Webinar: How to start your VoC Programme with the right Data Strategy

After the launch of the Futurelab Weekly Webinar last week, we now continue with the first webinar that goes more in-depth – how to start your Voice of the Customer programme.

What I am about to tell you may sound obvious – but most companies do not fully run this step at the beginning, while it is an absolute necessity. You need to establish your data-strategy.

How to start your VoC Programme – Webinar Introduction

This video promotes the next Futurelab Weekly Webinar. We have already kicked off a serie of 13 weekly webinars around our CCC model – the recipe for a successful VoC implementation. 

This video focuses on the CORE of your programme – Who/When/What/How – your Data Strategy. You can register for the next webinar here or for any of the upcomming webinars in the series.

Are we part of us?

Liberty is a state of mind. It can be seen as a chance for freedom, or a promise made but not kept. We can choose to be part of something or choose to be apart.

Liberty is the offer and promise and requirement of responsibility. A willingness to connect and to offer dignity in response to those around us.

Independence is actually about cooperation and interconnectedness.

Yet we’ve set up systems that limit what we see, how we connect and insulate us from the hard work that’s right in front of us.

One of the most important words I know doesn’t have a simple English equivalent, which says a lot. Sawubona, a Zulu term, means, “I see you.” Not just your face, of course, but your hopes, your dreams, where you came from and where you’re going. It’s not something we’re good at, and I need to do it better.

Figuring out the best way to see and understand and care about the people we call ‘us’ can be difficult indeed. And essential.

Wasting second place

100 people apply for a job. 99 are sent home. What if the winner hadn’t applied? You might have been thrilled with the person who almost got the job.

17,000 people apply to a famous college. Only 10% get in. But at least a third were good enough to get in but didn’t get lucky. What happens to their narrative?

Selective organizations need to get better about communicating to the people who ‘almost’ make it. And it’s an incredible waste to discard all the knowledge that was gained in the sorting process… how to share it to help someone else?


PS coming soon: A new session of The Story Skills Workshop. You can join the list today to find out more and get updates.

The Top 5 Digital Services You Didn’t Know You Need (But Every Business Should Have)

I’ve thought a lot recently about what it means to have a truly comprehensive, integrated digital marketing strategy. Does it mean investing in a few powerful channels and ignoring the rest? Does it mean investing in all channels equally, regardless of your industry, and how your customers consume information? Of course not. It means having the right mix of channels and tactics for your business while being careful not to outright discount any of them.

While I’d consider myself an athlete, I am in no way a gym enthusiast. However, I do know that if you consistently only work out the big muscle groups, you’re making a big mistake. To get your body in shape, you must pay attention to the health of the smaller muscle groups—many of which you didn’t even know about. (Ever heard of the popliteus? Me neither but it’s really important.) Of course, you need to focus on the muscles that you plan to use more than others, but if you don’t pay attention to your body as a complete system, you’re bound to get injured. The same goes for digital marketing for your business.

When most businesses need digital marketing services, they’re normally looking for those big muscle groups – SEO, PPC, or content strategy. They’re easy to understand, and it’s very apparent when one of those is not working. If your site isn’t getting enough organic visitors or your competitors are ranked higher in search engines, you need SEO. If you need quick promotion and want to try digital advertising, PPC is your thing. If your site is confusing and you’re not sure how to talk about your product or service in the right way, you need to focus on content strategy. These are all components of a solid digital marketing strategy. But there are some less-obvious yet just as critical digital marketing services that are equally essential. And just like that popliteus, you should know about them.

Here are the top five digital marketing service that you should really pay attention to:

1. Analytics

Okay, this one isn’t tiny, and yes, many people are aware they should pay attention to it. But surprisingly, it is one of the most neglected services. I can’t tell you how many times we’ll get a client that hasn’t claimed analytics as a service they need, only to open the hood of their current digital marketing efforts and see a seemingly impossible mess of data.

The reason why analytics makes the top of the list is that it’s perhaps the single most important digital marketing service. If you can’t read your data correctly, then at best you’re flying blind. At worst, you’re reading the map upside down and going further away from your goal instead of closer. In the Portent Marketing Stack, it’s listed as both a 5/5 for longevity and risk. It’s how you measure effectiveness for all digital marketing services.

2. Conversion Rate Optimization

CRO strategists are miracle workers. They come in, diagnose why customers aren’t flowing through your site and converting, and then poof, they disappear. Well, they don’t usually leave; they diagnose new issues and keep chipping away until your marketing funnel is smooth and clutter-free. Imagine a 14% increase in conversion with a simple test. Even a 3% supercharge could be game-changing.

