Friday, 30 September 2016

The Walking Dead Brings Its Craziest Stunt To Life With King Ezekiel And His Tiger


Who brings a tiger to a zombie fight? Apparently, in The Walking Dead, King Ezekiel will be joining the series along with his favorite pet, Shiva. Ezekiel is a friend of the Hilltop Colony and a close friend to Paul Monroe. He also has a strong hatred for Negan and the Saviors, which caused Paul to bring Rick Grimes to him in the hopes of collaborating to defeat them.

Walking Dead comic creator Robert Kirkman admitted to EW that when he came up with the idea of the tiger he did so partly to see if and how the TV version could even adapt it.

On bringing Ezekiel and Shiva to the show:

“I’ll say I’m really excited about Ezekiel and Shiva getting into the show because that’s probably the wildest swing I took in the comics. You know, a guy who has a pet tiger [and] who speaks like some kind of weird medieval king is pretty strange, and I have to be honest, when I was writing the comic, I was like, “Hell yeah, let’s see how we handle this tiger in the show! This is going to be difficult!” So to actually get to this point where we are adapting it into the show and to see the show expand in this way that the comic did in the past is pretty cool.”

On creating a tiger:

“You really have to have this deadly, terrifying creature coexisting with these people, and it has been a Herculean task to make sure that we get it right. But between the mastery of Greg Nicotero, and all the practical effects that he’s able to accomplish, and our crack visual effects team, I’m very happy with how it’s turning out. You can see in the trailer, it absolutely looks amazing. You wouldn’t, you know, think we had a real tiger on set, but thankfully we don’t or else I would never go to set again.”

Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, this gritty drama portrays life in the weeks and months following a zombie apocalypse. Led by police officer Rick Grimes, his family and a group of other survivors find themselves constantly on the move in search of a safe and secure home. But the pressure each day to stay alive sends many in the group to the deepest depths of human cruelty, and Rick discovers that the overwhelming fear of the survivors can be more deadly than the zombies walking among them.

The Walking Dead returns on AMC for season 7 on Oct. 23.

What do you think of the idea of the characters? Are you excited for the show’s return? Sound off below in the comments section.

Photo Credit: AMC

Source: B2C

I’m a Waiter, Not a Salesman!

Customers appreciate your positive attitude. They prefer to buy from those they like and those that have their best interest at heart. Here’s a post adapted from my book that shows it works in the restaurant industry.

Assume the sale. This is one of those phrases that is drilled into the head of any good salesperson. “They will love our product, I know they will. Just keep listing all the benefits of our product, and they will have to buy it. So, just assume that you will make the sale and ask them for their order,” says the hungry sales manager boss.


Well, I don’t want you to be a hungry sales guy, at least not at this point. But I do want you to assume the sale. Here’s what I mean.

Those well-spoken-of and restaurant industry standard “two minutes or two bites” has quickly passed as you make your way to table #22. As you reach there, you scan the plates to see if the four guests are enjoying their meal.

You say something like this:

  • “Is everything okay”?

  • “I hope you are enjoying the salmon”

No, no, man, that’s all wrong. It’s the worst way to check on a guest. Don’t you know that everything is okay? Were you paying attention? Why would you “hope” they like their salmon? This leaves doubt in the mind of the customer.

If you really were paying attention you would have checked on the dish before it left the kitchen. You would have made sure all the items on the plate are fresh and prepared the way the guest ordered.

When you are checking back with the guest, this is what I expect from you…

ALWAYS assume that their meal was exceptional and that they are happy with it.

As a server, you should be confident that the meal you presented to your guest is of the highest quality. You expect them to enjoy it.

Use terms like:

  • “I’m glad to see that you are enjoying your meal, is there anything else I may get for you?”

  • “You made a great choice with that sea bass. I’m glad to see you liked it as well”.

  • “I can tell by the smile on your face you are enjoying the steak. Don’t forget to save some room for one of our great desserts”.

Can you think of any other statements that may be appropriate?

Okay, I’ve been in this business too long to leave this post at this point. Many of you are probably saying “Sure, it’s easy for you to say just be confident the meal is of the highest quality, blah blah blah”. But you don’t have to work with MY kitchen. They’re terrible!”

“The cooks are always getting the orders wrong, we are always running out of items, and the managers don’t do a damn thing about it”.

Well it sounds like your property is a loser. If this is the case, you probably aren’t enjoying yourself or making big tips anyway. So why are you still working there? You are better than that. All the training in the world can’t help you if your restaurant isn’t there to back it up. You can’t win, no way.

It’s time to move on. Move on to another restaurant, bar, or hotel that appreciates your skills, your service and your mindset.

You want to be the weakest server in the company. When that’s the case, you will be surrounded with the best in the business and you can only get better. They will push you each day.

You will learn additional skills from your co-workers every time you walk through that door. Skills that will also help you to be your best. Those from your old job will still be working for peanuts, and you will move on to bigger and better things.

You will work with other professionals like yourself and will be proud of your job, your career, and, most of all, proud of yourself as a person.

Put yourself on a path to be successful and do it!

Source: B2C

Patience Zero – Restlessness of the Modern Consumer

Name any great mind from the last 2,500-odd years and you are likely to find a quote of theirs praising patience as one of the greatest virtues a human being can possess. If you were to somehow transport them to the modern world, they would be appalled at the ridiculous lack of patience that the modern consumer boasts.


The Socio-Historic Shortening of Attention Span

Patience as a (rather elusive) concept is intrinsically tied to another concept the traits of which have changed dramatically over the years –attention span. We unfortunately do not have any data on how long of an attention span people possessed in Ancient Greece, Renaissance Europe or 19th century United States, but it is probably safe to say that it was longer than the modern one, described in some recent studies.

Back in 2011, they spoke of the average attention span dropping from 12 minutes to only 5. In 2015, they wrote about attention span dropping to mere 8 seconds. It should be pointed out that these studies and statistics worked with different parameters and measuring methods, but the results feel true – people are growing less attentive with each year that passes.

This is only the latest step in a journey that began millennia ago and that has been turning more erratic as a result of innumerable social, political, economic and cultural shifts. Rapidly advancing technology is the latest such shift; one that has all but delivered a coup de grâce to any attention and patience we still might have possessed.


The Instant Nature of Modern Technology

When one reads about the latest technological advances, one of the most ubiquitous themes is how a particular step in technology is making something faster. This has been going on for decades, with new processors making computing speeds faster, with new websites loading quicker, with data being transferred more rapidly and so on.

It is only natural that people’s expectations have also been focused on speed, i.e. less need for patience. Thanks to the gigantic leaps in technology and especially internet technology, speed has all but become reduced to instantaneousness.

If something does not happen at the same moment when requested, it is too slow.


Internet Users and Unreal Numbers

In 2012, an article from The New York Times quoted experts from Google and Microsoft who shared some truly staggering numbers pertaining to the habits of internet users. For example, Harry Shum from Microsoft was quoted as saying:

“Two hundred fifty milliseconds, either slower or faster, is close to the magic number now for competitive advantage on the Web…”

Two hundred and fifty milliseconds, in case you forgot your physics, is a quarter of a second. A blink lasts longer. Remember, this was in 2012.

When it comes to online shoppers, their impatience extends both to the speeds of websites and the speed of delivery. According to Akamai, 18% of online shoppers expect an instantaneous response from e-commerce websites. An additional 30% expect their ecommerce sites to load within a single second. According to Radware, 18% of shoppers will actually abandon their shopping cart (which they spent time on) if their experience becomes too slow.

In 2014, Voxware discovered that online shoppers also have very little patience when it came to delivery times. For instance, more than 80% of them expected their purchase to be delivered within 6 days of buying it. Almost 70% of them said that they would not tolerate getting the wrong product delivered more than 2 to 3 times by the same retailer.


