Information you need to make informed decisions about marketing technology and mobile marketing

Pivot Points from Scott Brinker, Looking Past the Hype and Theory of Marketing Technology

Back in 1988 Howard Haas joined the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business as an adjunct professor. He struggled in his new role to find a curriculum that supported what he learned and experienced during his tenure as CEO at Sealy. Shortly after joining the university he developed a new curriculum that essentially changed leadership courses at Booth School of Business as well as impacting university curriculum around the country.

Haas’s revolution began when he introduced a new leadership course in 1989. The course shifted students training and understanding regarding leadership from theory to practice.  The course was aptly named “Leadership in Practice” filled a big gap know known as the “Knowing to Doing Gap.”

Similar to what Howard Haas did for MBA Leadership courses during the early 90s, Scott Brinker is striving to take hype and theory out of Marketing Technology. Scott leads ION Interactive, MarTech Events and a think tank that looks at the MarTech sector. His book “Hacking Marketing”, MarTech seminars and events are designed to help you and I grasp the importance of martech. His straightforward practical approach looks past the hype and theory to uncover the most effective use of technology offerings in our industry, organizations, and systems.

At this year’s MarketingTech Smart Conference, Scott presented on “Hacking Marketing: The Amazing Convergence of Marketing & Software.” During Scott’s presentation, he challenged us to look at our martech stack of tools and platforms. We were asked to consider what’s in and how we use our martech stack. Then, he shared some astounding statistics that indicate that we are not leveraging our martech stacks effectively and in most cases improperly.  A few reasons range from rapid change with a focus on “the latest and greatest” to being overwhelmed and slow to change. Whatever the reason, we need to rethink how to leverage technology for marketing our businesses more effectively.

Scott recommended that we rework our marketing strategy. He challenged us to consider a new way of designing our strategy. Large enterprise IT organizations have found that bimodal strategies are more conducive to the management of technology.  Gartner Explains Bimodal

Scott also shared that our current strategies are likely responsive, agile and tactical so we can fail fast, learn quickly and course correct.  On the other hand, our strategy can be focused on scalability, standardization, and fail-not approach to marketing. Either way, money is left on the table. Marketing costs are high and companies lose out on opportunities and revenue.

Pivot Point #1 – Bimodal Marketing Strategy
Scott recommends that we restructure our marketing strategies into a bimodal fashion.

Fail-Fast: 30 % of our efforts, budgets and plan should be structured on experimental and up and coming marketing opportunities and technologies.

Fail-Not: 70 % of our efforts, budgets and plan should be focused on areas where we can optimize, standardize and automate to reduce costs and errors while increasing effectiveness and scalability.

 

Scott emphasized that software magnifies marketing effectiveness but only if talent adopts the martech stack and leverages it to seize the opportunity for the company. Scott recommends that marketers (like you and I) learn about the pace-layered approach to cataloging, selecting and leveraging technology within an organization.

Pivot Point #2 – Incorporate Pace-Layered Approach
Scott recommends that we incorporate pace-layered approach to managing our MarTech stack.

By incorporating a pace-layered approach into our marketing strategies, we can increase adoption of our martech stack. Increased adoption will essentially decrease our costs and increase our marketing effectiveness.

As a result of attending the MarketingTech Smart 2016 event, I learned from Scott, that for in order to succeed in future marketing efforts, I need to take a page out of IT’s playbook regarding my implementation of marketing technology.  This is exactly why Scott Brinker wrote “Hacking Marketing” and hosts events like MarTech 2017 to prepare marketers.  This also why he feels AMA events like MarketingTech Smart  2016 and MarTech 2017 are important to marketers. Scott Brinker said,

“It is important for marketers to come together and learn from each other on how technology is impacting their world.”

Can you imagine how effective tools like automation, digital wallets, and user behavior mapping can increase customer satisfaction, organizational goals, and ultimately your career? At events like MarketingTech Smart 2016 and MarTech 2017, the convergence of knowledge, best practices, experience and strategy prepares marketers to do just that; happier customers and healthier ROIs naturally push your career in an upward trajectory.

 

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About the Author: Nick Rich is an Enterprise Architect and Thought Leader on web, social, and mobile based technologies. Nick currently consults and advises clients on content, collaboration, communication technology, and how to foster corporate adoption.

 

Pivot Points: Matt Bailey, Leveraging a Sales Mindset

Did you hear the joke about the toothbrush salesman? I recently came across this joke and it speaks volumes about the importance of a sales mindset.  The joke goes something like this:

 

A boss asked it’s company’s top toothbrush salesman how he managed to sell so many brushes. The toothbrush salesman replied, “It’s easy” and pulled out a card table, setting his display of brushes on top.

He told his boss “I lay the brushes out like this, and then I put out some potato chips and dip to draw in the customers.”

After the chips and dip were laid out the boss said, “That’s a very innovative approach” and took one of the chips, dipped it, and stuck it in his mouth.

“Yuck, this tastes terrible!” his boss yelled.

The toothbrush salesman replied, “It is? Want to buy a toothbrush?”

 

If we all took a moment and considered the primary responsibility of marketing, we should all arrive at the same conclusion – sales. This joke illustrates the four points of sales: plan, setup, execution, and results.

 

At the recent 2016 Chicago AMA MarketingTech Smart event, Matt Bailey presented as one of the expert speakers with his session: “Six Steps to Marketing Automation.” In his session, Bailey alluded that marketers tend to structure their strategies and plans around the tactical use of technology for the purpose of generating likes, follows, friends and building lists. This might not be the right approach. Consider Matt’s critical points on marketing automation: human factor, redefine success metrics, get sales training, define and refine process, and develop customers for life.

 

#1 – The Human Factor

Matt recommended that we consider “The Human Factor” when we build strategies. The convergence of a mature martech, we now have access to 10,000+ sites, platforms and tools to possibly leverage. To compound the situation, Matt suspects that the current success metrics may be focused on the wrong data points.

 

#2 – Redefine Success Metrics

Redefining your metrics requires research and the first action item is to listen to your customers. Matt suggests that you start with your internal sales team as they deal with customers on daily basis and have a healthy perspective on the sales funnel and the customer’s journey from lead to advocate.

With your newly gained customer-focused insight, you will likely have an opportunity to redefine your success metrics. With marketing automation tools, you can take the newly defined metrics and start crafting workflows, triggers and responders which can gauge and assist in customer engagement.

#3 – Get Sales Training

To marketers like you and I, sales training may seem unnecessary. However, to truly understand what customers are looking for and how to encourage them to purchase your products, services or information, you will need sales training. Sales training from your sales team will provide you with crucial insights that have the potential to redefine your marketing strategy, plans and tactics. By learning from your sales team, you will have new data points to test out.

