5 Reasons you need a Digital Transformation strategy.

As 2018 roars on, the idea of a Digital Transformation strategy isn’t one that needs convincing. Companies believe in the power of Marketing Automation.

A few years ago I would have wrote about the definitions of those and how to get started. Now? Not needed as much.

What companies are now hungry for is a strategy that ties those elements together. Components such as SEM, PPC, Email Marketing, Web Personalisation, Branding, etc.

I like military metaphors. In any type of operation, there will be various things available. Soldiers, Vehicles, Air Support and other equipment. It’s crucial for any operation, but you know what else is too? A strategy that enables those components at a tactical level. If they aren’t all combined for a common goal and interconnected, any military exercise will fail. When do the troops go in? Before or after air support? Are they travelling via the vehicles or foot? If the latter, why are there vehicles? What is their goal and how long will they be there? Do they have enough food for the duration? The list could go on…but there needs to be a strategy that gives direction for the why and how.

Digital Marketing is the same way. Here are Five reasons you need a Digital Marketing strategy:

1 – One to One Marketing is all the rage (and always will be).
The most powerful marketing is one to one marketing. If you can speak to someone direct, that will resonate more than anything else. You’ll receive some kind of partnership as a reward. To do that right, you need the various components described above.

2 – Companies have able bodies, but not Thought Leadership.
I find it interesting that at this point in time everyone is the next marketing genius (myself included..). Companies aren’t looking for bodies or to outsource for this kind of work. They are looking to train their resources. The people who know what they are doing in this space aren’t working at a private company. They are either on their own or at a marketing services agency, which is how the wheel spins for them. They give their experience and get more in the process, which keeps companies after them.

3 – If people don’t know the why, they won’t care about the how.
Goes back to my military example. Yes – your company likely has an email platform. It likely has some web personalization and someone that can generate content. Why are you doing it, though? Is there a roadmap that spells out a goal, as well as the items needed to have a chance at being successful? Do sales know what to do once a lead is ready? Disconnected elements do more harm then good and start competing with each other. Trust me…that’s a mess you don’t want to deal with.

4 – … because it doesn’t have to be only about demand gen.
I’ve spent a lot of time in B2B markets and the normal conversation is to use Digital Marketing to generate leads. I’m a big believer in it, but it doesn’t have to only be that. Companies should consider tracking their brand awareness, too.

Get creative with the why.

5 – Guts versus Glory.
The best professionals aren’t doing this for individual companies. They are a unique breed. The right strategy takes guts and bold risk taking. The roller coaster that comes with that (The glory aspect) isn’t something most people want to stomach. Who can blame them? You likely don’t have that person on staff, though (if you do, let them loose on idea generation!)

So there you have it. There is no better time to be in marketing than now! No longer are we viewed as tactical doer’s. We’re now the strategic dreamers that can move organization’s forward. How awesome is that?

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…Cheerio, Mate. 10 things I realized over the past 10 days in London

I had the good fortune to be sent to London for 10 days by my place of employment… and I must say. I had a wonderful time.

Between all the travel and mix of client pitches and onsite work, I had some time to ponder & appreciate what I was experiencing. I may or may not be exaggerating pieces of it..you’ll have to decide for yourself 😉

The soundtrack this time around? “Everything Now,” by Arcade Fire…

1 – Yep. The actual travel part still sucks.

I left on a Wednesday morning. It took 1.5 hours to get to Chicago O’Hare. I wanted to ensure I had ample time to get through security, so I got there three hours early. After making it through, I had 2.5 hours before my flight to walk around the terminal. By the time my plane took off, it was approximately 4:00 pm with a 7 hour journey ahead of me towards Dublin. Did I sleep? Of course not. Landed in Dublin at 5 am local time. A 2 hour layover before hopping another plane to London Heathrow, this time 1 hour.

Finally arrived in London a little past 8 am local time, but I wasn’t done yet. I hopped a train (It was only 15 minutes) to the nearest underground, and then took that for 30 minutes into the city of London and headed to the office. By now it was almost 10:30 am and I felt like a zombie. Good thing I had a full day ahead of me. Speaking of which…

2 – The Human Body really is amazing.
I made sure to eat regular meals and drink lots of fluids during what I described above, but one thing just wasn’t available. Sleep for 24 hours. I was warned by my colleagues (and mentally prepared myself as best I could) that the first day would be rough and just something I’d have to get through. I suppose on one hand, it’s scary how fragile we actually are. One night without sleep and I felt sluggish, foggy and may have been battling some slight vertigo. Nevertheless I made it through the day, which I found funny and fascinating. When I was around my colleagues, I wondered if they could tell how tired I was. Then I’d get pulled into a quick demo or client pitch and I’d get a burst of energy. I did this pretty much all day.


One of the offices I worked in..

