Jay Acunzo on How to be an Exceptional Marketer

Do something different, they say. Be bold. Stand out from the pack! The list of clichéd instructions on how to improve just about anything according to them is, well, endless. So, when all the “expert” advice becomes white noise, we might as well render it meaningless. If we’re all following the same guidance, aren’t we all a bunch of followers?

Instead, marketing and sales pros must dig deeper to uncover what can truly set initiatives apart. And no, these won’t come from yet another blog.

What differentiates best practices from the right practices comes down to what Jay Acunzo, an award-winning podcaster, and dynamic speaker, says is not much more than your intuition. As the former digital media strategist at Google and head of content marketing at HubSpot, he knows a thing or two about what it takes to be the difference. I interviewed Jay to find out what marketers can do to break away from banality in a way that really matters to themselves and their customers.

Q: You’ve been quoted as saying, “It has never been easier to be average.” Expand on how this applies to today’s digital marketing landscape. How do we prevent mediocrity from creeping into the creative output?

Think about the amount of information you have access to and the speed at which you can access it. It has never been easier to find and follow someone else’s idea or answer. You need direction and someone else has pretty much handed you a “how-to.” Done. Simple.

Unfortunately, generalized advice is the best these so-called expert opinions can provide—without knowing your context, who you are, who your team is, who your customers are, etc. You can’t remove an individual from the situation, and because experts make their living providing broadly applicable knowledge, you’re just defaulting to whatever latest trend they report. You’re doing commodity work.

With more and more experts coming out of the woodwork, it’s never been easier to be average. So, the question is, what does it take to be exceptional in a world where average is now table stakes?

"It's never been easier to be average."

Q: But how can marketers initiate acting on something differently? How do we acquire the confidence to push back on the status quo?

Those doing the work have to unleash their full potential. Stop obsessing over some guru’s answers, and start asking yourself the right questions. Then almost naturally, you’ll start to focus less on generalized advice and more on the specifics of your own context, as well as the abilities of your aspirations.

Q: You host the Unthinkable podcast. What’s been your favorite strategy or guest story? What lessons can we pull about standing out in increasingly noisy digital ecosystems?

We’ve had so many incredible guests, from Disney to TED speakers to best-selling authors. But one of my all-time favorite stories involved Lisa Schneider, Chief Digital Officer at dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster. You’d never expect someone from Merriam-Webster—a brand not known to be particularly exciting—to engage in this crazy, imaginative work. But they’ve differentiated so successfully due to readjusting their focus on their team and audience, ignoring industry precedents and current digital marketing trends.

Merriam-Webster had an ordinary, corporate Twitter account that posted similar stuff and automated the same old thing, daily. Until one day, Lisa checked out the company’s internal chat groups and noticed how lively, fun, smart, and witty they were. She realized if we acted like our true selves in public, more people might enjoy what we have to offer. Fast forward to today: Merriam-Webster has over 550,000 Twitter followers and received around 7,000% more press this year than last year.

Merriam Webster Twitter Account

Q: What channels offer marketers the most opportunity to stand out?

Look, if somebody on a blog post tells you that a certain channel or tactic is the answer and you follow it, you’re doing commodity work. Because that expert doesn’t know your context. Unless you focus on your team’s abilities, your brand’s aspirations, and your customer’s ongoing experiences, it’s virtually impossible to apply generic answers from a blog post and succeed at a rate that’s anything but average.

Because you have so many channels, you’re all looking for a single answer. Instead, you should celebrate all possibilities. The digital age bestows us with countless options to vet for our own situations.

Ask yourself:

  • Which of these possibilities match my team and the way I speak to the world when I’m not a marketer?
  • What is it about ME that’s different?
  • What do I bring to the table?
  • Which of these channels can best amplify my unique attributes?

Q: Let’s talk automation. We can’t live without it. How can we use automation to better our marketing and creativity?

Effective automation can be indispensable—if put on repeat. You start by asking questions, you find an answer, and then you funnel the answer through automation so it continues to spit out the same answer. This can be powerful, but only if you regularly revisit the answer and make sure it applies to new scenarios.

Successful marketers must own their problems, questions, and audience insights. Automation is a fast track to complacency unless you commit to asking the right questions of various human sources and continuously update your technology.

Q: We know a big tenet of yours is trusting intuition and not settling for mediocre work. What’s more important—the message or the methodology of how it’s spread?

Intuition is often misinterpreted as being the muse that gives you the answer. In reality, the Latin root means knowledge from within or an ongoing process of thinking for yourself. So, if you’re pumping out copy, good things will happen. However, if you truly understand and articulate the process and seriously consider the “why,” you create a kink in the curve and start improving exponentially.

If you look to achieve a goal by relying on how people reached it in the past, you contribute to conventional thinking. Instead, add your own questions and consider all the different ways you could accomplish your goal. Treat gurus as just one source for identifying all possibilities. Remember, the key is to question and test everything.

Jay Acunzo belief quotes

Want to learn more about becoming exceptional in the world of marketing? Check out Jay Acunzo at ZoomInfo’s 2017 Growth Acceleration Summit on Sept. 13-14 in Boston where we’ll be covering best practices, growth strategies, and the future of data.

Do you have an example of exeptional marketing? I’d love to hear your example in the comments below.

The post Jay Acunzo on How to be an Exceptional Marketer appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

12 Tips Every Brand Should Incorporate Into a Live Stream Marketing Campaign

By now, you’ve probably seen how live content gets pushed to the top of every stream on your social media feeds. You probably even get push notifications on your apps when someone goes live. It’s not a coincidence, but more of a calculated effort from companies like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Twitch to be the leaders of a space that is still in its infancy. Facebook even took to the streets to teach people how to go live on buses, transit shelters, billboards, and TV ads!