#4 – Define and Refine Process (Marketing Automation)
Four steps to identify, define and refine your marketing process:

  • Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up
    Engage customers and subscribers via Automated Drip Campaigns (ADC). ADCs can be designed to trigger automated emails, texts and direct mail pieces customized to the recipient.

Example: If a customer has not visited the site in 30 days, the system can send a reminder of what they previously browsed and ask if they are still interested in completing a purchase.

Key Fact: 80% of sales happen after the 5th contact with the customer. *

  • Ask the Right Questions
    Each time your reach out to customers and subscribers, ask questions to learn more about them. Segment your audience and measure their responses.

Key Fact: Marketing to a segmented audience increases open rates by up to 57% and click-through rates by 25%.*

  • Build the Relationship
    Identify key relational objectives for your customers to meet. Help guide the potential customers from initial engagement to becoming advocates.

Key Fact: The process of building a relationship with your audience can drastically increase the health of your marketing effectiveness. However, the objective must clearly be communicated to your audience.*

Examples of call to action messages: Follow us on Twitter, Sign-up for the Webinar, Share the Blog Post, etc.

  • Ask for the Sale
    Marketing automation and drip campaigns make a difference.

Example: A known user abandons a shopping cart and an automated email to that user is sent asking for the sale. Or, a customer bought coffee 30 days ago; an email reminder is sent to them asking for the sale: “Your supply of coffee may be running low, click here to replenish.”

Key Fact: Asking for the sale is the #1 way to get individuals to buy online and in-store.*

#5 – Develop Customers for Life
Develop customers for life by leveraging lead scoring. As we become more efficient at closing sales, building healthy trusting relationships and having frequent and relevant conversations with our customers, we can develop lifelong customers. Start by collecting customers’ implicit and explicit data.

  • Implicit Data (dynamic action): An individual’s interests, status, interaction and responses
  • Explicit Data (static information): Name, Location, conversation details and basic facts
  • Define how individuals interact with your company and why.
  • Compare your collected data and defined interactions with engagement and sales figures. How do they match up? Are you able to segment and identify your company’s most profitable relationships?
  • In the process of developing your lead scoring, learn what makes relationships successful for your organization. Next, outline this information in a scoring matrix to compare to your prospects and customers.
  • Finally, design marketing messages and campaigns that enhance relationships to the level of lifetime advocates (your most profitable relationship).

The key to marketing success is not the number of likes, follows, friends and lists but rather, the key to marketing success is, and should always be linked to sales figures. Sales are the lifeblood of any organization. Without sales, organizations would cease to operate. We need to make marketing relevant, engaging and sales-focused.

 

 

*Key Facts: Presented at 2016 MarketingTech Smart Conference

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Matt Bailey has taught Google employees how to use Google Analytics. He has shown Experian how to present data. And he has led workshops in digital marketing at Disney/ABC/ESPN, HP, P&G and IBM, to name a few.

 

A recognized digital marketing expert, Matt is an instructor for the Direct Marketing Assn., Market Motive, and the Online Marketing Certified Professional program. He is also founder and president of SiteCore, a marketing consultancy, and he has published three books.

 

The Direct Marketing Association said of him, “No one else has approached the plain-English demystification of building an effective online presence as cost-effectively and time-effectively as has Matt.”

 

Twitter: @sitelogic

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About the Author: Nick Rich is an Enterprise Architect and Thought Leader on web, social, and mobile based technologies. Nick currently consults and advises clients on content, collaboration, communication technology, and how to foster corporate adoption.

Re-Shaping Your Customer’s Experience through Mobile – What’s Now & Next

It’s been nearly ten years since the iPhone debuted, and the opportunities to service, sell and create loyalty with your customers is now greater than it’s ever been before.  New iphone8 trends that are driving consumer mobile behavior now should be used as a filter for re-looking at your customer’s journey with your category and brand.  But the consumer mobile experienice is rapidly heading towards even more sophistication, and the challenges & opportunities that come with that powerful evolution will equally demand marketers to step up their game in order to remain relevant.
Without question, mobile is now the epicenter of digital life – people spend more time on their devices than any other channel, now eclipsing the desktop as primary access point.  The increase in time spent brings with it serious productivity expectations that are raising the bar for mobile experiences.
E-mail is mostly read on mobile devices – making subject lines, preview text, landing pages even more critical to get contextually right.  As you can see from some recent stats by Google – patience is thin, almost a third of folks will bail if you don’t provide a good mobile experience.  The rewards are worth it for those that get it right – with nearly two-thirds likely to buy more for smart contextualized experiences.
Another aspect to keep in mind is the domination of video consumption on mobile devices.
Half of YouTube’s viewership now takes place on mobile devices.  Interestingly, good weather spikes the amount of mobile video content consumption – 6x more according to Ericson’s 2016 Mobility report.  It’s not just short-form formats that garner interest – people are also willing to look at videos that are +5 min in length if it’s compelling, relevant and provided in the optimized vertical format.  Plus live streaming is becoming more popular and pervasive.

 

But, are we recognizing our customer’s mobile moments and meeting them there?  Not just in the obvious ways, but the less obvious ones as well?
Consumers are depending on their mobile to help them get more things done in any available spare moment according to a 2015 study by Pew Internet on mobile phone use in public.
You may be waiting to go through the security line at the airport or waiting for a flight to board – in those minutes realize that you need to get my bills paid – RIGHT NOW.  Sound familiar?  Mobile online banking has completely changed mine and many others productivity in exactly this manner.  Thanks to mobile, consumers are starting to interact with your brand in the less than typical places.
For those in the travel industry, we’re digging deeper into the traveler’s journey to identify and meet more of those mobile moments as seen here in this “Mobile Moments in Travel –Customer Journey Map”.

