Tag Archives: Marketing Trends

Why You Should Care About Google+

As B2B Marketers, we know that social media is a must. However, it can be challenging to know where to start and difficult to communicate its ROI to receive the dedicated resources and time needed for social media tactics. We get it.

BUT – if there’s one channel that you should care about today and make time for, it’s Google+.

Learn why your company should care about Google+ and its clear ROI.

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Thursday Trends: We Exceedingly Trust People Like Us

From deciding at which restaurant to dine, to which cell phone we should buy, to which vendor we should use, we often call on the advice of our peers to help make this decision. And, while decision-making has become increasingly crowd-sourced, the choice itself has become more personal. As consumers, we expect things that are more tailored to individual needs.

The factors that guide our personal decisions are also closely linked to those we use in business.

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Thursday Trends: Conversion Rates for Paid Search Advertising

Recent work with a TREW client on a campaign that included Google Adwords paid search advertising revealed how conversion rates vary across industries.

The client wanted a 35% conversion rate from visit to lead on their website landing page – referring to the percent of website visitors who submit a form and turn into leads. TREW agreed to aim for this goal originally because we understood that the landing page would be used for both Google Adwords and direct emails going out to contacts in the client’s database. Further down the line, we discovered the direct emails could not be configured to send users to their landing page.

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Thursday Trends: B2B Lead Generation Marketing Trends

How does your lead generation stack up against other B2B technology companies? The B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn, comprised of more than 42,000 marketing professionals in software and high-tech industries, did a survey of their group to gather trends in lead generation. More than 800 respondents were tallied to create the report, and here are the highlights.

Generating high-quality leads is the number one challenge for B2B marketers, followed by converting leads into customers, and creating meaningful content.

Biggest B2B Lead Generation Challenges

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Thursday Trends: When Can I Expect Traffic and Leads?

You have decided to implement marketing automation software. You have a plan in place to write a white paper or record a webinar, and you’re anxious to start getting traffic and leads. But how long should it take – what is realistic to expect in terms of seeing results?

HubSpot asked just that in a recent survey to their customers and the results remind us we have to be patient. In their survey, over 92% of respondents reported an increase in traffic after implementing the software. But how long did it take for that traffic increase to come? Here is what they reported:

HubSpot Marketing Automation

Source: HubSpot Academy – Delivering Inbound Services Class http://academy.hubspot.com/Partner-Classes/var-training-overview/delivering-inbound-services/delivering-inbound-services-archive-page/

 

As you can see in the chart, over 80% report that seeing an increase in traffic takes 2-4 months or more. For the majority of that 80%, it takes 2-7 months to really get some traction. So, if you want to increase your traffic 100% in the first month, you likely want to consider stats like these and to reset your expectations.

Similary, HubSpot asked about leads and again, nearly 93% of respondents reported an increase in web leads after implementing the software. As far as when they saw this increase in leads, here is what respondents said:

chart2

Again, as with web traffic, you are looking at 2-7 months for most businesses to see a real increase in leads. This is not a coincidence since, for most sites, traffic and leads go hand in hand.

It’s important to set realistic expectations. And of course, little to no traffic or leads will come if you don’t have anything to share.

For more information about driving traffic, leads and setting realistic content and marketing goals, check out these other blog posts:

Marketing to Human Engineers – Big Ideas from INBOUND ’13

Build a Lead Nurturing Campaign in 10 Easy Steps

15 Inbound Activities to Include in Your B2B Content Marketing Plan

Thursday Trends: (Blogging) Information is Power

If you have any doubts as to whether or not blogging is necessary or appropriate for your business, data from research begs the question, “Can you afford not to blog?”

Can you afford not to blog?

Studies show that B2B business blogging drives traffic and generates leads, regardless of industry. In his September 2013 Forbes article, Derek Klobucher notes that nearly 88% of corporate shoppers prefer to research purchases online. We know online shopping behavior includes searching for a solution to a problem, finding the best deal for that solution, and ultimately deciding on the most trustworthy company to do business with. You can help connect these B2B shoppers with your solution by blogging. As mentioned last week, Guy Kawasaki points out that deals ultimately are made between two people; your prospects need to be able to evaluate your capacity to deliver to their expectations. A blog is an ideal channel for you to educate consumers about your area of expertise and demonstrate your trustworthiness and reliability.

