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58 Best Marketing Tools to Build Your Strategy in 2017

Published by in category lead generation, marketing automation, SEO | Comments are closed

Best Marketing Tools 2017

In the world of marketing, it seems like there are always new tools, tips, tricks, and trends to discover and incorporate into your marketing strategy. How is it possible to keep up with them all?

As a marketer myself, I often wish I had a better sense of all of the tools available to me — and what sets each of them apart — so I can make more informed decisions on how to create and optimize content.

Luckily, I have the privilege of working on a team of 150+ other marketers who specialize in different functions than I do. And because of that, I was able to curate this list of the top 58 tools every marketer should know about and being using in 2017.

I’ll make it easy for you. I broke up my list of recommended tools into different sections so you can get a better sense of what tools are available for different functions of the job. At the end, you’ll see the whole list of 58 tools that you can skim and bookmark for later.



Automation is nothing new to marketers. Whether you want to save time doing marketing tasks or simply cut time wasted doing those daily tasks like saving emails and files to spreadsheets, having a tool that makes your life easier and saves you time is ideal.

While there are lots of automation tools out there for specific fields or verticals (for example, the HubSpot workflows tool for marketing automation), there aren’t many tools that allow you to automate the various different tools you use throughout all aspects of your life.

Wouldn’t it be nice to link lots of tasks between different apps together? Like posting your Instagram photos to all your social networks or linking your app reminders together. With IFTTT you can!

IFTTT (IF This Then That) is a  service that allows you to create chains of simple conditional statements, called applets. These “if this then that” applets are triggered by a wide range of other web-based services at the choice of the user. Some of the web-based services that work with IFTTT include Gmail, Google Drive, Facebook, Twitter, Fitbit, and much, much more. 

Sounds great, right? Check it out. 

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Closing Deals and Tracking Relationships 

You and your sales team want to sell your product or service — not fight with messy spreadsheets, cluttered inboxes, or clunky tools that slow you down. That’s why using a Customer Relationship Management System — also known as a CRM — is essential. Not only will it help your sales team manage relationships, but a CRM will also give you a place to deliver those leads you generated to your sales team.

CRMs are such an essential part of any good marketing and sales team that we think everyone should have one. That’s why the HubSpot CRM is completely free. 

HubSpot CRM automates the tasks salespeople hate and takes minutes to learn — not months. That means doing more deals and less data entry. 

Check out the HubSpot CRM Now

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Content Creation

In the world of content creation, there are admittedly tons of different tools you could use to create various types of content. Whether it’s social images, logos, blog posts, or ebooks — the options and tools are endless. 

That said, a newcomer among the Adobe Suite of tools is winning the hearts of many marketers, including this one, for its ease of use to create stunning webpages, awesome videos, and eye-catching graphics. The best part? It’s completely free and impossibly easy. 

Adobe Spark is a suite of three web or mobile apps – Spark Page, Spark Post, and Spark Video — that allows marketers to easily create graphics, webpages, and videos in a variety of themes in minutes.

You can completely avoid the hassle of page layout, video editing knowledge, or a CMS and start creating content that looks remarkable immediately. For example, we use Spark Page at HubSpot to create some of our online guides and promote them with Spark Videos and Posts. You can too!

Check out Adobe Spark 

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Other Content Creation Tools: 

  • Venngage
  • Piktochart
  • Canva
  • Recordit
  • Kap
  • Adobe Color CC 


It’s 2017 — haven’t you heard? Video is the thing everyone is talking about. But how do you actually implement it into your marketing? 

Maybe your strategy is just to put a YouTube video embed on one of your blog posts or landing pages. But then what happens? Someone else’s ad plays on your landing page before your video even begins. That’s bad for your conversion rates, brand, and your user. Luckily, there’s a solution. 

Wistia is a powerful video hosting platform that allows you to host your videos on your website — ad free — with a guaranteed smooth playback and responsive player. Wistia also helps you prove the ROI of your video efforts by offering you video analytics and key metrics to fine-tune your video marketing efforts over time. Ready to take your video marketing to the next level?

Try Wistia for Free Now

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Other video tools:

  • Vidyard
  • Vimeo
  • Youtube

Content Distribution and Brand Awareness:

While it might seem like a given, when it comes to getting your content distributed online, there really is king that we’d be remiss if we’d different mention: 

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I know, I know. Google isn’t “exactly” a new or a fascinating tool that you didn’t already know about. That said, within the same parent company is another important distribution channel that many marketers often forget when they’re strategically distributing content for the sake of brand awareness.

