When your project isn’t making money

Posted Posted in How to Make Money Online, Marketing Education, Women - Financial Success

It might be that you’re losing money on every sale

(Which means that each and every item you sell, every service you perform, costs you money. Bigger won’t make you better…)

  • Because you’re not charging enough.

(Low price is the last refuge of leadership that doesn’t have the guts to make a great product and tell a true story to the right people)

  • Because you’re selling to the wrong people…Choose your customers, choose your future.

(Some customers want to pay more than others, and some customers want to get more—of something—than others)

  • Because it costs you too much to make what you sell.

(Your factory processes may be unsophisticated)

Are you aware of work in process, cash flow and cycle times? Are you doing custom work in a batch business, or vice versa?

  • Your supply chain may be undeveloped.

What are you outsourcing? Is the time and money you spend on every step rewarded by the customer you serve?

  • Your people might not be motivated or trained to be efficient.

(Because people do what they want, and they respond to training and respect and opportunity)

  • Your debt service might be too high

(And that’s a hard one to fix)

  • Your competition might do the work in a totally different way, one that you can’t compete with unless you change significantly.

(Systems thinking matters)

It might be that your costs of acquiring a new customer are more than that customer is worth

(Because your marketing message is incorrect)

Because there’s a mismatch between your story and the worldview of those you seek to serve.

Because the people you seek to serve don’t think they need you.

Because it costs too much to tell these people you exist.

Because the people you seek to serve don’t trust you.

Because you’re lying when you make promises.

Because you’re overspending or underspending on marketing.

(often, it’s the underspenders that are in real trouble)

Because you’re focusing on the wrong channels to tell your story.

(just because social media is fun to talk about doesn’t mean it works)

Because you don’t have a connection ratchet, a business that leads to a network effect, where success begets more success because the more people use you, the more they want their friends and colleagues to use you as well.

Because your product isn’t sufficiently developed.

Because the people you seek to serve don’t talk about you, thus, you’re not remarkable.

Or the people you seek to serve don’t like to talk about anyone, and your efforts to be remarkable are wasted.

Because your product doesn’t earn traction with your customers, they wouldn’t miss you if you were gone–the substitutes are easy.

Because even though you’re trying hard, you’re being selfish, focusing on your needs instead of having empathy for those you seek to serve.

It might be that your scale is wrong

You may have created an organization that’s profitable at a much bigger (or smaller size) but the mismatch between your overhead (all that rent, all those people, all of those services you pay for) and your total sales is way off.

It’s smarter than ever to be very small–but occasionally, there are significant rewards for being the efficient giant.

It’s rare that being in the middle is the Goldilocks happy medium you were hoping for.

That’s it, that might be all of it.

Either your marginal costs are too high compared to your price, or the fixed price of marketing is too high, or your overhead is too high (meaning your sales are too low for the size of your organization).

Within those three areas, there are many sub-riffs:

It might be that you’re too early to the market.

There are early adopters, certainly, but maybe not enough, or not willing to pay your price…

Being too early also means that your costs are higher and your forward motion is slower.

And it might be that you’re too late.

Which means that the people who were interested, interesting and willing to pay extra already have their needs met, and all you’re left with is bottom-fishing, bargain-hunting late adopters.

It might be that you’re slow moving when those you seek to serve want speedWhat you make isn’t usually as important as how it makes your customers feel.

You might not be focused enough on a specific segment of the marketplace, a place where you can cross the chasm and reach the customers who are waiting for a tested and proven option.

It’s possible you say ‘yes’ when you should frequently be saying ‘no’.

You may have a staffing problem, with senior people doing their job instead of working on the mission of solving interesting problems and scaling up their tactics.

It’s likely that you’re being reactive, doing what the market tells you instead of bending the market in the direction you want it to go

(But, it’s almost as likely that you’re spending too much time and energy bending the market in a way it’s not eager to bend, and if you spent more time fitting into the slot that’s being offered, you could generate the traction you’re looking for.)