Before I left my workplace that evening, I said goodbye to my London colleagues and headed down the elevator to head to the hotel. I didn’t realize it until I walked out of the building that I left my backpack and the rest of my luggage in their office. Yeah, it was time to shut the engines down… I think the total log time was 35 hours. My head hit the pillow around 8 pm and I think it only took about 35 seconds before I was out cold…

3 – London isn’t really known for it’s food
I chatted off and on with friends and family when I was over…and they all wanted to know what kinds of foods I was eating. I never had a good answer, but when I asked one of my work colleagues, they replied that the city wasn’t known specifically for any one food, it was more of an international city. On one hand, I could have anything I wanted. On the other hand, there wasn’t anything special that I could ONLY get in London. I did enjoy the English breakfasts every morning, though (poached eggs, white toast, blood sausage, bacon and baked beans).

4 – Rain isn’t really a big deal
It rained almost every day I was there. On a few of those days, I was accompanied by colleagues … and at first I was like, “We’re walking over there in this weather?” I would get the same emotionless look and a reply of, “Yeah, Mate. It rains a lot. What can you do?” and then they’d be off.. They were right. I got used to being a little wet right before meetings.

5 – Apparently I’m from the moon…
I had an opportunity to spend three days onsite with a client and they were nice enough to bring in food for lunch each day. I picked at the sandwiches and fruit, but admittedly so, I was more focused on presenting and delivering value than I was with eating. At one point, one of the ladies asked me if I’d ever had pie before? Another one of the ladies shot back quickly, “Of course he has! He’s not from the moon!..” The look I gave very much affirmed that…or so we thought. I said, “Yes. Yes I’ve had pie before….” and put one on my plate. I wish I could have seen the look on my face when I bit into it and came up with a mouth full of meat. I was expecting dessert. We all got quite a laugh out of it.

Just afterwards, I was offered tea with milk (which isn’t that weird) but I was a little cautious about it. I had some, of course and everyday after one of the ladies would bring me a cup at approximately the same time… It was very enjoyable. Although…

6 – I take black coffee for granted
So the Brits love their tea…and we Americans love our coffee. I wish you luck over there… it was all expresso’s, flat whites, americano’s, cappuccinos, etc. I’m used to slowly sipping on my black coffee through the mid morning, not a shot of 150 mgs of caffeine all at once.

7 – Politics…was still just politics
Per usual, I’ll leave out my own personal beliefs, but I found it interesting how much the landscape was the same. Instead of reading a bunch of negative daily yahoo articles or newspapers about US leaders, I got used to reading a bunch of negative daily yahoo or newspaper articles about UK leaders. I found it slightly comforting and discouraging all at the same time… I guess you don’t get into politics if you want to be loved …

8 – Speaking English didn’t guarantee people understood me…nor I them.
So the Queen’s English is really a thing. I found it fascinating that multiple times a day, I would have to ask someone to repeat what they said to me. It wasn’t that I didn’t hear them, or understand the words…I just had no idea what they were asking. For any of my colleagues or clients that are reading this, you were all great, but I’d order food, or ask someone a question on the underground, or be in a cab, etc… and yeah. A few times we both just finally nodded our heads, smiled or gave a thumbs up and then stopped talking…

9 – The public transportation is amazing.
I’m sure New York City rivals it (and Chicago is pretty good, too) but I was heavily impressed by London’s public transportation. While I was a bit nervous taking the underground at first and figuring out the directions and changeovers, once I did I was unstoppable. I would take it multiple times a day to all different parts of the city without much concern of getting home. I felt pretty good about that.


My final underground ride (this time anyway) to the airport..

10 – Apparently I look suspicious.
On my way home, I did more of the same travel routine. Hotel > Underground > Train > Train was out so I had to take a cab to Heathrow > Dublin > Chicago > Milwaukee. Needless to say, it was just something I was trying to get through. I knew it wasn’t going to be enjoyable. To add to that, though, right before I got on my flight to Chicago, I was asked by the gate to get out of line, where I was escorted back to security (where I’d just came from) for a full pat down and inspection of my luggage. I likely didn’t help matters because I was less than enthused and had been up since 4:30 am. I cooperated but continued to have a scowl on my face while they looked through my dirty laundry and patted me down. They brought me back to the plane and told me to have a nice flight. I forced a smile their way and walked to my seat… I couldn’t wait to get home. Either that or I was just randomly selected 😉

So there you have it. I’ve written in the past about the Euphoria associated with doing things that make you uncomfortable (and succeeding anyway) or just shaking up your normal routine. Walking back into my home in Milwaukee yesterday, that feeling was all mine.

Until next time…


…and like that it’s over. 10 things I realized over the past 7 months as an entrepreneur.

