Category Archives: Markethive

Meet the German Baron Who Thinks Blockchain Will Beat the Middlemen

Meet the German Baron Who Thinks Blockchain Will Beat the Middlemen

  

The former head of Germany's armed forces

is now helping to bring blockchain tech to some of the world's largest financial institutions. An early advisor to distributed financial technology firm Ripple, not to mention a bonafide German baron, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg today plays a key role in enabling the heavily funded startup to make inroads in the banking sector. But as co-founder of consultancy Spitzberg Partners, he is setting his sights beyond finance. Over the course of his time at both the Ministry of Defense and Minister of Economics & Technology, zu Guttenberg built up an extensive network of global politicians, technologists, and bankers.

Long rumored to be a potential candidate to replace his former boss, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, zu Guttenberg last month revealed exclusively to CoinDesk that his firm had partnered with the State of Delaware's blockchain initiative to help bring a global tech cohort to the tiny US state. Now, he says his firm has taken on a "significant portion" of blockchain companies as clients and is consolidating those resources to focus on a concerted push to bring the technology to the world. At Spitzberg’s New York City headquarters, zu Guttenberg explained how the work he's conducting in Delaware, with Ripple, and with other blockchain firms, is part of a larger plan.

Zu Guttenberg told CoinDesk:

"I always tell the dreamers in the bitcoin community and the blockchain community, don't expect that this will happen at one point and everyone is enlightened. It will be a bumpy process."

Seeking disruptors

Zu Guttenberg founded New York City-based Spitzerg Partners in August 2013 in reaction to requests he said he received from leaders in the US tech sector for advice on navigating complicated geopolitical issues. After commissioning a study on the leading causes of failed companies, he narrowed the reasons to inadequate geopolitical and cross-cultural knowledge, as well as an inability to properly understand the regulatory implications of both. "I was interested in the fact that they were burning billions [of dollars] in their attempt to roll out by entirely misunderstanding a few core elements," he said.

Currently, Spitzerg focuses on revenue generating firms in four main industries – Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, big data analytics and blockchain – with a rapidly growing cohort of blockchain startups, though the co-founder didn't share the exact number. Zu Guttenberg defines his typical client as a company that could become the subject of either a "fiercely led political debate, a harsh counter-reaction by old industry or a combination of both."

He added:

"And there are many."

The first pebble

Zu Guttenberg first caught the blockchain bug in 2012 at a conference where he met the co-founder of San Francisco-based Ripple, Chris Larsen, and New York-based Digital Currency Group founder and CEO, Barry Silbert. Following a conversation with the two, zu Guttenberg said his interest was piqued, mostly about the idea of a shared ledger with the power to let counterparties do business without a middleman. He bought about $30 worth of bitcoin and began a dialogue with Larsen that culminated in July 2014 when he formally joined Ripple's advisory board.

At the time, he had been working on a series of unpublished articles about international capital flows and the history of correspondent banking and discussed the role that Ripple's cryptocurrency, XRP, could potentially play in freeing up dormant money in banks around the world. With XRP in the midst of an explosive growth cycle that has seen it become the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, zu Guttenberg, and his team have continued to work behind the scenes to help build out Ripple’s network.

Most recently, Ripple has added 10 new financial firms to its network, including MUFG in Japan, BBVA in Spain and SEB in Sweden, and has completed a pilot with 47 global banks. Though Ripple has set legacy financial technology firm Swift square in its sights, zu Guttenberg said that Ripple’s secret to widespread adoption has been recognizing when to play nice with other legacy platforms. "Many of these players, although they are sitting on already rotten instruments or structures, will be in place, and in power," he said. "[They will be] dramatically empowered by political circles for quite a while and they're still extremely influential."

Global vision

To help modernize those legacy systems, though, Ripple will require more than just a willingness to play nice with banks. Government support is crucial. Zu Guttenberg cited smaller nations such as Estonia and Singapore, and jurisdictions including the Zug region of Switzerland and Delaware, as fundamental testing grounds for the types of legislation that might one day underpin a new financial infrastructure. Specifically, he said the "charm" of Delaware's increasing openness to blockchain should serve as a template for jurisdictions around the world.

Most recently, Delaware state senators introduced a bill that would explicitly name blockchain as a recognized technology to support the owning and trading of corporate stocks. "Why don't we translate the Delaware experience to another state or city in Germany?" zu Guttenberg asked. "Why don’t we try to do the same in the Middle East? Why don't we try to do the same in Latin America somewhere?" The ex-minister added that he's already had conversations with his former boss, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which she expressed a "general" interest in the technology.

"The question is, will every department be adopted, or will it just be two or three departments doing it?" he said. While he said the topic of how blockchain is being adopted by governments comes up organically in his meetings with leaders around the world, zu Guttenberg argued that the push to bring blockchain into widespread adoption will require a more concerted effort. "People [need to] deliver the experiences from these test runs to other governments, to old industry and back to the blockchain industry."

He concluded:

"That doesn't happen by itself and we're delighted to be at that intersection."

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Bitcoin.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Will Markethive Get On Shark Tank? Fingeres Crossed!

 

Chris Corey from Markethive attended an open casting call in Detroit's Hope Hall to bring Markethive into the Shark Tank

 

 

Shark Tank is a TV show where entrepreneurs come into a room and pitch a panel of “Sharks” or investors to raise money for their idea.

