Executive Overview of LinkedIn

 

If you would like to learn more about LinkedIn, and you have a spare hour of time, tonight is the best way to come away with a better understanding of this powerful network.

I will be presenting the Executive Overview of all six of the LinkedIn Workshops I have taught in the last 10 months.  Profile Optimization, LinkedIn Search and Invitations,  Privacy and Settings, LinkedIn Groups, Automated Marketing using LeadOutcome, Email Best Practices.  

This is the best way to get an A-Z overview of LinkedIn.  See you there at 7:00pm EST! 

David

Win Mindshare to Influence Your Market

Win Mindshare to Influence Your Market

 

Years ago Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, made a very profound observation:

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

Yet the marketing function is broad, challenging, and often misunderstood, especially at the small to mid-market level. The Fortune 500 and savvy mid-market consumer products companies approach the marketing function from a fundamentally different angle from that of most small to mid-market companies:

They start with market research and devise a focused, comprehensive strategy to penetrate their market, build their brand, and win mindshare before they enter a market.

The typical small to mid-market company is focused on sales, a tactical function of the marketing process, and gives little thought to researching the market, building a brand, and winning mindshare. When you consider the mindset of the typical small to mid-market CEO, this makes sense; most were very-skilled and well-trained engineers, salespeople, or finance people prior to starting their own company or taking over the top role.

Winning Mindshare Starts with Positioning Strategy

If you believe in Drucker’s observation, then the most important part of marketing strategy, the positioning and branding strategy, should be owned by the CEO of a small to mid-market company. It’s simply too important to delegate to a consultant or tactical marketer.

Positioning and branding can be complicated, so to get started, think about the one thing you’d like your product/service/company to be known for – the mindshare that you’d like to own.

To win mindshare and influence your market, follow these steps at the highest level:

  1. Determine the mindshare you want to win.
  2. Create a brand strategy that embodies the mindshare you seek to own.
  3. Use a systematic approach for all your marketing and sales activities.

Tools for Creating Your Strategy

This short article isn’t meant to trivialize these tasks; all three can be very challenging for a mid-market company. It’s simply meant to give CEOs and marketers in small to mid-market companies some direction when it comes to long term growth strategy.

If you’re a CEO of a small to mid-market company, our new eBook written with our ShortTrack CEO partners goes into greater depth on how to influence your market (it’s concept 3 in the book). Download it here. Currently it’s complimentary.

David

Hooked: How To Make Habit-Forming Products, And When To Stop Flapping

Hooked: How To Make Habit-Forming Products, And When To Stop Flapping

We now know that Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen decided to take down his hugely popular—and habit-forming—game, Flappy Bird because he had a moral pang about the game’s addictive potential. There was speculation about legal problems, or coping with the stress of overnight success, but it seems that he has done what many large tech companies have avoided—taken responsibility for the misuse of his product.

Tweeting as @dongatory a a couple of weeks ago, Dong replied to an obsessed fan, “People are overusing my app 🙁 .”  The following day, in a series of four surprising tweets, he announced, “I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.” (Emphasis mine.)

All of this is familiar territory to behavior design consultant and author Nir Eyal (who also contributes in these pages.) His new book, Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, is a step-by-step guide to do intentionally what Dong seems to have done intuitively. In its simplest terms, Hooked describes how to convert the “external triggers” that make a person engage with a product into “internal triggers” that bring that person back to it again and again.

nir-eyal-the-hook-method

 

Games, like Flappy Bird are perfect examples of this mechanism, but an easy way for non-gamers to grasp this phenomena is to consider the catchiness of pop songs. When your first hear a song on the radio, you are responding to the “external trigger” of its transmission over the airwaves (or internet as the case may now be.) But when you find yourself involuntarily singing that song in the shower, it has become its own “internal trigger” in your brain. It’s like a client side app where all of the data required to recreate the experience is preloaded into your browser (i.e., your brain!)

Making products habit-forming, and the behavior design that makes it possible, has gone from being a nice-to-have to a need-to-have in the ultra-competitive world of apps and digital services. There are so many things screaming for users’ attention that only the things that they whisper to themselves about have a chance of sticking around for a while.

A research report back in 2011 by Localytics showed that 26% of typical users download an app and open it just once. The important corollary to this disheartening pattern is that another 26% will download an app and use it 10 or more times—often enough for it to become part of their routine. The difference between these two kinds of users—and how to convert the first kind into the second kind—is the focus of Eyal’s “Hook” method.

The Hook consists of four parts that must be combined in sequence to convert an externally motivated engagement with a product into one that is internally motivated and habitual. “Through consecutive hook cycles,” Eyal writes, “successful products reach their ultimate goal of unprompted user engagement, bringing users back repeatedly without costly advertising or aggressive messaging.”

Eyal stands on the shoulders of giants in putting together what is essentially an open source framework for user psychology. This framework draws upon the work of contemporaries like BJ Fogg, Dan Ariely, Charles Duhigg and Daniel Kahneman but also the inventor of behaviorism in psychology, B.F. Skinner. Eyal got an MBA at Stanford and now teaches there, and his debt to Stanford behavior design researcher and educator BJ Fogg in particular is evident.

But there are important differences in their approach. The Fogg behavior model applies equally well to one-time and repeat actions and for actions you want to motivate as well as actions you want to avoid motivating. Eyal focuses on just one of these quadrants—those actions that you want to turn into habits. But as we shall see, Eyal uses Skinner and others to expand upon what helps us to internalize actions and repeat them.

The essence of Fogg’s approach is to consider a person’s amount of motivation to do something compared with how easy it is to do. You don’t have to be tremendously motivated to do some thing easy, like click “like” on Facebook, but if a product requires an investment of time and/or money, like having your DNA tested by 23andMe, you need a compelling reason. The easier 23andMe can make that process, by requiring less information or lowering the price, the less pressing my reasons have to be to want to follow through. Importantly, no matter how easy an action is, or how motivated a person is, no action will happen without the presence of trigger adjacent in space and time to the means of completing the action.

