FIR B2B https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b/ Paul Gillin and David Strom report on Business-to-Business communication issues and challenges Fri, 01 Jul 2022 16:28:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.1.1 FIR B2B episodic FIR B2B shel@holtz.com shel@holtz.com (FIR B2B) Exploring digital and social media in the world of Business-to-Business marketing and communication FIR B2B http://firpodcastnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/FIR_itunes_cover_B2B-738.jpg http://firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b/ TV-G Concord, CA Concord, CA 82122195 FIR B2B #157: Why the End of Third-Party Cookies is a Bigger Deal than You Think https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-157-why-the-end-of-third-party-cookies-is-a-bigger-deal-than-you-think/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-157-why-the-end-of-third-party-cookies-is-a-bigger-deal-than-you-think/#respond Thu, 23 Jun 2022 13:59:35 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=21039 We speak to Chris Matty, the co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Versium, Inc. about the demise of web tracking cookies and what will replace this technology in the future.
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Profile photo of Chris MattyWe spoke to Chris Matty, the co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer at Versium, Inc. His company is developing better B2B ad tracking technologies that will ultimately be used when the third-party web cookie finally bites the dust next year.

As with so many online technologies, replacing cookies might require a lot of work from advertisers and web publishers. This is because Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon all have a vested interest in keeping customers within their “walled gardens” and not necessarily sharing their tracking data with others. The great cookie demise will bring about a series of consequences, some intended and some unintended.

For example, there will be an initial rush for advertisers to make use of first-party data (meaning data that they have collected over the years themselves) until they realize that this data is outdated or inaccurate and can’t really provide the sufficient quality or insights or a path towards eventual purchases that the old cookies had. There will also be an adjustment as advertisers realize that reaching B2B customers is a lot more difficult than reaching consumers because many business customers don’t necessarily identify themselves as such — think of all the LinkedIn accounts that carry Gmail addresses as an example. 

The work-from-home movement has increased the complexity of the tracking business customers now have different IP addresses or are hidden behind VPNs, so all that geofencing and IP tracking data is out the window! Versium is attempting to resolve these issues by aggregating anonymous data from a variety of sources to profile website visitors without compromising their privacy. Resolving identity means collecting and matching deterministic data that allows a marketer to reach or contact a specific person, such as email, phone numbers, addresses and device IDs. For example, think of trying to ensure you have identified the same person when sometimes they call themselves Bob Smith, sometimes Robert Smith, and in other cases they show up as @rsmith. Versium believes that’s possible in many cases using independent, opt-in sources.

The company is working with a variety of independent publishers and advertisers to consolidate data assets to allow independent publishers and site owners to better compete with the internet giants. The goal is to achieve personalization with privacy protection.

Chris has written extensively on this topic here. “Companies that deploy identity resolution solutions to optimize and leverage data can take back the control they had once ceded to third-party cookies,” he asserts

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FIR B2B #156: Time to Talk About the Twitter https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-156-time-to-talk-about-the-twitter/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-156-time-to-talk-about-the-twitter/#respond Tue, 19 Apr 2022 15:38:34 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=20633 Paul and David have been on Twitter for 15 years. In this episode, we discuss the relevance of Twitter and tips for B2B marketers on to use the network. The best practices really haven't changed much over the years. 
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Paul and David have been on Twitter for 15 years. While we were some of the first business tech journalists to use it, we have also spent a considerable amount of time investing in the care and cultivation of our accounts, and Paul has written several books about social media marketing. Even before the circus called Elon came to the Twittersphere, we had planned to devote a podcast to discussing whether Twitter can thrive in the era of constant outrage or whether it is destined to be another Myspace. 

A couple of interesting sources informed this discussion, including Jon Faverau’s interview with Twitter Co- founder Ev Williams, in which Williams recounts some of the early decisions that drove Twitter’s architecture and news orientation. There was also this piece by Jonathan Haidt in the Atlantic on how the past decade of our lives have been influenced by social media and especially how the retweet function has driven misinformation and disinformation. Haidt believes social media has weakened the intrinsic trust that we place in each other.

While Elon’s dreams of a truly open source and “inclusive arena for free speech” might be taking Twitter down the wrong path, there are still many reasons for B2B marketers to use the network as long as they are authentic, can stick to their knitting and promote longer forms of content such as blogs and, yes, podcasts and videos. Just stay in your swim lane. 

 

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FIR B2B #155: Tony Patrick on How To Do Better B2B SEO https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-155-tony-patrick-on-how-to-do-better-b2b-seo/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-155-tony-patrick-on-how-to-do-better-b2b-seo/#respond Thu, 31 Mar 2022 15:19:31 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=20552 We talk to Tony Patrick, who is the director of Digital Marketing for Influence & Co., a midwest content marketing specialty firm about how to get the best possible SEO results from your content. Tony mentions a variety of tips and cautions against promises of "guaranteed placement" and other come-ons that are just scams.
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Tony PatrickThere are so many shady characters that will try to sell you how to become #1 on Google searches, this episode isn’t one of them. Instead, we talk to Tony Patrick, who is the director of Digital Marketing for Influence & Co., a midwest content marketing specialty firm. One of Tony’s colleagues wrote this piece in Sales & Marketing.com on SEO tactics and we explore some of the suggestions mentioned in that piece on how B2B marketers can become better SEO practitioners and vet potential content marketing partners to deliver the best and most useful content. The article mentions several tips, including doing keyword research and then implementing them in your content and metadata, placing content in external publications and then doing back links on your site, and also complementing textual pieces with video and podcasts. The basics behind the SEO industry haven’t changed much in the past decade, but it helps to hire someone like Influence&Co. that specializes in this particular area to make sure your website gets traction and well, influence.

We discuss how to understand how SEO operates, why inbound links matter, and how to vet and steer clear of scammers and their “guarantees.” WE also get his suggestions on the best tools to use to track your search results, including Semrush, Hubspot, Ahrefs, and Moz.com.

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FIR B2B #154: SMS Texting for B2B With Barbara Casey https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-154-sms-texting-for-b2b-with-barbara-casey/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-154-sms-texting-for-b2b-with-barbara-casey/#respond Fri, 25 Mar 2022 14:06:46 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=20519 We interview Barbara Casey, the CEO of Mobile High 5, about how to be effective at integrating SMS with loyalty programs, ways to mix online and bricks and mortar retailing, and why you should know the text code 7726.
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Earlier this month, Nate Nead wrote this screed on ReadWrite (a site where David once managed an editorial team) about how marketing is getting more difficult. We both think that this isn’t true and that with the right automation and tools it is getting easier to target audiences. Nead says, “Effectively persuading and reaching customers in the modern world requires a more nuanced, organic approach.” Did he miss that memo about 10 years ago? If you aren’t already doing that you’re out of a job. Nate also wrote that “It’s incredibly tough to stand out and you’ll probably have to spend a lot of money to do it.” Again, we don’t think money is the answer. Being more effective at telling a compelling story is.

Let’s move on to our conversation with our guest. With social media proving less and less effective at generating and converting leads, small business owners, in particular, are looking for better ways to create dialogues with their customers. Well, have you thought about SMS text marketing? Barbara Casey is CEO of Mobile High 5 and she says a text campaign, combined with a loyalty program, can yield three- to five-fold traffic spikes when a text goes out. The company works with retailers, restaurateurs and service providers to build custom mobile marketing programs that drive customers to shop or dine more frequently. We spoke to her about how to be effective at integrating SMS with loyalty programs, ways to mix online and bricks and mortar retailing, and why you should know the text code 7726.

 

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FIR B2B #153: How to Build Your “Voice Brand” https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-153-how-to-build-your-voice-brand/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-153-how-to-build-your-voice-brand/#respond Fri, 04 Mar 2022 14:49:01 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=20407 We talk this episode with David Ciccarelli, the CEO of Voices.com about how to build a stable of voice and sonic branding for your business. We discussed how to build this brand with the right voice actors, and whether you should select someone who is more of a trusted narrator or someone who is more of an approachable expert guide.
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David CiccarelliWe talk this episode with David Ciccarelli, the CEO of Voices.com about how to build a stable of voice and sonic branding for your business. David has created an online marketplace for voice actors and believes audio is the most underused asset B2B marketers have. 

We discuss how to build a brand with the voice actors. This means deciding on what your organization “sounds like” and how you want to connect with your customers. The choice of a voice actor matters. Should you go with a commanding narrator or an approachable expert guide? Your sonic brand is the unique soundscape that drives home the tone and personality of your brand voice,” he says. The company has created a guide to becoming a voice actor and also produces an annual “State of the Voice Over” report.

David says visual media has become crowded and notes that nearly one-third of people are primarily audio learners. “Marketers have saturated the eyes and we have to move on to the ears,” he says. “They have found that audio presents an opportunity to tell their story in a deeper, more meaningful way.”

He shares several podcast tips for B2B marketers. Commit to a small number of initial episodes or set a threshold and evaluate, but once you commit, stick with it. Decide if you want to primarily be a guest on other podcasts or host one of your own; those are very different strategies. Prepare show notes in advance, and make sure to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. He has found that 20 minutes is the ideal podcast length as it’s the average duration of a commute, walking the dog or a daily exercise routine.

David has appeared in numerous media outlets, including Business News Network and The Globe and Mail TV, and is a frequent guest speaker at industry conferences.  He is also a great resource for all things audio, such as this online recording studio and this streaming production service.

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FIR B2B #152: What to Do When your Facebook Account Has Been Hacked https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-152-what-to-do-when-your-facebook-account-has-been-hacked/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-152-what-to-do-when-your-facebook-account-has-been-hacked/#respond Mon, 20 Dec 2021 14:20:56 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=14054 Facebook accounts are hacked all too frequently. David discusses a recent article he wrote for The Verge in which had describes the most common exploits and some ways you can harden your account.
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Today we turn the tables a bit and Paul interviews David about an article he recently wrote for The Verge about how to recover a hacked Facebook account. Sadly, this happens all too frequently, and in our episode, David describes the situation and some of the ways you can harden your account to prevent this in the future.

Facebook has a process to recover your account. But before you click on that link, you need to be first logged into Facebook. This presents a problem, though: What happens if you can’t log in because your account has been hacked? Well, you need to find a nearby friend or family member to begin the process. But you’ll quickly find that Facebook has made it extraordinarily difficult to get your account restored, because — no surprise — criminals try to use this method to take over your account as well.

There are some third-party services that will intercede on your behalf, but you have to ensure that you are dealing with legit operators here. David’s article mentions one of them that he vetted.

We also discuss what you should do now — Paul got right on fixing his own account and finding ways to shore up his security. There are numerous screens to visit and steps to take, including adding another authentication factor (such as using Authy.com) and eliminating OAuth logins to other websites. Certainly, the road to better security is a long and winding one. But worthwhile when you consider the alternative.

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FIR B2B #151: How Akamai Rebuilt its Massive Corporate Website and Drove Engagement https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-151-how-akamai-rebuilt-its-massive-corporate-website-and-drove-engagement/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-151-how-akamai-rebuilt-its-massive-corporate-website-and-drove-engagement/#respond Tue, 26 Oct 2021 21:37:45 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=13880 Annalisa Church recently led a massive overhaul of the Akamai website, which boasts with more than 1,200 pages in English covering 18 different products. The result has been a spike in customer engagement, with one million monthly visitors, almost two-thirds of whom become customers. Learn her secrets.
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Profile photo of Annalisa (Perna) ChurchFew of us get to have as much influence over a more public website than Annalisa Church, VP Digital Technology, Insights & Operations for Akamai.  She has built a career on converging marketing and technology to drive better experiences for customers and build long-term value for enterprises. She is devoted to transforming marketing into a data-driven organization through actionable insights and ensuring the voice of the customer. Prior to Akamai, she worked for eight years in Dell’s marketing department.

Annalisa recently led a massive overhaul of the Akamai website, which is available in nine different languages, with more than 1,200 pages in English covering 18 different products.  The site has tremendous customer engagement, with one million monthly visitors, and almost two-thirds of them become customers after visiting the site.

The diagram below shows some of the changes that Church implemented during her redesign to make it more effective and more relevant to visitors. These efforts have paid off in terms of more engagement, more conversions from visitors to customers, and wider impact.

 

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FIR B2B #150: B2B Marketing Truths from Ruth Stevens https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-150-b2b-marketing-truths-from-ruth-stevens/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-150-b2b-marketing-truths-from-ruth-stevens/#respond Fri, 01 Oct 2021 14:11:30 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=13829 This episode brought us together with Ruth Stevens, whose consulting firm, eMarketing Strategy, helps clients build customer acquisition and retention strategies along with other marketing programs. Ruth has had a distinguished career. She has taught marketing at the NYU Stern School, the Columbia Business School and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore. Before that ... Continue Reading →

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This episode brought us together with Ruth Stevens, whose consulting firm, eMarketing Strategy, helps clients build customer acquisition and retention strategies along with other marketing programs. Ruth has had a distinguished career. She has taught marketing at the NYU Stern School, the Columbia Business School and the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore. Before that  she held senior marketing positions at Time Warner, IBM and other firms.

Back in the early 1990s Ruth headed up marketing for the Ziff Davis Computer Library, an early – and highly profitable – business that repackaged content from Ziff-Davis’ portfolio of publications and delivered it on a CD-ROM, if you can believe it. Ruth is an unabashed fan of B2B marketing with a wide scope of interests. As a blogger on Biznology.com, she has lamented the often toxic relationship between sales and marketing organizations and described tools for connecting with your website visitors that even our hosts were unaware of. 

Ruth is past president of the Direct Marketing Club of New York and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Business Marketing by Crain’s BtoB magazine. She has written a number of books, the most recent being B2B Data-Driven Marketing: Sources, Uses, Results, which was co-authored Theresa Kushner. In a recent presentation, she talked about ways to plan your content marketing library. 

Among the topics we touch on in this interview is the value of account-based marketing, the importance of understanding the difference between lead quantity and quality, the mistakes that B2B marketers make that still drive her crazy and why B2B marketing is more complex, difficult and fun than B2C marketing. 

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FIR B2B #149: Cutting Out the Middleman in B2B PR https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-149-cutting-out-the-middleman-in-b2b-pr/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-149-cutting-out-the-middleman-in-b2b-pr/#respond Tue, 10 Aug 2021 13:48:02 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=13719 We speak with Dan Simon, CEO of Qwoted, a startup that connects journalists to expert sources. He tells how his service is flipping the PR paradigm on its head by letting journalists initiate the conversation and cutting out the need for pitches.
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For years Paul and David have used Help A Reporter Out. The service — now owned by Cision —  aims to eliminate the gatekeeping middleman role of corporate PR, and put sources directly in touch with the journalists that want to quote them. HARO, as it is known, has been less useful as of late, but there is a new, venture-backed startup called Qwoted that is making some important inroads. We spoke to its CEO and co-founder, Dan Simon. He told us Qwoted had close to a thousand inquires last month and is growing. The service has a free tier (individuals can make three monthly requests, agencies five) and a paid tier.

Qwoted flips the PR paradigm on its head by letting journalists initiate the conversation and cutting out the need for pitches.

Simon has lots of pointers to help PR and marketing staff get the most out of his service. He is deeply steeped in the field, having been president of Cognito, a New York financial services agency, among other roles. Simon recommends that you use the tools he provides to search on previous successful match-ups and examine the job titles more carefully, as well as to fill out the profiles to make your expertise more transparent and compelling.

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FIR B2B #148: The Changing Landscape of B2B Discussion Groups https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-148-the-changing-landscape-of-b2b-discussion-groups/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-148-the-changing-landscape-of-b2b-discussion-groups/#respond Wed, 28 Jul 2021 14:59:50 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=13674 A new report on social media usage by the channel by Jay McBain of Forrester Research finds that the groups people use and the way they use them is changing amid a 13.2%, 490 million-user surge in social media use in 2020.

 
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A new report on social media usage by the channel by Jay McBain of Forrester Research finds that the groups people use and the way they use them is changing amid a 13.2%, 490 million-user surge in social media use in 2020.

The report lists major tech channel groups that both managed service providers and channel managers should know about for each social network. McBain’s informal research found that Facebook Groups have replaced LinkedIn as the place to talk tech. He claims many LinkedIn groups have become ghost towns overrun by spam. Half of his respondents to his survey were disappointed with engagement levels on the platform.

The report prompted David to realize that he belonged to more than 50 groups and couldn’t remember the last time he posted — or even clicked on content on any of them. McBain has identified more than 40 FaceBook Groups that IT folks should take a closer look at. 

One of the more important lessons of this research is that social media groups aren’t an ad medium but a way to engage potential partners on a grassroots level. Too often we both have seen plenty of spam or vendor posts that don’t really encourage discussion. The speed at which channel firms have apparently abandoned LinkedIn groups shows how quickly attitudes can change if group members don’t believe their needs are being respected.

McBain also reviewed several other social networks, some of which we hadn’t heard of. Up-and-comers include the audio- and app-oriented Clubhouse and Discord, which was originally for gamers but which has broadened its scope. McBain rates Twitter the second most popular spot for tech content, even though it really doesn’t have the community engagement tools to match Facebook or LinkedIn. And he advises B2B companies to keep an eye on Reddit, which had 52 million daily active users worldwide at the end of 2020, up 44% year-over-year.

Although the report is aimed at technology channel companies, it’s a useful way for any B2B marketer to take a fresh look at the social groups you use to get your message across.

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FIR B2B #147: Marketing Lessons From the Open Source World With Priyanka Sharma https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-147-marketing-lessons-from-the-open-source-world-with-priyanka-sharma/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-147-marketing-lessons-from-the-open-source-world-with-priyanka-sharma/#comments Mon, 26 Apr 2021 23:32:48 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=13349 Priyanka Sharma, General Manager of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, tell how the open-source group has helped mainstream IT organizations adopt cloud and container technologies, agreed on standards despite competitive differences and how to sell open-source software to the prototypical "pointy-haired boss."
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This week we talk to Priyanka Sharma, who is the General Manager of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation. The group has assembled a massive collection of 600 vendor members, ranging from little-known startups to the biggest companies on the Internet. The foundation is the steward of more than 80 open source projects that support Kubernetes, Prometheus, Vitess, Envoy and other technologies that deal with distributed data structures, network policies and cloud orchestration. The foundation helps to put on an annual conference, which has a business value track this year, and has a library of webinars to help spread the word about the revolutionary technology called software containers. She told us during the podcast that “Life isn’t a zero sum game and we have to work together” to help market cloud tech.

Our interest in this portfolio is high — Paul has written most recently about the foundation here for SiliconAngle.  We spoke to her about her role at CNCF and the tactics the foundation has found to help mainstream IT adopt cloud and container technologies, getting her members to agree on a single standard, how to sell open source to the prototypical “pointy-haired boss” and what tech marketers can learn from the cloud evolution that they can apply to solve their own business problems.

 

 

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FIR B2B #146: Language Matters https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-146-language-matters/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-146-language-matters/#respond Mon, 05 Apr 2021 14:00:50 +0000 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=13267 Corporations are increasingly weighing in on social and political issues, and the need to be sensitive to special interests has never been greater. In this show we run through some examples of how the choice of words matters in framing your organization's position in a controversy. 
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Last week Volkswagen tried and failed at an April Fool’s prank that involved changing its name to “Voltswagen” in recognition of its belated line of electric vehicles. The name change was confirmed through its press channels before Volkswagen eventually revealed that it was “only” a joke. Only a lot of people in the media weren’t laughing, believing that they had been manipulated as part of a marketing stunt.

The issue once again emphasized how tone-deaf companies can be in light of their reputations (Remember the whole diesel stats fiasco?) This brings up the topic of how to be cautious about your choice of language. The issue is particularly relevant in this time of hyper-sensitivity to issues of race, gender and disability.

An older article on The Hill has several examples of neutral language, such as using “pro-life” rather than “anti-abortion” to describe sides of that sensitive issue. Paul weighs in on a recent experience he had writing an article about autism in the workplace: many of those folks prefer to be called “autistics people” rather than “people with autism.” The latter approach, called “individual first,” is favored by people with disabilities but autistic people don’t consider themselves to be disabled. Language has been widely used to shape the gun debate as well.

We’re seeing corporations increasingly weigh in on social and political issues and the need to be sensitive to special interests has never been greater. The most recent example is voting rights bills that are being considered by various statehouses. Several large companies have weighed in on the issue, with language ranging from blunt in the case of Delta Airlines to Microsoft’s nuanced approach. And media, who likes a good fight, has largely overlooked the numerous bills that expanded rather than restricted these rights, something that the Brennan Center has tracked extensively

You might want to take some time to review these links to understand how much language matters these days and to think twice about how you express your corporate position.

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FIR B2B #145: Greg Ness Is a ‘Fractional CMO.’ What the Heck Does That Mean? https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-145-greg-ness-is-a-fractional-cmo-what-the-heck-does-that-mean/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-145-greg-ness-is-a-fractional-cmo-what-the-heck-does-that-mean/#respond Tue, 16 Feb 2021 14:46:36 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=13085 With 20 years of success nurturing technology startups to success, Greg Ness is now a "fractional CMO," working with a small team of experts to bring marketing expertise to emerging companies in a package he calls "go-to-market-as-a-service."

 
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Greg Ness has a long track record of helping nurture tech startups to success. Now he’s a “fractional CMO” dividing his time between diverse emerging companies like DigitSec, SmartStory Technologies and NetBeez.