There is also the inevitable downtime which has been known to have devastating effects on the bottom line of ecommerce websites. You can rest assured that downtimes also cause impatient shoppers to look elsewhere for their products.

One of the ways big ecommerce companies have started measuring and battling downtime is through the adoption of enterprise release management where they strictly oversee and control all software updates and releases across the company. This allows them to minimize downtime when upgrading their services or make any internal changes.

Closing Word

When it comes to modern consumers and patience, the ship has pretty much sailed. It would take something truly paradigm-changing to reverse the trend that has been gathering speed for so long. Businesses simply have to adapt to this restlessness of their customers and try to keep up.

Source: B2C

A Marketing Analytics Look Under the Hood, Parts 3 and 4: Link Assembly & Data Capture

Task 3: Embed the Tracking Code within Landing Page Links

Tracking codes are typically appended to landing pages in the query-string parameter section of the URL. Any time you click on a sponsored ad anywhere on the internet, you’ll see not just your destination’s domain in the URL, but usually a question mark, and a long, unintelligible character string. Somewhere in that morass you’ll find the tracking code, but its placement is something that companies configure independently of one another.

Say you choose the wrong external campaign parameter for your client. For instance, suppose your particular website is looking for tracking codes signalled with the parameter “csref”, but you tagged all 8,472 links with the parameter “src” (true story). In this case, the campaign visitors will work their way into and across your site without ever having their visit data attributed to the campaign that brought them.

But again, the point is not that “csref” is right and “src” is wrong—it all depends upon the configurations made by each individual analytics client. Just like we said for Tasks #1 and #2: the only rule is that you abide by your own company’s standards. And once you set down your company’s chosen parameter for a specific report or pattern, Tracking First will dutifully assemble the tracking code for each and every future link the same way.

Task 4: Ensure that Codes are being Captured Correctly

The last task is the most important. Pristine codes, perfectly classified and placed within links, will never do anything if they are never received by the reporting system. A single typo in any URL will most likely send your link and its attendant tracking code into oblivion. But even a flawless link will not ensure capture. Think of it as the baton in a relay race; for the handoff to be successful, another runner must be waiting in the right place to receive it. That receiver is already in place wherever your analytics vendor’s machinery has been included. Unfortunately, the requirement to include this machinery (usually a Javascript library), is often forgotten when a marketing team creates a special landing page, or an agency creates a new microsite. The runner yells “Stick!” yet no outstretched hand receives the tracking code to take the victory lap home.

Tracking First tests every landing page our users provide, not only for the obvious mistakes listed above, but for the more subtle issues that might occur. First we check to see if the page exists; then we verify that the page is equipped with the analytics machinery required to capture it. But then we keep going. We use a best-in-class technology that fully audits the tag, making sure that the code you just created is being captured into the destination report you just classified. With a green light from our system, you can now deploy the campaign with full confidence, knowing that the consistency standards have all been met, and that each data point will be sent and received without interruption from the first campaign click to the last.

Tracking First is the solution. By shoring up every possible gap in the process, from the way codes are assembled and then classified, to the way links are built, and finally to the way this data will all finally find their way to your analytics reports, Tracking First ensures that your reports mean exactly what they say. Use it faithfully, and it will restore your confidence in the reports you’ve long wished you could trust.

[Author’s note: This is part three of an in-depth look at the four essential tasks teams must implement consistently for accurate campaign tracking. Click here for Part 1, Code Composition, here for Part 2, Code Classification]

Source: B2C

Why Do Salespeople Fail?

Salespeople are the frontliners of your business. Their competence determines what light will be cast on your company. When they fail to be at their best, it doesn’t only reflect poorly on your company and brand, it also hurts your bottom line.

While there are superstars, there are also sales reps who grit their teeth and end each day frustrated. But, why?

I put together this list of reasons why sales reps fail. I’m sure there are more out there, but this should help you start troubleshooting.

No listening skills

Salespeople are often measured by how well they pitch–but active listening is probably one of the most underrated sales skills. Unfortunately, it’s one that many reps fail to develop.

Keith Rosen, The Executive Sales Coach, laments this fact. He notes that many salespeople don’t get skills training on effective listening. “Listening well improves the quality of the relationships you have with clients, friends, co-workers, or family members. Ineffective listening can damage relationships and deteriorate the trust that you have with your clients. The price of poor listening is many lost selling opportunities.”

Don’t understand value-based selling

Giving value is the key to getting the trust of our customers and prospects. However, the concept of creating and giving value is lost on many sales reps. What does this lead to? Cringe-worthy sales calls where your rep pressures the customer to agree to a transaction instead of demonstrating the value of your product.

Prospects need to feel like you understand their business challenges and that your product helps overcome those problems. This is the heart of value-based selling. Unfortunately, according to a Forrester Research’s Buyer Insight study, “only 13% of customers believe salespeople can demonstrate an understanding of their business challenges and how to solve them”.

Waiting for the huge client

If someone likes to complain, they’ll never run out of material. In sales, complainers spew all kinds of excuses: the leads are bad, the industry is not in a good place right now, now is a bad buying season. Absolutely unproductive.

Now one of the worst excuses I’ve encountered is one that is seldom verbalized–but as they say, actions speak louder than words. Some salespeople do not give a hoot to “small” prospects and spend their time daydreaming about that one huge prospect that they always think will be closed on this call. Sometimes it happens, often it doesn’t. The devil is in the in-betweens. When they fail to close deals, they always say that next week will be the one!

Be on the lookout for salespeople who are beginning to adopt this attitude. Keep them grounded and focused on the team’s goal; a goal that is achieved by a series of wins and not a single–often elusive–jackpot.

Don’t deliver on promises

Following through is vital in sales. If you tell a prospect you’ll call them before the week ends, do that. Promising and not delivering is one of the quickest ways to sour your relationship with a prospect. The practice of consistently doing what was promised is in every successful salesperson’s arsenal.

For Alice Myerhoff, VP of sales at Edsurge, following through is a crucial aspect of being a consistent salesperson who gets results. “Showing up when there isn’t a deal at stake is a great way to foster a strong long-term relationship. And clearly, following up after the sale is no-brainer if you are selling to someone that may upgrade, renew or purchase more products or services from you in the future.”

Don’t make second contact

It would be nice if most prospects said yes during the first touch, but that’s just very far from the truth. Only 2% of closed deals happen at the first call or meeting. The majority of successful transactions are a result of the gradual build up of trust across several touches.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons behind the failure to follow-up. Salespeople may be afraid to appear pushy; sometimes they just don’t think it’s that important. Others haven’t been trained to do so, or just think a prospect will reach out if ever they want to finally purchase.

No matter the reason, not following up is leaving money on the table.

Not enough support

Salespeople need support to be successful. Tools, training, coaching–all these are part of a support system that enables reps to reach and smash quotas. Without support, salespeople spend less time selling and more time dealing with tweaking processes and adjusting execution.

Sales operations teams are usually in charge of ensuring that sales reps are focused on what matters most. Without a properly functioning sales operations team to reduce the friction in the sales process, reps are always in between tasks and never in the position to deliver their best.

Of course, the sales team still holds ownership of their goals. However, without proactive help from sales operations, their managers, and trainers, reps’ growth will be stunted and they won’t develop skills required to solve unique sales problems.

Poor attitude

While the stereotypical fast-talking sales rep may not be the most likable, the timid and withdrawn salesperson doesn’t get anywhere. If you’re scared of making calls or creating opportunities for extended communication, sales is probably not for you.

According to Sandler Training, a salesperson’s underperformance is rarely due to external factors. “The majority of them don’t lose because of product inferiority, pricing excesses or poor sales technique. They lose because of low self-esteem!”

