We recently got to know more about how AJ Liddell, a marketing strategist at Blue Frog, focuses on helping clients become more data-driven. As an agency partner of both HubSpot and ZoomInfo, AJ will be speaking at an upcoming webinar discussing how Blue Frog pairs ZoomInfo and HubSpot to help businesses scale their activities and avoid the pitfalls of bad data.
Tell us about your job and your company. What’s your day-to-day work?
I’m a marketing strategist at Blue Frog, which means I help drive the overall strategic leadership for my team’s group of clients. We currently have over 20 people with a team structure of around five people on each team: a strategist, junior strategist, developer, designer, and content strategist. My role is to work with management to understand each client’s big-picture goals as they relate to marketing, sales, and overall revenue generation. We then develop strategies specific to each client’s unique business goals utilizing various techniques working in tandem to hit pre-determined and agreed-upon KPIs.
Tell us about your city and region: what are the biggest industries and sectors in your area?
We’re located in Des Moines, Iowa, a city approaching one million people. Primary industries in Des Moines would be insurance, financial services, agriculture, and surprisingly to some, technology. Des Moines, as well as surrounding cities like Omaha and Kansas City, provide great opportunities for companies in start-up mode in large part due to our lower cost of living.
Who are your typical clients, and what kind of services are they looking for?
We have never been industry-specific, which was intentional. We can say that our diverse client base has really helped us not only with our stability but also to borrow best practices from other industries and apply them in ways many may not have considered. The services we offer vary from client to client. We can go from discussing a website build for a small-scale startup to launching a sales-specific strategy for a business with 100 salespeople. We also help clients better understand, structure, and use their client data. Many clients have disjointed, pieced together tech stacks with disparate data coming from various sources. We help connect these systems through tools like HubSpot and Zoominfo, and are able to provide usable, actionable data for our clients.
Are you back in the office? What’s changed for work-life balance or career development during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, we’ve been back in the office for a long time now. Everything is pretty much back to business as usual for us but the one thing we miss is being able to travel to various training opportunities. We’ve leveraged online and in-house training activities, but we’re ready to get back out and reconnect with our peers at some of these events we used to go to. In terms of our culture at Blue Frog, we were recognized as an Inc Magazine best workplaces company. We value having a work-life balance. We don’t enforce strict work hours here but with all of the collaboration we do, we’re mostly all in the office during normal working hours. The good news is, we’re visiting clients again and they have been extremely welcoming to have us back. It’s great to be face-to-face again.
What’s the most important trend you’re seeing in digital marketing today?
That’s a tough one because trends seem to change by the minute. As a HubSpot partner, we see a growing focus on cross-platform integration and really understanding data as it pertains to each individual client’s needs. That’s why we went to ZoomInfo, to serve as a “washing machine” for our data. While HubSpot’s Ops Hub acts as a centralized repository for our various data sources, Zoominfo ensures that aggregated data is accurate and usable. We can have data enriched, cleansed, and available to build better marketing strategies which naturally produces better results on every campaign.
When you have a new client, what’s the first thing they want to know? What’s the first thing you recommend?
In our sales process, we talk about goals. They don’t come to us and say we need digital marketing. If they do, we typically pause and ask them: “What are you trying to accomplish? What are the goals you have for your business and why do you think digital marketing applies to that? What are the benchmarks you’re trying to hit?” From there we start talking about tools and tactics to help them achieve business goals and the conversation turns more consultative.
How has better business data changed the way you do your job?
Really, it’s a matter of putting an end to the “garbage in garbage out” challenge. The better data we have fueling our campaigns, the better outcomes. More accurate data increases deliverability, allows us to more intelligently deliver resonating content, and in turn, we see higher conversion rates.
What are some signs that a client’s data needs a refresh or is outdated? What are some of the symptoms you see of a problem that would point to dirty data?
It’s always a fair assumption that data is outdated. Data ages like milk, it spoils over time. Nearly every client we meet with will have bad data that needs a refresh. Having a proactive strategy to maintain and update data is critical to limiting spoilage and achieving maximum results.
You recently wrote about using automation in your workflows. Can you tell us how that has helped you or your clients?
We use this combination of ZoomInfo and HubSpot in our day-to-day business. With the mixture of ZoomInfo contact information, Scoops, and intent data, and ZoomInfo workflows, we’re able to reach out to people who are actively looking for solutions like ours. We drop them into HubSpot and into a targeted nurture campaign. From there, it’s a hands-off process to begin the top-of-funnel nurturing without a ton of manual steps first.
Attendees will learn how connecting HubSpot and ZoomInfo can help your team reach your best prospects, gain access to current and actionable contact information, generate more leads, and close more sales.