Category Archives: Markethive

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

PBOC Researcher: Can Cryptocurrency & Central Banks Coexist?

PBOC Researcher:
Can Cryptocurrency & Central Banks Coexist?

 

Yao Qian works in the technology department of People's Bank of China, the country's central bank and financial market regulator. Qian discusses the relationship between digital currencies and bank accounts, proposing a design concept where bank accounts and digital currency wallets coexist.

   cd, vhs

While technological direction, risk control and security measures are all important, the effectiveness of digital currency ultimately relies on its successful application. For a digital fiat currency (DFC) to show vitality and supplement or even replace traditional currency, it has to be user friendly and well received by the public. Currently, the issuance of fiat currency in China follows the 'central bank-commercial bank' system, and most of the social and economic activities are based on the commercial bank account system.

Therefore, if a digital currency can leverage existing IT infrastructure with a variety of applications and services, the costs of promoting digital currency would be significantly reduced and its use would be more convenient and flexible, facilitating the wide adoption of digital currency by the public. In addition, the incorporation of digital currency into existing applications would generate more diversified scenarios, which would contribute to a greater competitiveness of digital currency, providing better services.

Breaking ground

The most straightforward way to leverage the bank account system is to expand the scope of central bank's balance sheet. In fact, claims on a central bank of commercial banks and other financial institutions in the form of central bank deposits have already been digitized. However, should the central bank provide such services to broader counterparties? Should non-financial institutions such as households be allowed to open accounts at the central bank?

These questions have triggered a lot of discussions. The Bank of England, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Sveriges Riksbank have already studied this topic. Ben Broadbent, deputy governor of the Bank of England, has pointed out the concerns of commercial banks who worry that it would result in a transfer of deposits from commercial banks to the central bank, thus causing the entire banking sector to shrink. In fact, this is also a common concern of the regulators. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China (PBoC), made an incisive yet illuminating comment on this issue, stating:

"The technological route of digital currency can be either based on bank account system (account-based) or not based on bank account system (non-account-based), and the two approaches may co-exist and operate at different layers."

However, there are various interpretations on how to implement the design idea. I would like to share some of my thoughts on this.

Digital currency attributes

To offset the shock to the current banking system imposed by an independent digital currency system (and to protect the investment made by commercial banks on infrastructure), it is possible to incorporate digital currency wallet attributes into the existing commercial bank account system so that electronic currency and digital currency are managed under the same account. The management of digital currency and that of electronic currency have some similarities in areas such as account usage, identity authentication and money transfer, but there are also differences.

Digital currency should be managed in compliance with the standards on wallet design specified by the central bank. The wallet is similar to a safe box which is managed by the bank based on an agreement with the customer (eg it requires both keys from the customer and the bank to open the safe box). All the attributes of digital currency and cryptocurrency would be preserved to enable customized application in the future.One of the merits of the aforementioned approach is that it leverages the current 'central bank–commercial bank' system for currency issuance.

Digital currency, categorized into M0 (a measure of money supply in a central bank), is the liability of the currency-issuing bank (referred to as the issuing bank) and is not on the balance sheet of the bank providing the account (referred to as the account bank). The approach would not lead to the commercial banks being channelized or marginalized because customers and their accounts are still managed by the account bank. Unlike money transfer, digital currency does not completely rely on bank accounts and the ownership of digital currency can be verified directly by the issuing bank, so as to realize peer-to-peer cash transaction via

Digital Currency Wallet on user's end.

Two types of issuance

The issuing bank could be the central bank or banks authorized by the central bank (as in the Hong Kong dollar issuance model, for example). Determining which model to follow should be based on an actual situation. This article is only for the purpose of academic discussions. Below is an elaboration on the two models. In the first one, the central bank is the only  issuer of digital currency, and in the second one, banks are authorized by the

Central Bank to issue Digital Currency.

It should be pointed out that the issuing banks are interconnected with the central bank and among themselves on an infrastructure designed by the central bank. Whether the infrastructure should be migrated to a distributed ledger

Architecture would be a huge topic for the Industry.

Designing a new kind of wallet

To follow the customer-centric strategy of commercial banks, digital currency wallet ID fields could be added to the bank account to enable the account-based and non-account-based models to co-exist and operate at different layers. The wallet serves as a safe box and is not involved in activities such as day-end counting and reconciliation, so as to minimize the impact on the existing core banking system.

The ownership verification of digital currency relies on the issuing bank. The combination of traditional bank account and digital currency can significantly enhance the bank's KYC and AML capabilities. The digital currency wallet should be designed in compliance with standards specified by the central bank. The wallet at the bank end is 'lighter', as it only provides security control measures and features at the account level. The wallet offered by the application service providers at the user end would be 'heavier', as the functions of such wallet would extend to the presentation and application layers. At the user end, the role of smart contracts can be played to the fullest and it would also become one of the core

Competitive Advantages of the Application Service Providers.

