One of my favorite parts about working in digital marketing is that it is always evolving. As consumer expectations shift and the industry gets new tools, platforms, and technology - the way we strategize and think about marketing also shifts (if we're doing it right). As soon as you master the best practices for one digital discipline, there will likely be a new feature or algorithm change that will require you to pivot and learn something new about how you approach it. While these constant changes keep things fresh and interesting, they can also make it challenging to stay up to speed with best practices.
Good digital marketing practitioners take the time to learn new things and continually hone their craft, but what are the best resources that help you stay informed?
Every industry has thought leaders, or influencers, and marketing is no exception. There are a lot of smart and talented marketers you can follow, but the most important thing is to find voices that resonate and inspire you to become the best practitioner you can be. Here are a few of my favorite marketing voices:
I was first introduced to Ann Handley’s work at a marketing conference years ago, and ever since then I have followed her as one of my favorite experts, particularly when it comes to writing and content (which in marketing, isn't pretty much everything writing and content?). She produces an email newsletter I actually enjoy reading and always provides insights that are practical, engaging, and just plain enjoyable to consume. If you’re a marketer, a content creator, or even a writer - she’s a thought leader I recommend following.
HubSpot is the pioneer for what is now the industry standard for digital marketing best practices - Inbound. They ushered in a shift from old-school, outbound marketing tactics to more human and effective inbound tactics. Since then, they have continued to build their brand around thought leadership across all aspects of digital marketing from website design and SEO to email and social media. They keep the conversation going across their brand channels and offer robust expertise across their blogs and resources. Co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah often share insights that are unique and refreshing. bringing empathy and perspective that you don't often see from other MarTech companies.
When you start growing market-share and mindshare, the market can feel it.— dharmesh (@dharmesh) July 2, 2020
This adds momentum to your flywheel and makes future growth easier.
Most market leaders got that way because the market felt their traction and carried them up to market leader status.
When I first started diving into email marketing years ago, particularly for B2B, the landscape was bleak. Too often companies were sending blanket email blasts, email platforms were not that great at being mobile responsive, and there was little to no human element to it at all. At the time Justine was working for Litmus - but she was one of the first marketers that inspired me to be more human in my marketing, especially with SaaS or B2B brands. She continues to advocate for exactly that and is always a great reminder to really think about the person at the other end of that email.
Marketing should be a force for good AND a force for growth. Putting the human at the center of everything you do will ensure both of those outcomes, creating magic for your brand and business. My greatest fear is that these lessons will be short-lived. pic.twitter.com/gTR2Rfz64F— Justine Jordan (@meladorri) June 22, 2020
Ultimately, the best way to to stay informed and continually hone your skills is to be a user yourself. We all use the tools of the trade, so make it a point to be engaged with the channels you market with. When you’re building out the elements of your digital marketing campaign, ask yourself - would I open this email? Think about how you consume content in your inbox. Would seeing this content on social media inspire me to take action? Pay attention to what social content inspires you to take action. Consider how you use Google in your daily life - what is my experience like during and after a search query?
No thought leader can replace your own experience and intuition when it comes to the tools that you use, so fill your feeds with practitioners that are knowledgeable and helpful so that you can develop your own expertise.
Looking for the right marketing tools? Say hello to HubSpot.