The rise of engagement marketing: Takeaways from #MKTGNATION

connecting-with-customersLast week, along with 6,000 marketers and industry leaders, I made the trek to San Francisco for Marketo’s 2015 Marketing Nation Summit. The annual event is a great opportunity to exchange new ideas with fellow marketers, explore what’s new with lead generation and lead engagement, and celebrate innovation in marketing automation.

The impressive line up of speakers this year included Arianna Huffington, author and syndicated journalist, and co-founder of The Huffington Post, John Legend who needs no introduction, and Salman Khan, TED speaker and founder of the Khan Academy who gave a rather moving speech about global education access that left many people in the audience teary-eyed.

From my POV, here are four #MKTGNATION themes that produced serious buzz in the summit:

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Reflecting on 2012 and looking forward to the year ahead

Photo cred: Peter Lam

I’ve been holding on to this post for a few weeks now. I had planned to publish this in the first week of Jan, but decided not to, as at the time it just didn’t feel like the right forum. Plus, I didn’t think anybody would care.

But things have changed now. I’ve come to realize that we’re all human, and while there is an expectation from many, even ourselves, to be perfect at all times “public facing”, those who truly win — are those who embrace who they are. They are the ones who are themselves all the time.

And perhaps this is all common knowledge. But it wasn’t to me. I’ve stumbled upon this the hard way. But now that I’m here, I figured, alright time to bare all. So. With nothing to hide, here goes…

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Facebook’s inability to stay focused and be original

As the Randi Zuckerberg story continues to blow up on the interwebs, I suddenly realized that in fact the bigger story lay in that Facebook was about the release a massive feature/ app called Poke. I say massive – because the implications are.

Not only is Poke a copy of an App called Snapchat (Rated 12+ and supposedly popular with teenagers), but according to the Facebook PR engine – they were able to develop it in all of 12 days.

Ok. I guess that’s impressive. But wait, I have so many questions!

1. Is Facebook now officially in the business of copying, duplicating, replicating apps and products that have traction and overlap with their audience? And if yes, why are they blabbing about something they copied? I mean, its never cool to steal a tiny startup’s product… let alone vehemently show the market that they are not afraid to either overpay or copy innovation simply because they can. (Although, many including Ben Parr think that startups needn’t be afraid).

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Achieving exponential user growth: Marketing in the new age

When I first read Andrew Chen’s essay on how the VP of Marketing role is changing into a role best described as ‘Growth Hacker’, I was sold after the first paragraph.

While I disagree with some parts of his post (they have to be an engineer for example/coder/hacker), there are a few portions that are absolute GOLD. Here are a few excerpts:

 “The process of integrating and optimizing your product to a big platform requires a blurring of lines between marketing, product, and engineering, so that they work together to make the product market itself. Projects like email deliverability, page-load times, and Facebook sign-in are no longer technical or design decisions – instead they are offensive weapons to win in the market.”

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Twitter’s walls are going up! And soon.

I was perplexed earlier this month when my tweets wouldn’t post to my LinkedIn profile. Sure I had changed my settings to post only those tweets with the hashtag #in, but that should’nt have caused any issues.

Upon repeated attempts to unlink and relink my Twitter account to LinkedIn, I finally solicited help on LinkedIn’s support forum.

And lo and behold, in big words the help page finally stated:

“Twitter recently evolved its strategy and this will result in a change to the way Tweets appear in all third-party applications. As of June 29, 2012, Tweets will no longer be displayed on LinkedIn.”

Twitter had cut off LinkedIn! They were no longer partnering with LinkedIn to sync updates from one site to the other! The partnership that began in 2009 has briskly ended.

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Technology Trends and Disruptions in 2012

In this video blog post I talk about technology trends and disruptions I see coming in 2012. Some key themes include — enterprise software making a comeback, how there is a true globalization of startups and VC money, how social is changing for the better and lastly how reading and education are being disrupted.

Whats funny though is that I recorded this video over the weekend and Apple’s iBooks 2.0 and iTunes University announcements came out on Jan 19th (yesterday) and focused exactly on the last point I make — about education, learning and reading needing to be disrupted.

In any case, you must watch the recorded live stream of the Apple educational event if you haven’t already. Do it for your kids if not for yourself, because it will be their new reality very soon.

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The Social Enterprise is here in full force! Profiling 3 Toronto startups in the space

Weaving a social context into your business is quickly becoming a prerequisite for success.

Fortune 500 companies are already investing in what is now known as the ‘Social Enterprise’, wherein employees easily collaborate with one another and use social media to connect with partners and customers like never before.

The Social Enterprise promises to connect companies with their customers and employees in a whole new way. In this post, I talk about what it means for a business to be social.

I also profile three Toronto startups – Viafoura, realSociable and Rypple – that are shaping the Social Enterprise pie, one slice at a time.

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Reminder on why Business Blogging is essential

I am a huge fan of blogging for numerous reasons. Content marketing is one of the most critical components of online marketing because it can be leveraged across all mediums.

A blog post isn’t limited to existing solely on that blog. It can be passed around via email, shared on social networking sites, submitted to social bookmarking sites, included in newsletters our clients produce for our users and much  more.

Still not convinced a company blog is valuable? Here are a few reasons why:

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The iPad2 and my Top 5 native iPad apps

Folks, I had recorded this back in August during my road trip to Philadelphia and Atlantic City and completely forgot to post it here! Take a look:

Now that you’ve seen the video, you can check out the top 10 list of my most-loved, most-used “productivity” iPad Apps.

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Steve Jobs: You’ve got to find what you love

“You’ve got to find what you love”

These are the words uttered by Steve Jobs – at the Stanford Commencement speech in 2005 – who just stepped down today on Wednesday, August 23rd 2011, as the CEO of Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company.

Steve Jobs, with Steve Wozniak, essentially created the personal computer as it is known today. Many years hence, Jobs managed to turn a dying company into a profitable one, introduced a new operating system, a beautiful designed cutting-edge line of computers that evolve faster than the competition’s and basically revolutionized the digital music industry. He did all of this while disrupting the saturated mobile market by introducing a new breed of smart phones and touch technology.

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