A lot of this is called “marketing” but too often, when faced with problems like these, we end up spending time shouting, hyping and cutting promotional corners instead of doing the hard work of understanding what we make, how we make it and who we make it for.

I know this is a long list. But the good news is that once you find what’s broken, you can fix it.


The Impact of Twitter’s Proposed Shakeup on Marketers and Influencers

Posted Posted in Marketing Education, Women - Financial Success

The Potential Impact of Twitter's Proposed Changes

The Potential Impact of Twitter's Proposed Changes

Twitter needs to change. This truth is acknowledged by everyone affiliated with the social media network, including its co-founder and CEO.

Jack Dorsey sat with Chris Anderson and Whitney Pennington Rodgers of TED last month for a roundtable discussion about the state of his company, and the path ahead. Specifically, their chat centered on Twitter’s conversation health, and how to improve it.

During the talk, Dorsey laid out some interesting ideas. Today we’ll touch on several of them — including one proposed shift that could fundamentally alter the platform’s very fabric — with an eye on the potential impact for B2B marketers and influencers.

The Continuing Mission to Combat Twitter Abuse

This issue isn’t new. I wrote last year on this blog about Twitter’s efforts to tame the trolls and restore civility to its discourse. At the time, the network had recently enacted a massive purge of fake and suspicious accounts, and was also launching a pair of academic projects regarding diversity of viewpoints.

But eight months later, the underlying problems haven’t much improved. In the most striking moment of TED’s roundtable, Anderson confronts Dorsey directly about the widespread perception of an “all talk, no action” approach from Twitter. To signal the urgency, Anderson draws up a Titanic metaphor (a man after my own heart), with Twitter’s CEO as the captain. In this scenario, Dorsey listens reflectively as shiphands express their concerns about the iceberg ahead.

“And you go to the bridge, and we’re waiting, and we look, and then you’re showing this extraordinary calm, but we’re all standing outside, saying, ‘Jack, turn the [F-ing] wheel!’”

Are Dorsey and Twitter finally ready to take control and change course? One idea he offered, in particular, suggests that a major transformation could be on the horizon.

Shifting Tides: From Following Accounts to Following Topics

Some of the possible changes hinted by Dorsey are relatively minor and uncontroversial. He wants users to be able to hide their replies. He wants to deemphasize follower counts and ‘likes’ on tweets. His team plans to analyze conversation health across four parameters (shared attention, shared reality, receptivity, variety of perspective), and… well, I find myself in agreement with Bill Murphy Jr.: “I don’t understand exactly what Twitter hopes to do with this analysis.”

But the bombshell of the interview came with Dorsey’s allusion to an entirely new structural underpinning for Twitter. Here’s the full answer he gave when asked about how he feels he can meaningfully shift behavior on the platform:

Well, one of the things — we started the service with this concept of following an account, as an example, and I don’t believe that’s why people actually come to Twitter. I believe Twitter is best as an interest-based network. People come with a particular interest. They have to do a ton of work to find and follow the related accounts around those interests. What we could do instead is allow you to follow an interest, follow a hashtag, follow a trend, follow a community, which gives us the opportunity to show all of the accounts, all the topics, all the moments, all the hashtags that are associated with that particular topic and interest, which really opens up the perspective that you see. But that is a huge fundamental shift to bias the entire network away from just an account bias towards a topics and interest bias.

As with his conversation health analysis piece, it’s not entirely clear to me what Dorsey is advancing here. Is the idea that we will no longer be able to choose who we follow, and our feeds will instead be based entirely on topical areas of interest? (For me personally, this would be annoying, because there are certain people within my areas of interest that I actively choose to follow, and some I actively choose not to. I don’t think I’m alone.)

Or maybe it’s more about how Twitter’s algorithm serves us content outside of the people we follow. Right now, this does seem to be mostly account-driven. For example, you’ll see a tweet on your timeline from someone you’re unfamiliar with, and a message above will explain it was selected due to other users (i.e., “@NickNelsonMN and @CaitlinMBurgess follow this person”). Shifting this to more of a topical basis wouldn’t deter the ability to customize one’s own feed, and could actually be quite beneficial if done right.

