Super Bowl XLVIII was held yesterday. And the Big Game provides a plethora of piñatas filled with news, analysis, tips, and trends for the online video and internet marketing industries to break apart. But a couple of ReelSEO’s other videologists and columnists are already offering their expert advice, guidance, and commentary about Super Bowl video ads. So, I think you will like some other presents, too.

Besides, ReelSEO already dedicates a plethora of resources to teach best practices to the practitioners as well as boost the skills and proficiency of internet marketers and video content producers. So, perhaps it’s time to contribute a few new resources to the managers and directors of digital marketing teams. ReelSEO’s focus on hard skills is important, but there are many soft skills that are important, too.

Recently, Michael Stebbins, the Co-founder and CEO of Market Motive, interviewed eight thought leaders and innovators in online marketing for a free eBook entitled “The Brilliant Manager’s Guide to Building, Motivating, and Managing World-Class Digital Marketing Teams.” Since I was a member of the so-called “Dream Team” who volunteered to contribute observations and best practices to the eBook, I was able to get permission from Market Motive to share a couple of excerpts with ReelSEO readers.

I realize that quoting myself from an interview is the written equivalent of taking a selfie. But even though Market Motive had collected this valuable information (and copyrighted it), they let me share a couple of my observations. There’s more, of course, in the eBook.

What Has Changed in Online Marketing in the Last Two Years?

Michael Stebbins: What has changed in the last two years?

google algo hummingbird videoGreg Jarboe: Things always change. There have been a number of significant tidal changes in the history of marketing and we’re just living through the most recent one. You could say the recent pressure started with the Google Panda update, which set the whole SEO industry on its head and suddenly made quality content imperative. Followed by Penguin and Hummingbird. But frankly this has been a problem that’s been growing for longer than the last two years. Some folks would like to ignore it, and assume that this stuff will all go away and we’ll “get back to normal” where all the things that you learned back in college are still relevant. But that’s like wishing for the return of Henry Ford and “you can have any color you want as long as it’s black.” Ain’t gonna happen. Things have changed, people want more options, and the ways we reach them with those options are wildly different.

You only have to look at the four largest websites in the United States today for an indication of how marketing as we know it has transformed. According to Compete PRO, Google had 179.5 million unique visitors in December 2103 and Yahoo had 170.8 million. Facebook had 167.8 million unique visitors that month and YouTube had 167.3 million. It’s clear that something very different is going on.

We more or less understand Google and Yahoo because we’ve had 15 years to get used to them. Facebook and YouTube are somewhat more recent phenomena, and are less well known by people over 35. Unfortunately, in a lot of organizations that’s the manager or director, and consequently they’re trying to lead their teams through a strange, strange land they don’t fully understand themselves.

facebook video

You may have known mainstream marketing, that may be the language that you grew up in, but as a manager or director now you’ve got to get your arms around content marketing and social media marketing and web analytics and conversion optimization and pay-per-click advertising and mobile. All of that is the new language you’ve got to get familiar with.

What Best Practices Actually Work for Top Managers?

Michael Stebbins: What are some tested practices that work for top managers ranging from large to small businesses? 

Greg Jarboe: You’ve got to get your feet wet, now. Today. If you got plunked down in France tomorrow and had to do business, English would only go so far. You’d have to learn the language and the culture, fast, to be effective. Books are okay, but I thought I’d learned French in high school, and when I got to France the French they were speaking was a whole different language. Well that same lesson can be applied here for the manager and director. You can’t delegate your Facebook campaign or your YouTube campaign or your search engine marketing campaign. If you do, you’ll have no idea of what’s working and what’s not working. What you really have to do is get your hands dirty: Full immersion.

Where should you start? Google is the biggest site out there so I’d start with search. Understand what you’re doing there. When you’re done with Google, move to Yahoo. It’s the number two site so you better get familiar with that world. Then tackle Facebook and YouTube right after that. You’re going to make mistakes but that’s okay. None of us knew this stuff 10 or 15 years ago, we all had to learn it, and the only way any of us could learn it was on the job. Get in there and learn along with everyone else. It’s an everyday thing: Be humble, and be willing to learn.

Here’s the cheat that I used: Several years ago, I hired my own kids as summer interns while they were going through college. (They’re Millennials; I’m a Baby Boomer.) The deal I made with them was, “I’ll teach you what you don’t know about SEO and PR, but you have to teach me what I don’t know about social networking and video sharing sites. You use them like Digital Natives and you look at me like I’m a Digital Immigrant. That’s fine, talk to me. Set me straight.” It was a two-way street, and we learned together.


There are a lot of things that the manager or director can do either with their junior employees or with their summer interns to share old- and new-school knowledge. That’s a humbling thing for a manager or director to do because you’re supposed to be the boss. You’re supposed to set the direction. How can you set the direction if you’re not familiar with the landscape? Learn every day, from everyone.

Building a Solid Marketing Team Structure

Michael Stebbins: How can managers and directors build a solid team structure? 

Greg Jarboe: The key here is team. Too many managers and directors focus on structure and try to build an assembly line. One person does the YouTube part, another does the Facebook part, and a third handles the search part. The assumption is that each one of these parts is discrete and unique and can be done independently and none of them have to be coordinated or integrated. That’s a mistake. We need everybody at the table at the same time. You would be surprised at the amount of things social media marketers can learn from keyword research. You would be amazed at what search engine optimization professionals can learn from what’s popular and what’s likely to get retweeted. There are all kinds of interactions.

So the first thing I would do, particularly if you’re the manager of a small team, is treat them as a team. Get them all around the table at the same time. There’s going to be a cross fertilization and there’s going to be a lot of cross learning, and that’s going to be good for everyone. Then sure, assign one of them to pay-per-click advertising, and another to SEO. Put one in charge of social media marketing, another on content marketing, and another on web analytics. Those are probably a good five key things to start a focus on.

But don’t assume that they’re going to all go off into their own little silo and perform miracles by themselves. The real magic is the interaction between them and the real learning is the cross training.

marketing teams

Remember, there are just a couple of excerpts from Market Motive’s eBook. Stebbins also interviewed:

  • Avinash Kaushik, Google’s digital marketing Evangelist, and author of “Web Analytics 2.0″
  • Bryan Eisenberg, best-selling author of “Always Be Testing”, “Call to Action”, and “Waiting For Your Cat To Bark”
  • Todd Malicoat, named in the 50 Most Influential Marketers, and Top 40 Most Influential in Search Marketing
  • Jennifer Evans Cario, President, SugarSpun Marketing,  and author of “Pinterest Marketing: An Hour a Day”
  • Brad Geddes, author of “Advanced Google AdWords” and founder of Certified Knowledge
  • Matt Bailey, President of SiteLogic and author of “Internet Marketing An Hour A Day”
  • Jeff Hasen, author of “Mobilized Marketing: Driving Sales, Engagement, and Loyalty Through Mobile Devices” 

And Stebbins asked all of us eight questions, not just the three that I’ve shared here. That’s why the eBook is 67 pages long. So, the Dream Team has put a plethora of insights and wisdom in the eBook, each of them filled with little surprises. So, before your manager or director sends you to Baja to shoot a Cochise picture in eight days, you should read “The Brilliant Manager’s Guide to Building, Motivating, and Managing World-Class Digital Marketing Teams” and then share a copy with him or her.