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Online Marketing News & Analysis

Who Wants to Be the 'Getty Images of the Instagram' Generation?

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A crowdsourced, stock-image platform launched today, aiming to connect advertisers and content marketers. Twenty20, a Marina del Rey, Calif.-based provider, wants to become the "Getty Images of the Instagram generation."

Backed by an $8 million funding round led by Canaan Partners, the company launches out of beta today with a "mobile-oriented, crowdsourced approach to stock imagery." 

"We launched Twenty20 in 2013 with the goal of connecting digital creatives in search of authentic, real-world imagery for their marketing and advertising campaigns with content from mobile photographers all over the world," Matt Munson, founder and CEO of Twenty20, told CMSWire.

"Mobile has changed the way we see the world, and creatives are looking for content that reflects this to their consumers. Original, user-generated content allows brands to better engage and connect with their audiences, and Twenty20 offers the largest catalog of that content."

Google Acquires Facebook Marketing Firm Toro

Google is back on the acquisition trail. Late last night it announced it had bought Toro, a startup that enables developers to market their apps on Facebook.

Originally known as Red Hot Labs, it was created by Amitt Mahajan and Joel Poloney, who had previously co-founded a MyMiniLife, a virtual world which users to create their own spaces and homes.

BlueConic Platform Updates Connect Siloed Data Stores

Boston-based digital marketing platform provider BlueConic released updates today that are designed to help marketers connect "siloed data stores" and applications across their stacks.

The five-year-old, 28-employee company features a platform that company officials also claim enables brands to "identify, understand and interact" with customers on an individual basis.

The update is supposed to make it easier to connect marketing systems, "allowing marketers to construct a dynamic profile of any individual in real-time that pulls from a number of available sources," said Dan Gilmartin, chief marketing officer at BlueConic. "This in lieu of trying to reconcile disparate data into a cobbled together source of the truth about the customer." 

You Can't Run a Company on 'Tips & Tricks'

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An ever-growing number of customers have the potential to engage with your company on digital channels in real time. You have only seconds to attract and engage these buyers. Most companies can’t ignore the need for top notch digital marketing -- and marketers must quickly gain proficiency for interacting with customers on digital channels.

Digital marketing isn’t that new. A whole lot of people have been publishing all kinds of useful content to help you understand, implement and measure digital marketing -- as well as how to strategize, connect to customers and support customer journeys through to purchases.

But many of you aren’t getting it -- why?

Or is it that you get it -- but the company that you work for doesn't provide a culture or infrastructure that supports marketing as a strategic function?

Ex-Kodak CMO Jeffrey Hayzlett Warns: Adapt, Change or Die

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Jeffrey Hayzlett describes himself as a maverick marketer in cowboy boots ... among other things.

A primetime TV and radio host, his eclectic career includes mentorship, corporate governance, brand building — and a three-season stint as a judge on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump.

A best selling author and public speaker, he was the CMO of Kodak from 2006 to 2010. I met him in 2009, when he was helping the photography pioneer reinvent itself for a world dominated by digital competition.

During his tenure, he was responsible for Kodak's worldwide marketing operations including the design and implementation of all marketing strategies, investments, policies and processes, as well as brand development, corporate communications and public relations.

Hayzlett left Kodak in 2010 and capitalized on decades of experience in business growth, communications and marketing to create his own marketing empire.

B2B Marketers: It's Time to Adapt, Be Brave, Embrace New Ideas

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Stephen Liguori wears multiple hats. He's the CEO and founder of his own consulting firm, an adjunct professor at Columbia Business School and former executive director of Global Innovation and New Models at General Electric.

He's also the global chairman of the 90-year-old Business Marketing Association, which made news late last year when it became a division of the Association of National Advertisers. The Business Marketing Association has 2,500 members in B2B marketing. The Association of National Advertisers, which has more than 630 member companies, represents business-to-consumer marketers.

CMSWire caught up with Liguori this week to get his take on the state of marketing — the good, the bad and the chaotic.

Your Awesome, Creative, Stunning Content Isn't Good Enough

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You could have Ernest Hemingway author a blog post for your organization, and it could still stink.

Not that the content would be the issue. It's how you structure and deliver it.

Ann Rockley's been championing the idea of "intelligent content" and has run a conference in its name. 

Rockley, the president of The Rockley Group, author and online content delivery expert, told CMSWire marketers simply spend too much with content -- in the wrong places, and in the wrong ways.

"Marketers create good content," Rockley said, "but they spend an inordinate amount of time manually crafting different pieces of content for different channels and different audiences. They craft it for the Web, they craft it for mobile, they craft it for Facebook, they craft it for Twitter. They craft it for one vertical industry, they craft it for another. The content is all good but they spend way too much time hand-crafting it."

Why Oracle Thinks It's a Lead Horse in Digital Marketing

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A year ago, Gartner Research Director for Marketing Leaders, Julie Hopkins told us Oracle's $1.5 billion acquisition of Responsys makes it a "lead horse in the race."

