It’s high time Austin had its own crowdsourced map of its diverse startup ecosystem. That’s why we are launching Startup over Coffee today.

Why now? Over the past decade it’s hard to argue that any other metro area in the country has risen in the ranks of most every startup statistic as much as Austin has. We came in at #1 in the CNBC Metro 20: America’s Best Places to Start a Business in August. We cracked the top 10 on the 2016 Kauffman Index, which measures the entrepreneurial vitality of the 40 largest metro areas on the country. Austin also hit #1 on the Forbes list of The Cities Creating the Most Technology Jobs 2015.  

One of the keys to the success of Austin’s startup scene? A well-established startup ecosystem made up of all kinds of businesses, organizations and media!

Claim your spot on the Startup over Coffee map!

This map is intended to be crowdsourced and maintained by those who make up the Austin startup scene. From coffee shops to co-working spots and startup accelerators to media outlets, we want to democratize the map’s content in order to make it as relevant and up-to-date as possible.

For any organizations who want to claim their pin, it’s easy to do. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click your organization’s pin (you must represent the organization to be approved)
  2. Click ‘More Info’
  3. Click ‘Claim Place’
  4. Sign-in (you will need to create a MapMe account)

Any organizations that support the Austin startup scene not already on the map can easily add a pin by following the instructions found here.

But don’t just take it from us!

Our friend and local startup expert Paul O’Brien had this to say about the Austin startup scene:

Driving Austin’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is the incredible diversity of creativity. Where places like Silicon Valley thrive as a result of their innovative technology entrepreneurs, Austin thrives because it’s the convergence of technology with design, art, music, architecture, gaming, and the experiences that we love. Finding success in Austin is a matter of finding your node; balancing your own resources and needs and finding the community ideal to what you’re doing.  Austin lives to work and our entrepreneurs are in coworking spaces, office parks, working from home, and in coffee shops throughout the city; connecting opportunities with talent, resources, and ideas.

Can you help?

Startup over Coffee is an attempt to capture the richness of that startup ecosystem and share it for anybody who is looking for a way to plug-in, network and contribute to the Austin startup scene. That’s why we need your help!

We hope you will join us in supporting Austin’s startup scene. Those of us who have been involved in it for the past decade know we would not be where we are today without a strong sense of camaraderie and selfless support from thousands of like-minded entrepreneurs, influencers and volunteers.


Businesswoman pressing unlocking on virtual screens, technology for cyber attack, computer crime, information security and data encryption.

It is a decision that needs to be made up front in every B2B content marketing strategy: which content assets will be completely free for all (ungated) and which ones will require a contact form to be filled out prior to making the content available (gated).

This blog post you are reading is ungated. Anybody can read it, with nothing asked in return. On the Manzer Communications site you will also find a series of white papers covering topics as diverse as crisis communications, trade shows and social media campaigns. We love to make this content available, but in return we ask for just a little bit of information.

No sales without leads…

So what is the logic behind choosing whether content needs to be ungated or gated? Do companies randomly decide to make some content freely available and others not? The answer of course is: no. The ‘gates’ in the form of the sign-up webforms are meant to collect information on the person (and company) who wanted to access a certain kind of content.

In content marketing speak, gated content is meant to identify the person who shows an interest in a particular marketing piece and ultimately understand to which buyer persona he or she belongs, what is motivating the search and where in the sales funnel to place the lead.

… but no leads without awareness

A general rule of content marketing is that the more perceived value a piece of content has, the more a prospect will be willing to share about himself or herself in return for the content. A 200 page booklet can be made available at a higher ‘price’ than a 10 page white paper.

The 2015 Form Conversion Report by Formstack showed that there are on average 11 fields on a lead form and that the average conversion rate of the form amounts to 17%. By most lead gen standards, 11 fields is a very high number, if not completely unrealistic at a 17% conversion rate. Perhaps there is even a disconnect with the study or a research bias but what is not disputable is that lead conversion rates are impacted by the number of required fields. In our experience, it’s better to keep the number of required fields below five unless you have a content piece that is based on intensive industry research.

