Marketing Advice

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Free Marketing Advice for Small Business

As a Marketing firm, we make the vast majority of our business from Medium Sized companies with a decent amount of funding/revenue and years in business; yet, most of the questions I (Francisco) get on a daily basis are from small companies just starting up.  Local businesses with great dreams and ideas that have no idea how to find clients. I LOVE answering those questions.  I believe knowledge is power and I want to empower people to leave their boring 9 to 5 job and achieve those dreams they have been putting away. I want to invite all small business owners (specially in the New England area) to email me directly with your marketing questions (or Jazz music if you are into that).  Feel free to send me a direct email to and either I or one of the Staccato Interactive "experts" will get back to you with and answer (or opinion) as soon as we can.  Yes, this is all free, though I do accept a cup of coffee if you happen to be in the area. ** In case you don't know who "this clown is", here my LinkedIn.    

How to Avoid Getting Blacklisted

We have all heard of it. Getting blacklisted is the Boogie Man of Digital Marketing, with the only difference that this is completely real (based on my assumption that the boogie man is not!). But what exactly is this powerful force, how can we prevent it and what to do if you ignore all my advice, is to follow. What is it? Blacklisting is usually the result of bad email marketing, or 'spamming'. SPAM is basically any kind of unsolicited email. By sending email to only to those who have requested to receive it, you are following accepted permission-based email guidelines. In other words, SPAM is any non-consensual email communication from a company to a prospective customer. Certain online entities like police the quality of email marketing with certain rules, and breaking those rules is penalized with the blacklisting of you server. Most email marketing tools will also notify you somehow if you are in danger of getting blacklisted.   How to prevent it? Just like in most civilized societies, there is a set of rules that as long as you follow, you will stay out of trouble, email  marketing has a very simple and clear set of rules that will keep the Spam Police away. Here are the most important ones: You should always have consent from everyone in your targeted list.  Buying a list from a vendor and emailing them IS considered spam. Make sure you are not sending emails to group aliases in companies like: Be honest with your subject line.  You will find a lot hype on things like "Do not use the word 'free' in your subject line." While that is important advice to heed, the most important thing is to deliver [...]

How to Choose an Email Automation Tool

I have been lucky enough to work with most email automation tools out there, large and small. From the entry level tools such as MailChimp and Campayn, to the more "robust" systems of Eloqua and Marketo, and those in between like Silverpop, HubSpot, Pardot  and Manticore (now Sales Engine), I've used them all. And from all that self-taught knowledge, I gained one basic understanding; they all do the same thing, which is empower your marketing strategy. With that said, the answer to "Which email marketing tool should I choose?" is very simple: the one that fits your strategy (and budget). Simple enough, right? Maybe. Do you know what your marketing strategy is, and what type of strategy you intend to achieve? If so, then close your browser, have a beverage of your choosing and go on with your already booming business. If not, keep reading. If you don't have a fully structured campaign, the best email automation tool will do absolutely nothing for you other than sending email blasts one at a time. The first step is to think of what you want to accomplish with the email campaign. These are the questions you need to ask yourself before you sit and "strategize" about your email nurturing/automation tool decision: Do you need to educate the market before they purchase? How many emails do you estimate would take to engage in a conversation? How long is your sales cycle? How much are you willing to spend on each lead? How many Digital Marketing formats will you use? How long are you willing to wait before your first email goes out? How big is your company and your pockets? You should also think about and prepare the following: A specific segmentation of your database (hopefully you [...]

What is “Modern Marketing”?

Modern Marketing is one of those hype keywords flooding Twitter these days. No one seems to know exactly what it is, yet every company and pseudo-expert out there seems to have a "How To" guide, and the answer is always the same: "Buy my product." Since I have no product to sell you, I will join the ranks and give you a primer of what they are trying to sell you, and its benefits and downfalls.   What is it? Simply put, Modern Marketing is the hype-inducing term we give to what five years ago was called "Data-Driven Marketing," a term that should not be new or modern in any way. With the introduction of big data (another hype-inducing keyword), companies claim to be able to help you achieve a higher level of segmentation in your marketing message.   How can I use it? Behind all the products that cover themselves under the "Modern Marketing" umbrella, you will find the same thing: extremely detailed customer information. This information itself is the power behind Modern Marketing. You no longer need to guess who your prospective customers are. Generalizations are a thing of the past. Thanks to the power behind these products and the internet in general, you can sell your own product to people who have showed a specific interest in products similar to yours. But the key is, you can now go deeper into their specific preferences. For example, today, Modern Marketing can tell me that Becky likes rock music from the 80s, only drinks diet soda, and her favorite color is red. Impressed yet? If not, I also know she went to see Twisted Sister live a few months back, and spends about $1,000 a year in concert tickets. How do I know all of [...]

The Secret to Marketing Technology

I have made quite a lucrative career out of Marketing Technology.  Luck would have it I was coming out of Grad School when Companies like Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop and Manticore (now sales engine) were laying down the road for email automation while Google Adwords was gaining strength, and because of these and my somewhat illogical comfort level with new technology, my career took a turn into Digital Marketing. That said, it took me years to understand what is the secret to an effective Digital Marketing Campaign. The Secret to Marketing Technology is simple; it is to understand that there is nothing new about it.  I have worked with clients who's campaigns 10 fold their marketing efforts with a new piece of technology and I've had the total opposite. Companies that spend hundreds of thousands on the new Online tool in the market and after a year, they find themselves calling "the consultant", to tell them why was that new expensive Marketing tool ineffective.  The answer is very simple, the best online tool is no replacement for good marketing planning. If you have watched more than one episode of AMC's Madmen (or if you come from that generation) you will realize that beyond all that chain smoking and sexist jokes, Drapper wasn't only extremely creative but also very strategic about their decisions, and that is the secret to a good Marketing Campaign.  What worked back in the 1950's will work today.  Marketing Technology opens the door to new channels, new reporting, more speed, etc, but what feeds these tools is nothing but Creativity and Strategy. This is what you need before you spend ANY money on a Digital Marketing Tool: For Email Automation: The best email [...]