What Does the Future Hold for Chatbots?


What does the future hold for Chatbots might be a question of yours. To be frank, there is no real answer. 2017 was honestly a flop for the chatbot. We have yet to see the functions that were predicted years ago. However, there is one thing I can say for certain and that is, chatbots are not going away. After reading 10 + articles on chatbots posted in the last month, I was able to determine some predictions for 2018 as the chatbot industry enters a more mature phase.

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AdWords Universal App Campaigns Outplace App-Install Campaigns

Universal App Campaigns

Thanks to Google AdWords, driving mobile app downloads is easier than ever. Originally the only option on AdWords for an app campaign was their manual app-install campaigns. With the launch of their Universal App Campaigns (UAC) two years ago, things have become even more a breeze. Now, AdWords is moving all app-install ads under the UAC umbrella, putting Google in the driver’s seat.

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MA All Day

marketing automation

Marketing automation. What is it? Why do we need to use it? In plain English, it’s because it tells us what is working. Measurable success is a hugely important factor in business.

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How to Generate Leads On Facebook.

Okay, so let’s talk leads. No matter what industry you’re in, it’s possible to use Facebook to generate quality leads and sales. I’m not going to fill this blog with click-bait content because one of the great minds of our time once said:  “ain’t nobody got time for that.” What we are going to do is hit you with straight facts in this quick how-to that will help you generate business from social. There are four ways to generate leads on Facebook some are stronger than others, but they all serve their purpose.

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How to Use Automated Lead Generation to Grow Your Business

In today’s technology-driven business world, speed is everything. Just as the internet has changed the pace of communications, it has also irrevocably altered the way we do business.
Gone are the days of pounding the streets to generate leads or cold calling endless lists of potential clients.

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Managing Emails like a Rock Star with Marketo

Marketo is an extraordinarily versatile web-based marketing automation tool. It can help you run email campaigns, create landing pages, capture data from forms, integrate with webinar and CRM software, and nurture leads throughout their entire lifecycle.

It would take us several more articles just like this one to cover everything that Marketo marketing automation software can do, so we’ll stick to the basics: using Marketo to create and run a simple email program with associated email and audience.

Launch Marketo

First, start up Marketo and log in. If you don’t have an account on there, Marketo offers a free trial. Keep in mind that you have to request the trial, and it’s usually only offered to companies with 10 employees or more.

Create a Campaign Folder

A campaign folder is where everything in your campaign will reside. In this case, we’ll be putting an email program, an audience, and the email itself in here. If you were sending a series of emails, you’d put them all inside a single campaign.

    • Right click on Marketing Activities and click New Campaign Folder
    • Call it Test.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Call the new campaign folder Test.

Create an Email Program

A program is another type of folder, which contains assets like emails and leads.

    • Right click on that folder and click New Program
    • Make sure it’s in the Test folder and call it Test Email Program
    • Under Program Type, select Email
    • Under Channel, select Email Send

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Choose Email for Program Type and Email Send for Channel.

Define an Audience

If you’ve got a pre-existing set of emails in a spreadsheet, you can import those emails into Marketo.

    • Click the Test Email Program, then under the Audience panel, click Import List.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Under the Audience panel, click Import List.

    • Click Browse and locate your CSV or XLSX file with your contacts. Click Next.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Find your comma delimited file or Excel file and click Next.

    • You’ll need to map each of the fields in the spreadsheet to an existing field in Marketo. Most of the time, the fields will match on a 1:1 basis. If you’ve got full names in a single column, match it to the Full Name field, for example.
    • Click Next again.
    • Enter a name for your list, or click the dropdown to add it to an existing list. Click Import.
    • Click Leads, and you can see the leads you imported.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
See all the leads you imported in this list.

Create an E-mail

    • Click Test Email Program.
    • Click New Email under the Email pane.
    • Make sure the program matches. Call it Test Email. Select the Blank template for now.
    • Click Create.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Enter a program and name and choose a template, then click Create.

    • The email editor will open. Choose who you want the e-mail to be from, and what email you’d like to handle them. If there are a large number of leads, this address will get a lot of unsubscribes, bounces and so on, so you may want to create a new email in your email app just to handle these. Write a subject.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Determine who the emails will reply to, even in the case of bounces.

    • Look below the subject. Notice there’s a text box already created. Double click this box. You’ll get a new edit screen, where you can design an email in HTML.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Design the email in HTML here.

    • If you’d like to add a company logo or other graphics, you can drag and drop them from the Insert Elements box on the right. Then, choose the image, and it’ll be inserted into the HTML.
    • When you’re done designing the email, be sure and click Copy from HTML so that there’s a text version. Not everyone likes HTML email, so having both integrated into the same email is wise.
    • Click Save when done.
    • You’ll then need to right click on the Test Email and click Approve. Nothing goes out from Marketo without you approving it first. You’ll see the approval marked by a check box.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Right-click Test Email and click Approve.

Schedule the E-mail

    • Click Test Email Program.
    • Choose a date and time to send the e-mail under the Schedule pane.
    • Click Approve Program.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Choose a schedule and click Approve Program.

