Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Order the book now on Amazon.com Get the Inbound Marketing Book . Originally published Sep 1, 2009 3:31:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 Like this cartoon? Find many more in the Inbound Marketing book.
It was a piece of cake to write — you might notice it doesn’t have a boat load of text, all you writing-averse out there — and it provided helpful content. And it was all based off an Excel file from several years ago!6) It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare.In fact, it’s better if it’s not. Many marketers get caught up in the idea of being a writer, but blogging doesn’t have to be a creative exercise; it can simply be a documentation of information. Instead of trying to flower up your language, just focus on writing like you’d speak. You’ll find that content is not only easier to write that way — most people don’t have much trouble talking, after all — but it sounds more natural, too. That means your readers will enjoy reading it, because it isn’t some high falutin’ content that tries to sound all smart and fancy. It’s just straight-forward, easy-to-get-through blog content that answers their questions … and maybe converts them into a lead, while you’re at it ;-)7) There are proofreaders and editors in the world.Remember, you’re a subject matter expert — that’s the biggest value you bring to the role of business blogger. So if you’re worried that you can’t blog because you’re not good at figuring out where in the sentence a comma goes, don’t let that deter you; simply recruit a grammar-savvy friend or coworker to look over your content for you before it’s published. A quick proof of a blog post takes no more than 10-15 minutes! You might also even download our handy Internet Marketing Written Style Guide for some helpful reference.If you’re less concerned with grammar and punctuation, and have more difficulty getting into “story-telling” mode, an editor might be for you. Again, you have the subject-matter expertise to write the blog post, you just might not have a knack for figuring out in what order your information should be presented. If your blog posts have a ton of juicy information, but they read a bit more like a brain dump, find a colleague — or even a freelance editor — to help you sort out your thoughts. You may also find that writing an outline before you start blogging helps you establish a good order. In fact, most HubSpot bloggers start with an outline before they begin writing (it’s usually the big, bold subheadings you see in the published blog post) to figure out what points should be hit in the post, and in what order. Then when it comes to writing, they just fill in the blanks!8) There are freelance writers in the world, too.If you’re really quite writing averse, your blog doesn’t need to go hungry. There are plenty of skilled freelance writers in the world who make their living wordsmithing! I recommend a content marketplace called Zerys — many HubSpot customers (and non-customers, for that matter) — have used them to keep their blog afloat. In fact, whether you’re a HubSpot customer or not, we have quite a few vendors listed in HubSpot’s Services Marketplace that can help you outsource quality content. Often, the best approach has been to seek out a writer with familiarity in the subject matter you want to write about on your blog, and combining that with an edit from you. Not for grammar, punctuation, or editorial guidance, but for your (say it again now) subject matter expertise. For instance, if we were to commission a blog post for our blog about how email spam traps work from a freelance writer, I’d select a writer with familiarity in email marketing, sending them a specific blog post working title, like “How Email Spam Traps Work: A Guide for Marketers.” I’d also recommend a word count — say 600-700 words — and if I had any documentation that would be good to pull research from, I’d send that along, too. This all simply helps set the writer up for success, providing direction and context. Then when the blog post returned, I’d have one of the people at my company who knows the most about how email spam traps work review the content for accuracy, making any final tweaks or additions before publishing.This kind of collaborative blogging approach typically yields the best content, anyway, and it’s an approach that’s appropriate for both small and enterprise level companies. There’s no one that can know everything about, well, everything. Write about what you know, and when you don’t know it, ask the person who does for their take on the subject. There should be a point-person, sure, or you’ll suffer from the ‘Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen’ syndrome, but if you stop blogging in a silo, I think you’ll find the whole endeavor is much more manageable, and your content is far more valuable, too.Do you believe you can be a business blogger, even if it isn’t second nature to you yet? Have you conquered your writer’s block to become an awesome business blogger?Image credit: Abhi Shinde Business Blogging Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Oct 25, 2012 12:30:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Without a doubt, the most common refrain I hear from businesses trying to adopt an inbound approach to their marketing is that they just can’t blog.”I don’t know how. Blogging’s for young people. I’m not a good writer. I wouldn’t even know how to begin. It’s too hard.”Wow. How self-defeating, right? Well the truth is, I know any one of you — yes, even you — can be an amazing business blogger. You have all the tools you need to do the job, you just have to recognize that you have them. That’s why I want to point them out to you. But I’ll warn you … once you read this post, you’re not going to have those excuses left. You’ll actually have to (gasp!) blog!Are you ready for that? Alright, let me explain why you — and anyone else in your organization (seriously, the time for excuses is over) — has the capacity to not only blog, but to also blog like a rock star.1) You are a subject matter expert.You didn’t get where you are because of that pretty face of yours. You have your job because you know how to do your job. That means if your job is to provide customer support for an SEO software company, you have the subject matter expertise to write a blog post like, “3 Advanced Hacks for Finding New Keywords for Your SEO Strategy.” Or if your job was to sell that SEO software, you’d have the knowledge to write a post like, “How to Use Search Trends to Identify New Potential Markets.” Or, if your job was to market that SEO software, you’d have the knowledge to write a post like, “How Long-Tail Search Helps You Get Found Faster in Competitive Markets.”See what I mean? Whatever it is you do for a living, you are good at it — better at it than a lot of other people out there. The world wants your expertise! Put it down on paper (or a computer, rather) so the rest of the world can benefit. You probably don’t think it’s that groundbreaking because the information is second nature to you, but if you have leads and customers asking you these questions day in and day out, there are hundreds — if not thousands — of people to whom your knowledge is groundbreaking. Do us a favor and blog it, won’t you?2) You’re a good researcher.Sometimes when you sit down to write a blog post — even if it’s about something you know a lot about — a tangential question might pop up in your mind. One that you don’t know the answer to. Some people see these questions as indicators they should stop blogging, because they must not be qualified enough to write on that topic. That couldn’t be further from the truth.It’s also why Google was invented.Okay, not exactly, but you know what? Most business bloggers can very rarely sit down to write a blog post without conducting some research along the way. I just scrolled back through the last five blog posts I wrote for this very blog, and guess what? I had to conduct research for each and every single one of them. In fact, there are some blog posts that I sit down to write specifically because they’re a challenge, forcing me to talk to subject matter experts in other departments within my organization.Just because you don’t know the answer to everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be blogging — it means you’re like every other person in the world, and certainly every blogger on the internet. The difference between a good blogger and a bad blogger is, the good blogger recognizes an information deficiency, and researches the correct answer to fill in the knowledge gap. That’s also what makes their content the go-to in their industry!3) You don’t actually have to write that much.People often get extremely hung up on word count. Great blog content does not have to be long. In fact, it’s usually better that it’s brief — people don’t like to read, and are often just scanning your content, anyway. Give the people what they want! And, likely, what you want … namely, to be doing anything other than writing a blog post.Now, this isn’t to say you can write 100-word blog posts. Your content still needs to be helpful, otherwise your readers (and Google’s crawlers) will stop showing you any love. Aim to keep most of your blog content at a 500-600 word minimum so you have enough space to develop some helpful advice. Of course, there will be occasional exceptions to this rule. That’s alright, as long as you keep up your reputation as a provider of valuable content, regardless of length.4) Sometimes, you don’t even have to write at all.Well, you need to have SOME words. But blogs are home to all sorts of content other than the written word! For example, you might make your blog posts more design focused if that’s your forte — one of our in-house designers contributes his blog content to us in the form of content visualizations, for instance.Similarly, we have a fantastic “video guy” that, instead of writing blog content, creates helpful marketing videos. Perhaps you’d rather shoot a short video for your blog content, and then simply transcribe it so you can get some of that nice SEO juice and cater to people who prefer text, too?But wait, there’s more. Let’s say you’re more of a math geek. Why not write content that focuses around the “mathy” (you might have figured out that I am not one of those math people by now) side of your business? For instance, our marketing operations folks use their super powers with numbers to create blog content about how to perform marketing calculations — you know, the kind of content that would take other people on the team twice as long to whip up. Take a look at Alison Savery’s blog post about how to calculate and track a leads goal each month, for example.This is all to say that blog content creation doesn’t have to be all about writing, writing, writing. If you cringe at the thought of pounding out hundreds of words of blog content, remember that there are other forms of content with very minimal writing that you have the power to create — and that your audience will love.5) You probably already have a lot of the content.Sales and marketing collateral is everywhere. Whether it’s in various folders in your email, saved on your desktop, in printed brochures from that trade show you sponsored, in old whitepapers you haven’t promoted in years, case studies you never quite put the final touches on — for most businesses, the content’s there. It’s just up to you to either repurpose it, or if it’s already looking pretty fly, to excerpt and re-promote that content on your blog.Here’s a perfect example of doing just that — and I know you can do the same. Several years ago, a HubSpotter created a calculator in Excel that helped people figure out what their monthly traffic and leads goals should be. We promoted it once upon a time, but then it kind of just … fell off our radar. Well, one day, for some reason, we uncovered it. And we decided to brush it off, give it a little makeover, and re-launch the offer. And of course, we promoted it on the blog, too! Now, we couldn’t excerpt a section of the content like we would with an ebook, so what did we write about in the blog post? We wrote about how to use the Excel template! Take a look at a snippet from the post: Topics:
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Twitter Updates Originally published Feb 24, 2013 9:00:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 Topics: It’s no secret that inbound marketing is a fast paced and growing industry, much like the world of technology. Many companies are utilizing the evolution of social and marketing technologies to find new ways to deliver advertisments to their audience. Our social networks are learning more and more about us every day, and online services like Yelp and Google Maps have intergrated themselves into our daily routines.Marketers have taken notice, and realize that these leaps and bounds in technology make marketing much more effective, too. So this week’s round-up will give you some insight into what changes are going on with our social networks, and how new technologies are being used to deliver marketing to individuals in (hopefully) better, bigger, faster ways.Twitter Now Reducing Some Tweets to 117 Characters, From MashableIf a limit of 140 characters per tweet wasn’t difficult enough, some of us might have to get used to being even more succinct. As of Wednesday, Twitter has reduced the limit of characters to 118 for tweets sent with a URL and 117 for tweets sent with an https link. This is going to be an important change for marketers to take note of because it could affect any scheduled tweets you created prior to these new limits.To be a bit more technical, Twitter states that the reduction is due to a change in their t.co link wrapper and how its extends the maximum length of links by two characters. Not that the logistics behind this really matter much to marketers — it’s just important to know that you should jump back into your scheduled tweets to make sure they comply with these new limits. Read the original article at Mashable.59% of Top Brands are Active on Instagram & Those Photos Are Shared to Facebook 66% More Than Twitter, From Marketing LandWe all know why we love Instagram and Pinterest — no one can resist a pretty picture. Recently, however, these social networks have grown to be more than just digital catalogs and photo albums. In the past three months, top brand adoption of Pinterest has risen by 10%, and Instagram by 9%. This is a strong indication that marketers are utilizing the potential of Pinterest and Instagram to build social engagement and expand overall reach.The study focuses on the growth of Instagram and how their broken relationship with Twitter has impacted engagement. Since the break up, Instagram engagement on Twitter has dramatically plummeted and now, 98% of brands using Instagram share their images to Facebook. Read more at Marketing Land.ESPN is Now Targeting You Via Online Radio, From Ad WeekIt seems ESPN is looking to up their game in the world of digital advertisement through online radio. With over 3 million downloads of their mobile radio app, it makes sense that ESPN has been concocting ways to tap into this audience with some well targeted ads. This new cloud-based ad insertion program aims to target listeners by location, device, age, and gender in real time during live national broadcasts. The company responsible for this new age technology is the online radio provider known as Abacast.With this new ad serving technology, ESPN will be able to deliver different, targeted ads to individuals listening to the same broadcast during live ad breaks. “Before, it was one stream to thousands of people, and it didn’t make sense that we were targeting women with a lot of the ads that were running. Now, hundreds of thousands of people are going to get different ad breaks. You could be in the same car as your friend wearing different headsets, and you’ll still be served a different ad than that person,” said ESPN digital sudio senior manager Blair Cullen.For marketers, this is a technological change that could bring online radio into the age of inbound by providing a method of creating targeted and measureable marketing content for an industry known for being old school. Read the full article at Ad Week.Free Marketing Campaign Kit, From HubSpotWith all the changes in marketing and all the new tools at our finger tips, it’s important to be able to align your marketing efforts across all channels in your campaigns. Luckily, we’ve created a free marketing campaign kit to give you the tools and resources you need to launch and measure a remarkable marketing campaign. The campaign kit will dive into what marketing tools you should be using to plan your campaign, how to integrate these tools into your campaign strategy, and what resources are available to get your campaign started. Download the free marketing campaign kit.Contextual Content Engine Vurb Raises More Than $1.5M From Max Levchin and Others, From TechCrunchEven with social media and search engines, it’s still a chore trying to compile a bunch of information in one place. For instance, I’m sure many of us have wanted to make a reservation at a restaurant through OpenTable and also wished that it would suggest show times for new movies, buy the tickets, and send us directions without having to open the quadrillion tabs we normally would. Well, start-up Vurb is working on a contextual content engine that connects and compiles relevant information from services like LinkedIn, Yelp, Google Maps, Amazon, and many others in an attempt to unify our internet shenanigans.Vurb has recently raised over $1.5 million in funding from a number of investors, like Max Levchin. The overall goal of Vurb is to uncomplicate the way to use the internet and its thousands of services by creating a content engine that naturally compiles all the most relevant information we need. This illustrates to marketers how people are tired of searching for products and services they need, and more interested in having those things served up to them based on who they are and what the like. With search and recommendation engines on the rise, marketers should consider how their products and services are positioned and targeted to their audience. Read the full article at TechCrunch.LOL + WTF = $: An App That Shows Why Videos Go Viral, From Fast Company CreateEver wonder how you can make the next “Gangnam Style” or “Harlem Shake?” Well TubeRank may have found a way to help you figure out what you need to do to create the next viral video on YouTube. The app was recently launched by Rubber Republic, a London-based content creation studio responsible for a number of viral videos. TubeRank is a free app that combines meta data with YouTube video content to show you why a viral video was shared, who shared it, and how many times. The app can provide marketers with specific information about a particular community and how videos perform in these communities based on a share-to-view ratio. This information is revealed by breaking a viral video into a “viral formula” of key elements based on the success of that video. Read the full article at Fast Company. HubSpot’s Weekly Marketing Update Podcast With Mike VolpeInterested in hearing what the CMO of HubSpot has to say about the stories in this week’s round-up? Check out our Marketing Update podcast and get the latest inbound marketing advice, tips, and best practices from our CMO, Mike Volpe and his co-hosts. You can also subscribe to this weekly podcast through iTunes … to start your week off with a little dose of inbound marketing.What other important marketing stories should we know about? Share them in the comments!Image credit: CJ Isherwood