Greg has made startups his speciality over the past 20 years, including full-time rose as VP marketing at Vidder, Cloudneeti, Vantage, Redline Networks and CloudVelox.  The concept of a fractional CMO is an interesting one because it allows startups to purchase just enough marketing resources without having to commit to a full-time position. Ness brings a cadre of domain experts with him in a package he calls “go-to-market-as-a-service.”

Working for several companies concurrently means he can quickly cross-pollinate great ideas and also nip potentially bad marketing decisions in the bud. In this podcast, we discuss why marketing needs for startups differ from those of established companies. You can’t just transplant tactics that work for big firms; you need to rethink your tools and techniques to fit each company’s circumstances.

Greg is more comfortable with technology topics than a lot of tech CMOs that Paul and David have met. His Archimedius blog reflects his insatiable curiosity about all things tech and his 20 years in Silicon Valley. In this interview he talks about how he balances his work load among multiple clients, what tech entrepreneurs most often do wrong and what the best ones have in common.

 

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FIR B2B #144: The Future of Virtual Events https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-144-the-future-of-virtual-events/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-144-the-future-of-virtual-events/#respond Thu, 28 Jan 2021 19:34:40 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=12991 While folks can't wait to get back to traveling to actual face-to-face events, for the moment we have to contend with virtual events. Paul and David discuss what are some of the issues with producing these events, the kinds of IT tools that are required, and what you need to do to plan them appropriately.
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While we’ve all been staying home and being virtual, Paul has done some original research and David has written this white paper for Network Solutions on helpful tips and tricks for IT pros that are involved in supporting virtual events.

The results of Paul’s informal census is that folks can’t wait to get back to F2F. We all have been in our pandemic bubbles for far too long and the urge to have human contact and serendipitous hallway meetings is a big reason to return to the rubber chicken circuit. But we’ve all learned a lot in the meantime about what makes virtual events successful. At its heart, you are putting on a live TV show with a very small staff to handle the production. You need to plan accordingly on the mixture of live and pre-recorded segments and figure out what tech you are going to use, including the video conferencing and the event management tool. (The two are different and you should understand the differences, which David explains in his paper.)

But virtual events have their purposes, including creating content that can be archived and used for marketing purposes long after the last attendee has disconnected. Unlike physical events, this content can be helpful in bringing in new customers and supporting new marketing campaigns, as well as supporting existing customers with FAQs, for example. And they can be very cost effective to produce, since you aren’t picking up huge travel and event hosting fees.

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FIR B2B #143: Mitch Ratcliffe On How COVID is Making All Marketing Local Again https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-143-mitch-ratcliffe-on-how-covid-is-making-all-marketing-local-again/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-143-mitch-ratcliffe-on-how-covid-is-making-all-marketing-local-again/#respond Tue, 10 Nov 2020 17:54:14 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=12706 Mitch Ratcliffe is a business, product and content marketing leader with 35 years of experience in local media, technology marketing, online and broadcast publishing. Among the successful businesses he’s helped launch are the ON24 conferencing platform and BuzzLogic influencer marketing agency. He’s also served on the founding board of directors of Match.com. Mitch shares our... Continue Reading →

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Mitch Ratcliffe is a business, product and content marketing leader with 35 years of experience in local media, technology marketing, online and broadcast publishing. Among the successful businesses he’s helped launch are the ON24 conferencing platform and BuzzLogic influencer marketing agency. He’s also served on the founding board of directors of Match.com. Mitch shares our publication lineage with roles at Ziff-Davis, CMP and numerous other publishers. And he has a bionic neck

We spoke to Mitch about this recent post on Metaforce, his current digs. It touches on the changes that COVID-19 has wrought with modern B2B marketing. The new rule, he asserts, is to let no communication be wasted but also let no message waste your customer’s time. Engagement is an exercise in listening and serving, not selling.

One of the lasting effects of the pandem is that customers are embedded in their lives, not our brands.  That means the last marketing mile matters: The local network of SMBs and service providers associated with your brand creates a base of deeply engaged influencers who can work on your behalf. All marketing is going local in COVID’s wake. 

 

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FIR B2B #142: Why B2B Marketers Should Care About ‘The Social Dilemma’ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-142-why-b2b-marketers-should-care-about-the-social-dilemma/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-142-why-b2b-marketers-should-care-about-the-social-dilemma/#respond Tue, 29 Sep 2020 18:46:41 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=12511 The new movie The Social Dilemma carries the message that the social giants have sold us and our data down the river, and we now are stuck with the consequences. We believe B2B marketers can do more to fight against misuse of personal information and the spread of hate speech online.
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The movie The Social Dilemma is now streaming on Netflix. It’s been widely reviewed, and most of the reviews are positive.  (You can read David’s review for his Avast blog here.) It combines documentary-style interviews with leading minds formerly at Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Instagram and so on, along with star turns from Shoshana Zuboff, Jaron Lanier and Renee Diresta. The thesis is that the social giants have sold us and our data down the river, and we now are stuck with the results.

Paul and David discuss the wider implications about the movie for B2B marketers, particularly for the tech world that we both know so well. While neither of us learned anything new, the movie does portray a dark and dangerous situation situation developing. We feel that the time has come for advertisers to band together to acknowledge that this is a problem, to fight platforms’ tacit support for conspiracies and hate speech and to educate the public about how to be careful in their own consumption of social media posts and misinformation. There are several privacy suggestions in both the ending credits of the movie and on David’s post that could be starting places for a discussion.

Earlier this summer a group of advertisers banded together to boycott Facebook. The NY Times wrote about the results here. Basically, while many advertisers went dark, most of them came back in August. The revenue impact on Facebook wasn’t significant and many smaller businesses really have no choice but to use the platform.

We’d love to hear from you with other suggestions on how we can work together to improve the social media landscape. Post a comment or email Paul or Dave.

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FIR B2B #141: How Domo Pivoted to a Virtual Conference in Just 12 Days https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-141-how-domo-pivoted-to-a-virtual-conference-in-just-12-days/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-141-how-domo-pivoted-to-a-virtual-conference-in-just-12-days/#respond Mon, 24 Aug 2020 14:08:46 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=12433 John Mellor, chief strategy officer at data visualization vendor Domo, tells how the company pivoted to change its annual conference from a physical to a virtual event in just 12 business days.
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Business intelligence software firm Domo had been planning its March 18 Domopalooza conference for nearly a year. About 3,000 customers and partners were expected to flock to Salt Lake City for four days of technical training and meetings, capped by a concert by the Black Eyed Peas. But as quarantines and lockdowns began sweeping the world in late February, Domo made the tough call to take the conference virtual, with just 12 days to make the shift.

Chief Strategy Officer John Mellor spearheaded the shift. In this interview he summarizes the rapid series of decisions Domo had to make to pull off a successful virtual event that ultimately attracted more than 12,000 visitors. There are more details in this story Paul wrote for SiliconAngle.

Mellor turned a three-day event into one 90-minute plenary session that mixed live conversations with pre-taped segments, along with a series of dozens of break-out sessions that could be streamed on demand. He focused on delivering great content, driving a higher attendance and better engagement through a well-defined user community. He also saved a bunch of money, even after paying the no-show fees for the various in-person aspects of the event. In our podcast, he discusses his decisions and why he expects to take a “virtual first”  approach to future events.

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FIR B2B #140: Talend’s Lauren Vaccarello On Taking Marketing Virtual https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-140-talends-lauren-vaccarello-on-taking-marketing-virtual/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-140-talends-lauren-vaccarello-on-taking-marketing-virtual/#respond Wed, 12 Aug 2020 17:14:27 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=12405 In the year since she joined data integration software vendor Talend as CMO, Lauren Vaccarello has worked through an entire revamp of the leadership team, a full company rebrand and a the transformation of an in-person event to a worldwide series of virtual events across three continents. Her optimism and enthusiasm should inspire anyone. 
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Lauren Vaccarello’s first year as CMO of Talend has been about resilience, psychological trust and safety, along with frequent quick pivots. The former marketing executive at Salesforce.com and Box and host of a Mission.org marketing podcast has had to adjust to working with an entirely new leadership team, leading a full company rebrand (and a second rebrand thanks to COVID-19) and transforming a planned in-person event to a worldwide series of virtual events fielded across three continents in a single day.

In the process, Lauren has learned to think on her feet and how to rewire marketing in this brave new pandemic world. In our interview, we talk with her about the changes COVID-19 has wrought in the B2B world, what marketers still need to learn about digital marketing, how B2B is affected by the surge of e-commerce usage in the consumer world and why Talend is so transparent about pricing (its page is a model of clarity that every SaaS vendor should follow). She also tells why she is excited to be working for an all-female leadership team and the collaboration and shared responsibility they bring to the table. It’s something other Silicon Valley firms could learn from.

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FIR B2B #139: Faulting and Fixing Facebook’s Hate Speech Problem https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-139-faulting-and-fixing-facebooks-hate-speech-problem/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-139-faulting-and-fixing-facebooks-hate-speech-problem/#respond Wed, 08 Jul 2020 16:28:04 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=12248 More than 300 advertisers are pulling ads from Facebook over hate speech complaints. We wonder why there aren't more B2B brands on the list. 
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This week we discuss the Facebook ad boycott. Well, it really isn’t a total boycott but more like a brief pause by hundreds of major consumer brands in their advertising programs with Facebook and all of its social media platforms. CNN is keeping track of who is pulling their ads this month. However, the protests aren’t expected to hurt Facebook very much since most of its $70 billion in annual ad revenue comes from smaller businesses, something that Andrew Yang discusses on his podcast with cybersecurity pro John Redgrave and is worth listening to (after you listen to ours).

Montgomery College Pulls Ads From Facebook, Supports 'Stop Hate ...The effort was created by a group of anti-hate speech advocates such as NAACP and ADL under the banner of Stop Hate for Profit. That website lists their demands for changes to Facebook’s operations. We wonder why more B2B companies haven’t stepped up to this effort. David wrote a blog post with his point of view last month here. Shortly after we recorded this episode, the results of an internal audit were released, finding that Facebook’s “approach to civil rights remains too reactive and piecemeal.” Clearly the company still has a long way to go, particularly since top executives appear to be in denial that anything is wrong in the first place.

Facebook has also been criticized for some sloppy programming with its API, allowing discontinued mobile apps to still access private data. The company has made a lame and half-hearted response.

 

Speaking about other worthwhile podcasts, the NY Times tech columnist Kevin Roose has been producing a series called Rabbit Hole about how social networks in general, and YouTube in particular, suck people into echo chambers through their recommendation engines. It’s an unsettling series and well worth a listen if you want to know how Gen Z and  younger use social media. 

 

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FIR B2B #138: Keeping it Real https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-138-keeping-it-real/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-138-keeping-it-real/#respond Fri, 05 Jun 2020 13:55:52 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=12090 COVID has given new meaning to the value of authenticity. We look at how Salesforce.com delivers it, how marketers can be more authentic on LinkedIn and the new authenticity video meetings have introduced to business conversations.
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COVID has given new meaning to the value of authenticity. David and Paul riff on a few examples:

Marketing Week speaks to Salesforce.com’s CMO and what B2B can learn from B2C marketing. One thing is to keep it personal by forgetting about stock photos and telling personal stories. This helps to build trust and deliver better customer relationships. Of course, it helps to have a charismatic and opinionated CEO like Marc Benioff around to inspire the team.

Sprout Social’s Alicia Johnston writes about how to inspire action with your LinkedIn presence. Rather than making your vendor page a promotional smarmy read, take the time to be more aspirational and educational. This can help provide insights and make connections with your community. The piece also discusses ways to experiment to find your best corporate voice and how to time your posts for maximum impact.

Social media influencers are raking in the big bucks, and we think it’s because they build, rather than buy their audiences. But marketers and influencers alike need to keep in mind that paid relationships need to be disclosed, and penalties for failing to do so will grow along with paychecks. But we like this more toward promotion through authentic channels.

Our IT journalist colleague Sally Grotta writes that personal interruptions that once would have been inappropriate are now not just accepted as part of the online conference experience. The interruptions by kids, animals and delivery people make our interactions less formal and more real. Musicians have led the way, with many famous performers inviting us into their living rooms for concerts that seem so much more intimate than when given in a performance hall.

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FIR B2B #137: Invoca CMO Dee Anna McPherson on Building Strong Customer Advocacy Programs https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-137-invoca-cmo-dee-anna-mcpherson-on-building-strong-customer-advocacy-programs/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-137-invoca-cmo-dee-anna-mcpherson-on-building-strong-customer-advocacy-programs/#respond Fri, 08 May 2020 17:46:39 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=11981 We talk today with Dee Anna McPherson, the CMO at Invoca, an AI call tracking and conversational analytics vendor. That is a mouthful and one of the things she is doing is trying to define and own a new product category. That could be a daunting prospect, except she has done this before when she... Continue Reading →

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We talk today with Dee Anna McPherson, the CMO at Invoca, an AI call tracking and conversational analytics vendor. That is a mouthful and one of the things she is doing is trying to define and own a new product category. That could be a daunting prospect, except she has done this before when she worked at Yammer (before they were engulfed by Microsoft) and then at Hootsuite. When Yammer began, no one had heard about microblogging, as it was called then. McPherson managed to define “enterprise social networking” as Yammer’s category and the company was off to the races from there. With working from home now the norm, that kind of technology has become the de factor standard for communications among remote team members. 

Paul wrote about Invoca last year for Silicon Angle on how they use machine learning to transcribe and classify calls.

McPherson tell us about the importance of customer communication in building strong customer advocacy programs. You need to figure out a way to tell their stories without using the words “customer case study” or “reference account.” Customers really do want to help as long as they aren’t seen as shilling, she believe.  This is a topic we’ve touched on before, such as FIR B2B #118’s discussion about how customers should be your best advocates as well as our written work on social media marketing. We close out the podcast talking about how things have changed for marketers in the pandemic, how customer supply chains are evolving and how marketers can benefit from this transition.

 

 

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FIR B2B #136: The Best and Worst COVID-related PR Pitches https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-136-the-best-and-worst-covid-related-pr-pitches/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-136-the-best-and-worst-covid-related-pr-pitches/#respond Thu, 09 Apr 2020 21:20:42 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=11842 Our email seems to be all Covid, all the time, with pitches and experts offered from all walks of life. It isn’t just the infosec vendors either. Paul and David have gotten pitches from genealogy vendors, from vendor selling ink cartridges and how to build a sales team that is working from home. In this episode, we take you through the good and bad articles and pitches that we have seen. Stay healthy out there folks!
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Is your inbox overflowing with a virus? Sadly, it isn’t ordinary phishing or malware, but all COVID, all the time, with pitches and experts offered from all walks of life. It isn’t just the infosec vendors either. Paul and David have gotten pitches from genealogy vendors, from vendor selling ink cartridges and those who want to help us build a sales team working from home. 

They have plenty of competition. Bad guys have come up with all kinds of scams and ploys preying on interest in information and remedies. Scammers cumulatively  created over 35,500 unique websites related to COVID-19 in the last month according to Atlas VPN research, Some of these sites tried to swindle money by selling masks, hand sanitizers, or even virus testing kits. Amazon removed over 530,000 coronavirus-related product listings due to price-gouging. 

All this means communicators need to be judicious about what you are pitching. In this podcast, we look at the best and worst examples that we’ve seen cross our inboxes. For example, we both liked this piece that ran in David’s local St. Louis magazine. It looked into the role two local university medical research teams – one at Washington University and one at St. Louis University – were contributing to COVID research work. David’s wife is an interior designer, and she has gotten her share of coronavirus-related pitches too. One  pitch is for a bunch of expert tips on organizing your home while sheltering in place. We both liked the practicality of the piece and how it offers some solid suggestions that anyone can use to straighten up while living in isolation. .

The email at left had a subject line “building your sales team for a post-Covid recovery.” That struck us both as opportunistic and being somewhat tone-deaf to the worldwide misery we’ve all been seeing.

Then there is the pitch from Dell below right that is trying to sell printer ink cartridges, with the subject line “working from home made easy.” Needlessly exploitative. It has nothing to do with simplifying work from home.

Finally is the personalized pitch at the bottom left. If you are going to go make a pitch related to an epic tragedy, don’t start with “Happy Wednesday.” It just comes across as unseemly.

So what are some lessons that we learned? First sharpen your pitch and and make it as relevant to your business as possible. Don’t make a reporter have to search for an angle. And it doesn’t hurt to ask a reporter what articles they are working on and offer to help.

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FIR B2B #135: Tips for Transitioning to a Home-Based Workforce https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-135-tips-for-transitioning-to-a-home-based-workforce/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-135-tips-for-transitioning-to-a-home-based-workforce/#respond Fri, 13 Mar 2020 20:19:28 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=11699 As the coronavirus spreads throughout the world, businesses are being faced with setting up policies and procedures to enable potentially large numbers of people to work from home (WFH). But if you are contemplating doing this, you will face a series of challenges, some of them brought on by new demands on your IT department,... Continue Reading →

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As the coronavirus spreads throughout the world, businesses are being faced with setting up policies and procedures to enable potentially large numbers of people to work from home (WFH). But if you are contemplating doing this, you will face a series of challenges, some of them brought on by new demands on your IT department, some brought on by new ways of working that you may not have anticipated. A good reference point to show the complexities involved is this Twitter thread from what Slack did to move to 100% WFH model. In this podcast, Paul and David draw upon their own decades-long experience of being sole business owners who have worked in their own office spaces in various places. We offer some solid advice and things to consider, such as:

  1. Think about printing, email and sharing files but needing to use IT supported services and security such as VPNs. We discuss the temptation to use SaaS services such as Dropbox, which might initially work but could expose your corporate data to the Internet unintentionally. 
  2. Make sure your infosec is up to par. A VPN isn’t just the only thing you need to worry about it. Is your home router secured with an appropriate password? Do you encrypt your network traffic across the Internet? Has your laptop been screened for malware? These and other questions need to be addressed before rolling out any work-from-home solution.
  3. Does your staff have the right tools? Just because everyone has a laptop doesn’t mean anything, particularly if at their desks are docking stations and multiple monitors and great audio/video gear. You may have to purchase these additional accessories if your staff is going to be productive. 
  4. Make sure your staff has a separate workspace that is isolated from the rest of the house. You want to minimize distractions and unplanned family “visits” during the workday.
  5. Get a good mic (David uses the Blue Snowball, Paul uses a Logitech mic). You should be able to get something decent for $50-$100. 
  6. Standardize on video conferencing supplier (we both like Zoom at the moment) and make sure all your gear provides solid audio quality when you use it.
  7. Make sure your home bandwidth is sufficient. Pay attention to upload speeds, because these can impact your latency and video quality.
  8. Learn new video conferencing etiquette, review our previous podcast on some of our tips here.
  9. Set up a shared scheduling tool for everyone to use, and standardize on a corporate instant messaging tool too. 

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FIR B2B #134: Fred Bateman on the Evolving Role of PR in a Fragmented Media World https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-134-fred-bateman-on-the-evolving-role-of-pr-in-a-fragmented-media-world/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-134-fred-bateman-on-the-evolving-role-of-pr-in-a-fragmented-media-world/#respond Tue, 18 Feb 2020 00:25:45 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=11569 Fred Bateman has seen momentous changes in public relations during the 30+ years he's been in the business. As the founder of the Bateman Group embarks on a new stage in his career, he reflects on the evolving role of PR in a fragmented media landscape and the skills that it takes to thrive amid all that complexity.
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Fred Bateman has been around the tech world as long as we have: At the dawn of the PC era he worked for various PR firms and then founded the Bateman Group, which grew to 90 staffers doing tech-focused PR and content marketing. Fred recently announced that he will sell his majority ownership to his three co-owners, who have re-branded the company as Mission North. He plans to partner with nonprofits to teach disenfranchised groups of people the business, writing and communications skills required for a successful career in tech-focused PR.

We spoke with Fred about how far the PR profession has come sine the dawn of the Internet era, how PR and content marketing people need to work hand-in-hand and how branded news sites such as Adobe’s CMO.com have created new avenues of influence for marketing organizations. Fred also reflects on the skills that distinguish the best PR pros he’s worked with from all the other and the complex role of influencers in today’s media landscape.

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FIR B2B #133: How to Construct a Compelling Case Study https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-133-how-to-construct-a-compelling-case-study/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-133-how-to-construct-a-compelling-case-study/#respond Mon, 03 Feb 2020 20:08:36 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=11466 Good case studies are fundamentally the same as fairy tales and Disney classics. The have heroes, villains, crises and resolutions. Use this formula to make your B2B case studies soar.
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This week we discuss case studies — both ones we’ve written and others we like. The best case studies are really about the storytelling, having a solid narrative arc with a beginning, a resolution and a moral. They bring to life a hero – or in some cases an anti-hero – and describe the drama that led up to a crisis point and how the situation was resolved. The best ones are simple, don’t burden the reader with needless details and have a news hook that makes them compelling during the time surrounding their online posting.

David’s own story about the Avast CISO Jaya Baloo, who faced a security breach on her first day on the job, was instructive at showing the conflicts over how to respond to a breach and how to rally her staff to fix the problem, but it also provided insight into her personality and her leadership strengths. Paul’s story about the rise of Domino’s Pizza from whipping post to Wall Street darling starts out by describing customers who described Domino’s’ product as tasting like cardboard. It’s an unusual way to start a story but a nice narrative for a turnaround. The chain took control over its digital technologies and saw a 50-fold increase in its stock price as a result.

