Marketing agency CEO explains how some leaders are getting bamboozled

Marketing agency CEO explains how some leaders are getting bamboozled

Learn how to organize your marketing team around
a simple, effective and repeatable process that is
sure to produce more leads, higher sales and a stronger brand. 

In the upcoming SMEI webinar on April 24, 2018 “Marketing Made Simple: The SAM 6® Process,” Lonny Kocina will take you through a step-by-step process which is the subject of his best-selling and award-winning book, The CEO’s Guide to Marketing; The book every marketer should read before their boss does.

After 30 years of running his company, Media Relations Agency, Kocina says, “Most companies have a marketing problem and it’s a big one. A real money-sucking doozy. The problem starts with most marketing teams knowing a lot less about marketing than they let on. So much so, that most CEOs would be shocked. And because marketers lack a clear understanding of the basics, they aren’t able to create a simple, effective, repeatable process.”

That means your organization could be losing money and missing out on growth.

“SAM 6, short for Strategically Aimed Marketing, is about developing a common language around a shared process that will help solve marketing problems quicker and produce superior results,”  says Kocina. “The SAM 6 process gives marketers peace of mind because everything runs smoother. That’s what having a good understanding of marketing and a good process will do for you. Everything becomes much less ambiguous. You will feel confident and in control. With the SAM 6 process, every single marketing promotion you do will be on point.”

Learn more by joining the SMEI Webinar on April 24, 2018.

Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash

Blockchain technology disrupts advertising services industry

Blockchain technology disrupts advertising services industry

Blockchain transforms not only sectors such as security, health, and finance but also many basic tenets of marketing. However, not much discussion goes around as to how blockchain would upend the role of advertising. Nevertheless, advertising industry will be one among the first that blockchain technology would disrupt. It digitizes touch points, makes digital payments, creates meaningful value, builds trust, and decentralizes advertising concepts. Marketers who recognize this will have a lucrative opportunity in front of them and an edge over others. Hence for salespeople and marketers, it is worth spending some time to understand the changes happening in this arena.

Digitizes touch points

The stimulating effect of blockchain in the advertising world is that it makes everything unique. It makes this possible with its capability to digitalize any asset by coding every customer transaction data and laws into it. That way there is verifiable proof of each transaction identity, and that transaction can be a product. Therefore, customer attention at every touch point would become a prized commodity, without any intermediaries.

Makes digital micropayments

In the future, people will be paid a small fraction of a cent for their attention through advertising. Such micropayments can only work with a digitally native currency. Tracking these types of payments is precisely one of the strengths of blockchains.

Creates meaningful value

Identifying and differentiating every product means the ability to add significant benefit. For example, Babyghost, the fashion label, gives their customers the capability to use unique identifiers for their products that provided them with extra information on it. These blockchain identifiers tell a sales story in an innovative way about how they make the item and where it came from, appealing the customers on an emotional level. Another company is Goodwill that takes one person’s unwanted clothes and sells them to another using blockchain platform.

Builds great trust

Blockchain technology makes it extremely difficult to manipulate the data and rip the system off. And what blockchain can do regarding privacy is to make groups of data anonymous, thereby turning all brand data into something like a census. Essentially, this gives detailed information about the network, but not which person is in love with which brand. This added layer of privacy would allay customers’ fears of being manipulated or taken advantage of, but would not affect the brand and their data. This enticement could be used to enhance the trust in the advertising industry. Such direct fraud-free connections with the customer will become much more trustworthy and simpler, nurturing a long-term relationship. As blockchain technology matures, it is possible to build greater trust that the advertising investments are where they are intended to go.

Decentralizes advertising concepts

One of the traditional advertising concepts is the idea that the ad reaches a consumer. After that happens, and if the message is good enough, the customer acts. And marketers take it for granted that customer attention and act comes without any cost. But this paradigm is already changing in the blockchain world through decentralization, and it is becoming a trend. For example, Shape Shift as come up with a solution on how to decentralize loyalty points by allowing for the free exchange of coupons, eliminating any lasting ties to brands. Those coupons and loyalty points probably would have sat there unused, but the new market creates value for both seller and buyer. By decentralizing networks, blockchain offers a better way of verifying the advertising system. It is precisely what the ad-blocking software called Brave does, which runs in millions of devices worldwide.

Blockchain technology browser

www.brave.com

www.brave.com

Brave that looks like another web browser offers a glimpse of the future of decentralized advertising industry that uses blockchain technology. Built by the co-founder of Firefox and Mozilla and the creator of JavaScript, it is faster, blocks ads and prevents cookies.  Moreover, using Brave it becomes possible for site visitors to make micropayments to a publisher for their content via cryptocurrency. The next iteration is a function that gives advertisers the capability to pay for the attention-based effort by an individual. Consider the entire revenue stream model of Facebook and Google that places ads in front of people. Now with the blockchain technology browser, the payment will go to the end-users, instead of the ad dollars going to Google and Facebook.

