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From the application of GDPR directives to the implementation of open banking, 2018 was quite a disruptive year for the FinTech industry…. And many startups are here to lead us to the new frontiers. A recent MoneyLive Banking Report concluded that a majority of executives in traditional UK financial institutions now see FinTech startups as a “significant threat” to their business model. And yet, these continual innovations are what make the FinTech industry so interesting to watch. Here are some of the most promising startups we’ll have our eye on in 2019; which would you add to the list?

1. ClauseMatch

Est. 2012, London
Twitter:
@ClauseMatch

This pioneering company began creating its SaaS platform for smart document management well before the advent of GDPR and ESMA regulations. ClauseMatch now helps top UK banks and financial institutions centralize their compliance intelligence and keep all internal policies, procedures, and documents organized. In simpler terms, ClauseMatch offers file sharing capabilities with unparalleled security that meets all stringent financial regulatory requirements.

2. SecuredTouch

Est. 2014, Tel Aviv
Twitter: @Secured_Touch

SecuredTouch is a mobile fraud detection startup that analyzes over 100 behavioral parameters to keep your information secure by using behavioral technology that enables seamless authentication on any device. Their HUMANOBOT solution uses advanced machine learning to identify user activities such as swipe speed, finger pressure, and device movement, and to separate these activities from non-human behaviors. It then blocks suspicious activity or sends alerts about fraud and suspicious activity.

SecuredTouch has raised $11.5 million to date, with an initial seed round in February 2017 and the completion of its Series A funding in April 2018.

3. AID:Tech

Est. 2014, Dublin
Twitter: @aidtechnology

There are plenty of FinTech companies that do good work, but AID:Tech is one of the few that actually does good. AID:Tech uses Blockchain technology to bring transparency to the distribution of aid and donations to the world’s underserved populations. Most recently, the company partnered with the Irish Red Cross to launch an app called TraceDonate that allows donors to donate securely and to get notifications about how the donated funds are being used. Founder Niall Dennehy explains: “We found out that 30% of international aid goes missing each year and we developed a solution which could verify to donors that their money has gone where it was intended.” No small feat when upwards of $410 billion was donated to charity by Americans alone in 2017.

4. TrueLayer 

Est. 2016, London
Twitter: @TrueLayer

TrueLayer has pioneered a developer platform to help FinTech and other adjacent companies to enhance their Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance processes, open banking, and PSD2 requirements. The London-based startup has raised $4.3 million and secured partnerships with companies in a range of financial verticals, including open banking, personal finance, and accounting. TrueLayer is regulated by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), one of the strictest financial regulators in the world, and is currently working on expansion into Germany.

5. Previse

Est. 2016, London
Twitter: @_Previse_

Look at this company’s clever Twitter handle, and you’ll get a glimpse into its mission. Previse estimates that slow payments cost global businesses approximately $650 billion annually, and the company intends to change that with its algo-driven invoice payment decisions. Previse enables businesses to pay their suppliers instantly by using machine learning to exclude invoices that aren’t likely to be paid, and having their strategic financial partners pay the rest. Simply put, Previse pays invoices up front, allowing customers the flexibility of later payments and vendors the ability to get paid instantly. With Previse, companies don’t have to take out loans to cover funds that are tied up in late payments, so they save money and have more available working capital. Previse is, quite literally, changing the way B2B commerce operates.

6. Divido

Est. 2012, London
Twitter: @divido

Divido is a multi-award winning consumer finance platform for retailers that is changing the way customers finance their purchases. With Divido, companies can spread out the cost of purchases over time, while the merchant gets paid in full right away. Over 1,000 merchants are already using the platform, including Mastercard and BNP Paribas. Divido has raised $19 million so far, proving first-hand that when cash flows smoothly, businesses can achieve so much more.

7. iwoca

Est. 2011, London
Twitter: @iwoca

iwoca provides loans to SMB companies located in the UK, Poland, Spain and Germany. The company has raised $158.9 million and has provided loans to over 5,000 small businesses. Though there are many such alternative lenders in the United States, few offer these services in Europe, and even fewer offer loans in multiple countries. iwoca also sets itself apart by offering open banking in conjunction with Lloyds Bank, Barclays and HSBC, so that borrowers can submit verified information in seconds. These accomplishments alone are enough to land iwoca on our watchlist for 2019.

8. CREALOGIX Digital Banking

Est. 1996, Zurich
Twitter: @CREALOGIX

As a publicly-traded company, CREALOGIX isn’t really a startup. But their recent innovations in the digital banking sector are still worthy of mention and monitoring. The Zurich-based FinTech Top 100 company is one of the market leaders in innovative digital financial solutions. Their Digital Banking Hub literally creates a bank within a mobile device, eliminating the need to go to a brick and mortar building. Users can open bank accounts, pull credit reports and transaction summaries, and even process KYC documents remotely, all with top-level cybersecurity. What sets CREALOGIX apart is that it uses an open platform that can be integrated seamlessly with all other systems, while maintaining compliance with PSD2 and other financial regulations.

9. AimBrain

Est. 2014, London
Twitter: @AimBrainHQ

AimBrain is Star Trek for the modern age. Its award-winning BIDaaS (Biometric Identity as-a-Service) platform offers facial and voice recognition services, behavioral identity recognition, lipsync, anomaly detection modules, and more. The application is designed to protect companies, from small businesses to global corporations, from fraud by implementing the highest possible biometric protocols so that they can confirm all transactions securely. We respect this company for its genius technology, but we love it because it made biometrics free for everyone. Clients include cloud service providers, FinTech organizations and P2P banks, for now. We can’t wait to see how this company (and its client base) will develop in 2019.

Which FinTech startups are on your watch-list for 2019? Let us know!

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FinTech continues to evolve at a remarkable rate. With advances in AI, cryptocurrency, and hyper-personalization bringing ever-more disruptions to the financial services industry, you’ll want to keep up. We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most important and influential FinTech events in 2019, so that you can hear from the leading innovators and technologists in the sector and explore the latest tech and business trends that are revolutionizing financial services.


1. Paris FinTech Forum 2019

January 29-30, 2019 - Paris, France

Led by Laurent Nizri, the Paris FinTech Forum is the most influential FinTech conference in Europe. You’ll find the biggest lineup of international FinTech movers and shakers, with over 220 high-profile speakers across the two-day conference. The forum covers many topics related to FinTech, focusing this year on digitalization, payments, and AI in finance.

