Successful Interview Tips – Don’t Rely on GPS

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Arriving on time isn't a cakewalk.

Among other helpful tips, Johnson suggests using tools other than GPS to arrive on time to the interview.

In a blog post on Ragan’s PR News Daily, award-winning journalist and leading PR practitioner Brian Johnson lists some excellent dos and don’ts for interviews.  Drawn from excerpts from his book, “The Little Red Book of PR Wisdom, Johnson highlights some very good tips for nailing the interview. His suggestions also work for presentations and business meetings. As for arriving on time, I agree with jstme’s comments on NOT relying on GPS.

True story: While on the “Griswald-esque” vacation to DC, my 12-year-old daughter succeeded in convincing me to order cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake, which we did the night before, as was suggested. Plugged in the business name, found the address and let Siri provide the directions. That’s where we went wrong. I’ve been to DC and am aware that Georgetown is RIGHT there. But I didn’t trust my own personal navigation system.

The driving seemed to go on for much longer than I thought was reasonable, so I double checked the business address and the directions. Those were correct. But why were we driving so far north and AWAY from DC? I really suspected we were off on a wild goose chase when I saw the sign saying Welcome to Maryland. This cannot be right! Rechecked again. Siri maintained that we were nearly at our destination “Georgetown Cupcakes”. The famous bakery featured in the hit series,  DC Cupcakes appeared to need some PR and SEO help for their web presence. 

When we arrived and Siri said, “Destination on the left”, we saw a mid-century suburban residence in Chevy Chase Maryland. The car was silent the entire ride back to DC and the cupcakes were retrieved, but the taste was bittersweet. Do NOT trust GPS! Also, follow the other tips in this article for nailing media relations interviews.

UPS Also Said To Be Testing Drone Delivery, Constant Robot Background Hum Increasingly Inevitable

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Margo Wickersham:

Perhaps “drone” isn’t the best word for this near-instant delivery technology. I’ve been waiting for my own flying car since I watched “The Jetsons” as a youth. Looks like that may be on the horizon. A U.S. aerospace firm is designing a vehicle that drives like a car, takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane. Terrafugia’s TF-X is scheduled for delivery in 2015.

So, how about a cool name for the delivery drones, like maybe “RoboDrop” or “iDeliver” or maybe just “Rosie”, like the robot housekeeper in “The Jetsons”. Flying robots that speed delivery of goods to consumers deserve a better brand name than “drones”. Anyone agree or have other suggestions? Leave them in my comments!

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

UPS is also looking into getting flying robots to deliver packages, according to The Verge, along with Internet ecommerce giant Amazon. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos dominated the news cycle yesterday with the revelation that Amazon was working on drone delivery with 30-min. ship times, albeit for a few years out in a best case scenario, but UPS also now appears to be interested in replacing its reliable army of brown-shorted carriers with repurposed evil mindless deathbots.

UPS told the Verge that it finds the concept of commercial drone use “interesting,” and that it’ll continue to “evaluate” its usefulness for the parcel carrier. Big Brown also pointed out that it pours more money into R&D than any of its competitors in the delivery business, which, while not confirming it’s spending on drones specifically, definitely suggests that could be the case.

In addition to the official statement, Verge quotes multiple sources…

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If Your Blog Post Won’t Promote Itself…Do These Things

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12 Things To Do After You Write the Blog Post

Writer’s block is just half the problem for many content writers. What to do after you’ve found the intriguing topic and put the words together in the most compelling blog post may have been challenging enough. But social media can’t promote marketing content without some help, so you still have some work to do if you want your target audience to find your fabulous new post.

Brody Dorland at Divvy.com shares his checklist for promoting blog posts, along with this handy and attractive infographic. He identifies several specific marketing tactics you can use to promote your blog post. Doing these 12 steps (no, not THOSE 12 steps, although most anyone can benefit from those as well) have the added benefit of helping to integrate your marketing efforts and maximize your communications.

Brody says, ‘It looks like a few people found some value in my post from last year, “12 Things to Do After You’ve Written a New Blog Post.” Well, one or two new things have been launched on the “interwebs” since March of 2011, so I thought it might be time for an update. And hey, I thought I’d throw a printable (and PIN-able) infographic version of the original post into the mix while I’m at it.

I’ve found that headlines have one of the strongest impacts on the click rate to my blog posts. Sometimes, finding the best headline feels like a game and the the one you were certain would win turns out to be the dud. I’d be interested in hearing what headlines have been your best performers.

Check it out and share any other tips you have for promoting new blog posts.

Facebook Drives the Most Traffic to Publishers [CHART]

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Facebook Drives the Most Traffic to Publishers [CHART].

Does anyone know how these social media sites rank for driving traffic to self published ebooks? Please share any insights you have in comments below.

 

Measuring Impact of Social Media on the Business

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Measuring Impact of Social Media

By Scott Hornstein

The true power of social media is untapped. The surface is barely scratched. Why? Because we’re missing the point—social media, like every other medium, has got to sing for its supper. If it’s not making us money, why are we doing it?

We have been treating social media as an anomaly, somehow apart from basic business—we invest without measurability or accountability to corporate goals, which arguably include brand, sales, satisfaction and continuous improvement.

Social media pioneers have opened the door and set the stage. That was phase 1. Now it’s time to get serious, to fish or cut bait.

Phase 2 has to be the start of measurability and accountability, where social media is aligned with corporate goals and can prove its contribution. This must be readily achievable, without more investment, and with the tools we have today—a few small steps will put us in motion. Some of these may already be in place. Let’s look at the suggested metrics by corporate goal.

