Category Archives: Marketing Trends

Hold a Marketing Hackathon for Growth Less Planning, More Doing

November 12, 2015

At INBOUND, HubSpot’s annual user conference, in September, I attended an awesome session about “marketing hackathons.” I didn’t know what to expect going in, but the session ended up being the most useful of all I attended, loaded with tons of resources for making your marketing efforts grow.

The speaker, Paul Roetzer, had an epiphany late one night while up with his newborn – what if marketing teams could take a cue from programmers, who hold “hackathons” to quickly build and improve software, and use the same tactic to solve a marketing problem or come up with a set strategy to achieve a goal?

The idea is that in one long, intense session, you come together with your team to work on a specific problem. The philosophy is this: Spend less time planning, and more time doing. Roetzer defines the marketing hackathon as “interactive event in which marketers, executives and/or entrepreneurs come together to solve business growth challenges.”

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Know YOUR Audience: The Basics of A/B Testing (With Infographic!)

April 23, 2015

Most engineers and scientists swear by testing, testing, and more testing. And marketers are the same. In fact, Steelhouse proved that “using correct targeting and testing methods can increase conversion rates up to 300 percent.” A/B testing is one of the best – and most used – techniques to learn what content performs best with your audience, but it can be hard to know how to start the process and choose the right elements.

A/B testing is the process of creating two or more versions of one marketing element, such as a subject line of an email or CTA button, and putting in front of two randomly selected audiences to see which performs better. The best part of A/B testing is that you are testing two segments of your audience, not relying on industry standards. Your contacts are the judges, and the outcome can significantly affect your conversion rates and, ultimately, your bottom line.

The Importance of A/B Testing

Marketers are still struggling to prove the ROI of digital marketing, inbound marketing and content marketing, among others. A/B testing is the simplest and easiest way to check off certain mysteries of which of your marketing efforts work or don’t.

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Marketing Automation Aids Smarketing Success

March 19, 2015

What is smarketing and why is this a trend worth reading about? As it turns out, sales and marketing teams don’t always play well together. According to a report from HubSpot, 87% of the terms sales and marketing use to describe each other are negative. Below is a sampling of some of the most popular name-calling the two teams use when referring to each other.

Marketing and Sales Terms

Marketing vs. Sales Terms

What do companies do to combat the negative feelings that marketing and sales teams have towards one other? Enter smarketing. Smarketing is simply the unification of both teams towards a common goal; and the goal is an important one—increased revenue. This powerful overlap between the two teams not only makes for a happier work place, but also inspires synergy that turns leads into customers. In fact, a 2010 study by the Aberdeen group found that smarketing can result in 20% annual revenue growth.

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Thurs. Trends: Webinars Gaining Popularity in Attracting Prospects

February 19, 2015

Webinars are trending and for good reason. These web-based seminars are a cost-effective way for attracting prospects by providing a 45-60 minute mini-training session. In exchange for this new education, people are more than happy to give you their name and email address. And the best thing about webinars is that they are not a once-and-done marketing effort. Your recorded webinar can be viewed on demand for months – or even years – to come, and can continue to generate leads.

A recent study by revealed that 92% of the marketers surveyed consider webinars/webcasts to be very or somewhat effective. In fact webinars/webcasts were ranked as the most effective (in terms of achieving marketing objectives) of the 18 choices given.

To clarify, webinars and webcasts are very similar with the main difference being the initial broadcast of a webinar is interactive and allows participants to ask questions, whereas a webcast is simply a broadcast with no viewer interaction.



Marketing Sherpa, SEO Marketing Benchmark Survey

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Personalize Your Marketing Efforts or be Left Behind

The emotional decision process connecting with others on a real and valuable level is bleeding into business decisions and is forcing marketers to provide a more personalized, authentic approach to their audience. HubSpot titles this marketing movement as the “Human Era” and states that, “only by individualizing an audience and building authentic connections will a business thrive in the Human Era.”