So while gating content is important for lead generation, it does not mean that you can and should pass on ungated content. Websites generally contain more ungated than gated content for a reason. Search engines cannot index content that you put behind a gate. That means gated content won’t contribute in any significant way to your site SEO strategy, unless you provide a summary page as part of your landing page.

Gated content cannot be shared with a single click so with that easy social sharing is out the door. You need the ungated content to create broader awareness and encourage more social shares among your prospects.
The advantage of ungated content is that it fills the ‘top’ of your funnel and thereby increases the number of prospects who will be tempted to consult your gated content, thus becoming leads. Ungated content can be ideated from the start as ungated content, but it can also take the form of a repurposing of gated content. An example of the latter is when you make a chapter of an ebook freely available on your blog or through LinkedIn Pulse.

Two illustrations: a gated webinar of Salesforce and a collection of ungated manuals of Harte Hanks. The Salesforce form asks for among others the job title and the size (as measured by number of employees) of the company.

Screen Shot 2017-02-15 at 12.03.29 PM

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And the winner is…

There is a time and place for both gated and ungated content. For many B2B marketers, the right balance may vary greatly based on the perceived value of leads versus raw website traffic. What is indisputable is that ungated content will pull in more website traffic while gated content will assist in lead capture and converting leads into new customers over time.



Many companies have no crisis communications plan available to help them prepare for and manage their reputations during a crisis. Rather than invest in a crisis comms plan ahead of time, most companies will end up trying to improvise their way out of a crisis. Others may seek professional help, but only after a crisis strikes.

Companies taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach are invariably caught flat-footed by a crisis. They miss out on the opportunity to help frame the message communicated by the media. The narrative of the crisis can quickly become a spectacle on a public stage with the company stuck playing the role of villain. In a situation like that, no amount of PR help can keep the company from experiencing damage to their brand reputation, future revenue and capital valuation.  

But it should be noted that the creation of a crisis comms manual is not a one-off event. A crisis comms manual needs upkeep or it will gradually lose its value over time. It should be seen as a living document in need of continuous updates to ensure it reflects your most recent risk analysis, as well as internal and external organizational changes.

To keep your company as prepared as possible we recommend you follow a 2-step approach to updating your crisis comms manual. First, the ‘owner’ of the manual should make periodic updates as he or she hears any news about something that might impact the plan or staff assigned to support the crisis comms initiative. For instance, if a new CEO is hired, then that person’s name and contact information should be added to plan.

The second part of keeping your crisis comms manual up to date is to conduct an annual systematic review, which is designed to be more thorough than a periodic update. Since there is a lot more involved in this kind of update, we have spelled out four areas you should address:

Is staff information current?

You might have updated a couple of names during the past year, but did you really cover everybody mentioned in the manual? Are all the members of the crisis communications team still the same? And have there been any changes to people’s contact information (for example, an office or cell phone number)? Are the internal experts on your knowledge map still the ones you recorded a year ago? Or is Mary no longer in charge of quality control but now a line manager? As part of this exercise, send lists with people from your manual — be it an org chart or list of names with corresponding role titles and contact info —  to the respective department heads to ask for their corrections.

Are the scenarios still appropriate?

The world can change a lot in a year. If your manual mentions scenarios that are useful for training purposes, are those scenarios still as relevant today as they were a year ago? Do you need to add additional scenarios? For instance, last year you didn’t have to worry about your organization coming under fire from an inflammatory tweet by the President of the United States, but now you do. Your crisis comms plan scenarios should always reflect the newest risks to a company’s brand reputation.

Let’s make it clear, however, that using scenarios to prepare for crisis communications should never give the organization the false sense of being ‘ready’. Nevertheless, scenarios that are reflective of their times are a boon to the organization in two important ways: they continue to raise awareness among staff about the need to be vigilant and they help increase the likelihood of staff performing well during a similar crisis.

Are the processes still adequate?

New crisis scenarios could also come with new processes, timing risks and real-world impacts to your brand. For instance, how is your follow-up of damaging conversations on social media at 5:00 in the morning currently organized and staffed? Is there a social media team to capture what is being said? If so, is there an escalation process in place that can have the social media team alert the corporate communications team of a potential crisis?