Industry faces disruption

It is not proper to say that blockchain will change every industry, but it will affect sales due to the innovation within the advertising industry. The initial traction from the first generation solutions is being experimented by early adopters in the advertising supply chain as they begin to implement the earliest concepts that reduce costs, eliminate fraud, improve reporting accuracy, and minimize recording time. These initial advanced wave of blockchain-based technologies and protocols seek to change how digital advertising is purchased, measured, delivered, and valued. Future-proofing businesses against this can protect companies against disruption. Also, traditional advertising agencies will have to reduce their prices in response to this competitive threat drastically.

www.adchain.com

www.adchain.com

Advertising industry pioneers

One of the early contenders is Ad Chain, which offers a protocol for buying and selling advertising space. Shareholders in the network use its native token and get incentivized for keeping it clean from low-value or fraudulent publishers. In return, they benefit by getting more ad value and campaign auditing through cryptographically secure tracking. Ad Shares is a decentralized market for programmatic advertising giving publishers and advertisers the ability to trade without the need for centralized exchanges.

www.chipin.com

www.chipin.com

Future of advertising

The blockchain is different and radical, and possibly foreshadows the arena where marketers of the future would live. It is going to change advertising by bringing simple solutions where expensive ones existed. Already, the number of investors and companies based on blockchain are growing exponentially. If advertisers used blockchain, then they can eliminate costly consultants. The bad news is that in the future customer attention and retention will come with a price. Because, in marketing, value comes not only from money. It also comes from products exchanged, opinions given and attention paid to customers. But the good news is that there will be much higher trust. That comes from knowing that the advertising and outreach efforts are going where companies intend it to go.

 

  • This is the first post in a series of 13 blog posts about blockchain technology and its impact on sales and marketing. The SMEI community would like you to share your thoughts on this revolutionary technology. More pertinently whether you think blockchain is definitely the future where sales and marketing professionals should focus their efforts on or whether it is just a passing fad. 
  • Coming up next is how Bitcoin can address the cash flow problems that many marketing agencies face. One of the challenges every business face is cash flow, and marketing agencies are not immune to it. Bitcoin is the solution. It has some financial benefits and less tangible advantages. The company who accepts the payment can either use a third-party to convert the Bitcoins into cash or withdraw it in the form of Bitcoins. Getting started is super easy. There are plenty of companies help businesses that want to get Bitcoin set up as a payment option.

Stay tuned on www.smei.org

Blockchain technology in sales and marketing

Blockchain technology in sales and marketing

For the next few months, expect a series of 13 blog posts about blockchain technology and its impact in sales and marketing. Below is a synopsis of what to expect in each blog post in the order given.