Additionally Janrain conducted a national poll uncovering that 74% of online consumers get frustrated with websites when their content appears to have nothing in common with their specific interests.

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LATEST SURVEY: Over 1,000 Engineers Share Insight Into Content Marketing Preferences

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 9.50.16 AM


TREW Marketing and industry publisher CFE Media have released results of the latest Marketing to Engineers™ study, a survey of more than 1,000 engineering professionals covering content marketing preferences and online behaviors. Following the success of the first Marketing to Engineers survey released in May 2014, this latest study expands on engineers’ preferences on specific content types, sources, and delivery methods.

“Our first survey findings confirmed what experience had shown us for years; technical audiences have very distinct preferences and expectations when it comes to content marketing,” said Rebecca Geier, CEO and Co-founder of TREW Marketing. “With the first survey’s focus on search engines, the value of content, and preferences for content types and formats, we conducted this next survey to dive deeper into specific content channels and engagement behaviors, such as e-newsletters, blogs, and online lead forms.”


Key findings from this research include:

  • 45% of respondents prefer e-newsletters that contain new technical content
  • Respondents will complete lead forms with five or fewer fields on average
  • Search engines are the most valuable when seeking the latest engineering technologies, trends, and products
  • 80% of respondents say blogs containing case studies are most credible


Three-quarters or more of respondents define a credible blog as having an objective presentation of material, research-based content, and case studies. Respondents were not as concerned with the blog’s author or company affiliation.

Three-quarters or more of respondents define a credible blog as having an objective presentation of material, research-based content, and case studies. Respondents were not as concerned with the blog’s author or company affiliation.


“As a company that specializes in developing and distributing engaging technical content to engineers, we are in a unique position to provide insight into our engineers’ content consumption habits,” said Patrick Lynch, Director of Marketing to Engineers™ at CFE Media. “With more than 1,000 engineering professionals participating in this research study, our knowledge of how to market content to engineers continues to evolve and expand. We believe the findings from this research study will be of significant value to our marketing partners.”

You can view the full results to this latest survey of over 1,000 engineers here.



Using Science to Guide Web Design: 3 Key Takeaways from Eyetracking Research

Looking for additional insight? Check out our eBook: A 15-Point Checklist to Evaluate Your B2B Technical Website.

Maybe it’s because we work with so many engineers and techies, but here at TREW, we can be real skeptics. We take an “I’ll believe it when I see it” approach – relying on hard data and proof points when making decisions on the most effective ways to help our clients market their brand.

So when it comes to creating effective web layout and designs that get results, we rely on usability data from trusted sources to help us make sense of how people use the web. One type of web study we rely on – and prove out time and time again – is eye tracking research.

Eye tracking is a form of research that allows the proctor to track web visitors’ eye movements across a page, providing insight into what people truly spend time looking at on the screen, what order they look at it, and what their eyes avoid. Some of the key questions eye tracking research can address include:

  • Which area of the page draws a web user’s attention?
  • What do users tend to look at first, second, third?
  • Which areas of the page do users avoid or ignore?
  • What specific elements of content do users gaze at for more than a second or two?
  • Do web visitors notice key elements of the page or recall key messaging?

By incorporating what we learn from eye tracking research, we can determine the best format and placement for content, and establish optimal page layout. It’s truly an opportunity to apply hard data to marketing activities for improved ROI.

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Thurs. Trends: B2B Content Marketing Leads to a Successful Marketing Strategy

As B2B marketers, we have begun to see the positive effects of incorporating B2B content marketing into our marketing efforts. Although we have started to see the positive impact that B2B content marketing can have in our marketing strategy, we are still struggling to obtain concrete ROI results.

Results from a study found in Interactive Advertising Bureau, 93% of B2B marketers are using content marketing within their marketing strategy.  (Source: 2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends-North America: Content Marketing Institue/MarketingProfs)

2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs

The majority of B2B marketers have confirmed that they utilize content marketing within their marketing strategy, even if they’re not seeing the explicit overall effectiveness of their content marketing.

