If you work at a marketing agency, regardless of the size, it is important that you have a firm understanding of the agency tools that can be deployed to help your clients. Your clients are depending on you to help them get the most out of their marketing. Today, that means leveraging technology & tools.
Since you’re firm is actively involved in helping your clients build their martech stacks, having your ear to the pulse of the industry helps you to identify new solutions that could help your clients grow and revenues flowing.
And you know if you don’t, your competitors are evaluating agency tools and using them to gain a competitive advantage with your target customers.
In this article, we’ll cover the some the recent product updates from leading agency tool solution vendors to help you keep your eye on recent changes:
Analytics & Dashboards: Databox Debuts Google Sheets Integration
Databox has announced the addition of their most requested feature — Google Sheets integration. As a data visualization and metric monitoring solution, the integration makes a lot of sense for DataBox as many of their customers use Google Sheets and the other tools available through the Google Docs suite.
While the integration had been the most requested for the platform it had taken Databox awhile to bring it to their customers. All companies use spreadsheets to keep track of information and data. But, spreadsheets can categorize data in a nearly limitless number of ways, making it a big development challenge for the company to introduce and have confidence in the integration working for all intended use cases.
This is a big update for the product. For digitally-savvy companies, there is a high chance that they are using Google Sheets in some fashion within their business. This integration not only extends the usefulness of the agency tools at Databox, it also opens them up as a viable solution to companies that relied heavily on Google Sheets for storing a wide variety of data.
Call Tracking: CallRail Expands CPL Report Features
CallRail, a popular call tracking and analytics martech platform, have announced some enhancements to their “Multi-Touch Cost Per Lead Report,” one of the most popular features within their solution. CallRail is a leading vendor of agency tools that enable clients to get detailed metrics on calls to custom 800 numbers.
Their updates were aimed at making it easier for their customers to leverage the tool and better understand what is, and what is not, working within their marketing strategies. Their update included a number of benefits to the tool, including:
- Eliminate cross-platform lag time. CallRail added the ability to use each ad network API to aggregate and import data straight from the source. Their new reporting tools make it easy for customers to compare analytics for each of their channels and create customized reports that give them a top-down view of their performance.
- Sales funnel tracking and optimization enhancement. CallRail’s update also allows you to use single-touch marketing attribution models to view certain parts of your sales funnel and optimize. For instance, you can find out which ads or keywords speak to your customers and increase your ad spend in appropriate areas.
- Offline attribution. Their update allows you to track the full customer journey through both online and offline interactions, providing complete attribution.
This represents a huge boost in value from the CallRail system, giving customers access to more real-time information that they can use to refine and optimize their strategies.
Collaboration: Slack Acquires Astro To Expand Email Integration
In September 2018, Slack announced that they were acquiring the popular email client and Slack app, Astro, to bring stronger integration between email and Slack channels to their customers. Astro was a company with expertise in email infrastructure and had released the popular app Astrobot for Slack, which improved integration between Slack channels and email.
This acquisition gives some insight into where Slack is heading. With more than 50 million Slack channels having been created by their customers and a goal to make channels the most popular business communication platform by 2025, it is clear that they want to leverage integration with email to help them get there. This update is a precursor to a few upgrades but one that signals a shift in mindset for the company.
Content: Verblio Introduces the Requests Page
This page was designed to make requesting content from their writer pool a more streamlined process for their customers. With a focus on saving time for customers with longform content needs, the company made it easier for their customers to request new pieces of content to help them fill their monthly content credits.
Formerly known as the “Topic Manager” page, the update focused on improving the usability of the Request page, improving the formatting of requests, saving your work, and clearly communicating the number of pieces of content required for each subject.
Verblio continues to offer a range of agency tools that make their content production platform easier to use for customers while making their offering more valuable.
CRM & Marketing Automation: HubSpot Integrates LinkedIn Ads
HubSpot is one of the most popular martech solutions in the world today. In February 2018, the company announced that they would be integrating LinkedIn Ads directly into the HubSpot Ads tool.
As the largest professional network in the world with nearly 600 million users, LinkedIn Ads is a platform that any B2B company should consider exploring. The update will allow you to connect your LinkedIn ads account directly to HubSpot, where you can sync leads that come in through the system, create audiences based on CRM data points, and sync these activities between the two platforms. With this integration, HubSpot customers will be able to create a consistent narrative for customers by ensuring their LinkedIn ads align with marketing through other channels delivered on the HubSpot platform.
Being able to manage all of your ads in the same place is HubSpot’s goal for their Ads solution, and this is a huge step in the right direction for the platform.