In either case, the marketing implications are worth considering.

What Could All This Mean for Marketers?

Without having an exact idea of what Twitter is planning (or whether it will actually implement anything at all, given its history), we can’t draw any definitive conclusions. But given our continual tracking of the ever-changing social media marketing universe, as well as emerging influencer marketing trends, a few thoughts do initially cross through my mind, and mostly they are positive.

Removal of Rancor and Vitriol Are Good for Business

One area where Twitter has shown demonstrable progress is in scalably reducing abuse. Dorsey notes that “about 38% of abusive tweets are now proactively identified by machine learning algorithms so that people don’t actually have to report them,” adding that this is up from zero percent a year ago. It’s part of an effort to “take the burden off the victim.”

Setting aside the snark, let’s acknowledge that this is an important step in the right direction. Twitter’s reputation as a cesspool of negativity and hatred can make it an uninviting destination for any brand. Legitimate progress on this front is undoubtedly a plus.

Topic-based Visibility Could Be Great News for Influencers & Marketers

Large or small following, more established and rising influencers are often dedicated to growing their profiles within areas of specialization. If indeed Twitter moves to start serving people more topical content, it could be a great way for these individuals to get in front of users who are interested in the subjects they cover but may not yet be familiar with them, or immersed in their extended networks.

This would also make leveraging Twitter as part of influencer marketing efforts more appealing to B2B brands. Imagine if tapping an authoritative voice in, say, fintech not only gave you credible access to their direct following, but also to a much larger audience of users engaged with that topic?

Topical relevance is of the utmost importance, ranking as a top B2B influencer marketing focus. Brands need to be speaking the language of their customers and reaching them in the right context. This development might present an opportunity to better align marketing messaging, expertise, and audience on Twitter.

Impacts for Those Who’ve Built Large Audiences Are Ambiguous

If Twitter were to follow the more extreme version of Dorsey’s vision — pushing aside the traditional format of following accounts in favor of following topics — what would that mean for the people who’ve worked hard to build their own personal brands on the platform? Or, for that matter, the companies that have accrued thousands of quality followers through relevant, quality content?

I don’t think that’s necessarily what Dorsey was getting at. He might just be positioning this as a new method of discovery, rather than consumption. But again, he wasn’t especially clear and that leaves plenty of room for uncertainty.

What’s Ahead for Twitter and Marketers?

As always, we’ll have to wait and see whether Dorsey and Twitter back up their ambitious visions of upheaval, and to what extent. It bears noting that the platform has a history of launching capabilities and features that aren’t aligned with what users want (the new desktop layout being the most recent example). They’ll need to tread carefully with something so essential as how our feeds are curated.

But with the company taking some undeniable steps toward curbing abuse and improving user experiences, while showing strong business performance and impressing advertisers in the process, Twitter seems to be sailing in the right direction. Fewer trolls and more substantive, expert content organized around topics would make the platform a stronger piece in any B2B digital marketing strategy.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog for more coverage of Twitter and the social media marketing space at large. In the meantime, I invite you to check out some of these past entries on the topic:

The post The Impact of Twitter’s Proposed Shakeup on Marketers and Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

BIGLIST of Top Social Media Marketing Blogs for 2019 and Beyond

Posted Posted in Marketing Education, Women - Financial Success

Social Media Marketing Blogs

Social Media Marketing Blogs

The world of Social Media is probably responsible for more innovation in digital marketing over the past 5 to 10 years than nearly any other discipline. From ephemeral story based content to live video to all the things being done with data for more personalized marketing, staying in top of what’s real vs. the hype in marketing is increasingly difficult.

Top help marketers find great sources of marketing advice, we’ve curated the BIGLIST of marketing blogs and more recently a marketing blogs from martech companies. Adding to that curation effort and our own solid social media marketing advice is today’s list of social media marketing blogs.

