Get More From Marketing Cloud: Meet Salesforce Expert Karl B.

Jul 16, 2020 Emily Brungard

According to the Walker Sands 2018 State of Marketing Technology report, sixty-three percent of marketers feel the martech landscape has evolved rapidly or at light speed in the last year, while only 28 percent feel the same about their company’s use of martech. As companies continue to see the value of and secure the budget for marketing technology tools, they’re also realizing that squeezing the full value of these tools can be difficult. In other words, they need help in order to see ROI from their martech spend. We asked Salesforce.com Certified Consultant and Torchlite expert Karl B. to discuss how marketing teams can get the most from Marketing Cloud, and how on-demand freelance experts can help marketers do more with the platform. What is the most common issue you see when working with Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers? The most common roadblock I see, especially with new Marketing Cloud customers, is the expectation that Marketing Cloud is like other marketing automation platforms—that new users can jump in and immediately leverage all the cool features Salesforce promotes. That’s when you start hearing customer complaints about Marketing Cloud; how it’s hard to use and it doesn’t work like their old marketing automation platform. Especially if they’ve come from platforms like HubSpot, which are less powerful, but easy to use. While Marketing Cloud has come a long way in simplifying complex functionality for users—take Journey Builder, for example—the real power lies in how Marketing Cloud allows you to build nearly any solution your business might need. But that power has a price. Marketing Cloud requires training and a developer mindset to truly leverage the capabilities it offers. I often describe Marketing Cloud as a “marketing automation construction set.” What do you predict will be a bigger problem in the next year for Salesforce Marketing Cloud customers? Honestly, a shortage of Marketing Cloud professionals. Customer interest in Marketing Cloud is growing faster than the supply of experienced Marketing Cloud consultants and developers. Lack of training resources has been key to this shortage. Salesforce has created some Trailhead training modules for Marketing Cloud and I can’t help but expect that more are on the way. Trailhead has turned into an incredible learning resource for Sales and Service Clouds and Salesforce’s other clouds. I look forward to seeing how Trailhead training evolves for Marketing Cloud. What is your most frequently shared tip for using Salesforce? When in doubt—Google it! During training, I always tell my clients that “Google is their best friend” when using SFMC or the other Salesforce clouds. Chances are someone else has asked for help for the same problem in Salesforce’s own communities or on StackExchange. And then there are blog posts and, of course, Salesforce’s documentation. On the flip side, what's your "secret" tip for Salesforce success? Education. Never stop learning when it comes to Salesforce—especially SFMC, which evolves so quickly. And don’t be afraid to tackle new areas, like writing SQL queries or learning AMPScript. The best SFMC users found out early on that the real power in SFMC comes from thinking like a marketer, but building like a developer. And that means getting out of your comfort zone and learning some tech. What is your proudest Salesforce-related project? Probably my second SFMC project. The client already had a very complex Sales Cloud org and needed to create dynamic meeting notification emails delivered by a Journey. That project pushed me to level up my SQL skills, dig deep into AMPScript and learn how to code API callouts from Sales Cloud to Marketing Cloud. That’s when I realized how critical developer skills are for accessing the power in SFMC. What are you most excited about in the current B2B marketing scene? Funny, but it’s been an ongoing issue for me since my days as a copywriter and marketing consultant that’s finally gaining traction. Marketers forget when selling B2B that they’re selling to people, not businesses. While the best B2B marketers have always known this, the rest are catching on and realizing that engaging with the person, not the business, is critical, especially in the first touches. I think social media has helped marketers embrace the human connection that’s essential in B2B marketing. Personalization is key to establishing relevance, and I think AI offers enormous potential in helping marketers craft relevant messages to cut through the barrage of bland marketing that prospects face every day. Applying AI effectively and ethically is going to be an exciting challenge in the years to come. Why do you think having an on-demand SFMC expert is necessary? SFMC can be frustrating for marketers new to the platform and the learning curve is demanding. An on-demand SFMC expert accelerates time-to-delivery for your campaigns. And, quite simply, it’s the best way to unlock the power of SFMC for your business without dedicating your internal staff to many hours of training and the necessary trial and error experience. Interested in learning more? Request a demo of Torchlite today.

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Your Mid-Year Salesforce Marketing Cloud Check Up