  1. Blockchain transforms not only sectors such as security, health, and finance but also many basic tenets of marketing. It digitizes touch points, makes digital payments, creates meaningful value, builds trust, and decentralizes advertising concepts. Marketers who recognize this will have a lucrative opportunity in front of them and an edge over others. Hence for salespeople and marketers, it is worth spending some time to understand the changes happening in this arena. Already companies based on blockchain are growing exponentially.
  2. One of the challenges every business face is cash flow, and marketing agencies are not immune to it. Bitcoin is the solution. It has some financial benefits and less tangible advantages. The company who accepts the payment can either use a third-party to convert the Bitcoins into cash or withdraw it in the form of Bitcoins. Getting started is super easy. There are plenty of companies help businesses that want to get Bitcoin set up as a payment option.
  3. Blockchain is the new change on the horizon. Although it is already in the financial world, the uses of blockchain are far more wide reaching. It is shaking up many sectors along with all industries including supply chain, corporate responsibility, fashion designing, and digital advertising. To accept Bitcoins, all the company needs is a Bitcoin button at the checkout and a digital wallet. It works like a cycle whereby the publishers and users receive tokens when they view the ads.
  4. We are experiencing a significant shift in the real estate industry, as more and more people are engaging in property transactions using Bitcoin. Many industry experts are excited about the potential for digital money and the blockchain technology when it comes to real estate. But although digital currency transaction is the future, industry insiders say that we are not quite there as yet. Digital money analysts are less convinced that the property market would more widely adopt the cryptocurrency.
  5. In the real estate blockchain enables to store authentic online documents, draw digital smart contracts, and keeps the identities of the parties anonymous. While all sounds great, for everything to work seamlessly, it still needs a lot of things. As traders and investors have bid up Bitcoin’s price higher and higher, the Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended trading of some firms. Investors need to be cautious and not chase small companies that are trying to ride the wave.
  6. The blockchain is the system behind cryptocurrencies. A basic grasp of how it works will prove to be sufficient for now. But in the future, this knowledge would hardly be enough. The question is how to start, and the answer is first to have an understanding of the fundamentals of blockchain. With the growth of the industry, it is possible to reach mass adoption. Even if it fails, Blockchain is here to stay and is a big game changer.
  7. Cryptocurrency is a digital payment maintained by a network of computers that uses cryptography to authenticate transactions. Depending on how investors expect to make money and how they are structured, some cryptocurrencies may count as securities. If traders of these currencies prop up the price and go online to spread gossips, that might count as fraud. It can be hard to determine if a bubble exists. The only way to ensure that they avoid a burst is mass adoption.
  8. A war is over the future of Bitcoin, the first digital currency, and is already showing strain. Two of the biggest among the competitors of Bitcoin is Darkcoin and Ethereum. Many of the currencies younger then Bitcoin can be used for much more versatile purposes. Hence Bitcoin faces a threat from more nimble competitors. Digital currencies will drive new company model innovation at unprecedented levels. This revolution could be either a bubble or the onset of a financial realignment.
  9. Blockchain technology represents a seismic shift like that of email and web in the 90s and Facebook and Twitter a decade later. This innovative technology also makes Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies possible without centralized authority. But cryptocurrencies are just the tip of the iceberg, much bigger and more essential things lie below the surface. Blockchain technology has the potential to create countless opportunities everywhere. 21.co, a blockchain startup founded by Dr. Balaji Srinivasan, is a compelling case in point
  10. Some businesses and companies prefer to stick to their past, but this is not a good marketing strategy. Instead, it is essential to take a progressive approach and look out for the next big thing. That is what happens when companies begin to accept Bitcoin payment that put them in a position for greater success. Embracing the power of this new blockchain technology shows the customers and prospects of a business that it is well ahead of the curve.
  11. Charlie Shrem was among the pioneer public faces of cryptocurrency. He co-founded a startup company in 2011 called BitInstant that was one of the earliest cryptocurrency companies processing a third of all Bitcoin transactions. In 2015, Shrem went to prison for two years for aiding an unlicensed money transmitter acquire Bitcoins to trade in the underground marketplace, where it was used to buy drugs. It was a felony that is the first of its kind in the crypto world.
  12. Charlie Shrem the first Bitcoin felon went to federal prison in 2015 for 2 years. Upon his release he went about strengthening the ecosystem of blockchain. A real breakthrough came when he created a prepaid Dash debit card. He then joined Intellisys Capital and decided to raise funds in the form of initial coin offering but was mired with doubts, as he feared the intense scrutiny from the authorities and eventually backed off.
  13. Today, many of the blockchain assets are tokens that are distributed as initial coin offerings. It constitutes the Internet’s second business model. Associated jobs have soared as its value has risen. Candidates who understand initial coin offerings, know how to write smart contracts, and have a good understanding of Ethereum would have an extra competitive edge. Interested applicants should read up the online literature on how blockchain works and be aware of the basics before applying in the field.
Blockchain technology in sales and marketing

Bitcoin is the earliest cryptocurrency

The topics of the series are broadly categorized as follows:

  • Blockchain is defined as a distributed peer-to-peer database that is based on an open and public ledger coded by cryptography. It is intermediated, decentralized and unalterable. Blockchain is a technology to be reckoned with as it can be applied in various industries. It will disrupt many businesses including the advertising world.
  • Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies or, in technological parlance, alternative coins, also known as altcoins. Although Bitcoin is the most commonly used cryptocurrency, there are many limitations to it. Its flaws and weakness have given rise to many other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Ripple, and Dash.
  • The marketing industry will see phenomenal changes in the way products and services are advertised. In future, customers in the target market will have to be paid a fraction of a cent for their attention. Such micropayments is only possible with blockchain that is one of its greatest advantages. The blockchain technology called Brave will enable this.
  • Big-ticket items such as mansions and real estate properties are purchased using Bitcoin. There are cases whereby houses with a Bitcoin price tag received overwhelming response and media publicity. However, the technology faces some obstacles in the real estate sector that prevents mass adoption.
  • Lastly, using a real life case study we will warn you on how not to conduct business using this emerging trend. It is a case study based on the first felony committed in the crypto industry. It is also the story of a powerful transformation in the life of the felon who has now dedicated his life to help evolve the blockchain ecosystem.

