.  The starting point is understanding the quality of the data currently employed and where it comes from.  Return Path shared the risky and bad practices with list acquisition that increase the chances of poor data records and spam traps entering the database.  Some of what ReturnPath calls “Bad Practices” are using purchased lists, reverse appending incomplete contact records with email information, and email harvesting.

I do support buying sources of data to augment build databases.  However, my standards for finding reputable data providers are very high.  I will never recommend that a client buy a list from an offshore provider or some of the mercenaries that spam contact records for pennies on the dollar.  The risks to reputation and revenue are too high.  I do not support harvesting email addresses which I sometimes hear of where students or freelancers scrape and scour websites for contact information.  Again, the risks outweight any potential benefit and the performance of harvested lists is poor.

Return Path shared risky practices that increases the chances of Spam Traps entering a database.  While many of these are relevant to B2B marketers, several seem exclusive to B2C marketers.

Be Afraid and Avoid:

  • Poor bounce processing
  • Integrating databases from mergers without cleansing and normalizing first
  • Importing address books
  • Affiliate Partner Lists
  • POS email capture
  • Contests or Drawings
  • Restricted Website Access

Tactics to Responsibly Manage Email Deliverability Performance 

1. Bounce, Deliverability, Spam Complaint Data: Used the bounce and delivery performance analytics and reporting in your Marketing Automation Platform and Email Service.  These data points can help administrators forensically identify where probalem addresses lie, which helps with ongoing management. Don’t continually batch and blast your email database without continual health checks and purges. Checking deliverability is important because a rapid drop in delivery performance can indicate you are blacklisted.

2. Review Bounce Code Reports – Return Path shared helpful information on a series of Bounce Codes that email systems and marketing automation platforms can track.  The Bounce Codes that may indicate problems with Spam Traps are 500, 501, 502, 503, 504, 550, 551, 552, 553, and 554.  In some cases education institutions or some government agencies may use 400-level bounce codes that can indicate spam monitoring.  Monitoring and managing email performance through Bounce Codes is potentially tedious work.  But again, administrators should use the tools and information that are available.  Ignorance is not an excuse!

3. Microsoft Smart Network Data Services - Microsoft’s Windows Live initiative designed to allow everyone who owns IP space to contribute to the fight against spam, malware, viruses, and other Internet evils, to protect e-mail and the Internet as a valued communications, productivity and commerce tool.

4. Blacklist Websites: You can check sites like WhatIsMyIPAddres.com to determine if your IP address is blacklisted

5. SenderScore: Companies that have dedicated IP addresses for their email marketing efforts should check their Sender Score on a weekly basis.  Some companies with high email volumes may need to monitor their Sender  Score on a daily basis.  Sender Score is recognized as an industry standard in Marketing Automation and Email Marketing.  Sender Score is managed as a free service from Return Path.  NOTE: If you have a Shared IP address through your vendor or service provider, the Sender Score will reflect the cumulative efforts of all vendors on that IP.  Sender Score is much more valuable for organizations with relatively high email volumes per month and a dedicated IP.

6. Welcome Messages – When users subscribe to email lists or fill out forms, sending welcome messages can help segment the most active contacts.  Active and responsive contacts have the most value over time.

7. Reminder Messages – If contacts are occasionally inactive, send a reminder message to ask them if they are still interested in receiving communications.

8. Carefully Segment Affiliate Lists – Companies that conduct joint marketing need to exercise caution with lists from affiliates or partners.  First, make sure not to violate any privacy policy.  Secondly, affiliate sources of data are very high risk of having poor contact record data.

9. Review IP Address Activity – Malicious bots can subscribe to email databases and sometimes they will flood in from a single IP address.  Segment and suppress IP addresses that show unnatural subscriber traffic volume.

10.  Segmentation Lists by Data Source – At a minimum all list sources should be identified with a standard taxonomy.  Whenever possible, especially with organizations with high volume email and dedicated IP’s, it’s important to isolate and test third party list sources before incorporating into the overall database.

11. Implement Custom X-Headers – Custom X-headers can help with segmentation because they can track details like list sources, and engagement levels. This may not be completely practical for all marketing operations.  But I can see the value for organizations with high email volume.

12. Reliable Data Partners – As I mentioned before it’s critical to use reliable and reputable data providers.  Organizations that provide sources of data should employ rigorous standards on their data.  Also, working with providers like Return Path are valuable in managing strong sender reputations.

13. Inbound Signup Forms – It’s becoming more common to ask users to double enter their email addresses for verfication.  Malicious bots aren’t able to do this very well and it helps users verify their email in case they entered their own address wrong.  (I’ve fat-fingered plenty of sign ups and a double verification saved me!) There are plenty of other verification methods top use including semantic tools, image identifiers, etc.  Captcha is still used broadly but apparently some problems are arising with malicious bots being able to fool them.

14. Segment Active and Inactive Records – Segmenting contact records based on engagement and email response is one of the easiest and best ways to minimize problems with Spam Traps.  Working with the most active contacts also ensures the best response to campaigns. Remember the Honey Pots and Recycled Spam Traps? Email addresses that never respond to an email, even though they show deliverability, are potentially at high risk of being a Spam Trap.

This list isn’t comprehensive but I can guarantee that you will find some useful tactics to employ in your operations.  Thanks again to Return Path for sharing this valuable information.

