4 Steps to Better Buyer Personas
June 18, 2014

Buyer personas are essential elements in any inbound marketing strategy. The definition provided by HubSpot—semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on market research and real data about your existing customers—offers a great starting point for the development of these strategic elements for your organization. By visualizing your audience and their unique goals, challenges and processes, you can easily tailor your content and create purposeful messaging. Using real data to form these personas helps align your messaging with your customers' and prospects' specific needs and wants.

The Anatomy of a Great Content Strategy
June 4, 2014

David Meerman Scott, best-selling author and marketing strategist, once said "you are what you publish online." Never has this been more true than for brands. We aren't just competing with rivals in our industry, we're competing for consumer attention, and consumers are sick and tired of being interrupted with content that's annoying and irrelevant. The only way to achieve that goal is with a truly remarkable inbound strategy focused on useful, helpful content. But what does it actually take to succeed with content? 

The Science Behind Email Marketing Success
June 4, 2014

HubSpot and Litmus recently released The Science of Email 2014, a report that presents observations about attitudes towards email marketing. The data includes both observational and self-reported data and gives insight into the science behind successful emails. This report shows the difference in what people say they do and what they actually do. For example, two-thirds of respondents said they prefer mostly image-based emails, but according to observational data, the clickthrough rate decreased as the number of images in an email increased. 

How to Optimize Your Emails for Gmail's New Image-Heavy Inbox
April 8, 2014

A few weeks ago, we said Gmail was experimenting with a brand new, Pinterest-like design for its "promotions" tab. Because the image-heavy design was so new and none of us had access to it yet, there was little more for us to say about it other than "it's coming." Well a few days ago, I was lucky enough to be granted beta access (boy, did I feel special)! My feelings of special-ness did a complete 180 when I realized how our blog's subscriber emails look in this new format. … This may not seem like a huge deal now,

Your Small Data Just Sucks
February 24, 2014

I was sitting in my office last week working on a targeted email when I realized something so fundamental—it's a bit embarrassing to admit. As a data-driven marketing guy, you'd think I'd realize the most fundamental building block of any conversion starts with accurate "top of the funnel" CRM contact data. With garbage in you only get garbage out. There's a lot of talk about convergence of all things. ... As marketers struggle with all of the new tools, we need to review the most fundamental component of marketing

7 Dead-Simple A/B Tests You Should Run on Your Homepage
February 24, 2014

Wouldn't it be nice to know which buttons, with which colors, on which location on your website earn the most clicks? You don't have to be a tech-savvy marketer to find out because you can run A/B tests — all without an expensive, sophisticated redesign of your website. Here are a few A/B tests you can start running right now on your company's homepage that could result in much better conversion rates, with relatively little effort on your part.

Has Content Marketing Hijacked Content Strategy?
February 11, 2014

“Creating content isn’t content strategy.” That’s a simple statement I tweeted nearly two weeks ago. As a rush of retweets, favorites and comments flowed in response, I was delighted so many people agreed with that distinction. Then, some responses shifted to a blame game, best represented by a Tweet to the blog post, "How Content Strategy Got Hijacked by Content Marketing," which contends that content marketing confuses content creation with content strategy and, consequently, dilutes the definition of content strategy. I couldn’t disagree more

Why B-to-B Marketing Must Embrace Ninja Customers
January 21, 2014

We used to talk to a real person as a first step. To get familiar with the company. To learn more. To create bonds. Not now. Now we talk to a real person as a last resort, after we’ve kicked the informational tires so thoroughly that we absolutely must reach out to get our final questions answered, prepurchase. This is most egregiously true in a category where the transactional stakes are often the highest: business to business marketing. ... B-to-B customers will contact a sales rep only after independently completing 60 percent of the purchasing decision process

Making Stories Compelling, Memorable and Tied to ROI
December 17, 2013

We all want to write great stories, and as marketers we understand that the best stories often last longer than competitive advantages. But let's face it, it's often hard to find the "gem" in our company tales. But I assure you, the gems are there and often right in front of our noses. Ben & Jerry's offers a perfect example. Early on in the company's life, as Ben & Jerry's Premium Ice Cream started gaining popularity in and around the company's home state of Vermont, founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield discovered that Pillsbury was strong-arming one of its distributors. The food giant had told the distributor that it could either represent Pillsbury's brand, Häagen-Dazs, or Ben & Jerry's. But not both.

Nurture Vs. Nature
December 1, 2013

In the early 1980s, when I was advertising manager of Koch Engineering—a manufacturer of process equipment—industrial marketing was a simple two-step process. First, you generated sales leads. Second, you turned the leads over to the sales force, who took it from there.