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How to Rise Above Marketing Mediocrity, According to Ann Handley



Ann Handley is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and has been named by IBM as one of the seven people shaping modern marketing.

She’s also the world’s first Chief Content Officer, and is a LinkedIn influencer with almost 400K followers.

Needless to say, I was thrilled when she agreed to speak with me about the current and future trends in marketing at the 2019 Conex in Toronto.

Along with marketing trends, we also talked about new approaches marketers can use to solve old problems. Because, while much has changed in marketing over the last few years, one thing remains consistent — businesses still need to connect with their audiences.

Here, let’s explore Ann Handley’s take on pathological empathy, “snackable” content, and rising above marketing mediocrity.

Have Pathological Empathy For Your Consumer

One of the key concepts Handley has pioneered is “pathological empathy.”

Rather than simply segmenting customers by their behaviors or demographics and trying to appeal to them on those grounds, Handley wants marketers to get under their skin: “When I say pathological, I mean really understanding, sort of getting inside their skin … to get a sense of who are they and how can you best engage with them emotionally.”

Ultimately, engaging with a consumer on an emotional level is one of the most sure-fire ways to guarantee a successful marketing campaign. (I dare you to watch Android’s “Friends Furever” video, the most-shared video ad of 2015, without tearing up.)

This next-level empathy opens the door to a new approach to content creation. Handley poses the question this way — “How do we create the kind of marketing content, assets, campaigns that will actually touch their hearts … and maybe open their minds?”

Slow Down

In order to build pathological empathy, you need time. However, in a fast-paced marketing environment where everything moves at the speed of light, time is the most precious and limited commodity.

Counterintuitively, this only proves Handley’s point:

“I’m on a mission to get marketers to slow down. Instead of approaching their job with an ‘as-soon-as-possible’ mindset, I think it’s much more valuable at certain key strategic moments to slow down.”

Handley says that by slowing down the marketing process at these strategic moments, marketers can better execute on building relationships and converting leads.

“I think what we’re missing is that opportunity to say, ‘All right, what are the moments where we really need to think more strategically? Where should we slow down to fuel faster growth later?'”

Speak to Your Audience as Peer-to-Peer, Not Brand-to-Target

In addition to slowing down the marketing process at critical points, Handley suggests that marketers speak to their audiences from a peer-to-peer perspective, as opposed to brand-to-target.

While marketers instinctively want to talk about what sets their brand and products apart, that’s not a message that can connect with customers.

Handley told me, “We love our products and services and we understand on an implicit basis what value they bring to your customers or your prospects. But I think that we don’t always communicate that as effectively as we could. We’re not always leading with our hearts. We’re not always touching people in a way that will engage them emotionally.”

Next time you’re constructing a web page or writing landing page copy, you might ask yourself — Would I, and my colleagues, like it designed this way? Would we keep reading? Would we click the link?

Of course, you’ll want to A/B test and use focus groups to ensure you’re meeting your audience’s needs, but it doesn’t hurt to consider your own opinions and interests, or the opinions and interests of friends and family, when creating and promoting marketing materials.

Be a Resource for Your Audience

Handley told me marketers should be a resource to their prospects and offer them value. Part of this shift requires connecting with customers personally. You might try social media, but alternatively, consider putting a twist on an old marketing stand-by — the email newsletter.

As Handley says, “Newsletters are vastly undervalued and they’re a huge opportunity that we’re not doing well.”

Handley mentioned that, unfortunately, most marketers tend to focus on the “news” aspect of a newsletter, and forget the “letter” part of the equation.

The “news” aspect means marketers use their newsletters as a distribution strategy and focus on providing updates about their own brand — but they fail to use the “letter” portion to engage with and connect to their audience.

Handley notes that when writing newsletters, marketers tend to speak in the plural, but their audience is one person at home or on their phone. Handley says that by simply writing their newsletters as if they are talking to one person, marketers can go a long way toward building that personal connection.

Handley says, “The person who was sitting on the other end of that email … It’s one person. They’re not sitting there with a thousand other people. So why do we communicate to a thousand people? That’s because we’re still thinking about it as news and not as a letter.”

Don’t Create “Snackable” Content

Video is another area where marketers are misreading the situation and losing out on chances to meaningfully connect with consumers. Handley pushes back on the notion of “snackable content,” and the idea that consumers are demanding it more.

“Our impulse as marketers has been to make it shorter and shorter and shorter to try to get people more involved. But from a consumer standpoint, I don’t think that that’s what our customers want.”