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Small business ownership is no cakewalk. Just ask Eric Dosal. He’s the co-founder of BrightGauge, a data analytics and reporting platform, as well as a HubSpot customer. So in honor of National Small Business Week, we sat down to talk about what it’s really like to own a business. Here’s what he had to say.Me: Hi Eric! Thanks for joining me today. It’s National Small Business Week, and you’re a business owner, so I thought it’d be a good opportunity to talk about what it’s like to own a business. So, tell me a bit about your business.Eric: BrightGauge is a data analytics and reporting platform primarily focused on the IT service provider space. So we help IT providers visualize their data.Me: Is that a space you’ve always been interested in? How did you get into it?Eric: My father started a technology company in 1980 — Compuquip Technologies — and over time it evolved into a managed service provider. We originally built the software for ourselves to solve a need, showed it to a peer group, and a few months later decided to make it commercially available. So I have over 10 years of personal experience in the space.Me: During my first job working for a small business, the founder told me he often recommends you don’t start your own business in something you enjoy. For instance, if you like baking pies, don’t start a bakery — you’ll work in the business too much, and not on the business. Do you find that true in your experience? Eric: But that’s what being a small business owner is all about — working on something you are passionate about, and being able to put all your effort behind it to see it become successful. But it is a double-edged sword. You have to be careful or, like your former boss said, it could suck you in. Me: I always had trouble entirely stomaching that advice, myself. I thought it’d be hard to throw yourself totally into something if there wasn’t some passion behind it — though I understand his caution. Have you experienced any instances of that double-edged sword? Getting sucked in too much? Eric: ALL THE TIME! And it’s especially tough for me since it’s a family business. So my father is our chairman and manages the holding company, while my brother and I run two of the operating businesses. So I spend a lot of time with my family/co-workers. So a Sunday brunch could turn into a strategy session in the blink of an eye. That’s why Mom is on high alert, and so are our wives … Me: Oh wow — I had no idea it was a family business! That’s a really romantic notion, but also one inherently fraught with difficulties. How do you handle that? I mean … work-life balance must look really different than it does for most people, right? Eric: Yes it brings a unique twist to the equation, but we work really hard to make sure we never forget it’s a “family business.” Family FIRST, then business! I couldn’t do it any other way. To be able to work side by side with someone you trust completely and is motivated just like you is special. All that being said, we have to make sure we keep the work balance in check or you can work all the time. Me: Do you think having your father, an experienced entrepreneur, involved in the business helps a lot? What value does his experience owning his own business bring to you as a first-time business owner?Eric: TREMENDOUS help. Being a second-generation entrepreneur is awesome because I was there when my father started his first company (although that’s because I was building LEGOs in his home office). I remember how hard he worked, but he was always at our events and was present when we needed him. So for that I’m not only grateful, but I also tap into that to learn from it. I tell him all the time that I want to learn from his mistakes so I can avoid making them.Me: Do you think there’s just some stuff no one can tell you, though? Stuff you have to learn on your own, the hard way? Or, perhaps some things that are just inherently different about running a business today than they were 20-30 years ago.Eric: Absolutely. The business climate has changed a ton since then so the world is a different place with different challenges and obstacles. And some of the experiences, no matter how much people tell you, you can’t truly appreciate until you’re faced with them yourself. You can read all the books, but until you live it, you won’t understand. Me: What would you tell people who don’t have anyone with experience guiding them on their venture — people that don’t have someone like your father? What kinds of resources are out there for those folks?Eric: Talk to others who run their own business. I like to learn from others. I spend a lot of time speaking with other business owners in a variety of stages to learn from them. I’ll either pick up something I didn’t know or confirm my approach/solution. It can be very lonely being a small business owner, but if you reach out to others you’ll be shocked at how much they are willing to help. There are plenty of formal resources as well, like coaches, books, seminars, classes, etc. But I like talking with real business people that live and breathe this every day. They know the truth. Me: I agree — there’s really no replacement for a one-on-one with someone going through the same thing as you. Eric: I think most people are afraid to ask, but what I find is most people love to help and at least share their experiences.Me: Have you noticed that successful entrepreneurs have certain things in common? Particular character traits, for instance?Eric: That’s a tough question to answer with a blanket statement. I think there are a lot of people who start businesses and that takes some courage and of course usually a little capital. But I think it takes a different person to start and sustain a business. You have to be able to adapt to change, listen to the market, be open to feedback, be humble, have tough skin, and have a lot of patience. This is a marathon, not a sprint! There’s this stat from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that 51% of businesses fail after the first five years. It’s a tough road to climb, and you have to have the ability to see your way through it. Me: What kinds of things within an entrepreneur’s control differentiate sustainable businesses from businesses that don’t make it? I know there’s got to be tons of things … but maybe one or two, from your experience?Eric: Passion for what you do and the mental toughness to withstand the rollercoaster of starting/running a business. I love what I do, love the people I work with, and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. But there are nights I get home and wonder “what the hell am I doing” and just want the day to end. That’s where the mental toughness comes in — you have to roll with it and come back the next day. Me: What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you before you started your business? Or, alternately, the one piece of advice that you are extremely glad someone shared with you before you started your business. Eric: The advice I wish I would have gotten (and maybe I did but didn’t listen to) was “It will cost much more and take much longer to implement than you think.” And the best advice I ever got was from my dad: “You can’t get a hit without stepping up to the plate and taking a swing.” (I played baseball growing up.) I’m taking my swing now with BrightGauge, but it has cost more and taken longer.Me: We’ve focused a lot on the difficulties of being a business owner because … well, because it’s hard work. But I like to end on a positive note, so what’s your favorite part about business ownership?Eric: Without a doubt, it’s being in total control of my own destiny.Me: Well said. I’m really glad we got to talk today, Eric. Thank you for taking the time and sharing your experiences!Eric: Absolutely, I really enjoyed chatting with you and sharing.Image Credit: Kekka Entrepreneurship Originally published Jun 21, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated February 01 2017
Topics: Landing Pages Originally published Mar 28, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated February 28 2018 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack I remember when I found out the Tooth Fairy wasn’t real. My whole world was shattered. Granted, I was about eight, but I was furious to find out that my parents had been putting a quarter under my pillow every time I’d lost a tooth, not a sweet fairy named Daphne who lived in a castle made out of my pearly whites.Luckily, believing in the Tooth Fairy is pretty harmless. Other myths, especially those that affect your business, are not.Download Now: 28 Free CTA TemplatesIn previous posts, we’ve debunked myths about marketing automation, social media, blogging, SEO, and A/B testing … but we’ve never touched on landing pages. So keep on reading so you don’t miss out on information that’ll help you convert visitors into leads and leads into customers. We’ll debunk the most common landing page lies and arm you with information to take your landing pages to the next level. Myth #1: You only need a few of them. Lots of people think that you don’t need many landing pages. Maybe you have a ‘Contact Us’ page and a demo page, and that’s pretty much it, right? Wrong. If you only have a few landing pages, you’re missing out on traffic, leads, and customers big time.Every new landing page you create is another opportunity for you to appear in search engines and get your link shared on social media — and better search engine rankings and social media posts mean that you’ll have more opportunity to drive traffic and conversions for your website.Need more convincing about the importance of having more landing pages? Check out this post.Myth #2: Short forms are better than long forms.No form length is the “best” — it all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish with the form. Are you trying to get a ton of new leads? Keep the form short. Are you trying to get really qualified leads? Make the form longer. One is not better than the other — they just address different goals. Your form length will most likely end up somewhere in the middle. To find your form length sweet spot, run A/B tests and adjust your form length according to their results. Myth #3: If I copy someone else’s landing page, my conversion rates will go up. Landing page examples and templates are great jumping off points for your own landing pages, but you shouldn’t expect to plug your content into someone else’s landing page and end up raking in the conversions. A landing page is successful because of interaction of many nuanced elements — the content on the page, the design of the page, and the audience viewing the page. If you’re going to copy a landing page layout, use best practices to tweak it to help your audience convert on your offer, then test it and test it to make it better. Myth #4: You need to have all conversion elements above the fold. Lots of people believe that all of the important content on your landing page should appear above the fold — supposedly, people won’t scroll to fill out the form or find out more crucial information about what lies behind the form.But the fold doesn’t really affect conversion — KISSmetrics found that when people are motivated to convert on a page, they do, regardless of where the form submit button is. According to that article, the biggest factor in increasing motivation is compelling copy, regardless of length. So forget optimizing only for the fold — through A/B testing, figure out how much information people need to convert.Myth #5: Trust seals always increase conversions.Think about the situations in which you often see trust seals. You’re usually giving over your credit card number or some other sensitive contact information, right? It makes sense to get a little visual reminder that your information is safe, because you really are giving over sensitive information.But what if you saw a trust seal on a page where you weren’t giving over sensitive information? It’d be out-of-place, making you wonder what the heck the company was really collecting from you, right? Trust elements can help tremendously on pages that need them — but they can also deter folks if they’re included on pages that don’t. Myth #6: If you change your form button from green to red, you’ll increase conversions. Full disclosure: we’ve run this test and found that a red call-to-action (CTA) outperformed a green CTA … but that doesn’t mean that red buttons are always better than green ones. That test worked for that page, with that page’s design, for that page’s audience. If you run the same test on your site, you might find that the opposite is true. This myth goes for any color test really — there is no one right color that’ll convert tons and tons more people. Test out colors yourself to see what works best.Myth #7: Landing page copy should always be short and sweet.Like color, there’s no right length of landing page copy. We kind of touched on this in Myth #4, but the copy length myth is perpetuated enough it deserved a section of its own.Landing page copy length is like what your teachers would say when you’d ask them how long an essay should be — however long it needs to be to cover the subject. In the case of landing pages, it should be however long you need it to be to have people convert on your landing page’s form. For complex offers that require people ponying up a lot of money or their sensitive information, more information could be better. For simple offers, like an ebook, you probably don’t need a ton of landing page copy.Like almost all of these myths, this one’s nuanced. Run tests on your landing pages to find out what copy length your visitors need. Myth #8: Conversion rate is the only metric to watch. Landing pages are a stepping stone in your marketing funnel. You’re not just trying to get people to fill out a form. You’d hope that eventually they’ll become a customer from you.So if you’re trying to get the most out of your landing pages, you shouldn’t just look at the percent of people who converted on that form — you want to look and see what happens after. What percentage of them become customers? By looking at your closed-loop analytics, you may find that a landing page that has a low initial conversion rate actually brings in customers like crazy, or vice versa … which is something your boss would care to know and fix. Myth #9: You should include as many things as possible on your landing page to get people to convert on something. Your landing page isn’t a last-ditch effort to capture someone’s information. It’s there to get people to convert on your form and move down your marketing funnel. You don’t want to give people too many options because they’ll get distracted and your conversion rate goes down. This means you should try removing your navigation and any extraneous forms. More is not better when it comes to landing page elements.Myth #10: You build ’em and leave ’em. You could probably guess this last myth from one piece of advice I’ve repeated over and over throughout this post: Test your landing pages. There are almost always ways you can tweak and improve them. If you build them and leave them alone, you’re losing out on valuable conversions. Landing pages support the backbone of your marketing funnel — so make sure you’re getting the most you can out of them by running A/B tests often. What other landing page myths have you heard? Debunk them in the comments with us.