The Paris FinTech Forum falls in the middle of Paris Finance Week and has a packed schedule, encompassing the main stage, two smaller stages for round-table sessions on topics like regulation in Europe and blockchain, two workshop rooms, and the Hall of Honor for high-level thematic discussion. Don’t miss out on hearing world finance leaders like Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, or the closing event featuring four current finance ministers.


2. TechNOVA: AI in Financial Services 2019

March 27, 2019 - London, UK

TechNOVA brings together 50+ leaders in the financial services industry for a one-day blockbuster on the practical role of AI in finance. Don’t miss key panel discussions on cyber security-related topics like “Understanding and managing the risks of biased AI”, or “Algorithms, accountability and explainability: Who is responsible for AI?”

Headline speakers include Pips Bunce, Head of Global Markets and Core Engineering Integration Components at Credit Suisse. His closing keynote address on “Assessing the transformational power of AI” promises to be highly relevant.


3. Innovate Finance Global Summit

April 29-30, 2019 - London, UK

The two-day IFGS will focus on enhancing, empowering, and safeguarding FinTech in 2019. IFGS prides itself on crossing sectors in the FinTech world, so look forward to excellent speakers on every aspect of finance and payment tech. It’s the fifth year of IFGS and it marks the start of London’s FinTech week as well, giving you more reasons to stick around and make new connections. Follow events with #IFGS2019.

There are lots of interesting sessions, including “AI and Machine Learning” on day one, and “Embedded Finance and Attention Economy” on day two. Be sure to take part in the opportunity to network with the 250+ IFGS members, including speakers like Raj Simani, Chief Scientist at McAfee, and Chris Conde, Senior Advisor at Accel Partners.


4. MoneyConf

June 10-12, 2019 - Dublin, Ireland

MoneyConf gathers leading experts in banking and technology to cover an impressive array of related topics across a two-day conference in Ireland. There are over a dozen tracks at this well-organized event, including AI, cryptocurrencies, regulation, and fraud and cyber security.

The conference will cover burning issues in bitcoin and cryptocurrency. And while the list of speakers isn’t yet finalized, last year’s lineup included Visa’s Chief RIsk Officer, Ellen Richey, and the Co-Founder and President of Blockchain, Nicholas Cary, so you won’t be disappointed.


5. Future of FinTech

June 11-13, 2019 - New York, USA

The Future of Fintech is an exclusive gathering of the world's biggest banks and top financial institutions. With a big presence from FinTech startups and VC investors, the Future of FinTech is the place to learn more about the latest issues in blockchain, wealth tech, and lending.

While the 2019 agenda is still in the works, the Future of FinTech has announced some of its speakers. You can look forward to the chance to hear stars of FinTech like Jeremy Allaire, CEO and Co-Founder of Circle, and Zach Perret, CEO and Co-Founder of Plaid.


6. FinTech Junction

June 26-27, 2019 - Israel

As Israel’s largest conference on innovation in the finance industry, it’s not surprising that it’s home to representatives from FinTech startups, banks, accelerators, and financial institutions from around the world. FinTech Junction 2019 brings together public, private, and governmental players in the financial technology space, with open banking, cryptocurrencies, regulation, AI, cyber security, and P2P platforms expected to play an important role in the two-day conference.

This year’s agenda is still under wraps, with only Jeremy Berger, Co-Founder and COO of Arival Bank, announced as a speaker so far. Some of 2018’s leading speakers included Jo Coutuer from BNP Paribas, Shahar Friedman of Visa, and Michal Kissos Hertzog, CEO of Pepper.


7. Mobile Payments Conference

August 26-28, 2019 - Swissotel Chicago

Chicago’s Mobile Payments Conference covers more than mobile payments. It is the annual host of an ongoing discussion that brings together international experts to talk about mobile wallets, cryptocurrency, blockchain, consumer privacy, and more. We’re excited to hear Jack Connors of Google’s Commerce Partnership at #MPC19, as well as Jim Ciortan, Head of Global BD and Sales at PayPal/Venmo, and Cliff Duffey, President and founder of Cybera.

8. LendIt FinTech Series

April 8-9, 2019 - LendIt FinTech - San Francisco, USA
September 2019 - LendIt FinTech - Shanghai, China
November 4-5, 2019 - LendIt FinTech - London, UK

LendIt runs a whole series of FinTech events across the world, spread around the year. 2019 kicks off in April with the LendIt FinTech USA conference, with themes that include blockchain, small business lending innovation, and advancements in credit, underwriting, and identity. In September, the LendIt conference takes place in China, and it happens in London in November.

LendIt focuses on bringing together FinTech leaders, startups and innovators to share new FinTech advances and make connections. LendIt FinTech USA has already announced that Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-Founder of Ellevest, Eric Schurr, Chief Strategy Officer at Sunrise Banks, and Steven Streit, CEO of Green Dot, will be speaking at this year’s event.


9. Money 20/20 Series

Money 20/20 Asia: March 19-21, 2019 - Singapore
Money 20/20 Europe: June 3-5, 2019 - Amsterdam
Money 20/20 USA: October 27-30, 2019 - Las Vegas
Money 20/20 China: December 4-6, 2019 - Hangzhou

Money 20/20 is all about payments and networking. It’s proud of providing an opportunity to bring together innovative, ambitious FinTech leaders so that technology and finance can meet and spark new ideas. The upcoming Money 20/20 Asia conference brings in-depth case studies to show changing financial business models, and challenging panel discussions.


The Europe conference brings together industry leaders, the US one assess the future of money, and the China conference ends the year by showcasing market-leading FinTech ideas.


10. Finovate Series

Finovate Europe: February 12-14 - London, UK
Finovate Spring: May 8-10 - San Francisco, USA
Finovate Fall: September 23-25 - New York, USA
Finovate Middle East: Date and location TBA

#Finovate runs FinTech events around the world, showcasing cutting-edge banking and financial tech through a unique blend of short-form demos and insights from thought-leaders. The first Finovate event of 2019 is Finovate Europe, taking place in London, February 12-14, offering insights and cutting-edge innovations on topics such as AI and open banking.

Finovate Spring will happen in San Francisco on May 8-10, covering AI, paymentech, lending tech, and community banking. Finovate Fall in New York runs September 23-25, with speakers discussing the latest advances and issues in banking, finance, and payments technology in the trademark Finovate fast-paced style. You can watch demos on the Finovate website, but networking is best done in person at your nearest event.


Stay tuned for more events in 2019! We’ll update the list as more events are announced.
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Video marketing is, hands down, one of the most important strategies in content marketing today. The evidence is overwhelming; one-third of online activity is spent watching videos. Over 500 million people are watching videos on Facebook daily. More than 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube every day. Need I say more?

