[INFOGRAPHIC] A Journey Through the World of Visual Content

Have you ventured into the visual marketing world? If not, check out this infographic from Marketo to see what type of visual content would be best for your marketing.

Journey Through the World of Visual Content [Infographic]

What Does Your Favorite Vacation Say About Your Marketing Style?

As the summer heat intensifies, so do our vacation fantasies. However, it seems the “perfect vacation” varies from person to person;  some people love the beach, while others prefer a hike in the mountains. 

Crystal blue seaThis got us thinking about how some vacation choices actually resemble some common marketing strategies. What does your perfect vacation say about your marketing strategy? 


An Adventure on a Budget


If you love an affordable, adrenaline-filled vacation like visiting Teton Range in Wyoming or the Sierra Nevada in California, you’re an adaptable risk taker. You use your vacation as an opportunity to seek beautiful views, chase an adrenaline rush or find a waterfall at the end of a tough climb. Every decision on your trip is focused on accomplishing something unforgettable.

These tendencies match what is used in the marketing strategy known as growth hacking. Growth hacking requires making informed but risky decisions based on marketing research. Like choosing to enjoy a hiking trail rather than spend a big chunk of change at a resort, growth hacking uses low-cost alternatives to traditional media to achieve growth. Its creative affordability makes it a popular method among startups with tight marketing budgets.


Traditional With a Personal Touch 


If a mountain trek doesn’t pique (or shall we say "peak"?) your interest, perhaps you’re among the many loyal fans of Disney World Resort. Despite being a common (and insanely crowded) choice, Disney World makes you feel like you’re personally cared for by offering exceptional service, personalized name badges and trip suggestions based on your family’s preferences. The relationship Disney World builds with its customers is a lead reason for the 70 percent return rate of first-time Disney visitors.

Similar to the personal touches Disney World presents, networking events give your business the opportunity to form lasting relationships with customers. Industry trade shows attract your target market and allow your business to meet with potential customers face to face. These events are an opportunity to identify market trends and gain knowledge of competitors in the market.

A Little Bit of Everything


For the family who needs a versatile vacation that can satisfy the adventure seekers as well as those desiring personalized treatment, a cruise is the usual choice. Cruises have the ability to adapt to the needs of the guests by offering various excursions that appeal to different tastes, like shopping in a local village or rappelling into a cave. The integrated benefits of a cruise make it the perfect vacation for a family that wants it all.

If you appreciate the adaptability of a cruise, you may prefer an integrated marketing strategy as well. You can integrate several techniques such as growth hacking, networking events and search engine optimization so your company will appeal to its target market in a variety of ways. Leveraging the advantages of various marketing strategies also enhances your inbound marketing, attracting customers with meaningful website content and personal relationships. 

Whether or not a cruise suits your fancy, an integrated marketing strategy that uses several strong methods to deliver a well-rounded marketing approach can generate qualified leads and strengthen customer relationships.

Which vacation style matches your marketing approach? Let us know by commenting below!

Shark Week: Chomp Down on These Marketing Tips!

What was that? You think there’s a more action-packed, informative and wildly fascinating week of nonstop entertainment on TV? Bull Shark! Just as sharks are the apex predators of the ocean, Shark Week is the apex Primetime event of the year.

Great White sharkThis is the one week out of the year when every ordinary couch dweller can be a marine biologist; it’s the week that even the most ocean-fearing viewers can turn into total shark fin-atics.

Our favorite week is back on Discovery Channel — this time earlier than ever — and we couldn’t be more excited.

Needless to say, this week’s frenzy of shark facts got us thinking about a few tips that will launch your marketing out of the water.

Streamline Your Approach


Sharks are, without a doubt, the most superior predator of the sea (ask any of the seals on Seal Island. RIP). They have the ability to propel their massive, two-ton bodies upwards of 30 mph through the water, making them near-perfect hunting specimens. How do they generate such impressive feats of speed and raw power? Their streamlined bodies help them glide through the water with minimal resistance, allowing them to torpedo towards their prey.

Likewise, streamlining your marketing activities is essential to improving your ROI. In doing so, it’s important to gauge the success of each of your marketing campaigns so you can limit the ones that prevent you from reaching your marketing objectives. Tracking customer response rates is an effective way to monitor which campaigns are producing the best results and which are just taking a bite out of your budget.

