🗂 Link: Tips for using Instagram as an artist

Trying to get a gallery? Group shows are a great way for artists of all career levels to gain visibility. So in your Instagram posts, catch the attention of curators and gallerists by sharing talking points about your work’s theme and intentions, medium and materials. Want a public-art commission or a social-practice residency? Create context by posting yourself in related settings. Are you a teaching artist, or do you lead workshops? Does your art practice connect you with communities outside the art world? Do you work in or with nature? Have you thought deeply about monuments? Find ways to convey your special qualities and expertise through what you post. Show you understand concepts of public art and community in the current moment, and what it means to work on the public stage. This doesn’t mean just showing finished works—it means spotlighting your entire process and practice as it plays out, in real time.

Source: Tips for using Instagram as an artist

🗂 Link: What the heck are content experiences, and why are we overhyping them? A skeptical riff

The two “tent poles” of quality B2B content are:

Thought-provoking stuff that stakes your industry vision and customer know-how, making those who aren’t even your customers want to follow you.
Helpful content from internal experts that covers the nitty-gritty of your products and services.
In other words, all B2B content should either entertain or inform. Informing is easier.

Source: What the heck are content experiences, and why are we overhyping them? A skeptical riff

Link: Focus Your Optimistic Brand Message on a Smaller Circle of Consumer Influence

Our research shows that time and again, consumers will express pessimism and frustration about the state of broader society, while espousing hope for their personal lives. It would seem that consumers don’t see much to be positive about at the societal level these days, so instead they are looking closer to home and within themselves for optimism.

This means brands with values, identity and voice rooted in optimism should focus that positive messaging and imagery on a smaller circle of influence surrounding consumers, e.g., their home, their close community, their family and themselves.

Source: Focus Your Optimistic Brand Message on a Smaller Circle of Consumer Influence

Link: Adobe Summit 2019 analysis – CX hype is countered by Chegg’s digital turnaround story

Chegg isn’t digital-only today. They still ship five million textbooks a year – but their mission has changed. And, as Narayan pointed out, they now need new metrics. Rosensweig said those metrics include subscriber growth, revenue growth, engagement, renewal, and conversion rates. But there’s an underlying metric: create something awesome.

What we learned was you not only have to get them to subscribe, you [also have to] lower your cost to customer acquisition, which at one point for us was 27 dollars. Now it’s $3.50. Our renewal rates were 63 percent; they’re now in the mid-80s for a monthly renewal.

Source: Adobe Summit 2019 analysis – CX hype is countered by Chegg’s digital turnaround story

Link: Google makes emails more dynamic with AMP for Email

With AMP for Email, those messages become interactive. That means you’ll be able to RSVP to an event right from the message, fill out a questionnaire, browse through a store’s inventory or respond to a comment — all without leaving your web-based email client.

Some of the companies that already support this new format are Booking.com, Despegar, Doodle, Ecwid, Freshworks, Nexxt, OYO Rooms, Pinterest and redBus. If you regularly get emails from these companies, then chances are you’ll receive an interactive email from them in the coming weeks.

Source: Google makes emails more dynamic with AMP for Email

Link: eBooks vs. Whitepapers

Tirone expanded further by saying that whitepapers are often used by marketers to highlight the brand’s value proposition — which could be a product, service, or solution — in a polished deliverable with strong visuals and writing. “The structure of a whitepaper can vary, but the common components remain pretty consistent; [it starts with identifying] a problem, [followed by a] methodology, guidance, [and then the proposed] resolution,” he explained.

There’s several opinions of which work better for getting customers. One of them:

“EBooks perform well at the “awareness” stage of the buyer journey, where a person is trying to accumulate information about a particular product or service and wants to gain a comprehensive understanding first. [Consumers at this stage] are more concerned about the “problem” part of the equation.” said Kapoor. “Whitepapers, on the other hand, target people in the “decision” stage in the buying-journey. Whitepapers are introduced when a person versed with the basics [is] looking for “proven validation” of a concept to fuel their buying decision,” he continued.

