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Nuggets of Knowledge: March 2015

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

nuggets-of-knowledge

In accordance with our new NOKlist protocol, the other half of the team speaks! And as you can expect from any cross-section of the Mack Web team, we’ve got a mixed bunch of food-for-thought for your noggins today.

Obsession and follow-through, integrated marketing and dubious GIFs, the joys and perils of being the New Kid: we like to keep you guessing.

(If you’re at all familiar with our past NOKlists, you’re well accustomed to such an eclectic mix. If you’re new, you’re in for a treat.)

So sit back and enjoy Nuggets of Knowledge, March 2015 edition. You won’t regret it.

(Well, you probably won’t regret it … allowing for context. If you miss the birth of your first child or the signs of an impending tiger attack because you were completely engrossed in our NOKlist, you might regret it. Maybe.)


Rebecca’s Pick

The Idea Person

by Julie Zhuo

Rebecca

Rebecca

I have a deep-buried secret that I’ve never admitted to anyone but my husband and a trusted few, for I felt it would bring shame upon my kind and kin.

I’ve never completed all five seasons of Chuck.

You see, at around season 2, watching this should-have-been-my-favorite-TV-show got more difficult. I had to endure a whole lot of love angst and an insecure leading man before getting to the good spy stuff. At that time in my life, Chuck was a good idea, but I just didn’t have what it took to follow through to the end.

There’s a lesson to be learned here, and Julie Zhuo talks all about it in her recent post about the follow-through person. (There’s no mention of Chuck, but she does mention a lotus and Final Fantasy.) Yet she doesn’t just talk about the follow-through person – she celebrates her.

We are indeed a culture that celebrates the idea person. But what about the ones who endure through the muck and mire of research, planning, revisions, revisions, revisions … to finally emerge at the end with a fully realized idea? As part of a great team of muck and mire sloggers, I nearly wept after reading Julie Zhuo’s post. I didn’t feel like I was laying face-down in the trenches. I felt hands-raised-in-the-air celebrated.

Lesson: “Nothing thrills like the promise of a good idea. Nothing happens without the follow-through.”

Life application: T minus 24 episodes

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Mike’s Pick

A True Goal Needs to Become an Obsession

by Joe Desena

Mike

Mike

When it comes to setting the bar and accomplishing things in life, I’ve always admired those that cross the line of liking something to becoming utterly obsessed. It’s one thing to run a marathon, which is on my list, but it’s another thing to be an ultramarathon runner. As you’ll see in this article, Michael Wardian was obsessed with being the fastest person to run a 50k.

It takes that kind of determination to be successful; OK, maybe not as crazy as Michael Wardian got, but you get my point. In their lives and careers, too many people fail to set their goals high enough or quit before they get there. I like the quote in this article that states, “People cheer at the starting and the finish line. The middle miles need mental toughness.”

And that’s very true, especially for a business. Starting a business is always shiny in the beginning and usually gets tough in the middle. Personally, the middle miles are what excite me the most about coming to work everyday. Those are the miles where you learn, test, build, and reflect on a daily basis. And all the skills you build will serve you well beyond the finish line. Because if you think about it, the finish line isn’t really the end, it’s the start of something new. A new challenge, a new record, a new experience that ultimately shape who you are today.

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Courtney’s Pick

The GIF of Gab: The Mundane Politics of Animated Images

by Megan Garber

Courtney

Courtney

It’s not a long article and it’s not even terribly deep: a brief commentary on the falling barriers between political media and PR. It’s also not surprising that even the House Judiciary Committee – an important body that goes largely unheeded by most of the population that falls outside the Beltway – is resorting to GIFs these days to communicate its point.

But two interesting things struck me as I was perusing the Committee’s offering.

Now, I love a good GIF as much as the next person (there’s one of llama rejection that I find particularly delightful and I have a whole collection of famous people doing stupid dance moves that I like to circulate when I feel the office environment is becoming oppressive). But no one has ever claimed them as a particularly high-brow form of communication. Nevertheless, it turns out, it is possible to do a GIF post very badly indeed. All respect to the Committee, but…this is clearly not their media department’s forte. What I actually took away from that realization though is: if you can tell that something has been done poorly, that means that you can also recognize when it has been done well. I tend to be a strictly-words kinda girl for effective communication, so it was a reminder to think outside my comfort zone (and other mangled cliches).

On a related and almost contradictory note, the second thing that struck me reading this article was that all this talk we’ve been talking about ensuring everything your marketing does is genuine and authentic and comes from the core of who you are – it’s really, actually true. Not that I doubted it, but I saw it in action in two ways. First, you can’t count on flashy gimmicks to set you apart: everyone is using them. (Like, everyone.) Second, I have actually never been less impressed with the House Judiciary Committee. Their struggle to be relevant has actually just made them look like a bunch of suits desperately trying to ‘be chill, dudes.’ In ceding the gravitas and general self-importance that one expects from an elite group of our governing body, they’ve actually torpedoed what they were trying to say.

In short, it’s important to tailor your message to your audience. Absolutely. But you should do it without losing your grasp on who you are and what makes you powerful.

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Beth’s Pick

The First 90 Days: Your Road Map for Success at a New Job

By Scott McDowell

Beth

Beth

I’ve recently joined Mack Web as the Content Strategist. It’s a new role for them and a new role for me. Prior to this, I spent 8 1/2 years as the director of communications for the alumni association of a large, public, land-grant institution.

Now that I am in a totally new industry, a small office space, and working with a team of 10 (instead of hundreds), I am in the backseat, watching out the window, wondering and waiting. It’s a strange place to be. I’m accustomed to being the driver – or at least the navigator – and right now I’m a passenger, listening and watching and taking it all in.

This article from Scott McDowell, published at 99U, is a re-cap of The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins, and gives a five-step roadmap for surviving and succeeding in a new job. These 5 steps are a great guide for tempering your urge to dive in, building your relationships with new co-workers, and clarifying expectations and needs from the boss.

I’m glad I’ve done a few of the steps – I could improve on some of the others – and it’s helpful to know that it’s common to feel inept and anxious to jump in. So, though it’s difficult, I shall sit down, buckle up, and listen hard. It won’t be long, I’m sure, before the lay of the land becomes clear and I can start to navigate the path.

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Ann’s Pick

6 Creative Ways to Integrate Social Media and Email Marketing

by Jimmy Daly

Ann

Ann

It’s no secret that I heart the guys over at Vero. Jimmy & Chris are a) super smart b) authentic & transparent and c) extra friendly and approachable. I mean, does it get much better than that?

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to see this Buffer article was written by none other than Jimmy Daly from Vero.

Speaking of people I heart, our very own Ayelet is definitely at the tip top of that list. And this article is all about our two worlds colliding – social & email. If you haven’t heard it a hundred times yet, we’re all about the integrated experience here at Mack Web. Our fearless leader pushes us to avoid the silos of our individual channels. All of our strategies are about using the channels together to accomplish big goals for our clients.

Since the path to conversion isn’t always as linear as we’d like it to be, we create the experience everywhere – before, during, and after conversion. And that’s right where this post from Jimmy comes in handy. He presents six tactics for integrating your social & email channels so the experience carries seamlessly between the two.

This post is super practical with screen shots walking you through every step. So, give it a read and plan afternoon tea date with your social & community strategist (or coffee or beer with whatever role your social/email counterpart fills).

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Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Purpose, Integration, and Understanding: Conversion Optimization Beyond the Landing Page

By | Web Marketing | No Comments

A Mack Web Webinar (Thanks, Unbounce)

Mack (and the rest of our dedicated team) was tickled pink – nay, fuschia – at the opportunity to create a webinar with the great folks over at Unbounce. We love their stuff on conversion. So we were excited to shed our particular wavelength of light on the subject, namely all of the ways to optimize the potential for conversion before and beyond just the landing page.

If you were among the brilliant (and potentially allergen-avoidant) people who signed up for the webinar, you know we had some technical difficulties. (We can neither confirm nor deny an encounter with a rip in the time-space continuum that sent our entire office back to the Dark Ages of 1994, well before the ascendance of Wi-Fi. That said, certain persons have been singing Can You Feel The Love Tonight for the last three days. Draw your own conclusions.)

But we’re back on track with some bonus treats. Unbounce has released the full recording of the webinar and, if you’ve got 45 minutes, you should definitely take a gander.

Since we couldn’t hold a live Q&A with the webinar, we did an Ask Mack Anything session on March 31st, instead. Check out that conversation on Twitter (all relevant tweets have been tagged with #UnwebinarAMA).

And, as is our custom, we also have, for your edification and perusal, the full deck here. It is, as per usual, a beauty with plenty of brains behind it.

And just in case you’re in a super big hurry, we’ve pulled out some key takeaways. Just for you. (Can you feel the love tonight?)

Key Takeaways

Customers connect and participate with you on many levels. They have high expectations. Don’t trick them into clicking a button.

Successful conversion doesn’t start with a beautiful landing page. It starts with building a better business from the inside out.

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.014

If you’ve put in the work to improve your business as much as you promote it, conversion gets a lot easier.

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.017

If you create a cohesive and genuine experience for your customers at every possible point of interaction – your landing pages, website, blog, social media, email, on the phone, at events, on the street – you’re presenting customers with something they can hold onto and believe in over the course of your entire relationship with them. (More on that in a minute.)

People notice and are drawn to companies that display and prove a meaning beyond money.

Before you can build that cohesive and genuine experience, you need to articulate the purpose and passion that sits at the heart of your business.

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.025

That core can take any shape: a shoemaker that thinks everyone should have basic necessities, a toy company that believes girls can be scientists too, an outdoor gear supplier that promotes social and environmental responsibility, a direct selling company that yearns to change women’s lives.

Whatever that purpose, it’s going to drive all of your conversion efforts.