Jun 15, 2020 Emily Brungard

It’s June—can you believe it? We’re not just telling you it’s June because we think you’re unaware of the date (we all rely on our Google Calendars, after all)—we’re reminding you that it’s time to check in on your 2020 marketing success. We’re halfway through the year—are you halfway to achieving your marketing goals? If you implemented Salesforce Marketing Cloud this year, you now have a solid six months of data to review. If you’ve used it for longer than that, even better: You have even more benchmark data to work from. Have you really looked at your Salesforce Marketing Cloud numbers yet this year? Not just your open rate or total engagements. Have you done a deep dive into your marketing processes to analyze what’s working and what should be changed? If you haven’t had a chance yet this year, we get it—marketers are busy! But doing so will give you the valuable insight you need to plan for the rest of the year and beyond. A/B Testing in Email Studio By now you know the importance of testing your emails. You even have the tools to do it yourself, but you might not know what your next steps should be. Email Studio’s A/B testing abilities give you visibility into whether or not your marketing emails could be working harder. Let’s say you are the Director of Marketing for a popsicle company. Your company is seeing an uptick in sales (it is summer, after all), but your email marketing program hasn’t been updated in a while. As you revamp your email efforts, you come up with two great, pun-filled subject lines. Which one will get the most opens, leading your customer to download a coupon and purchase your latest flavor? Only A/B testing will tell. Email Segmentation with Marketing Cloud You already know that sending your emails into cyberspace with no audience in mind is a no-no. When was the last time you refreshed your audience segments? If you’ve pivoted in your strategy over the last six months, it’s important to make sure that your emails are reaching the right prospects. More than that, prospects need to be receiving personalized messages that are relevant to them. With all of the information available to us as marketers today, there’s no excuse for not breaking down your audience based on marketing goals. Your popsicle company just launched a new flavor: prune. Your email sign up requires a birthday (for birthday treats, of course), so you are able to break down your audience by age. With your prior knowledge and a little research on the prune-eating demographic, you decide to target customers above the age of 50. Luckily, you've already built a list of customers who fit this demographic. Your prune popsicle is sold out in no time. Optimize Your Email Audience with Marketing Cloud As the Director of Marketing for your popsicle company, you know that you need marketing to generate popsicle buyers (also known as leads). Your email list helps you do that by sharing the latest news, upcoming events, and more. Did your list growth become stagnant over the winter? It’s time to reignite its growth with some old fashioned cross-channel marketing. Use channels you’ve already invested your time and money in, like digital advertising and social media, to create and execute your email growth strategy. Remember, just because the year is half over doesn’t mean you have to stick with what you’re already doing. Now could be the perfect time to dive into a new medium. Whether you work for a popsicle company, a start-up, or an enterprise business, the mid-way point of 2020 is here and it’s time to check in on your marketing progress. The Torchlite Marketplace connects you with experts and templates that show you what to do, how to do it and who can get it done.

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4 Statistics That Make the Case for an On-Demand Workforce

Jun 12, 2019 Emily Brungard

We live in a world that’s moving at hyperspeed. Customers want more, and they want it faster. Demands on your team are growing at an impossible rate. Technology is enabling us to do more, but it will only take you so far without the people who know how to use it. With all of these demands, you may not have had the chance to consider integrating everything (customers, your internal team, and technology) to make your job easier. But we’ve found the key to keeping up with these demands comes down to talent: having the right people at the right time. If you need more convincing, consider these statistics: 68% of HR pros have trouble attracting top full-time talent Highly skilled freelance experts have the leverage to do work on their terms. More and more freelancers, especially the ones with highly sought after talents, are leaving the 9-to-5 world for more flexible work lives. This is only confirmed by the fact that, according to the Society for Human Resources Management, more than two-thirds of HR managers have experienced difficulties attracting the best talent to their open full-time roles. By 2026, Fortune 2000 companies will have no employees outside of the C-suite In the next decade, could you be saying goodbye to your traditional org chart? Accenture predicts that by 2026, the most successful companies won’t employ people outside of the executive team. As this liquid workforce evolves, companies will double down on the value of having the people with the exact expertise they need, at just the right time. That means instead of hiring a full-time technical expert for a project that requires heavy lifting at first but then tapers off, companies can bring in an expert to implement their new tech or tool and then continue contracting on an hourly or project basis. What does that mean? More money in your marketing budget to drive results. 30% of headcount spend is put toward on-demand workers Enterprise companies are dedicating a third of their headcount budgets to contingent workers, independent contractors, and freelancers. When a project comes up that the company’s internal team doesn’t have the skills to complete, on-demand experts enable them to navigate roadblocks and continue moving the needle. In other words, they help companies get around the situations that would have stopped them in their tracks before. Nearly half of businesses can’t find the on-demand talent they need According to SAP Fieldglass, 45% of businesses are experiencing a shortage of on-demand experts. In other words, they can’t find the people they need to get everything done, and it’s affecting productivity and results. Non-employee talent makes up 40% of the global workforce today, and they’re not just filling administrative or support roles — they’re the people making strategic decisions that move these companies forward. Searching for the right people to fill gaps on your marketing or professional services team? Tap into Torchlite’s network of experts today.