As a marketing agency, we have a growing need to create videos for our cyber security and tech clients as well as ourselves, and we needed to find the right platform for us; no easy feat when there are dozens of options and hundreds of features to evaluate. To make this decision easier, I researched over 10 video platforms and checked out their ease of use for new video producers, ability to customize the videos, choice and quality of supplemental videos, images, animations, and music. I also looked at the overall cost of the service.

Then, I narrowed down the options and tested the top three contenders. Below are my findings. I hope they help you find the right video platform for your own needs.

1. Lumen5  

The Lumen5 platform was created to enable anyone without technical training or experience to easily to create engaging videos within minutes. With Lumen5, there’s no need to sift through stock images to find the most relevant ones: the platform suggests stock images based on the text you provide.



Lumen5 dashboard 
Reddit - A Tech Marketer's Box of Delights

The Community plan is free and allows one user to gain access to a standard catalog of images and video themes. All videos made with the Community plan have the Lumen5 branding on them. Paid plans start with the Pro plan at $49/month. The Pro plan is suitable for only one user and it includes a standard media library and custom themes, as well as removal of the Lumen5 branding. The most comprehensive (and expensive) plan is the Team plan which is suitable for enterprises that need branded themes, multiple users and team management, as well as more customizable features. The Team plan has custom prices not listed on the company’s website.

Pros:

  • Creates simple videos in minutes
  • A machine-learning algorithm that inserts relevant images to the video automatically, saving time by reducing the selection process
  • The producer can easily select specific parts of the blog to include in the video and omit less-relevant sections

Cons:

  • Simple videos with no real customization options
  • Text placement is limited to specific grid locations
  • The video and image banks aren’t diverse enough to create truly unique videos

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a really quick way to get decent quality videos to support an original blog post, Lumen5 could be a great solution.

2. Promo by Slidely

Promo by Slidely is an easy-to-use, customizable video editor that has a robust catalog of stock videos, pre-made templates, and stock music that will give your videos a truly custom-made look and feel. Prices range from $39/month to $249/month, with custom packages available for enterprises and charities.


Promo by Slidely dashboard
Top 12 Cyber Security Thought Leaders to Follow

One thing that makes this company stand out is that they continually research video marketing trends and share their data to improve their service and their customers’ results. Slidely CEO Tom More says that “These insights are invaluable to businesses and agencies that want to maximize the impact of their online advertising efforts. The more marketers know about customer behaviors, the better they can tailor their campaigns to their audience.”

Pros:

  • Integrates with HubSpot
  • Creates sleek, professional-looking videos
  • Great selection of stock videos/images/music
  • Users can upload their own creatives

Cons:

  • To see if images and sound are in sync you must preview the whole video, which is not convenient
  • No intro options or transitions between videos (transitions are between photos only)
  • Text is limited to 100 characters and one text box per ‘slide’
  • Pricing is relatively expensive

Bottom Line: Like Lumen5, Promo by Slidely is a solid option for companies that want quick, semi-custom videos, such as ads or generic videos. If you’re looking for advanced customization, you may not find what you need.

3. PowToon

From my first visit to PowToon’s website, I could easily understand why this video platform earned a spot on G2 Crowd’s list of top free animation software in 2018. PowToon is a platform for creating engaging, animated videos that look and feel like movies. Users can start from scratch or choose from pre-configured options. Uploading your own creatives is quick and straightforward, and there are many fun transition effects to choose from. The software is especially convenient for creating whiteboard animations, demos, and animated explanatory clips.


Powtoon dashboard
The Ultimate Top 10 FinTech Experts and Influencers List 

PowToon has a free version that makes animated videos only and displays the PowToon logo throughout. It also offers a four-day premium trial with additional features (though not all features are available in the premium trial). After that, packages start at $16/month for the Starter package which offers 1 premium export per month and 1 GB of storage. The most expensive package is the Agency package, which for $99/month offers 100 GB of storage, unlimited premium exports and full HD videos, among other features.

Pros:

  • Easy HubSpot integration
  • Lots of options for customization of voice, text, transitions
  • Ample stock images, videos, and music options
  • Lots of template options if you don’t want to create a video from scratch

Cons:

  • Dizzying array of features creates a time-consuming learning curve
  • Premium tools and features can get pricey

Bottom Line: The competitive price point, easy integration across multiple platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, HubSpot, and Google apps, and excellent customization options offered by PowToon made this the best option for our agency’s needs.  

So What Should You Choose?

If time is of the essence or you don’t need fully-customized videos, Lumen5 is a good option with a great price point. Just beware that the videos may look repetitive in the long run due to a limited photo inventory.

To make more professional and fully-customized videos, PowToon is a much better option. The platform is easy to work with and boasts unparalleled features that can really take your videos up a notch (or two).

All three of these platforms are constantly evolving and adding new features, so it’s worth keeping an eye on them as your own needs change. Have any other video platform suggestions? We’re still testing the water and would be happy to hear what works for you!

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There’s never enough hours in the day. We know. But join us in making enough hours to at least start mapping out which cybersecurity trade shows you won’t want to miss next year.

You know it as well as we do it at this point; going to trade shows is an unparalleled way to network and to learn from the innovators in your industry… Not to mention generate leads

So here’s a list of our all-time favorites.

1. IBM Think 2019

February 12-15, 2019 / San Francisco, CA

This IBM-hosted conference is at the top of our list of cybersecurity trade shows for the third year running – and it’s not just because it’s the first major industry conference of the year. IBM Think combines high-level strategy discussions, hands-on technical training, and deep dives into AI, infrastructure, data and analytics and more.

Attendees can customize their agenda in advance on the IBM Think website to maximize their time and tap the most relevant cybersecurity resources. Dozens of accomplished and interesting speakers will be presenting, including Tiffany Pham, founder and CEO of Mogul, a platform that empowers women to connect and share information, and Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO of RedHat. Also speaking will be legendary 49ers football player Joe Montana and pro-skateboarder-turned-entrepreneur Tony Hawk, among dozens of other speakers. (Check out some of Tony’s amazing moves and humor here).

Highlights will include IBM’s Research Science Slam: Predicting 5 Innovations to Help Change Our Lives in the Next 5 Years and the Community Day which will discuss today’s technology and ideas for tomorrow. Get your tickets for San Francisco now.

2. RSA Conference 2019

March 4-8 / San Francisco

The theme of this year’s RSA Conference is Better, which includes finding better solutions and making the world a better place by keeping the digital world safe. Panel discussions will focus on a range of topics including cryptography and the future of data protection. Keynote speakers will include addresses from Sylvia Acevedo, a rocket scientist who is now the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, and Caleb Barlow, leader of IBM’s X-Force Intelligence organization (who also gave a great TED Talk about cybercrime).