 

Pitching Shark Tank has been one of my goals since I had seen the first episode. The chance to stand in front of a room of skilled investors as you try to convey your vision for your company in such a way that, they too capture and embrace your dream.

I have always loved the quote " you don't know, what you don't know" as I have watched hundreds of episodes of Shark Tank I have gained a deeper insight into business from each episode. To be brought into the show via my television, to be able to experience the minds of true professional investors is worth its weight in gold.  Shark Tank, in my opinion, has done two things. One, allows its viewers to gain great insight into what investors look for in companies while allowing you to better prepare for the type of information they are looking to extract. Two, they allow you to see how they themselves would change a feature about the product or the look of the packaging to increase sales. Nowhere else can you gain this knowledge, without having a company and pitching yourself. Still, the knowledge gained from one live pitch yourself in comparison to the knowledge gained from watching hundreds of pitches is like comparing Earth to the size of our Sun. 

Entrepreneurs who make it onto a "Shark Tank" episode have the opportunity to introduce their company to a viewing audience of 7 million potential customers.

The companies that land a deal with one or more of the show's investors then have the chance to scale and, in some cases, become a nationally recognized brand.

We looked through old episodes and asked the Sharks themselves about their most successful deals. Read on to learn about the biggest "Shark Tank" success stories so far.

 

Scrub Daddy

A sponge company has far and away become the biggest "Shark Tank" success story. Over the past three years, Scrub Daddy has brought in a total of $75 million in revenue, according to investor Lori Greiner.

Greiner made a deal with its founder and CEO, Aaron Krause, in Season 4 for $200,000 in exchange for 20% equity. At that point, Krause had struggled to reach $100,000 in sales over 18 months, but Greiner saw great potential in the company's signature offering, a proprietary smiley-faced sponge that was more durable, hygienic, and effective than a traditional one.

She helped Krause expand his product line and brought them onto QVC and into stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, where they have become bestsellers.

Shark Tank highlights entrepreneurs who are seeking an investment to expand or launch their business or product. Fervent business owners pitch their idea to the sharks, a panel of savvy investors and business gurus who are self-made millionaires and billionaires. If the sharks like what they hear they may invest their own money, and if they aren’t impressed they can be ruthless in teaching the entrepreneurs a hard lesson or exposing weaknesses within a business, product, or concept. The pitches can be quite dramatic as hopeful and passionate entrepreneurs put it all on the line, sometimes collapsing under the pressure of fast-paced negotiations and even breaking down in tears. In this fantastic whirlwind of television mania, some products are torn apart and spit out by sharks while others create a feeding frenzy. For those that make it out alive, appearing on the Shark Tank can accelerate success wildly fast. 

In reality, most pitches last for a grueling hour or more but are edited down to make entertaining ten-minute television segments. The entrepreneurs must convince the sharks to invest the full amount of money they are asking for, or more, or they leave the tank without a deal. The deals reached on the show are preliminary agreements and are not binding until the sharks do their due diligence in checking out the entrepreneur and claims made in the pitch. Some deals actually fall apart behind the scenes and some may be altered. In any case, all the businesses that appear on the show get the unique opportunity to stand in the spotlight as 8 million viewers watch their enthusiastic and heartfelt pitch. The exposure from the show creates a rapid acceleration of product sales and interest in the featured businesses, crashing websites with a bombardment of sudden traffic, stripping companies of their inventory, and turning start-ups into multi-million dollar companies practically overnight. This boom in growth and product sales has come to be known as the Shark Tank Effect. 

Chris Corey Markethive

Contributors:

http://www.businessinsider.com

 

Images from Printerest

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Ways to Boost Your Social Media Creativity Game

Ways to Boost Your Social Media Creativity Game

You don't have to be Tinder to light a fire under your customer base, with word-of-mouth marketing tactics.
4 Ways to Boost Your Social Media Creativity Game

Leave it to a dating app to demonstrate the instant success

a creative social media marketing approach can bring to a new business. Tinder — the location-based dating service that facilitates matchups between interested parties — used a tactic best described as word-of-mouth advertising in a digital format To successfully launch its app.

In a recent podcast, Tinder co-founder and CEO Sean Rad revealed that the company grew by 50 percent the day after it tested 500 individuals a link to its app. That tactic and other word-of-mouth campaigns grew Tinder's customer base from 20,000 to 500,000 users in less than a month. Clearly, entrepreneurs hoping to quickly reach and grow their own customer bases must embrace social media in all its forms. Social media's free word-of-mouth nature can attract and engage potential customers at a stage in the company's development when advertising budgets are often tight and expenses must be carefully monitored. When building a new business, attracting customers is imperative — and social media is a leading pathway to gathering and retaining loyal consumers.

Reach out and touch your customers.

Consumers love to be engaged, equipped and empowered, Kimberly Whitler, a marketing professor at the University of Virginia, has said. This makes them feel important, as though they have a vested interest in the company. Consumers crave two-way interactions and are flattered to offer reviews of a company's products or services. Why should this matter to a small entrepreneur? Because every customer reached is a potential repeat customer who will tell others about a positive experience. When a startup adopts social media marketing tactics that truly engage its customers, the benefits are plentiful: The company likely will grow its customer base while spending less money on marketing, leaving more funds available to invest in higher salaries for employees and other areas of the business.