Apart from this, some reps also suffer from poor “self-image”. They tell themselves they’re bad at their job. Worse, some reps think that sales is the bottom of the proverbial barrel. “I’m just a lowly salesperson” is a thought that lives in their heads–that a job in sales is just a “stepping stone” to getting a real job.

The most successful salespeople are those who are confident–they believe in themselves and in their chosen profession. They take pride in helping clients ease and overcome their challenges.

Closed deals don’t come easily; that’s for sure. Everyone in the team must be willing to put in the work. Be on the lookout for these problems in your sales organization and nip them right in the bud. It’s best to arrest bad habits, traits, and practices before they balloon and blow up.

Source: B2C

3 Reasons Why A Cheap Website Design Is a Bad Investment

Paying for a cheap website design is like paying for cheap brakes.

You should NEVER pay for a cheap website, mostly because you

It might work…

For now.

But it will likely fall apart right in front of you (and cause some damage along the way).

It certainly will over time.

Cheap brakes are cheap for a reason — a quality mechanic does a lot more than slap the pads on your car and call it a day.

Cheap brakes have this nasty habit of failing.

Or damaging your car.

Or, you know, not working when you need to brake and killing you.

Ok, maybe the analogy breaks down at this point… but maybe not.

1. A Cheap Website Design Will Have to Be Redone, Probably Sooner Than You Think

And it’s going to cost you.

I would rather write a new article myself than have to edit a crappy one.

The crappy one will take a LOT longer.

It’s the same with a website.

If you pay someone for a cheap website design, you’re going to end up with something ugly and possibly broken.

If the website development team is cheap too, only God knows how easy or difficult (or even possible) it will be to fix it.

In the meantime, it’s out there.

It’s one of the most visible aspects of your brand.

Most people check out websites before they ever even consider giving you a call.

Now, that’s not ALL folks certainly, but it’s enough that you should consider carefully how you want to appear.

Do you want to appear professional? A cheap website design isn’t going to do that.

In fact, it will do the opposite — it will make you look like a fool.

But you’re not a fool.

And eventually, you’ll realize that your website that you paid $500 for looks like shit and that you need to redo it (oh, and if it looks terrible, it was most likely built terribly as well).

Then you’ll have to hire some poor schmuck to look through it, figure out how to fix it, make it look pretty, fix all the broken junk, and hand you a bill for $5000, because just like the crappy article, it takes a LOT longer to fix a broken website than to make a new one the right way.

When you could have paid half that if you’d just done it right in the first place.

A cheap website design is MUCH more expensive than a reasonably priced website design in the long run, and that’s the harsh truth.

I read something amazing yesterday that really showed me the truth of what I’m trying to tell you.

I’ll tell you here in just a second, but please, please believe me when I say a cheap website design is not something people are going to overlook or look past.

I’m trying to save you — help me help you.

2. The Average Person Judges a Website Based on Its Looks — A Cheap Website Design Will Be Dismissed Out of Hand

Ok, here’s what I read.

I was reading a book that had nothing to do with website design or development. It was about a completely different subject.

The writer was describing a simple method she uses to determine whether a particular company in this space (and there are many) was worth investigating or investing in.

Here are her criteria for combing through the crap.

You ready?

She said (roughly), “I look at the aesthetics of the website. If the website is ugly or hard to navigate, I don’t bother. I know this is a shallow method, but it seems pretty effective.”

Why, we might ask, would such a thing be effective?

I would argue that it’s probably not a very effective method. That many excellent companies, in this example, are being left in the dust.

But here’s the rub — they have no one to blame but themselves.

Your customers just aren’t going to take you seriously if your website looks bad.

This isn’t 1996. The World Wide Web isn’t brand new. People, average people, know what a quality website should look like.

They can recognize a bad one.

And they’ll avoid it.

Or worse, think it’s spam, which damages your brand.

Which brings me to reason number 3:

3. A Cheap Website Design Harms Your Brand

You don’t want to be associated with the word cheap.


Burn it out of your vocabulary when it comes to your business.

I mean, let’s be real here — you aren’t cheap! Your business isn’t cheap, you don’t make cheap products, you don’t have cheap services.

You kick ass, you take names, you put out a quality product and you work hard dammit.

Your website should reflect that.

People should come to your website and feel that they’ve come to a professional.

But a cheap website design steals from you and your hard work.

It devalues your brand.

And your brand is better than that.

You’re better than that!

For yourself, for your business, for the future of your company, don’t get a cheap website design.

Invest in your future — get a website that looks great while still being affordable.

I’m just going to go ahead and say that this is certainly possible.

There are turnkey solutions that allow a minimally customized website to still look clean and professional without costing you an arm and a leg.

It’s going to be more than $500, but it’s not going to break the bank.

And just as those brakes might cost me a little bit extra.

But save my life in the long run.

Spending a little bit more upfront on your website is going to save the reputation of your brand in the long run.

Is going to bring in more business in the long run.

And could be the difference between growing your business.

And going back to your old boss begging for your job back.

Which do you prefer?

Source: B2C

Thought Leader? Don’t Miss Your Opportunity.

Are you a thought leader? If so, what kind?

Katie Levinson from LinkedIn identifies three types of thought leaders in her recent blog post, How Employee Advocacy Can Lift Your Thought Leadership.

  • Industry: Your organization is knowledgeable about news and trends. Employees have a viewpoint on the future of the industry and a plan to shape that future.

  • Product: Your organization has extensive knowledge of your product in the context of how it solves problems for your audience. It’s less about knowing every feature and more about knowing how it fits in the narrative of your audience’s lives.

  • Organizational: Your organization has a strong point of view about the way it does business, how it treats employees, and how it develops and encourages talent.

Thought leaders share their insight and perspective with others and build their credibility, digital platform, and influence. Would you and your business and career benefit from increased influence?

Many ask me how to get their original content on LinkedIn Pulse. It’s not that easy. LinkedIn’s Algorithm and how well received (engagement) determines whether your post is featured on Pulse.

Learn what LinkedIn says about getting on Pulse.

In my opinion, more important than being featured on Pulse is making sure your network notices your posts. If your connections include clients, prospects, influencers, and referral sources, and you write relevant posts that educate, entertain and inspire you to have a great opportunity to make an impression, stand out and differentiate. Remember, LinkedIn is going to serve up good content to people they think will be interested in the topic. Not everything goes to everyone.

Are you or do you want to be a thought leader? If so, make sure to:

    • Determine what type of thought leader you are or will be.

    • Shape your content to match your thought leadership style.

    • Add value to your network and your network will respond.

    • Read Pulse posts to see how they are written.

    • Study them and try to increase the value of your posts with what you see on the posts featured on Pulse.

Check out our post on Publishing Original Content on LinkedIn.

Being or becoming a thought leader takes time. You earn it and need to always try to add valuable insight, inspiration or learning. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t be left in the dust, get moving.

Source: B2C

Mobile App Reseller Sales Tactics – Business Comparison Strategy

The information below is a transcription of the material shared in the video above – it was originally delivered verbally as opposed to in writing, so if you have the ability we recommend that you watch the video.

How’s it going everybody? In this quick sales tactic webinar for you as a mobile app reseller, I wanted to share something with you that is really powerful when it comes to delivering health score cards to small businesses and really how to take it to the next level. I’m calling this sales tactic the Business Comparison Strategy and this is a great way to make small businesses really take action and purchase a mobile app with you.

How does it work? How can you use this as a mobile app reseller? The number one thing that small businesses hate to hear is that they’re not doing as well as their competition. That’s straightforward and that really involves any sort of business, including my own as the CEO of Bizness Apps. When I hear about competitors, obviously it makes your ears stand up and it makes you want to know how you stack up against them. When they’re not doing as well as their competitors, this means that every day they are losing customers, their competitors are growing more than them, they are losing revenue, they are missing opportunities to grow. This all boils down to them not being competitive and they could potentially be losing out on so many opportunities to grow within their business that it’s absolutely critically important that they focus on improving these aspects of their business immediately.

