Going International: Breaking the Language Barrier

Wendy Pease is President of Rapport International, an agency that specializes in multilingual marketing, translating messages and meanings in over 200 languages – in any format, including blog posts, audio content, video, print, and multilingual chat. Wendy bought Rapport in 2004, because the fit seemed right with her interests. Over 15 years, it has maintained the same depth of languages and increased staff, revenue, and its focus on marketing. Rapport International is a Hubspot Partner

In this interview, Wendy explains that interpretation is for the spoken word what translation is for the written word. Translation, especially in marketing, is not done “word for word.” It needs to be culturally adapted and capture the meaning of the message. To ensure quality and to address this broad range of languages, Rapport International contracts with independent bilingual translators who specialize in writing for different markets and purposes.

Fifteen years ago, companies in English-speaking countries expanded internationally by exporting to companies in other English-speaking countries. Company websites opened markets across language, cultural, and geographical boundaries. Companies became “accidental exporters” when orders started coming in from other countries.

A reactive response to interest from other countries? Start marketing in any country that “self identified” as being a potential market. 

A better way? Wendy believes it is important to ask, “What is the corporate strategy?” “What is the marketing strategy?” And “How is multilingual communication going to support that strategy?” If a company only wants to sell certain products in a certain country, they don’t need to translate everything about all the rest of their products. A landing page can be used to test new market.

Wendy identified quite a few multilingual challenges: Keyword selection. Effective communication when a language does not have an equivalent word for critical product descriptor. Dealing with the approximately 3,000 new words added to a language each year. Marketing and inbound’s increasing complication and specialization, content management issues, and providing it all in the needed languages.

Wendy can be reached on her company’s website at or on LinkedIn: Wendy Pease at Rapport International.

Continue reading “Going International: Breaking the Language Barrier”

You Want Customer Loyalty? KNOW Your Customer!


Alita Harvey-Rodriguez is Managing Director of MI Academy, which offers customized team training programs for businesses interested in “transformative growth” and increasing leads, sales, and customer loyalty. Alita talked about how she started her company . . . and then, on evaluating what she was doing (consulting), determined she was not making the difference she wanted to make (changing the way companies worked). “Don’t Fall in Love with an IDEA,” she warns. “Fall in Love with the SOLUTION – and drive toward that solution. Ideas change all the time.” Yes, the solution has to be “feedback-driven.”

Alita believes innovation has to connect with a customer’s heart. It’s all about “the heart, the mind, the wallet,” she says. Companies have to understand, in depth, who their customers are, before they can roll out an incredible, seamless digital marketing, customer experience – with no “disconnects.”

MI Academy starts with a discovery process – asking its clients about 63 questions across different business units – in order to understand a company’s business, skill sets, tech stacks, and customers; how it uses data to drive decisions; and how to iteratively improve processes and customer experience within that organization – and then provides customized transformational training focused on improving all of the customer touchpoints in the organization.

Alita spoke at Hubspot Inbound 2019 on “The Loyalty Agenda.” She presented a 4-part loyalty program formula based on the philosophy of slowing down (to assess the company, its business, and its market) to speed up (by enabling the company to make better decisions, restructure operations, and change how it listens to and interfaces with its customers). In taking the time to understand their customers and create personalized, seamless experiences, brands pursue customer loyalty and can “carve out brand niches in tough markets.”

Alita is contributing a chapter on sustainable digital marketing practices to an upcoming book. She believes companies need to innovate internally in order to stay on top of customers’ needs.

Alita can be found on her company’s website at: Her personal email address is:

Continue reading “You Want Customer Loyalty? KNOW Your Customer!”

What Works, What Lasts, What Beats the Competition

Duff Ferguson is Partner and Founder of Amplitude Digital, a PPC and SEO digital marketing agency, Google and Facebook Partner, and three-time recipient of the Tech Innovator Award.