Rather, Handley thinks that this demand for shorter content was always there but never supplied.

She told me, “I don’t think they want shorter and shorter and shorter. They don’t want lighter and more snackable … The way that we as consumers are consuming content has been to think about the value that it gives us.”

Handley cites Netflix as a prime counterexample that disproves the idea that consumer attention spans are getting shorter, or that “snackable” content is king.

“In a world of snackable, why does somebody sit down for hours at a time to watch the last season of Stranger Things? It’s because we want to — we want it on our terms, number one. But secondly, we have all the attention span in the world if it’s something that we care about.”

Handley doesn’t think viewers’ attention spans are getting shorter or that they are seeking out shorter content. Instead, viewers are just more discerning about what content they consume.

That suggests marketers shouldn’t shy away from longer video pieces, as long as these videos are about something that can connect with their target audience.

Rise Above “Marketing Mediocrity”

Businesses that fail to connect with customers fall into what Handley terms “marketing mediocrity.” Handley says it’s critical for businesses to rise above it. But how does a business know if their marketing is mediocre?

“If people are not interested in you, if they are not here for you, if they are not thinking, ‘I can’t wait to see what they come out with next,’ then that’s a problem.”

Handley says marketers should ask themselves what would happen if they went away.

How would your email list react?

Would any of your audience members write your team to ask where you went?

Handley relates a personal story about her bi-weekly newsletter to drive the point home: “I usually mail Sunday mornings and I had a busy week … [s]o I didn’t mail until Sunday afternoon at four o’clock. And I got so many emails from people saying, are you okay? What happened? And so that to me was, it wasn’t just personally gratifying. [T]he big lesson there is … if you didn’t show up, would people say, ‘Hey, what happened?'”

Do Less and Obsess

In 2020, there are innumerable changes happening in the world of marketing. I asked Handley what her single most important piece of advice to marketers would be, and she told me, “do less and obsess.”

Handley suggests that marketers “do less and obsess” and focus on the fundamentals, and “create less with more intention.”

Handley also has some thoughts about content calendars. Handley suggests that marketers “do less that has more impact” rather than strictly abiding by a content calendar.

“I think content calendars are amazing … I’m just saying, don’t let it run your strategy.”

In the Future, a Customer’s Experience Will Dictate Your Strategy

Finally, I asked Handley if she has any ideas on how we’ll be consuming content 10 years from now. While she thinks video is here to stay, she rejects the idea that the word is dead.

“I hate binary choices like that. It’s not a matter of words or images. It’s both. To your question, what does this mean for us five years from now? think it’s a better integration and, and perhaps more interactivity.”

Handley’s seemingly counterintuitive advice is based on marketing fundamentals, some of which today’s marketers might be forgetting as they become more enmeshed with new technologies.

It’s easy to get caught up in current trends, but knowing your target audience and creating an experience they can truly enjoy remains the paramount goal of marketers. By taking a step back from today’s hot new marketing trend, we can get a better sense of how to use new technologies and strategies to deliver a valuable experience to our customers.

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Marketing Strategies

Top 15 Facebook Advertising & Marketing Podcasts in 2020



Top 15 Facebook Advertising & Marketing Podcasts
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1. Next Level Facebook Ads Podcast

Seattle, Washington, United States About Podcast In Next Level Facebook Ads Podcast, Phil Graham and Sam Carlson help you master Facebook ads and give you an edge over your competition. If you want to be part of a movement that is taking digital marketers to new heights, this is for you. Frequency 1 episode / week Since May 2017 Podcast
Facebook fans 26.5K ⋅ Twitter followers 660 ⋅ Domain Authority 5

2. The Ads Maven with Jenn Possick

The Ads Maven with Jenn PossickSaint Petersburg, Florida, United States About Podcast ‘I know Facebook Ads have been effective for others, but they are too hard and too confusing. I’m running ads now, but I think they could convert for a better cost.’ says host Jenn. The Ads Maven, Jenn Possick is here to help by sharing the secrets behind making Facebook and Instagram ads work for you – to get thousands of new subscribers onto your email list and to sell your products and services to your existing audience online. Frequency 1 episode / day Since Sep 2019 Podcast
Facebook fans 6.2K ⋅ Twitter followers 7.7K ⋅ Instagram Followers 1.2K ⋅ Domain Authority 35 ⋅ Alexa Rank 3.2M

