Staying One Step Ahead of the Changing Marketing World – An Interview With Sam Hurley

I think one of the most important things you can do as a marketer is to attempt to learn as much as possible from other marketers and hear what they have to say. For that reason I interviewed Sam Hurley with a few questions to try and see what I could learn from his expertise. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did.

 

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Sam Hurley is a lateral-thinking digital marketer holding 6+ years’ self-expedited experience in both agency and client-side settings before launching his own digital consultancy venture: OPTIM-EYEZ.

He has achieved success for SMEs, national to international blue chip organisations while being ranked as the world’s #1 digital influencer by Webinale and #2 most influential digital marketer by Onalytica.

Catch him on Twitter for heaps of helpful tweets on entrepreneurship and marketing!

1. It’s no secret that the marketing field is saturated one. With more and more marketers entering the field, which practices set aside good marketers from great ones?

I think there are four defining characteristics that ensure success and these traits are displayed in many disciplines – not just throughout marketing:

Pure dedication

Practice makes permanent. Spend enough time learning and you will become great. The sheer desire to achieve blended with sustained commitment eventually pays off big time – I can vouch for that. You can never exercise enough reading, research and listening.

Effective communication

Everything we do is based on how we interact with our audiences; capturing imaginations, inspiring actions, evoking emotion and driving conversions. How we engage people is key to any marketing campaign and the best communicators know exactly how to craft the right messages at the optimal times to the best audiences while building solid, lasting relationships.

Constant agility

Keeping up with tech and trends is one thing – seeing what’s ahead before anyone else (and adapting accordingly) separates the best from the rest. The cream rises to the top and those who remain a step in front are the leaders of the industry who many aspire to follow.

Ability to absorb and apply multiple skill sets

Full-stack marketers are out in force. As the revolution of ‘solopreneurship’ and shared duties within startups take hold, more and more of us take our hand to several levels of expertise simply because; we have to. These days, it’s not uncommon for a digital marketing head to be able to code – or a CEO to know their way around Google Analytics.
In the end, it doesn’t matter how many marketers enter the field…those who naturally display the above four characteristics will remain at the forefront of the pack.

2. Which innovative trends do you recognize in marketing nowadays?

The brands who are effectively taking advantage of advanced marketing automation are miles ahead of their competition. The stuff Adobe and IBM are pushing out is just insane – programmatic marketing, machine learning, image recognition and customer journey designers are clear acknowledgement that marketing isn’t just a selling process anymore, but an end-to-end experience. So, businesses applying such complex methods are clearly trend setters, raising the bar very high.

Personalisation is huge – consumers and prospects have come to expect this as standard. They want immediacy, relevancy and customisation at every touch point in their journey across numerous devices.

The immersion of virtual and augmented reality is only adding to this demand.

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3. What do you do to prepare for a new campaign and stand out from competing brands?

I find the best process is to thoroughly analyse the landscape…spend a lot of time researching any competition, trends and opportunities. This phase should never be rushed because the time invested at this point saves huge amounts of resource later on.

Personality and brand positioning needs to be spot on and maximised – there’s no room for hesitation or subtlety these days. Determine your voice, tone, market fit then drive it…hard.

The only way to stand out above the noise is to be unique and offer a great value proposition to an audience who really need it. Surveys are a great way of confirming validation.

Diverse relationships always play an important part too – if you spend time building a strong web of connections throughout multiple industries, they will undoubtedly act as strong propagators of your marketing campaigns.

4. We are flooded with buzzwords lately – brand identity/big data/ clickbait, etc., where do you think the marketing world is heading?

The buzzwords are only going to continue (and increase) I’m afraid! It does seem the world has a fascination with buzz and shiny objects…

I’ve touched on some complex marketing techniques in this interview – but that doesn’t mean we should just forget about the fundamentals.

Take keywords and links for example; they still matter, a lot! Don’t get caught up in the whirlwind…just be aware of the new trends but stick to your path. Just because everybody else appears to be using Snapchat doesn’t mean it suits your business model…

Speaking of Snapchat, we are definitely heading towards a real-time revolution not only across public media, but private media too. Check out the rise of social messenger apps:

That (along with Artificial Intelligence), is the trajectory it seems.

5. Let us in on some of your secrets… where do you look for innovation? For inspiration and revolutionary ideas?

I do find the big marketing tech brands are constantly pushing the envelope, so the likes of Adobe and IBM are where I seek ultra-fresh perspectives. Their outlook and innovation is always eye opening and makes the rest of marketing seem pretty dull in comparison!

Back to ground level, I keep tabs on the celebrity influencers of each digital marketing niche such as Rand Fishkin for SEO, Larry Kim for PPC and the Eisenbergs for CRO.

It’s also a great idea to subscribe to the newsletters of top publishers like The Next Web, Search Engine Land and Econsultancy.

However; those ideas are nothing without customisation and application. I look to my own mind for imaginative concepts and love to experiment each day! It’s the key to growth…

James Mello
James is the Lead Author & Editor Product2Market of Blog. James writes for the Product2Market blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Product Marketing.
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