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5 Pieces of an Effective Conversational Marketing Strategy

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Mar 8, 2019 7:09:12 PM

Conversational-MarketingConversational Marketing is a hot topic today. Whether you’re in a book store,  in Times Square, following a bunch of marketers in a Twitter feed, or discussing with forward-leaning demand generation teams about where they’re focused today, conversational is sure to come up early.

I will freely admit that I’m still a bit cynical about whether “conversational” is truly an emerging strategy or just another buzzword designed to make something simple and natural seem complex and difficult so the companies spreading the message can more easily sell their products and/or services (see branding).

I am increasingly being won over that conversation is a worthy topic of focus for growth-focused executives. I believe this for 3 reasons:

  • Demand generation, sales, and marketing are losing their plot and seem to be forgetting their fundamental purpose

  • Buyers continue to change their expectations and desires, and sellers must keep up and create alignment with the buyer

  • The growing focus and capabilities of technology seem to be having the unintended effect of disconnecting

To be clear, (capital C) Conversational Marketing must be viewed through a larger context than “chat,” chat applications, and chatbots. It must be viewed through the holistic prism of corporate strategy. Simply put, the time has come for your company to become a Conversational Company.

This blog post is focused on the key elements necessary to develop and execute such a strategy. It is not focused on the tactical/execution elements. If you’re looking for a great guide to implementing some of the tactics of around Conversational Marketing, I encourage you to download the resource that Drift just released designing The Conversational Blueprint. It’s a great resource and thinking document to guide how you approach conversations in your DemandGen process.

Serendipitously, as I began writing this post, Mark Kilens, Drift’s VP of Content & Community (and before that the leader of HubSpot Academy) tweeted this about conversations:

Conversational marketing The job of a Conversational Strategy is to design and execute the structure to generate “friendly games of catch” purposefully, predictably and repeatably.

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Topics: Demand Generation, Content, Strategic Planning

The 3 Biggest (& Most Common) Mistakes Made With AI

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Mar 1, 2019 12:02:00 PM

AI in MarketingFOMO: The Fear of Missing Out

It was Bill Gates who said, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” Nowhere is the outlook more on display that when it comes to the topic of artificial intelligence (AI).

Make no mistake, technology in general and AI specifically are having a major impact on the work growth-focused organizations are taking. AI is absolutely something you should be aware of, and, to some degree, keeping track of. It is not, however, something that should be at the top of any small or mid-market growth company executives attention or worry list.

What Is Artificial Intelligence

Part of the difficulty with addressing AI is that it often means a bunch of different things to different people. What’s more, the term AI is often used to infer things that are not necessarily in place. AI is very confusing to many, so I turned to my friends at HubSpot, who published a nice piece on important definitions surrounding AI. Here are some of the key terms:

Artificial Intelligence: In the most general of terms, artificial intelligence refers to an area of computer science that makes machines do things that would require intelligence if done by a human.

Machine Learning: In short, machine learning is the ability of a program to absorb huge amounts of data and create predictive algorithms.

If you’ve ever heard that AI allows computers to learn over time, you were likely learning about machine learning. Programs with machine learning discover patterns in data sets that help them achieve a goal. As they analyze more data, they adjust their behavior to reach their goal more efficiently.

Deep Learning: On the far end of the AI spectrum, deep learning is a highly advanced subset of machine learning. Deep learning can find super-complex patterns in data sets by using multiple layers of correlations. In the simplest of terms, it does this by mimicking the way neurons are layered in your own brain. That’s why computer scientists refer to this type of machine learning as a “neural network.”

Natural Language Processing: Natural language processing (NLP) can make bots a bit more sophisticated by enabling them to understand text or voice commands. On a basic level, spell check in a Word document or translation services on Google are both examples of NLS. More advanced applications of NLS can learn to pick up on humor or emotion.

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Topics: Lead Nurturing, Marketing, Strategic Planning

Just Say No To Shitty Emails: 5 Tips To Revitalize Your Emails

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Jan 25, 2019 11:00:00 AM

jsn-emailsWelcome to the first in our series of Just Say No to Shitty Sales & Marketing videos. Today, we're tackling shitty emails. There's probably no tactic that creates more anxiety among marketers, salespeople, and sales executives alike than the topic of email.

Email is a critical linchpin to managing relationships. If we don't have access to our target prospects’ or leads’ inbox, then we're going to be at a significant disadvantage to be able to connect, influence, or generate any type of action. We have to remember that email is a push communication tactic in a pull communication world. We can't do email the way we've always done it.

We have to realize how our target prospects and leads engage with email. How do they manage things so that we can position ourselves to be successful with our email communications?

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Topics: Content, Strategic Planning, Email, Just Say No To Shitty Sales & Marketing

The Three Horizons: An Approach for SMB's to Transform Innovation Into A Competitive Advantage

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Dec 12, 2018 3:07:10 PM

Secret-to-Strong-Revenue-Growth1

The following is an excerpt from The Secret to Strong Revenue Growth, Part 2

What grade would you give your company on your growth efforts? Think about it and give an honest answer.

Did you give yourself a B or higher? Most people I talk to do.

And in some cases, that grade is deserved--but most of the time, it’s not.

Why? Your business is probably doing pretty well right now. Most businesses are, for a number of reasons. After all:

  • We’re in an economy as strong as any in our lifetime.

  • Technology is enabling us to easily and inexpensively do things we could have only dreamed of less than a decade ago.

  • The primary theme of HubSpot’s annual gathering of the world’s best growth executives (Inbound) was #GrowBetter, which indicates most companies are booming.

But now grade yourself compared to your peer companies, which are likely also booming. You’ll find that most companies are not outperforming the average cohort. In short, it’s easy to think you’re doing better than average because you’re doing well.

So what steps can you take to make sure that you’re taking advantage of an economic boom by successfully innovating--but also minimize your risks?

There is a roadmap. Companies that successfully manifest the power of innovation tend to view the world through three time horizons--and you can do the same.

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Topics: Performance, Strategic Planning