BRAND

• Brand Ambassador. Many companies actively seek
out and groom brand ambassadors, which is defined as customers who identify with the brand They may include mention of the brand in their profile. They may even alert the brand to negative discussions on other platforms.

• Referrals. Brand Ambassadors are good, but referrals are better. We know from lead generation experience that referrals are the best source of new customers, and the second-best source for new sales (the best source is, of course, existing customers).

SALES

  • Response. Marketing’s job is to get customers and prospects meaningfully engaged with the brand and on the road to sales. Let’s make an offer of value. But no discounts please, unless you’re after commoditization.
  • Recommendation. The magic of social media is the conversations it enables. And while we’re being sociable, the conversation may turn to the product or service we offer. In some of those cases, a recommendation may be appropriate

(e.g., as someone who really loves our vanilla ice cream, you should really try our vanilla with macadamia nuts).

SATISFACTION

  • Service. Did we uncover an issue that can be corrected? Something isn’t working and we can make it work? This is huge. We should report not just the incidence, but the subject and whether the issue was solved, or not.
  • Dissatisfaction. Did we uncover an issue that cannot be easily corrected? This is the power of social—we may not have otherwise known. Happy customers stick around, but unhappy customers tell everybody. Again, we should report not just the incidence, but the subject and whether the issue was solved, or not. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT Certainly, measurement will enable us to improve social media implementations, but social can add to overall efforts with first-hand customer information.• Ask a question. Probably not something like “how much money is in your pocket”, but on qualitative issues where the voice of the customer may provide some illumination (e.g., what other products or services would you like us to offer you?).• Synthesize what customers are talking about. Is it related to corporate goals? What other subjects?• Provide management with an early alert. Do you see rapidly trending problems or issues? Is there widespread concern? Is the sky falling? If you see something, say something.All of which leads us to Phase 3, which is where the fun starts. That’s when we’re able to tie all media together with our CRM system and get a real-time view of the individual customer. That’s when we begin to be really effective in influencing brand, sales, satisfaction and continuous improvement. More on that one later.For right now, this minute, it is urgent we move social media to measurability and accountability. For sure, management is going to look you in the eye and say “Why are we doing this?”.

    A really good answer would be helpful.

Other Related Posts:

Ada Lovelace and the numbers she loved to crunch

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Margo Wickersham:

Who knew Lord Byron’s daughter was the first computer programmer? Using data in big ways, far ahead of her time.

Originally posted on Teacups and Tyrants:

Almost every day of the year has been declared a commemoration of one individual or another and most of us ignore them. This week brings a day that should be celebrated more than most—Ada Lovelace Day on Oct. 15, 2013. The celebration will take an unusual form in some places. At Brown University in Rhode Island, students will honor Ada Lovelace by writing articles for Wikipedia. To understand this Wikipedia party, you may need some background.

Who was Ada Lovelace and why is she celebrated? You can still get a few arguments about whether she deserves the distinction, but she certainly had an unusual

Ada Lovelace, computer programmer

Ada Lovelace, computer programmer

life. She was born in England in 1815 and was the legitimate daughter of Lord Byron, quite a feat in itself because the famous poet fathered all of his other children with women who were not his wife. Still, being born legitimate is…

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MUSH! How Dogsledding and Content Are Similar

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Huskies Pulling in Different Directions Don't Move the Sled Much

Huskies Pulling in Different Directions – Drawing by Rachel Winter
A Team of Huskies pulling in opposing directions is unsuccessful
at achieving the goal of moving the sled. 

Huskies LOVE to pull sleds! You’ve probably seen video of these gorgeous fluffy dogs leaping into the air with the sheer joy and desire to run with the pack and pull the sled in whatever direction the driver wants. They just love to go. Especially with their pack. If one of the pack members falls behind, they urge that dog forward and help make up for the lost effort.

What would happen if the team of huskies were tethered to a sled, but were pulling in different directions? As depicted in the drawing above (full disclosure: the artist, Rachel Winter is my 12-year-old daughter and she was compensated for her work:), the sled wouldn’t go anywhere. It would simply get pulled simultaneously in many directions, maybe moving a few inches one way or the other. Each dog may be pulling with 100% of their energy, but they would be exerting that energy in different and opposing directions, so the sled wouldn’t move. Monumental waste of energy! Probably makes for frustrated huskies too.

Compare this image to one of a team of huskies pulling a sled in the same direction, with the same amount of energy. The sled would zoom! You don’t need to be a physicist to understand that energy exerted by several dogs in the same direction is far more effective at moving the sled than the same number of huskies exerting the same amount of energy, but in opposite directions.

Cohesive effort yields greater results.

Huskies Pulling In the Same Direction Move the Sled Forward QuicklyDrawing by Rachel Winter
When Huskies Apply Their Collective Energy in One Direction, They Pull Sled Quickly

So, how are dog sledding and content messaging alike?A coordinated and unified effort is more successful than an uncoordinated and disjointed effort. A group of content messages that are part of an integrated marketing strategy work together to communicate much more effectively than a combination of different and inconsistent messages.

In other words, consistent and cohesive communication across all content, delivers the message more quickly, effectively and clearly than disparate ones. With both dog sledding and messaging content, a synchronized and consistent team effort yields the greatest result. This is true for marketing content, public relations (PR), investor relations (IR) and business development content; and for any message. really. “Mush!”

 

Free Infographic Tools

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Infogram Infographic tools

Infogram Infographic Tool Is Free for Marketing Content Creators

The word “Infographic” may not yet be in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, but it’s a word that every good marketer and lots of other savvy business people know well. Converting data into pictures that communicate the primary message at a glance has become valuable content for companies to create. Recently, I shared a link to Hubspot author, Ginny Sosky,’s post, “How Does Your Content Stack Up”. According to the study recently released by Content Marketing Institute, Marketing Profs, and Brightcove, infographic use increased 51% from 2012 to 2013.