The first step in Eyal’s hook model is this trigger. He sees the hook as an iterative process which begins with external triggers that after a series of cycles convert into internal triggers. How this conversion occurs is at the heart of what makes this method supremely useful to growth hackers and others involved in engineering the viral aspects of products. Getting back to the example of Flappy Bird above, Eyal points out that “Negative emotions frequently serve as internal triggers.” So the repeated epic failures that a new player experiences with that game make them angry at themselves. This anger is indeed the energy that propels the player to play again.

The second part of the hook is the action itself. The easier it is do something, the more users will do it. Eyal charts the growth of user-generated content from services like Blogger, which require you to actually create original content, to Pinterest, which reduces the participatory action down to the selection of what on the web to “pin.” Guess which one grew faster? There are many dimensions to ease, well-documented by Fogg in his six “elements of simplicity,” than range from amounts of time, money and effort required to levels of mental complexity, social acceptability and habitual familiarity. This is important because increasing your user’s ability to do something is far more within your control than boosting their internal motivation. Human psychology is not a uniform surface that can be wholly controlled by turning a couple of knobs, of course. Eyal emphasizes observed patterns of behavior that can be used as heuristics to increase the likelihood of a given action. We sometimes infer value from scarcity or assume form the presence of a sale tag that something is a bargain.

The third part of Eyal’s method takes advantage of these inconsistencies in how humans evaluate situations to excite our motivational instincts. It is important that product reward the actions that it triggers, but critically, if these rewards are variable we are far more likely to get sucked in. Decades of brain research has concluded that we are more motivated by the anticipation of reward than by the reward itself. In Flappy Bird, most of the time you fail, but the possibility that you could get a high score (or any score at all!) deepens the hook. The trigger is our self-inflicted anger, but playing holds out the reward of self-mastery. Eyal cites Pinterest as an example of the variable rewards of the “hunt.” Finally, when a friend “likes” your high score update on Facebook or follows your board on Pinterest you experience social satisfaction, rewards of the “tribe.” In Eyal’s model, the hook is a series of cycles and just as the triggers go from external to internal, so too can the rewards range from self to hunt or tribe. As described above, both Flappy Bird and Pinterest successfully utilize multiple types of rewards—but always with some degree of variability.

Finally, for the habit to really take hold, the user has to invest into it. The pictures you take with Instagram constitute your investment in the platform. Not only does the threat of losing this body of work keep you from switching to other photo apps, but your social engagement with others on the platform reinforce this continuity as well. By getting us to put ourselves into a product its designers are using our own narcissism to increase our perceived value of their product. Dan Ariely of Duke University, and author of Predictably Irrational and other books, calls this the “Ikea Effect,”  where our time spent with the ubiquitous Allen wrench makes our hearts fonder of the (possibly flawed!) end result. The other aspect of this is that since we are all creatures of habit, our investment in a habit becomes a form of inertia that makes it increasingly unlikely that we will engage in the cognitive dissonance of a new solution to our need.

Hooked is a very useful book for anyone involved in designing, managing and marketing products. It does suffer a bit from a duality of purpose that sometimes stretches the tone of the writing between earnest explication of the fascinations of human behavior to an practical boosterism for how to use of the techniques behind these phenomena. Behavior design is clearly a rising discipline with great effectiveness to help engineer beneficial habits, but it also can—and is—being abused for manipulative purposes.

In the sixth chapter of the book, Eyal discusses these manipulations, but I think he skirts around the morality issues as well as the economics that make companies overlook them. The Candy Crush Saga game is a good example of how his formulation fails to capture all the moral nuance of the problem. According to his Manipulation Matrix, King, the maker of Candy Crush Saga, is an Entertainer because although their product does not (materially) improve the user’s life, the makers of the game would happily use it themselves. So, really, how bad can it be?

Consider this: Candy Crush is a very habit-forming time-waster for the majority of its users, but a soul-destroying addiction for a distinct minority (perhaps larger, however, than the 1% Eyal refers to as a rule of thumb for user addiction.) The makers of the game may be immune to the game’s addictive potential, so their use of it doesn’t necessarily constitute a guarantee of innocuousness. But here’s the economic aspect: because consumers are unwilling to pay for casual games, the makers of these games must construct manipulative habits that make players seek rewards that are most easily attained through in-app purchases. For “normal” players, these payments may just be the way that they pay to play the game instead of a flat rate up-front or a subscription, and there is nothing morally wrong with getting paid for your product (obviously!) But for “addicted” players these payments may be completely out of scale with any estimate of the value of a casual game experience. King reportedly makes almost $1 million A DAY from Candy Crush, all from in app purchases. My guess is that there is a long tail going on with a relative few players being responsible for a disproportionate share of that revenue.

Understanding these potentially conflicting motivations is important for product designers of all kinds, and I believe it is a subject of intense interest to Eyal. Habit-formation is no longer a nice-to-have but a need-to-have aspect of making a successful product. This makes the temptations of manipulation all the more dangerous. We all now need to abide by the superhero credo, that with great power comes great responsibility. Habit-hacking is indeed a superpower, time to put on the capes!

David

Newcomer’s Guide to Blogging

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blogging

Newcomer's Guide to Blogging

A blog is basically an online journal wherein you can digitally pen down your thoughts, ideas, opinions and practically anything that you want people to read. Blogs come in different styles, formats, and settings, depending on the preference of the user. Many blogging sites, offer built in features such as hyperlink, straight texts, pictures etc. Some blogging sites, even allow you to put video and mp3's on your blogs.

Instead of writing texts, some bloggers choose to make their blogs more audio friendly, by using spoken word entries. This is called audio blogging.

Basically a blog contains these features:

Title – which allows you to label your post

Body – this is the content of your post

Trackback – other sites can be linked back to your blog

Permanent link – every article that you write has a URL

Comments – this allow readers to post comments on your blog.

One of the advantages of blogging, is that it is made of only a few templates. Unlike, other websites that is made up of numerous individual pages. This make it easier for blog users to create new pages, because it already has a fix setting that include: slots for title, body of the post, category, etc.