There are also many hands-on tutorial sessions (for an additional fee). Sessions include a Cloud Security Professional Two Day Crash Course and Certified Information Systems Security Professional Introduction, among others. There will also be a lot of time for networking.

3. Black Hat Asia

March 26-29, 2019 / Marina Sands Bay, Singapore

This event offers a choice of two-day or four-day trainings as well as keynote addresses, briefings, and business hall sessions. Though the full list of speakers and presenters has yet to be confirmed, the conference typically features the industry’s top experts. Already on the current docket is a two-day training called a Practical Approach to Malware Analysis and Memory Forensics – 2019 Edition, which will be presented by Monnappa and Sajan Shetty from Cysinfo. There’s also a two-day training led by Kate Temkin and Dominic Spill called Hacking the USB World with FaceDancer, among other high-level trainings.

If you decide to attend this event, the famous Black Hat briefings are not to be missed. The briefings were created over 20 years ago for cybersecurity professionals to get the latest news in information security risks, research, and trends, and they won’t disappoint.

4. InfoSec World 2019

April 1-3, 2019 / Lake Buena Vista, FL

This year InfoSec World is celebrating 25 years, and the event will focus on what the next 25 years will look like for the cybersecurity industry. The event is comprised of a choice of pre-and-post conference workshops that sandwich several fascinating summits, including the InfoSec leadership summit, the cloud security summit or the staffing challenges summit.  

Interesting talks will include a workshop by Jerod Brennen entitled Securing Mobile Devices and Mobile Applications, and keynote speeches by “Human Hacker” Christopher Hadnagy and the extremely entertaining cybersec researcher Nina Alli.

5. Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit

April 8-11, 2019 / Singapore

This invite-only conference is still accepting calls for papers and will focus on some of the industry’s hot-button issues. Though the agenda hasn’t been published, topics will include e-commerce data breaches, cryptocurrencies, industrial espionage targeting the gaming industry, and more.

The planning committee is made up of industry superstars including Kymberlee Price from Microsoft, Fahmida Y. Rashid from the Duo Security team at Cisco, and, of course, a group of Kaspersky veterans who have proven in the past to pick A+ speakers that will be informative and entertaining.

6. Infosecurity Europe

June 4-9, 2019 / Olympia London, UK

Infosecurity Europe is the premier cybersecurity trade show for anyone looking to learn about or buy the latest cybersec products. The standout part of this event is its large exhibit hall where you can touch and test products and attend educational sessions about the latest in cybersecurity innovations. In 2019, the conference will offer over 240 free sessions led by industry leaders.

2018 highlights included thought leader interviews and talks entitled (1) “Do You Have What It Takes to Build an In-House Incident Response Team” and (2) “Building Security That Thinks – Machine Learning Fundamentals for Cybersecurity Professionals.” Stay tuned for what 2019 has to offer.

7. SINET Innovation Summit 2019

June 13, 2019 / The Times Center, New York

This one-day event has the distinct goal of “connecting Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the Beltway,” and focusing on the collaboration of government, industry, and scholarship. 2019 speakers and topics have yet to be announced, but last year’s roster included Kevin Nally, CIO of the United States Secret Service, Yonesy Nunez, Senior Vice President and Group Information Security Leader at Wells Fargo, and Edward Brindley, Acting Deputy CIO for Cybersecurity at the United States Department of Defense.

8. Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit 2019

June 17-20 2019 / National Harbor, MD

This cybersecurity conference is exclusively focused on relating Gartner’s research and findings in the cybersecurity industry. Talks are led by distinguished Gartner analysts, so discussions are high-level and offer fresh perspectives on industry developments. This is a must go summit for those of us who are knee-deep in Gartner absolutely every day.

An exhibition hall with displays of the latest products and developments will include Reliaquest, Darktrace, Symantec, and F-Secure, among others.

9. DEF CON 27

August 8-11, 2019 / Ballys, Paris and Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas

DEF CON is essentially a massive hackathon that increases security awareness and gives attendees the tools they need to stay safe in their own environment. The theme of this year’s event is Technology’s Promise, and attendees are encouraged to envision a sparkly future where we can solve some of the most complex problems that are currently plaguing us. The call for papers is still out, and the exact session topics haven’t been released, but while you’re waiting, check out the DEF CON YouTube channel to get a sense of their past offerings – and to get excited about what’s coming next.

10. GSX 2019

September 8-12, 2019 / McCormick Place, Chicago

GSX, the Global Security Exchange, is a cybersecurity conference run by ASIS, the world’s largest membership organization for security management professionals. After a highly-acclaimed event last year, this year’s show is also expected to feature sessions, case studies, and expert analysis as well as high-level networking events. The agenda for GSX 2019 is still in the works, but last year’s highlights included a keynote address called “The Forces of Global Change: Thriving In an Era of Transformation and To Integrate or Not to Integrate Physical and Logical Security? That is the Question!

11. SecTor Canada

October 9-10, 2019 / Toronto, Ontario

SecTor is a great event for cybersecurity managers, IT professionals and executives looking to network and learn from other thought-leaders in the industry. The 2019 agenda hasn’t yet been published, but in addition to the two-day conference, attendees can look forward to the pre-conference activities which are poised to be equally exciting. Last year’s pre-conference summit was run by the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), which provided cybersecurity professionals the opportunity to debate, discuss, and define the future of cloud security.

Last year’s sessions included keynotes from Keren Elazari, an internationally respected cybersecurity researcher (who was also the first Israeli woman to give a TED Talk), and Shira Shamban, who spoke about How to Turn Your Cybersecurity Toddlers Into Warriors! (watch the full speech here). There’s still some time before this conference, so sign up for the event’s newsletter, so you’ll know when the schedule is published.


Stay tuned for more coming up in the second half of 2019!

If you are looking for influencers and experts to follow and engage with in the industry, we have the perfect list for you:

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If you think these are just interchangeable terms, we’d like to set the record straight.

Take a pause with us – at least long enough to understand the difference between these options and really understand which choice is hands down better for your company.

Will content marketing agencies yield measurable results, or are inbound marketing agencies at the end of the day that all-around better approach? Can you handle these tasks in-house? Or is there another way to get the job done?

Burning Question #1: What is Content Marketing?


In January 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay entitled “Content is King,” articulating his theory that content is where much of the real money will be made on the internet. Since then, Gates’ theory has become fact; great content has become a key way to maximize a company’s visibility. But the greatest content in the world isn’t worth anything if nobody is seeing it.