The pressure on B2B marketers to produce useful content continues to increase. Naturally, we welcome any tools that help us meet the nearly insatiable need. AWeber shared a list of free Infographic Tools, which I am listing here:

And from Guy Kawalski’s site Alltop post, “6 Tools to Help You Create Fab Infographics”, he lists 3 additional others with varying price points:

  1. Creately
  2. InfoActive
  3. Piktochart

If you have used other tools that you like, I’d love to know about them and invite you to share in the comments. Data Visualization is playing a bigger role in marketing and communications plans every week.

B2B Content Marketing Trends – Infographic

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In her post on Hubspot Blog, Ginny Sosky, published a terrific infographic on the state of the B2B content. The benchmark study, “recently released by Content Marketing Institute, Marketing Profs, and Brightcove about the current state of content marketing, is just so darn awesome.

Take a look at the latest trends to find out if your company deserves a gold star or not. Trust me — it’ll be just as exciting as the time you got a gold star in the fourth grade.”

http://blog.hubspot.com/b2b-content-marketing-trends-infographic

A Better Subject Line in 60 Seconds

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Email Subject Lines - Open Me

Email Subject Lines Determine Open Rat

Subject lines determine whether people click of don’t, so they matter. A lot! I recently created an email campaign for one of my clients and we saw very strong open rates, which has everything to do with great subject lines and brand name recognition. For this particular campaign, we were inviting the recipients to an event. Two of the most effective subject lines we used were:

[Invitation] Event Name
[Company Name] Invitation: Event Name

Another technique that motivates readers to open emails is calling out the hot industry topics. Of course, any good marketer is creating content that address the issues that are top of mind for their prospects, so including those terms in the subject line should be automatic.

Read more on how to improve your open rates immediately with this post from Anthony Schneider. Once you’ve figured out the formula for fabulous subject lines, you may be interested in learning more about writing wonderful emails. Check out this post “Anatomy of an Awful Email” for a guide on what not to do.

Oh, and don’t forget to optimize the emails and landing pages for mobile. With mobile device use continuing to rise, demand generation efforts need to be responsive as well. According to a Google Survey, 61% of site visitors using mobile device are likely to leave a site that’s not optimized for mobile. With a third or more emails being opened on tablets and smart phones, marketers can’t afford to not optimize.

Announcing! The Big Data & Integration Summit NYC 2013

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Margo Wickersham:

Great opportunity to network with Big Data and Integration industry leaders and add some incredibly useful tools to your IT toolkit. Highly recommend!

 

Originally posted on Data Blog:

Actian Corporation and Emprise Technologies are co-hosting The Big Data & Integration Summit on September 26, 2013 in NYC and invite CIOs and IT Directors to attend and join in the conversations. #BDISNYC13 This event is free and features a fast-paced agenda that includes these topics and more: 

Register Now for the Big Data & Integration Summit NYC 2013

Register Now for the Big Data & Integration Summit NYC 2013

Additionally, attendees will join our panel of experts for a round-table discussion on Big Data & Integration challenges facing CIOs now. Talk with Actian Chief Technologist , Jim Falgout, about Hadoop and Big Data Analytics and more.

As CEO of Emprise Technologies, I’ve seen just about every cause there is for integration project failure. Often, there is…

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What Secret LinkedIn Tools Are You Missing Out On?

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Social Media Listening

Get the secrets on social media listening.

Psst! Over here! I’ve got a secret to let you in on. You can create your own, very targeted listening device on LinkedIn! I KNOW! Think of the power you can wield if you hear about the issues your prospects are having before your competition hears about them.  In his post, “How to Use Social Listening on LinkedIn for Real-time Publishing”, Mark Sherbin reveals a handful of techniques that very few people know about.

 

68% of CEOs still aren’t on any social networks whatsoever

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Margo Wickersham:

Big Change Is Coming! Social media can no longer be ignored. Engage, CEOs or get left behind.

Originally posted on Quartz:

When Warren Buffett burst onto the Twitter scene back in May, the social-media world went berserk. In less than 30 minutes, Buffett amassed over 30,000 followers; and despite having tweeted only twice since, he already has more than half a million. But Buffett’s willingness to interact with social media is a far cry from the CEO norm.

Of the 500 leaders of the biggest companies in the US, only 28 have a Twitter account, and only 19 of them actually use it, according to a report released today by Domo and CEO.com. Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer, Buffett, and media mogul Rupert Murdoch are among the few who have chosen to engage. But luring 19 active users out of 500 CEOs puts the rate at under 4%.

And the social media shyness among CEOs isn’t restricted to Twitter. The report finds that 68% of them have no social media presence whatever—whether it be…

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SEO Is Most Effective – But Really Hard to Do

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SEO Effectiveness

SEO Is Most Effective, But It’s Also Really Hard to Do Well

In his post, “SEO Is Most Effective, But Very Hard to Do”Jeff Ogden adds some great points to the Marketing Sherpa study on marketing effectiveness.

I couldn’t agree more with him about the  importance of creating buyer personas first. It’s the marketing discipline of the ages: Ready, Aim, Fire. The success of SEO optimized content will be determined by how well that content addresses the target audience‘s problems, concerns or desires. Perfectly executed campaigns based on unfocused strategies = expensive failure. I’d love to hear some horror stories from epic SEO fails. Please share your story in the comments below. You don’t have to use your real name:)

Never DO These Tasks

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 Urgent and Not Important Tasks. Don’t waste your time on them.