This is especially useful for first time users, since they can start blogging right away. They can chose from a number of templates that blogging websites provide.

Anyone who wants to start a blog can do so by becoming a member of a blogging website of their choice. Once they've become members, they automatically become a part of that particular blogging community. They can browse through other bloggers pages, and link them back to their own blogs. They can also make comments on other members' blogs.

Blogging is not just limited to personal usage. There are a lot of blogs that follow a theme such as: sports, politics, philosophy, social commentary, etc. These blogs espouse on their specific themes. This way blogging becomes a medium in which people can share their knowledge and opinions about a variety of themes and topics.

Some bloggers even use their blogs as a means to advertise. Some authors advertise their books on their blogs. While other bloggers, use their blogs to shed light to currents issues, events, news and catastrophes.

Nowadays in education, blogs also play an important part. Professors use blogging to document the lessons that they have discussed and taught. This way, students who have missed classes, can easily catch up with their assignments.

A lot of entrepreneurs benefit from blogging by promoting their businesses on their blogs, with millions and millions of people logging onto the net every day, blogging has become a lucrative move. Some bloggers who run online businesses promote their merchandise online. While others profit through advertisement.

But by far, the most popular blog type is the one that takes the form of a personal journal. This is the kind that is usually used by first time bloggers. Individuals who want to document the daily struggle of their everyday lives, poems, rants, opinions, find that blogging offers them a medium in which to express themselves.

Bloggers usually communicate within themselves. This is one of the appeals of blogging. It creates a community of people sharing their ideas, thoughts, and comments with each other.

Blogs varying in topics, themes, and set-ups, can be found in blog directories. First time users who want to get an idea of what the blogging world is all about can browse through a number of blogs using these directories. This way they'd get an idea of what these blogging communities are like.

Blogging is popular all over the world. Blog is short for the term weblog. There are no rules when it comes to blogging. Bloggers have the freedom to express themselves however way they want, and the best thing about blogging, is that most blogging sites are free.

There are numerous blogging websites to choose from in the net. This give first time users the option of joining a blogging community that appeals to their interests.

Just search any blogging directory and you'd get a listing of a lot of blogging sites that are available on the net. It's easy to search a blogging directory, because it is organized according to category. This way you would get exactly what you are after. Blogging is really for everyone. It is fun, simple and easy.

MarketHive Inbound Marketing Tools for Entrepreneurs

MarketHive is a social networking site designed for entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, MarketHive isn't only a social networking website, in addition, it includes a blogging platform, plus some very effective online marketing tools to allow entrepreneurs to be successful marketing their Internet business, services and products.

Below you will find some of the marketing tools you will receive once you sign up for Markethive:

•        Autoresponders

•        E-mail Broadcasting

•        Blogging Platform

•        Capture Pages

•        One Click Lead Generation System

•        Conference Room and a whole lot more

You might be curious about how much actually does MarketHive charge for these amazing online marketing tools, well the answer really is these Internet marketing tools are totally free of charge for life, no strings attached. Basically these online marketing tools would cost you hundreds of dollars per month, not at MarketHive. This is the good news for the beginner as well as the veteran Internet marketer.

To learn more click on the following link:

http://blogs.freeinboundmarketingtools.com/go/market-hive/

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call me. My telephone number is 609-641-6594 – Eastern Time Zone

 

Ida Mae Boyd
Markethive Inbound Marketing Specialist

David

I’ll say it: the days of outbound marketing are over.

I’ll say it: the days of outbound marketing are over.

entrepreneur

The "Wolf of Wall Street" mentality of harassing customers over the phone, sending spamy emails, and going door-to-door to close deals has become much less effective in recent years. Customers have access to so much information every day, they’ve become increasingly resentful of marketing intrusions. The rise of blocking tools such as caller id, spam folders and ad blockers is not coincidence.

Inbound marketing is the new normal. That’s the idea that if you provide value to customers first, they will respond by returning that value back and doing business with you.

To get a peak under the hood inbound marketing, and get tips on how others can use it, I had a chance to chat with A.J. Agrawal – an entrepreneur who built his business, Alumnify, around it. A.J. is a fellow contributor at Entrepreneur as well as at Forbes, Huffington Post, and others.

Here’s an edited version of our e-mail interview:

Why begin with universities?

We started there because we saw a strong decrease year after year in alumni engagement. Right now, alumni engagement is at an all time low – under 10 percent. It was obvious that institutions were struggling to adjust to the new ways their alumni were communicating and engaging. So we saw the opportunity.

For about 85 years, alumni engagement was pretty steady. Then all of a sudden, in the 90’s it began to fall drastically. In panic mode, many schools chose to double down on the outbound marketing tactics that worked in the past: cold calls, snail mail, and increased email addresses. They also deployed better data tacking and software to help optimize open email rates as well as make the giving process easier for graduates.

But these strategies had no effect (or even a negative effect on engagement) because they were built on an overall strategy that was broken. So we decided we would build inbound marketing solutions to provide value to alumni first. 

How do you begin inbound practices?

First, make sure you know what inbound marketing is. At its core, inbound is anything that provides a tremendous amount of value to your target customer without asking anything from them in return. There are tons of ways to do this and the best part is that most of the major strategies can be done for minimal cost.

One thing we recommend to companies we work with us is to start by getting a blog set up and to have someone be responsible for publishing regular content. One of the nice things about inbound marketing is that it requires companies to build major assets for their business. Your content library is a huge asset and will eventually help your SEO, and pull in more customers to your website.

Other popular inbound strategies include webinars, eBooks, infographics, mobile apps built to help your customers, and optimizing your social media.

Each business is different, so the strategy depends on factors including audience, industry, and expertise. Like most things, the hardest part is just getting started. Once you find an inbound strategy that starts to work, it becomes much easier to fine tune and expand on your traction.

Do you avoid outbound strategies?

Not at all. While inbound is definitely the future, some customers still respond well to outbound strategies. Even as an inbound company, we still cold call customers and send promotional emails once in a while — but as part of a complete plan.