You’re all done! Your email will now go out at the scheduled time. Now you’ve learned how to set up a new program, a new email and a new list. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what Marketo can do.

Read up in Marketo’s tutorial section for more advanced features, like landing pages, email campaigns, YouTube videos, webinar integration and more. There’s really no limit to what you can do with Marketo.

Why You Need Marketing Automation

It can be difficult to find marketing automation software that fits your needs when you are searching for the first time. Our partner, Marketo, teamed up with Software Advice, a marketing automation evaluation company, and spoke to hundreds of companies to determine their uses of marketing automation software.

79% of companies were already using some kind of software to help them manage marketing. Most high tech companies are looking to purchase some kind of marketing software. The largest group of buyers were companies with less than 500 employers. Another key finding was that the top reason companies evaluate marketing automation software is to improve lead management and automate processes. The most requested capability in marketing automation software is lead nurturing, which beat out reporting/analytics and lead scoring.

International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the overall market for marketing automation will grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $4.8 billion in 2015.

Three key trends have been driving companies to adopt the technology.

  • Changing buyer behaviors forced companies to change how they market and sell.
  • The 2008 recession permanently altered how companies approach revenue generation and measurement.
  • The software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model made the technology available to many more companies than ever before.

Read on to learn more about what people look for when purchasing marketing automation tools:

State of Marketing Automation Trends 2014

Brought to you by Marketing Automation Software by Marketo

Are you ready to get marketing automation for your company? Ask yourself what you need out of the marketing automation software and contact us to help you find the perfect solution for your brand.

Crutchfield’s Digital Experience Rocks More Than Just Ear Drums

I recently came across an interesting white paper published by Ektron titled, “Demystifying Digital Experience Management.” The paper offers tips for creating positive and memorable digital experiences. In the middle of reading this document, I heard a knock at my front door. It was the deliveryman holding a product I had ordered from online electronics retailer Crutchfield.

Not long after I closed the door, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. Crutchfield had sent me an eerily-timed email promoting a sale on their high-end, touch screen receivers (an undeniable step up from what I had just purchased). It was from this experience that the idea for this blog post was hatched. According to Ektron, shaping an outstanding digital experience requires proper contextualization, consistency and integration across web, social and mobile platforms.

How would I rate Crutchfield in these areas?

Contextualization Grade: A

It’s no secret that individuals’ experiences, interests and preferences can differ greatly. These important factors also contribute to the “context” that surrounds any business interaction. The more a digital experience is customized to fit an individual’s unique profile, the more effective communication with him/her will be. Ektron believes “Adapting the context of the communication to fit the individual is a hallmark of a great digital experience.” Crutchfield understands this.

For example, when browsing their website, they ask shoppers to input the year, make and model of their vehicle to quickly identify products that are compatible. Behind-the-scenes, this information is also used to deliver personalized content, like the e-mail below I received after plugging in my vehicle’s details.



Consistency Grade: B

Maintaining consistency across numerous digital channels is another important component of the digital experience. What needs to be consistent? According to Ektron, not only a brand’s look and feel but also its messaging. After a quick look at Crutchfield’s Facebook page you’ll notice two things: (1) their logo and brand look are consistent with its other channels, and (2) the content and feel are much different than what you’d expect based upon their website and e-mail communications.

For example, their typical Twitter message tends to be polished and professional with an occasional “very cool” or “that’s awesome” slipped in. Their Facebook Page in contrast, is full very humor heavy (while still relevant) with an occasional straight-faced post mixed in. As a fan of humor myself, I’m not saying I’m against this approach. The post below has received over 250 likes and 121 comments, which are solid engagement stats.  I’m simply saying that this break from consistency seems to go against Ektron’s recommendation. What are your thoughts?



Integration Grade: A

Ektron’s white paper also discusses the importance of integrating systems such as content management, marketing automation, customer relationship management, analytics and social data into a company’s digital tool kit. I’ve never sat in on a Crutchfield digital integration strategy meeting, but my experience as a customer tells me that they’re highly aware of its importance.

Previously, I mentioned receiving an e-mail from them that included suggested products to fit my specific car. What I didn’t mention is that I received that e-mail literally minutes after I had added an item to their online shopping cart and then abandoned the purchase. This tells me that they’re likely using a marketing automation solution to automate real-time follow-up. Apparently they’ve designated shopping cart abandonments as an e-mail trigger within their workflow. Their use of automation software would also explain how/why I received a digital and paper catalog shortly after my initial purchase.



When you add up these grades, Crutchfield earns a report card that would make any mother proud. There’s no doubt they’ve done their homework on the digital experience and have successfully integrated their knack for service excellence into their digital efforts (see their retweet below). It’s no coincidence they’ve received so many awards including Bizrate Research’s Circle of Excellence Platinum Award for 14 consecutive years!



Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter. I’d love to hear about your most memorable digital experience, your thoughts on digital automation or your smack talk about the old school car I drive!