I think white papers are good for specific topics, as most of the write-up says, people who are beyond the basics. Books can be that way too (of they collect together tactics and how to’s), but books do well as overviews of the basics, to make and describe the market/problems you’re selling solutions for.
Original source: eBooks vs. Whitepapers

Communicate the digital vision and strategy

This post is an early draft of a chapter in my book,  Monolithic Transformation.

Your employees listening to yet another annual vision and strategy pitch.

If a strategy is presented in the boardroom but employees never see, is it really a strategy? Obviously, not. Leadership too often believes that the strategy is crystal clear but staff usually disagree. For example, in a survey of 1,700 leaders and staff, 69% of leaders said their vision was “pragmatic and could easily translated into concrete projects and initiatives.” Employees, had a glummer picture: only 36% agreed.

Your staff likely doesn’t know the vision and strategy. More than just understanding it, they rarely know how they can help. As Boeing’s Nikki Allen put it:

In order to get people to scale, they have to understand how to connect the dots. They have to see it themselves in what they do — whether it’s developing software, or protecting and securing the network, or provisioning infrastructure — they have to see how the work they do every day connects back to enabling the business to either be productive, or generate revenue.

There’s little wizardry to communicating strategy. First, it has to be compressible. But, you already did that when you established your vision and strategy…right? Next, you push it through all the mediums and channels at your disposal to tell people over and over again. Chances are, you have “town hall” meetings, email lists, and team meetings up and down your organization. Recording videos and podcasts of you explaining the vision and strategy is helpful. Include strategy overviews in your public speaking because staff often scrutinizes these recordings. While “Enterprise 2.0” fizzled out several years ago, Facebook has trained all us to follow activity streams and other social flotsam. Use those habits and the internal channels you have to spread your communication.

You also need to include examples of the strategy in action, what worked and didn’t work. As with any type of persuasion, getting people’s peers to tell their stories are the best examples. Google and others find that celebrating failure with company-wide post mortems is instructive, career-ending crazy as that may sound. Stories of success and failure are valuable because you can draw a direct line between high-level vision to fingers on keyboard. If you’re afraid of sharing too much failure, try just opening up status metrics to staff. Leadership usually underestimates the value of organization-wide information radiators, but staff usually wants that information to stop prairie dogging through their 9 to 5.

As you’re progressing, getting feedback is key: do people understand it? Do people know what to do to help? If not, then it’s time to tune your messages and mediums. Again, you can apply a small batch process to test out new methods of communicating. While I find them tedious, staff surveys help: ask people if they understand your strategy. Be to also ask if know how to help execute the strategy.

Manifestos can help decompose a strategy into tangible goals and tactics. The insurance industry is on the cusp of turbulent competitive landscape. To call it “disruptive,” would be too narrow. To pick one sea of chop, autonomous vehicles are “changing everything about our personal auto line and we have to change ourselves,” says Liberty Mutual’s Chris Bartlow. New technologies are only one of many fronts in Liberty’s new competitive landscape. Every existing insurance company and cut-throat competitors like Amazon are using new technologies to both optimize existing business models and introduce new ones.

“We have to think about what that’s going to mean to our products and services as we move forward,” Bartlow says. Getting there required re-engineering Liberty’s software capabilities. Like most insurance companies, mainframes and monoliths drove their success over past decades. That approach worked in calmer times, but now Liberty is refocusing their software capability around innovation more than optimization. Liberty is using a stripped down set of three goals to make this urgency and vision tangible.

“The idea was to really change how we’re developing software. To make that real for people we identified these bold, audacious moves — or ‘BAMS,’” says Liberty Mutual’s John Heveran:

These BAMs grounded Liberty’s strategy, giving staff very tangible, if audacious, goals. With these in mind, staff could start thinking about how they’d achieve those goals. This kind of manifesto, makes strategy actionable.