When Duff started what is today Amplitude Digital about 15 years ago, it provided general branding and marketing services. In 2015, it pivoted to focus on digital marketing, advertising, organic search, and e commerce, specifically on how clients could increase advertising spend, increase traffic, build their presence in online organic search . . . and then get a multiple return on that spend. Amplitude Digital compiles and analyzes “big data,” develops strategies, and strives to deliver first-page online rankings, breakthrough traffic, and high-performing ads. Typical clients are ecommerce companies selling packaged consumer goods on such platforms as Amazon, Google search, Bing, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Amplitude Digital maintains a 95% client retention rate.

Duff feels that Amplitude Digital is able to produce reliable, consistent results for its clients because the company:

  • knows how to build reliable information from digital data,
  • understands how digital bidding systems and online algorithms work,
  • develops dependable “white hat” SEO optimization strategies,
  • creates well-run, efficient pay-per-click systems . . .
  • and is able to identify and undo legacy “stuff” that is creating penalties and problems for companies.

Duff believes that what he calls “Real Talk” is critical to online success, and notes, in particular, these site components:

  • listing, title, and description quality;
  • sizing charts;
  • pictures; and
  • brand store information.

He notes that these are ingrained in today’s Amazon and Google algorithms, but, for long term success, companies will need to develop their own platforms so that they have the ability to control their data and know their customers (audience demographics).

The easiest way to find out about Amplitude Digital is on its one-page overview site at His company’s primary website is:

Continue reading “What Works, What Lasts, What Beats the Competition”

The Power of Thought-leader Podcasting

Matt Johnson is Founder and CEO of Pursuing Results, a podcast production agency that works with emerging thought leaders – business coaches and consultants. Using a detailed process, Pursuing Results helps clients launch their brands, executes and distributes its clients’ weekly video podcasts, and promotes thought-leader business growth. His “specialized assembly line” produces consistently high-quality, on time podcasts. Matt focuses on a narrow product/client niche, because, he believes that, of all the content marketing things he used to do, podcasting produces the most growth and the most leads for his clients. 

Matt believes that, in order to influence people to trust you and to take action, podcasts have to be structured in a particular way. In this interview, Matt outlines three things that turn a podcast from entertainment into a platform for leadership:

  1. Seeing is Believing: Podcasts should be conversations with other influential people. When people see that you are recognized as a leader in your “area,” they will believe you are a leader in your area.
  2. Share Client Successes: Feature conversations around your (past or current) client’s successes. Put at least some focus on how the work you are doing (or have done) for them contributes to their success. 
  3. Go solo: Matt says, for a thought leader, having a podcast is akin to leading a church. If you are a leader in that church, you should be capable of delivering a sermon in that church.

How to develop solo topics? Matt works with his clients to help them identify their beliefs, values, and opinions – breaking down their holistic viewpoint into small chunks, each of which can be used as a solo episode topic. The sweet spot is to “go solo” every third or fourth episode.

How to keep the podcast momentum going and score some “quick wins”:

  1. Be strategic about whom you interview – make sure you have a good message-to-market fit
  2. Genuinely enjoy the interview conversations and the relationships you are building with your guests 
  3. Work behind the scenes to turn those relationships into a strategic referral network.

Matt attributes a good part of his (and his client’s) podcast success to the system he built around the process – and provides tips on strategic process-building and building checklists. He recommends that people who are considering starting a podcast . . . get interviewed themselves to nail down their message and what they want to talk about. How to get featured? A good start would be Matt’s website at:

Matt can be reached on his company’s website at:, where listeners can learn about his production service; on Instagram at:, and on LinkedIn at Matt will be launching a book, Microfamous™ in the near future.


Continue reading “The Power of Thought-leader Podcasting”

How to Feed a Sales Force’s Behavioral Quotient, Crush Quotas, and Drive Up ROI

Mary Grothe is the CEO of Sales BQ, a a relatively “young” organization that works with companies to rebuild, scale, and empower their underperforming sales departments. A typical client might have 5 to 7 salespeople reporting directly to the CEO. Last year, Sales BQ rebuilt the sales departments for 42 companies. Mary, an experienced sales dynamo, known for exponentially exceeding quotas, says BQ, behavioral intelligence, or behavioral quotient, is about making the decision every single day to show up and give it everything that it takes to perform at one’s highest ability.