For anyone who has been following my stint as an entrepreneur, I wanted to update the world one last time. I’ve decided to join Canpango, a Salesforce and Marketing Automation company located in Milwaukee, WI… and I couldn’t be more excited. I feel like I owe some kind of explanation, though, after my last posts.

I realized the happiest moments of my career/life have been centered around helping people, mostly on a 1-1 basis. Whether it was supporting sales, leading projects that excited colleagues, or training on new processes/technology… that’s what all my thoughts & conversations always go back to – moving people forward in different ways. Hopefully, those 1-1 instances add up and are either paid in advance or emulated by others, enabling the masses.

The end goal from a business standpoint is to be a Chief Executive Officer, stewarding the people, vision and assets of a major company/organization. I’m realizing as I get older just how much more experience I will need to have a chance at being successful in that. I will need to further understand people (and not assume I know). What they want and why. To understand situations. To not buckle under some unforeseen pressure. To trust people. To respect them. I’ll need failures & frustrations. I’ll need successes & euphoria. I’ll need experiences with other job functions that are outside my comfort zone. Perhaps most of all, I will need people to teach me. To have faith in me. To trust me.

^ Those were all things I was getting before I became an entrepreneur… I also feel I have a certain skill in Digital Marketing at the moment that should be utilized to it’s maximum. I can make these Marketing Automation platforms sing … and am really looking forward to the opportunity ahead of me.

… but I firmly believe entrepreneurship has helped me, because it taught me so much more about myself. Here’s what I learned over the past seven months. Take it with a grain of salt, as it’s very subjective and only meant to be a window into my personal career journey for anyone who is contemplating making similar moves. I’ll warn you it’s contradictory at times (My hunch is that listening to David Bowie’s, ‘Cat People,’ while writing had something to do with this).

When I first made the leap, I knew I’d be working from home and on my own for awhile. I’ve always enjoyed time to myself, so I wasn’t too concerned, but everything has it’s limits. What I found interesting was that being alone wasn’t so much a problem. The problem was how much I enjoyed being alone. I didn’t think about it at first, but I’d spend pretty much all week by myself…and I was fine. It wasn’t until I realized that I was getting a little anxious (I’m fine, really) at times before I’d have to go out and be social that I wondered if maybe I was spending too much time on my own.

FullSizeRender (4)

Where some of the magic happened.

The solution? I quickly learned I needed to stick to a strong routine. Up before 7 am every morning, shower, big breakfast, move through the To Do List, exercise, bedtime at a consistent time, etc… analyze if you must, but get MOVING! I also began to incorporate social activities (luckily I’ve got the best friends and family) on a regular basis. Keeping a schedule actually helped keep me ambitious… An object in motion stays in motion and as I said, I want to help people. You need to be around in order to do that..

I’ve been in the private sector. I’ve been in the consulting world. I’ve been in the agency world. I always had a reputation as a polite, smart and hardworking individual that could give a commanding presentation, but was my success because of that… or because of other people? I could write an entire blog on everyone in my career that have helped me and instilled their knowledge/wisdom (or at least tried to…).

This was on my mind, though. In this case, I had no one else to blame, praise, question, etc. about what was working and what was not. It was all on me. Well, as I wrote last time, I not only established my business, but I secured five clients … and we did good work together. I feel like some of the relationships I developed were on par with similar ones I’ve helped cultivate in the past. I’m very proud of that.

I found it’s easy to be defined by others and to forget our true passions. Once perceptions are created they are hard to break. Tides go in and out, but in random order, I’ve been told I’m too nice. I’ve been told I lack empathy. I’ve been told I talk too much. I’ve been told I’m too quiet. I’ve been praised as an excellent listener. I’ve been told I don’t listen at all. I’ve been told to own the things I’ve earned. I’ve been told I act entitled. I’ve been pegged as “just a sales guy”. I’ve been pegged as “just a technical guy”. I’ve been pegged as “just a creative”. I’ve been told I’m too detailed. I’ve been told I lack attention to details. I’ve been told I don’t know how to take care of others. I’ve been highly recommended as someone who looks out for the best interests of others. I’ve been told I’m not a writer. I’ve been told I’m a great writer and to write more. I’ve been complimented on how much I’ve made people feel at ease. I’ve been told I make others uncomfortable and can be downright terrifying. The list goes on… but it all led to confusion and some restless nights.

I talk about how I want coaching, feedback and advice. I’m very grateful I received some, but what was I going to do with it?..and what goal would I apply it to? I had to accept (and did) that in different situations all of the above were true (and in some cases on purpose). Then I began to wonder how much I wanted to smooth off my rougher edges, as individual instances will not define me. I will be defined by what I accomplish… and I suppose that takes time, more effort..and just being a human (or not trying to be so perfect). My point is that I realized people were always at the center of what I wanted to do and it was great to see that naturally come back out. When I think back on all the things I’ve been involved in, there was always a person or group of people at the end of the scenario. It feels silly to type, but sometimes it can be hard to do (and easy to forget) what you want to do.