Enter content marketing.

Content marketing focuses on creating relevant, engaging, and consistent content, merging SEO keyword research that will attract your target audience and answer open questions without being uncomfortably “in your face.”

But anybody who knows content marketing and has gotten their hands dirty in content knows that it just isn’t that simple because of one reason, and one reason alone: content marketing requires a deep knowledge of your industry.

You need to know what topics are trending, where potential customers are getting their information from, and what keywords your target audience is using to search for information. Only then can you build that oh-so-impressive robust content marketing strategy that can be used not only to get you noticed, but to fuel your inbound marketing strategy.

It should go without saying that creating a badass content marketing strategy, and the content to go with it, will also require a good deal of time. Hiring a content marketing agency that is familiar with your niche market is highly recommended for this reason alone: you’ll get to take advantage of the agency’s knowledge and marketing know-how which can supplement your own team’s skills and resources to integrate your content marketing into your broader marketing strategy.

Which brings us to….

Burning Question #2: What is Inbound Marketing?


If content marketing alone isn’t getting you where you want to be, inbound marketing may very well be what you need.

Though both content and inbound marketing aim to attract highly-interested customers, inbound marketing pushes the envelope by accompanying (a.k.a. nurturing) prospective clients across different mediums during the sales cycle through automation. And Inbound marketing agencies will help you keep your company visible and relevant.

You and you alone have got to be at the forefront of your audience’s mind when they’re ready to commit.

But here’s another reason: inbound marketing is useful for B2B marketing where the sales cycle can be, and usually really is, long. Not just long, but super long. And research shows that inbound marketing can reduce the average cost of relevant leads by 60 percent.

Working with an inbound marketing agency can turn strangers into clients (and even brand advocates) by attracting, converting, closing, and delighting your target audience. But like absolutely everything, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach: inbound marketing agencies require a holistic approach that includes lead nurturing. Agency strategies will need to include multiple disciplines including social media management, technical SEO work, email marketing, webinars, blogging, and more. And IMHO, HubSpot is one of the strongest tools we’ve found to integrate these channels into one central place and to give you an edge over your competition.

Boiling it Down
  1. Both content and inbound marketing are both keepers – but for very different reasons.

  2. Content marketing is essentially a subset of inbound marketing.

  3. There can be no inbound marketing without content.

  4. Content generation (even the best content generation!) without strong marketing efforts will not automagically get your brand positioned in the right place at the right time in the sales cycle.

  5. Solid inbound marketing activities cultivate your audience so that when they’re ready to buy, you’ll be the one they’re thinking of.

What To Choose?


If only there were a one-size fits all answer to this question….

But no such luck. Content marketing and inbound marketing are not one in the same at all, and what to choose really depends on your company’s goals.

Working with a content marketing agency may be enough if your only goal is to provide your audience with excellent content. But if you’re relying on content to nurture and build relationships with prospects until they become clients, a content marketing agency is not quite enough.

Inbound marketing agencies will help you understand and strategize: your buyer personas, the key search terms they are using, and what interests them during the various stages of the buying or nurturing process. The content strategy and what should be written when will be a direct derivative. The agency will also work with you on triggers and scoring that will determine when your prospect is ready to be contacted by you. Lastly, your agency will help you set up automation that will ease the nurturing process and provide insight into the marketing sales funnel; that is assuredly a part of their job.

What do you need to happen? What are you short on?


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PPC campaigns and choosing an agency - that’s the oh-so-big question we’re grappling with today. Here’s everything you need to find the ideal match for your company’s goals and what to consider before making a commitment. Plus, let’s bust some PPC myths while we’re at it.

Busting the PPC Myth


Many companies leap into PPC with the hope of increasing their reach, scoring hot leads, and growing their customer/consumer base. When it’s done correctly, PPC has a stellar reputation for good reason.

Unfortunately, I have also seen how PPC myths have developed over the past number of years, leading to wildly unrealistic expectations. For many companies, PPC is treated like a miracle channel which drives an abundance of marketing qualified leads and contributes to unmitigated growth on autopilot.

“Just pour some money into a PPC campaign, press the magic button, and your MQLs will blossom. The unicorn customers will flood in too.”

I’ve been fortunate to work with amazing clients over the years, but I also remember the unpleasant situations working with clients who accepted these PPC myths as facts. Once a client called me barely two weeks after their PPC campaign had begun – he was very upset that MQLs were not inundating his inbox. His disappointment was the direct result of unrealistic expectations and a lack of understanding about how PPC works. Like everything else, it takes time and plenty of optimization to get the machine to hum.

Let’s Get Engaged: Committing to an Agency


Setting expectations: One of the most important elements clarified with our clients is that the minimum duration of a robust PPC campaign is 6 months. Benchmarks will be met, and real results will be visible only after 2-3 months have passed.

What takes so long? That’s really the burning question.

Well, kicking off the process takes a tremendous amount of market analysis, product research, and campaign work.

  • first - the very professional agency will invest time and resources to understand the context in which your business is operating. This calls for product research, competitor research, and keyword research
  • second - target persona research is needed to provide a more detailed understanding of your current and future client base

Only then can we dive into the details of campaign setup, ad creation followed by landing pages and workflows for some campaigns.

The most delicate and time-intensive step of the PPC process is campaign optimization, which requires patience while testing, retesting and continuously optimizing your campaign; this is where PPC expertise shines.

Once the campaign is launched – and then only after a week or two (for B2B campaigns) – will results become evident and optimizations begin. PPC is a numbers game, and until you have sufficient numbers ie clicks and contacts, you can't optimize.

Like any successful relationship in this industry, both the agency and client must remain committed to the shared goal. For example, there’s  no way a PPC agency can achieve optimal results without an engaged client that’s supplying the agency with valuable content including blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, events, etc. PPC needs content – and there’s no other way to spin that one. Many agencies can also create this content but this requires an additional budget commitment.

Feedback regarding lead quality is also essential in order to create more or less or to change track.

So don’t think autopilot here. It’s a proactive relationship which lays the groundwork for successful PPC campaigns. And so that’s why choosing the right agency is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

How Can I Find the Right Agency?


PPC is not a ‘one-size fits all’ business so make no bones about it: invest the time and energy into finding the ideal match.