Of course when it comes to crisis communications preparedness there is a trade-off between what would need to happen to fully prepare a company and the budgetary realities of the company. We are not saying that small companies need to go on a hiring spree to prepare for what probably amounts to very unlikely events. Nevertheless, some thought should at least be given to analyzing the way your processes are keeping pace with evolving internal needs and the situational threats in the world around you.

Are the external resources still up to date?

You might have checked whether your in-house staff was still in place, but are the people from the outside agency who are ready to support you still the same ones from last year’s meeting? Can the hotel you put down as a back-up offsite location still be counted on to host your emergency press conference? Your external resource list is as important as your internal one, so you should check that all the information contained in it is still up to date.

Crisis Communications Plan

The task of writing and keeping manual up to date may look daunting at first, but luckily you have our white paper on writing the crisis communications manual available to give you important pointers. If you don’t have it yet, download it now and let us know if you have any questions or need some advice on how to customize it for your organization.






blogging mistakes to avoid
A well-run blog provides continuous opportunities to establish your brand’s credibility as an industry expert in the eyes of customers and prospects. It also plays a key role in many B2B companies’ multi-channel marketing strategy aimed at supporting the customer journey from visitor to lead to closed sale.

That’s because blogs can be an ever-changing source of fresh content that helps establish thought leadership, drive website traffic and improve organic search engine rankings, to name just a few of the benefits.

Yet despite the proven benefits, many B2B companies fail to fully resource their blogs, or they abandon them mere months after starting them.

If your company is still struggling to get a blog off the ground, here are seven of the most common mistakes you should consider fixing:

Lack of frequency

One of the first mistakes most B2B companies make is not blogging with enough frequency. Many companies start their blogs with the best of intentions. Most end up failing to establish the proper internal expectations and accountability needed to stay on a consistent schedule. That’s unfortunate. According to research from Hubspot, B2B companies that blog 16 times or more monthly will see as much as 3.5x traffic compared to companies that blog only occasionally.   

No editorial calendar

Many blogs that fail to take off usually lack an editorial calendar, which helps the marketing team focus its efforts. An editorial calendar is a key management tool that provides the marketing team a framework to help them brainstorm ideas for posts, establish publication deadlines and delegate writing assignments. Without an editorial calendar, marketing teams will lack the discipline and accountability needed to fulfill the demands of a high-frequency blog.

Poorly defined brand voice

One of the chief mistakes made by brand bloggers is that they forget to either define the official brand ‘voice’ or simply forget to adhere to it as they create content for the blog. A brand blog should be in synch with the overall brand identity, both in terms of the actual content it posts and the tone of voice/personality used. Failing to do so can leave the prospects you are attempting to move through the sales funnel confused and uncertain about what your company truly represents. What’s more, blogs may not actually be a prospect’s first touch with a brand so failure to remain consistent with other brand marketing assets like white papers, social posts and website copy could result in a lost lead.

Unknown buyer personas

Who are you selling to? What are their particular demographics? Are they executives in the C-suite capable of spending millions or line managers in charge of day-to-day tasks with a definite need and modest budget? The truth is if you are in a B2B company you usually have multiple buyer personas in a sales cycle. Leads rarely start from the top-down. More often than not they start with somebody like a manager who is experiencing a business pain directly and ends up doing the initial research in hopes of finding a solution.

That same manager may end up being the actual lead you identify in your sales funnel or it may be somebody higher up in the organization. Executives of prospects may look to your blog for reassurances that your company is indeed expert at solving a particular problem before pulling the trigger on the purchase. Bottom-line: You have to properly identify which buyer personas are involved in your sales cycle in order to produce content that draws in and engages the right audience of influencers and decision-makers.

Zero calls-to-action

Calls-to-action are an essential part of a successful blog. Why? Because the purpose of driving traffic to your blog is to surface and capture qualified leads. A CTA need not be an actual offer for service or a promotional discount. In fact, most inbound marketing experts will tell you that promotional offers tend to backfire and turn off would be customers. Better to include CTAs for additional information like white papers, eBooks and webinars, all of which will help move leads further down the sales funnel until they are ready to make a purchase. Another CTA of sorts is a contact capture add-on to your website (we use Optin Monster), which automatically asks visitors if they would like to be added to your e-newsletter or some other drip marketing campaign.