This list focuses in on blogs covering all aspects of social media marketing including the usual suspects of platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn as well as newer platforms like TikTok. From trends to strategies to tactics to analytics, this group of blogs about social media and marketing is a great mix of big names, publications, platforms and a few names that are hopefully new to you.

1. Adweek Social Pro Daily @adweek
Platform news, industry trends and plenty of brand examples.
Our favorite post: Social Networks Finally Bypassed Print Newspapers as a Primary Source of News

2. Andrea Vahl Blog @AndreaVahl
Everything you wanted to know about Facebook advertising plus a glimpse of “Grandma Mary”.
Our favorite post: Facebook Video Ads – What’s Working Now

3. Awario Blog @AwarioApp
Social media monitoring, selling, research and influencer marketing advice.
Our favorite post: 10 of the best social media marketing tools for 2019

4. Brian Solis @briansolis
One of the true pioneering thought leaders on social media that continues to offer strategic insights – including how to temper social media use for a more creative, productive and happy life ala Lifescale.
Our favorite post: The Past, Present And Future Of Social Media – How We Fell To The Dark Side And Why The Force Is With Us

5. Brand24 Blog @brand24
Social listening, marketing and industry news plus best practices on everything from hashtags to social influencers.
Our favorite post: A Complete Guide to Social Media Analysis

6. CinchShare Blog @CinchShare
Social Media Marketing tips for small business including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and blogging advice.
Our favorite post: Grow your team on Facebook by doing these 3 things

7. Digimind Blog @digimindci
Social insight driven marketing advice, competitive social intelligence tips and soup to nuts social media campaign direction for agencies.
Our favorite post: Optimize Your Content Marketing Strategy in 13 Steps with Social Media Intelligence

8. DreamGrow Blog @dreamgrow
Social Media Marketing advice plus curated lists of resources.
Our favorite post: How To Integrate Social Media With eCommerce in 2019

9. Facebook Business Blog @facebook
Official blog from Facebook on advertising news, best practices and thought leadership.
Our favorite post: Turn Interested Shoppers Into Buyers with a Guided Shopping Experience in Messenger

10. Falcon Insights Hub @falconio
Social Media Marketing strategy, tactics and ROI measurement plus platform specific best practices.
Our favorite post: 5 Social Media Trends to Watch in 2019

11. Gary Vaynerchuk Blog @garyvee
The content machine that is Garyvee covers social media marketing thought leadership, trends, news and practical advice for specific social networks.
Our favorite post: 5 LinkedIn Marketing Strategies for 2019

12. Gleam Blog @gleamapp
A lot of how to social media marketing content, tips on using Gleam apps and advice on social contests, giveaways, coupons and product hunts.
Our favorite post: Stop Buying Likes: 25+ Tips to Drive Real Engagement on Facebook

13. Grow @markwschaefer
Mark Schaefer’s blog on the intersection of marketing, technology and humanity featuring provocative insights on industry trends, featured examples of social media and marketing in action and practical advice.
Our favorite post: What Is Your Social Media Marketing Purpose? (If You Don’t Know, This Will Help)

14. Hopper HQ Blog @hopper_hq
All things Instagram marketing ranging from trends to tips and a bit of advice on working with social influencers too.
Our favorite post: How to Measure B2B Social Media Marketing Success

15. Hot in Social Media @hotinsm
Social platform news and tips covering the gamut of social media marketing topics plus curated advice from industry experts.
Our favorite post: How to Use TikTok Like a PRO: Actionable Tips for Marketers

16. Iconosquare Blog @iconosquare
Focused information on marketing with Facebook and Instagram.
Our favorite post: Instagram Marketing Strategy: Your A-Z Guide

17. Instagram Business Blog @instagram
Official blog from Instagram sharing platform updates, features advertising advice.
Our favorite post: Creative Secrets of Instagram Stories

18. Jeff Bullas Blog @jeffbullas
Social Media Marketing best practices from Jeff and guest contributors.
Our favorite post: 9 Insider Tips For Increasing Your LinkedIn Leads

19. Jon Loomer Blog @jonloomer
This blog is Facebook marketing central – everything you ever wanted to know.
Our favorite post: How to Edit a Facebook Ad and Retain Social Proof