When thinking about the brand I want for Alumnify, I don’t want prospects and customers avoiding our phone calls. The image of a customer seeing an Alumnify Team Member calling them and saying “Not these people again” is my worst nightmare. And it should be any entrepreneur’s nightmare too.

Instead, I believe that the key to getting customers to love us is to provide value without asking for anything in return. For example, we have a free inbound marketing email list we just launched yesterday with weekly tips and webinars. And I’m always happy to help any fellow entrepreneur hammer out an inbound strategy. That type of approach may take more work in the short run, but it’ll also help build a much better brand to our customers in the long run.

Article writen by:

Inbound Marketing solution

 

David

What does the Future of Marketing Automation look like?

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According to one marketing automation expert David Raab, nearly 70 percent of marketers are not happy with their marketing automation software.  Clearly, there is much room for improvement in this industry, despite the enormous potential benefits that can be achieved.

One area of particular promise is "predictive intelligence".  Marketing automation software that embraces this type of model will provide better results for customers and those results will improve over time due to the machine learning aspect of this type of software model.

True AI or artificial intelligence really exists only in the world of science fiction, but we can already see how technology like Google's "rank brain" are being implemented at a very high level into their search algorithms.

This post is not intended as a treatise on the subject, but only to highlight the development that will inevitably take place in marketing automation to a more predictive and machine learning type model that incorporates elements of artificial intelligence.

So, what would this type of marketing automation software look like, how would it work, and what could it do for clients using the software?

As an example, it is a common marketing strategy to ask the client to start with an avatar of what their ideal customer looks like.  A software with AI elements would be able to examine a company's current database of customers, and analyze all demographic data as well as social media profiles of all current customers.  It would then perform a detailed and sophisticated search across various websites and social media, and recommend an exhaustive list of potential prospects.

This analysis would be based on similarities with current customers, and would also recommend the best way to connect with them which would most likely yield the best results.

This is a highly sophisticated method of marketing automation that does not currently exist. The ability of this type of software to target potential prospects with laser-like accuracy will likely turn the marketing automation market on its head.

The company that comes out with this kind of predictive analysis model may dominate the industry for years to come, and prove to be a highly sought after commodity, even at a fairly high price.  It is also equally likely that the downward price pressure of open sourcing may prove to significantly lower costs for the consumer.

It is clear that forward thinking companies such as Google are investing in the future by relying heavily on automation in a wide variety of markets.  Look at the investment Google has made in self-driving cars, for example.  Uber drivers may become  a thing of the past in the not too distant future.

Consider what Perry Marshall a well-known marketing expert had to say about automation in a recent email.

"2003-2009 was the age of PPC. 

2010-2016 has been the age of Social Media. 

2017 and beyond will be the age of Artificial Intelligence

Now mind you, this “Artificial Intelligence” is not self-aware. It’s not HAL 9000 reading your lips as you talk outside the spaceship like in 2001: A Space Odyssey. 

Not yet anyway.

But don’t underestimate this AI. 

I have clients who are taking AI to deep levels, re-inventing the future as we speak. You won’t fully see the results of what they’re doing for another year or two. 

But let’s just say that talking to machines like Alexa and Siri is only the tip of the iceberg.

The key to success in 2017-2020…especially in AdWords…is OWNING some of that Automation.

Automation is a rack-the-shotgun, 95/5, winners and losers phenomenon. "

Prophetic words of wisdom, no doubt, from the marketing and AdWords expert.

Watch for those technologies that claim this type of predictive AI model to emerge and lead the industry by wide margins in the years to come.

Take a look at these three leading-edge marketing automation technologies you can use today.

Markethive – (free) – dramatically increases your reach on the Internet by using cooperative blog syndication technology, and much more

Social Lead Generator – auto-join and auto-post to open and closed Facebook groups, dramatically expand your Twitter followers, and more.

Linked Group Messenger  – Increase your LinkedIn invitation rate and grow a very large group of 1st level connections on LinkedIn.  Especially helpful to avoid the LinkedIn "idk" limit.

 

Of course, I will keep you informed of these trends, and help you to stay on top of these significant technologies.

John Lombaerde – Goldfinch Digital Publishing LLC

 

Related articles

David

Happy (Silver) Anniversary to the World Wide Web

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What a long strange trip it's been to arrive at the Internet of today!  It's hard to imagine it has been 25 years ago, (August 6th 1991), that Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the World Wide Web (WWW), put the first web page online.  It was about the World Wide Web project. You can visit the original website, (actually, more of a web page with hyperlinks), at this address.

http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

Quite primitive by today's standards, but remarkable in it's day. The interconnected vast Internet had quite humble beginnings.  Some would argue that it was actually in 1989 the proposal for html and the first client / server transaction took place. Regardless of the which way you look at it, our world has not been the same since.

It is quite easy for millenials who did not grow up in an analog world to take the Internet for granted.  I think about my grandfather who was born in 1888, and grew up with gas lanterns, no electricity and no cars, how it must have been for him to see man on the moon.  Similarly, this interconnected smart-phone enabled world we now live in is quite remarkable.

Similarly, this interconnected smart-phone enabled world we now live in is really quite remarkable. Sometimes it all seems a little Dick Tracy-like to me, almost to the level of Star Trek technology.

To all those who grew up in the digital age, I advise you to be grateful for those who pioneered this technological age in which we now live. men such as Samual Morse, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Marconi, Tesla, Tim-Berners Leed, Vint Cerf, and countless others who collectively developed and strove to perfect the technology that it is so easy to take for granted today.

Who knows what the Internet will look like in another 25 years?  It stretches the limits of imagination to think of it.

Happy 25th – you old www!

 

John Lombaerde – VP-NJ Markethive

 

Related articles

https://thehackernews.com/2016/08/first-website-ever.html

 

David

Markethive and Valentus: Organic Leads and Coffee Partnership

Image result for markethive 

The apex of automated marketing blogging platforms and “weight losscoffee” known as Valentus Slim Roast are ready to launch; however, only those who recognize this unique opportunity are really wanted.

