Tag Archives: bitcoin

Simple Tricks To Master Content Marketing

Simple Tricks To Master
Content Marketing

For business owners, established content marketers

and new-to-marketing marketers, it is always important to update, improve and beef up your content marketing plan. After all, content is one of the most effective tools in a marketer’s bag. Content is a great way to educate the marketplace and identify those who are most interested in your product. By speaking to those who have shown interest, you convert them into customers and sustain that brand-to-customer relationship, creating loyalty and encouraging user-generated content. Outlined below are four key steps to produce content that feeds your marketing machine, speaks to your audience and, in turn, adds value to your bottom line.

Inform your content.

We’re all familiar with how the sales funnel works: the process of learning about a company, gaining understanding, purchasing and becoming a repeat customer. Within the sales funnel, different audiences require different content at each step, whether it is focused on building interest, solving problems or creating relationships. To focus your efforts, this funnel can be organized into three general categories.

• Awareness:

Those at the top of the funnel need basic information about a problem, solution and industry. They should be encouraged to share information like their name, email and phone number so you can continue the conversation with them. This content should create curiosity that encourages the customer to engage with your brand.

• Conversion:

As customers enter this stage, they have shown interest in your product and shared information or hit certain benchmarks for engagement: clicks, website visits and form submissions. Now it is time to introduce them to the unique benefits of your product and get them to a point of decision making. “Should I buy brand X or brand Y?” is the question customers in this stage ask and your digital and print content should address it.

• Creating relationships:

Customers who reach the bottom of the funnel are proof that you are doing content marketing right. Now it’s time to take those customers and inspire them to become advocates for your brand or product by submitting a quote or review, participating in a case study, being a customer reference and more. There is so much you can do to take the business of one happy customer and use it to create more customers.

Choose the best content types.

Not all types of content are equal. Some, like video, can be suited to virtually any stage of the sales funnel, but others lend themselves to specific levels of engagement. Evaluating the best type of content for a message is the next step in producing something that will reach the right customer at the right time. Building awareness at the top of the funnel? I focus my efforts on blog posts, infographics and two trendy 2018 content types: helpful and informative videos and long-form content. Engaging long-form pieces can provide a significant lift to your SEO marketing efforts and informational depth to benefit potential customers.

Lower in the funnel, demonstrate how your specific product can help potential customers. Content like e-books, product videos, white papers, webinars and side-by-side comparisons are great ways to get the customer to make a favorable decision when asking “should I buy brand X or brand Y?” Customer advocacy content stems from continuing the conversation with the customer after their point of purchase. Most often, we turn to email marketing with calls to action for reviews, check in via email and phone to gauge their willingness to be an advocate and, overall, aim to let them know how much we appreciate their business and genuinely take into mind their thoughts about the product.

Find the right distribution channels.

Effective content comes in all shapes and sizes — quite literally. From a 280-character tweet to a massive freeway billboard, there are many ways to reach customers. Utilizing the best distribution opportunity is key to finding the most customers with informed content.

Billboards and digital ads, for example, may be good for building awareness, but they do virtually nothing for creating relationships. Your blog and social media channels are ideal locations for top-of-funnel content. Partner with other websites and blogs for top- and mid-funnel content and include links that draw customers to your blog or website. Your own website is a great place for mid- and lower-funnel content, which boosts SEO and is conveniently located for customers who are taking a look at your products. Email marketing is also perfect for focusing on the mid- and lower-funnel by creating messages and segmenting campaigns to speak to specific topics and needs. The theme I always share is that as a marketer you not only need to create great content but you also need to be sure it gets in front of the right eyes. Selecting the best possible channels will help your content shine.

Check your metrics.

The final piece of the puzzle is to keep close tabs on how your content pieces are performing. This information provides a clear understanding of leads generated, engagement and conversion, which not only benefits the bottom line but also helps internally promote the value of your marketing efforts. Applied properly, metrics provide a solid roadmap for creating more effective content. By utilizing readership and customer feedback, marketing teams can optimize their content to perform better for the brand. In closing, here’s one bonus suggestion: If you’re not doing it, jump right in and start. Developing informed content, finding the right type and channel for distribution and keeping a close eye on metrics will result in great content that can be repurposed into a limitless number of new content pieces. The best way to have a strong 2018 is by starting early, and now is a great time to get going.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Reasons Why 2018 could be the best year yet for cryptocurrencies

