As marketers, we are often obsessed with how to improve the efficiency of our ad dollars. We crunch endless strings of numbers, keep up to date with the latest digital offerings and work across crazy time zones… all for the satisfaction of seeing our campaign in market and performing at its optimum. It’s high time the tools we use work as hard as we do.
Communication in a Hyperconnected World
Living in a digitized world with a globalized economy, the potential of our future is boundless. Unfortunately, so is the case with our emails/texts/calls.
Are emails a torrential downpour that feels like the bane of your existence? Onboard your team onto Slack (available on Windows, Mac, iOS & Android) and never live with 10,000 email notifications that could have been a text message thread again. Slack can help to minimize your inbox, sort conversations in channels (denoted by millennial-age defining hashtags) to delineate between projects, work and play.
A plethora of add-ons are available to supercharge your Slack team. Fireflies allows you to transform Slack conversations into assignable to-do tasks. If your team is spread out across regions, Spacetime automatically translates time mentioned in conversations so no one has to do mental gymnastics again.
Further integrations with Google Drive and Google Hangouts are great for team collaboration, particularly if you work across offices. For local teams, Lunch Train can help foster that team spirit by inviting your team out to lunch, taking stock of who’s going and notifying everyone when it’s time to head off.
Source: Lunch Train
Realistically speaking, Slack is not the be all and end all. There’ll still be days where it feels like the only way to escape from emails is if you put an ocean, or a galaxy, between you and your inbox. Say hello to your personal Astro-naut (available on iOS & Android). Astro is an email client with a slew of simple yet powerful features to help you reach inbox zero. The email client view is split into Priority and Other inboxes, which makes it easy for on-the-go mobile email consumption.
Emails made digestible
The key selling point of Astro is the AI-powered chatbot named Astrobot, who is your email live-in virtual assistant, who can help you:
- Set up reminders
- Send quick emails
- Add contacts you frequently interact with to your VIP list, and
- “Zap” your inbox by archiving emails & unsubscribing from mailing lists
Zapping the email behemoth
p.s. Pair Astro with Evie and you might find yourself with a match made in AI heaven.
Beyond emails, we interact with personal connections, coworkers and clients across various communication platforms. With so many programs to open and all sending us notifications left, right and center, life can get a little overwhelming. In times of need, everyone could use a friend. Or in this case, a very specific Franz (available on Windows & Mac). Franz integrates 49 (and counting) different communication services into a centralized application. Now everyone is within arm’s reach.
A teaser buffet of Franz’s supported services. FOMO is now a thing of the past.
But of course, face time beats screen time - never a better opportunity to put a name to that faceless email address. Free video calling solutions are aplenty, but most cannot escape the classic “Can you hear me now?” scenario as wifi connections tend to be iffy at times. Zoom (available on Windows, Mac, Chrome, Firefox, iOS & Android) offers an extensive list of local dial-in numbers, with unlimited 1-to-1 meetings and 40-minute limit for group meetings on their free plan, helping you to stay true to the KISS principle.
While you’re at it, avoid doing crazy math or risk making a faux pas with Time Zone Ninja (Web application). Time differences are automatically translated and an added legend guides you on the most suitable hours to propose said meeting. Punch in the locations of you and your attendees, hit “Find Ninja Hour” and Time Zone Ninja will attempt to find a suitable (ideally working) hour for all attendees.
Act 1: Ninja found the working hour sweet spot!
Act 2: When entasked with mission impossible, even Ninjas have their breaking point...
If you’re a mobile-heavy on the go user, Meeting Planner (available on iOS & Android) provides a similar “Traffic Light” colour coding system to help schedule your next cross Atlantic/Pacific meeting with ease (disclaimer: ninjas sold separately).
Shop Talk Time
Performance and ROI are key metrics close to any digital marketer’s heart so obviously this article would not be complete without some trade tools thrown in!
Understanding What Makes The Web Tick
The root of all digital activity starts with web assets, of which a client’s website is a treasure trove of information. Whether it is when we first receive a brief, troubleshooting for errors or are conducting a regular audit/review, we need to look under the hood. With one click, WhatRuns (available on Chrome) crunches through the coding and displays the list of templates, fonts, trackers, plugins and services at one glance. This can be immensely helpful and key to understanding a new client’s digital tools & capabilities without the Q&A.
What runs whatruns.com?
Despite how open the web 2.0 is, owned information is usually obscure and only few are privy. SimilarWeb brings forth a solution to the age old question - what are my competitors doing and is my marketing performance in line with the industry’s benchmarks? SimilarWeb provides information on web engagement, audience, traffic source and market share, allowing easy benchmarking of your digital marketing performance against that of the industry’s bigwigs.
Big Data, Small Takeaways
The beauty of digital marketing lies in the fact that every action is trackable and measurable, making data our single most important resource and weapon. However, it is easy to get buried under the sea of numbers as we start going down the rabbit hole. Keep your presentations and strategies on track with impactful yet bite-sized statistics backed by internet giant Google’s Data Points.
Numbers that drives the message home
Before we get off the Google train, it’s worth mentioning Data Studio, currently in beta, which enables you to create customizable and interactive reports from Google’s suite of marketing products (Analytics, Attribution 360, DoubleClick Campaign Manager, Firebase, Google Cloud Storage, Search & YouTube). Achieve the perfect balance between big picture and granular detail with Google’s iconic data-driven simplicity.
Source: Google Data Studio
Despite how life changing digital can be, adopting new tools or systems can be a learning curve since it requires us to adopt new habits and workflows. This is particularly challenging when it comes to communication and collaborative tools which require on-boarding and frequent use by a whole team.
However, as digital marketers first and agency professionals second, keeping apprised with new technologies not only improves efficiency but is also a key success factor in our industry. I hope the above tools will come in handy in helping to bridge the physical distance between offices or at the very least this makes a cool read of the direction technology is heading towards.