The new world order of marketing

Now more than ever before, brands expect agencies to be fluent in existing and emerging technologies. In their dealings with the account manager or lead strategist, they assume they are liaising directly with a community manager, strategist, developer, creative designer, data specialist, editor and public relations practitioner – all rolled up into one. Although some brand managers do try to understand the inner workings of a digital agency – and we greatly appreciate that – it is not part of their job.

So if a brand expects a superhero strategist who can do it all, why should they deal with anything less? After all, this is the role strategists hope to play if they intend to keep working in the field in the future. The question remains, how does today’s digital strategist raise the ante to become the superhero they are already being demanded to be?

A strategist can now accomplish many of the tasks only a developer could by using tools like Zapier, saving time (and money) usually reserved for programmers. Such an effort goes a long way in bridging the gap usually found between Strategy and Technology within a typical digital agency, while giving more command to the strategist, helping them manage their multiple job roles – sales, event management, content management (posting, curating, filtering), talent management, marketing, reporting and community management.

If the strategist’s job requires them to keep an eye on sales, they can create an email or SMS alert for every Paypal transaction, or create a Xero invoice for record-keeping, and store the new lead in a CRM like Zoho or SalesForce or AWeber, using Zapier’s interface. If one of the brands they work with runs many events (and uses Google Calendar to manage them), a strategist can program Zapier to automatically post to Facebook shortly before a Google Calendar event starts. For Facebook page managers who have future social media updates stored in a Google Doc – they can get Zapier to update the Facebook page or Twitter profile from a new Google Doc row, automatically.

All these automations are called ‘zaps’, and there are many other things you can do with them. A zap could allow new HubSpot contacts to be registered on GoToWebinar automatically, or sync Dropbox with Google Drive. You could create a zap that adds MailChimp subscribers automatically to a Google Form, filter a Twitter channel’s content to automatically post to a Facebook page, automatically tweet new Wordpress posts, add new Capsule CRM people to a Campaign Monitor list, or send email from a Webhook endpoint.

One of the great things about Zapier is that it allows programmers to upload their own APIs as well. You can then make these custom APIs ‘talk’ to other web services in a fraction of the time it takes to get a formal approval from a CTO. Zapier even helps you create smooth workflows between your SaaS services.

If you wish to integrate sales, marketing, accounting, and community management without being forced to use a huge (and expensive) ERP, Zapier may be the light you seek

Many strategists work with different types of talent and they use different mediums to engage with them. Say, a strategist manages four different Gmail addresses for email communications and a company LinkedIn account to find and engage new talent, it is rather easy to sync all those contacts on to one Google account using a zap, and create another zap to save those LinkedIn connections to Google Contacts as well.

The year 2013 has been termed ‘The Year of the Content Strategist’. How does a content strategist resonate with fans so that they keep coming back? What’s the viral element that gets them sharing your content? Does that lead to organic growth? How can you make use of the fact that 42% people use #hashtags to explore new content and 25% use them in their own posts (RadiumOne)?

If a content strategist is armed with the ability to curate a great mass of content (using tools like Zapier or itDuzzit), it gives them more time to be creative, and a greater ability to distinguish the sticky content from the mundane. For example, they could setup Zapier to ‘zap’ content from numerous sources onto one neat little spreadsheet. Maybe they want to include only those tweets that have been favorited more than 10 times? They can setup Zapier to do this too; saving all that time spent browsing, often aimlessly.

Instead of making our programmers and strategists work overtime, the future demands digital strategists and account managers to think out of the box and equip themselves with the ability to be driven by data and automation to ensure customer insights and brand strategy are applied throughout the delivery of their services. Zapier is just one example of a tool that helps digital agencies achieve this and retain their focus on the most important aspects of their services: using Search and Social as the primary gateways to consumers, and creating quality content to deliver authentic and compelling experiences in a brand-centric manner.