Tag Archives: Cryptocurrency

New Smart Contract Platform DocTailor Brings Blockchain to Businesses

New Smart Contract Platform DocTailor Brings Blockchain to Businesses

Cryptocurrency expert Sam Enrico Williams has announced the launch

of a new blockchain-based project designed to improve the accessibility of customisable, legally-binding smart contracts. DocTailor aims to bridge the gap between cryptocurrency holders and non-crypto businesses, making it simple for any business operating within any industry to create their own cost-effective contracts on the blockchain.

DocTailor will be used solely to enable the creation of customisable legal smart contracts. Users of the platform will be able to select, find, and replace clauses from standard legal document templates, from a database created by legal professionals. With these resources, users will be able to easily create and send tailor-made legal documents on the blockchain with the implementation of a smart contract. News of Williams’ groundbreaking project comes at a time when cryptocurrency is heading towards a staggering half a trillion in market capitalisation, and is predicted to climb further in the coming years.

The platform will utilise its own tokens (DOCT) as the sole designated means of payment, giving users access to DocTime where they can use a selection of features and clauses to create their own smart contracts. "The platform will reinvent the current status quo in the legal industry by effectively and securely bridging the gap between non-crypto businesses and an ever-expanding crypto economy", says Williams. Boasting a wealth of experience within cryptocurrency, blockchain, and financial markets, Williams aims to boost widespread adoption of beneficial technologies through addressing today’s common issues.

Currently, creating unique legal smart contracts is both time-consuming and costly, particularly for users with no developer experience, or little understanding of how to receive cryptocurrency or utilise blockchain technology. DocTailor has been designed to solve the problem through provision of an automated legal contract database which can be used to create growth and development opportunities.

The release of the platform demonstrates a clear commitment to improving blockchain adoption rates, as well as making it quicker, easier, and more cost effective for non-crypto businesses to utilise revolutionary technologies. DocTailor is aimed at lawyers and legal professionals, businesses in all industries, and individuals, with an easy-to-use interface. The platform is expected to benefit users through the provision of more than 10,000 legal clauses, the ability to merge clauses into existing document structure, and integrated tracking options which can make it simpler for businesses to monitor recipient action.

A comprehensive list of the integrated features and functions that will allow users to create contracts on the blockchain and effectively grow revenues to their current non-crypto and crypto businesses can be found on the platform’s dedicated website. The website also offers visitors the opportunity to download and read the DocTailor white paper, which explains more about DocTailor’s place in the current market.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

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

‘Black Monday’ Shows Bitcoin Isn’t As ‘Dangerous’ As Regulators Claim

‘Black Monday’ Shows Bitcoin Isn’t As ‘Dangerous’ As Regulators Claim

Looking at mainstream media headlines

over the past few weeks shows a lot of columnists and pundits have declared that ‘bitcoin’s bubble has burst.’ They always claim that it’s much safer to invest in traditional investments like equities or the stock market while at the same time highlighting cryptocurrency’s volatile price swings. However, on Monday, February 5th the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 1,175 points, losing more value in one day than the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem over the past six weeks. 

The Black Monday of 2018

It was a ‘Black Monday’ on February 6 when both global stocks and the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem shed billions yesterday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (Dow) and a good portion of stocks worldwide plummeted at 2:40 pm EDT; more so than the drops during the 2008 economic crisis. Yesterday’s stock market dip broke records not only bringing up memories of 2008 but the day was also very similar to the other ‘Black Mondays’ of 1929, 1987, and 2000. However, mainstream media is not so quick to call the stock market slump a ‘crash,’ a ‘bubble pop,’ or even a death spiral. Yet the Dow lost more value ($300 billion USD) than the entire crypto-bear run of 2018 in one intraday.

On Monday, February 5th the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 1175 points losing $300 billion USD in value in just one intra-day.

Some Reports Say the Stock Market Sell-Off Pushed Money Towards Crypto-Investments

In addition to the grueling stock market madness, the financial publication Business Insider published a report that stated, “money was pouring into crypto during the stock market’s selloff.” The Dow started to nosedive at 2:40 pm EDT, and twenty minutes later the entire cryptocurrency capitalization according to Coinmarketcap spiked 7 percent one hour later.

“Cryptocurrencies got whacked alongside equities last week,” explains the report on Monday evening.   

But Monday’s continuation of the stock market selloff appeared to send some investors to digital currencies in search of a safe haven.

One publication, Business Insider says on ‘Black Monday’ money from the stock market sell-off was “pouring into crypto.”

Yesterday BTC/USD markets tumbled 20 percent in 24-hours reaching a low $5,900 which shaved $18 billion USD from its market cap. The following day BTC markets have rebounded considerably back above the $7,200 price territory. The Dow average took another hit during the opening bell on Tuesday, losing 500 points but has since recovered much of the morning loss. However the Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq, and a vast swathe of traditional investments still look unsettling. The Dow is showing some slight recovery, but many other mainstream investment vehicles are still nurturing losses. Moreover, European stock markets are declining rapidly after U.S. and Asian markets were routed.

Mainstream News Outlets Have No Problem Saying Bitcoin Is Dead But They Think Twice When It Comes to the Global Stock Market

Over the past week, mainstream news outlets have had no problem calling bitcoin markets ‘dead’ and publishing reports stating that it will never recover. There are at least seven new editorials per day stating that bitcoin is “done” since the beginning of January. There’s no hesitation towards telling the public that the dream of cryptocurrencies has come to an end, and many columnists are telling people to sell.