20. Karen’s PR & Social Media Blog @kfreberg
Dr. Karen Freberg’s take on social media marketing, PR and crisis communications.
Our favorite post: Super Bowl 2019: Trends & Takeaways from a Social Media Professor

21. Katie Lance Blog @katielance
Great example of a personal brand showcasing social media marketing advice with a slant towards the real estate audience.
Our favorite post: How to Attract Your Dream Client Through Social Media and Storytelling

22. Keyhole Blog @keyholeco
Recent attention to a variety of social media marketing tools as well as practical advice for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and hashtag marketing.
Our favorite post: Hashtags: A Beginner’s Guide and How to Use them Effectively – Keyhole

23. Later Blog @latermedia
Instagram Marketing strategy, tips, tools, resources and guides.
Our favorite post: Real or Fake: 5 Instagram Algorithm Rumors Explained

24. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog @linkedinmktg
Official blog from Linkedin offering marketing thought leadership, industry trends, news and practical advice on how to make the most of marketing and advertising on LinkedIn. (client)
Our favorite post: 10 Content Ideas for your LinkedIn Page

25. Louise Myers Visual Social Media Blog @Louise_Myers
Practice visual social media marketing tips for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest plus advice on blogging.
Our favorite post: How to Boost Your Social Media Strategy for 2019

26. Madalyn Sklar Blog @MadalynSklar
Literally everything you would ever want to know about building and engaging a community on Twitter with plenty of attention towards tools.
Our favorite post: How to Grow Your Twitter Community: 7 Essential Tips

27. Meltwater Blog: Social Media @MeltwaterSocial
Social Media thought leadership, practical advice and featured brand social media examples.
Our favorite post: Social Sidekick: Your Monthly Guide to Social Holidays, Themes, and Noteworthy Events

28. NetBase Blog @NetBase
Advice on social media listening, analytics and practical advice plus applications for social intelligence.
Our favorite post: Social Media Monitoring vs Social Listening – Yes, There’s a Difference!

29. Planoly Blog @planoly
Stay on top of Instagram and IG Marketing with practical tips and examples.
Our favorite post: How to Stay Motivated with Your Blog and Instagram

30. Problogger @problogger
Dedicated to the art and science of blogging and no one tells that story better than Darren Rowse.
Our favorite post: How to Start a Blog When You’re Not an Expert: 11 Ways to Make it Work

31. Quintly @quintly
Social Media Marketing research and analysis, best practices, trends and news about the platform.
Our favorite post: Instagram Study: We analyzed 9 million posts and here’s what we’ve learned

32. Snapchat for Business @snapchat
Official blog from Snapchat featuring the latest launches, announcements, and insights.
Our favorite post: CPG on Snapchat: Why Gen Z and millennials make all the difference

33. Socialnomics @equalman
Erik Qualman’s long running thought leadership blog on social media and marketing.
Our favorite post: 22 Social Media Tips From The Pros To Skyrocket Your 2019 ROI

34. Social Insider Blog @socialinsiderio
A cornucopia of how to articles on social media marketing plus a fun series of interviews with industry experts called Socialinsider Insta’rviews.
Our favorite post: The Most Impactful Social Media Trend That Businesses Should Integrate It In 2019

35. Social Media Examiner @SMExaminer
Probably the most popular blog about social media marketing from Mike Stelzner and team that also run the Social Media Marketing World conference.
Our favorite post: 10 Metrics to Track When Analyzing Your Social Media Marketing

36. Social Media Explorer @smxplorer
An original social media marketing blog covering the gamut of social media topics including tips, tools, news, and case studies.
Our favorite post: Up And Coming Social Media Trends Driven By Millennials And Generation Z

37. Social Media Lab @agorapulse
A special project from the folks at Agorapulse highlighting their investment of over $15k per month to help “Crack the Code” of social media and then report those results to readers.
Our favorite post: LinkedIn Post Length: Does Data Support the Idea that Longer is Better?