Steven_Covey_QuadrantsNot important and urgent tasks should never be done. Resisting the temptation to check off another item on your To Do list can be difficult. It’s satisfying to complete tasks, but ultimately short-sighted to finish something that’s urgent, but not important. Your time is a precious resource and using it wisely is good resource management.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, working your way up the corporate ladder or just starting your career, managing your time well is key to your success. Executed efficiently, an organized day produces better work results. For content writers, staying focused calm allows for better clarity and creativity. Marketers responsible for building brand and customer loyalty have multiple projects to manage, which means task prioritization is essential.

An example of a task that is Not Urgent but is Important is business blogging. Social media has earned its place in the business world, but many executives don’t make the time to build and grow their blogs. Blogging has evolved into one of the most effective means for generating leads. It’s become an important business task, but it’s not urgent, so many business managers continue to put it on the back burner. With prioritization, focus and discipline, you can make time for the tasks that matter most. Protect your time and prioritize your tasks and you’ll enjoy higher productivity and peace of mind.

Warm and Fuzzy Customer Relationships

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Creating warm emotions with customers

Warm and Fuzzy Feelings – Not Just for Hallmark Moments

“Good real-time marketing doesn’t feel like marketing, but feels like a favor enhancing the relationship.” I like that. It sounds so…nice. All warm and cozy. Like a friendship I get to choose. And that’s the point, really.

As a human being, I like to choose with whom I spend my time…and my money. I feel much happier and open to companies who provide a nice, warm, fuzzy customer experience. But, this is the competitive world of a global economy, so how does a company establish ROI for customer relationship building efforts?  Ted Rubin’s post on Loyalty Lab blog, “Real-Time Marketing: 4 Best Practice Examples of Getting It Right at the Right Time“, highlights four executives who got this right. He said, “Customer loyalty programs that engage the proper context and allow customers to feel control over the message, leads to an emotional attachment between the customer and the brand, which is at the very core of a Return on Relationship.”

Create an easy Customer Experience (CX). Make it simple for me to find what I’m looking for. And if you have a useful suggestion, as Amazon always does, I will consider it and feel grateful for your help. If you make me feel like I’m being pressured or pushed in a specific direction, I’ll leave and likely never return.

Make an emotional connection with me. Safe, happy and valued feelings make me much more likely to buy from your company. Building a warm connection with customers goes a long way towards building loyalty.

Crafting the right marketing message to me at the right time is crucial to earning my business, my trust and my loyalty. Companies who collect and analyze the big data generated by their customers online and in social media can use that information to understand what offers to make and to whom, and when to make them. That’s real time marketing and it delivers real ROI.

 

How Apple Sneaks Into Your Private Life

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Illusions used in web and smart phone design

Illusions are used by companies to trick people into doing things they would usually not do.

Is the image to the left moving, or it static? This is one of thousands of illusions that trick our brains into incorrectly processing something we see.

Apple, the company that built its reputation for exquisite design, uses such trickery to give advertisers access to your iPhone use. Yeah, you read that right. Apple’s iOS has a sneaky way of allowing advertisers to access your private information.

It starts with burying the control for ad limiting under vague categories. But here’s where it gets really interesting: the control uses a double negative, which confuses our brains and tricks many of us into accidentally selecting the option that allows for ad tracking.

Check it out yourself with an iPhone.  Hint: look in the “General” section, then “About”, but you’ll have to scroll down to the bottom to see “advertising”. Now click on that and what does it say? “limit ad tracking”. That’s purposefully misleading for our brains. If we don’t want ad tracking, our brains are likely to asses this option and decide we don’t want to select the “on” button. See what they did there?

In his post “The Slippery Slope”, Harry Brignull offers chilling insight to the nefarious ways that some of the biggest names on the web use to fool our brains into getting us to do something we wouldn’t normally do. Utilizing the methods our brains use to navigate our world, many companies trick us into opting in to participation and even purchases we do not want. This practice has a name: Dark Pattern. It’s a user interface that uses manipulative techniques to get users to do things they would not otherwise have done.

But, if using Dark Patterns increases opt-in rates or even sales revenue, isn’t it worth it? In a word, No. Deceiving your customers may work for a little while, but you won’t get away with it for long. Your customers will soon discover they’ve been tricked into opting in to a program to receive emails they don’t want or to spending money for services or products they didn’t want and then they will be annoyed. And probably angry. No one likes to be duped into doing something they don’t want to do. The cost of using Dark Patterns is loss those customers who discover they’ve been tricked and the bad reviews they will post on the web and social media, as a result.

My point of view is that people do business with people and the Golden Rule applies to all human interaction. Build your brand using consideration for others and you will be rewarded with happy customers who help your business grow. Positive customer experiences are good for business.

Corporate Social Responsibility – Do You Have To?

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Which charity is the right one? Which cause deserves your company’s support? Which cause means the most to you and your employees? With 1.1 million 501 (c)(3) organizations in the U.S., the options are nearly endless. How does a business owner or CEO decide which organization to support with a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program? And with all of the pressure on executives to deliver constant and consistent profitability in a highly competitive global economy, should you even bother with a CSR?

As John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods puts it:

“The whole corporate social responsibility ideal is trying to graft something onto the old profit maximization model. What we need is a transformation [in] the way we think about business, what it’s based on. People want businesses to do good in the world. It’s that simple…. We need a deeper, fundamental reform in the essence of business.”

So, that’s it. Customers want to buy from companies who give back. If you want their business, you’d better incorporate CSR into your company. That’s even more true if you target the millenials. As a group, they weight their buying decisions more on whether companies give back to the communities, than their older counterparts. Yep, you need a CSR program.

CSR

Do the right thing. It’s good for business.