YouTube is becoming more and more important to marketers lean more heavily on video-based content. While, of course, you should continue to optimize your text-based content for search engine optimization, don’t forget to consider Youtube as an important channel as well. Not only is YouTube great for hosting your videos and getting them shared across social networks, it’s also important to optimize your videos for search to get found on Youtube as well. 

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Other distribution and brand awareness channels:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Product Hunt

Continuing Education and Learning

A challenge all marketers face is the need for continuous learning over time. With new tools and methods changing all the time, it’s essential to stay on top of the trends and changes. Luckily, there aren’t a shortage of tools and platforms for you to learn new tactics or techniques and take necessary classes.

HubSpot Academy, for example, is a great place to go anytime you need to get up-to-date information on the latest marketing best practices, find answers to your questions, get certified in a new area of expertise, or renew certifications on subjects that you’re a little rusty on.

 Bookmark your HubSpot Academy portal today

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 Other ongoing education and learning tools:

  • Udemy
  • Codeacademy
  • Skillshare
  • General Assembly

Conversion Rate Optimization

When it comes to your bottom-line goals, you probably want a few top-notch tools up your belt for not only getting visitors to your website, but just as importantly, converting those website visitors into leads and customers. 

Unbounce lets you quickly build beautiful, branded landing pages that will turn those visitors into leads in no time. Between it’s easy-to-use drag-and-drop features, modal overlays, and integrations with tons of different CMS platforms and tools, Unbounce is an ideal tool for anyone looking for a simple tool that will amp up their conversion rates on landing pages. 

Try Out Unbounce Now

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Other CRO Tools:

  • HubSpot Marketing Free
  • HubSpot Landing Pages tool
  • Hotjar
  • Optimizely
  • Leadpages

Event Marketing

Whether your team holds monthly customer and prospect events, yearly conferences, or just occasional community outreach parties and events, it’s important to have the best event marketing tool up your sleeve when the time comes to use it. After all, in-person events are some of the best ways to interact with potential customers and create a brand experience that prospects, customers, and your community will remember. 

Eventbrite is an efficient, easy-to-use tool tons of marketers rely on not only to manage the logistics (like ticketing) of events but also to promote their events. Eventbrite lets you create an event landing page and allows you to set up your ticketing and payment for the event all within the same platform. The best part? Eventbrite is always free if you’re hosting a free event!

Check Out Eventbrite Now

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Other event marketing tools:

  • Picatic
  • Facebook 
  • AddEvent

Fun and Innovative Tools:

If you’re on the search for new marketing tools, chances are you’re not just looking for the hammer and the nail in your toolkit. Instead, you might be looking for new and innovative solutions to try out and experiment with in your marketing. Sound about right? 

As marketers, you’ve probably used forms — whether on your site or in a survey — more than a few times. But have you ever started to get bored with the same old, robotic form type?

Typeform is the tool you need to try if you’re looking for new ways to interact with your prospects and customers while giving them a positive, human-centered experience. Typeform isn’t just another survey tool. It’s a conversational, interactive typeform that feels more interactive than a standard form. Use it to host survey content, lead forms, or even create content with it by putting together quizzes and more.

Try Using Typeform in your Marketing Today

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Other fun tools to try:

  • Giphy
  • To.Doist

Keeping Up with the Latest Industry News Tools

Reading this post alone won’t end your career-long pursuit for the latest tools, trends, and marketing techniques. That’s why keeping up with the latest industry news is a full part of your job as a marketer.

Product Hunt, a tool meant for finding the latest tools and products, is a must for any marketer trying to stay on top of the industry and find new channels to promote their own product launches. Product Hunt is a daily feed of launched tools, letting people upvote what they think is interesting. Pro tip: when you sign up for Product Hunt, set it as your homescreen in your browser so you’ll always have a reminder to keep an eye out for what’s new. Who knows? You might even decide to use some of the featured tools yourself!

 Sign Up for Product Hunt Now

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 Other news and timely tools:

  • Flipboard
  • Pocket
  • Your choice of online news sources or magazines

Lead Generation Tools 

If you’re in the mood for demand generation, you probably have you eyes on the prize: converting anonymous website visitors into contacts with email addresses that you can successfully nurture. While landing pages are a must for some things, sometimes you want a shorter, simpler user experience to capture lead information.