3. Influencer Marketing

Endorsements are nothing new, especially in traditional media. However, as new technology media open up, the breadth of influencers is growing exponentially. The upside is that there are thousands of influencers over dozens of platforms to choose from. The downside is that there are thousands of influencers over dozens of platforms to choose from. There is quality out there that will work for your business, but you need to know where to look.

At Portent, we’ve been particularly interested in YouTube and podcast influencers. We’ve found that targeting quality influencers doesn’t need to be expensive. You don’t need to find the biggest star on the block, just one who’s channel matches your product or service and can be authentic and passionate. Results can be mind-blowing. Not only will you see a major channel for referral traffic, but there is a powerful halo effect that impacts organic traffic as well.


However, it’s tricky to find the right influencers. But once you do, it’ll be a huge compliment to your marketing strategy.

4. Outreach (Digital PR)

Much like “traditional” SEO, outreach is all about the long game. The goal for outreach is to get quality referral links and increase the domain authority of your site. There are a handful of tactics that outreach strategists use, but the bread and butter is guest posting, which is writing quality articles that link back to your site. A skilled outreach strategist can get links back to your site from huge online publications.

Another approach they might use is HARO (Help a Reporter Out) requests. They’ll find opportunities for your subject-matter experts to answer questions that a reporter can use as a quote. Hopefully, it comes with a link and voila, another tick towards a higher domain authority.

5. Video Marketing

It’s true, there is a lot of video on the internet, but a lot of it is pretty poor. It just takes a little bit of effort and a good video marketing strategy to rise above the clutter. Video marketing pretty much ends up on the “top five digital trends” list every year and has for the last five years. That won’t stop anytime soon.

There are so many ways to use video on or off your site. There are instructional videos, video white papers, and customer testimonials, among tons of other uses. There’s also live video for webinars, product releases, and other events. According to Cisco, by 2021, 80% of traffic will be video related. It’s easily shareable, suited for almost every device, and makes information much easier to consume. The Digital Marketing Institute has a fantastic article that explains why video is only getting hotter.

I get it, every service you add to the mix is another piece of the budget and another channel (and perhaps agency) that you need to manage. But the five services I’ve listed above are essential components to a healthy digital marketing strategy. Find an agency that can work these into your marketing mix, and good things will come.

The post The Top 5 Digital Services You Didn’t Know You Need (But Every Business Should Have) appeared first on Portent.

Our top story

When you talk about your last job, your last vacation, the things that happened when you were 12…

What do you lead with?

Do you lead with, “I broke my ankle that summer and rarely got out” or is it, “I stuck with my reading regimen and read all of Shakespeare.”

Because both are true.

The top story is the one that informs our narrative, and our narrative changes our future.

The Super Long Tail of Voice Search

With the tremendous rise of voice assistants from the likes of Amazon, Google, and Apple, the percentage of search traffic coming from voice is dramatically increasing. This presents challenges for those who want to get found in voice search because of the importance of being listed as the first result.

Stolen ideas

Is there a difference between someone stealing a potato from your farm and someone stealing your idea?

Well, if everyone in town comes and takes a potato, your farm is bust.

But if everyone in town comes and takes your idea, you’re more known, trusted and effective than you used to be.

During Google’s beginnings, their business and tech plan was available to anyone who stopped by Stanford and bothered to read it. Every popular podcast based on an original idea gave away that original idea the moment the first episode of the podcast was available–long before the podcast itself became popular.

When I was a book packager, we ended up publishing about 120 books and pitching another 1,000 that were never published. In all of that time, I can only remember one of our ideas (it was a big one) being stolen from us and published without our participation. That code of ethics created a feeling of intellectual safety. But, at the same time, it was our successful books that were copied the most–and that copying was not just a symptom but often a cause of their success.

The internet is a copying machine. Ideas morph and change and spin as they move from one end to the other. Ripping ideas off wholesale and violating intellectual property rights is nothing to be proud of–each of us can do better than that. But holding ideas too tightly in fear of the ripples and echoes they’re going to cause is the real problem.

Being original is an opportunity to advance the conversation. Building something of utility with persistence and grace is truly generous, though, and it’s not related to whether or not anyone has ever heard your idea before.

How to Use BigQuery in Your Digital Marketing Workflow

Bringing big data into your life as a marketer in small doses.