A marketer’s job isn’t easy. You constantly have to create content and promote it through different channels. But with only 24 hours in the day, you need to spend your time promoting the right content through the right channels to declog the right parts of your funnel. So how do you do that?You may regularly run reports about the amount of traffic to your website or how many people clicked on a link in your email, but those are only one piece of the funnel pie. There’s a new report that will frankly change your life (or at least the way you do marketing). It’s called an attribution report.To get you up to speed, let’s take a look at what attribution reports are and in which situations they can be helpful for you.What Is an Attribution Report?An attribution report is used to understand the journey someone takes from the first time they set foot on your website to the time they become a customer — basically, measuring the conversion path to see what made someone convert. In order for marketers to be successful, they need to understand all of the influencers that drive conversions throughout the funnel.The value in this report is marketers can now pinpoint the exact marketing effort that lead to a conversion in the funnel. By using this information, they can then make better-informed decisions about where to invest their time and resources.You may be thinking, “Wait! Not all page views or marketing channels are treated equally when it comes to conversions!” You are right! Depending on the type of attribution report you decide to run, different credit is given to different marketing efforts — and the ability to give more or less credit to certain parts of the conversion process is where the magic happens.For instance, if you run a report based on First touch (as it is called by HubSpot) or First interaction (as it is called by Google Analytics), 100% of the credit is given to the page URL or source of the first visit a contact was on. If you run a report based on All interactions/session (as it is called by HubSpot) or Linear (as it is called by Google Analytics), equal credit is distributed across all pages and sources visited before the conversion. How you assign “credit” here is extremely important because that’ll help you gain a better understand of which pages or sources were used to most to drive traffic to and convert on your website. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to what type of report to run — it just depends what you hope to distill from the data. If you want to understand how all of the pages or channels viewed before conversion affect conversion, you will run one report. If you want to understand what happened at the exact point of conversion, you will run a different report. You could even run a combination of reports to understand what happens in certain parts of the funnel. So the best way to begin is to think about the problem you want to solve. Do you want to see how many leads you have generated from the blog? Do you want to see what source if driving the most conversions? Do you want to see what content someone viewed before they became a customer? An attribution report will be able to answer any question you have about what drives conversions throughout your funnel.When Would You Want to Use It?Marketers look to attribution reports to help them decide which pages and/or marketing channels drive the most conversions. There are many specific use-cases for this type of report, but let’s go over a few that you might want to use.1) How many leads are generated from my blog? What other content generates the most leads?Content lives at the heart of inbound marketing. Every marketer wants to know how their content contributes to the number of leads they are generating — especially on their blog. Attribution reports pull that information together to show the number of times a blog post is viewed before the conversion. For bloggers who have not been able to attribute lead generation directly to their blog content, this is a huge win.The information gathered in these reports helps marketers dissect which types of content perform better. That could include popular topics, content formats, or even time of promotion. With a better understanding of which content generates more leads, marketers can make more informed decisions about their marketing.2) What marketing channels generate the most leads? Where is the best place to invest my marketing resources?After you find out which type of content generates the most leads, it’s important to understand which channels are the most successful in lead generation. Once you figure out the answer to this question, you will get deeper insight into why your content performs the way it does.For example, your email marketing could be the best place to get content in the hands of your customers, but your social media could be tanking. Or vice versa. Understanding the health of these marketing channels is key to understanding where your team should invest their marketing resources. After all, if you’re doubling down on social media without getting many leads in return, but you’re generate a ton of leads from email marketing with very little effort, you may want to take a second look at your priorities.3) Which pages are viewed the most before someone becomes a customer?There is other content on your website that may be contributing to conversions besides blog posts, landing pages, and content offers. Your homepage, pricing page, about us page, or any other informational page may be contributing to conversions throughout your funnel. Run an attribution report based on pages that have been viewed on your website to figure out which pages are frequented the most. This will help you understand which pages should be promoted, which pages should be optimized, and which pages are helping to push people down the funnel quicker than others.How Do You Run an Attribution Report in HubSpot?HubSpot customers, navigate to Reports > Reports Home. Select “Create a new report,” and choose the Attribution report. You will see the following screen:Let’s dig into the screen a bit more. The first step is to choose the people who belong in your report. Think of this part of the edit screen as a filter for your report.Select the contacts that you want to appear in the report — that could be all of your contacts or a specific list.Choose the conversion that you want to use for your report. That could be “Became a Lead Date” to better understand your lead conversions, “Became an MQL Date” to better understand your marketing qualified lead conversions, etc.Choose the time period for when your defined contacts converted.The number of contacts that will be included in your report will be listed in the edit screen. The second part of the screen deals with the different Attribution report models you may want to use to run. Begin by deciding if you want to pull a report based on URL, Referrer, or Source. URL will pull up the pages on your website that contributed to the conversion. Referrer will pull up the referring page that contributed to the conversion. Source will pull up channels that brought a contact to your website.Within these options you will see a detailed description of what the model will show including where the credit for the conversion will be given. Then, create your report! In the example below, we ran a report by Source and All sessions by Create Date (aka when they became a lead in the system).The Contacts assisted column shows the number of contacts who became leads in the defined time period.The % of contacts shows the percent of contacts in the report that came from that particular channel.Score / 100 is the weighted importance of each channel in the report. The highest scores are your best channels. How Do You Run an Attribution Report in Google Analytics?Using Google Analytics, you can also run Attribution Models. You will notice that the terminology in the report differs slightly so let’s review what they mean.Last Interaction – In this model, the last page or source that someone visits is given 100% of the credit for the conversion.Last Non-Direct Click – In this model, the second-to-last page or source that someone visits before converting gets the credit.Last AdWords Click – In this model, the most recent time someone clicked through to your site from an AdWords campaign is given 100% of the credit for the conversion.First Interaction – In this model, the first source is given 100% of the credit for the conversion.Linear – In this model, each credit is given to each source or page visited in the conversion path.Time Decay – In this model, the pages or sources that were visited most recently are given more credit whereas pages or sources visited earlier in time are given less credit.Position Based – In this model, 40% of the credit for the conversion is given to the first and last interaction, and 20% of the credit for the conversion is given to the middle interactions.You can read more about the different types of Google Analytics models and how to use them here. Also, Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google wrote a blog post describing how to use the different reports. The biggest difference between using reports on Google Analytics vs. HubSpot is that you cannot connect the report back to specific contacts unless you use HubSpot. That means you cannot apply attribution trends to specific personas, contact groups, lifecycle stages, or other categories that are relevant to your business. So when deciding on what report to use, take that into consideration.What do you think about Attribution Reports? Have you used them before? Originally published Aug 21, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated August 26 2017 Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Marketing Reporting
According to Gartner, the market for SaaS (Software as a Service) applications will grow from $20 billion in 2013 to $33 billion in 2016, with a compound annual growth rate of 19.5%. A Compass study shows that SaaS is growing nearly 3X as fast as software as a whole, and that 72% of all SaaS startups are at least partially funded.Good news for SaaS startups and growing SaaS ventures alike, but the space is getting crowded and competition is fierce. What can founders and executives do to improve the odds that their companies will get to the top of the market and stay there?The SaaS ChallengeFor most SaaS CEOs, the problem isn’t opportunity; it’s time. From startup to break-even, your company is under the gun to grow monthly recurring revenues fast enough to offset (and pay back) customer acquisition costs and churn before the funding well runs dry. David Skok calls this deficit the “cash flow gap.”The success or failure of early stage SaaS companies depends on their ability to:￼Acquire new customers quickly and cost effectivelyRetain customers over the long haulUpsell customers to increase LTV over timeWhat Can You Do to Build Your Customer Base Quickly?Let’s start with your product. Successful SaaS companies like Salesforce or Shopify don’t just invent something unique or cool.They build products that their customers love. They do that by getting to know their customers before trying to sell to them. They also solve BIG problems that their customers have. In the case of Salesforce, they made it much easier to manage Sales by inventing the first cloud-based CRM. Shopify did the same thing with e-commerce, creating an affordable platform for small businesses selling online. Others, like HubSpot, wanted to revolutionize marketing through attraction rather than interruption, so they invented inbound marketing. Now, let’s get to the heart of the SaaS challenge. Assuming you have developed a great product that your customers will love, you have to get to market fast, generate revenues quickly and get to break-even before your seed capital runs out and you go belly up. Successful SaaS companies use a blend of inbound marketing, influencer marketing and “growth hacking”, in which they leverage developer and user communities to test the product, help design it and promote it through their networks. What’s in it for them? In many cases, these brand advocates are rewarded directly with sales commissions or become resellers or channel partners, and they can build their businesses based on those relationships. Shopify, for example, created both a Shopify Expert marketplace for promoting freelancers and a Partner program for agencies.What About CAC and LTV?Next on the challenge list is customer acquisition cost (CAC). If you burn through your seed capital with lots of expensive ads and hire a bunch of sales reps to make cold calls, you will find it hard to survive for long. What do successful SaaS companies do? They leverage inbound marketing to find qualified leads, then hook them up with helpful inside sales reps who act more like consultants. Close rates go up and cost-per-lead goes down. Last but not least, customer lifetime value (LTV). The name of the game in SaaS is monthly recurring revenues over (hopefully) a long period of time. This is how you overcome CAC costs and start driving profitability. There are two aspects to maximizing LTV, minimizing churn and upselling.Successful SaaS companies build educational resources that help users learn best practices, stay current with new features and get the most out of their software investment. HubSpot, for example, created HubSpot Academy with a certification program that helps keep users on top of their game while earning street cred (and resume enhancement) by becoming acknowledged experts. Successful companies also sponsor local user groups to discuss issues and best practices. All of this, plus customer support and services from both internal staff and Partner networks, keeps users happy and retained. As the love spreads within a customer account, more licenses are sold and new features, such as the new CRM, are added to further increase LTV. Everybody wins.The Secret Sauce of Successful SaaS Companies It’s pretty simple really. Successful Saas companies do marketing right. They are crushing it because they believe in what they are doing, they hire great people and they continue to make the investments in customer happiness that drive both revenues and profitability. The challenge for most entrepreneurs and early-stage SaaS companies is understanding how to get started with inbound marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing, social media marketing and levels of customer service required to attract and support users and turn them into brand advocates. How much does it cost and when does each component come into play?We’ve just released our SaaS Marketing for CEOs eBook to help you reach your growth goals by learning from the best of the best and practicing what they preach. We tell the story of Shopify, because they were doing inbound before it was cool. We dive into the details of how Shopify started and continues to dominate their market by forging relationships with small businesses through blogging and channel partnerships. We hope you enjoy the eBook, and we look forward to continuing the conversation with you as you build your SaaS company. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Marketing Strategy Originally published Dec 11, 2014 1:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017
