Marketers Toolbox: WebinarJam

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Marketers Toolbox: WebinarJam

Note: The Marketer’s Toolbox series teaches our readers about new technology we’re using (or experimenting with) that proves to be useful, productive, or just plain entertaining. As a marketer’s secret weapon, AgencySparks believes that the tools we use are vital to our success, thus, a marketer’s toolbox is truly one of our most important resources.

Marketers Toolbox: WebinarJam

Video has quickly become the preferred way to consume content. Video has also become a powerful way to sell content or inform customers of updates to products.

WebinarJam streamlines the process and contains everything needed to host a webinar. With six different presentation options: Full motion, 2-person, 3-person, 4-person, 6-person, screenshare all presented in HD. There is the option to set up a pay gate for access into the webinar or promote active offers for a product during the actual presentation. All webinars are saved and be revisited on the Jams on Demand tab or sent out to potential customers.


Pricing

$33.08/month if paid annually. 

WebinarJam makes hosting webinars easy so that more time can be spent on the things that matter.

AgencySparks ignites meaningful connections for marketers that help drive business. Contact us for introductions. To receive the #MarketersToolbox weekly, click here to subscribe!

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AgencySparks Involvement with 48in48 and the Language of Business

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AgencySparks Involvement with 48in48 and the Language of Business

This post was written by Joe Koufman, CEO of AgencySparks.


When Jeff Hilimire first told me about his idea in 2014 to leverage our professional skills to do good in our community, I was immediately interested in getting involved.

The original idea was to build 48 websites in 48 hours for 48 non-profits in Atlanta to help them look good rather than just do good. Jeff partnered with Adam Walker to found the organization that would become 48in48. In April of 2015, at General Assembly in Ponce City Market in Atlanta, many of us (about 100) spent the bulk of our weekend executing on the original vision at the inaugural event. The event was a huge success for our community!

Fast forward to 2017, and Carole Williams has come aboard as the executive director of 48in48, and the long-term vision for the organization is to accomplish what we did for Atlanta in 2015 in 48 cities around the globe simultaneously! Last year, the event took place in Atlanta and New York. This year, it is slated to occur in Atlanta, New York, Minneapolis, and Boston. 

AgencySparks played a key part in 48in48 every year since its inception by providing guidance, volunteers, and sponsorship.

While I was at a family gathering in Boston in October 2016, I had a conversation with my first cousin, Greg Stoller about AgencySparks and 48in48. Greg is an AMAZING person - he is an international business professor at Boston University; he reads, writes, and speaks SEVEN languages; he runs a commercial real estate company; is a fantastic husband and father to three amazing kids; and he hosts a business TV show appropriately named - The Language of Business.

As Greg and I discussed my company's involvement with the non-profit, we began to formulate a plan to produce an episode of The Language of Business about leveraging business skills for the good of our community. It just so happened that the 48in48 team had a scouting trip to Boston planned at the same time that Greg's production crew was available to film.

Upon arrival in Boston, we initially shot B-roll footage of the area around the United Way offices in the Fort Point Channel area of Boston Harbor. After that, shooting began at the United Way office with Greg and Karley Ausiello, SVP of Community Impact, United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley. Soon after, Greg and his production crew shot interviews with Adam Walker and Carole Williams.

The next morning, I met Greg and his crew at the TV studio for The Language of Business in Needham, MA to film my segment.

The entire experience was fantastic. As soon as it done with post-production, we will post a link to the show here.

Here are photos from the 48in48 and AgencySparks trip to Boston:

Adam Walker, Carole Williams, and Joe Koufman - 48in48

Adam Walker, Carole Williams, and Joe Koufman - 48in48

Greg Stoller of The Langauge of Business with Karley Ausiello of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley

Greg Stoller of The Langauge of Business with Karley Ausiello of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley

Control Room for The Language of Business

Control Room for The Language of Business

Joe Koufman and Greg Stoller - The Language of Business

Joe Koufman and Greg Stoller - The Language of Business

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The Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association Hosts #CelebrateATL

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The Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association Hosts #CelebrateATL

This post was written by Joe Koufman, CEO of AgencySparks.

 

I had a blast serving as the master of ceremonies for #CelebrateATL put on by AIMA! This year the organization (I serve on the board of directors) changed up the typical awards show model to showcase all of the digital marketing talent in Atlanta. For this years event, there were no acceptance speeches - just video packages highlighting the "Best In Show" for each category. Also, ALL of the work that was submitted was highlighted along the walls of The Stave Room at American Spirit Works. It was truly a fantastic celebration of the best interactive marketing talent in the southeast.