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.039

Once you know why you get out of bed in the morning, it’s time to make sure that your outsides – the ways and means by which you interact with your customers – match your insides.

All of your efforts should work together to drive your customers to conversion.

We have a client. They just so happen to be a direct selling company that loves the wine they bottle but yearns to change the lives of the women who work with them. Our efforts to help them convert more leads into ‘Wine Guides’ did include a landing page upgrade.

We went from this – a generic, promotional page:

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.033

To this – a profile of a real, live Wine Guide including her vital stats, her story, candid photos of her at work and play, video of how the company changed her life, and a call-to-action at the end:

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.048

Actually, we built three of ‘em.

But that’s hardly all we did:

  • Before anything else, we identified and prioritized the top 3 persona groups to make sure we were targeting the right people.
  • Then we did the interviews and built the landing pages.
  • We created supplemental blog posts that drove traffic to the landing pages, fully supported by one-to-one outreach on social media.
  • We created targeted email marketing campaigns that drove traffic to the relevant blog posts.
  • We created a buzz on social media, fostering the relationships that our authentic posts attracted and amplifying our reach with paid efforts.
  • We set up an engaging and automated email response to follow up on all form submissions, continuing the conversation via inbox and telephone and clarifying the next steps.

All of this was to make the message clear:

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.035

Landing pages are important to conversion, no doubt. But they don’t stand alone.

Done right, conversion takes time to pick up speed but becomes unstoppable.

Here’s the downside, the fine print, the hard truth to expect. All that stuff we did for the client?

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.069

Conversion doesn’t happen overnight. But the efforts that come from the genuine core of your company are built for longevity, for relationships that endure. You want to be in your customers’ lives for a long time. If they believe in what you’re doing, they start doing the promotion and conversion work for you, becoming lifelong advocates of your brand.

A successful conversion experience will result in more than form submissions.

Which is not to say that lead form submissions aren’t important or can’t be achieved. In the year we worked on those integrated landing pages efforts, our lead form submissions went up by 57%.

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.071

But we also saw a 71% increase in traffic to the site and the consequent brand awareness. We saw a significant rise in new visitors and a huge increase in returning traffic, indicating a reinvigoration of the existing Guides belief in the brand.

Email list subscribers increased and, more excitingly, the engagement of email recipients increased by 42%.

Traffic to the site from social media sources went up by 130%, giving us new insight into how to reach the audience.

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.075

In fact, learning more about our audience was a huge win for this set of landing pages and the surrounding efforts.

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.076

We targeted three types of leads: Stay-At-Home Parents (Kirby), Pathfinders (Christi), and Achievers (Debbie). The response to each landing page helped us understand which sections of the target audience were drawn by the landing pages and who was visiting the blog.

Which is to say that we came away from the landing page launch with not only an increase in conversions but a better understanding on how to get more as we move forward.

(Not to mention an increase in brand awareness, increased enthusiasm from potential brand evangelists, and tacit permission to keep persuading leads who haven’t quite committed yet.)

Unbounce Webinar - IMAGES.077

Aren’t you sorry you missed it?

Like we said, you’ve definitely got a chance to learn more about the glories of a fully-optimized, fully-integrated conversion process. You can check out the recorded webinar, go through the whole deck above, or tune in to Ask Mack Anything.

Or, y’know, sign up for our email below. This isn’t the last time we’ll be talking about meaning beyond money or the best of all possible user experiences.

And maybe one of these days, we’ll even get permission to either confirm or deny the time-space thing. In the mean time: Hakuna Matata!

Using Focus to Build Long-Term Momentum in Responsive Companies

By | Building Community, Business Stuff, Mack's Musings, Social Media, Web Marketing | 2 Comments

focus-mack-web

If you take all of the lessons we’ve learned over the last 11 years, add them up, and extract the most telling insight, the biggest realization is this: the clients who have been most successful are those who are willing to focus.

Focus is the ultimate challenge. We have a finite amount of time. How do you spend it on the right things that will grow your business?

Many of the companies we work with are Responsive or inherently become more Responsive as they work through our approach to marketing. Where traditional companies often allow their long-term planning and projections to drive the direction of the business (and their marketing), Responsive companies embrace the unpredictable and rapidly changing world we’re living in.

Responsive companies are a different kind of animal. They learn, respond, and advance. They utilize a more progressive method to build their businesses, one that is dedicated to constantly evolving and iterating — both their organizational structure and products or services. They also spend a lot of time investing and listening to their customers and their employees.

It’s definitely more work to be Responsive, but these companies are using their businesses to change our lives and leave their mark on our world.

Responsive companies run on operating systems that allow for agility. They move quickly and respond to unrelenting change with grace. They have different values and cultures and support flexible work environments that many companies envy.

Responsive companies hold themselves to a higher set of performance standards and expectations and actually achieve them. They work to communicate and collaborate. They honor transparency and community. Most importantly, they prioritize meaning ahead of money.

Responsive companies are remarkable and they build their organizations, and ultimately their brands, differently. And that requires a very different approach to marketing. Marketing that will provide focus so that goals are accomplished. Marketing that constantly evolves just as quickly as their company does, but without adding to the chaos.

If you want to be a Responsive company, you have to do it through and through, including your marketing. Every part of a Responsive company’s marketing should align with everything that makes the company Responsive. This requires a focus on two fundamental things:

[1] A Focus on Core
Especially as you grow, there must be a sustained focus on the core of the company and the stuff that makes you authentic.

[2] A Focus on an Adaptive Marketing Process
In order to accomplish company-wide brand and revenue goals, you need an adaptive process that lives and breathes within the company’s operating system.

Doing both of these things will keep you on target and add to the durability of your company. Even more, it will provide the focus and necessary momentum toward achieving the company’s long-term vision.

Here’s how it works.

A Focus On Core

As a Responsive company, your marketing is going to follow the same paradigm as your overall perspective: it focuses first and foremost on your core.

This, by far, is the most admirable characteristic of Responsive companies because at their core lives their higher purpose. Something truly authentic that propels the organization and transcends their desire to exist solely for the sake of profit.

Prioritizing meaning over money doesn’t mean your company has to lead an environmental cause, put shoes on people’s feet, or glasses on people’s faces. It can be as simple as encouraging young girls to develop an affinity for science or helping stay-at-home moms find more satisfaction in their lives by building a successful business.

Focusing on core and valuing meaning over money doesn’t mean you’re disregarding the importance of financial benchmarks. It means you’re investing in the long game. From the core meaning of the company you derive the marketing goals that are going to make you the company you want to be.

At the top are your Visionary goals, driving the 3-5 year bigger, hairier, audacious vision.  These goals are then broken down into approachable Business and Brand goals that share equal weight. In other words, the financial benchmarks you want your company to achieve are certainly important, but so are the Brand goals that will ensure you’re continually working toward realizing the company you really want to become.

Finally, Campaign goals are what initiate the necessary steps toward action and bringing everything to fruition (which I’ll explain more about in a just a bit).

Meaning Beyond Money | Mack Web

When a company has the courage to focus on their core and build an authentic brand from meaning, they have clarity about why they exist.  They’ve identified their heartbeat, the real thing that makes them go, and they choose to infuse that in everything they do. This is what drives their marketing and it’s also what makes their marketing go a little differently.

When a company operates from core meaning, marketing momentum starts at the source and naturally works its way out through integrated strategy. On the inside, the company is aligning all tactics and deliverables with their meaning, goals, and vision. On the outside, customers and community get to taste that authentic core first-hand, connecting them fully to the brand.

Just like building a Responsive company, marketing from your core is hard work as it is an ongoing challenge in self-awareness. Companies don’t have to be perfect, but they must be real, authentic, transparent, and above all, human.

When you can do that, people will genuinely respond to you. When you respond like a human who cares about something, you provide a better user experience. Your customers remember you. You stand out. They return. They tell their friends.

By focusing on core in your marketing,  people become your momentum. Before you know it, you have a community of loyal advocates and an inexplicable strategic advantage over the competition.

Over time, the organic velocity becomes unstoppable.

Improving, Not Just Promoting

In order for your marketing to align with everything that makes you Responsive, there must be a continual focus not only on defining your core purpose but on ensuring that everything you do — the marketing campaigns you execute; the user, customer, and employee experience you provide; the way you operate and communicate internally — aligns with the vision, mission, and goals that make up your brand’s foundation.

Ultimately, for marketing to bring momentum, there has to be a willingness to improve the business, not just promote it.

This requires continuous evaluation, improvement, and a willingness to be self-aware in the business. It’s doing what sometimes may be harder or take longer to experience ROI because that’s what’s best for your employees and for your customers. It’s putting an emphasis on important stuff like improving internal structure, team communication, fostering your internal culture, and investing in the personal growth of your employees as well as the external culture you have with your customers.

You must continually work on your company’s value and own what truly makes you different from your competition. The authentic vision that you’re driving toward needs to be revisited from time to time, not just put on auto-pilot. You’ve got to hold your entire company accountable for living your mission and values every single day. All of that stuff sounds great, but it takes a tremendous amount of dedication and work.

There’s an important marketing framework to developing your brand’s foundation, too, that improves the business and contributes to the success of your marketing. Persona must be developed and remain dynamic so that you’re attracting those customers who align with your approach, values, and over time will become loyal advocates. Communication loops must be built in and feedback applied so that customers and employees know you’re listening. Critical (yet simple) questions must be asked and answered so that resources can be developed for your audience and provided at every point in the lifecycle.

Investing in your core requires building meaningful relationships one by one. It’s seeing your goals through even when you don’t think you’re going to reach them.  It’s intentionally selecting priorities and spending time executing integrated strategies that strive for consistency and integrity across channels. These are all of your building blocks and they’re what place your responsive company on a solid foundation.