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How Marketing Technology Companies Can Get More From Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Apr 24, 2019 Emily Brungard

Marketers are sort of like explorers. Over time they have developed and utilized different techniques and technologies to discover new and improved methods of success. Today’s marketers rely on software to enhance marketing plans or create entirely new marketing initiatives. This type of software is what we refer to as MarTech (Marketing Technology). Technopedia defines MarTech as: “The intersection of marketing and technology in today's highly digital business world. Any type of technology that has a bearing on marketing operations can be called ‘martech’ whether it is a part of an analysis platform, a device-facing benchmark tool, or any other type of digital or high-tech resource.” The diversity of MarTech has opened up loads of opportunities, tools, and techniques that empower marketers on their way to creating the ideal buyer’s journey — after all, there are more than 7,000 martech tools available today. This means that you will be sifting through hundreds of software and applications to determine which are necessary and work the best. But let’s get down to brass tacks. There are a few core principles or categories of MarTech floating around the marketplace at the moment, which also happen to be the areas that Salesforce Marketing Cloud has focused in on. They’re also the categories you need to create the best possible technology stack for your martech company. Many of these focal points revolve around the power of analytics and data as a way to monitor campaigns and your customer experience as a whole across the digital ecosystem. While there are nearly endless combinations of tools and platforms to add to your martech stack, these are at the core of a successful strategy. Content Marketing Tools We don’t need to convince you how important content is — but we’ll emphasize the significance of a few certain tools and applications for a successful content strategy. Your CMS (content management system) is responsible for a few necessary components of content management and has some key capabilities, including: Hosting your website Writing your content Editing your content Publishing your content Blogging Hosting native content (video, graphics, audio, landing pages) Popular CMS platforms include: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla We mention these content management systems because they are an important foundation. While your CMS is where all of your website’s content will live — you’re going to need to get people there. There are a ton of avenues available for driving traffic and converting leads from your website. Salesforce Marketing Cloud hosts an entire suite of cutting-edge marketing tools to get the job done. Email Studio This one seems to be a piece of digital marketing that simply won’t go away. It feels like every year someone predicts the decline of email as a successful marketing tool, and every year they are proven wrong. Email marketing technology is used by a ton of companies. In fact, 82% of all B2C and B2B businesses implement this piece of MarTech. Reaching customers through an email campaign takes a special approach. Not only are you dealing with extremely short attention spans, but you’re also trying to stand out among other email marketers. This can pose a challenge for marketers, but it becomes much easier with the right strategy, tools, and software. And there’s no shortage of tools out there. Automation tools like ConvertKit or Mailchimp are popular options. Salesforce Email Studio is built into the cloud and allows you to manage and produce fantastic email campaigns that work for your niche or target audience. Email Studio empowers you to make better email decisions, backed by data, with features like: 1. Relevant targeting for your audience Data is your most powerful ally. With Email Studio, you’re able to import, filter, and segment data making automation a breeze. Retarget your most active subscribers easily and send them more relevant information and offers. 2. Tools to build your email Email Studio empowers you to create beautiful emails with quick and easy template designs. You’re also able to optimize for mobile — this is a big one. So many people read email on their phones and having to pinch and zoom to read relevant information will lose you subscribers, fast. There are also some unique tools built into the platform as well. Interactive content like weather reports or different types of carousels set you apart from the rest with relevant personalization, which brings us to another key feature of Email Studio. 3. Personalizable content Take the power of AI into your hands with Einstein — a powerful way to personalize emails to an insane degree. 4. Scalable campaigns Personalize every email, regardless of the size of your target audience or the stage they’re in on their customer journey. Make changes along the way to further personalize and tweak your messaging. Best of all, you can test and preview your messages before you send them out. Journey Builder Creating an engaging and personal customer journey is an integral part of building a successful MarTech stack. Having a visual representation of that journey that you can manipulate and share across teams will help build a focused vision and goal. Effectively communicating your customer journey and unifying your marketing and sales departments to create a cohesive mission is an essential component of mapping a customer journey. With so many touchpoints to focus on, having a customizable customer journey simplifies the process. Engage your customers during real-time events like downloads, purchases, or other engagement behaviors. With data at your fingertips, you’re able to harness customer behaviors like browsing or purchase history to personalize messaging and deliver the right message at the right time. Social Studio While social media may have begun as a primarily casual platform, it has grown into a marketers playground. There are so many platforms with unique audiences, targeting and posting styles — companies are able to reach customers in a familiar way. Social media provides a new way to provide customer service and customer experience. Salesforce Social Studio lets you into the conversation. Listen in on what your customers are talking about and learn how to best reach your target demographic. This social hub is your social media one-stop-shop. Write, edit, schedule and publish content in one sharable location. Approve admins and unify your social media efforts under one roof. As always, you’ll have an inside look at reporting and creative performance — allowing you to pivot social campaigns and directives as needed. This visual studio helps you take command of your customer interactions and insights — allowing you to make more informed decisions on your social channels. Advertising Studio Online advertising provides an affordable way to reach millions of customers. The best part about having all of your MarTech syncronized through Salesforce is having actionable analytics, insights, and data to improve all aspects of your marketing approach. This includes paid online advertising. When you’re investing heavily on ad spend, you want to make sure it’s being used effectively to generate the right leads, and ultimately driving sales. Connect all of your digital efforts like email campaigns, social engagements, and Journey Builder to create the perfect Facebook or Google advertising campaign. Salesforce Data Management Platform (DMP) We can’t stress enough how important data and analytics management is. That’s why we recommend the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. There are so many amazing tools within the cloud that can empower your marketing efforts. From gathering marketing intelligence to sharing data, the power of actionable data has never been easier to digest. Mobile Studio Capturing customer via mobile has a ton of unique benefits. Customers spend a great deal of their time on their phones (more than 3.5 hours per day, on average), making it a great place to promote offers through mobile messaging. You can build and automate mobile campaigns with ease through Mobile Studio. You also have the ability to boost your apps’ messaging power with automated alerts or deals, either on a scheduled basis or even through location-based programming. There’s also great targeting and analytics built right into the platform, taking your targeting efforts and empowering your marketing technology even further. Harnessing the Marketing Cloud Cloud-based MarTech has changed the way we understand marketing technology. While many marketing efforts were siloed in the past, they are now interconnected and work in concert with one another to create a truly special experience for customers. The truth is that the transition to a unified omnichannel experience has become standard for most customers. If you’re lagging behind, they will take notice. Quality marketing is only as powerful as the MarTech that it’s built upon. While there are a ton of great pieces of marketing technology available, only a select few work seamlessly with one another. At the end of the day, your martech needs to be well-integrated to create a memorable experience for customers. Salesforce’s robust platform makes it easier for marketers to access and use their data to create personalized, relevant experiences for their future customers.