Lack of cross-channel promotion

B2B sales cycles vary greatly depending upon a variety of factors, not the least of which is the purchase price. The more expensive your product or service the more likely it will have been researched, vetted by internal staff and kicked up the corporate ladder for approval over a period of 1-12 months. B2B marketing managers sometimes forget to link initiatives from other marketing campaigns — attendance at a trade show or an executive speaking at a conference — to the blog and thus miss out on opportunities to push the content systematically across multiple channels. Social media — paid and organic — can and should support content CTAs that are baked into the editorial calendar. Our own agency launched a white paper on trade show marketing campaign that included multiple social promotions, blogging, reviews on influencer sites, and even an upload into SlideShare, the popular slide deck sharing site.

Failure to analyze

In the immortal words of Aristotle, the “unexamined blog is not worth living.” Okay, maybe the famous Greek philosopher didn’t say blog but I’m pretty sure he would agree that failing to properly analyze your blog traffic and user patterns is a missed opportunity.

Google Analytics is easy to install and use to determine the effectiveness of your blog. If a post gets a lot of hits from visitors but they immediately fall off after 15 seconds on your site then you know the post failed to hook the visitors and get them to move further into the site. If inbound visitors from a small online publication where you published a copy of your blog post drives a handful of visitors but they end up staying on the site over 5 minutes and pass through 5-6 additional web pages then you know you have done something right in terms of engagement.

Other tools than just Analytics exist (e.g., Hubspot) to help SMBs analyze the success or failure of posts. The key is to make analysis part of running the blog and document the results so that you can find trends in content, sources of inbound traffic, and the most popular pages on your site. Only then can you get smart and really hone your message to drive more lead capture and customer conversions.
Got any ideas you would like to share about your B2B blog? Feel free to share below or on Twitter or Facebook.

online-consultation-5-main-news-of-the-monthFake news is here to stay.

But that should not be a surprise. Fake news is not new. It has been around since the founding of our country. The likes of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin all indulged in cooking up apocryphal content to advance the cause of the Revolution and even their respective political interests after our country’s founding.

What IS new is how fake news is now being used as a club to bludgeon brands for political positions they may or may not have actually endorsed. I say may or may not have because even if an executive at a major brand did support an idea popularized by a politician the actual facts could become so skewed by the ‘fake news engine’ that it no longer matters what the actual facts were.

In today’s wired world, a reputation that takes years and decades to build can be significantly tarnished or permanently damaged in mere hours and days.

Public relations to the rescue

Public relations professionals who are savvy in the ways of digital media and marketing have become the emergency responders for a brand’s reputation. A brand that hesitates in its response to fake news does so at its own peril. Responses have to be swift, measured and proportionate to the degree of threat involved.

PR professionals are experienced communicators who run toward the crisis. They are experienced at assessing the level of public and media awareness, setting up teams to address brand messaging and strategically sharing timely news with media outlets to curb the damaging effects of a crisis.

As we explained in an earlier post about the crises faced by Samsung and Wells Fargo last year, brands must face their crisis head on by giving PR professionals a lead role in setting up the team that responds to reputational firestorm. Indeed, fighting a brand crisis is a lot like fighting a forest fire where many conditions beyond the control of the brand can shape the crisis and leave a lasting impact that could cost executive jobs, stock valuations and future growth potential.

More fake news crises coming soon?

Brands should already be adding fake news to their crisis plans. Unlike a fire at a company facility or a case of fraud, fake news is by its nature ephemeral. It doesn’t exist in the real world where individuals can be taken into account and a clean reckoning can be made to the public. It exists in a digital world that is impossible to corral and is fed by the very engine that makes the Internet profitable: click through advertising.

That’s right! Many fake news sites are pedalling falsehoods simply to sell ads and make money. But is that really any different that the scourge of “Yellow Journalism” that cheapened the U.S. media landscape at the turn of the 20th century? Yes, if only because fake news sites are so easy to start, run and spread to poison the minds of readers against a brand. At least with Yellow Journalism the U.S. media eventually reacted to scurrilous journalism by instituting a professional code of ethics and cleaning up the profession by raising the educational requirements of future journalists at colleges and universities.