You might be asking, “How do you show a small business owner these lost opportunities so that they take action immediately?” Well, I’ve broken it down into some easy steps.

Step 1. Create Two “Anchor” Health Score Cards

An anchor health score is when you create 1-2 health scores for businesses that are doing very well in a local market. Think of two businesses that are doing absolutely great in your local area and create health score cards for them. You will see that they are doing really, really well and have them as the benchmark. This is where the top “anchor” businesses are [Presenter holds his right hand high] and the businesses you might be selling to are probably going to be ranked down here [Presenter holds his left hand in a position relatively low to his other hand]. Or you can sell to the top businesses as well and show them, “You’re doing great, but how are you going to maintain this high level?“ I have a strategy for that, as well, but in this example I’m going to show you how to leverage the top performing businesses to sell to a lot of other small businesses that may not be doing as well as them in terms of marketing.

white label reseller tips

Think of two businesses that seem to be doing very well in their areas. Your job as mobile app reseller is to do some research here. Find two winners, go over their social media activity, look at their online reviews. How many loyal customers do they have? How good is their branding? Do they have a beautiful website? Do they have an optimized Facebook page? Do they have a great mobile strategy? Maybe they already have a mobile app. Maybe they’re just killing it in all aspects of marketing. Create health score cards based on what you find and give them a rating that reflects just how well they are doing.

Step 2. Leverage these Two “Anchor” Score Cards.

mobile app reseller program

You take these health scores and you leverage them. In this example [reveals business health score card on screen], I have a health score card that is ranking a business B+. That’s pretty good. After you have created these two health score cards for businesses you deem to be winners in the local market, use them against other businesses. You really want to go to prospects and say, “Hey, this is your competition, this is the guy down the street and you’re right here [Presenter holds his left hand high]. This is where I am ranking you compared to your top competitors.” [Presenter holds his right hand in a position relatively low to his other hand]. Share with your prospects the information that you are researching on them, of their competition, how they are losing. What is their competition doing and how are they doing it better than them? What are they doing wrong? You want to show them how you can help them, how they can compete, how they can improve what they are doing wrong, and show them how to out-market their competitor that is doing extremely well. That’s critically important to a small business owner, because there is nothing they hate to hear more than that there is a competitor that is taking customers from them every single day.

Step 3. Show a Business How They Compare.

mobile apps reseller

Leverage your “anchor” health score cards of the businesses which are doing really well to every business that you speak to and get them to take action by showing them that you will get them more social media activity, you’ll get them more online reviews, you’ll get them more email subscribers, you’ll create a powerful mobile marketing strategy. Essentially, you will stop customers from going to their competitors, because their competition is up here [Presenter holds his left hand high], and they’re right here [Presenter holds his right hand in a position relatively low to his other hand]. What you want to do is show businesses that you will incrementally get them to where they want to go, which is above their competitors. [As he is saying this, the Presenter brings his right hand up until it is level with, and eventually higher than, his left]. Show them how you are going to do that. As a mobile app reseller show them how you are going to take their low score and raise it to a high score like your “anchor” business which you’re comparing them to.

Step 4. Set Up a Meeting to Share Research.

app reseller

How I would go about this approach as a mobile app reseller — is to set up a meeting to share this research. If you’re just dialing small businesses and you want to get that meeting, there’s a few things you always want to do. You want to make them curious and a great way to get them curious is to let them know how they are doing against their competition. If someone called me personally, and said, “Hey, I have a great marketing solution for Bizness Apps. I think it would really help your business. Are you interested in hearing more?” I would probably not be too inclined to take that call, because there are tons of tools out there and it doesn’t really apply to me. But if someone came to me and said, “Hey. Listen, I’ve found some holes in your business compared to your competition and I think you are missing out on some revenue and customers and overall business growth because of this.” I would definitely take that meeting ten out of ten times.

A soft approach to this is just to call a business and say, “How’s it going today? I’ve been doing some market research on businesses in your area and I have some really interesting marketing information about how your marketing stacks up compared to your competition and I really just wanted to share this with you because I have some really insightful information that could definitely help grow your business and might be pretty eye-opening to you. Do you happen to have maybe 15 minutes for me to go over this with you within the next couple of days?”

Setting a meeting is so important because, when you set a meeting, it brings a business’ guard down. When you’re cold-calling a business or even talking to business owners that you know and they set aside time, they have basically said, “I’ll hear you out. I’ll listen to what you’re going to say.” It’s really difficult to convey all this information in one phone call, so call and set up a time for them to be available and ready to take in the information which you are going to share with them, which is real solutions to their problem, how your solution is going to grow their, social, local and mobile presence. How they are comparing against their competitors and how are you going to show them how they can compete against these local competitors of theirs.

Step 5. Help Them Beat Their Competition.

bizness health

[Two business health score cards are shown onscreen. One is rated B+, the other D-].

You see on the left hand side we have a business that’s doing great and then on the right hand side we have a prospect that needs your help. You’re setting the bar here [Presenter holds his left hand high]. This is what a good marketing strategy looks like and this is their results. And you’re here [Presenter holds his right hand in a position relatively low to his other hand] and we need to get you up to here [Presenter brings his right hand up until it is level his left] if you want to have a sustainable business that is able to compete with the well-known businesses that are doing really well in your area. The fundamental strategy for you as a mobile app reseller here is, again, taking a business that is doing really well and comparing it against a business that you might be working with that isn’t doing as well. That right there is very powerful for a small business owner to see, because it opens their eyes and shows them that there are businesses that are really crushing it in terms of marketing in multiple different areas. And you’re not just showing them these problems, you are bringing them solutions as well which makes this even more powerful.

Sell Marketing Solutions, Not Mobile Apps.

resell mobile apps

To break this down even more, to you as a mobile app reseller, is really just understanding what your job is. Your job is to sell marketing solutions, not to sell mobile apps. A mobile app is one of the best marketing tools, one of the best ways to solve many marketing problems that many small businesses face today. Small businesses need to understand what they are selling to their customers. They’re selling specials and coupons, easy scheduling, food ordering, the ability to order from their phone, loyalty programs. But, as a reseller, what you are selling the small business is more social media activity, more new customers, more loyal customers, more online reviews, more organic traffic, more email subscribers. Basically, all of this encompassed inside a mobile application as a marketing improvement tool to help with all of the above. And what’s so great about this strategy is, everything that I just listed off, these are items that small businesses really understand and they really care about because they understand that this is what drives new customers and what drives repeat customers back to their business.


reseller mobile apps

By comparing a small business, that might not be doing well in marketing, to a competitor that they DEFINITELY know about – trust me, all small business owners know about their competition – you:

  • Open their eyes to what their competition is doing

  • Show them how they can improve

  • Craft a strategy to turn them from a D to a B or an A!

  • Bring real data to the table to build trust

  • Present yourself as a local marketing expert

  • Inspire them to become winners in their market!

As a mobile app reseller, you’re bringing them real solutions on how to increase all of these aspects of marketing all at once. Marketing is taken to the next level with mobile apps because apps are a true marketing tool that can help them compete with their biggest competitors.

I hope this was helpful and I hope you guys apply this to your sales tactics and close more app sales. Thanks, everyone!

Source: B2C

Social Media Demographics for 2016


By understanding the types of people who are on the different social media sites, you can get a better idea of where your company would best spend its efforts and what kind of strategy would be most successful on the different sites.

For example, if you are trying to reach an elderly demographic, you probably don’t want to spend a lot of time on SnapChat or on creating memes.