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Finding the Perfect Marketing Freelancer

Mar 26, 2019 Emily Brungard

Finding the right freelancer can sometimes feel like an endless game of match-making. Sifting through experts with acute knowledge in the right niche or industry can take far too long. However, finding the right marketer can make all the difference and open up new avenues for campaigns, growth, and opportunities. But you can’t just add anyone to your roster — it has to be the right partnership. Freelancers vs. In-House vs. Agencies Finding the right marketing solution and partnership for your business is a comparison game. You’re likely trying to weigh the pros and cons of hiring a freelancer, a new team member or partnering with an agency. You’re not alone. The changing tides of business have created new avenues for productivity and it is now possible to succeed without a physical location or a comprehensive in-house team. Project-based teams, freelancers, specialized agencies and white-label partners have opened up the doors for new business opportunities. But there are certainly pros and cons for each of these options. Cost Effectiveness Agencies Agencies often offer project-based or retainer based partnerships. These are more expensive than freelancers but less expensive than hiring a new employee (at least over time). In-House The cost of an in-house employee is often underestimated. This option seems attractive because building an in-house team is great for collaboration and culture, but the overall costs can come back in droves. Taking into consideration factors like training, salary, benefits, PTO and possibly turnover — the expenses start adding up quick. Freelancer Hiring a freelancer is the most affordable option (by far). Professional freelancers come equipped with the right skills, resources, and tools to do their job efficiently. Vetting and selecting an expert in your niche is really the only hidden cost. Expertise Agencies Agencies are typically specialized and have team members that reflect that particular niche. Design agencies have designers and web-design agencies have developers...so on and so forth. While these are typically good options for specific expertise, the very best talent typically prefers to work as a freelancer or in an actual operational role within an existing company. In-House Finding in-house talent is a game of cat and mouse. The shifting landscape of marketing has created new specializations left and right. Social media coordinators, PPC managers, SEO experts — these are all necessary components of a successful digital campaign, but one person can rarely do them all. This means you will be hiring a lot of employees. Freelancer Freelancers are great for expertise because you can pick and choose exactly what you need. This widens the scope of any project your client may need because you can hire a freelancer to complete tasks you don’t have the capacity for. Manually searching for freelancers is a headache, but that’s what an on-demand expert marketplace is for! Communication Agencies Depending on the particular agency, this one is a coin-toss. Some agencies pride themselves on constant communication while others are overloaded with work and may take longer to respond. You are also limited to one or two points of contact and work on a delivery, review, revision, delivery schedule. In-House As you may have guessed, communication with an in-house hire is almost flawless. The ease of having someone in person without having to worry about alternative means of communication or even time zones makes this one a breeze. Freelancers This is something you can’t really control unless you have done your due diligence during the vetting process. If communication is a make-or-break factor for you, it should be discussed as an expectation from the start. On the positive side, freelancers rarely put aside a set time to respond, which means you can sometimes converse outside of a strict 9-5. Quick Freelancer Checklist If you have decided to go the freelance route, there are some things you should consider before selecting your expert. Here are the basics: Full-Time Professionals You want to look for freelancers that are professionals in their own right. What do we mean by this? You’re looking for full-time freelancers. This is a big one because professional freelancers have mastered the craft of handling multiple clients, projects, and deadlines simultaneously. Yes, it’s important that the freelancers you choose are well-versed in the field you’re looking for. But it’s equally important that they are vetted for their expertise in the freelance field. Google Check This is a given, but it can easily shine a light on any red flags that may be looming in the background. It can also show you a lot about a freelancer’s qualifications, past work and how they market themselves (the proof is in the pudding). What to look for: Do they have a website? Do they have an LLC? Do they have social media accounts? While all of these aren’t a necessity for whether or not you should hire a specific freelancer, they will give you some insights for what you are getting into. Get References and Evidence Any freelancer you are considering should have no issues giving you references or past work examples for you to evaluate. Past work can really help narrow down your search for a freelancer by illustrating the style and diligence they convey through their career. Verify Their Skills This can be done a few ways, but it's definitely worth doing before hiring a new freelancer. Verifying their skills with any tools or software in question is never out of the question. Ask about any certifications they may have or courses they have completed. Depending on the type of expert you are looking for, you may want to test out their skills with a small test project. Once you have gone through this checklist you’re ready to start interviewing or selecting the perfect freelancer match. Asking The Right Questions First things