3. Learn Paid Media

Learn Paid MediaPortland, Oregon, United States About Podcast Learn Paid Media is a podcast that focuses on teaching you all aspects of online paid media. Nick Banik is a digital marketer with experience managing Google Ads, Bing Ads, Facebook, and Instagram Ads, Pinterest Ads, YouTube advertising, programmatic display advertising, and much more. The podcast focuses on how to learn paid media and how to manage online advertising campaigns for both large and small budgets. Frequency 2 episodes / month Since May 2019 Podcast
Twitter followers 43 ⋅ Domain Authority 5

4. Facebook Ads with a Twang

Facebook Ads with a TwangKnoxville, Tennessee, United States About Podcast Facebook ads with a Twang is dedicated to taking the often over complicated process of creating successful Facebook ads and breaking them down step by step in less than 10 minutes at a time. Frequency 5 episodes / quarter Since Jul 2017 Podcast
Facebook fans 11.7K ⋅ Twitter followers 613 ⋅ Domain Authority 23

5. Marketing Lyfe

Marketing LyfeUtah, United States About Podcast Host Taylor Timothy is an online marketer, paid ad expert, and a lead generator. The Marketing Lyfe podcast is to help small businesses , and entrepreneurs get more leads and sales for their business so that they can grow. The key to success is using paid ad platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, youtube, and google. Running Paid traffic is essential for your success. You must be running Facebook ads, Instagram ads, Google paid ads, Youtube ads if you are wanting to take your business to the next level! Frequency 2 episodes / week Since Sep 2018 Podcast
Facebook fans 105 ⋅ Domain Authority 68 ⋅ Alexa Rank 10.9K

6. Pin To Top

Pin To TopPhilippines About Podcast Pin To Top is a podcast for Entrepreneurs and Experts who would like to get help doing Facebook Marketing and gain excellent business ideas. Let ‘Pin To Top’ provide you with Facebook Marketing basics, strategies, and tactics – plus excellent business ideas every now and then – to help you maximize your Facebook presence less the overwhelm. Frequency 1 episode / week Since Feb 2019 Podcast
Facebook fans 871 ⋅ Domain Authority 74 ⋅ Alexa Rank 5.5K

7. eCommerce Uncensored

eCommerce UncensoredWoodland Park, New Jersey, United States About Podcast Fast Forward, Inc is a digital marketing agency in New Jersey. eCommerce Uncensored by Fast Forward, Inc is a podcast dedicated to bringing eCommerce entrepreneurs actionable tips and techniques to grow their sales, email list, and traffic. They’ll talk about Email Marketing, Facebook Ads, Social Media Marketing, Shopify, Woocommerce, Sales Funnels, and much more. Frequency 2 episodes / week Since May 2017 Podcast
Facebook fans 219 ⋅ Twitter followers 174 ⋅ Instagram Followers 1.4K ⋅ Domain Authority 19 ⋅ Alexa Rank 1.4M

8. Social Media Marketing Happy Hour Podcast

Social Media Marketing Happy Hour PodcastParker, Colorado, United States About Podcast The Social Media Marketing Happy Hour Podcast hosted by Dawn Marrs & Traci Reuter is designed for the entrepreneur, solopreneur, small business owner and marketing leader who is ready to learn to leverage organic social media marketing, sales funnels, Facebook advertising, and Instagram ads. Grow your email list, generate more leads and sales and just be more effective with your marketing. Each episode is jam-packed with success tips & nuggets to help you succeed in your entrepreneurial journey. Frequency 2 episodes / quarter Since Jul 2014 Podcast
Facebook fans 7.3K ⋅ Instagram Followers 1.9K ⋅ Domain Authority 33 ⋅ Alexa Rank 1.5M

9. The Facebook Marketing Ninja

The Facebook Marketing NinjaClearwater, Florida, United States About Podcast ‘After delivering seminars all over the world, I realized how unique the knowledge I have really is. So I decided to share my ability, to help people become successful in what I view to be the greatest marketing era in humanity’s history.’ is what host Manuel says. Tune in to this podcast to get Facebook marketing insights, tips, and ideas from Manuel Suarez. Frequency 3 episodes / month Since Mar 2018 Podcast
Facebook fans 3.9K ⋅ Twitter followers 237 ⋅ Instagram Followers 11K ⋅ Social Engagement 1 ⋅ Domain Authority 74 ⋅ Alexa Rank 5.6K