Facebook Live Bus

While tech companies have focused on getting their users to go live, they know that the eventual play is to gain that almighty advertising dollar. Almost every brand already has a video marketing strategy, and many have begun to test live stream marketing. Early adopters of new tech mediums have often been rewarded with followers and media attention, even though their content has typically had very little production value. Ask yourself, could “Charlie Bit My Finger” on YouTube be a viral hit today?

After documenting the early efforts of live stream marketing from all brands and industries, I began to notice a trend amongst the video efforts of those that had the most success, based on views and engagement. In this blog, I’ll share 12 tips that brands should incorporate and consider in their live stream marketing campaigns to succeed in this new landscape.

Plan Wisely

1. Hang Loose

You should have a bullet-pointed agenda of what you want to cover and in roughly what order, that reinforces your objective. Scripting out too much of your live stream dialogue often leads to a robotic presentation with unnecessary pressure. When Dunkin’ Donuts went live to create buzz for their free donut giveaway on National Donut Day, they loosely showed viewers how to make donuts by taking them through their test kitchen. This allowed Dunkin’ to create a casual environment for users to engage with the brand.

2. Show, Not Tell

During your live stream, make sure the host/presenter shows the viewer and demonstrates. This is more powerful and visually interesting than simply telling the viewer information because it allows the camera to follow the action, which keeps the audience engaged.

3. Time!

Your live stream does not have to live in anyone else’s shadow. Unlike scripted television series, you don’t have to have 21 minutes of pre-recorded storyline or as with commercials—15 or 30 seconds to get the point across and sell, sell, sell. Dunkin’ Donuts went 12 minutes. DJI went one hour and 17 minutes. Be efficient, but don’t pressure yourself to stick to a certain timeframe.

4. Don’t Jump the Gun

What concert have you been to that starts on time? Or NBA Finals? Super Bowl? If you’re at a concert, you’re typically looking at a 30-minute delay. At sporting events, 10 minutes is common practice. These delays allow stragglers to get settled and builds anticipation for the main event. Leave a graphic up for 5 – 10 minutes with something as simple as, “Live Stream will begin shortly,” which is what DJI did for the launch of their Mavic Pro event. Caveat: Know your audience. If they are a prompt group of people, this may not work—but you won’t know without testing it.

Don’t Forget To Promote It

5. Tease It Out

What good is a live stream event if your biggest fans aren’t in the know? Send an email, post on your social accounts, and keep posting. For the announcement of Game of Thrones’ Season 7 premiere date, HBO announced a live stream event, for which they burned a block of ice to reveal the date. Even before the event, they teased it with a short 12-second video earlier that day.

Make Your Event Stand Out

6. Amplify

If you go through all the trouble of planning out a live event with multiple moving pieces, wouldn’t you want to gain new potential customers? People who are subscribed to your YouTube channel, or “Like” your Facebook page, may get a push notification that you’re going live, but what about everyone else that may be interested? Amplifying allows your live stream to go live on all your social channels, while also serving your live stream as a native ad placement on relevant publisher networks and through social media influencers to garner more viewers to your live stream.

7. Incentivize

People have the world at their fingertips when it comes to on-demand entertainment. Offer an incentive for why they should tune in to your live stream. Maybe that is a raffle, reward or loyalty points, or a sneak peek at some exclusive content. Don’t forget that sometimes you have to give something to get something.

8. K.I.S.S.—Keep It Simple, Stupid

This old television journalism mantra encourages on-air reporters to pare everything down so it is easily digestible by a wide audience segment. Sometimes it’s not in the best interest for a topic expert to tell a story to the masses. They have a tendency to be too close to the subject, which makes it difficult for them to succinctly explain to someone who may know nothing of the topic. Aim for easily consumable content.

9. Guest Stars

There’s a reason talk shows—radio, web, or television—are so engaging; They have guests! Each guest is a surprise element to an otherwise mundane, one-person setup. A new face and voice can lend credibility, fresh interaction, and expertise. Look for guests that are complimentary to your business—like partners, or look at the influencers in your space and invite them to participate.

Two women on a cooking show

10. Participation Points

Ask for comments and questions in the comments section. For Facebook, this helps a live stream show up on 3rd party user’s newsfeeds. During Game of Thrones’ live stream, they encouraged viewers to comment with “Fire” or “Dracarys” to help reveal the season premiere date, which pushed users to generate the activities needed for virality. Asking for comments and questions doesn’t just need to happen at the beginning or end, remember in live video viewers jump in and out of watching it. Invite people to comment or ask questions a few times throughout your stream.

11. Call-To-Action

Don’t end a live stream without telling the audience what they should be doing next. Whether it’s the release date of a product, how to claim their offer, or teasing/inviting them to the next live stream—always offer direction.

Measurement Is Always Important

 12. What’s Next?

Just because a live stream event is over, doesn’t mean your work is done! Go over the analytics and metrics, look at where you experienced peak viewership and engagement, how could you have positioned the camera better for higher quality image and sound, or prepped your guest? Then apply your learnings in your next live stream event plan.

A live stream event does not need to be a huge production. Many of the campaigns I’ve seen documented were as simple as watching a professional athlete sign a contract (Adidas), touring a company’s closet (DKNY), and even seeing how many rubber bands it would take to explode a watermelon (courtesy of Buzzfeed). The important thing is for brands to take advantage of the immediacy and intimacy that a live stream brings. Fans and followers are eager for content, which tech companies already know is the next big thing. They’re just laying the groundwork until advertisers and brands catch on.

I’d love to hear about your successes and failures with live streaming. Whether it’s your first time or your 100th, we can always learn from each other.

The post 12 Tips Every Brand Should Incorporate Into a Live Stream Marketing Campaign appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.