first, remember that you are looking for help because you are lacking the time, resources or expertise to complete a necessary project or campaign. Start your search by evaluating the holes that you are trying to fill. This will help you narrow down exactly what kind of freelancer you are looking for and the expectations you have for them once they get started. Next, you should ask these 8 questions to assist in the match-making process. There is no such thing as a shortage in preparation when it comes to finding the perfect freelancer — especially if you want results. Are they taking a holistic approach to understanding my problem? Do they have the strengths and expertise needed to achieve my marketing goals? Do they understand my brand and messaging? How will they communicate and collaborate with my in-house team? Will I have the visibility to track projects and approvals on a frequent basis How and how often will they report on the performance and results of their marketing efforts? Can I seamlessly modify my marketing plan and add or change project experts as my needs change, or will I need to find a new partner? What can I expect from the first 90 days of this partnership? Setting expectations is a two-way street. Not only is this important for your own project transparency but also for your freelance partner. Creating clear expectations frees up freelance talent to creating the very best result within the scope of their own multi-client workload. Working with someone who shares your values and will execute your vision is what you want. At the end of the day, you’re looking for a trustworthy partner who will help your team succeed. Project Transparency One big hurdle that we often see companies trying to overcome with freelancers is project transparency and setting expectations. It’s a big deal so we understand why it’s a topic of discussion. Businesses are reluctant to utilize freelancers for a few reasons. They don’t trust people that they haven’t worked with before They have been burned by a freelancer in the past They think it reflects poorly on their business to utilize outside help The truth about these three reasons is that the freelancer could certainly be to blame — but more often than most people would like to admit, the fault is double-sided. Relaying project expectations is 100% the responsibility of the person hiring the freelancer. If you have been burned in the past by a freelancer underdelivering or missing a deadline, it could have been a bad hire. Not your fault. But it may be worth revisiting whether or not your company relayed the necessary information to the talent. Hesitating to hire a freelancer because you aren’t sure whether or not they have what it takes is certainly a concern we understand. That’s why expert marketplaces like ours take pride in finding experienced, skilled and passionate freelancers to offer their clients. Freelancer Time Management As we mentioned, your first step in the vetting process is to find a professional freelancer. Not only is this to ensure that the talent you have acquired is official, but also experienced in handling multiple projects. Now, you’re not going to be able to manage your freelancers time for them. This is entirely up to their process. But we may have some freelancers out there that are reading this article, so this part is just for you! If you’re not a freelancer, feel free to skip this section. Learn to say no This is something that many freelancers learn the hard way over time. Freelancers want to get hired again, especially if they have built a good rapport with a client. Because of this, it’s often difficult to say no even if you know you’re going to be overloaded with work. But this is something you have to nip in the bud early. Just like it’s important for you client to relay expectations effectively to you, it’s equally important for you to relay your availability to them. Get rid of distractions This is a tough one. Productivity is your currency and you will go broke if you have too many distractions limiting your time. Email, funny YouTube videos — even your cell phone can take away from your workday. Try to segment your day so that you check in on important contact platforms at certain times, that way you’re not distracted by requests Treat it like a job You may be thinking “Well it is my job!”. We know, but creating your own work schedule, routines, and limitations are how you can remain happy while doing freelance work. Trying to adopt the workstyles of all your clients can scramble your brain. You definitely want to work as an extension of their team, but you may need to communicate some boundaries as to how you prefer to work. Freelance Cost Effectiveness Our marketing team has saved more than a quarter million dollars over the last year by leveraging our own business model. By harnessing the power of the Torchlite Marketplace, we throttle our marketing team when and where we need it, allowing us to create the output of a larger organization with more resources. Onboarding a new employee costs, on average, $4,000 and takes between three and four weeks. When you factor in all of the costs and the time it takes for your new hire to reach peak productivity, you might ask yourself if it’s all worth it. Freelancers can be productive immediately, and they’re only paid when you need specific work done. There’s no need to hire a full-time web developer, for example, if you only need occasional work done on your website. Companies that use freelancers also save on benefits like insurance, retirement contributions and PTO—freelancers aren’t employees, after all. This saves companies an average of $4,708 per employee per year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. If a company can hire ten freelancers instead of ten employees, that adds up to $47,000 in annual savings on healthcare alone (that means an entire additional employee!). Add to your bottom line without adding to your headcount. Reach out today to find your project's perfect match!

