marketing qualified lead

Why ‘Star Wars’ Is Really About Sales & Marketing Qualified Leads

After recently re-watching the original Star Wars trilogy, I made a startling discovery. The first movie (for clarification, I mean episode IV) is all about marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads. I know that sounds crazy but it’s (kind of) true! Just stick with me and by the end you will be convinced that I’m right. So let’s get to it.

The (Sales) Force

Think of making a sale for your business in the same was as someone accepting the existence of The Force. In the movies, The Force is an all-powerful entity that binds the universe together. It works as a power that influences people’s actions and decisions. Just like with sales, some things are in your control, but ultimately it comes down to the buyer/believer. If they are not susceptible to what they are hearing, eventually they will turn away. It is a salesperson’s job to minimize the number of people who turn away. That’s why it’s important to treat every lead different depending on where they are in their buyer’s journey. In Star Wars, getting people to believe in The Force is no different. This brings me to my first example.

What Are Marketing Qualified Leads And Why Do They Matter?

Luke: The Sales Qualified Lead

In the movies, people talk about the Jedi like they would monks following a religion. How many people do you know adopted a religion within the same day they heard of it? I’m assuming not many. Enter Luke Skywalker! In the movie, he has never even heard of The Force but after only a brief conversation with Obi-Wan Kenobi (and getting the coolest weapon in the galaxy!) we know that Luke is pretty open to the whole idea. He even seems perplexed that Han isn’t open to the idea of The Force while on their ill-fated trip to Aldaran. For this reason, Luke Skywalker is the quintessential example of a sales qualified lead.

After only a short conversation, we know that he is willing to believe in The Force, even though he has seen no evidence of its existence. Later, Obi-Wan does show off the powers of The Force by using a Jedi mind-trick on a nosey Stormtrooper, but the use of it was both necessary and beneficial. Obi-Wan allows Luke to see the power of The Force but never refers back to that as a way to convince him that The Force is real. By allowing Luke to make up his own mind about whether to follow the ways of The Force was essential to his full adoption of the Jedi ways that would eventually lead him to destroying The Empire’s grip on the galaxy.

Han: The Marketing Qualified Lead

Han is a different story. He isn’t openly hostile to the idea of The Force, but he comes pretty close to it. He chides Luke, telling him that he’s seen no evidence of an all-powerful force that binds the universe together. Even more surprising is that this is after he watches Luke deflect multiple laser blasts from a practice droid while blinded! Anyways, fast forward to the scene where the Rebels are preparing their attack against the Death Star. Notice that Luke doesn’t give Han a speech about why he should fight for the Rebels or that he’s morally wrong for not helping them stop a tyrant who has a weapon of mass destruction.

This is the way your sales team should treat its marketing qualified leads. By not feeling pressure from Luke, Han feels unashamed about turning to his friend and saying, “may The Force be with you.” This is surprising because at this point in the film we are pretty sure Han still doesn’t believe in The Force. Though he may not believe in it, Han has progressed from questioning hostility to respectful recognition of The Force. And, as we all know, Han comes back and saves the day! Not because of incessant nagging, but because he was able to make the decision on his own. Without that level of freedom, Han may have taken his loot and ran away from the battle out of spite. Glad that didn’t happen!


When thinking about sales and marketing qualified leads, it’s important to remember the human aspect of these concepts. I think that by linking these ideas to well-known and popular characters we are better able to understand how and why leads need to be treated differently. Remember, Luke Skywalker may have been The Chosen One, but he couldn’t have saved the universe without Han’s help. A successful business needs to learn how to effectively cater to both sales and marketing qualified leads.

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers
what's new with google

What’s New with Google: Search Results Based on Location

So, what’s new with Google? At times, it can be tough to decipher the Google algorithm. The effort may often seem like a futile exercise. The search engine has undergone a number of changes in the recent past. This has kept a majority of digital and online marketers on their toes. These updates often hit small and local businesses very hard. Each modification or tweak to the algorithm can have an adverse impact on their search rankings. Here’s an overview of what’s new with Google:

Search Results Based on Location of Device

Google recently launched a new update. It will deliver Google search results on the basis of the location of your device. As nearly 20 percent of the total search queries on the search engine are location-specific, the company has made a number of tweaks to the relevant search algorithm in order to provide more relevant and useful results.