Brands must brace themselves for more cases of fake news. By building a crisis plan to combat fake news, you ensure that proper controls are in place to limit financial damage and long-lasting impact to brand reputation. Fake news, after all, doesn’t have to be based on reality or a real-world event. It can be started by a fringe political group that perceives your brand as too liberal, conservative or even non-committal. It can be started by an ethically-challenged competitor intent on stealing market share from you.

Not sure how to proceed in the face of such an unpredictable and immeasurable threat? You can always start by downloading our white paper on how to build a crisis plan for your brand. It includes practical tips on how to build out the crisis team, write the plan and run practice crisis scenarios.

Want a little coaching? Give us a shout! We have offices in Austin, Denver and Houston but our reach is global.

Until then, please keep a weather eye on the fake news horizon to keep your brand out of harm’s way!



CES 2016 ExhibitOne thing B2B brands can agree on is that trade shows still are a very valuable investment. So valuable, in fact, that the average B2B brand invests nearly 40% of its total marketing spend on them.

With so much money spent annually on a single marketing initiative, it makes sense to ensure your marketing investment is capable of delivering the expected ROI.

In our white paper, “Your Roadmap to B2B Trade Show Success,” we provide a foolproof method for planning and executing your next trade show marketing initiative.

To give you a flavor of the white paper, we have included a brief list of some of the topics addressed:

Picking the right trade show

Do you go all in and set up a booth at the biggest — and most expensive — trade show for your industry or try one that has less attendance but will involve less financial risk? Deciding which trade show is right for your budget and growth ambitions will go a long way toward ensuring you get the healthy return on investment you seek.


You should always set up a budget for your trade show initiative lest you find yourself constantly sinking money into an ever-growing cost center. The budget should be realistic, based either on your company’s past experiences at trade shows or research you do on other companies in the same or similar industries. Build in a reasonable financial margin for error, of course, since you never know how much variability there will be in pricing of key inputs like booth design and materials, shipping, travel and lodging, etc.

Project Manager

Perhaps the single most important decision you make is who to assign as project manager. A good PM will steer the trade show marketing initiative with confidence, and be able to marshal the resources from all over your company to ensure everybody is on the same strategy page.


Seems like a no-brainer but staffing your trade show booth with the wrong employees could spell disaster. Better to go with employees who truly thrive on customer service and can operate on little sleep and in chaotic environments because trade shows often involve after-hour schmoozing with clients, prospects and influencers. They should also be very fluent with your product and service offerings and have a professional demeanor for discussion with all kinds of individuals.


Be sure to plan your trade show marketing collateral well in advance. Any new product launch should include foolproof demos and accompanying product data sheets. You may need to have a product specialist on the team to ensure the demos go well on the trade show floor. Also, be sure your marketing is consistent with your company’s brand guidelines in terms of colors, logos, fonts, etc. The last thing you want is to sow confusion among customers and prospects with respect to company brand and messaging.

Social Media vs Media Outreach

Both are important. Social media is a great way to communicate with customers and prospects before, during and after the trade show. The key is to plan well in advance by beginning to follow and share posts of professionals you are targeting. Be liberal with shares and general information posts about your prospects as opposed to direct sales pitches; nothing turns off a prospect faster than a direct overture without having worked to develop a meaningful connection first.

Media outreach is still very relevant as it is one of the best ways to establish your brand’s credibility and reach a much wider audience. To ensure you get a shot at media coverage during the trade show make sure you reach out in advance to key journalists who are planning to attend the event in order to set up face-to-face meetings at your booth. If you are launching a new product, it will be easier to set appointments with media; but if you don’t have a news trigger like that then try to grab coffee or a happy hour drink with a couple of key journalists and bloggers to begin developing a relationship that will lead to future news coverage.


This is a key item that companies have to get right or they risk missing out on the primary reason they attend a trade show — new leads! Some companies employ card scanning technology but many simply pocket the cards for entry into a CRM system after the show. Whatever your approach is, be sure that every lead entered into CRM is properly identified in accordance with your lead rating system. Well-qualified leads should be assigned to sales for immediate follow-up while leads higher in the sales funnel can be added to your drip marketing campaign.

