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  • The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlstrom - YouTube

    Agile Development has become a productivity favorite for organizations that seek more efficient and effective project management. Both scrum masters and new discoverers of this methodology can learn a lot from this episode about sprinting past your competition via continuous improvement and so much more!

    “Servicing your team instead of just asserting yourself will lead to better productivity.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • Increasing team engagement
    • The importance of top-level management in empowering their teams
    • The specific things you need to focus on to be “agile”
    • What do engineers and preschoolers have in common?

    “When you introduce something new, it’s rejected. Find individuals on your side. ”

    Project Management

    • Do people ever really reach their 2+ year project goals?
    • What defines the scope of a project or service?
    • The importance of administrators
    • Why making your team feel capable leads to better project results

    Agile Mindset for Client Satisfaction

    • How agile training and coaching benefits your clients
    • Why you need to branch out into unfamiliar areas to exceed expectations
    • Why servant leaders develop trust in teams
    • The necessity of directly molding agile strategies with team leaders

    “By failing you learn and when you learn you develop better services.”

    Where to learn more about and reach Eric:

    The post Episode 43: Developing an Agile Mindset with Eric Watson appeared first on Spiral Marketing Agency.

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    The Power of Esports Marketing

    Game on with millions of Millennials, Generation Z members, and influencers rocketing into the future of media and sports.

    Esports Defined

    Esports is a relatively new industry built around tournament-based video games, such as Fortnite, League of Legends, and others often played in arenas (of varying sizes) and streamed online on Twitch.com.

    Overview of the Current Scope of the Esports Industry
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    The Key to Capturing More Sales? Applying the Marketing Funnel to Your Digital Strategy

    You’re likely familiar with the basic idea of a marketing funnel, that wonderfully adroit way of understanding the evolution in how customers interact with your brand. In my experience, it’s one of the most powerful concepts a marketer can employ because it helps in multiple regards, whether it’s planning a content strategy, creating segmented campaigns or identifying bottlenecks that could be costing you sales. It’s surprising, then, how many companies fail to integrate this fundamental concept into their planning. I thought it would be valuable then, to provide a refresher course, if you will, and explain how many brands are falling short.

    The marketing funnel is a behavioral model that helps us understand and map the customer’s journey, which is often expressed in marketing textbooks with five steps. The brand’s first job is to grab the customer’s attention and make them aware of your product or service offering. From there, the aim is to pique their interest by showing that you offer solutions to their product. If you’re successful, you’ll create a desire to purchase your product and, hopefully, turn it into a sale.

    THE MARKETING FUNNEL

    The marketing funnel is even easier to remember at a high level. The following is a simplified way of explaining the same basic path:

    Inevitably, there’s going to be attrition in the process. No brand, no matter how savvy, is going to convert everyone who makes it to the awareness stage. But the successful ones increase their conversion rate, bringing more leads from the top of the funnel down to the bottom. How do they manage that, exactly? It’s simple. By developing content that reflects the full funnel, not just part of it. In doing so, you grease the skids between each stage, making it easy for the customer to deepen his or her relationship with your brand. And you avoid those bottlenecks where high-quality leads encounter friction and end up opting for another solution their need.

      Top of the Funnel (ToFu)

    The best way to get a prospect through the entire funnel is to provide content that meets them where they’re at in their journey at a given moment in time. It starts with top of the funnel, of ToFu, content that first makes them aware of your solutions. It may be a blog that makes it easier for the prospect to find your company in a search, but it can also include social media posts about company news or even about a recent blog post. This can be amplified through pay-per-click advertising, further widening your reach into the target market and increasing awareness. There are lots of other options at your fingertips, too. How-to videos and even podcasts can be a great way to raise consciousness about your brand and start to cement your perception as a thought leader.

    Take a manufacturer of power tools, for example. Having landing pages that grab organic and PPC traffic can help attract potential buyers who may be looking to take on new projects around the house. Perhaps instructional videos on YouTube can show viewers how to tackle specific woodworking challenges, generating even more visitors through targeted keywords.

      Middle of the Funnel (MoFu)

    Quite frankly, ToFu is where a lot of businesses excel. They put a series of blog posts together. Perhaps they upload some helpful content to their YouTube channel and then they leave the prospect there. The bigger challenge — and the one that fewer brands master — is driving that lead further down the funnel. Sure, you’re good at getting their attention. But now you have to help them evaluate your brand as a viable answer to their need. If you don’t have content that succeeds in that goal, you’re not unleashing the full power of the funnel.