HubSpot Marketing Free is the simplest, easiest way to do just that. The moment a lead shares their email, you’ll know who they are, where they work, and what pages they visited — all in real time. When they view an offer or check your pricing, you’ll be ready to follow up right away.

And with simple but powerful analytics, you’ll learn more about what’s working and what’s not — like which traffic sources or pieces of content are driving the most conversions. It’s a risk-free way to find out what inbound marketing can do for you. No budget necessary.

Try Out Hubspot Marketing Free

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In the world of nurturing, the tools and techniques used are constantly involving. While some aspects of nurturing remain the same, like using email to nurture contacts down your funnel, for example, the content and positioning you use is ever-changing. It would be easy for us to introduce a set of standard workflow and automation tools (like HubSpot’s, for example) you can use to nurture your contacts down the funnel. But if you’re looking for something a little more innovative for actually creating nurturing content, we have a new tool for you to try.

Vidyard is a great tool for creating and hosting awesome video content in your nurturing flows and otherwise. At HubSpot, for example, we’ve even started using Vidyard to create unique, customized nurturing videos specific to our audience and product. What makes Vidyard so great is its variety of video tools that you can use  to create remarkable content. 

From Vidyard’s live feature to its studio content creation products to its free tool – ViewedIt — Vidyard is an excellent tool if you’re a marketer looking to jump on the video bandwagon and start integrating video into all of your content. 

Check out Vidyard Today 

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Online Advertising Tools

If your team is making investments into PPC ad campaigns on platforms like Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, it’s probably a bit of a hassle to manage all the different ad campaigns you’re running across each different network. Besides just managing them, you then have to try and report on the results of all of them. What a struggle. Luckily, there’s a tool for that.

AdStage takes the hassle out reporting on all of the PPC campaigns you’re running and puts it all in one place. AdStage helps you automate, create, and manage your campaigns across all of the major PPC platforms, then allows you to report on your results. With visual features and powerful automation tools, AdStage is a must for PPC experts and newbies alike. 

Check out AdStage

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Other online advertising tools:

  • HubSpot Ads Add-On
  • Perfect Audience
  • Google Adwords
  • Facebook 
  • LinkedIn 
  • Adroll


In any marketing team, the inevitable happens: there’s a million files and pieces of content between everyone on your team without one place to keep it all. Organization on any team — let alone a marketing team — is essential. That’s why it’s important to have a collaborative organization tool to keep you sane. 

Dropbox is the perfect tool to keep your team organized and your files under control. With cloud-based software to keep your files accessible anywhere at anytime, Dropbox helps your team store all of its files in a central location. Dropbox makes it easy to collaborate, too. With tools like Dropbox Paper, which allows you to write and collaborate in real time on the same doc — and sharing tools for shared folders and files, you’ll be organized and ready for any project that comes your way.

 Get Dropbox for Your Team Now 

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Other organization tools:

  • Google Drive
  • Box
  • Trello 

Project Management

File management and organization is one thing, but how do you manage all of the moving pieces of a marketing campaign or project? There are many different tools you can use for project management, but only one sticks out when it comes to the number of integrations and features at the price of — oh yeah — free! 

Trello is a great project management tool for small teams and individuals. With it’s Kanban-style setup and fun user interface, Trello lets you set up to-do lists and tag individual cards with due dates, members, labels, and more. You can attach files, links, images, and more to your cards and easily get a full-view of any project that you’re working on. At HubSpot, we use Trello daily to manage our team campaigns and individual to-do lists. Want an example of how we do this? Check out our guide to managing marketing campaigns in Trello.  

Get Trello — It’s Free! 

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Other project management tools:

  • HubSpot Projects Tool (one of many tools in the HubSpot Marketing Platform)
  • JIRA
  • Asana

Search Engine Optimization

Whether its keyword research, content optimization, or checking your current page rankings, every marketer needs a go-to tool for planning what content to create and how to optimize it for SEO. Google Analytics and SEMrush our great tools for planning which keywords to rank for, but how do you make sure the content you create actually meets your goal once it’s created? is the ideal tool marketers can use to make sure their SEO efforts are having a real impact on their marketing strategy. 

Check out now

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Other SEO tools:

  • HubSpot Content Strategy Tool 
  • Google Analytics / Keyword Tool 
  • Keywords Everywhere Chrome Extension
  • SEMrush
  • Moz

Social Media

Social Media Managers know the pain of posting that perfect social media post only to have a follower find a typo a minute later and call you out. For marketers, using a social media tool to schedule all of your posts (so you catch those typos beforehand) is a must. But it also helps to get the right analytics from your social posts, especially on channels where it can be hard to get that information.