 

ima_travelcxe-journeymap_image_25sep16

 

Starting with the “Dream” phase of inspiration triggers that come from social media and other sources – you might have ten minute on your morning commute to check out destination videos, message with your network on where to go for your weekend getaway or do quick flight, hotel search comparisons and see reviews.
Bookings are shifting from desktop to phones/tablets as consumers become more reliant and trust their mobile devices to handle everything from sharing an itinerary with one’s social network to working on pre-trip plans incrementally through messaging platforms.
Mobile is tailor made for travel in that it is the primary device travelers now depend on to learn, navigate and solve their needs across the entire travel customer experience journey.  Airlines and hotels are operationalizing through mobile – with things such as check-in, boarding pass, room key, upgrades and other guest service requests.
Besides the mobile responsive design and other basics, the travel industry is also going deeper to create unique mobile value in other areas:
Mobile Only Incentives – Orbitz was an early leader with their bonus incentives for booking exclusively in their mobile app;
We at Amadeus are curating relevant partner content for up-selling and cross-selling, and airlines like American, JetBlue, United and others are weaving more utility in their apps – Dynamic Terminal Maps that recommend dining options and help you navigate based on your gate location; JetBlue shows upgrade status and onboard flight entertainment content options.
But, like other industries – we have our work cut out for us in the travel industry in moving into the next phase of mobilizing the traveller’s experience, as you can see from recent stats depicting traveller frustrations that need to be addressed through mobile contained in the Slideshare presentation below.
Whether it’s simple flight delay notifications or more demanding complexity of re-booking during disruptions – these must be delivered with high-quality AT SCALE.  Remember the Ash iCloud from a few years ago, or more recent system outages by various airlines?  Human systems (call centers, websites and social media) couldn’t keep up with the overwhelming service demand, so we must turn to more automated and sophisticated mobile technology to address these growing demands.
Similarly, every industry can look at their customer’s journey map to identify, their mobile moments – from the basics to the exceptions and the sticky value creators that build long-term loyalty.  Some illustrative examples for the Insurance industry based on things the travel industry has adopted or is now actively exploring:

 

  • Health – encourage shoppers to share their daily steps and/or preventative check-ups with insurers for pricing incentives, curate providers that can improve their health levels
  • Home – take a page straight out of the travel playbook –parse itinerary confirmation e-mails and capture receipts for easy expense reporting – perhaps do the same to create property inventories for easier loss reporting later, same with disaster prevention checklists
  • Auto – bring real-time traffic and weather pattern together to help drivers avoid flood zones and other high accident prevalent areas
  • Life – use Facebook Check-In notifications to notify agents and other loved ones in disasters; calculators that ease scenario planning and tap into geofencing to keep an eye on special loved ones like children and the elderly.
    But the biggest challenge to marketers yet is speed – the world of mobile continues to rapidly evolve.  First, we’ll see smaller wearable devices like watches take off as people become more accustomed to micro experiences with high service value impact.  Images and video get a big definition quality boost from improved camera features, which will continue to push expectations for mind-blowing content.

 

But what’s really about to change the mobile game is the rise of Messenger Platforms and the emergence of Chatbots.

 

Facebook Messenger and its equivalents are rapidly topping the most popular apps and time spent thresholds.  Now, robotic chat entities are being developed to interact with consumers across shopping and customer service needs at scale.
Facebook Messenger recently opened up their API and within 2 months’ time, claiming 11K chatbots have been created by developers for a variety of brands, such as Sephora.  In travel, bots are exploding and KLM has led the way in exploring this next digital customer experience frontier.
For these reasons – I believe that mobile is now a much more complex channel – requiring us as marketers to think in a multi-dimensional way along a 24/7 social, micro-data visual and increasingly sentient environment.
As our industry moves up the innovation curve, there are challenges as well as opportunities we face as marketers.  Here are a couple that I think are important for marketers to chew on:

  1. Digital Brand Ambassadorship – first- we’re in the early days of bots…and they just like us have a learning curve.  IBM, Microsoft and others are working on their NLP capabilities but it will take a while for the machine learning to do its work.  Likewise, limited product / service options and incomplete check-out processes will need to be addressed for wider adoption. On the upside, this also presents an opportunity to turn Chatbots into true “digital brand ambassadors” – Rosie is my archetype – efficient, but her personality and caretaking of me is what will count in the end.  This is a two-way play – (1) Consumer to feel like their real-life agent has a virtual assistant to interact with and (2) Agent gets reciprocal benefit from having a virtual assistant to optimize their time and follow-up.
  2. Nomadic Branding – this new mobilized experience will also continue to push brands off of their “home turf” and into other platforms.  Essential to understand how your brand will need to translate into these micro-environments and not become a commodity / overshadowed by the platform brand.  On the flip side, entering into more distributed mobile platforms like messenger opens up even greater opportunities for brands to tap into an always on Focus Group audience.  Whether that’s getting location-based engagement patterns (moments where your brand is consumed), assessing category/brand sentiment based on messaging sentiment, emoticons or wearable sensors, being able to use images, video and live stream to solve frustrations (e.g. how to hurricane proof house or show effects during eye of storm) and further segment offers and trial them based on mobile behaviors and data.

 

As 21st century marketers, we’ve got a daunting, yet exciting task ahead.  Here are some starting points to help tackle the mobile customer experience evolution:

  1. Go through your customer’s experience with a purely mobile lens – try to do basic as well as the exception case tasks with your mobile web and app and see if it passes the test.  Go after quick win gaps and build your list of longer-term sticky value-adds that you can test.
  2. Start exploring the Messenger world – talk to your agents and other field representatives about what basics could be “messengerized” now and later – create a roadmap.
  3. Lastly, work with your creative teams to build a nomadic brand architecture – visual, text, audio presentation across your mobile footprint and continue to re-assess and update it.

It’s an exciting time to be in marketing.  I’d love to hear from anyone who is testing and learning with messenger platforms and chatbots – please reach out to me via @iMediaMichelle on Twitter.

Full slide presentation accompanying the above post also available on Slideshare:

 

 

Article originally posted by Michelle Batten on iMediaAvenue.com: http://imediaavenue.com/re-shaping-your-customers-experience-through-mobile-whats-now-next/ 

 

logo_MarketingTech Smart

Lessons from 4 marketing technology experts

We hand-picked a series of four articles on marketing technology and mobile marketing, by four leaders in their field. These are the same marketing experts—Scott Brinker, Jack Philbin, Matt Bailey and Steve Susina—who will be speaking in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 21 at the half-day MarketingTech Smart 2016 conference.

If you like what they have to say, then save your spot right now to hear them live and in-person, only in Chicago!

Odds are your marketing stack is way bigger than you think it is

By Scott Brinker

 graphic_scott-brinker_sears_ghostery

As a rule of thumb, people wildly underestimate the number of marketing technologies they have deployed in their organization — sometimes by a factor of 2X, sometimes by a factor of 10X or more. “We use 2-3 marketing technologies,” they might answer in a survey, when in truth, they use more like 20-30 products from the marketing technology landscape. It’s completely understandable, of course, as marketing technologies are not weighted equally.

Read the full article

Scott’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Hacking Marketing: The Amazing Convergence of Marketing & Software 


The massive opportunity for mobile wallets

An interview with Jack Philbin

Jack provides some compelling reasons why we’re seeing a resurgence of consumer interest in using mobile wallets, and he shares some examples of large enterprises that are seeing strong ROI via mobile wallet offers.