Wallets meet accounts

Imagine a scenario where earmarked subsidy is distributed by a central government authority to enterprises or individuals through multiple levels of government. It would be very difficult to track the distribution of the money in the traditional way because it heavily relies on data reported by the local governments at various levels, which usually leads to mis-match between information and cash flow due to poor execution or the lack of procedural compliance. With the traceability of digital currency and support from access management of smart contracts, the authority would be able to directly oversee the distribution status without relying on other parties. Misappropriation on the part of local governments would be prevented and the money would be assured for dedicated purposes.

If digital currency wallet attributes are not embedded into the bank account system, government agencies at various levels and all the beneficiaries would have to activate and use digital wallets, which would make the adoption of digital currency very complicated as it requires the selection of physical media of digital wallet and the involvement of various parties. Moreover, the central bank would have to deal with users directly. On the contrary, by leveraging the com And by using existing accounts, the user experience would remain the same in a sense that users can enjoy digital currency service through existing channels such as bank counters,

Online Banking and Mobile Banking.

  

Summary

In a digitalized world, the economic and financial implications of the digits should by no means be confused simply because they are presented in the same numeral form. The same digits may represent different types of assets – a notion that we should keep in mind when designing digital currency. In terms of the conversion of physical currency into M1 or M2, it's easy to distinguish between physical form and digital form. However, the digital M0 money supply may make people ignore such a distinction. Does the faster conversion between digital assets mean that the distinctions between different types of digital assets are disappearing?

Fan Yifei, vice governor of PBoC, once wrote:

"Digital fiat currency would certainly be influenced by [the] existing payment system and information technologies, but it should be distinguished from [the] current payment system so as to focus on service delivery and play its role in replacing traditional currency. Theoretically, the payment system mainly deals with the portion of current deposits in 'broad money', while the digital currency serves as part of M0 money supply."

By incorporating digital currency attributes into the commercial bank account system, the DFC is integrated into the 'central bank-commercial bank' system by leveraging existing financial infrastructure. More importantly, this approach takes into account the role of digital M0 in commercial banking system and enables digital currency to either operate independently or run in an environment where bank account and digital wallet co-exist and operate at different layers.

This approach ensures clear division of duties and clarifies roles of different parties, where the issuing banks are responsible only for digital currency itself, the account banks conduct specific business and the application service providers enable the realization of functions. With the adoption of other measures, for example collecting management fees (which practically means negative interest rate), the emergence of 'narrow banking' would be less possible.

The incorporation of digital currency attributes is also an innovative step for the commercial bank account system. Commercial banks would be able to not only provide digital currency services based on existing infrastructure but also explore new service models that leverage features of digital currency, which will enhance their service quality and competitiveness. This article is only a beginning of a series of discussions.

Further studies may focus on standards of wallet design with possible questions to think about as follows:

  1. How to set differentiated currency usage cost and asset pricing policies so as to strike a balance among banknotes, DFC and commercial bank deposits during the transition period?
  2. How to build an ecosystem that involves the central bank, issuing banks, commercial banks, wallet service providers, payment service providers and digital currency users?

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

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

$25 Billion in 30 Days: Are Cryptocurrencies in a Bubble?

$25 Billion in 30 Days:
Are Cryptocurrencies in a Bubble?

    

The combined market capitalization of all public cryptocurrencies

has surged nearly 80% over the last month, as more than $20bn worth of new investment dollars has flooded the nascent market. In roughly 30 days alone, the market cap for experimental blockchain-based cryptographic assets has ballooned from $27.8bn to $49.5bn, according to data from CoinMarketCap, with the strongest gains observed outside of the market's historical leader, bitcoin.

A closer look reveals the total market cap of so-called 'altcoins', cryptographic tokens that seek to serve alternative use cases to bitcoin, has surged to $23.5bn, up more than 600% from just over $3bn in early March. Amid this sharp rally, some market observers have expressed concerns that the asset class may have entered a speculative bubble. When supporting his argument, Jacob Eliosoff, a trader who runs a cryptocurrency fund, pointed to not only to the price gains, but also the fact that so many cryptocurrencies – including those that haven't seen technical or business progress – have risen in value.

Eliosoff told CoinDesk:

"I've been making the bubble argument for weeks. Doge, Dash, Litecoin, Stellar, Gnosis … practically every coin has surged."

He further cautioned that this development is "a sign of unthinking buyers that will sell as soon as the tide turns." Daniel Masters, director of the regulated investment vehicle Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund (GABI), offered similar sentiment, emphasizing that even cryptocurrencies with smaller market caps – like litecoin, ether, namecoin and ripple – have all experienced strong gains over the last few months. He told CoinDesk that he believes "sentiment [is] too strong," noting that between this and record prices for cryptocurrencies, a bubble may be forming.