Adapt for Success


To increase their success rate when hunting their favorite prey, Great Whites have adapted their tactics significantly. Since seals can change directions in the water faster than sharks can, the sharks learned to use their strengths (straight-line speed and power) to surprise the seals from below. To fin-ish off the incredible display, the sharks launch their entire bodies out of the water to stun both their prey and every Discovery Channel viewer.

Similar to how quickly seals change directions in the water, markets and industries are ever changing. As a marketer, your target audience may stay the same over time, but using the same approach won’t always remain effective. Specifically, in today’s digitally driven world, social media and digital advertising have replaced the likes of newspapers and print media as the most popular forms of advertising. With 2.55 billion social media users projected in 2017, your company should adapt to the changes to increase its success.

Use All Your Resources


To add to the seemingly endless array of striking shark facts, sharks have not five (like humans)… not six… but seven senses. We don’t know how M. Night Shyamalan — writer and director of “The Sixth Sense” — didn’t see the potential for an epic sequel featuring sharks. We digress.

Sharks use each of their seven senses when hunting prey. With the ability to sense electrical pulses and both vibrations and changes in underwater pressure (in addition to our five human senses), sharks are some of the most resourceful predators in the ocean. No wonder they're at the top of the food chain!

Just as sharks use all their senses when hunting, we encourage you to use as many resources as possible to adapt your marketing strategy and give your company a competitive advantage. From online-to-offline analytics to trackable phone numbers to mobile marketing solutions, the list of marketing tools available to you is limitless. By maximizing these resources, you can ensure that your business stays on top of the corporate food chain.

Do you have any more jawsome marketing tips? We want to hear! Tweet your responses to @whoscalling and don’t forget to mention @Discovery and #SharkWeek!

What 'Finding Dory' Can Teach Us About Improving Sales and Marketing

Dory speaks to an octopus
Image courtesy Pixar
Grab some tissues and get ready to experience a whirlpool of emotions when you see "Finding Dory" (don't worry, this post is spoiler free).

Whether you're a 10-year-old kid or an experienced marketing manager, we hope you're as excited as we are to watch Dory's unforgettable journey — that she'll probably forget.

Not only does "Finding Dory" promise to be as epic as "Finding Nemo," it also seems to contain a few pearls of sales and marketing wisdom. Pay attention (and maybe take notes), because we don't want you to forget these helpful tips.

Look For the Ones You Lose


"Finding Dory" follows Dory's journey to find her family, but with her poor memory, it seems as impossible a task as searching for customers who get lost in the blur of busy phone lines. Dory might be pretty helpless without her memory, but finding a customer who hung up due to a busy line is even harder (you can't have memories of someone you haven't talked to).

Since 72 percent of first-time callers who hang up won't call you back, it's important for your sales team to be able to call them back as soon as possible. Call tracking software should be able to notify you of missed calls so you can keep those potential leads from getting swept away in the current. A missed call notification system should capture a caller's information — whether the call goes unanswered, receives a busy signal, or occurs after hours — and alert your sales reps that they need to follow up with the caller.

Remember That Your Memory Isn't Perfect


Dory's memory is laughable until you forget something important from a sales call at work and you totally relate to her pain. No matter how great of a memory you have, the workday is full of conversations and distractions. Relying on your memory for critical sales calls is a risky move. A program that records calls would help you with those "Dory moments" when you can't remember the details of a call.

Recording incoming and outgoing calls improves employee productivity and accountability. Information gained from reviewing calls can also be used to find lost sales opportunities or to personalize training for individual employees. Targeted training will help your employees more effectively communicate with customers over the phone and improve customer satisfaction.

Don't Forget to Keep Track of Important Info


Dory needs a ton of help finding her family, and not just because she doesn't know where to go. In one of the trailers (which you can watch here) Dory is seen "sleep-swimming." Marlin and Nemo have to keep track of Dory when she's awake — just in case she forgets where she's going — and when she's asleep, so she doesn't sleep-swim into some trouble.

Keeping track of Dory at all hours is a bit like tracking online-to-offline conversions. With technology these days, it's easy to track online prospects because they practically happen in real time. But what happens when those online visitors call a phone number on your website (as they are likely to do)? Do you attribute the phone lead to your website or does it go much deeper than that?

Pay-per-click (PPC) call tracking makes it possible to track a customer's online and offline activity together, measuring how effectively certain keywords and digital ads generate calls. Tracking your customers' journeys is important for understanding how to best serve them and helps you make decisions about which digital marketing campaigns are successful.