Momentum Comes From Building Blocks

No matter how long a company has been in business or what stage they’re in, momentum towards realized goals and fulfilled benchmarks comes from focusing on all of these core, foundational building blocks. Over time then, and through your marketing, you’re able to radiate your authenticity and the internal work you’ve been doing on your core, outward. This may seem fluffy, but in actuality, all of this work is what builds an ideal experience with your brand that you can actually measure.

Time spent on the brand’s foundation ensures that no matter how someone connects with your company — a referral from a friend, on social media or your website, clicking through on an ad, attending an event, speaking to customer service, or picking your product off the shelf in a big-box store — you present the same message, meeting and exceeding their expectations. You’re real, you’re human, you are the company you said you would be because of your investment on improving your business and in your core.

This level of commitment to core focus certainly requires a level of diligence and intention. It’s also something that can be managed with an adaptive process.

A Focus On an Adaptive Marketing Process

This authentic approach to marketing is a long, organic game. The inherent challenge with a Responsive company is that there are always so many opportunities along the way. So many shiny things that you want to embrace with enthusiasm as they provide another chance to iterate and try something new.

The problem is, this is also what perpetuates campaign-centric-shiny-thing marketing that makes it difficult to integrate across channels and teams, accomplish company-wide brand and revenue goals, and experience long-term progress. That’s why you need a process that helps you identify and focus on the right strategic priorities to stay the course,  but also gives you room to adapt.

It’s easy for Responsive companies to struggle with process because it can be difficult to implement and utilize one without feeling suffocated by it. Without allowing it to drive or sacrificing flexibility. Rather than stifle, process should provide guardrails for momentum.

Responsive companies may be drastically different from month-to-month. The challenge becomes making the commitment to slow down so that they can also speed up. As companies pass through different stages of growth, priorities become a moving target. This lack of focus impedes momentum. When it comes to marketing, Responsive companies need an iterative process — a cycle that ebbs and flows with the rhythm of the business — to help them identify and prioritize areas of focus and then provide the necessary structure to see them through.

Something like this:

 Responsive Process | Mack Web

Focusing and Adapting: 90 Days at a Time

When you’re aligning your marketing with your core and using an adaptive process to drive it, strategic priorities — and the tasks required to accomplish them — will ultimately fall into three categories: acquisition, conversion, and retention. Your focus may fall more heavily in one of these areas at any given time.

Let’s say your company is just starting out with this approach and you’re carefully placing the building blocks of your core (going back to identify your meaning beyond money, your values, your mission, vision, and goals).

Focusing on Core | Mack Web

Before you jump into your first 90-day cycle, you’ve identified your strategic priorities for accomplishing your Campaign goals (that stem from Business and Brand Goals), and for this time period, your strategic priorities lie in acquisition (and awareness) and retention.

Strategic Priorities | Mack Web

So, for this first 90 day cycle, 75% of your marketing resources and bandwidth will be spent executing deliverables that drive acquisition. You may be making the necessary adjustments to the copy on your website and on social media to better align with your authentic voice and communicate your meaning beyond money, focusing more heavily on the value you provide for your customers and community.

You may be creating additional copy on your website and blog to answer the questions your actual customers have (based on your persona research) as they’re experiencing your brand through the variety of phases and channels on which they interact with you.

The other 25% of your marketing efforts for this time period may be spent focusing on retention and the customers you already have. Listening and learning from them, understanding what they need, and then driving strategic priorities from there. Maybe, as part of a test phase, you’re curating content and talking with your community (both on and offline), using targeted social campaigns to test and gather information about what really speaks to them.

All of these efforts are essentially iterations that take place in 30-day increments. Your focus is on executing, testing, and collecting data that will help you better identify how to accomplish those goals you’ve set, and to make informed decisions about direction moving forward.

Iteration- Mack Web

As you go about your merry way, executing on these strategic priorities and associated deliverables, at 30-day intervals, your team will work through an exercise called Catapult where they will review data and also consider intuition to identify red flags, challenges, and opportunities. Most important, during Catapult, the pulse of the company is evaluated in order to determine whether deviations from tactics being executed need to occur. Then your focused efforts continue as planned, or are adjusted, and the cycle (and your momentum) continues.

At approximately the 60-day mark in the 90-day cycle, strategy is scrubbed at a deeper level:

  • What is generating the most momentum?
  • What has become a larger priority during this cycle because of what you’ve learned through testing and iteration?
  • Do you need to adjust the balance between Business and Brand focus during this cycle?
  • Based on what you’ve learned and what’s changed in the business, in the 90 days ahead of you, does acquisition, conversion, or retention take the largest precedence?
  • Ultimately, are you accomplishing the right things in the short-term to eventually (in many cycles) reach your long-term goals?

Responsive Process Scrub | Mack Web

The more cycles completed, the more momentum that builds and the more the process becomes ingrained in the natural routine and flow of the company. Every 90 days, strategic campaigns get better at integrating together and becoming more seamless, building continuity across teams and channels.

Then, as you accomplish the smaller Campaign goals each cycle, you’re slowly chipping away at achieving bigger Business and Brand Goals, and eventually, reaching the Visionary goals and mission you’re working toward for your company overall. Over time, all of the efforts build on each other, not only bringing momentum, but long-term value and durability to the company.

Responsive Process | Mack Web

The most important thing to remember about focus when using an adaptive process like this is that it doesn’t mean you just put your head down and drive. This is where self-awareness comes in. This is where you’re being accountable for aligning with your core and your meaning beyond money. It means getting to know your business better so that you can make better decisions. It means spending more time listening to your customers and your employees, all the while learning and adapting as you work your way up the mountain.

Mountain of Success

Playing the Long Game

Responsive companies are powerful, world-changing entities. They are bold, agile, and lead with authenticity and meaning. Their approach to marketing should most certainly follow suit.

But this kind of approach isn’t easy and it takes companies who have the diligence to be intentional. Companies who are committed to investing in their core and the foundation of their brand even when they’re not brand new. Companies who can be alive, self-aware, and present, and also see the value in taking the time to focus so that they can strategically play the long game.

By really focusing on conveying their central meaning to their very human audience, responsive companies light the spark of connection and interest and real, solid value that will ignite the engine of their growth. By following a reliable, adaptable, cyclic process, they can keep that motion going, meeting both Brand and Business goals.

Most important, they can effectively communicate why they exist, from their very soul, which will foster communities full of advocates, continue to shape a durable foundation, and sustain a strategic advantage in the marketplace. All it takes is a little focus for the momentum to build and the company to continue to thrive.

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: February 2015

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

nuggets-of-knowledge

Most of you know the drill for Nuggets of Knowledge by now: we read a whole lot of stuff, choose the very best of it to share with you, add our unique voices to the commentary, and leave you in peace to enjoy our brilliance and the brilliance of those we admire. It’s a good system. It works.

Which is why, of course, we’ve decided to change it up a bit. The team is growing and rather than overwhelm you with so much monthly genius, we’ve decided to split it up a little. So this month, you’ll be hearing from half the team. The other half will share next month. And so on and so forth. Really, we’re just trying to keep your brains from exploding with all the amazing-ness that we have to share.

So dive right into this month’s NOKlist, rife with office and team dynamics, data on user behavior, and some great tips for personal information. Plus our shining faces.

Well, half of our shining faces.

Er, that is…the shining faces of half our team. No faces were halved in the making of this NOKlist. We swear.

Nor any other NOKlist for that matter. Seriously, check out our NOKlist archive. All faces, entirely intact.


Rebecca’s Pick

Overwhelmed? Simplify Complex Tasks with a List

by Tanner Christensen

Rebecca

Rebecca

This article is dedicated to anyone who has ever had too much to do. If that’s not you, then please back away slowly lest you incur the wrath of the overwhelmed.

For the rest of us, we can rein in those tasks that never seem to get done because they seem just too darn big to start. And it all starts with the art of list making.

Tanner Christensen helps us understand that complexity can in fact be the enemy of accomplishment. But perhaps all you need is a list to save the day.

Let’s start with this one:

1. Identify that task that, for some reason, you don’t want to do. Instead you keep binge-watching Scrubs because Netflix told you they were going to remove it and yet you were only three-fourths of the way through the nine-season series, but then after weeks of watching 3-5 episodes a day they took off that warning (lying bastards).

2. Read this article.

3. Make your list.

4. Bask in your success.

5. Finish Scrubs at a reasonable cadence and let your husband watch his Nova documentaries for crying out loud.

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Olivia’s Pick

Why Your Team Needs Rookies

by Liz Wiseman

Olivia

Olivia

“I have no idea what I’m doing, but I know I’m doing it really well.” – Andy Dwyer, Parks and Rec (also me, multiple occasions)

Before I read this article, I didn’t think being a rookie was an awful thing necessarily, but I definitely didn’t think it was desirable.

Career wise (and life wise), it seems like being an expert or a veteran, with experience and knowledge on your side, is advantageous to being a rookie, who has lots to learn (and inevitably lots of mistakes to make), yes?

This article shows you why that’s not totally true. It explains why rookies one, are underestimated, and two, are something a team needs. I’ll let you discover the specific reasons, but think an eagerness to learn and experiment, a willingness to explore unconventional options, and an aptness for just jumping in and doing the dang thing. In fact, having a knowledge or skills gap can be hugely advantageous. (Counterintuitive, right? But this idea actually makes a lot of sense once you read about it.)

I especially liked this because in an industry like, say, integrated marketing, things change quickly, so there’s a good chance that sometimes, you’ll feel like a rookie even if you’ve been around for a while. Sometimes I find this slightly frustrating, but it turns out that having that rookie mindset is valuable. And, bonus: anyone can adopt it, regardless of their age or career.