Read the full article

Jack’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Mobile Wallet Marketing: How Retailers Like Chipotle Are Succeeding In This Emerging Channel


Shiny things: What distracts you?

Matt Bailey’s Endless coffee cup podcast

logo_matt-bailey-podcast

Headlines dominate the early part of this podcast, which begins with a study revealing that the majority of Fortune 500 marketers are looking for the next “silver bullet” market-shifting technology. What is is that attracts us to the silver bullet mentality? Do we truly believe there is only a single “magic” thing that will radically grow our business?

Listen to the podcast

Matt’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Six steps to marketing automation


Retail innovations that drive omnichannel commerce

By Steve Susina

Retail has been through a rough stretch. As we entered 2016, each day seemingly brought new announcements of physical store closings, poor retail performance, and even bankruptcies. … To help drive your 2016 planning, and satisfy consumers’ appetite for technology, there are four types of retail technology innovations you should pay attention to.

Read the full article

Steve’s topic at MarketingTech Smart: Marketing automation in today’s digital landscape


Learn from the masters, Oct. 21 at MarketingTech Smart 2016 in Chicago.

Reserve your seat today!

Three Social Media Tips for Building Your Network

By Wendy Lalli

Building a strong professional network is essential for every career. There are, of course, many ways to develop this essential career tool. Joining and actively participating in organizations like the Chicago AMA is one thing you can do. You can also go to business events and socialize with colleagues, vendors and even competitors out of the office.  Of course, you should do all of the above but social media provides you with another way to deepen the contacts you make face-to-face and connect with people you may never meet in person.

LinkedIn is the gold standard for professional networking.

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are all useful networking venues but none of these channels has the reach or the power of LinkedIn. The fact is, having a fully functioning LinkedIn profile is as important as having an up-to-date resume. Moreover, when you meet new people at networking events, asking them to link in with you is the easiest and most effective way to connect with them immediately and in the future.

To take full advantage of LinkedIn, fill in all the sections of your profile and include a professional looking photo. Then make your profile as public as possible. Add updates to your profile several times a week including networking events, educational events, blogs posted, etc. Join appropriate LinkedIn groups and comment on discussions within these groups. Even better, initiate discussions of your own. Blog for Pulse on topics of general interest or personal insights and experiences that can help others with their careers. Post links to articles on your update section that will reflect your expertise in your industry and your willingness to share your knowledge.  LinkedIn isn’t about connecting with old school chums and family members but adding weight to your professional presence online.

Here are three tips to keep in mind to help achieve that goal:

  1. Networking is a numbers game. Play it to win. The more people you can connect with who are in your industry or in industries related to yours – the better. However, this is NOT the same as just adding more names to your LinkedIn contact list. For example, if you’re a copywriter, adding plumbers, waiters and insurance reps to your professional network probably won’t help you find a new job or learn more about the latest trends in your industry. On the other hand, connecting with art directors, media specialists, account executives and other writers will help you do all of the above.
  1. Help others to help yourself. The real secret to building a business network is proactively helping others whether or not you immediately get something back in return.  This assistance can take many forms. Telling someone about a job, passing on the contact information of an appropriate hiring manager, advising someone on their resume, writing a blog to share what you know or just giving moral support to a job hunter when they didn’t get the job.  If you have a solid social media presence, these interactions can take place even with people you’ve never met who live thousands of miles away!  Here are two examples of how to network via social media:

Example 1: One night about six years ago, I opened up my LinkedIn account to find an invitation from Henry B. I had never met Henry – he lives in Los Angeles and I’m in Chicago. When I looked at his LinkedIn profile, I discovered that, like me, he blogged frequently for Pulse. (In fact, I think that’s how he found me.) It turned out that Henry had held senior leadership positions at some of the biggest ad agencies in the country and now was a consultant to major corporations on new business development. I was extremely flattered that someone at his level of experience would be interested in connecting with me and accepted his invitation as soon as I could. A few months later Henry sent me a message via LinkedIn that Sally, his college-age daughter was coming to Chicago to start a career in marketing. Knowing from my profile that I taught copywriting at Columbia College and had previously been a recruiter, he asked if I would be willing to advise her about her resume and then pass it on to my contacts in the city.

After an email exchange with Sally, I suggested some changes to her resume and then gave her the names and contact information of about 15 recruiters in town. I also alerted these recruiters that she would be in touch with them shortly. A few weeks later I was pleasantly surprised to receive a check for $100 from one of these agencies as a finder’s fee. It seems that Henry’s daughter was a dynamite candidate and the recruiter had been able to place her immediately in a full time job.

Since then, Henry has coached me at various times via email on creating new business proposals and he also sent me a DVD of one of his speeches. (He’s a well-known motivational speaker on business presentations and networking for corporations and universities.) Although we’ve still never met or even talked on the phone, I am very proud to be connected to Henry and I think he feels the same way about me.

Example 2: A year and a half ago I posted a blog on Pulse offering advice on networking and Victor D., a project manager at Dell, wrote a nice comment about it. Checking out his LinkedIn profile before I responded to his comment, I saw that he worked in Austin, Texas. At that time, I was considering relocating to Austin if I found a suitable position. In thanking him for his kind remarks, I mentioned that I was considering relocating to Austin myself.

Within a few days, Victor sent me several job descriptions from his company’s internal job board along with the names and direct phone numbers of the department managers responsible for filling these positions. Of course, I thanked him for his efforts on my behalf but since the jobs were above my level of experience, I was reluctant to send off a resume. Victor responded to my reluctance by sending me two more job descriptions a little lower on the food chain that had not yet been posted publicly. As it turned out, due to family considerations I decided that relocation was just not an option. But if it had been, I’m sure Victor would have helped make it happen! It goes without saying that if Victor wants my help in the future, he’s got it!

  1. Stay in touch to get ahead. Networking, like any activity involving personal interaction, takes work and constant attention. To stay connected to your contacts you need to know where they are and what they’re doing, and then let them know the same about you. Fortunately, LinkedIn makes this relatively easy even if your contact list, like mine, is over 700 people. If someone is having an anniversary, congratulate them on it. If they’ve been promoted, send them a little LinkedIn message acknowledging their achievement. If someone endorses you, thank them for their recognition of your skill sets. Keep these messages short, cheerful and to the point, but send them as often as you can.

Is there someone you haven’t connected with for a while who you’d like to be closer to? Post a recommendation for them on LinkedIn based on your previous experience with them. Hopefully, they’ll return the favor and write a recommendation for you. But even if they don’t, you’ll have reminded them of your work together and why you’re worth staying in touch with.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Remember, networking is always about giving whatever and wherever and to whomever you can. Concern for others allows you to build bridges – making the world a smaller and much friendlier place.