… and then I began to sleep again.

I have mixed feelings about people discussing their own level of emotional intelligence, but I do think I improved mine over the past year. I spent a lot of time in coffee shops (more on that later) and I began to see some regular faces. I couldn’t help but study their expressions or wonder what they were thinking and what they’d been through. Some people were always in there by themselves and you began to get a sense of their feelings. Some seemed lonely, some seemed ambitious, some seemed nervous as they waited for an obvious first date or job interview, some cooling down post workout, some writing a novel, some were just there to study or pass the time until something better came along …and everything in between. I absolutely loved being an observer.

I began saying hi to people just because I worried no one else had said it to them in awhile…then I began to wonder what people thought of me, as I was doing much the same thing every day… but the best part? I carried it with me after I left. You don’t always know what kind of day people had or what they are dealing with, so whether at the grocery store, or getting cut off on the highway during rush hour, or sharing the elevator with the grumpy man at 6 pm… I started to smile more and just ask people how they were doing…and actually wanted to know. Cool things started to happen. One such conversation was about the cold brew a gentleman next to me was having. I also saw he was reading, “How to win friends and influence people,” by Dale Carnegie. On his way out, he bought me the same cold brew and had the cashier bring it over to me, giving me the peace sign as he walked out the door. I thought that was wonderful. It was great to see another person thinking about this kind of stuff…

I also realized empathy wasn’t about having pity on people. Whatever race we’re in is with ourselves, and some people don’t want or need help. They don’t want you to ask them certain things. They don’t want you digging into their business. They don’t want you to plan things for them or assume you know how they think/feel. They don’t want to save the world, destroy it or anything in between. They just want to live their lives and need a means to do so. Sometimes staying away or out of the way was the best thing to do. Understanding that makes for an interesting balance and I haven’t figured out how to put it into words yet. Even furthermore, in other cases, some things couldn’t be my responsibility and/or I didn’t grasp the situation, no matter how much I wanted to…

The most interesting part? I’m still not sure I’m right about any of it..

I didn’t mention it before, but this is actually my second entrepreneurial stint. The first one failed pretty miserably. Speaking of experience, I knew from the first stint that I’d need to establish the LLC, a business checking account, organize some marketing, etc… but I took it more seriously this time. I wrote up an actual business plan, created a balance sheet and hired other professionals to help me with legal, marketing and accounting efforts.


I hired Katie Robleski to create my website.  I told her I wanted a touch of Michael Mann throughout.

This allowed me to focus on sales and execution right away. What I’m happiest about is the fact that I not only kept the lights on, I made a good profit. I very much feel I ran a successful business, something I didn’t feel like last time.

Accounting is hard. Legal is confusing. The best sales people are truly a special breed.

I have a good friend who agreed to help me with my taxes and he is as passionate about his job (and better at it) as I am mine. It was great to share in and see.  Another good friend created videos for me, for free (and he knew what he was doing). I hired a lawyer to help with all the legal aspects. He loved talking about it… and it made me feel like I had the right guy. As for sales..to be able to take the rejection day in and day out and 1) keep doing it, 2) not let it affect other aspects of your day  and 3) close some deals …is all beyond impressive. I definitely have some sales in my blood, but I’m too sensitive to get turned down so much or just straight up ignored. Maybe it was because of Karma and an example of me not being empathetic. I don’t always get back to sales people, either..

So I admit I didn’t like all of the sales rejections, but I understood that in order to market my company, I would have to market myself… and that meant I’d have to be out there…ALL the way out there. All of the quote photos, blog articles, client information, videos etc. I knew it may be too much information, but I also knew that certain percentages of people were going to react differently. Some were going to love it. Some would applaud it. Some would like it. Some would dislike it. Some would make fun of it. Some would absolutely hate it.

It didn’t matter. My intentions were good and I’ve known for awhile there is no in between. You either get everything…or nothing from me and I needed to be comfortable with the reactions to that. … and there was something about both failing and succeeding in front of a massive audience. Regardless of the outcomes, the sun still came up every morning and whether you dusted yourself off or settled down after a “Risky Business” victory dance, it was, “Okay now what?” Life moved forward..

Wow. Turns out I was getting taxed twice. Once on my over-all net profits and again when I paid myself (What!!?). Furthermore, not only was I spending my own money to run my business, but I had to spend additional money for my health benefits and to keep my retirement fund growing, which was detrimental to my income at the end of the year…something I took for granted working at other businesses. I also learned what you can write off, what you should write off, what you shouldn’t write off…and really just how the whole process works.

It made me even more fascinated with people who can launch and maintain successful businesses.