Reasons Why 2018 could be the best year yet for cryptocurrencies

  • Hosp has explained before why a potential cryptocurrency bubble could burst in 2018, but there are several factors that make him see upside potential in the space.
  • For bitcoin, the most important cryptocurrency by his estimation, he sees a 150 percent potential upside for 2018.
  • Taking into account several factors, the cryptocurrency market's upside potential could rise to up to seven or eight times present levels, he says.
Ethereum and Bitcoin

It is explained why a potential cryptocurrency bubble

could burst in 2018. Many people asked me afterward: If I'm so skeptical about the space, why am I invested in it? Let me clarify. I'm someone who always calculates the potential upsides and downsides, and I think many people take unnecessary risks: They either invest too much or too little because they don't do proper analysis. So I want to highlight five reasons why 2018 might be the best ever year for cryptocurrencies and why I'm heavily invested in them.

The work on scaling issues

Bitcoin (BTC) is the most important cryptocurrency. Most government-backed money that goes in and out of crypto goes through bitcoin, so what happens to the original cryptocurrency affects the entire market. The token's market dominance stood at about 40 percent as of Wednesday. By my estimates, however, it's clear bitcoin's market dominance should return to 75 percent of the entire space. I actually see a 150 percent potential upside in bitcoin for 2018.

Why? Well, BTC is still dominant. It has the biggest user base and the biggest industry. Still, it faces a challenge in scaling up for wider use. Bitcoin now can't handle more than six or seven (or, with the "Segregated Witness" protocol upgrade, it's 12 to 14) transactions a second. Compare that with credit cards, which involve thousands of transactions per second, so the criticism about bitcoin's ability to be useful at larger scales is understandable.

The scalability challenge results in high fees as well.

What is the solution? It is the so-called second-layer peer-to-peer off-chain networks. To cite an example, look at the Lightning Network. Created by Blockstream, the Lightning Network allows for transactions off the blockchain, thereby decreasing the transaction costs almost to zero and increasing the speed and scalability almost infinitely. And it's just getting started. As you can see from this map, more and more nodes as well as channels are being established. It is growing exponentially. In the coming months, we will see a sharp uptick in transactions and the use of more bitcoin in these channels. What's more, the Lightning Network doesn't have any fee. In other words, second-layer networks solve the problems bitcoin faces — scalability and lack of liquidity. That could be a key reason why bitcoin surges this year.

At the end of 2017, I foresaw that bitcoin would drop as low as $5,000 — but it could potentially climb to as high as $60,000. Lightning Network will have a big impact on the potential upside. There are also other second-layer projects like Rootstock that would allow computations similar to those of ethereum (a blockchain-based computing platform that supports another cryptocurrency named ether) to be done through bitcoin. Exciting projects such as those could cause a significant spike in BTC. I would dare say in the realm of 60 to 70 percent with the potential upside of 100 percent — and maybe even more.

Large scale and more legitimate ICOs

Like last year, initial coin offerings (ICOs) will impact the ethereum network because ICOs usually require plenty of ether. That will buttress the demand for the platform's digital coin. More legitimate ICOs will lead to greater interest in ether as we are already seeing with the billion-dollar ICO of messaging app provider Telegram and that of Kodak. That means we could see a rise in the market cap of ethereum to $200 billion by the end of the year from less than $90 billion on Wednesday. The cryptocurrency's price could possibly double to $2,000. Though other platforms could see similar gains, I believe ethereum will be the main focus.

Regulation

Many believe regulations hurt markets, but that is a short-sighted perspective. In the long run, companies require rules for the sake of legal stability and certainty. Regulation gives users and institutional clients the confidence to invest. We saw something similar when Japan started regulating bitcoin. The market dropped initially, but it rose eventually. Ditto in Australia. Other countries could follow the same rule book — I think we are going to see something like that with South Korea and probably many others — but the market's fate will be no different than after what played out in Japan and Australia.

A lot of execution and usability

There are several start-ups like my own that offer debit cards to help people spend their cryptocurrency holdings. That means the number of users and merchants is set to increase sharply in 2018. This would burnish the reputation of cryptocurrencies, with more and more companies trusting them. The firms that execute well this year will stand out and create a survivorship bias — where a few companies thrive and others fail, but people focus on the winners and ignore the losers. Most start-ups bomb, but the spectacular successes of companies such as Facebook and Airbnb help mask those failures. Likewise, the success stories of a few entities in the cryptocurrency space will overshadow the negative news of several going bankrupt.