Au Naturale, Markethive and Valentus have joined forces to create a symbiotic relationship between two business entities that are fed up with traditional MLM Industry.  Yes, Marketing & weight loss Coffee are about “empowering both the little guy and gal” to market and sell a product the World consumes daily only after water.  Try going 72-hours without H-2-0 and watch your body breakdown.  Guess what, people feel the same way if, they don’t have their “daily fix” and react like they’re going through withdrawal. 

The Digital Age is here and entrepreneurship continues to explode thanks to technology and those innovators who embrace risk, while providing a solution to a problem.  Guess what you’re one of them because you became a renegade and willing to face the unknown, while incurring the costs in business.  Respect is given to you but, not the industry (MLM), due to its dubious reputation and need for change.     

Yes, it’s time for a change because MLM doesn’t have the best reputation as indicated by the recent Consent Decree Settlement between Herbalife and FTC .  Hey, $200 million dollars isn’t chump-change and sends a message to the industry that “product and consumers” must exist and not “product and distributors”.  Yeah, verification will be needed in the future and old business models will no longer be accepted unless, they can prove that their product is being retailed to the masses.  Guess what, old methods of marketing like “Outbound Marketing” are increasingly ineffective in generating sales and more importantly, establishing a trusting business relationships between consumers and proprietors.  New business models and new marketing methods like “Inbound Marketing” have emerged and increasingly becoming the norm because educated consumers like Millennials, who have purchasing power of $200 Billion dollars are sick and tired of being sold. Yes, these kiddies are tech- savvy and research everything before digging into their debit/credit-cards (nobody uses cash, anymore) and if, your product or service doesn’t address their needs or resolve a problem then, they happily tell you, “hit the bricks”.  Well, if you want to avoid the proverbial MLM Cemetery for Dead Dealers who, operate a Non-Profit Agency then, you better embrace “Customer-Centricity”, like the industry leader Amazon.     

Yes, in the Digital Age of Technology for a business to succeed then, it must embrace the idea of the customer being the priority and less so, shareholders, which is a revolutionary concept among corporate profiteers.  However, Amazon valued at $230 Billion dollars realized that success was centered upon "focus relentlessly on our customers."  Needless to say, title of World’s Largest retailor isn’t by chance.

So, do you want to be part of the “customer-centricity’ trend and be at the forefront of a new era of Ecommerce where relationship building is key to creating a WIN-WIN for both owner and customer.  To learn more I invite you to rcontact me.

Contributor,

David Ogden

Helping People Help Themselves

David

The Ultimate Marketing Machine

The Ultimate Marketing Machine

  • A Strategy & Execution Case

In the past decade, what marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition. With the possible exception of information technology, we can’t think of another discipline that has evolved so quickly. Tools and strategies that were cutting-edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete, and new approaches are appearing every day.

Yet in most companies the organizational structure of the marketing function hasn’t changed since the practice of brand management emerged, more than 40 years ago. Hidebound hierarchies from another era are still commonplace.

Marketers understand that their organizations need an overhaul, and many chief marketing officers are tearing up their org charts. But in our research and our work with hundreds of global marketing organizations, we’ve found that those CMOs are struggling with how to draw the new chart. What does the ideal structure look like? Our answer is that this is the wrong question. A simple blueprint does not exist.

Marketing leaders instead must ask, “What values and goals guide our brand strategy, what capabilities drive marketing excellence, and what structures and ways of working will support them?” Any Structure must follow strategy—not the other way around.

To understand what separates the strategies and structures of superior marketing organizations from the rest, EffectiveBrands (now Millward Brown Vermeer)—in partnership with the Association of National Advertisers, the World Federation of Advertisers, Spencer Stuart, Forbes, MetrixLab, and Adobe—initiated Marketing2020, which to our knowledge is the most comprehensive marketing leadership study ever undertaken. Co-author Keith Weed, the CMO of Unilever, is the chairman of the initiative’s advisory board. Todate the study has included in-depth qualitative interviews with more than 350 CEOs, CMOs, and agency heads, and over a dozen CMO roundtables in cities worldwide. We also conducted online quantitative surveys of 10,000-plus marketers from 92 countries. The surveys encompassed more than 80 questions focusing on marketers’ data analytics capabilities, brand strategy, cross-functional and global interactions, and employee training.

We divided the survey respondents into two groups, overperformers, and underperformers, on the basis of their companies’ three-year revenue growth relative to their competitors’. We then compared those two groups’ strategies, structures, and capabilities. Some of what we found should come as no surprise: Companies that are sophisticated in their use of data grow faster, for instance. Nevertheless, the research shed new light on the constellation of brand attributes required for superior marketing performance and on the nature of the organizations that achieve it. It’s clear that “marketing” is no longer a discrete entity (and woe to the company whose marketing is still siloed) but now extends throughout the firm, tapping virtually every function. And while the titles, roles, and responsibilities of marketing leaders vary widely among companies and industries, the challenges they face—and what they must do to succeed—are deeply similar.

Highlights from the Survey

 
Building Needed Capabilities

% of respondents who said that their organization’s training program was tailored to the specific needs of their business

 

 

Winning Characteristics

The framework that follows describes the broad traits of high-performing organizations, as well as specific drivers of organizational effectiveness. Let’s look first at the shared principles of high performers’ marketing approaches.

Big data, deep insights.

Marketers today are awash in customer data, and most are finding narrow ways to use that information—to, say, improve the targeting of messages. Knowing what an individual consumer is doing where and when is now table stakes. High performers in our study are distinguished by their ability to integrate data on what consumers are doing with knowledge of why they’re doing it, which yields new insights into consumers’ needs and how to best meet them. These marketers understand consumers’ basic drives—such as the desire to achieve, to find a partner, and to nurture a child—motivations we call “universal human truths.”

