The Best Marketing Resources from 2017

The Best Marketing Resources from 2017

FIRM FIXED IDEAS

Resources
Marketing
Education

How to become a better marketer by actively pursuing the educational resources that can enhance your ability to create value.

“Always desire to learn something useful,” by Sophocles.

Where to find marketing education?

To start, you need a goal or an objective of what you would like to learn. Narrowing that simple answer down can seem overwhelming. My advice is to step into the realm of your best customers and write down all the ideas you have for persuading that kind of person.

Marketing is about crafting a message, it’s about communicating value. In order to craft that personal message you need to have some understanding of who they are. Once you know who they are it’s a small leap to decipher the medium and ultimately the message you will communicate with them.

Let’s break it down:

marketing where to start
  • Identify your best customers
  • Craft the persuasive message
  • Optimize, simplify, optimize…

Education for marketing consists in improving these three steps – help for these exists! However where you go to acquire that understanding really depends on what suits you best. Everyone learns best in different formats – so pick what works best for you.

At this stage – I’m just tired of being so vague and would love to dive into the thick of it. So here are my recommendations for resources to learn, practice, and enjoy the pursuit of becoming a better marketer:

 

My favorite method is feasting on marketing blogs, attending webinars and conferences, and taking notes in a journal that I can reference later. Here is one of my favorite blogs dedicated to advanced marketing education:

 

  • Simo Ahava (https://www.simoahava.com/) – My go to blog for advanced analytics, google tag manager, and everything code based when it comes to digital analytics. Simo’s blog is creative and well designed to help you learn and find the answers you need. Tip: Look into his GTM Tips.
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My second favorite method is enrolling in a course (specific to something I need to learn or improve). I was shocked how little I knew and how minimally I was optimizing before I took my first course. One of the big benefits to courses is finding out the industry standards (especially if you are job hunting).

 

  • Digital Marketer (http://www.digitalmarketer.com/blog/) – I’ve mentioned them before and I will probably give them a shout again in the near future. These guys are a small group of dedicated educators working and turning their experience into case studies, courses, blogs, and fascinating insights. Tip: Check out their marketing labs and HQ courses.
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My last recommendation is buying a marketing book from amazon or a local store. I have this last because books can iterate out quickly as marketing seems to change monthly. Keeping up with trends and new optimization techniques aren’t easy to do reading from a book. However, there are amazing books that will help you go step by step – and you can mark them up and pull them out anywhere.

 

Kevin Profile Shot

Kevin Dieny

Marketing Professional

I want to add – yes there are more and possibly better options for learning about marketing. In fact I have about 10 others I could easily add to these lists – but I want to keep this message simple. Get out there and start looking for articles, blogs, and education for marketing that works for you.

Finally, college… I haven’t even mentioned this one yet. If you’ve ever worked with marketers then you know that they love to bash universities. School just can’t keep up with how fast marketing is evolving so the classes most people take feel needlessly outdated.

I want to stress that college is great – in fact it is one of the best sources for the philosophical truths of marketing work. In college courses you will learn the theory, the ideas, and ultimately the concepts behind most blogs and courses online.

I would not discount school at all but just understand that a lot of marketing is learned these days by application – something that colleges aren’t offering. So get out there and take a class, sign up for a webinar, download some guide and whitepapers, and feast on marketing education!

Marketing 101 – Market Research

Marketing 101 – Market Research

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Marketing 101
Market Research
Insight

Marketing research is extracting data and insights from customers, the market, competitors, and producers, in order to create marketing opportunities.

“Research is to see what everyone else has seen, and think what nobody has thought.” – Arthur Schopenhauer

My experience with marketing research was first in college during a market research class taught by the owner of a local research firm. The class was great because it stressed one of the most important considerations of marketing: be specific.

information is king

Marketing research is conducted best by first person. Having a preconceived questionnaire designed to elicit specific answers is my favorite method. Additionally you can create surveys and ask questions digitally but it’s not the same.

Digital marketing research is more commonly today done by market analysis and competitor analysis within the small business world. Large companies can afford to spend thousands of dollars to optimize their campaigns whereas small businesses just need to know how to differentiate themselves from their market as simply as possible.

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Kevin Dieny

Marketing Professional

What is the point of market research? The million dollar question and to answer – the more you know about your customers the better you can serve them, communicate with them, and deliver value with your products and services. Information is king….

Careers in Marketing

Careers in Marketing

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Marketing
Careers
Categories

A look marketing careers in the industry and what kind of work is involved as a marketer.