Sometimes stories – like Paul’s piece on J.C. Penney’s attempted turnaround – don’t bear the test of time. While Penney’s tried to restart its brand with members of a team that led the successful digital transformation at Home Depot, the story shows that sometimes hope is not the best marketing strategy.

And sometimes stories have anti-heroes at their core, as this piece that Kaspersky ran last year about the increase in the number of cities that have suffered ransomware attacks. It drew our attention as a reminder of how devastating these attacks have been, and why they continue to be attractive to hackers, using storytelling as a hook.

Finally, case studies can have a visual element, as this piece on rebranding cranberries for the millennial generation did. The folks behind marketing this seasonal fruit used the fascination that millennials have with taking pictures of their food to put together a nice social media campaign last Thanksgiving that moved what many consider a boring traditional dish into the spotlight.

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FIR B2B #132: Worst PR Nightmares of 2019 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-132-worst-pr-nightmares-of-2019/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-132-worst-pr-nightmares-of-2019/#respond Fri, 17 Jan 2020 15:34:24 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=11370 This week we take a moment to reflect on the past year's major PR blunders. Thanks to the folks at Crain's Chicago Business, we have five doozies to relive with you. We cover the gamut from Hallmark's lesbian bridal spot to Sallie Mae's Hawaiian junket to the various missteps of Boeing's now ex-CEO in face of numerous airline crashes and other disasters.
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This week we take a moment to reflect on the past year’s major PR blunders. Thanks to the folks at Crain’s Chicago Business, we have five doozies to relive with you. They run the gamut from Hallmark’s lesbian bridal spot to Sallie Mae’s Hawaiian junket to the various missteps of Boeing’s now ex-CEO.  All have a few things in common:

  • The companies were culturally tone-deaf, whether to gender, racial, or other sensitive topics. Being woke isn’t just a fixed state of mind but a commitment to keep up with the cultural norms and mores and memes in this diverse world.
  • They failed to talk. The first hours after a crisis are critical and require a response — even if it is “We are working on a response and will get back to you.” Crickets will just inflame passions and create the impression that the business fails to understand its mistakes. “An organization is more likely to survive a crisis with its reputation intact if it immediately speaks for itself rather than allowing others to speculate about its motives and behavior,” Crain’s wrote.
  • They reinforced stereotypes. The Peloton ad would have worked if it had showed the woman gifting her husband, not the other way around. Why not run these ideas by impartial third parties who can identify the land mines? Hire a couple of journalists to poke holes at your message.
  • The companies waffled in response. Hallmark first pulled then reinstated its bridal TV spot. The ad was bold and progressive. Why not stand your ground instead of yielding to criticism that you know is coming?
  • Don’t be Facebook. We have beaten up repeatedly on the social network over the past year (#117 on alternatives  and #102 on how to fix some of their most egregious flaws).  Crain’s gives Facebook a dishonorable mention for stating that it won’t vet political campaigns ads.

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FIR B2B #131: How to Run Webcasts and Video Calls https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-131-how-to-run-webcasts-and-video-calls/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-131-how-to-run-webcasts-and-video-calls/#respond Wed, 20 Nov 2019 19:01:29 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=11086 Running a great online meeting isn't hard. We have tips to make yours more successful and less stressful.
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Both Paul and David have run and participated in various webinars and online meetings over the years. For this podcast episode, we share some of their best practices. There are several things you can do to have great meetings. First, is preparing your speakers and in planning for the presentation. Do you have the right kind of slide deck? With our in-person speaking gigs, we try to minimize the text on our slides and provide for more of an experience and set the mood. For a webinar where you don’t necessary see your audience, your slides are more of your speaking notes, so your audience can take away your thoughts and remember your major points.

David produces a monthly webinar for the Red Cross that has a dozen speakers and an audience of several hundred. To pull this off with minimal technical issues, he and his team have put together a lengthy document that recommends how speakers connect (watch for poor Wi-Fi and don’t use speakerphones) and describes the various roles that different people play during the conference call (master of ceremonies, moderator, time keeper, slide wrangler, presenter recruiter, chat and notes helpers). We both suggest using a common slide deck for all speakers, which means getting the slides in order prior to the meeting. Also, with more than a couple of presenters you should test your speakers’ audio connections too; both of us have had more problems with wonky audio than video. And settle on a protocol for whether or not to show your face when the meeting starts (and check to see if you are appropriately dressed).

Both of us feel you should always start your meetings promptly: you don’t want to be wasting time waiting for stragglers. We both don’t particularly like Skype for Business, although “regular” Skype is fine (most times) and we have also used GoToMeeting and Zoom, too.

Here is an example of a recent speech David gave to an audience of local government IT managers. He also has lots of other tips on how to do more than meetings and improve team collaboration here.

Good luck with running your own online meetings, and please share your own tips and best practices as comments. And enjoy the video below.

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FIR B2B #130: Don’t be fake! https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-130-dont-be-fake/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-130-dont-be-fake/#respond Mon, 28 Oct 2019 13:10:16 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10881 Fakery is never a good practice for brands. In a democratized media world, the truth will eventually come out.
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The news last week about Mitt Romney’s fake “Pierre Delecto” Twitter account once again brought fakery to the forefront. We discuss various aspects of fake news and what brands need to know to remain on point, honest and genuine to themselves. We first point out a study undertaken by North Carolina State researchers that found that the less people trust Facebook, the more skeptical they become of the news they see there. One lesson from the study is that brands should carefully choose how they rebut fake news.

Facebook is trying to figure out the best response to fake political ads, although it’s still far from doing an adequate job. A piece in BuzzFeed found that the social network has been inconsistent in applying its own corporate standards to decisions about what ads to run. These standards have nothing about whether the ads are factual and more to do with profanity or major user interface failures such as misleading or non-clickable action buttons. More work is needed.

Finally, we discuss two MIT studies mentioned in Axios about how machine learning can’t easily flag fake news. We have mentioned before how easy it is for machines to now create news stories without much human oversight. But one weakness of ML recipes is that precise and unbiased training data need to be used. When training data contains bias, machines simply amplify it, as Amazon discovered last year. Building truly impartial training data sets requires special skills, and it’s never easy.

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FIR B2B #129: We’re Pleased and Excited to Tell You What People Don’t Know About Social Media https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-129-were-pleased-and-excited-to-tell-you-what-people-dont-know-about-social-media/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-129-were-pleased-and-excited-to-tell-you-what-people-dont-know-about-social-media/#respond Fri, 18 Oct 2019 21:09:17 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10787 Content marketing excellence at the BBC; pointless happy words litter press releases; people still don't know that advertising supports social networks.
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We examine three different articles that touch on various B2B marketing aspects in this podcast. The first one from Digiday and documents what the BBC went through to establish its fifth content vertical it calls Future. The channel deals with health, wellness and sustainability, and it took a lot more effort than you might think to create. Branded content is driving a lot of page views at the Beeb, as the Brits lovingly refer to it, and the reason is because of all the work that the media company puts into their creation, working with ad partners, their marketing teams and editors. An article on whether eating eggs is healthy brought in a million page views and had an average dwell time of five minutes, which is content gold.

The second piece is from Chris Penn, who does excellent marketing research. He came up with analytics that show several “happy words” — such as “pleased,” “excited,” “proud” and “thrilled” — litter the press release landscape, offering nothing in the way of real information. Does anyone really care if your CEO is having a good day because you just announced version 3.45 of some product? It might be time to eliminate these words entirely from your marketing lingo, have the language reflect reality more closely and perhaps get more reporters’ attention too.

Finally, we found this Pew Research survey that shows exactly how little the average adult knows about the digital marketing world. Pew gave more than 4,000 adults a 10-question quiz that asked things like what the “s” in “https” stands for, who owns Instagram and whether ads are a significant source of social media revenue. A huge chunk of respondents either answered incorrectly or didn’t know the answer.

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FIR B2B #128: More SEO Secrets with Charley Spektor (Part 2) https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-128-more-seo-secrets-with-charley-spektor-part-2/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-128-more-seo-secrets-with-charley-spektor-part-2/#respond Wed, 25 Sep 2019 15:47:43 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10689 In this second part of a two-podcast interview with search engine optimization expert Charley Spektor we discuss some of the practical tools that marketers can use to improve their SEO operations, common mistakes that marketers makes when trying to improve their SEO results, how to provide the best content mix to deliver solid leads and how to stay ahead of the constantly changing technology.
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This is the second of our two-part interview with Charley Spektor, principal at Saratoga B2B Group. Charley and his business partner, Paul Desmond, combine SEO and quality content to produce sustainable lead generation for B2B clients. In this second podcast, we discuss some of the practical tools that marketers can use to improve their SEO operations, common mistakes that marketers makes when trying to improve their SEO results, how to provide the best content mix to deliver solid leads and how to stay ahead of the constantly changing technology. You can find part one of the interview here.

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FIR B2B #127: B2B SEO Secrets With Charley Spektor – Part 1 https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-127-b2b-seo-secrets-with-charley-spektor-part-1/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-127-b2b-seo-secrets-with-charley-spektor-part-1/#respond Wed, 18 Sep 2019 15:43:43 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10686 This is the first part of a two-podcast interview with Charley Spektor, principal at Saratoga B2B Group and an experts in search engine optimization. We talk about how Google's search algorithms have changed in recent years, how B2B buyers use search differently than consumers and how even small companies can dominate search results if they pick their targets carefully.
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For the next two weeks we talk with Charley Spektor, principal at Saratoga B2B Group. Charley and his partner, veteran tech writer Paul Desmond, bring clients the one-two punch of SEO and content expertise for B2B lead generation. Charley was formerly lead managing consultant at Stone Temple Consulting for Home Depot, which has been one of the few great success stories of a brick-and-mortar retailer embracing e-commerce. In these two podcasts, we discuss what are the elements of success in a discipline that changes constantly, how B2B buyers use search differently than consumers and how even small companies can dominate search results if they pick their targets carefully. Read this this blog post about two recent Saratoga B2B customer success stories for further background on the case studies we discuss.

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FIR B2B #126: Unintended Consequences https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-126-unintended-consequences/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-126-unintended-consequences/#respond Fri, 06 Sep 2019 17:13:53 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10656 Three different reports illustrate the law of unintended consequences: New privacy rules are helping improve email response, the influence of marketing falls as brand value grows and handing out rewards and awards to employees can actually make them less motivated.
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This week we discuss three examples of unintended consequences for B2B marketers that showed up in recent business marketing literature. Our first piece, which appeared in B2BMarketing.net, highlights recent survey by Acoustic that found a jump in email open and click-through rates in the past year – and in some cases a pretty substantial jump – thanks to new privacy regulations in the EU and elsewhere. The rules have forced marketers to hone their messages and to produce more precise email campaigns, which has resulted in better engagement with recipients. Talk about silver linings!

Next, we found a year-old survey from the British Marketing Week that found the influence of the marketing organization drops as brand value grows. This could be caused by several factors, including not understanding how customer acquisition and retention work or the fact that many marketers are still loath to employ data-driven technologies.

Finally, Inc. looks at a Harvard study about the unintended consequences of doling out awards to your staff. The researchers found that awards can have the revenge effect of actually de-motivating employees. Reasons include the unintended social cost of being singled out or employees slacking off once they realize they’re exceeding expectations. Businesses need to consider the reason people do the things they do and dig deeper to find out rewards that have more than just recognition value.

This could be an underlying reason why Facebook is thinking about hiding the “Like” counts on its posts, according to TechCrunch. Facebook says it wants to protect users from envy and dissuade them from self-censorship.

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FIR B2B #125: Buyer Personas: Why They Matter; How to Create Them https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-125-buyer-personas-why-they-matter-how-to-create-them/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-125-buyer-personas-why-they-matter-how-to-create-them/#respond Tue, 30 Jul 2019 20:43:30 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10539 Buyer personas have been around almost as long as marketing itself, but lately they're taking on a more critical role. Matt Naffah, VP of Strategy at International Data Group, tells us what makes for a good persona and how to apply them to content strategy.
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We’re joined by Matthew Naffah, VP of Strategy at International Data Group, who has has been involved in developing buyer personas for many B2B clients. Personas have been around almost as long as the web itself, but lately they are taking on a more important role, particularly as buyers become more empowered in the buying decision.

Matt tell us about how to get started with building the right personas and understanding the level of details that are ideal, and you can err on the side of including too much or too little detail. He also talks about some of the more common mistakes marketers make in creating them.

Personas are most useful when used in conjunction with buyer journeys and content mapping. You need to nurture, adapt and grow all three elements interactively to optimize the experience for your potential customer base. You’ll also want to heed his advice when it comes time to get your management involved to renew and refund your marketing project too.

Here are some resources to check out:

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FIR B2B #124: How to Supercharge Your Website Content https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-124-how-to-supercharge-your-website-content/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-124-how-to-supercharge-your-website-content/#respond Tue, 16 Jul 2019 00:45:27 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10483 Many marketers probably don't know what content they already have on their site and in their social channels. A good lead nurturing strategy starts with auditing your content, figuring out how it can be re-purposed in other media and applied across different stages of the buyer journey.
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In today’s episode, we examine different ways you can supercharge your website content by using some time-tested strategies that we may intrinsically know but don’t always talk about.

The first reference is from an article in Entrepreneur Magazine about three big mistakes one consultant made when building a new site. The mistakes all revolve around not understanding a basic tenet: B2B requires quality, not quantity. He chose AdWords keywords that were too general and ended up spending money on clicks that didn’t generate any real leads. He didn’t understand that buyers need prompting to get further into his content and needed ways for potential customers to actually talk or chat in real time with someone who can get them more engaged and further up the marketing funnel. We suggest all sorts of improvements, including having a FAQ and using different content types, to increase engagement.

The second piece is from Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group, who was our guest way back on episode 12.  He talks about the importance of using serialized content to capture more attention. We need to understand that generating demand is all about cultivating and nurturing your potential customers. Start with a content audit to see what material you have that can be collected and serialize. Also examine some of the leading sites that Brenner talks about in this post. Paul has plenty of other great suggestions that he mentions in this episode, and you might want to also buy his book to get further details.

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FIR B2B #123: The Differences Between B2B and B2C Marketing https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-123-the-differences-between-b2b-and-b2c-marketing/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-123-the-differences-between-b2b-and-b2c-marketing/#respond Fri, 21 Jun 2019 13:41:31 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10368 We discuss how B2B and B2C decisions differ and what that means for marketers. Caterpillar comes up with a way to create an emotional attachment to tractors. And a year after GDPR went into effect, marketers say it's made them better.
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This recent article in Forbes caught our attention because it neatly sums up some of the biggest differences between B2B and B2C marketing. Unlike many B2C decisions – which are based on emotion, preference or impulse – B2B decisions are practical, thoughtful and undergirded by data, or at least they should be. Among the implications of that:

  • Know the who, the why and the multiple decision makers in the chain;
  • Tell how you will make the business better;
  • Sell solutions, not features; and
  • Use personas and create a path to the purchase

Paul co-wrote a book a while back called Social Marketing to the Business Customer that touched on some of these points, and you might want to pick up a copy as they are still relevant.

One suggestion is to build an emotional attachment to the product, which isn’t always easy to do in B2B scenarios. However, buyers have a lot on the line, and that can give you an emotional connection.

ChiefMarketer.com tells how Caterpillar did that. Just because you sell big tractors doesn’t mean you can’t create a story that resonates with the community. People who drive tractors care about their work, so Caterpillar focused on the pride they take in what they do. Decisions aren’t just about features.

This story reminded us of this brilliant video Volvo produced several years ago to promote its tractor trailers. The appearance of Van Damme is unexpected, powerful and memorable, as evidenced by its 93 million views and the fact that we both recalled it eight years later.

Finally, one item that has nothing to do with trucks is the spillback a year after the implementation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. A piece in eConsultancy talks about how the rules have benefited B2B marketers by helping them weed out bad practices, improve lead quality and better focus their companies’ marketing efforts.

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FIR B2B #122: Why Techies Make Great Speakers https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-122-why-techies-make-great-speakers/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-122-why-techies-make-great-speakers/#respond Fri, 07 Jun 2019 16:53:41 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10341 For technology companies, the conventional wisdom is wrong when it comes to pitching a conference or webinar session. Instead of having your CMO or other C-suite executive tell your story, trust the technical people in your shop. Your audiences will thank you for it.
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For technology companies, the conventional wisdom is wrong when it comes to pitching a conference or webinar session. Instead of having your CMO or other C-suite executive tell your story, trust the technical people in your shop. Your audiences will thank you for it.

Here are some of the reasons:

  • Audiences want black-and-white issues. CMOs usually see the world in nuance and infinite shades of gray. Techies value certainty.
  • Facts are an endangered species these days.  So who better to deliver facts that a techie?
  • Audiences want to hear stories. First-person experience from people on the front lines can deliver authenticity and credibility that the audience relates to.
  • Techies steer clear of self-promotion, which is the fastest turnoff for an audience.
  • Techies can be more effective at reaching potential customers precisely because they don’t try to promote or sell.
  • Techies can be trained to be good and sometimes great speakers. We have some tips for how to do it.

David wrote more about this for Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey. It is normally gated, but today you can read the post here.

 

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FIR B2B #121: Standouts from The Conference Board’s 2019 Excellence in Marketing & Communications Awards https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-121-standouts-from-the-conference-boards-2019-excellence-in-marketing-communications-awards/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-121-standouts-from-the-conference-boards-2019-excellence-in-marketing-communications-awards/#respond Wed, 29 May 2019 14:24:06 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10305 We highlight three winners of The Conference Board's 2019 Excellence in Marketing & Communications Awards that demonstrate applications of advanced technology that are rooted in practical, bottom-line thinking.
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We first met Jen McClure (left) more than a decade ago and shortly after she founded the Society for New Communications Research (SNCR) in 2005. Jen, who has been a frequent guest on Shel Holtz’s FIR main podcast, was one of the first people to see the potential of social media in business communications. SNCR merged with The Conference Board three years ago, and fortunately the awards program Jen created at SNCR has continued as The Conference Board’s Excellence in Marketing & Communications Awards. This week we discuss three outstanding winners of the awards, which will be presented in New York City on June 26th, in conjunction with The Conference Board’s 24th Annual Corporate Communications Conference. Two of our picks are B2B.

  • SAP used Dynamic Signal to track and encourage employee engagement and brand advocacy. Staffers now share more than 15,000 social posts monthly and drive an impressive amount of traffic to the main SAP website.
  • Southern California Edison adopted Sprout Social’s chatbot technology to supplement the two staffers who respond to customers inquiries. The utility has not only increased the volume of questions it can field without adding staff but has maintained high satisfaction ratings and is now able to respond more quickly to major power outages. The project succeeded on all metrics.
  • Siemens used augmented and virtual reality technology to greatly expand the variety of equipment is can show at trade shows. These large and expensive machines are costly to ship and take up a lot of floor space. With AR/VR, Siemens was able to deliver a virtual experience that was in many ways better than a live demo.

Congratulations to these and all the other finalists and winners in this year’s awards program. The quality of entries keeps getting better every year.

 

 

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FIR B2B #120: Voice Search, a Survey Rant and Great Tips for Engaging Mobile Visitors https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-120-voice-search-a-survey-rant-and-great-tips-for-engaging-mobile-visitors/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-120-voice-search-a-survey-rant-and-great-tips-for-engaging-mobile-visitors/#respond Thu, 02 May 2019 13:39:30 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10251 How a light-hearted tweet blew up in Chase Bank's face, SEO tips for the age of voice search and how Bloomberg improved mobile engagement with just a few simple tricks.
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Paul kicks off with a short rant about the lack of rigor and news value of surveys, and how marketers should spend more time vetting their results to determine what questions/objections they’re likely to get. With the release next week of the Verizon Data Breach Report setting a high bar, it is a timely topic.

This week we saw a tweet from Chase bank that not only fell flat but incurred many folks’ antipathy. It was so tone deaf that it was hard to even understand how the bank could have put it out there. This incident, combined with the offensive NY Times International edition political cartoon that was published last week,  reinforces the need to be more careful about what your brand shares socially.

Speaking of social shares, this article by Bloomberg’s BHive research outfit has a lot to say about ways they found to increase the sharing of their news articles from mobile devices. As more and more news is read on these devices, content providers have to do a better job of not cluttering up  small screens with extraneous ads and other diversions. Bloomberg was able to improve engagement by a significant amount with just doing a few simple tweaks to their stories. One key point: They interviewed actual readers.

The Workamajig blog’s post on how Voice Search is Changing B2B Marketing (And What You Can Do About It) is well worth your time. Consider that voice searches are by definition conversational. People don’t speak in keywords. They ask “What’s the height of the Empire State building?” not “Empire State building height”. Voice opens up new opportunities for content marketing. Republishing your content as an Alexa skill, for instance, can bring you a whole new set of listeners. In fact, if you look at the best reviewed Business & Finance skills on the Alexa store right now, you’ll see content-focused skills dominate the list. David met one vendor called VoiceXP that can help you create your own voice apps. Clearly this will grow in importance in the near future.

Finally, we note this analysis by our colleague Mike Vizard in the Barracuda blog about how the Russian hacking of the DNC back in 2016 went down, as documented in the Mueller report. It all started with a spear phishing email. You have been warned.

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FIR B2B #119: Our Favorite Email Newsletter Tips https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-119-our-favorite-email-newsletter-tips/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-119-our-favorite-email-newsletter-tips/#respond Fri, 19 Apr 2019 13:37:59 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10223 We're old hands at writing and producing email newsletters. In this episode, we share some of our tips for segmenting audiences, choosing themes, timing delivery and picking the right email service vendor, among other things.
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Paul and David are old hands at email newsletters. Paul had his own for several years and has produced several for his clients. David currently publishes two: his own Web Informant, which he has been doing almost weekly since 2003, and Inside Security which is part of a group of newsletters. We share a few tips from our years of experience.

The first is to know your audience and segment them for best results. This post in Marketing Week documents how marketers are segmenting the audiences at a much finer level than they previously did thanks to an explosion in behavioral data from third parties. One bottled water vendor was able to dramatically boost the response rate of its YouTube ads with an email newsletter sliced by 16 different segments. The survey found that behavior and location are the most effective segmentation methods, with the old stalwarts like age and gender being the least effective. 

We discuss how to craft your subject line and choose a coherent theme as well as how to pick the optimal length and number of hyperlinks to include. If you do use links, beware of URL shortening services, since many as spam filters block them. There’s also the question of whether to make your newsletters text-only or to go the HTML route. If you choose the latter, be sure to test each newsletter with different browsers and different screen depths. Finally, we cover how to choose the right tool for the mailings. We’ve used a variety of them over the years, and each has different strengths and weaknesses. Some of these topics are mentioned in this piece for Marketing360.

We’d love to hear from you about your favorite email newsletters and tips for creating your own.

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FIR B2B #118: Customers as Advocates, the Open Data Initiative and Why You Need a Style Guide https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-118-customers-as-advocates-the-open-data-initiative-and-why-you-need-a-style-guide/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-118-customers-as-advocates-the-open-data-initiative-and-why-you-need-a-style-guide/#respond Thu, 11 Apr 2019 12:27:20 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10200 Why you need a style guide for your content marketing platforms, the latest developments in the Open Data Initiative for customer data standards and how existing customers can be your best brand advocates.
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We have a trio of discussion items this week. The first is from DigitalCommerce360 and concerns how customers should be your best advocates at building your brand identity and promoting your company. Marketers who focus on improving the customer experience and figuring out ways to regularly listen to customers’ desires and complaints can benefit from low-cost and powerful word-of-mouth promotion. So why don’t more B2B marketers have programs aimed at loyal customers?

Late last month there was some progress to report on the Open Data Initiative, a standards effort launched last fall that seeks to create a standard for the interchange of marketing data. Sounds boring, but with marketers spending more on analytics than IT organizations these days, we thing it’s important. Executives from Adobe, Microsoft and SAP just gave more details about how the three will standardize interfaces among their products to help common customers get a clearer view of their customers without going through a lot of messy data transformation. The trio also announced a slew of VAR partners that will support ODI. But the list was also notable for the big companies that weren’t there, like Oracle, Salesforce.com and marketing automation vendors. 

Our final item is How to Create a Style Guide for Content Marketing. Too often marketers jump in to content programs without laying the groundwork for a consistent style and direction for their blogs and websites. Having a solid style guide isn’t just about where to place your commas but the right tone of voice and point of view that your authors should take. There is a lot of good advice in this piece.

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FIR B2B #117: Alternatives to Facebook https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-117-alternatives-to-facebook/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-117-alternatives-to-facebook/#respond Fri, 22 Mar 2019 11:31:57 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10169 Turmoil at Facebook should give B2B marketers pause about reflexively casting their lot with a social network that increasingly appears to be careening out of control. There are good alternatives. Other topics include whether it's time to return to pen and paper for meetings and an amusing viral tweet that Quantas kicked off by responding to a 10-year-old boy who wants to start his own airline.
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The short answer is yes, and we explore the various dimensions of The Facebook Problem in this week’s podcast. First we touch on the swirl of commentary about Zuck’s latest pronouncement that the company will combine Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram into a single, unified product. Is there a business model in there somewhere, or is this just wishful thinking? Some analysts have already said that the era of Facebook’s News Feed is now officially over. We aren’t so sure, but we agreed that Facebook has become mostly a waste of time. There are some other business-oriented networks that we think have more value, including Reddit, Quora, LinkedIn, Alignable and Spiceworks. We’ve found all to be more fertile hunting grounds for business marketers. We also have advice about how to choose and test among those sites. 

We recorded this episode just before Brian Krebs revealed that Facebook exposed hundreds of millions of user passwords to more than 20,000 employees for years. Paul’s tweet kind of sums up our reaction.

One final thought about Facebook: Reuben Arnold, Starbucks’ vice-president of marketing and product in EMEA, said he wants to  have deeper conversations with some of its customers and promote its brand using private groups and private accounts on social media channels. Maybe this is an alternative to just posting to the greater universe. We’ll see. 

But wait, there is more. We like this post about whether it’s time to go back to taking notes with pen and paper. How many of those people tapping away on their laptops during a meeting are doing something related to the meeting? You know the answer. Maybe it’s time to ban the laptops and aim for shorter meetings instead. 

We also discuss a recent news item about how execs from the UK-based convenience store Tesco are frustrated that the company is having to spend an increasing amount of money on ensuring its advertising doesn’t appear next to inappropriate content and believe publishers should foot more of the bill. It used to be that publishers protected their advertisers from this kind of embarrassment, but in a world dominated by algorithms, anything goes.  

Finally, there was a charming story earlier this month about a handwritten note to the CEO of Quantas from a 10-year-old boy who wanted to start his own airline. The airline posted the kid’s letter and a welcoming reply from CEO Alan Joyce, who commented, “Our competitors don’t normally ask us for advice, but when an airline leader reached out, we couldn’t ignore it.” The story is more than charming though: it is a lesson about how a light touch and a sense of humor can go a long way towards promoting your brand, in this case to the tune of nearly 30,000 retweets.

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FIR B2B #116: If AI is Becoming So Good, Why Are We Still Counting Clicks? https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-116-if-ai-is-becoming-so-good-why-are-we-still-counting-clicks/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-116-if-ai-is-becoming-so-good-why-are-we-still-counting-clicks/#respond Mon, 25 Feb 2019 18:39:51 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10097 New content-generating AI is said to be so good it's scary; Mastercard's masterful audio branding; survey says podcast advertising is actually more effective than TV ads.
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In this fast-paced episode we offer five different news stories that bracket the B2B marketing world. First up is this piece about neural storytelling and how AI is attempting to create content with machine learning algorithms. This kind of technology has some important implications and not because it promises to replace humans. In the news recently is this story about the OpenAI text generator called GPT2. Its creators were afraid that its work could generate spam and fake news so effectively that they’ve chosen not to release the full-strength version to developers. That’s either a little unsettling or a great PR stunt.

Next is a story about how clicks are an “unreliable seismograph” for a news article’s value, combined with new research to back up that conclusion. We all seek out stories that amuse and entertain us, but a good news site contains a nice mix of the serious and the bizarre. As serious readers, we need to seek out stories of civic value, not just the latest celebrity clickbait. The article, which was prepared by Neiman Lab, also notes that the word “personalization” has become a big negative, because folks think this means “ads will follow your browsing forever” rather than customizing content for a reader’s taste and preferences. 

We move on to a piece that is almost blindingly obvious, but a great checklist to help marketers understand how to influence the B2B decision-making process. It proposes five simple questions to ask your prospective customers, such as where they start their search for content, what kinds of information they look for and what sites they employ. Answering these questions takes just a few minutes and can be give marketers a useful starting point for a lead-generation campaign. 

We also found this piece on Marketing Week that talks about a recent series of decisions by MasterCard to both eliminate text from their logo and use “sonic branding” to help with voice assistants and audio sound-enabled devices. This company is smart is getting ahead of the voice assistant phenomenon and figuring out branding in this new medium. 

Speaking of audio, our final piece is a study that suggests that podcast ads outperform TV ads. The study found that the two are equivalent in terms of being memorable and resonating with audiences. Podcast advertising can be particularly effective when the host lends legitimacy by giving a personal pitch for the product, which is becoming the norm in that medium.

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FIR B2B #115: Social Media Adoption Over the Years – the Latest from the Annual UMass Survey https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-115-social-media-adoption-over-the-years-the-latest-from-the-annual-umass-survey/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-115-social-media-adoption-over-the-years-the-latest-from-the-annual-umass-survey/#respond Thu, 14 Feb 2019 19:33:54 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10067 University of Massachusetts Marketing Professor Nora Ganim Barnes has been surveying social media use by the Fortune 500 and Inc. 500 for 12 years, making her work probably the longest-running research of its kind. This year's study finds a big jump in blogging by the F500 along with declining interest in Instagram and Twitter. Executives say ROI is their biggest social media question mark, but more and more of them are putting social media marketing strategies in place nonetheless.
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Nora Ganim Barnes, Chancellor Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.Today we talk to Nora Ganim Barnes, Chancellor Professor of Marketing and Director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, about her latest survey of corporate social media usage. Barnes has been surveying two distinct populations for the past 12 years – the INC 500 and the Fortune 500 – to ascertain what social media platforms they use, how they use them and how they measure results. Her students visit the websites of all 1,000 companies measured and augment the research with telephone interviews.

For the first time in nine years, more F500 are using blogs than the INC 500, and the increase has been substantial in just the past three years (see chart below), jumping from 21% in 2015 to 53% in the most recent survey. Clearly, the largest companies have reclaimed blogging and are using their blogs to tell stories and better craft their marketing messages.

Barnes found that Twitter occupies an odd place in the social media pantheon: it is well used (with 369 out of 500 companies running active accounts), but not considered very effective. Still, companies don’t abandon Twitter, perhaps out of fear of missing out or the possibility that they might need it at some point.

What has also changed is that 56% of INC 500 execs are now doing a better job of listening on social media, tracking online conversations about their brands and products with various monitoring tools. That is a big increase from last year, when it was about half that number.

This year Barnes’ research  found a big concern about privacy, which is probably not surprising given the numerous breaches and missteps by Facebook and others in this area. Privacy was executives’ second biggest concern behind social ROI.

Finally, her survey saw double the firms who have formulated a social media plan from last year.  Although the overall percentage is still less than a quarter of the total, that’s progress.

You can download the UMass surveys at the link above, both the current ones and in year’s past. They are a rich resource that all corporate marketing departments should carefully examine.

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FIR B2B #114: Does “Moral Marketing” Mean Wading into Politics? https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-114-does-moral-marketing-mean-wading-into-politics/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-114-does-moral-marketing-mean-wading-into-politics/#respond Thu, 31 Jan 2019 20:57:00 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=10017 CEOs have the power to significantly influence public opinion, but is is fair to their shareholders to exercise that power? In a polarized political climate, they may be better off focusing on sales. 
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Writing on Brandwatch, CMO Will McInnes says there are three gaps CMOs need to bridge: metrics, moral marketing, and innovation gaps. Understanding each one is essential to being a better marketer. We examine more closely the second one, where the author cites an Edelman study that found that two-thirds of consumers will choose, switch, avoid or boycott a brand based upon its stand on societal issues. Given the amount of polarization in American society right now, marketers should thing twice about wading into political debates. 

Another survey by Annenberg PR Center at USC found that 44% of CEOs said their most important communication goal for 2019 is to sell their products and services while 39% say their primary goal is to differentiate their company’s brand from the competition. We disagree on whether this is a positive trend or not; CEOs have the power to significantly influence public opinion, but is is fair to their shareholders to exercise that power? 

Finally, we look at a joint study by researchers at Boston University and the University of Georgia that found that only one in ten people can distinguish between sponsored editorial content.  People who mistook the advertisements for legitimate news articles were generally older, less educated and more likely to consume news media for entertainment purposes. We agree that any short-term boost a brand might get by deceiving an audience is negated by the reputation damage of being outed for that deed. However, Paul points out that one factor in the confusion is that branded content is getting better, and marketers should take credit for that fact. 

 

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FIR B2B #113: How One Former Journalist Crossed the Chasm to Content Marketing https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-113-how-one-former-journalist-crossed-the-chasm-to-content-marketing/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-113-how-one-former-journalist-crossed-the-chasm-to-content-marketing/#respond Thu, 17 Jan 2019 16:25:43 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9977 Denise Dubie went from a successful career as a technology journalist to a new role in content marketing. The transition wasn't always easy, but what she learned as a reporter turned out to have unique value.
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Denise Dubie was a technology journalist for more than a decade before switching to corporate content marketing, and her reportorial instincts have served her well. Denise, who recently took a new job as Director of Content at PureB2B in the Boston area, was previously senior principal of content strategy at CA Technologies and before that a senior editor at Network World. It’s rare to find someone who has had such deep experience on both sides of the business.

We discuss how she made the transition from tech journalism to marketing and the value of her journalism background in her new corporate role. Denise comments on how her work style changed between the two types of jobs and where the greatest adjustments were necessary. We also talk about success metrics she used at CA and the surprisingly little value she found for social media as a promotional channel. 

Denise also provides some practical tips on what listeners can do to improve their content marketing programs. It starts with having a thorough understanding of customers, a topic we harp on frequently in this podcast. 

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FIR B2B #112: What It Means to Be True to Your Brand https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-112-what-it-means-to-be-true-to-your-brand/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-112-what-it-means-to-be-true-to-your-brand/#respond Mon, 07 Jan 2019 18:08:00 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9944 Welcome to the new year and we hope you all have had a nice holiday break. In today’s episode, we talk about what it means to be true to your brand and why marketing managers need to pay more attention to overall branding issues to become more effective.
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Welcome to the new year and we hope you all have had a nice holiday break. In today’s episode, we talk about what it means to be true to your brand and why marketing managers need to pay more attention than ever to branding in an age in which customers increasingly control the message. 

What makes a brand? First off is understanding what are your core values and what lies at the heart of your business. This post for B2B Marketing tells how Burberry, the British clothing maker, literally torched its merchandise in an effort to sustain its premium pricing, a move that turned out to be a major faux Other prominent examples of companies whose bad actions have undermined their brand are Uber and Facebook.

Will brands without social purpose thrive? A new survey finds that two-thirds of consumers expect companies to create products and services that “take a stand” on issues that they also feel passionate about. A great case study can be found in, of all places, with a new British bank called Monzo. It’s trying a new approach to gain customers: raise funds via crowdfunding, open its API, run meetups and hackathons and become more transparent about trying to attract millennial as its customers. Regardless of whether it’s successful, you have to give Monzo credit for originality. 

Finally, we offer up a few suggestions on how you can stay true to your brand using storytelling and social media techniques. 

 

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FIR B2B #111: Privacy Invasion Was the Year’s Top Story; Here’s Why B2B Marketers Should Care https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-111-privacy-invasion-was-the-years-top-story-heres-why-b2b-marketers-should-care/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-111-privacy-invasion-was-the-years-top-story-heres-why-b2b-marketers-should-care/#respond Thu, 13 Dec 2018 22:34:57 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9866 Perhaps the most important B2B marketing story of 2018 is the invasion of our privacy, and how companies have been cavalier in abusing the data customers give them. We think this story is going to grow in importance in 2019, and B2B marketers should pay attention.
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Perhaps the most important B2B marketing story of 2018 is the invasion of our privacy, and how companies have been so cavalier in abusing the data that their customers give them. This invasion has happened through a combination of several circumstances:

  • In the case of Facebook’s failures, the combination of a lack of transparency and an immature and misguided management team.
  • In the case of Google,not being truthful about what its incognito browsing mode is actually doing and how it is doing it. This is from a report from one of Google’s competitors, DuckDuckGo, which found that Chrome personalizes search results even when users aren’t signed in. 
  • Abusing smartphone app permissions, as a new study by the New York Times revealed this week. Apps were tracking users’ movements and despite claims that identifying information had been removed, the Times reporters were able to track down a few users and interview them for the story. How they did their research is a fascinating look at how difficult one’s privacy can be to protect today.

Certainly, next year is shaping up to be a watershed moment in resolving these micro-targeting issues and being more parsimonious in how our data privacy is protected. We welcome your thoughts on the matter, along with a few suggestions for marketers to better audit what their developers are doing with respect to privacy. 

 

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FIR B2B #110: Personas are for Marketers, too https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-110-personas-are-for-marketers-too/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-110-personas-are-for-marketers-too/#respond Thu, 29 Nov 2018 14:11:53 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9820 The concept of personas was originally created to help web designers better visualize visitors, but personas can be useful to marketers as well. David Lloyd from Brilliant Noise in London tells how marketers can use personas to shape campaigns.
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The concept of user personas was originally developed for user interface design, but it’s a powerful tool for marketers, too. David Lloyd, who is the lead strategist and senior data analyst from Brilliant Noise in London. joins us to discuss his post this past summer about The dream of data-driven personas.

Personas, particularly ones that are deeply rooted in data, can help shape marketing campaigns. We talk about the differences between user experience and marketing personas and what are the typical data types that would be used to shape useful ones. His blog post talks about common mistakes that marketers make in creating personas and describes what a typical persona looks like, down to assigning them a name to make them more real. 

He also addresses why you don’t want to go too wide or too specific in creating your personas: the ideal number of personas a marketer should work with is about three. Also, the cloud has made it far easier to create and collect a great deal of online data that can be useful in creating personas. Lloyd tells how marketers can make personas more actionable as part of their marketing plans.

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FIR B2B #109: Transparency, Truth and the Rebirth of Long-Form Content https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-109-transparency-truth-and-the-rebirth-of-long-form-content/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-109-transparency-truth-and-the-rebirth-of-long-form-content/#respond Wed, 21 Nov 2018 17:42:08 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9807 Why NBC handled Megyn Kelly's dismissal gracefully while Google fumbled Andy Rubin's. Gary Vaynerchuk's advice is often based upon little or no data. Hour-long YouTube videos are a thing; should marketers re-think length restrictions? 
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Three items in the news caught our attention this week. The first was a piece that by Agility PR about a tale of two PR crisis responses— and why only one of them worked.  The crises in question are the firing of Megyn Kelly by NBC and Andy Rubin’s departure from Google with a $90 million severance package. Both situations were handled differently by the organizations’ leaders, and both produced very different results in terms of public and employee perception. The contrasting cases are useful to help shape your own crisis response and to understand how you have to get ahead of the news in just the right tone and with actions that speak louder than platitudes.

The second piece we discuss provides evidence that marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk is wrong about an awful lot of things, largely because he appears to base his observations and predictions more on instinct than on facts. We respect Vaynerchuk for what he’s accomplished, but think that in an environment in which the value of facts is being called into question, it’s incumbent upon thought leaders to use them. This is the big data age, after all.

Finally, we have often debated the optimal length of podcasts and videos for content marketing purposes, but maybe old assumptions about keeping recorded content as short as possible is out of date. Welcome to the Age of the Hour-Long YouTube Video makes the case that long-form content is making a comeback. For the same reason that podcasts have become popular, people are now able to put their idle time to work. This may have implications for marketing videos in the future, and whether you want to go after quality or quantity when it comes to collecting readership. We both are devotees of podcasts that frequently run 90 minutes or more. That’s because the content is great, the hosts do their research and the subjects are interesting. Which would you rather have, eyeballs or fans? 

Happy holidays to all, we’ll return next week with fresh insights.

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FIR B2B #108: Dan Newman’s 2019 Tech Trends for CMOs https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-108-dan-newmans-2019-tech-trends-for-cmos/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-108-dan-newmans-2019-tech-trends-for-cmos/#respond Fri, 02 Nov 2018 14:17:59 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9729 We speak with Dan Newman of Futurum Research about his recent Forbes column on the 10 top digital transformation trends for 2019 and how they will impact the CMO.
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We speak this week with Daniel Newman, author, speaker, millennial CEO and founding partner at Futurum Research. We were interested in a column he wrote for Forbes entitled, How Will The 10 Top Digital Transformation Trends For 2019 Impact The CMO. 

Dan highlighted a couple of the tech trends that will be essential items for CMOs to get their arms around in the coming year, including the transformation of data from machine learning to AI. “Analytics should be the CMO’s best friend,” he told us. “AI will allow for data-driven campaigns that will be guaranteed to work every time.”

Newman said data should play a pivotal role in marketing in the future, and don’t worry too much about over-personalizing the message. Nobody ever complains when a brand provides too much value and can help drive purchases that customers want at any given moment. The trick is to find the right moment and to target customers accurately.

The European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation will force changes in the way brands market in the coming year, he said. They will have to become more creative about not just getting customers to opt in but to staying engaged. This means that companies are going to have change the way they do lead development. They’ll need to know customers better in order to personalize content because they’ll have less data to work with.

We had a particularly interesting discussion about chatbots as a mechanism for driving personal interactions. Newman sees us moving away from face-to-face moments, and the phenomenon isn’t limited to teens or Gen Xers. The rise of customer self-service is an indication that “We have become more social, but only behind our keyboards,” he said.

Another of his provocative predictions consumers will be able to use blockchain to, in effect, sell information about themselves to marketers.  While Newman sees this technology as still immature, he believes its long-term potential is explosive.

Finally, as the average tenure for CMOs continues to decline, they will have to do a better job of managing expectations and develop tighter relationships with their CEOs.

You can find Dan on Twitter here.

 

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FIR B2B #107 – What LinkedIn’s Latest Sales Research Says About the State of B2B Marketing https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-107-what-linkedins-latest-sales-research-says-about-the-state-of-b2b-marketing/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-107-what-linkedins-latest-sales-research-says-about-the-state-of-b2b-marketing/#respond Mon, 29 Oct 2018 19:05:37 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9699 Once again we speak with Justin Shriber, Vice President of Marketing for LinkedIn Sales and Marketing Solutions. LinkedIn’s new State of Sales report examines how top sales performers are using technology and modern strategies to build trust with buyers and close more deals. This relationship with buyers makes the survey more interesting reading. Justin has lots more insights for B2B marketers in our conversation.
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When we last spoke to Justin Shriber (below), Vice President of Marketing for LinkedIn Sales and Marketing Solutions in episode #87 last January, he offered some predictions about the upcoming year in B2B marketing. His forecasts turned out to be is pretty solid, including closer alignment of marketing and sales functions and the growing importance of storytelling in promoting your brand. So we took advantage of a pitch for LinkedIn’s new State of Sales report to connect again. This third annual report examined how top sales performers – B2B in particular – are using technology and modern strategies to build trust with buyers and close more deals. The addition of buyer views this year makes the survey even more interesting reading.

The report found a resurgence of buyer interest in doing business with trusted vendors: 40% of sales professionals rank trust as the number one factor in closing deals — surprisingly rated above ROI and price. 

There are also some interesting age breakdowns. Millennials are outperforming their peers in sales effectiveness pretty much across the board, the survey found. Young sales reps are tapping into marketing insights and using tech at higher rates than their elders to help them succeed. Of course, their quotas might be lower, as well!

Buyers who are decision-makers are least likely to engage with sales professionals who lack knowledge about their company (79 percent) and whose products or services are irrelevant to their company (76 percent). Understanding the buyer’s business is now table stakes for salespeople, Shriber told us. Of course, LinkedIn has some features that can help with that. 

In this interview, we dig into a number of highlights of the survey as well as discuss trends LinkedIn is seeing in the use of its platform by sales pros.

 

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FIR B2B #106: Tips For Auditing and Fine-Tuning Your Content https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-106-tips-for-auditing-and-fine-tuning-your-content/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-106-tips-for-auditing-and-fine-tuning-your-content/#respond Thu, 18 Oct 2018 17:57:20 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9660 This week we look at several resources that can be used to help examine your content marketing strategy
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This week we look at several resources that can be used to help examine your content marketing strategy. First up, this piece by an executive with Athena Health talks about how the company took the time to look at how their site visitors were reacting to their posted content and adjusted accordingly. It also discusses the importance of storytelling as a component of content marketing. There are great tips here on how to improve your content portfolio.

Last month, GlaxoSmithKline introduced a brand incubator that is used for internal audits of all aspects of its marketing and messaging. While your company may not have the resources to do this on a full-time basis, reading this post on MarketingWeek could help inform your own thinking about how you can accomplish rebranding and using content specifically for this task.

Paul shares his thoughts about how small teams can be useful for this effort, particularly since they aren’t direct stakeholders.  This could be a way to innovate and fail fast. He also refers to a presentation that he has put together about content audits. You can download this slide deck from one of Paul’s presentations here. 

He suggests that you think across what he calls the content cube, as shown here. Each cell of the cube classifies the type, delivery vehicle and stage in marketing funnel for a particular content asset. Finally, we offer another content auditing worksheet from Hilary Marsh here.

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FIR B2B #105: The Upside of Polarization and the Great Podcast Correction https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-105-the-upside-of-polarization-and-the-great-podcast-correction/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-105-the-upside-of-polarization-and-the-great-podcast-correction/#respond Wed, 26 Sep 2018 19:04:03 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9556 The power of polarization, the promise of podcasts, and the potency of the keyboard are all covered this week, and how they all relate to brand marketing.
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This week we delve into details about the power of polarization. Brands can certainly benefit, and this article shows exactly how Nike and Dick’s saw an increase in certain metrics after they took a particular political stand. Their experience shows that brands can reap benefits both from the positive and negative sentiment around a particular conversation. We wish more companies would take a stand on things that energize their most passionate advocates.

Next up is our favorite medium: podcasts. This story about how American Airlines turned an internal short podcast into a marketing benefit is worth noting. The podcast covers the behind-the-scenes thinking on airline policies. It was originally meant for employees, but executives decided to post the episodes publicly, saying There really is no such thing as internal communications anymore.”

Speaking about podcasts, some media companies have begun to sour on using them. The problem is one of managing expectations, and that quality costs money. NPR’s “Serial” podcast is a good case-in-point: it was well done, but expensive. 

We close this week’s show by talking about how the inevitable disappointment in voice (aka Alexa-based) marketing has set in, as witnessed by Marketing Week. Yes, the interface isn’t as intuitive as it could be, and certainly nowhere as comprehensive as typing on a keyboard. Plus, we all like to see the stuff we intend to buy, even if it is just a picture online. That reminds us of our favorite “Star Trek” clip of Mr. Scott, trying to use voice commands, only to end up typing on the keyboard. 

 

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FIR B2B #104: Dealing With Disasters, Both Natural and Marketing-Made https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-104-dealing-with-disasters-both-natural-and-marketing-made/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-104-dealing-with-disasters-both-natural-and-marketing-made/#respond Thu, 20 Sep 2018 21:07:04 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9513 This week we discuss a few different items revolving around one kind of disaster or another, including marketing around natural disasters (be careful), understanding what didn't happen with the GDPR regulations or dealing with the Selfie Generation's dysmorphia.
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This week we discuss a few different items, all revolving around one kind of disaster or another. First, we note the news about the Benioffs buying Time magazine. With a fire-sale price, perhaps they can keep the weekly news magazine afloat and fund journalism that the publishers couldn’t do on their own. But will either of us read it in the future? Doubtful.

Next up, Paul wrote this fascinating article about a Talend GDPR survey. It shows that marketers can avail themselves of numerous after-the-fact opportunities. Who is talking about GDPR since the May deadline? We’ve heard crickets. Clearly, there is still much to be said about compliance, and the punishments ahead, such as the recent breach of British Airways’ customer data. Lawyers are standing by, to be sure. 

Given the situation in the Carolinas with Florence, it’s timely to discuss some caveats and suggestions for natural disaster marketing. The thoughts covered in this blog post about how to tread carefully during these times are worth reviewing.

Next, Paul has a beef with a “new” product announcement for a product that was announced on a company blog three weeks ago. This means to us that it wasn’t actually new. If it is in the public, that is the news moment. After all, we can look this stuff up. Don’t pass off your news when it isn’t; you won’t engender any trust.

We also mention this post, about how patients are desperate to resemble their doctored selfies. Plastic surgeons alarmed by ‘Snapchat dysmorphia. While it had its beginnings with Instagram and Facebook, the elective surgery is frightening and depressing. David suggested reading Alicia Eler’s Selfie Generation book. When we asked her about this trend, she said I see this as part of the same trend of selfie dysmorphia found on Instagram. Snapchat is used most by people under 23, so this is just another facet of the same selfie psychology stuff.” 

 

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FIR B2B #103: Why Marketers Shouldn’t Fear Data Analytics https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-103-why-marketers-shouldnt-be-afraid-of-analytics/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-103-why-marketers-shouldnt-be-afraid-of-analytics/#respond Fri, 31 Aug 2018 18:19:25 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9468 Adam Jones of Springer Nature comes at marketing from an analytics background and says data doesn't have to be as scary as some marketers believe. 

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This week our guest is Adam Jones, who is the head of marketing insights at Springer Nature, a public of many well-respected periodicals that include Nature and Scientific American. Jones is probably one of the few digital marketers that doesn’t hate click-through rates and page view numbers. Rather, he things we have to reinterpret them in new contexts to better understand what readers do after they click or view a page. “We get tons of data from every click, and create stronger calls to action as a result,” he told us during our interview.

Jones talks about why marketers are scared of data and analytics, but says you have to build a solid foundation in these techniques if you are going to be successful in marketing these days. He also discusses the unique challenges Springer faces catering to a highly educated and technical audience. Loyalty and longevity of readership are two of the company’s greatest assets. 

Also on the podcast, David recounts his recent trip to the Bletchley Park museums where modern digital computing was born during WWII. He blogged about it here.

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FIR B2B #102: Fixing Facebook’s Flaws, For Real This Time https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-102-fixing-facebooks-flaws-for-real-this-time/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-102-fixing-facebooks-flaws-for-real-this-time/#respond Tue, 14 Aug 2018 15:54:59 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9399 This week we take some time to review what Facebook could be doing to make things better for all of us. Its problems have been well documented, from privacy violations to a massive sell off in its stocks to untrustworthy comments from its CEO. We try to offer some solutions.
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This week we review what Facebook could be doing to make things better for all of us. Its problems have been well documented, from privacy violations to a massive sell-off in its stocks to untrustworthy comments from its CEO. Its CMO position has remained open for most of the year, prompting Facebook to list the job on LinkedIn, of all places.

David posted his thoughts on some of Facebook’s issues two months ago. We talk about how the company can rescue its image from the recent tarnishing, such as:

  • Really being truthful about how our private data is being consumed by Facebook and 3rd parties;
  • Eliminating People You May Know once and for all, or at least providing an easy-to-use opt-out mechanism;
  • Hiring a solid CMO who is empowered to actually get stuff done;
  • Shutting down the remaining data harvesters for real;
  • Make a real effort to terminate terrorists, hate-speakers and other vermin (the report from the Counter Extremism Project here is noteworthy);
  • Separating truth from fiction and intent, a process that starts with Zuck. No more apology tours of world capitals; and 
  • Finally, truly embracing journalists who want to cover the company.

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FIR B2B #101: Machine Learning Comes to Marketing https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-101-machine-learning-comes-to-marketing/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-101-machine-learning-comes-to-marketing/#respond Fri, 03 Aug 2018 16:52:56 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9362 This week we talk about new ways that machine learning and artificial intelligence can benefit marketing organizations. While these three news items are all different aspects of this technology, they show collectively how these new technologies are changing the way marketing is done. First up is a new smartphone app called Truthify that does advertising context... Continue Reading →

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This week we talk about new ways that machine learning and artificial intelligence can benefit marketing organizations. While these three news items are all different aspects of this technology, they show collectively how these new technologies are changing the way marketing is done.

First up is a new smartphone app called Truthify that does advertising context analysis (as shown at right). The app interprets the user’s facial expressions to deliver what it thinks the user’s emotional state is, including fear, anger, or happiness, among other traits. The app comes with a web dashboard so you can analyze your campaigns and the resulting demographics. The app is now available for iOS users and soon for Android.

Second is a new influencer platform called AdHive. It is a combination of influencer marketing and AI-powered campaign management. You can sign up for the tool and influencers are paid to participate, while advertisers can choose the right kinds of people to exploit, er, we mean make use of, their tool.

Finally, Google last week announced four new products using machine learning that are aimed at helping marketers create more effective ads. These include responsive search ads, tools to optimize YouTube traction and local campaign management and smarter shopping. Google claims that advertisers who have tested these services have seen clicks increase by 15 percent.

Marketers who have been loathe to adopt new technologies do so at their own peril. These tools are good examples of what the future portends.

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FIR B2B #100: The Most Memorable Moments of our Decades in Tech Journalism https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-100-the-most-memorable-moments-of-our-decades-in-tech-journalism/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-100-the-most-memorable-moments-of-our-decades-in-tech-journalism/#respond Fri, 06 Jul 2018 19:55:00 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9314 We take a trip down memory lane to discuss the 60-some odd years of working as B2B journalists in the technology field. There are some great stories about Bill Gates, IBM, and other industry luminaries.
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This week we take a trip down memory lane to discuss the highlights of our 60-some odd collective years of working as B2B journalists in the technology field. There are some great stories, such as Meeting Bill Gates (Paul at a press junket, David at an industry conference) and worked with Greg Gianforte, now a member of Congress from Montana after making several fortunes starting technology businesses. Being a tech journalist has its risks: Charles Wang, when he was chairman of Computer Associates, campaigned to get Paul fired from Computerworld, but the two later became friends. David’s parody of Miss Manners got him a cease-and-desist letter from the columnist’s lawyers. We both recall what the introduction of the web did for our industry and our world back in 1994, and how quickly the publishing market changed as a result. David recalls with fondness his interaction with Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet and now a professor at UT/Austin.

David remembers writing about a skunk works project from IBM to use spreadsheets as a front-end to their mainframe databases, and noted how the sole programmer behind the project, Oleg Vishnepolsky, later said his career was changed by the articles. Paul recalls the “old IBM,” which once IBM mistakenly put out a press release and then disavowed what it said. 

We have lots of other memories, and hope you enjoy this episode.   

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FIR B2B #99: Why Was Intel’s CEO Really Fired? https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-99-why-was-intels-ceo-really-fired/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-99-why-was-intels-ceo-really-fired/#respond Tue, 26 Jun 2018 21:00:27 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9289 Was Intel's CEO really fired over a single inappropriate relationship with a subordinate 30 years ago? Research indicates that a harassment charge can inflict significant reputation damage. Also, tiny nuances in search terms can have a big impact on results. Are search engines reinforcing our existing biases?
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The firing of Intel CEO Brian Krzanich last week over a single sexual harassment claim shocked some people because the scope of the crime seemed out of proportion to the punishment. This article by Agility PR makes the case that one harassment claim can do more damage to your brand than a charge of financial fraud. The Register suggests that the reason for Krzanich’s dismissal goes deeper, and if that’s true, it wouldn’t reflect well on Intel. Companies need to navigate these waters with care, making sure they are prepared for a harassment charge, rather than hoping for the best.

What you ask Google influences the results you get. That’s probably not news, but it has interesting implications when you consider the trust people put in search engines to deliver the truth. Francesca Tripodi surveyed two Republican groups in Virginia — a women’s group and a college group — during their 2017 gubernatorial election. Just by varying one word in the search box, such as using  “NFL ratings up” vs. “NFL ratings down,” proved to deliver two very different result sets. We discuss what marketers can learn from the exercise and how to craft better keyword collections and hashtags for your future campaigns. 

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FIR B2B #98: Why doesn’t marketing attract more recent grads? https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-98-why-doesnt-marketing-attract-more-recent-grads/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-98-why-doesnt-marketing-attract-more-recent-grads/#respond Wed, 13 Jun 2018 18:35:19 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9253 Why isn't marketing attracting more college grads? That is the topic Paul and David explore this week, starting with the results of this study commissioned by Marketing Week earlier this year which  found just 3% of undergraduates thought marketing offered them the best career opportunities.
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Why isn’t marketing attracting more college grads? That’s the topic we explore this week, starting with the results of a study commissioned by Marketing Week earlier this year which  found that just 3% of undergraduates think marketing offers them the best career opportunities.

The publication held a seminar to try to explore ways to better engage Gen Z, and we have several thoughts on the matter too. Colleges need to have more focused marketing programs, and businesses need to show that a wide range of skills and talents can be put to best use with marketing programs. Certainly there are obstacles, such as CEOs who think they are good marketers when they aren’t, or conflicts between sales and marketing staffs. But with big data becoming an essential part of the marketing discipline, there’s more opportunity for marketing to impact a company’s future than we’ve seen since the dawn on TV advertising. 

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FIR B2B #97: Notable Hits and Misses in GDPR Pitches We Received https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-97-notable-hits-and-misses-in-gdpr-pitches-we-received/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-97-notable-hits-and-misses-in-gdpr-pitches-we-received/#respond Fri, 01 Jun 2018 12:48:45 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9217 We discuss some of the best and worst PR pitches we received in the months running up to the launch of the General Data Privacy Regulation, and why a handful stood out.
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In our role as journalists, we’ve been deluged with hundreds of pitches for GDPR-related stories, which went into effect last week. It didn’t help matters that on the first day the UK commissioner’s website was down for a couple of hours, an Austrian privacy advocate hit Facebook and Google with billions of euros in lawsuits and the privacy browser plug in Ghostery sent out emails about its change in policy, but inadvertently cc’d 500 user names in each batch of email.

Given all the pitches we’ve had over the last year, we’ve had to be selective about what got our attention, so in this show we discuss what did and didn’t work. Among the items we followed up on was this interview with the former head of compliance for Visa in Europe, who now works for a security vendor. And Imperva put together this interesting infographic (shown here in part) on what the 72-hour compliance deadline really means.

There has been plenty of research on readiness, but the findings were all over the map, which undermined the credibility of many surveys. Paul wrote about an IBM study that showed the positive effects of compliance, a breath of fresh air at a time when most coverage was negative. Then there was this story about how criminals are using GDPR as the basis for phishing attacks, with AirBnB users targeted in particular.

Another pitch from Veritas showed that companies risk going out of business because of the cost of complying with the regulations. And then there was Ponemon’s study last month that gave a comprehensive and credible overview of the issues. Paul wrote another story about how IBM is using Apache Atlas as an organizing framework to help its customers build compliance measures. The interesting angle there was open source. 

Among the worst pitches was the company that tried to make the case that GDPR would seriously inhibit the ability of companies to maintain records about their own employees. In fact, the legislation says nothing about that. The company promised to follow up with a reference to the relevant passage in the regulation, but it was never heard from again.

One of the best sources of reliable information is security consultant David Froud. He complained that many companies did nothing, or in the case of few American daily newspapers, even blocked European IP addresses. “Companies can’t even figure out how to communicate to their customer base what are the chances they can perform appropriate risk assessments?” he asked, somewhat incredulously. Froud told his readers not to be a muppet, meaning just doing nothing. After all, they have had two years to prepare.

Paul has actually read the entire GDPR document, which is not overly long, and suggests it should be every marketer’s starting point when pitching GDPR, or any compliance-related story.

We conclude our podcast with some lessons to be learned for future pitches, to ensure that they don’t end up in the trash heap. 

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FIR B2B #96: Lessons From the Demise of Klout https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-96-lessons-from-the-demise-of-klout/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-96-lessons-from-the-demise-of-klout/#respond Tue, 22 May 2018 12:43:55 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9205 Klout, a one-time darling of social media influence measurement, has quietly died. We won't miss it, but it's worth understanding why Klout fell into disuse and what other options marketers have to measure the effectiveness of their social media campaigns.
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Klout is dead. The news wasn’t a surprise, and the announcement from its current owners at Lithium didn’t leave anyone tearing up. The idea of boiling influence down to a single number always struck us as overly simplistic. And the tools to measure influence are so much more sophisticated now than in Klout’s heyday.

But we should pause and understand why Klout fell into disuse and what marketers can learn about measuring the effectiveness of their social media campaigns. It’s also a good time to look at what other tools are available that are useful, such as LinkedIn Social Selling Index, which gives your account various scores and then breaks them down into four components that have a little more meaning. You can see how you rank within your industry and within your LinkedIn network. There’s also Twitter Analytics, which tracks changes in your Twitter engagement through five different elements: tweets, tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions, and followers. Again, one number doesn’t really describe the range of influence that a social network provides, and you might want to focus on one or two elements as you measure your own reach. 

David reviewed social media marketing tools many years ago and certainly that universe has seen some evolution, but SproutSocial, SimplyMeasured, Looker and Adobe’s Marketing Cloud are all still available and very reasonable measurement tools as you construct your campaigns. And as general purpose business intelligence tools such as Microsoft’s PowerBI and Domo become easier to use, they can be used for this purpose.

We also touch upon another looming deadline this week, with the GDPR regulations coming into full force. Paul has written a piece about executives are turning more positive on its potential and also using the compliance deadline to effect some positive changes in their organizations’ privacy and data protection policies.

 

 

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FIR B2B #95: Blogging Rules of the Road https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-95-blogging-rules-of-the-road/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-95-blogging-rules-of-the-road/#respond Tue, 01 May 2018 13:18:10 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9139 How to produce corporate blogs that can clearly and consistently communicate your message. Critical factors include assembling your team, understanding your audience focus and defining what the overall purpose of the blog or blogs will be, as well as adjusting to the appropriate level of knowledge for a particular readership.

 
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This week week discuss a topic that is near and dear to both of us: How to produce better corporate blogs that can clearly and consistently communicate your message. We’ve both have been actively involved in corporate blogs for quite some time, and have managed various blogs and contributed to dozens of them over the years.

What got us interested in topic was this piece on Autodesk, and how it has built a cluster of 200 different blogs over the years (some of which you can see in the screen capture at right), and some of the interesting things that they have learned in the process.

We talk about key elements in assembling your team, understanding your audience focus and defining what the overall purpose of the blog or blogs will be, as well as adjusting to the appropriate level of knowledge for a particular readership.

It is also important to take the long view; on the Internet, content is eternal and many corporate marketers often make the mistake of having a blog for just a particular campaign. Part of successful blogging is having an editorial calendar and planning what you will cover in the next quarter (or longer if you can), posting regularly and selecting the right topics. Also, consider whether it makes sense to outsource part of the back or front office functions of the blog to operations such as Skyword or Contently. While you pay a premium for these services, they can deliver benefits if you don’t have the time, skills or staff to handle these functions.

Part of any successful blog is also figuring out what your metrics for success are, and that should involve more than just simple page views. Finally, make sure you pay your external writers quickly and without a lot of paperwork, otherwise they will migrate elsewhere. (That is where the outsourced back office providers can help.)

 

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FIR B2B #94: Panera Dread https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-94-panera-dread/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-94-panera-dread/#respond Mon, 09 Apr 2018 21:35:29 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=9051 Last week's set of stories around a data breach at Panera Bread is a classic example of what not to do in a crisis. Why do companies keep making the same mistakes?
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Panera Bread’s reaction to a breach of its customer records is a classic example of what not to do on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to start. Officials lied to reporters about the nature and extent of the breach, treated the security experts that knew what actually happened with disdain, took months to recognize the existence of the breach only after others revealed it to the public, told people that the leak was fixed when it wasn’t and glossed over the real issue: a major IT flaw in its application program interface specs that caused the breach to begin with (as well as another this week at P.F. Chang’s). It didn’t help matters that the chief information security officer at Panera came there from a similar job at Equifax in 2013.

The reaction from Ragan is a good summary of what happened and how the situation was mis-handled, and if you want more specifics from the security researcher that first found out about the flaw last August, can read this post on Medium. That latter link reproduces the email messages that showed how the company ignored the researcher’s notification. Firms need to hold themselves to better accountability, have breach plans in place, and make it easier for security researchers to submit vulnerability disclosures in a non-threatening and simple way.

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FIR B2B #93: Is privacy finally a thing for B2B marketers? https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-93-is-this-a-moment-for-privacy-awareness/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-93-is-this-a-moment-for-privacy-awareness/#respond Sat, 24 Mar 2018 13:43:56 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8959 With the DeleteFacebook meme taking hold, privacy concerns may have finally reached a tipping point. B2B marketers who have been relishing the opportunity to personalize their interactions should perhaps pause and think about the potential backlash. 
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With the Facebook crisis in full flame, we wonder if this could be a turning point for privacy, or certainly a moment of reflection about what the role of marketing is in this debate. Marketers have certainly been dazzled by the potential of big data for targeting and personalization, but maybe they need to exercise more caution – or at least be more aware of the need for better privacy controls. Paul and David bat around a few thoughts about the changing nature of privacy and what the revelations of  the past week mean for marketers.

Reactions to the Facebook disclosures have been almost unanimously negative. The Internet Society posted an op/ed saying that “Mark Zuckerberg’s apology is a first step, but it’s not enough.” Certainly, many businesses (SpaceX and Tesla are two corporate examples) are deleting their Facebook pages, but do they really understand that this data persists for quite some time? The EFF has this handy guide for individual privacy, and we suspect that some corporate users will also get smarter about how their data is consumed by social platforms of the future.  Hopefully, some solid regulation will come of this movement, and a better appreciation of our customers’ privacy too. 

On a related note, in the worst-timed news we’ve seen in a long time, Slack has changed its privacy policy to permit account owners to download entire workspaces, purportedly to enable these conversations to be recorded for posterity. We knew that our expectations around workplace privacy were low, but our IM chats too? 

There’s also a new academic study on web tracking tools that shows that the threat of misbehaving third-party applications trampling on private data is huge. Thousands of these tracking tools are used by online advertisers, and many are good at evading ad blockers. 

The notion of privacy by design has been around for more than a decade; perhaps marketers should take a moment to review some of its precepts.

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FIR B2B #92: TechTarget CMO John Steinert on the science of ‘intent market’ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-92-techtarget-cmo-john-steinert-on-the-science-of-intent-market/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-92-techtarget-cmo-john-steinert-on-the-science-of-intent-market/#respond Fri, 09 Mar 2018 16:00:14 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8920 TechTarget CMO John Steinert speaks about the differences between publishing and content marketing, how intent marketing can help provide insights into the impending technology purchase cycle and how marketers can make their content more effective and targeted. 
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John Steinert joined TechTarget as CMO two years ago after a decades-long career in B2B technology at companies that included Pitney Bowes and SAP. So why join a tech publisher? Steinert actually doesn’t see TechTarget as a publisher, and in this recent piece he explained why he was so excited about the opportunity: product, purpose, people and potential. In this interview we discuss the differences between publishing and content marketing, how intent marketing can help provide insights into impending technology purchase decisions and how marketers can make their content more effective and targeted. 

TechTarget’s not-so-secret weapon is its lead generation and tracking mechanisms, which permit the company to see exactly what kinds of content is crucial for their visitors. Steinert describes what data is collected — with visitors’ permissions of course — and how it can be used by their advertisers and sponsors. He also distinguishes between visitors who are just looking to snack on information versus binge consumers, who are likely closer to purchase.

This all makes a difference in what kind of content is created and how keywords are chosen to bring in the right visitors. “You have to have strong SEO, people have to find your stuff and it has to be cross-linked and judged popular and valuable,” he says 

TechTarget’s distinction has always been its portfolio of microsites focused on technologies products or categories — such as SearchWindowsServer.com. But you’d be hard-pressed to find the names of those sites on the company’s home page today. That’s deliberate. Far from being a publisher, TechTarget is today a data company.

Incidentally, both David and Paul have a long connection with TechTarget: Paul was the company’s sixth employee and David has been a regular freelancer for numerous websites of theirs.

There is a lot of wisdom in what Steinert says, and he is worth a careful listen.

 

 

 

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FIR B2B #91: All About Influencer Marketing with Marshall Kirkpatrick https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-91-influencer-marketing-marshall-kirkpatrick/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-91-influencer-marketing-marshall-kirkpatrick/#respond Thu, 22 Feb 2018 21:48:56 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8860 Guest Marshall Kirkpatrick, who founded Little Bird and who now leads influencer marketing at Sprinklr, talks about how to understand and find the best influencers for your B2B brand. 
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Marshall Kirkpatrick leads influencer marketing at Sprinklr. He and David worked together at ReadWrite long ago, and he subsequently started Little Bird, an influencer marketing platform that was acquired by Sprinklr in 2016. Since then, he has helped augment the combined platforms for the enterprise.

Marshall has been active in understanding how social media influence is acquired and measured for more than a decade, and likes to talk about this pyramid, in which influence is just one of several steps toward providing real insights into how a brand is understood in various media forms. While our discussion on this podcast is mostly about Twitter and measuring its influence and effects on marketing B2B brands, we also talk about how to find people within an organization that are more inclined to tell your story.

One key data point is to look at when someone started using social media networks: the earlier they did, the more potentially influential that person could be. It isn’t just about counting raw numbers of followers, Marshall says; an influencer has to be picky about who they follow. There are ways to suss this out. Social media is more about finding quality than quantity. 

 

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FIR B2B #90: Learn the secrets of social media marketing from London’s top-rated restaurant today! https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-90-learn-secrets-social-media-marketing-londons-top-rated-restaurant-today/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-90-learn-secrets-social-media-marketing-londons-top-rated-restaurant-today/#respond Thu, 15 Feb 2018 15:42:23 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8826 A social media firestorm has erupted over a fake restaurant that briefly became London's top-rated eatery on TripAdvisor. The stunt was carried off masterfully, and there are lessons marketers can learn from the journalist who was behind it.
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A social media firestorm has erupted over a fake restaurant that briefly became London’s top-rated eatery on TripAdvisor. But the restaurant never actually existed. This video explains how the Shed at Dulwich rose to the top of more than 18,000 restaurants over a seven-month extended campaign. While we don’t condone fakery, we commend journalist Oobah Butler, who pulled off the stunt, for using good social media marketing tactics to make it work.

There are lessons here for B2B marketers about how to use social media and appropriate word-of-mouth marketing to promote their own legit brands and products. In short, take the long view and frame your message from the start, sticking to key talking points and repeating them to reviewers who might be inclined to review your products and services. You should also concentrate on the most appropriate social networks to match your market; the Shed used Instagram and a series of carefully prepared food photos, since that is what resonates on that network. Butler understood the value of a good photo in his promotion, and that the look of the plate can be more important than the actual ingredients, which in many professional food photos is often inedible.

The Shed never cheated anyone, and the prank wasn’t intended to steal money. It was intended to show up TripAdvisor, and it succeeded masterfully. Butler did end up serving a meal to a few select folks, but didn’t charge them. He had a certain graceful charm that is appealing. The experiment demonstrates the value of knowing your market and being trendy but not going over the top. It also shows why having some fun with your social media accounts doesn’t hurt.

 

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FIR B2B #89: Fake Followers and Real Influence https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-89-fake-followers-real-influence/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-89-fake-followers-real-influence/#respond Mon, 05 Feb 2018 21:52:55 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8785 A recent New York Times article unmasked the shady practice of purchasing Twitter followers. B2B marketers shouldn't be taken in by this tactic, though. There are simple ways to measure influence - and alternatives to Twitter that should be considered.
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The New York Times just published the results of a fascinating research project entitled The Follower Factory, that describes how firms charge to add followers, retweets, likes and other social interactions to social media profiles. While we aren’t surprised at the report, it highlights why B2B marketers shouldn’t shortcut the process of understanding the substance of an influencer’s following when making decisions about whom to engage. The Times report identifies numerous celebrities from entertainment, business, politics, sports and other areas who have inflated their follower numbers for as little as one cent per follower. In most cases, the fake followers are empty accounts without any influence or copies of legitimate accounts with subtle tweaks that mask their illegitimacy.

The topic isn’t a new one for either of us. Paul wrote a book on the topic more than ten years ago. Real social media influencers get that way through an organic growth in their popularity, because they have something to say and because people respond to them over time. There is no quick fix for providing value.

Twitter is a popular subject for analysis because it’s so transparent: Anyone can investigate follower quality and root out fake accounts or bots by clicking on the number of followers in an influencer’s profile. Other academic researchers have begun to use Twitter for their own social science research, and a new book by UCLA professor Zachary Steinert-Threkeld called Twitter as Data is a useful place for marketers who know a little bit of code to assemble their own inquiries. (The online version of the book is presently free from the publisher for a limited time.) David has written more about his book on his blog here

Paul and David review some of their time-tested techniques to growing your social media following organically, and note the ongoing value of blogs as a tool for legitimate influencers to build their followings.

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FIR B2B #88: The Decline of Trust and New Twists on End-of-Year Research https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-88-decline-trust-new-twists-end-year-research/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-88-decline-trust-new-twists-end-year-research/#respond Thu, 25 Jan 2018 16:34:44 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8742 The Edelman Trust Barometer shows an alarming decline in American’s trust of nearly every institution except their employers. We also review some of the best end-of-year research reports we’ve seen and explain why we like them.
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This week, we examine the results of the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer, which shows a remarkable drop in the overall trust from the public. Some alarming results from the annual survey:

  • Sixty-three percent of respondents say they do not know how to tell good journalism from rumor or falsehoods or if a piece of news was produced by a respected media organization.
  • Chinese citizens trust their government more than U.S. citizens trust theirs. 
  • Technology remains the most trusted industry sector of them all, with a trust rating of 75% (whew).
  • CEOs are becoming more trusted sources and are increasingly being asked to address public policy issues.
  • One-quarter of respondents said they read no media at all because it is too upsetting. 

In the second part of our discussion, we look at some examples of annual trends/reports in the security field that David has been studying for this post. For example, Kaspersky’s “story of the year” was about the rise of ransomware, and this set of predictions from ServiceNow are short and sweet, which is a nice break from the norm. Watchguard has been posting a series of predictions to its blog using short videos. All are noteworthy. We suggest B2B marketers review these tactics and see if they can apply to their own media relations efforts.

 

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FIR B2B #87: A LinkedIn Exec’s 2018 Sales and Marketing Predictions https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-87-linkedin-execs-2018-sales-marketing-predictions/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-87-linkedin-execs-2018-sales-marketing-predictions/#respond Thu, 11 Jan 2018 22:31:49 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8691 What's ahead for B2B sales and marketing in 2018? Justin Shriber, Vice President of Marketing for LinkedIn Sales and Marketing Solutions, put together a series of predictions, and in this discussion he expands upon them and tells of the role that LinkedIn will play.
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We spoke to Justin Shriber, Vice President of Marketing for LinkedIn Sales and Marketing Solutions, to start off the new year. He put together a series of predictions for the year ahead, and in this discussion he explains them and the role that LinkedIn will play in advancing B2B sales and marketing in 2018.

Smart, quanitative driven marketers will still be in high demand, but the pendulum will start to swing back toward marketers that have a qualitative eye for good stories.

— Brands will re-evaluate the platforms on which they post their content, favoring those that have gone on record saying that user trust is a priority for them. Brands want platforms that give them control over affiliations and customer IDs, where they show up, and the audiences to which they’re exposed.

Sales will be the new awareness marketing channel. Sales used to be the direct connection to prospects, but we will see sellers start to build awareness through direct advocacy programs.

Marketing will gather more intelligence around the reach employees have on the sales side. There will be formal processes that make it possible for employees to easily decide what shareable content speaks to them so they can maintain their own individuality while also benefiting the company. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator will play an increasing role in this unification of marketing and sales efforts. 

Sales and marketing alignment will continue to improve. Organizations need to engage both sales and marketing in a concerted way from awareness through conversion, rather than having marketing take the front end and sales the back end.

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FIR B2B #86: How to craft the best surveys (and gain media exposure) https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-86-craft-best-surveys-gain-media-exposure/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-86-craft-best-surveys-gain-media-exposure/#comments Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:35:11 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8539 We see numerous surveys, especially at this time of year. Many are just deleted because they aren't newsworthy or have one or more serious flaws. So we put together this quick podcast that can help you craft better surveys and hopefully get the media's attention for next year's roundups.
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Due to a technical glitch, the first version of this podcast failed to upload fully. The full version can be accessed using the player above or via the “Download” link. 

We see numerous surveys, especially at this time of year when predictions and year-end recaps flourish. Many of them are just deleted unread because they aren’t newsworthy or have one of several flaws. So we put together this quick podcast that we hope can help you craft better surveys and hopefully get our attention for next year’s roundups.

Surveys often use too small sample sizes. Nowadays you should have at least 1,000 respondents that are culled from a global audience if you want any impact. Take a look at this  survey from Bitdefender that interviewed 1,050 IT professionals in several countries to find out their cloud security purchase decisions. That is authoritative. Sometimes you can get away with fewer responses, if the respondents are highly qualified. An example is this piece that Paul wrote about where firms aren’t prepared for industrial IoT. It surveyed a few hundred people, but all were decision-makers.

Question design is also critical, and while we don’t delve into the specifics in this podcast, it’s important to not be leading the witness but trying to go after statements of fact. You want to ask about evidence that is directly observable, not just their subjective feelings about old chestnuts.

Stories that lend themselves towards “man bites dog” or unexpected results are always appreciated. Contrast this with this Barracuda survey, which found that 74 percent of respondents stated that security concerns restrict their organization’s migration to the public cloud and have prevented widespread cloud adoption. Really, that is news? Not!

Also good are surveys that come from unexpected sources or break new ground, such as this one that Paul wrote recently on how poor capacity planning can lead to wasting money on cloud computing.

Finally, take a look at places that we often cite in our own work, such as studies from Ponemon on the cost of data breaches or the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Reports, both of which have been fielded for years and are encyclopedic, comprehensive and analytical.

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FIR B2B #85: How Digital Channels Are Transforming B2B Sales https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-85-digital-channels-transforming-b2b-sales/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-85-digital-channels-transforming-b2b-sales/#respond Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:56:55 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8478 Ray Grady, President of CloudCraze, discusses findings from his company's recent survey that found that B2B organizations are significantly growing their e-commerce presences and expect online sales to be the principal driver of future growth. 
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Our guest for this week’s episode is Ray Grady, the President of CloudCraze. In a recent report, CloudCraze uncovers the value B2B organizations are seeing from digital channels and their future expectations for online sales. Forrester expects eCommerce to reach $889 billion and represent 11% of total B2B sales in the U.S. by the end of 2017. Without a doubt, a digital revolution has taken place in B2B, leading to explosive growth for those who have invested in eCommerce. 

We ask Grady about his survey, which covered 400 representatives of consumer packaged goods, manufacturing and software companies. It found some interesting and perhaps non-obvious results:

  • More than half of B2B businesses (56%) give self-service access to all of their customers.
  • For the first time in B2B history, nearly half of B2B businesses sell their full product line online.
  • Sixty percent of B2B decision-makers indicate that the growth of digital has caused their sales team to grow along with it.
  • European businesses are generally more advanced than U.S.-based businesses when it comes to the maturity of their digital commerce sites. They have more of a global mindset, a greater willingness to embrace agile systems and present their site in many different languages. EU buyers are also more comfortable buying B2B products and services online.

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FIR B2B #84: Seth Greene on the Magic of Podcast Marketing https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-84-seth-greene-magic-podcast-marketing/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-84-seth-greene-magic-podcast-marketing/#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:57:36 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8422 Podcasting expert Seth Greene tell how businesses of all sizes can benefit from time-tested direct response marketing methods anchored by podcasts.
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This week we talk to Seth Greene about how to market small (and large) businesses using some time-tested direct response marketing methods that begin with creating podcasts. Seth is the author of Market Domination for Podcasting, as well as several other books. He offers so much great advice in this interview that you’ll want to have your notebook handy. Among his tips and observations about podcasting:

  • Global smartphone proliferation and Apple CarPlay have been big factors in the recent rapid growth of podcasts. It’s time for businesses to take notice.
  • It’s not about big markets – A few hundred regular listeners can give your business a great boost if they’re the right people.
  • Optimal length is 20-30 minutes, which is the length of the average workout or commute.
  • You can do a lot of your own promotion. Use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter. Send email to your clients. Ask your guests to promote to their lists.
  • Interview formats work well for a couple of reasons. One is that it’s hard to keep a narrative going all by yourself for a half hour. Another is that guests will often promote to their friends and associates. If you have a co-host, it’s even easier to keep the discussion moving. In Seth’s case, a partnership with TV celebrity Kevin Harrington has been a huge boost to listenership.
  • The biggest mistake B2B marketers make with podcasts is being boring. You’ve got to bring personality to your show.
  • Don’t turn down any opportunity for media promotion of your program. You never know who’s reading/listening.

Greene’s Market Domination firm has been one of the fastest growing direct response marketing firms in the country. He is the only person in history that Dan Kennedy has nominated for marketer of the year three years in a row and he’s been featured on numerous TV shows and quoted frequently in national business magazines.

Check out his SharkPreneur podcast, co-hosted with Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington, and follow Seth on Twitter.

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FIR B2B #83: Making Better B2B Podcasts https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-83-making-better-b2b-podcasts/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-83-making-better-b2b-podcasts/#respond Tue, 24 Oct 2017 16:32:10 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8240 Paul and David have been producing podcasts for more than a decade for themselves and for their clients. They offer tips B2B marketers can use if they want to get into this rapidly growing medium.
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Paul and David have been producing various podcasts for themselves and for clients for more than a decade. They were motivated to discuss this topic after reading this piece about the three fundamental moments that have contributed to podcasts’ recent resurgence. Back in the day, David was also a big fan of Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code (alas, Adam is still doing podcasts but not this series). So what should corporate marketers do to make better podcasts? Here are a few suggestions.

First, you need to think about podcasts as one part of your overall online media and brand-building effort, and not just a one-off. You want to build an audience over time and complement what you are doing with blogs, social media, and other content.

All successful podcasts contain multiple voices and aren’t just a single person talking; those get boring quickly. Use multiple elements, such as listener mail, headlines, short takes, offbeat items and quizzes. Find a theme that can work across multiple episodes. The theme doesn’t have to be “brand promotion,” indeed, podcasts work best if that isn’t your theme. And while you are thinking up a theme, find some royalty-free (what is called podsafe) music intro and outro that you can use to punch it up and make it sound more professional. Amazon is one of many places where you can find low-cost podsafe music.

The optimum length is tough to predict. Some podcasts run out of steam at five minutes, while others can hold your attention for 45 minutes. Factors to consider include the number of topics to cover, the depth of the discussion, the chemistry of the speakers and the attention span of the audience. Ask your listeners for feedback.

As you can see here, show notes add keywords to your posts, which helps to increase search engine traffic. Add ID3 tags to your audio files for the same effect, because search engines can’t read audio.

If you are looking for a good list of hosting providers, check this one out. Really, any hosting provider that allows you to FTP your audio should be fine.

Finally, don’t despair about measurement and metrics. While you can measure downloads, that doesn’t tell you whether someone actually listened to the entire episode. David uses Wistia metrics on his screencast videos to track all sorts of granular activity, but there’s not tool that we know of to measure actual listenership.

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FIR B2B #82: Doing data-driven marketing right https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-82-data-driven-marketing-right/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-82-data-driven-marketing-right/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 14:47:26 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8191 Doing data-driven marketing correctly means understanding your data sources and working collaboratively with marketing and creative types to benefit from this knowledge. We talk about ways to improve your campaigns and keeping them fresh and interesting, and what Amazon is doing to spur competition for its new HQ2 site selection.
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Can data drive a marketing campaign and still keep it creative? Yes, provided you bridge the divide between art and science by benefiting both sides. We examine a recent article in Marketoonist that discusses this issue. Blogger Tom Fishburne quotes an agency head who heard a principal from another agency say, “Data drives every piece of creative we put out today.” The agency chief’s reaction: “Boy, your creative must really suck.” When marketers stray from being data-driven to being data-blinded, campaigns fall flat.

One piece worth reviewing about this appeared on one of the Google blogs last year. Google, DoubleClick and an ad agency collaborated to explore how to best do data-driven campaigns, and came up with three suggestions:

  • Know all the sources of data available, and figure out which can fuel smarter creative.
  • Bring in the agency at the start of a project and talk about what data makes the most sense before any creative program is designed.
  • Collaborate and communicate to the extreme.

Fishburne cites an example of a creative video campaign for the state of Tennessee that struck the right balance. Data was used to determine what versions of pre-roll ads to display, with the creative being designed to evoke an emotional response.

Speaking of creative, Amazon has unleashed a slew of actions by various cities around North America in its response to its quest find a site for its second headquarters. Tucson delivered a 21-foot Sagauro cactus, while Kansas City posted creative product ratings on Amazon’s own site to explain its advantages. Some mayors have put together their own wacky YouTube pitch videos. This is every bit a B2B campaign, although not one most marketers can relate to very closely. What we like about it is that Amazon didn’t state the rules too clearly, leaving a lot of room for bidder interpretation. That led to greater creativity. We can’t wait to see who wins (hope it’s St. Louis or Boston).

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FIR B2B #81: Getting real about social media’s value https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-81-getting-real-social-medias-value/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-81-getting-real-social-medias-value/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:48:24 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=8024 Use and abuses of analytic tools, whether CEOs should have their own social media accounts and understanding the real value of social media to your business.
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This week we discuss several aspects of social media: how to use and abuse analytic tools, whether your CEO should have social media accounts, and understanding the differences between using social media as a “narrowcast” one-way medium vs. having actual interactions and conversations across various networks. We cite two different studies.

Domo and CEO.com released their annual CEO social media survey earlier this summer. They found that 40 of the Fortune 500 CEOs have a Facebook page, down from 57 two years ago. We don’t think the drop is necessarily a thing. Every corporate executive should have a solid account and profile on LinkedIn – and we suggest that CMOs should take some time to review those accounts to ensure that they reflect well on both the individual and the corporation – but engaging on social media creates an obligation to continue that engagement, and not all CEOs are comfortable with that idea. 

We also examine a Forrester report from earlier this year. (PDF here) on how to measure social programs. The authors point out that many marketers say they haven’t been able to show the impact of social at all, and that it can be hard to pin down its actual impact. Marketers mistakenly expect social metrics to parallel digital performance channels rather than augment these channels help guide their efforts and add color or feedback at the appropriate places. If you expect social media to deliver an immediate boost to sales, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree.

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FIR B2B #80: The Equifax disaster and PR pitching tactics https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-80-equifax-disaster-pr-pitching-tactics/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-80-equifax-disaster-pr-pitching-tactics/#respond Mon, 11 Sep 2017 22:25:12 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7987 This week we discuss two topics: Covering the Equifax data breach disaster and how we liked to receive PR pitches. We would love to hear your own ideas too.
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The Equifax data breach that was revealed last week has so far been an unmitigated disaster – for the company. While we could spend the entire show talking about the firm’s missteps, we just touch quickly on the lowlights, including poor IT management, the lousy breach notification, a confusing website that was constructed in haste and with overwrought legalese, the lack of quality reporting from the general and security trade press about the incident, and how hard it is to find out whether your own personal information has been compromised. Sadly, this breach will be a case study of what not to do in marketing communications for years to come.

We move on to something that we both have spoken and written about frequently, keyed to a piece that ran this week on Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey (We’d give you a link, but the site is behind a paywall.) It’s about David’s attitude toward PR pitches. He and Paul go over some of his their preferences on things like the length of pitches, whether to mention competitors, how pitch use metaphors and the value of third-party support endorsements. One thing we agree on: Re-pitching – or following up on an earlier pitch – is a good way put yourself in the doghouse. and end up in the deleted email pile.

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FIR B2B #79: How to find the right CMO for your startup https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-79-find-right-cmo-startup/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-79-find-right-cmo-startup/#respond Mon, 28 Aug 2017 14:30:30 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7918 Crowded Ocean partners Carol Broadbent and Tom Hogan share some mold-breaking recommendations on how startups should build their marketing organizations. Among them: focus on product first, contract instead of hiring full-time and hire the CMO last.
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This week Paul and David talk to Crowded Ocean’s partners Carol Broadbent and Tom Hogan. The two have written The Ultimate Startup Guide, the foundation of which is their work with 47 different startups over the past 10 years. Ten of those companies have had successful exits, and only two went out of business, so our guests have credibility.

We invited them to join us after we read their piece in VentureBeat about “marketing-as-a-service.” Most organizations hire their CMOs first, but the duo recommend that this should actually be the last position to be filled by a startup. “Most CMOs have a bulls-eye painted on their backs, they have the shortest tenure, and often startups hire the wrong species,” they said.

Instead, Carol and Tom suggest that you examine more closely the different component skills that make up marketing, and staff accordingly. These include product management, corporate marketing, product marketing and IT fluency. The evolved CMO has the backbone of the marketing department, the breadth and understanding of the customer experience and the depth of a new key organizational growth pillar that shapes their point of view. Our guests suggest that the initial full-time marketing insider should be someone that they call “Seth” who is a 28-year-old numbers jockey who can give their sales organization demand generation data. 

Other recommendations: Hire a stable of reliable contractors rather than fulfilling every need with full-timers. Simplify your website’s message. “Too many startups want to display all their great ideas and technology on their website, turning it into a library of brochure-ware that a prospect has to wade through,” they wrote in VentureBeat. And design online content and structure that can be useful on mobile devices. 

Carol and Tom’s recommendations challenge a lot of the conventional wisdom, but they have the track record to justify them.

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FIR B2B #78: Talking good and bad UX with Danielle Cooley https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-78-talking-good-bad-ux-danielle-cooley/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-78-talking-good-bad-ux-danielle-cooley/#comments Fri, 11 Aug 2017 12:29:19 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7851 User experience expert Danielle Cooley talks about silly UX mistakes, tips for better navigation and misuses of the ubiquitous "hamburger menu."
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Danielle Cooley has spent more than 18 years applying a number of user experience (UX) research and design techniques to a wide variety of applications, including hardware, Windows, web, telephone and mobile. Her work has benefited such organizations as Pfizer, Navy Federal Credit Union, Fidelity Investments, Hyundai, Graco, Enterprise Rent-a-Car and more. She is a frequent conference speaker at professional UX gatherings and holds several technical degrees.

We talk about rookie UX mistakes, such as popup come-ons and autoloading videos, the difference between UX and user interfaces, and how marketers should consider the UX maturity model of their organizations when developing their programs. 

Danielle also ranted a bit about the “hamburger menu” of three parallel lines that are often shown in many mobile apps (including David’s latest website redesign, oops!) and how they have become a cover-up for bad navigation. Here’s a presentation on what to do instead.

Danielle and David wrote this article for a UX journal where we use the example of four data breaches (Cici’s Pizza, Home Depot, Wendy’s Restaurants, and Omni Hotels) to see how each firm tried to regain its customers’ trust.

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FIR B2B #77: Imagining the future of customer experience around ‘micro moments’ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-77-imagining-future-customer-experience-around-micro-moments/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-77-imagining-future-customer-experience-around-micro-moments/#respond Fri, 04 Aug 2017 18:18:12 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7817 Our guest is Dermot O'Connor, VP of product and co-founder of Boxever, a marketing big data automation company. We focus on the changing nature of customer experience and how marketers can create micro-moments.
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We talk to Dermot O’Connor who is the VP of product and co-founder of Boxever, a marketing big data automation company. We discuss the changing nature of customer experience (CX) and how the rise of the online world of Google, Amazon and Facebook have changed customer expectations about their interactions with suppliers. Big data is essential to improvement for marketers. We also cover the differences between these two approaches and how difficult it is to incorporate the technology solutions that are required to implement the best CX, and how marketing departments need to get a handle on what data they have about their customers too.

Dermot offers his suggestions for how to create “Micro Moments” along the journey, a concept introduced in this Google blog. That’s about making each touch point with customers a part of crafting the best experience. O’Connor thinks the next phase of CX will center around micro-design and suggests ways in which himbrands can bring micro moments to life.

 

 

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FIR B2B #76: Social media mistakes, tech marketing careers and a great new mobile marketing book https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-76-social-media-mistakes-tech-marketing-careers-great-new-mobile-marketing-book/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-76-social-media-mistakes-tech-marketing-careers-great-new-mobile-marketing-book/#respond Fri, 07 Jul 2017 19:49:16 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7675 This week, Paul and David discuss a few different topics, starting off with this survey, the Data Snapshot: 2017 Career Outlook for Tech Marketers. They also cover a new book on mobile marketing, why David Berlind is complaining about freelancers, and some social media mistakes to avoid.
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It isn’t surprising that millennials are less satisfied with their jobs – given that they change them so frequently. Perhaps they have unrealistic salary or promotion expectations. This week, Paul and David discuss a few different topics, starting off with a survey entitled Data Snapshot: 2017 Career Outlook for Tech Marketers. It asks several hundred marketers from both the US and UK about their options about their careers and is worth looking at, not just because it points out generational differences but because it also shatters some myths. Don’t assume those millennials are comfortable in their jobs.

Are vendors paying freelancers to place stories in reputable publications they write for? David Berlind thinks so. We describe what motivated him to post a complaint about how freelancers are double-charging for their stories, being paid by both a vendor client and their editors. We also note that we’ve never seen this actually happen. Have you?

Next, Anindya Ghose’s Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy should be on every B2B marketer’s reading list for ideas on how to understand mobile e-commerce and mobile transactions. It is a rare book that both provides solid research and is enjoyable to read. Ghose shows that the balance between advertising and peer group recommendations for purchasing products and services is shifting to more of a mix, and this book will help guide marketers to understanding how to play that mix to their favor without alienating prospects and customers. He covers the nuances of location-based advertising and how mobile phones access this information. B2B marketers have to get better at using mobile technologies. The smartphone has become the glue between online and offline channels, so marketers need to understand how this glue is applied and how to become more effective at using it.

Finally, this post from Buffer (We Made These 10 Social Media Mistakes so Don’t Have To) is well worth reviewing. Many of us have made most of the mistakes on this list, and some of them are worth discussing with your social media team to try to prevent them in the future.

 

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FIR B2B #75: Beth Winkowski does B2B PR very well https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-75-beth-winkowski-b2b-pr-well/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-75-beth-winkowski-b2b-pr-well/#respond Thu, 22 Jun 2017 17:07:49 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7597 This week we speak with someone who does B2B public relations very well. Beth Winkowski has had her own PR firm for more than a decade after working for years with leading-edge tech companies. Both Paul and David have always admired her judgment, sensitivity and attention to detail. Many PR people will tell you their job is to make journalists’ work easier. Beth delivers on that claim.
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There’s no shortage of people willing to bash bad PR practices, but we prefer to take a more positive tone. This week we speak with someone who does B2B PR very well.

Beth Winkowski has had her own PR firm for decades after working for leading edge tech companies back in the 1990s. Both Paul and David have had tremendous respect for her, not just for the quality of her communications but for the very skillful way in which she handles journalist relationships. She sends out press releases for all events announced by her clients but only asks for press briefings occasionally. Both David and Paul know that when Beth asks for a briefing, the announcement is important. Her clients are well prepared, with PowerPoint decks that explain but don’t overwhelm. She sends a confirmation the morning of the  call along with the final press release. She always includes graphics. These sound like small things, but it’s amazing how few agencies attend these small details.

When we first contacted Beth about being a guest, she demurred, saying that she only seeks publicity for her clients and not for herself. She has no website because she doesn’t want to appear to be promoting her own interests ahead of those of her clients. It’s these kinds of philosophical details that are important. Beth had a lot of wisdom to impart on our show, and while most of it is common sense, it is a reason why she is the consummate PR pro.

Follow Beth on Twitter.

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FIR B2B #74: In the ‘Circular Economy,’ Sustainability is Good Business https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-74-circular-economy-sustainability-good-business/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-74-circular-economy-sustainability-good-business/#respond Thu, 08 Jun 2017 17:34:07 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7516 The Conference Board recently published a report that defines the circular economy and offers examples of how it’s changing the way some businesses work. Thomas Singer,  who authored the report, joins us to summarize its findings and discuss the long-term impact on businesses and marketers.
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The “circular economy” is about more than just sustainability or preserving the environment. It’s a new economic model based upon the idea of maximizing the lifetime value of resources for as long as possible, whether through recycling, reuse or sharing. It’s a concept that underscores the growth of the so-called “sharing economy” and is paying benefits in the form of new product concepts and improved customer engagement.

Thomas Singer, The Conference BoardThe Conference Board recently published a report that defines the circular economy and offers examples of how it’s changing the way some businesses work. Thomas Singer (left), who authored the report, joins us to summarize its findings and discuss the long-term impact on businesses and marketers.

Thomas is a principal researcher in corporate leadership at The Conference Board and author of numerous publications, including “Driving Revenue Growth through Sustainable Products and Services” and the comprehensive corporate sustainability benchmarking report “Sustainability Practices.”

The Conference Board is generously making the report available at no charge to For Immediate Release listeners. Download it here.

Follow Thomas on Twitter.

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FIR B2B #73: What’s good about today’s trade shows https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-73-whats-good-todays-trade-shows/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-73-whats-good-todays-trade-shows/#respond Fri, 02 Jun 2017 15:38:07 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7471 We all love to carp on shows, but this time we thought we'd take a different approach and highlight some of the noteworthy moments over our many years of covering and speaking at them.
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We all love to carp about trade shows, so this time we thought we’d take a different approach and highlight some of the noteworthy moments over our many years of covering and speaking at them. David has just been to two different shows in Orlando last month and compares how they were run and what he learned. Paul has been to many vendor-focused shows over the years and offers some of his perspective. The best shows all have this in common:

  • Solid speakers that have compelling stories, often drawn from the end-user community. We realize that some shows are run for profit and sell sponsorships (that often include a speaking “slot”). Still, the better speakers will always generate more buzz, coverage, and attendee response.
  • These speakers aren’t afraid of telling tales that have a mixture of positive and negative experiences from the vendor’s products.
  • The smaller, more vendor-driven shows will collect the faithful and boosters, no need to amplify or over-sell this.
  • User-run shows, such as from VMware and Terradata, are often better than those that are vendor-run.
  • Having executives who “give good interview” is key: not all of them can (even with some training) do this.
  • PR teams who know what reporters like and tailor their schedules accordingly, rather than set up too many “meet-n-greets” that keeps us off the show floor.

Speaking of bad PR, Paul ends our episode with a tale of woe about one PR person who admitted that a news item was over a year old. Telling the truth is always a good operating philosophy.

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FIR B2B #72: WannaCry Newsjacking and a tribute to Walt Mossberg https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-72-wannacry-newsjacking-tribute-walt-mossberg/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-72-wannacry-newsjacking-tribute-walt-mossberg/#respond Tue, 16 May 2017 15:30:02 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7346 Last week the WannaCry ransomware raged around the world. David goes into some of the specifics. And we pay tribute to Walt Mossberg, who is retiring from The Wall Street Journal.
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Last week the WannaCry ransomware raged around the world. David goes into some of the specifics, and has more on his blog if you want links to the exact operations of the malware who has been hurt by its attack. There are several great stories from the media about how one British researcher accidentally tripped a kill switch and gave American IT managers a bit of a breather, and how Microsoft has created patches even for Windows XP versions to try to stop its spread. But there are some important lessons for PR pros who want to become newsjackers. Both Paul and David received dozens of emails with insipid quotes and me-too “sky is falling” non-news releases. Instead, the next time one of these events occurs, try to be fresh, be quotable, be unusual, find the story within the story. Don’t just trot out your CEO or expert, but look for something specific that your client can leverage.

Next, we pay homage to Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal. We reference this article in Recode.

Both David and Paul owe Walt a lot in terms of how they approached their own work over their decades in tech, along with how reviews were constructed and how sources were accessed. The Recode article looks at the current crop of mass media tech reviewers and what they owe to the great man himself. We also talk about how reviews have changed over the years and the prominence of Google and the crowdsourced reviews sites. Sadly, vendors today are getting too sensitive about negative reviews, don’t understand that good reviews take money and experience, and think that “placement” is more important that the actual content of the review itself.

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FIR B2B #71: Repairing Trust in News, Celebrating High School Journos, That United Mess and YouTube Woes https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-71-repairing-trust-news-celebrating-high-school-journos-united-mess-youtube-woes/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-71-repairing-trust-news-celebrating-high-school-journos-united-mess-youtube-woes/#respond Wed, 19 Apr 2017 15:08:48 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7152 A new $40 million initiative attends to combat declining trust in the news media…High school students in Kansas set an example for pro journalists by ripping the cover off fraudulent behavior by their principal…Why do executives have such a hard time saying they’re sorry? We’re looking at you, United Airlines… Advertisers want no part of objectionable content on YouTube. What should Google do?
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In this week’s podcast, we cover four different stories that show the evolution of online news and PR, with some lessons for B2B marketers. We first examine the announcement about a new $14 million initiative to combat declining trust in the news media and advance news literacy. It will be called the News Integrity Initiative and be administered by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in NYC. It will comprise a global coalition of tech leaders, academic institutions, nonprofits and funders, including Facebook, Mozilla, Edelman and Weber Shanwick PR firms, Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales and Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark. Certainly, something on this level is needed desperately.

A promising story comes from the Washington Post, that covered the situation with a high school student newspaper that brought about the firing of their principal last month. The students, from a small town in Kansas, investigated the principal and found she faked her credentials. Good for them!

Everyone is taking about the United video of a passenger being dragged off a flight. While we can’t be entirely sure of the timeline, what we do note is how long it took United’s CEO Oscar Munoz to finally apologize and offer the passengers on that flight a refund for their trouble. Too bad PRWeek had already named him its “Communicator of the year.”  Timing is everything. Still, we point to this piece for corporate PR pros:  Why “Sorry” Is Still the Hardest Word with some solid lessons on how to gracefully apologize during a crisis.

Finally, there is the mess that YouTube is in with showing ads on racist and other objectionable videos. Advertisers such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Dish Network are pulling their ads rather than take a chance that their brands would be tarnished.  The WSJ and The Verge have covered this story recently and Google is trying to develop new automated methods to at least distinguish objectionable content and give advertisers more control over where their ads appear. Given that 400 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, an automated method is absolutely essential. 

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FIR B2B #70: The Peculiar PR Challenges of AI’s Resurrection, With Jason Bloomberg https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-70-peculiar-pr-challenges-ais-resurrection-jason-bloomberg/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-70-peculiar-pr-challenges-ais-resurrection-jason-bloomberg/#respond Mon, 03 Apr 2017 18:42:21 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=7074 Jason Bloomberg discusses lessons that PR and marketing folks can learn from the rise, fall and resurrection of AI, and how to set expectations accordingly for the Next New Thing.
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“On the one hand, AI is perhaps the most revolutionary set of innovations since the transistor. But on the other, the bad press surrounding it continues to mount, perhaps even faster than the innovations themselves. And AI promises to change the role technology plays for every industry on this planet.” So writes Jason Bloomberg in a post on LinkedIn Pulse earlier this month. Paul and David sat down with him in our latest podcast to discuss some of the issues surrounding how to best publicize AI. Bloomberg has been a tech reporter for decades, writing for Forbes and various other B2B tech pubs over the course of his career.

Jason’s post makes four important points about PR and AI:

  • AI vendors jump in with more hype than reality, what he calls AI-washing (after white-washing).
  • AI has been on the verge of being the next big thing for decades now.
  • AI will cost jobs. As if we didn’t have enough threats these days.
  • Skynet. Need we say more?

We discuss some lessons that overall PR and marketing folks can learn from the rise and fall and current rise of AI, and how to set expectations accordingly for the Next New Thing.

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FIR B2B #69: Fighting comment trolls and tracking CMO spending trends https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-69-fighting-comment-trolls-tracking-cmo-spending-trends/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-69-fighting-comment-trolls-tracking-cmo-spending-trends/#respond Tue, 14 Mar 2017 13:57:51 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=6870 We cover three topics this week: exploring how to fight comment-trolling, tracking CMO spending trends with a new study from Duke's biz school, and another survey about how marketers fail to distinguish existing customers any from prospects in their marketing tactics.
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We start off by exploring how to fight comment-trolling. While trolls have been around since before the dawn of the internet, it seems we have few ways to fight them and restore civility, or at least move towards some semblance of it. A story on Neiman Lab’s blog tell how as Norwegian site is “taking the edge off rant mode” by making readers pass a quiz before commenting. Their theory is that if readers actually read an article and prove that they understand the basic issues, their comments will be more meaningful. It is a nice start. (see screenshot here)

Then there is this new protocol from Google that harnesses machine learning techniques to help publishers thwart abusive comments online. Google has published an API and has a demonstration on its website that shows you how you can use it. Paul and David debate whether it is safe to turn on comments on your own blog, and recommend some kind of human oversight to keep things on point. Sadly, you still have to fight off the trolls for now.

Our next item comes from Shel, who pointed out a survey that shows 80% of B2B companies overlook customer renewal messaging. We don’t understand why this very important audience continues to be overlooked by marketers. There is this tidbit: 42% of respondents say their companies invest less than 10% of their marketing budgets on renewal messaging efforts. “Research shows the story you need to tell to protect existing customer relationships is actually the antithesis of the disruptive, attention-grabbing story you need to tell to acquire net new customers.” 

Finally, we examine the latest Fuqua/Duke Biz school CMO survey. It found that spending on marketing analytics is expected to leap from 4.6% to almost 22% of marketing budgets in the next three years. But marketers say barely a third of available data is used because managers lack the tools to measure the success of analytics and people who can link the data to marketing practice. We opine on why this is so and why social media continues to be stuck in a perennial “almost ready” status.   

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FIR B2B #68: When PR Pros Sour the Day https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-68-pr-pros-sour-day/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-68-pr-pros-sour-day/#respond Tue, 07 Mar 2017 17:11:48 +0000 https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=6818 A number of examples of when PR pros can make turn the most even-tempered reporter into a foul mood, such as with misunderstanding what "off the record" means, or badgering us with unneeded, unhelpful or self-serving emails, or do a lousy job with newsjacking.
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This week Paul is crabby because of some bad PR experiences. He had an interview with one company that probably had seen “All the President’s Men” too many times and was confused about when something can go on background or off the record. Once something has been said, it is on the record. If you want to go on background, make sure you get that agreed to in advance. And don’t going calling on us after an interview and want to take something back. Not only is it bad form, but it just sours the entire relationship between press and PR.

Another all-too-common tactic is to send multiple follow up emails, “hope you had a nice weekend” (it is Wednesday, thank you very much) “and check back with you.” Really? Assume that if you don’t hear from us, it means we aren’t interested. Don’t badger the reporter. We understand that sometimes a PR person is getting heat from their client, but try not to transfer this energy and mess up the relationship between both clients and press.

In the news this week was the Amazon S3 outage on Tuesday. Paul got several emails with offers of sources to comment on the dire state of affairs of the Internet. (Didn’t you know? Neither did we.) This practice of what David Meerman Scott calls “newsjacking” is frequent, but try to do it properly: offer some unique perspective, just don’t trash Amazon or try to be too self-serving, and again, if your email doesn’t elicit a reply from the reporter, assume we aren’t interested. For example, Paul got an email from Commvault’s PR (arguably an Amazon competitor in the storage arena), which had some glimmer of hope, including some of the business and tech implications of the outage.

To round out our sourpuss series, we have this report from the DC-based policy think tank called the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The study shows the tenor of tech reporting has become more pessimistic over the years, with a number of contributing factors such as more realistic understanding about the effects of tech, more sensationalist headlines, or just more people (including some news organizations) who want to use tech threats for their own particular purposes.

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FIR B2B #67: Is it Time to Kill the Term ‘Content Marketing?’ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-67-time-kill-term-content-marketing/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-67-time-kill-term-content-marketing/#respond Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:50:19 +0000 http://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=6607 A recent LinkedIn post made the case that the term 'content marketing' should be killed. It’s become a catch-all phrase for too many things and has no clear definition or place in the marketing organizations, writes author Kyle Cassidy. He makes some salient points… Crowdstrike and NSSLabs are warring over a review that the Crowdstrike claims it didn’t “authorize.” Which raises the question of what you can do about reviews you don’t like.
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In a recent LinkedIn post, Kyle Cassidy proposed Why ‘Content Marketing’ Needs to be Killed Dead and Buried Deep. Cassidy is a former ad agency content marketer who has grown tired of the term and wants to see it retired. His well-written – and somewhat tongue-in-cheek – post gives some solid reasons why the term should be put out of its misery, including over-inclusive usage that renders it meaningless, not unlike the cutesy names that are now applied to departments that used to be called “personnel”and “marketing.” Given that our hosts both come from a long-standing journalism tradition in which the quality of our words was Job #1, he does have some salient points to consider.

Next, we pick up on the dust-up between Crowdstrike and NSSLabs over a test of the former’s endpoint security products. Crowdstrike claims NSS tests didn’t show its product in the best light and weren’t ‘authorized’ to review it. It’s even taken NSS to court. Our view: too bad. If you don’t like the results, shame on you for not working more closely with the testers. And double shame for suing them. David has been on the other end of this scenario for a number of years, and offers an inspiring anecdote about how a vendor can turn a pig’s ear into a silken test. Work with the testing press, and eventually you too can turn things around to benefit both of you.

Finally, we bring up the issue of a fake tweet being used by the New York Times and Newsmax in regards to the firing of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn earlier this week. The Times eventually posted a correction, but if the Grey Lady of journalism can be fooled, it brings up questions of how brands should work with parody or unauthorized social media accounts. Lisa Vaas has a great post on Naked Security that provides some solid suggestions on how to vet accounts in the future: Look for the blue verification check mark, examine when the account was created and review the history of tweets.

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FIR B2B #66: The Robot Who Fooled Me, Block That Buzzword and Domain Name Insanity https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-66-robot-fooled-block-buzzword-domain-name-insanity/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-66-robot-fooled-block-buzzword-domain-name-insanity/#respond Wed, 08 Feb 2017 22:36:56 +0000 http://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=6452 A fund-raising robot fooled one of our cohosts and nearly extracted a donation, prompting a discussion of how this technology can find its place in marketing...Empty, meaningless marketing phrases still run rampant in corporate communications. Why do we use words that mean nothing to the customers we seek?... the list of available domain names is getting out of control, forcing marketers in some cases to have to pay handsome fees just to keep control of their brands.
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Paul and David this week discuss a few topics. First, the notion of automated phone attendants to provide outbound sales support is taking on new meaning when Paul’s got a call from Brian the fund-raiser. Turns out Brian wasn’t a real person, but it had Paul going for a couple of minutes with some very human-like interaction. We are reminded that some companies are making a solid business in this area, such as Conversica, which is bringing some interesting new artificial intelligence capabilities to sales support.

Next, perhaps it’s time to sharpen our use of language. Dictionary maker Merriam-Webster this week announced the addition of 1,000new words to its lexicon, including as NSFW and listicles.  Sadly, older words like these are still in use:

  • Innovative
  • Leading
  • Committed
  • Cost-effective
  • Next-generation
  • Flexible
  • Robust
  • High-performance.

What they all have in common is that they’re meaningless. These are the crutch words that marketers fall back upon when they don’t have facts in their favor. They often fill press releases and articles about innovative unique technologies (Hint!). Pundits have been advising against using these empty words for years, including David Meerman Scott with his Gobbledygook Index and Doc Searls with Buzzphraser. But bad habits die hard <*sigh*>.

David notes that the latest crop of domain name extensions is completely out of control. Given that the old standbys such as .com and .net are usually taken for the most common words, the Internet authorities now have dozens of new ones to choose from. For example, you now have domains that can end in .luxury, .bike, .clothing, .estate, .graphics and many, many more as shown in the screencap here from GoDaddy. However, this presents two issues: first, these newer extensions can be pricey, costing several hundreds of dollars per year for registration fees (and that is the retail price, not even considering what they could go for from brokers). Second, this makes it a lot harder for brands to know what to purchase, and it could up the ante if they are startups and have to purchase multiple names.

And speaking of domains this confusion has made it harder on security staffs to keep typo-squatted domains from infecting their networks. These are domains that look like the real domain, but are controlled by criminals or scammers. And the crooks are getting more clever: some now use Latin characters  to make the domains more believable. Needless to say, the legit owners of these domains have filed legal disputes, claiming that users would be confused and at peril, given that the typo domains are used to distribute malware.

Paul will tell you that all of this negative news is overwhelmed by the victory of his hometown Patriots in the Super Bowl. He still hasn’t come down from the ceiling.

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FIR B2B #65 With Sam Whitmore: Why Customer Review Platforms Are PR’s Great Missed Opportunity https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-65-with-sam-whitmore-why-content-platforms-will-shake-up-pr/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-65-with-sam-whitmore-why-content-platforms-will-shake-up-pr/#respond Mon, 30 Jan 2017 14:20:10 +0000 http://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=6285 Old friend Sam Whitmore joins us to talk about a fictitious open letter he wrote from the head of a PR agency to its marketing VP client telling just how badly the relationship was being managed. The letter touched off a strong response from readers of Whitmore’s Media Survey service, with most agency people agreeing that Whitmore had said what many of them have long felt. In this podcast, Whitmore explains his motivations for writing the open letter and tells what platforms should get more PR attention as the B2B buying process changes.
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Both Paul and David have known Sam Whitmore since all three were at PC Week (now eWeek) back in the go-go 1980s. Since 1998, Sam has been running his own consultancy for PR firms, called MediaSurvey. We spent some time talking to him about a fascinating series of posts on his site that began with an open letter that purported to be from a fictional agency to its fictional B2B client. The letter explains, from the agency’s point of view, why the relationship isn’t more productive. It inspired several comments, as well our own curiosity about Sam’s motivations.

The letter makes three points, with the basic thesis being that “We need max access and a budget bump,” meaning that PR budgets have to reflect a more approach to what agencies do. The fictional PR firm asks to be given better access to customer feedback and become a more strategic partner of the client’s marketing efforts, and to have better relationships with content gateways that will outlast a point product release. The tone of the letter is snarky, but also to the point, with good suggestions about the brave new world of what Sam calls “content platforms” such as ITCentralStation, ProductHunt, and SoftwareAdvice. Whitmore calls these the “IT version of Yelp,” and notes that they’re increasingly powerful in shaping buying decisions. Do you know about them? David actually contributes product reviews to the first site and has seen impressive results, but Paul had barely heard of them.

Sam’s letter suggests that traditional PR needs to be shaken up in the world of many influences. “Building influence is no longer an easily-delegated linear process of ideation, goal-setting and persuasion” he writes. “It’s now more of a matrix, as we help weave your agenda slowly and steadily across tier-one, trades and communities.” In this podcast, he tells what motivated him to write the open letter and how readers reacted. We also discuss the differences between working with large versus smaller/startup clients and how to develop expertise in new channels at your own PR shop.

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FIR B2B #64: Smart influencer relations, a fake news nightmare and five ways to outsource PR https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-64-smart-influencer-relations-fake-news-nightmare-five-ways-outsource-pr/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-64-smart-influencer-relations-fake-news-nightmare-five-ways-outsource-pr/#respond Thu, 19 Jan 2017 14:44:32 +0000 http://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=6245 This week’s grab-bag includes tough times at Medium, the victimization of an innocent Washington Post editor by fake news, five approaches to working with public relations agencies and a smart influencer relations program at Huawei.
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This week we cover a grab bag of stories dealing with B2B marketing, some good and some bad. First, we mention David’s recent accolade for being one of the Best IT Blogs 2017: Must-Read Resources for CIOs, IT & Security Pros, coming in at #12. His ten-year -old but still vibrant blog can be found here.

Next, we talk about why Medium.com failed to deliver revenue, blaming this failure on its advertising model. The story ran in Bloomberg after the company had a significant recent layoff. Paul thinks that they didn’t really deliver much in the way of brand building, David thinks the site was too easy to use and thus hard to distinguish different voices and online properties as a result.

Next, Washington Post homepage editor Doris Truong was caught up in her own private PizzaGate fake news saga. Trolls on the Internet spread a terrible case of mistaken identity that was exacerbated by the speed at which false information spreads on social media. It all started with a Tweet that said: “Who is this woman and why is she secretly snapping photos of Rex Tillerson’s notes?” Turns out she wasn’t the person in the photo, and most of the shaming campaign happened while she was sleeping. A major factor was Sarah Palin’s reproachful retweet. Sadly, this is probably going to be a more frequent occurrence.

Our next piece goes into detail on understanding the kind of PR program you’re really looking for and how you need to set your expectations accordingly. The article mention five kinds of startup PR programs – the Project, the Test, the Taskmaster, the Partner and the Leader. More importantly, each type of program carries a relative success/failure. For companies that have never engaged a PR firm, this could be good advice — if they understand the metrics and outcomes of each program. 

Next, we cover this interesting story about building a brand, the Chinese wayNetworking and communications giant Huawei (annual revenue of US$60 billion and the #3 smartphone vendor) paid a few dozen influencers to attend their September trade show in Shanghai and promote to their social media connections. They were also given full creative freedom to share their experiences however they wished. The company ended up getting 16,900 total engagements: 7.2k on Twitter, 6.4k on Instagram, 3.6k on Facebook for a total reach of 4.5 million people. This exposure was something the company would have spent about $129,000, quite a nice ROI. Their VP’s advice was to get started with a well-identified pool of influencers and invest the time and efforts on developing relationships with them, something we mention frequently in this podcast.

Finally, if anything goes wrong at tomorrow’s Presidential inauguration, it won’t be the first time. NPR had a delightful recap of inaugurations past this week, highlighting screw-ups and absurdities. Andrew Johnson gave his inauguration speech while drunk. Andrew Jackson threw open the doors of the White House for a big party and invited everyone. They’re still cleaning those stains from 1829 out of the carpets.

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FIR B2B #63: Product and Corporate Marketing: What’s the Diff? With Dena Bauckman https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-63-product-corporate-marketing-whats-diff-deana-bauckman/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-63-product-corporate-marketing-whats-diff-deana-bauckman/#respond Thu, 05 Jan 2017 20:06:53 +0000 http://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=6110 Dena Bauckman has an unusual background for product marketer. She holds a Certified Information Systems Security Professional accreditation, which means she can go deep into the features and technology behind her company’s products. Her perspective on the interplay between product marketers, corporate marketers and product managers stresses the need for understanding, accommodation and priority setting. After listening, you just may want to go back to school yourself.
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You won’t find many product marketers with advanced certifications in the technologies they market, but we found one. Our guest is Dena Bauckman, director of product marketing for email encryption provider Zix Corp. in Dallas. Dena has held similar titles at Sterling Commerce and BancTec, and got her start in IT marketing at HP, back in the days when that was a great place to work. Dena has worked at Zix for more than a decade, starting out in the product management area where she was motivated to get her CISSP security credential to help her better understand the underlying security technologies that are part of her products.

Not a typical career arc, and Bauckman’s perspective on the interplay between product marketers, corporate marketers and product managers is distinctive. She stresses how all parties need to understand where each other is coming from and be tuned in to their needs and schedules. For example, product managers are always worrying about what are the features that are going to be built into the next version. Which is great until the time comes to release and promote the current version.

We hear from Bauckman about why having technical savvy is an good asset in a marketing position, and how it helped her become a better communicator, especially with prospective customers. She also talks about what it is like to start a product marketing operation from scratch, even at an established company such as Zix.

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FIR B2B #62: New Perspectives on Fake News, ‘Gaslighting’ and Best PR practices https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-62-new-perspectives-fake-news-gaslighting-best-pr-practices/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-62-new-perspectives-fake-news-gaslighting-best-pr-practices/#respond Tue, 20 Dec 2016 17:58:41 +0000 http://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=5998 We continue our discussion on fake news, adding in Paul's perspective from one of his books and more from a Teen Vogue article about gaslighting, along with some expert commentary from PR pro Christina Farr.
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In our last podcast, we spoke about the rise of fake news. Turns out we have more to say on the topic, which has ballooned across mainstream media in the past couple of weeks. Paul talks about building brand loyalty and trust from research that he did from an earlier book on social media influencers. David mentions this article in Teen Vogue of all places, where the reporter brings up the movie/play Gaslight and how our future president is using similar tactics to setup problems and then offer “solutions.” Gaslighting is just one aspect of fake news, and one issue is that reporters have to take the time to be skeptical and do more research to explore the “news” item and explain why it is false.

Also in this week’s episode we remark about a column that appeared in Sam Whitmore’s Media Survey: for a limited time you can read the article even if you aren’t a subscriber to Whitmore’s site. journalist Christina Farr (shown here) talks about how PR reps need to stop inserting themselves in the conversation when not requested or needed. “There are still (PR) agencies that would rather lose coverage than lose control,” she says. Those execs that she can directly communicate with get more ink. She also talks about the downsides of news embargoes, and we discuss how we respond when the drop date has to be pushed: then the item is fair game to be posted.

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FIR B2B #61: The Care and Feeding of Fake News https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-61-care-feeding-fake-news/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-61-care-feeding-fake-news/#respond Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:54:18 +0000 http://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=5880 We look at the world of fake news and how to stop it, or at least how to understand the ecosystem. Censorship isn't the answer, but readers need simpler and faster tools to mark stuff they think is bogus.
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We are awash in a sewer of fake news stories, and we only have ourselves to blame. It has become an epidemic, and a profitable one at that for these purveyors of click-bait that sound like the truth but are far from it. In this episode, Paul and David discuss why this has happened, who are the players who profit from these stories, and what the major web operators such as Google and Facebook can do about it.

We refer to several stories that show the problem first-hand: a piece that ran on NPR’s All Things Considered found one fake news operator who manages to make a solid living (think $120k per year, at a minimum) who operates out of his suburban SoCal home. His name is Jestin Coler and he is the founder and CEO of a company called Disinfomedia. His stock-in-trade is typo-squatted domains such as the Denver Guardian, which look like legit newspapers. He says he got into fake news around 2013 to highlight the extremism of the white nationalist alt-right, even though he is more liberal-leaning.

The New York Times has also met with fake news purveyors, and it tracks the progress of a viral fake news item in this piece.  Facebook CEO Zuckerberg wrote this piece about what Facebook’s responsibility should be, but Paul and David agree that it is everyone’s task to be a bit more discerning, and take a moment to think about what you’ve just read before you share it with your entire social clan.

One solution is a better mousetrap, so to speak. These computer science undergrads took a weekend at a Princeton hackathon and coded up a Chrome browser plug-in that would allow easier commenting and identifying a fake item. Kudos to them!

In that vein, John Borthwick and Jeff Jarvis posted this extensive list of recommendations on Medium of what each of us can do to take charge and try to stop the fakers. It will take a village to lessen the flow of the fakers.

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FIR B2B #60: Dos and Don’ts of Marketing With Research https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-60-dos-donts-marketing-research/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-60-dos-donts-marketing-research/#respond Wed, 16 Nov 2016 15:03:05 +0000 http://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=5663 More companies are marketing themselves research, and a lot of it is pretty awful. Small sample sizes and leading questions are prime culprits. The surprising results of last week’s presidential election highlighted some of the fragility of surveys, and may make us all more skeptical. If you’re going to mount a marketing campaign around research, spend a little extra and do it right.
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We use the failure of last week’s general election’s exit polling as a starting point to discuss the lack of quality in survey research, particularly in the B2B tech marketing space. Both of us have been the recipients of lousy survey “results,” or more accurately, wishful thinking on the part of marketing and PR people. So save everyone’s energies: don’t produce these 200-person SurveyMonkey polls that have no real meaning. Better yet, when a reporter wants to see the survey instrument and the underlying methodology, send it. You’ll gain plenty of street cred and may even get some ink too.

Whether the presidential polling was the result of ignoring sampling errors or not understanding that the extreme negative response of voters to both candidates is hard to say. Grant Gross’ excellent story in CIO.com goes into more detail about why you can’t pin these failures on big data in general, and quotes several sources that say we have to do a better job of understanding the dynamics of the traditional exit polls themselves.

Our recommendations are to pay careful attention to survey size, understand the sampling methodology, make use of a professional pollster or research analyst or statistician and learn from the experts.

For this last suggestion: we are both big fans of Nora Barnes and the Univ. of Mass/Dartmouth team she heads that have looked at social media usage among the top corporations. They are pros at conducting both observational research and doing terrific polls over many years. Much of their core research doesn’t involve surveys at all. They analyze data that’s already out there.

 

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FIR B2B #59: PR tips and Strom’s 21-year newsletter streak https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-59-pr-tips-stroms-21-year-newsletter-streak/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-59-pr-tips-stroms-21-year-newsletter-streak/#respond Wed, 02 Nov 2016 12:51:50 +0000 http://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=5531 Why reporters need to understand lead gen, how to ask for better graphics to accompany your stories, the passing of Bill Machrone of PC Magazine, and why Strom's Web Informant newsletter has been around for decades.
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Long time tech editor Bill Machrone (left) succumbed to brain cancer on Sunday. He was 69. We remember him and point out some of his accomplishments. You can also review an obituary by Michael Miller, who worked with Machrone for decades at PC Magazine

Al Jazeera posted an excellent article on Medium about How to pitch them. It’s well-written and pragmatic, filled with suggestions for both freelance writers and PR pros. These guidelines apply to all media. Why don’t more outlets do this? 

Paul interviews David about his 21 years of writing a weekly Web Informant email newsletter. Last year David summarized his efforts in this piece with lots of links back to the early days.  

PR pro Lisette Paras (right) sent us a couple of  great questions. We previously mentioned that PR pros rarely send images for stories. We talk about the importance of images and offer some suggestions for what makes sense for our needs. Lisette also asks about C-suite demands that PR pros support the brand’s lead generation efforts, and wonders if that’s appropriate for the profession. We think it is. The more you can quantify the ROI of your work, the more secure your job will be. 

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FIR B2B #58: Forrester’s Andy Hoar and the death of traditional B2B sales https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-58-andy-hoar-future-b2b-sales/ https://www.firpodcastnetwork.com/fir-b2b-58-andy-hoar-future-b2b-sales/#respond Fri, 28 Oct 2016 18:10:45 +0000 http://firpodcastnetwork.com/?p=5482 Forrester Research’s Andy Hoar discusses The Death Of A (B2B) Salesman, a report in which he predicts that one million US B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service e-commerce websites by 2020.
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We talk today with Andy Hoar, the Vice President and Principal Analyst for Forrester Research for many years. Andy wrote a seminal work 18 months ago called The Death Of A (B2B) Salesman. In that piece, he stated that one million US B2B salespeople will lose their jobs to self-service e-commerce websites by the year 2020. That is a big chunk, given that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy employed 4.5 million B2B salespeople in 2012. 

Certainly, the times are a changin’ and B2B professionals must radically transform their historical sales models to accommodate a real-time and global buying environment that we all live in today. Companies need to recognize the amount of shopping and research that is happening online in the consumer space and start examining their B2B sales strategies. 

It isn’t the end of all B2B salespeople, but the end of the typical salesperson and the way they interact with their buyers. Buyers want more self-service at all parts of the sales cycle and like the convenience of online purchasing as consumers, so they have the same expectations when it comes to B2B purchasing too.

“If I know what I want, I should be able to buy it immediately,” Hoar says. “When it comes to cross selling and qualifying buyers, all of this can be done better in a digital environment. There are a lot of impatientB2B buyers these days.”

B2B buyers will still tap salespeople when the sale is complex, when they want to negotiate price, or if an item is expensive or requires installation and servicing. Hoar spoke about how to become more effective at B2B online sales and how companies can start moving towards a more self-service model.

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