Proving the Effectiveness of B2B Content Marketing Through Documentation

According to the Content Marketing Institute eBook, The Essentials of a Documented Content Marketing Strategy: 36 Questions to AnswerB2B marketers who document their content marketing are far more likely to consider their content marketing efforts as being effective. Due to the documentation process, these B2B marketers also consider their content marketing to be less challenging.

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Thurs. Trends: 3 Email Marketing Trends for Your 2015 Marketing Plan

As email marketing continues to grow in popularity as a powerful tool to nurture your target audience through the marketing funnel and buyer’s cycle, there are some factors to take into consideration when forming your 2015 marketing plan:

Image-based Emails vs. Text-based Emails
Do consumers prefer that emails from companies contain mostly images or mostly text? According to research from HubSpot’s 2014 Science of Email Report, there is a significant disconnect between the self-reported data vs. the observational data that was received from the testing that they conducted. In both the 2011 and 2014 surveys that HubSpot conducted, it received nearly 2/3 respondents saying they preferred mostly image-based emails vs. mostly text-based emails.

HubSpot's Science of Email 2014 Email Preference Self-Reported Survey Results

Source: HubSpot’s Science of Email 2014 Email Preference Self-Reported Survey Results

As you can see below, however, HubSpot’s observational data shows that the CTR (click-through rate) actually decreases as the number of images within an email increases.

HubSpot's Science of Email 2014 Email Preference Observational Data Survey Results

Source: HubSpot’s Science of Email 2014 Email Preference Observational Data Survey Results

With email marketing, it’s always important to weigh the pros with the cons of using images vs text.  Experiment with various types of images and text content within your open- and click-through- rates and structure your strategy accordingly.

In general, a even mix of images and text covers all your bases. As well, don’t forget to create your emails in both HTML and text-based code so those email providers that have strict image settings still receive a reader-friendly email.

Timing Your Emails
When deciding on the best time to send out emails, it’s critical that you’re sending emails to your recipients based on their schedules. Unfortunately for email marketing, there isn’t a set time that everyone checks his or her inbox, so a bit of testing will be required. To decide on the best time to reach your audience, attempt a simple A/B test experiment.

A/B Testing

Divide your email distribution list and send your email to the two-segmented lists at different times. Review your open rate results and make changes to your distribution time if it is needed. Continue this type of testing for your email marketing regularly to ensure that your emails are being sent at the best time based on the schedules of your recipients.

Email Formats – Don’t forget Mobile!
The pendulum is swinging toward mobile devices as a primary source of email views compared to desktop devices.  Due to this evolution, proper templates and changes in the formatting of your emails need to be taken into consideration in order for your email marketing strategy to be successful.

Litmus Email Open Rate for Mobile Devices

According to Litmus, the majority of emails being opened are occurring on iPhones, Androids, and iPads. In 2013 alone, the mobile open rate increased 21% to now represent 51% of emails being viewed on a mobile device.

HubSpot's Science of Email 2014 Self-Reported Data Results: "How do you read email?"

HubSpot’s Science of Email 2014 Self-Reported Data Results: “How do you read email?”

Similarly, self-reported data results within HubSpot’s Science of Email Report show that 57% of survey takers reported reading emails on their phones and 33% of the survey takers reported reading it on their tablet devices.

This graph also points out that people are opening their emails on both their mobile and their desktop devices, so the key is to send responsive emails (emails that are ambiguous to both types) rather than picking one format in which to create your emails.

In conclusion
When it comes to planning your email marketing strategy it is important to take all factors into consideration. You must remember to test and evaluate your results in order to see continued success – and don’t forget to keep up with technology trends, as these play a huge role in the evolution of email marketing.


For more information on marketing trends to consider in your 2015 planning check out, Top 3 B2B Marketing Trends to Prioritize in 2015.