Using Google Analytics in a Few Clicks

On March 22nd, Chicago AMA members and guests gathered at 1871 to hear from Google Analytics expert, Andy Crestodina. In addition to being the Co-Founder and Strategic Director at Orbit Media, he also serves as a mentor at 1871, an Adjunct Professor at Loyola; and was named in the “Top 10 Online Experts I’m Following in 2015” by Forbes Magazine. The night’s topic was “Applied Google Analytics: Insights and Actions,” a presentation that he will be giving as a keynote speaker at an upcoming conference–and we were lucky enough to hear it first!

A well-seasoned speaker, Crestodina breezed through his slides with the ease of a professor teaching his most passionate subject. In fact, he joked that if his soon-to-be-born child could learn one thing, he hoped it would be Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). His over-arching statement is this: Traffic times your Conversion Rate is what will equal success for your website.

Let’s take a look at how he illustrated this throughout the evening. The broad topics covered were:

  • Reporting vs. Analysis: How most marketers get Analytics wrong
  • Turning ideas into questions
  • Analytics Insights
  • Audience Insights: WHO is visiting?
  • Acquisition Insights: WHERE are they coming from?
  • Behavior Insights: WHAT are they doing here?
  • Conversion Insights: WHICH pieces of content are successful?

Before diving into the tips and tricks of Google Analytics, Crestodina ensured that the group was on the same playing field by quizzing the audience on the difference between data (pages of reports) and analytics (words written about those reports).

Analytics are KEY to your business, and he likened them to being the driving wheel of your company–you wouldn’t just hand that over to anyone, would you? He encouraged each of us to take the driver’s wheel and learn to run these reports, perform the analytics and cautioned against outsourcing the analytics 100% to an outside firm.

Additionally, once you have the analytics in front of you, he encouraged the asking of questions, putting the answers into actionable tasks and performing a series of tests to ensure the path taken was helpful, fruitful and profitable to your company.

The reports sections included and discussed in his presentation were: Audience, Aquisition, Behavior and Conversion. These four sections of Google Analytics contain reports that can unlock the mystery of who is visiting your website, where they are coming from, what they are doing once they are there, and which content is getting them to stay. Let’s take a look at a small sample of the reports discussed.

Audience & Acquisition – Mobile vs Not

Within three clicks in Google Analytics, you can discover what percentage of your website traffic is fed from mobile devices. That’s interesting. Take it a step further. Combine Traffic data with a CRO analysis and you can find out if your mobile audience is less or more engaged than your non-mobile audience. Now you have somewhere to start, questions to ask and answers to test.

Behavior – “The Report of Broken Dreams”

Again, with just a few clicks within Google Analytics, you can see the terms that users searched for and then the amount of people that left your website because they couldn’t find what they were searching for. The insight? Write about that topic! Crestodina says to think about your website as if it were a city.  Put your “Billboards” where your “Traffic” is. Know your most popular road (or paths, on your site) and load it up with your best and most searched for content.

Towards the end of his presentation, Crestodina quoted Barry Feldman: “Your website is a mouse trap, your content is the cheese.” He asked the audience: “Are you writing content that your audience desires?” And added, “Strong websites have a conversion rate of 1-3%. Below that, you aren’t going to make any money; over that, you’re going to be a millionaire.”

The message was clear: Traffic times Conversion Rate equals success. Crestodina provided clear steps on how to run a good set of reports that any business owner can start with to help he or she analyze why a piece or a side of that formula is not working for his or her business. The presentation ended a joyful applause and a few whispers of “I wish I could go work on these reports right NOW!”

About the Author

Ms. Ramsey is the owner of Besty Bash, LLC, a creative social media & digital marketing firm in Chicago. In her free time, she enjoys listening to live music and chatting about it on her blog, www.LaurenIgnited.com.

Twitter: @TweetsByBetsy / @LaurenIgnited
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/laureneramsey

Connecting Ideas to Drive Results: A Brandsmart Recap

By Jessica Schaeffer, Director of Marketing, LaSalle Network

A clear theme emerged at 22 West Washington Street on April 28th as some of the biggest minds in marketing gathered to share insights around the brands they manage. The theme: the new wave of marketing: the power of storytelling to build relationships and trust with your consumers and clients.

Chicago American Marketing Associaton’s BrandSmart offered a smattering of perspectives from not-for-profits, ad agencies, big brands and up and coming brands.

Here’s a peek at the day in case you missed it, or just want to compare notes.

Session 1: Marketing for Tomorrow Starting Today – First Session

The day kicked off with a tag team effort by Ron Bess of Havas Worldwide and Zain Raj of Shapiro + Raj. Their message? Great brands (both your personal brand and an organization’s brand) build enduring bonds by fulfilling relationship expectations and sharing brand control.

Raj highlighted eight actionable relationships a consumer has with a brand – the best being a devoted relationship and the worst being a passable relationship. While every brand should strive to achieve devoted relationships with their customers, a mere 12% of customers say they have a devoted relationship with a brand.

So how do you deepen attachment and improve the experience? Raj shared five tips:

  1. Create a new focus: Begin with your most devoted customers to convert your most attractive prospects. Stop going after customers who don’t LOVE your brand.
  2. Try a new approach: Treat customers with respect, trust and loyalty
  3. Adopt a new mindset: Brands need to be perpetually evolving and try to improve
  4. Build a new model: Every company needs to be focused on cutting costs and producing faster
  5. Solve a new equation: Values x Authenticity: The strongest brands know they have to have commendable values, and LIVE those values

Bess closed out the session by drawing parallels between Raj’s presentation and personal branding. Just like a company’s brand, your personal brand is tied to the results you produce and the relationships you build. As a professional, you need to be focused on building trust, respect and loyalty.

Session 2: Transforming the Cubs Brand

Director of Marketing at the Chicago Cubs, Allison Miller, gave attendees a glimpse into the challenges the Cubs’ brand has faced during her tenure. Chief among them understanding and honing in on their target market.

Miller joined the Cubs and realized quickly they were selling a bad product. The Cubs had an aging team, the third highest payroll in the league and amenities that were deteriorating. They had a large, diverse fan base, and yet they knew nothing about them. They were marketing to everyone, without a clear focus of who would really move the needle for the brand.

Miller began the process by segmenting their customers and creating a fan and brand promise. The Cubs took time to understand the different brand personas and talk with these customers. Then, they worked to develop a brand message, campaigns and experiences they wanted these customers to have.