Huge thank you to Amanda Sparks and Carly Sullivan along with the rest of the AIMA board of directors: Jay Jhun, David Favero, April Fiek, Kirsten Schlau, Jae Scarborough, Tom Ellis, Tom Grant, Adrian Susine, Jen Osbon, Andrea Terrell, Laura Berkobin, Jerelle Gainey, and Krisi Lane.

Also, thank you to Swarm (title sponsor), Simpli.fi (corporate sponsor), BrandingHawk (printing/signage sponsor), Undertone (tequila tasting sponsor), ChooseATL (whiskey tasting sponsor), Viant (entertainment sponsor), Pandora (photo booth sponsor), VML (gift bag sponsor), Macquarium (print showcase sponsor), Definition 6 (digital showcase sponsor), Jarrett Bellini (videographer), SapientNitro (scholarship sponsor), and Intersect Group (scholarship sponsor). 

We were so pleased that along with work from AgencySparks, several of our agency partners' work was highlighted: Swarm, Everywhere Agency, Definition 6, and Toolbox No. 9.

Some people asked (no DEMANDED) that I post the "dad jokes" that I shared during my MC duties, so I have listed them below. While I cannot claim credit for any of them, nor do I know who wrote them, here they are:

  • If you are afraid of elevators, you should take steps to avoid them!
  • Did you hear the one about the mathematician who's afraid of negative numbers? He'll stop at nothing to avoid them!
  • Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? Great food, but no atmosphere.
  • Knock knock. Who's there? Interrupting cow. Interrupting cow, w..... MOOOOOO
  • How much does a pirate pay for corn? A buck-an-ear.
  • A bear walks into a bar and says: "Give me a whiskey................................and a Coke." "Why the big pause?" asks the bartender. The bear shrugs and says: "Not sure, I was born with them."

We got many comments that people loved this different format. Next year, I hope that many more clients and agencies submit work and attend this spectacular event!

Best,

Joe

Here are some photos from the event (credits to Adrian Sasine, Laura Berkobin, Jay Jhun, Kate Jacoutot):

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Marketers Toolbox: Active Collab

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Marketers Toolbox: Active Collab

Note: The Marketer’s Toolbox series teaches our readers about new technology we’re using (or experimenting with) that proves to be useful, productive, or just plain entertaining. As a marketer’s secret weapon, AgencySparks believes that the tools we use are vital to our success, thus, a marketer’s toolbox is truly one of our most important resources.

Marketers Toolbox: Active Collab

There are so many project management tools on the market and it is difficult not to want to try every one. A shiny interface or nifty new feature may be a differentiator, but none of them are reinventing the wheel, the simpler the better.

Active Collab is a simple and effective project management system meant for team collaboration. Every team member has their own dashboard that is specific to their work, but with the simple task filtering, members can stay up to date with other projects.

The all-in-one calendar is great for coordinating teams with busy schedulings and avoiding double booking key dates or times. With messaging availible in the tool, it removes the need for a separate in-office chat tool. Active Collab also has a collaborative writing capability where notes can be taken and edited by the entire team. Other key features include: time tracking, invoicing, online payments, projects estimates, and reporting. Easily access through a browser or mobile app.

Pricing: Free 30 day trial with no credit card.

Active Collab replaces several tools with one streamlined dashboard that is sure to make collaboration more effective.

AgencySparks ignites meaningful connections for marketers that help drive business. Contact us for introductions. To receive the #MarketersToolbox weekly, click here to subscribe!

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Lessons from SalesLoft's Rainmaker 2017

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Lessons from SalesLoft's Rainmaker 2017

This post was written by Ethan Parrish, Business Development Manager at AgencySparks.

SalesLoft is a great Atlanta company whose platform saves me countless hours in my day-to-day. Thanks to AgencySparks, I was able to attend SalesLoft Rainmaker 2017 on March 2nd and 3rd. Painstakingly, I’ve narrowed down my list of key takeaways and favorite speakers after taking some time to process everything from this chaotic, yet fascinating event.

There were four themes that particularly piqued my interest: Phone call outreach, personalization at scale, relationship building, and video.

 

Phone calls

Many, if not all, of the panelists still believe in the power of the phone call in sales. The caveat being that there needs to be a relevant purpose to the call and the rep should do their homework beforehand.

 

Personalization

The most interesting topic to me was on the issue of personalization at scale: how do you do it effectively? There wasn’t one clear answer, but the discussion presented several tactics that I plan on testing in the coming weeks.

