DMNews.com is one of my resources for keeping current. It is an older style newspaper with columns, hints, interviews and a lot of advertising. This paper (and of course online version) keeps me current on the intersection of the different parts of direct marketing – mail, mobile, websites, PPC, SEO, email lists. It mixes a variety of sections from the ‘showcase’ column that reviews different campaigns, quickly giving some benchmark numbers to keep my mind wrapped around reality (‘no seriously, we always convert 40% of all visitors to our site’ – yeah right potential client).
Most of the content is short, with a lot of opposing opinion going head to head to help look at the ‘range’ of mainstream opinion that is current. Its articles make for great snippets to share with clients ans to what is ‘real’ in todays world rather then what some salesperson is trying to sell.
I particularly appreciate reading about those that understand the core of web marketing, email marketing and direct mail marketing is the same. The nuances change and mature, and the benefit results change, but the underlying formulas are the same:
- What is the lowest cost way to target your marketing to an audience that has a problem that your solution solves?
- What is the lowest cost way to communicate that solution to your target audience in a way that builds trust, and value at the moment a purchaser is ready?
- How do I best create emotional commitment to my product?
Those tools keep evolving, but the fundamental strategy stays the same if you want to be successful.
There are a wide variety of blogs, sites, magazines, books, podcasts and more for learning and keeping up to date with how to market your online presence. One of the challenges is what to pay attention to, and what to ignore.
With that as a need, I am going to start posting what resources I find helpful and try to point out how I look at them for understanding how best to develop an integrated marketing strategy. These tools may have direct information on what to do, but more often they provide a framework for what not to do (such as Black hat SEO – best case a short term strategy, worst case can kill a business) as well as what creative solutions to look for to improve business.
These are just some of the tools and resources I am using today. Having ‘learned’ many industries over the decades, I have learned that trade magazines and newspapers were the best way to quickly see what was coming to ‘mainstream’ business, as well as how to read between the lines as to what are the best practices for today. I am forever thankful for one of my mentors showing me the subscription cards in most trade magazines. I also curse him every time I move, and I am not current, and need to toss my piles. There is so much changing in every industry, and marketing is no different. The underlying principles are often the same over the decades (ever notice how similar website marketing is to direct mail marketing), but the nuances evolve (7 touches is now 9 or 12 depending on your study and costs).
All of this leads me to ask you – what tools do you use to stay current?