What is Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience for brand awareness — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.


A content marketing team is a valuable asset to any digital company.  If you are looking for some justification or responsibilities on a content marketing team, here are a list of potential responsibilities then could own.


Content Marketing Team Responsibilities
  1. Blog Editorial Calendar
    1. Promotional
    2. Seasonal education
  2. Content Specific Social Platforms
    1. Google+
    2. LinkedIn
    3. Digg
  3. Digital PR
    • App releases
    • New partnerships
    • Leadership Interviews
  4. Site Content
    • Customer Testimonials
    • Referrals to Blog
    • Loyalty Program Education
  5. Video (Educational and Promotional)
    • Youtube
    • Vimeo
  6. Guest Posting outside of Blogs
  7. B2B Education
    • Whitepapers on Industry
    • Webinars?
  8. Temporary Actions
    • SEO Backlinking
    • Sitemap Prioritization Recommendations
    • Recommended Meta Descriptions
CRM Metrics and KPIs

Top CRM Metrics and KPIs

So, you’ve been considering getting your CRM strategies off the ground and into action, but you are wondering what KPI’s and Metrics you should be looking at first.  Well, here is a list of some important metrics just in case they could at least be some fuel to get you going.

  1. Unique Active Registrants (UAR) 30 day Engagement:  How many unique customers do you have that have actually been active in the past 30 days.  Active could be counted as App Opens, Email Opens, Social Followers or Browser App clicks.
  2. Asset Engagement Ratio (Marketing Tools):  Do you have an Email channel, and maybe a Mobile App driving traffic to your site?  Add them up, and bounce them off of your total visits to the site, and you now have a KPI that shows if you Marketing Tools are providing a great benefit to your traffic.  Here is a hint, if its lower than 15%, you need to get optimizing.  It can also allow you to perform some smart ROI analysis on your asset traffic.
  3. Owned Media / Paid Media Ratio:  Similar to the Asset Engagement Ratio, take all your Paid Media Channel data (PPC, Display, Re-targeting, Blogger Channels, Video), and bounce them off of your Owned Media Channel data (SEO, Direct, Email, Blog Posts) to see how your brand is doing.  If your Paid ratio is dominant, it definitely will show you that you are either getting beaten by your competitors, or your “product” is not organically interesting enough.
  4. 90 & 180 Day Retention Rate:  Depending on if you have a strong acquisition strategy or a poor one, you have got to know how engaged you keep them in your on-boarding flows.  Find a way to count the amount of visits, opens and influences each of your new customers have within 90 and 180 days of account registration.  Notice, you are ONLY counting engagements with this one.  A 30 day Retention Rate will get you even closer to understanding if you loose them quickly or further down the line.
  5. Recency/Frequency of Buyers:  For you old school Marketeers out there, this is the closest to RFM that I am going to get.  This is similar to 90 & 180 Day Retention, but you are specifically looking for purchases and purchase behavior.  Understanding the average days between purchase and Frequency of purchase by channel will allow you to see which channels are underperforming
  6. LTV (Lifetime Value):  This one is similar to ARPU (Average Revenue Per Unit) with a little shift to it in the way that you count the value.  Grab total revenue over your customers rolling 12 or 18 months, then divide it by total customers.  Once you have the full value, then segment out the customers by frequency to see if your LTV of customers is moving between younger customers, and your true brand adapters for many years.  Most typical response is to take these numbers and apply them straight to ROI calculations for media spend, but I would suggest this shows your CRM efficiency even more so.
  7. Ave Influence per Order:  Every customer has a journey before they purchase or convert with you.  Some only have 1 digital channel that influences a purchase (customer comes Direct To Site), and some have over 10 (PPC gets them to your site, Email sends out a promotion, they actually convert on a mobile app notification, etc).  Find a way to count how many channels a customer has visited your site or your marketing assets by each individual ID.  You can then associate the average amount of channels it takes for customers to purchase with you.  You’d be surprised to see how many it usually takes.  I’ve managed sites that are as little as 3 influences per order, all the way up to 11.  Once you get up there, you definitely need to start considering if you are overspending to win customers to your site.

Interstitial vs Popup vs Modal

It’s quite often I find myself educating people on the difference between an Interstitial, a Popup and a Modal.  So much that I thought a quick and easy definition of each could help others.  The difference of each are significant, and the strategies around each are important for organizations to understand to reduce confusion and creep in projects.