Institutional investors

The last reason why 2018 will be a stellar year for cryptocurrencies is that this will be the first year of solid institutional money flowing into the ecosystem. It is estimated that $10 billion to $12 billion has so far flown into the crypto ecosystem, but that's nothing compared to what institutional funds could invest. Since those first funds propped up the market to around $500 billion, the next $10 billion to $12 billion, which is peanuts for some funds, could double the market cap this year.

Summing up

To sum up, the likelihood of all five factors happening is not 100 percent. But I still see a probability of 70 to 75 percent. And each one of them might grow the market's overall size 50 to 100 percent — maybe even 200 percent. If you combine those factors, the market's upside potential could rise to up to seven or eight times the present levels. While this might not be as much of a multiple as what we saw in 2017, it is much higher in absolute terms. That could make 2018 the most successful year in crypto ever. Additionally, the growth might not be based so much on hype or hope as it would be on solid foundations. That being said, the reader should not see this piece as investment advice, and should definitely read my discussion of potential risks. When you dismiss real risks as fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD), you could be blindsided.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Georgia Becomes Latest State to Consider Bitcoin for Tax Payments

Georgia Becomes Latest State to Consider Bitcoin for Tax Payments

Two state senators in Georgia have proposed a bill

that would allow citizens to pay their tax obligations in bitcoin, marking the second legislative effort of its kind to emerge this year. Public records show that the measure submitted on Feb. 21 by senators Michael Williams and Joshua McKoon would, if passed, tweak the rules governing the state's Department of Revenue, letting it accept both bitcoin and other as-yet-to-be-defined cryptocurrencies.

"The commissioner shall accept as valid payment for taxes and license fees any cryptocurrency, including but not limited to bitcoin, that uses an electronic peer-to-peer system," the bill states. The proposed law largely tracks with another bill that is currently moving through the Arizona legislature. That measure, filed in January, has thus far attracted support by lawmakers in the state, setting up the possibility that Arizona could become the first U.S. state to accept bitcoin for tax payments. Like Arizona's bill, the one submitted in Georgia also mandates that tax officials convert those payments into U.S. dollars within a day of receiving them.

"The commissioner shall convert payments made in cryptocurrency to United States dollars at the prevailing rate within 24 hours of his or her receipt of such a payment and shall credit the payor's account with such converted dollar amount," it explains. Despite the encouraging signs out of Arizona, there's no guarantee that the measure in Georgia will succeed given past opposition to such proposals in other states. As CoinDesk previously reported, a New Hampshire lawmaker advanced a bill that would allow cryptocurrency payments, but the state's House of Representatives ultimately shot it down in a January 2016 vote.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Reasons Project-Based Marketing Won’t Help Your Company Reach Its Full Potential

Reasons Project-Based Marketing Won't Help Your Company Reach Its Full Potential

If You’re looking to grow your business

you may consider hiring an agency. Whether you need a new website, want to rank higher in Google or need content to guide your users through the sales funnel, you'll be faced with the question: Do I hire a project-based agency or an agency on retainer? It's easy to settle for a quick fix for your marketing efforts. Need a new website? Hire someone to create it. Need higher SEO rankings? Hire an agency to build links and directory entries. Need to revamp your branding? Hire a graphic design studio. But every time you hire a new agency, you're playing the guessing game of whether or not they'll understand your business's culture needs. There's a lot of information to cover in a few short meetings.

Project-Based Agency:

An agency you hire for one specific project, covering a fairly short period of time.

Agency On Retainer:

An agency you pay monthly to continuously work on your marketing strategy. Contracts are typically six months or longer. As an agency owner that’s handled both project-based and client retainers, I’ve coined the term "abandonment marketing." Abandonment marketing is when an agency only solves one of your marketing problems and doesn’t look at your overall marketing strategy, then leaves you hanging in the wind. If you’re looking for a growth strategy that considers your business as a whole and its improvement over time, you may want to consider going on retainer for an agency. Your marketing strategy should continuously push your business to reach its full potential.

Here are reasons project-based marketing will never help your company reach its full potential.

The agency doesn’t understand your branding and marketing needs.

Agencies on retainer will work with you for years. There’s no need to brief them every time you update your marketing strategy or start a new project. They understand your buyer personas, industry, competitors, problems you’ve had in the past, your brand's voice and more. Every time you hire a new agency for a project, you have to play catchup and hope you don’t forget anything, which often results in them missing the mark.

The agency doesn’t meet the needs of your company as a whole.