I recently went to the doctor for my annual physical. My weight was down, my blood pressure excellent and my cholesterol numbers all got better. A big improvement over last year, when I began to notice a ton of grey hair invading my scalp…

Did I lower my stress level? Was I having more fun? Was I eating better? Jogging more? Tanning (lol..)? Yes – all of the above, but all of that was more manageable for some reason on my own. There were still some occasional, moody cigarettes, though (oops).

Colectivo was my office for the past seven months. Go there. The atmosphere they have created at their shops is amazing. The coffee? I regularly had to ditch my medium sized mug because of the caffeine jitters… and I’ve been a black coffee drinker for about ten years. The green tea, though? I think I supplied their demand.. I’ll miss being able to spend my days there..

FullSizeRender (5).jpg

Colectivo – my other office.

So there you have it. This little journey has been such a special experience and one that I’m certain I’ll recall fondly as I move forward. I hope to keep you all updated occasionally, but it might be a bit as I undertake my new challenge.


What I tell my parents I do for a living..

Have you ever been asked the question, “How do you explain what you do for a living to your parents?”

“Well, I code webpages and write e-mails and train administrators on the latest tech trends and do graphic design and…what?  Oh, yeah Uncle Matt’s son does something similar…”  Do they actually know the end game of why you’re doing what you do?

It’s the new elevator pitch.  As new generations take over, it’s a valid question.  As someone in my early 30’s, I need new technology explained to me so I can’t imagine what it will be like in another 30 years.  People who can quickly and simply explain what they do and get a genuine excited response (You know…not the “Oh yeah, sure” head nod before changing the topic) will do well.

I read an article recently about former President Barack Obama talking about the joys of failing at times in front of the entire world and the freedom that it creates as far as moving an agenda forward (This is not a political post, I just related to the humility).

So Here goes… Here is what I do.

Web 2.0 is a term given to the second generation of the World Wide Web that is focused on the ability for people to collaborate and share information online.  It’s made up of blogs, wiki’s, social media, personalized web sites, etc, etc.  There are platforms that consolidate all of this activity and more.  For example, people no longer need social media, search engine marketing, e-mail marketing, etc. explained to them, but did you know that Marketing Automation is really just combining all of these elements to gauge people’s interests in your topics and make the information they look at even more relevant?

The next generation, where I want to play, is focused on combining all of these elements to learn about people, present them relevant offers and track whether they engage with you.  In a business sense, this engagement should be in the form of leads generated, qualified and closed in the form of sales revenue.  To get started, you need a cohesive Digital Marketing Strategy…and that’s what I do best for organizations.

…and for the record, this is not a diss on our parents.  For anyone that considers me a smart individual, my parents are on a level that I’m still aspiring to.  Maybe 😉

I’d welcome some comments (we’ll see if another certain Pellizzi pipes up) ..


[Video Series] Part 3 of 3: Scoring Model and CRM Integration

In the last Video Series Post, we charted out the Digital Landscape and defined Marketing Automation for your organization. Now it’s time to tie everything together with a scoring model and CRM Integration.


Hi – my name is James Pellizzi and I help companies set up Marketing Automation. Last time we talked we defined Marketing Automation and charted out The Digital Landscape. Now, we will introduce a scoring model and CRM component that will tie everything together.

Imagine a salesperson pipeline. Without Marketing Automation, they do not know who is hot, cold or somewhere in the middle. They are hoping whoever they call or set a meeting with will be interested in their product or service. Some of those will result in sales.

There is a way that we can identify who we are interested in and of that group, who is interested in us. This is grading and scoring. For a basic example, a sales person would grade the following:

A: Buyers – I’m in sales. I want to talk to people who buy.
B: Managers – perhaps they manage the buyers.
C: Vice Presidents – may be more removed.
D: Presidents – will likely be removed.

This is who we are interested in. From this group, we can start to score them, such as:

1: Sales Qualified Lead – Intent to buy
2: Marketing Qualified Lead – not quite ready but interested
3: Inquiry – hand raisers
4: Nothing – don’t bother

Marketing Automation can combine these two elements and now sales know who to focus on first. This will correlate to higher sales.

The final piece to this is CRM integration. In Marketing Automation, everything is associated with a campaign. That campaign generates a lead that is sent over to CRM. Once in CRM, a sales person will either convert that lead to an opportunity or kill it. When converted, they need to associate a dollar amount with that opportunity. When that opportunity is won, it’s tied back to the campaign in Marketing Automation. Boom – now you have ROI.

Now you know how to generate a lead, qualify a lead and send it off to sales for closing.

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[Video Series] Part 2 of 3: The Digital Landscape

In the last Video Series Post, we defined what Marketing Automation was. Now that we know, we can chart out the Digital Landscape and determine how it will work for your organization.