But how do you choose a program? Start by identifying what you and your employees passionate about. Which problems do you care most about solving? Then think about which charitable efforts make a good fit with your company’s business. If your organization publishes ebooks, perhaps look for a non-profit that helps teach people to read. Finding a cause that meshes with your company’s brand that also resonates with its audience is key. That may sound self serving, but I suggest that it’s beautiful enlightened self interest. As humans, we want make an impact. As marketers, we need to do that which creates the greatest impact. Good corporate social responsibility positively impacts us as humans and as marketers.

In her article, “How To Integrate Marketing With Your Corporate Social Responsibility Promise”, MarketingGreen blogger, Julie Livingston identifies 4 things to consider when integrating you marketing efforts with your CSR.

1. Is it meaningful and will it have a long-term, sustainable, positive impact on company stakeholders?

2. Does the CSR program draw upon company strengths and resources? For example, a waste management company that donates its resources and staff to developing a hometown recycling program.

3. Is it engaging for the stakeholders, and perhaps for the media? By the nature of its design does it tell the company story?

4. Does it make a positive difference to people and the planet?

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

The Critical Importance of Buyer Personas in B2B Marketing Today

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Reblogged from Jeff Ogden, The Fearless Competitor.

Most people do not produce enough content because they do not know how to create “engaging content”. Could be that they are internally editing or have pre-conceived (over corporatized) notions about what is effective/allowable.

I start with the mantra – Educate or Entertain.. better yet.. Educate and Entertain.

Perhaps some hints/examples of companies/entrepreneurs effectively doing this – without astronomical budgets.”

To Matthew’s point –  How does one go about creating content that educates and entertains, without first developing deep insights on your buyers?  Remember that we need to educate and entertain THE BUYER.  Only truly knowing your audience enables you to create content that is both educational and entertaining.  Hence, the pressing need for good personas.

Here are some of the key insights on buyer personas I learned in the Buyer Persona Master Class. I share them with you so you can learn why good personas are so important to your business. Buyer personas are interviews conducted by trained experts with decision makers in deals you won and deals you lost.

The goal of buyer personas is to gain useful insights to drive marketing results. For instance, why do some start to solve their problem and why do others simply learn to live with the pain? That is the conundrum of most BtoB sellers today – they cannot answer that question.

The insights gained from buyer personas need to collated and collected using best practices templates and tools. Done properly, this documentation is invaluable in content marketing, lead nurturing, sales enablement and other areas. If the buyer says she selected an offering because it was “easy to use,” trained professionals know to ask follow-up questions on what Ease of Use means to them. Pros know not to accept answers at face value.

Buyer Personas also help you document the language and words used by buyers in the buying journey. Done properly, they help Sales engage with qualified buyers.

Top marketing executives like VPs of Marketing and Chief Marketing Officers also benefit, because best-practices buyer personas help them quantify the messaging strategy and marketing criteria in order to get support for budget requests. You should also only focus on characteristics that tell you how to persuade the buyer.  Demographics, like age and college education are not all that important (however this is what most of the so called experts do.)

What do you think? Did you know that the award-winning marketing expert, Jeff Ogden, is trained in Buyer Personas by the Buyer Persona Institute?

Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor, is an award-winning marketing expert and President of the sales lead generation company Find New Customers. He’s also the creator of the very popular TV on the Web show, Marketing Made Simple TV.

As Hardware Startups Take Off, Materials And Technology Marketplace Inventables Raises $3M

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Margo Wickersham:

Have you ever had an idea for a product that you know could earn millions? Maybe you have and you even began researching how to product a prototype. If you’re like a lot of people, you’re long on ideas and determination and short of resources for prototype production. Enter Inventables, a marketplace for technology and materials for designers and developers.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Chicago-based Inventables, a marketplace for technology and materials for developers and designers, has raised $3 million in new funding led by Tim Draper (via Draper Associates) with Dundee Venture Capital, Richard Yoo (founder of Rackspace), Georges Harik, and True Ventures participating. This brings Inventables’ total funding to $5 million.

Inventables launched in 2010 as a marketplace for software, hardware and materials for makers, designers and manufacturers to create prototypes and low-volume production runs. Essentially, Inventables sells the parts, machines and materials that many hardware developers or manufacturers need to build their products.

The marketplace itself is similar to any other shopping site, where you can purchase supplies online that are shipped to you within a few days. But Inventables has added a few features which make it friendly for makers. For example, on a product’s page, you’ll see what other designers have made with the material or how they…

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8 Things Productive People Do

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By Margo Wickersham Winter

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of picking up your phone first thing in the morning and checking email. Ok, how about if you check Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook? Now, how many times after you check your phone for messages or posts from others do you respond to those? Come on, tell the truth. More than you’d care to admit, I’ll bet. I’m guilty. Who can resist the temptation to see who’s interested in what we think? It’s kind of like getting mail used to be way back in the distant past. Remember? Seeing the mailman (they were all men once upon a time) and racing to the mail box to see if you got any “good mail” – that’s what my grandmother called letters or notes from friends or family. Bills, fliers and catalogues don’t count.

Whether you’re doing business strategies for technology start-ups or marketing plans for established companies or social media for anyone who will pay you to do it, entrepreneurs and employees all strive to get the highest productivity possible from their work day.

Ilya Pozin, founder of Ciplex and columnist for LinkedIn and Forbes, posted a good and quick read outlining the “8 Things Productive People Do During in Their Workday”.  He has some good reminders of the choices we make each day on how we spend our time and energy. A purposeful approach to work and life helps us get closer to balance.