Sometimes what you think you need isn’t what you really need. If you’re working with an agency on retainer, they become your marketing strategist and consultant. They advise you on making smart marketing decisions that help your business where it needs it most. For example, you may be ready to start video marketing. But if you don’t have a social media presence, you may need to focus on that first. An agency you hire for a video project won’t tell you that, though. They often won't review any parts of your business except for your videos.

 

The agency doesn’t make continuous improvements to your marketing strategy or keep up with industry trends.

This is probably the biggest problem with project-based agencies. You only get them for a few months maximum. And although your website may be up-to-date now, what about in a few years? You have to hire an agency again to make changes, which can get pretty expensive. If you have an agency on retainer, they'll continuously analyze marketing trends and make tailored improvements to your strategy. This not only saves you money but ensures your company remains relevant (not just when you have the time and money to start a new project).

The agency doesn’t create a healthy marketing lifestyle, just a quick fix.

Want your marketing efforts to produce long-term results? A project runs the risk of a short-term fix with the potential to require more work in the long run. Think of it like dieting. You see all the advertisements boasting that this new pill will help you lose 20 pounds. That may be true, but you haven’t solved the root of the problem. UCLA found that dieters will lose 5% to 10% of their starting weight and one- to two-thirds of people will gain it right back, plus some. Nutritionists recommend skipping quick fixes and working on creating a healthy lifestyle instead.  If you want lasting marketing results, you need a healthy marketing lifestyle, not a quick fix.

The agency’s strategy doesn’t allow for experimentation and optimization.

Every business is unique and has different needs. If you're working with a project agency and aren't getting the results you want, they have no obligation to stick around and help you improve your strategy. Agencies on retainer will continuously optimize your marketing strategies with A/B testing and experimentation. What works for other businesses may not work for yours. So, it’s important to monitor your ROI and create a marketing strategy that perfectly fits your business’s needs. Agencies should be prepared to partner with you for life — not a quick fix, but a long-term growth strategist.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Could Blockchain Booking System See Hotel Prices Tumble?

Could Blockchain Booking System See Hotel Prices Tumble?

Could Blockchain Booking System See Hotel Prices Tumble?

An upcoming Blockchain-based travel bookings platform

is hoping to offer a win-win for holidaymakers and hoteliers. Concierge.io claims its NEO-based system would eradicate commission fees for vendors, while also allowing them to interact directly with customers.

Hotels versus hotel booking websites

The company’s goal of cutting out middlemen comes amid an intensifying battle between hotels and third-party booking websites. Reuters recently reported that accommodation providers are aggressively offering incentives to guests who don’t go through intermediaries. This fight has been rumbling on for years. In 2015, one disgruntled hotelier told the Daily Mail that a booking website had “taken over his business”- with commission rates for big players such as Booking.com and Late Rooms ranging between 15 and 25 percent. Others, such as Airbnb, charge fees to both vendors and guests. According to Concierge.io, these fees are being passed on to customers “more often than not” and eliminating them altogether would bring the cost of a hotel stay down considerably.

Earning customer trust

The new platform is planning to make Blockchain accessible to the public by accepting traditional payment methods such as debit and credit cards, as well as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, NEO and Litecoin in the future. Despite fiat payments attracting transaction fees from merchants, the start-up’s executives have written in their white paper non-crypto users will “still see considerable benefits in comparison to using already established platforms.”

These benefits could extend beyond the bank balance. Concierge.io argues its system will offer safety through an AI-based dispute system, meaning any discrepancies in booking or issues with poor customer service can be resolved without leaving the marketplace. The company’s goal of transparency could also prove advantageous for vendors and customers alike – especially when it comes down to the perennial issue of reviews.

At present, hard-working businesses can see demand diminish because of malicious and untruthful reviews, while the public has a tough time distinguishing between fake and real testimonials. In December, a Vice journalist exposed flaws in TripAdvisor’s system by using fabricated reviews to transform a fictitious restaurant into London’s top-rated eatery on the booking website. Concierge.io’s thinking is that Blockchain brings “transparency and honesty to the review system,” meaning vendors cannot pay for manipulated feedback and only genuine customers can leave remarks.

Anticipating growth

The platform says its app will target millennials aged 18 to 35, while its complementary web offering is aiming to reach over 35s. Hotels and resorts are not the only vendors Concierge.io is trying to reach, as trip and tour operators are also accommodated on its system. System reliability is always a concern for vendors, with the platform opting to use the NEO Blockchain instead of Ethereum because of its scalability. The team behind Concierge.io says NEO has a proven track record of handling 1,000 transactions per second (TPS), with the prospect of 10,000 TPS in the future enabling it to “compete for a strong market position.”