Iconosquare is the perfect tool for marketers to grow their brand on Instagram with easy-to-use analytics. It’s not always easy to know what’s working and what’s not on Instagram. But, as the second most popular social channel and one that’s quickly approaching first most popular among some age groups, it’s a channel that marketers can’t afford to miss out on. Try Iconosquare now to maximize your Instagram analytics and optimize your brand Instagram channel for success. 

Try Iconosquare Now

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Other social media tools:

  • HubSpot Social Inbox (one of many tools in the HubSpot Marketing Platform)
  • Buffer
  • Hootsuite
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin

Team Communication 

Where would your work day be without accessibility and communication between you and your colleagues? Probably pretty frustrating. Marketers can’t shy away from communication when it comes to aligning with team members and across the company, so having the right team communication tools is necessary every single day.

I’d be given a lot of slack if I didn’t make the world aware of this tool.

Slack is a powerful messaging app that allows you and your teammates to quickly message back and forth without the hassle of email. But it’s not just AOL instant messenger 2.0. Slack has powerful features and integrations that make it possible for you to integrate all of your other daily tools — like Trello, Gmail, Giphy, and so many more — right where you’re already communicating. You can start channels between different teams or just chat with specific colleagues. Slack makes remote and in-person work possible and easier than ever.

Get Slack today. Seriously. Do it.

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Other team communication tools:

  • HipChat
  • Google Chat
  • Join.Me
  • Zoom
  • Skype

Website Optimization

As marketers, sometimes it feels like we’re constantly making educated guesses about how our site visitors are going to interact with our content. While we might design a page to draw our user’s eye to a spot on a page, how do we ever really know where their focus is so that we can improve that experience?

Hotjar is a new and easy way to truly understand what your web and mobile site visitors are looking at when they interact with your site. WIth its visual heatmap tools, you can understand what users want, care about, and interact with on your site. Hotjar visually represents visitors’ clicks, taps and scrolling behavior, giving you the ability to find hot areas for growth and conversion rate optimization.

Convinced? Try Hotjar. It’s Free!

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Other website optimization tools:

  • HubSpot Website Platform
  • Optimizely
  • Unbounce

Want the full list of tools? Here it is:

We’ve covered a lot of tools for every part of your job on this page. But sometimes, it’s just helpful to see the full list. Here is our list of the top 58 marketing tools you need to know about. 

Top 58 Tools Every Marketer Should Know About

AddEvent Hootsuite Piktochart
Adobe Color CC Hotjar Product Hunt
Adobe Spark HubSpot Academy Recordit
Adroll HubSpot CRM SEMRush
Adstage HubSpot Marketing Skillshare
Asana Iconosquare Skype
Box IFTTT Slack
Buffer JIRA To.Doist
Canva Join.Me Trello
Codeacademy Kap Twitter
Dropbox Keywords Everywhere Typeform
Eventbrite Leadpages Udemy
Facebook LinkedIn Unbounce
Flipboard Venngage
General Assembly Moz Vidyard
Giphy Vimeo
Google Adwords Optimizely Wistia
Google Analytics Pocket Youtube
Google Drive Picatic Zoom

You’ve got all the tools you need, but are you looking for a place to start putting them all together? Check out our free marketing blue print guide.  It’ll walk you through creating your own marketing plan and teach you how to use all of these tools together. 

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These 7 Brands Take Personalized Marketing to a New Level

Published by in category Daily, Personalization | Comments are closed

When I sit down to write an article, I have a pretty standard routine. I outline the story in our Content Optimization System (COS), copy and paste it into a Google doc, find a good photo to accompany it, do research, write, proofread, and carry it back over to our COS. It’s a weird series of steps that doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, but it does for me. They’re my very own personal blogging habits.

Those habits aren’t just limited to my writing process. I have morning, evening, and weekend routines, as if my entire life has become a series of established patterns. Knowing what those habits are, I learned during step four of the above, is a veritable goldmine for marketers.