Google+ and Your Social Media Marketing Plan

Users Can’t Change Location

Regardless of whether you visit a top-level or country-specific domain, Google will now reveal its search results depending on the current location of your device. For instance, in case you are in Singapore and you visit, bear in mind that you will only be able to see search results localized for Singapore and not for the UK.

You will find your current location listed near the bottom on the left corner of your window. If you travel to a different country, the search engine will dynamically alter the location. The location alters in order to show the search results specific to that region. According to many users, this is an incredible and welcome addition. However, it has the tendency of making the procedure for seeking localized search results from another country a bit longer.

In case you would like to look for localized results from a different country, you will first need to make appropriate changes in your settings menu. To change your location, follow these steps:

  • Press the Settings button; you will find it on the bottom of your search page
  • Then go to Search settings
  • Now choose the relevant country from the available Region for Search Results.


This location update is currently available for Google apps for iOS, Google search results on mobile platforms, as well as Maps and Search for desktop platforms. It is important to keep in mind that while the update is going to change some aspects of how both Google Search and Google Maps services are displayed and labeled, it will not have any impact on the way the company products function. In addition, it will not change the way legal and regulatory obligations are handled under national law.

This update can improve location-based and niche marketing efforts that target customers belonging to particular geographic regions and increase organic traffic. A lot of location-based services tend to rank better when it comes to search engine findings on the net. Moreover, use of location-based marketing can make your business a success in the local areas and suburbs you operate in.

The purpose of the update is to help ensure the users can get the most appropriate or relevant search results depending on their location. It is also consistent with the way Google already deals with a number of services across various other platforms such as YouTube, Google Earth, Gmail, and Blogger, among others.

So, now that you are familiar with what’s new with Google, you can make the relevant changes to your website and come up effective marketing strategies.


smart goal examples

Examples Of How Smart Goals Should Align With Your Business Goals

One of the most important things a company can do is set regular business goals. They point the business in the right direction and keep activities focused on achieving specific objectives. Now, writing down a general goal is a good start, but to make them happen, you must take action. And that is why your SMART goals must align with your business development goals.

You have more than likely heard of SMART goals. They are goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Here are a couple of SMART goal examples to get you started.

5 Smart Goal Examples For Business Development

Example #1: Expanding your wedding business’s regional footprint

Let’s say you want to expand your wedding business’s geographic footprint to open up new markets and to increase revenues. Here is an example of how a SMART goal would align with this business goal.

  • Specific: I will lease a 2000 square-foot storefront in downtown Chicago.
  • Measurable: The lease will be signed no later than January 15th.
  • Attainable: I will contact three leasing agents who specialize in storefront properties in downtown Chicago and make a trip specifically to the area to find the ideal property.
  • Relevant: I have bridal customers and consultants from the Chicago area asking if I would open another location in their area to make it easier for them to shop. This opens up a new market and customer base, with a high probability of successful growth.
  • Time-Bound: All of this must be done by January 15th, to allow for the store to open in early February, near the start of the Spring bridal season.

Example #2: Lower Shipping Costs

Let’s say you want to lower your shipping costs but want to do it without lowering customer satisfaction. Here is an example of a SMART goal that aligns with this business objective:

  • Specific: I will switch all of my shipping from UPS to Fedex.
  • Measurable: I will complete the transition to Fedex by July 1st.
  • Attainable: I will contact Fedex and set up a new merchant account to start the process. I will also order the appropriate labels and software updates to make this transition as easy as possible.
  • Relevant: Fedex’s rates for shipping to the region of the country where most of my customers are is 20% lower than UPS. They also deliver within 3 to 5 business days, which is the same as UPS. The lower cost and same delivery time should maintain customer satisfaction levels while lowering costs.
  • Time-Bound: I will make the change by July 1st to coincide with the beginning of the new quarter to allow clean tracking of the impact this change makes to shipping costs and customer satisfaction.

These SMART goal examples should help you develop your own. When you align your actionable goals with your broader business goals, you will see progress. Can you give any other SMART goal examples that align with your business objectives?

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers
smart goal examples

Incorporating Smart Goals Into Your Marketing Plan Development

Now, most of us have heard about how to develop SMART goals. But, how do you incorporate them into your marketing plan development?