The second and third quarters of 2018 will see Concierge.io’s beta application and web platform released, with promotions designed to develop partnerships with major hotels and resorts. An initial launch in Australia and southeast Asia is planned for the end of the year, with expansion into Europe and the Americas expected in 2019. As for the future, taxi bookings and car rentals could become available through the system if the market demands it. All eyes now are on the sale of CGE tokens. The platform says a whitelist sale of 10 mln tokens sold out within three hours, while a pre-sale offer for a further 10 mln was snapped up within four-and-a-half hours. The main sale for the remaining 45 mln is penciled in for March 31.

As Concierge.io gears up for launch, international consultancy firm Deloitte is predicting Blockchain could leave travel companies with no choice but to alter their business models. It said: “The tech behind cryptocurrency is becoming more than a buzzword in travel.”

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Blockchain Platform Makes its 3D Objects Creating Software Open to Everyone

Blockchain Platform Makes its 3D Objects Creating Software Open to Everyone

The Cappasity project,

founded by a team of 3D technology experts in 2013, is going to launch a Blockchain-based platform for creators and buyers of 3D content. The project has already raised $4.9 mln from its investors in total. Today Cappasity is cooperating with Intel and Nvidia and has launched their platform in China with the help of Alibaba to provide 3D product imaging solutions for around 750 mln users.

A brave new world of 3D model exchange

Although the idea of putting augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) startups on the Blockchain platform is not surprising for the crypto community, the question of monetization of AR and VR tools, apps and platforms is still the most intriguing one. The Cappasity team suggests a business model of a 3D objects marketplace that reveals some interesting findings. Firstly, a user may create a 3D model of a real object with Cappasity’s 3D scanning system, (which is already represented on the company’s website). Earlier, the project launched its free 3D digitizing software Easy 3D Scan, which allows users to create 3D models and works with any camera.

Secondly, users will be able to sell or lease the 3D object to other members of the platform, creating a virtual economy ecosystem. According to the project’s business model, a content creator will get up to 85-95 percent from every deal that he or she makes on the Cappasity platform. ​The​ ​rest​ ​will be​ ​held​ ​by​ ​the​ ​platform​ ​as​ ​a​ ​fee​.

“3D technologies enable businesses to tangibly increase sales. Considering the luxury segment, when retailers implement a 3D demonstration of goods on their websites, it raises revenues by 30 or even 40 percent,” said Kosta Popov, Founder and CEO of Cappasity, in an interview to Coinspeaker. According to Popov, this phenomenon happens because online customers receive more information about goods and therefore it becomes easier for them to make purchasing decisions. For example, 3D pictures can show additional information such as the quality of materials.

The future is coming!

According to a report by Goldman Sachs, the software AR/VR market will achieve $35 bln in revenue by 2025 with 60 percent of VR/AR software revenue driven by the consumer. However, it is not even necessary to wait for 2025 to realize that 3D solutions are impacting the world right now. In November 2017, Cappasity announced its collaboration with NVIDIA. The startup has started working on the special version of Easy 3D Scan(R) software that will rely on NVIDIA’s toolkit, leveraging its latest graphic cards.

Cappasity has successfully raised $2.4 mln from angel investors since 2014 and launched its platform and 3D digitizing software in 2017. In the first phase, the company sold 295 mln Cappasity Tokens (CAPP), raising over $2.5 mln in capital from the sale of the cryptocurrency. On Feb. 22, 2018, the project starts its second phase of crowdsale. The token sale hard cap is $20 mln: $10 mln allocated for private token sale and $10 mln for token sale. Cappasity is also planning to perform an airdrop.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

How To Approach New AI-Based Marketing Technologies: Questions To Ask

How To Approach New AI-Based Marketing Technologies:
Questions To Ask

The new Amazon.com Inc. Echo Spot,

from left, Echo, Echo Plus, and Fire TV devices sit on display during the company's product reveal launch event in downtown Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. Amazon unveiled a smaller, cheaper version of its popular Alexa-powered Echo speaker that the e-commerce giant said has better sound. Photographer: Daniel Berman/Bloomberg.Voice is the new OS! AI is going to transform everything in business, including marketing! Customer experiences will never be the same thanks to augmented reality! Data is the new oil!

