In this week’s episode of VB Engage, we chat with Shira Abel about mobile apps and mobile marketing. Stewart and Travis also talk Instagram Stories, because, frankly, that’s the one big thing that happened this week.

And if you missed last week’s episode, we interviewed the one and only Vala Afshar, chief digital evangelist for Salesforce.

This week, in what is undoubtedly (not) the most important piece of news in Silicon Valley, Stewart Rogers finally got verified by Twitter. He is now officially legit, like Travis, who got his Twitter verification 17 days earlier. But who’s counting?

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Of course, this week’s (really) big news is that Instagram completely plagiarized Snapchat. They literally stole as much from Snapchat as humanly possible. The only things they seemingly haven’t stolen are the rainbow barf and the puppy augmentation lens.

Mind you, it turns out that there is one original feature you can’t miss, and it’ll help you recreate almost any ’80s VHS movie cover (or Betamax, if you prefer). Listen to find out more!

We’re not being completely fair. If you really look at Instagram Stories, it is actually a more stable product. It seems to work a little better than Snapchat. Why? Is it because Snapchat is adding so many features that the app is becoming bloated and unresponsive? With other recent acquisitions, that bloating will most likely continue.

If you haven’t had a chance to test Instagram Stories, just update the app, and you should be ready to go.

Speaking of mobile, this week’s guest is none other than Shira Abel, the acting CMO at Cyara, host of the SaaS Insider podcast, and a startup advisor. We discuss mobile and inbound marketing with her.

Shira drops serious wisdom on inbound versus outbound marketing and gives some great tips on how to do it all more effectively, especially if you are an SaaS business.

“Where you are is irrelevant, if you’re doing inbound well. Webinars, ebooks, whitepapers, case studies, guest blog posting. It’s very powerful,” she noted.

We also ask her about marketing within the startup community. Typically, startups are so engineer-focused that marketing is an after-thought. How does she handle that?

“Marketing ends up coming in later than it should, because [startups] are focused on sales in the beginning — what happens is there is all of this ‘marketing debt’.”

Shira says to start with messaging, then build the website. And If your website isn’t up to par, fix it. If your funnel isn’t working, optimize it. There are many things to concentrate on, but she recommends focusing on the things that are most broken.

If you focus on lead generation and your website is crap, you’ll have low conversion. She advises becoming laser-focused in one area or niche, which should help start the word of mouth. And Shira maintains that the head of marketing, or at least someone in marketing, should be sitting in on all product meetings and all development sprints.

Marketing is talking to the customer, and marketers have a different point of view from the engineer. Marketing isn’t coding. Marketing is asking different questions. Add the standpoints from marketing and engineering together, and you get a much better product.

As has become normal with VB Engage, our guest drops a metric tonne of useful nuggets in this interview.

Next week we talk with Peter Dering, the CEO of Peak Design. We discuss how Peak Design has had five successful Kickstarter campaigns. The interview was recorded just a couple of days before the launch of the company’s sixth, which now has over $2 million in funding. Peter knows crowdfunding. We know mobile marketing. And we discuss the intersection of the two.

Also, if you enjoy the show, please subscribe, rate, and review it. We’d appreciate seeing a friendly word about the show. Travis needs weekly validation, and your podcast reviews can help with that.

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