On Tuesday, February 6, mainstream media’s outlook on the stock market is gloomy, but there’s not that many (if any at all) editorials about the stock market ‘crashing,’ or the ‘stocks bubble has popped.’ The only ones calling the stock market ‘dead’ are the lesser known ‘conspiracy-like’ publications. Mainstream media pundits wouldn’t dare shake the market with headlines saying that traditional markets are in a ‘death spiral.’ But with cryptocurrencies, these ‘news outlets’ could not care less about spreading FUD among the crypto-investment crowd.

The Stock Market Can Be Far More Dangerous Than Crypto

The truth is stocks, bonds, equities, and nation-state issued currencies can suffer from extreme volatility. Some nation-state currencies are so worthless people weigh bags of cash on scales rather than counting. Moreover, stock markets can cause significant disruption to retail investors, and way more than the digital currency ecosystem governments warn everyone about. Stock market crashes can collapse an entire housing market, banks close in record numbers, and in some cases, there can be a run on the banks.

This week U.S. regulators mentioned the ‘dangers’ cryptocurrencies could bring to retail investors during a congressional hearing, but of course, they failed to mention that regulated and centralized markets can be even more dangerous. What do you think about the stock market tumble in comparison to bitcoin markets? What do you think is more dangerous?

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

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

How the Winklevoss Twins Found Vindication in a Bitcoin Fortune

How the Winklevoss Twins Found Vindication in a Bitcoin Fortune

The Winklevoss twins, Cameron (left) and Tyler, at their office in New York City.

A bet on Bitcoin several years ago has grown into a fortune for the brothers. Credit Vincent Tullo for The New York Times.The Winklevoss twins have carved an unorthodox path toward fame in the American business world.They went to Harvard University and then on to the Olympics as rowers. Along the way, they fought a legal battle with Mark Zuckerberg over the ownership of Facebook. In the Oscar-nominated movie “The Social Network,” they were portrayed as uptight gentry, outwitted by Mr. Zuckerberg, the brilliant, budding tech mogul. Cameron, the left-handed Winklevoss brother, and Tyler, the right-handed one, followed that with a risky bet.

They used money from a $65 million settlement with Mr. Zuckerberg to load up on Bitcoin. That turned them into the first prominent virtual currency millionaires in 2013, back when Bitcoin was primarily known as a currency for online drug dealers. More than a few people in Silicon Valley and on Wall Street saw the towering twins as the naïve — if chiseled — faces of the latest tulip bulb mania. Many still do. But the soaring value of Bitcoin in recent months is giving the brothers a moment of vindication, and quite a bit more than that: Their Bitcoin stockpile was worth around $1.3 billion on Tuesday. “We’ve turned that laughter and ridicule into oxygen and wind at our back,” Tyler Winklevoss said in an interview last week.

It is unclear how fleeting their vindication, or their fortune, will be. Many Bitcoin aficionados are expecting a major correction to the recent spike in its value, which has gone from $1,000 for one coin at the beginning of the year to around $18,500 on Tuesday. Currently, the average price of one Bitcoin is about $8,143, according to Blockchain.info, a news and data site.

If nothing else, the growing fortune of the 36-year-old Winklevoss twins is a reminder that for all the small investors getting into Bitcoin this year, the biggest winners have been a relatively small number of early holders who had plenty of money to start with and have been riding a price roller coaster for years. (The mysterious creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, is believed by researchers to be holding on to Bitcoin worth around $19 billion.) .The New York offices of Gemini, a virtual currency exchange founded by the Winklevoss brothers. Credit Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

Some of these new Bitcoin millionaires are cashing out and buying Lamborghinis, professional hockey teams or even low-risk bond funds. The Winklevoss twins, though, said they had no intention to diversify. “We still think it is probably one of the best investments in the world and will be for the decades to come,” Tyler Winklevoss said. “And if it’s not, we’d rather live with disappointment than regret.” They have collected an additional $350 million or so of other virtual currencies, most of it in the Bitcoin alternative called Ethereum. The brothers are also majority owners of the virtual currency exchange they founded, Gemini, which most likely takes their joint holdings to a value well over $2 billion, or enough to make each of them a billionaire.

They have sold almost none of their original holdings. While they both have apartments in downtown Manhattan, they say they live relatively spartan lives with few luxuries. Cameron drives an old S.U.V.; Tyler doesn’t have a car at all. The Winklevoss twins’ financial rise began during their settlement with Mr. Zuckerberg in 2008. Their lawyers urged them to take the $45 million (after lawyers’ fees) in cash. But they wanted to be paid in shares of Facebook. “The lawyers thought we were crazy,” Cameron Winklevoss said last week. “We thought they were crazy for taking cash.” By the time Facebook went public in 2012, their stock was worth around $300 million, their rowing careers were over, and they were looking for something new.

When they began buying Bitcoin in late 2012, the price of an individual coin was below $10. Few people in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street had publicly expressed interest in the virtual currency. Have to admire the twins for being on the cutting edge on two major investments. But I would like to have heard their take on Bitcoin…Over a few months, the brothers bought 1 percent of all the outstanding Bitcoin at the time — some 120,000 tokens. As they did, the price soared, making their Bitcoin portfolio worth around $11 million by the time they went public with it in April 2013.