What’s the last major thing you tested in your email marketing program? Small tests, like subject line or sender personalization are quick and easy, something most great email marketing softwares can do out of the box.However, these small tests, which can provide some data, can’t compare to larger, more comprehensive email tests. And really when it comes to testing email marketing, it takes more than one email to really determine what works best for any given company.Comprehensive email program testing may seem daunting. However, you can clearly define your own company best practices and utilize those results for a long time if you complete email tests properly. But the question remain: What should I be testing?Types of Email Marketing Program TestsFor comprehensive tests, small things like subject lines or button color won’t give you the kind of data you need to improve your overall email marketing efforts.Instead, take the opportunity to test things that have significant impact on recurring emails.Visual Style TestsWith many marketers focused on design, we often think that what looks best also performs best. However, there can be times when over-designing makes an email look too promotional.Is this the case with your email marketing? Testing the visual style of your email, comparing high-end creative design to low-end personal emails can often have a big impact.1) The Plain Text EmailRather than sending an email with a colorful header and graphics in the body, try using a blank template that’s made to look like an email sent from Outlook or Gmail. For more than one (though not all) of our B2B marketing clients, the simple look and feel performed better, especially as we moved to higher levels in the organization.2) Visual or Text CTAVisual style test may can also be as simple as testing the call to action in the email. Do more people click on text based links or button style CTA? So rather than adjusting the entire email template, simply uncovering whether a text CTA in the body of an email performs better than a button, which for some of our B2B clients is the case, can improve the overall performance of your email program.Structure TestsDigests and email newsletters are still common marketing tools. But after the initial design, it’s rare to rethink the actual structure of your email asset. Placement of content matters, especially when it comes to clicks and conversion.3) Re-arrange the LayoutLook at your email newsletter template and see if you can create a version where something in the middle of the structure can be easily moved to the top. You can even remove modules altogether to see if the value of building it out really matters.4) CTA PlacementFor basic promotional emails with a single offer, does the call to action work better on the left, right or bottom of the email? This type of structure test can also be done on a per offer basis. So the structure that works best for an ebook, might not work the same way for a webinar.Time/Day TestsTime and day tests are common but the a commitment to refining them is often neglected. A good time/day test is run over a series of batch emails, slowly whittling down the list of times to find the optimal send for your business.You should expect to give yourself a good month or two, depending on the number of batch emails you send, to really get a good grasp of the optimal send time.5) More Small Sends to Determine Optimal TimeWhen you have a batch email scheduled, try sending a series of 10 emails at different times and days. As you get a better idea of the times and days best for your company, send batch emails to larger groups with fewer options. After comprehensive testing, we found for one client Wednesday at 2 p.m. was the best send time, but for Kuno it was Thursday at 7 a.m.6) Testing Different Types at Different TimesIn addition to just testing the day/time, you can also determine what type of email works best throughout the week. Earlier in the week you may find that short quick emails perform better for busy professionals.But later in the week, a longer more thought out email can be a better send as recipients have more time to ingest your content.Content TestsRegular email communication is important to any good email marketing program. (One touch per contact per week is a good rule of thumb.) But what should you be sending? Blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, videos?7) Testing Content TypesContent tests work especially well in structured digests and newsletters. Adjust the type of content you have in the main content area for different random groups and see what performs the best. Like one of our clients, you may find that putting a popular blog article at the top every time doesn’t produce the clicks a more high-quality download does.8) Testing Content by SegmentTo refine your email program further, testing content with different segments can produce vastly different results. An IT person might respond to a different type of content than someone in finance. A busy executive might prefer something more quickly digestible than a manager. Varying the offers for different buyers not only improves the email program, but also helps focus your overall content strategy.When Should I Test Again?The speed of changes in digital marketing and email technology mean that what works now won’t work forever.If you can commit to one comprehensive test per quarter and then revisit the test again in a year, you’ll at least have a structure in place to get started with the major email tests you’ve been missing. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jan 20, 2015 11:00:00 AM, updated June 28 2019
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jun 12, 2015 6:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 This post originally appeared on HubSpot’s Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to Agency Post.Let’s face it: Life does not get easier as you grow older.If anything, it gets messier and more complicated. You can quickly wake up and not recognize the world you exist in every single day.I’ve been married for 10 years, and my third child will quickly be entering this world. I also founded and built an agency that employs more than 40 people and has seen 950% growth in annual revenues. While it might look good today, nothing about pulling off this thing called life has been smooth or easy.Where do you see yourself in five years? Take our free quiz here to figure out the next step in your career.In fact, it took me a while to understand the difference between living life and living for the life that you want. One simply requires breathing. The other requires more intentional efforts.Here are eight things I’ve learned about living an intentional life that I wish my 24-year-old self had known before she started on this journey.1) Choose to see yourself — and your past — as an asset. You’ll exhaust yourself trying to be someone different than who you really are.I was raised on a farm outside Indianapolis. My dad didn’t go to college — he’s a self-made man. I went to Purdue University, not some Ivy League school. I’ve only ever lived in the Midwest. I have two girls and another one will join her sisters shortly.And at some point in my life, I saw all of these things as massive reasons why I couldn’t be successful.I internalized my story. I thought:If only my dad had a big job and knew important people. If only I had more connections. If only I had lived in a big city. The story inside our head is often the narrative of what we can become. Instead of figuring out how we can use our unique experiences to contribute to the world, we see these things as barriers.You need to choose to see your skills and your past as assets because the way we view ourselves and our histories influence how others see us. You have to decide what you are going to be okay with, so others can become okay with you.2) Steer clear of people who only tell you what you want to hear.I tend to be more likeable than not. That can be an asset, but it can also be a massive liability.This was a huge trap for me early in my career. I surrounded myself with people who thought I was great, which means I could only be as great as they allowed me to be. They would never call me on my crap.Instead, I needed people who would push me to deal with important things and get to the next level.For many women, this is especially relevant. We can have reciprocal — even fake — relationships with people who compliment us because they want to hear compliments about themselves.To be better, you need to find friends and colleagues who have the confidence to call you out on your own issues. These people care about you becoming the best version of yourself. Once you find these people, hold onto them.3) Hard is not the end. It’s just hard.My dad has always said that one of the biggest reasons people fail is they just stop trying. At some point they decide it’s the end, even though it’s not the end. It just got really hard.In 2008, my agency ran smashing into the recession. I had to fire half of my staff. We lost a lot of money. I didn’t know you could lose money that fast.I wanted to quit — badly.When things get tough, we have a “fight or flight” reaction, and that’s when most people bail.The thing is that if you want something that seems extra special, it is going to be extra hard to achieve it.I had to think of it like this: If I do hard things, my sphere of what is easy will get bigger, and then there will be fewer hard things to do. And the things that are hard today won’t be hard tomorrow — I’ve already done the hard thing before. I can do it again.4) Who you spend your time with and what you spend your time on is what you will become.The adage is true: Life is defined by what you say “no” to more than what you say “yes” to. What you allow into your life is what you will become. If you want to be successful, spend your time with people who are successful. If you want to be kind, be around kind people.When I was starting my agency, I needed to surround myself with people who knew how to run a business. I wanted to observe and absorb how they thought through problems. I wanted to know how they communicated. I needed to imitate and follow them until I could stand on my own.This idea also applied to my personal life.My husband owns his own business. I own a business. And we wanted a family. If we were going to pull this off, we needed to be very intentional about the people we spent our time with and how we spent that time. My husband and I only said “yes” to things in three main areas: our family, our businesses, and our church.We had to be intentional to even remotely have a chance at being successful in these three areas.5) Be vulnerable first — and you’ll be surprised what you learn and who you meet.When I was first starting out, I was terrified. I was scared every day that people would find out that I didn’t know everything in the world.But when I stopped being scared and started being vulnerable, a funny thing happened. People who I thought knew everything in the world started opening up. They shared with me that they faced the same challenges. They struggled as well.If you are going to have a real relationship with someone, you have to be vulnerable. And someone has to be the first. Be the one who opens up the dialogue.No one has it all figured out. We are all just trying really hard. If you can be vulnerable, you can share the journey with others who have similar insecurities. This is a less lonely and more fulfilling route to take.6) Work harder at your marriage and your family than you do at your job. As I pointed out earlier, the recession hit my agency hard. I almost lost it. But I’ve also almost lost my marriage.During this time I remember thinking: It would be really embarrassing for me to lose my company, but it would be devastating for me to lose my marriage.At work, we have a built-in structure for setting goals and reviewing our performance. We also need this at home. Things can get off center by just a centimeter, and before you even realize it, it can all fall apart.Work to make your relationship a priority. Be clear about what you want. Delegate things when you can, and be okay with the fact that they might not get done according to your definition of perfect. Spend your time focused on the right things.7) Release the outcome. Focus on the next right decision.My company is a different company every single day. And every day, I have to make decisions about things that I have never done before.As people begin to make more difficult and impactful decisions, they can become paranoid. How do they make the all the right decisions?This is an impossible standard — and one that I figured out I couldn’t live up to. I had to change. I decided to make the next right decision. Sometimes, that next decision is undoing the previous decision, but I’m always working towards making the next right decision.Don’t obsess over the outcome. This can be debilitating. Take in the information, have confidence, and be willing to change things if it didn’t turn out like you hoped.8) Riding the guilt train is a choice.When I went back to work after my second child, I was tired, overwhelmed, and worst of all, guilty.I had a conversation with a colleague of mine. He said: The guilt train is a choice. You can choose to ride it or step off. This hit me hard.I truly believe I am supposed to be a mom. I also believe that I am supposed to be the president of Element Three. I have the opportunity to have two great roles in life. I’m lucky.Don’t pressure yourself or the people around you into feeling guilty for working and being a mother. It is a possible reality to be both an amazing parent and an amazing business professional. You have to be devoted to both and give both roles a lot of passion. And feeling guilty about either will only get in your way.Featured image courtesy of Tiffany Sauder. Topics: Career Development
Topics: Thankfully for all you recent college grads out there (and your parents), the job market’s looking up for folks who’ve recently gotten their diploma. More employers plan to hire recent college graduates in 2015 than in previous years, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).And for those of you about to graduate, things are looking good, too: Two-thirds of employers who responded to NACE’s “Job Outlook 2015 Spring Update” survey reported they expected to increase or maintain current hiring levels for the Class of 2016.Woohoo! But … where do you actually go about finding these jobs? Download free resume templates to create a killer resume.When college graduates decide where to move to begin their careers, they aren’t just packing up and heading in droves to the usual suspects, like New York and San Francisco. In recent years, a surprising number of cities both in the U.S. and around the world have shown they can offer more entry-level job opportunities, higher incomes, better quality of life, lower cost of living … and in some cases, all four.We’ve scoured the web for studies, reports, and news stories to find some of the best places in the world to start a career after college graduation. Whether you’re aiming to begin a career in technology or finance or healthcare, or at a huge company, a startup, or a nonprofit, check out our favorites below, which are listed in no particular order.12 of the Best Cities to Start Your Career1) Austin, TexasImage Credit: White Blaze MediaAustin is one of the top tech hubs — not just in Texas, but in the whole of the U.S. It’s home to offices of some of the country’s top employers, including Google, Apple, Facebook, Cisco Systems, eBay, Blizzard Entertainment, Samsung, and more.”Entrepreneurs say it’s easy to start a business there, networking is top-notch, taxes are low, regulations are light, and hiring is a breeze,” writes Jose Pagliery for CNN.But Austin isn’t just a twin of San Francisco: First of all, it has a low cost of living compared with other capital cities in the U.S. Notably, it was #1 on WalletHub’s list of cities to start a career based on quality of life, #3 for population growth percentage, and #11 for entry-level opportunities.If you’re intrigued by a lively music and cultural scene, Austin’s friendly, funky vibe might just be the cherry on top. It’s a liberal city in an otherwise conservative state, and ranks #1 for “small business friendliness” according to a survey from Thumbtack. Its annual South by Southwest event — an annual set of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences — is a great example of the interesting mix of tech and art the city’s population holds dear.2) Amsterdam, NetherlandsImage Credit: Theo WinterIf you’ve ever been to Amsterdam or know someone who has, then you’ve likely gotten a taste of how beautiful and unique it is. With its gorgeous, 17th-century canals, parks, and paths, it’s a big city with a small-town feel. It has very bike-friendly roads — WIRED ranked it the second most bike-friendly city in the world in 2015, after Copenhagen. Plus, it’s super easy to get from Amsterdam to pretty much anywhere in the world: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has repeatedly been voted one of the best airports in the world, and it has high-speed trains connected to cities all over Europe.Beauty aside, Amsterdam’s economy is also thriving, making it an attractive place for young career-seekers. It has one of the lowest costs of living in Europe, and the Netherlands’ excellent tax laws are attracting tech companies to move there — and with them, job opportunities. It’s one of the most competitive business locations in Europe and host to a variety of industries, including a flourishing start-up scene. The Expatcenter works with the Dutch government to help highly skilled migrants and their families with residence permits, work visas, and taxes.Another reason to love Amsterdam? The culture. In the Netherlands, the Dutch refer to their culture as “Gezelligheid,” an abstract noun that has no true English translation. “It can mean quaint, cozy, friendly, warm, and/or welcoming,” writes Lisa Miller for The Huffington Post. The friendly community, the vibrant culture and nightlife, the great job opportunities, and the healthy work-life balance all make Amsterdam a great choice for starting your career. 