• Russ Fradin
    Russ Fradin on July 29, 2014

    Why Employee Advocacy Matters

    Employee advocacy is an emerging new marketing strategy where companies empower their influential employees to authentically distribute brand approved content, create original content, and in turn earn recognition and rewards for their activity and participation.
  • alexmoffit
    Alex Moffit on September 4, 2014

    John Doerr on OKRs and Goal Setting at Google and Intel [VIDEO]

    “Ideas are precious, but they’re relatively easy. It’s execution that’s everything,” says John Doerr, partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and the man who introduced Objective & Key Results (OKRs) to Google. Google widely credits OKRs for helping the company grow from 40 to 40,000 employees. Other businesses including LinkedIn and Twitter have also embraced OKRs. Hear Doerr explain how the OKR process gets teams pulling together by surfacing what matters most, and how a powerful goal system from BetterWorks is leading organizations to operating excellence.
  • Greg Gerik
    Greg Gerik on September 15, 2014

    Shaking Up Social: Attending the Social Shake-Up in Atlanta

    Last year, the Social Shake-Up was one of the best social conferences to attend and this year promises to be even better. Here are a few of the hottest topics and sessions at the Shake-Up this year that are sure to deliver and drive this industry forward.
  • There were an estimated 3.9 billion email accounts in 2013. The majority of email comes from business correspondence, accounting for over 100 billion sent and received each day.

    There were an estimated 3.9 billion email accounts worldwide in 2013. The majority of daily email comes from business correspondence, accounting for over 100 billion emails sent and received each day. As the predominant form of communication in the business world, it's important to know how to use it effectively. This infographic from whoishostingthis takes a closer look at how to write better emails.

    Here are a few tips:

    Re-read before sending. Twice: This will help you catch typos and make sure you've addressed everything.

    Write with a respectful tone: Don't use emoticons, unless you know the person very well, and know you can use a relaxed style.

    Be mindful of Reply All, CC, and BCC: Make sure you're sending the message only to people you intended to receive it.
     

    • Use Reply-All when: Trying to set up a meeting with a few people and everyone needs to know everyone else's availability.
    • Use CC when you need to say FYI: When you CC someone, you don't expect action on their part. You're just letting them know what's going on.
    • Use BCC when: Sending out a bulk email and you do not want everyone's email addresses to be visible in the To or CC line.


    There' more in the full visual. Take a peek:

    A Beginner's Guide to Writing Perfect Emails #Infographic #marketing

    Article hat tip: entrepreneur.

    One of the most pressing questions facing organizations today is this one: How do we connect with the outside world of customers and buyers today?

    One of the most pressing questions facing organizations today is this one: How do we connect with the outside world of customers and buyers today?

    It is not an easy question to answer. Recently, we have had several studies, including those by Forrester and the Content Marketing Institute, which suggests companies have been struggling to connect with their customers and buyers. Finding many organizations and marketers believe their content marketing and B2B marketing efforts are only effective well below forty-percent of the time.

    The sobering news is the needle of effectiveness has not moved very much in the last few years and continues to struggle to break the forty-percent ceiling. This is despite the marked increase in spending for content marketing, digital marketing, and marketing automation.

    Held Captive By Business Assumptions

    Companies who often struggle to connect with the outside world of customers and buyers can look to a common problem. Which is, many times organizations can be held captive by a set of assumptions on how the world works as well as views of their customers. The “disconnect” arises when these assumptions directly oppose how customers and buyers view how the world works. When organizations only focus on business intelligence, this limits their view of the outside world. And, never really knowing what reality looks like.

    Businesses need to breakthrough this captivity – and soon. According to a Fortune Knowledge Group recent study done in collaboration with the agency gyro:, surveying 720 U.S.-based senior executives, nearly 65% of executives today rely on subjective human insights oriented values for decision-making today. Meaning less and less on business intelligence and analytics. Also, meaning more reliance on intuition, emotions, company culture, goals, reputation, and situational fit.  Suggesting business decision-making is becoming extremely personal.  Below is an interesting infographic summarizing the study:

     

    only-human_0

    In the past dozen years, since originating buyer persona development, I have conducted well over a 1,000 buyer interviews. What I have witnessed is the reliance on subjective factors and emotions trending upwards. Recent studies by Google and the CEB also validate this emerging reliance on emotional factors for decision-making. Thus, if you are guided by misinformed assumptions related to buyer personas being based on business intelligence, you are being misguided away from the factors your customers and buyers are truly basing their decisions on.

    Listening And Connecting To The Outside World

    For marketing to be able to connect with the outside world of customers and buyers today, they must be guided by human insights. Guided by understanding the human story behind business problems as opposed to total dependency on fact-based business intelligence.

    While business intelligence related to knowledge of strategic initiatives, buying criteria, risks, and performance success factors help drive sales effectiveness, human insights paves the way for a deep connection to the human story of customers – allowing for marketing effectiveness.

    How do organizations build into their DNA and way of thinking, the human abilities of listening and empathy? This is an important question for after years and years of engaging in business speak and business assumptions, organizations’ views of customers have become dehumanized.

    One company and executive leading the way in answering this question is Marc Mathieu, Global SVP of Marketing for Unilever. In this interview, he discusses the importance of listening, empathy, and understanding the human story:

    Basic Human-Centered Principles

    For marketing to practice listening and empathy, there are three basic human-centered principles to keep in mind:

    Focus on human insights. While sales-centric intelligence and business insights are important, companies cannot lose sight of the growing importance of gaining human-centered insights. This is especially true when you consider the growing trend of 65% or more of executives relying on subjective human factors in making critical decisions.  If your research and buyer personas are not accounting for human factors and insights, then they are not providing you with the human-centered understanding needed for buyer personas to be effective.