Social media marketing done right also helps businesses stay top of mind among their followers. Consumers will recall engaging content, helpful advice or a humorous post. According to MarketingLand, consumers don't want to be lectured or bombarded with ads. Good vibes toward the company result in trust, long-term loyalty, and a positive bottom line.Nielsen reports that 92 percent of global consumers identify earned media as their favorite form of advertising, primarily in the form of recommendations from friends and acquaintances. Those customers trust companies that connect with them in genuine, captivating ways; and they want to establish relationships with them.

Shake up strategies to push the marketing status quo

So, how can entrepreneurs change their marketing strategies to create connections with customers and pack a more social punch? Here are four tactics to try:

Register accounts on all major platforms.

According to Hootsuite, social media can no longer be brushed aside. A business won't succeed without active accounts across several platforms. If social media's word-of-mouth power is not utilized, the chances for promoting a business are largely lost. Get started with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more to meet customers where they are. Even companies without a product to sell benefit from engaging on social media. Magic Leap, a private company that is developing a futuristic augmented/virtual reality system, has created interactive content to whet users' appetites for the impact its future product could have on their daily lives. Despite its lack of any imminent product launch announcement to date, the company has still generated about 60,000 likes on Facebook and has attracted 32,000 Twitter followers.

Harness the power of community.

Reach out to consumers — and let them reach out to you and to one another — using social media in order to successfully build community and benefit from positive word of mouth. Yelp, which publishes crowdsourced reviews of products and services, shows how powerful positive reviews can be. If a customer likes the service or food at a new restaurant in town, a good Yelp review will encourage even more customers to flock to the startup's table. Encouraging customers to leave a positively verified review, perhaps through offering a coupon or discount on future services, can help draw in new customers.

Consider for example the case of Uncle Maddio's Pizza. I came across the family-owned pizza joint while traveling with my son's baseball team. Our hungry team searched restaurant reviews on Yelp and found positive comments about Uncle Maddio's. As promised, the food was excellent, the service was top-notch and the staff was personable. Before we left, I learned that a franchise location would soon open in my hometown. The owners started a Facebook page for the new location and promoted "spirit nights" that would raise money for schools and youth organizations. Needless to say, when the new store opened, I took my family there and have returned many times to eat and to support fundraisers there. Positive online and word-of-mouth reviews have led this small business to success.

Associate with other businesses that share similar mindsets.

Strive to connect to businesses that are working toward the same type of high-quality customer experiences you are. Good business practice dictates being tied in with others that have strong search-engine rankings and website presences. Interact with them online, and share each other's content across your social platforms. Many online marketers, such as Neil Patel of Kissmetrics — whom I've turned to for advice on my SEO projects — say posts on social media accounts influence Google and Bing search rankings. Search engine rankings aim to provide users the best possible resources to help them make purchasing decisions and acquire information. These accounts can affect the business's reputation and authority just as easily as they promote the business.

Employ someone who knows how to use social media effectively.

Hire someone who thoroughly knows social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and beyond. This person should be able to moderate comments, post daily messages and answer inquiries. Give this person guidance on what your business is trying to accomplish and a list of what's acceptable to post. His or her goal should be to keep customers informed and engaged in a timely manner. A good social media team can take a business to global heights. Holly Clarke, a marketing manager at Airbnb, says the company has team members in San Francisco, France, Germany and the U.K., along with translators tailoring posts to other areas of the world. Airbnb's #NightAt and #BelongAnywhere campaigns draw in consumers from across the globe to interact with its content.

Entrepreneurs have a lot to think about when starting new businesses, but the use of social media should be a no-brainer. Creative social media marketing tactics, with an emphasis on free word-of-mouth advertising, enable a startup to quickly grow its customer base. Long-term relationships and two-way interactions with those customers will soon follow. Make sure you and your business are creating those interactions, as well.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

The Rules of Social Media Marketing Success: Listen and Plan

The Rules of Social Media Marketing Success: Listen and Plan

 

Social media marketing leveled the playing field for marketers

in companies of all sizes. When done right, it offers a direct connection with your customers and insight into their needs, their attitudes towards your (and your competitor's) brand and their context. When done wrong, it's amazing the outsized headaches 140 characters can make. In this four-part series, I 'll be sharing the eight mandates that set your social media marketing strategy up for success so you hopefully avoid those headaches.

Start Listening

I believe that listening is the single most important key for marketers who want to be successful in social media. Although the average person spends about 45 percent of his or her waking hours listening, most of us are simply not very good at it. Various studies conducted over the years have shown that we comprehend and retain only about 25 percent of what we hear. With that challenge so prevalent, applying good listening strategies and skills in the social media environment becomes even more critical. "Intentional listening," as my friend and colleague Eric Fletcher calls it, should be front and center in your social media marketing strategy, as it plays an integral role in ensuring that you can find your target audience, hear and understand their wants and needs, and then effectively communicate with them in such a way that establishes trust and strong, long-lasting relationships.

At the outset of your social media marketing program — even before implementing your listening tactics — do your homework. Conduct surveys and focus groups. Gather responses and evaluate. And spend some quality time "lurking and learning" on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels to find out what your target audience has to say. Finally, make sure you're carefully monitoring your competitors as well. Are they listening to their constituents or just broadcasting marketing messages? You'll have to do a little old-fashioned detective work, but remember that with social media, the playing field truly has been leveled. You don't have to guess about who's doing what — just listen.

Plan Carefully

Too many marketers jump right in and start using various social tools — such as Twitter, Google plus and blogs — before they've even developed a strategic plan or thought about how those activities might impact the rest of their marketing initiatives. Don't make that mistake. Take a little time to determine how to best integrate social media into your existing marketing strategy and mix. It'll pay off for you.

