In a rather unsuccessful attempt at escaping the bitter Chicago cold, I traveled to Texas for Digital Summit Dallas, a marketing conference focused on content, SEO, UX, strategy, and design. There were tons of great speakers from a wide variety of companies like Google, Cisco and Starcom. I was amazed at how much information they packed into two short days. Here are three quick insights, pulled straight from my 25 pages of type-written notes!
- Marketing is a massive fight for attention and we are rarely given permission. Keynote speaker and bestselling author Seth Gogin [google “Seth” to find his blog] explained how we are constantly vying for the attention of people online. The internet is the first form of mass media not intended for marketers but indefinitely abused by them. We demand a lot of our audience, with very little pay-off for them. Wouldn’t we be more effective if we talked to people who want to be talked to? Permission is letting your audience decide what is valuable to them and what is not. If you have the permission of people who a truly interested in what you’re selling, you can build a real and lasting relationship.
- Leverage your existing content to increase organic search traffic. 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. Marketers can improve their organic search results by keyword-optimizing content already on their site. Vertical Measures Director of Marketing, Quinn Whissen, advises that you look at pages that are performing poorly and revitalize the content with 1-2 target keywords and a couple of synonyms (semantic keywords). Republishing pages is a great way to get a lot out of your marketing efforts, and timely content does better in search engines. Quinn astutely quoted John F. Kennedy’s “a rising tide lifts all boats” to illustrate the SEO benefit to your website from refreshing its content. Increasing the search value of your pages will go a long way towards generating more traffic and leads site-wide.
- The website should be the focal point of the marketing mix. A common goal of PR, email, social and SEO/PPC campaigns is to drive traffic to the website. If the onsite user experience is horrible, all your marketing efforts are essentially nullified. No amount of traffic is going to capture qualified leads when your users can’t figure out what your services are. Why spend time and money on a PPC campaign that directs users to an overwhelming landing page with outdated messaging? Make your website worth your users’ time. If conversions are low and exit rates are very high site-wide, it might be time to revisit your website strategy and UX.
Overall, the conference focused on improving the experience of users across all marketing channels and provided a good combination of tactical and aspirational insights. Anyone who is involved in marketing would benefit from this conference series; there are multiple U.S. events throughout the year. I am thankful for the opportunity to experience a new city and receive some great takeaways for the new year in digital marketing.
A year ago, Walker Sands published the first State of Marketing Technology whitepaper, indicating that the industry’s evolution and adoption of new marketing technology was taking a full speed ahead approach. This year’s report found that the momentum has remained steady, and marketers show no signs of slowing down.
Walker Sands’ MarTech team conducts an annual survey to over 300 marketers; analyzing their actions and and attitudes towards making technology purchase decisions. Each year, the findings are compiled into a white paper. This year’s study is titled Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2017 Closing the Gap Between Martech Innovation and Adoption. In the video our martech thought leaders discuss how marketers are eager to embrace best-of-breed solutions rather than single-vendor suites, and give predictions for the year ahead.
Watch the video to learn more about our findings in the 2017 State of Marketing Technology study.
One of the most striking findings from our most recent study on the State of Marketing Technology was that the vast majority of marketers are embracing best-of-breed solutions in their roles. Nearly half (48 percent) of those surveyed have embraced best-of-breed solutions, compared to 21 percent who were using a single-vendor suite and another 21 percent who had embraced limited piecemeal solutions.
Viewed at face value, implementing martech seems like an end game. Sure, companies may face implementation challenges or ultimately change solutions, but adoption is what the industry and individual companies have been focused on for at least a decade.
Yet the popularity of highly designed, descriptive slides of a company’s martech stack and a corresponding award indicates another problem. The average marketer uses 12 distinct tools – a number that’s struck me as low after seeing countless “typical” stacks of 20+ solutions.
In our study, 21 percent of marketers said that they were using best-of-breed solutions – but those solutions are fragmented. Coupled with the number of marketers using piecemeal solutions, this indicates that in 2017, marketers will be looking for data infrastructure and addressable marketing solutions, for example – showing that organizations will need to bridge the gap between their existing solutions and show they can coexist.
Reviewing our second annual State of Marketing Technology Report, we were struck by how much the space has changed. Based on numbers alone, the number of solutions has ballooned 84 percent from just last year. According to chiefmartec.com, there are now a staggering 3,874 solutions.
Selecting the right solution from this mass of logos reminds me of playing the claw machine – precision is required, but the risk of slipping up is high.
Video courtesy of Picktzar
Most marketers have to make multiple attempts to grab the right CRM, CMS, DMP, etc. Then, the hard work of integrating these solutions begins.
Ready for another team spotlight?
The digital ecosystem is Walker Sands’ integrated approach that combines both PR efforts and digital marketing tactics. To ensure our clients get a full-service agency, Walker Sands’ executives work closely together to guide their teams through successful 360-degree campaigns.
As a key part of this equation, John Fairley, VP of digital services and partner at Walker Sands, leads the digital team. John’s team is in charge of digital strategies, including website design and development, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC), social media, content marketing solutions and more.
I sat down with John to discuss his experiences managing the intersection of PR and digital services. Here’s what he had to say!
1. What is your role at Walker Sands? What does your day-to-day look like?
My role is to make sure that anything that touches digital runs smoothly and aligns with our clients’ businesses. Day-to-day, this could be anything from a one-on-one meeting with members of the staff to strategy meetings for our clients. I make sure that our prospects’ needs match up well with a solution we offer.
When our projects are complete, I run the postmortems (retrospectives), which are where we discuss lessons learned. Every quarter, we check in to see how the lessons learned are being applied.
2. How has Walker Sands changed since you first started at the company?
I’ve been here nine years, so a lot has changed. I became an employee when Walker Sands was only about 10 people, so we didn’t have as many of the formal processes that we have today. We may not have had an HR department, but at this early stage we did have an internship program!
I think the fact that we have both digital and PR (and that they’re integrated) is a big leap from where we were nine years ago. Today, we can have a PR program that builds SEO value for a client, while we drive leads through LinkedIn advertising and nurture leads via email using marketing automation.