10. The Content Fix

The Content FixRichmond, Victoria, Australia About Podcast Do you want to know how to use content, social media and digital marketing to make people aware of your business, build engagement and convert that audience into customers? The Content Fix podcast provides you with mini masterclasses and interviews to transform your content and social media from a time drain to a winning business strategy. Tune in to learn the techniques for expanding your business. Frequency 1 episode / week Since Jun 2019 Podcast
Twitter followers 6.7K ⋅ Social Engagement 33 ⋅ Domain Authority 6 ⋅ Alexa Rank 2.8M

11. Casual Fridays

Casual Fridays San Diego, California, United States About Podcast This is a podcast for marketers and entrepreneurs looking to get on the social media fast track. Tyler also shares tools and processes he personally uses to help him with social media management, marketing, productivity and more. Frequency 1 episode / week Since Aug 2013 Podcast
Facebook fans 4.7K ⋅ Twitter followers 4K ⋅ Instagram Followers 1.1K ⋅ Domain Authority 40 ⋅ Alexa Rank 1.2M

12. Exposure Ninja

Exposure NinjaNottingham, England, United Kingdom About Podcast Looking for ways to increase your website’s visibility and significantly grow the sales it generates? Join bestselling digital marketing author and Head Ninja at Exposure Ninja Tim Cameron-Kitchen as he, the Ninjas and special guests share ‘real-life’ actionable tips straight from the digital marketing front line. Frequency 5 episodes / quarter Since Oct 2016 Podcast
Facebook fans 4.6K ⋅ Twitter followers 2.1K ⋅ Instagram Followers 839 ⋅ Domain Authority 42 ⋅ Alexa Rank 140.2K

13. You Unplugged

You Unplugged Berkeley, California, United States About Podcast Tips, interviews, and shortcuts for marketers who realize they MUST stand out to be noticed. Kim Klaver helps marketers who want to get regular customers engaging others like a normal person, and automatically on Facebook and email. Frequency 15 episodes / year Since Jun 2015 Podcast
Twitter followers 2.3K ⋅ Social Engagement 1 ⋅ Domain Authority 13 ⋅

The post Top 15 Facebook Advertising & Marketing Podcasts in 2020 appeared first on Feedspot Blog.

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Marketing Strategies

Your Demand-Gen Strategies Have A “Last Mile” Problem (Here’s How to Fix It)




/As a demand gen leader, you and your team are working hard to capture the attention of your target audience and nurture them through the buyer’s journey. You’re constantly strategizing, launching new campaigns and optimizing your performance. And each month, you hand off a healthy number of leads to your sales team.

But only a small fraction of those leads become customers. And as the pressure mounts to achieve ever-increasing revenue goals, your organization’s sales and marketing teams become embroiled in a vicious blame game. 

Sales leaders complain the leads marketing sends aren’t any good, marketing leaders argue the sales team isn’t working hard enough to close the leads they send and no one can agree on how to make things better. Because, while marketing tech improves your ability to turn content into leads, it stops short of helping you transform leads into sales.

It’s a frustrating problem that’s neither squarely in the realm of sales or marketing, but an organizational fumble in the last mile: The critical window between earning a lead and landing the first meeting.

Why does this happen? And what can you do to fix it? At Kronologic, we’ve spent the last year investigating these questions. And here’s what I’ve discovered:

Why Do So Many Organizations Fail In The Last-Mile?

For more than a year, my company has been working with sales and marketing executives at many of the world’s fastest-growing organizations, and we uncovered something unsettling: Companies are losing, on average, between 30% and 80% of their leads before they ever become opportunities. That translates into literal millions of dollars left on the table every quarter (and, in some cases, every month).

We also discovered three main reasons organizations lose those leads:

  • Competition is rising: The marketplace is more crowded than ever. Time is a precious commodity and even if you manage to capture a prospect’s attention and keep it through the initial phases of the buyer’s journey, there are zillions of other vendors/projects/problems vying for their attention.
  • Customers are growing more informed: Thanks to big data and the proliferation of content, your prospects have access to most of the same information you do. Much of the buyer’s journey happens before someone reaches a salesperson.
  • Everyone is busy: You’re busy. Your sales team is busy. Your audience is busy. All our calendars are brimming with meetings, phone calls and appointments, and the further you have to push out a conversation, the less likely it is to happen. It’s essential you nail down a time when your solution is still top-of-mind for your prospect because your sales team’s window of opportunity for landing a meeting shrinks exponentially every hour.

What Can You Do To Fix It?

We’ve identified the problem and why’s it’s happening, but what can we do about it?

