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

Inbound Marketing is a Marathon, not a Sprint

Posted by Don Crow on Jun 6, 2017 9:00:00 AM

If you've never run a marathon, and I have not, the whole thing seems like torture. The training, the diet, the race itself, and let's be real - the recovery - all seem like exercises in bodily pain all for the sake of a t-shirt.

Sprinting by comparison seems easy. You can see the start and finish line clearly, the other runners aren't stacked on top of one another, and you'll sometimes see runners - albeit well trained ones - sprint in several races per day.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

A Very Verge Pipe Media History Lesson

Posted by Don Crow on May 10, 2017 10:00:00 AM

I don't recall the exact day Verge Pipe Media became a reality. It wasn't when the blog began as a free WordPress site, or the day we processed our first payment from a client or the day we hosted a hospitality tent at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce golf tournament.

Verge Pipe Media introduced to the world at the Auburn Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament, September 24, 2010 (Moore's Mill Club)

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Client Leadership

What's the difference between Marketing and Advertising?

Posted by Don Crow on Apr 5, 2017 9:00:00 AM

We seem to be on a food-in-our-blogs kick here at Verge Pipe Media recently, and this article won't be any different. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  1. I love to eat.
  2. #Foodstagramming makes for some powerful visuals.
  3. You'll notice by the end of this article, the very real struggle of my diet (marketing) combined with my short term behaviors (advertising) have led to a lot of my own confusion on how to get out of this mess.

With St. Patrick's Day behind us, I'm going to use my annual Guinness Shepherd's Pie as a way to descrbie the difference between the age old question, What's the difference between Marketing and Advertising?

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Topics: Marketing, Advertising

[Infographic] Marketing Deathmatch: HubSpot vs. Pardot

Posted by Don Crow on Mar 6, 2017 8:00:00 AM

One of the biggest differences between HubSpot vs. Pardot is that HubSpot is a complete Marketing Platform, whereas Pardot focuses mainly on marketing automation such as email drip campaigns and lead scoring. HubSpot also has marketing automation, lead scoring, and a robust Salesforce integration, but they also have many top and middle-of-the-funnel tools that Pardot does not.

HubSpot has everything a modern marketer needs to do marketing right, in an all-in-one, easy-to-use product. HubSpot's platform includes tools for Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Content Management System (CMS), blogging, social media, email, automated workflows, landing pages, lead intelligence, and analytics for each and every tool, to help marketers make smarter decisions to help their businesses grow. You can see the full list of HubSpot products here.

Tools aside, one of the most stark differences in the experience of a HubSpot vs. a Pardot customer is the level of education, training, and support you’ll receive.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, HubSpot

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

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