 

Powerful Data 

In the article, Top 5 B2B Benefits of Blogging, author Phil Vallender states, “Bogging is demanding – requiring commitment, persistence and ingenuity – but the rewards far outweigh the effort.”  No truer words were ever spoken in the B2B community.  Consider these statistics from the HubSpot study, Marketing Benchmarks from 7,000+ Businesses, demonstrating that companies that blog get more traffic and leads than companies that don’t blog:

The power of blogging

If you don’t already have a blog started, the thought of writing 100 blog articles is certainly overwhelming, but when you break it down into months and weeks it’s very doable. Identify multiple authors inside your company (at TREW, we have close to 10!) and start writing. By publishing one blog article weekly you’ll be halfway there next year; twice weekly and you’re there!

Need help getting started? Download our case study, TREW Marketing Unveils the Secrets of Its Own Marketing Strategy, or contact us.  TREW Marketing is ready to help you achieve your business goals.

Related blog posts:

15 Inbound Activities to Include in Your B2B Content Marketing Plan

4 Ways to Get More Blog Traffic

New Case Study: TREW Marketing Unveils the Secrets of Its Own Marketing Strategy

Thursday Trends: Guy Kawasaki’s 10 Tips for Building a Social Media Following

NOTE: Beginning with this post, we’re introducing our new Thursday Trends post. Each week, the TREW blog writers will highlight a tip, best practice, trend or other information we’ve learned in our study and ongoing research that we think Smart Marketing for Engineers blog readers will benefit from.

We get the question often from our customers in science and engineering if they really need to blog and use social media for their business. Our answer always is YES! We’ve explained our reasoning in past posts like this one.

But last week we heard it from one of the most famous marketers, thought-leaders, writers and entrepreneurs out there – Guy Kawasaki. We sat in on an informative HubSpot webinar featuring Guy and wanted to share our key takeaways, which started with his memorable analogy: asking if business needs social media today is like asking in 1960 why business needed a telephone. Social media is fast, free and ubiquitous. B2B or B2C – doesn’t matter. If you haven’t started with social media yet, Guy – and the TREW Crew – suggest you start now. Build your platform, interact with your following and share great content.

Contrary to some social media experts, Guy explained why the social media platform becomes better and better as you get more followers. He recommends developing a Superbowl-like attitude to do so: Would you rather advertise during the Superbowl or during C-SPAN’s Congressional Hearings? In other words, make your social media platform interesting and valuable to followers, and more and more people will come.

Superbowl    CSPAN Congressional Hearings

Guy offered these 10 tips to draw your audience to your social media platforms:

1. Realize you have to start building your platform immediately – don’t wait until you open for business, launch a new product or start a new service. Guy says entrepreneurs, authors and businesses with new ideas and products/services often get started with social media much later than they should. He encourages us to start promoting immediately – build a following now for sales later.

At TREW, we find one of the best times for our customers to start building their following is at industry trade shows and events.

2. Segment the Services: Guy provided these simple descriptions he calls the “5 Ps of Social Media”. They provide guidance for using each of the more popular social media sites:

  • Facebook: sharing with People you already know
  • Twitter: it’s about Perceptions – you’re interacting with the world
  • Google+: sharing your Passions, often with people you don’t already know
  • Pinterest: Pinning – sharing through images
  • LinkedIn: Pimping your services – this is where you showcase your offerings

3. Make a great profile – Guy emphasized the importance of having a complete profile on the various social media sites, following these steps:

  • Make it completeMake a great 1st impression
  • Make yourself likeable and trustworthy
  • Your avatar should be 90% your face or logo. Keep secondary images secondary – such as the background of your Twitter account.
  • Guy used this dating site analogy: eHarmony vs. Hot or Not. One calls for a lengthy decision process, the other lends itself to a quick decision. Social media falls on the Hot or Not end – people will decide in seconds whether they will follow you.