More room to grow

While the aforementioned analysts provided cautious viewpoints, other market observers were more optimistic, asserting that cryptocurrency prices have significant room to appreciate despite current prices. Harry Yeh, the managing partner of Binary Financial, took a bullish slant, telling CoinDesk that "there's still quite a ways to move" as more investors take note of big gains in the sector. Tim Enneking, chairman of Crypto Currency Fund, also spoke to the market's potential. "I would agree that prices have increased too far too fast, but I don't think it's a serious problem – more like a buying opportunity," he said. He elaborated on this statement, pointing out that it is challenging to determine the "true value" of a cryptocurrency: "I'm not sure I would label it a bubble, at least not yet. It's quite difficult to definitively state what the intrinsic value is or should be of an altcoin,"

he said, adding:

"Property is worth what people are willing to pay for it."

Rising OTC trading

One strong indicator of the bullish sentiment is robust trading. While transaction volume for many of the digital assets listed on Coinmarketcap has risen, over-the-counter (OTC) trading firms have also reported an increase in activity. Martin Garcia, vice president of Genesis Global Trading, noted that his New York-based firm is experiencing such an improvement. "Our new applications are up significantly, and old clients are circling back as well," Garcia said. Ryan Rabaglia, head trader for Octagon Strategy, expressed a similar sentiment.

"Our desk has had [a threefold] volume increase over the last few months and over the last few weeks we're onboarding new counterparties at a record rate," he said. Finally, Rabaglia spoke to the changing demands of his customers, emphasizing that while bitcoin and ether are still the "hottest names," his trading desk has repeatedly received requests for trades involving lesser-known alternative cryptocurrencies such as ZEC, DASH, ETC and XRP. Ultimately, he characterized the current market as one with abundant opportunities for his business.

He concluded:

"Up to this point we've dabbled in each and are considering dedicating more resources if the demand persists."

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

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Cryptocurrency – Looking Ahead from May 2017

Cryptocurrency –
Looking Ahead from May 2017

For cryptocurrency enthusiasts, developers and investors,

the first half of 2017 has been nothing but exciting. Very few people would have predicted the trends that we are now seeing today: a vibrant and rapidly growing altcoin market, massive all time highs for both Bitcoin and Ethereum and an initial coin offering (ICO) crowdfunding mechanism that is creating enormous investor hype. Among all of this noise are a number of very interesting developments. These developments could indicate what’s to come in the second half of 2017, and this article aims to summarize events so far and what may be to come. Whatever your role in the cryptocurrency space, this piece should serve as some inspiration as to where to look next.

Ripple – Bitcoin for Banks

                                                

ripple logo

The popularity of Bitcoin’s blockchain stems from its ability to circumvent banks and allow users to engage in peer to peer transactions without authority; creating an enormous array of applications for Bitcoin gambling and dark net markets, as well as limitless “white hat” models. This ideology is more powerful than ever today, but the introduction of Ripple in 2013 has demonstrated that banks themselves can be revolutionized by overhauling their systems to use blockchain-based payments.

Ripple is unlike most other cryptocurrencies, in that it operates on a private or “consortium” blockchain, whereby the nodes (transaction verifiers) are controlled by trusted financial institutions that have been vetted to join the network – on the contrary, anyone in the world is free to join and use the Bitcoin network. The Ripple tokens (XRP) power international transactions on the network, whether that’s fiat to fiat, crypto to crypto or a mix of the two – with currency exchange conversions happening on the fly. Ripple allows banks to reduce global (and domestic) payment times from days and weeks down to seconds, with layers of transparency that are unprecedented in the traditional banking sector.

Despite being a private blockchain, anyone in the world is able to purchase XRP, and with a fixed supply of 100bn, scarcity may play an important role in the future price of XRP. This scarcity has also been compounded by the founding team of Ripple agreeing to verifiably “lock up” well over half of that total supply – adding some predictability to the XRP price. This lock up time is possibly planned for an extension, which – combined with the listing of XRP on major exchanges like Bitstamp, and Ripple’s partnership with Japan’s largest bank – has led to a meteoric rise in the value of XRP from $0.01 to $0.18 in a matter of weeks. Over the past several months, it has become apparent that large financial institutions are leaning towards consortium based blockchains as opposed to the public ones offered by Bitcoin – although Ethereum may buck that trend as discussed below.

Ethereum – EEA and Development Roadmap

                                                     

 Ethereum Logo

Ethereum was the first blockchain to successfully convince investors that altcoins had a viable place in what was largely considered a Bitcoin-only ecosystem. Popular due to its built-in smart contract protocol, Ethereum is able to run computations that can transact value without middlemen. As a result, the project has led to the formation of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) which connects dozens of businesses and academics who are rapidly researching and developing smart contract technology.