So far, it’s working. “We’re just about cross the chasm on our DevOps and CI/CD journey,” says Liberty’s Miranda LeBlanc. “I can say that because we’re doing about 2,500 daily builds, with over a 1,000 production deployments per a day,” she adds. These numbers are tracers of putting a small batch process in place that’s used to improve the business. They now support around 10,000 internal users at Liberty and are better provisioned for the long ship ride into insurance’s future.

Choosing the right language is important for managing IT transformation. For example, most change leaders suggest dumping the term “agile.” At this point, near 25 years into “agile,” everyone feels like they’re agile experts. Whether that’s true is irrelevant. You’ll faceplam your way through transformation if you’re pitching switching to a methodology people believe they’ve long mastered.

It’s better to pick your own branding for this new methodology. If it works, steal the buzzwords du jour, from “cloud native,” DevOps, or serverless. Creating your own brand is even better. As we’ll discuss later, Allstate created a new name, CompoZed Labs, for its transformation effort. Using your own language and branding can help bring smug staff onboard and involved. “Oh, we’ve always done that, we just didn’t call it ‘agile,’” sticks-in-the-mud are fond of saying as they go off to update their Gantt charts.

Make sure people understand why they’re going through all this “digital transformation.” And make even more sure they know how to implement the vision and strategy, or, as you start thinking, our strategy.

This post is an early draft of a chapter in my book,  Monolithic Transformation.

Link: What Will Be the Real Impact From Knative?

“Knative is using the market momentum behind Kubernetes to provide an established platform on which to support serverless deployments that can run across different public clouds.”
Original source: What Will Be the Real Impact From Knative?

Link: What Will Be the Real Impact From Knative?

“Knative is using the market momentum behind Kubernetes to provide an established platform on which to support serverless deployments that can run across different public clouds.”
Original source: What Will Be the Real Impact From Knative?

Link: The New Affluents

Time to reap: “Several traits about the new affluents distinguish them as ideal prospective customers for brands of all sectors. In particular, luxury brands looking to woo customers with a little extra in their pockets might find this group a good place to start. Gen Xers’ share of national wealth is forecast to grow from under 14% in 2015 to nearly 31% by 2030, while Millennials’ share is forecast to grow from just 4% in 2015 to 16% by 2030, according to Gartner research. Additionally, this group is likely to be raising families and becoming first-time homebuyers, making them prime targets for home and CPG brands…. Though the new affluents want to save, they are likely to be in the midst of costly life transitions related to family and are also paying off significant debt, meaning money management is definitely on their mind.”
Original source: The New Affluents

Link: Stoicism made simple

Aside from the last, this is good advice for any advice format, I including the hustle-medium of marketing:

“– Stoicism is focused on uncomplicated theories of life
– Stoicism is so clear that you can take action from the advice immediately
– Study is not required to understand Stoicism
– The most read Stoic is Lucius Seneca. Marcus Aurelius is also very popular”

Original source: Stoicism made simple

Link: Authenticity Wins

Put user generated content in your Web 2.0 hustling mix:

“The study also highlights other social media nuances that might be easy to overlook. While posts featuring user-generated content deliver a higher lift than traditional brand posts, the research makes clear that filling your feed with UGC images isn’t always the way to go. Luxury beauty brands see a 23% engagement lift from UGC, yet auto brands see a more modest 3% increase. This could be a matter of frequency, as luxury brands feature user-generated content in only 2% of posts, while auto companies include it in a fifth of content.”
Original source: Authenticity Wins

Link: What is Developer Advocacy?

“Developer Advocacy has many names. You may have heard it referred to as Developer Relations or Evangelism, and while these roles vary company to company, we all essentially do the same thing — We represent software developers. I like to say that it’s my job to ask dumb questions so you don’t have to, but the real goal of a Developer Advocate is to become the voice of the user. We gather feedback in a way that most developers don’t, then use that feedback to shape the product to become what it needs to be.”
Original source: What is Developer Advocacy?