Digital Ads: WordStream Launches new CRO Toolkit
WordStream recently announced a new addition to their WordStream Advisor product, the CRO Toolkit. This addition enables you to install simple pop-ups and landing pages across your website, without needing to hiring a developer or designer. Their simple drag-and-drop interface and built-in A/B testing functionality ensure that their customers have a complete, all-in-one solution for launching and optimizing new online ad campaigns. The new system is designed to make lead generation as simple as possible for WordStream customers while competing with several other solutions on the market.
Direct Mail: Postalytics Announces Multi-Page Support for Direct Mail Letters
Postalytics recently announced multi-page letter support. Postalytics is the only direct mail automation tool that enables letters, as well as postcards, to be sent. Previously, customers were limited to sending one-page letters. The new update allows our clients to send multi-page letters to their direct mail leads. This provides customers with a number of benefits:
- Letters look more important. Consumers open and read mail that looks like it has a high level of importance. They also favor the letter format because it is more personal. We want to ensure that our customers can send direct mail letters that catch the eye of their intended audience.
- More creative real estate. Some marketing, particularly for more expensive products, requires more persuasion and therefore more screen real estate. We give our customers the real estate that they need to tell powerful stories with our new update.
These multiple page letters are now available in the Postalytics Agency Edition, a premier set of agency tools for direct mail automation.
At Postalytics, we are always looking for new ways to increase the value of our product and give our customers more control over their direct mail campaigns. This addition to Postalytics ensures our customers have more control over the type of marketing collateral that they send through direct mail.
File Management: DropBox Adds Extensions to Connect Files to Web-Based Apps
DropBox is the most popular cloud-based storage tool on the planet. They boast more than 500 million users, with more than 1.2 billion files uploaded on a daily basis. Recently the company announced a new feature — DropBox Extensions. The feature is designed to integrate DropBox seamlessly with other web-based apps while keeping everything perfectly organized within your DropBox file structure and requiring no extra effort on the customer’s part.
Extensions is designed to let DropBox customers continue using all of the tools that they already love while ensuring that all of their files stay synced in one location. There are many different file types that can be opened using one of the integrated web apps including PDFs, Word docs, videos, and images. The feature can be used to request signatures, send faxes, edit documents, capture feedback, or implement revisions within a team. On their Extensions page, you can see integrations with agency tools like Adobe Acrobat, HelloSign, Autodesk, Vimeo, Pixlr, and other popular tools.
Landing Pages: Unbounce Announces Their Lifetime Partner Program
Unbounce is a landing page design and marketing campaign optimization solution and leading agency tools vendor. They allow you to create and deploy high-quality landing pages in a matter of minutes without the help of a developer or coder.
Recently, the company announced their Unbounce Partner Program, which allows customers to earn 20% of the recurring revenue for every person that they refer to Unbounce. When a customer refers someone, their referral will also receive an exclusive discount of 20% off for their first 3 paid months. The best part is that the recurring revenue never expires, customers earn for the entire time that their referral maintains an account with the service.
In addition to the launch of the partnership program, Unbounce also announced that they would be including a number of tools to help customers make referrals including sales guides, co-branded assets, pre-populated promotional templates, and a personal dashboard to keep track of their referral activity.
Online Meetings: Zoom Launches ‘Rooms’ Enhancements
Zoom Rooms is a system that changes the way that businesses utilize online meeting spaces. The system boasts high-quality video and audio conferencing and content sharing with more than 1,000 active video participants. Users can create a Zoom Room and make it as large as small as they need. The Rooms feature has played a big role in Zoom’s growth and recently the company launched a number of enhancements to further extend the functionality of the feature:
- One-touch to join third-party meetings from a Zoom Room. Now with a single touch, customers can join a meeting with HD audio and video for Webex, Skype Business, and GoTo Meeting invitations. This is for customers with at least one Conference Room Connector license and helps them to support multiple meeting services without having to subscribe to several different solutions. Additionally, it helps companies that are looking to make the transition to Zoom from legacy services.
- Create Zoom Rooms from iOS Devices. The company also announced the ability to create a Zoom Room using your iOS mobile device. The system allows for the app to detect Zoom Rooms created by nearby users using their proximity detection feature. Their system will automatically detect and pair with nearby rooms. Mobile devices also received the “Screen Share” button that allows wireless proximity sharing from your mobile device.
These updates have boosted Zoom’s status as an agency tools vendor by making it easier for companies to integrate with third-party apps without multiple subscriptions and having to leave their own solution.
Proposals: PandaDoc Announces Large Upgrade with New Integration Features
PandaDoc provides a suite of agency tools that manages sales documents and proposals that help sales teams to close new deals. They empower them to create, send, track, and sign beautiful documents that reflect professionally on their company. In a recently announced upgrade, the company detailed a number of new features that were coming to the platform that would make it an even more integral part of their customer’s tech stacks.