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Beat Marketing Overload With On-Demand "Flexperts"

Mar 06, 2019 Emily Brungard

“I need help yesterday.” It’s an all-too-familiar situation for busy marketers. A big client has been slow to respond to emails, but now they’re back and pushing for results ASAP. Another just signed on. Yet another is adding on an extra project that requires specialized help. Your team is bogged down with both client and internal requests, and they just keep coming. What if you could get ahead of these capacity shortfalls before they ever happen? You have options: Outsource to another agency Let’s say you work for an agency that specializes in Salesforce Marketing Cloud services. You’ve got a bunch of competitors, and your team’s capacity is filled to the brim. Do you outsource to a competitor? And who’s to say that your project is going to take priority ahead of higher-dollar campaigns? The price is usually steep regardless and oft-times they want to make the decisions instead of just doing as you’ve asked. Find your own freelancer The marketing industry is small. If you ask around, you’ll find someone who knows someone who can vouch for someone who’s used a rockstar freelancer in the past. Word of mouth and peer reviews are great, but the risk often comes with getting on his or her docket — getting your job to the top of the heap — and making sure that their skills line up with your needs. If you need help now, you’ll need to make sure that hour requirements and schedules are set well ahead of time. Plus, paying an independent contractor through PayPal can sometimes raise eyebrows in accounting. Tap an online flexpert service The modern marketer knows that the rise of the gig economy has done more than just made hailing a cab easier. Online talent marketplaces of specialized experts have transformed the way marketing is getting done. These marketplaces consist of what we call technical “flexperts” — or flexible experts — who can take your projects and get them done when you need them most. Web-based services like Torchlite provide an easy way to find a flexpert with the skills, background, and availability to support your projects. Plus, the service does the dirty work of vetting them for know-how and quality, so you can rest assured you get the right fit.

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7 Signs It’s Time to Hire On-Demand Digital Talent

Jan 09, 2019 Emily Brungard

It’s 11 a.m. and your office is buzzing with energy. You’ve got a product release around the corner, updates to roll out, and a team to take care of. You’re in heads-down mode trying to get everything done. Copious amounts of coffee have been consumed. Lunch? You don’t have time for that — there are deadlines to make. But what about your day-to-day work? While your team has been laser-focused on a few short-term projects, have others fallen by the wayside? In a perfect world, all of your marketing work would be perfectly balanced, but let’s be real — that just doesn’t happen. And what about that new tool you bought last month but haven’t had time to implement? If this sounds like you, it may be time to add a support system to your team in the way of on-demand, specialized talent. These are seven ways to know you need an extra layer of support: 1. Your team doesn’t have the expertise Sometimes you need a specialist to get a project done. Maybe your team has been using piecemeal technology to get projects done because it’s too difficult to switch over to a new platform. Maybe you’re implementing a new channel and you don’t know where to start. On-demand digital experts bring you the right expertise at the right time, so you can drive results. Freelancers tend to focus on one or two things they master and continue to obtain training for over the years, which allows you to reap the benefit of a true expert without the expense of hiring a full-time employee or paying for new or ongoing training. 2. Your team is always busy but it's not all getting done If your team is constantly working late nights or missing deadlines, chances are you need some extra help. We can all agree that the work needs to get done and budgets are limited, but make sure to consider how current workload affects employee morale. What are your turnaround times for deliverables? Outsourcing allows you to unlock multiple marketing channels with ease and avoid employee burnout. 3. Your team can do it, but it’s not the best use of their time or talent Let’s say you want to implement the Salesforce marketing platform, but you don’t have a Salesforce Marketing expert on your team. Instead of using your copywriter or designer’s time (who already have work and don't have the training) to set up and optimize the tool, you could hire a vetted technical expert to get the tool up and running in less time with more experience. You hired each person for their specific skill set. So why pull an employee off more important tasks if a freelancer can get it done on a project basis? 4. You’re losing out on opportunities If you’re losing opportunities to build brand awareness because you’re too busy to respond to outreach, it’s definitely time to outsource some work. Are you being invited to speak at conferences or participate on panels only to decline because your workload is too heavy? Is your competition catching up to you? Consider the cost of falling behind. 5. Your top objectives need more time and attention from your team Do you have an expensive initiative in the works or a quarterly goal that you’re struggling to meet? You don't have to drop the ball on other tasks to focus on the ones that need more of your time. It’s time to hire a freelancer if your team is being pulled to dedicate more time to a select few projects. Outsourcing tasks to on-demand experts is one solution that can help you check more off your to-do list without getting behind on your biggest priorities. 6. You want to increase output without increasing head count There's a place for reasonable increased demands on your team, but if they're feeling like they were hired with one set of expectations and you keep adding to their plate, you're going to have very unhappy employees who aren't able to dedicate their own expertise and attention to the projects they already have. If it's feeling like they're being asked to do the job of 2 employees, adding a short-term freelancer can ease that burden, keep your employees happy and productive (read retention and better bottom lines), and the additional work will be getting done by an expert. 7. You're experiencing a transition Maybe your company was acquired, a full-time employee is on parental leave, or your team has been assigned a new project and they're not entirely equipped to handle it. Regardless of the circumstances, freelance digital experts are trained to fill a temporary gap for you or someone on your team. Even during a period of change, the show must go on. On-demand digital experts can fill technical and creative skills gaps across a variety of channels. If your team is overwhelmed with work and you need an extra set of hands, reach out today to find your project's perfect match!