The Nike+ suite of personal fitness products and services, for instance, combines a deep understanding of what makes athletes tick with troves of data. Nike+ incorporates sensor technologies embedded in running shoes and wearable devices that connect with the web, apps for tablets and smartphones, training programs, and social networks. In addition to tracking running routes and times, Nike+ provides motivational feedback and links users to communities of friends, like-minded athletes, and even coaches. Users receive personalized coaching programs that monitor their progress. An aspiring first-time half-marathon runner, say, and a seasoned runner rebounding from an injury will receive very different coaching. People are rewarded for good performance, can post their accomplishments on social media, and can compare their performance with—and learn from—others in the Nike+ community.

Purposeful positioning.

Top brands excel at delivering all three manifestations of brand purpose—functional benefits, or the job the customer buys the brand to do (think of the pick-me-up Starbucks coffee provides); emotional benefits, or how it satisfies a customer’s emotional needs (drinking coffee is a social occasion); and societal benefits, such as sustainability (when coffee is sourced through fair trade). Consider the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which defines a set of guiding principles for sustainable growth that emphasize improving health, reducing environmental impact, and enhancing livelihoods. The plan lies at the heart of all Unilever’s brand strategies, as well as its employee and operational strategies.

In addition to engaging customers and inspiring employees, a powerful and clear brand purpose improves alignment throughout the organization and ensures consistent messaging across touchpoints. AkzoNobel’s Dulux, one of the world’s leading paint brands, offers a case in point. In 2006, AkzoNobel was operating a heavily decentralized business structured around local markets, with each local business setting its own brand and business goals and developing its own marketing mix. Not surprisingly, the outcome was inconsistent brand positioning and results; Dulux soared in some markets and floundered in others. In 2008, Dulux’s new global brand team pursued a sweeping program to understand how people perceived the brand across markets, paint’s purpose in their lives, and the human truths that inspired people to color their environments. From China, to India, to the UK, to Brazil, a consistent theme emerged: The colors around us powerfully influence how we feel. Dulux wasn’t selling cans of paint; it was selling “tins of optimism.” This new definition of Dulux’s brand purpose led to a marketing campaign, “Let’s Color.” It enlists volunteers, which now include more than 80% of AkzoNobel employees, and donates paint (more than half a million liters so far) to revitalize run-down urban neighborhoods, from the favelas of Rio to the streets of Jodhpur. In addition to aligning the once-decentralized marketing organization, Dulux’s purpose-driven approach has expanded its share in many markets.

Total experience.

Companies are increasingly enhancing the value of their products by creating customer experiences. Some deepen the customer relationship by leveraging what they know about a given customer to personalize offerings. Others focus on the breadth of the relationship by adding touchpoints. Our research shows that high-performing brands do both—providing what we call “total experience.” In fact, we believe that the most important marketing metric will soon change from “share of wallet” or “share of voice” to “share of experience.”

McCormick, the spices and flavorings firm, emphasizes both depth and breadth in delivering on its promise to “push the art, science, and passion of flavor.” It creates a consistent experience for consumers across numerous physical and digital touchpoints, such as product packaging, branded content like cookbooks, retail stores, and even an interactive service, FlavorPrint, that learns each customer’s taste preferences and makes tailored recipe recommendations. FlavorPrint does for recipes what Netflix has done for movies; its algorithm distills each recipe into a unique flavor profile, which can be matched to a consumer’s taste-preference profile. FlavorPrint can then generate customized e-mails, shopping lists, and recipes optimized for tablets and mobile devices.

Organizing for Growth

Marketing has become too important to be left just to the marketers in a company. We say this not to disparage marketers but to underscore how holistic marketing now is. To deliver a seamless experience, one informed by data and imbued with brand purpose, all employees in the company, from store clerks and phone center reps to IT specialists and the marketing team itself, must share a common vision.

Our research has identified five drivers of organizational effectiveness. The leaders of high-performing companies connect marketing to the business strategy and to the rest of the organization; inspire their organizations by engaging all levels with the brand purpose; focus their people on a few key priorities; organize agile, cross-functional teams; and build the internal capabilities needed for success.

Connecting.

In our work with marketing organizations, we have seen case after case of dysfunctional teamwork, suboptimal collaboration, and lack of shared purpose and trust.

Despite cultural and geographic obstacles, our high-performing marketers avoid such breakdowns for the most part. Their leaders excel at linking their departments to general management and other functions. They create a tight relationship with the CEO, making certain that marketing goals support company goals; bridge organizational silos by integrating marketing and other disciplines; and ensure that global, regional, and local marketing teams work interdependently.

Marketing historically has marched to its own drummer, at best unevenly supporting strategy handed down from headquarters and, more commonly, pursuing brand or marketing goals (such as growing brand equity) that were not directly related to the overall business strategy. Today high-performing marketing leaders don’t just align their department’s activities with company strategy; they actively engage in creating it. From 2006 to 2013, our surveys show, marketing’s influence on strategy development increased by 20 percentage points. And when marketing demonstrates that it is fighting for the same business objectives as its peers, trust and communication strengthen across all functions and, as we shall see, enable the collaboration required for high performance.

Another way companies foster connections is by putting marketing and other functions under a single leader. Motorola’s Eduardo Conrado is the senior VP of both marketing and IT. A year after Antonio Lucio was appointed CMO of Visa, he was invited to also lead HR and tighten the alignment between the company’s strategy and how employees were recruited, developed, retained, and rewarded. CoauthCo-author Weed leads communications and sustainability, as well as marketing, at Unilever. And Herschend Family Entertainment, owner of the Harlem Globetrotters and various theme parks, has recently expanded CMO Eric Lent’s role to chief marketing and consumer technology officer.

Marketing has become too important to be left just to the marketers. All employees, from store clerks to IT specialists, must be engaged in it.

Inspiring.

Inspiration is one of the most underused drivers of effective marketing—and one of the most powerful. Our research shows that high-performing marketers are more likely to engage customers and employees with their brand purpose—and that employees in those organizations are more likely to express pride in the brand.

Inspiration strengthens commitment, of course, but when it’s rooted in a respected brand purpose, all employees will be motivated by the same mission. This enhances collaboration and, as more and more employees come into contact with customers, also helps ensure consistent customer experiences. The payoff is that everyone in the company becomes a de facto member of tCo-authoring team.

