Nick Westergaard is a brand-driven strategist, speaker, and writer. He is the founder of Brand Driven Digital, the social media and digital marketing unit of the Westergaard agency, where he is vice-president and a second-generation principal. Nick also teaches social media marketing at the University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business.

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He has written for MarketingProfs, 12 Most, and The Gazette's Business 380, where he is a monthly columnist. He's also the author of the e-books Google+ 101 and Instagram for Brands, co-host of The Work Talk Show with DJ Waldow, and organizer of the Social Brand Forum, a top 10 social media conference (Coralville, Iowa, October 24 and 25).

Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

Before embarking on your marketing adventure, decide where you want to end up, and choose ways to assess your progress (7:15): "How do you know if something's working? Of course, there's all of the basic engagement metrics, but really you should have that tied back to a very specific strategy—an objective of something you're hoping to accomplish for your business.... It makes choosing your own adventure along the way easier if you have a clear plan of what you're trying to do going into it."

Consider including Google+ in your marketing adventure (12:17): "I think that there are some interesting things you can do on Google+. I think Hangouts is an incredible tool...but as a straight-up Facebook-like social network, I don't know that that's what it is. To me it's something...a little more collaborative. When you talk about having a direct relationship with your community, it seems like—especially with Hangouts—there's a way to foster greater interaction and closeness with Google+."

Make your marketing adventure more engaging with visual content (17:59): "I think the visual stuff is still part of a larger conversation about content, and the same rules there still apply about finding things that are of interest to your community visually.... There are so many interesting things that you can do. I think one of the biggest [using] these quick microvideo platforms as a means of giving that back-stage pass to your community.... It makes you feel closer to the brand.... Using video to give that kind of behind-the-scenes tour is a useful tactic."

Any brand can find ways to be adventurous with marketing (19:19): "I know that a big question out there is...'well, what if we're not a visual brand?' You need to rethink your business. You look at someone that is a consumer brand, like Ben & Jerry's. Look at what they're doing with Instagram Video.... They're showing ingredients that go into stuff. That same tactic can be borrowed and dropped into...something that you might not think of as a particularly sexy business, but you can take that same strategy of showing the raw materials.... That kind of experimentation. Especially if you feel like you're in a 'boring industry,' go look at what some other brands are doing."

Nick and I talked about much more—and made mutual confessions that we "cheated" when reading Choose Your Own Adventure books in our youth—so I encourage you to listen to the entire show, which you can do above, or download the mp3 and listen at your convenience. Of course, you can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!

Nick will also be speaking at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum, so register today!

Marketing Smarts is brought to you by the MarketingProfs B2B Forum, taking place October 9-11 in Boston, Massachusetts. The 7th Annual B2B Marketing Forum is the premier event for B2B marketers worldwide. This two-day event is packed with 42 sessions, 4 keynotes, tons of networking opportunities, a lot of fun, and more B2B business smarts than you'll find anywhere else this year. Marketing's full of choices. Choose B2B.

BONUS: Use code "SMART" to get $100 off registration at!

Music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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