While a number of the projects being worked on are private forks of Ethereum – such as JP Morgan’s Quorum protocol – the interoperability with the main Ethereum chain, as well as the lessons being learned (and shared among EEA members and the open source community), is having profound effects on Ethereum as a whole. The EEA is just one offshoot of Ethereum that has attracted enormous investment, however, there are other developments which have led to a recent upsurge in the price of Ether, from $10 to roughly $90 at the time of writing.

Ethereum Name Service

In May 2017, the Ethereum Foundation (EF) launched the Ethereum Name Service (ENS). This protocol is analogous to the separate Domain Name Service (DNS), which ties domain names to i.p. addresses – making them more readable to human users. In a similar way, the ENS will tie long and unreadable smart contract or personal wallet addresses to a memorable “name” such as mywallet.eth. These names are currently at auction, and there has so far been $7m worth of bids, with the exchange.eth receiving a massive $600,000 bid. Note that this is a proxy bid, meaning the winner would only ever pay a trivial amount more than the next highest bidder.

Reducing Miner Reward

A poll taking place on carbonvote.com has indicated that an overwhelming 99.73% are in agreement with a move to reduce the miner reward from 5 ETH per block to 2 ETH (with blocks continuing to be mined at roughly 15-second intervals). The motivation behind such a change is to reduce uncertainty about the future total ETH token supply, helping to drop ETH inflation from 13% to a figure that is more in line with Bitcoin’s 4% inflation.

Proof of Stake

Proof of Stake (PoS) is an alternative consensus protocol to the Proof of Work (PoW) mechanism that was made famous by Bitcoin’s blockchain. In order to secure a blockchain, miners must be rewarded by processing valid transactions and ignoring invalid transactions. In a PoW system, a miner must expend enormous amounts of energy (with a significant cost in doing so) to process a “block” of transactions and to earn their reward. PoW protocols are enormously inefficient, with huge energy requirements that are not in line with modern day environmental considerations.

Proof of Stake serves as an alternative consensus protocol that achieves similar levels of security but requires “miners” (called validators) to stake value in the form of cryptocurrency – expending little to no energy at all. If the validator tries to game the system for their own advantage, they lose all of their stated value. Validators that act honestly are rewarded by receiving what is analogous to interest payments. Ethereum plans to move from their PoW structure to a PoS one, and this move is pegged for the end of 2017/start of 2018. Such a change in protocol would lock enormous amounts of Ether in taking contracts, removing said Ether from the ecosystem and reducing circulating supply.

Bitcoin – Segregated Witness and the Litecoin test bed

                                                    

bitcoin logo

Bitcoin has been unswayed by the incredible rise in altcoin market caps over the past 6 months and remains one of the best performing cryptocurrencies in the market. Having matured beyond the “pump and dump” phase, the currency has now established itself as the gateway to the world of crypto. Bitcoin is, in its current form, the ultimate store of value and medium for exchange when dealing with other currencies. All of this is despite major concerns over the currency’s ability to scale. Transaction fees have increased several times, and the mempool (unconfirmed transactions) has seen enormous growth – leading to delays of several hours or even days.

Thankfully, Bitcoin’s little cousin – Litecoin – has played a vital role in abating fear amongst Bitcoin investors. Litecoin, whose market cap is a fraction of Bitcoin’s, has acted as a test bed for introducing Segregated Witness (SegWit) – a code change to help mitigate some of the scaling problems mentioned above. Litecoin’s activation of SegWit has given developers, users and miners renewed confidence in what this code change can do for Bitcoin, providing a “light at the end of the tunnel” on a 3-year long debate.

Where do cryptocurrencies go from here?

Many early adopters have hailed blockchain technology as “the internet 2.0”. In past years, a number of key figures in the industry analogized the current state of blockchain to that of email in the 1990s, suggesting that what we see today is a fraction of what can be achieved with the protocol in the years ahead. That analogy, which was (and still is) heavily criticized by skeptics, is now becoming too obvious to ignore. Rather than blockchains competing with one another, we are seeing interoperability take hold, and growth is practically ubiquitous amongst all major cryptocurrencies. Smart contract technology is destined to have an enormous impact on a broad range of markets in the years to come, and the impact that blockchain-based banking will have on global economics is undeniable.

It is likely that cryptocurrencies will continue to grow at an unprecedented rate until, in the same analogous way to the Internet, we experience a gigantic bubble. At what point the bubble bursts is an unknown, however – sticking with the analogy – it wasn’t until the Internet reached a value well into the trillions that the market crashed. Compare this figure with that of the blockchain market which is worth no more than $100bn and it seems that we may still be some way off. Despite what seems like an inevitable bubble, the very long-term outlook for blockchain users, investors and developers could not be brighter.

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

 

Alan Zibluk Market Hive Founding Member

Be As You Are ….