  • Seek industry expertise: Find an agency with real expertise in your field. Rather than searching for something generic like “PPC agency,” hone in on your specific needs like “PPC B2B agency” or “PPC agency for cybersecurity.” The added value of industry expertise is indispensable over the course of a campaign.  
  • Develop a short list: Now that you’ve researched your specific needs, Google or ask around for the relevant agencies who can best meet your needs. I recommend looking at companies within your ecosystem for marketing you admire. It’s also important to consider the pros and cons of choosing an agency which works with a competitor of yours.
  • Compare expertise: Once you’ve got a short list, dig deeper reading through customer testimonials, compare existing client bases, and sifting through all the content which can shed light on the advantages of each agency.
  • Request a consultation: You’re now ready to reach out to the agencies who have made the final cut. Discuss your expectations and share your available budget. Ask each agency how they would go about meeting your company’s goals. Make sure you ask the golden question: Are your expectations realistic?
  • Establish a rapport: Don’t underestimate the value of personal relationships. Working with a PPC agency is a long-term decision, and a healthy client-agency relationship is in my mind pretty much not negotiable. Take the time to meet with the team who would manage your account to make sure you click.
  • Evaluate skill sets: Not all PPC agencies have skills in the channels most important to your company. For example, maybe you need to integrate multi-channel campaigns across Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Integrating PPC as part of your inbound marketing campaign is also no small feat. You’ve got to decide if your chosen agency really has what it takes.
  • Rate the agencies: Use a simple point system to compare agencies across key metrics. Consider price, industry expertise, location, recommendations, skills set, rapport, and availability. This makes ranking the relative strengths and weaknesses of each agency much clearer. An obvious winner should be shining by now.
  • Jump in: You’ve done your research, and it’s time to make a decision. Of course, there’s never going to be 100% certainty at this stage, but you’ve invested sufficient time into making an initial commitment. There’s always a learning curve for agencies and clients alike, so expect some small bumps in the road before the collaboration truly takes off.

The closer the collaboration, the stronger the results. But the match and expectations are are key, and I know from years of experience that you can never underestimate the importance of really getting it right.

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If you’ve decided to hire a marketing agency, that’s great news on making a decision and getting ready to move forward.

The next step though, in our experience, is perhaps the most potentially disruptive part in the process because this is the point you’ve gotta make final decisions about what you really need, and how much to pay. And then, of course, you have to be sure that the price quote fits the bill.

Figuring out what is reasonable is the name of the game here.

Whether you’re outsourcing all your marketing needs or just a few specific campaigns, you’ll want to make sure that the price is right – or even fairly close to right.

Agency Pricing Models


According to WebStrategies Inc “Marketing spending as a percentage of revenue tends to fluctuate, but generally hovers between 6.5% to 8.5%, with the highest percentage again coming from B2C service companies followed by B2C products.” When it comes to marketing agencies, we’ve found that while there is no one-size-fits-all pricing structure. There are roughly six pricing models that are most commonly used.

  • Hourly Rate – Agencies offer a set rate per hour of work which allows you to stick to your budget by capping your hours. The other option is to give the agency latitude to work as long as it needs to get the job done. The downside with an hourly rate is that it’s usually not as attractive price-wise as other pricing models.
  • Commission-Based Compensation – In this model, agencies work with a fixed percentage of the client’s media spend, which usually comes out to around 15 percent of the total spend. This compensation model is growing in popularity and may soon become the most popular payment structure.
  • Retainer-Based Model – Here agencies charges a flat rate for work done either monthly, quarterly or annually, and is based on the work expected to be done during the payment period.
  • Project-Based Pricing – This is another word for fixed pricing, where agencies charge a set amount for a specific campaign or project. This model works best for projects with a limited scope or set completion time.
  • Performance Model – Price is set based on the potential value the campaign can bring to the client. For example, the agency may be paid a percentage of each sale generated from the campaign or may receive bonuses for hitting certain milestones.
  • Hybrid – Hybrid models combine two or more payment structures agreed upon by the agency and the client. In this model, there is more flexibility all around, and you can mix and match. For example, you may decide to pay a monthly retainer for inbound work but apply a performance model for your PPC campaigns. Pay for extra marketing operations work on a per hour basis.

As you think through the different models, you’ll also need to consider which billing option is going to best work for you…..which brings us to the question of the hour.




What is an Appropriate Price to Pay?


If you were in search of a magic answer for this question, don’t wait for it – at least from us. The price depends on several factors/variables that is always related to (1) your industry (2) services required (3) level of competition (4) KPI goals (5) budget and (6) the actual product.

A marketing agency should be able to advise you regarding campaign result expectations and success metrics. But since it is not an exact science, many factors contribute to the success of any campaign. And we do encourage you to be weary of a cheap price quote.

In our experience, paying less than $5,000/month for a full inbound marketing campaign isn’t reasonable, and is likely to return disappointing results. Likewise, if you’re operating in a highly-competitive B2B market, a PPC budget of less than $5000 per month will not bring much return. Agency fees on PPC would depend on the number of channels (Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and range from $2500 - $5000 monthly retainer.

We won’t sugarcoat anything at this point: you get what you pay for with marketing agencies. The more you’re willing to invest – if you’re going with the right team, the more results you should expect to see.


Bottom Line Questions


How much you should spend on a marketing agency depends on several factors, and each of these you’ll need to digest on their own.

Here we go:

1 – The products you are marketing and markets you want to enter:
Consider that some products have tougher competition than others, and that the expense and complexity of the product will often determine the length of the decision-making process.

2 – Your company lifecycle stage (startup, more established, enterprise, etc.)? Depending on the stage of your company, your overall marketing strategy is going to be vastly different in many different instances. Startups, for example, may need help defining their messaging whereas companies who have made it past the first two years and are funded will be likely working on growth and penetrating new markets. There are no rules about any of this, unfortunately.

3 – Your overall budget. You’ve got the difficult decision about dividing up the pot of money and how much of the available budget can and should be invested into marketing. Not an easy decision, but definitely one of the most important ones strategically for your overall business plan.

4 – Which marketing services you need, and where you put your overall focus: Inbound? PPC? Content only? And which markets? Or all of the above? There needs to be a marketing strategy in place that considers the prioritizations and order of events.

5 – How much the generated marketing KPIs are worth to your business. Here we’re talking about expected ROI and how effective your company is in achieving its key business objectives. Knowing the required ROI to become sustainable – let alone profitable, is the big question where everyone wishes that they had a crystal ball.


So Where Does This Leave Us?


The question of how much to pay for your marketing agency is actually not a hard one to answer once you’ve muddled through these questions and come up with answers. And focusing on the right dollar amount is way clearer once you quantify your goals and their valued ROI.

For a free and seasoned consultation with our team here at Marketing Envy, drop us a line; we’d love to be in touch.