I figured that out from a 2012 New York Times article called, “How Companies Learn Your Secrets.” Penned by Charles Duhigg, it was written largely as a follow-up to what became a public incident: An angry father marched into a Minnesota Target store, demanded to know why his teenage daughter received coupons for baby products, only to later find out that she was, in fact, pregnant. The retailer, it turned out, was able to predict her pregnancy and subsequently personalize the promotions she received, thanks in large part to a ton of (completely legal) data collection and analysis. New Call-to-action

Creepy — or great marketing?

The article details exactly what that information and accompanying process look like, and why psychology makes it easier for marketers to customize the messages they send us. But how does that work, and how have other brands put it into practice? We’ve dug a little deeper, and shared what we found below.

7 Personalized Marketing Examples

1) Target

The Example

To continue the above tale, we thought it might be helpful to share more information on how, exactly, the retailer pulled off the aforementioned personal prediction. As Duhigg explains in his article — which goes into much greater detail than I will here — every Target customer is assigned a Guest ID number after the very first interaction with the brand. That ID is used to store the customer’s demographic information, ranging from ethnicity to job history, and to track buying behavior. And by doing the latter, specifically with those who had baby registries with the store, Target’s marketing analysts were able to form a “pregnancy prediction” score, which allowed them to determine which purchasing patterns indicated a customer was in the early expectant stages.

It was a game changer. “Once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained,” Duhigg writes, “it’s incredibly difficult to change them.” That is, until, a major life event takes place, like finding out that a baby is one the way. That’s when routines are forced to change. Suddenly, there’s a deadline, and people start to buy products that they never previously considered, like “cocoa-butter lotion” and “a purse large enough to double as a diaper bag,” the article says. Those are the behaviors that trigger Target’s pregnancy prediction score, prompting the customer to receive special deals on baby-related items.

The Takeaway

While this level of personalized marketing is admittedly fascinating, it could backfire. Duhigg summarized it well in his article:

Using data to predict a woman’s pregnancy, Target realized … could be a public-relations disaster. So the question became: how could they get their advertisements into expectant mothers’ hands without making it appear they were spying on them? How do you take advantage of someone’s habits without letting them know you’re studying their lives?”

That’s not to say that marketers should completely do away with personalization, as it’s effective when done correctly — personalized emails, for example, have a 6.2% higher open rate than those that aren’t. But in an era with growing concern over privacy and security, tread lightly. Let your customers know that you understand them, without being intrusive. Curious to learn how to do that with your HubSpot Marketing and Sales software? Read more about how personalization tokens work here.

2) Vidyard

The Example

Last week, my colleague, HubSpot Academy Sales Professor Kyle Jepsen, forwarded me an email with the comment, “Taking personalization to a whole new level.” The video below followed:

Source: Vidyard

He wasn’t kidding. This particular brand could have just superimposed each recipient’s name onto the whiteboard in this video and kept the same script for each one. But it didn’t stop there — Cole, the gentleman speaking in the video, not only addressed Kyle by his first name, but also referred to his specific colleagues and the conversations he had with them.

The Takeaway

Considering that the average online reader loses interest after about 15 seconds, personalizing your mixed media content is an interesting and often effective approach. “I mean, clearly he made the video just for me,” Jepson said. “It’s an interesting case study.”

And while this sort of personalization is memorable, it’s also extremely time-consuming. So if you set out to create it, be absolutely sure you’re targeting the right people. There’s nothing worse than taking the time to produce something highly customized, only to find out you’ve sent it to someone who doesn’t have the decision-making power you need.

3) Coca Cola

Personalized Coke Bottle.pngSource:

The Example

Back in 2011, Coca Cola launched its famous “Share a Coke” campaign in Australia, bringing it to the U.S. in 2014. It was an effort to reach millennials, in which each bottle contained one of the most popular first names assigned to that generation. Eventually, bottles contained semi-personal labels beyond first names, like “better half.” Today, according to Ad Age, over 800 first names are used.

According to that same source, Coke will soon be adding surnames to bottles, like Garcia and Thompson. “Last names give us an opportunity to invite more people into the campaign,” Evan Holod, Coca-Cola’s brand director told Ad Age. “It’s just a great way to up the reach.”

In addition to that effort, according CNBC, Coca-Cola Great Britain will soon be including the names of famous vacation destinations on bottles, like Hawaii and Miami. The goal of that initiative is “to remind people of the refreshment and great taste that only an ice-cold Coke can bring on a hot summer day,” read the official statement. Plus, those bottles will come with the chance to win a trip to those locales.