Their buying spree was mocked at the time, and a few of their early decisions fueled that derision. They also invested in Bitinstant, one of the first companies to trade Bitcoins online. Bitinstant’s executives, in fact, had tutored the brothers in the basics of Bitcoin. The chief executive of Bitinstant, Charlie Shrem, was arrested in 2014, accused of helping to supply Bitcoins to users of online drug markets. Mr. Shrem pleaded guilty to lesser charges and was sentenced to a year in jail. The Winklevosses were never implicated in the wrongdoing, which happened before they became investors.

While that drama was unfolding, the twins applied to create the first Bitcoin exchange traded fund, or E.T.F., an investment product that would hold Bitcoins but be traded on stock exchanges. That brought more criticism from people who wondered why someone would buy a fund rather than Bitcoin itself. In March, regulators rejected the application. On top of all that, until last year the price of Bitcoin was sliding and the virtual currency concept was looking wobbly. But the Winklevosses, who once bet that years of punishing rowing practices would take them to the Olympics, held their ground. “We are very comfortable in very high-risk environments with absolutely no guarantee of success,” Tyler Winklevoss said. “I don’t mean existing in that environment for days, weeks or months. I mean year after year.”

They sold some of their tokens to pay for Gemini, a name that means twins in Latin. Like the Bitcoin E.T.F., their investment in Gemini was driven by their experience with the difficulty of buying and securely storing Bitcoin. Every Bitcoin sits in an address that can be accessed only with the corresponding password, or private key. The problem with this system is that anyone who gets hold of a private key can easily take the Bitcoin. And unlike money taken from a bank account, stolen Bitcoin are essentially impossible to retrieve. A number of virtual currency exchanges and wallets have collectively lost billions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin to thieves.

The Winklevosses came up with an elaborate system to store and secure their own private keys. They cut up printouts of their private keys into pieces and then distributed them in envelopes to safe deposit boxes around the country, so if one envelope were stolen the thief would not have the entire key. With Gemini, they have created a high-tech version of this process to hold customer money. Getting into the company’s wallets requires multiple signatures from cryptographically sealed devices that were never linked to the internet. Gemini got a license from New York State regulators that allows them to hold Bitcoins for regulated banks and asset managers — something essentially no other virtual currency companies can do. That has turned Gemini into one of the most trusted destinations for sophisticated investors.

“Gemini is an underappreciated exchange, one of the few exchanges I trust as a custodian,” said Ari Paul, a managing partner at the virtual currency hedge fund BlockTower Capital. Gemini is now expanding from its old 5,000-square-foot offices to new, 35,000-square-foot facilities in Midtown Manhattan. This doesn’t mean Gemini or the Winklevosses have ironed out all the kinks. Like many other exchanges, Gemini has struggled to stay online in the deluge of new customers in recent weeks. These growing pains are part of the reason the brothers say they are holding on to their Bitcoin. They believe virtual currencies are still a long way from real mainstream adoption.

They said they might look at selling when the value of all the Bitcoin in circulation approaches the value of all gold in the world — some $7 trillion or $8 trillion compared with the $310 billion value of all Bitcoin on Tuesday — given that they think Bitcoin is set to replace gold as a rare commodity. But then Tyler Winklevoss questioned even that, pointing out the ways that he believes Bitcoin is better than gold. “In a funny way, I’m not sure we’d even sell there,” he said. “Bitcoin is more than gold — it’s a programmable store of money. It may continue to innovate.”

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

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

Personalize Your Marketing Communications in 2018

Personalize Your Marketing Communications in 2018

 

 

 

 

The power of Personalization is no secret to marketers today.

Today's consumers have come to expect—if not demand—laser-like precision in the messages that brands are delivering to them. Unfortunately, message personalization is often used to refer to tactics such as putting a customer's name in the subject line of an email or adjusting the send time to the user's location. Personalization has become a buzzword in marketing, but in most cases what's being used is easily captured demographic and geographic data. True personalization is about so much more. It's about understanding the behavior of your customers, then tailoring your messaging around that behavior.

Let's take an example.

Say your product is a dating website. You know that if someone doesn't upload his photo, he stands a very poor chance of generating romantic inquiries. Crafting an email around getting people to take that one particular step of uploading a photo is a very good idea. Messaging personalization really comes to life when you use such real-time behavioral data. Targeting your messages to your customer's behavior might be harder than slapping a "Hey $FNAME" to an email before it heads out the door, but get it right… and you'll be well on your way to a one-on-one relationship with each consumer that leads to long-term loyalty.

Here's my best-practice advice to getting behavior-based messaging right.

1. Decide which behaviors warrant a message

Not all behaviors are created equal. It's up to you to figure out what behaviors the user takes (or doesn't take) that are worthy of sending a message. To again use the dating website example from earlier, the behavior in question could be creating a profile or sending five messages. If you're unsure what these important actions look like, start by defining your ideal end state: What does a successful customer look like? What steps do they need to complete before they can be successful? Those are the actions you need to encourage in your customers

2. Prioritize the behaviors

Just because a message you send is personal doesn't mean it's of value to your customers. For example, let's say you've just signed up for that cool new productivity app on Product Hunt, invited your first teammate, created your first to-do list, and uploaded your first file all in the space of 30 minutes. And like a configuration of falling dominoes, a series of messages hits your inbox in a predetermined order until they run out—and you unsubscribe.