Word of mouth trumps facts

I recently met with the CEO of a large shoe retailer who said something that resonated with me. To paraphrase, he said, “If I show content that has Kanye West in a pair of our sneakers, along with a link to buy the sneakers, that’s going to be much more successful than an ad explaining why that sneaker is great.” He was referring to the rise of sneaker culture and how stars can have a big impact.

But the flip side is that people believe what they perceive to be “authentic.” We are living in a society where perceived authenticity holds greater weight over right or wrong. Although Google is only a voice command away, we are increasingly less likely to check the veracity of someone who we believe is telling the truth.

Moreover, we are likely to continue believing our friends even after hearing a contradictory truth from someone we don’t know.

With commodity goods like shoes, much of that seems fine: there’s little functional difference between them except the intangible, subjective “feature” of brand that exists only in people’s heads.

On the other end where there are more factual differences between products – let’s say things like bluetooth headphones, cars, computers, and dishwashers – wading through all the comparing fact claims is exhausting and getting a trusted friend to recommend something is valuable. Or, there’s sites like The Wirecutter for people who like to read.

Link

Hustlin’ webinars

Hey, sometimes a Johnny Leadgen PDF has some useful info in it. This PDF from BrightTalk (a webinar hosting company that, in my experience, is the best all around) goes over some tips on promoting your webinar:

  • “The ideal promotional campaign spans about 4 weeks prior to the live event, with a minimum suggested promotion time of about 2.5 weeks.”

And for each social hole:

Screenshot 2016-10-04 09.54.02.png

“[U]sing it as a way to escape for a bit.” That’s the one.

There’s some other, mostly obvious, but good to reminded of stuff in the PDF.

Link: Don’t make the mistake of thinking the CIO is irrelevant – TechRepublic

“The world isn’t about to end, however. Yes, Forrester reveals in its “Understanding Shifting Technology Acquisition Patterns” research note that lines of business are taking on a greater role in technology purchasing, removing IT from the purchasing process in 6.3% of new technology purchases in 2013, rising to 7.2% in 2015, while IT-only purchases will fall from 23.7% (2013) to 21.6% (2015).”

From 2014.

Source: Don’t make the mistake of thinking the CIO is irrelevant – TechRepublic

Tips on using social media from analyzing how celebrities manage their brands

Some highlights from the article that seem to apply to any marketing use of social media:

  • “If staying on message is the first rule of corporate communications, it is also the cardinal sin of social media.”
  • Each medium has it’s own format and expectations: “corporations can and should differentiate their approach to each platform, digital-marketing experts say.”
  • “Instagram is stylish, behind the scenes” – well, for most of us, “stylish” won’t apply. But the “behind the scenes” part is interesting.
  • “Validate your followers with likes, comments and retweets. It builds goodwill.”
  • Frequent factotumia – “It’s about showing up every single day and showing pieces of their lives rather than when they have a premiere or something to promote.”
  • “Instead of trying to get followers to buy their product, companies can gently boost their brand by commenting on current events.”

Source: What Celebrities Can Teach Companies About Social Media

Matching journalism to the medium

I like this because it’s true of “marketing,” which still tends to operate under the constraints of long cycle time and constrained “space”:

But there is so much potential! Length no longer matters — it’s as cheap to publish 100,000 words as 100. Digital text can be continually updated, so it’s no longer necessary to write a new article every time there’s a small change to a story. Digital stories can be interactive — readers can enter their information, and the story can change to reflect their circumstances. It’s really exciting stuff, and we are just beginning to figure out how to take advantage of it.

From Is the media becoming a wire service.

Deepening the hole metaphor

“Remember that if you want to sell technology, don’t talk about technology but rather about what it achieves and delivers,” he explained. “As an analogy, when selling power drills, focus on the outcome – the scenic picture you will be able to hang on your wall that reminds you of your favorite place – not the length of the drill bits, not the hole it makes, not the picture hanger – but the feeling (outcome) you will ultimately enjoy.”