Step one in the planning process is to nail down specific social media objectives, based on the listening activities detailed in the first mandate. Now that you know what your constituents care about and are discussing on social media, how does that impact the messages you need to communicate to them? Step two is to integrate your social media strategy into your overall marketing strategy to ensure you can leverage your resources efficiently and effectively and that common goals can be more easily reached. If you work for a large enterprise, you have two significant advantages over a small business when it comes to planning and budgeting for a social media marketing program. First, your company's DNA most likely has a built-in "think strategically" strand, and second, it also probably has a fairly large wallet. 

If, however, you work for or own a small business, you have an advantage as well. You most likely can make strategic decisions and launch new marketing programs fairly quickly. That can be a huge benefit in the fast-paced social media world. Finally, be sure you're prepared to monitor and measure your impact and progress. Establishing benchmarks and other metrics that can be tracked over time will help you better understand what's working and what's not, and thus be able to make whatever adjustments are necessary to ensure the success of your social media marketing activities.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Santander is trying to redefine online banking through social media

Santander is trying to redefine online banking through social media

  Santander is trying to redefine online banking through social media

The social media strategy at Santander UK isn’t concerned with fan growth or sharing a quirky promotional post. Instead, the focus is on understanding how people might bank or use chatbots on social networks that command more of their time online.

Likes, retweets, and followers might be the gauge of a successful social media campaign to some marketers but for Keith Moor they are unnecessary. To Santander UK’s chief marketing officer, success is more about what are the experiences people are having within a particular channel and “much less about fan growth”. Teens now spend up to nine hours a day on social platforms, according to Global Web Index, while 30% of all time spent online is now allocated to social media interaction. So, if a person is more likely to be on Facebook when they need to check their account, then Santander wants to be the bank that lets them do that.

It “really won’t be just about social channels being places where people go to do ‘social stuff’,” says Moor of why this shift is so important for the bank. “They’re living their lives through those platforms and so we need to be in those places too,” he continues. “Why would someone bother coming out of an app when they can do most of their stuff within the app experience. We need to be part of that ecosystem.”

How Santander does this is still being mapped out and Moor admits there will be mistakes along the way. However, with social media budgets on the up at the bank thanks to redirected funds from print, the senior marketer wants the medium to play a bigger role in driving customer loyalty. Customer growth “isn’t really a primary focus” for the financial firm, which is why Moor won’t splash the cash on promotional posts and big social media campaigns to raise awareness. Rather, he sees Santander’s money going on chatbots, social banking and other services that could fit seamlessly into the way people behave on social networks.

Social media is not a promotional strategy at Santander, it’s about understanding what ‘punters’ want online

Whether someone is transferring money, paying a credit card bill or voicing their frustrations about certain services, knowing what features to offer customers and where requires more than just a bigger budget. It’s why Moor has recruited more people into the team to work on social media. Over time, he envisages a team bereft of social media experts for one where the responsibility for it is shared by all his marketers. By that same notion, he argues that the agencies he works with will have to treat the medium as a standard part of what they offer. “I want the agencies I’m working with – my main strategic partners – to have social baked into the heart of what they’re doing,” he demands. “And so that’s why in the teams that we have at Engine as well as Dentsu and Carat, the social infrastructure is part of the main team and isn’t a little bit on the side”.

Compliance, security, and privacy will be top of mind for both brand and agencies’ attempt to balance the need to protect people’s money with making them feel more empowered. Moor hints at the scale of the challenge ahead when talking about why Santander has been coy to move into mobile messaging. The rewards of having such a personalized dialogue with a customer are clear but so too is the security risk should the correct policies not be in place.

There’s “not much opportunity to use them [mobile messaging apps] now,” admits Moor. “Having said that we do have to find a way to exist on platforms like WhatsApp. The problem for us is the security angle, for banks that’s a big red herring. Many of the apps have a two-stage identification process and we need a bit more security than perhaps if someone were to buy a coat for example. People are very conscious of being secure with their money. It’s a fundamental part of what people like to keep private so we have to weight that up against people’s desire to do things in a more convenient manner.”

Changes on this scale will inevitably mean Santander ‘in-houses’ more of what it once briefed out to agencies. Yet, Moor is adamant this will help both brand and agency for the better even though some observers might argue it’s merely a chance to shave further costs amidst downward pressure on marketing budgets.

“My [marketing] budget hasn’t grown over the last few years if anything it’s gone down like most marketers’ budgets have,” admits Moor. Effectively, Santander only does “TV advertising, digital and social” now, he continues. The reason “why [social media] gets more money is because we can prove that the engagement levels are versus other channels and opportunities where perhaps you’re perceiving that a lot of people are getting our messages but maybe they’re not and you can’t tell which ones and which ones aren’t,” he continues.

As true as it might be that Santander can show the effectiveness of social media, it is still a way from knowing the real value of its efforts on the likes of Facebook and Twitter. Traditional media equivalency measures won’t cut it moving forward, explains Moor, who believes it will come down to untangling the reams of data he says social platforms will share. Santander is getting to the point “where we need to understand the real value of doing something [on social media], he adds. “It’s no good, for argument's sake, going ‘I can get reach easily on here versus over there’. That doesn’t really matter. What I need to know is do my customers like me more? Do they feel happier with us? And do they want to stay longer as a result of the interactions they’re having.