Does it make sense to attack your customer's inbox with messages for every single action the customer takes? Of course it doesn't. To make sure your messages are relevant and timely, have a clear priority for your behavior-based messages. Perhaps customers will receive a welcome email, but you'll leave them alone for the next few days if they're making good progress. In general, I recommend leaving at least two days between each message to avoid overwhelming your users.

3. Understand the customer's entire lifecycle

Having data around the actions that people take in relation to your product is among the most powerful kind of information you can have. But it tells only one part of the story. To deliver meaningful one-to-one personalization at scale, you need to use the many context signals at your disposal. Let's say you own a collaboration app and a customer has taken one of your product's most important actions: completed his first project. A perfectly adequate message to send here would be "Congratulations on setting up your first project—keep it up." But you can do better.

Ask yourself: What else do we know about this customer?

  • Has he opened previous messages?
  • Has he visited the knowledge base before?
  • What size company is he from?
  • Has he opted out of marketing communications?

The above are but a handful of signals that, along with usage data, can help us deliver messages that are laser-focused in their accuracy. For example, if you're speaking to a high-value customer who has contacted customer support several times already this month, your message will have to reflect that. Personalizing your messaging correctly is at the core of a sound—and scalable—customer-engagement strategy. The idea of a "spray and pray" messaging strategy is ancient history, whether you're a startup just hitting your stride or a large company swimming in inbound inquiries. The good news is that once you've properly got to grips with behavior-based messaging, sitting down to write the perfect message becomes much easier.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

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

Facebook Goes Local, More Opportunities for Agent Marketing

Social media is constantly changing, adapting to new platforms

and the way people use them. Facebook has made strides in functionality to keep it relevant among the multitudes of platforms looking to take over as the top social platform. In order to maintain this relevancy, Facebook is looking to get even closer to its user base by catering to individual needs. A few months ago, Facebook introduced an apartment search engine to its marketplace. And more recently, the social media giant made headlines for its attempt to promote Facebook-validated news sources. Now, the platform wants to be involved in a more intimate way by providing more local news than national news on users’ feeds.

“People consistently tell us they want to see more local news on Facebook. Local news helps us understand the issues that matter in our communities and affect our lives,” wrote CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a recent Facebook post. “Research suggests that reading local news is directly correlated with civic engagement. People who know what’s happening around them are more likely to get involved and help make a difference.” So, what does this mean for the real estate industry?

Facebook Has More Power Over Content

While it is too soon to tell, real estate business pages may or may not fall under the news category according to Facebook. And if they do, real estate professionals will have difficulty determining whether their pages are being considered trusted local news sources that are appearing more frequently, or if they are being grouped as untrustworthy and are not being viewed. Real estate agents will need to keep a close eye on their pageviews and Facebook analytics to determine if this change is for the better. For industry professionals that use only their personal pages to promote their business, this local announcement may not impact them, unless Facebook is scanning posts by content instead of source.

The More Local, the More Relevant

If Facebook is looking to push local sources, the news factor may not play a role at all if real estate professionals are promoting mainly local content. Instead, agents and brokers may see a surge in pageviews from increased visibility to their content. If this is the case, real estate professionals should be prepared to post more content that features specialized local data versus articles with national or generic elements.

“Starting [Jan. 29], we’re going to show more stories from news sources in your local town or city,” wrote Zuckerberg. “If you follow a local publisher or if someone shares a local story, it may show up higher in News Feed. We’re starting this first in the U.S., and our goal is to expand to more countries this year.”

Content Will Need to Be Reviewed Carefully

According to the social platform, these are just the first steps being taken to ensure high-quality news is prioritized. Since Facebook’s algorithms are already a mystery to the masses, agents and brokers will need to carefully read through their content before posting on Facebook to ensure the platform doesn’t pick up on any clickbait-type words that cause it to be labeled as untrustworthy.

These recent announcements from Facebook have received a lot of backlash from the social media community. While local news is slated for Facebook’s near future, the way it is packaged and how it will evolve remain a mystery until individuals begin to monitor their content more closely, paying special attention to how their local content fares in the social world. “Local news helps build community—both on and offline. It’s an important part of making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is valuable. I’m looking forward to sharing more updates soon,” wrote Zuckerberg. As a real estate professional, how do you feel about Facebook’s recent push to control news visibility?

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

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

Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad Taps The Brand’s Best Marketing Tool

Budweiser's Super Bowl Ad Taps The Brand's Best Marketing Tool

Budweiser’s Super Bowl 2018 ad “Stand By You”

tugs at the heartstrings because actual employees are at its heart. Major brands don’t spend $5 million to air a 60-second spot during the Super Bowl without doing a lot of research. The ads represent months of research, hundreds of hours of planning by marketing teams, dozens of scripts, and 14-hour days of filming. Budweiser has done its research, discovering that real stories of actual employees create stronger brand loyalty and employee engagement. Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Budweiser ad for Super Bowl 2018 is an extension of a brand campaign that leverages the power of storytelling to make an emotional connection with its customers and its employees.

