Sell me this pen



Marketing doesn’t work the same way it used to. It’s harder to drive traffic and reach new audiences, so how do you grow when things are so competitive?

How are you staying current? How do you reach new audiences who are being bombarded with options? I’d love to hear different takes on this.

I read an article which claimed that video is the future of digital marketing. As soon as I hear something is “the future” or the “be all end all” of anything, I feel like it’s already become too saturated to be effective.

Thoughts? Advice? Articles? :point_down:


Great question Jess!

I find it super important for marketers to stay up on the latest trends. It’s certainly not easy though. Here are some things I do:

1. Read, read, read: - Personally, I try to read and follow all the leading blogs in my niche (conversion optimization, landing page design, etc.). I use Feedly most often to aggregate new blog posts, and save them to Pocket. Then every weekend I’ll go through the articles in depth.

2. Participate in Facebook groups and forums - There are several really awesome Facebook groups, Slack groups and forums (like the Unbounce community) that are filled with great ideas. I remember the first time I heard about chat bots being used for lead generation was in a Facebook group.

3. Allocate a percentage of your week to testing - This is probably the most difficult thing for us to do, because we’re all so busy. But it’s essential to step back and dedicate a portion of your work week to testing new tools, tactics, and strategies. Even if every test you run is a failure, it still counts. Document it. Share it. Learn from it.

4. Study non-marketing trends - There are so many crazy innovations happening right now, from AI, AR, mixed reality, voice search, wearables, blockchain/crypto, self-driving cars, etc. None of these are directly related to marketing, but you can be certain that all of them will influence the marketing landscape for decades. Studying these trends (and others) can inspire us to see new applications in our industries. Just look at the cool stuff y’all at Unbounce are doing with machine learning for instance! :wink:

I’m looking forward to hearing some other suggestions here as well!


Thanks @nicholas! I’ve got a few questions to fire back :grinning:

Any links to share? And how often would you say you switch up your list of go-to blogs? Or have you found a reliable list of content?

Do you find it more helpful if you actually participate, rather than just lurk? Or is the content just there for the taking?

What percentage would you say is the minimum amount for this? For example, if someone spends one our a week running tests, would you say that that isn’t enough?


Okay, this might sound kind of antithetical to good marketing practice, but… I tend to avoid marketing trends as a rule of thumb. To illustrate what I mean by that, allow me to point you toward the state of web development.

There are new languages, platforms, and frameworks coming out left and right, claiming to be the best out there, and that all other languages are soon to be obsolete. Many developers jump all over them (see: Angular, Node, React, Go, Vue, Ruby on Rails, Less, MongoDB, I could go on for ∞ ), but sooner or later the fad dies off and they’re on to the next “best” thing, having to re-architect their entire codebase in the process.

It can tend to be a rabbit hole filled with waste – wasted time, wasted money, wasted resources racing to keep up with the next best thing, only to drown in the process because these technologies haven’t been around long enough to be proven or to accurately understand the drawbacks of using them. (Why in the eff are you using a non-relational database for your CRM???)

Throughout all of that, however, you have a small set of very long-standing, stable languages, platforms, and frameworks that that proven to be steady and effective over many years, that aren’t going anywhere any time soon. PHP, vanilla JavaScript/JQuery, MySQL. Maybe they’re not the most sexy or exciting thing out there, and there are cons to them of course, but they continue to stand the test of time and prove to be effective tools.

I believe the same is true with marketing. Keep an eye on emerging technologies, trends, and proven methods, but also be wary of the unsubstantiated claims and be aware of your market (you’re probably not going to have much luck marketing for local solar companies in Southern California right now, for instance).

Underneath all of Google’s Best Practices and the buzzwords and jargon, the core principles remain the same. Find a niche, speak to your audience on their level, make sure your product or service has a competitive edge, and alleviate their pain.

We’re all just people trying to sell things to other people. The best way to do that is to understand the people who you’re selling to, be it by doing market research, interacting directly with your consumer (asking for feedback, conducting surverys, follow-up), peer testing, etc.