Ready to download now!

Your Roadmap to B2B Trade Show Successtrade-show-white-paper” is now available to download! If you have any questions about our white paper or need tips for strategizing an upcoming trade show, feel free to share your information with us and we’ll schedule a brief call.









B2B Marketing TipsThis is the second post of our New Year’s installment on ways B2B brands can retool their marketing assets to improve website traffic, lead conversions rates and overall brand awareness in 2017.

Trade shows are big deals

Trade shows are where many B2B companies spend the most time and money by far. According to our newest white paper, “Your Roadmap to B2B Trade Show Success,” B2B companies “invest nearly 40% of their marketing budget in exhibitions” in order to reach customers, prospects and influencers in one event. If you are looking for ways to gain more traction in the form of leads and media coverage at trade shows, then feel free to download our white paper from this link today!

Modernize your social media strategy

How is your company currently using social media to reach new prospects and develop thought leadership? Do you make the occasional post to Twitter or LinkedIn only to return a couple weeks later for another couple of posts? Are you getting bogged down making tons of posts but not seeing any traction in the form of more follows, reposts and deeper levels of engagement?

This year why not research your target audience more to learn what sort of pages and influencers they follow? Figure out what these pages and influencers are offering the people you want to engage with. Are there any common themes in the messaging? If you are selling cybersecurity solutions to CIOs of small enterprises, do your targets spend time on Reddit sharing thoughts on the latest hacks, or are they reposting their favorite cybersecurity bloggers on LinkedIn? Find answers to those questions and you’ll find new way to engage them more consistently in hopes of building up trust and drive future conversions.

Be strategic with your social media, as well. Heading to a trade show later in the year? Be sure you prepare your social media campaign in advance and include outreach to key journalists and bloggers. Loop in your blog to drive traffic there, or develop a landing page for a product announcement to facilitate lead capture — or both! Combine ad buys on social networks with a webinar showing the benefits of your new product, a launch party at the trade show, a contest give-away.

Don’t forget social ad buys

Modernizing your social media strategy must include social media ad buys. After all, the Facebooks of the world are not making money by letting you do business on them for free. They are fast becoming the best way for businesses to brand and lay the groundwork for lead conversions. While Facebook may not be the ideal platform for B2B companies (yet!), you can make smart ad buys on LinkedIn and Twitter that can drive more traffic, advance thought leadership and grow your company’s following.

Don’t forget to stay abreast of how social ad buying is changing, because it is. Improvements to advertising platforms on social media come all the time. For instance, it’s now possible to upload emails of your prospects and customers on Facebook to run targeted campaigns; you can then have Facebook create a mirrored list of high-potential targets based on the demographics of your customer and prospect list. LinkedIn and Twitter are now following Facebook’s lead and allowing email uploads to create targeted ad groups as well.


Popular search engines  like Google and Bing are constantly in flux as they try to refine their search algorithms to award legitimate content producers and discount or even block ones that game the system for organic higher rankings. For instance, it used to be common practice to send out “press releases” on distribution platforms like PRWeb until Google caught on to the practice of keyword stuffing employed by many SEO companies. Your SEO is better served by following best-in-class practices such as producing quality content on your blog with backlinks to your website, contributed articles to other influential industry blogs and even media placements in traditional media. There are no doubt other tricks of the SEO trade that won’t run the risk of getting you blackballed on search engines like Google but you would be wise to research them before pursuing them.


Business meeting. Marketing strategy brainstorming. Paperwork and digital concept. Intentional sun glare and vintage colour

It’s that time of the year to take stock of your B2B brand assets and how well they performed in 2016. The timing of the New Year dates back to Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. when he ordered a change to what eventually became the foundation for our modern 12 month calendar. Perhaps not surprisingly, the name January derives from the Roman god, Janus, who was the god of beginnings.

Many businesses also peg their operational budgets to the start of the new year. Which means that many marketing professionals are busy evaluating the performance of their marketing strategy and investments. The goal? Learn what worked well, what could use improving and what should be scrapped in favor of a new approach.