Moor didn’t offer much more as to how this will be achieved, in part because the business is still getting its head around measurement. Sales won’t be an indicator because banks “are never going to see a massive growth in sales directly off channels”. The promise of better measurement becomes all the more important amid the advent of so-called ‘open banking’, whereby banks will have to share data that they have historically held. The rationale behind the Open Banking Standard is that the customer experience should improve as a result of the data being used to build better applications and resources. Moor agrees, though admits there will be challenges ahead.

The challenge of customer loyalty in the era of Open Banking

"I think open banking and its philosophy makes it all the more important that you have a strong relationship with the customer so that you’re front of mind when they’re thinking about finance,” he adds. "And actually the more that you can work within the places where they’re living their lives than the more they’ll see that as being a good thing. I think banks almost have to let go a little bit to keep growing that trust."

Any progress Santander does make over the next year will have something to do with its partnership with social media management platform Sprinklr. A deal between brand and marketing tech platform was brokered after the former set up social command center several years ago. Since then it has gone on to form the backbone of its customer experience management plan. The setup means Moor and his team can access data on the fly, whether that’s brand health checks as well as unearthing potential reputational or operational risks. Such is the importance of the union that Moor views the data as the “key to unlocking everything”. The “next stage of the journey”, he continues, is how the bank develops “customer experiences through the social platforms”.

Beyond social media, the senior marketer offered a glimpse into the bank’s wider strategy. While it’s common for marketers to wax lyrical about the trials and tribulations of navigating a tricky media supply chain in the wake of the landmark speech from Procter & Gamble’s top marketer Marc Pritchard, Moor was campaigning for similar standards before it becomes the industry du jour. So much so that he worked with the bank’s lead media strategist Daniel Creed to create the role several years ago and the two have been worked in tandem to introduce everything from whitelists to their own viewability standards.

“We didn’t go to the agency and say ‘stick with these rules’, we sat down with them and we asked ‘what kind of rules can we set ourselves to feel confident,” Moor adds. “It’s one of the reasons why we still appear on Google’s platforms [despite the brand boycott of YouTube]. We’re not an advertiser who has withdrawn from those platforms. We’ve adjusted our spend so we can be sure we’re being safe but I’m not a great believer in pulling things off and threatening people with a big stick.”

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Zimbabwe derby sparks social media rows

Zimbabwe derby sparks
social media rows

  The Highlanders-Dynamos fixture has a history of crowd trouble

Officials argue at Barbourfields stadium

Football fans disagreeing with the referee's decisions is nothing new. But supporters making it impossible for the referee to do his job is something else. Zimbabwean football fans have taken to social media to vent their spleen following the abandonment of the country's biggest derby on Sunday. There was plenty of confusion and a smattering of anger when the Premier League match between Highlanders and Dynamos, the most famous and successful clubs, was called off just before the break.

The match commissioner took the decision with the score at 1-1 as he feared for the safety of one of the assistant referees at a packed Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo. In yet another incident that raised questions on issues of crowd control, Highlanders fans furious with the Dynamos equalizer hurled abuse and started throwing objects at assistant referee Thomas Kusosa, accusing him of allowing an "off side" goal to stand. Disturbances went on for an hour as fans and Highlanders players demanded that the assistant referee be replaced.

"I guess that we should have accepted that the referee has the final say, but we are a mixed multitude, and not all of our supporters will accept such a decision," said Highlanders chairman Modern Ngwenya.Highlanders v DynamosFootball fans have been arguing on social media about the abandoned game. Zimbabwe's biggest derby has a history of crowd trouble but anti-violence banners at the stadium and pleas before the match for supporters to remain calm were of little benefit. Eddie Chivero, the president of the Zimbabwe Soccer Supporters Association, feels that CCTV cameras are needed to monitor and identify troublemakers.

"We condemn violence in our football, but there is no way that we are going to identify the culprits unless we have CCTV cameras in our stadiums," said Chivero. "It's supposed to be priority number one, and stadiums without CCTV should not be allowed to host matches. None of Zimbabwe's stadiums has cameras in the stands, and the authorities are unlikely to make it happen for a while.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Are You Maximizing The Use Of Video In Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Are You Maximizing The Use Of Video In Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Chief strategy officer and partner at Raindrop. We believe in the power of human connections and helping our clients build relationships. Did you know that more video content is uploaded to the internet in a single month than network television has produced in three decades? The world of content marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) might be complex and constantly evolving, but one thing is certain: Video continues to be a big driver of traffic. How can you use video to strengthen your content marketing strategy and SEO?

  

Leverage The World’s Second Largest Search Engine:
YouTube

YouTube is not simply a website; it is a search engine. YouTube’s user-friendliness, combined with the soaring popularity of video content, has made it the second largest search engine behind Google. With 3 billion searches per month, YouTube’s search volume is larger than that of Bing, Yahoo, AOL, and Ask.com combined. If YouTube’s user base were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. Since Google owns YouTube, video content hosted on YouTube ranks well on Google. One of the best ways to capture search traffic from YouTube is to create videos around topics people are searching for or talking about, from viral phenomena to commonly asked questions.

Drive Social Engagement

In addition to platforms such as YouTube, social networks are increasingly promoting more video content. You have likely noticed that your Facebook newsfeed is dominated by video content from friends, paid advertisers and the brands you follow. Consumers are hungry for engaging video content. It is critical that your business is creating content that users will want to view and share.Make sure your video has subtitles if you are sharing on Facebook. Users are very likely to be scrolling in an environment where they don’t want sound but may still want to watch your video. Don’t miss that opportunity to engage with them.