The findings helped the Cubs narrow their marketing, target their messaging around changes within the organization and bridge what the community wanted to do with the stadium with what the Cubs needed to do to advance the organization.

Session 3: Redefining a brand through a cause partnership

Chuck Gitkin, SVP of Brand Marketing at Smithfield Foods gave attendees a glimpse into a strategic partnership with Operation Homefront. Operation Homefront assists military families during difficult financial times by providing food assistance, moving assistance and financial assistance among other things.

If you aren’t familiar with Smithfield Foods, Gitkin says you probably aren’t alone….packaged meats isn’t the sexiest or most well-known industry, and that’s one of the primary reasons behind partnering with Operation Homefront. Not only does Smithfield Foods believe in giving back and supporting those and their families who protect our country, but the partnership helps bring visibility to both organizations.

Gitkin explained that cause marketing has allowed the company, which has a limited marketing budget, to create more exposure for less. They’ve brought in spokespeople to help champion Operation Homefront, and by default, Smithfield Foods. They’ve also created special packaging that a portion of the proceeds is donated directly to Operation Homefront.

Session 4: Panel Discussion: Getting Creative with the B2C agency of the future

Maybe you’ve seen this commercial. What you may not know is that Wrigley and ad agency, Energy BBDO worked collaboratively to create it. The two companies, which have been working together for years, gave us a glimpse into their relationship with John Starkey, VP, Gum, Mints and Media at Wrigley talking with Lianne Sinclair and Andres Ordonez of Energy BBDO.

The trio shared how their relationship has evolved over the years – emphasizing the fact that Energy BBDO is an extension of the Wrigley team, and explaining that now Energy BBDO is brought in earlier in Wrigley’s process. Wrigley is also exposed to Energy BBDO’s “unfinished product” to gauge their temperature and get their input on a project before it’s nearly complete.

Session 5: Hear the Brand: The Rise of Audio Branding: How to get the Most from Your Sound

Colleen Fahey sang, hummed and tapped her way to her main message on Thursday: leave an earprint with every piece of brand communication.

Fahey runs Sixieme Son, an audio branding company that strives to express brand values through sound. The audio brand of a company, Fahey explained, is everything from its on-hold music, to its app sounds, TV and radio spots and sales presentations.

Fahey argued a few key reasons why every company needs to consider its audio DNA.

  1. Music is a language that is universally understood
  2. Music moves behavior
  3. Sounds lead to sales
  4. Sounds speeds search
  5. Audio branding builds brand value

Not convinced? Check out these great examples of audio branding successes Fahey shared: Samsung, Tropicana, and Michelin.

Session 6: Insurance Agents are Rock Stars

Assurance Agency has been recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the Top 100 Places to Work in the Country. This is one of dozens of awards the company has won throughout its tenure, and VP of Marketing, Steve Handmaker argues it’s been good for business, too….but it hasn’t always been this way.

Assurance wasn’t always a great place to work. In fact, staff was disengaged and profits were suffering as a result. In 1998, Assurance brought on new leadership to right the ship. They decided to focus on people.

Their philosophy was simple. Happy employees = happy clients. Handmaker borrowed from fellow marketer Seth Godin’s theory of purple cows, explaining that Assurance’s culture was their purple cow, the one thing that makes them truly remarkable and sets them apart from competitors in the insurance industry.

Since that decision, not only has Assurance invested in staff to build an incredible culture, they’ve also effectively marketed employee engagement programs to ensure the country knows they are a purple cow.

“Our culture doesn’t automatically mean we win, but its’ getting us to the finish line and helping make us a part of the conversation.” – Steve Handmaker

Session 7: Brand Building and Data Driven Demand Generation

Data paralysis.

Ad resistant.

Craig Greenfield, COO of Performics explained that in today’s world, marketers are overwhelmed by data, and consumers are resistant to our messages and skeptical of our ads.

How do we overcome this? We have to better understand our customers and what they want. We have to identify customer intent before they want express it. As marketers, we can do this by measuring time on site, bounce rates, coupon downloads, the list goes on and on….any piece of content that captures data about our audience.

If you don’t have the data you want, Greenfield says to identify needed data, then create audiences, design experiences and then plan, launch, test and learn.

Session 8: The Impact of Content Creativity with Always on Brands

In typical Leo Burnett fashion, Vincent Geraghty, EVP and Head of Production at Leo Burnett, wowed us showing some incredible campaigns, with one of the most poignant being the Runlikeagirl campaign created for Always.

This was about as conventional as it got though, as Geraghty discussed how his greenhouse team is changing the way Leo Burnett does business. The greenhouse content team is run like a newroom. They’ve adopted a “maker mentality,” where concepting is no longer good enough. They are executers, doers, creators.

This team has allowed Leo Burnett to streamline the approval process, execute on trending ideas quickly and efficiently.

The Greenhouse team is focused on telling great stories that are finely crafted full of human insights. Their goal is to deliver content that entertains, resonates, and weaves the brand into the insight and story.

Session 9: Panel: Getting Creative with the B2B Agency of the Future

According to Linda McGovern, SVP Global Marketing at USG, and Mike Hensley, President at Gyro, the B2B agency of the future is one that understands how to curate brand touchpoints, one that is able to expand and shrink based on the needs of its client, and one that is insanely focused on user experience and content creation.

Like speakers before them, McGovern and Hensley echoed the need to create experiences, not just compelling messages. They touched on the importance emotion plays in the decision making process, and how marketing today needs to connect with the customer.

Session 10: Think Differently: Opportunity Identification or Breakthrough Ideas

After Lindsay Avner stepped off the stage, there may not have been a dry eye in the house. Avner, who founded BrightPink, shared her story of undergoing a risk reducing double mastectomy at the age of 22 to help prevent a future seemingly inevitable diagnosis of breast and ovarian cancer.

As Avner shared her passion for education and getting one step ahead of cancer, it was clear that her powerful message was reaching the right audience because of unique marketing tactics.

Avner explained that she borrows the equity and brand recognition of powerful partners like Arie and Paul Mitchell to communicate BrightPink’s message. The not-for-profit has created highly visible campaigns around Mother’s Day, with the most recent being the #goaskyourmother campaign which urged young women to talk about family history of breast and ovarian cancer.

BrightPink created an online assessment that allows women to assess their risk of breast and ovarian cancer quickly and easily.

Avner’s philosophy is: awareness doesn’t save lives, action does…and all of BrightPink’s marketing efforts are judged based on that simple premise. Has our content, our partnerships caused people to make a change?

Session 11: LUV Lessons: Building a Brand from the Inside Out

He may be retired, but Dave Ridley definitely still has it….the former head of marketing at Southwest Airlines reminded the audience of our biggest brand advocates, our employees.

A few key quotes from his speech sum up his message:

  • “The business of business is people” –Herb Kelleher
  • To develop a great brand, start from the inside out.
  • “I still bleed canyon blue” – as marketers we need more of that diehard marketing. That commitment and dedication to our brands
  • It is a privilege to lead people – you get to invest in the hearts and minds of people
  • Everyone is a CEO…a chief encouragement officer, that’s the number one way to make a difference in people’s lives

Social Media Rules! How Can Higher Ed Marketers Reach Prospective Students?

When trying to reach Generation Z or Millennials, SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter are the “it” social media platforms. Print still serves a purpose — mainly driving the recipient to your digital presence – but social media is the place where engagement and conversion happens. That was the message Michael Mullarkey, chief executive officer of Chicago-based Brickfish, delivered at the Higher Ed SIG gathering that took place April 6.

The SIG meeting, which was held at Troquet North, was a discussion about how to optimize social media for colleges and universities. In keeping with our new format for these gatherings, the meeting was more of a moderated conversation as opposed to a presentation.  It was a huge success!

Brickfish, whose slogan is “Engagement is Everything,” manages the content and social media of large brands like Neiman Marcus and Hertz.  Relevant, fresh content along with a quick response to visitors’ queries is essential to the success of any enterprise. Generation Z and Millennials expect instance responses. Mullarkey believes Facebook is still important, but these cohorts spend most of their time exchanging rapid-fire communiqués with their friends on SnapChat and WhatsApp. Marketers need to become a relevant part of these exchanges.

Mullarkey also spoke about the shrinking reach of Facebook and Instagram. Once brands established their presence on these platforms, these firms monetized their sites.  You now have to boost your post to expand your reach and that requires paying for it. He offered some advice about how to get around having to pay, which includes unique, relevant content, engagement and short video.

Bottom line: For us higher education communicators, it’s new a world. We just need to fasten our seat belts and enjoy the ride.

Betsy Butterworth Dean Petrulakis

Betsy Butterworth and Dean Petrulakis

Co-Chairs, Chicago AMA Higher Education Special Interest Group

10 SEO Strategies for Your Website

You know the value of search ranking in search engines, but what factors do Google, Bing, and Yahoo use in their algorithms to rank these websites? Whether your website is a business or personal hobby, there are many tactics and strategies to achieve search engine optimization that require marketing and technological skills. Depending on your goals, an individual or multiple teams can implement these activities. But Even in a collaboration effort, it’s important to know the features search engines look for to rank your website. While the algorithms of search engines are constantly changing, and it can be overwhelming to keep up with them, the most important thing to keep in mind is the search engine’s goal is to provide users the precise information they’re looking for. As long as SEO teams keep the reader in mind when writing content and setting up their webpages, that’s the biggest step to achieving high ranking.

With that mindset, here’s 10 SEO activities to optimize your website organized in four areas: Technical Set Up, HTML Coding, Content, and Off-Websites Influences.

Technical Set Up


1. Ensure your website is mobile-friendly

Earlier this year, Google and Bing began labeling search results as “mobile-friendly” (see Figure 1). Websites built for a mobile experience are given a boost in mobile search results, but does not impact rankings on a desktop device. But know that content rules. So a clear winner in content will rank higher than just being mobile optimized. Still, a website not optimized for mobile will underperform.

Good tool to help you test if you’re mobile friendly: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

10 SEO website strategies 1

2.  Ensure your webpages have fast loading times

Search engines use this measurement in its algorithm for search ranking. A fast page loading time not only pleases the search engines but gives your visitor a much better experience too. There are a few measures you can take, including uploading images as close to the right size as needed so it doesn’t bog down your page. And careful of embedding too many YouTube videos. Other technical aspects, such as excess HTML coding, can slow it down too.

Google tool to help measure speed: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

3. Create clear URL structures

URL wording is very important. Having-a-clear-URL-structure-like-this clearly describes what your page is about as, well as giving you additional keyword credit when sharing this link on other webpages. Your webpage will have more credibility and trust to users when the clear and descriptive link.

Good: www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/oven-baked-salmon-recipe.html
Bad: http://litoschickenrecipes.com/public/pages/b82385d4-1d6a-4362

4. Make sure there’s no errors in search engines crawling your website

Search engine crawlers scan everything about your webpages so they can index, or categorize, your website. The robots.txt file on your server will tell search engine crawlers (like the Googlebot) which pages can or cannot be crawled. Use tools like Google Webmaster to tell you if you’re there’s any errors in crawling or indexing your webpage.

Google Webmaster tool: https://www.google.com/intl/en/webmasters/

HTML Coding


5. Write page titles

One of the most important ingredients in SEO, this tells the search engines AND your audience what your page is all about. This will most likely be displayed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and be your audience’s FIRST impression of your website. Good writing strategies are to include primary and secondary keywords, and also your brand name.  See Figure 2.

6. Write meta descriptions

While meta descriptions do not factor into the search engine’s technical scanning of your website, they do influence your audience in a couple different ways. First, search engines bold any words in your description that are used in the search query. Secondly, once the user recognizes this and reads your description, this is your opportunity to convince them your page has what they’re looking for. Classic marketing. Best practices include writing a different description for each webpage.  See Figure 2.

10 SEO website strategies pic 2

Content


7. Use the Right Keywords and An Appropriate Amount

First, determine what your webpage is all about. What is the primary question it’s answering? Once you’ve addressed this, now you research terms for ideas on what words your audience uses on a topic. Google Keyword Planner is very helpful (see Figure 3). Remember, you’re writing this with the reader in mind, so make it readable and digestible for them. The better experience your readers have, the better you’ll rank.

Google Keyword Tool: Google Keyword Planner (must have login and an Adwords account)

Free tool if you’re not using Google Adwords: http://keywordtool.io/ and SEMrush. Grab semrush discount coupon here

10 SEO website strategies pic 3

8. Media Content: Images and videos

Media such as images and videos are important content types to engage your audience. For images, search engines scan these and appear in image search results. Google advises to use alt descriptions in your images and to help Google identify a quality image and site. For videos, one good technique is to use a good thumbnail for an appealing view to your audience as well as a compelling and descriptive title.

Off-Website Influences


9. Use social media as best you can

Create a social media plan and leverage these platforms. They have a dominating presence on search engines and can share links to your website. The more active and engaged you are on social media, and sharing your website content, the more traffic you’ll drive. There are many ways these platforms can help with SEO for your website.

10. Eliminate black hat SEO strategies

Gone are the days of putting your link everywhere you possibly can simple to drive traffic. Same with overstuffing your website with keywords just for SEO sake. Google can recognize this and will penalize you for it by dropping your website in search rankings. Any disingenuous traffic will be considered spam. Buy backlinks and All These are all referred to as black hat tactics. As mentioned before, think of your audience and you’ll be in good shape.

These strategies will position you for SEO success, but it’s critical to monitor your SEO performance, and adjust your activities accordingly. Always remember to keep your target audience in mind, and the more fresh and relevant your content can be using these tactics, the better your SEO performance will be.

 

Scott Green is a digital marketing specialist and co-owner of marketing consulting firm DS Marketing.  Scott works with clients on lead generation strategies through SEO, Email, and Social Media and has worked with the education, real estate, and health care industries.

Link In To Move Up

People with strong networks get better jobs quicker, promoted faster and have more resources to draw upon throughout their career. The truth is – your success depends as much on WHO you know, as it does on WHAT you do. (That’s why politicians worry about their favorability ratings. Voters – like hiring managers – tend to choose people they know and like over people they don’t.)

Today we have an especially effective resource for networking – social media. Through it, you can expand your professional network far beyond your immediate geographic location. For example, one of my favorite people in my own professional network is Hank Blank. Hank is a consultant to ad agencies and marketing departments on how to function most effectively in the new normal.  He has a great blog and gives seminars all over the country on the topics of networking, job search and career development.

We linked in with each other about five years ago (I forget how) and have been commenting on each other’s blogs ever since. Although Hank lives in California and I’m in Chicago, we still manage to swap favors from time to time. (I helped his daughter find a new job in Chicago and Hank has advised me on new business presentations.) Like me, Hank knows that building a strong network is the best way to assure continual employment. Below is a brief review of some ideas I got from Hank on networking – online and off: 

Networking is the best way to build professional relationships.

Moreover, like almost everything else involving more than one person, networking is most effective when it serves the interests of both parties. So view networking as a way to:

  • Help others, as well as yourself, achieve professional goals
  • Meet people you’d like to know through people you already know
  • Connect people you know with people they want to know
  • Build long-term relationships that you can depend on throughout your lifetime

Practice networking constantly throughout your career.

Whatever your position, industry or job title, networking should be part of your own personal best professional practices.  Here are some guidelines to help you:

  • Be open to meeting new people – in social situations as well as at professional events
  • Keep in touch with the people you meet and get to know through email, phone calls, and informal meetings
  • Meet people one-on-one after connecting at an event, party, class or other group activity
  • Make an effort to proactively help your networking contacts in any way you can
  • Thank people when they help you through email, a phone call or a written note
  • Find ways to pay back favors as soon as you can

Social media is the perfect vehicle for networking in the digital age.

Ideally, as a member of the Chicago AMA you network at several different events every year. However, if you’re like most people you have a limited amount of time to devote to onsite meetings. Fortunately, social media allows you to interact with dozens of people with a relatively small investment of time and effort. Here are TEN TIPS on how to use LinkedIn and other social media sites to expand and deepen your network relationships.

1. Fill in your LinkedIn profile as completely as you can including a photo.

In today’s job market a LinkedIn profile is as important as a resume and much more useful. It’s not only an information source you can direct other people to (see tip #2), it will be viewed by employers and recruiters throughout the world without you doing anything at all. Make sure to include a recent photo that shows you as you want to appear during an interview. Well-groomed, smiling and well worth talking to. 

2. Put your LinkedIn link on your business cards along with your email and URL.

This allows people to learn more about you without passing our resumes or performing elevator speeches. And since your LinkedIn profile can include access to work samples and recommendations as well as details of your work history, it’s an incredibly efficient information source.

3. Link in with new contacts.

After a meeting or other event where you’ve met people you’d like to include in your network, send them an invitation to link in with you using the email address they have on their business card. Make sure you personalize the invitation to include a reference to how you met and what you do. You might also suggest meeting again face-to-face in to continue and deepen your connection.

4. Share an update on LinkedIn at least once a week.

It’s a great way to keep your LinkedIn network up on what you’re doing, learning, reading, etc. Remember, LinkedIn is NOT facebook! References to grandkids, dogs and vacations are not appropriate. But do mention your attendance at a seminar, job fair, receipt of an invitation to pitch a new piece of business and any awards you win. You can also include a link to your latest blog, YouTube production or online articles.

5. Do NOT use personal social media pages for your professional contacts.

Remember, whatever you put on line could be seen by EVERYONE including future employers. So keep your personal correspondence private. Facebook is wonderful for sharing family news, political views and favorite jokes. But none of these are appropriate to include in a professional presentation.

6. Use LinkedIn groups to extend your professional network.

These groups often have job boards that could lead to employment opportunities. Also commenting on other group member’s observations or answering questions they have, is a great way to enhance your professional reputation.

7. Don’t use your LinkedIn network as a cold call list of prospects.

Social media isn’t about increasing sales in the short term. The whole point of it is to develop strong, mutually beneficial long-term relationships with professional contacts. Trying to sell something to someone you just met does not engender trust. But as your LinkedIn contact, they’ll have a chance to get to know and like you better through your profile, updates and blogs – even if you rarely meet face to face. In the end, this interaction is the best way to build the kind of relationships you can depend on throughout your career.

8. Take advantage of the insights LinkedIn offers you on a profile or job description.

When you look up someone else’s profile, LinkedIn provides you with information about who you have in common, where they’ve worked, went to school and the organizations they belong to. You can also read what others think of them and see samples of their work. If you search for a job on LinkedIn, the system automatically lists any of your contacts who are working for that company now or did so in the past. All of this is terrific information to have before you even apply for the job, let alone have to prepare for an interview.

 9. Treat your networking contacts like the good friends you hope they’ll become.

Offline – don’t be late for a date. Thank them if they treat you to coffee or a meal and follow up with a written thank you by email or snail mail. Then treat them at the next meeting. Online – acknowledge their emails and messages within 24 hours. Congratulate them on promotions and new positions. Like and comment on their Pulse blogs. And always try to help them with their professional goals if you expect them to help you with yours.

10. Remember – one way or another you’ll always get back more than you give.

Networking works best when you genuinely try to help other people, not use them.

The payback may take a while, but eventually the people you help will help you. Furthermore, the surest way to empower yourself is to help others. So practice “Altruistic Self-interest: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you – only do it FIRST!”

Happy Networking!

Wendy Lalli VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli
VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli consults on marketing projects through her own agency, Wendy Lalli Ltd. and is CD of Crux Creative, a marketing agency in Wisconsin.  She also mentors other marketing professionals in transition and wrote on job search for the Chicago Tribune and 25 newspapers in the Chicago Sun Times network.