Hi my name is james pellizzi. Last time we talked we defined what marketing automation is.  Now that we know we are going to chart out what that looks like on the digital landscape.

When I need information on something, the first thing I do is go to google or bing and I search for it.  Let’s say we’re looking for widgets.  I will type in widget in the search engine and google will pull up the most relevant search for that page.  When my company name, Acme, shows up first…it will point to a very basic landing page with a simple photo, headline and value proposition.  It will also have a form to fill out for more information.  This will generate an inquiry.  This is important because 10-20 years ago we’d send this right to sales.  This made them unhappy because this person wasn’t necessary ready to buy and they wanted it further qualified.

Now is where the other components of marketing automation come into play.  We can send them e-mails.  We can track their social media activities like video’s and remarketing.  Finally, we can personalize their websites with welcome back banners or specific offers.  These are all Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) activities that we can track.

At some point, the lead will become a Sales Qualified Lead which will make sales happy.  They can follow up with this person who they know filled out a form, opened five e-mails, watched a social media three times and responded to an offer.

The real opportunity is that marketing departments can run campaigns like this 25 plus times to generate leads for sales.  This is how Marketing becomes more strategic, instead of tactical.

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+ Digital Marketing Transformation

[Video Series] Part 1 of 3: Defining Marketing Automation

Companies are in a race to establish Marketing Automation for their organization. Before you can do that, you must first understand what it is.

Hi my name is James Pellizzi and I help companies set up Marketing Automation.

Companies first need to understand what that phrase means. It’s important to remember it’s not Marketing Automation. It’s Marketing AND Automation.

The components are as follows: e-mail marketing, personalized webpages, social media & search engine marketing, scoring models and CRM integration. These are nothing new and you likely know what they consist of. The first points generate and qualify a lead while the latter ones deliver it to sales.

The first mode of operation includes a contact database.. So if a CMO or CEO asks you to pull up everyone in a state or industry, you should be able to do so within minutes. Second, it’s an engagement engine to have relevant conversations. The third is a Smarter Marketing Department. Marketing Automation is not replacing Marketing Departments. It is taking them to the next level. This is important. It will make your department less tactical and more strategic.

For the Marketing aspects, think of the show Mad Men. It’s about a brand that can tell a story that resonates with their audiences. For the Automation aspects, think of the show Silicon Valley. People who are behind the scenes setting up the actual paths, html and code. Most company’s have one or the other and it is imperative that you have both.

Now that you know the definition of Marketing Automation, you can chart the digital landscape.

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Cancel at any time Earn per week Have you been turned down?
Cannot be combined with any other offer Easy terms Hidden assets
Cash bonus Eliminate bad credit Home employment
Cashcashcash Email harvest Human growth hormone
Casino Email marketing If only it were that easy
Cell phone cancer scam Expect to earn In accordance with laws
Cents on the dollar Fantastic deal Increase sales
Check or money order Fast Viagra delivery Increase traffic
Claims not to be selling anything Financial freedom Insurance
Claims to be in accordance with some spam law Find out anything Investment decision
Claims to be legal For free It’s effective
Join millions of Americans No questions asked Reverses aging
Laser printer No selling Risk free
Limited time only No strings attached Round the world
Long distance phone offer Not intended S 1618
Lose weight spam Off shore Safeguard notice
Lower interest rates Offer expires Satisfaction guaranteed
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Lowest price Offers extra cash Save big money
Luxury car Offers free (often stolen) passwords Save up to
Mail in order form Once in lifetime Score with babes
Marketing solutions One hundred percent free Section 301
Mass email One hundred percent guaranteed See for yourself
Meet singles One time mailing Sent in compliance
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Mortgage rates Orders shipped by priority mail Stock alert
Multi level marketing Outstanding values Stock disclaimer statement
Name brand Pennies a day Stock pick
New customers only People just leave money laying around Stop snoring
New domain extensions Please read Strong buy
Nigerian Potential earnings Stuff on sale
No age restrictions Print form signature Subject to credit
No catch Print out and fax Supplies are limited
No claim forms Produced and sent out Take action now
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I like to Score

It’s true. I’ve hooked up with Pardot, Eloqua, Marketo and many other Marketing Automation platforms.

The hallmark trait of all these is their ability to score their contact database.

Prospecting doesn’t have to be a numbers game. Sure, if you call or e-mail enough people with the same offer, a small percentage will engage with you. You’re bound to get something.

… but why? The platform will tell you who is checking you out, what their interests are and if they want to connect. This isn’t a numbers game, it’s a relevant courtship.

People will tell you who they are and what they want. You have to listen and reach out when the timing is right. This will result in a much more rewarding relationship with your client, anyways. Why waste your time when someone isn’t ready or want what you have to offer?