Simple Definition: An interstitial is a temporary experience (page or modal) from a UI perspective before the customer is redirected to a desired landing page. Interstitial typically have a moving object (called a Throbber) that shows the customer that something is about to happen, or your system is working.  Probably one of the most popular Interstitial is Priceline.com that occurs after your give your flight search requests.

Priceline Interstitial

Strategy:  Typically you show this when you have a longer response time to a long API call or system action (so they don’t think the website is stalled), but it you can also use it in a time where customer education or advertising (no CTA) is needed.


Simple Definition:  A new window based on action that prioritizes over active tab or window, typically sized smaller than your usual new tab experience.


Strategy:  Yeah, these are dying (appropriately) due to browsers getting smarter with their Popup blockers, but they can still be effective tools for customer education, or if you’d like to keep your brand on your customers mind when forwarding your customers onto another website as a referral.


Simple Definition:  A modal is a scripted effect that allows you to overlay an element over focused content.  Typically a modal frosts the existing window to show that another message needs to be read.

Walmart Modal

Strategy:  Primary tactic is to make sure that the customer sees an important message because of an action on page, but can also be used to show progression in a conversion flow.  For ex: Need to ask a customer for their zip to calculate shipping, but can’t put it inline, or don’t want to move from the cart?  …throw a modal. Proactive modals based on customer data or actions are also a smart way to encourage email signups, personalization or cross sells.
Hope this helps.  If it doesn’t, then congrats ..you are too cool for school.

Email Marketing Metrics

Email Metrics & KPIs

In a digital marketing world where we are often found in analysis paralysis, I thought it might be benefitial to simplify to a select few metrics or KPIs used for Email programs specifically.  Obviosuly ALL the others out there are important as well depending on the goals you are pursuing, but these are a few that you cannot miss.

– Status Ratio:  Gotta count your actives, inactives, held, and unsubscribes to make sure your engagement is going the right way. Your unsubscribe ratio is one you specifically should be watching.  If this is growing, you are doing something wrong.
– List Counts: A couple lists you should keep your eyes on are Total subscribed, Total Sent to (which can get you ave emails per customer), Total Openers within 180  (and 90) days, and clickers within 180 days.  Need to know the opportunities to send to for any marketing campaign.
– Retention Rate:  Count how many of your new subscribers have opened, clicked, or visited with a 90 & 180 day window.  This will tell you if your onboarding is helping or hurting.
– Delivery Rate:  No brainer.  This will tell you how good your acquisition strategies are or how clean your reputation is.  …note, this is not Inbox Delivery…which is a GREAT metric if you have access to ResponsePath or something similar.
– Open Rate:  Industry standard is around 25-30%.
– Click Rate:  Industry standard is around 5-10%
– Complaint Rate:  If you don’t know this one, you will learn the hard way.  Ave complaints are absolutely in every ESP deliverability algorythm.  If you have high complaints, you will NOT get delivered to inboxes.
– eRPM:  Grab the revenue per mille and compare it up against your CPM to make sure that you are far from frustrating your leadership with bad ROI.

Starting with these will get you to a good Digital Stride with your customers through email.  Let me know if you think I’m missing any.  Enjoy!

Creative Digital Marketing Interview Questions

I’ve worked for some cool companies, and have had a lot of great opportunities hiring great people to influence great digital marketing efforts for the overall benefit of the company as a whole.  Someone recently asked me how many people I have hired, and my answer was an estimate of just under 100.  Seems like quite a few, until you think about how many people I had to interview to get to that many hires.  With all the experiences I have had, I do know how to get quickly to the point on learning if a person is a good fit.  We likely all know the big questions we should be asking in regards to digital marketing (strategies, analytics, prioritization, etc), but I wanted to post this article in response to some creative questions that will really help you learn quickly if they are the right fit.