Here’s where I give you some good news: You have the power to significantly reduce your last-mile problem. In fact, as an industry-leading marketer, there’s a good chance you’ve already identified lead deficit as a top KPI and begun building strategies to reduce it.

Early attempts to address this issue have emerged in the form of Calendly and other link-based schedulers that your sales team may be relying upon today. (And before link-based schedulers, you could summarize the industry strategy as “death by a thousand emails.”)

But those solutions are still too passive, requiring too much time and activity from a busy salesperson and their equally busy prospects. Plus, there’s no way to prioritize higher-value meetings.

Instead, you need technology that monitors leads’ actions and behaviors and automatically connects both parties at the moment you’re most likely to earn a meeting. (At Kronologic, we call this an Active Scheduling Platform.) By leveraging behavioral data and automating the appointment-setting process, you can capture a larger chunk of your leads and take back the millions (or tens of millions) you’re likely leaving on the table.

Plus, when salespeople aren’t spending vast portions of their workweeks playing email tag with leads, they can focus on other revenue-generating efforts. Like identifying which prospects’ pain points match to your company’s value propositions, for example, and having meaningful conversations that lead to highly profitable, long-term relationships.

The last-mile problem can feel insurmountable in our world of hyper-busy days, jam-packed schedules and shrinking attention spans. But, by relying on the right tech, you can seize opportunities to schedule those critical conversations and heal the discord between sales and marketing for good.

Aaron Bollinger is the Co-founder and CRO of Kronologic. Aaron is a winemaker, sales leader and former TV producer who’s not satisfied unless he’s taking on a new challenge. He’s spent most of the past two decades selling technology solutions to the world’s largest brands at all stages — from pre-seed to IPO and everything in between.

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Marketing Strategies

Brands should add text/message and have “identical support” across channels



30-second summary:

  • A new report from customer support platform UJET finds a steady use by consumers of all ages of multiple channels for customer service, and a desire for more texting/messaging.
  • While there are still age-related differences across channel use, the interest in more texting/messaging support applies across ages.
  • Multi-channel communications are becoming the norm for brands, as is the need for a consistent experience across channels.

Customers of all ages are gravitating toward text-based channels for customer service.

That’s a key takeaway in a new report from customer support platform UJET: “Optimizing Channels for Customer Support”. It is based on an online survey of 500 respondents in the U.S. by market research firm YouGov, and focuses on customer support communications with ecommerce, transportation and food delivery brands.

Improving customer service with texting/messaging

The report found that, although Millennial and Gen Z younger customers are in the forefront of expecting text-based customer support like texting and messaging, the trend applies to customers of all ages.

Seventy-two percent of all respondents said real-time texting with a live customer service agent would improve their experience, and 70 percent felt the same way about in-app messaging. The report also cites a 2019 study by call center software provider Aircall, which found that 91 percent of consumers prefer brands that provide multiple channels for customer service communications.

Other channels are still popular, however, and the use of chat/messaging is currently still in the minority. Almost half (42 percent) of the respondents across age groups will pick up a phone to talk to customer service, and 32 percent send an email. The report noted that many brands, especially in the ecommerce sector, still support only those two channels.

‘Next stage’ of customer service

Twenty-nine percent of all respondents use website live chat, 28% in-app messaging and 25 percent text or SMS. As might be expected, the breakdown differed by age group:

From the UJET report

It also differed by industry. In communicating with an on-call transportation brand like Lyft or Uber, for instance, in-app messaging and chat were the top channels:

customer service gfx

From the UJET report

The report also points to the need for brands to move toward the “next stage of customer support,” which it defines as providing an “identical support experience” across channels.

Uploading images

In other words, a customer looking to solve a problem about a product can communicate across one or more channels with the brand, in an experience that calls on the same records about that customer’s purchases and brand contacts, and that has a similar mix of AI and human support — regardless of the channel chosen.

In addition to texting and in-app messaging support, large majorities of survey respondents said they wanted email support, as well as the ability to click a site or in-app button and receive a phone call from an agent at a convenient time.

But more channels are not the only customer service direction desired by customers. The report found that customers want the ability to easily share imagery with agents, so as to explain issues. Two-thirds respondents want the ability to upload and share a photo or screenshots with an agent. Additionally, 43 percent want to log onto an account using fingerprint or facial recognition, and 42 percent would like to chat with an agent using live video.

The post Brands should add text/message and have “identical support” across channels appeared first on ClickZ.

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