The Takeaway

Putting first names on Coke bottles was a successful move. In the U.S., it resulted in increased sales volume for the first time in roughly four years. Plus, it provides a cheap thrill — I know that I internally squeal with excitement when I actually find a bottle that says “Amanda.”

The last name move, however, could be a bit different. While there is the option to customize your own bottle labels at — which allows you to write whatever you want, like a customized event hashtag or something like “congratulations” — it could be deemed as exclusionary to those with unique or hyphenated last names. For example, while my feelings aren’t hurt knowing that I won’t find a bottle labeled with “Zantal-Wiener,” I’m not about to pay $5 for a customized one, either. So when you set out to personalize a product, make sure it’s appropriately customized to reach the right segment of your audience, but isn’t restrictive, either.

4) Amazon

The Example

Amazon’s personalization efforts aren’t exactly new. Since at least 2013, its product curation and recommendation algorithm has made for headlines and case studies. And yet, every time I visit my Amazon homepage, I can’t help but scroll down and get a kick out of its recommendations for me. Have a look:


Those who know me are aware of my borderline obsession with hip hop, which is also the motivation for a lot of my online shopping behavior. Clearly, Amazon has taken notice. And as I continued scrolling down, the fitting personalization went on. There was a header reading “For a night in” with recommendations on what to stream on Amazon Prime — an activity that comprised the majority of my weekend. Its recommendations for dog and kitchen products were on point, as well. After all, those are the categories where I make the most purchases.

It’s not just me. When I asked my colleagues what their Amazon homepages looked like, they were equally pleased. Sophia Bernazzani, a fellow Marketing Blog staff writer (and self-proclaimed “cat mother of three”), had a plethora of personalized cat food recommendations, while Managing Editor Emma Brudner’s suggested Prime streaming titles came with the header, “Bingeable TV.”

“Amazon,” Brudner remarked, “You know me so well.”

The Takeaway

Here’s a personalization example where we don’t have a ton of complaints. As Brudner said, Amazon seems to know us pretty well, though I do question why, as per the image above, its algorithm thought I might like to buy a pair of leg warmers.

The nice thing about personalization of this nature, when it’s executed correctly, is that it often can lead to unplanned purchasing decisions. For example, the purpose of my most recent visit to Amazon was to check out its personalization features for this article. But then, I discovered that Rapper’s Delight: The Hip Hop Cookbook was in my recommended books. Did I buy something I don’t need? Sure. But I also was left delighted by the fact that it was brought to my attention with very little effort.

If you’re in the business of personalizing curated items or recommendations for your customers, remember: The best part about it, for the user, is the resulting discovery of new things that we like — whether it’s a book, a tool, or an article.

5) Spotify

The Example

In 2015, Adam Pasick penned a story for Quartz explaining the “magic” behind Spotify’s “Discover Weekly”: A curated playlist of tracks that it thinks a given user will like. It’s carried out, like many other personalization and recommendation platforms, largely with the help of an algorithm that determines a user’s “taste profile,” based on listening behavior and the most popular playlists among the entire Spotify audience. The technology behind it is from Echo Nest, a “music intelligence company” that was acquired, according to Pasick, by Spotify in 2014. Here’s a great diagram from the article that visually represents the process:

flowchart-v2.pngSource: Quartz

As much as I use Spotify — which is close to daily — I’ve never actually bothered listening to my Discover Weekly playlist. So after a colleague brought it to my attention, I decided to take it for a spin.

Spotify Discover Weekly.png

The results were hit-or-miss. There were a few new songs that I was thrilled to discover and plan to listen to again. But for the most part, my experience was similar to Pasick’s, who described many of the songs on his personalized playlist as “meh.”

But those behind Discover Weekly acknowledge that personalization isn’t a perfect science. They also have suggestions for how to make it better, like adding the Discover Weekly songs you like to your library, or skipping the ones you don’t — “If users fast-forward within the first 30 seconds of a song,” Spotify Product Director Matthew Ogle and Engineering Manager Edward Newett told Pasick, “the Discover Weekly algorithm interprets that as a ‘thumbs-down’ for that particular song and artist.”

The Takeaway

Most personalization initiatives aren’t going to be perfect. Even with a great algorithm, they are, at best, very educated guesses as to what’s going to be applicable to your customers. For that reason, it might be best to take a conservative approach to your recommendations, especially in the earliest stages of any personalization efforts you make.

