Courtney Eckerle

Trust Your Customers to Raise Their Hands: How to use non-gated content to more than double high-quality leads

January 20th, 2017
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Challenged to measure ROI on every program and hit a certain number of leads per month, some marketers make potential customers fill out forms to get access to gated content.

Instead of forcing form fills, Chris Keller, Vice President of Marketing, Health Catalyst, and his team set their content free in order to increase shareability and lead quality while more than doubling leads during a three-quarter period.

“We’re trying to be the non-marketing marketing group,” Chris said. “We’ve taken a controversial approach to educating the market.”

For Health Catalyst, a healthcare analytics company, aggressively educating customers was a key aspect of its strategy to deliver a high-growth pipeline of leads. However, in a crowded healthcare IT market, Health Catalyst wanted to establish leadership, not generate cold leads.

This led the team to take a different approach: as few lead forms as possible. Because they wanted a pipeline of sale-ready leads, they put their trust in prospects to raise their hands when they were ready.

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Courtney Eckerle

How PR Newswire created a customer-centric demand gen engine

January 13th, 2017
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In today’s digital landscape, the buyer is in control and is more sophisticated than ever before. In fact, according to Forrester, 93% of B2B buyers prefer to transact online when they have decided what to buy.

After publishing this week’s B2B case study featuring cyber security firm SecureWorks’ transformation of its demand generation, I realized how vital a clear, built-out purchase path can be for both marketers and consumers.

With that, I decided to reach back to a Media Center Interview with Ken Wincko, SVP of Marketing, PR Newswire, who spoke at last year’s MarketingSherpa Summit on the topic.

 

To effectively engage and target buyers, Ken and his team developed a sophisticated buyer-centric go-to-market approach that employs tailored content aligned to key segments and personas across the entire customer lifecycle.

It starts, he said, with recognizing that customers have options and that it’s very easy for them to make choices on their own.

“What we’ve really focused on is becoming buyer-centric, and to focus on [buyers’] core informational needs,” he said. “What are their challenges? Where are the opportunities for them?”

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Courtney Eckerle

The Most Shared Articles from MarketingSherpa Blog in 2016

January 9th, 2017
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While the jury may be out on 2016 as a whole, marketers have had a very exciting year, and MarketingSherpa (if we may say so) has hopefully shown a spotlight on it through our content.

In light of celebrating the good of 2016 as we’re all madly planning what 2017 will bring, we’re revisiting the most popular articles from the past 12 months. Looking back at top content helps us see what our readers found to be the most helpful and valuable content, and it helps you to know what your peers are looking for.

Below, see where we’ve been this past year using the nine most popular articles to find what elements you might want to bring with you into 2017…

#1. Six Places to Focus to Make your Website a Revenue Generator

We have more digital marketing channels than ever before, but it’s become even harder to connect with customers.

One thing’s become clear, that there is a growing divide between those who are fully engaged with digital marketing and those who are still figuring out the fundamentals. This interview with Kristin Zhivago, President of Cloud Potential, goes over her report on “revenue road blocks,” as a deep dive into what she’s discovered to help marketers quickly close this digital marketing gap and do better.

If marketers directly address getting the six key focuses covered in this blog post right, you can move forward and close the gap between digital and customers.

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Annie Summerall

8 GIFs of Hanukkah

December 24th, 2016
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We wanted to get you gifts this holiday, but all we have are some GIFs. Our bad!

Here are some more marketing mishaps, one for each night of Hanukkah.

1. When you use best practices on the internet even though they are typically just pooled ignorance…

 

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Courtney Eckerle

How a month-long pet photo contest received more than 7,000 votes and over 1,200 entries

December 21st, 2016
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Since it’s the end of the year, we like to revisit the most popular articles and case studies from the past 12 months — the collection of which can be found on our homepage. Looking back at top content helps us see what our readers found to be the most helpful and valuable content, and it helps you to know what your peers are looking for.

This year, we published two case studies back-to-back in the B2C and Inbound marketing channels covering the efforts of My Pooch Face, a site that provides acrylic and digital pet portraits. Both popped up as the most popular of the year, so I decided to dig back in and focus on a portion from my notes that was previously unpublished.

David Lefkovits, Founder and CEO, My Pooch Face, and his team launched a Pet Photo Contest on October 26, with the aim of running it six days until the end of the month. They used a dedicated page www.mypoochface.com/photo-contest and also the link www.vote4mydog.com, which re-directed to the same page.