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Nat’s Pick

6 things we learned from website use in 2014

by Keir Gibson and Gavin Holland

Nat

Nat

As a designer, I find data helpful. It helps me figure out how my design is going to address user needs, behaviours, and small improvements needed in a website’s design. This, of course, is done by looking at data which is unique to said website.

But you know what else I’ve realized? It’s also crucial to stay up-to-date on larger trends and behaviours, pulled from a larger pool of data. Looking at a larger sampling of data helps me understand the wider themes of user behaviours, which in turn helps me become a better designer (rather than an out-dated one). That’s why I’m sharing this post by Keir Gibson and Gavin Holland for this month’s NOKlist. Gibson and Holland looked at data from 2014 and analyzed usage-related stats from more than 25 sites, and came up with some interesting findings.

They touch on 6 key things:

1. Device trends
2. Browser trends
3. Top traffic-driving channels
4. Social network referrals
5. Landing pages
6. User behaviour

You don’t have to be a designer to find this data useful. If you’re an online marketer, a business owner, or just someone interested in user behaviour from 2014, then check this article out and see what you learn.

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Mack’s Pick

Why Yammer Believes the Traditional Engineering Structure is Dead

By Kris Gale, VP of Engineering at Yammer

Mack

Mack

As Mack Web continues to grow, I seek insight that will help us better structure our team for efficiency, balance, and better serving our clients while staying true to our responsive nature and extremely collaborative culture. Although we are not a team of engineers, there are many parallels in Kris’ post that provide food for thought as the Mack Web team increases in size.

The biggest realization I had while reading Kris’ post was from this piece:

“If you’ve broken up work…where the top-level managers have to divide tasks and then delegate them, you’re doing it wrong. If the individual who’s actually implementing the code spots something that’s wrong with the spec, he or she has to propose a change all the way up the ladder, which then has to filter back down. It’s a blocking process and will bring product development to a halt. Meanwhile, the other engineers in different parts of the organization will see this as churn since they’re not working closely with the engineer who proposed the change. They won’t understand the rationale behind the revision itself.”

Even when you’re a small company, it’s really easy to over-think structure and put roadblocks where they don’t belong. As we work to identify the quickest way to delegate tasks throughout the team and spend more time on action and less time on planning, this post provides some great advice.

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Ayelet’s Pick

Madam C.E.O., Get Me a Coffee

by Adam Grant & Sheryl Sandberg

Ayelet

Ayelet

What?! A departure from my regular posts in our Nuggets of Knowledge about analytics, social media, and community?! Am I feeling alright? Yes, I feel fine and yes, I am taking a break from those wonderful topics this month. This article about women in the workplace really spoke to me. Because although I now work in an office of mainly women, I – like most women who have been in the workplace for any length of time – have faced these issues, even though we may not realize them explicitly or we’ve talked ourselves out of recognizing what exactly is going on.

Adam Grant and Sheryl Sandberg write about how women work and how that style can affect the opportunities they get offered at work. This article isn’t just great for other women to read; it is a must for everyone to read. It doesn’t male bash and there’s real research behind what they say. Adam and Sheryl (we’re on a first-name basis now) stir up a hopeful discussion on how the current situation for women in the workplace can be reversed. Please check it out and pass it on.

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Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: January 2015

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

nuggets-of-knowledge

We are happy to usher in 2015 with the first NOKlist of the year. And we’re off to an exciting start with good brand advice, a content process, a little bit of nostalgia, and a whole lot of Mayhem. Not to mention two – yep, count ‘em, two – excellent articles on optimizing your email campaigns.

So crack open that bottle of champagne you’ve been hoarding from your New Year’s celebrations and settle in to enjoy Mack Web’s Nuggets of Knowledge, January edition.

(And, just in case that’s not enough Nuggets for you, check out the compendium of last year’s NOKlists, too.)


Rebecca’s Pick

Allstate’s Mayhem Is Back and He’s Watching Your Social Media Profiles

by Ashley Rodriguez

Rebecca

Rebecca

I love Mayhem. I don’t mean that I embrace needless or willful damage or violence (that’s reserved just for the movies). I mean Allstate’s self-made archenemy. He’s the Khan to their Captain Kirk. He’s the Sauron to their noble Hobbitses. He’s the Joker to their Batman.

And he’s looking for you … on social.

In her recent post, Ashley Rodriguez provides an overview of Allstate’s latest campaign, and in the process she shines a Bat-Signal on a segment of thieves that many of us don’t think about when we’re posting online: social savvy burglars.

What I adore about this campaign is that I can actually adore it, even though I’m not an Allstate customer. Allstate’s message is meant for everyone as a PSA and for the common good – going beyond just brand promotion. That means that even people like me – an eternal loyalist to my current insurance provider – will gladly share this content with anyone who will listen (or read, or tweet, or whatever).

There’s a crucial lesson to be learned here, if it hasn’t been learned already: Consumers are not blind – we know there’s a brand attached to this content. But if it’s quality? Then we’ll enthusiastically (and possibly heroically) share it for you.

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Olivia’s Pick

10 Ways We Come Up With 15+ Blog Ideas Each Week

by Alex Turnbull

Olivia

Olivia

I have a major marketing/strategy/content crush (which, yes, is a thing I just made up) on Groove. Their posts are always excellent and I especially like this one about how to come up with blog post ideas.

If you’ve been following Groove at all over the past year, you know that they are a case study in how to do content marketing right. This post lets you in on how they come up with (get this) more ideas than they have time to write about. If you have ever struggled to come up with a blog post idea or if that is your very struggle right now, having a surplus of ideas probably sounds like bliss. The best part about the detailed look into the system that Groove uses is that you can very easily take parts of it (or the whole darn thing) and apply it to your blog/business.

And, bonus, the tactics in this post can do a lot more than help you come up with blog post topics. They’ll also help you understand your customers, the communities that they’re part of, and how they use your product.

If you’re looking for a model of how to be transparent or how to share your experiences in a way that provides value to your readers (this idea of value is a common thread that runs through this whole post) or if you need a gentle, loving nudge to take some risks and write about them, I’d check this out.

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Nat’s Pick

5 A/B Tests You Should Be Running on Your Landing Page Opt-In Forms

by Giles Thomas

Nat

Nat

Opt-in forms play an important part in the conversion process. Filling out a form is often the final step a user takes to convert, which is why we need to roll up our sleeves and ensure our opt-in forms are being all that an opt-in form can be.

But what sort of tests do you run to discover if your opt-in form could be better? This is where Giles Thomas and his post about A/B testing opt-in forms come into play. Thomas offers up 5 tests we can – and should – run on our opt-in forms. After all, every audience is unique, so you’re not going to find what works best for your users until you start testing things out.

One key piece of this blog post (and why I feel it’s “Nuggets worthy”) is that it doesn’t just give you A/B testing ideas, but it also includes a case study for each test. The case studies are awesome because you can see the A/B variations that were tested against one another and the results that ensued. I hope this post gets you excited about A/B testing and helps you make great adjustments to your opt-in forms for better conversion rates. Happy testing!

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Mike’s Pick

How You Can Build a Meaningful Brand

By Hannah Smith

Mike

Mike

I can’t stop thinking about the stat I read in Hannah Smith’s recent Moz post: “In Europe and the US, consumers would not care if 92% of brands ceased to exist.” Wow, tough crowd. What is it that makes the remaining 8% so special?

I think Hannah nailed it on the head with her list of three types of enduring brands:

1. Brands that have opportunities to delight customers (social, customer service, on the street)
2. Brands that give people the ability to define themselves to others
3. Brands that stand for something above and beyond their products or services

For me, the best example of this is Patagonia. They continue to delight me with their new products, retail experience, breathtaking photography and their continued determination to make a difference. And I see Hannah’s point about being able to define yourself with the company. When I see someone wearing a Patagonia product, I feel like I know something more about that person. That moment of recognition has been fostered by the brand ideals that Patagonia has been communicating all along. Anyone can make a jacket, but I look at that jacket and I see forest conservation and care for the environment and sustainable production. I see meaning behind the product. Brands that do this well will own the 8 percent.

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Mack’s Pick

Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead

By James Clear

Mack

Mack

In this quantitative, ROI-hungry world of marketing, not only do goals give us something to strive for, they also give us something against which to measure progress. What I love about this post from James Clear is that he’s thinking differently about goals and putting the focus on the process, not the result.

“When you’re working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, ‘I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.’”

The problem with this mindset is that you’re teaching yourself to always put happiness and success off until the next milestone is achieved. ‘Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy. Once I achieve my goal, then I’ll be successful.'”

Working towards achieving anything is a process. This post is a gentle reminder that the value and satisfaction of your efforts isn’t really in reaching the goal, but rather what is experienced and learned along the way. I love the emphasis on the building blocks and all of the tiny pieces you’re putting into place along your journey that happen to be just as important as the end goal itself.

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Courtney’s Pick

Google – Year in Search 2014

by Google

Courtney

Courtney

There’s no better way to start off the year than by looking over the year gone by. Google’s annual summary of their trending searches gives clear and interesting insight into the topics that were really on people’s minds last year. (Plus, it makes for a goosebumpingly inspirational video.) Everything from hoverboards to ebola to comets to the Olympics: Google tells us both the timely topics of 2014 and reminds us of the enduring truths of humankind. We love and we worry and we laugh and we wonder and we cheer and we idolize and we fight and we hope.

And not to cheapen the moment, but those are also the things we marketers need to remember when we fret about how to capture the audience, how to keep them engaged, how to be relevant. Because whether the Thing of the Day is a boy in a funny hat or a girl with a pack of dragons, the underlying emotions remain the same.