The ad “Stand By You” which has topped 12 million views on YouTube alone, features employees at a brewery in Cartersville, Georgia. The story is about their effort to convert the beer production process into producing emergency drinking water to cities effected by natural disasters. The plant has provided nearly 80 million cans of clean drinking water for disaster relief across the country. On the weekend of the Super Bowl, Budweiser dedicated its entire homepage to telling the story of its 30-year history of water donation.

“It’s a real story,” Ricardo Marques, Budweiser’s vice president of marketing, told USA TODAY sports. “It’s about our people. We don’t have actors in this spot.” By using real employees and not actors to showcase their brand, Budweiser recognizes that—with rare exceptions—people aren’t motivated to work for a company simply because of its products; they want to be inspired by what the brand stands for.

Let’s look at the Budweiser ad more closely in 15-second scenes.

First 15 seconds: In the backstory, a man receives a call in the middle of the night, splashes water on his face, kisses his sleeping wife, and heads to the plant. His name is Kevin Fahrenkrog, the General Manager of the Cartersville Brewery.

15 to 30 seconds: Employees are shown retrofitting the plant’s equipment and labeling system to fill cans with water.

30 to 45 seconds: Employees join relief efforts to deliver the water to communities impacted by natural disasters.

45 to 60 seconds: In the story’s conclusion, Kevin and his wife are having dinner that night. Music rolls and credits, like a movie, show the cities where Budweiser participated in relief efforts: Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, California. The story ends with the tagline, “Whenever you need us; We’ll stand by you.” Budweiser’s Super Bowl ad reminds leaders that employees feel good about working at brands that do good.

“People are more engaged with their work if they perceive it to be meaningful,” according to a large-scale study by the Canadian Conference Board. “Employees will consider their work meaningful if the results make a difference in some measurable way to something that is important to them.” Study after study finds that meaningful work and purpose-driven brands attract top performers, especially millennials who make up the largest generation in the U.S. workforce. Brands that leverage storytelling in all its forms and across platforms have an advantage in recruiting and retaining the best employees.

Over the last fifteen years, I’ve worked directly with CEOs and leaders at many of the world’s most admired brands. I’ve met with employees to understand why they feel especially connected to the company. Very few can recite the company’s entire mission statement from start to finish, but they all have a story to share. And more often than not, the stories aren’t about achieving a sales goal. The stories that motivate employees are real stories of real co-workers or leaders who make the world a better place.

“In the knowledge economy, the workplace relies heavily on trust, engagement, and goodwill,” writes Duke University behavioral economist, Dan Ariely, in his book Payoff. The importance of making everyone feel “deeply connected to the enterprise” is fundamental to building that relationship, he says. Ariely’s research has shown that leaders who infuse their companies with purpose and meaning see a remarkable boost in work quality, morale, and productivity and, yes, profits. Purpose and meaning are abstract concepts. Stories make those concepts tangible to customers and employees. Leaders in any industry can learn a valuable lesson from the Budweiser campaign: the people behind the product are often your best marketers.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

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

The changing role of “sales” kickoffs & why marketing should drive

The changing role of “sales” kickoffs & why marketing should drive

Contributor Scott Vaughan shares tips on how to make your annual revenue kick-off event as successful as possible.

It’s “Sales Kickoff” season.

The time of year company “keggers” are thrown for every sales org to celebrate (or drown their sorrows about) the past year, hand out self-congratulations, share plans for the new year and, of course, party like college coeds. I had the pleasure of hosting Integrate’s 2018 “Revenue Meet-Up” and just returned from participating in Marketo’s RKOM (“Revenue Kickoff Meeting”) as a partner. And while many kickoffs are simply company rallies, I’m convinced that, done well, these gatherings have a direct impact on business outcomes.

With the kind of time and money being invested, kickoffs can no longer simply be events to fire up sales reps or just a reason to get the team together. “Sales” no longer refers solely to the roles and responsibilities of bag-carrying sales pros. More people touch the customer, have revenue quotas and determine the fate of the business today than ever before. Customer experience and all forms of revenue are the focus of the business. The modern kickoff needs to better reflect this reality and new mission.

The sales org should no longer be the only driver of the kickoff and all that comes with it. A cross-functional, interdepartmental team is required to define goals and outcomes, develop the theme, set the agenda and lead the experience. And, marketing must move beyond simply coordinating events and handing out swag; it must take a proactive, leadership role that reflects marketing’s customer and revenue mission. Here are some thoughts on how marketing can drive and collaborate with their colleagues to create a more impactful kickoff that sets course for a successful year.

Co-create to build company momentum and confidence

In the modern, customer-driven world, the CMO needs to rally their executive peers and proactively lay out the kickoff goals, mission and agenda based on revenue and company go-to-market targets. This is an unprecedented time to get the best marketing assets you have – your employees – behind the go-to-market plan.

Kickoffs shouldn’t be internal and about your company, but what the market requires or the team needs to aspire to. For example, the Marketo team this year announced a new concept around how they’re committing to enabling their customers to be “fearless.” In my opinion, it’s the perfect tone to set for what will be required by both Marketo’s customers (B2B marketers) and their team to succeed in a dynamic market.

If your meeting is in January, you should start planning in August with the company strategy and budgeting process. Co-creating the sessions with sales leadership and the customer success team is an excellent way to start. It gets the core revenue-driving groups on the same page for planning and prep for the year ahead. This leadership group can then pull in ops, product and others as needed to assure an impactful kickoff.