 

pooch face contest

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Paul Cheney

The Marketer’s (Abbreviated) Guide to Love: How to overcome your own self-interest and become a better marketer

December 12th, 2016
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The trouble with human relationships is that at the end of the day, all of us are alone — trapped in the cosmos of our selves. Add to that the problem of our own mortality, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for failed relationships.

Yes, it’s a grim place to start a marketing blog post, but bear with me for a moment. If you’re smart, you’ll be thinking about what relationships have to do with marketing (if you’re really smart, you’ll know they have everything to do with it) while you wade through the next few of paragraphs.

I’m stretching the definition a bit, but Kierkegaard and the 20th century existentialists called the result of this fundamental human condition “angst.”

Whatever you want to call it, it’s most likely the main problem humanity has faced since the beginning of consciousness.

The good news is that there are a number of ways to deal with our angst:

  • We can try to deny it by becoming a part of the herd
  • We can try to medicate it with sex, drugs and rock & roll
  • We can try to avoid it with power and money
  • We can try to displace it with masochism or sadism

But the healthiest way humanity has found to deal with the problem, as many Beatles songs attest, is love.

 

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Courtney Eckerle

How HCSS used an interactive contest to increase web traffic 800%

December 9th, 2016
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Pretty often with complex B2B products and services, it can be difficult, even for customers to show off the intricacies and value of the entire process.

With more than 4,000 construction companies and 45,000 end-users on HCSS software, the company was looking for a way to leverage clients’ stories and turn them into usable and compelling content.

 

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Courtney Eckerle

How Dell Simplified Email Template Design to Improve Engagement

November 18th, 2016
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“Our main focus [in email marketing] is making sure we’re saying the right thing at the right time to the right person,” said Jessica Vogel, Global Marketing Consultant, Dell.

Having an efficient and effective direct marketing vehicle such as email is critical for the success of Dell’s sizeable direct business. Jessica is part of a team that continuously focuses on email user experience and channel optimization through efforts like responsive design, dynamic content and engaging content integration.

As the email vehicle has evolved into a complex and highly automated direct marketing medium, the team audited its email program (including customers’ mobile and desktop preview-pane experience) and discovered a key challenge to email engagement — its legacy email template.

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Courtney Eckerle

‘Twas the Night Before Sending: How Ebates created a compelling holiday email send in one day

November 11th, 2016
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As marketers become fully entrenched in the hectic holiday season, it’s easy to just keep to the schedule while letting customer engagement opportunities pass by.

Derek Kazee, Director of Retention Marketing, Ebates, and I spoke about this issue in the Media Center at MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 about how his team overcame the biggest holiday season obstacle cutting through the noise.

By reacting quickly after some holiday inspiration, Derek and his team quickly mobilized to engage with members about current and upcoming promotions in a fun and informative way.

“I got an idea to do something different, which was actually to remind and to preview all of the promos we were going to launch because I was having trouble keeping track of it myself,” he said.

Derek came into the office with that idea and challenged his team to come up with something that would be informative, non-promotional and engaging at the same time. As a result, one of the copy writers rewrote “’Twas the Night Before Christmas,” and it was designed in just one day.

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Courtney Eckerle

Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy: What we can learn from Minor League baseball branding

November 4th, 2016
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It’s the morning of game seven of the World Series, and two of the longest droughts in Major League baseball history are hanging in the balance. Social media across the city of Jacksonville, Florida is lit up, talking about nothing but baseball.

… and shellfish.

On the morning of the historic game that ended the Chicago Cubs 108-year drought, Jacksonville, Florida’s minor league baseball team swept in and stole the news cycle with a re-branding from the Jacksonville Suns, to the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

 

There he is, in all of his muscular glory. Bustin’ out the pot, and ready to play some baseball while viciously guarding the state of Florida. The shrimp that boiled the waters (wink) in the “Bold New City of the South.” 

For better or for worse, people flipped out. Whether it was praise or backlash, everyone was talking about a team that won’t have its first game for six months. 

 

Twitter went to work doing the marketing team’s job for them, even coming up with gold taglines like, “Shrimpin’ ain’t easy,” and promoting George Costanza to Assistant to the Traveling Secretary.

Fans dreamed about the delicious possibilities a Shrimp and (Montgomery) Biscuits matchup could bring and wondered if mascot dog Southpaw would have his name changed to “Grits.”

 

Soon this was even garnering national news thanks to the uproar, with Fox NewsNPR and Deadspin all writing pun-filled articles about the change and social media frenzy surrounding it.

So what can we learn about branding initiatives from this minor league mayhem?

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