 

Relationship-building  

This was a hot topic, hailed as the new defacto sales strategy, but many of the speakers were quick to point out that many sales professionals are not handling this properly.

 

Video

According to the SalesLoft team, video outreach is going to be huge,. With the upcoming Vidyard integration, reps will be able to record video in the platform and send as a customer outreach step.

 

Key takeaways from my favorite speakers:

John Barrows - Owner - JBarrows Sales Training   

john barrow

Even though he is a New England Patriots fan, I could listen to him talk about sales all day. He doesn’t spend time throwing out buzzwords about sales and marketing, but instead gives clear tactics to action items to implement in your own process. His key points:   

  • Provide Value - “This passage of this article is relevant to your business.”
  • Start with the customer - “Show your homework in the first sentence.”
  • On Meetings - “ Don’t sell meetings, sell time. Think about how you feel about meetings.”

Steven Broudy - Director, Inside Sales - MuleSoft

A former special forces operative, Steven wanted to bring the structure of the military to sales. He accomplished this by creating a formula to determine how much time should be spent on personalization to create a roadmap for success. I really can’t wait for his full blogpost (to be published in Sales Hacker on 3/20) on the topic.  His key points:   

  • Take the stress off of reps to determine how much personalization is needed.

Dan Michael - Director of Sales - Hortonworks

I subscribe to the theory that everyone is in sales, they just don’t know it. If I was tasked with pointing out the person who best embodied sales, it would be Dan Michael. Getting his start with door-to-door sales taught him invaluable lessons which he has brought to bear with HortonWorks. Check out his Ducks on The Pond approach. His key points:

  • Mobile First - “Your email should be no longer than one finger scroll of a smartphone.”
  • Pain Chain - “How is the problem related in the organization.”

Jacco Van Der Kooij - Founder - Winning by Design

A self-proclaimed Red Bull addict, Jacco took the stage as if shot from a cannon. His talk was called “The Art of Making Love” and focused on truly educating and assisting customers. His key points:

  • TALKER - “Tone, Ask Questions, Listen, Keep Notes, Elaborate, Repeat”
  • “Relevance supersedes personalization”

Doug Landis - Growth Partner - Emergence Capital

Doug Landis was an extremely personable speaker with great energy. He spoke about Sales Operations and how to build a support team around sales reps. Here are his key points:

  • Onboarding - “Have a defined plan, talk messaging and day-to-day”
  • Capture best practices
  • Highlight cultural events
  • Build a sales playbook

I left Rainmaker 2017 having connected with many great people as well as with tactics that I plan to implement into my sales process. I am extremely grateful to work for a company that emphasizes the professional and personal growth of its employees.   


-Ethan Parrish, Business Development Manager, AgencySparks

 

AgencySparks ignites meaningful connections for marketers that help drive business. Contact us for introductions. To receive content updates from AgencySparks, click here to subscribe!

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Marketers Toolbox: WhosOff

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Marketers Toolbox: WhosOff

Note: The Marketer’s Toolbox series teaches our readers about new technology we’re using (or experimenting with) that proves to be useful, productive, or just plain entertaining. As a marketer’s secret weapon, AgencySparks believes that the tools we use are vital to our success, thus, a marketer’s toolbox is truly one of our most important resources.

Marketers Toolbox: WhosOff

Thankless administrative tasks that don’t create revenue seem to take up a disproportionate amount of time. By automating what doesn’t directly create revenue, more time can be spent growing a business.  

WhosOff handles time off requests for staff based on parameters set by management. WhosOff can handle as little or as much of the decision making process for time off approval as desired. By setting minimum requirements, WhosOff will make sure companies are not understaffed during a busy time due to key employees being off at the same time. No installs necessary, the tool is easily accessible through a browser of mobile app.

Pricing

Varies based on staff: 10 staff costs $20.93/ month. Free one month trial with no credit card and no long term contracts.

WhosOff makes handling employee leave a breeze and allowing more time for the things that matter.

AgencySparks ignites meaningful connections for marketers that help drive business. Contact us for introductions. To receive the #MarketersToolbox weekly, click here to subscribe!

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Changes on the Horizon for AgencySparks

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Changes on the Horizon for AgencySparks

Last week, AgencySparks’ CEO, Joe Koufman, went on the biz1190’s Dana Barrett show, to talk about AgencySparks’ business goals for 2017 and the upcoming changes to the company’s business model.