“A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” – Steve Jobs

Marketing careers can be broken down into the categories similar to the way I’ve organized my blog: acquisition, content, and monetization. As much one may want to lump sales into marketing I will not be including sales. What I will be including are modern careers from a snapshot of the jobs market that currently exists.

Plenty of business and news articles will tell you that marketing is a great career based on the earning potential, that it lends itself to entrepreneurship, and that anyone can do it. I want to stress a fact right here and now that although there is truth in those statements it is competitive, often upside down, and to succeed you need to know an important secret.

three categories of marketing
Acquisition Marketing Careers:
  • Paid Per Click/Search Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Digital/Local Marketing
  • Online/Web Marketing
  • Analysis/Research Marketing
Content Marketing Careers:
  • Search Engine Optimization Marketing
  • Email/Editor/Writer/Blog/Videographer/Photography/Graphic Arts Marketing
  • Event Marketing
  • Brand Marketing
  • Public Relations Marketing
Monetization Marketing Careers:
  • eCommerce Marketing
  • Product/Service Marketing
  • Customer Service Marketing
  • CRM Marketing
  • Business Intelligence Marketing

These careers each have their own individual career paths – some start as coordinators, some as associates, and others as titles unrelated to marketing. In the end most careers plateau at the manager stage and then you are required to move upward to director; overseeing multiple or various channels of marketing. Specialization is a route that many take to further dive into one of the categories.

If you are thinking about a career in marketing I would point out that you must be ready to tackle the competitiveness and skill floor required. Do it all! I would explore all the areas and see what suits you best. After you have a good idea of what you will like – specialize, take courses, get certified, educate, and learn everything you can to strengthen your resume.

Kevin Profile Shot

Kevin Dieny

Marketing Professional

Finally the secret I mentioned at the beginning is this: Finding a career in marketing is similar to finding a career in entertainment. “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” if you’ve ever heard that adage it 100% applies to marketing.

If you know someone who can get you an interview with a marketing position you are way ahead of the pack. My first job took over 1000 resumes, over 300 phone interviews, 30 in person interviews, 6 second or third in-person level interviews, and multiple refusals from companies that turned out to be ‘sales’ pretending to be marketing.

With any job, be careful, be professional, take your time, and do your homework to prepare as best you can.

The Best Google Marketing Tools from 2017

The Best Google Marketing Tools from 2017

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Tools
Marketing
Google

The best Google marketing tools to leverage and optimize the strategies and goals of a company.

“Not all tools are made equal

and not all companies need every tool,” – Me

We are already one month into 2017 and I want to highlight my favorite marketing tools that I believe will help marketers and companies make an impact in their market share for the coming year. My suggestions for tools will be based on my own experiences (pros and cons) of using the tools for various companies in various industries.

A final consideration, these tools do not  make marketers great – it’s what you use these tools for and how you use them; a guide will not be provided at this time.

responsibility meme churchill
Google
Analytics

Google Analytics is by far one of the most useful tools you have. There are numerous alternatives especially for corporations and custom solutions for certain industries but Google’s Analytics is by far the most common. The power of this tool comes from the organization of data and being able to optimizing your strategies based on digital traffic. My suggestion is take a course or become certified in navigating and utilizing Google Analytics if you haven’t already.

Google
Adwords

Google Adwords can be one of the most frustrating and wonderful tools you have to help you acquire traffic. Adwords ties searches and relevant traffic together and enables companies a way to drive traffic to their websites. I mentioned frustrating because it requires time to learn, mistakes to be overcome, and constant optimization to keep from overspending. The wonderful element is that when success does finally come it can feel exhilarating and do wonders for businesses. I highly recommend taking courses and following blogs or attending conferences to stay on top of your game.

Google
Gmail

Gmail is on this list for a simple reason – it’s one of the best email platforms available and most marketers are framing their email campaigns around the stringent safeguards and protections that Gmail provides.

Google
Pagespeed Insights

Pagespeed insights is a tool and browser extension to help you understand the loading time and delays that affect your web pages. Consider that a difference of 1-3 seconds can mean the difference between a sale and a loss – it’s easy to see why page speed is important. Marketing management relies on constant checking to ensure that your pages are optimized.

Google
Search Console

Search Console is a basic tool – you can definitely utilize the insights provided by this tool throughout your campaigns. The existence of this tool does provide the ability of the API for tools such as SEMRush to provide even better insight into the search keywords that drove traffic into and throughout your website.