A good scoring model will help your company do this and more. Check out what some of the below platforms offer in this regard:

Don’t see your platform or looking for help on how to get started? Let’s talk.


Personality Quizzes for B2B Marketplaces

As B2B company’s continue to tackle Digital Marketing they will continue to look at what works in a B2C space. This includes Personality or Assessment Quizzes.

I’m sure you’ve taken one or two (or maybe a lot more). They have titles like, “What US President are you?” or “What vacation spot is perfect for you?” or “What kind of dessert are you?”

Digital Marketing is the Wild West for B2B company’s right now and Marketing departments are in flux. Not to relinquish their role to support sales activities, but to go beyond the normal.

.. and creating a personality/assessment like type of activity is something they can do. Imagine you are a buyer or engineer. Before they know about your company or service, they don’t want a newsletter or promo blast from you. They want something of value that will help them do their job.

First, get them on a landing page that explains the assessment they are about to take. Explain how it will help them benefit their job. Ask them to submit a form that only includes their first name and e-mail address. Upon submital, have a new page load that asks the first question. Every time they click next, have another page load with a new question. It’s imperative you have new pages load, otherwise they are only filling out a long contact us form.

Behind the scenes, assign scores to their answers. Also assign a grade based on their activities. Upon submitting their final question, have their grade show up. At this point, ask them to give you a little more information and ask them if it’s okay to have sales contact them. Below is an example for a company that distributes safety equipment.

When was the last time you replaced your safety equipment?

  1. Last Year (Assign 25 points)
  2. 1-3 Years ago (Assign 20 Points)
  3. 3-5 Years Ago (Assign 15 Points)
  4. Over 5 Years Ago (Assign 10 Points)

In the past five years, have you ever failed an OSHA evaluation?

  1. Never (Assign 25 Points)
  2. Once (Assign 20 Points)
  3. A few times (Assign 15 Points)
  4. We’ve never been evaluated (Assign 10 Points)

In the past five years, have you ever had an onsite injury in your warehouse?

  1. Never (Assign 25 Points)
  2. Once (Assign 20 Points)
  3. A few times (Assign 15 Points)
  4. It’s a regular occurrence (Assign 10 Points)

Does your company have a safety policy in place that employees review?

  1. Yes. It’s reviewed at least monthly (Assign 25 Points)
  2. Yes. It’s reviewed once a year (Assign 20 Points)
  3. Yes, but it’s not taken seriously (Assign 15 Points)
  4. No or I’m not sure (Assign 10 Points)

If I answer all questions perfectly, I get a score of 100, which could correlate to an A grade. If I score this, sales doesn’t need to contact me and will not raise my hand. If I answer all questions poorly, I get a score of 40, which could relate to an F grade. In this case, I will raise my hand for help and sales has all the information they need to help this person/company. Sounds like true lead generation/qualification activities to me..

Consider this if you have Pardot, Marketo, Eloqua, Hubspot or something similar.




Six Things to Consider when Implementing a CRM Tool.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools are a must have for organizations of all sizes.  They tend to garner a love or hate relationship … and it can be pretty black and white.

CRM, broken down to it’s simplest form, is a reporting tool.  It allows an organization to forecast sales and manage pipeline.

When a CRM is first implemented, it changes a sales person’s life.  Whereas they may be used to being a rock star in their organization and largely on their own, now they might feel like they have a tracking device on them…and you don’t want your best sales people to feel that way.  I’m referring to the individuals who make things happen.  Who handle rejection on a regular basis.  Who cultivate relationships.  Who take notes they jotted down on a napkin at a cocktail party and turn it into a million dollar account.

The best sales people are largely responsible for the financial success of the company’s they work for.  How do you preserve that mode of operation while implementing a CRM?

Suddenly, sales now has to report everything they are doing.  Every call they make.  Every win.  Every loss (rejection).  Every visit.  This gives a Sales Manager or Director direct insight into their activities and an opportunity to potentially micromanage them.  In this case, sales will likely begin whispering that this tool is Big Brother and hampering them to do their jobs effectively.  When this happens, it’s a signal your CRM implementation is failing.

…so how do you avoid this?

If set up properly, CRM should save time and money.  Here’s a few things to consider:

1 – Set up a pipeline report for Sales.  Give them a graphic report that shows their sales activities at various stages in real time.  This makes planning their update meetings much easier and will save them time and stress.

2 – Set up Task Management.  Sales doesn’t want to be on the phone with marketing asking for materials or with inside sales detailing out what a quote should look like.  Make it possible for them to send simple and easy tasks that show real time progress right in CRM.  Time not spent hounding marketing and inside sales is time now spent on direct sales activities.

3 – Influence your Sales Leadership to focus on the reporting aspect or only opportunities that have a certain dollar or partnership amount.  This will prevent the micromanagement perception.

