Geoff Livingston is the founder of Tenacity5 Media, a marketing consultancy serving companies and nonprofits. He's an award-winning author and marketing strategist whose clients have included Cision, PayPal, Google, United Way of America, Network Solutions, Verizon Wireless, and the American Red Cross. His strategies have raised more than $2 million for charities using multichannel marketing programs.

He's also an award-winning author who's written four books. Most recently, Geoff published his first novel, Exodus, in 2013. He also co-authored Marketing in the Round with Gini Dietrich and wrote social media primer Welcome to the Fifth Estate.
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Geoff is also a sought-after speaker. He's presented at SXSW and TEDx, and he'll teach PR writing for social engagement at the 2015 Marketing Writing Boot Camp for MarketingProfs University.

I invited Geoff to Marketing Smarts to discuss content, the evolution of marketing, the overarching importance of the customer experience, and more.

Here are just a few highlights from our conversation:

Advertising, marketing, PR, Social—they're all intertwined (06:51): "I think that there's really no pure-play anymore. Even advertising has to engage in creating word-of-mouth; and when you look at corporate social responsibility initiatives, we now know that a vast majority of customers are more likely to choose a brand that's engaged in social good, so there's a lot of reason to show your most important customers that you are engaged with social good initiatives, and of course Millennials feel that that's a big turning point for them, to work with brands—as an employee and as a customer—that are engaged with social good. There is no black or white anymore, what's PR and what's not. I think a lot of people are talking about content as the pivot point. I think content is a critical aspect of the customer experience, but it goes beyond that."

Brands need to do better before people become leads, and also after they become customers (07:57): "I think a lot of companies fall down after the purchase, and they fall down on the top of the funnel.... I know there really isn't a funnel anymore, but before somebody becomes an identified lead, I think that a lot of companies don't invest there intelligently, and they're just very, very focused...on driving the bottom line. Of course, that's what business is about, but I think that you'll see more retention after the fact.

"One of the case studies I'm building for a MarketingProfs whitepaper focuses on T-Mobile and how they've built some interesting marketing automation content for social media influencers and it's specifically designed on keeping influencers that are already T-Mobile customers as long-term T-Mobile customers and basically trying to end churn. As a result of that, they've seen their overall churn drop by 25%.... They figured that when they were losing influencers online, that they were not just losing the influencer but they were probably losing the followers, given the way that particular type of person acts and talks on line, that it was probably creating really strong negative word-of-mouth. So they focused hard on that area and they saw an almost immediate impact.

"Looking at that retention, that influencer, for example, when they bag you online, they're pushing away that potential customer that you haven't identified yet. It's such an intertwined ecosystem. That's why the whole funnel thing just doesn't mesh well with what's really happening anymore."

Dig deep and figure out which channels contribute to your bottom line (09:54): "What I think is probably missing is an understanding of what actually creates leads, and an understanding of what first-touch attribution really should be, and how important first-touch attribution should be versus last-touch. So, when you look at the budgetary process for a CMO...a CMO will say 'this is what the dollars are. That's why we're investing so much in email marketing. It closes, it closes, it closes, and so does mobile. So that's what we're doing and we don't really care about creating this nice, fluffy content for Instagram, even though it builds our brand.'

"Well, when you see that you're getting customers that are in your database that are on Instagram or following you, when you start building that kind of deep contextual tie, and you're able to see that those people are interacting with others and their networks are starting to come into your website, all of the sudden you can build first-touch attribution. 'Hey, this probably happened through our Instagram ecosystem.' And once you see that, 'Hey, Instagram is turning into a lead generator for us, we need to focus a little more on that, because our conversion rate for people that are coming in from Instagram's at 15%...' You suddenly see the importance of Instagram marketing for your overall health, and then you start balancing your budget a little better."

To learn more, visit,, or follow Geoff on Twitter: @geoffliving.

Of course, you can also register for our Marketing Writing Bootcamp and take Geoff's class: PR Writing for Social Engagement!

Geoff and I talked about much more, so be sure 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!

This episode brought to you by CallidusCloud.

Special thanks to production sponsor Candidio, an efficient, affordable video production platform allowing marketers and communicators to collaborate and curate video content, with help from a team of professional, on-demand video editors for the finishing touches. Check them out!

Show opener music credit: Noam Weinstein.

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