After the case study, we will provide some information for those who would like to pursue a career in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. We will then wrap it up with the publication of the white paper written by an anonymous hacker who goes by the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin.

Stay tuned on www.blog.smei.org

SMEI Launches New Business Book Club for Members

SMEI Launches New Business Book Club for Members

SMEI announced today that a new business book club has been launched for SMEI Executive level members. Members are invited to read the monthly business book club selection and join in an online live webcam event to discuss the book.

One of the key attributes of successful leaders is their habit of reading business books. This forum is designed to bring the reading to life within the network of Executive members. Each member will have the opportunity to rate the monthly book selection on the following qualities on a scale of 1 – 5 stars and justify their ratings:

  • Mind teasing
  • Applicable
  • Recommendable
  • After taste

The first monthly book club will take place live online on March 26, 2018. The monthly featured book will be Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive by Dorie Clark.

“We’re really excited about this new member benefit for our Executive level members,” said Willis Turner, CEO of SMEI. “Our first live event will be moderated by Ben Mastboom, CSE. Ben has a great skill in leading forums and we are pleased that he is able to join us for this program.”

For more information on registering for this event as an Executive Member, please visit the SMEI website.

If you are not yet a member and would like to join for this benefit and more, please visit SMEI’s membership options here.

 

What Does “Starbucks” Mean to Howard Schultz?

What Does “Starbucks” Mean to Howard Schultz?

Starbucks has almost become a synonym of coffee. Howard Schultz not only built an admirable company but also paved the ground for coffee culture inspired by timeless values. Each alphabet of the word STARBUCKS mean a great deal to Howard Schultz, the visionary entrepreneur, who built the organization from scratch. Through his Successful book “Onward” and in the Spirit of sharing Knowledge he tells us a Unique story of Coffee Brand in his own words involving Tenacity, Resilience, and Accomplishment.

S – Success

  • If not checked, success has a way of covering up small failures, and when many of us at Starbucks became swept up in the company’s success, it had unintended effects. We ignored, or maybe we just failed to notice, shortcomings.

T – Tenacity

  • I believed that Starbucks had an enormous potential to return to greatness, that the company had yet to be as good as it was going to be. I believed in the power of the brand, in our founding mission, and most of all, in our people.

A – Accomplishment

  • I’ve come to think that I am at my best as a leader when Starbucks is being challenged or fighting for survival. I’m comfortable with, and in a way, enjoy the rugged, steep ascent. That is my nature. And while I would not want to constantly battle against the odds, the raw feeling of accomplishing something that others did not think possible, or leading people beyond where they thought they could go, is extremely gratifying.

R – Resilience

  • One reason I believed that the Starbucks brand would be resilient was because our founding values still resonated, perhaps now more than ever as anxiety and distrust seeped into the popular zeitgeist, and not just in the United States. In addition to our values, Starbucks’ core product would also continue to be relevant. Coffee will never lose its romance. It will always bring people together and be part of conversations in every language, even as the conversations change. Coffee will forever connect.

B – Brand

  • Our ongoing challenge is to creatively nurture coffee’s essence, keeping it personal despite our size. I do not want Starbucks to be defined solely by its thousands of stores or millions of customers. More than our scale, the brand can and should be defined by the quality of its coffee as well as its value. Community. Connection. Respect. Dignity. Humor. Humanity. Accountability. It is our mission to make sure the world sees us through those lenses.

U – Uniqueness

  • Unlike other retailers that sold coffee, the equity of Starbucks’ brand was steeped in the unique experience customers have from the moment they walk into a store. The aroma. The sense of community. The familial relationships customers establish with their local baristas. And the pride they feel knowing that their purchases support our high standards and socially responsible partners. Reinvigorating the Starbucks Experience could provide the meaningful differentiation that would separate us from competitors.

C – Coffee

  • Roasting coffee beans is a delicate process requiring a thoughtful, exacting balancing act of time and temperature. Any coffee producer that truly cares about quality has a toasting philosophy, and at Starbucks our philosophy is to roast every bean to its peak of flavor in a manner that extracts its maximum potential. This means Starbucks roasts beans for longer than most commercial roasters for a so-called Full City roasts that pulls out the beans’ honest richness, flavor, and acidity, or brightness. Our professional roasters are constantly refining our roasting process. Over the years, they have customized our machines and developed proprietary software to help control and replicate their techniques. We take tremendous pride in knowing that no one in the coffee business has more control over the roasting process than Starbucks. Like roasting, blending specialty coffee is also an art form, and our blenders’ culinary talents are akin to those of master chefs. Most coffee companies mix different types of beans together as a way to mask inferior coffee, but Starbucks has always used blending as an opportunity to elevate coffees from parts of the world. Sometimes, in order to capture each bean’s peak flavor, we won’t even roast different beans together; only after roasting do we combine them. And when beans from multiple regions are blended just right, they create a unique symphony of flavor that does not exist by itself.