Rollout new strategies, company and transformational moves

Revenue kickoffs are the ideal time to (re-)set the mission and introduce the charter for the year(s) ahead. If you’re going after a new market, new geos, pivoting or rolling out a new brand or expanded market position, do it here. You’ve got a unique opportunity to communicate on a big stage and several methods to communicate and involve people and teams in discussion from all different angles.

Don’t overload sessions with product features

Rarely, do we B2B teams get the opportunity to come together with such purpose and focus. Significant moves can be brought to life on stage, in breakouts and during 1:1 sessions. These aren’t the ideal venues to announce a bunch of new product features. With so much going on, the detail and importance will get lost. This can be handled by having sales, customer success and marketing pros sit down with product and development in smaller breakout sessions or save these announcements post-kickoff in another venue.

Bring customers and partners to keep it real

One of the best things you can do to make your kickoff real is to infuse customers, prospects and partners. Share their stories, bring their world to life and let their voice be heard by all. The sooner you make it about them and not just about the company, the better the points will be received and acted on by your team. At our company, we always have customers (often customer teams) on the main stage to share what they’re working on, their challenges and how they’re working with us and other providers.

Partners – channel, technology and alliances – are often your best market representatives and revenue drivers. Get them participating, learning and contributing. If your business is largely driven by partners and you have a separate partner gathering/conference, still showcase their work, how you’re working together and new strategies and tactics to make this stronger in the year ahead.

Sit down with sales, customer success & partners

For marketers, revenue kickoff is a gold mine. Your sales and customer success colleagues, partners and customers are all together over a few days. Capitalize on this by setting aside time with key sales leaders to get input, run your ideas by them and/or share what’s rolling out in the coming months to get buy-in. We use the opportunity at our kickoff to sit down with the customers who attend, first and foremost, to thank them for their business. We then use this an opportunity to get their feedback on our strategy, capture their story on video and/or to develop a case study.

Once a year is not enough

Revenue kickoff takes significant energy, time and resources. But done right – focused on customer themes, joint company revenue and go-to-market targets – the ROI is huge. And when the kickoff is wrapped, we’re reminded we need to do it all again, soon. Gathering once a year is not enough. Organizing regional sessions or taking advantage of quarterly business/revenue review gatherings is a must to keep the momentum you built at kickoff going all year until the new year dawns and we get to do it all again!

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

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

The secrets of successful legislative marketing

The secrets of successful legislative marketing

Many in Congress hope to reap the rewards of their legislative accomplishments

in this November’s election. For Republicans, passing tax reform, removing the mandate to purchase health insurance, and approving a broad swath of judicial nominations will top their hit parade. Democrats will focus on how they protected ObamaCare from repeal, held the line on spending cuts, and list the priorities they would tackle if voters returned them to the majority.  And who knows, maybe 2018 will even include some unexpected bipartisan wins for which both sides can take a bow with constituents. 

Whatever the substance, selling Congress’s work is a perennial challenge. The reasons for this communications riddle are numerous. For starters, voters are preoccupied with their personal lives and often distracted, bored, or confused by the details of congressional rhetoric, policy debates, and an arcane lawmaking process. Moreover, in a nation closely divided along partisan lines, legislative “wins” are often zero sum. For example, while Republicans will tout tax reform as the crowning achievement in the 115th Congress, some Democrats will continue to label it as “Armageddon” and “the end of the world.” No doubt, each party’s most faithful followers will believe them. In navigating these shoals, both parties would be wise to follow a few simple rules to maximize the impact of their political communications.

First, recognize that messaging success is more like a series of niche marketing campaigns, rather than a single national advertising effort. Not only do congressional parties and individual lawmakers lack the resources to execute such a large-scale communications strategy, that approach does not work for other reasons. “You can’t boil the ocean” is an often-repeated phrase among communicators, and nowhere does it apply more than talking to the public about legislative accomplishments. Moreover, we live in a diverse country with assorted political views, varied interests, and short attention spans. A one-size-fits-all approach is a formula for failure.

Author Chris Anderson, in his 2006 book The Long Tail, outlines a better approach. “Our culture and economy is increasingly shifting away from a focus on a relatively small number of ‘hits’ (mainstream products and markets) at the head of the demand curve and toward a huge number of niches in the tail,” Anderson says. 

The good news is technology allows politicians, like other marketers, to follow the Long Tail approach. Finding niche audiences on social media or through online advertising is easy. The beauty of this “narrowcasting” approach is it applies to major legislation, as well as seemingly minor legislative accomplishments. As an illustration, when Congress passed the 21st Century Cures bill a little over a year ago, it offered lawmakers a broad array of potential niche audiences to target and claim credit.

Those interested in boosting NIH funding, mental health reforms, or transformational changes to the drug development and approval process were among the diverse stakeholders members of Congress could appeal to. One lawmaker (and he was not alone) had an active and engaged group of constituents concerned about Lyme’s Disease. He told me the bill’s provision’s dealing with that complicated malady represented the number one benefit of the bill he would tout to that community. For a group of stakeholders, intensely interested in that disease, he was right.