“Big data” analysis and the insights that come from it can seem untouchable to all but the largest organizations with extensive teams of analysts and data scientists. But there are many ways marketers with some basic understanding of SQL and smaller teams can take advantage of larger data sets without a lot of resources. One of those ways is BigQuery. Let’s dive into a few of the ways anybody can access this technology and build on it.

GA 360 Integration

One of the biggest benefits for shelling out the $150K/year it takes to get a Google Analytics 360 license is being able to liberate your web analytics data from the Analytics UI and perform SQL-style queries on it in BigQuery. There’s also plenty of acceleration to be found in connecting BigQuery tables to Google Data Studio. Visualizing millions of rows becomes lightning fast.

Go to Admin > Property > Product Linking > All Products and choose BigQuery.


Then it allows you to choose which BigQuery project and which GA views to link along with the streaming frequency (i.e., how often you want data sent from GA to BigQuery).


Once the integration is enabled, it can take up to 24 hours to populate the BigQuery tables with all the historical data in your Google Analytics account.


Firebase Integration

If your company has an app or several apps, Firebase has plenty of data you can also ship out to BigQuery for more comprehensive analysis. Firebase’s built-in retention reporting can be limiting, and having that raw data in BigQuery gives app marketers a lot more flexibility.


Go to Admin > Integrations and choose BigQuery to start the connection.


The ensuing settings menu allows you to choose which apps represented in Firebase you want to include in the export. It also lets you decide whether you want to include advertising IDs in your export, which can be really handy for matching up app download ad campaigns with usage.


Once the connection is created, you can find not just the analytics tables in BigQuery, but also a few separate Firebase-specific data sets around crashes and predictive models.


Flat File Integration

Lastly, Google Cloud Storage allows you to upload large .csv files and port them to BigQuery as tables. As marketers, we are often sent large, unwieldy files from vendors or other internal stakeholders that would absolutely melt our laptops if we tried to just open them in Excel, let alone do any meaningful analysis. BigQuery gives us a great way around that by essentially turning these files into a database we can parse through quickly.


Once you upload your flat files to a cloud storage bucket, you can add them to a BigQuery table. Under the advanced options, there’s also a way to tell the uploader if your column headings start several rows down in the file so it can build the schema correctly.


As an example, I’ve uploaded a customer file and want to do some analysis on who checked out as a guest and who created an account.


With the data in BigQuery, I can write a simple SQL query to isolate customers with an account and a domestic address.


After the query runs, I can one-click export that subset of my customer data to Google Data Studio to work on some dashboards or visualizations on that specific, more manageable slice of the data.


BigQuery Resources

You might be reading through this post and are enticed by the prospect of using BigQuery to solve similar problems in your business, but don’t know where to start, or need more learning resources to feel comfortable enabling and working with these integrations. Don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

GA 360 BigQuery Cookbook

Johan van de Werken from Towards Data Science has a bunch of SQL recipes you can take and repurpose once you get your GA data into BigQuery. This resource was instrumental for me as I was first working with GA 360 data in a database context, and it recreated a lot of the most common reports you would find in the GA UI with some helpful added customizations.


Firebase BigQuery Unnest Function

Todd Kerpelman from the Firebase Developers blog has a great write-up on unpacking Firebase’s nested table structure which will make writing queries into your data a heck of a lot easier once you understand it!


Visualizing BigQuery Tables in Google Data Studio

Shameless plug: I’ve also written a step-by-step walkthrough using flat files with weather data on how to visualize your BigQuery tables. You can find that over on Big Data Made Simple.


Start Querying!

Getting into databases and SQL querying can be really intimidating for marketers, but it’s incredibly empowering not to have to rely on data science and IT teams to get at data sets and start deriving actionable insights out of them. Carve a half-hour of time out of your schedule each week to learn about this technology and find out how you can practically apply it to your business.

The post How to Use BigQuery in Your Digital Marketing Workflow appeared first on Portent.

Are we Living at a Moment When Significant Change is Possible?

“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” said Abraham Lincoln. The future is hard to predict. Yet, that’s not for lack of trying. A thriving trends industry says forecasts are in high demand. Futurists work outward from data and evidence, seeking to identify highly probable events. While unpredictable in scope, pandemics are undesirable parts of our past and highly probable events. But proceed with caution. Labeling an observation about what’s going on “insight” doesn’t make it so. Further, insights are not as useful to understanding changing habits, behaviors and attitudes and what will stick as you’d…