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You’ve heard the saying, ‘Nothing in life comes free.’

Well, good news: it’s not true!

There are thousands of free software solutions out there claiming to make you more productive, more efficient and more impactful. Some are a waste of time (sad but true); others, however, have become a staple in my daily routine. 

The key is finding the tools that work for you. Need a starting point? Below, I’ve listed my top 10. Yes, I could live without then … but I’d rather not.

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By losing our biggest family golf championship, I stumbled upon an insanely powerful, free platform that lets you build your own marketing performance tools. 

The platform I'm referring to is the combination of Google Sheets and Google Apps Script. With it, I’ve managed to:

  • Connect sheets to data sources like Google Analytics through APIs.
  • Strategically build large data sets from multiple sources.
  • Marry marketing activities to performance metrics.
  • Build small algorithms to sort through and pull insights out of thousands of data points.
  • Allow multiple Google Sheets to communicate with one another.
  • And much more.

If you’ve got some coding background or are interested in learning to code, I’ve tried to incorporate everything you need to get started building your own marketing tools, including:

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What if there was a single product that helped streamline all marketing tasks, improved lead management, and impacted overall revenue?

Oh wait … there is.

It’s marketing automation, and unless you’re stuck in the marketing stone age, you’ve probably at least heard of it. 

Businesses and marketers in all sorts of industries are recognizing the power of marketing automation, and these stats prove it:

  • Businesses that nurture prospects via marketing automation experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.
  • 25% of all B2B Fortune 500 companies are using marketing automation.
  • 76% of the world’s largest SaaS companies use it, too.
  • 63% say the ability to set measurable objectives is the biggest value driver. 

We all agree that marketing automation has endless benefits like shortening the sales cycle, enhancing efficiencies and improving lead scoring, just to name a few. But, unfortunately, there is one major issue: we have an overwhelming number of solutions to consider (more than 239 are listed by Capterra as “top” products).  

If you’re looking to adopt a marketing automation solution or ready to make a switch from the product you have now, don’t let the sheer number of options scare you. Read on for five factors to consider when comparing software to get you on the road to the perfect solution.

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“HubSpot is at the intersection of technology and philosophy.” — Dharmesh Shah, co-founder and CTO, HubSpot

Dharmesh (@dharmesh) opened his INBOUND 2015 keynote with co-founder Brian Halligan (@bhalligan) with this simple truth. I couldn’t agree more—that the company is at this crossroads, and that its technology is inexplicably tied to the ideology, practices and desires of its users.

Taking it a step further, I’d argue that in the case of the Boston-based SaaS company with more than 13,000 customers worldwide, its product is a direct reflection of the behaviors and preferences of consumers today.

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Marketing operations are constantly innovated by new technologies, from automation and gelocation to personalization. But, at the heart of branding is one constant element: content marketing.

Content drives the narrative behind all campaigns, big and small. It’s the pulse of company culture and the beat of service offerings—constantly pumping purpose and inspiration into your team. 

It’s critical to bottom-line business health, and it’s a complicated practice. Below I’ve curated a few of PR 20/20’s favorite content marketing resources, tools, charts and graphics to advance your content marketing practice, from idea generation to production.  

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As marketers, we’re familiar with search engine optimization (SEO). But, what if you’re tasked with app store optimization (ASO)?

According to TUNE’s 2014 mobile-usage survey, approximately half of all app downloaders find new apps by searching the app store (53% Android, 47% iOS).

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

What’s possible when the art and science of marketing collide?

I’ve been consumed by this question for the better part of 10 years since launching PR 20/20. I believe the marketing industry has reached an inflection point, and everything is about to change.

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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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This post is part of HubSpots second annual Inbound Marketing Week, a worldwide series of events inviting marketers to share industry knowledge and strategy best practices.

At the onset of each year, marketing influencers and brands weigh in on the leading trends expected to impact our industry. Even through the repetition, we continuously look to these articles with hopes that they will illuminate the keys to success or, better yet, provide us with an entirely new concept or idea.

In 2015, the conversation has been heavily dominated by a few obvious leaders—marketing automation, contextual marketing and personalization, mapping the customer journey, 

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Marketing automation software is an integral component within an organization’s tech stack, as it supports core business goals, such as optimized marketing and sales alignment, improved lead-to-sale conversion and an enhanced customer experience. 

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