3) Santiago, ChileImage Credit: International Health StrategiesAlthough it might be far from home for most of you, hear me out. Not only does Santiago have relatively low corruption, low debt, and some of the lowest business and income taxes in the developed world, but it’s also quietly positioning itself as a new hub of entrepreneurship and innovation in South America.Because it’s a pretty small country, Chile only graduates about 1,400 engineers every year — and most of that talent ends up going into natural resource industries. After all, the copper industry accounts for almost half of the country’s income.Chile’s government has recognized the need to attract talent from abroad — and made changes to accomplish that. The innovation strategy it’s been building is meant to attract the best and brightest from all over the world. One way it’s doing it? With the Startup Chile program, which it implemented with the goal of transforming the Chilean entrepreneurial ecosystem.4) Washington, D.C.Image Credit: E. David LuriaFor college graduates interested in public policy, government, nonprofits, and a growing startup scene, Washington D.C. is a great place to start and grow a career. Mashable gives it the #1 spot for networking opportunities. College grads will also be in great company, as almost one-third of the city’s population is between the ages of 20 and 34.WalletHub ranked it #3 in both quality of life and professional opportunities. And according to Fortune Magazine, it has a “reasonable cost of living for a city of its size.” The well-functioning public transportation system also spans to close by Virginia and Maryland, which have even more affordable housing options.If that hasn’t convinced you, then here’s the kicker: D.C. was named the best U.S. city for single people, scoring highest in the U.S. in “mating opportunities,” according to WalletHub. After all, with 58% of the population being single, there are plenty of fish in the sea.5) Denver, ColoradoImage Credit: City-Data.comThe combination of plentiful entry-level opportunities for young professionals, quality of life, and a gorgeous setting makes Denver a great place for young people to live and grow their careers — especially those who love the great outdoors.According to WalletHub, Denver is #8 on a list of 150 cities for professional opportunities for entry-level workers, and #13 for quality of life. WalletHub also found the “extraordinarily varied local economy generates lots of jobs, relatively high starting salaries, and robust income growth.”The city’s also well known for its vibrant art scene and the virtually unlimited list of things to do outside, including skiing, snowboarding, and hiking at over a dozen nearby local mountain resorts. It has a whopping 300 days of sunshine most years, and 80 miles of trails within the city limits alone.6) Houston, TexasImage Credit: City-Data.comHouston was #1 of 150 cities on WalletHub’s list for the highest starting salaries adjusted for cost of living. In fact, the median annual income there is 3X higher than in Honolulu. And although Houston is the United States’ fourth most populous city, its real estate prices don’t reflect that, according to CNN.The city has a great entrepreneurial business climate with little government intervention. The Atlantic called it “America’s #1 job creator” in 2013 after it became the first major city to not only regain all the jobs lost in the downturned U.S. economy, but also the first city to add more than two jobs for everyone one it lost after the crash. That’s just impressive. Its most lucrative industry? Energy, as you may have guessed, given its proximity to oil.7) Raleigh, North CarolinaImage Credit: Anderson PaintingRaleigh is one of the smaller cities on our list, but it’s become a go-to spot for college graduates interested in financial services, software, energy, retail, and its famous “Research Triangle.” The triangle is formed by three cities: Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill — all three with major research universities. You’ll also find the 7,000-acre Research Triangle Park here, too, which is one of the best tech research and development centers in the United States.Along with a solid economy, it’s been rated with a high quality of life (it’s accessible to both beautiful mountains and beautiful beaches) and low cost of living. Although the cost of living is beginning to creep up: One study found that a little under 72% of Raleigh-area homes are deemed affordable at the median income level.But many people who move to Raleigh after college end up settling there, which speaks to how attractive a place it is to live. Forbes named it the #1 place to raise a family in the U.S. 8) Montreal, CanadaImage Credit: The OdoraIf you want to live affordably in a big city and you’re willing to learn a little bit of French, then Montreal could be the perfect place to launch your career. The cost of living is lower than many North American cities, including other major Canadian cities like Vancouver and Toronto. Plus, the city’s employment growth rate is among the highest for major U.S. and Canadian cities. Its key industries are information and communications technologies, aerospace, and creative industries, according to Montreal International.Montreal is also one of the most culturally rich cities in North America, with a thriving live music and arts scene and a significant percentage of the population coming from cities and countries around the world. It has the second most diverse population in Canada after Ottawa-Gatineau. And let’s be honest … any city that dedicates an entire week to poutine (a delicious combination of fries, cheese curds, and gravy) and an entire month to igloos has their priorities straight.9) Boston, MassachusettsImage Credit: Dan HulubeiBoston is host to students from more than 100 colleges and universities including Harvard, MIT, Boston University, and Boston College — many who end up sticking around after graduation. In recent years, the city has “gone to great lengths to stop young alumni from fleeing to bigger cities,” according to Thrillist. And it’s worked: Now, the city has the highest concentration of people ages 20 to 34 of any major U.S. city.Despite a higher cost of living than most of the cities on this list, salaries in Boston are overall attractive, sitting at 34% above the U.S. average. It’s a great place for college graduates who want to live in a big city, but who are overwhelmed by huge, sprawling cities like New York and Los Angeles. It’s also a great place for sports fans.(Oh, and did I mention HubSpot’s hiring in our Boston-area office?)10) Dallas, TexasImage Credit: Huston-Tillotson UniversityThat’s right: Another city in Texas made the shortlist. Why? Because of its many opportunities for entry-level employment, along with a healthy balance of low cost of living, high salaries, and low unemployment, according to a study by Apartments.com and CareerBuilder.com.Dallas is home to the headquarters for a lot of major corporations, including J.C. Penney, GameStop, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Dave & Busters, Frito-Lay, and Rolex. Its most thriving industries? Telecommunications, technology, and manufacturing. But And CNN reports that startups have been flocking there because of its low taxes and minimal government interference.11) Minneapolis, MinnesotaImage Credit: John WeeksWith its stable economy, low cost of living, and relatively high salaries, Minneapolis has earned its place as one of the best places to start your career after college. It was named one of Fortune Magazine’s top cities for finding a job, and is host to many well known companies like Target, 3M, General Mills, Wells Fargo, and the Mayo Clinic. According to NerdWallet, “Minneapolis is young, affordable and thriving economically, making it a solid choice for recent graduates.” The most popular industries for job seekers are in marketing, banking, and retail. Not only is rental housing affordable, but it’s plentiful, too: More than half of homes in the city are rentals, and about 5% of them are unoccupied. NerdWallet found that Minneapolis residents with a bachelor’s degree who are 25 years old or older will spend 21.8% of their income on housing, and in many cases, rents are under $1,000 a month.If you’re into staying fit, then you’ll fit right in, as that’s something the city’s well known for. It ranked #2 in the American Fitness Index’s list of fitness cities, and more than 80% of the city’s residents say they engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day. It’s no wonder, seeing as the city’s full of parks and trails that encourage an active lifestyle. You’ll have to stay motivated through the freezing winters, though.12) Sydney, AustraliaImage Credit: WikiProject SydneyThe thriving startup community, cosmopolitan spirit, and high quality of life are the biggest allures of Australia’s largest city. According to Virgin Entrepreneur, “Sydney is now home to a raft of start-up accelerators and incubators, which have resulted in a rapid expansion in microbusinesses in the city. … Australia produces some great talent and creative and innovative people — and in the tech sector, these people gravitate to Sydney. The Australian lifestyle also attracts smart people from around the world.”Alongside a strong but friendly business culture, you’ll find an excellent lifestyle and a culturally diverse population. The downside? A pretty high cost of living in comparison to other cities in Australia. It’s a tradeoff for an arguably better quality of life, if you think about the proximity of beaches and national parks to the city center. (And good news: HubSpot’s hiring here, too.)Which cities do you recommend for recent college graduates, and why? Share with us in the comments. Job Search Originally published Oct 5, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated December 13 2018 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Data-Driven Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Jan 28, 2016 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Look, no one has a crystal ball at the ready to tell you who’s going to buy what, and how much, and when. Does that mean you have to wait around to see what a customer’s going to do? Of course not. You can learn a lot about your customers by studying their habits—past visits to your site—to predict what they’ll do next. It’s just a matter of knowing what information you need and when to use it.From Search to Landing PageOne of your best friends when determining customer behavior predictions is your Google AdWords account. This program determines all the keywords your buyers searched, which of those searches resulted in clicks through to your site, and which of those clicks through resulted in a sale.Once the buyers have clicked through from AdWords to a landing page on your site, you can use that information to lay a path from start to purchase. After all, you already know what they’re looking for. They told you when they searched Google for it. Should you slow them down in their search by leading them to a generic landing page? By creating more clicks instead of directing them right to the shopping cart and checkout? Of course not. When a buyer tells you what they want to buy, you remove all obstacles.From Social Media to WebsiteIt’s harder to pin down a visitor’s reason to stopping by when they come through social channels. The hardest of all is a click to the address in your company profile. You can assume that social proof is important to that buyer and react accordingly, but you won’t get much more information than that.Clicks through from specific social posts, however, can tell you a lot more about the buyers’ thought process. Did they visit to read a particular blog? You might surmise they’re looking for more information. Did they click through an image of your hottest products? Maybe they’re in the market for one of those products, or maybe they just like to know what the trends are.Every action on social marketing channels will help you narrow down the information you need, so don’t give up. The more information you have about your visitors’ past behavior, the easier you can predict where they’ll go next. From First-Time Buyer to Loyal ShopperPast purchases give you the greatest insight into buyer behavior, don’t they? That’s why you can’t consider the transaction complete once you’ve received payment. Now you know more about that buyer than you ever had, so you can’t just let them walk away forever.The information you gather after this purchase will tell you what you need to know to move forward. Was the purchase a gift or something necessary to the buyer? Did he or she purchase accessories? Did the buyer spend a lot of time making a decision—evidenced by multiple visits to your site, comparisons between products, and perhaps even conversations with customer service?What you learn will help you determine if you should continue providing gift ideas to the buyer or if they need more information about similar products for their own use. If they often buy the accessories needed to make your products bigger and better, then they’re probably going to appreciate upselling and cross-selling information.You never want to make your use of past information creepy, so be careful when showing your hand. Buyers will appreciate a PPC click leading to a landing page, but they may not want to see ads for that exact product following them around for days after their initial search. They might enjoy their social media clicks leading to the right information on your website, but they may get a little freaked out if you strike up a Twitter conversation out of the blue. Your goal is to smooth the path between want and own, to provide the information buyers need as soon as they need it—not to be a stalker.