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Ayelet’s Pick

Building Consumer Awareness: How to Talk to People Who Don’t Know They Need You

by Bridget Randolph

Ayelet

Ayelet

As marketers who live & breathe brand, it’s easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking everyone gets the brand and the problem a given product or service solves. This article is a great reminder that 1) normal people may not even know they have a problem, 2) they may not know that there’s a doodad or service that can solve that problem, and 3) they may not even know how to start looking for that doodad or service because they don’t even know they have a problem.

So how do you make them care? Get to the heart of that and you’re golden. This post by Bridget Randolph will get you on the right path, my friends.

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Ann’s Pick

5 Things You Need to Know Before You Write a Word of Email Opt-In Copy

by Megan Hannay

Ann

Ann

As a devoted reader of this NOKlist, you were looking for another article with five items related to opt-in landing pages, right? Good, I knew you were. That’s why I’ve got your back. (If you’re skimming this list and missed the first article with five items related to opt-in landing pages, scroll up to Nat’s pick for this month.)

Unbounce’s list of 5 Things You Need to Know Before You Write a Word of Email Opt-In Copy is a great precursor to the post Nat shared. It’s like the little diving board you want to jump off of before you go to the high dive. (And if you already have some email opt-in copy written, no worries, just use the A/B guide hand-in-hand with this list of questions to test out all the things. You’ll have the most super optimized opt-in page in all of the land.)

Something to note about this article: the first question is about goals. It always starts with goals. Figure that stuff out, then move forward from there. Whether optimizing copy or A/B testing visual design, figure out your goals first. But, I do like this article for more than the fact that it echoes our own mantra. It’s also super user-focused and has lots of great tips for looking at existing data. Even if you don’t have any data from an email service provider (yet…follow this path and you will soon), there are lots of things you can look at and take into consideration when figuring out what your opt-in copy should say. Check out this list of questions (and Nat’s list too), test some things, and then let us know what results you find.

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Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Getting to the Good Stuff – Mack Web’s Year in Review

By | Building Community, Business Stuff, Data and Analytics, Mack's Musings, The Quest for Quanlitative Measurement | No Comments

I remember reading some advice on Mark Suster’s blog at some point a year or so back about how important it is to record the stuff you’re doing in your company on your blog — good or bad — so that it becomes a historical record.

That way, some day you can look back and uncover key turning points and gateways of your journey, and also see how extremely far you’ve come.

Initially this post was going to be a curation of the best stuff on our blog this year. But as I looked back at the posts that would fill the list, I realized the story of what we really learned this year was living behind them. Mack Web has made some big leaps over the last 12 months. Here’s a look at the discoveries that surfaced for our company this year (with blog posts in tow).

The Start of Changing the Way Companies Build Their Brands

At the very beginning of 2014, Mack Web was enjoying the success of our Community Building Guide, a guide we had launched in October of 2013 documenting a community-building process we had developed and were testing both on Mack Web and with our clients.

The guide was 147 pages and although we were receiving extremely positive feedback, it was a lot to digest. So I kicked off the year with the Essentials of Community Building, a webinar and accompanying slide deck that aligned with the key takeaways in the guide (page numbers and all) so that we could offer a more truncated version.

Essentials of community building Mack Web

I didn’t see it at the time, but looking back after all that has transpired this year, our guide was not only full of tips and suggestions for building community (and effectively building relationships with social media), but it was also the start of a fully integrated marketing approach that, by the end of the year, would evolve into our core method for helping companies change the way they build their brands.

It’s hard for me to believe that in just one year, we would go from here:

then

to here:

now

So although Mack Web started the year out with a strong focus on community and how to get started building one, there was a much bigger mission that we would end up pursuing.

And it all began with measurement.


The Start of Changing the Way Marketing is Measured

In the first quarter of 2014, our entire team resolved to change the way marketing is measured. Here we were: a highly dedicated team who was taking so much pride in all of the little pieces we were putting into place to grow our clients’ companies. The problem was, we weren’t just helping these companies build communities. We were helping them build the solid foundation of their brand. We were helping them set goals for their entire organization. We we were digging deep into the core of their companies and revealing weaknesses that we would then help them address and conquer. We were helping them transform their businesses from the inside out and even forge the right relationships one by one.

We were doing great things. But we were doing a terrible job of communicating the return on their investment.

Our work was highly qualitative and our clients wanted to see the results in quantitative metrics. They wanted to see their ROI in numbers, in black and white. And we had a whole lot of work to do in order to make that happen.

Ayelet started the conversation with Social Media Engagement Metrics: Taming the Elusive Beast in an attempt to reveal some relevant and useful qualitative metrics to complement the quantitative ones we had already been working with. At the time, we thought this disconnect and gap in communication with our clients was social media related. That our clients didn’t fully understand the value of social media and how it supported the building of their brand and ultimately their community.

In an attempt to bridge the gap, I wrote the slide deck Why Follower Count is Bullshit to shed some light on social media metrics that communicated real value. Turns out the deck struck a chord (it hit the front-page of SlideShare and was picked up by Hubspot) and had a lot of people looking at social media metrics differently. The thing was, this was just one part of the equation. We had so much further to go.

why follower count is BS

By May, our clarity in terms of how to effectively measure and then better communicate the value of our efforts was starting to get stronger and when I spoke at WistiaFest I was able to talk about the importance of an integrated strategy and how Mack Web had been using that, plus some scrappy low-budget videos (with eggs and fairy wings), to build our brand and community.

wistiafest

At this point, we were still testing a ton of the metrics I was talking about (take a look at slides 67-80) but it was a solid start. This time I wasn’t just focusing on social media metrics. We had started identifying and conveying the difference between metrics that showed how effectively we were building the brand and metrics that showed how our efforts were affecting bottom line revenue.

Each time I speak at a conference it gives me a chance to really digest what we’re doing as a company and also to see where we need to go next. A few weeks after I returned from WistiaFest, the team started working on the hurdle of reporting. We hadn’t yet found all of the metrics we needed to communicate both qualitative and quantitative efforts, but at the time, some of our reports were 16 pages long. The narrative of our efforts was way too much for our clients to take in and although we were making progress on the metrics front, we were gaining no ground on how we were communicating them.

Over the summer months, slow progress would continue to be made with the way we were measuring marketing and how we were reporting, but the most important growth would be made with our team.


The Turning Point

In September, we hired Mike to be our Director of Client Strategy. This meant that we would have someone in our company who was solely focused on the growth of our existing clients so that I could focus more on driving the vision of the company (as well as speaking and blogging which are a huge passion).

It was a gift to have Mike join our team when he did. After months of struggling with balance, I was elated to have someone sharing the load, but I also knew that we were on the cusp of making some significant gains with our two big goals: changing the way companies build their brands and also the way marketing is measured.

Having Mike on our team would provide me with the space to find clarity, give the team a fresh perspective, and supply us with some long overdue feedback that would catapult us ahead.

At the time that Mike started, I was preparing for two important conferences: one for Conductor in New York City and one for Distilled in London. Simultaneously, he was getting his feet wet. He was observing. Asking questions. Collecting data. Lucky for us, all the work the team had done all year (and the years preceding), Mike’s external insight, and the effort I put into these talks, would bring the long-awaited clarity that would define who were as a company.

In October, Moz launched a post on their blog that I collaboratively wrote with Mathew Sweezey. 4 Ways to Build Trust and Humanize Your Brand talked about many of the things we were helping our clients do. We were asking them to be real companies. To care about their customers. To live up to their customers’ expectations. To focus on reaching big goals for their business (not just their marketing). To do the shit that doesn’t scale.

Then I gave the talk in New York — Playing the Long Game: Growing Your Business Through Community and Integrated Marketing — which provided a step-by-step walk through the integrated process (formerly our “community building” process) that we had been evolving (by leaps and bounds) at Mack Web ever since the beginning of the year.

C32014-MACK FOGELSON.001

Two weeks after New York, I took a plane across the big blue ocean to speak at SearchLove London. The talk I gave in London — The Measurement Behind Your Integrated Marketing Strategy — was a continuation of the conversation I started in the States.

In NYC, I talked through all of the detailed steps of our integrated process. In London, I dug deep into our approach and metrics side with how to actually communicate the value of integrated marketing — telling the story of progression over time. The story of those valuable and essential building blocks that we were working so hard to put into place — one stone at a time. The story of the long game. The story of all these integrated pieces and channels working together to drive success in order to show both qualitative and quantitative value for both the business and the brand.

Measurement-Behind-Integrated-Strategy-SearchLove.001


Definitely Something of Historical Record

When I got back from London and had a chance to breathe, I had a big realization.

It was the culmination of everything the team had been struggling through and learning. Everything that all of us had worked to communicate all year on our blog and to our clients. From the process we had unveiled in our community building guide last October, to the evolution it made for WistiaFest, and then finally coming together for my talks in New York and London.

What I finally realized was this: Mack Web isn’t just a community building company.

We’re a full-blown integrated marketing team who wants to build great brands and communities full of loyal advocates who truly love the companies they so selectively choose to support.

And it’s kind of funny that we did this almost backwards. That we came at our USPs, the core meaning of Mack Web almost by accident, at the end of a very natural (though somewhat painful) course of evolution.

Because, as you know if you’ve read any of the posts that led us here, the very first thing we do in this integrated marketing approach we’ve created is to sit down with our clients and ask them who they are and who they want to be. What do their products and services add to their customers’ lives? What do they care about, beyond making money? What sits right at the heart of their company?

From those answers, we’re able to help them articulate multi-level goals for their brand and their business. Everything else — the metrics and the social media and the content and the ROI and even the reports — springboards from there. We can’t tell you if you’re succeeding until we know exactly what you’re aiming for and who you really want to become.