38. Social Media Today @socialmedia2day
A community blog offering a comprehensive view of social media marketing including updates to social platforms, trends, strategy and tactics.
Our favorite post: Social Media Calls to Action: 19 Words & Phrases to Generate More Engagement

39. Social Media Week News & Insights @socialmediaweek
Regular updates on the famous Social Media Week events in New York and Los Angeles plus coverage of social media technologies and marketing tactics.
Our favorite post: Boost Your Instagram Stories Game for 2019 With These 10 Practices

40. Social Report Blog @thesocialreport
A collection of practical posts about marketing on all of the major social networks plus trends and examples.
Our favorite post: 10 Top Social Media Scheduling Tools to Save Time in 2019

41. Social Sorted @SociallySorted
Donna Mortiz offers awesome monthly list posts of social media marketing ideas and in between shares visual and video marketing advice for social media channels.
Our favorite post: 60+ April Social Media Ideas – Videos, GIFs and more!

42. Spiderworking @Spiderworking
Amanda Webb covers social platform updates, examples and practical advice about small business social and content marketing.
Our favorite post: Relationship Marketing With Jessika Phillips, Pots Of Gold And LinkedIn Networking

43. Sue B Zimmerman @SueBZimmerman
The guru of Instagram marketing.
Our favorite post: How To Grow Instagram Followers in 2019

44. The Social Media Hat @SocialMediaHats
Mike Allton’s blog with practical advice about blogging, social media, SEO and email marketing.
Our favorite post: How to Create 26 Pieces Of Content From A Facebook Live

45. Talkwalker Blog @Talkwalker
Social Media Marketing and analytics blog with an emphasis on social monitoring and data applications.
Our favorite post: Social media trends that will impact 2019

46. Twitter Marketing Blog @Twitter
Official blog from Twitter about product news, marketing and advertising best practices and research.
Our favorite post: 10 ways marketing changed with Twitter

47. Unmetric Blog @unmetric
Social Media Marketing strategy, industry trends, and how to articles focused on brands.
Our favorite post: Brands vie for the throne in the game of social media marketing

One trend I’ve noticed is that many individuals that have really made a name for themselves as trusted voices in the social media space during the formative years of the industry simply are not blogging as much or have diversified into other areas of marketing. At the same time, a steady drumbeat of social media marketing advice can be found amongst a smaller number of highly focused industry blogs and companies serving the social media marketing industry.

Speaking of the social media marketing industry, you may have noticed some well known social media marketing technology brands are not on the above list. That’s because we’ve already included them in the martech list, but they certainly belong in this collection, so here they are:

If you’re more interested in following specific people in the world of social media marketing, then be sure to check out this list of social media marketing influencers for 2019.

Which social media marketing blogs would you add?


The post BIGLIST of Top Social Media Marketing Blogs for 2019 and Beyond appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Learn and get it paid by your company

Posted Posted in Women - Financial Success

You might be surprised at your company’s reimbursement policy for education.

Not only can you expense that book that will change the way you do your job, but you can probably take a course on the company’s dime (and perhaps even get some time to work on it).

It’s a great deal for the company. You get paid the same, but now you’re smarter, more engaged and more skilled.

And it’s a great deal for you. Because one day, when you leave the company, you’re going to take the smarter with you.

It’s interesting to consider why so few people take advantage of this extraordinary perk.

One reason is that you might not be aware of it (but now you are).

A second reason is that learning might remind you of school, and alas, school has created bad associations for some people who were hurt by the command and control mindset of industrial education.

The biggest reason I encounter, though, is that people are afraid. Afraid to ask the boss, afraid to assert their desire to learn something and afraid that after they’ve learned it, they won’t be able to live up to the increased expectations.

Even as I type this, I hope you can see how silly this is.

Relentlessly lowering expectations can work in the short run (hello George Costanza) but it’s hardly a strategy worthy of you and your next 10,000 days at work.

Enroll. Engage. Learn. And level up. Ask your boss and give it a try.