10) Slow FactorySlow Factory makes limited-edition silk scarves, but they also have a great background story:We create silk garments using scientific open data and creating meaningful partnerships with NGOs working in preserving our Planet or defending Human Rights. For our latest collection, Petit Atlas, we partnered with the World Wildlife Fund and created a limited edition collection that contributes and supports the preservation work they are doing in keeping our oceans clean.”You can find their most striking visual storytelling on their products page. The models shown sporting these scarves are cosmopolitan, chic, mysterious, worldly, and well-traveled. Their brand is as quirky and unusual as their advertising, which is exactly how it should be.11) Heinz KetchupOn the other end of the spectrum from “quirky and unusual” is Heinz Ketchup. But that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to tell a compelling story that makes people want to get off of their couches and rush to the nearest burger joint.I really love how this Instagram image works with its caption: “Pork. Topped with Pork. Topped with Jalapeno Ketchup. #enoughsaid.” The lesson: Not every story needs to be poetry.12) The Large Hadron Collider Pop-Up Book (by CERN)Visual storytelling’s power comes from the ability to convey a lot of information at a glance. I would argue that a tactile pop-up book is able to convey even more information. There’s a sense of scale and wonder you get with 3D representations that two dimensions can never quite cover. This pop-up book, for example, contains 16 pop-ups that tell the story of how the large Hadron Collider experiment works.13) INKODYEInkodye allows you to print fabric with sunlight-activated “Inkodye” to create fantastically original designs. The storytelling comes in with their “Recent #inkodye projects on Instagram” feed, where all Inkodye users are invited to post their latest creations.Not only are the images exceptionally artistic, but they also reveal a community of artists, designers, hipsters, parents, and kids, and bring them together through this creative process. When you look through their feed, you can’t help but think: “I want one of those!” Clearly, this is a community of people who dream outside of the box.14) PISTONPISTON is a San Diego-based marketing agency that combines striking, thoughtful creativity with the utmost professionalism. And the images they use to market themselves strike this balance perfectly. I love this particular image because it turns the typical stock photography “man in suit” image on its head by including that colorful candy ring.That’s not a stock image. That’s an image that says “I am the consummate professional — but I can also be fun and intriguing at the same time.”That ring doesn’t tell a story. It does something even more powerful. It hints that behind that suit and tie is a wild tale, just waiting to be told.15) First Round CapitalFirst Round is a venture capital firm that provides seed-stage funding to technology companies. Essentially, startups are their business, and helping the best rise to the top is their mission. At the end of 2015, First Round decided to tell the story of some of these startups. Using data gathered through SurveyMonkey, they used Visage — a very cool visual storytelling tool — to turn those numbers into a design that offers a snapshot of the current startup ecosystem. The result of over 500 responses is 10 insights into what it’s like to run a startup today, illustrated with several types of graphs and charts. Originally published May 11, 2016 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Video Marketing Pork. Topped with Pork. Topped with Jalapeño Ketchup. #enoughsaid #recipe http://t.co/nKRn3W8oio pic.twitter.com/tg0pGiIg6N— Heinz Ketchup (@HeinzKetchup_US) October 5, 2015 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Before the days of neon lights and marquee signs, business owners had to get creative when it came to advertising their establishments. In fact, wine bars in ancient Rome used to hang bunches of vine leaves outside their door as a nod to the God of Wine, Bacchus. And when weather conditions left them with a short supply of vine leaves, barkeeps turned to bushes — inns called Bush, or Bull & Bush, still exist today.But others didn’t even have that. They had to get artistic. And with a largely illiterate population, pictorial signs were the only logical advertising choice.Visual storytelling — or passing on a lot of information through a relatively simple visual aid — has been a cornerstone of marketing for thousands of years. I’d like to say we’ve come a long way, but really? What worked then works now: We see what we want and we’re driven to buy it.Perhaps, if anything has changed, it’s what we want from life. That’s where today’s visual storytellers have a chance to not only say “Hey, you can get this here!” but also lead the consumer into a whole new world of possibilities.Below you’ll find 15 of the very best examples of visual storytelling from B2C, B2B, crowdfunding, and SaaS. These companies know how to tell a brand story that seeds desire, starts relationships, and inspires nothing short of love. Check ’em out.15 Stunning Examples of Visual Storytelling1) ModclothSomething grabs hold of me every time I visit Modcloth … which I do with alarming regularity. Sure, part of the appeal is the clothes. But that’s not what has me back on an almost daily basis — just to check.When I click onto Modcloth’s homepage, I find myself in a world of friendly sisterhood. I see stories of women, like me, who are having the times of their lives. The online retailer presents their visual storytelling as a slider on the homepage. Instead of each slide having its own image, each corresponding to a different sales page or theme, they devote the entire slide series to expanding on one core idea. This spring, that idea was a girls’ road trip.This series showcases the clothes, but it also tells a deeper story about relationships, female bonding, and a distinctly feminine sense of adventure. These images make me feel part of a tribe of active, vibrant women. After just a few seconds, I’m ready to start planning my own road trip with my best friend — and when I do, I know exactly the clothes I want to pack (just have to order them first).These aren’t just aspirational advertisements, like those you’d seen in a magazine. These are no catwalk models. Nothing here is impossibly chic, or so stylized that it’s out of reach. That is part of what makes the magic of Modcloth’s particular brand of storytelling. These are stories we could write for ourselves.2) PatagoniaPatagonia has one of the strongest brands and most passionate followings. They’re just good people. Every piece of their marketing points to their commitment to quality and a deep integrity and care for the environment. I have no reason to buy Patagonia — you won’t even find a windbreaker in my closet — but I love them as a business. And if even your non-target audience sings your praises, you are clearly doing something right.Their visual storytelling supports this core story of integrity and environmental stewardship. Each image shows real people (they don’t look like models — it looks like users sending in their photos) enjoying the outdoors, clinging to cliff sides, trudging through snow-covered mountains, or flinging themselves off the sides of yachts in the Caribbean.These are images that speak to a very specific niche audience. After all, not all of us associate snow, cliffs, or open water with a good time (Jaws? Open Water?). But for their target audience, these are the images that stoke the fires, fill the sails, and send them off into planning their next adventures.And then there was the Worn Wear campaign. The tagline “Better than new” immediately tells you that this is no ordinary marketing effort. In fact, the “Worn Wear wagon” (pictured above) drives around the country with Patagonia to repair old garments and gear, sell used clothing, and hold DIY workshops. Along the way, they’re also reinforcing the brand’s values and bolstering their community of loyal fans. They spread the word on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter — all highly visual mediums — for brand followers to meet up and mend their garments.3) SlackSeems like everyone is on Slack these days … even NASA.This single piece of visual storytelling on their homepage speaks volumes. And the story it tells isn’t about team meetings or group chats: it’s about ROBOTS ON MARS! That’s got to be the most thrilling three words a nerd like me can hear. (Right next to “aliens on Mars,” which would be even more exciting. But robots? Still pretty cool.) And this image, with this perfect tagline, tells me that this product enables teams like mine to accomplish something spectacular.When I see this image, it’s almost as if I’m putting a robot on Mars myself. I must have dropped my NASA badge around here, somewhere …4) Internet Live StatsInternet Live Stats is part of the Real Time Statistics Project and was created by an international team of developers, researchers, and analysts with the goal to make statistics available in a dynamic, time-relevant way to everyone. Their data-visualization team isn’t too shabby either — it’s one thing to read that there were 7,162 Tweets in a single second. It’s quite another to see it.The visual of 7,162 birds is far more impactful than the header saying “7,162 Tweets sent in 1 second.” It’s a different kind of visual storytelling, but compelling nevertheless.5) Offerman WoodshopNick Offerman, best known for his role as Ron Swanson in NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” is not only an actor and comedian — he’s also an accomplished carpenter. And he’s got attitude. This guy has personality, and it emanates from everything he does. No nonsense. Back to basics. Rugged. Bacon. These are the phrases that resonate for Offerman fans, who won’t bat an eye at paying $145 for a “Build Your Own Damn Stool” kit.Why? Because you’re buying so much more than a deconstructed stool. You’re filling out a membership card to an exclusive group of unapologetic carnivores, manly men, and people who figure that if an Abacus was good enough for their great-grandfathers, it’s good enough for them. It’s an ideology and a fantasy. And all of it comes through in every. Single. Image.No smiles. Smiles are superfluous. Give that man bacon and you might get a twitch of the lip.6) 1001 Knights (Kickstarter)1001 Knights is a three-volume anthology project, essentially creating a beautifully illustrated set of books that feature a diverse cast of noble characters with feminist overtones. Now, if you’ve ever attempted crowdfunding on Kickstarter or any other site, you’ll know this: Successfully finding an audience and talking them into paying requires a truly stirring plea. And that plea had better include powerful visuals.This is visual storytelling — literally.And, it’s done so successfully, that they exceeded their original goal of $70,000 by $229,192.The Kickstarter video’s voiceover is not what draws people in. It’s the images. The promise that these stories are like nothing you’ve ever read, or seen, before. Stories about knights — who are women. Who are complex characters of color. Who embrace the values of wisdom, courage, and fellowship.You don’t have to read a word of their Kickstarter page to understand these concepts, or to be driven to make your own donation. The images speak for themselves.7) TwoodieTwoodie’s images are easy to recognize — everything is gray except for the toys. Each image tells a story of play. Thought. Beauty. Simplicity. These games aren’t just for fun, they are objects of art.The brand itself is all about simplicity and beauty, which these product photos faithfully reflect. They’re stirring, vibrant, and fundamental.8) The Wild UnknownThe Wild Unknown is my favorite Tarot deck, and I confess, I bought it entirely because of a picture on Instagram.Their Instagram feed is a visual storytelling masterpiece. Artistry, magic, nature, elemental mystery – it’s all there. Social media is a huge resource for visual storytellers to share their work, and I love seeing businesses that take advantage of all it has to offer.9) Toca BocaToca Boca makes really cute and educational apps and games for children. They call their products “digital toys,” and one of their selling points is that digital toys have a number of benefits that physical toys lack: the ability to build bigger, build on the go, share and collaborate, the ability to take risks, and preserve “ever-expanding” creations.Fundamentally, Toca Boca combines high-tech with the ultra-simple. And their images, with simple shapes and color-blocked characters, are created completely in line with their brand. Topics: Photographs, maps, and data-visualizations — these are the tools of visual storytelling. But to use them effectively, remember the most important part of any kind of storytelling: The audience.Whereas ye olde customer was satisfied with a couple of fighting roosters and a pint, today’s customer wants much, much more. Relationships. Time. The promise of a better life. Insights that change their paradigms. And, they want all of these things at a glance.Are you ready to give it to them?Want more tips for creating visual content? Check out these viral video marketing examples.