These are questions Mack Web has struggled to answer for ourselves. Not because we didn’t take the time to ask. Not because we didn’t care. But because we started all of this during the evolution of an ever-changing industry that sits on the shifting sands of Google’s algorithm. Our company, among so many others in our industry, has been growing and redirecting so rapidly that we’ve been reaching half-blind. We’ve been running on all the knowledge we could get our hands on, as well as sheer intuition, to anticipate the changes.

So we answered the questions as best as we could at the time, with what we understood, and each time it was enough to carry us just a little bit farther, a little bit closer.

And then, in the midst of all the hard days, the disconnects, the gaps in ROI communication, the speaking engagements and slide deck creation, without anyone noticing it was happening, all the pieces slid into place. It had nothing to do with Google (and everything to do with sustainability). And we were looking at the whole picture of what Mack Web had always wanted to become all along, and it felt like home.

After nearly three years of effort, we were able to articulate — with clear examples and case studies — not only how our approach was different, but why it mattered. Why all the things we’d learned along the way were important and how they fit together.

Community building led us to authenticity. Authenticity led us to brand. Brand led us back over to goals and meaning. Goals and meaning led to progress and measurement. And everything together put a spotlight on all the channels, pointing back to community and relationships.

With all of those parts and pieces we finally had an approach that worked and that drove success. And, most importantly, it’s an approach that makes us proud to call this our work.

There’s More in Store

It’s been one hell of a year and I’m so incredibly proud of this team for what we’ve accomplished. We’ve been pushing really hard which means we don’t always post on our blog as much as I’d prefer. It’s really important to me that we’re not just putting something up to meet a designated frequency.

What’s important is that we’re sharing our journey and making your lives easier in the process. That everything on our blog is a window into the struggles and victories of this responsive company who is using integrated marketing and communities as a way to transform businesses.

This year has truly been a gateway. It took us 11 years to get here, but I finally feel like we’re getting to the good stuff. It’s not like it’s all rainbows and ice cream every day, but the mountain we’re climbing doesn’t seem so steep. We intentionally said no to new clients for nearly 9 months. And now we’re ready. We’ve selected some new clients and now it’s time to grow this team again.

We can’t wait for what’s coming in 2015. Thank you so much for your unconditional support of Mack Web. We hope you’ll stick around for the next part of this ride.

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: December 2014

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

nuggets-of-knowledge-december-2014

That’s right folks, it is our favorite time of the month and, we are completely confident, yours, too. It’s NOKlist time! And, in this, the last Nuggets of Knowledge collection of 2014, and in the spirit of the holidays, we bring you both ponderings for the mind and presents for the small, greedy child within.

We’ve pulled together a fun mix of embracing failure, changing your perspective, combatting your fears, and facing down new challenges. Good stuff for heading into a new year.

And lest we send you tail-spinning into rampant emotionalism, we’ve also included some pretty great, actionable articles on social media measurement, building personae, improving your mobile experience, and gaining a true understanding of user experience.

So never say we never gave you nuthin’.

(Also, as ever, reflect back over the year by checking out the #NOKlist archive).


Rebecca’s Pick

Justine Bateman On Pulling Off A Major Midlife Career Pivot

by Nicole LaPorte

Rebecca

Rebecca

Justine Bateman is my new hero. She may not don a cape or wield a lasso of truth, but she is super nonetheless.

The actress, who catapulted to stardom via the 80s hit Family Ties, has been in the process of a major career change, and Nicole LaPorte captures Bateman’s honest and authentic look at that journey in this doesn’t-pull-any-punches interview.

Laced with colorful metaphors, LaPorte and Bateman cover topics such as: being a 48-year-old college student crying in her car after exams; owning her decisions on how to balance work, school, and being a mom; and her thoughts on the future of content consumption.

One thing is for sure: technology and entertainment make great bedfellows. And if you tell her she can’t do this? Then she has this to say: “F— it. There’s no way I’m not doing this.”

I told you – she’s pretty super.

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Olivia’s Pick

How to ask for help at work without feeling awkward about it

by  Andrea Ayres Deets

Olivia

Olivia

I cannot recommend this article enough for people who have a hard time asking for help at work. I have a really difficult time with this myself, even though I work with an amazingly supportive team who would be more than willing to help me out (and has helped me out before) and even though members of my team regularly ask me, “Hey, do you need help with anything this week?”

What I love about this article is that it’s relatable (always good) and actionable (even better). It starts by identifying what our reluctance/difficulty comes down to: fear of being a burden, fear of being seen as incompetent, fear of being rejected. (See also: fears that go along with dating.) But seriously, I found myself nodding my head as I read this entire first section.

It then goes on to explain the origins of those fears (they exist for a reason) and to refute them with some research studies and insights into the way our minds, emotions, and sense of perception work. (The psychology aspects of this article are pretty fascinating in their own right.) I love this because it challenges our tendency to see asking for help as a weakness by revealing that some fears we have are kind of unfounded. (Hey, sometimes being wrong is a wonderful thing.)

And finally, it covers how to go about asking for help. The way we ask can make a big difference. Cultivating a culture of help in the workplace can too.

Basically, in just one article, you can get some comfort that you’re not alone, insight into the way our minds work, and ways to make asking for help easier.

Oh, and a Dwight Schrute reference. Long live The Office.

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Nat’s Pick

32 Posters That Debunk Common UX Misconceptions

by Alexander Charchar, Smashing Magazine

Nat

Nat

There’s a lot of advice out there about best UX practices, but I think this particular resource should come right at the top of the list. Not only will it help you make educated UX decisions, it will also vanquish any incorrect notions you have about UX.

The collection of 32 UX misconceptions was created by user-experience designer Zoltán Gócza (you can find the list in its entirety on the website UX Myths). Each myth is quashed using data, so this guide is useful when UX questions or doubts arise in a project and you need evidence to validate or guide a decision.

The second part of this resource came to fruition when designer Alessandro Giammaria took the 32 myths and transformed them into really beautiful posters (you can download them here for free). I like to keep them as reference material for future UX projects, and hey, if you’re really in love with them, why not use them for decoration (and education) in your office space? A few of my favorites point out UX misconceptions such as, “White space is wasted space,” “Search will solve a website’s navigation problems,” and “Stock photos improve the users’ experience.” Whether you look at the website or the posters, I hope you’ll discover many nuggets of UX knowledge.

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Mike’s Pick

How to improve you Mobile Marketing Strategy

By Steph Walden

Mike

Mike

Have you ever left home without your smartphone? I always have a terrible feeling of being blind and just a little bit vulnerable without access to everything stored on it. Just think about how much we rely on our smartphones: contacts, calendars, notes, camera, photos, music, news, connections, automations, tools, and more.

We’ve built a society that demands that everything be at their fingertips. It must be fast, instant, and the user experience needs to match their style.

Think about how quickly you get annoyed when you encounter a bad mobile experience, a site that’s hard to navigate or that loads in the wrong dimensions. It seems so basic, but too many companies haven’t put the right amount of time into creating an optimized mobile experience.

Check out this article about “How to Improve your Mobile Marketing Strategy.” Steph Walden talks about responsive design, emerging trends, mobile advertising, and understanding the data.

But remember: mobile is just one touchpoint in the overall customer experience. Don’t forget what comes BEFORE and AFTER they reach your mobile/responsive site.

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Mack’s Pick

Digital Isn’t Software, It’s a Mindset

By Aaron Dignan

Mack

Mack

Over the last three years, Mack Web has experienced all kinds of challenges, hurdles, and contrast (of what works and what doesn’t), all of which have helped us to realize how important it is that we have meaning and purpose in our work. This discovery has changed not only how we do business but also who we do business with. We know now that because we value meaning ahead of money, we need to work with companies who align with this philosophy as well.

In this intriguing video, Aaron Dignan, the CEO of Undercurrent, gives a 53-minute talk about how Digital Isn’t Software, It’s a Mindset. It’s an inspiring presentation about becoming an unstoppable “digital” company by growing and structuring your business differently. If you want your company to ultimately become a major player in your industry and be one of those great companies who really makes an impact on our world, you’ve got to employ a new model, the 5 Ps – Purpose, Process, People, Products, and Platform – to your business.

There are so many great takeaways in here for companies both large and small. My favorites are the emphasis on putting values before revenue, the importance of investing in the long-game, and always making sure that you’re linking purpose to what you’re doing.

Watch the video


Courtney’s Pick

How to Create Customer Personas with Actual, Real Life Data

by Jennifer Havice

Courtney

Courtney

One of my absolute favorite things to do when we’re onboarding a client is to work up profiles for their target customers. It’s pretty important to understand who we’re talking to and what matters to them before we start, y’know, talking to them.

When we’re doing this, we usually start with our clients’ understanding of the people they want to attract and then adjust as we go on. I’m a sucker for character-driven narrative and, as a dabbler in the fictional arts my own self, creating these personae is an occasional treat in the midst of the other stuff I do. (And yes, I admit, I’m one of those snobs who likes to pluralize with a situationally-appropriate ‘ae’ instead of an ‘as.’ It has caused some confusion, but I think it’s worth it. It won’t surprise you to know that I also toss around phrases like ad infinitum and ad nauseam whenever possible.)

This article has some great insights into creating those personae, using both qualitative and quantitative research, along with examples of how this works and what it looks like when it’s done poorly. A really insightful, really helpful article.

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Ayelet’s Pick

Confirm, Observe, Adjust: How to audit your Twitter world an 1 hour or less

by Ian Laurie

Ayelet

Ayelet

I wouldn’t call myself a data dork. I don’t always try out new social metrics I see in articles or presentations. More often than not, I send them to my to-do-later task list to try out whenever (which spells the kiss of death if they linger on there too long). Not so with Ian’s deck. I even asked him questions about the worksheet he created to go along with the deck…and he responded! Major points for Ian. That also goes to show you exactly how into this deck I am.