The demographics won’t be as simple as that in every scenario. Here’s what you need to know about social media demographics for 2016:

Total Users

If you are trying to target a more general population, you may want to start with the social networks that have the most users.

Right now, Facebook is the largest social network, with more than 1.7 billion users. YouTube trails in second, with more than 1 billion users.

Other major players include WhatsApp (900 million), LinkedIn (450 million), Instagram (400 million) and Google+ (300 million).

You may be surprised at some of the numbers that other social networks boast, such as MySpace (holding in with 50 million users), Flickr (112 million) and SnapChat (100 million).


Just because a site has a lot of users doesn’t mean that they are engaged. Some networks, like Vine, have a lot of passive usage. Others, like Facebook, have users who actively share, like, comment and otherwise engage with content.

You want to know which sites are the most engaging, and which have engagement with your target audience.

For the most coveted demographic – the 18-34 age group – the most engaging social networks include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, in that order. The least engaging are Vine and Tumblr.

Lower engagement doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be successful on those networks. But it does mean that you need to be conscious of the challenges and create a strategy with increased engagement in mind.


Different sites are popular with different age groups.

For example, 90 percent of the people on Instagram are younger than 35. Approximately 32 percent of teenagers in the United States say that Instagram is their favorite social network. That’s a third of the teen population here!

The largest share of Facebook’s users are in the 35-54 age bracket (just about a third), but it also has a large presence of users in the 18-24 and 25-34 age range.

It is important that you take a closer look at the age ranges of the user base for any social network before you craft your strategy for it – especially if you have a limited budget and must pick your networks carefully.

Business Usage

By looking at where the businesses are on social media, you can not only find where businesses are being successful but also where you have some missed opportunities that you can take advantage of.

While numerous businesses are on Facebook, it is interesting to note than only 20 of the Fortune 500 companies are on the network. Yet 83 percent of those companies are on Twitter.

Many higher-end companies to find Facebook to be more lighthearted, which means that their customers are not likely to look for information about the kinds of products they sell on the network. Meanwhile, with Twitter, they can share more serious and professional posts that encourage conversation and connection.

Promotional, branded content is also more popular with certain demographics, such as those in the 55-64 age range. Those are not the kind of people who are using Facebook as actively.

It is important that you have a profile on most if not all social networks though so that you can monitor your brand mentions. Even if people are not following brands on social media, research has shown that 96 percent of people are talking about brands on social media.


Video is increasingly popular on social media, even outside of dedicated sites like YouTube and Vine.

For example, Facebook reports having more than 8 billion average video views per day. Approximately 500 million – or nearly half – of its users are responsible for those daily views.

Meanwhile, SnapChat reports an average of 6 billion video views every day, even though it has less than a tenth of the active user base as Facebook.

Approximately 78 percent of people on social media watch videos online each week, and 55 percent watch them every day. The average person spends more than an hour per day watching video on their computer or mobile devices.

If you are not already creating video for your social media channels, you need to be. You are missing out on a lot of user engagement and followers.

Understanding social media demographics can help you make a stronger marketing strategy by each site so that you get a stronger return on your investment. You can make sure that every minute and every dollar you are spending on the site will get results for you.

Source: B2C

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Improve Your Job Interview — Five Tips

manager-308474_640I remember going for job interviews and how scared I was. Isn’t everybody? But it can be minimized significantly once you get yourself prepared. Here are a few tips.

Learn about the company

By spending time to learn about the company, you’ll gain self-confidence. Spending a few minutes on the company’s Web site is just the tip of the iceberg. The interviewer is going to be utterly impressed if you can demonstrate in-depth acquaintanceship with the company. Details and facts about your potentially future employers are of utmost importance. You should know the company’s sales, number of employees, various divisions, locations, stock price, key leaders’ names, and other minutiae that you were able to read about. Learn about the interviewer, too, and the interviewer’s team. The devil is in the details. Use LinkedIn for your research. Find out where these people worked before. Impress them with your knowledge.

Offer your knowledge to help

Now that you know about them and their needs, find opportunities to offer your skills as they involve your ability to assist them in their crucial areas. After all, this is exactly what they’re searching for. Hiring managers don’t want people who need a long period of training. Can you help them shortly after being hired? Say so, and talk about it via examples from your past.

Develop a dialogue by asking relevant questions

Prepare a few questions to which you already have the answers. Demonstrate your knowledge and ability to deliver on your commitments. Show via your questions that you’d be a good fit for this position. Detail both your past experience by being a part of a team and your personal contributions.

Differentiate yourself from your competition

All candidates interviewing for the same position have been picked from a large pool of applicants because they seem promising. The interviewer and the interviewing team will have a difficult time distinguishing between all of them. Assume that there are five applicants and an hourlong interview with each. This is a lot of information to absorb, digest, and declare one winner unless there’s something special to remember. Think of a clever way to catapult yourself forward and leave your competition behind by being different and memorable.

Connect with those you interview with

This is basic, but unless you seem likable, the interviewers will not vote for you to be hired. Skills and accomplishments are important, but if you appear less than amiable, your chances are slim. What does it take to appear friendly, you ask? Make eye contact, smile a lot, show enthusiasm, sit forward in your chair, and call the interviewer by name.

Source: B2C

Personalization Without People? [Infographic]

You want to give your prospects and customers a seamless, personalized, and sublime experience, and you know that you can’t do that without collecting their personal data. The trouble is, a lot of your customers don’t like the idea of sharing their information with you – what exactly are they so afraid of?

Findings by Boxever have shown that attitudes toward personalization and privacy are complex, and there are a few reasons why many of them are so against sharing their personal information with companies. This infographic illustrates the trickiness of balancing privacy concerns and effective personalization. Marketers should tread carefully when it comes to putting automation in place.

While there are many purchase decisions where customers feel more comfortable dealing with a salesperson face-to-face, other purchases seem to do very well without any human interaction. When it comes to making purchases involving zero human interaction, only 20% of people would consider buying a car but 72% of people would consider booking a hotel and 73% of people would consider booking a flight. Nowadays, this doesn’t necessarily have to mean booking through a company website – in fact, 40% of people have said that they are comfortable booking travel through chat programs such as Facebook Messenger. I realize these are examples from B2C industries but as I’ve discussed previously our perspective should be “human to human” or “brain to brain”.

While personalization can be a good way to improve customer experience, it can also have its problems – privacy concerns being a major one. Customers are also wary about receiving spam mail or offers that aren’t relevant to their interests. Many customers are skeptical about the benefits of data collection through the Internet of Things:

  • Only 14% of people say data collection through connected devices will improve their life

  • The other 86% either aren’t sure or don’t think it will improve their life

The people who believe that this kind of data collection can improve their lives named the following positive impacts:

  • 63% listed better recommendations from brands

  • 56% listed the ability to make personal choices based on data

  • 55% listed enhanced awareness of their habits

  • 34% listed increased health

  • 32% listed more financial stability

Of the customers who are nervous or negative about collection of their data, privacy is a major factor:

  • 83% said that data collection would be an invasion of privacy

  • 68% feared that brands would misuse their data

Millennials tend to be less worried about these factors than older demographics.

As we look to boost their automation and personalization, marketers need to be aware of customer perceptions of personalization and their privacy concerns. What have you done to build trust with its customers around data collection? Let me know in the comments!

Personalization Without People Infographic

Source: B2C

3 Reasons Why Data-Driven Marketing Needs This Money-Maker

With the amount of data out there for marketers to collect, we should be allocating more dollars towards our data-driven marketing efforts. And there’s an unsuspecting money-maker in our day to day lives that many marketers don’t even realize.

Having the right data is critical to understanding true return on revenue (ROI). In fact, those that have honed in on gathering more marketing data are already seeing revenue gains, which are expected to grow according to a study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Winterberry Group:

Successful Marketers

data-driven marketing 1

40.9% of marketers say data-driven marketing has grown revenue at least somewhat from Q1 to Q2 in 2016.