Are you as forgetful as Dory when it comes to lead data? Let us know in the comments how you keep everything in your sales and marketing departments swimming in the right direction!

How to Keep Your Marketing (and Customer Service) Rocking With Call Tracking

Old rockers remembering the glory days
The 1970s and 1980s are known for introducing the world to unforgettable trends like bell bottoms, lava lamps, big hair, cult classic films and an excess of neon. But perhaps the greatest gifts of the ’70s and ’80s are some of the greatest rock songs of all time. 

Reminiscing about the glory days got us thinking about some of the business lessons we can learn from our favorite hits.

If you’re someone who takes a good, hard look at your business and thinks, “Hmm, we could definitely stand to improve our marketing and customer service, but how? Can someone show me the way? Can anyone gimme three steps?” You’re in luck, savvy businessperson. We’ll give you not three, but four steps on how to increase your marketing ROI and keep your customers happy. Pay attention, because you don’t want to miss a thing.

Decide What Is and What Should Never Be


When it comes to marketing, you always want to hit [the target market] with your best shot. Right? Well, there are always campaigns that produce better results than others. The problem is determining which marketing activities are performing the best, and which are just bad medicine. Luckily, there are ways to improve your overall marketing effectiveness.  

Research indicates that about 66 percent of small businesses recognize phone calls as their most beneficial form of incoming lead, so call tracking is a great way to analyze your marketing performance. Applying unique toll-free numbers (TFNs) to individual campaigns and tracking the resulting calls can give you a direct indication of how productive your various marketing campaigns are. This allows you to focus on your best campaigns, and, of course, go separate ways with your underperforming marketing activities. 

Recover Opportunities You Thought Were Already Gone 


Thump. Thump. Thump. Another one bites the dust. Do you ever notice some of your leads disappear? Whether it was just something that happened in the heat of the moment or a recurring issue, your employees are losing leads you can’t afford to lose. Where are they going? If you can’t answer that question, your customers might go crazy on you, and your company will begin free fallin’ fast.

The solution? Use the services of call evaluation professionals to screen your employees’ calls for potential lost opportunities stemming from call handling errors. Any calls deemed mishandled are flagged and reported to supervisors. From there, the supervisor can notify the appropriate employee and attempt to recapture the lost lead.
  
Wooaaaaah, we’re halfway there. (You knew that was coming.) 

Make Customer Service Your Pride and Joy


As a manager, it’s natural to assume your employees are performing at their best all of the time. Sadly, you know that every rose has its thorns, right? Even if you think your customer service is already stellar, it can always improve. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to improve customer service so that you can have some peace of mind.

If you have a car dealership, a highly interactive training program aimed at improving employees’ telephone skills can really enhance your customer service and even your bottom line. With the help of calls recorded by your call tracking software, professional instructors should be able to provide customized exercises to develop your employees’ selling skills and teach them to build trust with customers.

Chase Down New Leads With the Eye of the Tiger


Beat it. Just beat it — the competition, that is. Whether your business has already established itself as a leader among its competitors or your company is still learning to fly, rival companies will frequently be burnin’ for you and your customers. In order for your business to continue maximizing its success, it’s imperative that you chase down new leads and capitalize on them.

Using a program that automatically scans calls for predetermined keywords can help you determine your top marketing campaigns, pinpoint any mentions of your competition and help you acquire new leads. Taking advantage of these services will allow your company’s ROI to continue to grow.

If only all business activities were as easy as quoting classic rock songs. We can all dream on about that. Comment below to let us know how your company is takin’ care of business!

How to Listen in If You're Not a Secret Agent

Spy rappelling with suitcase
Look at you, all dapper in your black tuxedo (or stunning in your dark evening gown). You're an international man (or woman) of mystery, sneaking your way into your own office so that you can find out what your employees have been up to on the company phones. After all, they have jobs to do and they need to be doing them well. You're just the spy to find out what their secret organization has been planning.

Whoa. Wait a second. Secret organization? Your employees aren't planning to take over the world. And what's with the get up? Who do you think you are? James Bond or Miss Moneypenny? But then again, you are strangely uninformed when it comes to how your employees are handling calls to your business. There has to be a way to review calls and improve training without sneaking around in your best formal wear.

Here are some alternate ways you can keep tabs on your employees' phone skills (and maybe even rescue some lost leads) if you're not a secret agent.

