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A conversation with Joaquin Lippincott

What will it take for Portland to become an international tech hub by 2020? Joaquin Lippincott, founder and president of Metal Toad, and I explored this topic during an interactive discussion at the McBru offices on Nov. 19, in front of an audience of tech industry experts, public sector policy advisors, and interested individuals. (The entire conversation was recorded via Periscope, and is available here.)

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What could sound more selfless and altruistic than the “sharing economy?” You know, where Airbnb helps you share your apartment and Uber helps you share your car?

 Except that sharing isn’t exactly an accurate word to describe the exchange of goods and services that occurs when Airbnb helps people book a private room or Uber helps someone hail a ride in a private vehicle. As a technical marketing writer, that got me thinking.

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There's no doubt about it, we're in fast-paced industry. Technology moves quickly and to stay ahead of our B2B tech clients and their various industries, we have to go even faster. On one hand, it keeps things interesting, but how can we stay productive and get everything done while still trying to achieve balance?

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In my daily life here at McBru, I tend to spend most of my time thinking about the world of tech B2B advertising and lead nurturing. I frequently question how we can get the highest ad click through rates and email opens, and the best ways to drive traffic to websites. We use the answers to these questions to form some of our best practices.

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Networking is a necessary evil for most career professionals. We know it's something we must engage in, continually improve upon and learn to leverage; however, we may find it tedious. There are so many benefits to connecting with new people, and while it may be difficult to measure its effectiveness, we know there is value.

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My colleague Jessica Lange recently blogged about McBru’s approach to using AB testing to optimize emails; I want to piggyback on her post to explain how McBru extends the concepts behind AB testing and ongoing performance improvement into other aspects of advertising and marketing. As a metrics-obsessed tech B2B marketer, I love any measurement we can reliably utilize, especially when it leads to continuous optimization opportunities.

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Gigaom’s announcement yesterday that it will be shutting its doors is another reminder of a trend we’ve all been watching for the past few years – the tech trade publication landscape is shrinking. While it seems to be happening more quickly in some industries than others, it still impacts the way we conduct both tech B2B advertising and PR programs. With fewer options, it’s time to start getting creative with our approach.

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One of the most fun and creative aspects of tech B2B marketing is the way we get to tell stories everyday. I’m not talking about making things up, I’m talking about how to deliver our messages in interesting, compelling ways that people will remember. As marketers, we’ve been perfecting the art of storytelling for decades, but it appears the rest of the business community might be on to us. In fact, Entrepreneur named 2014 The Year of the Story. And we can expect the stories to continue into 2015.

So how does storytelling relate to our daily work? Why is it so fascinating, and how can we use it to help our messaging? Well, in a recent conversation with the New York Times, Andrew Linderman, teacher of “Storytelling for Entrepreneurs,” claims that it’s really emphasizing the nuances and showing the specifics about a story that makes it really compelling. So as I’m thinking about press releases for my favorite cloud storage client, rather than just saying “…so-and-so’s cloud storage solution is good…,” I’ll think about the why and the specifics. The storage solution is easy to implement, meaning the IT tech has more time to spend on bigger, more interesting projects. Now our IT friends are interested; they can see themselves in the situation. And, as always, it doesn’t hurt that our client looks like the hero!

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As a client, how would you rate the overall “user experience” with your marketing agency? Do the programs and tools they use have the flexibility to be customized to your needs?

This year, McBru has committed to implementing the only software made exclusively for creative agencies. It’s called Workamajig. The name is kind of perfect, because you can’t really call it a project management software, or an accounting program, or a collaboration tool—because it’s all of that, and more.

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As 2014 draws to a close, marketing managers might be wondering what exactly they gained from those tireless hours managing their social media platforms and campaigns. There’s no doubt that thoughtful tech B2B social media marketing can have a positive impact on your business. It can improve customer perception of your company and increase brand awareness. But usually it’s the bottom line that matters most to the business decision makers, and determines the direction and budget for next year’s marketing efforts. So how do you find out what the return on investment is for your social media marketing? This Hubspot article identifies the top 5 social media metrics to determine ROI for your business:

1) Reach: The more followers or fans that your brand has, the more people are seeing your content. Hopefully your fans aren’t only viewing your content, but sharing it with their connections as well. This would extend your content’s reach, and increase impressions. It is important to track how your reach is increasing or decreasing over time. What pieces of content reach more of your followers? Is it boring text posts or highly visual pieces like infographics and photos? Find out what content resonates with fans and increase its frequency to extend your reach. This will increase the value you are getting from social media and improve your ROI.

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