Inbound marketing takeaways from HubSpot’s 2014 Conference

Emily T, Linda W, Rebecca G, and Wendy C at the Welcome Reception at HubSpot’s INBOUND 2014 Conference.

As HubSpot Partners, team members from TREW Marketing joined 10,000+ inbound marketers at HubSpot’s INBOUND Conference in Boston where we each attended sessions and keynotes to learn inbound marketing trends and tips as well as have a front row to the HubSpot software updates for 2014.

Read some of the takeaways below from HubSpot sessions and keynotes, including marketing for industrial manufacturing, content marketing as a second shift for inbound marketing, data driven sales, and leadership starting with instinctive human behavior. And stay tuned to the TREW Smart Marketing Blog for full articles on the INBOUND conference takeaways.


Inbound Marketing for Industrial Manufacturing

by Linda Wallis, Account Manager

Why should Industrial Manufacturers use an Inbound approach?  I recently attended the Inbound 2014 conference and found some great sessions to help explain why.

Today, businesses have more buying power than ever before thanks to the internet. Using online searches and social networks, buyers everywhere are able to check reviews; research and connect with other buyers, sellers, and manufacturers; stay up-to-date on the latest industry news, trends, and technology; and talk with their friends, family, and professional connections about their product experiences.

Our business is different. I hear often in the industrial manufacturing industry that “Our prospects and customers are different. They’re serious people. They read trade journals, not blogs, and they aren’t on social media”. But, did you know that over 90% of B2B buyers start their research on Google?

In fact, industrial manufacturers are businesses that build complex, relatively expensive things for other businesses like new packaging equipment, or model-based control systems for a processing plant, or a dynamometer test system. Their targets tend to be engineers, scientists, operations and plant managers, or supply chain directors.  All very serious, responsible people trying to make effective, valuable decisions about technologies, vendors, and strategies to improve their business. So if they don’t find you, you don’t make it on their short list.

Why should industrial manufacturers use inbound?Because your best prospects are already online looking for better solutions every day and the more complex or expensive the purchase, the more research prospects will do (and the more opportunity for potential vendors to grow their credibility by turning up in search engine results)In addition, your online content can lead to long-tail keyword sets that you can own by describing challenges and solutions using your prospects and customers own words.  A committed inbound strategy can also make some traditional marketing strategies much more effective.

How Opportunities Come to Be.  No one is coming to your website to have fun in this industry. You’ve heard this before but content really is king! Inbound marketing is all about making your business perfectly visible online to your best prospects.  It’s about using online content marketing, SEO, social media, and marketing automation to turn traffic into leads and qualified leads into customers whether you’re a consumer looking for a new cell phone or an industrial manufacturer looking for a new strategy to improve quality, reduce downtime, and lower cost.


The Second Shift in Marketing: Content Marketing

by Emily Thornhill, Inbound Marketing Specialist

"These are magical times in the world of marketing." Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot CTO and Co-Founder

“These are magical times in the world of marketing.” Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot CTO and Co-Founder

Walking through the INBOUND halls in the Boston Convention Center, the resounding theme was content marketing. Referred to as “the second shift in marketing,” by Meghan Keaney Anderson, content marketing is no longer a marketing tactic that improves SEO for companies who are struggling with inbound leads, but is the baseline in which your marketing grows from. Content is no longer an option, or the icing on top, it is the foundation that must be quality, relevant and fresh

We’ve always stressed the importance of content marketing to a technical audience, and being at INBOUND proved our point that writing quality content is more important than ever.

Traditional, interruptive advertising was the fresh take on marketing and works for decades as we weren’t able to escape it. Google changed the scene forever when it shifted the power to the buyer.

Now, in the second shift in marketing, as told by Anderson, 82% of searchers on Google ignore ads on Google (and fast forward through ads in their DVR, I would imagine).  With the power to choose, searchers have to be impressed, which means content has to be good. Initially, there wasn’t a lot of content out there, so they chose what seemed legitimate. But now, with more and more content out there, searchers can be picky.