The key to inspiring the organization is to do internally what marketing does best externally: create irresistible messages and programs that get everyone on board. At Dulux, that involved handing paint and brushes to thousands of employees and setting them loose on neighborhoods around the world. Unilever’s leadership conducts a quarterly live broadcast with most of the company’s 6,500 marketers to celebrate best brand practices and introduce new tools. In addition, Unilever holds a series of globally coordinated and locally delivered internal and external communications events, called Big Moments, to engage employees and opinion leaders companywide directly with the broader purpose of making sustainable living commonplace. Research shows this has led to a significant increase in employee commitment. Nike has a marketing staffer whose sole job is to tell the original Nike story to all new employees.

Inspiration is so important that many companies, Unilever among them, have begun measuring employees’ brand engagement as a key performance indicator. Google does this by assessing employees’ “Googliness” in performance appraisals to determine how fully people embrace the company’s culture and purpose. And Zappos famously offers new hires $3,000 to leave after four weeks, effectively cutting loose anyone who is not inspired by the company’s obsessive customer focus.

Focusing.

When we asked eight global marketing executives in one organization to list their top five marketing objectives, only two goals made it onto everyone’s list. The remainder was a motley assortment of personal or local objectives. Such misalignment, our data show, increases the farther teams are from an organization’s center of power. With marketing activities ever more dispersed across global companies, that risk must be carefully managed.

By a wide margin, respondents in overperforming companies agreed with the statements “Local marketing understands the global strategy” and “Global marketing understands the local marketing reality.” Winning companies were more likely to measure brands’ success against key performance indicators such as revenue growth and profit and to tie incentives at the local level directly to those KPIs. Ironically, almost all companies were meticulous in planning and executing consumer communication campaigns but failed to devote the same care to internal communications about strategy. That’s a dangerous oversight.

Marc Schroeder, the global marketing head for PepsiCo’s Quaker brand, understood the need for internal cohesiveness when he led a cross-regional “marketing council” to develop and communicate the brand’s first global growth strategy. The council defined a purposeful positioning, nailed down the brand’s global objectives, set a prioritized growth agenda, created clear lines of accountability and incentives, and adopted a performance dashboard that tracked industry measures such as market share and revenue growth. The council communicated the strategy through regional and local team meetings, including those with agencies and retail customers worldwide, and hosted a first-ever global brand stewardship event to educate colleagues. As a result of those efforts, all Quaker marketing plans are now explicitly linked to one overall strategy.

Organizing for agility.

Our research consistently shows that organizational structure, roles, and processes are among the toughest leadership challenges—and that the need for clarity about them is consistently underestimated or even ignored.

We have helped design dozens of marketing organizations. Typically we enter the scene after a traditional business consultancy has done preliminary strategy, cost, and head-count analyses, and our role is to work with the CMO to create and implement a new structure, operating model, and capability-building program. Though we believe there is no ideal organizational blueprint, our experience does suggest a set of operational and design principles that any organization can apply.

Today marketing organizations must leverage global scale but also be nimble, able to plan and execute in a matter of weeks or a few months—and, increasingly, instantaneously. Oreo famously took to Twitter during the blackout at the 2013 Super Bowl, reminding consumers, “You can still dunk in the dark,” making the brand a trending topic during one of the world’s biggest sporting events. That the tweet was designed and approved in minutes was no accident; Oreo deliberately organized and empowered its marketing team for the occasion, bringing agency and brand teams together in a “mission control” room and authorizing them to engage with their audience in real time.

Complex matrixed organizational structures—like those captured in traditional, rigid “Christmas tree” org charts—are giving way to networked organizations characterized by flexible roles, fluid responsibilities, and more relaxed sign-off processes designed for speed. The new structures allow leaders to tap talent as needed from across the organization and assemble teams for specific, often short-term, marketing initiatives. The teams may form, execute, and disband in a matter of weeks or months, depending on the task.

New marketing roles.

As companies expand internationally, they inevitably reorganize to better balance the benefits of global scale with the need for local relevance. Our research shows that, as a result, the vast majority of brands are led much more centrally today than they were a few years ago. Companies are removing middle, often regional, layers and creating specialized “centers of excellence” that guide strategy and share best practices while drawing on needed resources wherever, and at whatever level, they exist in the organization. As companies pursue this approach, roles and processes need to be adapted.

Marketing organizations traditionally have been populated by generalists, but particularly with the rise of social and digital marketing, a profusion of new specialist roles—such as digital privacy analysts and native content editors—are emerging. We have found it useful to categorize marketing roles not by title (as the variety seems infinite) but as belonging to one of three broad types: “think” marketers, who apply analytic capabilities to tasks like data mining, media-mix modeling, and ROI optimization; “do” marketers, who develop content and design and lead production; and “feel” marketers, who focus on consumer interaction and engagement in roles from customer service to social media and online communities.

The networked organization.

A broad array of skills and organizational tiers and functions are represented within each category. CMOs and other marketing executives such as chief experience officers and global brand managers increasingly operate as the orchestrators, assembling cross-functional teams from these three classes of talent to tackle initiatives. Orchestrators brief the teams, ensure that they have the capabilities and resources they need, and oversee performance tracking. To populate a team, the orchestrator and team leader draw from marketing and other functions as well as from outside agencies and consulting firms, balancing the mix of think, do, and feel capabilities in accordance with the team’s mission.

Companies are using this model to create task forces for a range of marketing programs, from integrating online and physical retail experiences to introducing new products. When Unilever launched Project Sunlight—a consumer-engagement program connected with its sustainable living initiative—the team drew talent from seven expertise areas. The international cable company Liberty Global uses task forces to optimize the customer experience at key engagement points—such as when customers receive a bill. These teams are led by managers from a variety of marketing and nonmarketing functions, have different durations, and draw from each of the three talent pools in different measure.

