BMA – Content Marketing at Adobe

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This insightful event focused on content marketing in its broader sense.  This approach is both reasonable and refreshing.

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Interesting – expert content is more valuable that user reviews for purchase consideration. Though preference for expert content was known for years, comparison between expert content and user review is new (for me).

Opportunity outlined by the presenter: we need to create experts.  Now, demand generation is thought leadership.

Not all subject matter experts are good writers; pair good writers with SMEs.

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An unusual approach to “content” is Virgin America campaign to promote its First Class features.  What could be more boring?  Not quite…  A unique pair of sneakers including representation of first class amenities was offered on eBay.

Lyft grew out of a common passion point: feeling part of a community. The company launched a campaign called “Undercover Lyft,” featuring celebrity and local hero Lyft drivers who picked up unsuspecting customers. Through its campaign, Lyft made clear to customers that it understood and could deliver on the need for a sense of community.

Social-media-optimized videos:

  • Social videos work well on Twitter and Facebook, but not on YouTube and LinkedIn.
  • Keep videos to 45 seconds or less in length.
  • Captions are imperative, since 80 percent of viewers will watch without audio.
    Put targets on the audience you want to reach and money behind the posts.

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BMA – ABM Optimization

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As usually, the event started from lovely networking and proceeded to a very insightful conversation about ABM and everything related to the topic (from a marketer’s perspective, it pretty much everything 🙂 ).

Jamie posted Top 3 Takeaways on ABM Optimization after the event, which gives an excellent overview of the conversation.

…Duns & Bradstreet added that they see a data decline rate of 40% in one year. This tracks on par with my experience…

Other interesting points:

  • An issue to consider: who is the prospect and who is the customer?  Two different people in the same organization can “play both roles.”
  • Micro-campaigns for the same account (a play on “Demand Unit?”) – IBM Analytics or IBM Watson as separate segments to target, for example.
  • Even in a medium size company, the organization can have several operations groups, but nobody responsible for the entire process.  As a result, the database may not be cleaned in a decade…
  • Identification of a champion for the solution within an organization is critical.  However, the champion’s involvement needs to be carefully considered.  For example, a champion might do a webinar only for the company where he/she works, and only BU name can be used in promotion, rather thank the person’s name.
  • If sales are asked to select initial accounts for ABM, they often provide accounts, which they were not able to penetrate.  These accounts would not be the best start for the program; it is important to work with accounts, which already expressed some level of interest.
  • How to find champions?  The best source is a user conference.  Finding a champion on the acquisition side is more difficult, and requires close communication with sales.  When the champion is identified, ask “what do you need?”
  • box.PNGDM is a good way to catch attention in the world of electronic messaging.  One of arguments against the approach is remote work, but most people will eventually come to the office.  It is important to include a premium to get results.  People love receiving boxes 🙂
  • Successful tactic: Lunch and Learn.  Getting a list of potential attendees is easy by requesting a list with “dietary requirements.”

flip.PNGABM blog with presenter’s contributions  Flip My Funnel  Curious: the blog promotes “ABX Webinar series.”

Book – Winning Them Over

Winning.pngThe book compares management style of the past with current, more collaborative approach.  As we live (and work) in the era of persuasion, the book introduces persuasion techniques and gives insightful examples of the time (published 1998).

Interesting: the same techniques could be very helpful now as persuasion is the only technique available in cross-functional team environment.

Examples in the book are similar in spirit to other examples in business literature: very simple and clear messages, emotional appeal, and direct connection to “what is in it for me.”  Pictures (verbal and literal) and analogies are more effective than data in persuasion, though data is also needed for support.

 

Book – Think Simple: How Smart Leaders Defeat Complexity

simple.pngMany people think that they have a more complex business than they have.  More times than not, they actually create complexity in their mind.

JCPenney: though we remember the outcry of disappointed customers when discounts and coupons were cut, this story is not quite complete.  The company planned to re-create stores and provide a different, simplified and more engaging experience.  This experience would replace existing stores and coupons.  Unfortunately, the “old” value was removed before the “new” value became available.  JCPenney’s customers might have reacted differently if the entire plan was rolled out as designed.  This was, definitely, not that simple…

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Blue Men Group: understanding the need for  simplification (and communication).  The group conducted an interesting research: what do people new to Blue Men expect from the show?  The results were baffling: guesses were very inaccurate, and often strange.  After the first show the same audience claimed that they were surprised by the experience, as the show was significantly different from expectations.   Blue Men Group realized that show promotions need to be clarified.

DirectTV Latin America: simplification of brand and simplification of reporting structure.

Reporting structure: functional heads in each country reported to a manager based in Florida. For example, heads of marketing of Peru, Chile, and Colombia were reporting to a head of marketing in Florida. It created significant overhead in Florida and constant flow of communication.

To tell you how messed up this arrangement could be, I visited Florida shortly after I started this job.  Everyone of those functional heads swore to me that their part of the company was making money.  But when you added it up, they were actually in bankruptcy.  It became convoluted and financial reporting was designed to reflect convoluted structure.  Somehow, they all convinced themselves that they were making money.

Solution: eliminate the entire organization in Florida and empower management in each country to be responsible for its own business.  Each country became its own PNL, and the entire organization became more entrepreneurial and less complicated.