As said by Kate Ferrie, content that is wordy doesn’t make the cut. “TL; DR” (too long, didn’t read) has become a common comment on blogs and links from social media (so much so that people even warn folks against reading it:

The goal is to turn that into “GR;LI” (great read, loved it) with quality, informative, and fresh content.

Stay tuned to a full article on this topic in the coming days.

Also, check out: Top 3 Content Marketing Techniques for Capturing (and Keeping) their Attention



“Always Be Helping” – The Data-Driven Sales Approach

by Wendy Covey, President and Co-Founder

Prospects today are in the driver’s seat of their buyer’s journey, not the seller as was historically the case. On average, the buying process is 70% complete by the time sales is engaged, and the prospect is highly informed at this stage.

By meeting the prospect where they are in their buyer’s journey, and taking the attitude of “always be helping” rather than “always be closing,” you will have a significant advantage to closing the sale and beating out your competition.

In order to do this, you’ll need to shift to a data-driven, or contextual selling approach. Your sales force will use a combination of public information and prospect marketing actions to efficiently profile the company and prospect, and understand exactly what the prospect knows. From that backdrop, sales can better share control with the buyer, and guide where their journey needs to go next in order to close a sale. Conversations will become consultative and rich with information, personalized to that prospect’s need – from start to finish.

Resources for implementing data-driven sales:

  • HubSpot CRM and HubSpot Sidekick are two tools introduced at INBOUND 2014 which provide a technology platform for taking a data-driven sales approach.
  • Another helpful technology tool I found at INBOUND was Vsnap, which provides a quick way for salespeople to humanize the virtual sales approach through short video messages.
  • Author David Meerman Scott gave an interesting  INBOUND sales presentation based on his new book The New Rules of Sales and Service which outlines how to use data and real-time engagement to grow your business.
  • TREW Marketing offers lead conversion model consulting, helping you to create integrated sales and marketing processes and implement the data-driven sales approach.

Summary: Keynote by Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last

by Rebecca Geier, CEO and Co-Founder

A Leader Is... (quote) (1)As a psychology major whose favorite class in college was Bio Psychology (I know, I’m such a nerd), this keynote by Simon Sinek was like being 20 again, listening to my professor break down a complex psychological topic into very simply terms. It’s so logical when Simon explains that what makes teams tick, or totally break down all comes down to instinctive human behavior. As leaders, we can all learn from this to create environments that get the best of us human animals.

Below is my summary. To get the complete story, read the book, Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t. Or if you can wait a few weeks, I’ll do a more detailed blog post with more on Simon’s keynote.

Summary: Humans are social animals – it’s why we’ve survived for thousands of years. Danger is all around us, and we come together to fight danger. In business, good people in a bad environment can do bad things because they’re instinctively wired to protect themselves. Likewise, bad people can do really good things in a good environment because they are socially connected and working together with others.

So how do you create this good environment where more good happens, where people work together to fight for the company? It all comes down to creating an environment where our three “selfish” chemicals – endorphins, dopamine and cortizol – are inactive, and our two “selfless” chemicals – serotonin and oxytocin – are in full gear.

If your work company’s culture is metrics and performance-driven, likely you are creating an environment that activates our human “selfish” endorphins, dopamine and cortisol chemicals. Here, we promote sacrificing others to make the numbers, tribal trust is broken and we’re left with a focus on the individual performer, not the company as a whole. You may make the numbers, but nothing more.

In contrast, if your culture is one where the company’s leaders are generous, set the tone, and follow the spirit of the Marines motto “officers eat last” where leadership is viewed as a responsibility not a rank, others become generous and feel responsible for their colleagues and the company. In this environment, “selfless” serotonin and oxytocin chemicals run high, leaders rise up to look out for their team, and in turn, people feel valued. The result: magic…and company performance far exceeding what individuals working toward their own goals can achieve.