Ian doesn’t just show new metrics, but he also shows you how to use features in followerwonk and Twitter Analytics you may have overlooked or forgotten about entirely. It’s not a long deck (only 67 slides with supplemental worksheets!) and it’s pretty clear (the percentile rank stuff for engagement and impressions still trips me up a little, but worksheets can do that to me sometimes). This is well worth a review!

View the slide deck


Ann’s Pick

The Science of Failure: Why Highly Successful People Crave Mistakes

by Belle Beth Cooper

Ann

Ann

“Dude. Suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.” – Jake the Dog

Generally speaking, I don’t like to suck at something. I don’t like to eff stuff up, and to be completely fair, I don’t know many people that do.

I put a great amount of care and detail into my work and I am happy when things turn out well. When things don’t go as planned or turn out the way I had hoped/thought they would, I’m super not happy. Disappointing people wrecks me. And, as the esteemed John Doherty has so eloquently said, “I’m afraid of looking like an idiot in front of the people whose opinions I care about most.” Pretty much, failure feels like the worst.

But maybe it’s not.

Maybe we should be more okay with failing at things, because failure means that a) we’re trying and b) we’re learning. And that’s good stuff. Mack always tells us that we will never get it wrong and we will never get it done. It breeds a culture of experimentation around this place, and that’s a good thing for us to embrace, because it helps move us forward (even with bumps and hiccups and failures along the way).

Successful people crave failure. They believe feedback is a gift, because it helped get them where they are today. And there’s a bunch of science behind it too. In this article, Belle Beth Cooper of Buffer explored this idea, with a little insight from some of those highly successful people and three things you can start doing today to change your thoughts on failure.

So, take some advice from a cartoon pup, and start suckin’ at somethin’.

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Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Integrated Marketing Measurement: The Story That Proves Your Value

By | Data and Analytics, The Quest for Quanlitative Measurement, Web Marketing | No Comments

Another day, another deck

To the envy of the rest of our Anglophile team, Mack was recently honored with an invitation to speak at SearchLove London.

Which of course, meant it was time to create another spectacular slide deck. (And, y’know, put together a talk to go along with it.)

Mack’s talk addressed one of the pressing difficulties of implementing an integrated marketing strategy: measuring the right things not just to correctly assess your progress but to keep your clients satisfied with that progress and engaged with your strategy. It’s less about what you measure and more how you convey the data: telling the story of how the short-term wins move you down the road toward your longer-term goals.

The result was this deck, as ever a splendid joint creation of Mack, our designer Nat, and the eagle eyes of the rest of the team.

We recommend giving it a gander and, in case you missed Mack’s presentation on  integrated marketing measurement or if you’re in a hurry, keep reading for the highlights.


Key Takeaways

Just because it takes 2-3 years to spiral up the Mountain of Success doesn’t mean that your clients will wait that long for results.

Often the first obstacle we encounter with our clients is convincing them to do their marketing right. They want to parkour their way up the quickest path, taking whatever expedient and dodgy measures necessary to get quick results. Convincing them to take the long-view, spiraling our way up the proper footpath – with brand building and authenticity and putting in the work to build a better business – can be a hard sell.

Slide 5 - The Mountain of Success

And even if they’re willing to do the foundational work that can take 2-3 years to complete, they’re not going to wait that long for results. You have to prove your value long before the 2-3 year mark.

Slide 8 - Prove Value to Build a Brand

And that’s where integrated marketing measurement comes in.


 A side note: The best marketing works from the inside out.

If you’re curious about that 2-3 year span, well…you obviously missed Mack’s presentation at C3 2014, where she went through all the steps and pieces of an integrated marketing strategy and why it works.

The very, very short version is this: the best marketing, the marketing that pulls people in and turns them into brand evangelists, starts by identifying your business’ meaning beyond money, building an entire brand experience around that meaning with every available channel working together, and forging relationships through your authenticity.

Slide 18 - Community and Revenue

 

The slightly longer version can be found in the key takeaways from Mack’s C3 2014 talk, Playing the Long Game: Growing Your Business Through Community and Integrated Marketing.


 Prove your value to your client by telling them the story your data is creating about the progress you’re making toward their goals.

Tracing the path of customer conversions is tricky with an integrated approach. The whole point is to have all the channels working together, giving each customer a multi-channel experience and many levels of persuasion.

Slide 43 - The Path to Conversion

Knowing exactly which piece was the tipping point and how to weigh the value of each piece of the experience is pretty much impossible. So you can’t just use conversions to prove your value to the client. Instead, as Vizzini advises, you have to go back to the beginning.

The first thing you’re going to do when you follow that integrated marketing approach is to identify your clients goals: their overarching vision, the benchmarks for their brand and business along the way, and then the individual campaigns that will push you toward those benchmarks.

Slide 71 - Focus on Goal Progress

Instead of giving them the number of clicks and forms and sessions and all the other KPIs, use the goals as focal points and tell them how much progress you’ve made toward them. They don’t need to know all the number stuff. To the clients, the metrics only mean what you tell them they mean. Distilling all the work and effort that went into earning those numbers into a statistic only diminishes the perceived value of your efforts. So cut that out.

Instead you read the metrics and craft that into a narrative of progress to communicate your value to your client.


 The story is for them, the metrics are for you. Seize opportunities for progress.

But just because you’re not sharing all the nitty-gritty numbers with them doesn’t mean you’re not avidly watching them yourself. Measure the right things, the numbers that actually mean something. When you see something interesting, do something about it. Take note of trends and spikes and patterns and then make a plan of action for further testing or taking advantage of what you’ve noticed.

But here’s the trick, with clients and with an integrated approach: you can’t jump on every little blip, every little opportunity as you see it.

Slide 93 - Not the Shiny Things

When you see and interesting trend or your clients come to you with a brilliant new idea or direction stop and ask: Does this align with our goals? If so, is it urgent? Or can it wait until the next strategy iteration?

If it’s urgent, it’s urgent. If not, keep a running list that will guide your next set of campaigns.


 The nature of integrated marketing makes it difficult to parse the progress for your clients.

Integrated marketing, by its very nature, is difficult to measure. So many pieces working together make it difficult to determine what’s working and what isn’t.

Slide 99 - Nothing works in isolation

So when you get frustrated, here are the things to remember:

  • Everything goes back to your goals.
  • Prove your value with the story your data is telling, not the data itself. (A story about what? That’s right, your goals.)
  • Don’t rest on your laurels: try new tactics and new KPIs. You’ll never see so clearly what works until it’s set next to something that doesn’t.

 Just getting started

As we hinted in our post digesting the C3 2014 slide deck, this topic – of integrated marketing and integrated marketing measurement and integrated marketing with meaning – is our passion.

We will absolutely be talking more about this in days to come. You should probably sign up for our email below, just to make sure you don’t miss anything.

That would be so sad for you.

Arthur reading

Nuggets of Knowledge: November 2014

By | Nuggets of Knowledge | No Comments

nuggets-of-knowledge

This month, we’ve got a hodgepodge of glory for your Nuggets of Knowledge: videos, articles, bacon. From semantic connectivity to collaborative creativity, from balancing your life to accomplishing your goals, from metrics to bacon, from the psychology of conversion to the psychology of narrative, we’ve got a little something for everyone.

(Plus the bacon. Did we mention the bacon?)

Check it out.

(And, as ever, check out past NOKlists so that you can revel in how awesome the world is and how great our team is for sharing little bits of it with you.)


Rebecca’s Pick

Hormel Creates Bacon-Fueled Motorcycle

by Jessica Manner

Rebecca

Rebecca

Mmmm … bacon.

As a 25-year vegetarian, I’m as surprised as anyone that I’ve chosen to highlight Hormel this month. But when I find a campaign that sizzles like this one, I must huff and puff and blow my principles down.

Jessica Manner’s short but tasty blog post provides the highlights of Hormel’s “Driven by Bacon” project. Not only is the creative beautiful and genuine, but the integrated nature of this campaign makes me salivate: Tumblr, documentary, and Bacon Fest – oh my!

And at the center of it all? That’s right – a bacon-fueled motorcycle.

Read the post


Olivia’s Pick

What Fear Can Teach Us

by Karen Thompson Walker

Olivia

Olivia

This TED Talk opens with a bit of a terrifying story that hooks you immediately: in 1819, 20 American sailors watched their ship sink after being struck by a whale. They were left stranded in the Pacific Ocean, more than 1,000 miles from land, with only three small whaleboats and limited food.

Quite fittingly, this TED Talk is a discussion of stories, but more so, a discussion of fear. It begins by illuminating the way we traditionally think of fear: something to be avoided, overcome, or silenced. (As someone who has a real knack for imagining the worst outcome of any possible situation, I (and the “conquer your fears” or “don’t panic” directives that people have given me over the years) can testify to this.)

But this talk offers a new way to think about our fears: not as dreaded things to be pushed below the surface, but as stories that have the potential to fuel our imagination.

It posits a strong link between fear and the imagination. (Which makes sense. Think: the classic childhood fear of monsters hiding under the bed.) It also discusses how to channel our fears into productivity. (A little thing called productive paranoia that’s apparently quite popular with some entrepreneurs.)

It’s fascinating for anyone who has an interest in storytelling, writing, and the human psyche. And for all of you non-conformists who like challenging traditional cultural narratives regarding things like fear.

Oh, and what became of those sailors, you ask? You’ll have to watch to find out. (And if you’re thinking the tale sounds slightly similar to Moby Dick, you’re right. And also well-read.)

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Nat’s Pick

Be A Better Designer By Eating an Elephant

by Alexander Charchar, Smashing Magazine

Nat

Nat

Never fear, this post is not actually about consuming a pachyderm. The title is referencing a productivity quip: when eating an elephant (i.e. taking on a daunting project or goal) take one bite at a time.