The first database rule – If You Make Errors You should Be Able to Correct them

Posted Posted in Women - Financial Success

If you participate in a database about people or their work, the first rule is simple: it should be as simple to fix an error as it is to make one.

If you mischaracterize something, get a digit wrong, sort it wrong, include a typo, inadvertently leave something out, put someone on a list of privilege or denial… every one of these errors is expensive–to you and to the person you’ve misrepresented.

You make it worse, far worse, when you insist that the database can’t be changed.

It’s bad enough that we’ve reduced people and their work to digits. At least we can be agile in fixing our mistakes.

(And yes, I’m talking about the conceptual databases each of us carry around in our heads, not just the digital ones on our desks).


Build a community

Posted Posted in Women - Financial Success

Short-term profits are a lousy way to build a sustainable community.

There’s always a shortcut, a rule to be bent, a way to make some more money now at the expense of the people around us.

The counterbalance to selfish Ayn-Randian greed is cultural belonging.

“No,” the community says, “we’re not proud of what you did, and you’re not welcome here.”

People like us do things like this.

It’s the community’s role to establish what “things like this” are. If you want to hang out with people like us, that’s the price you have to pay. To avoid the short-term and to invest in us instead.

The community might be wrong. The path of the person making change happen is often lonely, because change is frightening. But too often, the act of taking a shortcut or finding a short-term profit is confused with the actual long-term hard work of making things better.

Fortunately, the community often knows better.

[PS today’s the first priority deadline for the next session of the altMBA.]


LinkedIn’s New ‘Enlightened Tech Buyer’ Report

Posted Posted in Women - Financial Success

Key Takewaways from LinkedIn's Enlightened Tech Buyer Report

Key Takewaways from LinkedIn's Enlightened Tech Buyer Report

Technology is one of the fastest-growing B2B sectors, for reasons that are self-evident. As new solutions and innovations continue to enhance the way businesses operate across every industry, every key department has increasing tech needs and buying power these days.

The folks at LinkedIn* recently released a 2019 global report, The Enlightened Tech Buyer: Powering Customer Decisions from Acquisition to Renewal, and it merits attention from marketers of all stripes. As the “enlightened” descriptor implies, tech buyers (for reasons that are also self-evident) tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to research, consumption, and purchase behaviors.

Today we’ll take a deeper look at LinkedIn’s new data around this trendsetting cohort, breaking down five key revelations within.

5 Telling Trends Revealed in LinkedIn’s Tech Buyer Report

Here are some of the most eye-opening tidbits we saw based on LinkedIn’s survey of “5,241 global professionals who participated in or influenced the purchase of various hardware or software solutions at their organization within the last three months.”

#1 – Tech Buying Committees are Expansive and Diverse

We all know that, in general, B2B buying committees are expanding faster than the Night King’s army of wights. This dynamic is especially pronounced in the tech space.

“Where previously 3/4 of enterprise employees were part of technology decision-making,” LinkedIn reports, “today the total universe of end-users and decision-makers who impact business technology investments encompasses 4/5 of employees (roughly 86%).”

Tech Buying Decision-Making

As tech products and services become increasingly integrated with every aspect of an organization, more voices are coming into play. End users, external influencers, and cross-functional stakeholders all tend to have a role. This reinforces the imperative of establishing strong brand awareness throughout a business, which is a central focus of account-based marketing.  

#2 – The Purchase Cycle is Shortening

The report notes that the process of reviewing, selecting, and implementing new tech solutions has accelerated over the past few years, with the average purchase cycle now checking in at about 25 months. This could be viewed as good news or bad news, depending on how you look at it.

On the one hand, that’s still a fairly long timespan, providing plenty of opportunity for marketing content to make an impact. Meanwhile, the increase in velocity could suggest buyers are becoming more deliberate and urgent in identifying solutions.

But on the other hand, this also means that we as marketers have a smaller window than before to engage and persuade. We now need to make each interaction count more than ever — especially if we’re pursuing a new account. LinkedIn’s study shows that shortlists are becoming more competitive than ever for vendors.