This is an area where small-batch testing can be helpful. When you want to try out a personalization project or algorithm, identify your most active users, and invite them to pilot out the technology. Listen carefully to their feedback — good and bad — and see what you can do to make it better.

6) Iberia Airlines

The Example

During the 2016 holiday season, Iberia Airlines customers received emails posing the question: If you could visit any vacation destination, what would it be, and who would you go with? To answer, customers were redirected to a microsite where they would fill in responses, as well as the email address of the person they wanted to travel with. Not long after that, the friend would receive an email with a holiday greeting about the dream vacation — only, in order to view the card, that person had to click a link to view it in his or her browser.

It was that last step, Skift writer Brian Sumers explained, where “Iberia … put its advertising budget to work, using cookies [with the user’s permission] so the traveler’s friend would see banners across the web, suggesting the perfect Christmas gift.” That gift, of course, was the dream vacation. Let’s say, for example, I sent one of these cards to a friend. She might subsequently see several ads while browsing that said things like, “It’s never too late to fulfill Amanda’s dream. Do it with a trip to Mykonos.”

The Takeaway

The idea is certainly a cute one — and around here, we’re suckers for a good holiday marketing campaign. But one of the most important items to highlight here is Iberia’s use of cookies, and the fact that the brand wasn’t sneaky about it. As per the video above, a clear request was made to the user to allow cookies, and that’s essential. Even the best customized marketing becomes less personal, and definitely less desirable if it’s carried out without the user’s agreement.

7) Twiddy


The Example

Having enough data is essential for marketing personalization — but knowing what to look at and how to use it is just as important. That’s what made a tremendous difference for Twiddy, a vacation rental company based in the Outer Banks.

“Unless we had a good way of looking at the data,” Marketing Director Ross Twiddy told Inc., “how could we make good decisions?”

One of the major pieces of information that Twiddy began to more closely examine was how rental volume and demand shifted from week-to-week. Noticing those trends allowed the company to start making “pricing recommendations” to homeowners, according to Inc., “on the basis of market conditions, seasonal trends, and the size and location of a home.” The week after Independence Day was one that stood out to the team in particular, in that rentals showed a precipitous drop during that period.

Because Twiddy observed that trend (among others), it allowed the owners of its managed properties to start experimenting with pricing for that particular week as early as January. Not only did it benefit the customer — setting more realistic prices for lower-demand periods actually increased the bookings made for them — but it was just one way that Twiddy was delighting its customers with helpful, actionable information. It paid off, too. Since the brand began to use this data to help homeowners with decisions like pricing, its portfolio increased over 10%.

The Takeaway

There’s a famous saying that goes, “Help me help you.” Data, in general, can be a tremendous asset to brands. And it doesn’t have to be about your customers’ behavior — it can be about the habits of their customers, like the vacationers that rented from Twiddy’s homeowner clients.

As long as it’s something that can be shared ethically — like objective buying or seasonal trends — share the data and insights with your customers that’s going to help make them more successful. That’s the type of thing that makes a brand remarkable, and can help benefit your business, too.

Get Personal

One of the fundamental purposes of any personalization effort is to let your customers know that you’re paying attention to them. But striking a balance between, “We think you might find this helpful” and “we’re watching you” isn’t a simple process, so be sure to do some careful research, planning, and testing before you jump into any large-scale customization initiatives.

Remember that while you might be a marketer, you’re also a consumer. When it comes to experiments like these, put yourself into the shoes of the customer and ask, “Is this delightful? Or is it just creepy?” If it leans toward the latter, find out what’s giving it that vibe, and try something different.

What are some of your favorite personalized marketing examples? Let us know in the comments.

This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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13 Project Management Terms You Should Know [Infographic]

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The legendary management consultant Peter Drucker once famously wrote, “There is nothing quite so useless as doing with great efficiency something that should not be done at all.”

This nugget of wisdom is especially relevant to project managers. Effective project management is all about cutting through the clutter to focus on the things with the biggest impact on the project’s bottom line — the basic pillars that hold your project up. There’s no use optimizing the details if your core process is flawed. 

This handy infographic from Taskworld identifies 13 basic, big-picture project management terms you should know to keep things running smoothly and on-schedule from kickoff to post-mortem. 

Some of the areas listed might seem self-explanatory, but they’re worth your attention as you start planning out your next big project. They’ll help you communicate your goals effectively, allocate resources efficiently, and keep your team focused and supported. Check them out below.

How do you make sure your big projects stay on track? Let us know in the comments.


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