A quick recap: SMART goals are those that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. This format makes it easier to see where you need to go and how to measure your progress. That’s why it’s perfect for your marketing plan development.

Making Your Marketing Plan SMART

Every plan must have at least one objective. In the world of marketing plans, the objectives usually include building demand for a product or service, maintaining current demand or shortening the sales cycle. The actual plan you put together works towards obtaining those objectives.

Setting high objectives sounds great on paper. But, when they are not specific, measurable, attainable, relevant or time bound, they become nothing more than marks on a page.

To avoid making paper goals, your marketing objectives themselves must be SMART. For example, let’s say your objective is to gain a 50% increase in market share in the next 12 months. That is definitely specific and measurable, but may not be attainable due to lack of resources or stiff competition. Relevancy depends on the size of the available market and how fast it is growing or not. Being able to grow that much in 12 months may or may not be possible depending on the market.

5 Smart Goal Examples For Business Development

Making Your Marketing Plan SMART

All of your objectives should be stated in SMART terms. Let’s say you want to increase the number of visitors to the Thingamajig product page on your website.

  • Specific: To increase the number of visitors to the Thingamajig web page by 25% over last quarter’s total.
  • Measurable: The total visitors last quarter was 2000, so the goal this quarter is to achieve a total of 2500 or more visitors.
  • Attainable: Increasing the number of visitors is definitely doable with increased spending in PPC ads and referral incentives for existing customers.
  • Relevant: The Thingamajig is our most profitable product. Ten percent of visitors to the website ultimately end up placing an order. Increasing the number of visitors to the Thingamajig web page has the potential of increasing the number of orders by 25% or more.
  • Time-Bound: The goal is to have this achieved by September 30th, so that we are ready to enter the Christmas season with a larger share of the Thingamajig market.

Going from a general objective to a detailed one is a major change. Here is what just happened:

  • General objective: “Increasing the number of visitors to the Thingamajig web page”
  • Detailed objective: “Increasing the number of visitors to the Thingamajig web page by 25%, or 500 more visitors, in the 3rd quarter, in order to generate 25% more orders and to obtain a larger share of the market during the upcoming Christmas season”

Applying SMART goal thinking to our marketing plan development will make all the difference in moving things forward. How can you incorporate it into your next campaign?


Why Your Website Redesign Would Benefit From An Inbound Marketing Strategy

A website redesign is the perfect time to integrate your inbound marketing strategy into the site’s very fabric. In fact, your entire website needs to be optimized and focused on furthering your inbound marketing efforts. It is an investment that will pay off in higher conversions and increased sales.

Is Your Current Website Giving You What You Need?

You are in business to make money. Your website exists to market your business. Its design needs to further your need to make money. If your current website design is not doing that, it isn’t giving you what you need.

Here are some things to expect from your website:

  • The design should remain up to date.
  • You should be able to measure ROI easily.
  • You should have updated metrics available at all time.
  • The website should totally support your marketing efforts.
  • The website should drive conversions and build your lead database.

If your current design isn’t giving you these benefits, it’s time to invest in a new design, one that will give you these benefits and many more.

20 Tips To Improve Your Website Redesign Process

Every aspect of your website redesign should feed into your inbound marketing strategy. The strategy and marketing funnel needs to be integrated into the site’s very fabric. To make this type of design work, you need a platform that is growth-driven and you need a web team that can make updates on a regular basis.

What are the Advantages of an Inbound Marketing Website?

Your business will benefit in many ways when your inbound marketing strategy becomes what drives your website design.

  1. The website will be the basis of your 24/7 marketing funnel. Your website is where you drive traffic to, host your content, convert visitors to leads, and gather marketing data. That is why your inbound marketing strategy must drive your website design.
  2. Your website will educate leads early in their buyer’s journey. Buyers these days do a lot of research before making purchases. You want your website to be a rich source of information so the buyer will continuously visit during their journey.
  3. You will see every increasing improvement in design and performance. Why wait for your next website redesign to update your website? It should happen at least once a month as you make changes to meet marketing goals and fix problems.
  4. You can prove ROI with incremental improvements. Website updates cannot just involve aesthetics. They must include and revolve around marketing changes. With each change, you can measure your ROI quite easily.
  5. Your website can help nurture leads. The more you educate a lead, the more likely that person is to make a purchase. Your website must offer clear pathways through the buyer’s journey to help him or her reach a decision point.