Grumpy Cat = Big Data

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By Margo Wickersham Winter

Grumpy Cat was one of the most popular topics tweeted during SXSW Interactive 2013 in Austin, TX. What does the obsession of an angry furry meme during a conference attended by technologists say about our culture, our minds, our businesses and the prospects for our long-term success? It says a lot. In the report from IDC,  “Big Data, Bigger Digital Shadows, and the Biggest Growth in the Far East,” the prediction is that by 2020, almost half of cloud data driven by entertainment. Perhaps even more interesting is that most of the data collected is unexploited. 

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The burning questions are, what does this say about our culture and what does it mean to the business opportunities? Is this funny pet phenomenon an indication of our civilization’s imminent decline? Is sharing a laugh via social media over animal with a bad attitude turning our brains to mush? If our brains are turning to mush, does this mean that business opportunities are in decline?

Nope. It’s a good thing. In fact, sharing humor is one of the universal experiences that unites humans across the globe. And thanks to the proliferation of social media, people from all corners of the earth can share a positive experience with each other. Snickering at a silly cat photo can be fun and it can even help build a sense of community amongst people who would otherwise never interact with each other. This shared happy experience brings people together, unites us and shines a light on our similarities, rather than our differences. In an era when diverse cultures often clash, it’s uplifting to see diverse communities come together over a common love of humor. That’s not only a good thing for our cultures, but it’s a very interesting opportunity for business.

Mashable brought Grumpy Cat to SXSW Interactive 2013, inviting attendees to have their photo taken with the popular feline. The result was a massive amount of social media sharing which delivered big marketing buzz for Mashable. 

It also generated a huge amount of data on the behavior of the 18-54 year olds attending SXSW Interactive (96% of attendees this year were in this age group). In the weeks since the event, even more data has been collected about Grumpy Cat and his followers. A massive amount of data. Now think about what that data can tell us about human behavior. Huge amounts of data about individuals, their demographics, preferences, tastes and online behavior are being collected by social media. This is big data. People are communicating with each other in numbers and frequency never seen in the history of mankind. And social media collects every conversation, every post and repost. The worldwide embrace of social media is creating a mammoth amount of data which offers a clearly enormous potential for analytics.

The value if big data is purely potential in its raw form. The information is only useful if it can be collected, integrated and analyzed. A terabyte of consumer data is meaningless if it can’t be manipulated into a useful state. And not all of the data collected is relevant to every organization. Businesses and governments have an unprecedented amount of information available to them about human behavior. Determining the most effective methods for aggregating and consuming that data is where the big opportunity is.

Is there a correlation between the repost of a Grumpy Cat photo and an individual’s profession? Are millennials more likely to respond to online offers including humor than their older counterparts? Are 35-54 year olds just as likely to respond humor? What types of content resonate best with each demographic group? The answers to questions like these are a potential gold mine. We are talking about predictive analytics for consumer behavior. This is truly big. Big data = big opportunities.

Over the coming months, we will see new business models evolve to meet the insatiable appetite that companies, government agencies and institutions have for analytics that enable these and other organizations to win hearts and minds. This is gonna be fun.

Big Data, Big Challenges

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Managing data that comes in an endless array of formats is daunting enough. Now the mass of the information we need to manage is exploding, causing a dizzying cry from business leaders for big data integration, management and analytics projects.

In her Wall Street Journal article, Big Data, Big Blunders, Shira Ovide illuminates the challenges that one of the most talked about trends in technology present. The value of any data is in the information it can provide business leaders. The better the intelligence, the better the decisions. It’s only natural to conclude that more information means better intelligence. But only if we can access the data in a timely manner.

The key to getting the results business leaders need from big data or any size data, for that matter, is prioritizing and project management discipline. Scope creep is the bane of IT project managers and bigger data can lead to exponential creep. That becomes unmanageable which leads to the big data blunders that Ms. Ovide warns us about. A narrower focus on data projects can lead to greater success. Sometimes smaller, is better.

 

 

Why online advertising will get easier for publishers (and why it won’t)

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Margo Wickersham:

by Margo Wickersham Winter

Like so many things that migrate from traditional to digital, the principals that work for advertising are the same: it’s only the methods of delivery and content that change. Check out the post I recently wrote about the benefits of Keeping Things Weird in Marketing.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

The concept of selling digital ads is basic enough — offer up a piece of screen and invite brands to buy it. But for publishers, the ad tech industry can feel like a mix of quantum physics and witchcraft.

Instead of simple transactions between publisher and buyer, digital ad sales rely instead upon a bewildering degree of middlemen who offer competing versions of a lengthy technology product. Ad executives say, for instance, that there are now eight different technologies just to count if an ad has even appeared.

“How f’ed up is our industry? Even after you work with five or 10 companies, you have to hire two more companies to find out what you achieved,” said Ned Brody, CEO of AOL(s aol) Networks, while speaking on Monday at AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O conference in San Francisco.

The good news is that Brody predicts that the ad industry will consolidate and offer…

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Why Keeping Things Weird Is Good Marketing

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By Margo Wickersham Winter

If you’ve been around marketing long enough, you’ve see a lot of shifts in a lot of aspects of the field. And that’s appropriate. The goal of marketing remains the same: sell more product. Oh sure, we have a menagerie of monikers for marketing missions now. There’s branding, demand generation, search engine, content, mobile, inbound, experiential, cause and social media marketing – the list goes on.

But REALLY, these are all description of marketing tools. And as is the case with all things that progress, change is inevitable. Adapt or die. To succeed at selling more product or services, a company has to differentiate itself from the competition. That means that copying your competition’s marketing  is a bad idea.