Originally published Sep 16, 2016 5:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics: Leadership Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Running an agency is a tough business. You’re constantly balancing new business development, creativity, employee management, legal concerns, invoices, new tools… the list goes on and on.With so many responsibilities, how do you know what to prioritize? Wouldn’t it be nice to know what your clients think you should focus on?We rounded up some pieces of advice from a few marketing executives and CMOs to help you handle the many varied demands of running an agency.7 Pieces of Agency Advice from Marketing Executives1) Focus on building a partnership with your clientsThe advice is, for marketers, you only get what you put in. If you kick it over the fence, expect it to be kicked back. Okay? If you lean in and you say, ‘Hey, agency. This truly is a partnership.’ In that, we’ll get the best solution and the agency gets the best partnership because there’s a transparency in our business.Part of what happens early on in our agency relationships is everyone is taking a guess. The tension tends to come as reality starts affecting that guess.When you’re trying to sell in on the agency side, you’ll always err towards the side of, ‘Oh, it will be fine.’ On the client side, you’re like, ‘Well, I don’t understand what those fees are,’ and yet there’s no working in between. That would be the big thing, to lean in.- David Jaye | CMO of The Weather Company2) Get your executive team involved from day oneThink about some of the great marketing of our age. Apple’s a perfect example. It wasn’t a partnership between Lee Clow and Apple’s CMO. It was Steve Jobs and Lee together creating great work.I think that is a formula at the top, a creative partner and the CEO working together. If those two people can work together, it’s magic.- Brian Chesky | CEO of Airbnb3) Highlight your specialtiesThere is too much focus on sales and cross-selling, and not enough on unique capabilities.Never hire your PR agency to do your paid search and find agencies that truly specialize in one core service to deliver the best results.- Ed Nevraumont | CMO of A Place for Mom4) Empathise with client’s drive for revenueOne big thing that the agency side doesn’t understand is the ever present need to drive revenue and to make sure that I’m managing the spend against that.Things can get away from you very quickly if you have a slow Q1 — you’re not going to make your annual revenues. Just that shift and thinking away from the quality of the program, if you will, to the responsibility for the revenue and investment for the enterprise. That was probably the biggest shift I had to make.- Ellen Donahue-Dalton | CMO of Medecision5) Don’t wait for a crisis to build strong relationshipsShould a crisis or high-profile communication occur in your organization, you need to already have strong relationships across your executive team.Build the rapport now so that you’re not waiting until crisis hits to build those relationships and protocols.- Amy Comeau | CMO of Emory Healthcare6) Don’t underestimate the value of speedI need agencies who are very fast — that’s point number one, especially in a startup. I will actually sacrifice some strategy for speed.I needed an agency that would be fast, that would be nimble and also that wasn’t going to lock me into a big retainer. That’s a real mistake that companies make, especially small companies. You just can’t afford monthly hits of $10,000 or more.You may not use the agency in a given month because you have other priorities, and then you’re still paying the $10,000, and there’s always exit fees. It ends up getting very expensive.- Jeff Perkins | CMO of QASymphony7) Play well with othersI love the agencies that play well with others. I love putting agencies together.I think that’s one of the most powerful things we can do. I know that’s not always easy. Who’s on first? Who’s on second? Can be tricky. When that dance is well danced, I think it’s beautiful.I love agencies who truly understand they fill a void. Yet are able to rise up out of that specialty and connect other dots for us. I think that’s a very, very powerful capability from an agency.- Rebecca Messina | Global CMO of Beam Suntory
It’s finally, finally summer.To celebrate the sun emerging (and the temperature in our offices dropping to subarctic extremes), I attempted to find some summery ads to feature in this month’s roundup. Instead, I ended up with a weird chatbot, a novelty phone, and several ways to kill bugs. Regardless of seasonal appropriateness, this month’s ad roundup showcases some inventive ad formats and new concepts from agencies around the world. Check them all out below. 10 of the Best Ads from June1) Bufdir (The Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs)This heartwarming ad from Oslo-based agency Kitchen (Leo Burnett/Publicis) racked up 120 million views in just one week — and the hype is completely deserved.To emphasize the importance of community in raising a child, “The Lunchbox” tells the story of a young boy who finds himself without a lunch at school. After wandering the halls of his school to kill time, he returns to his desk to discover each of his classmates have pitched in an item for a complete meal. 3) Howler MagazineBack in the late 80’s, Sports Illustrated released an exciting new offer: Buy a subscription to the magazine, and you got a free football shaped phone. If this ad was any indication, people were psyched. The kitschy little device convinced literally millions of people to shell out $55 for an SI subscription.Fast forward to 2017, and the folks at Howler, an American soccer magazine, teamed up with Kovert Creative to produce a delightful, celebrity-studded spoof on the classic campaign. Their version features — what else? — a soccer ball phone, and includes appearances from comedians Sarah Silverman, Will Arnett, and Jack Black, among others.Unfortunately for novelty phone aficionados, Howler only made one soccer phone. And according to their website, it’s already taken. Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! 5) NutellaUsing a special randomizing algorithm, Ogilvy & Mather Italy developed seven million unique jar designs for Nutella. Each colorful package is 100% one-of-a-kind, but if you’re looking to pick one up, you’re late to the game: According to the agency, all seven million of the limited-edition jars sold out in one month at Italian supermarkets. 2) Arby’sChatbots are shaping up to be an inescapable trend in 2017, and it seems like every brand is jumping on the wagon — regardless of industry. With the ad world fawning over Domino’s pizza tracking tool, Arby’s teamed up with Minneapolis-based agency Fallon to create a high-tech chatbot of their own: The Arby’s Pizza Slider Chatbot. Despite the name, this little Facebook Messenger bot will not actually help you order a pizza slider (or anything) from Arby’s. In fact, it’s designed to do absolutely nothing helpful. Check out my conversation with the bot below. (Unsurprisingly, the Arby’s Pizza Slider bot has no time for vegetarians.) Marketing Agency 6) SM SupermallsThis Father’s Day ad from the Phillipines went viral for its heartwarming (and hilarious) twist ending.Created by Tribal Worldwide Philippines for SM Supermalls, the ad follows a family as they prepare for the daughter’s extravagant birthday bash. Throughout preparations leading up to the event, the father looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. We soon find out he’s not quite as unemotional as he seems. 7) DeltaAccording to research from Wieden + Kennedy New York, singles who feature travel pictures on their Tinder profiles are more likely to be swiped right. But if you can’t afford to travel to an exotic locale for the selfie opportunities, Delta has you covered. The airline worked with W+K to create the #DeltaDatingWall, a mural in Brooklyn that features perfectly Instagram-sized selfie backgrounds of cities around the world. So if you want to trick your future husband into thinking you visited Honolulu and Zurich in the same day, this is the ideal place to do it. 10) FloraWho says print ads can’t break some new ground? This Brazilian magazine ad for Mat Inset insecticide from WMcCann invites consumers to “Discover two ways to kill insects.” One is the product, and the other is this delightfully low-tech innovation: Originally published Jun 26, 2017 8:00:00 AM, updated June 23 2017 9) BacardiIn this colorful, BBDO New York-produced ad for Bacardi, the residents of a idyllic Caribbean town are quite literally caught in a repetitive loop. Inspired by Instagram’s Boomerang effect, the summery spot features a catchy beat from Major Lazer. 8) Nature Conservancy BrazilTo bring attention to the not-so-distant consequences of climate change and inspire some environmental urgency, the Nature Conservancy Brazil launched a line of apocalypse supplies called The Products of Tomorrow.Presented in slick, futuristic packaging, the products seem innocuous at first: an apple wrapped in a silver bag, a canister of sunscreen, a bottle of water. But on closer inspection, the details paint a scary vision of our future: the apple is only 3% fruit, the sunscreen is SPF 350+, and the bottled water is “low-acidic rain water.” 4) Showtime – Ray DonovanThe copywriting shines in this ingenious promo spot for Showtime’s crime drama, Ray Donovan, now entering its fifth season. The first half of the ad features an ominous, threatening voice over from series star Liev Schreiber. In the second half, Schreiber’s phrases are repeated in reverse order, taking on a completely different tone: reassuring and protective. The ad — created in-house at Showtime — perfectly captures the title character’s duality.
Arsène Wenger Wenger 811: The numbers behind record-breaking Arsenal tenure Joe Wright Last updated 1 year ago 18:20 12/30/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Getty Images Arsène Wenger Arsenal West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal West Bromwich Albion Premier League As the Frenchman prepares to break Alex Ferguson’s Premier League longevity record, we look at some of the key data behind his career Arsene Wenger will claim another slice of Premier League history when he takes charge of Arsenal against West Brom on Sunday.The 68-year-old has already matched Manchester United great Alex Ferguson on 810 matches as a manager in England’s top flight and will break that record at the Hawthorns – interestingly, the very ground at which his old nemesis oversaw the final game of his career, a thrilling 5-5 draw with West Brom in May 2013.Wenger has not exactly enjoyed unwavering support during his 20-year spell in north London but, with three league titles to his name, he is showing few signs of giving up hope of a fourth before he finishes his Gunners career. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Ahead of his latest milestone, we take a look at the Opta stats behind his remarkable time in England.MORE GAMES, MORE WINS THAN MOSTWenger will move beyond Ferguson’s record when he manages his 811th game on Sunday and it looks like his will be a tally that will take some time to surpass.The nearest manager to these two in terms of games in charge in the top flight is Harry Redknapp on 641. Some way further back are David Moyes (508), Sam Allardyce (494) and Mark Hughes (442).Ferguson still has the highest number of victories (528), giving him a win percentage of 65.2, above Wenger’s 57.8. Indeed, Jose Mourinho, with a 63.3 per cent win rate from 270 games, has a more clinical record than the Frenchman.Wenger’s Arsenal have also managed fewer goals than Ferguson’s United (1524 compared to 1627) in 810 matches.FAVOURITE MANAGERS AND THE ONES HE’D RATHER AVOIDThere are some managers down the years who Wenger has loved facing. Of those Wenger has met on 10 occasions or more in the Premier League, he has enjoyed win rates of at least 50 per cent against 18 of them.Steve McClaren is probably his favourite: Wenger has beaten the ex-England boss in 11 games out of 12. However, when it comes to the stats, his easiest opponents are Sean Dyche, Jean Tigana, Joe Royle and Dave Bassett, all of whom managed teams at least three times against Wenger and lost every one of those games.Of course, it hasn’t all gone his way. Wenger only managed 10 wins in 34 meetings with Ferguson and has famously won only once in 14 attempts against Jose Mourinho teams. He has never beaten Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Roy Evans or Roberto Di Matteo, to name a few.HAPPY HUNTING GROUNDSArsenal have won 145 of 219 games at the Emirates Stadium, giving them a 66.2 per cent win ratio. That’s worse than they managed at Highbury under Wenger, where they won 134 out of 186 matches.On the road, Goodison Park is probably Wenger’s favourite, where he has managed a commendable 11 wins and five draws from 22 visits. Villa Park (10 wins from 19 and only two defeats) and The Valley (six wins from eight) are also enjoyable trips.Games at Anfield, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane have yielded only 18 wins from a possible 85, while he has managed six wins at the Etihad Stadium. His worst days out have come at Hillsborough, Valley Parade, Bramall Lane and Sunderland’s old Roker Park: he has never won at any of them in the league.FAVOURITE OPPONENTS AND A SHOCK BOGEY TEAMUnsurprisingly, given his Goodison Park record, Everton are Wenger’s favourite opponents. He has beaten them 28 times and lost only six of their 43 meetings, with a goal difference of +50.Leicester City (14 wins and no defeats from 20 games), Charlton Athletic (12 wins and two draws from 16 games) and Portsmouth (eight wins and six draws from 14 games) have also dreaded the visit of Wenger down the years, while Reading have lost all six of their meetings with his team.His worst records against teams he has faced at least five times yield a surprise, though: Liverpool (13 wins from 43) and Manchester United (12 wins from 43) have proved tough nuts to crack, but it is Sheffield Wednesday who hold the anti-Wenger formula, having lost just twice to his team in seven meetings.A TASTE FOR THE TOFFEES, BUT LET’S FORGET OLD TRAFFORDSorry, Everton: when it comes to Wenger’s record wins, once more, you’re top of the pile.A 7-0 thrashing of the Toffees in May 2005 remains his joint-biggest Premier League victory, alongside a demolition of Middlesbrough in January 2006 by the same scoreline.In more recent years, a 6-0 win over Blackpool in August 2010 and a 7-1 triumph over Blackburn Rovers in February 2012 are the most impressive.For many years, Wenger’s worst defeat was a 6-1 loss to Manchester United in February 2001. That was until August 28, 2011, when they suffered a humiliating 8-2 reversal at Old Trafford.Wenger has only ever endured a six-goal defeat once since then: a 6-0 loss to Chelsea in March three years ago.
