Three powerful uses for Marketing Automation

Marketing automation has become a buzzword so fast that it is hard to remember what digital marketing was without it. But what does the term “marketing automation” really mean?


What is Marketing Automation?
According to Hubspot, a marketing automation company that drives continued innovation in the digital market, “Marketing automation refers to the software that exists with the goal of automating marketing actions. Many marketing departments have to automate repetitive tasks such as emails, social media, and other website actions. The technology of marketing automation makes these tasks easier.”

To some, that may sound like the easy way out. On the surface, it almost seems as if automation is taking the human component out of marketing initiatives. Fortunately for marketing professionals like myself, that belief could not be further from the truth.

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3 Tips for Working with Marketing Vendors

For the past four years I have been working as an in-house marketing rep at a start-up company. This means I have been living and breathing one single brand for 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. When I worked agency I would maybe spend 10 hours a week on a project that lasted 12 weeks or less, continually adopting then abandoning different brand voices. As the years progressed at my current company, so did the demand for marketing material - and vendor engagements began. I found myself on the other side of agency relations, a client for the types of creative agencies I used to work for. I had to train other marketing professionals to be ambassadors for my brand, and I discovered that teaching others to communicate my brand values was more difficult than anticipated, especially since any good agency is juggling several key clients at any given time.

Below are three core tips for communicating the value of your brand to your vendors, because while you may live and breath your brand like I do, your vendors do not.

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Did Ryan Reynolds Just Make Marketing Cool?

Yesterday I saw something I've never seen before. I saw a movie star credit his film's marketing team for their opening weekend success.

It's no secret that marketing (particularly entertainment marketing, my old haunt) has gotten increasingly creative over the years. The conversation between marketer and audience is more sophisticated now. In order to understand and appreciate a modern marketing campaign, you need to have years of background knowledge on advertising history, sales clichés and storytelling arcs. I first noticed this trend in this 2010 Old Spice commercial. This 32 second video is complex! In order to fully appreciate the joke, the audience has to accept the fact that this guy is trying to sell them something (which he does directly by breaking the fourth wall), have a base knowledge of the clichés marketers use to try and reach women (horses, diamonds, an attractive shirtless man), and be ok with the mechanics of film-making (he changes sets blatantly and in front of your eyes). The first time I saw this ad I laughed out loud and then sighed with relief because advertisers were finally addressing me like the intelligent consumer that I am.

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3 Reasons I Am Not A Fan Of Google's New Logo

As of today, our internet overlords have had a new logo out for 15 days...and I am not ashamed to admit that it took me that long to decide whether I liked it or not. 

I do not. 

Now, when I say that I don't like their new logo, I am not just referring to my personal aversion to the new font they chose and the new multi-colored G. I am talking about the wider implications for their brand. Normally I am a huge fan of revamping tired branding, so I took some time to really consider what this new look means for the internet service that basically runs my life. Below you'll find the 3 main reasons why I am not a fan of the Google's new look.

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So your brand spokesman is a pedophile...

It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but it's the current reality of Subway's marketing team. As you probably know by now, world-famous Subway spokesman, Jared, plans to plead guilty in a child pornography case which includes allegations of sex with minors in NYC luxury hotels. And just like that, the skinny man with the giant jeans who made the "eat fresh" slogan famous is now bringing Subway an entirely different kind of media attention.

So what is a marketing team to do? Just yesterday Subway announced via twitter that they have officially severed ties with their former spokesman, saying that "Jared Fogle’s actions are inexcusable and do not represent our brand’s values. We had already ended our relationship with Jared."

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Think Before You Tweet: Tinder is acting like Vanity Fair Swiped Left

In case you missed it, a few days ago the Tinder social media team lost it's mind. Tinder, the Facebook based mobile dating app, already doesn't have the classiest of reputations. Urban Dictionary calls it the "McDonalds for sex", since Tinder allows you judge potential mates with just a few pictures before swiping right if you like them, and left if you don't. If two users swipe right on each other, they are both notified and a connection may ensue. 