Under a 6-month contract, Sales BQ functions as a company’s “VP of Sales” and rebuilds the sales department in 3 phases. 

  1. Evaluate and transform the infrastructure. Analyze the established set up, systems, processes, the types of roles, compensation modeling, territories, and CRM. Build a playbook. 
  2. Assess the talent. Provide field sales coaching and training to enable the team to execute to their highest ability. Recruit new talent to grow the team or replace “pruned” personnel.
  3. Appraise and correct environmental problems. Mary does not believe that sales professionals need to be told what they need to do to do better so much as management  should treat its salespeople the way they need to be treated in order to excel.

Does the process work? 

Eighty-five percent of their clients renew the 6-month contract and continue working with Sales BQ for a full year. The ones that don’t.? Mary says they are “crushing it” and don’t need Sales BQ anymore.

Mary classifies sales reps into three personas, based on their motivational drivers:

  1. 87% of top performing sales reps are intrinsically motivated, people who are “fed” by recognition, feelings of self-worth, and self-competition.
  2. Extrinsically motivated sales reps are focused on money and love to strive for targeted goals.
  3. Altruistic sales reps care more about their clients than they do about recognition or making money. These individuals would be better placed in an account management or customer service role.

In this interview, Mary offers tips on effective sales techniques and the effective uses of LinkedIn. She can be found on LinkedIn and on her company’s website, where her company’s blog and Quota Crusher Podcast reside. The Quota Crusher Podcast is also on YouTube. 

Continue reading “How to Feed a Sales Force’s Behavioral Quotient, Crush Quotas, and Drive Up ROI”

Behavioral Science, Ethical Marketing, and the Pull of the Magic Middle

Nancy Harhut is Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of HBT Marketing. In this interview, she talks about the how her company utilizes behavioral science and marketing best practices to change how people make purchasing decisions. 

Social scientists and behavioral economists have found that people often make decisions by defaulting to “hardwired” behaviors, rather than by thinking things through. Although there are hundreds of behavioral science/decision science principles, HBT Marketing focuses on the “Human Behavior Triggers” that will effectively increase the likelihood that people will do what marketing clients want them to do. But, it is not just about organizational profitability. Nancy emphasizes that it is equally important that these “human behavior triggers” get people to make the decisions that are good for them.

Nancy discusses a powerful pricing strategy, which she calls the “gravitational pull of the magic middle.” If marketers have a low-priced price widget, they need to have a high-priced all-the-bells-and-whistles widget at a price they would rarely expect to get, and then place their ideal target price widget in the middle. Many people will look at the “economy-priced” widget as being of marginal utility . . . and if the high-priced widget is out of their range, they will target the middle-priced widget. Another principle: Social scientists have found that we place greater value on things that we already own. In elucidating this principle, Nancy provides an example of how strategic phrasing can be used to increase sales.

Nancy spoke at HubSpot’s Inbound 2019 conference on “5 Decision Science Secrets That Make It Easy to Get the Online Behavior You Want,” outlining 5 Human Behavior Triggers that she felt would be most useful for marketers:

  1. Availability bias: People will judge the likelihood of an event happening based on how readily they can recall a relevant example.
  2. Social proof: When people don’t know what to do, they look to others, particularly others like them, and follow their lead.
  3. The scarcity principle: If something is readily available, people may or may not be interested. If “supplies are limited,” people are more likely to buy, because they don’t want to miss the opportunity.
  4. Commitment and consistency: Once someone makes a decision, they tend to remain consistent with it when future opportunities arise.
  5. Choice architecture: The way choices are presented influences the decisions people make about those choices.

Nancy provides detailed illustrations of each of these principles. She recommends making it easy for people to do what you want them to do, but to never force them into a box. Allow them to “opt out.”

