Scott Brinker’s ‘Marketing Technology Landscape’ Map – 2015 Edition

Scott Brinker of @chiefmartec has done it again – further updating his Marketing Technology Landscape infographic / map.  I love this infographic for two reasons; (1) if I ever need to see what companies are providing services in a certain area, I just have to zoom in 15x, and (2) it gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger every year.

The real lesson out of all of this is that if you – as a business – have to rely on a graph like this to get traffic / customers – instead of showing up on page 1 search results for a simple, topical search keyword – you have a SEO problem. 293

Thank you, Scott!  Just when you thought you knew it all – he can always show you more.  View his MarTec blog @ http://chiefmartec.com

The Digital Agency vs. In-House Debate

If you’ve ever had to make the decision of expanding your in-house team or hiring a marketing agency to bring your digital goals and marketing wish list to life – you’re not alone. In my opinion, it’s the best marketers that test options, opportunities and weigh the risks and rewards of each step (it’s the key to improvement, innovation and optimization).

Here are some of the benefits a digital marketing agency will provide (vs. sourcing in-house);

Inject Creativity Into Your Brand

Trying to solve the same problems all day can become stale and challenging. While a single focus can develop expertise, after a while it can be difficult for some in-house teams to think outside the box and see the forest through the trees. Agencies who work with a variety of industries and clients can offer new opinions and creative solutions that may not be visible to the tired eye. Supporting your in-house team with a fresh look and new perspective on developing a digital strategy can keep your brand competitive and positioned as an industry leader. Remember, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Let Your Team Focus On Executing

Hiring an external marketing team can be a great compliment to your existing in-house assets. You provide help in shaping the overall strategic direction while your agency manages the operational duties of marketing production. This can free up your team, both mentally and physically, to focus on nurturing and closing the leads your agency is responsible for pulling in. Let your brand devote its resources to navigating through internal meetings and executing.

Experience Is The Best Teacher

Making the right choice for an internal team involves finding individuals you can trust to execute a wide variety of marketing strategies. This issue is, you don’t want a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. Agencies hire experts to fill specialized roles so they can hone their niche skills and come together as a team to create a singular marketing unit. That expertise paired with a network of trusted partners can be a big compliment to your already established team.

Home Field Advantage

Your agency is more that your business partner; it’s your pillar of support to answer questions, educate your team, and keep your business ahead of the curve. From local companies to international brands, businesses can benefit from the experience and deep understanding of user behaviors and interests agencies possess. If you want to market to a specific geographic area (country, region, etc), finding an agency that is in that area can be key – they know your consumer well, because they are your consumer. For example, doing SEO or Paid Media in the US really is best done by agencies in the US because they understand the regional linguistics and the localization that needs to happen with any marketing, advertising or content.

An Ace Up Your Sleeve

Agencies perform the same tasks in a variety of industries to become experts at optimizing campaigns and strategies. This eliminates the learning curve and saves your business time and money by hitting the ground running.

Agencies also have access to the best tools, platforms, and technology and can often be more cost effective than purchasing a tool and in-house management. Many agencies already have access to a wide variety of tools and for the same price as many top industry tools, your brand can have an entire team to manage campaigns and analyze results.

Reduce Risk

Whatever direction your brand choses to take, it’s a big decision. Brands must measure the risk vs. reward for their particular situation to be confident in their choice. Agencies allow your business to get a tailor fit service that can be adjusted based on exactly when and where you need help. While agency expenses can seem like a lot up front, consider that hiring an employee actually costs at least 30% more than their salary. Hiring the wrong employee can lead to even greater expenses such as recruiting costs, salary, benefits, other costs (office equipment, training, managing), HR issues, missed business opportunities, impact on employee morale, and severance. For the same price as one expert level employee, you brand can have access to a complete team of resources including specialists, strategists, analysts, and experts. An external team also eliminates the risk of what may happen if members of your in-house team leave.

Conclusion

Before your business takes the next leap into developing it’s digital marketing strategy, consider all the components that influence your bottom line. Your results are directly tied to your available resources and the efficiency of your execution.

 

 

Free PPC Tools that make life, fun…

Thanks to Melissa Mackey with SEW for mentioning some of the not-so-obvious PPC / SEM / Paid Search tools out there that make life more, well… fun (aka – giving you the time back in your day so that you can actually go off the grid for a minute or two).   She highlights 23 free tools like;

  • Uber Suggest (keyword suggestions outside of keyword planner)
  • Soovle (search results on various engines)
  • Convertable (lead source & keyword tracking)

…and more in her article on SEW.