To set your company and it’s product apart from the others on the market, you need to create a really different and compelling customer experience. Experiential marketing is the new branding. Make your customers feel unique, valuable, happy, fulfilled, beautiful, successful, kind, caring, green – or whatever it is you want them to feel in association with your brand.

Branding has always been a big part of marketing because of the loyalty that consumers can have to brands they like. So, while a brand campaign may not have the directive to increase a specific metric for a specific product, it very much has the goal of establishing and building the brand so that customers WANT that product. Really, it’s all about psychology. Understanding what motivates people is at the heart of creating effective marketing content.

MRW Consulting - Why Keeping Things Weird is Good Marketing - keepaustinweird

The successful marketing campaign for local Austin businesses “Keep Austin Weird” is an example of great branding and marketing.

Successful companies create consumer experiences that pull consumers towards their brand and nurture a relationship with that company. The consumers who identify with and build attachment to the brand are the ones who will buy from the company – and influence their friends and colleagues to do the same.

While that may sound a little like sinister mind control, it’s been part of business since the Silk Road was forged. China kept the process of silk production a state secret for over 300 years, which not only kept the competition out of the market, but also increased demand for the exotic fabric.

The takeaway? Create a compelling and unique brand, deliver amazing customer experience and your customers will help do your marketing for you. Empower your customers without insulting or alienating them and branding success will be yours.

Democratized Healthcare Means More Big Data – and some additional descretion

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The cost savings and production improvements of migrating the healthcare industry to digital have been touted from every pundit from every corner of the country. And almost everyone has discussed how this giant conversion will create Big Data and present some excellent opportunities to technologists and business leaders to find betters ways to manage mammoth amounts of data.  That’s not the news.

What IS the news and is conspicuously absent from all of the Healthcare IT chatter, is that very personal testing and diagnostics can be done from our very personal smart phones. The computing technology has moved from the work space, to the desk at home, to the living room sofa and now to the palm of our hand. Which means we have advanced devices that can be used to test and diagnose even our most personal healthcare issues. Like, er, urine tests.

In an Atlantic Monthly article, “A Medical Lab on Your SmartPhone” published February, 27, Michael Garber explains the new apps emerging for the bringing people closer to their own healthcare information. There’s no listing for self testing or diagnosis on this Infographic for Mobile Healthcare IT from HealthX. Not yet. But there will be, because as we shift more of our daily and weekly tasks to our smartphones, taking time out of our busy day to go to the doctor’s office to um, provide a “sample” will become a thing of the past.

Healthcare Mobile Infographic

 

Will Social Media Surpass Websites for Connecting with B2B Customers?

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If you believe the data from a recent survey conducted by IBM of over 1700 CEOs. “Currently just 16% of companies use social media as their primary means of interacting with customers, but that proportion will rise to 57% three to five years from now.”

Read more: http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/191175/social-media-will-be-primary-channel-for-engaging.html#ixzz2IAkOikTK

http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/191175/social-media-will-be-primary-channel-for-engaging.html#axzz2IAhtKkKH

How to Write a Terrible Marketing Email

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Terrible EmailBy Margo R. Wickersham Winter

Start with a discount offer on your product or services. Do this before you identify what the product is or have established any value in that product. Got it? Ok, now add some exclamation points. Lots of them!!!!!  Also make sure your send an email that prevents your prospects from replying back to engage with you. “Do Not Reply” is too popular to talk with your prospects.

If you really want to alienate your prospects, use cheesy graphics and a convoluted layout. You can also commit the cardinal sin of marketing and omit a “call to action” (CTA).  Include some links that don’t work and you have a terrible marketing email.

Writing a terrible marketing email that not only fails, but annoys your prospects not your goal? Then I recommend reading HubSpot writer Hannah Fleishman’s “Anatomy of An Awful Marketing Email”. She draws a very clear picture of what to avoid in order to succeed with your email marketing campaign. Sometimes, knowing what not to do is even more valuable than knowing what to do.

Pop Up Buttons on Touch Screens – Death Knoll for Auto Correct Fails?

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autocorrect fail

Flat screen failure created a cottage industry of autocorrect fails.

By Margo Wickersham Winter

Autocorrect fails are so much fun. I was literally LOL reading through some of my favorites on a few websites. Finding a screen capture of an epic Autocorrect fail suitable for sharing on my blog proved difficult. These mistakes created by the imperfect user interface on flat touch screen mobile devices have provided millions of people with hours of laughter. Are they in danger of extinction?

Maybe. Pop up buttons on a mobile touch screen may improve the user interface so much that we accidentally eliminate a major source of world wide humor. Touch screens have revolutionized our relationship with phone and computers, but they aren’t the perfect user interface for humans.

Our fingers and thumbs aren’t flat and they come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. We’ve become accustomed to typing and re-typing texts, emails and web searches because our digits accidentally type the wrong digit on a flat screen. We’ve all experienced it and we’ve waited to learn when someone would fix the flatness of the flat screen user interface.

It appears the wait is soon to be over. Tactus Technology demoed their new pop up button user interface at CES this week and it’s nothing short of staggering. In an interview with TechCrunch, Tactus’ CEO and Founder, Craig Ciesla demonstrated the magic of the new buttons that appear and then disappear from your mobile device when you want them to. This will make mobile and touch screen marketing really interesting. Check out the interview and the Tactus site to learn more.

Tactus Tactile User Interface

Tactus Technology developed the new tactile user interface for touch-screen devices

This new technology will change the experience humans have with touch screens forever. And I for one, can’t wait. However, I think our source of Autocorrect fails will remain intact for some time. After all, many of the outrageous and epic fails happen when people correctly type what they meant to type, but Autocorrect overrides and changes the words to something so inappropriate that it’s hilarious.

Is Your CRM Failing?