If you’re like me, you keep a lists of things you want to learn or accomplish (be it at work or in your personal life). Things like: take online tutorials to improve my job skills, learn how to play the violin, run a 5k, and finish the blog post that I promised @courtneymackweb three months ago (okay, so that last one is probably unique to my list). Our lists grow as we keep adding to-dos, and then all those lovely ideas and aspirations just sit there. At least, that’s what happens to all the items on my list because I can’t find time in my day to actually work on them.

That’s where eating an elephant (not literally, as we previously established) comes into play. Alexander Charchar suggests picking a topic, then tackling it in bite-sized chunks for 30 days. Take note, while this post is targeted for designers, the process itself is applicable for everyone. So why not give it a try and see what new and wonderful things you learn in 30 days? One month is a pretty brief span of time, so you have almost nothing to lose, everything to gain, and a blog post to help you along the way.

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Mike’s Pick

3 Conversion Psychology Principles to Test on Your Landing Page

By Jeremy Smith

Mike

Mike

Many times people overthink what they need to make a landing page more effective. We get wrapped up in what we think sounds and looks good without thinking about what the customer wants.

The psychology of how we think can be very complex but Jeremy Smith speaks about three very simple elements that can help you build better landing page: happiness, pain, and financials.

Take the extra time to understand the goals of your landing page and who your audience is. Make sure you’re answering specific questions and ultimately providing value to your audience.

Personally, I’m all about taking the happiness route but it’s not about me so test, test, test!

Yee-haw.

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Mack’s Pick

7 Things Mom Entrepreneurs Need to Know to Avoid Burnout

By Marla Tabaka

Mack

Mack

Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself and in your life can be a pretty easy thing to do. Especially when you’re an entrepreneur, a wife, a mom, and essentially an overachiever in all things, there’s a lot of pressure that you can put on yourself and big things that you feel like you’ve got to live up to.

Out of all the gentle reminders in Marla Tabaka’s post, my favorite one is this:

We are bombarded with overwhelming messages from the world dictating how things “are supposed” to be. But when you take the time to get really clear on what works best for you and do things in your own unique style, chances are you will feel successful and happy.

At some point, you have to be realistic about what’s really important and what you really want to accomplish in your life as there will always be too many things to choose from and many more that can become barriers and get in the way of being happy.

The challenge, for me, is always to be realistic about what I can accomplish and, out of those things, make sure they really matter. Keeping my priorities straight so that I’m focusing on the right things for me as a mom and entrepreneur is what helps me to feel accomplished and fulfilled.

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Courtney’s Pick

Groupthink

by Jonah Lehrer

Courtney

Courtney

We humans are fascinating and predictable and inexplicable little beings. Give us a concept almost as far from science as you can imagine – like, for example, creativity – and what’s our first instinct? To apply science to it so that we can understand it better. And what does science reveal: that we’re contrary, idiosyncratic creatures who defy all logic. It’s a beautiful thing.

Though it’s a few years old, Jonah Lehrer’s article on the research on scientific inquiry into collaborative creativity – AKA the evolution of the ‘brainstorm’ is a fascinating read on the how and when and who and what of how people come together to work creatively. The origins, the studies, the physical spaces, historical examples: it’s a little long but well worth persevering, if for no other reason than the ideas for your next quote-unquote team brainstorming session.

(Because that’s the bonus: apparently, as originally conceived, ‘brainstorming’? Doesn’t actually work. Yep. Check it out.)

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Ayelet’s Pick

How to Convert a Client’s Goals into Reportable Metrics

by Dana DiTomaso

Ayelet

Ayelet

We create a lot of strategies over here at Mack Web, and one of the hardest parts for us can be deciding which metrics we want to report on. Put in too many metrics and you risk 1) being irrelevant and 2) overwhelming the client right into a mental shutdown. Too few metrics and you are in trouble of 1) missing wins (and places to adjust strategy) and 2) the client thinking that you’re not doing enough or getting good enough results.

So converting goals to metrics for reporting to clients is a careful balance. Dana DiTomaso gives great instructions in this Whiteboard Friday (and her accompanying MozCon 2014 presentation) that’ll help you not fall off the tightrope of goals & metrics.

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Ann’s Pick

What SEOs Need to Know About Topic Modeling & Semantic Connectivity

by Rand Fishkin

Ann

Ann

I almost shared a post about semantic connectivity last month. But, to be completely honest, I wasn’t 1000% sure what the post was talking about it. It was super intriguing – the new vistas of web marketing opened up by the evolution of Google – and yet very confusing. SEO has its own language and a lot of it is technical. It’s part of what makes this industry (and the beast known as Google) so fascinating. But at the same time, if you don’t have a degree in mathematics, statistics, or programing, it can be a bit daunting. Which is what makes Rand’s terminology breakdown and helpful tips so great.

Though new things in the algorithm (such as topic modeling and semantic connectivity) can seem intimidating, they’re important to understand because they’re a part of Google’s evolution beyond 10 blue links with exact keyword match. As search engines get smarter in their ability to read and comprehend web content, it provides companies new ways to build their brands and grow their businesses. As marketers, the better we understand what Google is looking for (aka: what the searcher is looking for), the more opportunities we have to expand our organic reach. And looking at the direction things are going, we’ve got a greater range for creativity in our future, thinking more about ideas and topics as opposed to one exact phrase.

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Nuggets of Knowledge April 2014

Putting the ‘Integrated’ into Integrated Marketing Strategy

By | Building Community, Events, Web Marketing | No Comments

Mack was recently asked to speak at C3 2014, a marketing conference hosted by Conductor.

It’s not a surprise to us that they requested that she speak on the topic of community. Our Truly Monumental Guide to Building Online Communities made quite a splash when we launched it a year ago and Mack (and, consequently, the whole Mack Web Team) is well-known for being passionate on this topic.

Never one to disappoint, Mack did talk about community. In fact, her talk was called “Growing Your Business Through Community and Integrated Marketing.” (See, community is in the title and everything.) But, in true Mack Web fashion, she didn’t focus on fuzzy or fluffy talk of singing Kumbaya and/or bribing people to be your friends. She came out with a practical, actionable approach and process for building the necessary groundwork to grow an authentic community.

In other words: building a better business, one soul-searching, thought-provoking, hard-working step at a time.

Build a better business, attract a community.

Here, in its entirety, is her beautiful deck from that talk, lovingly crafted by Mack and our genius designer Natalie and then cruelly nitpicked to death by the rest of the team.

 

But if you’re in a hurry, keep reading for the highlights.


Key Takeaways

Building a community is how you perform well online. Building a better business is how you attract a community.

Community is what you need to make your marketing sing: actual human people sharing and disseminating your content, promoting your brand, buying and recommending your stuff, both online and in person.

Marketing is building a better business.

You attract people by building a better business from the inside out. You find something authentic and meaningful at the core of your company and build your business around that. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be real. That special something is what will draw your audience near and give them something to tell their friends about you.


Sustainable marketing results demand an integrated marketing strategy.

An integrated approach means you build a cross-channel marketing experience which will attract both the right people and revenue. It means that no matter where a consumer comes in contact with your brand (on- or offline), you’re living up to (or exceeding) their expectations.

An integrated marketing strategy uses all channels.

An integrated process is an agile way to create and maintain momentum in your marketing efforts. It puts the focus on accomplishing real-world goals so that you’re doing the right things (not just the shiny things) to move your business forward.

Integrated results look at the what all of your channels have achieved together, not just individually, over the long-haul. These results are an indication that you’re doing the right things in the short term to accomplish the big things in the long-term.


Your integrated marketing strategy starts with who you are and what you want to achieve.

Before you do anything else, figure out your company’s meaning: why, beyond making money, does your company exist? What is your authentic passion? This is how you will form a meaningful connection with your audience.

An integrated marketing strategy builds an experience and relationships.

Then figure out your goals; they will drive everything else you do. (These are goals for your whole business, not just your marketing, by the way.) There are three levels: visionary, business & brand, and campaign goals. Your campaign goals help you achieve your business & brand goals which, in turn, feed into your big, overarching visionary goal.


Once you know what you want to accomplish, it’s time for action.

Start your 90-day integrated marketing strategy cycle by figuring out what is most important. What needs to be done first to set out towards your business & brand and visionary goals? Look at your audience, the current state of your brand, your strengths and weaknesses, and how you match up to the competition.

When you know what your priorities are, start planning tactical campaigns to reach them. And this is where that word “integrated” really comes into play. Make sure you’re looking at all channels (content, search, social media, email, outreach), at efforts both on- and offline.

Then, y’know, do the stuff.


Build agility into the process and factor momentum into your planning.

Be prepared to assess every 30 days and change direction as needed. Measurement is not enough. You must be prepared to respond with action.

At 60 days, start looking forward: what is your next 90-day strategy going to hold? What are your priorities? How is your progress toward those goals of yours? By the time your first 90 days are up, you’re ready for the next. And you’re not starting from scratch. You’re simply continuing the momentum you’ve got going.

An integrated marketing strategy means you always have momentum and a plan.


Sorry, kids. We’re in it for the long haul.

An integrated marketing strategy can deliver amazing results, but it takes time, it takes one-on-one effort, it takes passion, and it takes authenticity.


More to Come

As part of mastering this process, you’ll need to understand how to effectively communicate the value of an integrated approach. Mack continues the conversation with her presentation from SearchLove London: The Measurement Behind Your Integrated Marketing Strategy.

Hungry for more? Never fear: the idea of an integrated marketing strategy for building a better business as a true, sustainable method for growing an online community is something Mack Web will be talking about more and more in the coming days.

Curious? Want more? You should definitely sign up for our e-news so that any updates will come directly to you. (It’s super easy.)

You could also download the infamous guide itself and find out more that way.

What do you think?