Second, do not forget the rule of repetition. The virtue behind this simple principle is often lost. Here is the typical pattern. Lawmakers consider an issue, debate, vote, and then move on to the next subject. It happens all the time and it is a mistake. Voters don’t absorb information in one news cycle or through a single press release. It takes repetition. Success in this area requires going against the instincts of most congressional offices. Lawmakers and staff are always looking for the next new issue or hot topic. But they need to build on what they have done. Repetition is boring, but it’s successful.

Third, Congress needs to behold the beauty of brevity. Most lawmakers and staff believe three bullet points are persuasive; five, even better; and 10 will defeat even the most recalcitrant opponents.  Wrong. That is not how voters consume and digest information. They tune out lengthy and detailed justifications. Brevity works. “There is a reason why no one puts a laundry list on a bumper sticker,” says messaging expert Rich Thau, president of the research firm Engagious. He goes on to say, “One big idea packs more of a punch than five or 10 smaller ideas combined,” and he’s right. Unfortunately, a lot of legislative communications snowballs into an avalanche of information, which buries the audience, the message and the messenger.

Voters will assemble scorecards before the November election to evaluate the performance of lawmakers. Those representatives and senators who identify and appeal to the preferences of many niche constituencies, remember the rule of repetition, and the beauty of brevity, stand the best chance of joining the 116th Congress next January.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

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

Selling Marketing Software to Marketers: It’s More of a Science Than an Art

Selling Marketing Software to Marketers: It's More of a Science Than an Art

The number of marketing technology (martech) providers vying

for every marketer’s attention is staggering: In his latest report, Scott Brinker, vice president of the platform ecosystem at Hubspot, estimated that there were 5,000-plus providers in 2017 — representing a 40 percent increase over the previous year. Add to that the five or more options every martech tool typically offers for marketers to choose from. Medium, for example, has to compete against other CMS platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Hubspot Blogging Software and Kentico.

This mountain of rivals that marketing-software brands must contend with every day makes their effort to appeal to their target customers — marketers — a little like trying to run after your hat in a hurricane. On top of that, martech businesses are trying to beat their marketer-customers at their own game — after all, marketers are quite familiar with the marketing strategies martech brands use. It all becomes a bit like a psychologist working with a psychiatrist on his or her latest addiction. An observer might wonder, who’s asking the questions and who’s taking notes? Still, marketing a martech brand to marketers need not be so hard. How's that work? Let's start from the view that selling to marketers is more of a (simple) science than an art.

Recognize that selling to marketers is more science than art.

Selling to marketers, in my view, is almost entirely science. I'd personally estimate a breakdown of 20 percent creativity and 80 percent science — meaning research, numbers, measurements and tests. Marketers — the customers – look at numbers and validations (both of which are scientific elements) when making decisions at their jobs. Further, marketers can be attracted to martech companies' designs, graphics, art — even their jokes. But when it comes to getting those same marketers to pull out their wallets and take martech companies' products to their CMOs or clients, those marketers will need proof (science) that any particular product is worth spending their company's money on — or no deal.

Before spending $10,000 on social media marketing's ad costs, for instance, marketers might test out a concept with $100. In fact, they’re always testing; and there's science in that. So, if you're the martech rep, show the marketer proof, and chances are that he or she will buy in. Offer a trial of your marketing software and let the marketer test it out to get raw data. Display testimonials of happy customers. Share the numbers you’ve achieved. And pay attention to the language you use.

Use the lingua franca marketers use.

A lingua franca is a common language used by speakers who speak different native languages. This applies to marketers, too. Even though they have different native tongues, they speak a common language. So, if you're a marketing software brand and you're not speaking that common language, you'll have a hard time. In a recent Salesforce study, 65 percent of businesses surveyed said they were likely to abandon brands that didn't provide "customized communications." In other words, if your software brand speaks to marketers in a foreign language, they may ignore your campaign without thinking twice.

So, use marketspeak, words like:

  • MRR and ARR, not “income”

  • Optimize, not “make the most of”

  • ROI, not “efficiency of investment”

And so forth. As someone who does content marketing for martech and other marketing-focused brands, I can vouch for these words as terms I use for promoting content to martech clients. Using these terms doesn't guarantee your customers (marketers) will be falling head over heels for your campaigns. But it does mean they'll stop scrolling and at least give you five seconds to convince them. If you don't use that language, you may not even get that. My friend, Carlos Aguilar, of Conversion Surge, puts it this way: “To increase conversion, pay attention to the copy on your website . . . Does it use the same language of your ideal customer?”

Know where marketers hang out.

Know where marketers hang out online. This means places like:

LinkedIn:

Linkedin is almost a requirement for a marketer; virtually all marketers actively use LinkedIn to showcase their portfolios and interact with other experts in their connections and groups. So, any great, targeted campaign here has a chance to work wonders.

Twitter:

Marketers also use Twitter, to connect with other marketers and interact with reporters and editors of top publications. They use Twitter to follow trending news and hashtags on entertainment, politics and other interests.

Email:

Marketers daily use email for work. So, when doing a martech campaign, you need to grab their emails. Once you have those, you get access to advertise your marketing software in their inboxes.

Communities:

Platforms like Inbound.org and Growth Hackers allow marketers to interact about real issues they face in our day-to-day work.

Marketing blogs:

Marketers subscribe to sites like Digiday, Marketing Land and Kissmetrics, frequenting them to find new strategies to use to get better at marketing. Engage marketers on the platforms they already frequent. But be sure to use these platforms the right way, so you don’t get penalized by their owners or ignored by the marketers you’re trying to sell to.