In that spirit, we offer you this quick look at things marketing professionals should keep in mind as they look to retool B2B brands for 2017.

Blogging – Content is still King

Nothing quite compares to an active blog when it comes to driving website traffic and conversions. And by active, we mean publishing at least 11 posts per month consistently. If Hubspot’s extensive research is any indicator, B2B companies that publish 11 monthly posts get nearly 3x the website traffic as compared to ones that publish only occasional posts. Post 16 times per month and you may very well see 4.5x more lead conversions compared to those who post only weekly. Of course, this assumes you are laying the groundwork for conversions by adding call-to-actions (CTA) on your blog and providing deep links to other parts of your website.

Grow your contact list

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to add an email address capture app to your website in order to ask visitors to subscribe to your email marketing campaign. Mind you, it’s not an invitation to start selling to subscribers. But you can lace your marketing campaigns with call-to-actions in hopes of converting them into customers. An app like OptinMonster will let you set up the contact “ask” either upon arrival to a website, a set time after arriving or when the visitor shows what’s called ‘exit-intent’ (moves cursor to address bar to navigate away from the website).

Speaking of email

Email is far from dead, especially in the world of B2B marketing. Most purchasers in B2B companies prefer to be contacted by email over phone. Social media, by comparison, is a non-starter when it comes to making sales overtures. Email is the way to keep your prospects informed of your latest innovations, successes and offers. Combine email marketing with webinars, free white papers and an active blog and you will win a large share of the market in short order.

Website updates – Out with the old

If your website is showing its age, instead of scrapping the whole thing and incurring a huge expense in the process, you might consider freshening up the site with new images, some tweaks to content and possibly even experimenting with new CTA copy and buttons. As previously mentioned, one of the more effective ways to retool your website is by blogging on a consistent basis. If it has been 3-5 years since your last website refresh, you may be due for a complete overhaul. If you operate on WordPress, you would be wise to look for newer, more responsive templates that can allow you easily update the website, do your own SEO (more on that below), maintain a killer blog, and even create sliders.

[Part 2 of blog post is coming tomorrow!]

belgium-imageBelgium might be a small country, but it has a vibrant startup community with some pretty large ambitions. In cities such as Ghent and Antwerp, fresh talent is working on building companies which have the potential to disrupt entire industries.

Here are 10 Belgian startups that we selected — not necessarily on their revenue or the capital they raised —  for the potential they have to be genuine disruptors in their markets.

Box office crystal ball: ScriptBook
This company developed an algorithm that will predict whether a movie will be a box office success or a dud. Too good to be true? Perhaps. What is a fact, however, is that the ScriptBook algorithm is now being applied in different pilot projects by American film studios. The movies under study will be released in the next 12 to 18 months. If ScriptBook proves it can make a difference, then it is almost certainly a ticket to fast growth for the Belgian startup.

Site: / Twitter handle: @ScriptBook_io

Uber for foodies: FLAVR
The FLAVR app creates a marketplace where food lovers can be matched with food makers. Think Uber for foodies. FLAVR launched in May 2016. It has managed to cover the entire Dutch speaking part of Belgium (over 1,800 home chefs registered) and is now gearing up for international growth. FLAVR has raised €650k seed capital and, having won International Accelerator’s pitch competition at SXSW in 2016, we know that FLAVR has the ability to whet the appetite of potential investors in the U.S.

Site: / Twitter handle: @addflavr

Staircase to growth: GRAAH
GRAAH produces the first aluminum staircase in the world. The modern design staircases are not tailormade but put together in a modular way on site. Most of sales come today from the United States, but there are plans to grow in Europe in 2017. ‘Graah’ means ‘gladly’ spelled out phonetically in West-Flemish Dutch by the way, because these West-Flemings really love their stairs!

Site: / Twitter handle: @graah_stairs

Keeping score: neoScores
Several Belgian musicians — sick and tired of having to deal with paper scores — came up with the idea of building a music sheet application in 2009. Today neoScores makes it easier for musicians around the world to play, practice and perform music through its Gustaf app.  

