What are the greatest concerns for marketers now

I guessed number one correctly. See if you agree with this Hubspot post – updated to reflect 2016 business marketing research.

7 of the Top Marketing Challenges Marketers Face Today

Every marketer faces different challenges. Although we typically share similar goals, some teams are stuck on hiring top talent, while others are having trouble finding the right technology for their needs.

Whatever the case may be, there’s always at least one area that you can stand to improve. In other words, there’s always room to optimize the various components of your strategy and turn your marketing into an even more effective revenue generator.

Curious about what kinds of obstacles other marketers are up against?

To learn more about the challenges marketers face today, download the free 2016 State of Inbound report here.

We polled thousands of marketers on the challenges they face, as well as the tactics they’ve used to meet those challenges head-on. Here are some of the most common challenges marketers reported struggling with … and their solutions.

The Most Common Marketing Problems We Face, According to the 2016 State of Inbound Report

According to our report, generating traffic and leads and proving ROI are the leading challenges marketers face. Here’s a look at this year’s data:

SOI_blog_X-Top-Challenges-1.jpg

Image Credit: The 2016 State of Inbound Report

Let’s go through each of these top challenges and how marketers can address them.

Read the rest HERE

Written by Lindsay Kolowich | @

Outstanding free tools you need to know about

The amount of tools and information available for marketers, entrepreneurs and those bootstrapping a business is wonderful but it can be overwhelming to keep track of everything you might use now or down the road.

After creating a comprehensive list of essential free tools for Entrepreneurial Marketing students, (available HERE) one did a little extra research and found an incredible list of just about anything you might need. Big shout out to these folks – it is a terrific resource and pretty well organized for everything from business, marketing, design & code, and productivity to learning.

Click HERE for the list.

Don’t forget to visit the list of free marketing tools on this site.

Enjoy – and if you have any questions about which tools I’ve used and might be best for you please contact me or leave a comment below.

For folks wondering about B2B social selling

More and more folks prefer to get information online than engage a salesperson, searching out “objective” information from internet recommendations. Three out of four B2B buyers rely on social media to engage with peers about buying decisions. In a recent B2B buyers survey, 53% of the respondents reported that social media plays a role in assessing tools and technologies, and when making a final selection.

Good time to read up on how to sell B2B in today’s environment.

How B2B Sales Can Benefit from Social Selling

Outbound B2B sales are becoming less and less effective. In fact, a recent survey found that connecting with a prospect now takes 18 or more phone calls, callback rates are below 1%, and only 24% of outbound sales emails are ever opened. Meanwhile, 84% of B2B buyers are now starting the purchasing process with a referral, and peer recommendations are influencing more than 90% of all B2B buying decisions.

Why are more and more buyers avoiding salespeople during the buying process? Sales reps, according to Forrester, tend to prioritize a sales agenda over solving a customer’s problem. If organizations don’t change their outdated thinking and create effective sales models for today’s digital era, Forrester warns that 1 million B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service e-commerce by 2020.

Read the rest of How B2B Sales Can Benefit from Social Selling

Marketing: How to step outside the ‘bubble’

Countless times in marketing strategy meetings, I have heard sentences beginning with and/or containing “I” or “my.”

“I wouldn’t respond to/click on that.”

“My friends and I thought the idea was great.”

“That’s how I would do it/buy/respond.”

Not wanting to invalidate a personal POV, especially from a boss or executive, many stay silent. And then carry out marketing plans according to the leader’s —sometimes personal— experience and wishes. [The ‘marketing’ department is then basically relegated to the role of a Kinko’s store – taking orders and creating collateral].

You can see the problem here.

We’re not marketing and selling to our (I’ll borrow Kissmetrics’ term here) “HiPPOs” (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion), we are attempting to message our customers. They are sometimes two very different things.

Jamie Oliver’s story about trying to change eating behavior outside his cultural norm is a perfect example. It took some time to get to know the customer. And, of course, so should you.

SO the next time you hear an “I” or “My” in a marketing meeting, try to see if you can’t change the subject to the customer, based on objective research.


Referenced article is Eat Your Peas: A Recipe for Culture Change via Strategy+Business

Photo: First Time Bubble by Serge Melki

‘Best practices’ may not be best after all

“According to best practices…”

How many times have we heard this hoary phrase? It can be especially interesting to hear when used as an one-note explanation for doing things a certain way. So, let’s take a step back.

When someone states their position/request because it is “best practice,” the first question that—should—come to mind is, “According to whom?”

It might be a best practice if one must use “best practices” in a sentence, by taking ownership of this non-concrete term: “According to what I [understand/have read/have been told/just made up/etc.], this is my take on best practices.”

Don’t attribute it to the ubiquitous “they” or an “industry standard.” Also, be prepared to share the source(s). By owning one’s take on best practices, a condescending and dismissive tone is bypassed.

Best practices in any situation is subjective and should remain flexible. Better yet, don’t get lazy and throw a term around that has no meaning or relevance, as there really is no such thing.


For more thought leadership on this in Forbes, read:  Best Practices – Aren’t where Mike Myatt @mikemyatt explains, “too much common management wisdom is not wise at all, but instead flawed knowledge based on a misunderstanding or misapplication of ‘best practices’ that often constitutes poor, incomplete or outright obsolete thinking.”