The Big 12 is not implementing divisions which is pretty crazy. What would have happened to Oklahoma State in the five-year history of the Big 12 having 10 teams if divisions had existed all along? ESPN’s Max Olson took a look.Olson looked at each of the five Big 12 title scenarios from the five seasons since the Big 12 went to 10 teams. There is a bonkers scenario in 2013 in which OSU would have been kept from the Big 12 title game because of point differential on the final play of the season.On the final play of the game, Oklahoma State ran a desperation lateral play and goofed up. The backwards throw to QB Clint Chelf was errant and Eric Striker scooped the ball up and scored for a 33-24 victory. In this tiebreaker scenario, that play gives OU the spot in the Big 12 title game.So let’s put it this way: If Oklahoma State, down 27-24 against its hated rival, had instead sent Chelf out to take a knee and take the Bedlam loss, the Cowboys make the Big 12 title game.This is the world we now live in! That’s not all, though. The only year a conference championship game would have helped the Big 12? 2011.It might be hard to picture the BCS rankings moving the Cowboys into the national title game had they defeated K-State again. But Oklahoma State was only .0086 behind Alabama for the No. 2 spot. What if another win over a top-10 foe would have pushed the Cowboys ahead? This might have been one year where a Big 12 title game really could’ve helped.Sweet. Just more ways to twist that 2011 knife a little deeper! Conference championship games are pretty much never going to help the Big 12 make the CFB Playoff. Except it would have if the playoff was only two teams in 2011.So new ways are being invented for OSU to have retroactively been kept from playing for the 2011 title. The playoff is now four teams (OSU would have been in), and the Big 12 has a conference title game (OSU probably would have been in).I need a drink. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Here is the scoring drive chart which is just completely ludicrous (especially at the time).And the full highlights. The Holland pick, which is fabulous, comes at the 12:15 mark.Symons, by the way, lives in Houston now. And looks exactly like I remembered him.Happy New Year!! Wishing everyone a blessed 2013 #LetsRide pic.twitter.com/fOzFKBD5— BJ Symons (@BJSymons) January 1, 2013 Jon Holland.A mere footnote in the history of Oklahoma State football. He was also the author of the play that capped one of my favorite Oklahoma State-Texas Tech games ever (and there have been a lot of them). The Pokes took the Raiders 51-49 in 2003 despite an absurd day from my least-favorite of all of Mike Leach’s QBs: B.J. Symons.Here’s the AP with the recap.The teams combined for 1,334 total yards. Oklahoma State was third in the nation in scoring coming in, averaging 40.6 points. Texas Tech had averaged 46.8.Symons actually still holds the single-season NCAA record for total yards with 5,976 that year. He also holds the records for most passes in a season (719) and most 400-yard games (11!) Look at these numbers from the OSU game.Wes Welker had 10 catches for 129 yards and a pair of TDs. OSU countered with 28 carries and 238 yards plus three TDs from Tatum Bell. The Woods bros added nine catches for 217 yards.“The offense came out quickly with big plays by Tatum Bell and Rashaun Woods,” Les Miles told the AP. “It gave us the opportunity to score and score repeatedly. We understood that this would be a four-quarter game. The clock just doesn’t seem to run when you play Texas Tech.”But the biggest catch of the day definitely came from Holland. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
2016 – Matt Ammendola – 63.31 avg / 48.57 TB%2015 – Ben Grogan – 60.09 avg / 23.91 TB%2014 – Kip Smith – 59.24 avg / 20.00 TB%2013 – Kip Smith – 60.04 avg / 23.33 TB%2012 – Quinn Sharp – 62.92 avg / 69.61 TB%So while he hasn’t been perfect, Ammendola has been the best at getting the ball into the back of the end zone by far since cult hero Quinn Sharp left.This has allowed Ben Grogan to focus strictly on his place kicking duties. Here’s Mike Gundy on that.“Ben has done a really good job for us,” coach Mike Gundy said. “He’s stayed consistent. He’s had two significant surgeries and has rehabbed himself over the summers to come back and kick well. We took away the kickoff duties from him because we felt it stressed his body a little much, but he’s been very consistent for us. He’s level-headed and a guy we can trust.”Return IssuesOn the other side of the field, things haven’t been so great. OSU ranks 107th in the nation (8th in the Big 12) averaging just 18.74 yards per return on kickoffs. That’s the Cowboys’ lowest average since 2009 (18.52).Kickoff return duties have been mainly handled by Barry J. Sanders as well as splitting punt returns with Jalen McCleskey. Sanders averages a decent 21.58 yards per kickoff return and 15.50 per punt return but after a couple of exciting plays early in the season has been ho-hum. Mostly it’s been just fair catch after fair catch.The Cowboys haven’t had a game-changer in the return game since Tyreek Hill. In 2014, Hill returned two kickoffs and a punt for scores. The last two seasons? Jalen McCleskey’s punt return touchdown at Texas Tech. That’s it.So while the kickoffs have been better, the other side of it has been worse. Hopefully the two can come together over the final two games as OSU goes for its second Big 12 title in the last six seasons. The kickoff.It’s a part of the game that amounts to an afterthought for most of us. A time for you to make one last run to the fridge before the real action starts.But don’t tell that to Mike Gundy.Special teams has always been a priority for him as a coach, often making a point to be hands-on in that phase while sitting back in more of a “CEO” mentality on offense and defense.Gundy has spoken repeatedly about the importance of special teams.“We’ve talked about today’s football, in our opinion, is the offense being able to get big plays; trying to find a way to establish some sort of a run; control the ball as best you can; be sound in special teams; try to get one big play in special teams; and defensively, try to force turnovers,” he said after Game 1.The Cowboys have shown marked improvement on their kickoffs this season, partially due to freshman Matt Ammendola who Mike Gundy has given the nickname “Philly.”Last season the Cowboys ranked 96th in the nation (6th in the Big 12) in opponent kickoff returns, allowing 23.01 yards on average. But this year they rank 17th in the nation (1st in the Big 12), only allowing 17.95 yards per return.Another big improvement? Fewer returns.You can thank “Philly’s” big leg for that. Ammendola ranks fifth in the Big 12 in kickoff yardage at 63.31 and fifth in touchback percentage at 48.57 percent. That may not seem staggering but if you look at the Cowboys’ kickoffs the last couple years you’ll see the difference.Here are the Cowboys who handled the majority of kick-off duties over the last few years. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.
Very cool helmets for Senior Day!! #osufbequipmentcrew pic.twitter.com/Em8Gjt3JvA— Robert Allen (@RAllenGoPokes) November 12, 2016• Tim Brando was more concerned about Mahomes getting to 4,000 yards than I was about my children speaking their first words.• I felt like Tech had 25 third and ones in the first half.• Three straight drives of 75 yards that resulted in TDs. Impressive.• The Jalen McCleskey fumble was almost a back-breaker. It let Tech tie the game at 28 at the end of the first half. Games like these with big boy offense mean that single turnovers can completely flip games. OSU flipped it back when Vincent Taylor picked up a loose ball in the fourth quarter thankfully, but it’s strange that McCleskey (of all people!) could have provided the mistake that cost you as a two-TD favorite at home.• Oklahoma State’s 605 yards were the fifth-most a team has gained on Tech this year. Fifth!• For how disciplined Kliff seems to be, his team seem pretty undisciplined. They get an average of 68 penalty yards per game, but were only clipped for 15 yards on Saturday. Of course OSU had 80 penalty yards.• We got the full Gundy tonight.Gundy looks incredible right now. The full mullet flow. The old throwback sweatshirt. Big 12 title on the line. pic.twitter.com/pHfMDE5Pde— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 12, 2016• Tech’s receivers had a lot of drops. Kliff must love that.• Justice Hill was in 5th grade the last time Tech won. He was four years old the last time Tech won in Stillwater (also, Kliff was the QB the last time Tech won in Stillwater).• Tim Brandon calling Texas Tech “bush league” for not including a player who switched numbers on its numerical roster was pretty humorous to me.• Vincent Taylor could have run through that hole Rennie Childs ran through in the second half. Mah gosh.• Tech finished 11/20 on third and fourth down. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Tech, but that was pretty frustrating to watch.• From our Slack chat: How much does Patty Mahomes look like Yeah Yeah from Sandlot?!• OSU didn’t close like I would have thought in the fourth quarter. I really thought the depth was going to shine through late, but Tech scored on its final three drives.• Jordan Sterns had a tremendous final game at BPS. Eight tackles and two TFLs. Gonna miss that dude.• Tre Flowers going with the Carolina blue mouthpiece was interesting.• Vincent Taylor has better hands than Rashaun Woods (probably).• I thoroughly enjoyed the play where Pat Mahomes would step forward towards his center and hit a quick-slanting WR over the middle. I wish Oklahoma State would implement that.• Wut?Pretty insane number here for The President. pic.twitter.com/FqwfNUw7Z3— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 13, 2016• I still think Gundy needs to hire an end-of-game clock manager. You could pay him $500,000, and he would have already made you money this season!• This was tremendous.Awesome look at the #okstate band honoring the military with a purple heart at halftime. pic.twitter.com/QNujlSyAt8— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 12, 2016 While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up. I pounded out my 10 thoughts on the Oklahoma State-Texas Tech game here, but we need to get to the notebook. Tons to talk about. Mason Rudolph, James Washington, Chris Lacy, Chris Carson. All the Chris’. All the storylines. Let’s get to work.• My first note was: “How many stops do you need against Texas Tech?” The answer is apparently six as long as they miss the extra point at the end. OSU’s defense faced 13 Tech drives. It got six stops and gave up six TDs and a FG.• Pat Mahomes looked like he was running around on Seth Russell’s leg. What was up with that? If he’s playing with an injury as severe as it appeared, he’s even more of a gamer than I thought (and I already thought he was a massive gamer).• Three straight three-and-outs for Tech to start the game against OSU in the same week Donald Trump was elected president. What a time to be alive. OSU took advantage (sort of), but it really felt like you needed three TDs on those three drives. They only got two.• I like the bandana print on the arm sleeves and socks. I don’t like it on the helmets.• I wish I was as good at anything as Mason Rudolph is at throwing comeback sideline routes.• One of the announcers referred to James Washington as “a high hip guy.” I have no idea what this means, but I feel extremely confident that I am not a “high hip guy.”• Definitely was said.”I own you, Kliff. And I know you want my hair.” pic.twitter.com/93BXu043hH— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 13, 2016• It has to be so difficult for things to not go your way when you aren’t Iowa State or Kansas bad, but it feels like every 50/50 ball turns against you. I want Kliff to succeed because he seems like a hard-working dude, but it has to be brutal to be a Tech fan right now.• Tech’s first first down was Mahomes running for it on 4th down on its fourth drive. Little panicky early, eh? What was the last time Tech started a game with four straight three and outs?• Tech had 35 first downs. That’s the most OSU has given up since the TCU game last season when it gave up 36. Also, Tech ran 96 plays to OSU’s 66. That’s insane.• Why doesn’t Tech go full Kingsbury? Go for two after every TD, onside kick every time and never punt on a fourth down. This makes sense, doesn’t it?• It seems unfathomable that one unit in one conference could be as bad as Tech’s defense is.• A game like this seems so mentally draining on offense because of how much you have to grind and feel the pressure to score on every possession. I thought OSU did a good job of staying engaged on offense. It probably helps that you know you’re going to put up video game numbers if you’re even remotely involved.• The helmets look better like this than they did on the field.
Don’t look now, but Oklahoma State just posted its second-highest final Associated Press Top 25 ranking under Mike Gundy. The Pokes checked in at No. 11 as the final AP Poll was released after the national championship game on Monday evening.USC at No. 3 is pretty ambitious, though I’m not sure who else I would have there. I might rank Clemson and Alabama at Nos. 3 and 4 again and put SC at No. 5. Oklahoma ahead of Ohio State is humorous. Also, am I crazy for thinking Oklahoma State could beat Michigan and Wisconsin?This is actually just the second time a Mike Gundy-coached team has finished in the top 12 of the postseason AP Poll and just the 13th time in school history an OSU team has even finished ranked in the postseason AP Poll. That’s pretty incredible.What does it all mean? Well, it means the hype train has already pulled out of the station for 2017 and is barreling right for September 1 as Oklahoma State is an early top 10 team heading into a new year. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.