Google
Developers

The Google API is extremely relevant to discuss because the tracking pixels, the tags, url encoding, and link shortening are largely responsible for the accuracy of your data. Having a good understanding of what each JavaScript or html code is doing can help you ensure that your data is accurate and relevant. The developer’s pages are here to teach you what every does.

Google
Query Explorer

Within the Developers pages mentioned prior is a specific tool I want to highlight called the Query Explorer. When creating inbound links to webpages that you own I strongly urge you to append your links with analytics information. You can do this using the query explorer. Before you start please create a grid of all the simplified extensions you will be using so everyone in the marketing team has the correct information.

Google
Sheets

Google Sheets is a cloud based version of excel with most of the same features. When collaboration is important Sheets is a simple way to share and track data. Controlling the privacy of the sheets is also a perk.

Google
Tag Assistant

The Google Tag Assistant is a browser extension designed to help you ensure that your pixels and tags are implements correctly. Unless you have a programming background it’s very easy to improperly place or designs your pixels/tags. As webpages become numerous it’s also easy to forget and have pages with misfires never get reported – potentially skewing the data. Get this, check your tags, and safe yourself the time.

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Kevin Dieny

Marketing Professional

As of the date of publication all the names and titles are relevant to this post.

Marketing 101 – Create A Marketing Plan

Marketing 101 – Create A Marketing Plan

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Marketing Plan
Goals
Strategy

A marketing plan is a detailed guide comprising the marketing activities for a company during a period of time in order to achieve specific goals.

Working together, “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney.

The only pre-step in approaching the creation of your own marketing plan is to clearly define specific goals that your company wants to achieve by a specific time. I’ve said it many times here and I will keep saying it – you need to be specific. The marketing plan isn’t just for the marketing team, it’s for everyone within the company to consider and to identify their role in achieving the goals. One other final consideration before I outline the marketing plan is that every goal must be measurable.

The Outline

Step 1 – Goals and KPI’s

Write this down, swipe this template, and then start building your marketing plan:

before and after marketing goals

As depicted in the image above you will create a before state of your company, with specific metrics. What you do not want to be writing in the ‘Before’ state is metrics that are too broad for the final draft. The tendency is to write, “Increase Sales” but that doesn’t tell us enough and in most cases is not specific enough for the ‘After’ state especially for teams that are not in the sales/marketing teams. Instead of looking at profit as a metric it’s important to break down how sales and profits are created – then identify based on your company and industry what metrics highly correlate to sales/profits.

For example I worked with a client who makes 99% of their sales from emails – therefore breaking down the email metrics like opens/clicks/ctr’s/etc would be valuable goals to shoot for. If you aren’t sure how high your goals should be, consider the history of those metrics… in my example look at the past 6 months and see if your goals seem reasonable. Also sharing these goals with your teams should help clear up realistic and un-realistic expectations.

Step 2 – The Fine Details

Download the template for a basic marketing plan using the link provided (not my template):

https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/entrepreneur-toolkit/templates-business-guides/pages/marketing-plan-template.aspx

Credit to BDC

There are elements to a marketing plan like the mission, vision, team lists, organization, structure, and other details that I consider fine details. I am not going to spend any time on these at this point because my focus for this article is on the marketing specifics. At some point I will likely cover these elements.

Step 3 – Ideal Customer

As equally important as goals if not more important is to have some understanding of the ideal customer. Who is your ideal customer? Likely someone who purchases every service or buys a large value worth of products, does not return them, and may even refer or offer repeat business. You do not have a magic ball so you cannot assume to know the ideal customer precisely. What you can do is use what you know, research the market, ask customers, and even look at your competitors to have some idea. I am being vague here on purpose – one company’s worst customer may be another’s ideal customer. The best strategy I know to better understand your ideal customer is to create an avatar – basically a dossier of the information as you understand who the ideal customer is over time. Be as specific as possible; simple demographic information is never enough. You want to tap into the niche market and therefore the niche target audience. You need to go as deep and specific as you can then ask what kind of person is this. How do we market to this person? Etc.

Digital Marketer has a great avatar worksheet that can help you identify the right avatar:

http://www.digitalmarketer.com/customer-avatar-worksheet/

Credit to Digital Marketer

Step 4 – Threats

Before you outline your strategy in the final step you need to understand the resistances you will face in creating your strategy. Everyone wants to achieve their goals as quickly as possible but there are natural forces, and competitive forces that oppose you. Ask your teams what some of the problems they could be facing as you implement and evaluate the performance of your goals.