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Unlocking Salesforce: A Q&A with Marketing Cloud Expert Sean H.

Dec 12, 2018 Emily Brungard

Research from Salesforce suggests that customers now expect a more connected and personalized experience delivered to them in real time. In fact, 70% of customers say connected processes — like seamless handoffs or contextualized engagement based on earlier interactions — are key to winning their business. Marketers are expected to take data and transform it into an experience for customers. With tools like Marketing Cloud, the possibilities are endless, but if you’re not dedicated to learning the latest features of the platform, you’re only beginning to scratch the surface. That’s where Salesforce experts come in. One of the top benefits of working with an on-demand Salesforce specialist is that they’re true experts who obtain certifications, read the latest product release notes for fun, and are dedicated to unlocking the platform’s value. We sat down with Sean H., one of Torchlite’s on-demand Marketing Cloud experts, to talk about getting the most from Salesforce, and how experts can help marketers do more with the platform. What is the most common problem you see when working with Marketing Cloud customers? Underutilization. The marketing cloud is a powerful platform, but that can also make it seem overwhelming. Many clients don’t use newer features designed to make their lives easier and campaigns more impactful because there’s a learning curve associated, and they don’t have the bandwidth or the in-house knowledge to invest to really make the most of the platform. What do you predict will be a bigger problem in 2019 for Marketing Cloud customers? “Personalization” became a marketing buzzword a few years ago, and, at that time, many people didn’t understand how the idea of personalization applied to their businesses. Fast forward to now, though, and the best businesses are figuring out how to segment, target, and develop personalized content that is really driving results. For SFMC customers that haven’t taken the time over the past few years to dig into the platform and figure out how to put it to work to personalize the marketing experience, they may find themselves losing market share to competitors that are staying in front of the curve. They may find that the “batch and blast” strategy that served them well for many years just isn’t resonating any longer because Competitor B’s personalized multichannel campaign met their customer’s expectations that much better. What is your best tip for using Salesforce? How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time. With a powerful platform, sophisticated data management, and a number of different ways to effectively execute each campaign you’ve envisioned, it’s easy to be intimidated by the Marketing Cloud. By breaking it down – Who do I want to reach with this? How do I want to reach them? When and how often should we talk to them? – you’ll find the right features and tools for the job, whether it’s a simple Guided Send or a cross-channel journey. What is your proudest Salesforce project? It seems quaint now, but when Journey Builder was still new several years ago, it was a really big deal to successfully build and begin firing those more personalized marketing experiences to customers. It’s not that we couldn’t execute similar campaigns at the time with available tools within SFMC, but the interface and experience was such a departure, really just the beginning of things to come, that you couldn’t help but be a little proud to be one of the pioneers. Why are cross-channel integrations so important for Salesforce customers? Cross-channel integrations are one of the biggest advantages of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud compared to some of the other platforms out there. In today’s information-overloaded, short-attention-span world, repetition is just as important as serving content appropriate to the channel. If you truly want your message to reach and resonate with customers, you have to be willing to take your message to where they are, whether they’re on email, social media, SMS or all of the above. Why is having an on-demand Marketing Cloud expert necessary? Because the SFMC platform is so powerful, and constantly evolving to boot, having an on-demand SFMC expert can be like having an on-call problem solver – you know that you want to reach high-value customers who bought Widget X the last time 12 months ago, for example, but you just don’t how to get there easily without a lot of trial and error. SFMC experts have taken the time to learn the ins and outs of the platform, know the shortcuts and the pitfalls, and can look at your problem and tell you, “This is the best route to get there.” In the end, this saves you time and money on internal resources and allows you to drive revenue on your new campaign that much more quickly. Have more questions about hiring an on-demand Salesforce Marketing Cloud expert? Tweet us, or request the help of a Salesforce expert today.

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Use It or Lose It: How to Invest in 2019 With Your 2018 Marketing Budget