Showcase Video On Your Website

Video is a great way to quickly and easily explain your business’ unique value proposition and showcase your company culture. Explainer and introduction videos are really strong tools for your homepage or a “how it works” section on your website. Don’t assume that people want to read through your services or scroll through a bunch of products. Make it easier for them with video.

Email, Email, Email!

Yes, email marketing still works. You must always be providing value. Email is a terrific way to stay top-of-mind and in front of consumers because it goes directly to them. Also, consumers on your email list have likely opted-in at some point, so it is a warm audience that is ready to hear from you.

There are tools that allow you to embed video directly into email campaigns, but video can be just as effective in email if you simply tease the video in the email and push users to your website. Those who are interested will click through. The key to successful email marketing is to create content that provides value.

What Type of Content Should Your Business be Creating?

You are probably now wondering, “Okay, I know where my video content should live, but what content should I be producing?” Here are a few ideas for types of impactful video content:

  • Answer common questions. 
    This is a great tactic for SEO since searchers often search in question format. Think of the most common questions you get from potential customers and those are the same questions they are Googling.
  • Make engaging, funny videos.
     Humans love to laugh and have short attention spans. Create content that speaks to both characteristics!
  • Show how your brand works in behind-the-scenes videos. 
    People want to know how your brand works and what makes you great.
  • Review products or services. 
    Share your expertise with the world by providing reviews on products/services related to your industry.
  • Create tutorials or explanation videos. 
    The internet is a wealth of knowledge and consumers are using it to research and learn. Capture some of this opportunity by creating relevant tutorials or tips videos for your audience.
  • Go live on social media platforms, such as Facebook Live. 
    Social platforms are always looking for ways to generate engagement and what better way than live video and interactions? Facebook and other networks are really pushing their live offerings and placing priority on these in their ranking algorithms. Take advantage of the extra traffic potential while it lasts. Be thoughtful with your content. Viewers may not want to watch you playing video games, but streaming your upcoming panel discussion, an inside look at the new office or anything that consumers may find interesting/relevant can drive real engagement in social.
  • Hold webinars or presentations. 
    Consumers are hungry for knowledge and love hearing from industry experts. Give them what they want.

Quality Is In The Content

One of the concerns clients have about creating video content is that the production quality will reflect poorly on their brand. Luckily, a content marketing plan should consist of a variety of video content and not all has to be national TV spot quality. As internet video is being consumed in record volume daily, production is becoming more affordable. The quality that people really care about is the content itself — are you providing them with a video that is helpful, useful, enlightening, applicable, entertaining or amusing? Achieve any combination of these qualities and you can expect success with your video marketing. Video can change the face of your content strategy and bring you closer to your audience. Make sure as you are planning out your next marketing roadmap that video has a prominent place in your content marketing strategy in order to capitalize on the benefits of YouTube, social networks and general consumer interest in video.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

What does it mean to ‘be bold for a change?’

What does it mean to
‘be bold for a change?’

At a recent Janes of Digital event, contributor Yael Baifus comes away with a new understanding of being bold for change and explains how you can apply it to your own digital marketing career.

   I I didn’t set out to solve the gender wage gap

when I started Googling for ways to successfully ask for — and ideally get — a raise at work, but the click led to the United Nations’ International Women’s Day site and a call for people to be bold for change. Many clicks and scrolls into my search, I realized that what I was looking for wasn’t as simple as getting myself a raise. I had stumbled onto a deeper, more pervasive problem than the need to continue financing my addiction to live music concerts. I realized I was an infantrywoman in the fight for gender parity.

For those who don’t know me, I’m a young female search analyst working at Horizon Media. Fortunately, The Horizon is a progressive company when it comes to issues of equality and acceptance. Still, this is an issue that goes beyond any one company. It permeates our society and our culture, and it influences my own mindset about my self-worth and the professional expectations I set for myself. I decided I had to do something about it — I had to be bold for change. So, what does that mean, exactly? And how does it apply to a young woman in digital marketing?

The International Women’s Day site was a good starting point, but I needed more. Ernst & Young offered some great suggestions for actions we can all take in the effort to reach gender parity. However, the most useful resource I found wasn’t online, but in person, at Bing’s Janes of Digital event in New York City. I met several successful women in the search industry and learned a lot from their experiences. I want to share these ideas with you now, so you can be bold for change in your own company and sphere of influence.

Be the captain of your own experience

Kristin Ogdon, a senior marketing manager at Microsoft, shared her story about starting out in the print world at a large publisher. Although successful, she could see the print industry was transitioning into digital, and she wanted to be at the forefront of this new world. So, when the opportunity at Microsoft came along, she took the helm of her career. Ogdon knew nothing about digital at the time, but she had the drive and passion for getting in on the action. It was her decision; she was the captain of her own experience.

Today we’re embarking on a whole new revolution — one that’s driven by voice search, AR/VR (augmented reality/virtual reality), personal assistants and the Internet of Things. If you know you want to spearhead this revolution within your own company but realize the cards might not be entirely stacked in your favor, don’t take it as a defeat. Be the captain of your own experience, and find a company that embraces your innovative thinking and is as eager as you are to get ahead of this change in the digital tide.