Joe Koufman begins the interview with a little background on the history of AgencySparks. He started AgencySparks back in 2014 after he left his business development role at a large agency holding company. At that point, he knew that he wanted to start his own company, but did not want to start a marketing agency. He decided to form his business model around making connections, something about which he has always been passionate. 

Over the past three years, the AgencySparks team has made countless connections between marketers and specialist marketing agencies. As each new introduction is made, new insights about what works when it comes to the agency-client relationship rise to the surface. With these insights in mind, the AgencySparks team has worked on the evolution of the business model over the past few months.

AgencySparks has traditionally limited the amount of agency partners to one specialist agency in each category. While this business model has served agencies and clients well, it has not been without faults: 

  • Client-side challenges: Sometimes, clients approach AgencySparks asking for multiple agency recommendations in a particular discipline. Other times, client-side marketers place agency partners in an existing pool of agencies. To this point, Dana remarked, “As somebody who has had to select vendors over the years, you really do want to be able to compare. The one you recommend might be amazing but there could be a personality conflict.”
  • Agency-side challenges: AgencySparks has always proclaimed itself as a “dating service for clients and agencies.” But just like eHarmony cannot guarantee a kiss at the end of the first date, AgencySparks cannot guarantee that an introduction will result in closed business.

Joe Koufman: “You go into business thinking that it’s going to be about one thing… your customer tells you where you need to go. You just have to be open to listening.”

Click-to-Tweet: "Your customer tells you where you need to go. You just have to be open to listening." @GumboShowJoe

Armed with these insights, AgencySparks decided to shift its focus and address both challenges by including multiple agencies in each specialist category. This way, AgencySparks can take on a more consultative role when a client-side marketer reaches out for help, while reinforcing the initial goal of AgencySparks: to make connections.

AgencySparks intends to gradually implement this shift, ensuring category exclusivity for those agencies with a long-standing relationship. 

Additionally, AgencySparks will be launching a web training series designed to help marketing agencies improve their business development process. “The reality is, agencies are so focused on doing great marketing work for their clients, that they often put themselves last on the list… If you really want to be good at business development from an agency perspective, there are certain things you should do,” said Joe as they wrapped up the interview.

Thanks again to Dana Barrett for hosting AgencySparks on your show!

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Marketers Toolbox: Eye Dropper

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Marketers Toolbox: Eye Dropper

Note: The Marketer’s Toolbox series teaches our readers about new technology we’re using (or experimenting with) that proves to be useful, productive, or just plain entertaining. As a marketer’s secret weapon, AgencySparks believes that the tools we use are vital to our success, thus, a marketer’s toolbox is truly one of our most important resources.

Marketers Toolbox: Eye Dropper

Choosing the proper color is an important factor in whether a website, slide presentation, or a logo is pleasing to the eye. It won't help choose a color scheme, but Eye Dropper makes it easy to find the color code of any interesting color on a site.

eye dropper chrome extension

A great tool for web developers or designers, use the tool to select a color that looks appealing and it saves to a color history clipboard. When selected, all different forms of the color code are shown for easy use in a myriad of places.

Eye Dropper is a simple tool, but an excellent saver of time.


AgencySparks ignites meaningful connections for marketers that help drive business. Contact us for introductions. To receive the #MarketersToolbox weekly, click here to subscribe!

 

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Measuring Marketing Success in the Digital Age

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Measuring Marketing Success in the Digital Age

Before the digital age, determining the return on investment (ROI) of marketing served as a long-time mystery to marketers and executives alike... but today, things have changed dramatically. The floodgates have opened and data is everywhere. Unfortunately for marketers, the emergence of big data has coincided with even bigger questions (and sometimes, bigger problems) around what an optimal measurement model should look like:

  • Which metrics are important to track?
  • How do seemingly unimportant metrics like impressions translate into revenue?
  • Which metrics are most important to the internal stakeholders of the company?

The abundance of data in the realm of digital marketing has enabled marketers to cherry-pick stats that support a specific case. In practice, marketers sometimes even convince themselves that because some metrics are moving in the right direction, they must be achieving business objectives… which leads to inevitable frustration when other company stakeholders see the situation differently.

Marketers must take a step back and examine what the executive team deems as successful, then evaluate their current strategy for measuring success, with the eventual goal of picking the metrics that truly align with business objectives.


Start with the Business Objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 

When it comes to analytics reporting, no one-size-fits-all approach will ever exist. That’s because reporting effectively is not just about selecting the right metrics - but also about understanding what these metrics mean in the context of the business as a whole. Even if the marketing department presents internal stakeholders with positively trending analytics reports with lower bounce rate, increased click-through-rate (CTR), and high impressions have moved in a positive way, those measures still may not move the needle for business performance.