    The middle of the funnel (MoFu) is where you want your leads to evaluate your product and deepen their engagement with your brand. There are any number of tools that can help you do that. For example, you could put a link to your services at the bottom of your blog post to actually direct them toward your solutions. You can also make case studies or white papers available on your site, driving home your accomplishments and expertise in a particular area. In the case of the latter, you might even provide a brief form that lets them download the white paper, enabling you to identify those prospects and push them toward the next stage of the funnel.

    A skin care company could have an online form where prospects can get a free sample of their latest product. And in the case of the aforementioned tool maker, it might consider producing a series of instructional events at hardware stores, enabling prospects to see the product in action. Capturing the audience’s attention, while necessary, isn’t enough. As consumers gets deeper into their journey, they want to see how your offerings stack up against the competition. Your campaigns need to make it easy for them to do that.

    TOOLS OF THE TRADE
    Bottom of the Funnel (BoFu)

    You’ve acquainted the prospect with your brand and even provided additional content that helps them understand what makes you unique. At some point, you need to convert them into buyers. To do that, you have to give them a little nudge. There are a lot of great motivators out there: promotions, discounts, limited-time or quantity offers, flash sales and so on. The most effective bottom of the funnel content makes this final stage as friction-less as possible. So it should seamlessly integrate with your MoFu tools.

    It certainly helps if you look at your content through the eyes of the would-be customer. Perhaps they downloaded a white paper or ordered samples through your site. Do those same materials prompt them to buy, or in the case of a service business, set up an introductory consultation?

    If they made it to the MoFu stage, you know they’re interested in what you offer. What you don’t want to do is leave them there, potentially losing sales that are ripe for the picking.

      Make your funnel customer-centric!

    As mentioned earlier, the marketing funnel is a way to build campaigns based around the customer journey. The implication there is that you know the customer and have a pretty good idea of what his or her journey might look like.

    Too often, that’s not the case. Instead, some marketers develop content with a one-size-fits-all mentality. They don’t know what their most promising customer groups look like or think about. And they don’t understand what pain points they’re experiencing, either. What a shame. It’s pointless to build a “full funnel” strategy without building a customer profile. That means asking some basic questions. Who are our customers? What’s their age and gender? What other activities are they interested in? What basic attitudes fuel their buying decisions?

    You’ll probably find more than one customer group that you need to address — and that’s a good thing. Among the many benefits of the digital marketing funnel is that it allows segmentation. A tool company may want one section of their website geared toward professionals working on advanced projects and another targeting new homeowners just learning how to use a hand saw. A more generic approach, on the other hand, might turn off one or both of those groups.

      The bottom line

    We know how important content marketing is in the digital age. But unless you think about your campaigns holistically, you’re not getting the impact that you should. The marketing funnel provides an important framework for understanding the customer journey as a series of steps that lead them, hopefully, to an ultimate sale. The brand has to be a guide on that journey, or else the customer will get lost along the way. By easing those transitions from one stage to the next, you’re virtually guaranteed to get more prospects to the finish line.

    The post The Key to Capturing More Sales? Applying the Marketing Funnel to Your Digital Strategy appeared first on Spiral Marketing Agency.

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  • The Agile Brand with Greg Kihlstrom - YouTube

    “If they haven’t experienced disruption, they will.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • Why industries often go through disruption, and how to not be left behind
    • What is the “agile” difference in branding?
    • Why disruption on a smaller scale is more aggressive than you think
    • The importance of solving your customer’s problems

    “The average consumer is becoming more involved with the development process.”

    Brands

    • Why your value shouldn’t be too affected by growing/changing markets
    • Selling your products is secondary. Wait, what? Why?
    • How do companies rally people around their brand? What do they all have in common?
    • Why more brands = more power for consumers

    Marketing

    • Why real time data is great but dangerous to be overly reactive to it
    • How technology enables consumers to actually help your message be heard
    • How optimizing your customer’s journey can create risk for your long-term growth
    • What do companies need to understand to keep long-term customers?

    “It’s less important to have the final version of a product than to have people willing to give feedback”

    Where to learn more about and reach Greg:

     

    The post Episode 42: Your Agile Brand with Greg Kihlström appeared first on Spiral Marketing Agency.

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    Your Annual Plan: Simple Steps to Crush Your Goals in 2019

    I can’t force you to do it. However, I can assure you that of the 200+ companies that I’ve worked with, the ones who do nearly always get great results. I’m talking about documented annual planning.

    It’s really not that hard. If you want to break it down into a sentence, it’s just a roadmap – your vision and mission, your values, the critical focus areas, the major initiatives or projects and the key performance indicators – for achieving your goals in the year ahead.

    Easy, right? You could do it in five minutes and fit it all on one page. At the time of this writing, we at Spiral Marketing are approaching our 2018 objective of doubling in size, both in terms of revenue and number of team members. Candidly, if we were better at involving the team with quarterly accountability, we would have crushed our goal. It’s just one document. You can do it.