4. Curate and link:

  • Filter content down to the stuff that’s really great and curate it.
  • Position yourself by sharing great stories about your niche – not about yourself.  Establish that when people follow you, they will get great stuff.  An example Guy used was NPR, a station that provides great content 365 days a year, and once in a while broadcasts a telethon fundraiser. Listeners tolerate the telethon because NPR provides high quality, engaging content 99.9% of the remaining days of the year. Similarly, we must earn our right to be self-serving.
  • To get ideas for content you can share, check out sites like Alltop, HolyKaw, and StumbleUpon.

5. Cheat.  Look at what’s already hot – most popular/most emailed/most commented on, and share those stories. Remember the ethics of cheating: link directly to the original source if you find the story, or retweet if it’s from another twitter profile.

6. Restrain Yourself.  If NPR ran their telethon every week, we would become intolerant. For social media, keep these numbers in mind: 20% self-promotion, 80% good content.

Add bling7. Add Bling: a big picture (400-500 pixels wide) or an embedded video in every post. Try wiki-media for photos and credits. Read TREW’s blog post about this very topic here.

8. Respond.  You can push out information but you must respond and engage. It’s a two-way world – engage. Yes, it’s time-consuming, but it isn’t dismiss-able. Small business or Fortune 500 – at some level, every transaction is between two people.

9. Stay positive or stay silent. Like what your mom probably used to say to you, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” People are watching you – these onlookers are more important than who you respond to. Keep it positive.

Mom's quote

10. Repeat. For Twitter, Guy suggests posting tweet updates every eight hours. He also encouraged listeners to get traffic by repeating tweets you have shared in the past. An example he gave was how NPR repeats “Fresh Air” several times. For Google+, Facebook and Twitter, you can use the same content and shoot for 70% info, 30% bling (i.e., pictures, video, etc.).

*Final note: Never trust a social media “expert” who has fewer followers than you!

For more info about about Guy Kawasaki and his books, visit http://www.guykawasaki.com/.

To learn more about social media and best practices, check out other TREW blog posts on the topic here:

8 Technology Trends to Watch from D: All Things Digital Co-Creator, Kara Swisher

4 Ways to Get More Blog Traffic

4 Ways Pictures Power SEO and Social Media

8 Technology Trends to Watch from D: All Things Digital Co-Creator, Kara Swisher

Kara Swisher

Kara Swisher

At HubSpot’s annual INBOUND conference, it was a real treat to hear Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) talk about current technology trends she sees most affecting our lives in work and business. As the co-founder of D: All Things Digital conference, which she co-hosts with fellow WSJ technology columnist, Walt Mossberg, here is a summary of what she believes are the trends to watch:

1. SoMoLo – Social, Mobile, Local

The iPhone has been the single, most life-changing device, introducing the concept of having a very powerful computer in your pocket. With every release, smart phones are getting faster and more powerful, opening up new possibilities every day.

Smart phones have revolutionized the way people interact, work, and even shop.

Smart phones have revolutionized the way people interact, work, and even shop.

  • Social
    With applications like text messaging, Instagram, SnapChat and more, smart phones have turbo-charged our ability to share our lives with others.
  • Mobile
    These tiny computers are with us all the time. They have become an extension of our body, and we can access them at any time. Kara touched on the antiquated wired systems in the U.S. and how we lag behind at #26 in terms of quality. However, we rank #1 both in usage and the high price we pay to connect. Contrast this to other countries where governments have set up Internet and mobile infrastructures, much like paying for highways, and as a result, costs have been kept much lower for consumers.
  • Local
    These global devices in our pockets and purses respond to us according to our location. For example, now with apps like mapping, when is the last time you looked at a physical map? It is the power of local that drove Google to recently acquire the social-mapping-location-data startup Waze for $1.1B. These ever more powerful, local-focused tools can have a huge impact in many areas of our life, such as healthcare, emergency response, and on and on.

Taking advantage of SoMoLo marketing may be essential to keeping your company alive in the next generation.

2. Ubiquitous – Having Internet access everywhere

In the Internet age, people want to be connected at all times and on all devices. Kara gave the example of Google Glass which offers online connectivity without even lifting a finger.  The market for ubiquity hasn’t quite been figured out yet and is likely to evolve from current projections. But maybe this will lead to contact lenses capable of connecting to the Internet. Or perhaps a device embedded in your hat, or in some other form of normal-looking glasses. To succeed, these would have to become ubiquitous. Another example Kara gave was Apple’s rumored inclusion of fingerprint security for the iPhone 5S. Security for internet-enabled devices is an issue that has to be figured out. If a new technology is introduced that is related to the Internet, it must be able to be everywhere.

