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The following is a guest post by Sabrina Fenster. Sabrina is the Marketing Manager for The Shelf, an influencer marketing platform that enables brands and agencies to connect with the most relevant influencers. They currently serve businesses in the fashion, beauty, lifestyle, travel, food and family space. She's also the co-creator of street style blog, Streetscoutme. You can connect with her on LinkedIn

Valentine’s Day is almost here. With less than one week away from the annual day of love, last-minute shoppers are wracking their brains for the perfect gifts. 

Believe it or not, this is the perfect time to be kicking promotions up a notch because nearly two-thirds of Americans, who spend an average of $142 on Valentine’s Day, don’t begin planning until a week or less before the actual day. 

Businesses should be aiming their arrows straight for men between the ages of 25-34 because they’re the heaviest hitters—spending twice as much as women on the love-showering holiday. What’s more, pets get some good loving too. Just last year, $703 million was spent on our furry little friends, with an average of $5.28 per gift. 

If you’re not in the business of selling love (like flowers, jewelry or chocolates), don’t forget that people will be celebrating with their friends and families too. This annual day of love is not just reserved for couples anymore. 

There are only a few days left to do a big push for marketing promotions, so it’s time to kick it up a notch. Check out this  infographic by The Shelf for even more V-day insights. 

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Marketers: 101 Ways to Add Value

Posted by Jessica Miller on December 18, 2015

“Create more value than you capture.”  Tim O’Reilly’s quote is one to live by for anyone in the service industry, on a team, or interested in being an overall good human.

At PR 20/20, we’re constantly brainstorming ways to add more value for our clients. As our CEO penned in The Marketing Performance Blueprint, we’re continually working to differentiate by doing.” Why? Well at the end of the day, how businesses perform impacts our economy, cities, and our own livelihood. When you can tie marketing efforts to bottom-line business results, you’ve created value.

The following is a running list that compiles ideas from our entire team around the theme of creating value—or becoming the best value contributors we can be, versus value consumers.

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“While everyone else is debating this sh*t, I’m using it,” entrepreneur and marketer Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) told a crowd at New York Internet Week. He was talking about his success on newer social media platforms like Snapchat, and how we as marketers are guilty of talking too much and doing too little with different platforms.

There’s no magic bullet or secret formula. There’s just getting your hands dirty with different sites, services and communities. That’s how you determine which channels are valuable and get there before the competition.

To help you do that, here are five unconventional platforms you might want to dig into today.

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It’s never been more important for marketers to understand their company’s business fundamentals. This sounds obvious. We should know—and understand—how our companies make money, right?

Apparently it’s time for a wake up call. A full 80% of CEOs don’t trust their marketing teams, according to new research from Kapost

Let that sink in. Our job is to develop credible, profitable connections with customers—and with the people that hire us.

We must do better. Marketers are under more pressure than ever to measure their impact and prove ROI.

To help achieve that goal, I’ve listed below six business fundamentals marketers should measure and how to measure them. This list is a starting point: You may need other or additional metrics depending on your company’s business model and / or available technology.

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There is one tactic that top-of-their-game professionals use to create wealth, seize opportunities and drive success: cross-disciplinary thinking. They expose themselves to ideas outside their field and, as a result, make connections others don’t.

These connections create new business opportunities, creative (or even world-changing) ideas, and massive personal and professional growth.

Steve Jobs was a fan of this strategy. And plenty of top minds in every professional field use it daily to deliver results and lead better.

Marketers can receive the exact same benefits. By exposing themselves to ideas outside of marketing, they can, in turn, achieve better results in their campaigns and careers. This post is designed to start you down the cross-disciplinary path, if you’d like to reap the rewards it offers.

I’ve collected what I believe to be some of the best non-marketing resources to learn something new. I’d love if you offered your own suggestions in this post’s comments.

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This post was written by Raquel Richards (@RaquelMRichards), a PR 20/20 intern studying PR at Ohio University. 

The fight for top talent is more competitive than ever before. In our field, employers are looking for candidates with hybrid experience, inherent motivation and leadership potential. One of the best ways to get your foot in the door is to complete an internship.

Did you immediately picture coffee runs and itineraries? Me too. But, the right internship (and the right people) will prepare you for what lies ahead: the so-called “real world.”

We often think that having a dream job is out of the question. Luckily, there are steps you can take to increase your chances of landing the internship of your dreams, and eventually, a job you love.

Take it from me. When applying for the intern position at PR 20/20, I was shaking in my boots. I had never worked for an agency, but I did my homework and earned the position of a lifetime.

Read on for six actionable steps to landing your dream marketing internship.

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Business professionals are drowning in data, and we receive more emails, notifications and requests than ever before. With all this noise demanding our attention, how can we focus on what really matters to our business?

For answers, we turned to Phil Simon (@philsimon), friend, keynote speaker and author of Message Not Received (Wiley, 2015). The new book outlines how professionals and organizations can communicate more effectively and increase efficiency through simpler language and new technologies. Read on for insights on why business communication is broken, and how we can fix it. 

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Companies that sell costly items may not experience the same repeat buying behaviors as other companies, often making it difficult to market to customers. 

Vitamix (@Vitamix) knows this problem well. The company’s blenders are long-lasting, high-ticket items, making repeat purchases rare. Instead, the company focuses on helping its customers learn how to use their newly purchased blenders to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

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Editor's Note: This post has been updated to include the SXSW 2015 slide deck. See below.

Marketing automation platforms save time, improve efficiency and increase productivity. They give companies an unprecedented ability to understand buyers, identify opportunities, track campaign performance and link marketing activities to business outcomes. 

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What do Google, Salesforce and HubSpot have in common? They’ve realized that partner programs are a powerful way to catalyze reach, sales and loyalty.

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