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Many companies make the mistake of assuming more leads for less money is always the best option. The reality is that lead generation agencies use different strategies to achieve their goals. The quantitative approach is all about numbers. You pay X number of dollars for Y amount of leads (or a commitment to a minimum) in order to see results as quickly as possible. The qualitative approach invests more resources into understanding your business’s needs, your target personas and will create clever campaigns that deliver only relevant leads known as, Marketing Qualified Leads, MQLs.

Why would a company pay more for qualified leads?
Simple. Qualified leads have a much higher conversion rate.

Understanding Quality vs. Quantity in Leads


The quantitative approach to lead generation focuses on generating leads and uses a transparent pay/cost per lead model. The focus is on numbers and only numbers: how many leads does your company want to buy, and at what price? The idea is achieving rapid results as quickly as possible by growing the sales pipeline. And depending on where your company is at, the quantitative approach can seem very attractive.

Young start-ups are often drawn to this model by the promise of quick results at an affordable price. “It’s a numbers game,” they say, “A certain percentage will always convert.”

Really? What industry are you working in? B2B tech certainly does not operate like that.

Meanwhile, marketing agencies that focus on qualitative lead generation invest time and money into understanding your company’s specific needs and goals and more importantly, what your target audience is looking for. The goal is not just short-term leads, but a significant long-term impact on your ROI which only comes through taking care of the sales funnel. Rather than focusing exclusively on the number of leads, it’s quality which matters most now. A lot more thought and intention are given at each stage of the process. Leads are qualified by nurturing them through several touchpoints and a whole consumer journey which is tailored from start to finish.


Throughout your campaign, you will start off with a high(er) price for your contact and MQL. But with optimization that takes place over the course of months (and longer), the price of your MQL is reduced and quality improved. Only several months into a good campaign will you really understand how many $x you need in order to generate ‘y’ MQLs. Any agency that tries to explain it otherwise is simply telling you what you’d like to hear.

Which Do You Need?


The question of quality or quantity: each approach definitely has its ups and downs. The short answer is – if you need a bucket of leads, irrespective of their quality as you are running on a number game and a certain number of leads will convert, then you can go ahead and work with a quantitative-based agency. If you need MQLs that you can nurture through your funnel until they become opportunities and customers, only the quantitative approach will work.  

Companies often fall for the allure of cheap results, especially if they’re new to the marketing scene. For example, a 3% conversation rate promised by quantitative agencies can seem too good to pass up.

It’s worth considering the following: If you’re a young company at the very beginning of its life cycle, attracting as many leads as possible can allow for rapid initial growth. However, it may bring leads from random companies that have no chance of increasing your bottom line. After you’ve learned more about your target audience and who converts the best, you can switch to more qualified leads.

Bottom line: quantity may or may not bring short-term results; don’t pay for leads which drain your budget for no good reason.

On the Subject of Qualified Leads - Where We Come Down


1. Qualified leads cost more but are also worth a lot more since they convert at a significantly higher rate. An effective marketing agency will integrate SEO, PPC, content, blog posts, social media campaigns, and paid promotion to form a cohesive strategy, and these multifaceted strategies can outperform the quantitative pay/cost per lead model in the long run.

2. Heed blatant warning signs from LeadGen agencies such as:

  • Promising X amount of leads (MQLs and SQLs) without evaluating your business’s needs beforehand.
  • Promising huge results in no time; this usually means a large number of worthless leads that don’t accomplish anything. More does not equal better.
  • Presenting a one-size-fits-all approach. Marketing is a complex methodology, and if an agency isn’t willing to invest time and resources into your company’s particular needs, they’re not worth your money.

While the pay/cost per lead approach can be helpful at certain stages for some businesses, more leads are typically not the optimal path. Depending on your company’s budget, size, and objectives, the more sustainable path for generating leads is an investment in a qualitative strategy built for the long-term ROI in mind. Trust us: you’ll want a LeadGen agency who really gets that.


Schedule a consultation with our Marketing Envy team by contacting us here.

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By working in the FinTech industry, you’re no stranger to the restrictions and demands of government regulation. But if you’re like most companies, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may still have you running scared, especially if you are not quite compliant and living in denial about it. According to a report published by TrustArc, only 20 percent of companies were GDPR compliant by July 2018, and a full 27 percent hadn’t even scratched the surface yet.  

GDPR, a set of data privacy and security laws whose goal is to protect the personal data of all EU citizens, applies to every industry that collects user data – and FinTech is no exception. Hopefully on some level, avoiding penalties should be incentive enough to be GDPR compliant. But also handling high amounts of sensitive data and maintaining clients’ trust is an enormously important KPI for the financial industry.

There’s no other way to spin that one!   

If You’re Behind Schedule…


The good news is that you are not alone if you haven’t started at all, but you really need to get yourself organized ASAP. Start with these steps.

1 - Audit your databases – Map your data to determine where your information is stored and transferred. This can be done in-house or by hiring an audit team to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

2 - Update your privacy policy – Draft a policy that highlights your company’s transparency. Confirm it with your legal team to make sure it’s GDPR compliant.

3 - Appoint a Data Protection Officer – This employee should have a deep knowledge of GDPR requirements in order to oversee the compliance process across all company departments.

So What’s in it for FinTech Companies?


Because lead generation, customer acquisition, and retention are key parts of any FinTech marketing campaign and they’re also the main focus of GDPR, FinTech marketers must make sure that every single person in the company’s database or CRM has a legal basis.

What’s the best way to do this?

We use HubSpot for most of our inbound marketing campaigns because hands-down it has easy-to-use GDPR compliance pre-settings to ensure that every contact entering the database has a legal basis. The settings were built with guidance by the company’s knowledgeable legal team so that all data collected will be GDPR compliant no matter how the settings are configured.