3. Geolocation – You are never alone

While more power comes to users of mobile devices when they are geolocated, this also creates the challenge of privacy. Today, and more and more in the future, Kara predicts that the ability to be located via sensing devices will greatly increase. Sensors are being installed everywhere in our world, and it’s much more than just cameras like those used to quickly identify the perpetrators after the Boston bombing.

For example, San Francisco uses embedded sensors in parking spaces to help people find available spaces easily. Disney is beta testing their MagicBand technology, which serves as your park admission, room key, and wallet for purchases. Using sensors all around the park, MagicBand also tracks your location and saves your “spot” in ride lines, helping Disney to better deal with crowd management.

Embedded sensors and intelligent wristbands make life easier for park visitors while helping Disney with crowd management.

Embedded sensors and intelligent wristbands make life easier for park visitors while helping Disney with crowd management.

Kara believes that this upcoming trend will continue with the use of sensors and even drones to solve wide-scale problems such as traffic monitoring and pollution levels.

4. Big Data – Drowning in information

All this monitoring creates huge amounts of data that can be too big to handle. How do you turn vast amounts of information into meaningful and actionable decisions? Just like GoDaddy’s MIT spinoff Locu (recently acquired for $70M), a company that helps you manage big data and make it actually useful. Kara predicts that the most powerful companies of the future will not just gather data or only use a small percentage of it, but successfully make sense of all collected data to understand what people want and anticipate future needs.  Companies who help us manage and make sense of our data will become very, very valuable.

5. Always On – Glued to the monitor

Always being connected to the Internet also means that people are in a state of continuous partial attention (as coined by Microsoft researcher, Linda Stone.) We used to stare at a TV, but now we stare at our devices. You know you should get off, but you can’t! There are so many compelling things to do, whether it’s playing a game, getting information, being entertained, or sharing with those we’re connected to. To stay relevant, companies today either have to be useful or entertaining – or BOTH.

6. Virtual Footprints – There is nowhere to hide

With an Internet-connected device at your hip, you can and will be tracked. And it’s not just by governments, but by anybody and any company. Each of us inadvertently give all kinds of information about ourselves on the Internet all the time. The good part is that by doing this, you are served up relevant information you care about. The bad part is that we are easily discovered and there is no end to the flood of signals. With the increase in embedded sensors, this phenomenon will only spread.

 

In the futuristic movie Minority Report, biometric sensors tracking your retina could turn on personalized holographic ads. The future may not be far off.

In the futuristic movie Minority Report, biometric sensors tracking your retina could turn on personalized holographic ads. The future may not be far off.

7. Internet of Things

From our household appliances to the cars we drive, everything can be connected to the Internet for greater intelligence. For example, your smart fridge can tell you when the milk is low. The Nest Learning Thermostat goes into energy saving mode if it doesn’t detect anyone at home, and it has an app that allows you to remotely monitor and modify your thermostat from anywhere in the world. Everything is connected and everything has sensors attached to it. There is no industry that will remain unaffected by this trend. Cars are a huge area of innovation, as can be seen by Google’s self-driving car and MIT’s all-electric folding CityCar.

8. Talentism – Ensuring our future by cultivating talent

Kara ended her talk with this humorous depiction of the evolution of mankind and the tools used, from knives, rakes and jackhammers to today sitting and staring at the computer screen.

Kara ended her talk with this humorous depiction of the evolution of mankind and the tools used, from knives, rakes and jackhammers to today sitting and staring at the computer screen.

Talentism is the idea that it is more valuable to pursue and develop human talent than financial assets. Consider Google’s Search Globe, a graphical representation of one day’s worth of Google searches around the world. You see this magnificent display of colored light beams shooting off this globe…until you get to Africa and it is totally dark. There is so much talent and potential that has yet to be tapped. With these tools, important infrastructure such as education and healthcare will become more accessible, thus making more of that talent reachable. We can unite the world through human talent anywhere.