While the app is indisputably popular (there are more than a billion swipes, daily), there is some debate over whether this digital meat market is beneficial to the younger generations looking for life partners. That debate lead Vanity Fair editor, Nancy Jo Sales, to publish this piece titled "Tinder and the Dawn of the 'Dating Apocalypse.'"

That's when Tinder took to Twitter like an ill-treated ex-girlfriend hopped up on two-buck Chuck and righteous indignation. Their 31 disdainful messages, all posted on August 11, 2015, failed to make me look at Nancy Jo's writing more critically. No, instead it left me thinking that Tinder needs to embrace their public perception, and maybe let go of that chip on their shoulder before users start leaving them for Hinge.

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What does "brand" mean?

The word "brand" gets thrown around a lot in today's lexicon. I have seen it used as a synonym for "trademark", as a way to describe a company's corporate culture, and I have even used it to describe individuals on social media.

But what does it actually mean? Scaring flesh with a hot iron? I don't think so. Not anymore. I decided to look up several modern definitions of the term "brand", and this is what I found.


1) From Urban DictionaryWhat multinational corporations use to try and get consumers to buy essentially the same product as the other corporations have but for more money.

I actually really like this definition. Not just because it's facetious, but because at it's core, it's true. Brands are what companies use to separate themselves from the competition. In a sea of identical product, most people will choose a product with a brand they most identify with. Multinational corporations get people to identify with their brands through product and packaging design, advertisement, marketing narratives, and customer relations. They can often charge more money because people are willing to pay for the brand experience as well as the product itself.

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How I Became A Brand Promoter For Chase Without Even Realizing It

Over the weekend I went out for some drinks with a friend. As I pulled out my Chase Freedom credit card to pay the tab, someone asked me if I liked the card or not. My poor, unprepared amiga was immediately hit with a barrage or reasons why I absolutely LOVE my Chase Freedom Card, their accounts, their integration with other banks and their mobile platform. A full minute and half into my speech I realized that somehow I had unknowingly become a brand promotor for Chase. For someone who spends most of her free time thinking about how humans and brands interact, this was quite shocking.

So how did this happen? How did I go from a poor post-college graduate opening a Chase account because it was the closest bank to my apartment, to someone ready and willing to try and convert all of my friends to the ways of the Chase? Upon reflection, there seem to be 4 things that are supremely important to me, and these are the 4 things that hooked me.

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The 3 Questions You MUST Answer Before Releasing Any Marketing Content

Marketing is a funny industry to be a part of, because everyone believes they are a marketer. On more than one occasion I have found myself in front of someone pitching me half-baked promotional ideas, expecting me to turn them into reality by the following business day. While I love collaborative creation, I can't help but notice that aggressive pitching never seems to happen to engineers or system admins....but I digress. 

Whenever this happens, and I have a new idea to entertain, I always go back to these 3 simple questions. If I can answer everything on this list, then the half-baked idea I've been handed deserves so more time in the oven. 

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What is a #SpiteSpokesman?

A few weeks ago I read an article on Mashable that I've been dying to talk about. The article, "SNL's Colin Jost destroys Time Warner Cable in Twitter rant", covers the young comedian's incredibly creative twitter-rant against the a-famed cable provider. Apparently, after 4 months without working cable, Jost hit a breaking point and turned to a public forum to express his displeasure, offering other frustrated customers cash money to drop their contracts with Time Warner, and making use of the hashtag #SpiteSpokesman.

I find this fascinating. 

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"The Power of Habit" - Lessons Learned

A few months ago I picked up "The Power of Habit" by Charles Duhigg following several rave reviews from friends, coworkers and the Internet at large. A powerful piece of non-fiction, "The Power of Habit" explores how people form and utilize habits, and how brands, manufacturers, CEOs and coaches can take advantage of such a deeply ingrained human process. Duhigg compellingly explains what exactly a habbit is (cue > routine > reward), how they are formed (repetition), and why they developed as part of our psyche (to conserve brain power by allowing our selves to go on autopilot), then conducts various qualitative case studies on how habits can be used to their fullest potential across a variety of industries. As a marketing enthusiast, I was most interested in how brands have been able to identify and convert their target markets into salivating canines using this fundamental understanding of a brain process.

