The VPM Blog

Don Crow

Don Crow
Don is an entrepreneur, husband, father, brother, son and several other names we can’t mention here. Don honed his leadership and decision-making skills as a decorated U.S. Army officer. He cut his teeth in the corporate world at AOL, serving as a Marketing and Operations Director, and then went on to deal as a major gifts officer for Auburn University with a focus on Corporate Relations. Verge Pipe Media represents the third venture Don has been a key player in founding.
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Recent Posts

Marketing Deathmatch: HubSpot vs. Pardot

Posted by Don Crow on Mar 1, 2017 9:00:00 AM

 First off, let me start by clearly stating two things:

  1. We (Verge Pipe Media) are a HubSpot partner agency, and 
  2. We (Verge Pipe Media) do not use Salesforce or Pardot.

So you might be questioning the validity of an article with an aggressive title like, "Marketing Deathmatch: HubSpot vs. Pardot."

Unfortunately for us, and fortunately for you, we had a client who recently decided to add Pardot to their toolbag when Salesforce essentially offered it to them (our client) for free. Now, it's tough enough to compete in the marketing world with clients demanding asking for lower rates and more services, but free? Let's just say everyone at Verge Pipe Media had to do a lot of homework on Pardot and as a result, learned a lot about not only their platform, but Salesforce and even more about our own: HubSpot.

Next, part of what I learned is comparing the two marketing automation platforms isn't as easy as some would have you believe and for more than just the reasons I outline below. After all, HubSpot integrates well with Salesforce but for the needs of our particular client, Pardot had the advantage of both price and filling their most immediate email marketing needs. We offered a full stack fruit basket and our client wasn't interested in the orange to apple comparison - they just wanted their pear.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, HubSpot, Pardot

How to Use Social Media Data in Higher Ed

Posted by Don Crow on Feb 1, 2017 9:00:00 AM

"Data" and "Social Media Data" are words and phrases showing up everywhere today. As a Higher Education marketing and communications specialist, you may find yourself asking, "There's data everywhere, how do I know what to pay attention to?"

You're literally swimming in data if you have email lists, social media profiles, and a website. Determining what to do with all that information can be overwhelming for Higher Ed professionals and your B2B peers as well. In addition to helping you determine which social media sites you should invest time in, we also want to help you with the all important, how to use social media data in higher ed.

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Topics: social media marketing, higher ed marketing

Did Inbound Marketing Stumble in 2016?

Posted by Don Crow on Jan 11, 2017 9:01:00 AM

Even the most casual observer of Verge Pipe Media over the past six years would probably remark, "that team is ALL IN on Inbound Marketing." And that would be a very true and informed remark. Since I left the world of outbound marketing at AOL in 2006, I have made a point to build the agency I believed the marketing world, and even the consumer of today wants deserves.

But much like my Superhero man crush, Batman, I've come to learn that Inbound Marketing is the hero the social media - mobile connected world deserves, but not always the one it needs right now.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

Using Instagram Live to boost campus live events

Posted by Don Crow on Dec 20, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Somewhere in the midst of Thanksgiving plans, finals, December graduation, and campus clearing out for the winter break, Instagram Live began rolling out.

What that means is you have one more "Live" offering to add to the growing list of apps and services which offer users a way to broadcast their every moment, any time they choose.

Instagram's stories and other additions in the past 12-18 months have been seen by many as positioning to combat the rise of Snapchat and its latest "Live" offering completes the circle of visual content options Instagram offers natively.

That's good news for on-campus communicators and marketers! There are two reasons we're excited and believe you should be too:

  1. College students love events
  2. College students use and love Instagram

Knowing the two above, we're going to give you a brief list of ideas to help in using Instagram Live to boost campus live events.

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Topics: Instagram Live

How to Leverage Video Content in Inbound Marketing

Posted by Don Crow on Nov 29, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Let's face it, more and more people are opting out of reading long form content in favor of well done videos which can, "show and tell" often in less time and in a more compelling way than eBooks and white papers. If you're like me though, you got started in Inbound Marketing with a conversion path that included eBooks, white papers, and written guides. A few years later, we added in Infographics and today - it's increasingly video.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Video Marketing

3 Ways to Use Both Snapchat and Instagram Stories

Posted by Don Crow on Oct 27, 2016 9:01:00 AM

It's been a little over two months since Instagram Stories rolled out to all of their 500 million active monthly users. The hand wringing and foul cries ensued as many loyal Snapchat fans mocked the obvious look-a-like entry to their beloved Snapchat Stories.

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Topics: social media marketing

What is the right mix of Outbound and Inbound Marketing?

Posted by Don Crow on Oct 6, 2016 9:02:00 AM

Some of you hardcore VPM Blog readers may look at this and think, “Has @DonCrow lost his mind? What is this about Outbound Marketing?” Then again, some of you may look at the image below and think something else.....

The answer (for both) is, “not yet.” Admittedly, six years ago and as recently as two years ago, I never would have put my name next to any endorsement for outbound marketing. Once I left the world of call centers and direct mail fulfillment shops at AOL, I thought I would be done forever.

You should never say, “never.”

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

Create your own Snapchat on-demand geofilter

Posted by Don Crow on Sep 15, 2016 9:00:00 AM

We're going to introduce you to Snapchat's on-demand filters, walk you through why they are important, and finally, teach you how to create your own Snapchat on-demand geofilter.

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Topics: social media marketing, Snapchat

Are you a good fit for Inbound Marketing?

Posted by Don Crow on Aug 25, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Over the past six years, I've gotten lots of questions about Inbound Marketing. There's still a fair amount of confusion about the difference between Inbound and Content Marketing, but by and large, Inbound Marketing has matured from, "what" through, "how-to" and into the most popular question at Verge Pipe Media today, which is are you a good fit for Inbound Marketing?

When I chat with anyone new or a potential client and they ask about Inbound Marketing, I normally show them the illustration below and respond with questions of my own, including:

  1. Do you sell something (service, product)?
  2. Do you want to sell more of __________ (your service or product)?
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Topics: Inbound Marketing

Instagram Stories vs Snapchat: Stop The Hate

Posted by Don Crow on Aug 18, 2016 9:00:00 AM

We are a few weeks into the app update that brought us Instagram Stories. Immediately, the first few stories I watched were people asking for Snapchat followers (FD: I did this too), cries of unfair play, or just crying in general. Just like the integration of the Newsfeed into Facebook, the change is being met with criticism from casual to hardcore users.

I don't count myself an expert in either Instagram or Snapchat for personal use, but I'd like to think I've given some really solid advice to clients about how to use each platform for their business. And that's exactly why I'm here today, to help casual and business users alike understand Instagram Stories vs Snapchat.

I'll take it a step further and ask the crying to stop. Respect the difference between the two and go back to the drawing board and figure out how to make each platform work for you. If you're a brand marketer in any capacity you know without a doubt your job is to produce (and earn) brand equity where it matters.

In other words when it comes to Instagram Stories vs Snapchat: Stop the hate.

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Topics: Video Content