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., 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

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

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.

The Personality of a True Salesperson

The Personality of a True Salesperson

Hiring professionals often wonder what type of people to hire or promote in the sales department. Hiring a wrong person can not only be costly for the organisation but also demotivating to some people. Well, knowing a bit of psychology may help.

In the early 1920s Carl Gustav Jung, the father of Analytical Psychology, who studied people’s personality made a distinction between introverts and extroverts. According to this broad classification, extroverts draw energy externally, and introverts extract it from within. Companies who capitalized on this theory have used concepts such as open-plan offices, recharge areas and “group work”. They cater for and increase the productivity of both personality types. Lying in between the two ends of the spectrum, extrovert and introvert, is a broad range of personality types. They are collectively called ambivert, a word coined by a psychologist named Hans Eysenck in 1947. Truth of the matter is that a vast majority of people are ambiverts who fall somewhere along this continuum. Ever since its introduction, this word has entered into the lexicon of the psychiatrists and psychologists and has gained immense popularity.

Ambiverts, the in-betweeners

An ambivert who falls smack in the middle make the most excellent salespeople. To that end, to an extent, all salespeople are ambiverts by nature. A true ambivert doesn’t incline too much in either direction. Because they are neither extrovert nor introvert, they can easily adjust their approach to different types of people depending on the circumstances, allowing them to connect most effectively. Perhaps the back-slapping salesperson in yonder years although appearing to be an extrovert may have truly been an ambivert and became successful by knowing when to lean toward which side of the personality spectrum. Superior salespeople who are serious about improving their performance consciously try to gain insights about their tendencies and preferences and match their approach to the situation.

Advantages of being ambiverts

The personality traits of those people on either end of the spectrum remain stable throughout their lives. Extroverts tend to stay extroverts with a domineering attitude and introverts are inclined to stay calm and hypersensitive for most of their lives. It is hard, if not impossible, to change their personality traits naturally. There are no absolute right or wrong personality types. But so-called born salespeople project a façade of extroversion when meeting with new clients and turn to being introverts in times of introspection. This temperament is what is known as ambiversion. It is this adaptive nature that stands in good stead with sales people.

Salespeople inherently being ambiverts have some professional advantages over extrovert or introvert types. Have a look at some of their behavioural patterns.

  • More balanced, or nuanced personalities and wear many hats at work
  • Move between being solitary at home or being social at work or vice versa
  • Loves the stimulation that comes from teamwork as equally as private work
  • Speak up and listen carefully with ease while working with people
  • Have a right balance of contrasting skills making them dynamic salespeople
  • Connect with a wider range of individuals because of their adaptability
  • Are flexible to adapt to any social situations and formal settings
  • Nimble making the right amount of hem efficient salespeople for prospecting new clients
  • Find it annoying to be an introvert for too long and hence love outdoor sales
  • Do get burnt out when stuck being an extrovert out of necessity
  • Don’t allow their emotional side to get too carried away and tend to hide it
  • Make robust salespeople who can handle rejection from clients with poise

Anyone can become a salesperson

A pure extrovert or introvert is in the minority, and a vast majority of people belong to the wider range of the spectrum, in other words, are ambiverts. That being the case almost anyone has the potential to work in sales. However, to excel in the sales career, it is important to understand one’s real personality and to assess which side of the spectrum the character traits lean. Such self-awareness can be beneficial. A good salesperson is someone who exhibits qualities of both extroversion and introversion. If one’s job is congruent with this temperament, it unleashes vast stores of energy and creates stellar sales performance. The ambiversion nature in a salesperson has enough introversion and the right amount of extroversion in them that they are comfortable in both the situations and find them both satisfying and rewarding.

Ambiverts are better at closing deals

For some reason, there is a belief that extroverts make good sales leaders. Adam Grant, the associate professor at Wharton School, has proved them wrong based on 35 separate studies. According to the studies, there was no statistical relationship between extroversion and income. In fact, ambiversion turned out to be the most proper attitude of high-performing salespeople. Interestingly A-achievers belong to this category too. Sales career requires professionals to be working with different kinds of clients under different circumstances. If a seller efficiently leverages the ambiversion temperament they can be assertive as well as empathetic enough, both at the same time in good measure, to persuade clients to close deals effectively without coming across as too pushy.

Are you an ambivert?

Many personality tests such as Jung typology, Myers-Briggs, Big 5, etc. can be utilized by hiring managers to gauge the personality of the shortlisted job candidates. Although each human being is complex more often there is a natural tendency for people to fall in one or the other types. Sales people who would like to obtain a good grasp of their selves to manage their interaction with potential clients better can also use these tests. It sure can lead to higher sales performance and brighter career prospects.

To learn more about becoming an SMEI Certified Sales Professional, please visit our website.

How To Find and Use Images Online – The Right Way

How To Find and Use Images Online – The Right Way

Images are an excellent addition to any website or blog post. They are key to successful social media – posting images on your social networks helps your posts get shared and liked more.

However, not all images on the internet are okay to use (in fact most are not).

There are laws that allow people to claim rights to their images. Using any image that you find on the internet can get you in big trouble and leave you with a hefty fine!

Image Copyright Laws

We live in a world where images are so easy to find with just a click of a button but we can’t use any image that shows up in search results since there is a cost for ownership of most images. It’s important to be aware of copyright laws in your country to ensure you don’t get fined for using content that you don’t have the right to use.

In Canada, any image taken by any device (camera, smartphone, etc.) is subject to copyright. This means that if someone takes a photo, it is their photo and anyone else that would like to use it has to seek permission from the photographer. The photographer is not required to register their work to have it copyrighted – when the photo is saved (onto a smartphone or camera roll) it is automatically subject to copyright and protected under copyright laws. Therefore, it is essential that we learn to keep these laws in mind because if you get caught using an image that belongs to someone else, you could be fined!

How To Find Great Free Images

There are many ways to find images that are free and can enhance your content.

1. Create your own images: Grab your camera or even your smartphone to capture some images! This allows you to be in full control of what the image will loook like and leaves tons of room for customization. Also, having your own images ensures that the content is original and authentic.

 2. Find royalty-free images on Google: When you search on Google, make sure you’ve clicked the “labelled for reuse” button! This allows you to reuse the image. See below:

3. Use Creative Commons to search multiple platforms to find free images: This site allows you to search for images easily and helps you find free images from various platforms. Check out this blog post on Creative Commons for more information.

4. Find royalty-free images online: Using sites such as allows you to search for various free images, videos, music and icons that are royalty-free.

5. Tools such as Canva: Canva allows you to edit your images and it basically works as an easy-to-use graphic design platform. It also has a massive repository of free images along with fairly inexpensive images (approximately $1 for a high-quality image).

6. Buy images: There are sites that allow you to purchase high-quality images. Sites such as iStock allow you to buy images for as little as $12 per image. You can also get a subscription for $40 per month that gets you 10 images per month.

7. Hire a photographer – sometimes only the highest quality images will do. Hire someone who knows how to set up and take the perfect pictures to showcase your brand.

If you’re ever in doubt, you can always check where that image appears online through TinEye. You simply upload your image or paste a URL of the image and this tool does a reverse search to find out where that image appears online.