Future Predictions

51.8% of marketers are expecting revenue to grow at least somewhat in Q3 2016 as a result of data-driven marketing.

data-driven marketing 2

While the majority of marketers didn’t increase investment in data-driven marketing in Q2, they’re expected to slowly jump on the bandwagon in Q3 after seeing their peers’ success.

As marketers start to contribute more and more dollars toward data gathering and data-driven campaigns, taking steps to ensure data isn’t left out will become even more important in order to truly understand ROI, make accurate marketing decisions, and drive more revenue. And one key piece of data that will be instrumental in this endeavor is the call conversion.

Why Calls Are Data-Driven Marketing

Let’s dive into the reasons why digital marketers must include phone call data within their data strategy and how it can be used to help understand ROI and drive more revenue.

Reason #1: Digital Marketing Drives Calls

Smartphones have transformed the way consumers engage with brands throughout the customer journey. They’re easily accessible all of the time. And with click-to-call, consumers can immediately call businesses to get answers instead of filling out a form and waiting for a response. This is why billions of calls are being generated from digital marketing, which are expected to grow by nearly 50% between 2016 and 2019.

data-driven marketing - Call Volume

Reason #2: Calls Are Great For Business

Calls are the leads sales teams desire most. They’re valuable because they convert to revenue 10x-15x more than web forms. How? Callers often have a high purchasing intent. They’re actively taking time out of their day to speak with your business. They don’t want to wait around only to have a web form request get addressed at a snail’s pace.

You just can’t beat the live conversation. It allows businesses to speak with their leads at the moment they’re most interested in engaging. It makes converting leads or closing sales much easier for a sales agent. It’s no wonder calls are expected to influence $1 trillion in US consumer spending this year alone, according to BIA/Kelsey.

Reason #3: Conversation Is Fundamental for Many Industries

There are many industries where calls play a very critical role in the customer journey. They’re usually industries that involve detailed planning or a considered purchase. Meaning the product or service is either expensive, complex, or purchased infrequently.

As a result, they usually spark more in depth questions during the research and purchase phases. And the best way to get answers is through a conversation. Think about it. Would you buy a house online without talking to an agent and viewing it in person? How about a car or health insurance?

data-driven marketing - calls by industriy

Conversations are necessary within these industries and others. And without call data you won’t understand your true ROI and be equipped to make accurate optimization decisions.

Use the Unsuspecting Money Maker

Many marketers don’t realize they can easily measure call conversions with the help of call attribution technology. Instead they often struggle with measuring the offline conversions that occur from their digital marketing. There’s a false belief that they have all the data needed to understand which channels, ads, keywords, and campaigns to invest in to drive maximum revenue.

Take some time to understand the role calls play in the customer journey and your data-driven marketing strategy by downloading our guide, Calls and the New Customer Journey: How Marketers Drive Revenue by Mastering the Call Channel.

Source: B2C

Finding Your Blogging Voice

blackboardWho cares what I have to say?

How much of myself should I reveal in my writing?

Is this too personal?

This semester I’m again teaching the Foundations of Digital Communications Strategy and Social Media class at the School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto (yes, that’s a mouthful).

For their major assignment, students have to start a blog and publish 10 posts. In so doing they face a challenge encountered by virtually all new bloggers: finding their voice as they write. Many already produce content at work or in volunteer roles, usually news releases, reports, newsletter articles, and so on. Important stuff for sure, but often mundane.

On the other hand, as bloggers, they’re free to express themselves and reveal their true selves. This is a scary prospect for many budding bloggers. The worry that no one will read what they have to say, that people will disagree with their arguments, and that readers may learn too much about them as genuine people (vs. their “professional” selves.)

These are all legitimate concerns. But let me share with you what students have told me time and time again at the end of the course:

“I’m so glad you made us write these blogs.”

“I’ve discovered that I really do like to write! I never knew.”

“Now I remember what I love about writing. I’d forgotten, because it’s been so long since I’ve written something I wanted to write.”

Sometimes it’s hard to project yourself forward 12 weeks (the length of our course) as a student, or even several months or years ahead as a blogger. May I share some of the things I’ve learned after 13 years of blogging?

Find a topic you truly care about.
Don’t necessarily choose a “safe” topic. If you blog about something you’re passionate about, the words will flow and you’ll feel a connection with your readers.

Understand your strategy first.
If you truly understand why you’re blogging and what you are trying to achieve with your blog, you’ll be more at ease when coming up with topics, doing your research, and then sharing your blog posts.

Be yourself.
As the saying goes: “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Only you can express yourself as you. Are you funny? Introverted? Sweet? Sarcastic? Politically incorrect? Whatever your personality, show it in your blog.

Write like you talk.
My friend Barb Sawyers has written a book called Write Like You Talk, Only Better. This is excellent advice for bloggers. Your blog frees you from the shackles of formal corporate or academic writing. This is not a term paper! Take a conversational tone in your blog and your readers will thank you for it.

Write quickly, edit slowly.
Don’t agonize over every word. You’ll never finish a paragraph if you edit yourself as you write. Anne Lamott, in her book about writing, Bird By Bird, admonishes us to “not be afraid of a sh*tty first draft.” So, write that first draft quickly. Then go back and polish your prose.

Have opinions. Take risks.
No one wants to read your wishy-washy blog that sounds like every other wishy-washy blog. Don’t worry that someone won’t like what you’ve written. If no one ever disagrees with you, you probably don’t have an opinion, right?

Know where your line is.
When writing about yourself in your blog – your life, your family, your relationships, your job, your hobbies – be sure you know where to draw the line. Some bloggers never name their children or show their faces; others blog passionately about parenting. If you’re not comfortable writing about your spouse, don’t. If you feel you shouldn’t tell us where you work, don’t. There’s no need to reveal if you’re single or married or straight or gay unless you want to. Only you know where your line is.

Read great blogs.
I’ve always believed that good writers read great writing. Take the time to study blogs in your field and outside of it.

What are your suggestions for finding your blogging voice?

Source: B2C

Do Tech Industry Acquisitions Work?

I was reading a while back about one of the many proposed tech acquisitions happening at any given time, a merger between two well known technology companies. Two very major technology companies, one making a comeback from bankruptcy and the other mired in a long slump, with several years of negative predictions about their business prospects.

I am not an insider and didn’t know the specific details of this merger. It seemed to make at least some sense from a strategic fit point of view, but the analysts generally panned the deal. I didn’t have enough solid knowledge of the situation to decide whether it’s a good idea from a strategic perspective or not.

What I do know is that it probably will fail.


Predicting failure is a pretty big statement for someone with limited knowledge of the specifics of a deal. But I can make that statement because numerous studies have shown that 40-80% of all mergers fail. That’s a whole bunch of investor money down the drain. And in High Tech, it seems like you often have to look very hard to find an example of a really good merger or acquisition.

Of course, there are examples to the contrary. Computer Associates built a huge business and greatly increased shareholder value with an aggressive tech acquisition strategy, over a long period. Cisco Systems has made many acquisitions of smaller technology companies, with great success over a long period of time. They profess to have the “secret sauce” on how to make tech acquisitions a success-and maybe they have.

These are two high profile examples of large companies succeeding with M&A as a major part of their strategy. There are a number of other high tech acquirers that fit in the positive column. But for every Cisco or Computer Associates, there’s probably 10-20 who have failed with a prominent M&A strategy. Symantec made claims like Cisco for a long time, but ended up unraveling a number of their major tech acquisitions and continues to do so to this day. After firing the most recent permanent CEO they have surprisingly hired a new one via a major acquisition, buying out the new CEO’s company! And mega-mergers like the (at-the-time) very controversial HP-Compaq mega-merger didn’t pan out too well (especially for one former rock star CEO name Carly!).