My favorite tool and a popular threat analysis tool is to create a detailed SWOT analysis. A SWOT analysis stands for (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) and apply to the company and industry both macro and micro. When compiling details for the analysis be totally honest as the difference between an accurate and inaccurate SWOT analysis is enormous. This tool is only for you anyway… and you are filling this out because you want to enhance the positive elements and diminish the negative elements if you can. Professional consultants will use tools such as these to diagnose you and your company like a sick patient.

Consider the following grid and create it in Excel:

SWOT Analysis Template
Step 5 – Finalize the Strategy

Finally you are ready. Take all the notes, details, elements, and goals with you into this stage. You will bullet a list with each actionable goal you defined in the ‘After’ state and then create a linear path to achieving it. For example if the ‘After’ goal is to increase the unique web visitors then you need to drive more traffic… that part is simple, but you need to describe how you will do this as specific as possible. Possible solutions include:

  • Increase Web Traffic Weekly to 600
    • Content Team: Create an additional content blog post by next month
      • Content Team: Wednesday, 3pm PST, releases
    • Content Team: Tailor blog posts to new (more relevant) categories asap
      • Content Team: New Categories Approved
    • Acquisition Team: Share blog posts to new private group in Facebook asap
      • John will setup, invite to our exist members via email (3x over 3 weeks), ad spot on website to promote
    • Director: Weekly reporting meeting to evaluate
    • Monetization/Content Teams: Purchase one affiliate space for advertising our website each week
      • Monetization Team: Relevant partner offers space in 5k emails for $1400, trackable clicks – PPC.
      • Director: Review of material

As you can see the general ideas are followed by more specific ones. The point of these is to show the linear path that will happen, who will help, when it occurs by, and what it will take or cost. I wrote these as a general overview but feel free to be more specific and to drill down many more layers down to ensure that everyone knows what they are doing. The strategy should be actionable by everyone or most everyone. What is expected should be clearly laid out and if training or meetings are required they should be listed.

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Kevin Dieny

Marketing Professional

Completing this stage should feel pretty good. With the outline done you are ready to clean up all the information and present it in a professional format.

Marketing plans are very useful – if your company does not already have one consider creating one to give yourself a better understanding of what you can do to help your company succeed. Information is power. Feel free to leave comments.

What is My Definition of Marketing?

What is My Definition of Marketing?

FIRM FIXED IDEAS

Definition
Marketing
Sales

Marketing is value creation achieved by communicating a specific offer to a specific audience.

Communicate the truth, “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” (Proverbs 26:28).

My first day as a marketer in the financial industry has forever cemented into my head the realization that marketing is not, and cannot, be about deception. The fine line between misleading someone and being honest is often hard to distinguish. I became aware of full-time jobs, in the hundreds, of people whose role at companies is to make sure that the message communicated by marketers is appropriate and relevant.

Marketing is value creation, at its best it is communicating a specific message, to a specific audience, and more or less the right time. In essence most careers practice the basics of marketing every day but they wouldn’t call themselves marketers. Marketing, as a career, is specializing in value creation through the mediums or channels which supports the sales or exchange of a company’s products or services.

I could take a deep dive into the specifics of what is and is not marketing but today’s post is to give an overview of my interpretation of what marketing truly is.

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Kevin Dieny

Marketing Professional

Before I conclude, I would like to say that marketing and sales are very much similar and dissimilar. I’ve even argued with managers, interviewers, and colleagues on the details of this… my philosophical summary is that in a perfect world sales would not need to exist if marketing was ‘perfect.’ If marketing achieved its goals to perfection then people would not need persuasion by sales teams to buy something because they would have already seen the value. Customers would already have a desire or plan to purchase. Feel free to give me your thoughts in the comments below.

Why Did I Start This Blog?

Why Did I Start This Blog?

FIRM FIXED IDEAS

Blogging
Content
Teaching

What better way to learn than by teaching, “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?” (Romans 2:21)

I wanted to start a blog because I have learned a lot about marketing over the past decade and I would like to share what I know. As with all creators of blogs we have high hopes that putting our ideas out there will become useful and positive for others. It is my hope that by giving back I will be able to refine my knowledge and help others.

The first lesson I can impart anyone who embarks the long and arduous journey of blog writing would be to keep it up. I hope I can take my own advice. Being consistent and creating valuable content can make a big impact. Along the way I envision that I will find new reasons to keep going.

I have already run into a pause for a year when I started a new position, started a MBA program, and moved. I may not be able to post as often as I’d like but I want to rekindle my blog and bring information to all.

Kevin Profile Shot

Kevin Dieny

Marketing Professional

If you’d like to learn more about me… on a personal level check out the about me. Otherwise thanks for reading and I will write you again soon.