3 Keys to Lifecycle Marketing Success

lifecycle marketing

As marketers, one of the most important facets of our job in being able to run successful lifecycle marketing campaigns. For those reading this who may not be familiar with what lifecycle marketing is, allow me to briefly explain. Lifecycle marketing refers to sales and marketing campaigns that take your potential and current customers’ needs into account as they transform over time. That means providing incentive for new customers to choose you over your competition as well as for already existing customers to continue choosing you, thus, generating more revenue. This is done first off by recognizing that new and returning customers have different needs and utilizing that knowledge to assign specific user profiles and create direct marketing campaigns that make the customer feel important rather than enterprising campaigns that are hit or miss at best. Doing this will transform your marketing campaigns into meaningful and engaging initiatives. No matter the customer, timely, poignant, and motivated emails will help you engage your client successfully, as their needs evolve. So, having read that, how now can you guarantee lifecycle marketing success?

1. Constant Communication

Clients want to know that you are providing them with value. The best way to reassure them of this is by keeping in contact with them and letting them know what steps you are taking in the evolution of your business and product to do the most you can for them. Letting them know about new updates, fixes, and sharing content with them are some great examples of things to update customers with because it expresses your commitment to delivering value.

2. Usage-based Programs

Knowing how your customers are using your product in relation to the usage-cycle affords you the ability to let them know exactly what you need to regarding any offers, updates, or events. There are a number of ways to monitor this sort of activity, primarily the method of CRM triggering in email marketing campaigns. The typical order of a lifecycle marketing campaign goes as follows: Trial phase > Onboarding > Land & Expand > Customer Success. Recognizing where customers fall within the expanded spectrum of those four steps gives you the opportunity to tailor solutions and emails in a way that is geared towards moving them along the funnel.

3. Product-based Upselling

Incentive goes a long way to bring in new clients as well as keeping existing ones within the funnel. Offering additional products that speak to your customer’s needs and usage is a fantastic way of upselling. Whether this be in the form of complimentarily bundling a purchased produced with an unpurchased one or offering special events and purchasing opportunities for returning customers (much in the same way that Nordstrom does with their member sales), keeping paying customers in the loop and learning about their product use can teach you a lot about your clients and yourself.



The Difference Between Earned, Owned, & Paid Media

paid media

If you have ever worked or still do work within the world of marketing, chances are high that you know the differences that differentiate earned, owned and paid media from one another. As a company that aims to serve small businesses in Austin we’ve found that small business owners to more often that not be on the opposite of the spectrum and not know what these differences are or why they matter. That being the case I thought I’d take a little time out of my Friday night to explain the differences.


Simply put, earned media accounts for brand exposure your company has receive through word-of-mouth. Whether it’s the content of your website or your social media channels, your customer service reputation or community influence, earned media refers to the recognition you receive as a result. This often comes in the form of mentions in the press, reviews  and recommendations on sites such as Yelp and Glassdoor, shares on social media sites, content you post in collaboration with other companies and more. Some of the benefits of earned media are that it’s the most credible (because it comes unsolicited from people not connected to your business), it’s transparent, and its long lasting. However, there are a few negative trade offs such as you not being in control of it. Take a look at the trainwreck that used to be Amy’s Bakery. Negative press killed that business (Not that it wasn’t deserved). Earned media is usually at the top of the funnel for lead conversion and is what gets people initially interested in your company.


Whereas earned media is uncontrollable, owned media is just the opposite. You are in full control. From the graphics you feature to the words you type, the way your company is perceived through your channels in in your hands. The most common types of owned media come in the form of your website and social media pages but may also take shape as blog posts, case studies, whitepapers, etc. The primary goal of owned media is to provide value to leads as they try to find out more about your company without being overly promotional. Think educational content. What do you want people to know about you, your company, and your resources. Because you have complete control you can tailor this however you want, but be wary. Just because you can say whatever you want doesn’t mean you should.  Being hyperbolic or deceptive is a sure-fire way to  lose trust and credibility.


