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Why are you partnering with a marketing agency? Chances are, you want to take marketing performance to the next level.

According to the 2017-18 Global Digital Outlook report from SoDA and Forrester Research, leveraging data to make smarter and faster decisions is marketers’ top strategy for growth over the next 2-3 years. But there’s a gap. According to the same report, 43% of marketers want stronger data capabilities from agency partners.

So, how do you determine whether you’re partnering with a data-savvy and performance-driven agency? Consider the below checklist a starting point.

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The role of marketer and data analyst have become intertwined.

Thanks to more intelligent systems (think HubSpot) and insight into consumer behavior at every step of the buyer’s journey, marketers have the power to apply these learnings and create truly personalized, relevant experiences.

That’s why the most impactful marketing strategies are data-driven.

It’s a simple concept, but it’s not a simple process. In fact, a recent survey from CMO Council and RedPoint Global found that “...only 7 percent of the marketers surveyed early this year say they deliver real-time, data-driven engagements across both physical and digital touchpoints.”

So how can marketers turn the tide, and create more impactful performance-driven marketing strategies?

In case you missed the premier post in this series, the first step (according to the experts) is to align expectations—from marketing to leadership. The second step is more intelligent, intentional goal setting. Read on for tips from the experts to reinvent the way your team approaches goal setting, and ultimately develop strategy that drives bottom-line results.

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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new legislation that goes into effect on May 25, 2018 and will change how companies gather, store and use consumer data. Though it’s a European law, it affects any marketer that gathers data on a global basis.

For example, if you or your clients have even one “data set” (that’s GDPR-speak for “contact”) who’s European, the GDPR rules apply to you for that individual—so keep reading.

The GDPR is positioned to tip the data scales in favor of consumers for the first time in recent history, and it could significantly alter your marketing strategy in the process. If you’re one of the 94% of marketers who aren’t GDPR-ready, it’s time to listen up.

Those who disregard this legislation could be hit with fines that would make your head spin—plus, it’s just not cool to be sneaky with other people’s data. We know you’re better than that.

Below, we’ve provided a roundup of the best information, tools and tips for preparing your marketing strategy to become GDPR-compliant.

But first, a disclaimer: This blog post is not a comprehensive guide to the GDPR legislation and should not be treated as legal advice or legal recommendation. If you have questions about the GDPR as it pertains to your specific circumstances, consult an attorney.

Alright, let’s get into it.

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Getting executive buy-in is a massive challenge for marketers—and it’s just one of several major challenges holding them back.

Recent surveys from organizations including Gartner, Content Marketing Institute and The CMO Council continue to prove that marketing strategy is a massive pain point for marketing professionals.

More intelligent insights and access to smarter marketing technologies have led to a state of complete analysis paralysis. So, how can we bring data, technology and talent full-circle with a performance-driven marketing strategy?

After a bit of research and deliberation with my internal team, it was clear that we needed to bring in the undeniable experts for this conversation. So, we asked top marketing minds how to solve for this problem—zeroing in on team alignment, goal setting, campaign reporting and more.

Top marketers weighed in, and they had a lot to say. So, we’ve created a three-part series to cover all key pieces of a performance-driven strategy.

Read on to see what the experts recommend.

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This post originally appeared on the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute's blog. 

Artificial Intelligence has reached peak hype stage, but is it possible that its potential to transform marketing, and your career, is even greater than advertised?

You bet. Join us on Wednesday, April 11 at 2:00 p.m. EST to learn how to use AI to improve your marketing performance in a free webinar from Content Marketing Institute and the Marketing Artificial Intelligence (AI) Institute. 

The Marketing AI Institute is powered by PR 20/20. It was created to educate modern marketers on the present and future potential of artificial intelligence, and connect them with AI-powered technologies that can drive marketing performance and transform their careers.

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Editor's Note: This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated to be more current and comprehensive.

Does the thought of a job interview make you squirm, as if you are about to face the Spanish Inquisition? It doesn’t have to be that way.

In my experiences (as both an interviewee and interviewer), I’ve learned that the right amount of preparation and a little know-how can take you far. Below are some basic tips to ace your next interview and land the marketing job of your dreams.

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The shift to inbound marketing has armed marketers with tactics to better connect with leads and customers, technology to increase efficiencies, and access to more data than ever.

Access to inbound marketing data means it’s easier than traditional methods to track performance and prove ROI.

Just think: Can you really trace the performance of a newspaper ad easier and faster (if at all) than clicks on a blog post?

However, the old adage “quality over quantity” also applies to data— it’s not enough to simply have thousands of data points. Instead, marketers need to apply both structure and meaning to these numbers because without a layer of context, it’s just noise.

But if you’re anything like me (not a data scientist or mathematician), it can be tricky to understand where to start or what data points to dig into to really make sense of it all. Even with access to data tools like Google Analytics or HubSpot’s reporting features, it’s still necessary to understand what the numbers truly mean to affect performance and implement real-time change.

At our recent Cleveland HubSpot User Group (HUG) meeting, PR 20/20’s VP of Strategic Growth and in-house data wizard, Keith Moehring (@keithmoehring), uncovered how marketers can dive into data to apply meaning.

Continue reading below as we highlight 12 actionable tips and tricks to unlock the true potential of your marketing data.

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Social media helps businesses to connect more meaningfully with customers and prospects, and ultimately boost revenue and sales. In fact, 52% of businesses that utilize various social media platforms feel it positively impacts revenue and sales.

Now more than ever, social media is crucial to lead generation via paid ads, and also offers inventive tactics to reach new audiences, boost a subscriber base, establish a company tone, and so much more.

But, how can you stay on top of ever-evolving trends, tools and features to ensure you are getting the most out of various social media networks?

After all, it's no secret that social platforms are constantly unveiling new innovative features and tools to help businesses utilize their product in creative ways. Let’s also not forget the trials and tribulations that social tools have created for businesses (hint: Facebook’s many algorithm changes).

So, what are some of the latest social media advancements businesses can utilize to improve their social strategies? I’m here to help you dive into the latest and greatest social platforms have to offer to keep your business fresh and relevant.

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The following is a guest post submitted by Matt Cayless (@matt_cayless). Cayless is a cofounder and SEO expert at Bubblegum Search, a SEO & content marketing agency. He has a passion for helping businesses optimise their content experiences online. By night he can be found training for his next marathon while remaining fearful of carbohydrates.

What would we do if it weren't for Google? Sometimes it's easy to forget what life looked like before search engines offered us endless information with just a few clicks of a mouse or taps of a smartphone screen. Our team of SEO experts at Bubblegum Search have created a fun and interactive infographic, which outlines some surprising facts about our search engine history and reminds us just how far technology has come.

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Consider your approach to writing a stellar piece of content. 

You spend time researching the topic, gathering resources, organizing your ideas, drafting an outline, transforming your outline into a rich first draft, passing it off for a review, making final tweaks... Phew! 

Hours later— probably at least two hours, according to Hubspot— your final product is informative, resource-rich and memorable. You’ve invested a great deal of time to ensure that your audience consumes the best piece of content you can create. 

After all that effort, you’re doing yourself a disservice to only spend 45 seconds sharing it on your social media profiles and moving on to the next project. It’s time to make your content work harder.

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