Keeping Current in the Ever-Changing World of Marketing

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Marketing has been moving at a lightning pace over the last decade and it shows no likelihood of slowing down. I thought it would be helpful to share some resources I have used over the years in an effort to keep current while teaching at COCC and working with local businesses on marketing issues. I will begin with general sites on marketing and promotion and then move into some industry specific resources.

The first place I start is with MarketingProfs (www.marketingprofs.com). It is my go to site for marketing information, with over 20 categories of topics. From consumer behavior to websites, to market research and writing marketing content, to email marketing and marketing metrics, this site covers them all. They have free content as well as membership resources. In addition they have both conferences and online on-demand seminars or multi-segment programs on a variety of topics. As an example they recently had seminars in creating compelling content for websites and this August they start another online program on search engine optimization (SEO).

With all the importance on being found on the web and with mobile, search engine optimization (SEO) can grow (or sink) your business. If you’re not a tech person, sometimes it is easy to let this part of your marketing slide. Don’t do it, it will kill your business. One of the best resources I have found is Search Engine Land (http://searchengineland.com) They cover everything around search optimization and search management, both organic and paid search as well as link building strategies. This also includes local search trend and analytics. In addition you will see lots of information here about changes at Google and other trends such as creating web content and using email marketing.

Adweek (www.adweek.com) covers current news in national advertising and branding. You can see the latest trends in advertising along with some breakthrough players in marketing and promotion. A good example is quirky.com which is a company that helps bring inventions to market. Certainly a good read about creating a culture of innovation. Or you can look here to find out how mobile technologies are impacting consumer behavior. Adweek also reports on the typical social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram along with market leaders such as Google and Apple. They have blogs and articles. As with many content providers, there are free resources as well as subscription resources.

Advertising Age (http://adage.com/) is for advertising professionals. I like going there to help get my creative juices flowing. The following comes from their resource page: “Ad Age Professional Resources is a library of resources provided to inform marketing, advertising and media executives with the most current and accurate information on industry-leading topics. Built to meet your needs, we offer an abundance of webcasts, industry guides and research reports written by recognized thought leaders in the industry.”

The National Restaurant Association (www.restaurant.org) is a trade association representing over 500,000 restaurants. They provide a variety of industry articles and reports covering marketing and sales, the hiring and training of employees, safety and sanitation and day-to-day operations for both the front and back of the house.

Visual Merchandising and Store Design (vmsd.com) covers the latest in retail store design and displays. This is an excellent resource to see great ideas from both large global retailers as well as small independents. Take a look, there is some really cool stuff happening out there!

Finally, if you have a particular topic in mind, just search for that topic and add the words “white paper.” (Example “search engine optimization white paper”). These are papers provided by companies or researchers with expertise in the search area requested. While there is no guarantee of the quality of the content, over time as your knowledge base increases and you begin to recognize the credible resources, you can learn quite a bit from these documents.

While often free, you typically have to provide an email address with the hopes of future business. An example of some great white papers and webinars is from the for-profit company Hubspot (https://library.hubspot.com)While their goal is to get you to use their inbound marketing platform, you can go to their library for some great educational content.

So when you have some free time, take a look at some of the above. Get on a few email lists and start enjoying and learning about that fast-paced world of today’s marketing.

Jim Kress can be reached at jkress@cocc.edu

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