If you know nothing else about SEO in 2015 – memorize this list.

If you know nothing else about SEO in 2015 – memorize this of the TOP 11 SEO TACTICS in 2015, compiled by Pratik Dholakiya with SEW.  While there are over 200 ranking factors (and a more refined, smaller list recommended by MOZ), if you can master & execute regularly on these tactics, you’re doing better than most marketers;

  1. Create Incredible Content that Earns Links
  2. Create Co-Citation Links
  3. Create Editorial Links
  4. Fix Broken Links
  5. Conduct Link Reclamation (Brand Mentions, Content Usage)
  6. Conduct Link Outreach (New Placements, Mentions, Content)
  7. Conduct Competitor Analysis (Find Competitor Placements)
  8. Focus on ROI instead of Rank
  9. Map your SEO Strategy to an Audience (or Audiences)
  10. Optimize for All Search Engines (or, well – master Google)
  11. Focus on Mobile SEO Criteria & Keywords

Note how 65% of that list is focused on link building – it’s certainly not dead, and still is one of the few SEO tactics that can move the needle when all else has been done with On-Page SEO.

The Changing Landscape of Search & Key Trend Traffic ‘Rush’

Danny Sullivan is a pretty radical guy.  When I saw him present The Changing Landscape of Search, and I noticed he was wearing Google Glass while paddle boarding I thought, “wow – you know you’ve made it when Google sends you so many Glass prototypes that you use them as goggles.”

More importantly, he made sure that everyone knows that SEO IS DEAD.

Well, not quite yet.  In fact, his presentation shows all of the new changes in the search landscape that prove it is ever-changing, and that marketers need to evolve as well to adjust (in everything from scraper keywords & sites, pandas, penguins, to click to call changes).  In fact – looking at a higher level on search trends, he was also able to show that search is still critically relevant – something most men realize in the day or hours before Valentines Day;

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Thank you, Danny.

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant Tool

Gartner is a powerhouse when it comes to research and understanding the vendor / tool / platform / provider landscape, similar to Forrester.  What I love most is their use (or the way that they’ve branded the standard competitive landscape quadrant) into Gartner’s Magic Quadrant.  Now, if only it actually worked magically, I would give it a bit more credit.  When evaluating any supplement to your business, it’s helpful to get a bird’s eye view on what all of your options look like with this ‘tool’ and it’s definition of;

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Search 101 – by Google

For those uncomfortable conversations that you need to have with executives that don’t understand how search works (or those that don’t know that ‘natural’ / organic search results aren’t really 100% natural) – Google’s found a way to make that akward convo more entertaining with Inside Search & How Search Works.  Everything from how search engines (particularly Google) crawl, index sites, how their algorithm ‘works’, fighting spam, and cool toys in the ‘playground’ area (with some oldies and goodies) – and some tips & tricks on how to make life, well… easier.

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SEO Platforms vs. SEO Agency Team

Interesting report released recently by Digital Marketing Depot as a Marketer’s Guide to Enterprise SEO Platforms in 2015.  This brings up the case that any platform would be useless without the team needed to assess and interpret the data, implement changes, and develop content around a solid content marketing strategy.

So – a SEO platform is really only one piece to the SEO puzzle, whereby most top SEO agencies these days give you access to these very same platforms at a reduced cost, or as part of their cost, similar to the same cost of the platform itself.  SEO Strategists, Analysts, Tools, Content Dev, Link Building, Reporting Management = Agency Team, where even the… Cost of an Agency Team & Tools = Cost of a Single SEO Platform.

Still – SEO platforms are worth reviewing, just to stay on top of what’s available in the marketplace;

Vox’s Card Stacks – short & sweet info distillation

Media, news & information done right – via Vox’s Card Stacks & pubs / media brands (like Eater, Curbed, Vox.com, Polygon, The Verge, SB Nation, Racked).  With their success (and Google’s own Cards / Knowledge Graph), it’s clear that new content forms are not just nice to have, they’re a requirement (short, sweet, & visual) – a trend that has already been happening in the mobile space, is now coming to desktop (see apps like Looksee, Nat Geo View, etc.)

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Google’s Consumer Barometer on Internet Use

Google did it again – they’ve built another great tool to help geeks like me spend hours delving through all of the research they’ve managed to attain and present in a nice, simple, interactive format (that’s a case study in itself!).  This time, with the Consumer Barometer, where you can explore key findings from research or build your own graphs with data collected around;

  • The Multi-Screen World
  • The Smart Shopper
  • The Smart Viewer

For instance, in studying The Smart Viewer, asking the question, “how often do people watch videos on their smartphone?”

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