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I spent the first six years of my marketing agency career chasing hourly quotas instead of results. Our goal was to bill a minimum of five hours per day. 

Yes, we cared if the client was happy and successful, but the fundamental economic driving force behind the firm's existence, and my career potential, was the billable hour.

I discovered early on that the billable-hour model was a flawed, archaic, agency-centric system that wrongly tied agency performance to outputs, not outcomes. 

In 2004, four years into my career, I became highly motivated to build a more efficient and profitable solution that shifted the focus to client needs and goals. 

The idea was centered on making services tangible with clearly defined costs, features and benefits, almost like buying a product off a retail shelf or signing up for a software service.

My theory was that if clients understood exactly what they were getting, and agreed ahead of time what it was worth, then we could remove the mystery from the equation and focus on delivering value and results. 

The problem was that the billable-hour model was the only one I had ever known. How would I build an entirely new financial model and productize a service business?

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“SEO is no longer just about 200 ranking factors," according to Gianluca Fiorelli, SEO and web marketing consultant. “SEO is about making our websites become the sources Google cannot help but use for answering queries.”

How do we, as content marketers, focus on making our websites these undeniable sources for answers? First, we need to understand how Google operates in 2016, and where Google is headed. From Penguin to Possum, in what direction is Google heading now?

Continue reading for an update on Google’s current state, why SEO is important and how marketers can tailor SEO strategies for a sustainably high-ranking future.

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The following is a guest post from Shane Barker. Shane is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities. You can connect with Shane (@Shane_Barker) on Twitter. 

From digital marketers to top brands, everyone is making the most of influencer marketing. You see dozens of articles talking about its effectiveness and tips on how to implement it. But, why is there such hype about influencer marketing?

Several studies have revealed that there’s a good reason why so many marketers and brands are flocking to influencers. Read on to find out more about how influencer marketing impacts all aspects of your performance.

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Seth Godin would argue that content marketing is the “only marketing left.” Michael Brenner said, “It is the hottest trend in marketing because it is the biggest gap between what buyers want and brands produce.”

What’s more, over the years, the practice has more than proven its value. Don’t believe me? According to Demand Metric: “Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.”

So why might CMOs still undervalue the potential impact of content efforts? 

If your team isn’t tying content production to bottom-line outcomes, then leadership likely isn’t making the connection either. The best content programs are performance-driven; they connect tactics to organizational end goals. 

But, to develop a truly performance-driven content approach, your team must first understand what metrics will matter to your top executives.

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Content Marketing World or as others may know it, #CMWorld, is an incredible event for marketers, journalists and techies from across the globe to gather and share niche content knowledge. As the largest content marketing event around, the opportunities to learn trade tricks, network with leading influencers and fuel creativity are endless. 

This year, the PR 20/20 team sent four employees, including myself, to the local conference to mingle with the best and brightest in content marketing. From September 6 – 9, we attended roughly 35 sessions total, including our CEO, Paul Roetzer’s session, alongside more than 4,000 pros.

Did you miss the event this year? Not to worry. Our PR 20/20 attendees including director of marketing, Taylor Radey (‪@TaylorLauren‪), consultant, Megan Wolk (‪@megan_wolk‪), associate consultant, Shannen Laur (‪@slaur9‪) and myself (@AllisonKurz) recapped a few of our favorite sessions (and actionable takeaways) below. And if you were there, tell us about your top sessions and speakers in the comments!

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U.S. travelers are expected to make up to 488.8 million business trips per year by the year 2020.

Traveling to in-person meetings is a great way to build relationships and inspire big ideas for your client. But, they can be intimidating—especially if it’s your first one.

So how can you ensure you are properly prepared and ready to take on your first big trip?

I recently went on my first long-distance business trip and wanted to share a few vital tips that can help set you up for success, while also having fun along the way!

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“The marketing industry is moving too fast to internalize everything.” — Paul Roetzer, The Marketing Performance Blueprint 

In spite of having more channels, more technology and more data than ever before, marketers are still struggling to make, and measure, an impact on the bottom line. Obsessive planning is all too often mistaken for strategy, leaving teams dutifully following checklists that are leading them nowhere.

Instead, a rapidly shifting landscape requires an equally agile response. The solution? The Marketing Growth HackathonTM.

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In the age of Amazon-style buying, customers expect instant answers and hassle-free purchasing. 

Plus, competition is virtually everywhere you look. In one click, customers can abandon your site and move on to a competitor who offers faster, easier service.

Our one saving grace to retain recurring sales is through customer loyalty. It’s no secret that many businesses rely on the loyalty of returning customers, as it costs nearly 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

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This post was written by PR 20/20 intern Emily Dann (@EmilyRDann). Emily is a dual major studying Public Relations at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications as well as Marketing Management in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University.

 

New technology is being introduced in the marketing world every day, and the demand for top talent is greater than ever before. Modern marketers are expected to master both traditional and digital skills to deliver measureable results. 

However, these qualified hybrid marketing professionals are in short supply, and a full-fledged talent war has begun.

It’s imperative that businesses continuously adapt to evolving marketing trends. Founder and CEO of PR 20/20 Paul Roetzer (@paulroetzer) believes that the largest gaps impacting performance lie primarily within marketing talent, technology and strategy

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Editor's note: This post was originally published by Content Marketing Institute and has been edited for comprehensiveness. 

After months of planning, research, writing, and design, your new B2B research report is set to launch.

Personas have been defined. Databases have been segmented. Website traffic, lead generation, and sales conversion goals are all set. And your project management system has been stacked with all the standard elements of a successful content marketing campaign, such as:

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