Nancy can be found on Twitter, @nharhut, on Facebook and LinkedIn at: Nancy Harhut, and on her company’s website at:

Continue reading “Behavioral Science, Ethical Marketing, and the Pull of the Magic Middle”

Build your Personal Brand / Change your World

Marc Ensign is the Big Cheese at LoudMouse, a personal branding agency for speakers, authors, coaches, entrepreneurs and artists. 

A musician by training, Marc dreamed of performing on Broadway. He created a strong personal “brand,” wrote articles for music industry magazines, interviewed and forged relationships with a lot of performers. As a skilled bass player, Marc eventually “got the Broadway gig,” not by touting his amazing bass playing, but by promoting his ability to imitate a wide variety of styles. Supporting, rather than competing against, other professional musicians, Marc substituted for regular Broadway show band members who, for whatever reason, needed “a night off.” His full time Broadway career ended up lasting 10 years.

In 2001/2002, while working as a musician in the evenings, Marc dabbled in web design during the day. A big and lucrative assignment from American Express’s Travel + Leisure Magazine turned Marc’s “pajamas as business casual” web design company into a marketing agency – overnight. A decade later, he felt lost.

Marc had no education in marketing, but he had a passion for it –and, in particular, for figuring out the one impossible dream a person had – and creating a marketing message and strategy to achieve it – building, for each of his clients, a “personal brand” to get them to their “Broadway.” A couple of years ago, he started LoudMouse with a mission: To change the world by empowering those who want to change the world.

Marc was a breakout speaker at Hubspot’s Inbound 2019 and talked about “Standing Out and Start Getting Paid: How to Build a Personal Brand They Can’t Ignore.”

In this interview, Marc outlines three elements for building a successful personal brand.

  1. Identity. Be clear on who you are. Communicate “who you are” in a way that really connects with people in an authentic way.
  2. Visibility. Be able to communicate the message of “who you are” with visual elements: Your font/color/ logo/ website/ social media platforms/ pictures/ headshots. These elements have to be congruent with each other – and consistent.
  3. Authority. Are you positioned as an industry expert/leader/podcaster interviewee? When people `think of your industry, regardless of size, do people think of you? Did you write the book on the most important thing or a new groundbreaking innovation?

Marc authored The Groove Book: A Study in Musical Styles for Bass (2011) and Slappin’: A Complete Study of Slap Technique for Bass: A Complete Study of Slap Technique for Bass (2015), both under the Mel Bay Publications imprint. He is still building his brand as a musician, while using his agency to help “small” people leverage their brands to have “big voices.”

Marc can be reached on his company’s website at:, on his personal website at:, and on LinkedIn at:

Continue reading “Build your Personal Brand / Change your World”

Build a Winning Sales Playbook

Dani Buckley is the General Manager of LeadG2, an 100% remote inbound marketing and sales enablement agency, which focuses on sales results for B2B and B2C companies that have complex, multi-channel sales processes. 

LeadG2 started in 2011 as sales consulting firm that needed to generate leads for its business. Its first clients were media companies that owned television and radio stations . . . and needed to get advertisers.

In the past, B2B sales professionals have tended to have a lone wolf mentality . . . sales didn’t “count” unless the salesperson independently discovered and chased down a lead. Dani feels it is important to change that culture, to supplement cold calling and outbound prospecting with inbound and lead gen.

Dani defines sales enablement as “whatever you need to do to help your salespeople sell smarter and faster.” She spoke at Hubspot Inbound 2019 on “How to Build a Sales Play in 30 Minutes or Less.” In this Marketing Agency Leadership Podcast, she provides a brief overview of the process of developing a sales play:

  1. Develop a strategy by extracting the best knowledge and information from your leadership and your salespeople and from industry best practices and sales best practices 
  2. Create a simplified process that outlines the five things salespeople need to do to identify quality prospects
  3. Identify the technologies and tools salespeople need
  4. Determine the content and resources salespeople need
  5. Plan the rollout
  6. Provide training

LeadG2 builds robust customized “thick stack” sales playbooks for its clients, using PowerPoint so that sales managers can easily update the material. LeadG2 recommends that companies store their most up-to-date sales playbook versions where they are easily accessible by the sales team – where they would normally put stuff in the cloud.

