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I’m surrounded by smart people. Some would call them strategists. Some would call them visionaries. Every day, I’m inspired to learn from my colleagues, clients, industry peers … I learn a lot about life from my two-year-old son, too.

As an agency, I believe this power to strategize, collaborate, and bring visionary ideas to life is our core strength. It’s part of our culture. And it’s part of each person we work with. It’s that power to look beyond that drives us—always forward.

And it’s no accident that Look Beyond is our company tagline.

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Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated to be more current and comprehensive.

Lights, camera, action. Video has taken the marketing world by storm, and it's here to stay.

Think video marketing is just another fad? Think again. Our customers are demanding it, and the proof is in the numbers

  • 82% of consumers surveyed indicated that they favor live video over other types of social media posts.
  • Video content receives 12 times more shares than text and images, combined.
  • Video viewers retain 95% of a message when they see a video— compared to only 12% of written word.
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Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated to be more current and comprehensive.

Brands have a major problem using the S-word. The term strategy is so overused by marketing departments and agencies that it is, in many cases, meaningless. They build marketing or content strategies. They think or act strategically.

Too often, marketers are irresponsibly using strategy and its variants as synonyms for planning.

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Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated to be more current and comprehensive.

The proliferation of marketing channels, apps, mobile devices, social networks and content has given consumers more choices and greater control, while increasing complexity for marketers.

We want to help simplify and optimize the marketing planning process for your business.

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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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Disclaimer: this is not your average end-of-year tips and tools blog post.

We get that annual planning is a beast, and marketers everywhere are wrought with expectation and reporting woes.

If numbers are down, how can you prove that next year’s performance will improve? And if your numbers are up, what can you do to keep climbing?

You need an actionable, original marketing plan—driven by purposeful planning and backed by data—to truly gain executive buy-in.

Thus, below we’ve outlined seven tips (including PR 20/20 tools, concepts and templates) that can lead to actionable change. The following tactics featured (of which are nearly all free) will add value to your planning framework, year-over-year analysis and assessment, performance reporting, team brainstorming, integration with artificial intelligence, and more.

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Below is an excerpt from the new book, Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost Into Profit, written by Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi) and Robert Rose (@Robert_Rose). The following introduction was written by Pulizzi. 

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – mostly credited to Mark Twain

Robert Rose and I just launched our combined sixth book, Killing Marketing: How Innovative Businesses Are Turning Marketing Cost into Profit, at Content Marketing World this September. The book’s key idea makes a case that the majority of businesses approach marketing entirely the wrong way … and that we need to kill the marketing we know and replace it with a new approach: marketing as a profit center.

Below is an excerpt from the introduction of the book. Robert and I truly believe that tomorrow’s businesses are in the process of transforming marketing into something completely new and different, and that building audiences and monetizing those audiences are the future of our practice. Enjoy!

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Goal-oriented marketers aim to produce top-notch results that prove their efforts are worth it. Take content creation: We want to produce the most effective assets, reach the right audiences, and in turn, gain more website visitors, obtain leads and boost our site’s rank. 

But, while a good content asset is useful, what if you aren’t reaching the right audiences? Or, what if you aren’t reaching any audience at all, and your time is wasted on stale or unusable content?

As a simple example, take into account the amount of time it takes to produce a blog post. According to HubSpot, about 30% of marketers spend two to three hours writing blog posts. Now, multiply that by the two, three or four posts you’re producing in a week, and suddenly, you’ve devoted almost an entire workday to blog production, just to have no one read your efforts.

This is where maximum content distribution comes into play. Read below to learn several different promotion strategies, along with ideas to maximize your content’s ROI across three different types of audiences.

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We’re in the thick of a new year, and like many professionals, marketers are searching for the next top trends to drive results in 2017. 

This and every year, we search for ways to break through the clutter to ensure our content reaches the right audience at the right time. But with the number of bloggers projected to hit more than 31 million by 2020 in the U.S., it’s our duty to seek out and test the hottest trends to make our content stand apart from the rest. 

According to a 2016 study by Content Marketing Institute, B2C marketers ranked the following as top content priorities:

  • 73% indicate that they want to create more engaging content.
  • 55% want to create more visual content.
  • 44% say that better repurposing content is a must.

Luckily, there’s a surefire strategy that satisfies the needs listed above: visual content marketing. Let’s face the facts that our audience craves visuals: The brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than text, and we read only 28% of written content. 

Are you still contemplating how you’ll incorporate visual content marketing into your 2017 strategy? Check out the list below for three ways to rely on visuals this year to drive results.

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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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