What causes this complexity?  Mostly ego and a desire to control.

Employees in big companies are typically eager to change and quick to embrace the idea of simplification.  It is complexity that sets people running in the opposite direction.

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Book – Reinvention

reinvention.pngJust before our professional association meeting at the company office, we realized that the previous group was still occupying the room.  As a representative of both professional association and the company, I found myself encouraging previous group to leave and cleaning the tables.  A couple of books were left in the auditorium…

A free book on business reinvention?  Absolutely irresistible!

The book has quite interesting approach: a combination of organizational and personal (professional) change in one process, as authors thought that personal and organizational change processes were so similar, that two separate books were not needed.

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The most profound statement of the book is the comparison of the degree of change – external and internal for both an organization and an individual.

To be successful, you and your organization must have the ability to reinvent, pivot, and morph faster than the speed of the external environment that you operate within.  Possessing the ability to not only survive disruption but also accelerate results during turbulent and challenging times is a skill that must be mastered.

A cute video explains “six deadly blindfolds” and an approach to handle inevitable disruptions.

Do you or your organization have “buoys” in place so that you are rarely surprised when powerful shock-waves begin pounding on your shore?  Great organizations and highly adaptive professionals seem to be better at predicting and understanding incoming changes than others.

Elements needed for the reinvention effort to be successful:

  • Dissatisfaction (feeling a need for change)
  • Focus (well-articulated future state)
  • Alignment (available infrastructure, including tools, processes, finances, etc.)
  • Execution (comprehensive game plan with clear milestones)
  • Leadership 
  • Cost of Change (reinvention costs: financial, social, physical, mental, etc.)

(D x F x A x E)L > C

A general manager of a major division announced a plan of the division redesign, while the division was still producing better results than other parts of the company.  A push-back from the executive team was overcome by the requirement to conduct an environmental scan.  60 days later, humbled executives reported that they were actually #5 in market share, down from #2 and dropping fast. “They discovered new strategies of the competition.  And customers gave them an earful.  The executive team was now ready for a redesign.”

SweetmanCragun Group offers a collection of templates related to the reinvention steps mentioned in the book.

An interesting (and very relevant quote) from Catherine Fake, a co-founder of Flickr:

work.PNGSo often people are working hard at the wrong thing.  Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.

 

Book – HBR Guide to Managing Up and Across

HBR.pngThe guide is a collection of helpful tips on how to include remote colleagues into projects more effectively, navigate complicated matrix organization, and build helpful networks.  A fantastic resource with very relevant questions to ponder and ideas to explore, which might remind about an issues from a last week meeting or a phone call planned for tomorrow afternoon.

One of the most interesting perspectives of the book is a network analysis.

…high performers have strong ties to

1. network.PNGpeople who offer them new information or expertise, including internal or external clients, who increase their market awareness; peers in other functions, divisions, or geographies, who share best practices; and contacts in other industries, who inspire innovation;

2. formally powerful people, who provide mentoring, sense-making, political support, and resources; and informally powerful people, who offer influence, help coordinating projects, and support among the rank and file; and

3. people who give them developmental feedback, challenge their decisions, and push them to be better. At an early career stage, an employee might get this from a boss or customers; later, it tends to come from coaches, trusted colleagues, or a spouse.

A network can be imbalanced and have unexpected redundancies; active approach to building a network is the most beneficial:

Write down three business results you hope to achieve in the next year, and then list people who could help you with them.

A thought provoking article Make Your Enemies Your Allies, recommends three steps to handle unfortunate situations in the office: redirection, reciprocity, and rationality.  The article provides a couple of successful examples of the approach, including an example of initially unpopular idea, which was eventually supported by an organization.

The book also suggested an interesting approach to relationship with management: your boss can be considered as a brand, and your boss’s boss the ultimate customer.

BMA – Gaining Truth and Actions from Attribution

full.pngAs usually, BMA presented a very insightful event.  Attribution is a serious, and, sometimes, heated debate between marketing, sales, and even occasional marketing silos 🙂   Blue Jeans uses Full Circle Insights to monitor marketing generated leads and understand channel activity.

blue.PNGInteresting: Blue Jeans start from equal touch attribution, what makes sense.

Innovative analytics point: Blue Jeans used to have a three persons analytics team, which served needs of different case-study.pnggroups, including executive reports.  As the team was struggling to fulfill all demands, a better organization helped to focus the efforts.  Now each member of the team is “embedded” into a functional group and handles all analytics needs of that group (marketing, for example).

Why not make reporting a “self service” for the marketing group?  As operations are busy with the campaign creation, it is highly unlikely they could find time to do deep enough analysis to understand what is happening with the campaign. A dedicated analyst has the time and a skill set to find and share campaign insights.

Marketing fables: “An outdated e-book converts 5 times better than anything else…”  🙂

Beside the topic of the meeting, marketers discussed new Sirius Decisions waterfall – who could resist?  🙂

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Interesting – ABM is migrating into the waterfall and also experiencing an evolution of key concepts.

Demand Unit Waterfall, which starts with a target market containing potential demand units. Demand units are defined as a buying group that has been organized to address a need the organization is challenged with. Demand units – not accounts – are usually the true targets that marketing (and product and sales) should have in mind when thinking about buyers. Buyer, needs and solution must match for a demand unit to exist.