- Updated mobile app allows for closing deals on the go. No more leaving the meeting and heading back to the office to send your proposals over to the client for a signature. The company debuted a feature that allows for in-person signings directly through their mobile app. Now you can close deals at the meeting using PandaDoc’s high-quality templates.
- Verify document authenticity using blockchain. Digital documents carry a number of inherent risks like fraud and unauthorized edits. Legal teams often struggle to verify the authenticity of legal documents that land on their desk. In their upgrade, PandaDoc announced new blockchain integration that checks whether a document existed on a specific date and whether the signed version had been altered or not before it was returned. This is huge for companies that want to mitigate legal risk but also use a web-based digital solution that helps them to close more deals, more quickly.
- New integrations. PandaDoc also announced that they were debuting new integration updates for Salesforce, Zapier, and SugarCRM. Salesforce is receiving 2-way sync in multiple workspaces, expanded the number of triggers within their Zapier integration, and updated their integration with SugarCRM to support the latest cloud-based version of the solution.
This PandaDoc upgrade was a big one. It fully fleshed out several features that have been in the pipeline for months and gave their customers access to new web-based features that will make closing deals easier on their teams.
PR: BuzzStream Provides Numerous Research Improvements
BuzzStream is a solution that allows companies to research influencers, manage their relationships through social media, and conduct personalized outreach by automating some of the most important outreach tasks. It is one of the most popular agency tools on the market.
The company announced a number of improvements to the researching features of their product. These included:
- Research links. Research links capture specific URLs that you interacted with on your way to find a contact and saves them so that you can use them later to gather more information, give yourself context for how you found the person, or refer to them when sending them an email. This is exceptionally powerful for teams that are conducting a large amount of outreach and need to find personalized ways to connect with their audience.
- Review with BuzzMarker. With those new research links added to your profile, BuzzMarker allows you to review and act on them. You can research contacts in your database using BuzzMarker to vet a list of contacts, gather information from research links, or provide your team with context when you reach out to new people.
- Bulk features. Using Buzzmarker, you can also bulk-add prospects directly through Google search. This allows you to load your BuzzStream account with a large number of prospects in a short amount of time, then sift through them using the tools they provide to find prospects that are a perfect fit.
These are valuable features that extend the functionality of the BuzzStream platform and provide you with the ability to keep better track of how you find prospects.
Project Management: Basecamp Adds new Security Measures
Basecamp is one of the most popular project management solutions for agencies. After being on the receiving end of a mass-login attack in December 2018, the company set out to beef up their account security for their customers.
The following month, in a long blog post, the company detailed the problems that they were encountering with password security and the changes that they were going to take to avoid a similar attack happening again. First, the company announced that they were going to require that all customers reset their passwords. They also cross-referenced customer accounts with other widely available data breaches and informed them when their data might be compromised.
With new password security measure in place following the attack, it is clear that Basecamp wants to bolster their customer’s security efforts and educate them on what a problem this can be for both companies and their customers alike.
Similarly, there are product management software that provide product teams with an end-to-end workflow to keep everyone on the same page. These tool also allows product teams to capture their ideas, projects, other requirements, and link all this information together to create a product roadmap.
SEO: Moz Pro Launches New Domain Authority Metric
Moz is the industry gold standard for SEO agency tools. One of their most popular metrics has been domain authority, which attempts to quantify the “authority” that a domain has in the eyes of Google and other search engines based on a number of different factors including the age of the website, number of inbound links, internal file structure, and other variables.
In a recent blog post, the company announced a new Domain Authority metric to their customers. This metric is based on the old model but has been altered to make the scores more reliable. They’ve made the switch from a complex linear model to a neural network which will be able to detect link manipulation. The company also announced that their new algorithm would use new metrics like Spam Score and link distribution metrics when evaluating the authority of a given domain.
Social Media: Buffer Launches State of Social 2019 Survey
Buffer is the leading social media scheduling tool in the world and a very popular agency tool. Known for publishing high-value content and studies, the company recently released their State of Social 2019 report. The report takes a look at a variety of different social media related subjects including how their customers have been using new features on a variety of platforms, how effective their social media strategies have been, and what issues they have run into while implementing their strategy.
While this is not a direct product update, it is an important contribution to their customers who can use this data to inform their own strategies and see where they stand compared to others on a variety of difficult subjects.
Agency Tools See Rapid Changes in a Growing Industry
The product updates outlined in this article show how quickly the martech industry moves. These are just a few of the thousands of different products upgrades announced by companies within the industry in the last few months, but they represent some of the biggest changes by the largest companies in the industry. For agency execs, some of these agency tools play a vital role in their business and it is incredibly important to stay apprised to changes with those particular products as well as industry trends.
Top Photo Credit: Campaign Creators
Screenshots & other images from respective vendors