Marketers should establish what business objectives they are trying to reach and align them with KPIs that the objectives will be measured against. Savvy marketers will ask questions about intent: Is the goal to generate more brand awareness, retain existing customers, or acquire and convert new marketing qualified leads (MQLs)?

Example:

  • Objective: Increase revenue by 25% this year.
  • KPI for Marketing: Increase Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) by 20%

Determine the Strategy and Establish Marketing Performance Metrics

In developing strategy, marketers should revisit what success looks like in the context of business objectives. Only then should marketers begin to outline the data points that illustrate the success/failure of the achievement of marketing objectives. 

KPIs provide context to a company’s past, present, and future. They act as a road map for the marketing campaign strategy moving forward. Likely, the KPIs selected should be more general metrics, like revenue increase or market share relative to competitors. 

Example:

  • Objective: Increase revenue by 25% this year.
  • KPIs for Marketing: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) 
  • Strategy to Support KPIs: Create gated content to entice customers to provide the company with their name and email address
  • Marketing Performance Metrics:
    • Landing page conversion rate
    • Leads generated


Round out the tactical approach by tracking more specific marketing metrics

At this point, marketers have a list of defined business objectives, the strategy in place to support those business objectives, and the framework to measure the efficacy of the overall strategy. The execution of the marketing strategy is often referred to as the tactical approach. At this point marketers should begin to leverage more specific metrics, some of which may not directly link up to the more general business objectives. 

Example:

  • Objective: Increase revenue by 25% this year.
  • KPIs for Marketing: Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) 
  • Strategy to Support KPIs: Create gated content to entice customers to provide the company with their name and email address
  • Marketing Performance Metrics:
    • Landing page conversion rate
    • Leads generated
  • Tactical approach: Paid media and social media marketing that drives traffic to the landing page
  • Tactical Metrics:
    • CPM (Cost-per-thousand impressions)
    • CPC (Cost-per-click)
    • CTR (Click-through-rate)
    • Bounce rate on landing page


Other helpful tips:

  • Look outside of the organization. Knowing market share and where competitors stand is crucial.
  • Get into the audience’s operating reality. When delivering a report to someone within the company, marketers should consider the internal stakeholders.
  • Establish benchmarks. With benchmark data easily accessible and regularly reported, trend lines can begin to emerge from the data.

At AgencySparks’ most recent marketers breakfast, Jeff Perkins, CMO of QA Symphony, described analytics reporting as “internal content marketing.” Using analytics to inform company stakeholders on marketing performance has many of the same components as a content marketing strategy: marketers have to constantly test and tweak their messaging depending on the audience in order to tell a story that will ultimately resonate.

 90% of all the world’s data has been created in the past 2 years. Big data is the increase and availability of data in our world and it comes from a variety of sources. Big data adds immense value to your company, but there are 3 common traps when it comes to utilizing the data. Forbes gave us some powerful insights, shown above, to learn how to overcome these barriers and take steps towards the right data.

 

AgencySparks ignites meaningful connections for marketers that help drive business. Contact us for introductions. To receive content updates from AgencySparks, click here to subscribe!

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Marketers Toolbox: UserTesting

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Marketers Toolbox: UserTesting

Note: The Marketer’s Toolbox series teaches our readers about new technology we’re using (or experimenting with) that proves to be useful, productive, or just plain entertaining. As a marketer’s secret weapon, AgencySparks believes that the tools we use are vital to our success, thus, a marketer’s toolbox is truly one of our most important resources.

Marketers Toolbox: UserTesting

Creating an optimal user experience (UX) on your website is difficult. And sometimes, continuously tweaking and changing can cause the overall UX to become worse instead of better.

UserTesting gives instant access to 1 million users that can test a site based on set parameters and the results are returned in 1 hour. There is a self-serve option, where the users can be chosen and the issues are set by the customer, however, UserTesting offers an option where their team will handle everything.

A really bad website will be noticed by most customers, but when there are two similar sites, the one with the better UX can push one ahead in the customer's mind. Having a great user experience is key to keeping people on a site and improving site conversion rates.

Pricing: Custom

UserTesting is changing the game by providing inexpensive UX testing. Find a demo of UserTesting by clicking here.

AgencySparks ignites meaningful connections for marketers that help drive business. Contact us for introductions. To receive the #MarketersToolbox weekly, click here to subscribe!

 

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