In my experience, the most effective thing that has proven time and time again to work is to personalize the consumer’s experience and treat them like a fellow human instead of a lead among a sea of other leads. Be personable, listen to what they’re saying, don’t sound scripted, etc. In other words, make them feel special. This is especially important in competitive, overly saturated markets. Sometimes, a pen is just a pen and the only thing that really makes a difference is the actual interaction.


Once again I’m blown away with these responses!!

That sounds like something @digibomb would say, he even hates the word “trending”.

Could it be argued that the common denominator between these long-standing languages is their ability to play well with others? Or scalability?

Would you be willing to share some of your tactics there?

:raised_hands::raised_hands::raised_hands::raised_hands::raised_hands::raised_hands::raised_hands::raised_hands::raised_hands::raised_hands: PREACH!!!


This shared collection has most of my favorite blogs on it:

Oh yes! I was a lurker even here on the Unbounce forums for too long. It’s so much better to jump in. So any lurkers out there reading this right now…please say hello! You’ll be surprised at how many awesome friends you’ll make and how much more you’ll learn once you become part of the conversation. :slight_smile:

Yes, an hour a week is not bad. I guess it just depends on how much of a priority it is compared to other goals. We invest more time testing on some clients/projects than others, just because for some it’s a much bigger priority. For others, testing is literally all we do.

Great questions! :100:


Very insightful stuff!


Ha! Man after my own heart. We’re such hipsters. :eyeglasses:

Oh, absolutely, for most of them probably. I think another common denominator is that these are very often standalone languages that don’t rely on build packages or have other dependencies. They’re easy to get up and running very quickly. But I think it’s also just the simple fact that they’re proven to be reliable and scalable and will play well with others. It takes a good number of years of active use by a decently large number of developers before you can truly say that those things are true about any language (or marketing strategy, to tie this back to the actual topic).

Sure! I think there are ultimately a lot of different ways that this can be done and there’s no one-tactic-fits-all scenario. To give you a very specific example that works for us, but which I definitely wouldn’t recommend for everyone:

We put a lot of care into making our pages intentionally “small business” and a little “cheesy” looking. We’re a national company, but we do a lot in order to present ourselves as a local company, because that’s the audience that we’re tying to cater to. So our thought is that a truly local company might not have the budget to hire a professional web design agency or an in-house design team to craft amazing-looking pages. By “dumbing down” the way our pages look, our visitors are more likely to believe (on a subconscious level) that we’re actually local.

Of course, the language that you use in your copy is also a big factor here. We do a lot of research into our locations before we launch them to get a feel for the local vernacular and surroundings. I live in San Luis Obispo, but nobody who lives here calls it San Luis Obispo. We all call it SLO, and if you don’t also call it SLO, it’s a pretty good indication that you’re probably not from around here.

I’ve mentioned this to you before, but I really like the marketing of Dollar Shave Club. They’re selling a razor that they’re buying in bulk from a manufacturer that any consumer can buy from directly. They’re good razors, but they’re just razors. But just look at their debut video. It hits every single point I mentioned:

Niche - Men’s (initially) razors
Speak to your audience - Just a dude talking to other dudes about how they don’t need all that fancy crap
Competitive edge - Cheaper, better quality
Alleviate their pain - You don’t have to keep going to the store or even think about replacing your razor

Plus it’s witty, funny, and personable. That kind of marketing obviously wouldn’t work for every industry, but these guys knew how to speak to their audience.


I wish I could add to this, but @Nicholas and @leah.ann already covered pretty much everything …

I will say this, I am a big un-fan of anything or anyone that declares “this is the future”. Very few, if anyone really is capable of seeing what will be the future in any industry,. Sure there are subtle hints that real visionaries can decipher, but even then they don’t get it right all the the time. People are super unpredictable and what we think may work, may fail. And, we all know this, what works now will never stand the test of time.

My favourite saying to this day came from an old biz partner of mine. He use to say “Just because it is written in stone doesn’t mean you can’t smash that stone”.

Marketing, I believe, should be lived in the now. Do what works today and figure out what works tomorow. Don’t try to design the future.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry