Business

One thing every marketer should do for Dreamforce

conversation image

 

If you don’t do this at Dreamforce, you’re leaving money on the table

The countdown is on for Dreamforce 2014, one of the most spectacular marketing events of the year. Aside from a saliva-worthy roster of keynotes, break-out sessions, tech displays and parties, there’s one reason companies get excited for attending: the prospect of reaching your next customer.

Over 130,000 attendees live, and nearly a quarter million watching online, guarantees an active, enormous and like-minded audience, just ready to hear your message and perhaps do business with you.

But with all that traffic, comes noise. You certainly will be just one of hundreds of other companies, many of them with similar value props, vying to turn Dreamforce attendees into their next set of leads.

While there are endless tactics available to catch their limited attention and make the sale, there is one approach in particular that every company should think of before hopping on the plane to San Francisco:

“Own a conversation that your customers care about”

What is Owning a Conversation?

In the age of content marketing and brand publishing, Dreamforce attendees (most of whom are marketing and technology pros) no longer want to be advertised “at”. They want and expect to be engaged by brands, intellectually, and to be given valuable information. This is nothing new, of course. But the concept of “Owning a conversation” is an important key to keep in mind as you prep your marketing and sales strategy for the event, which is only a few weeks away.

Surely, your brand has a topic, conversation or timely event that is both relevant to your target customers, and unique enough to stand out from the crowd. In particular at Dreamforce, you may want to dig deep into how you tie into Salesforce.com or any of the major marketing automation platforms like Hubspot. Think of what Dreamforcers care most about, about the kinds of content they are already consuming and then pick your angle.

Why is this so important?

There are a number of reasons laying claim to a theme is so crucial to events such as Dreamforce.

  • You are sharing already: as a modern day organization, you likely already have teams of social and content sharing and pumping out some content. However, if you haven’t though through your conversation, how can you expect your readers to connect to or care about what you are saying?
  • Your readers want more than just your POV: a crucial aspect of conversations is that they have multiple points of view. Of course, you can take a stand, but as a curator, you’re job is also to bring on broader, perhaps conflicting elements and angles.
  • You want to convert that traffic: Owning is end to end. It means you own the experience, too, not just the message. It’s not enough to share across fragmented social channels and platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. You’re just sending your prospects to another company’s site. What you should be doing is upstreaming that conversation by actually owning the real estate, not just the message.

Tips:

  • Pick an angle: Pick a polarizing, authentic stance that your company believes in. There is far too much unbiased slop out there, your customers won’t have any time for that.
  • Discovery tools: One of the hardest parts is finding enough great content to fill the channel. There are hundreds of powerful tools. Find a few you like. To see what we use, read this.
  • Curation and Publishing tools: This is what demands your smarts and most of your time. How will you collect, present and share that content in a meaningful and business-driving way? Tools such as Pressly are designed exactly for that.

Want help? We’ve got you covered

If you’re planning on attending Dreamforce, we’re offering a limited time promotion to get you using Pressly’s end to end content curation service. In just a matter of minutes, you can be up and running with your very own branded content hub, which will look great across devices and platforms.

See the details of the promotion here: pressly.com/dreamforce

 

Convince your boss to send you to Dreamforce

We’ve all been there. You’ve found out about an incredible conference coming up. And you just know it’s going to be a great learning experience, and lead to serious value for both your career and potentially your company’s business.

The only catch is: does your boss see it that way too? We found this awesome post from Saleforce.com all about building the business case for going to their annual shindig, Dreamforce 2014.

Content Marketing? See more ways you can profit during Dreamforce 2014

 

So your boss needs some persuasion to agree to your trip to Dreamforce. And the fact that 95% of attendees recommend it to others is not convincing enough. Are the sessions, training and events really worth the cost and the time away from your desk?  The answer is yes, yes, yes. Let us help you prepare with four ways to convince your boss.

“Dreamforce will elevate our ROI”

Attending Dreamforce can help you maximize your Salesforce ROI. 96% of attendees surveyed said their business improvements outweighed the cost of going to Dreamforce. Attendees reported gains across key business metrics for sales, service and support, collaboration, marketing, and IT, including:

1499502_10152096414824231_1274837211_n30% average increase in sales productivity

33% average increase in customer satisfaction

32% average improvement in employee productivity

41% increase in lead volume

58% faster deployment of IT programs

“We will be motivated and inspired to perform better”

Every year, Dreamforce hosts keynotes that inspire and engage. There is no doubt that these keynotes will elevate your mind. Don’t believe us? Check out last year’s keynotes to feel the power of Dreamforce.

1512470_10152096397669231_1432613792_n

“There are countless learning opportunities at Dreamforce”

1231103_10152096396249231_1145106261_nAt the heart of Dreamforce are the amazing learning opportunities. The community comes together to learn and share best practices through 1450+ expert-led sessions, hands-on training, two Cloud Expos featuring Salesforce solution showcases and thousands of partner solutions, Circles of Success where you can get your real questions answered by product experts, and even more. Explore some of the breakout sessions catered to your interests and areas of expertise here.

 

“There are networking opportunities galore”

1505341_10152096396639231_2028971390_nDreamforce is the largest gathering of the Salesforce community, and it’s your opportunity to make connections and share best practices. Whatever your role, company size or industry, the community is ready to share their knowledge, skills or a Dreamforce lunch with you. These could be potential partners, employers, employees, mentors or simply kindred spirits. Relationships are built morning and night throughout the event. Dreamforce is designed to connect you to people you can learn from, both in the online Dreamforce community prior to the event, and with the many networking events throughout the conference. Between the Welcome Reception, the Dreamforce Gala, the Dreamforce Plaza activities, and many more, you will have so many opportunities to spend time with your peers and learn from their experiences.

The Dreamforce society doesn’t end with the conference. Online and offline communities are created to continue networking opportunities and the sharing of knowledge and information.

We want you to join our keynotes, our community, and us at Dreamforce, so we’ve crafted a letter you can download, personalize, and send to your boss to justify your trip. Or get additional info on why you specifically should attend by clicking here. There’s something for everyone in your company. So pass it on.

Get smarter at Dreamforce 2014

We found this incredible guide to getting educated during this year’s Dreamforce 2014. Anyone who is attending has definitely got to check this out, below.

See the other ways Pressly can help you succeed at Dreamforce

We want you to be prepped and excited about the sessions, innovations, and enhancements at this year’s Dreamforce. Get ready for more hands-on training, more sessions, new pre-conference training, and much more.

1. Get your agenda ready!

Breakout sessions are going to be huge this year.
Log in to the Success Community now to discuss options, opinions, and experiences with fellow attendees. Registration doesn’t go live until September, but you can get a head start by looking at the 400+ sessions already available onDreamforce.com. You can filter sessions by role, product, and industry to find the perfect sessions for you.

2. Pre-conference training & Salesforce certification

You can sign up for Pre-Conference Training and Salesforce Certifications specially offered at the conference to Dreamforce registrants. One- and two-day trainings are available the weekend before the  Df13_sfdc_cert_badgeconference. And this year, we have three brand new classes in pre-conference training. Get additional information here.

Salesforce Certifications are a great way to take full advantage of your time at Dreamforce. The certification sessions, in one of seven areas, are purchased during registration, then scheduled in Agenda Builder.

 

3. More sessions

As the conference grows, so does the number of breakout sessions available for attendees. We are adding even more sessions this year, totaling more than 1,450. We’ll also be optimizing the attendee experience by repeating more sessions than ever. That means you’ll have more opportunities to attend all of the sessions you want. This year, all sessions will be 40 minutes long, allowing attendees more 1511270_10152096415469231_686245921_ntime to get to their next session.

Along with our ever-popular Product Roadmap sessions, we’ll also have Emerging Trend sessions, Salesforce-on-Salesforce sessions (where salesforce.com employees discuss how the company uses Salesforce), and brand new this year, Admins-by-Admins sessions to invigorate the admin community.

4. More HOTS

Hands-on-training sessions are hands down the most popular sessions at Dreamforce. Practicing and learning from professional instructors is extremely valuable. And after the session is over, the Orgs being used will be available for another 30 days,  1526522_10152096415359231_1836416902_nallowing you to continue practicing what you learn.

Make sure you’re ready to register for these sessions as soon as Agenda Builder goes live, but if you don’t, don’t fret. Additional HOTS will be released in the Agenda Builder after it goes live, so keep your eyes on the Dreamforce website. To ensure that more attendees will be able to participate in HOTS, the number of sessions will be increasing.

5. Next step: Workshops

After an incredibly successful pilot last year, we’ve brought Workshops back to Dreamforce. Workshops can be considered the “Part 2″ to HOTS. These are complementary sessions tied to specific HOTS that help you apply what you have learned to your own business. Facilitated by1231103_10152096396249231_1145106261_nprofessionals, these sessions utilize workbooks to show you what’s possible with Salesforce.

6. Post-show activities

As always, the Dreamforce community and conversation do not end once the conference is over. The same is true for the breakout sessions. Almost all sessions will be audio recorded, and will be available online within a week on the Dreamforce website and in theSuccess Community.

 

This post originally appeared on Salesforce.com

22 People to Follow Before Dreamforce 2014

Well, Dreamforce 2014 is on its way – and it is the must attend event for marketers all year. But it’s going to be noisy with all those parties. Aside from doing your best to stand out and make some business happen, how will you filter the noise for yourself and get the most from the event? Below is Post Code Anywhere’s awesome guide to who you should following to arm yourself for the big Salesforce.com party.

Want even more tools to guarantee a successful Dreamforce? See what Pressly can do for you with our Dreamforce 2014 Promotion.

 

Besides the fantastic parties, informative breakout sessions ( 14,000 to be exact!), visionary keynotes and the great San Francisco location, one of the very best things about attending Dreamforce is all the inspiring and enthusiastic people you will meet.

But with over 125,000 Salesforce enthusiasts expected to attend this year, it’s hard to know where to start.

We’ve compiled a list of a few of the awesome people we’re hoping to bump into – aside from Bruno Mars of course!

 

 

Headliners

Don’t expect to find these four on the dance floor but still worth following for important updates ahead of Dreamforce…

Benioff

Marc Benioff @benioff – Chairman and CEO of salesforce.com with a penchant for lavish shoes!

algore

Al Gore @algore – American politician and philanthropist, who served as the 45th Vice President of the United States.

hilaryclinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton @HillaryClinton – Former United States Secretary of State, US Senator and First Lady of the United States.

tonyrobbins

Tony Robbins @TonyRobbins – An American life success coach and motivational speaker dedicated to helping people achieve their dreams.

 

Salesforce Folk

Have a question about Salesforce? These are your guys (and gals!)

triciagellman

Tricia Gellman @triciagellman – Tricia is a senior director at Salesforce.com. With an impressive CV including stints at Apple and Adobe, Tricia certainly knows her stuff!

julieliegl

Julie Liegl @julieliegl – VP Dreamforce Conference Chair. Follow Julie for all the latest updates on Dreamforce.

toosassy

@TooSaaSy - The official feed of salesforce.com’s “super-rad” mascot. You know that big blow-up costume you’ve seen parading around the events? Yep it’s got its own Twitter account!

geraldinegrey

Geraldine Gray @GeraldineGray – Salesforce MVP and founder of Girly Geeks, Geraldine now runs Endiem, a Salesforce consultancy based in Houston.

aaronpayne

Aaron Payne @aaronjpayne – Strategic Account Director for the Salesforce1 Platform.

NicoleAlford

Nicole Alford @salesforceQueen – Salesforce MVP alum and now a Principal Success Manager in the Customers For Life division of salesforce.com.  Enthusiastic about everything Salesforce, especially SaaSy!

 

Partners and Vendors

Looking to get more out of your Salesforce CRM? Check out these useful offerings and integrations.

precurive

@precursive - A bunch of self-confessed Salesforce evangelists, Percursive makes resource management software that helps improve utilisation, reduce project cost and project leakage.

silverpop

@silverpop - Provider of both digital marketing software and, more importantly, the most amazing Dreamforce parties ever, hopefully they will be serving more neon blue cocktails this year! But be quick – the tickets sell out ridiculously fast.

financialforce

@FinancialForce - Provides cloud ERP solution for Salesforce CRM which include Cloud Accounting Software, Billing applications and Financial Management.

aptus

@Apttus - Apttus delivers Quote-to-Cash automation software in the cloud. Quote-to-Cash includes configure price quote, contracts, renewals and revenue management. Last year these guys held some really good sessions and even better Margarita meetups!

newvoicemedia

@newvoicemedia - A fantastic supplier of contact centre technology that works great with Salesforce. Check them out! 

 

Consultants, developers and other clever cloggs

philwalton

Phil Walton @sfdcphil – Phil is an expert in implementing Salesforce.com, MVP, and all-round top bloke! He also leads the North England Salesforce User Group.

jonathan-gale

Jonathan Gale @Cloud_CEO – Jonathan has over 20 years’ experience building technology businesses. He joined NewVoiceMedia In October 2010 as Chief Commercial Officer to manage sales, marketing and product strategy and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in early 2011.

Amygrenham

Amy Grenham @amygrenham – Amy is the marketing manager for Salesforce partner and Salesforce consultants, Desynit. Follow Amy for useful marketing and brand advice.

Fabrice

Fabrice Cathala @FCathala – Salesforce Architect at Capgemini, PAAs evangelist and popular blogger.

gaurav

Gaurav Kheterpal @gauravkheterpal - Gaurav is a well known name in the global Salesforce mobile development community. He’s won several awards from Salesforce for his innovative apps built on Force.com platform and he’s an active community contributor on Salesforce Developer Forums and Stack Exchange.

 

Last but not least…

We will of course be on hand throughout the event showcasing how our global address verification technology, Capture+, can be integrated within Salesforce to ensure accurate data at the point of entry in your CRM. If you have any questions – you know where to find us…

pca

Postcode Anywhere @pca_plus – Postcode Anywhere’s official Twitter account.

pcaalex

Alex Bryan @pca_alex – Seasoned postcoder and Salesforce evangelist. Alex will be manning the Postcode Anywhere stand and tweeting throughout the event.

 

 

This post originally appeared on Post Code Anywhere http://blog.postcodeanywhere.co.uk/index.php/22-people-you-need-to-follow-before-dreamforce/

Curation matters. Just ask Buzzfeed and the New York Times

wtf-coffee-buzzfeed-office-tour-dec-2012-bi-dng

On first blush, The New York Times and Buzzfeed couldn’t be any less similar. One is a flagship of  ethical and investigative journalism, almost synonymous with the notion of journalistic authority itself. The other will give you 19 amazing cat pictures you can’t believe aren’t photoshopped.

But look closer and you’ll see both media giants have evolved in recent days to deliver content in a very similar and compelling way. And the take away for marketers about how these guys are changing their game will make all the difference to your content strategy.

Curation and Creation: Your readers want both

In a recent Digiday article, Ricardo Bilton writes that the Times and Buzzfeed are starting to enter a new age of content curation. Rather than simply publishing their own stuff, they are starting to see the value – or necessity – to start assembling, collecting and giving readers an editorial snapshot of other stuff that is out there.

“It’s pretty odd at this point to imagine a reader only wants stories from any one news organization,” said Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed.

The curation-meets-original content approach is an important shift from how most publishers have approached their app strategies so far.

 

It’s this exact topic we’ve been hearing so much about directly from our customers in recent months. Except in this case, we’re talking about marketers and how they can build better, more powerful relationships around their content marketing efforts.

There’s no question great content can be used to efectively move consumers along the buying cycle, particularly at the top of the funnel. But we’re finding that marketers, just like publishers, have been hitting several obstacles. The space is noisey. Consumers, just like readers, think it’s strange to get all their news from just one location. So what are marketers to do?

While there are several obvious pain points we and a lot of our competitors address – we are starting to see a ton of success by doubling down on we what we feel are the two most important and exciting challenges.

Fatigue around 100% owned content experiences

 
Nobody wants to hear a brand just talk about its own products. The majority of brands get this and address this situation by creating content around their industry and/or broader topics relevant to their targets. While this is a great start, it doesn’t go far enough for two reasons.
  • Hard to produce enough great content: Being forced to create enough great original content on a regular basis is a daunting task for the most capable of content teams.
  • Lacks an authentic and complete conversation: Your audience wants to be informed and/or entertained. The more complete and fuller the content destination you can create the better. We recently spoke with a well respected company lauded for their amazing content initiatives. During a recent focus group, their audience revealed that while they love their content around relevant industry topics – it still felt lacking due to it being only their own view point.

It’s for this reason that at Pressly, we believe the future lies in topic-based, curation driven destinations. Giving brands the ability to combine owned, 3rd-party publisher thought leadership and social content into one destination will be the key to building customer relationships around a certain conversation.

Empowering content throughout the company

The second area where we are focusing our attention and seeing amazing results is around helping companies empower their entire organization with content. We often work very closely with the marketing team on creating amazing content destinations around a topic. Once this is accomplished, the next challenge we hear is how do we get our whole team (sales, support, management) to leverage the content we are bringing together. The answer lies in a very simple capability we’ve built into Pressly.

Creating thought leadership visibility

Pressly offers the ability to create individual sub-hubs under the parent hub of an organization. This enables individual team members to create a personal branded hub with the ability to flow-in and customize content from the company’s parent hub that relates to their focus / audience. Individuals can then share the content from this hub to their own social accounts and email their customer relationships.
 

You have them listening. Now what?

Of course, unlike publishers, brands don’t exactly rely on an advertising model to find their bottom line. Instead, marketers need to ensure this mixed strategy of curating and creating context actually leads to real sales.

That’s why it’s so important to not only own the conversation, but own the destination where the conversation is happening. Too many brands simply share out links, blog posts and studies – creating great engagement, but ultimately losing those leads to other websites, never to see them again.

Instead, look for a solution that lets you bring your readers to an environment you can control and set up engagement actions, for example a Pressly Hub. When you share a piece of content on Pressly, people are first taken to your Pressly powered landing page. This gives the ability to provide additional context and thought leadership on why you curated a specific piece of content. As well, Pressly helps facilitate the discovery of other related stories you’ve curated or created on the topic. Thus, keeping people around longer and increasing the opportunity to convert.
 

Drive business results

Because you are now driving engagement on destinations you control, Pressly gives the ability to easily integrate Calls-To-Action alongside content. This gives the ability to tie in your other sales and marketing platforms to complete the circle and drive real business value behind your content initiatives.

9 Incredible Internet of Things Gizmos

The Internet of Things is going to change the way marketers, businesses and people interact with the world. With the rate of things being connected to the internet increasing at an exponential rate, these changes are coming sooner than you might imagine.

Here’s a round up of what we think are some of the coolest, most inspiring and craziest ways IOT will change the face of our world.

As marketers, it’s fun to imagine how we might start to take advantage of these new web based interfaces. From a smart gun, a wireless pill bottle, to the most intimate of body parts, what will the future of marketing look like with this new connected world? Let us know in the comments your bright ideas.

1. K Goal: Vagina tracker

K Goal vagina tracker

It can already stream the internet straight to your face, vibrate around your waist when you’re slouching and track your health using only your wrist. Now, wearable technology is getting even more intimate and attempting to conquer the final frontier: the vagina.

Recently launched on Kickstarter, the KGoal Smart Kegel Trainer, produced by San Fransisco-based sexual health startup Minna Life, describes itself as a “Fitbit for your vagina,” an interactive device to guide, measure and track pelvic floor muscle exercise. It takes the form of a squeezable silicone pillow, connected to a smartphone app, that measures your “clench strength” and feeds the data back to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. It also has an internal motor for “real time vibrational biofeedback.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2014/jul/04/kgoal-fitness-tracker-vagina-pelvic-floor

2. The iPhone of Guns

Smart Gun

One of California’s largest firearm stores recently added a peculiar new gun to its shelves. It requires an accessory: a black waterproof watch. 

The watch’s primary purpose is not to provide accurate time, though it does. The watch makes the gun think. Electronic chips inside the gun and the watch communicate with each other. If the watch is within close reach of the gun, a light on the grip turns green. Fire away. No watch means no green light. The gun becomes a paperweight.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/we-need-the-iphone-of-guns-will-smart-guns-transform-the-gun-industry/2014/02/17/6ebe76da-8f58-11e3-b227-12a45d109e03_story.html

3. Smart Lighter to quit smoking

Quitbit

A new Internet-connected lighter called Quitbit will light your cigarette, but wean you off a smoking habit too.

 A new Kickstarter campaign called Quitbit takes the same monitoring principles embedded into fitness trackers and helps users track and cutdown on smoking. In a nod to the name, it’s like a Fitbit for smoking.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/05/13/smart-lighter-quitbit/

4. Amazon Dash – home scanner

amazon-dash

Let’s be real: Amazon isn’t going to stop until you can go your entire life without setting foot in an actual brick-and-mortar store. Now the company wants to make buying groceries and sundries from its AmazonFresh same-day delivery service even easier, and it’s doing it with a tiny little gadget called the Dash. Yes, move over Fire TV — Amazon’s newest bit of hardware is a free (for now?), WiFi-capable barcode scanner.

Read more: http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/04/amazon-dash-amazonfresh/

 

5. Smart Bike – GPS directions on your handle bars

SmartBike

 While some cars these days are smart enough to drive themselves, the bike industry has remained largely untouched in terms of innovation. But a new company wants to pedal forward with what it’s calling the world’s first smart and connected bicycle.

A Kickstarter campaign for the Vanhawks Valour smart bike connects with a smartphone app and brings tech like GPS directly to the handle bars. The concept is part of a greater effort to help bikers keep their eyes on the road, especially during high-traffic commuting times.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/05/14/smart-bike-vanhawks-valour/

 

6. Nest Protect – Love your smoke alarm

nest-protect1

Everyone by now has heard of Nest’s smart thermostat. But their newest product, Protect, solves another problem at the home: those annoying and sometimes un-safe smoke alarms.  Great design and more proof that the future of smart homes is amazing,

Read more: https://nest.com/ca/smoke-co-alarm/life-with-nest-protect/

 

7.  Electric Objects – smart art

smart art

There’s more art on the Internet than in every gallery and museum on Earth.

But many of these beautiful objects are trapped. They’re trapped inside of devices like our phones, our tablets, our TVs, our laptops — devices designed for distraction, living between texts, tweets, football games and emails from work. 

So we wanted to make a new way to bring art from the Internet into your home.

Read more: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/electricobjects/electric-objects-a-computer-made-for-art

 

8.  Pill Bottle

pillbottle

 AdhereTech, a New York City-based startup, released a wireless pill bottle at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show it claims alerts patients when they have to take their medication and keeps track of their usage and dosage.

The pill bottle uses lights, speakers and sensors to track how often the bottle is opened and closed, humidity and how much medication is removed in real-time. Using cellular technology, it then sends the information on to doctors, pharmacists who can monitor it.

If the medication isn’t taken on time, users receive a phone call or text message alert as a reminder.

 

Read more: http://www.cbronline.com/news/tech/hardware/desktops/5-internet-of-things-devices-for-health-youve-never-heard-of-4317475

 

9. The FingerReader – for visually impaired

blindIoT

Scientists at MIT are developing a ring-shaped device they claim can read aloud text to people with visual disabilities in real-time.

The FingerReader, worn as a ring on the index finger, has a small camera mounted on top and speech software that converts text from books, newspapers and menues into audio.

The audio device, which took three years to design, connects to a laptop or mobile phone and includes a text extraction algorithm, allowing users to read single lines or whole blocks of text when selected.

Read more: http://www.cbronline.com/news/tech/hardware/desktops/5-internet-of-things-devices-for-health-youve-never-heard-of-4317475

Not another Content Curation list

miners

Or: A Day in the Life of a Content Curator

 

The idea for this post started out as a list for all the great content tools out there to help you find the stuff that you – a content curator – should be curating.

It started that way. But in a matter of minutes, I’d already dug up a list about 100 long. It was obvious this list wasn’t going to actually ever be read by anyone.

Many people claiming to be a curator, seem to think of their job as simply throwing huge lists your way. Big, unmanageable, indigestible lists… But since the whole point of content curation is to actually make people’s lives easier, to make some sense out of all the noise out there, these lists sometimes defeat the purpose, when done badly. They are simply laziness.

What I decided would be more useful is to highlight how I actually find the stuff I curate, and share that very specific, limited process with you. As a result, hopefully I’d give something tangible to chew on.

1. You do need tools, but you don’t need all the tools

As I continue this journey to figure out the best practices of content curation, I’ve stumbled across dozens of useful tools to dig up material seemingly relevant to my readers. I am sure a lot of them are great, and just as many are terrible. Unfortunately, the day is only 24 hours long, and I can’t simply spend it clicking tabs and bookmarks to all these services, hoping they’ll serve me something new.

My job after all is not just about re-sharing links. It’s about putting them together meaningfully. So even though there’s a million ways to find content and even more actual good pieces of content out there, it’s meaningless unless I actually carve out some time to make sense of it all, like I am doing right now.

So, what I suggest is you find a few services that seem to do the job, and stick with those. If they aren’t working for you, switch it up, tweak the settings, keep at it. But I highly doubt you’ll have any issues finding content. The tools are all very similar, many of them free, and they’ll all do an admirable job of what they’re supposed to do.

Personally, I rely on a few things for discovery. I have TweetDeck set up with curated twitter lists of the influencers in any given topic, for instance, this list of CMO’s for out CMOhub. And I have narrowed that one down even further by filtering for engagement – I only want to see the stuff getting retweeted.
I also have the same filters set up on key hastags, like #iOT for our hub all about marketing in the age of the internet of things, as well as this hub, our content curation best practices collection.

Finally, I’ve landed on a few good aggregation services that I have been going back to regularly. These are free and easy and serve up tons of stuff I am not finding on TweetDeck: BuzzSumo, Feedly, ContentGems. I haven’t yet picked the winner, and eventually I might pick another service. But these are great, for now.

2. Be a journalist, not just a news reader

Part of your job is reading all these articles. But an even more important aspect is to dig deeper, follow hunches, write down angles, and keep track of all these little magical thoughts that bubble up while you’re consuming the primary sources.

I use Evernote for this. Whenever an idea for a story pops up, I’ll give it a tag and start saving those pieces to Evernote. This might be a list of the people in the article, and eventually I’ll interview them to generate some new, fresh content, that you can’t find anywhere else. Or it might be a list of the companies that keep popping up in all the news articles – what are the main players in IOT? And what can I learn by following them directly, that I’d otherwise miss if I was just reading what surfaced on Mashable?

However you choose to order this, the point is to let your mind freely associate new story ideas as you’re exploring the content mountains. It’s this creativity that will inherently bring value to your readers, and it’s exactly what we need to see more of in our content curators. I think it’s probably the only way the pros ever think up something more original than mere list bait.

3. Present it meaningfully, and beautifully

It’s funny, but a majority of the focus of curation tips seems to be about where to find what you are sharing, and very little thought is spent on how to present it in a way that will be more useful to your audience. I think if you’re simply re-tweeting, or rounding up stuff on your WordPress, you’re doing your readers a disservice. Formal elements, and the way content is consumed is equally as important as what is being served up.

The reason is pretty simple, and it goes directly back to the allusion of the art curator. What would be the point of picking the very best paintings and works of art, if your gallery was impossible to walk through, or if the lights were turned off? Similarly, if you’re doing the hard work of curating content, you better make sure you provide your readers an enjoyable, cross-platform, engaging experience. This serves their enjoyment but it also leads to better conversion and higher returns on your efforts, as a marketer. Curation, after all, is often being done by brands and businesses, so it would be a shame to do all that hard work, for it not to pay off.

Obviously, I use Pressly to curate content in beautiful and engaging way. And so do many other major brands and publishers. Once I’ve rounded up my list of good articles to share, I use the boomarklet and then it’s sent right to the hub I want. From there I can customize, feature and edit that article to be even more useful and engaging on my hub.

Final say

I hope this snapshot of the day to day life of a curator helped you out. If you have any amazing services that you can’t live without, or any extra pro tips from your experience, please share in the comments.

 

 

 

The New Army of Two: the CMO and CIO

CIO CMO

According to this IBM survey, 70% of CMOs felt unready to handle the explosion of big data. Marketing is no longer just about the traditional tasks of generating creative and public relations. Instead, today’s CMO is very involved with data-centric marketing activities. CMOs use information and data to stay competitive and understand their customers more thoroughly.

Deloitte CMO David Redhill explains why a combination of information technology (IT) and marketing are key to winning business through thought leadership: “…the company’s reputation is enhanced when it is able to deliver a professional service that crosses the gamut of traditional accounting, knowledge-based consulting and strong digital analysis. And that, he says, is down to a strong mix of marketing and IT.”

CMOs now need to work much more closely with CIOs to make use of this data. Building new armies of two, by aligning the CMO and CIO, is viewed as so important that there are entire initiatives designed to advance this process.

CIOs’ Enhanced Responsibilities

CIOs have matched IT solutions with the company’s challenges; this ability is the reason they have seats at the C-level meetings. However, the scope of a CIO’s role is expanding beyond the traditional responsibilities of cost efficiencies and process optimization. CIOs need use their knowledge to influence product development and improving communication to potential customers. These two functions used to primarily be the marketers’ responsibilities; now, the CIO works together with the CMO in order to make smarter, metrics-based marketing decisions.

According to this IBM whitepaper (PDF), an overwhelming majority of CMOs cited market research, analytics, and customer feedback to be sources that influence strategy decisions. Each of these sources are affiliated with the CIO and the organization’s IT team. The buzz around “big data” and its potential applications toward advancing marketing and product decisions puts much weight on the CIO. When it all boils down, the CIO will have to help solve a major problem that CMOs aren’t typically equipped to deal with.

Capturing Marketing ROI

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker

While marketing resources and budgets were mysterious and extremely difficult to track in Wanamaker’s era, the advent of analytics solutions make it possible to gauge the success of marketing initiatives.

This type of analytics may seem as though it takes a lot of time and effort for marketers to collect; however, much of it may already be available within the organization’s IT department. As SAP’s Wilson Raj points out in this blog post, “52 percent of marketers and 45 percent of IT executives believe functional silos prevent the enterprise-wide aggregation of big data–thus hindering customer centricity.” In order to create the most precise measurement of marketing ROI, the CMO’s teams will need to collaborate with the CIO’s teams and gain access to the data that is so essential to this measurement’s success.

“We have the data to be able to see whether what we’re doing is resonating and how we can optimize it, but we don’t collect customer data from people who have purchased from us—the IT organization has that information,” writes Adobe’s SVP and CMO Ann Lewnes in eMarketer. “That’s what is drawing the CMO and CIO together more. Technology is very important from a marketing standpoint.”

To assist with the management of information and technology solutions, marketing departments have appointed their own technical roles. Known informally as “the CIO of Marketing,” or the “Chief Marketing Technologist,” this role involves making the final decisions with the marketing team’s IT budget and IT resources. For example, this chief marketing technologist would lead initiatives such as managing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions.

This role usually is a technology-centric marketer, and not a marketing-centric technologist. As Christiane Pütter writes for SAP, “In the Gartner survey, marketers described their IT colleagues as slow, unwilling to change, and fixed on costs. Marketers who made IT decisions found themselves, on the other hand, to be sales-driven, quick, and inspired by challenges.”

The Rise of the Chief Digital Officer

Not specific to the marketing department, technology research firm Gartner predicts the development of alternative role, the Chief Digital Officer, that will either work side-by-side with CMOs and CIOs, or will simply be the evolution of the CIO role.

Gartner predicts that companies’ technology spending outside of IT will increase to 90% of the total by 2015. Comparatively, at the turn of the millenium, technology spending outside of IT was at a mere 20%. 25% of organizations will have CDOs by 2015 in order to help them adapt to this drastic change in spending.

“The Chief Digital Officer plays in the place where the enterprise meets the customer, where the revenue is generated and the mission accomplished. They’re in charge of the digital business strategy. That’s a long way from running back office IT, and it’s full of opportunity,” writes David Willis, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Wall Street Journal guest contributor Irving Wladawsky-Berger agrees with Willis’ perspective, and believes that the rapid development of this new role creates many opportunities attractive to many of today’s current IT leaders and CIOs.

Leadership firm Russell Reynolds’ Rhys Grossman and Jana Rich defines the CDO role more specifically, emphasizing e-commerce and transactional expertise, online marketing and social media expertise, and transformative product and technology capabilities (e.g., making the transition from analog to digital), are keys to finding a CDO to get the job done. As you may have noticed, the first two fields of expertise are marketing-related and the final one is more of an IT-related responsibility.

Closing Thoughts

Whether it’s the CMO and the CIO becoming an army of two, or the rise of a new role like Chief Digital Officer, both fields of expertise are converging to tackle the same problems. (In fact, here’s a recent example of a CIO-turned-CMO.) CIOs’ responsibilities are expanding beyond simply solving IT problems, and CMOs’ abilities to gain insight and data require a hand from CIOs. This new army of two needs to cooperate and work together in order to usher this age of digital change; otherwise, they will fall behind.

Image Source: CIO/CMO Agenda Conference

How Behemoths like GE, Adobe, and SAP Tell Their Stories

SAP’s SVP of Marketing also serves as the company’s Chief Storyteller. This is just one of the many pieces of evidence indicating how crucial storytelling is to marketing and brand equity for large enterprises.

We all love stories. We are raised with stories from a young age, and many of these narratives become the pillars of our lives. Companies have recognized the power of storytelling for decades, and are now using storytelling to change how potential clients and stakeholders perceive them.

GE Adobe SAP

Here are how leading enterprises such as General Electric, Adobe, and SAP share their stories:

General Electric and the Image of Invention

Conglomerate giant General Electric faces a challenge that many larger, mature, companies inevitably have to deal with: How is it possible for the company to maintain a consistent image when they provide services for such a wide variety of customers in so many different industries? From appliances to jet engines to financial products, General Electric serves a series of drastically different niches and stakeholders.

As such, their story has to accommodate different types of audiences; conversely, their various content niches and microproperties also need a congruent overarching theme for effective branding. How can they do this while maintaining the interest of all parties with their content marketing initiatives?

Linda Boff, executive director of global digital marketing at General Electric, said in an interview with Digiday: “We are GE, a large primarily industrial company. We manufacture things in both traditional and advanced ways. We are fascinated by technology, innovation, discovery and invention. We have a clear compass as to what it is we find interesting and what our voice is in our space. We have a curious, passionate and optimistic voice.”

They embed these themes of technology, innovation, discovery, and invention not only their own content, but in their social media strategy as well. How can you make these vague themes interesting to the mainstream masses?

General Electric uses its own science-centric visuals, such as graphics from its laboratories, to entertain consumers. For example, their Pinterest board features various photos of interesting 3D printing, installations at GE-sponsored events, or progress on one of their latest projects. They created a mobile game for iOS, called Patient Shuffle, that tells the story of a hospital and helps the user understand the importance of logistics and what General Electric’s products are used for.

General Electric leverages visuals on YouTube: it features content such as visuals of their factory and quirky or unusual science-centric video shorts on blooming social network Vine. By sprinkling the themes of technology, innovation, discovery, and invention in the many types of content they share, General Electric maintains a cohesive theme while still tailoring their content to their many types of audiences.

Adobe and Cutting the Marketing BS

Reminiscent of how 7UP was positioned as the UNCOLA in order to stand out in a saturated market, computer software company Adobe created an unusual campaign to target CMOs and digital marketers for their digital marketing solution.

As Forbes columnist Steve Olenski shares in this article, Adobe’s story for this campaign started with their discovery that global advertising is not effective on marketers. Instead of simply explaining their product features in detail, which is exactly what their competitors were doing, Adobe told a different story in order to cut through the noise. They decided to take the brutally honest approach to appealing to marketers and created a campaign called, “Marketing is BS.” Adobe’s solution to platitude-filled meetings is their product, which helps marketers make sense of data. (For example, have a look at their video titled BS Detector.)

The campaign resonated extremely well with marketers, and the “brutally honest” approach to telling this story paid off. Adobe’s CMO Ann Lewnes said in this article with The New York Times: “‘I think Adobe is not known for being provocative or bold,’ Ms. Lewnes said. ‘We’re ‘a nice software company.’ But in this crowded space, with a lot of competition, the intent is to break through, jolt the market,’ she added.”

Essentially, their campaign was about eating their own dogfood when it came to the advice they were preaching: “The frankness of the campaign also signals that Adobe Systems (and their agency) realized that ‘if we were flowery, overly clever, jargony, the more it would feel like we were doing the same thing we were saying people don’t need to do anymore,’ Goodby, Silverstein’s Keith Anderson also added in The New York Times article. (Note: Goodby, Silverstein was Adobe’s agency for this campaign.)

SAP Powers Sentimentality

Operations and logistics software giant SAP faces an extremely difficult challenge in their marketing. While their solution is extremely essential, and effective, and crucial in their clients’ day-to-day activities, their product is also a background service doesn’t make for the most interesting or remarkable topic. How can SAP make Enterprise Resource Management and streamlining processes more understandable and interesting to potential key decision makers and stakeholders? First and foremost, SAP leverages sites like Forbes to host and distribute their content. On their sponsored column, SAPVoice, marketer Todd Wilms demonstrates the potential power behind the story of SAP. Wilms frames SAP as a service that helps their customers deliver:

  • 72% of the world’s chocolate,
  • 70% of the world’s beer,
  • 82% of the world’s athletic footwear. 

SAP follows the 22nd rule of Pixar’s rules of storytelling: “What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.” At its core, SAP is the service that enables companies in all industries to bring joy to its customers and stakeholders. As such, it’s able to tailor its story to different types of customers by simply explaining its different niches.

“For example, at the New York Fashion Week, we are going to capture people talking about fashion and how it impacts their lives,” said Julie Roehm, SAP’s SVP Marketing and Chief Storyteller in a Campaign India interview. “A world ‘run better’ for them might be their clothes fit them every day and they don’t have to worry about their appearance constantly. What does that has [sic.] to do with SAP? Well, we created technology for Levi’s that helps them to image a person and suggest which Levi’s jean is going to be best for them to put on. So, when people put the right one on without going through the hassle of going through multiple pairs of jeans, they feel good about themselves.”

In order to take their storytelling to the next level, SAP created a mobile app that would share the stories of their various customer journeys. While the primary purpose of this mobile app is likely to assist SAP sales teams during presentations, it doubles as a presentable collection of stories and case studies for any potential clients that are interested in SAP.

Closing Thoughts

With decades of experience in branding and marketing, these companies are industry-leaders in the art of storytelling and how storytelling techniques can be used to increase brand awareness and sales. As General Electric, Adobe, and SAP demonstrate, the greatest stories can be told through content marketing by using imaginative themes, speaking frankly with your customers, and connecting with the sentimentality of your product. 

5 Content Marketing KPI to Keep Your Eyes On

How do you know whether your content marketing is working or not?

Five Content Marketing Tips

According to a whitepaper by Rebecca Lieb of Altimeter, measuring content marketing success is often described by marketers as “all over the board.” From the perspectives of enterprises, coming up clear metrics is subjective because of the broad range of stakeholders, including marketing, sales, and communications. There are no standardized sets of metrics that all teams converge upon naturally: for example, one team could be expecting lead generation, whereas another team could be hoping to drive deeper engagement from the same content initiative.

As Peter Drucker once said, “What gets measured gets managed.” The solution is to only measure several Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), because there is NO one-size-fits-all set of metrics. However, you’re worse off not measuring at all than not measuring properly (at least your team will get into the habit of tracking), so here are some fundamental content marketing KPIs to keep your eyes on and the principles behind them:

1. Reach

One prerequisite to content marketing success is ensuring people are actually consuming (e.g., reading, watching, listening to) your content. You can measure this by calculating your reach.

The most valuable metrics are pageviews and unique visitors. These two metrics have been used by advertisers and publishers since the dawn of the internet because they are most simple and representative way to measure how many people saw your content.

The reach metric comes with one caveat: optimizing just for pageviews is a poor method for measuring content marketing initiatives if you create content that is popular, but lacks relevance with your audience. Especially in B2B marketing, you must still preserve the content integrity of your brand.

When experimenting with distribution to increase reach, such as paid advertising or social media, you may also want to consider some of these KPIs that social networks look at (e.g., here are Facebook’s): impressions and clickthroughs, number of social shares — and in B2B, if your prospects shared your content. What better reason to get in touch and start a conversation?

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If you have created the world’s best content but no one is around to read it, is it valuable? Philosophy aside, let’s just make sure you never have to debate this question with your content: keep an eye on your reach through pageviews and unique visitors.

2. Brand Lift

From a more qualitative KPI focused around branding, you can measure performance in one of these primary areas of brand objectives:

  • Awareness
  • Attitudes
  • Favorability
  • Purchase intent
  • Preference

Awareness can be measured through reach, but the other four points may require some deeper prodding. Companies use focus groups and surveys to measure attitudes, favorability, and preference, and you can also measure these by using social media sentiment analysis. This can be done by using free tools like Social Mention and by keeping a close eye on hashtags, Google Alerts, or through your social media agency. (For further reading on using social media to listen  and gauge consumer opinions, check out Converseon’s whitepaper, Listening 2.0.)

To measure purchase intent, you can use your analytics platform to examine how far down the sales funnels visitors from your websites are going, when they arrive at your site through a content initiative. You can also use a marketing automation platform to give credit to attribute leads to specific sources of content.

3. Business Growth

In order to measure business growth, look at how much revenue is being generated through each content initiative. Depending on your business, this could be measured through lead generation, or the number of new e-mails collected within a certain timespan.

If you want a more comprehensive look at business growth created through content marketing, break down the revenue generated based on each of your content marketing efforts — was the revenue mainly through new customers or was it from increased revenue from existing customers? This will help you better understand your content initiative’s strengths and weaknesses, and whether it’s aligning to your goals (e.g., new customer acquisition vs existing custom retention?).

4. Reader Engagement

In addition to business growth, reader engagement is another KPI that will gauge whether or not your content is relevant and of high quality. Reader engagement and business growth balance out the reach KPI.

To measure reader engagement, look at metrics such as bounce rate, time spent on page, blog stickiness (average pages per visit), comments per post, and even explicit client feedback (e.g., through e-mails or blog comments).

5. Special Metrics

Your organization is unique — while it may operate using certain best practises or principles, it’s certainly not completely cut out of a cookie-cutter mould. Similarly, your content marketing KPIs should reflect this uniqueness: what aspect of your organization is this content initiative designed to help grow or improve?

Dell used to be well-known for its terrible reputation amongst consumers (have a look at what journalist Jeff Jarvis had to say about it, and how many readers that critique resonated with, several years ago). Dell knew what they had to change, and proceeded to adjust accordingly.

As the Executive Director of Online Marketing for Dell’s Large Enterprise Business Unit, Rishi Dave, highlights in this interview, Dell would look at metrics such as loyalty, brand reputation, impact on costs (for example, through customer support). These metrics are extremely customer centric and focused on retention and improving the reputation.

Dell uses a metric called the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which according to Dave, “measures the loyalty of your customer base and lets you identify opportunities for increasing your overall brand health. It also enables you to recognize how you can enhance your customers’ perceptions of (and loyalty to) your company.”

You must ask yourself, “What is your organization’s priority? What is its greatest challenge or strength, and which are you trying to improve or refine? Pick a KPI to measure this.

Closing Thoughts

Don’t get caught in analysis paralysis: if your content initiative isn’t being tracked and measured using the proper KPIs, you’ll never have an idea of what needs to be improved and whether the initiative is working for your organization. Even if the metrics are not meeting performance expectations, at least you will know if your results are improving or getting worse. Having the proper metrics in place will allow you to determine the next course of action, whether it’s to cut your losses, continue on course, or tweak and optimize for more effective content marketing.

 (Image Source: Flickr)