Last but not least is paid media. As is the case with owned media, you are in full control of paid media. Paid media at its roots is a way to promote content and drive exposure for your company and in today’s world of technology  there are a multitude of ways to do this. Paid media also brings you full circle back to earned media. Have you ever seen a funny commercial and then told a friend about it, or even made them watch it? This is a simple example of that conversion. Advertisements on TV, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more are the most obvious examples of paid media, but there are certainly more. It all depends on where your target audience likes to congregate both digitally and in the real world. Besides full control, another benefit of paid media is the immediacy of it. Being able to identify what’s in demand and custom tailor a quick solution for people to latch onto is great. The negatives are that in the growing digital realm where ad blockers are present, a lot of paid media is now treated as unwanted clutter.




Top 10 Marketing Trend Lists for 2016

marketing trend lists

As 2015 comes to a close I’ve found numerous marketing websites churning out their annual marketing trend lists for the upcoming year. The tradition of publishing these types of marketing trend lists has been held for as long as the industry has been around and its not going anywhere so long as technology and the marketing industry continue to evolve. And believe me, they are evolving. From ad blockers and wearable tech to Snapchat and Periscope, the threshold of a new age is being reached, and as always, we must move with it. So without further ado, in no particular order, here are the top 10 marketing trend lists for 2016.

1. 5 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016

2. 10 Content Marketing Trends To Help You Budget For 2016

3. SEO Guru Shares Top Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2016

4. 10 Guidelines For Your Content Marketing in 2016-2017

5. Top 10 Visual Content Marketing Trends for 2016- #infographic

6. 4 Marketing Trends That Will Change Everything in 2016

7. 4 Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2016

8. RIP Millennials: Marketing Will Be ‘Age Agnostic’ Next Year

9. 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America

10. The Top Digital Marketing Trends to Expect in 2016


Visual Content Marketing: King Baby!

In the age of infobesity, it’s more important than ever for companies to generate and pump out killer content that stimulates and engages audiences. In fact, seventy percent of marketers have claimed that they are pumping out drastically more content this year than they have in recent years. Without hesitation I can guarantee you that most of the content that will be pushed out will be of a  visual nature. In the constantly evolving landscape of digital marketing, visual content is more important than ever. The advent of ad-blockers has given us an opportunity to rethink how we approach the development of advertisements on the internet, giving reign and incredible importance to visual approaches such as site fabric integrated infographics, videos, comics, photos, memes, and more, and it’s about time. In a recent Forbes article documenting the rise of visual content, it is noted that in “the case of reading, our brain decodes visual information 60,000X faster than text.” Youtube has already surpassed Yahoo and Bing to become the 2nd largest search engine in the world and it’s precisely because visual content and storytelling, again, are more important than ever when it comes to marketing. So, how do marketers take advantage of visual content? What follows is a list of my top 5 visual content webinars from Youtube that you can use to understand, develop and supercharge you visual strategy.

1. Visual Content Marketing: Capture and Engage Your Audience by Marketo

2. Social Media Visual Content Webinar with Guy Kawasaki, Peg Fitzpatrick & Mari Smith! by Mari Smith


3. How to Easily Discover Great Visual Content for Facebook by Post Planner


4. Westchester Digital Summit – Seeing is Believing, The Power of Visual Content by Westchester Digital Summit


5. FORM SF 2014 – Panel: Visual Storytelling by Google Developers

Never Fear. Ad Blocking is Here to Save the Day

ad blocking

Over the last month or so I’ve noticed the recurring topic of ad blocking coming across my usual stream of marketing articles. The subject is usually approached from a panic-mode point of view that sees ad blocking as the latest Y2K style bane of digital marketing, and I’ve got to state right off the bat that I think that is just hilariously silly. Look, I get it. Ad blocking is bad for business, but the rush to condemn it is evidence of the advertising industry’s repetitive self-loathing that occurs whenever something trivial upsets the status quo such as when Facebook cut down on the reach of brand posts last year. It is also evidence that ad blocking is simply a symptom of a much larger problem, bad marketing.

