The internet is full of design tips and tricks for the typical layperson. After all, this is the kind of information that helps us to learn and develop new skillsand design is a skill like any other. It demands time, training and experience.

Yet most of these posts seek to simplify design down to a few bulleted lists, and to give birth to easy do-it-yourself (DIY) design.

The question, though, is whether or not your average Joe should be designing graphics and content themselves, or whether they – and their brand – are better off seeking professional help.

Liz and I focused this week's talk on when you should and when you should not try to do it yourself when it comes to design work. At the risk of sounding like a total design snob, I made it clear that there is a time and a place for DIY design, but it is very limited, and very much dependent on the preexisting skills and experience of the DIYer.

Tune in to hear our feelings on this week's topic!

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If you're looking for ideas for your next cyber security marketing campaign, it's easy to fall back on a fear-based approach. After all, the state of cyber security is a little frightening these days. In 2015, for example, the average cost of a data breach for a company in the United States was $6.5 million.

It's very common in cyber security marketing to use fear as the motivator for change. Most companies fall back on this tactic as they often don't know any better. It seems like this would be the best way to get your audience to understand why cyber security products or services are needed.

However, we are here to warn you, scaremongering tactics rarely work in cyber security marketing — and here's why.

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Pop quiz: What is the buyers journey?

We've talked about this a few times, but if you don't want to go track down the answer, here's the short version: The buyer's journey is the method in which modern consumers make purchasing decisions by navigating a path (or journey) that leads them from ignorance to the solution to their problem (hopefully your solution) through independent research.

There's a catch, however: Most modern buyers simply don't need you anymore.

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If you're familiar with Quintain or have read our blogs or watched my vidoes, you probably know that we are (among other things) an inbound marketing agency. We're big believers in the power of inbound to increase your visibility online and generate leads for your business, but skeptical enough to acknowledge that it's not a panacea.  

Marketers who take a "purist" approach to inbound will, in my opinion, have trouble getting great results. Why? A lot has changed since HubSpot introduced the concept of inbound marketing 10 years ago, and what worked so well then doesn't do the trick today.

In this week's video, I'm sharing my observations about what is NOT working with inbound marketing as well as specific things you can do to address these challenges and get better results. 

Watch the video (just over eight minutes long) to learn more.

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The Guide to Creating Mind Blowing Content

Let's face it, there is a lot of content out there. How do you get yours to stand out?

Simple, make it mind blowing!

42 pages full of ideas for creating awesome content that converts visitors into leads and leads into customers!

Not long ago, Pepsi came under fire for a television advertisement, featuring Kendall Jenner, and for good reason. To put it mildly, the soda giant stumbled in their attempt to leverage a political conversation to sell soda, and it fell flat with consumers. 

(Heck, they even got parodied by SNL.)

So, this week, Shelby and I discuss what went wrong with that ad and what marketers can learn from it, as well as how businesses can effectively "newsjack" for their own marketing, without becoming a social media - and late night television - punchline.

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When you go to the grocery store to buy produce, how do you select it? Do you look for the produce that is old, dry and withered up? Do you grab the greenest banana you can find? Or do you look for avocado that has just that right amount of soft smooshiness to taste perfect?

It's just like Goldilocks and the three bears: You want to find just the right mix of freshness and ripeness. Your website should be no different than your produce selection - you need to keep it fresh, but it's a balancing act - and it's time to start treating it that way.

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As a Platinum-level HubSpot parnter and the owner of an experienced inbound marketing agency, I frequently speak to companies that are looking to hire a marketing agency. In the course of these conversations, I regularly discover that the business owners and marketing execs I'm talking with are suffering from a common misconception in that they think by hiring an agency they won't have to devote any time to their marketing. 

Wrong.

Just because you hire a marketing agency, it doesn't mean you can be hands off and take a "set it and forget it" approach to your marketing. This is especially the case if you have high expectations for the impact that your marketing investment will have on your business. 

In this week's video, I break down how much time you should expect to spend working with your agency, and how you might need to adjust your expectations depending upon your level of commitment. Watch the video (just over 4 minutes long) to learn more.

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Creator's Block co-host Liz Murphy is away this week, so I had a very special guest join me on this week's episode – previous Creator's Block co-host Jessie-Lee Nichols!

(cue raucous applause and cheering)

So essentially, while the word nerd is away, the designers will play!

In this week's episode, Jessie-Lee and I bring back the topic of brand style guides in order to dive into what goes into a successful visual style guide – it's more than just logos. We also go over why we use them in the first place, how we get buy-in from our teammates and how we build them out. Plus, I get a little peek into Jessie-Lee's new life as an in-house marketing manager, and how this has driven her to start building out a brand style guide for her company.

Listen in to hear what we have to say, and to hear Jessie-Lee's wonderful voice again!

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