I'm sure you've heard statements like these recently, and probably at an accelerating pace. The business world, including marketing, has become obsessed with all manner of new technologies, most of which have some basis in artificial intelligence. This obsession is, I believe, a healthy one–provided the marketer's intrigue is handled in an appropriate, systematic and value-focused manner. If not, Shiny New Toy Syndrome (SNTS) is going to play out and result in a high potential for wasted time and money. How do marketers, then, approach new AI-based marketing technologies and avoid succumbing to the so-called SNTS?

Over the last year I've been thinking about this a lot because it is a really important aspect of a company's approach to today's (and tomorrow's!) tech-focused marketing landscape. I've talked to CMOs and CDOs from leading companies as part of the Oxford Future of Marketing Initiative, listened to and worked with participants (all senior executives) on the Oxford Strategic Marketing Program, an immersive week-long focus on all things new in marketing, and studied companies' successes and failures with implementing new marketing-related technologies. I've come to the conclusion that a systematic, well-thought-through approach is absolutely essential. This is all the more important when senior marketing leaders are finding themselves being asked by their CEOs, and in some cases their customers, to put new tech before anything else by doing things like developing an AR or VR app, launching an Alexa skill, or even building voice assistants such as Alexa or Google Home directly into their products.

The systematic approach I now advise leaders to adopt has six lines of questioning.

Will this marketing technology project be relevant to one or more of our existing customer segments?

Simple as it might sound, this is often forgotten. If what you're thinking of doing has nothing to do with anyone in your existing customer base, then there's no point in going ahead with it (for now, at least). Consider relevance first and foremost. But also keep in mind that there might be a valuable signal from doing something "techie" as it could suggest to your customers (and competitors, investors, board, C-suite) that your organization is tech savvy.

What are the benefits to our customers? What are the associated costs and risks?

I've written before here on Forbes.com about remembering that our fundamental responsibility as marketers is to create value for customers. This is the pathway to sustainable, long-term business growth, in my opinion. So it makes sense to see any new tech project through the customer value lens. For example, does introducing an AR app for trying different hair styles and colors, as the world's largest beauty company, L'Oréal, recently did, deliver more value to their customers? If it changes the core customer experience for the better, then great. If it adds a new touchpoint or set of touchpoints that customers will deem relevant and appreciate, fantastic. But if it is just tech for the sake of it without any direct connection to improving things from the customer perspective, then think twice about it.

Would testing or experimenting with this new tech teach us anything that could be useful later on? Is this worth investing in now (vs. waiting)?

Imagine what you're going to get before you jump in. For example, what new data streams will created and how might they better inform people inside your organization about meaningful things? Will this teach your people new things, or give them the motivation and opportunity to learn new things that are going to be useful? Think through these aspects, as it is often the case that a new tech project is going to be valuable internally from largely a learning standpoint. And then it is also worth deciding if now is the right time. Maybe waiting a bit (e.g., while new tech platforms' bugs are ironed out) isn't necessarily a bad thing. And perhaps you can learn vicariously by watching other companies jump in first–as long as it doesn't give them a major new competitive advantage over you, of course.

Do we have the internal capability or sufficient external partner/supplier networks do pull this off?

Seems straightforward to ask, but it is worth thinking about at this stage instead of deciding to go ahead and then figuring out how to implement. Ideally there will be some internal capability in place, but invariably external partners will be needed for particularly new things. The external route can be smart, as they have transferable expertise and learnings, and they in some sense can take on some of the risk.

How do we determine success or failure?

Also straightforward but often an afterthought when the SNTS is driving new tech project investments in marketing. Figure out what success (and, conversely, failure) looks like and set some KPIs–just like for any other strategic investment. Despite the uncertainty of something new, you can figure out some reasonable and meaningful KPIs. They probably won't be related to sales conversions, though. They should be connected to things like development of internal capabilities, learning outcomes, customer usage and engagement.

What do we do after the initial test project phase?

Finally, you need to give some thought to what comes next. If this thing succeeded, do you scale it up and invest more? Or do you remain a bit more cautious? What if it failed? Do you cut your losses or do you try to learn quickly (i.e., fail fast and learn) and move forward? It makes sense to think ahead about such things, even if it is impossible at the strategic planning phase to imagine all possible outcome scenarios.

Marketing leaders must be in the driver's seat when it comes to considering new tech projects in their organizations. Putting humans–customers, predominantly–first and technology second can be hard when there's increasing pressures from inside and outside the organization to do new things with tech. And new tech is cool and exciting! But to avoid distractions and to ensure that some value is being created, a careful systematic approach is useful. These six lines of questioning should be helpful to the marketing leader who is embracing tech in a thoughtful manner.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency raised $735 million in one day, president claims

Venezuela's oil-backed cryptocurrency raised $735 million in one day,
president claims

  • Nicolas Maduro said on Twitter that Venezuela's petro token raised more than 4.777 billion Chinese yuan, or $735 million.
  • Each unit of the petro is pegged to the price of one barrel of Venezuelan oil, according to Caracas.
  • A number of skeptics have raised concern about the country's cryptocurrency ambitions.