I’ll be forthright and let you know that I use ad blocker pro on my personal computer. And it’s not because I don’t like advertising and marketing. Hell, I do it for a living. It’s because digital advertising over the last few years has become so outrageously sloppy, lazy and egregiously in your face and annoying. Why would I or anyone want to buy  product that interrupts something I’m trying to do? Scroll/pop over adds are the last thing anyone wants to see when they’re on a site trying to do something, and it’s become so prevalent that I have to wonder, “who doesn’t use ad blocking?” Adding onto that, despite what the numbers might show, your targeted ads are creeping out potential customers. There is nothing that bothers me more than being on a website and seeing an add for something I looked up one time and have no interest in whatsoever. So, what is the solution and where does ad blocking fit into the mix?

It starts with the realization that ad blocking was brought about to improve user experience. Once that realization has been made the question becomes, “How can we improve user experience?” As we head into 2016 look for ad blocking to be the catalyst that inspires new creative marketing and ultimately brings about a new chapter in digital advertising. Rather than being complacent and self-loathing I think we as marketers should be thankful that the advent of ad blocking came around because it will push us to develop more quality creative content. Look for advertisements to be more elegantly integrated into the fabric of a site and less of an interruptive nuisance on the face of a site. Look for publishers and social media managers to be more relevant and engaging with their customers. Look for companies to become more humanized and less commercial by realizing social media is a channel and not a strategy. And lastly look for advertisers to really hone in on people who actually want to see their products and services by utilizing ad blocking as the latest tool for trimming the fat from their advertising approach.

How Package Design Affects The Way Our Food Tastes.

One man is leading the charge to research how taste is affected by the way our food looks and sounds.

If you’re paying attention the next time you stroll through a supermarket you might notice how colorful everything is, a botanical garden of plastic wrapped consumerism. You might also notice that your eye is often drawn to a particular package design that is subconsciously appealing to you. Whether it be based on the color or the shape of the package, there is something screaming out to you saying, “look at me. Buy me.” This is effective design and marketing at work. But what if your consumer habits weren’t the only thing influenced by package design? What if the way that that food actually tastes to you was being directly affected simply by the way its packaging looks?

package design 1

In a recent New Yorker article about the multisensory studies of Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, this very idea is explored in a way that could have major implications for the future of package design and marketing. With a team of researchers at Spence’s Crossmodal Research Lab, Spence has been studying how taste can be transformed by color, shape, and sound. As an example, their earliest research suggests that the perceived freshness of a chip can be affected by the pitch of the crunch sound that it makes, or that the sweetness of strawberry mousse is ramped up when served from a white container instead of a black one. With many more experiments revealing similar findings alongside the Western world’s already rampant snack-food craze where food is consumed directly from the package, it’s not hard to see where the potential for major marketing comes into play. Consider for example that for the span of a decade, Spence was part of a research group funded by Unilever where he and his team tested the effects of volume and pitch on perceptions of aerosol sprays.

In 2006, with funding from Unilever, Spence conducted a study to see whether altering the volume and pitch of the sound from an aerosol can would affect how a person perceives the pleasantness or forcefulness of a deodorant. Based on Spence’s findings, the company invested in a packaging redesign for Axe deodorant, complete with new nozzle technology. The underarm spray, which is targeted at young men, now sounds noticeably louder than the company’s gentler, female-targeted Dove brand.

With countless studies under the guidance of Spence revealing similar outcomes it’s easy to see that the future of package design in marketing is as big as it’s ever been and just getting bigger. The important question is how marketers will use it. There is a very real concern surrounding the obesity epidemic in the united states. Making packaging more appealing through the employment of color and shape has already been shown to encourage poor choices with regards to purchasing food. Spence contests that his research could be used for the complete opposite reason though, combatting obesity and promoting health. He has recently been meeting with the U.K. government’s Behavioural Insights Team to discuss how companies could use sensory manipulation through package design to replace some of the detrimental nutritional content of packaged foods.

Read more on Charle’s Spence at The New Yorker