She discussed digital marketing industry market share between big marketing cloud players like Oracle, Adobe, Salesforce and IBM, which combined have acquired about $11 billion worth of marketing technology in the past two years

Who's winning the race now? We probably won't have the answer until closer to the end of 2015 or beyond on that. But if 2014 was the year of acquisition, 2015 will be the year of putting those acquisitions into action. 

Just as IBM told us last week about its Silverpop acquisition action items, Oracle Corporation promises innovation out of the Responsys deal that will make it the lead horse, but offered few details of what the innovation will look like.

Oracle and Responsys have been working on some major integrations in the little over a year that's passed since the acquisition, and "we'll see the results of those in 2015," Steve Krause, group vice president of product management for the Oracle Marketing Cloud, told CMSWire. "We're not ready to make an announcement on any particular one but there will be multiple coming."

MRY's David Berkowitz: The Power of Ideas and Collaboration

Ad man David Berkowitz is Chief Marketing Officer at Publicis Groupe's MRY, a New York City-based digital marketing and technology agency. He heads up marketing operations, directs the agency's communication strategy and tries to gain visibility for clients such as Visa, Coca-Cola and Adobe.

MRY, formerly known as Mr. Youth, was founded in 2002. The agency was acquired in 2011 by LBI, which in turn was purchased by Publicis a year later. MRY absorbed LBI’s North American operations when LBI combined with another Publicis digital agency, Digitas, in 2013. 

Since joining the firm shortly after that merger, Berkowitz launched pilot programs such as Mobile Week and the world's first Vineathon, "an event where people come together to create content for no reason other than to learn by doing." In addition, MRY won accolades in 2013 as Mashable's Digital Innovator of the Year and MediaPost's Social Agency of the Year.

Avoid Impulse Buys when Shopping for Marketing Technology

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My wife's shopping approach is pretty simple: she sees something she wants and buys it.

And, if one of her friends has it, that's a no-brainer. She needs it, too.

Marketers can't be like my wife when choosing technology. As they stare into the 1,876-vendor abyss, marketers need to do a little homework and always remember their organization's business strategy.

"My advice is to step back and take a fresh view, using tools like @chiefmartec’s landscape," said Scott Vaughan, CMO at Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Integrate. "Good planning always starts with defining business strategy and customer goals and needs. You can then utilize what other tech-driven transformations have used -- create a 'blueprint' by taking inventory of current systems, processes and data flow."

5 Requirements of Agile Digital Marketing

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Everyone wants to be agile these days. Whether it's a bunch of senior execs in a boardroom, or a group of super software gurus in an “idea space” full of Nerf balls, or anyone in between. Things just move too fast and we need to adjust on the fly.

So how does marketing get agile? 

No Cowboys Here: Teamwork, Culture Leads to Sales Success

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Have you heard the one about the high-performing, hard-charging sales person? You almost surely have— he or she is usually bringing in the most revenue, outperforming the rest of the team by a significant degree.

This salesperson is almost always a cowboy of sorts, not following the rules laid down by the organization and certainly not taking the time to input data into whatever sales automation system the company uses.

No matter, though. If it weren’t for this person, and perhaps one or two others performing within striking distance, revenues would be far less.

Or would they? The idea of the lone cowboy sales representative, who does things his way, by gosh, and goes on to land the deal is so well entrenched in corporate lore that few think to question it. But maybe they should.

How to Staff a Content Marketing Team

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Behind every great piece of content marketing is a great content team.

That should be obvious, but for all the emphasis brands are placing on content marketing, surprisingly little is said about the teams that make it work. Surprising because while marketers are shifting more dollars toward content marketing, the sector is suffering from a huge staffing problem. Nearly half of all B2C marketers have dedicated content teams within their organizations, according to the latest annual trend report from the Content Marketing Institute (pdf). Yet the same report found that a third of the 5,000-plus marketers surveyed said they had trouble finding trained content marketing professionals.

For Digital Marketers, Agility Is a Good Thing [Infographic]

Successful marketers have dedicated project managers, a formal content review structure and strong automation of workflows. Ideally, they also administer project management software — without reliance on the IT department.

These are some of the findings from researchers at ProofHQ, a Dallas- and London-based provider that surveyed about 500 marketers for a report entitled, "4 Insights Proven to Increase Marketing Agility."

"The key is an agile approach and a collaborative environment for the entire team," said Brandon Pindulic, a Boston-based digital marketing specialist who works for ProofHQ. "The more unproductive teams felt like they didn't have a system. They relied on long email threads for reviewing and approving content."

What's IBM-Silverpop's Digital Experience Pathway in 2015?

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Anyone anxious to see what's coming out of IBM's acquisition of behavioral marketing specialist Silverpop will have to wait a few more months.

Officials have some news to announce regarding the Silverpop technology but won't release it until later in the year.

But they aren't sitting still, according to Bill Nussey, CEO of Silverpop, which now operates under the IBM ExperienceOne customer experience platform.

"The last eight months we've probably put more connection points in both from a business and product view than you can even count," Nussey told CMSWire. "The vision we brought to IBM is intact but amplified greatly."

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