4 – Integrate a social feed.  This allows the company to follow people, opportunities, etc.  It fosters competition, camaraderie and enjoyment. Individuals can post messages to each other, congratulate big wins, offer advice on losses, etc.

5 – Plan for mobile.  Consider giving your sales teams tablets with a cellular network.  This encourages them to make a note or update an opportunity in real time.  Perhaps this is them sitting in their car in the parking lot after a call, rather than spending a Friday afternoon digging through the past week’s notes trying to remember all the details..

6 – Integrate Marketing Automation.  You want sales to live in CRM?  Generate quality leads for them and make them only available in CRM.

Finally, communicate early and often what the CRM’s intention is.  If you don’t want it to be Big Brother..say so.  Good intentions don’t mean much, though. Including some of these points will back up your talk with good actions.

+ Digital Marketing Transformation and Marketing

What should I spend on Digital Marketing?

Digital Marketing pricing can vary.  Your Marketing Department has bodies. Able bodies. Smart bodies. Can they handle the strategic vision and technical execution of Digital Marketing? All the while executing their other tasks? You may need to bring in some outside expertise, added horsepower or sounding boards.

Depending on your selections, the total could be as low as $30,000 or closer to $500,000+ on the high end over one year.

You have options when it comes to the type of service provider you select:

Independent Consultant and Small Shop: This includes 1 or 2 people working on your account. You’ll get well rounded individuals with a wide range of expertise. Expect very personal service. Expect a more relaxed build with your internal team being very hands on.

Mid Size Agency: This includes 3-5 people working on your account. You will get a regimented plan and specific experts in each topic, such as Search Engine Marketing, E-mail Marketing, Content Strategy, etc. Prices are a higher because you’re paying for more people and their associated knowledge.

Consulting Partner: You’re paying for perfection and you will get it. The consulting companies have smart and sometimes endless resources. You will have access to any topic you can think of. You will get a turnkey solution setup and running from day one that WILL yield results. Expect intensity. Training doesn’t come until after the build and could last a little longer.


  • Independent Consultant or Small Shop: $5,000 – $10,000
  • Mid Size Agency: $10,000 – $50,000
  • Consulting Partner: $50,001 +

Why you need it: Most processes fail because the organization as a whole doesn’t understand it’s benefits. Define what this will do for your organization. Chart out Objectives, Foundational Activities that identify the people/processes/technologies needed for success, chart out Quick Wins and what Full Maturity looks like. The company’s that are most successful get buy in on this road map from their Executive Team and communicate it through their entire organization. The last part can be fun.


  • Independent Consultant or Small Shop: $5,000
  • Mid Size Agency: $5,000 – $20,000
  • Consulting Partner: $20,001 +

Why you need it: All platforms sell hard. An independent party will give you their unbiased opinion on what is best for your organization. They can coordinate demo’s and feature/benefit presentations from vendors.

PLATFORM COST: $2,000 – $30,000 +

What are you goals? Are you sending a newsletter to 100 people? MailChimp will do that at a low cost. Are you planning to connect social media, search engine marketing, e-mail marketing and personalizing websites to generate brand awareness? You’ll need a bigger, more expensive platform like Pardot, Marketo or Eloqua..to name a few. Another determining factor is the size of your contact database. If you’re going to have over 10,000 contacts right off the bat, add on another one or two dollars per extra contact.

Why you need it: True Marketing Automation is just that…automated. You need a platform that can do that with ease.


  • Independent Consultant or Small Shop: $5,000 – $10,000
  • Mid Size Agency: $10,000 – $20,000
  • Consulting Partner: $20,001 +

Why you need it: Once you select the platform, they all come with a checklist to get started. Keep momentum. The hard part isn’t setting up the platform, it’s using it. Protect your Administrator’s time and energy.


  • Independent Consultant or Small Shop: $10,000
  • Mid Size Agency: $10,000 – $30,000
  • Consulting Partner: $30,001 +

This is the most critical step. As soon as the platform is setup, pivot to creating campaigns as outlined in the Quick Win section of the roadmap. Companies that use the platform right away have a better chance at realizing true Marketing Automation. Professional branding, content strategy and technical execution gaurentee this. One’s that wait or putz around with sending out a newsletter four times a year lose momentum.

Why you need it: Added Horsepower. Your Administrator’s will become directly involved, but you need immediate results to keep credibility in your organization. Pay for the execution to ensure momentum.


  • Independent Consultant or Small Shop: $5,000
  • Mid Size Agency: $5,000 – $10,000
  • Consulting Partner: $10,000 +

Why you need it: The first year should see the process implemented and executed by a third party with expertise and experience in doing so. As the year progresses, plan to transition over to the internal team. This includes training and documentation. Sometimes an administrator needs a like minded individual to use as a sounding board.

As with anything, you get what you pay for.


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