Additional Resources:  

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Nov 17
Get out of your batch and blast comfort zone.

Get out of your batch and blast comfort zone.

Bust Out of Your Marketing Automation Comfort Zone in 2014. 

Marketing Automation adoption has shown strong growth over the last 5 years. However, adoption doesn’t equal satisfaction, or utilization.

2014 is perfect to expand how you and your team use Marketing Automation.  Too many companies are using Marketing Automation as an overpowered machine for batch and blast emails.  Too few are using lead scoring or engaging customers with landing pages.  Multi-channel lead nurturing campaigns aren’t as broadly used as they can be.  And too many are doing a poor job managing the overall health of the database.

Marketing Automation offers so much more than 1999-era email marketing. It’s time for even more users of Marketing Automation to grow utilization and experimentation in 2014.

Here are just some areas I recommend trying in 2014.  Break out of the comfort zone!

  • Lead scoring model utilization
  • Database segmentation by persona
  • Database segmentation by active and inactive contacts
  • Multi-channel nurture marketing
  • Video marketing
  • SEM campaigns integrated with MA landing pages
  • Sales-led nurture campaigns, powered by Marketing Automation
  • Data health initiatives to remove spam traps
  • Develop and deliver better info on metrics

How are you planning to bust your comfort zone with Marketing Automation?

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Nov 12
I delivered a presentation today on behalf of Marketing Automation Platform solution provider LoopFuse.  I focused on 5 critical areas that demand generation pros should focus on to work towards success with marketing automation.

The five areas are:

  • Process and Strategy
  • People
  • Platform
  • Content
  • Data Health

Marketing Automation initiatives aren’t easy and they don’t magically deliver leads and revenue.  And Marketing Automation does NOT automate marketing!  Even teams that used MA for some time should go through a tuneup. Focusing on components of the 5 areas will increase effective and performance results.

You can download my slides from SlideShare:




LoopFuse also recorded the webinar and that is available for you here:

How are you planning for success with Marketing Automation in 2014?

 

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Nov 01

Kenny on first base after getting a nice single. I am so honored and blessed to have had the coach to coach him.

Kenny on first base after getting a nice single. I am so honored and blessed to have had the coach to coach him.

I need to write something completely different from the marketing stuff I usually cover.  I coached Little League baseball for 11 years in Redmond, WA and umpired for 3 of those.  Little League is an amazing experience that is dedicated to the boys and girls who play baseball and softball.  I can remember every single year and every team I coached and all of the kids.  There were superstars and others who could barely throw a ball.  There are some kids I coached in the early 2000′s who are being scouted by D1 college teams this year!

I am incredibly blessed to have coached these all of these great kids, along with my own two sons.  Many of them will only have foggy recollection of their Little League experiences and I hope they are (mostly) filled with great memories.  Winning, losing, success, failure, frustration, jubilation, persistence, effort, having fun, and sportsmanship are all lessons I continually learned and I hope my former players remember as well.

Today I learned that one of my former baseball players passed away.  Kenny was a 7th grader, and a friend and former teammate to my youngest son. He was an amazing kid who I will call #1.  Up to the very last time I saw Kenny several months ago he still smiled and waved and we chit chatted.  He still called me ‘coach.’  This always meant so much to me because I coached him over 3 years ago.  In subsequent seasons when I coached new teams and he played for different teams we would still say hi and talk about baseball.  I always enjoyed talking with his mom and sister. They were part of the baseball family we have in Redmond.

The last few seasons my teams would compete against the teams he was on.  He played catcher a lot and I was often home plate umpire during those games.  I would sometimes chat in between plays with Kenny, like I did with many players.  Or I’d just give him a smile and a head nod as he walked up to the plate for his at-bat.  He’d give me a head nod and a little smirk in return and the game would go on.  Umpires will know what I’m talking about with those neat exchanges with players.

When I first coached Kenny he was just learning the game and building his confidence.  Our team that year was, well, terrible and struck with bad luck.  We had 3, yes THREE, players break their arms during the season.  Several of the kids struggled as it was their first year playing.  We were in the cellar the whole season.  So, the focus became fun as much as I could coach that into practices and games. My co-coach at the time helped me keep a positive perspective.

I remember Kenny never gave up.  Sometimes he’d be scared at-bat when a kid couldn’t pitch well.  But he stayed in the box and never gave up.  I remember he always tried to make a play in the field when the ball came his way.  I will never forget his smile when he made an awesome play or got a hit.  I also remember watching him in subsequent seasons and seeing how confident he became and how he love the game.  I loved that.

All of the kids I coached have honored me with lifelong memories. Kenny’s passing gives me reason to pause and remember what I learned as a coach and how the experience makes me a better person.  I will do everything I can to honor his memory by living the qualities he showed me.

  • Never give up
  • Failure makes us stronger and better for the next time
  • Celebrate success
  • Have fun
  • Smile
  • Face fears 
  • Be a good teammate
  • Laugh
  • Be confident, but not cocky
  • Losing is a fact of life. How you respond ultimately determines whether you are a loser or a winner

NEVER underestimate the power of positive influential relationships, especially between adults and children.  (It goes both ways)

 

My thoughts, prayers, and love go out to Kenny’s family.  

I’m going to miss not seeing you on the courts or the field .  But I promise I will never forget you.

~ Coach Brian

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