If you want to take your marketing to the next level, it is time to integrate your inbound marketing strategy with your website design. Once you have the basics in place, you will see steady improvements in your marketing efforts. And that makes it all worth it.

This article is on Data Captive as well.

Want more resources on how to redesign your website? Click here!

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

PPC landing pages

Advertising Trends To Watch in 2018

We are well into the last quarter of 2017 and you should already have an idea of how well you have met your goals for this year. While you are wrapping things up these last few months of the year, it is a good time to start thinking about what is happening next year. Let’s take a look at some of the advertising trends for 2018.

7 Advertising Trends that Will Be Hot in 2018

Integrated Advertising

Stand back and take a look at your current advertising. Are you leveraging multiple media sources to provide your target audience with a memorable experience? If not, now is the time to rethink your advertising approach.

Integrated advertising takes all media forms and creates a singular approach. Think TV and radio spots, print media, search engine and social media ads, and any other type of advertising. Every piece of advertising is in sync with every other including In-Bound advertising.

Niche Marketing

Niches are created by finding the needs, wants and requirements of a well-defined segment of people, who others are not addressing, then fulfilling the demand with goods and services.

The demand for niche marketing is growing because the number of businesses entering the digital marketplace is accelerating while the number of consumers remains fairly steady. This trend is going to become increasingly important going forward. What’s your niche and how best can you accommodate your consumer or business?

Mobile Marketing Geofencing

Advertisers can use GPS and RFID technology to set a physical boundary. If a mobile device enters or exists this boundary, the advertiser can send out a notification, email or text message. This hyper-local marketing allows businesses of all sorts to send out advertisements to consumers walking down the sidewalk near their store or office. Imagine walking the streets of Vegas when you get an alert on your phone that says, “look up and save 30% off your meal at Diablo’s Cantina”. That is what I was served in 2015.

5 Mobile Marketing Techniques To Build Your Ecommerce Brand

Social Advertising

The first part of 2017 saw a rapid increase in social media advertising spend. Social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are providing new opportunities for user interaction, which is making advertising more attractive for companies of all sorts. Business is recognizing that social media offers ways to reach consumers that more conventional digital marketing cannot. Today, you can buy Facebook around zipcodes. What are you waiting for?

Ephemeral Content

Let’s turn the convention thoughts on digital marketing content on its head. Ephemeral content is doing just that. This type of content comes and goes very quickly, usually within 24 hours. It is perceived as more authentic, creates the FOMO (fear of missing out), and it grabs the consumer’s attention for a short time. Consumers believe that this content should be checked more often because it will be gone by the next day.


One of the advertising trends businesses are adopting quickly is the chatbot. A chatbot is program which engages a consumer in a text conversation, using natural language and business rules to provide requested information. It’s the reason TIVO can have one on one conversations about their products and help guide you through the purchasing cycle.

In-Store Retail Advertising

A consumer is walking through a retail store and gets an alert on his or her phone. It is a promotional offer or discount from the store. This type of in-store retail advertising is another form of hyper-local advertising. Walgreens has embraced this technology for the last two years. It drives store visits and can up-sale items for impulse buys. This form of advertising is a force that captures eyeballs and delivers content that could increase your sales if used properly.

2018 looks to be an exciting year in the world of marketing and advertising. Each year, technology pushes its way more and more into the world of marketing. If you haven’t embraced where marketing is heading, your company may not be around in the next three years. Think about how Amazon is delivering FOOD within ½ hour to your door, or Walmart not only delivering but putting away in your kitchen…did you think this would happen? Do you see the value of Tesla and having a driver-less car? Were taxis ready for UBER or LYFT? Was Blockbuster ready for NETFLIX or REDBOX? How about the postal service that didn’t work on Sundays, to be delivering Amazon products on a day where all the vehicles are available. The Echo could just change your life moving forward and why isn’t your product already being said by Alexia? Technology is a force.

The trends in 2018 are powerful. Isn’t it time to start using them?

Inbound marketing will help you grow your business by attracting website visitors, converting them into leads and closing leads into customers