Breaking it down further, here are the most important things every FinTech marketer needs to know about GDPR and how HubSpot can really facilitate making your FinTech company compliant:

  • Personal consent – Also known as lawful basis of processing, this requirement demands that every person submitting data to your company is doing so knowingly, and that s/he has a way to dictate how marketers can use this sensitive data. To fulfill this requirement, companies must clearly state how they intend to use the data they gather and to offer website visitors the opportunity to set their usage preferences. HubSpot simplifies this process by recording how each lead is acquired and which consent features have been granted to provide a better user experience for both your users and your marketing team.
  • Right to be forgotten – Also known as withdrawal of consent, this stipulation means that everyone in a database must be able to remove their data from the system as easily as they gave it. HubSpot’s GDPR settings enable all users to withdraw consent at any time and to have their preferences updated directly in the leads database so that FinTech companies have a legal record of every interaction.
  • Cookies – Cookie consent messages must be presented in a language that the user can understand. HubSpot has eliminated the headache of this requirement by developing a system that will display cookie messages in the right language based on location. This service is a huge benefit for FinTech companies targeting a global audience that  don’t have translators in every language.
  • Deletion and modification – GDPR requires that your contacts be able to request that you return their data to them, or that you delete and modify their data at their request. Not only does HubSpot make it easy for you to permanently delete all data, but it offers users the ability to add re-add warnings if the system tries to re-add a contact that was previously deleted.
  • Security measures – Not every marketing team has the technical prowess to secure their database as required by GDPR. HubSpot addressed this problem by updating its security infrastructure to be fully GDPR compliant. Plus HubSpot has added additional security features to their product roadmap to make sure that all HubSpot clients will be compliant at all times.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it: GDPR compliance is anything but easy and simple.

On the other hand, HubSpot makes it much much easier.

And being GDPR compliant presents a great opportunity for FinTech companies to create a higher degree of trust between your company and your potential customers. And this we know is going to help you yield more relevant leads down the road ultimately.

Where Does This Leave Us?


We heartily recommend going the route of embracing GDPR compliance. It’s safer, and for that matter, smart in every sense of the word.

But it’s not gonna be enough for your own company to be GDPR compliant; all vendors and partners must be compliant as well. Choosing a marketing agency that is knowledgeable about GDPR, the FinTech world, and uses HubSpot can make a huge difference in helping you increase your MQLs and hit your KPIs which makes all of it in our minds a huge win-win.

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PPC campaigns and choosing an agency - that’s the oh-so-big question we’re grappling with today. Here’s everything you need to find the ideal match for your company’s goals and what to consider before making a commitment. Plus, let’s bust some PPC myths while we’re at it.

Busting the PPC Myth

Many companies leap into PPC with the hope of increasing their reach, scoring hot leads, and growing their customer/consumer base. When it’s done correctly, PPC has a stellar reputation for good reason.

Unfortunately, I have also seen how PPC myths have developed over the past number of years, leading to wildly unrealistic expectations. For many companies, PPC is treated like a miracle channel which drives an abundance of marketing qualified leads and contributes to unmitigated growth on autopilot.

“Just pour some money into a PPC campaign, press the magic button, and your MQLs will blossom. The unicorn customers will flood in too.”

I’ve been fortunate to work with amazing clients over the years, but I also remember the unpleasant situations working with clients who accepted these PPC myths as facts. Once a client called me barely two weeks after their PPC campaign had begun – he was very upset that MQLs were not inundating his inbox. His disappointment was the direct result of unrealistic expectations and a lack of understanding about how PPC works. Like everything else, it takes time and plenty of optimization to get the machine to hum.

Let’s Get Engaged: Committing to an Agency

Setting expectations: One of the most important elements clarified with our clients is that the minimum duration of a robust PPC campaign is 6 months. Benchmarks will be met, and real results will be visible only after 2-3 months have passed.

What takes so long? That’s really the burning question.

Well, kicking off the process takes a tremendous amount of market analysis, product research, and campaign work.

  • first - the very professional agency will invest time and resources to understand the context in which your business is operating. This calls for product research, competitor research, and keyword research
  • second - target persona research is needed to provide a more detailed understanding of your current and future client base

Only then can we dive into the details of campaign setup, ad creation followed by landing pages and workflows for some campaigns.

The most delicate and time-intensive step of the PPC process is campaign optimization, which requires patience while testing, retesting and continuously optimizing your campaign; this is where PPC expertise shines.

Once the campaign is launched – and then only after a week or two (for B2B campaigns) – will results become evident and optimizations begin. PPC is a numbers game, and until you have sufficient numbers ie clicks and contacts, you can't optimize.

Like any successful relationship in this industry, both the agency and client must remain committed to the shared goal. For example, there’s  no way a PPC agency can achieve optimal results without an engaged client that’s supplying the agency with valuable content including blogs, eBooks, whitepapers, events, etc. PPC needs content – and there’s no other way to spin that one. Many agencies can also create this content but this requires an additional budget commitment.

Feedback regarding lead quality is also essential in order to create more or less or to change track.

So don’t think autopilot here. It’s a proactive relationship which lays the groundwork for successful PPC campaigns. And so that’s why choosing the right agency is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

How Can I Find the Right Agency?

PPC is not a ‘one-size fits all’ business so make no bones about it: invest the time and energy into finding the ideal match.

  • Seek industry expertise: Find an agency with real expertise in your field. Rather than searching for something generic like “PPC agency,” hone in on your specific needs like “PPC B2B agency” or “PPC agency for cybersecurity.” The added value of industry expertise is indispensable over the course of a campaign.  
  • Develop a short list: Now that you’ve researched your specific needs, Google or ask around for the relevant agencies who can best meet your needs. I recommend looking at companies within your ecosystem for marketing you admire. It’s also important to consider the pros and cons of choosing an agency which works with a competitor of yours.
  • Compare expertise: Once you’ve got a short list, dig deeper reading through customer testimonials, compare existing client bases, and sifting through all the content which can shed light on the advantages of each agency.
  • Request a consultation: You’re now ready to reach out to the agencies who have made the final cut. Discuss your expectations and share your available budget. Ask each agency how they would go about meeting your company’s goals. Make sure you ask the golden question: Are your expectations realistic?
  • Establish a rapport: Don’t underestimate the value of personal relationships. Working with a PPC agency is a long-term decision, and a healthy client-agency relationship is in my mind pretty much not negotiable. Take the time to meet with the team who would manage your account to make sure you click.
  • Evaluate skill sets: Not all PPC agencies have skills in the channels most important to your company. For example, maybe you need to integrate multi-channel campaigns across Adwords, Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit. Integrating PPC as part of your inbound marketing campaign is also no small feat. You’ve got to decide if your chosen agency really has what it takes.
  • Rate the agencies: Use a simple point system to compare agencies across key metrics. Consider price, industry expertise, location, recommendations, skills set, rapport, and availability. This makes ranking the relative strengths and weaknesses of each agency much clearer. An obvious winner should be shining by now.
  • Jump in: You’ve done your research, and it’s time to make a decision. Of course, there’s never going to be 100% certainty at this stage, but you’ve invested sufficient time into making an initial commitment. There’s always a learning curve for agencies and clients alike, so expect some small bumps in the road before the collaboration truly takes off.

The closer the collaboration, the stronger the results. But the match and expectations are are key, and I know from years of experience that you can never underestimate the importance of really getting it right.

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