So how do deals usually work out for the “average” company that might make an tech acquisition every few years or so – at the most? Not very well, in my experience.

I have been involved in numerous acquisition projects, both as a consultant and leading them on the inside of an acquirer. I spearheaded one project internally which led to acquisition of a software company, which I then had to integrate into the business unit I was running at the time. You know what? The buying is much easier than the integrating!

And I believe this is where the great majority of tech acquisitions and mergers fail. People at the top fall in love with the “deal”—the strategic fit, the potential boost in short term revenue, the new products added to the portfolio and generally with the “numbers” of the deal. Investment Bankers and M&A consultants emphasize the financial terms and other “hard” aspects of the potential deal—to the near exclusion of the “soft” factors of the deal. Most problematic of all, I think it’s easy for senior management to become “deal-junkies”—quickly addicted to the adrenaline rush that comes with deal making.

Unfortunately, all of this tends to obscure a really important fact. In the software and hardware businesses, when you acquire a company you don’t really gain “ownership” of the people—the key factor that makes a company in the technology business a success or failure.


The integration of the two organizations and their employees is often an afterthought. Often no one gives much thought to this aspect, until Senior Management has already decided they want to do the deal. Then it’s time to start to figure out how the two often disparate cultures will mesh. In reality, I believe that these steps should be reversed—the cultural fit should be studied very closely at first, then other factors of the deal should be examined. IF THE CULTURES DON’T FIT–USUALLY YOU HAVE A DISASTER ON YOUR HANDS. It won’t matter how well the numbers work, how much cost you can take out, or how much geographic or product synergy you envision. It will be almost always be a disaster.

There are many other ways a tech acquisition can turn out badly. Let’s list a few:

Integration of MIS: There have been many good companies that have struggled (or even choked to death) trying to integrate incompatible back office systems.

Product Integration: This is especially true in the case of software companies. Sometimes a software company “takes out” a competitor via a tech acquisition. They then spend the next five years trying to integrate the two code bases. Often they end up killing one of the products, alienating the user base they just acquired. This mistake occurs over and over again, like the movie “Groundhog Day”.

Overlapping Brands: The mega HP-Compaq merger was a good example of this problem. HP paid a huge price for Compaq and much of the value was in the Compaq brand. Did they need another brand—and what have they done with it since the merger? Customers then didn’t know which brand of computer they should consider buying—HP or Compaq. They kept both brands and didn’t segmented them initially in any meaningful way. This caused confusion as well as duplicitous expenditures. Eventually the Compaq brand became the low-end label, but a lot of brand equity was wasted. What’s worse, many times one of the brands is simply ditched—which is the equivalent of throwing millions (or billions!) of dollars of brand equity out the window after the acquisition.

Dueling Managements: This is symptomatic of that really humorous deal, the “merger of equals”. No one decides who will run the company until after the merger is final. This results in an internal “struggle to the death” for control of the company for the next year or two, while the remaining competitors run past.

Channel Conflict: Maybe both companies have large dealer networks with a lot of overlap. Or the acquirer is primarily a direct seller, and the target primarily sells through the channel. These issues can be some of the toughest to manage. If done poorly it will lead to large, sudden revenue reductions and maybe permanent damage to the business.

Exit Strategy for the Target: Often times there doesn’t even need to be “cultural” people problems for disaster to strike. If the acquired company views the deal primarily as an opportunity to “cash out”, there will be a mass exodus of key people to the nearest beach; the very people that you need for the acquisition to make sense. Or worse yet, they stay and become working zombies until their obligation runs out. In reality it’s pretty hard to put effective “golden handcuffs” on everyone.

People issues usually drive success or failure in tech acquisitions and other technology industry mergers.
People issues usually drive success or failure in tech acquisitions and mergers


There are many more ways to failure than I could list. But they are all minor in scope compared to the likelihood of the “culture clash”. To begin with, all of the people in the company being acquired are “freaking out”. Will I have a job? Will I being doing the same thing in the combined company if I keep my job? Will I have the same benefits? Who will I report to? I’ve heard the managers in the new company are raving lunatics who eat their young! In the acquiring company often the same fears exist to a lesser extent. All of this leads to suspicion and distrust between employees of the two companies.

Even a proposed tech acquisition or merger is an opportunity for the rumor mill and imaginations to run wild. Key talent is now open to exploring what opportunities might be available in the outside world. Sometimes the brain drain might start almost immediately, well before the deal is even consummated.

So the problems begin early on. The stage may be set for failure, and the ink isn’t even dry on the merger agreement. All the while the guys in the Executive Suite are toasting with Scotch and patting themselves on the back. Eventually they get around to forming a committee to look at “integration issues”.

But management focus often doesn’t really shift to this potential culture clash until the merger is consummated–and the fires have already started. Productivity crawls to a halt when the rumors start and gets worse once the deal is consummated, while new turf battles emerge. People you don’t want to lose are leaving left and right. The guys at the top don’t know what hit them–until the wall of fire is too high to extinguish.

There are exceptions to this of course, where companies are very prepared on the integration side. But in my experience, they are in the minority. This situation is particularly likely with management teams that are new to the merger & acquisitions game.


I hope that all of this doesn’t come off as negative to the extreme. It’s only meant to caution. There are actually many good scenarios that can lead to successful tech acquisitions. Software companies who look to buy small companies to fill a hole in their product line, or acquire technology to quickly jump on an emerging market segment are good examples. These types of deals can make tremendous sense if executed properly.

But in Software and Hardware markets, product cycles are short and differential advantages are fleeting. As a result it’s all about the people, since differential advantage needs to be continually re-created. So the next time you think about making an tech acquisition to solve a business problem or accelerate your growth—think about the people first.

I’d like to hear about your own M & A experiences—drop me a note or post a comment below.

The post Do Tech Industry Acquisitions Work? appeared first on the Morettini on Management Blog.

Source: B2C

Inside Social Media at one of the Biggest Universities in America (and What You Can Learn)

What is it like to be the Director or Social Media for one America’s largest and most engaged universities?

With more than 1,000 social media accounts to oversee and an audience base of over 6 million, Nikki Sunstrum, Director of Social Media at the University of Michigan, knows what it takes to reach and engage with a large demographic of people from prospective students to parents to proud alumni.

We had the pleasure of speaking to Nikki about what it’s like to be the Director of Social Media for the University of Michigan and how her team goes about creating great social media content with the goal of making a difference and shaping change.

A huge thank you to Nikki for packing this episode with incredible wisdom and takeaways for social media managers and marketers looking for ways to branch out and create unique social media content that challenges the status quo.

In this episode, here’s what you’ll learn:

Nikki Sunstrum takes us inside social media at the University of Michigan and how they are able to create consistently great social media content for an audience of more than 6 million.

  • What the University of Michigan’s social media team looks like and how they collaborate

  • How emerging channels like Snapchat and Instagram Stories fit into the larger U of M strategy

  • Why recruiting “brand ambassadors” can be a great way to connect with your audience on a personal level

  • What social media success looks like at the University of Michigan and how they measure that data

  • The type of social media content that U of M is focusing on in 2016 and why it’s important

  • Why injecting personality into your storytelling is important for authentic social media content

3 Social Media Content Creation Takeaways from Nikki

In Nikki’s words…

1. Be willing to take a risk with social media content

Continuously trying to push the envelope and make a difference on social media is super important in your overall strategy. Making a difference will bring people back to your communities and want to engage with you time and time again.

2. Always keep a goal and strategy in mind

We don’t create accounts, we don’t create campaigns, we don’t publish content unless it has some sort of strategy or goal behind it. Who’s your target demographic? That can help you determine your platform. And then what does your design look like? Should it be a video, a GIF, a cool meme? Determine how you can make that custom to you.