Conclusion

Kara concluded by advising companies that as quickly as technology is moving, it is important to keep one step ahead of the game by anticipating the potentially life-changing impact of these trends. By preemptively meeting the needs of these global trends, businesses can succeed in this new human age and hopefully change the world for the better.

Related Blog Posts:

Marketing to Human Engineers – Big Ideas from INBOUND ’13

Build Your Twitter Community

15 Inbound Activities to Include in Your B2B Content Marketing Plan

Marketing to Human Engineers – Big Ideas from INBOUND ’13

HUBSPOT INBOUND 13

Fresh from our trip to HubSpot’s annual INBOUND Marketing Conference, the TREW Crew is full of new insights and vision of how marketing should be. No matter who you’re marketing to, the fundamental premise of inbound is about interacting, connecting, and delighting a customer…it’s about the experience.

“We’ve got to stop thinking like marketers and start acting like humans.”

Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot Co-Founder, said that in today’s highly connected, information-rich world, 63% of the buying process is controlled by your prospect – before a salesperson is engaged! Not only does this change the role of the sales person, it puts greater demands on marketing to educate – delivering the right information at the right time.

Imagine if every visitor to your website, every contact in your database, was treated uniquely based on their needs? This is what it means to market to humans, not the masses. We were also reminded that business relationships aren’t with companies, they are with with humans. After all, does a referral come from a company? No, it comes from a human who was delighted with your product or service.

The goal of [inbound] is not customer satisfaction. It’s customer delightion.”

Yes, a new word was even introduced at INBOUND 13 – delightion. Meaning, we need to develop innovative technology and marketing techniques that helps marketers become smarter about what our target audience responds to and how to best communicate with them. From the new Signals release that makes characterizing and tracking prospects seamless with your email, to the new Content Optimization System (COS) that offers the ability to tailor custom messages to different audience segments on any given web page, the HubSpot team is leading the way towards customer delightion.

“Screw sexy, be helpful.”

It’s not about creating viral videos or making your technical content sexy or flashy – it’s about education through creative storytelling. Dan Moyle, Mulitmedia Marketing and Communications Specialist for AmeriFirst Home Mortgage says his company drives 1,000 leads a month by telling stories that engages his audience in the mortgage industry. Using inbound methods, his company converts 10% of leads to customers every month, while reducing his marketing costs 60% from shifting away from outbound marketing.

Here’s a great example of a product video from Cisco that uses storytelling, some humor, and technical facts that appeals to us as humans, and engineers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pffeMdDSoY

“Don’t strive to be heard when you’re here. Work to be missed when you’re not!” seth godin

Seth Godin, best-selling author of books including Permission Marketing  and The Purple Cow, had a great reminder to clearly define, communicate and build a following around your company’s unique position in the marketplace. Godin talked about “finding your tribe” and leading it with “art” and “generosity.”

“Be genuine. Be remarkable. Be worth connecting with.” To seriously connect with your customers, ask yourself this:

  • What does my company uniquely do or offer that NO ONE else does?
  • What do I have to say that others will CHOOSE to listen to?
  • What do I have that all your competitors would die to have? Resources? Expertise? Knowledge?
  • What is my art that no one else knows how do to?
  • What knowledge can I be generous with and share with others?

“Disconnect from technology in order to connect with ourselves.”

Arianna Huffington, CEO of the Huffington Post, reminded us that sound leadership, strategic thinking, and creativity cannot be found while checking our email inbox for the 150th time in a day. That the most cited thing that people “wish they had more of” is TIME.

By getting rest, and taking breaks from our interruption-based connected lives, we can get back into touch with our “inner selves” and listen to the ideas that reside within. She encouraged company leaders to build a culture that not only tolerates disconnection, but encourages it – from a nap room to an expectation that emails will not be answered outside of work hours. Live your life today as the person you hope to be remembered.

“Inbound also means being inbound to yourself.”

The TREW Crew put Arianna Huffington’s words in action, and took a time-out to sail along the Charles River together.

trew crew inbound 13

 

To learn more about HubSpot, visit our HubSpot Services page.

