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Great articles roundup: Strategy, big data, content marketing, buyer personas and customer experience

By Alexandra Reid

As a regular feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are the Financial Post, Harvard Business Review, MarketingProfs, Business2Community, and Fast Company.

To effectively measure ROI, think strategically

SMBs face some unique challenges on the marketing front. Most lack the resources or budget to effectively promote their product or service. Even when they do set money aside to market, their initiatives tend to be short-lived. To ensure marketing dollars are spent wisely, decide on your objective, draft a concise plan outlining how it can be executed, who’s responsible for each step and what success will look like at each stage.

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Unleash your inner consultant

By Caroline Kealey

One of the things that often drives communicators crazy about their jobs is the Superhero Consultant syndrome. You’ve been advocating for months — maybe even years — in favour of a course of action your organization should take to step up its communications. You know it’s the right thing to do, and you’ve got research and consultation findings to bolster your case. But still you’ve been hitting a brick wall, time and time again. Then one day a consultant is hired, flying in wearing a fancy suit (and carrying a hefty per diem rate to match) and presto! The senior leadership magically sees the light, endorsing precisely the approach you’ve been urging all along.

Sound familiar?

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Five common content marketing mistakes

By Alexandra Reid

Getting noticed online today requires more effort than ever before, as many businesses are getting more skillful at producing content and sharing it in interesting ways to engage their audiences.

Research from Content Marketing Institute shows that content marketing spending is increasing, more tactics are being employed and marketers are getting more confident at how they use content to engage audiences online.

But that doesn’t mean most businesses are doing content marketing successfully. Content Marketing Institute also said that 90 percent of B2B marketers do some form of content marketing, whether they realize it or not. It then went on to list the most popular content marketing tactics — article posting, social media, blogs, eNewsletters, case studies, and in-person events.

Either those businesses don’t realize they are marketing when they share content through those channels or through their other less popular marketing activities, or they don’t identify those marketing activities as content marketing. Either way, it’s concerning.

But, like many statistics, this one doesn’t paint the full picture. I would like to know those details – what percentage of businesses are doing content marketing without realizing it, and, specifically, why is this the case?

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Secrets of bulletproof marketing implementation

By Rob Woyzbun

You’ve spent hours to design what you thought was a perfect, logical, competitive, customer-focused, go-to-market marketing plan. Despite all that effort, the results are underwhelming, revenue nowhere near target, and members of your team are buffing their LinkedIn profiles. What’s happening?

Well, it could be a strategy issue or a problem with implementation, or both. Poor execution has been a weakness for many, especially in the tech and B2B sectors. The sad reality is that great implementation of an average strategy can often trump a poorly executed gold-medal plan. And while this all sounds like basic “project management” stuff, marketing implementation is arguably more complex and risky than for most business functions. Why? Because marketers often have responsibility for success without the ability to directly control all the downstream groups involved in the process!

In this post we’ll look at three ideas that can help bulletproof your marketing implementation.

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The worst marketing sin

By Francis Moran

Imagine you want to go to New York. And New York is a five-hour drive away. You start out on a certain route but after two hours, you haven’t reached New York yet. So you conclude that the route you’re on isn’t the right one and you change routes. An hour later, you’re still not in New York, so you change routes again. After yet another hour, you’re still not in New York, so you change routes again. And then you run out of gas. So you abandon your trip to New York; indeed, you begin to wonder whether New York ever really existed or whether there was any way at all that you could get there from where you were.

Nobody in their right minds would try to get to New York this way. Or come to those conclusions about getting to New York if their efforts failed.

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