Leave Phone Tapping to the Experts


When a secret agent is trying to find out how a global crime organization is planning to take over the moon, one of the least violent ways to see what they're up to is to tap the phones of several key members and listen to their conversations. It might surprise you how careless global crime organizations can be with their secret plans. These kinds of things get discussed on landline phones (at least in the movies).

Of course you're not really listening in on a global crime organization. You just want to be able to listen to some of your employees' phone conversations with customers so you can tailor your training to weak points or find missed sales opportunities. Leave the wiretaps in the briefcase, Mr. Bond, and use call tracking to record your business's calls so you can go back and review phone conversations at any time.

Don't Forget to Call for Backup


It might also surprise you how incredibly mundane the leaders of a global crime organization can be. Dr. Malicious is plotting to steal the royal jewels, but he also likes to call his mother a few times a day just to see how she's doing. Secret agents don't have time to listen to every call. That's why every secret agent has a team of people at headquarters who can listen for evil plots through all the noise.

Reviewing your employees' call recordings is a crucial step toward reacting to mishandled situations or improving your phone training program, but there's no way around the fact that some calls won't provide any insight. You don't have time to review everything. That's why you should use a call review team of professionals that can listen to your employees' call recordings and send you the calls that need attention.

Follow the Rules


In spy movies, most secret agents frequently skirt (or outright break) the law when performing their duties. James Bond famously had a "license to kill" that probably wouldn't hold up if he was captured by a foreign government and tossed in a tiny jail cell. In fact, Mr. Bond was captured by his adversaries quite a bit in the movies. We assume he kept forgetting his license in his other pants.

While James Bond might flout the law whenever it suits him, you should always make an effort to follow the laws with regard to recording calls to and from customers. Some states only require one party of the call to consent while others require both parties to consent. To protect your company from potential issues, record a message to play before a customer reaches a representative such as, "This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes." This will put you in compliance with the rules regardless of your state's laws and shield you from potential fines.

How do you check up on your employees' calls without acting like a secret agent? Let us know in the comments.

Marketing Strategies We’ve Learned From Meredith Grey

Meredith Grey from the popular TV series Grey’s Anatomy offers several blunt truths about life, most of which she concludes after a series of trials and errors, much like marketing.

Meredith Grey
Image courtesy ABC 
Meredith goes through quite a few traumatic events (we’d give examples, but we don’t want to give away any spoilers) and comes to realize that making mistakes is often essential to finding a strategy that works when dealing with difficulty.

As marketers, we make mistakes. But Meredith offers us ways to not only improve our outlook on those mistakes, but also ways to prevent them from happening again. Here are a few marketing tips we can take from Meredith.

Find “Your Person”


As defined by Meredith Grey, “your person” is someone you’re connected with and committed to — in her case, her best friend Christina Yang. We’re not saying you should become best friends with your clients, but there is a way to connect with them and commit to them from a marketing standpoint.

Find your person — er, your lost customers — by using a call monitoring service. A professionally trained staff will review your call recordings to identify mishandled calls that result in a lost customer. They’ll then notify you of the missed opportunity so you can call back the customer and recover the sale.

Learn from Mistakes


If anyone knows a thing or two about making mistakes, it’s Meredith Grey. A typical phrase fans may say when watching an episode is “Why, Meredith?” Marketing is the same way. You may often find yourself asking, “why?” when you or your staff makes a mistake, but those mistakes can teach you valuable lessons about customer service.

By recording incoming and outgoing calls from your business, you can improve staff accountability and find training opportunities to ensure those pesky mistakes don’t happen again. Call recording enables you to uncover training opportunities and be quickly notified of calls that need attention.

Know When to Let Go 


Meredith learns a lot about letting go over 11 seasons. From people dying to people walking out of her life (no spoilers, as promised), she becomes acclimated to setting things she loves free. If one of your beloved marketing campaigns isn’t pulling in leads anymore, it’s likely outdated and needs to be let go.

To determine which marketing campaigns aren’t working for you anymore, you can assign a unique toll-free number (TFN) to each campaign. With the help of an inbound lead tracker you can record how many phone calls each campaign yields. Once you’ve decided which campaigns you’re in a love-hate relationship with, you can redistribute your budget to commit to the ones that love you back.

What are some of your favorite Meredith Grey marketing tips? Let us know in the comments.