Related HubSpot blog posts: 

Content with Context is King, HubSpot Makes Context a Reality at INBOUND ’13

6 Ways HubSpot Helped TREW Grow Web Traffic 130%, Leads 150%

Content with Context is King, HubSpot Makes Context a Reality at INBOUND 2013

Content is still king. It drives the web, and it’s one of the major ways someone will find your company online. When your target audience finds your content and learns more about you, you gain new customer leads and prospects. When you gain more qualified leads, you make more sales.

“Context creates the inbound experience. We’ve got to stop thinking like marketers and start acting like humans.” – Dharmesh Shah, HubSpot

Content is KingIn this post, we will focus on online content in particular. If your online content is informative, helpful, honest, and appealing, your online image is informative, helpful, honest, and appealing to your audience. On the flip side, if your online content is nonexistent, shallow, or irrelevant, your online image is nonexistent, shallow, or irrelevant to prospective customers. So how do you create content that’s interesting and engages your audience? Here are three ways to create content that has relevant context:

1. Use Current Event Context: Pay attention to trending topics, and write about them when they relate to your company.

For example, Wineman Technology, a test solutions provider, created INERTIA, a product that serves as an add-on to the National Instruments NI VeriStand platform. Instead of announcing INERTIA on just any day, Wineman waited until the upcoming NI Veristand release, and then quickly released the INERTIA news. New NI VeriStand announcements are covered by dozens of journalists, and now journalists looking to cover the software see INERTIA too, and as a result, INERTIA gets more coverage.

Wineman’s well-timed product announcement garnered media attention since it discussed a topic editors were already looking to write about.

Wineman’s well-timed product announcement garnered media attention since it discussed a topic editors were already looking to write about.

2. Use Personal Context: Communicate to your customers’ pain points, and show that you understand what they need.

Instead of giving your customers a list of features and benefits, show them you understand their biggest pain points. Crank Software, an innovator in embedded user interface (UI) solutions, created video content that showcases a customer application for their Storyboard software platform, and lets the customer tell the story of its challenges, and how Crank Software helped them overcome those challenges and create the best product possible.

By using a personal customer testimonial, Crank shows how a QNX designer benefitted from its Storyboard software. “One of the great advantages of a framework like Storyboard, is that it puts the right tools in the right hands…” –Mark Rigley, Manager, concept design, QNX Software Systems

3. Use Appealing Context: Add features that engage your readers.

When your prospective customers search for you or terms that are relevant to your company, you want the content to appeal to them. The best way to do this is to use a variety of content including web content, blog posts, video, white papers, case studies, and presentations.

At TREW, we’ve created Smart Marketing for Engineers™, a content platform that helps engineers get started with marketing efforts. We’ve created blog posts, web content, e-books, slides, and web content around the topic. When prospective customers search, they see that variety of content and can engage with the content that appeals to them.

A mix of media channels serve members of our audience looking for more information about marketing to engineers.

A mix of media channels serve members of our audience looking for more information about marketing to engineers.

So, how do you create and manage all of this content?
HubSpot Certifies TREW Marketing for Integrated Marketing Platform
TREW Marketing can help you create your content, and as a certified HubSpot partner, we can help you manage it, too. Yesterday at INBOUND 2013, HubSpot announced the next generation of its Inbound Marketing Platform, which will help users create content with the best context possible.

Your web visitors access your content from multiple devices and channels, and have changing needs and interests. With HubSpot’s new Content Optimization System, you can cater online content directly to the visitor, dependent on the device, channel, and needs that categorize that visitor.

The Content Optimization System from HubSpot is the first integrated website, blog and landing page system to recognize the unique needs of visitors and optimize content for each person looking at it. It is mobile-optimized out-of-the-box, fully integrated with every marketing channel, and adaptive to the changing needs of leads and customers.

If you’re unsure about how your current web content is relating to your audience and guiding prospects through the marketing funnel, TREW Marketing offers a Content Marketing Evaluation – an introductory service that uncovers opportunities for web growth and identifies areas for improvement. Our recommendations will prepare you for a thorough content marketing strategy that targets and attracts web visitors using keywords and SEO best practices, converting visitors to leads with CTAs and promotional tactics across the web, and we discuss processes and systems that help to effectively execute a content marketing strategy.

For more about the Introductory Content Marketing Evaluation, contact us today.



For more about the HubSpot Content Optimization System, talk to TREW Marketing today.