The task-force model is both agile and disciplined. It requires a culture in which central leadership is confident that local teams understand the strategy and will collaborate to execute it. This works well only when everyone in the organization is inspired by the brand purpose and is clear about the goals. Google, Nike, Red Bull, and Amazon all embrace this philosophy. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos captured the ethos when he said at a shareholders’ meeting, “We are stubborn on vision. We are flexible on details.”

Building capabilities.

As we have shown, the most effective marketers lead by connecting, inspiring, focusing, and organizing for agility. But none of those activities can be fully accomplished, or sustained, without the continual building of capabilities. Our research shows pronounced differences in training between high- and low-performing companies, in terms of both quantity and quality.

At a minimum the marketing staff needs expertise in traditional marketing and communications functions—market research, competitive intelligence, media planning, and so forth. But we’ve seen that sometimes even those basic capabilities are lacking. Courses to onboard new staff and teach targeted skills are just the price of entry. The best marketing organizations, including those at Coca-Cola, Unilever, and the Japanese beauty company Shiseido, have invested in dedicated internal marketing academies to create a single marketing language and way of doing marketing.

Senior managers across the company can benefit from programs for sharing expertise on consumer habits, competitor strategy, and retail dynamics. Virgin, Starbucks, and other corporations have created intensive “immersion” programs for this purpose. Executives at the director level can profit from advanced courses that focus on strategic considerations such as portfolio management and partnering. We find that senior leaders often gain a lot in digital and social media training, as they’re frequently less well versed in those areas than their junior colleagues are. Appreciating this, companies including Unilever and Diageo have taken their senior leaders to Facebook for training. We’ve collaborated with partners at Google, MSN, and AOL to develop similar programs, including “reverse mentoring,” which pairs very senior managers with younger staffers. Even the CMO can benefit from continued, targeted training. Visa’s Antonio Lucio, for instance, hired a digital native to teach him about social media and monitor his progress.

Underperforming marketers, on the other hand, underinvest in training. Their employees receive just over half a day of training a year, on average, while overperformers give people nearly two full days of tailored, practical training by external experts. At first blush, the Marketing2020 study reveals what you might expect: Marketers must leverage customer insight, imbue their brands with a brand purpose, and deliver a rich customer experience. They must connect, inspire, focus, organize, and build, as detailed here. The finding that’s striking—and should serve as both a warning and a call to arms—is that most organizations haven’t been able to put all those pieces together. Our data show that only half of even high-performing organizations excel on some of these capabilities. But that shouldn’t be discouraging; rather, it illuminates where there’s work to do. Regardless of how marketing delivers its messages in the future, the fundamental human motivations that marketers must satisfy won’t change. The challenge now is to create organizations that can truly speak to those needs.

David Ogden
Helping People Help Themselves

David

Blogging – Why We Love It!

blogging

blogging

Blogging – Why We Love It!

Blogging is not a new activity, at least for those who jumped on the blogger bandwagon a couple of years ago. But more recently, it’s become a platform for all kinds of social, commercial and personal stories and information. While blogging may have started out as an internet fad, these days it’s much more widely used in business, as well as by individuals.

Blogging – tell your stories.

We love telling our tales of woe or triumph, writing witty anecdotes, or simply sharing our thoughts with the rest of the world. Blogging has given us the opportunity to get our opinions published for everyone to see, to comment on the latest big news items or celebrity gossip. Writing down our daily thoughts helps us to get the worries and frustrations of life out of our heads and lets us share our big moments on the blogging pages.

Blogging – share your interests.

One of the fantastic things about blogging is that we can write about absolutely anything; hobbies, lifestyle, children, school and work. There’s a whole host of blogging sites dedicated to particular interests, and we can keep up to date with other people’s views on things that we have in common. Whether it’s the latest technology, gadgets, cars or computer games, or things like travel and holidays, we can stay in touch with the most up to date information.

Blogging – get involved in the community.

Charity associations, local clubs, and community groups can use blogging to get their organizations known by a wider reaching audience. Online accounts of recent events is a great way to use blogging pages to get publicity, while a short piece on the next meeting or class can help promote the work of the club, and may even attract more participants or volunteers. The great advantage of blogging over writing web pages is that it’s quick and easy, and can be done by almost anyone!

Blogging – promote your business.

Many companies now use blogging pages as an informal way of connecting with their customers. For the smaller, or new business owners, it’s an excellent way to publicize their products without expensive advertising costs. Just by posting a regular blogging column, small companies can often draw in more business than by the more conventional methods.

Blogging – making a profit.

The biggest shake-up in the blogging explosion has most likely been caused by internet entrepreneurs. Promoting their online products and services has been helped tremendously by putting up several blogs to support their ventures. Blogging has hugely increased the potential traffic to new and existing websites, giving the marketers much more exposure to people using search engines for specific information. Blogging in itself has become a money-making business, even for beginners in the internet marketing business.

Having become one of the greatest internet resources for all types of people, blogging is usually free, easy to get started, and gives us all the opportunity to reach a massive worldwide audience!

MarketHive Inbound Marketing Tools for Entrepreneurs

MarketHive is a social networking site designed for entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, MarketHive isn't only a social networking website, in addition, it includes a blogging platform, plus some very effective online marketing tools to allow entrepreneurs to be successful marketing their Internet business, services and products.

Below you will find some of the marketing tools you will receive once you sign up for Markethive:

•        Autoresponders

•        E-mail Broadcasting

•        Blogging Platform

•        Capture Pages

•        One Click Lead Generation System

•        Conference Room and a whole lot more

You might be curious about how much actually does MarketHive charge for these amazing online marketing tools, well the answer really is these Internet marketing tools are totally free of charge for life, no strings attached. Basically these online marketing tools would cost you hundreds of dollars per month, not at MarketHive. This is the good news for the beginner as well as the veteran Internet marketer.

To learn more click on the following link:

http://blogs.freeinboundmarketingtools.com/go/market-hive/

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call me. My telephone number is 609-641-6594 – Eastern Time Zone

Or Skype me. My Skype ID is imboyd681. Please put Markethive in the Skype message.

 

Thanks,

 

Ida Mae Boyd
Markethive Inbound Marketing Specialist

David