Define what ‘dressing for success’ is to you

In the same vein as being the captain of our own experiences, we should decide how we want to dress — and not take any criticism for it. Listening to anecdotes from panelists and audience members, it was clear women are held to different standards than men when it comes to dressing and overall appearance. The Huffington Post published statistics confirming women who devote more of their time and money to their appearance make more money. Not only are women paid (20 percent) less than men, they also need to invest more money in their “looks” to reach higher levels of success, making it even harder for women to attain their career and financial goals.

Anecdotes were shared of women’s co-workers making comments about how they would dress if one day they showed up slightly more dressed up or dressed down than usual. My own co-worker, Jamie Kahn, SEM manager at Horizon Media, told me of times her co-workers at a previous company asked if she was going on a date based on the way she looked that day. I felt disheartened. We work in an industry that tends to live and die by “business casual,” yet women are expected to “dress to impress” to be successful. I think we should take this opportunity to set a new standard by being bold enough to interpret “business casual” however we choose, giving us license to define what a successful woman looks like in today’s workplace.

If you feel empowered dressing like you just walked off the runway, DO IT. If you feel like you do your best work wearing jeans and a T-shirt, you shouldn’t feel the need to apologize for it. Of course, make sure you’re within your company’s dress code policy, but wear what makes you feel like your best version of yourself. If someone has something to say about it, boldly explain to them that it’s really none of their business to comment on how you dress.

Educate people in your sphere of influence

We should educate the people within our sphere of influence by having an open, honest conversation in an effort to create allies, not enemies. At the Janes of Digital event, an audience member shared a story where her boss described her as “bossy” in her review. This is an all-too-common misconception of women in the workplace, but Ogdon gave some advice that can resonate with everyone. “Stop and listen,” she said. Sometimes it just takes a few moments to think about what was said or how you reacted, but what’s important is how you move forward — by making allies.

Frances Donegan-Ryan, Global Community Engagement Manager at Bing and moderator of the Janes of Digital panel, admitted it took six months of having open and honest conversations with her boss to create the strong relationship they have today. Be willing to have those hard conversations, and try to be patient with one another. If you’ve walked away from a situation feeling offended or frustrated, know that it is never too late to talk about it. Just because something happened days, weeks or months ago doesn’t mean your sentiments aren’t legitimate.

Emilie McKittrick, a Senior Creative Content Editor at Getty Images, acknowledged that although it can be hard to be a bold woman in the workplace, changes in perception are happening. She shared some recent Getty Images search statistics that were encouraging and exciting:

Image searches for…

  • “female programmer” increased by 144 percent
  • “women in technology” increased by 111 percent
  • “business woman technology” increased by 1,300 percent
  • “woman protest” increased by 300 percent

These are strong indicators that the way women are being perceived in the workplace is, in fact, changing, judging by the way advertisers are searching for images that depict women as successful and powerful. We may have a long way to go — about 170 years, according to the World Economic Forum — but we are on our way.

Being bold can take many forms — and you don’t have to go it alone

If we can’t boldly advocate for ourselves or for our peers, how can we expect to make any progress? Whether it’s telling you that you’re strong and confident five times in the mirror every day, mentoring a colleague to help them fulfill their potential or being willing to have a deep conversation about what inclusivity in the office means to your team, it’s one more step in the right direction. Being bold for change is an important team effort that not only affects us as individuals, ut can impact our clients and the work we do as marketers. If you don’t inspire inclusivity and boldness in your own team, then the one person who realizes that a model quelling a protest with carbonated sugar water might not be a great idea for an ad will be too afraid to speak up.

This is not exclusive to women. It goes for people of all genders, backgrounds and races. I look to men specifically to become the biggest advocates for women, because the odds are already in their favor. I hope we all understand the importance of fostering and protecting boldness and help open the doors to other perspectives. Make today the day you inspire inclusivity. Make today the day you empower your peers to take the next step on their journey to success. Make today the day you be bold for change.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

How do you define business development?

How do you define business development?
Some companies define it as "Partnerships and Alliances"
while others define it as "Whatever it takes to Develop the Business".

 

Business Development is often confused with sales or marketing.

 

Here are the definitions/semantics. Note that, while inside smaller companies the same person takes on multiple roles at different times (such a VP or CEO) – it is still important to know the difference:

Sales = Transactions.
Sales are responsible for selling a specific product or service, with a clear price and value, to an identifiable individual customer. Sales are the activity that happens once the specific customer is identified.

Marketing:
Identifies the needs and types of customers so it can attract customers. Marketing devises the best way to get the products into the hands of the customers. Marketing often plays a big role in product development in gathering or validating the feature/benefits required by customers (or by the overall market).

Strategic marketing
focuses on customers as groups – to better understand how to differentiate the product, and how to more effectively target and sell the products to each group.

Tactical marketing
focuses on getting customers closer to the sales transaction. Marketing-promotions, trial offers etc are usually in this category. This is about attracting customers. For an eCommerce business, marketing goes all the way to the transaction, and "sales" is automated. In other businesses, marketing brings customers to "the door" while sales try to convert the customer's interest or presence into a transaction.

Business Development:
Identifies and executes NEW areas of business – new markets, new distribution channels, new products – typically through the use of partnerships between another company and an internal department at your company. The focus of "biz dev" is on new, atypical, interaction or collaboration with external partners who are *not* customers or sales prospects. These potential partners may one day be potential customers, maybe, but they are not current sales prospects. Once the business is no longer new and becomes a repeatable kind of business, then the role transitions to another part of the company (sales, marketing, product development, engineering).