Site: / Twitter handle: @NeoScores

In sync with your doctor: Andaman7
Walloon serial entrepreneur Vincent Keunen came up with his idea when his son was treated in the hospital and had a hard time obtaining any medical information on his condition. Andaman7 allows medical practitioners to share medical files with their patients. What makes this app unique is its ease of use and automatic synchronization between patient record (from the doctor) and individual medical file (from the patient). In 2016, Andaman7 scored a contract with the Liège university hospital in Belgium, allowing more than 500 patients to have a full copy of their medical information downloaded to their Andaman7 app. Andaman7 is also getting ready to set up shop in the U.S and plans to raise $5 million in 2017.

Site: / Twitter handle: @Andaman7

Oh, Canada!: Moovly
Moovly has built an online platform with subject matter experts to allow them to produce their own promotional video and animation clips. Any clips produced through Moovly can easily be repurposed for use in other marketing collateral. Through a reverse take-over of a Canadian company, Moovly is now traded on the Canadian stock-exchange.

Site: / Twitter handle: @Moovly

Two Stella’s, please: Playpass
Belgium is the country of big music festivals. Think Tomorrowland and Rock Werchter. Playpass produces smart RFID wristbands for these types of events. A Playpass wristband can be used to enter a festival and even make payments for food and merchandise at the event. Since every festival has different needs, the functionalities of the wristband can be tailored accordingly.

Site: / Twitter handle: @Playpass_EU

A place and time for everything: Chestnote
‘Think Snapchat, but then 100% the opposite’, founder Peter Wellens told Gazet van Antwerpen. Chestnote offers ‘contextual’ messaging, which means that through the app you can send a multimedia message that will only be delivered at a certain time, at a certain place. Brands will have an opportunity to pay for a service to reach users on the platform, and in March Chestnote wants to sell its technology to companies so they can then integrate Chestnote in their own brand apps. Recently Chestnote raised 650,000 euro to further fuel its growth.

Site: / Twitter handle: @Chestnote

Because school is cool: sCool
sCool, developed by Belgian startup Learningscape, is a Facebook-like experience for kids and teachers to use and improve their learning experience. Individual schools can sign up for sCool, which means that only teachers and students that belong to the school can create accounts, making it a safe place for children to learn online. Children can recommend books to each other, keep an agenda, get super creative with videos, and much more. sCool enables ‘flipped learning,’ which reverses the traditional pedagogical approach used in schools by delivering instructional content online and even outside of the classroom. It also brings homework type activities — traditional done without a teacher present — inside the classroom for improved hands-on learning.

Microsoft was so charmed by the startup’s technology that it allowed it to integrate sCool with Skype. Nearly 50,000 children currently work on sCool app in Belgium and The Netherlands.

Site: / Twitter handle:@its_scool

Going the extra mile: Parcify
Parcify offers a service through which consumers can have products they order online shipped to a unique Parcify address, not necessarily a physical address approved by the postal service. For example, when Parcify receives the product if notifies the client through its app. The client then decides when and where to have it delivered — even if it’s at a park, restaurant or street corner. How does Parcify manage that? Through the GPS coordinates of your smartphone! After Belgium, the startup plans to enter the Dutch market in 2017.

Site: / Twitter handle: @Parcify


Did we forget any Belgian startups? If so, feel free to let us with a comment below or on our Twitter account at ManzerComm.

For those not familiar with us, we specialize in helping startups and established tech enterprises accelerate growth through a blend of digital marketing and PR.


Manzer Communications has teamed up with seven other communications agencies to found the Global Fintech PR Network, the world’s first network of agencies serving the specialized needs of the financial technology – or fintech – industry.

Based in five continents, Global Fintech PR Network is designed to help clients gain a global perspective and reach in the highly competitive, transformational fintech industry. The idea for the network originated in Copenhagen earlier this year with the partners behind Norfico – the first dedicated fintech advisory and PR agency in the Nordics.

The founding members include:

The new global network of fintech PR agencies will be able provide truly global service across multiple continents, cultures and languages to allow fintech clients a seamless engagement experience staffed by some of the world’s leading experts in fintech communications.

For more information about how to design a global fintech engagement, please call one of the Manzer Communications offices in Austin, Denver or Houston or fill out our contact form and we will reach out to you.