3. Leverage your opportunity to create change and make a difference

“We don’t, for the most part, ‘can’ anything. You have to leverage your opportunity to create change and to leave a legacy and that is what we try to do here every single day.”

Mentionable Quotes and Shareable Snippets

Nikki Sunstrum on Storytelling on Social Media

“Anytime we get to inject personality into our storytelling is a huge selling point for us. I call them my, “Dove Moments. Dove has been such a ground-breaking company in telling that really dynamic, emotionally-based story and moving beyond just product sales into this concept of health, wellness and beauty. And so we try to apply a similar strategy to our own content to broaden the types of dialogues that we have.”

Show Notes and Other Memorable Moments

Thanks a million for checking out this episode! Below are the websites and other tidbits that were mentioned in today’s podcast about personal branding on social media. If you have any questions for us, feel free to drop us a line in the comments and we’ll respond right away!

Tools and Resources Used by Nikki and UofM

  • Social Media at UofM – Read more about all of the awesome social media projects Nikki is working on

  • Slack – The communication tool UofM uses for team collaboration

  • YikYak – “Find your herd. Yik Yak helps you feel at home within your local community.”

  • DigitalStake0ut – A tool for “Digital Risk Intelligence”

  • Meltwater – Social Media and Media Monitoring

Great Quotes

  • “Every platform that we leverage has a specific target demographic for us. And so based on the type of event that’s happening or the type of people we’d like to reach, we’ll use that respective platform.”

  • “We download all of our Snapchat stories before they expire and upload them into a YouTube playlist. That allows us to tell those stories on different platforms and for people to engage with them for years to come.”

  • “The @UMichStudents account we manage and turn over to a different student every Sunday evening. That account just surpassed 18,000 followers and it’s a coveted position among peers here at the University of Michigan.”

  • “We’re continuously looking to establish the University of Michigan as an industry leader in social media. U of M is the only university to rank in the top 10 for size on every social media platform. Having those numbers is a success.”

How to Say Hello to Nikki (and us)

Nikki is active on Twitter at @nikkisunstrum and you can read more about Nikki’s work at the University of Michigan’s staff page.

Thanks for listening! We’d love to connect with you at @buffer on Twitter or with the hashtag #bufferpodcast.

About the Show

The Science of Social Media is a podcast for marketers and social media managers looking for inspiration, ideas, and results for their social media strategies. Each week, we interview one of the very best in social media marketing from brands in every industry. You will learn the latest tactics on social media, the best tools to use, the smartest workflows, and the best goal-setting advice. It is our hope that each episode you’ll find one or two gems to use with your social media marketing!

The Science of Social Media is proudly made by the Buffer team. Feel free to get in touch with us for any thoughts, ideas, or feedback.

Source: B2C

What If Your Favorite Brand Was Your Least Favorite Social Media Friend?

You’ll be glad to hear that I’m like any other social, mobile millennial out there. I curl into bed at night and before I drift into la la land, I bask in the glow of my smartphone and scroll through the depths of my social media feeds—a modern lullabye.

First it’s Twitter—what news did I miss that day? Who’s trying to slide into my DMs? Then it’s Instagram. What silly memes have my friends tagged me in? Whose filtered photo is giving me #FOMO? And finally, it’s Facebook. Which one of my high school “friends” is ranting about politics? Whose auntie just liked her post about her recent vacation? And then, it happens. Another. Engagement. Photo. I simply can’t. Goodnight.

Sound familiar?

I know it does. In the age of social, it’s certainly easy for customers to make themselves heard. But imagine if some of your favorite brands acted the same way your least favorite social “friends” did. Would you still be so loyal to said brand?

Your Friends Don’t Ghost You, So Why Should Brands?

There’s no question that ghosting, or ending a text conversation abruptly with no explanation, is impersonal and frustrating. But private messaging is making it easier for people and brands to be held accountable for ghosting and blatantly ignoring a message.

The popularity of private messaging apps such as Messenger (900 million people and 50 million businesses), SnapChat (100 million people) and WeChat (697 million people) has given the read receipt more popularity. Twitter even announced recently the rollout of typing indicators and read receipts in your Twitter DMs.

With these indicators becoming the standard in private messaging, imagine you’ve been conversing with a brand about a customer service issue you’re having. Things are going well. You’re on your way to resolution, but then it happens. You see a read receipt on your last message but get no reply. You wait. And wait. And wait. Still nothing.

Isn’t this experience frustrating? As a customer, don’t you feel upset with the brand? Is this their way of breaking up with you? Well now the feeling is mutual. One Gartner study found that brands who ignore social customer service messages can see a “15 percent increase in churn rate for existing customers.” Brand bye.

What if your favorite brand was your least favorite social media friend?

Passive-Aggressive Brands Lose On Social

As much as ghosting hurts, passive-aggressive rants on social are indirect, ambiguous and can cause your customers’ brand loyalties to be uprooted. 92% of consumers report that a customer service agent’s perceived “happiness” has an impact on their customer experience with the brand (LiveOps).

So what if the agent on the other side of a brand’s support channel was feeling particularly moody and publicly ranting on and on, being vague about a customer he’s currently helping right after you Tweeted a reply about your issue?

These intentionally negative messages that allude to another person on social, also known as sub-tweets, show a level of brand immaturity and an inability to handle issues effectively. As such, you’d take the impersonality of that interaction as an indication that the brand is not equipped to handle your customer service request now or in the future. If the brand can’t handle you at your worst, it certainly can’t handle you at your best.

What if your favorite brand was your least favorite social media friend?

Don’t Hack My Feed

Feeling your best is the optimal time to take 100 selfies, sift through them and post the top ten consecutively in order to get likes and a bit of an ego boost, right? Possibly, but more possibly not if you don’t want to be labeled as the token over-poster.

When you’re scrolling through your social feeds and come across repetitive posts or worse, ads from brands, it makes your already busy social feeds feel cluttered and irrelevant. I understand, brands want our business. But instead of being thirsty and asking me for it unsolicited and repeatedly, why don’t you provide it to me proactively, where I am in-the-moment?

Take this example from Zappos. An overzealous marketer spammed one of their customers with fourteen emails, which left the user, Lisa, with a bad taste in her mouth. She most likely was trying to login to her account settings to update her email preferences, which led to a separate issue and caused Lisa to reach out for support over social.


Getting hit with junk over and over proved to be disappointing for her, enough so that it created an additional issue and deeper level of dissatisfaction. But upon hearing her complaint, instead of simply apologizing to Lisa, the Zappos customer service agent replied proactively and gave Lisa an additional coupon. I know I can always get behind a good coupon. Gold star for Zappos.

The Humble Brag

Receiving a gold star, or important recognition as a brand is certainly something to be proud of, like when Conversocial customer Alaska Airlines was ranked number one for customer service on Twitter following a report from Engagement Labs. But there’s a fine line between being proud and bragging. See what I did there?

There’s a good chance people in your network are just as excited as you for your brand and these achievements. But taking humble brag posts a step too far by adding an unhealthy amount of #HashtagsThatLookLikeThis to promote how awesome your brand is can seem disingenuous. Especially in a world where it feels like everyone is already #blessed.

In all seriousness, unlike some of your favorite social “friends,” social media has grown up and brands have too. This is why we don’t often see them committing these social media faux pas. Most well adjusted individuals prefer private, meaningful, and authentic relationships on social and your brand should meet them there. When they do, especially with genuine humanity and maturity, brands are able to turn negative customer experiences to positive ones and even convert regular customers into brand advocates and eventually experts.

Has your brand grown up beyond your least favorite social friends? Take our Social Maturity Index quiz to find out.

Source: B2C