Dani also references Donald Miller’s StoryBrand and the “hero’s journey. She emphasizes that, in messaging and in content development, you/your company is not the hero . . . your customer is the hero. 

LeadG2’s parent, the Center for Sales Strategy, is a 36-year-old sales consulting and sales leadership training company. A brand-new sister company, Up Your Culture, focuses on helping companies improve company culture and employee engagement.

LeadG2 is on Twitter and Facebook. The company website is: Dani is on Twitter @daniobuckley and LinkedIn.

Continue reading “Build a Winning Sales Playbook”

Not Your Mother’s SEO: Link-building in 2019

Dale Bertrand is President and Founder of Fire&Spark, a marketing agency focused on ecommerce, and especially ecommerce SEO: product page optimization, ecommerce site link-building, and delivering technical SEO and site speed solutions on a variety of ecommerce platforms. Deep technical skillset.

People today may avoid link-building because Google has a history of penalizing dubious link-building practices in. However, link-building is more valuable than ever is because Google depends on links to rank content. 

Dale recommends earning links through posting remarkable content, being/doing/saying something remarkable, or using targeted outreach or targeted syndication. He notes that email does not work as well as in the past because of the low open rate. 

What he has found to work the best is to build relationships and then leverage those relationships for links. Lead a movement, he says. Take a position on a current issue in your market, interview people, and use those interviews (and the relationship that comes from the interview process) to build links.

Dale presented “Link-building Isn’t Dead: The Most Important SEO Strategy in 2019 That You Can’t Ignore” at HubSpot’s Inbound 2019 in Boston, MA.

He can be reached on his company’s website, with the “and” spelled out, ” in the middle or by email at:

Continue reading “Not Your Mother’s SEO: Link-building in 2019”

Lead with Value and Don’t Use a Screwdriver to Pound a Nail

Oliver Lopez is founder and CEO of Struct Sales, a sales consultancy firm that works with large B2B sales and marketing teams selling complex products and services over long sale cycles. Typical clients of his company have tried and failed at inbound marketing. They may come to Struct Sales thinking they know what they need as a solution. Often, they’re trying to solve the wrong problem.

Inbound marketing fails when sales reps see little chance of converting what are, at best, lukewarm leads, send the leads back to marketing, deign the inbound effort a failure, and continue only to work with existing customers. Sales reps can be further discouraged when complicated incentive plans fail to communicate the actions needed to earn “rewards.”

Oliver discussed some of the causes of low lead quality: 1) a failure to define and effectively target the ideal customer; 2) poorly defined/unquantified: goals, hand-off processes, and interfaces among marketing, sales, and delivery; and 3) a “language barrier” between sales and marketing. 

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are not necessarily Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). Struct Sales offers a combination Sale Development Representative (SDR)/Business Development Representative (BDR) to generate qualified prospects through cold email, cold calling, social selling, and networking; qualify these prospects; and set up sales-qualified appointments. Oliver notes that statistics show that it takes between 8 to 13 “touches” to actually get a potential client on the phone. Yes, concentrate on the phone, but try a lot of different channels as well, and, as soon as possible, customize your messages. 

Oliver spoke at HubSpot’s Inbound 2019 in Boston, MA on Challenge/Change/Control: Turning Prospects into Revenue by Using Emotions. Good sales professionals need to have good marketing skills, lead with value, utilize storytelling, “touch” the potential client where they are, and make their clients “feel something.” Oliver feels that it is critical to always add value before you push your product, present an ROI calculation quantifying the value your company’s products or services can add to a client’s bottom line, and to present a “What if/dire consequences” scenario for failure to take action.

Oliver can be reached on Twitter @oliverlopez, on Linked in, on his company’s website at, and on his blog at (in English).

Continue reading “Lead with Value and Don’t Use a Screwdriver to Pound a Nail”