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January is the month for reflection and self-assessment. We encourage one another to look back on the year and set new goals for the year ahead. Best of all: it’s a fresh, 365-day start.

Since you’ve probably already set your personal goals, what about your professional ones? How will you make your marketing program even savvier in 2019?

For a little inspiration, we pulled PR 20/20’s most-shared blog posts from 2018. We used Buzzsumo’s Content Analyzer to curate the top posts across Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, as well as links from other websites. Catch up on what you missed before you set your marketing intentions.

Best of luck in 2019! 🙌 

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Just like any structure is built on a sturdy foundation, marketing depends on a strong, ground-up approach, or all else may crumble.

Marketing success isn’t derived from a single outperforming team member, a highly efficient technology integration or one successful campaign. Instead, a strong marketing core layers in success from multiple campaigns, perspectives, team members and stakeholders.

Laying a strong foundation is easier said than done, and it requires teams to take a step back and truly gut check where their successes stand. This is especially true if you’ve been operating at a “business-as-usual” mentality without raising eyebrows.

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I’ve attended and presented at hundreds of conferences in my nearly (gulp) 20 years in the industry, but, this is my first time on the event organizer side as we build the 
Marketing Artificial Intelligence Conference (MAICON).

And, like every event I’ve been to, we see the diversity and quality of the speakers as the fundamental building block of a great attendee experience.

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You’ve likely heard the hype: Artificial intelligence is everywhere. It’s taking over! ROBOTS WILL SOON DO OUR JOBS! HUMANS WILL GO EXTINCT!

Kidding. (If this is the AI news you’re hearing, you need a better source. I recommend the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute.) But AI is poised to massively influence how marketers work. It’s estimated that 80% of a marketer’s job function will be intelligently automated, to some degree, in the next 3-5 years—and AI and other analytics will have trillions of dollars in annual impact.

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Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated to be more current and comprehensive.

"High performers differentiate by doing, not planning. Do your homework, put strategies in place, and then start testing and revising."
— The Marketing Performance Blueprint

Consider this scenario . . .

A B2B SaaS company with $10M in funding and aggressive growth goals is struggling to meet lead generation targets. The CMO fears they’re going to fall short of Q4 goals.

The marketing team is blogging 2x per week, and producing a high-quality ebook with an accompanying webinar each month. But, not enough people are organically finding the content.

What do they do?

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Every year we read tons of articles about the up and coming trends in social media and marketing. Every year we’re reminded that if we don’t start adopting these trends now, we’re going to fall behind in the new year.

While that may be true, for a change, let’s take a look at some of the social media tactics that took gold medals over the past year. The “trends” that worked so well, they’re sticking around for another year at least.

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Gartner and McKinsey Global Institute forecast trillions of dollars in annual impact from artificial intelligence, yet most marketers still struggle to understand what AI is and how to pilot it in their organizations.

A recent research project from MIT Sloan Management Review and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) analyzed AI adoption based on a global survey of 3,076 business executives. The report—Artificial Intelligence in Business Gets Real: Pioneering Companies Aim for AI Scale—broke responding companies into four groups:

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Behind every great marketing campaign is a documented strategy.

Sometimes you can simply start executing on tactics that sound promising and see what sticks; but most often, strategy is what drives real results.

According to Smart Insights, 49% still don’t have a digital marketing strategy. Another poll from Inbound Method found that 75% don’t have an inbound marketing strategy.

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Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2011 and has been updated to be more current and comprehensive.

The goal of most marketing activities is to drive leads, which will convert to new customers and grow the business. To do this effectively, however, a deep integration between marketing and sales is needed, and it starts with shared information and processes.

While marketing and sales integration is seamless in a perfect world, the scary truth is that too many companies aren't there. In Kapost's B2B Marketing and Sales Alignment Benchmark report, it was uncovered that more than half of all marketing teams have no idea what content assets sales use most often— and within in sales, team members don't know what's used across their department. What's worse than the clear lack of visibility is that marketing and sales teams admit they don't meet together frequently, resulting in a loss of feedback and unused content.

So, are you ready to dive into a better relationship between marketing and sales? Below are three steps to ensure that marketing best supports the sales process and vise versa. 

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Overall, 2018 was a “down” year for trust, according to Edelman’s annual Trust Barometer. The study found that people are unwilling to believe information they see and read. The media scored as the least-trusted global institution, with social media and search engines following closely behind.

Some marketing and PR pros, like Beth Monaghan (@bamonaghan), were ahead of this curve. Writing for Forbes, Monaghan predicted in late 2017 that trust was at stake for every American organization and it would play a major role in 2018 PR strategies.

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