K – Knowledge

  • Entrepreneurs are builders, and the lens through which I view Starbucks and the marketplace is somewhat different from what it would be if I were a professionally schooled manager. Such a lens has, however, its strengths and weaknesses. On the plus side, founders know every brick in the foundation. We know what inspired the company and what was required to create it. That knowledge, that history brings with it a high level of passion to do whatever it takes to succeed, as well as intuition about what is right and what is wrong. But sometimes we are too close to a situation. Entrepreneurs can be blinded by emotion, by our love of what we have built, unable to see it fresh and with the eyes of a more objective outside.

S – Spirit

  • If the barista only goes through the motions, if he or she does not care and produces an inferior espresso that is too weak or too bitter, then Starbucks has lost the essence of what we set out to do 40 years ago: inspire the human spirit.

To learn more about how SMEI can help you with marketing visit www.smei.org

Marketing Trends for 2018

Marketing Trends for 2018

2017 was the year of streaming video, artificial intelligence and the 280 character count on Twitter. What will 2018 bring for marketers? Read on for our Marketing Trends 2018.

Website Design Trends

We know that Google is going to continue to emphasize the importance of mobile in 2018 so expect to see function taking precedence over form with a focus on usability and minimalist site navigation and content proliferating. It’s going to be interesting to see how marketers balance with minimalism and mobile.

In 2018, expect to see more valuable content related to buyer intent rather than simply content for the sake of putting something out there.

Watch out for more animation (logos in particular) and websites that incorporate GIFs in 2018 too – hopefully, they’re less cheesy than their Flash predecessors. Artificial Intelligence is going to be everywhere in 2018 too as enhancements make Chatbots get better and better at answering questions and simulating conversations with website visitors.

Search Engine Optimisation in 2018

Voice search will be used more and more which means you need to hone your long tail keywords, i.e. keyword phrases that are hyper-specific to what you are selling. Keyword research will continue to evolve and there will be a shift in the coming year to focus more on semantic search, buyer intent and topics, rather than specific keywords. SEOs will spend more time on getting their site show up at the right time when people are actually considering a purchase, rather than having the site show up to attract particular personas.

Email Campaigns

Get ready to watch videos embedded directly in email campaigns as more and more email apps support embedded video.

Watch for more sophistication in list segmentation too. Segmenting campaigns so that specific audiences receive emails that contain content tailored to their unique perspective will drive engagement and ROI on your campaigns.

Social Media Forecast

2017 was the year of streaming video on social media; LinkedIn and Twitter followed Facebook Live’s lead and began supporting live streaming video content. In 2018 watch out for growing adoption of these technologies and more creative live streams.

We will also see the increased adoption of short-lived content, content that’s only available for a short period of time before it disappears, – like Instagram stories and Snapchat. Marketers must start developing strategies to maximize the reach and impact of ephemeral content as well as considering tactics to get this content noticed.

On platforms like Instagram and Facebook, only a tiny percentage of followers actually see the content you share on your page. To get noticed in 2018, you will need to invest in ads on these platforms. Consider video ads to spice things up a little.

How Marketing Strategies will Evolve in 2018

This is going to be the year we’re going to start calling our discipline marketing again (rather than digital). Marketing in 2018 will encompass all aspects of the marketing mix, both online and off and marketers will use the means most likely to help them attract their target audience.

Consider this, there are 65 million business pages on Facebook, 90% of businesses use social media. These are substantial numbers, but for marketers this means that it is becoming increasingly difficult, not to mention more expensive, to get noticed. If you want to attract your target audience’s attention in 2018, then widen your horizons and consider sending them a direct mail piece (depending on the audience) in a nice coloured envelope with handwritten wording. It will likely be the only physical mail the recipient gets that day (or maybe that week or month!), they’re going to open it, and if your copy is effective they will act on it!

Looking Forward – Marketing Trends for 2018

2018 is going to be an interesting year; technological advancements will continue to speed up. To be effective as marketers, it’s going to be important not simply to jump on the bandwagon of the next big thing but to consider options strategically and with your target audience in mind (rather than from a product or service-centric perspective). Video popularity has been growing year over year and won’t stop. Cisco predicted that video would account for 80% of internet traffic by 2020. So if you do nothing else, consider how you might incorporate video into your marketing approach in 2018.

Learn more about what 2018 will bring for marketers.