    Ask yourself the following: “What was your goal last year?” “Did you hit your target?” “How close did you get?” Write down your answers.

    OK, now what is your goal for this upcoming year? If you don’t know, then it might help to compare where you were last year and how rapidly you want to grow. This is usually revenue-based, but it doesn’t have to be. A lot of writers and inspirational speakers like to tout 10x growth. That’s great, but venture capitalists would consider that unicorn-level expansion.

    If you started as a $100,000 company, that kind of growth would give you $1 billion in revenue within five years. Maybe you are the next Instagram, but you can’t count on that trajectory. Even 2x-3x growth is considered a pretty rapid clip. On the other end of the spectrum, 10% growth is seen as somewhat anemic for most startups. So you might be somewhere in between, depending on your level of risk tolerance and strategic vision. Did you write that down yet? I hope so, because it’s a good segue.

    Now, to the “guts” of your annual plan – that is, who you are as an organization. I like to start with defining your vision. If you run a business, then you have one, whether you think so or not. It’s literally how you want to improve the world with what you’re building. It’s the basis for how your customers and employees, partners and audience members feel about about you, so it’s absolutely critical. It’s also worth noting that you can always adjust it and improve your direction; this is a big part of being a leader. Again, document it.

    The next is your mission. A lot of times people think this is the same thing as vision, but the two are actually distinct. Whereas your vision is how your business will improve the world, the mission is how you will serve it. Consider, how will you serve your customers in a way that is unique to your own brand and company culture.

    Now it’s time to articulate your values. I’ll admit it, I’ve skipped the writing of this section in some years. I wish I hadn’t. It sets the tone for your organization and helps guide the work that you and your team perform. Your values are truly the soul of your enterprise.

    Also write down your critical focus areas. These are the categories that you know you’ll need to focus on in order to achieve your goals. For me, these often look like departments – whether it be management, creative production, leadership, sales, etc. – that you see as vital to your growth going forward. Your focus areas might end up looking different after you finish the other sections, and that’s fine.

    The major initiatives are the big projects that you’ll have to accomplish in order to successfully meet your goals. A few common ones that I see: a new website, a re-organized department, better process documentation, a blog, a podcast, new software or new service. You get the picture. These are the projects that drive efficiency or help you capture market share. I find that highlighting between four and six examples is enough to make a big impact, without becoming unwieldy.

    Lastly, identify the key performance indicators that will help you measure the success – or lack thereof – of your big undertakings. For example, if your critical focus area is sales and your key initiative is hiring more sales reps, you might expect ten more sales per week. Without a tangible way to gauge your progress, you’ll never know if you’re making any.

    If all this sounds simple, it is. And yet, the mere act of reaffirming your identity and what you want to accomplish in the year ahead can be incredibly powerful. Instead of making decisions in the moment, you’ll be able to synchronize your actions across the organization and work toward a common goal. Not a bad way to start 2019. Cheers!

    p.s. want to get our template and even more free help in writing your strategic plan? Great, find that here.

    The post 2019 Annual Planning appeared first on Spiral Marketing Agency.

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  • “You have to hire if you wanna take it to the next level.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • Why 50% of the workforce will be remote in 10 years
    • How to have more time for yourself but still thrive in your business
    • Similarities and differences between remote and traditional hiring
    • How believing in a product or service really motivates you

    “My mom always said work hard play hard.”

    Businesses

    • The risks and rewards of remote hiring (soon to be the normative)
    • What keeps us moving forward despite constant rejection
    • Why virtual assistants can really make the difference between success and failure
    • How you can have a high success rate in hiring processes

    Entrepreneurs

    • Why the entrepreneurial ride is way more fun than the typical 9-5
    • Why you should routinely get away from your business (reflection time)
    • What’s the faster way to get access to top talent?
    • How to turn weaknesses into strengths

    “Prioritize your tasks and get them off your plate.”

    Where to learn more about and reach Nathan:

    The post Episode 41: Free Up Your Time with Virtual Assistants appeared first on Spiral Marketing Agency.

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  • Thinking Beyond the Logo in Brand Management with Justin Jones of KDG Advertising - YouTube

    “Trust someone that trusts what you do.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • The differences between brands and logos
    • What’s a transparent brand? What’s an authentic brand?
    • Why you can actually lose money doing things yourself, instead of hiring professionals
    • How easy it is to forget why you started a business in the first place

    “When you’ve made yourself look bad, you’ve made your industry look bad.”

