What’s your Guru Stack?

What's Your Guru Stack?

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Many marketers ask, “what’s your martech stack” as a way to uncover a brand’s secret sauce to success. We think they’re asking the wrong question. Today’s marketing tool offerings continue to evolve, but the real value is not in what martech tool you use but how you use it. With that in mind, we wanted to share some insights on our guru stack—the go-to list we rely on to keep our marketing ideas fresh and our perspective firmly transfixed on the future.

The marketing line of the digital era might just be, “what’s your martech stack?”. From Facebook group queries to CrunchBase lists to Scott Brinker’s amazingly gargantuan 2022 Marketing Technology Landscape (now pushing 10,000), every marketer is eager to chase the newest shiny object, share experiences, and uncover the secret sauce behind business success.

Falling prey to shiny object syndrome

Unfortunately, many shiny objects fail to live up to KPI metric expectations or even solve those nagging customer journey challenges like total campaign attribution and complete marketing automation and optimization.

“Technology and tools are useful and powerful when they are your servant and not your master.”

Stephen Covey

Attaining the Unattainable

Long-term success isn’t guaranteed in business or in marketing. Models are not 100% reliable because people are not 100% reliable. Not every campaign and content asset can be precisely tracked (hello, dark funnel). Robert Cialdini’s research in Pre-Suasion suggested that prospects became more receptive to a brand after its seeing banner ads, even though the prospect had no recollection of the views.  We do our best to predict outcomes based on the sometimes-impulsive decisions of emotional beings living in a turbulent world.

Yet, we keep searching for a better way, a more efficient path to optimization. We keep striving to improve our craft to entice only the best prospects to take action. With so much noise, the challenge today is how do we stay focused enough on the relevant trends to move forward while ensuring we don’t miss something substantially relevant?

Optimize the Guru Stack

Our approach is to review and prune our go-to resources regularly. We optimize our guru stack.

Clients expect us to share news and trends from the “outside world.” Most clients are buried so deep into their own product portfolio and internal challenges that they don’t have the capacity or resources to track business, cultural, and marketing trends that could be impacting their ideal customer persona. At most, clients stay within their own industry, tracking trade news and competitive campaign efforts.

Our job is to bring the outside world to them, to show how key learnings and trends from other industries and changes to their audience can impact how they interact and convert prospects into customers.  

Our job is to bring the outside world to them, to show how key learnings and trends from other industries and changes to their audience can impact how they interact and convert prospects into customers.  

A fresh perspective from the outside

Getting an outside perspective is one of the many benefits a marketing agency can provide to a client, especially one who works across multiple industries and product categories.

Adapting to the Changes

The world is in a constant state of change. Even if your ideal consumer persona remains constant, those customers can quickly age out, and your next group may look quite different. The perceived needs of baby boomer parents were quite different than Gen Z parents because their outlook was different as the world has evolved.

Our independent agency has survived for over 30 years by continuing to learn, grow, and evolve. Our superpower is leveraging proven strategies to serve up relevant offers through new technologies. So how do we keep it fresh? We turn to the gurus.

7 Favorites from our Guru Stack

Ensuring that we’re tuned in to the business and cultural shifts, trends, and innovations is step 1 in providing clients with results. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information available, so we’ve worked hard to stay focused on tuning in to what’s essential to help our clients succeed.

Brendon Burchard: the world’s #1 high-performance coach, is the preeminent motivational trainer and an early pioneer in online education. His programs deliver an unbelievable amount of value and are well worth the time and money. We rely on Brendon’s GrowthDay app for daily motivation as well as his InfluencerPro business program where he transparently shares his own business models for success.

Russell Brunson and Dan Kennedy: Russell, the founder of ClickFunnels (a sales funnel builder for entrepreneurs), is a direct response fanatic with a fantastic tool. He recently acquired the IP of his marketing hero Dan Kennedy, one of the world’s most revered direct response strategists. Russell is painstakingly digitizing, updating, and sharing Dan’s lifetime body of work while also bringing him out of retirement to collaborate with Russell on fresh takes on direct response marketing.

GetLatka: 32-year-old celebrity entrepreneur Nathan Latka interviews thousands of SaaS company founders on their business model, metrics, and valuation multiples. He’s building a media empire that includes a magazine, podcast, YouTube videos, and a searchable database. His insights into emerging SaaS business models and trends in the marketplace are unmatched.

Ann Handley. Copywriter extraordinaire, partner at B2B training giant MarketingProfs, digital pioneer, and WSJ best-selling author. Ann publishes a free newsletter every two weeks, arriving in our inbox on Sunday mornings like clockwork. Her personable, unique, helpful writing style is a pleasure to read, and each issue is chocked full of fresh ideas and valuable tips that make our creative consistently better.

Inside Business: This excellent newsletter (paid subscription) gives us a quick daily state of the business world (US and international markets), combined with critical insights on the implications, all in less than 5 minutes a day.

Morning Brew: The daily brew series also serves up the best of the news in a 5-minute read. We subscribe to several Brew properties, including Marketing Brew, Sidekick, and Emerging Tech Brew.

ExitFive (formerly DGMG): Dave Gerhardt, the chief marketer for Drift and best-selling author, created a low-key B2B marketing group on Patreon a few years ago that you could join for $10 a month. Now he’s grown his community to 4,500 members and has added valuable resources, a job board, and a podcast. His active Facebook group is teeming with helpful B2B marketers who openly share insights and ask for advice.

List-making Challenges

Culling this list to 7 was the biggest challenge. So many great resources we regularly follow, like Trendhunter, SmartBrief, Popular Information, Numlock, California Sun, McKinsey, Google, and Nielsen insights, and The CLIKK, didn’t make the final cut. Nor did some of our favorite gurus who helped move us through our latest evolution, like Ryan Deiss, Frank Kern, and Jim Edwards. And we didn’t even mention our other relevant interests and test projects. In short, we’re consuming a ton of information, researching and writing, and testing concepts behind the scenes so that when we can approach every client’s marketing challenge with a fresh, modern perspective.

Who’s in your guru stack?

What are your go-to resources? Who are your favorite gurus? Have you culled your resources lately? Could you use a fresh perspective on your existing marketing efforts from ABM to Advocacy?

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