Marketers love high-quality, helpful resource hubs; build one.

It’s true we’re experiencing an overflow of content. But it’s also true that people still give their attention and time to good resources. Need proof? Maybe it's the fact that you're reading this post. Marketers have to keep abreast of new trends and strategies all the time. And that gives you, as a martech company, an advantage when you sell to them. They need great resources, so if you provide them, they'll pay attention to your brand. I know, I know; it's not simple. But with a good strategy,

if you can:

 a) create high-quality resources that will help marketers become better marketers; and

b) promote the heck out of those resources, attract and convert customers and even generate accurate customer information for your database.

Final words

Marketing to marketer-customers can be easy if you employ these strategies. That's why you should approach these customers with what they themselves base their decisions on. Remember that they care most about numbers, tests and proof. Remember to speak the marketer's language: ("revenue," not profit; and "customer acquisition," not cost of getting customers). In the end, selling to marketers using the science involved (and not the art) improves your chances of selling to them and rising above the many other martech companies competing for the same prize. 

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

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

What’s Ahead for Marketers and Influencers in 2018?

What’s Ahead for Marketers
and Influencers in 2018?

Opinion:
Brands must keep a keen eye out for trends and be ready
to shift their strategies

Influencer marketing has maintained its value
through the existing influencer-follower relationship.A new year always brings about much speculation in the world of marketing. Recent years have seen a seemingly endless stream of new technologies, platforms and tactics that marketers and brands can leverage to stay ahead of the curve. Throughout 2017, influencer marketing has maintained its value through the existing influencer-follower relationship, and it has continued to evolve. While the end of 2017 brought with it new technologies and opportunities for brands that incorporate this marketing tactic, we expect to see some of these developments really gain their momentum and mature in 2018. Below are a few trend predictions and tips for marketers and brands that want to start the year with strong influencer marketing strategies.

Influencer network as a service

By now, most marketers now know what an influencer is and have already incorporated these content creators into their marketing strategies and budgets. A recent survey revealed that 61 percent of brand respondents had worked with digital influencers within the past year. As brands become more comfortable with the influencer marketing process and better understand the additional value that brand-tailored campaigns can provide, some are looking to take a more active role in establishing their own influencer relationships and managing the entire campaign process.

One way that brands are taking more control is through a new model known as influencer network as a service. This model gives brands the tools they need on an easy-to-use platform so that they’re fully equipped to manage their own campaigns and influencer relationships directly, making for a more streamlined experience. Additionally, brands have the option to build their own custom-created networks from scratch, catered to a specific niche audience or designed for a select campaign. These influencer networks as a service give brands a new way to create meaningful content by working with influencers whose values are aligned with those of the brand. This type of custom fit cannot always be achieved with a premade influencer network.

Social platforms catered to influencers

Brands aren’t the only ones taking note of the power of influencers. As more marketers plan to launch influencer campaigns or increase their influencer budgets, social media platforms are stepping up their games to provide a better overall experience when working with sponsored content. In 2017, we saw social platforms create features and updates that simplify and enhance the influencer marketing process in an attempt to draw in more brand and influencer activity. Big changes came to Facebook marketing, including a feature that allows brands to share influencer posts directly with chosen audiences and an option to select which influencer can tag the company in branded content.

Instagram rolled out a new way for influencers to identify sponsored posts, which make it easier for brands and influencers to comply with Federal Trade Commission disclosure policies, and it added a new polls feature giving brand and influencer followers a new and exciting way to engage with these accounts. And Snapchat released a long-awaited, influencer-friendly feature that allows users to add external links to their videos. Social media is the go-to place for many shoppers these days. A recent survey found that almost one-half (47 percent) of social purchases are made via Facebook. Going into 2018, we’ll likely see more influencers and brands adopting these platform changes in an effort to engage their followers in new ways, while also streamlining their own efforts so that campaigns can become even more targeted to audiences.

Increased product involvement from influencers

More customers than ever are trusting influencer opinions on products. A recent survey found that 49 percent of consumers rely on recommendations from influencers they see on Twitter. While many consumers are loyal to their favorite brands, loyalty to influencers is a bit different. You expect brands to promote their own products in sponsored posts, but influencers are real people who often choose to work with brands that they believe in and are connected to, so there is less perceived bias. Loyal followers notice this and are more likely to pay attention to an influencer’s recommendation of a certain brand, product or style. As marketers catch onto this trend, many are offering their popular influencers a seat at the product-planning table. Influencers who are particularly engaged with their followers have their finger on the pulse of what the brand’s target audience is currently interested in.

This information can be very valuable when the time comes to design new products and campaigns that will catch customers’ eyes. So far, we have seen this trend emerge mainly for beauty and fashion brands, which are more likely to release special collections and lines tied to seasons or themes. However, as it gains traction, don’t be surprised to see a more diverse group of brands work closely with influencers for development in 2018. Although influencer marketing is no longer a new tactic, it is one that will remain relevant as time goes on with the introduction of new tactics and best practices. In the new year, as consumers and social platforms evolve to capitalize on these changes, brands must also keep a keen eye out for trends and be ready to shift their strategies and make the most of influencer campaigns.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

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