Venezuela's oil-backed "petro" cryptocurrency

raised $735 million in the first day of its pre-sale Wednesday, President Nicolas Maduro has claimed. The Venezuelan president said on Twitter that the petro token raised more than 4.777 billion Chinese yuan, or $735 million, and that the state-backed virtual currency "reaffirms our economic sovereignty."

Caracas said that each unit of the petro is pegged to the price of one barrel of Venezuelan oil. The country's cryptocurrency regulator has said it hopes the petro will draw investment from Qatar, Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries, as well as from European nations and the U.S. But a number of skeptics have raised concern about the country's cryptocurrency ambitions, with some citing Venezuela's debt problems and the possibility of asset manipulation as cause for doubt.

Venezuela is currently facing hyperinflation, the collapse of its currency, the bolivar, and shortages in food and other basic necessities due to price controls. Maduro has said that the petro will serve as a means for Venezuela to circumvent Western sanctions. Both the European Union and the United States have imposed economic sanctions on Caracas over their opposition to its autocratic government.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Hackers hijack Tesla’s cloud system to mine cryptocurrency

Hackers hijack Tesla’s cloud system to mine cryptocurrency

  • Tesla's Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud account was compromised by hackers and used for cryptocurrency mining, RedLock said.
  • Other major firms, including Aviva and Gemalto, were affected by similar problems.
  • This incident marks another case of what is known in the cryptocurrency world as "cryptojacking."
  • Tesla said that it did not see any initial impact on customer data protection or the safety and security of its vehicles.
Juicing up the P100D on a trip to Detroit

Tesla's cloud system was hijacked by hackers

who used it to mine cryptocurrency, according to researchers. Hackers were able to infiltrate the automaker's Kubernetes administration console because it was not password protected, cybersecurity firm RedLock said Tuesday. Kubernetes is a Google-designed system aimed at optimizing cloud applications.

This left access credentials for Tesla's Amazon Web Services (AWS) account exposed, and hackers deployed cryptocurrency mining software called Stratum to mine cryptocurrency using the cloud's computing power. Cryptocurrency mining is a process whereby so-called miners solve complex mathematical problems to validate a transaction and add it to the underlying network. RedLock did not specify which cryptocurrency was mined in the cyber breach.

Other major firms, including British insurer Aviva and Dutch SIM-maker Gemalto, were affected by similar problems, RedLock said. But the incident affecting Tesla's cloud system was more sophisticated, and used a number of different strategies to hide the hackers from being detected. RedLock said that it notified Tesla of the cyber exposure and that it was swiftly rectified. Tesla said that it did not see any initial impact on customer data protection or the safety and security of its vehicles.

"We maintain a bug bounty program to encourage this type of research, and we addressed this vulnerability within hours of learning about it," a spokesperson for Tesla said in an emailed statement. "The impact seems to be limited to internally-used engineering test cars only, and our initial investigation found no indication that customer privacy or vehicle safety or security was compromised in any way." RedLock CTO Gaurav Kumar said businesses should monitor suspicious cyber activities to avoid being compromised. "The message from this research is loud and clear — the unmistakable potential of cloud environments is seriously compromised by sophisticated hackers identifying easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities," Kumar said in a statement Tuesday.

"In our analysis, cloud service providers such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google are trying to do their part, and none of the major breaches in 2017 was caused by their negligence." He added: "However, security is a shared responsibility. Organizations of every stripe are fundamentally obliged to monitor their infrastructures for risky configurations, anomalous user activities, suspicious network traffic, and host vulnerabilities. Without that, anything the providers do will never be enough."

What is 'cryptojacking'?