  1. “How do you organize your personal closet?” or “How do you load your dish washer?”  The answers to these questions can easily point out if the candidate is organized or not.  For example:  If the candidate says that thier closet is always a mess, or they have no rhyme or reason for the dish washer…you can trust that their organization skills are less than ideal, and you just may not want to hire them as a Web UX specialist.  A good answer would like fall down the lines of “I keep all shirts up top, and pants on the bottom, and segmented out by color and by season.  Now that is a intentional planner and organizer.
  2. “If you could go to lunch with anyone dead or alive, who would it be and why?”  You can learn MANY things with this question including characteristics like chemistry with your existing team, thoughtfulness, laziness, intention, etc.  Try it out.  I promise you will learn something significant about the candidate.
  3. “What is 20% times 2 dozen?”  This is simple math that any analyst should be able to get.  If they don’t get it, you might want to reconsider what you are hiring them for.
  4. “How many manholes are there in the United States?”  Crazy hard right?  You obviously should not expect that the candidate is actually going to be able to get it, but it is important for them to try.  A response of “I have no idea” can prove a lack of creativity with analytics, whereas someone with a drive in discovery might say “I grew up in a town of 5k, and there were about 20 manholes, so since there are over 300 million people in the US …60k X 20 = 1.2 million manholes.

If anything, the answers will bring some enjoyment out of interviewing again.


Samsung Gear Live Review and Tips

I got my Samsung Gear Live watch about 5 months ago before the madness of the iWatch and I gotta say that I love it.  The biggest gain that it has made in my life is just the simple matter that it allows me to leave my phone in my pocket, hands on the wheel, and attention only slightly distracted to my wrist vs completely focused on my phone.

I’ve seen a bunch of reviews on it, but thought I would share some of my favorite quick tips/tricks that I use it for on a daily basis.

  1. “Ok Google, Send text to …”, “Send email to …” really is as easy as I could ever imagine.  You do need to have your contacts lined up for it to recognize the correct email or phone #, but I have never been able to text my wife “I love you”, faster than I can now.
  2. “Navigate to …” Navigating to a Starbucks has never been easier.  It will give you the option to see the navigation on the watch, or send it to your phone for full viewing.  I hardly ever need to use my phone with it.
  3. “Show me a picture of a …”  Ever need to immediately see how many floors there are on the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy for a game?  Try this statement, and you’ll have a picture on your wrist in seconds to show all your company.
  4. “Start Camera” (Wear Camera):  You can immediately see the camera view from your phone (front or back) using Wear Camera.  Easily take pictures old timer style of your family, use it as a nanny cam with your kids, or simply get a better view by holding your phone anywhere and taking the picture from your wrist.
  5. I am a big Google Keep guy, and I will typically say “Ok Google, Take a note to buy new bike helmet for race coming up.  The note will immediately be placed into your Google Keep account (after a couple of setting changes) for review later.
  6. Coin Flip:  Need to resolve something quick with a quick flip of a coin?  You no longer even need the coin.  Download Simple Coin Flip and it’ll emulate the perfect coin flip fast.  I personally play this with my son every once in a while.
  7. Custom Watch face:  Don’t like the stock watch faces on your app?  WatchMaker is a breeze to learn and allows a lot of fun great customization from local weather, to current steps, and even next calendar agenda item from Google calendar.
  8. Steps and Heart Rate:  Google Fit comes stock on the watch, and I am a full on believer at this point.  It syncs into my strava account, and also watches all walking and running (in the airport) that you do and calulates it all together and mashes them up against the goals you give Google Fit.  Ever wonder what your steps or heart rate are at a select time?  “Ok Google, How many steps have I taken today” “…whats my heart rate?” It is pretty money.
  9. Set timers or stopwatch:  Ever BBQ a steak?  Nothing is cooler than talking into your wrist “Ok Google, Set a timer for 12 minutes” to let you know when your steak is ready to flip.  Never needed to touch a single screen to get the timer going.
  10. “Whats my Agenda for today?”  Hook up to Google Calendar, and you have your whole agenda available to you in just a couple words.  You can even flip the screen to show more details, or edit easily.
  11. Reminders:  “Ok Google, Remind me to get Milk at King Soopers“.  Yes, it is that simple to have a smart reminder hit you up when you are near a specific location.  If it is not a familiar location, you may need to teach it at first, but it will nail it next time.  This is a function of Google Keep, so it comes through very simplified just like the note taking.
  12. Music:  I have a Spotify account, and since you control Spotify from your phone, it is now easily controllable from your wrist with your watch and allows you to turn music volume up and change songs even if you are far away (BlueTooth distance) from your phone.

I know there are a BUNCH of tips out there, but these are my favorites, and thought that it could help others fall in more love of their watch a bit more.  Enjoy!