Today on Content Hacker, I'm downright thrilled to say our Spotlight is shining on none other than Shane Barker, marketing guru.
He really needs no introduction, but we'll give it a shot anyway:
Shane is a digital marketing consultant who has been an industry staple for over 25 years. The difference is, he prefers to think of himself as a partner, not just somebody you hire. He works closely with celebrities, start-ups, and established companies alike to expand their digital reach, boost their revenue, and meet their business goals.
Just a few of the names he's worked with include Puma, IMAX, and former NFL player Adrian Ross. He has been featured on HuffPost, Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc., plus many more.
Today, Shane is sharing his superhero marketing mentality, the tools he depends on for enhanced measurement and tracking, and why your mindset is majorly important for marketing success.
Content Hacker Spotlight Interview: with Shane Barker
Q: When did you get started in marketing, and why?
A: It's been about 25+ years since I got into marketing for the first time. I found myself noticing marketing campaigns and brand strategies that didn't really work, even when I wasn't actively looking. The best part was that I always had better ideas that could improve their efforts and guarantee them success – even though I did not have any background in marketing.
So I thought, maybe this is what I should be doing because I clearly have a knack for it. That's when I started studying marketing for real and really got into it.
Q: What's your favorite part of what you do today?
A: I'm a people person, so my favorite part of what I do is working with people. I have clients from across multiple verticals with varying business models, products, goals, and challenges. The whole experience of dealing with all of these variations and helping them accomplish their individual business goals is super exciting for me.
Q: What's one of the biggest challenges you have overcome in your work as a marketer?
A: Getting my first client was the biggest challenge I overcame as a marketer. I think this is always one of the most challenging aspects for any entrepreneur, freelancer, or professional. It's challenging to find that one person who will give your skills and expertise a chance, because people often look for professionals that other people are already vouching for.
Q: How has the industry landscape changed since you started?
A: There have been plenty of minor changes in the industry since I got into it. On their own, these changes may not seem like much. But they combine into one massive transformation if you look at how the landscape was 5 years ago and how it is now.
Technology is the biggest aspect in which the marketing landscape has seen some major improvement, especially when it comes to influencer marketing. There weren't any tools for marketers to measure the impact of their influencer marketing campaigns back then. Now, people have come up with several effective tools — not just to find influencers but to manage their entire campaigns and even measure the results.
We've also seen a significant change in the SEO landscape with algorithm changes introduced by Google. Content quality takes first priority, and businesses have to be more careful with their anchor text usage and backlink quality if they want to rank higher in Google search results.
All of these seemingly small changes have caused major shifts in the digital marketing landscape.
Q: What does the future of marketing look like to you?
A: Technological advancements are going to make things much easier for marketers and businesses alike, especially since there's been a lot of improvement in AI technology. It'll be easier to reach a highly targeted audience, deliver timely and consistent customer support, create marketing campaigns that deliver results, and measure the impact of those campaigns.
At the same time, I believe the competition will get tougher if everyone gets access to these technological advancements to support their marketing efforts.
Q. What key traits or skills does it take to be a marketing leader?
A: You definitely have to be a people person, because being a marketing leader is all about the relationships you build with your clients and contractors. No matter how skilled or experienced you are, you can't really become a marketing leader without people vouching for your expertise and credibility.
The willingness and ability to learn is another crucial trait, because you have to constantly update your skills and knowledge along with the changing landscape. Otherwise, your ideas and skills are going to be outdated in just a few years' time.
As long as you have these two crucial traits, you'll have no trouble gaining the other necessary skills to become a leader in marketing.
Q: What are some of your favorite tools or hacks for marketers?
A: Competitor research is an essential and often overlooked hack. You need to base your strategies and solutions off of research to identify what works and what doesn't. Looking at your competitors is the best way to conduct this research because it's basically like conducting an experiment on your target market.
SpyFu is one of the best tools for competitor research. It helps you identify keywords for which your competitors are ranking and how many clicks they're getting for those keywords. You can even identify which websites are linking to them, and use that information to improve your backlink strategy.
I'm also a huge fan of measuring your results. You can't get an idea of how effective your efforts are or what kind of improvements are needed unless you track your campaign results. Most marketers already do this, but some aren't getting comprehensive insights into their campaigns.
I highly recommend the use of UTM parameters to get down to the nitty-gritty of your referral traffic sources. These parameters will not only help you identify which channels the traffic is coming from, but also from which post and which campaigns.
A lot of marketers don't do this yet because you need a bit of technical knowledge to create UTM links. Tools like UTM.io simplify the UTM creation process. You just need to enter the important details like your campaign name as well as the medium and source of the link, and the tool will create a tagged URL for you.
And of course, if you're running an influencer marketing campaign, I definitely recommend using platforms like Grin. This not only helps you get insights into your overall campaign performance, but it also gives you a clear picture of how each post and influencer is performing. So you can identify which influencers are delivering the most value, and which ones aren't delivering at all.
Q: Do you have any daily habits, hobbies, or rituals you couldn't survive without?
A: I can't imagine a day without running. I run a little bit every day before I start my workday. In addition to being healthy for your body, it's such a mood-lifter. It energizes me for the day and awakens my mind so that it's fully alert for the tasks at hand.
Q: Coffee or tea?
A: I love coffee and the only thing I love more than coffee is a mocha!
Q: What are some great blogs we should be reading or people we should be following on social media?
A: Other than the already well-known personalities like Neil Patel, Rand Fishkin, Jeff Bullas, and Jay Baer, I would suggest following Adam Enfroy. His blog is an excellent resource for budding entrepreneurs. You can find tons of tips on how to make money online, passive income ideas, tips for motivation, and more.
Want More? Follow Our Recommended Content Hacker, Shane Barker
Many, many thanks to Shane Barker for participating in our Content Hacker Spotlight series.