    Understand immersion. Business today must not only look at the outside world of customers, they must become immersed in this world. The status quo based on assumptions mentioned above prevents many organizations from opening up avenues for immersive experiences.  Immersion calls for new means of research and understanding the use of customer ethnography.

    Develop human-centered approach.   Many companies are still stuck in a business-centric mode of operating. Lacking real connection to the world of their customers. Some have made leaps to a buyer-centric mode of thinking. A buyer-centric only approach can still fall far short of having a human-centered approach to understanding the human story of buyers.  Buyer personas, since their origins, have been based on human-centered innovation principles – and can be effective at communicating the human story of customers and buyers.

    The Human Story

    We are undergoing profound changes in the purposes of marketing. To succeed in the future, marketing will not only need to understand the human experience but also must be able to add value to the human experience. To do so, new skills sets in marketing will undoubtedly include capabilities to understand the human story of customers. And more importantly, to know how to add as well as contribute value to the human story of customers.

    Are you evolving to be a human-centered marketer?

    Photo Credit: Human Centered Marketing/shutterstock

    Should you tweet, like, snap, or comment? This infographic breaks down the most popular social networks into digestible snippets, describing how they can be utilized, as well as highlighting their pros and cons. Learn how to best leverage each platform & start socializing!

    With all of the social media outlets available today, it can be overwhelming to decide which one to focus on. Should you tweet, like, snap, or comment? This infographic, Social Media Cheat Sheet (For Users) breaks down the most popular social networks into digestible snippets, describing how they can be utilized, as well as highlighting their pros and cons. Learn how to best leverage each platform & start socializing! 

     
    Likeable_Blog_Infographic

     

    Did we miss anything? Add your own pros and cons for each network below!

    Content marketing is on everybody’s radar, right? Well, if it isn’t, it should be–if you are interested in internet marketing at all.

    Content marketing is on everybody’s radar, right? Well, if it isn’t, it should be–if you are interested in internet marketing at all. Content is what makes your site unique and differentiates your message from all the rest of the messages everybody gets hit with, so it’s important to pay attention to what you are saying to the world. It’s kind of ironic that “content marketing” is a trend because, in reality, the point of marketing has always been what you are saying to the world and how they are perceiving your message.

     

    Who, What & How

    Who is your audience, and who is your spokesperson? Probably the most important thing about marketing is knowing who your audience is. If you haven’t worked on developing buyer personas or some other way of knowing your customer, how will you know how to reach them? And your spokesperson is the persona or voice your site and all communications have. If your business doesn’t have a consistent “voice,” you are missing out on a great way to communicate and connect with people. What is your voice? It’s how you say the message, the words you use, the tone…all the things that make it sound like a person wrote this instead of a robot.

    What is your message? Is it relevant right now? Can they hear this message from anybody else? Can they hear it expressed as clearly and helpfully somewhere else? There’s a lot of noise out there, and many marketers are saying the same things. If you say what they want to know in a way that connects and it’s easy to access, yours will be the content and message they choose.

    How are you going to make this content and message accessible? There are two sides to good content marketing. The creativity that develops all the content and the various messages is usually not the same person who is great at analyzing the data. I think a content team is one of the best ways to do content marketing, because together you create a much better message than one individual can possibly accomplish on his or her own.

    Photo Credit: Content Marketing/shutterstock

    Cloud computing is here to stay and its growth is being driven by several trends at the moment. Mobile devices that use apps to access data on public and private networks are in use worldwide.

    Cloud computing is here to stay and its growth is being driven by several trends at the moment. Mobile devices that use apps to access data on public and private networks are in use worldwide. The apps are the front end used to access data and functionality in the cloud. Cloud computing helps information to flow more freely and easily. Pricing will become more of a factor in decisions as more companies’ ramp up their offerings. Social media networks all use the cloud. The popularity of Facebook, Twitter and the rest is undeniable. Social features are in demand and undoubtedly will come to the cloud.

    The proliferation and ubiquity of mobile devices is driving usage of cloud computing like never before. Smart phones and tablets are everywhere and their apps most often leverage the cloud. Phablets, a mobile device with the capabilities of a phone and a larger screen like a tablet, are projected to lead the next stage of mobile growth.

    The number of third-party apps for top cloud platforms will grow and flourish. Each new application deployment will add to the net total value of the cloud to its users. Just like the operating systems and browser wars of the past, the cloud computing platforms with the most useful and popular third-party apps will win in the end. Cloud software companies such as NetSuite will flourish thanks to this.

    Cloud computing reduces friction. Friction points slow companies down. The cloud removes them. Automated transactions, real time supply chain updates and communications between employees and customers are all examples of ways the cloud can speed things up.

    The new front in the cloud computing battle will be price. Amazon has enjoyed a long period of prosperity with their cloud services. As Microsoft and Google both get serious, they are sure to chip away at their dominance through very aggressive pricing.

    A major cloud computing trend is cloud storage. Dropbox and its competitors can represent some of the highest network usage at any given time on corporate networks today. Hand in hand with improvements in cloud security, storage in the cloud is commonplace. The ease of accessing your data anywhere, at any time, from any device just makes sense.

    Social media features of the cloud are on the rise. Communication via cloud apps instead of just using email is being demanded by many accustomed to the always on, instantaneousness of social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Social media channels can be monitored and made more manageable through the use of dashboards. Data can be collected and filtered in real time so insights may be gained from customer feedback via social channels. Customer service reps can then communicate with customers faster and more easily.

    Cloud computing is a truly global phenomenon already and this will ensure its usefulness. Application deployment to the cloud will become the norm. Application developers will likely rule even more than they already do in the tech and business worlds. The cloud will speed up business and pricing will be competitive among providers. Mobile device usage, cloud storage and cloud social will likely lead the way.