#3 – Vendor Websites Are a Prime Resource

Across every B2B tech category, vendor website/mobile app is the top research destination for buyers. In aggregate, this source is followed by blogs/forums/discussion boards, product review websites, and technology media/trade journals:

In short, buyers are seeking out trustworthy information — be it from a company’s own website or from unbiased third party resources. This accentuates the importance of building credibility with best-answer content, which can satisfy a decision maker’s questions during research while also positioning your brand as helpful and knowledgeable.

#4 – Buyers Want Partners, Not Sellers

Above all, tech buyers value the overall quality of a product or service above all when choosing a vendor. (Duh.) But the next two factors are interesting: both the ability to consistently meet a buyer’s needs, and the ability to answer questions to a buyer’s satisfaction, rank above affordability/pricing in importance:

Choosing a Vendor

This is why the customer experience is becoming such an overarching imperative. Effective marketing now goes beyond the scope of traditional functions. Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm. And this level of attentiveness should go beyond the actual purchase itself…  

#5 – Smooth Implementation is Essential

Per LinkedIn, “The #1 indicator of customer renewal success is successful adoption and product satisfaction.” No surprise there. But it’s another reminder of why the full customer experience needs to be addressed.

“The data shows direct vendor engagement among buyers dropping off in later stages of purchase, meaning that there’s an opportunity to be more present and engaged with customers post-sale,” according to the report. “Marketers need to play an active role in the implementation and adoption process of new technology. A seamless customer experience also demands alignment with customer support in activities, training and key education resources.”

How can marketing continue to shape experiences in these later stages and after the sale? It’s a vital consideration for profitability, since we all know the relative cost of acquiring new customers compared to retaining existing ones.

Follow the Tech Buyers

None of the nuggets revealed in LinkedIn’s “Enlightened Tech Buyer” report are especially surprising, but they do reinforce some of the trends we see playing out at large:

  • Buying committees are becoming more distributed
  • Researchers seek out objective information and best-answer content
  • We need to help, not sell
  • Marketing is starting to impact more parts of the customer experience

To get the full scoop on today’s B2B tech buyer preferences, check out LinkedIn’s report.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Top Takeaways from LinkedIn’s New ‘Enlightened Tech Buyer’ Report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

The true cost of customer Care

Posted Posted in Women - Financial Success

“Your call is very important to us.”

If you hear that, it means someone is not just lying, but also isn’t good at arithmetic.

Your company spends $6 on digital ads to get a click, and one in a hundred clicks leads to an inquiry. Which means that every inquiry sitting in the queue cost you $600. Inquiries are a bit like cronuts, in that they go stale quickly. Waiting an extra day to get back to just one person probably costs you more than the entire day’s salary of a customer service salesperson.

Your company spends $2,000 a day on rent for its showroom. And you paid that rent (along with all of those ads) for a month before John walks into the store. The uninterested, undertrained, under-compensated salesperson is finishing up a personal call, John gets bored and leaves. That (non) interaction cost you $20,000.

Jon, the reservationist, is overwhelmed by incoming calls, and he’s snippy when a regular calls for a table this Saturday night. So the patron, rebuffed and feeling disrespected, goes to a different restaurant, loves it, and never returns. Let’s see–10 business dinners a year at $200 including tip and wine–you can do the math.

“You can do the math,” while true, is rarely followed up by, “I did the math.”


Three deadlines (and Instagram!)

Posted Posted in Women - Financial Success

Here’s what someone posted yesterday in The Freelancer’s Workshop discussion board:

I was really just hoping to pick up a few insights from Seth. I got one of those yesterday, but meeting and interacting with other people struggling with the same things as me has been amazing.

The deadline to sign up for The Bootstrapper’s Workshop and The Freelancer’s Workshop is this weekend. Today’s your last best day to level up.

The next altMBA is now accepting applications, and the early deadline is April 26. Our August session is often one of the most powerful, because there’s more time to dig in.

And thanks to Sam and Taylor, we’re back on Instagram, experimenting with short-form videos and other interactions. See you there.