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bad-customer-service

Dear Mr. Valued Customer, we received your email and one of our customer service representatives will respond within 24-48 hours. This message is sent as an auto-reponse and cannot receive email.  Pleaes do not reply to this email. Again, we thank you for your business and appreciate your inquirey.

How many things can you find wrong with this auto-response? Too many to name. Misspellings, impersonal greeting, over promising response time and insincere gratitude. CRM is supposed to be a tool for nurturing customer relationships, but too often, companies let their customers die on the vine. Shameful.

We’ve all received annoying robot emails and to make matters worse, we often NEVER receive a response. I’m still waiting for one online photo book publishing site to respond to my desperate plea for help – back in November! So much for the “Award-winning customer service” they advertise right by the email form I completed, begging for help in time for a Christmas present. Well, the opportunity to please and nurture a relationship with this customer has come and gone for that company. Guess which company I will NOT be using for future photo book projects. Guess which company I will recommend my friends NOT use for theirs. Guess which company’s CRM has no information about how alienated this customer now is from their company. No one would describe this a acceptable management of customer relationships. Epic fail.

Marketing author, lecturer and consultant, Scott Hornstein, of Hornstein Associates, has shocking results from years of CRM research. You can view his 2012 results “The CRM Antidote” here. Let me know what you think.

25% Healthcare Companies Fail in Social Media. Is Yours One of Them?

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By Margo Wickersham Winter

We have a conundrum. Healthcare companies are considering social media. They are recognizing the opportunities to connect with their customers through social media are great. But before marketing and social media consultants agree to create a social media program for these companies, we need to exhibit self-discipline.  Take a few minutes to evaluate the whole picture.

As a marketing consultant, I understand the temptation to say “Yes, I have the knowledge and experience to do this work for this company who needs it.” No one likes to turn down good new business. There’s the rub. These healthcare companies and providers need what marketing a social media consultants offer and they have the money and willingness to pay us to give them what they need. But can these healthcare companies and providers succeed with a social media plan? Many have tried and failed.

No marketing or social media consultant worth hiring wants to fail for their customers. Remembering the bigger picture on long-term success for that company has the added benefit of helping consultants build a strong and reputable practice. When our clients succeed, we succeed. Right. So I only want to work for healthcare companies or physician practices who are poised to succeed.  How do I know which ones those are?

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The culture. John Lynn, publisher of EMR & HIPAA Forum estimates only 75% of healthcare companies are positioned to succeed in social media. This might sound radical on social media blogs and websites, but the culture of the healthcare companies and physician practices is the harsh dose of reality that need to be carefully considered. Company culture has emerged as the secret ingredient that determines the potential success of a social media program – as well as many other initiatives. If the culture doesn’t support the endeavor, the endeavor is likely to fail. Choosing to identify the companies with the cultural strength to maintain consistent focus on a social media program are the ones we want to help. The other 25% of healthcare companies are likely to fail at social media.  If the company doesn’t have the culture to succeed in social media, do yourself and the company a favor. Recommend they not invest any time or resources in social media and instead, focus their efforts in other areas where they do and will succeed. Failure avoided.

Letting go can be exhilaratingly freeing.

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Great article by Geoffrey James on the benefits to entrepreneurs of simply letting go.
Success results not from adding things to your life but from letting go of them.

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MRW Consulting. Marketing That Works.

We listen to you. We customize a plan for you. Your business grows. The ratio of ears to mouth means we must listen twice as much as we talk. At MRW Consulting, we want to hear about your business. Where do you want to go with your business? What’s working, what’s not working? What’s your passion? We’ll craft a plan to help your realize your goals and your potential.

Do you need help identifying your path? Do you find yourself responding to the work that comes your way? Do you want to drive the direction of your business, rather than let it drive you? MRW Consulting can create a strategic marketing plan that puts your business on the path you want.

If you have the strategic direction but need some help executing, MRW Consulting can create marketing tactics that deliver and business development that works. Or do you have a plan and are executing but you need more content created. We can help with that too. Content creation continues to grow as a percentage of marketing budgets because companies have learned that giving their prospects something valuable enables relationship nurturing.

MRW Consulting can conduct a marketing audit of your current plans and strategies and identify where, if anywhere, we can help.

Anatomy of Blog Post Perfection

Voila! Ici la! The research is in and the we have the formula for the perfect blog post! When I first saw this I was both relieved and intensely curious. Blogging is time-consuming and if you’re like me, you are constantly searching for the ideal blend of headlines, content, images, timing and word count.  Thanks to Kevin Lee’s post, Anatomy of the Perfect Blog Post on Buffer today, the secret recipe is out.

Recipe for Headline Success

Recipe for Headline Success

 

 

Your dark chocolate addiction is driving up the price of chocolate

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Margo Wickersham:

Healthy Addiction Turns Costly.

Originally posted on Quartz:

Cocoa prices are climbing fast. Cocoa futures jumped to $2,868 per ton ($3,161 per tonne) on Jan. 27, the highest price since mid-September of 2011.

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Cocoa prices are soaring for several reasons, but one in particular is rising demand for darker chocolate, which takes more cocoa to make. The average chocolate bar consists of roughly 10% cocoa. Darker varieties can contain 70% or more. Dark chocolate now accounts for some 20% of the US chocolate market, and 30% of the Swiss chocolate market, according to Euromonitor (paywall).

A growing taste for chocolate in China is driving up cocoa prices, too. China’s chocolate sales have more than doubled over the past decade, a trend that’s projected to continue.

And indeed the whole world is eating more chocolate. Global chocolate sales are expected to increase by over 6% in 2014, and reach a record $117 billion, according to Euromonitor. Global cocoa…

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