    Brands

    • Why it’s not bad to have a non-transparent brand (Coca Cola, McDonalds)
    • What happens when you step out of the terms you’ve established?
    • Some of the worst ways brands can degrade their company
    • Why chasing huge numbers in social media can get you lost in a sea of nothingness

    Digital Marketing

    • Why treating your big and smaller clients with equal attention has a positive effect on the industry as a whole
    • Why motivational maxims are not going to take you to maximum success
    • The value in not seeking fame and acclaim
    • Do you really need 100 creatives?

    “500 followers who actually like your product will grow your business more than 500, 000 fake followers.”

    Where to learn more and reach Justin:

    The post Episode 40: Thinking Beyond the Logo in Brand Management with Justin Jones of KDG Advertising appeared first on Spiral Marketing Agency.

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  • CryptoCurve on the Spiral Marketing Podcast - YouTube

    “I’m still amazed at what we’re trying to do, doesn’t already exist.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • The social aspect of cryptocurrency
    • What makes blockchain technology have more permanence than other decentralized services?
    • What is the “hole” in the cryptocurrency space?
    • What is the Curve Wallet?

    “If you don’t have a product for the everyday consumer, what does it mean? Why is it there?”

    Entrepreneurs

    • The importance of bridging the gap between technical innovations and ease-of-use consumer friendly services
    • Why it’s a great time to invest in cryptocurrency technologies
    • What’s attracting very experienced professionals to this new “wild wild west” market?
    • Why blockchain is becoming rapidly popular on a global scale

    Marketing

    • Why blockchain is similar to the beginning of the iPhone
    • Finding ourselves at a tipping point, how do we leverage this technology for the greater good?
    • How blockchain is providing financial access to the world (echoing internet infancy)
    • What are the ramifications of permanent history that organically grows itself?

    “We are so passionate about what blockchain and cryptocurrencies are going to do for the world that it’s a mission worth chasing.”

    Where to learn more and reach CryptoCurve:

    Some of CryptoCurve’s favorite publications:

    The post Episode 39: Navigating the BlockChain with Josh Halferty and Xander Yi of CryptoCurve appeared first on Spiral Marketing Agency.

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  • [More Detailed Show-notes coming soon!]

    Walter is the founder of Brand Fuzion, a marketing and sale consultancy in the B2B and B2C arena. He speaks regularly on a variety of topics regarding to inbound marketing, demand generation and sales enablement. He is the HubSpot User Group leader in Washington, DC, founding member of the Sales Enablement Society and recently has developed an entrepreneur  coaching program through the American Marketing Association.

    Sales Enablement with Walter Pollard of Brand Fuzion - YouTube

    “People don’t buy products and services. They buy outcomes.”

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • Why the top level really anchors digital transformation
    • What comprises a strong foundational sales and framework strategy
    • What are the pillars of sales enablement?
    • The versatility of instructional videos

    “Technology is only as good as your strategy and implementation.”

    Digital Marketing

    • When are you making too much content?
    • Why is your technology not helping you?
    • The importance of aligning sales and marketing
    • Why the prospecting stage is becoming more important

    Business Leaders

    • How do you maximize your time selling (most valuable to organization)
    • Which programs do you need in place to be customer-focused?
    • What is “ever boarding” and how does it consistently support your teams?
    • How do you streamline your buying process?

    “Always stay at the top of your game and focus on providing value.”

    Where to reach Walter and to learn more:

    Some of Walter’s favorite publications:

    The post Episode 38: Sales Enablement through Coaching with Walter Pollard of Brand Fuzion appeared first on Spiral Marketing Agency.

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  • Shaun Masavage is a DC-based engineer turned entrepreneur with over 10 years of engineering experience including the U.S. Navy and within the private sector. As CEO and founder of Edge Tech Labs, he designed, developed, and launched my company’s first product using crowdfunding. After that, it was just the normal hustle and grind of the startup world. From investment to new products, they’ve had quite a wild ride- and it’s still happening!

    Just a few of the points you’ll learn in this episode:

    • Why it’s so challenging to track your success
    • Why you have to bypass news agencies for crowdfunding
    • Why outsourcing your workforce is better in a lot of ways (not just cost-effective)
    • Making major business decisions with an objective mentality (despite how great your idea sounds)

    Crowdfunding

    • Why 90% of your feedback will be negative but that’s not the majority
    • The importance of empathizing with your community
    • The power of YouTube
    • Why anyone can market a new product, but it probably won’t be easy

    Entrepreneurship

    • Why physically showing how your product or service works makes a lasting impression
    • Why you must listen to your audience
    • The power of finding an activity that counterbalances your challenges (breathing, running)
    • How do you reinvigorate a traditional industry?

    Where to learn more and reach Shaun:

    Some of Shaun’s favorite publications:

    The post Episode 37: The New Rules of Crowdfunding with Shaun Masavage of Fret Zealot appeared first on Spiral Marketing Agency.

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