For Business Development, the goal is not a sales transaction:
Business Development is not formally empowered to sell a product directly to a customer or customers – otherwise, they would be competing with the Sales team. Business Development should never be dealing with the sale of existing products to existing (identifiable) customers, no matter how large the revenue opportunity – only sales does that. Nor should Bizdev be setting up distribution channels – this is a marketing function.

Example

For instance, when Amazon decided to add online movies to its product offerings: Initially this was a big dev role because of a brand new area of business – with a new business model, new distribution, etc. that required an external partner(s) working with internal Amazon departments. Bizdev would be coordinating the internal/external activity until all had the licensing terms fleshed out, pricing, marketing strategy, created a new area of the site with new kinds of distribution … once that all happens it is standard business, and then out of the hands of biz dev and then- driven by marketing, sales, product etc.

A Sales Executive
(probably not a role that should formally exist in a pure online / eCommerce company) would either focus on 'big ticket' sales that require the longest 1-1/face to face selling cycle and/or manages other sales personnel. For instance, at a car dealership: The Sales Executive might manage the floor sales personnel (deciding commissions policy etc), while also being the person to negotiate a deal with a large business to buy 50 vehicles for use as company cars.

CONFUSION

Be wary of folks who take the stance of defining any of these terms loosely, as they please.

Quotas and Commissions

If a job posting or job description for a Business Development Manager talks about a "Quota" or Commission – then it is a Sales Position. While Bizdev professionals often have significant performance-based or results-based goals, and compensation – it is never in terms of a minimum number of 'transactions'. Business Development is process oriented: The process and outcomes change depending on the market, the competition and partners. The nature of the conversations (and outcomes) change depending on who the partner is.

The Bizdev Role vs Sales

Sales is transaction oriented. The terms and nature of the product, or of the customers don't change that much – even with custom products or big-ticket sales. A sales executive simply can't say "we sell compact cars – but if you want a truck or a van, we certainly can build and sell you one". Business Development can't say that either. Bizdev might say: "our company strategy has been to eventually get into the truck market, and we need to find partners who can augment our car building experience with truck building – so one day Sales can sell a lot of trucks"

  • Marketing –
    attracts customers to the front door of the building.
  • Sales
    convinces the customer to go from the door to the cash register.
  • Business Development
    works to create new buildings.

Sure it's perfectly acceptable and common for companies to combine roles – but a Business Development professional from one company doesn't want to find himself in discussions with another "Bizdev Exec" only to find out that it's really a sales call.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

The Most Overlooked Strategy for Business Development

The Most Overlooked Strategy for Business Development

There are plenty of good ways to feed your pipeline

— from public speaking to online advertising to content creation and direct mail. But one of the most satisfying methods of bringing in new business is through involvement in charitable causes. Too often, entrepreneurs think of charitable involvement as a non-essential “nice way to give back.” But in a busy world, it’s a lot easier to justify donating your time and talents if you recognize that it’s also a business development strategy.

In my new book Stand Out, I profile Thalia Tringo, a realtor in Somerville, Mass., just outside Boston. I got to know her when we served together on the board of East Somerville Main Streets, a civic improvement group. But that wasn’t the only cause she supported. She’s an active board member of the Somerville Homeless Coalition and donates $250 to charity for every real estate transaction she completes. “I’m not a religious person,” she says, “but I try to tithe a percentage of my income. That’s hard to do when you’re a realtor [because of the variable income stream], so when I started, I decided I’d give a certain amount for every transaction, and that way I’ll know I’ll have done my giving.”

Her reputation for civic-mindedness has become a core part of her brand, and her client base draws on many people she’s met through her volunteering. “Today, I had a closing with somebody I would never have met, except we serve on the board of the Homeless Coalition together,” she told me. Her charitable involvement “was never really a marketing strategy,” she says. “It’s a good marketing strategy, but that wasn’t the intent.” If you’d like to make charitable involvement a prong in your business development strategy, here are three key principles to follow.

Choose a cause you’re passionate about.

Volunteering isn’t always sexy, and you’ll likely be called upon to do menial or boring tasks sometimes, from setting up for events to making phone calls. Commitment to the cause can get you through, even if you wouldn’t otherwise choose to spend your nights and weekends doing those tasks.

Go deep, not wide.

It might seem like a good idea to get involved in many charities because you’ll be meeting a large variety of people. But when it comes to developing new business contacts, deep is better than wide. I know plenty of realtors from social events around town, but I chose Thalia to handle my condo sale because of the depth of relationship we’d created by working together for several years.

Volunteer your talents.

Sometimes what’s needed most is simply a pair of hands; if you’re willing to pick up trash on a Saturday or check tickets at the door of a fundraiser that may be a valuable contribution to an organization. But in order to stay engaged and motivated over time, make an effort to volunteer on projects that will utilize your unique skills. If you’re a graphic designer, it’s far more meaningful to design a brochure for a charity — a task where you can excel and share your gifts — than it is to keep stuffing envelopes week after week.

Volunteering for nonprofits you believe in is a great way to help others. But it’s also a win-win, with real business benefits to you. If you can figure out how to live out your values in every aspect of your business, the relationships you build as a result will be among the strongest and best you have, because they’re founded on a shared commitment to something larger than yourself.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor
Please click either Link to Learn more about Inbound Marketing.

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Be As You Are ….