Dec 05, 2018 Emily Brungard

You’ve worked hard to win your marketing dollars — so make them work for you. Effectively managing your digital marketing budget is like an Olympic balancing act. Spend too much too early in the year and you risk falling short of your goals. Spend too little and you may lose those dollars at year’s end, potentially missing an opportunity to try a new tactic that could be your new bread and butter. If you’re in a “use it or lose it” position, use it! There are several ways to make the most of your surplus, and build end-of-year momentum to propel yourself into early 2019 success. Invest in People Instead of buying stuff, consider allocating your leftover budget to access and engage flexible experts who can help you make the most of the tools you already have with their skills and knowledge. Most marketing budgets either allow for hiring contractors with people dollars (AKA the money you’d use to hire a new employee), or with program budgets (that you’d use for ad campaigns or printing). The biggest advantage to investing in on-demand experts? When your marketing team’s internal workload increases, you can tap your bench of vetted freelancers to take on projects. Test a New Channel or Tool There are many marketing formats that provide good return with a little investment: think motion graphics, live video, a podcast, or infographics. These scalable projects allow you to squeeze some additional budget out of the quarter’s final days. Plus, they let you test initiatives you want to implement in the new year. The end of the year is also an opportunity for marketers to test out new tools and services or upgrade their current setups. Because many marketing tools require upfront subscription payments for the year rather than recurring monthly payments, they’re convenient places to stash your budget surplus. You may even get discounted rates if you pay up-front. Hire a Salesforce Marketing Cloud expert, experts to optimize your technology investment. Promote Your Best Content A little extra firepower via digital promotion, new targeting, influencer partnerships, or other channels can give your content the traction it needs to generate last-minute leads to add to your Q4 tally. An on-demand paid advertising expert can help you reach the right people, with the right content, at the right time. This is especially smart for gated content like e-books or videos. Want to get even more from your best content? Try spinning it into a new format, like an infographic, webinar, or a series of blog posts. Use It or Lose It Are you one of the lucky few with leftover cash at the end of the year? Use it to get ahead in 2019 by tapping a vetted expert who can optimize your current programs or implement a new one — whether that’s a using new martech tool or beginning a creative campaign. This is your golden opportunity to test new tactics and supplement your team with top talent. Don’t let your surplus go to waste.

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Hiring On-Demand Marketers: 7 Pros and Cons

Nov 21, 2018 Emily Brungard

In today's competitive, evolving marketplace, an agile methodology could mean the difference between becoming a booming business or closing your doors. With more than 41.8 million independent workers in America, hiring freelancers is one of the most effective solutions to securing top talent without going over budget — and there are plenty to choose from. Yet, like everything in business and in life, there are pros and cons to hiring freelancers. By taking the time to do your homework, you’ll save time, money, and headaches. Read on for seven pros and cons of hiring independent contractors. Pro: The Cost When you factor in the cost of recruiting, salary, benefits and company perks, and desk space taken up in the office, hiring a full-time employee can become pretty costly. The average employee hiring process costs $4,129 and takes 42 days. Who needs to spend that much extra time and money? Companies save, on average, between 20 and 30 percent annually by hiring an independent contractor. Going along with cost, the risk associated with hiring freelancers is lower, because you only need to hire and pay freelancers when there's work to be done. Because you work with them on a project-by-project basis, the worry of digging yourself into a payroll hole during downtimes is lessened. Con: Less Face-to-Face Interaction Given that most freelance work is done remotely, you shouldn’t expect to see your freelancer every day. Clear communication is essential in any working relationship, but it’s especially paramount when working with freelancers. Your freelancer isn’t in the office every day so they’re not privy to water cooler convos or even major announcements unless you share the news with them. You are their primary source of information on all things related to your business and your marketing initiatives. Don’t assume they have any insight into changes, progress, setbacks, or glitches, and always err on the side of over-communicating to prevent misunderstandings. See 8 ways to work better with your freelancers. Pro: Marketplaces Make Hiring Easier Than Ever Marketplaces like Torchlite facilitate long-term relationships between full-time freelance experts and marketers so that you can unlock the value of your marketing technology, get more done and compete in a digital world. We only connect you with the best freelancers (check out our vetting process here) — so you can rest easy knowing that the marketers you’re trusting with work will follow through. Marketplaces like Torchlite give you a full view of the experts you can access at any time, and facilitate the onboarding process. Con: Less Consistency With a freelancer, you have a specialist — but the tradeoff is that they may not have the historical knowledge that a full-time employee would have. Your independent contractor has the know-how to get the tasks you assign done, but they won’t be as familiar with your organization’s marketing strategies, what has been tried, and what direction to take things in the future. However, freelancers offer unmatched flexibility and can come on to a project whenever the need arises. Pro: You’re Not Limited to Local Talent Companies look to freelancers to find talent outside their current location. Expansion or an understanding of new markets can be made without onboarding a full-time employee. This allows you to bring new perspectives to your team. Con: You’re Not the Only Client An independent contractor’s job is to make clients happy and provide business results. The reality is that a freelancer is likely working on making several clients happy at a time. However, it’s also in the best interest of an independent contractor to get results for their client in order to build up clientele as well as reputation. This means that the freelancer’s time isn’t dedicated solely to you — they’re juggling many different requests, one-time projects, and strategies. A freelancer might also choose to perform the work outside of normal business hours, making immediate contact difficult without prior planning. Pro: Access to Specialized Talent Freelancers tend to focus on just one or two things that they’ve gained complete mastery of over the years. If you want to hire a content marketer, then you’ll get someone who specializes in content marketing and little else. This is far better than forcing someone from business development to make an attempt at content marketing because you simply can’t afford to hire another full-time employee. As a third party, a freelancer will be able to work on your campaign from a point of view that you may not have previously considered. Hiring isn’t something that should be done lightly, no matter if you’re searching for a full-time employee or a freelancer to complete a one-off project. It’s not always easy to find top talent, which is why Torchlite exists. We make it easier to connect with the top four percent of specialists to get more work done without breaking your budget. Connect with an expert today.

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