This incident marks another case of what is known in the cryptocurrency world as "cryptojacking." Cryptojacking is a process whereby hackers deploy software that exploits a computer's CPU (central processing unit) to mine cryptocurrency. Earlier this month, it was revealed that hackers had deployed an altered version of the popular plugin Browsealoud to a number of government websites in the U.K., the U.S. and Australia. This version of Browsealoud infected the government websites with Coinhive code, which is used to generate units of privacy-focused cryptocurrency monero. U.S. online news outlet Salon is even asking visitors to its site who use ad blocking plugins if it can use their computing power to mine monero instead.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

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Convincing Executives To Buy Into Content Marketing Is All About Demonstrating Value

Convincing Executives To Buy Into Content Marketing Is All About Demonstrating Value


Julia McCoy earned her place as a top-30 worldwide content marketer
two years ago. She's the author of two bestsellers on the topic, the creator of an online course and the founder of a content agency – Express Writers.Today, her agency is about to hit $1M in yearly income for the first time. McCoy’s position in the industry means she talks to hundreds of clients, peers, and content marketers on a regular basis online. One problem she sees over and over: the issue of executive buy-in for content marketing. Executives will drop $7,000 in a week on Facebook ads but still fail to see why they should pay $1,000 for content marketing. Why is that?

McCoy recently sat down to take a look at industry benchmarks, comparing them with her own success with content marketing. Her goal was to create a formula that any agency or in-house member can take to their boss to predict the return on investment for content marketing. McCoy has seen firsthand the success of using organic content marketing. Her agency is 99% fueled by this strategy (comprising new client leads and 99% of sales to date) and she's hit over $4 million in total sales, across seven years. Here's the formula and underlying benchmarks McCoy outlined, ready to take to any boss to convince them of the ROI of content marketing.

The Content Marketing Trifecta 

McCoy calls the formula for figuring out the ROI of content the “content marketing trifecta.”This is because, at its core, content marketing is about driving targeted traffic to a website, converting that traffic into high-quality leads (targeted, “ideal” clients ready to buy) and converting those leads into sales.

In short, this trio of conversions boils down to:

  • Earned traffic = high quality leads = sales

To figure out the ROI from these conversions, McCoy determined a few benchmark numbers to use.

Conversion benchmarks

There are two basic questions when approaching a content marketing ROI formula based on conversions.

  1. What’s the average rate that traffic converts to high-quality leads?
  2. What’s the average rate that those leads convert to sales?

McCoy looked at solid data to get the answers.

First, she looked at Marketing Sherpa’s research about conversion rates on organic traffic. This study found the average conversion rate for traffic-to-leads across industries is 16%. Next, for the leads-to-sales conversion, McCoy honed in on the fact that SEO-generated leads close at an average rate of 14%, while outbound leads have a 2% close rate. These benchmarks (16% for the average traffic-to-leads conversion rate; 14% for the average leads-to-sales conversion rate) provide the base of the content marketing trifecta formula.

The Content Marketing Trifecta formula

Using the benchmark numbers and an individual businesses monthly website traffic data, McCoy’s formula can estimate the ROI of content marketing in earned leads and sales:

  • Monthly Visitors x 16% Organic Traffic to Lead Conversion Rate = X Leads/Month
  • X Leads/Month x 14% Lead to Sale Conversion Rate = X Sales/Month

The formula in action

Here’s how to use the formula via a hypothetical scenario. For example, say your business gets 1,000 monthly visitors on average:

  • 1,000 Monthly Visitors x 16% Organic Traffic to Lead Conversion Rate = 160 leads/month
  • 160 Leads/Month x 14% Lead to Sale Conversion Rate = 22.4 sales in revenue/month

A business with a monthly traffic average of 1,000 could expect an ROI of 160 leads per month and 22.4 sales per month if they start using content marketing.

Does the formula hold up in real life?

Next, to see how the formula held up for an actual business, McCoy tested it out using data from her own agency, Express Writers (EW). In January 2018, EW’s monthly website traffic hovered around 15,470. Plugging that number into the formula brings these results:

  • 15,470 monthly traffic x 16% traffic-to-leads conversion rate = 2,475 Leads
  • 2,475 leads x 14% leads-to-sales conversion rate = 346 Sales

Finally, McCoy compared the estimated number of sales to the actual sales in January for EW.

  • Estimated sales: 346
  • Actual sales: 289

The actual sales were 57 short of the estimated number. McCoy was able to account for the discrepancy due to her agency’s shifted focus to only serving clients who are a good fit for EW’s services. As a result, the average order value went up to $416, a record high for the agency. With this factor taken into account along with the estimates, the formula holds up well.

Use concrete numbers to get executive buy-in for content marketing

The ROI of content marketing is easier to quantify with concrete figures. When executives can see the financial gain that is possible, they’ll be far more likely to get on board. McCoy’s content marketing trifecta formula is an easy tool that will help inspire the buy-in that most marketers need to get the go-ahead.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

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