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What is Content Marketing?

Today I was reading this article on global media behemoth, Mashable. It's title is 8 second marketing: How to craft content strategies for Generation Z. The piece was interesting enough, with the central thesis claiming that "in an age where multitasking meets fear-of-missing-out (FOMO), the average attention span is down to eight seconds." But while I can appreciate what Andy Mizerek is trying to say with that flashy statement, I'm afraid I have to humbly disagree. 

I would clarify his claim by saying that marketers today have 8 seconds (or often times, less) to capture attention. Once you've got a consumer on the hook, they are more than willing to delve as deeply as they need to uncover the truth. You see, along with the advent of dual-screening and multi-tasking, the digital age has brought about an information revolution. People no longer trust what they hear. With Google just a voice-activation away, every claim is instantly verifiable. In my experience, people are more than willing to put some time and effort into gathering information about something they care about, you just have to get them to care. Honestly, why do you think Serial was so popular?

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Large Brands vs. Small Brands

Quick! Think of the Geico mascot. Jot your answer down.

Acceptable responses would have been the gecko, the cavemen, the pig, and more recently, the scapegoat.

How is this possible? Everything we've learned about branding says that consisentcy is key. Keep your colors, your logo and your message as standard is possible. If a rebrand is in order, a massive campaign with lots of exposition is required. Geico has essentially thrown that model out the window, and still manages to be one of the most successful brands out there. How?

In a word - money. How often do you see a Geico ad? Once a week? Twice? Did you maybe see them at the superbowl? Or on Hulu? Do you have that annoying "boots and pants" song the pig sings at the pool stuck in your head? Geico ads are pervasive, and buying that amount of ad space costs money. Lots of it.

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Who is retweeting you?

Over the past decade, the concept of a "brand" has evolved quickly and significantly, in large part due to social media. Before social media, companies and brands relied on a few meticulously chosen indicators  (color, font, images and select catchphrases) to convey their purpose and personality.  Nowadays, brands have invaded our personal online profiles and have used them to build complex  personas and identities of their own

Consider the history of Social Media. Friendster, MySpace and Facebook were all developed as virtual hang-out spaces. They were online platforms designed for people to meet and interact with friends - they were not meant for company profiles or brands. Look at the layout of a Facebook profile; you have your pictures, your friends, your personal updates, your profile information...everything that summarizes you as a person. As with anything new, the business savvy looked to this Web 2.0 trend for a market opportunities.  It quickly became evident that if brands were going to utilize this highly trafficked space, they were going to have to behave more like individual people and less like large corporations - and that's exactly what they did.

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What is a Lifestyle Brand?

"Lifestyle brand" is a term that's been thrown around over the past year or so. It's buzzy enough to be repeated everywhere (online, in conversation, on the news, etc), while still remaining vague enough for individuals to embrace their own interpretation of the term. At it's most rudimentary, a "lifestyle brand" is a brand that attempts to embody the characteristics and core values of their largest and most influential customer base. In the past, brands have mostly catered or pandered to their consumers...this idea of becoming one with the consumer and matching their personalities is new. In my opinion, the most interesting thing that came with this brand evolution, is the phenomenon of a brands actually defining its customers even as it attempt to emulate them.  

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How to Become A Brand

Done. You already are a brand....your own personal brand. Get excited, but get ready because your work is not over.

People as brands evolved along with Web 2.0 - making it a new and exciting phenomenon. In the early 90s the Internet was a scary, anonymous place. The children of my generation were warned to avoid chatrooms at all costs, to never give out personal information and to dutifully delete all of the spam emails I received from various porn sites (seriously, I was like 14, how did they even get my address?!). But nowadays, people use their real names on Facebook, their entire resume and job history is posted toLinkedIn, and their home addresses are listed on Zillow (seriously, take a look). This development of sharing bits and pieces of personal information online has brought about a unique opportunity. For the first time ever, people can completely construct an online identity derived but not divorced from who they actually are. 

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