- Listen first, and never stop listening - You want to know what customers think. Ask and they will tell you. Next, the most important thing to do is listen. Closing the loop by acting on what your customers tell you will prove that you not only listened, but that you understand and can do something about it.
- Define your target audience better than ever – There are many tools that allow you to focus on your true demographics for your product/service(s). Define them and determine what will make them “like” your content.
- Think – and act – like your consumer - Remember, it’s about them, not you. Don’t sell them; instead, provide content that is of interest to them. Get them talking about topics of interest and find ways to integrate your wares into their lifestyle.
- Invite your customers to be your first fans - Word of mouth (WOM) is key here. The more likes you get, the better your credibility. Be clear about your value proposition and define what is in it for them. Remember, there is no value-add if only your employees are interacting with your content.
- Create true dialogue with, and between, your customers - Related to listening and being genuine. Get them talking about you to leverage the WOM effect. When your customers share tips and tricks with others, it proves they are engaged. It also saves you from providing customer support directly. Help guide the discussion by acknowledging comments – and, correct where needed.
- Be Authentic - Get connected by demonstrating an interest in your customers. Personalize it by including your name.
- Be honest and transparent - You can spot a phony a mile away. Your customers can too.
- Integrate social media into the entire customer experience - Another fundamental for success and cannot be stressed enough. Make sure everyone who interacts with your customers has the same message and is aware of promotions and specials. Regardless of how they find you, it should be a consistent message. The last thing you want is a disconnect among channels and mismanaged expectations from your customers. If they are online, they can tell their network about you – the good and the bad.
- Don’t sell! Just make it easy and compelling for customers to buy - They already found your content and are engaged. Don’t insult them with a bland sales pitch. State the (relative) value proposition clearly and make it easy to “Add to Cart”.
- Make a lot of content. A lot
- Target a niche
- Connect with your fans
- Optimize for the algorithms
- Do you have enough information?
- How do you know?
- Is your data source credible?
- Do I have the correct skill(s) for this problem?
- What resource(s) are available to assist me?
- an event that is unpredictable (an outlier)
- has a massive or, extreme impact and
- after it happens, we create rationale to make it more predictable (less random)
- We have more confidence in what we know is wrong than in what we know is right
- We over-estimate what we know and conversely, underestimate our uncertainty
- contact list - where is it, how to access it and contains information on internal staff and key customers.
- documentation - reactive scenarios to use based on the type of outage (network, infrastructure, data center, customer support, manufacturing).
- training- the staff in IT, Sales, Customer Support, and Purchasing is trained on their roles and what to do when a disaster occurs.
- commitment - last but the most important aspect. The management team and the worker bees are committed to knowing and being able to execute a DR plan.
Posts by Stephanie Baubie:
I saw this article on Forbes.com about new ways to manage. I agree with each and have used several of these metrics. To read the full article, use the link provided. My comments on each metric are included below. While it is a catchy title, I don’t think managers need to know these to be successful. You can adapt one or more for your own use easily and look for ways to subtly employ each of the strategies described. These metrics won’t drastically change management styles, but they do provide ways to improve your management ability and help drive your team to be successful.
Metric 1 – Flow State Percentage
Basically indicates that people need more think/soak time. When you have time to concentrate (i.e. – no interruptions), you are more productive. Getting to, and staying in, the zone more often makes you a better performer.
Metric 2 – The Anxiety-Boredom Continuum
Keep a balance here. Not too easy, not too hard. Stay engaged and tune the level needed as it suites your team.
Metric 3 – Meeting Promoter Score
I have used this to great effect. If you rate the meetings, you get instant feedback on what works, what does not and what people are interested in. I found that once you have a consistent score, you don’t need to track it and your team knows what to expect and is engaged. Bonus – if you end meetings early, expect your score to increase.
Metric 4 – Compound Weekly Learning Rate
My Father-in-Law, always said “Every day you learn”. You do if you are motivated to do so. Even if you just did this for yourself, measuring your progress would change your priorities and how you spend your time in the office.
Metric 5 – Positive Feedback Ratio
Catch your team doing things right. Even the mundane tasks. The author mentions the payback is realized that when you have legitimate criticism, your reports will listen.
These strategies are easy to implement. You can try one or more with your team and tune them as needed. We should always be looking for ways to improve management skills. Who knows — you may influence your peers and your boss by doing this.
Good luck and let me know what your metrics look like over time.
Tags: career, management, metrics, performance
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in Google Analytics, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing
Now that we have been practicing for some time, we are aware of good (and, bad) ways to employ social media. Opinions will vary about the “best of the best”. That is the beauty of the web, it always changes. From a book summary I read on social media, here are some of the best practices according to the author at this point in time. This is not an exhaustive, all inclusive list. The basics are covered and should align with your current techniques for using social media effectively.
There are multiple platforms* available for your content and they should be used relative to the target audience. Having likeable content is a fundamental criteria for success. Get your customer to listen to you and then….
Having a dialogue with your customers is easy using a social media platform. I would add that you keep in mind how you want to be treated. After all, we all are consumers in the end.
Tags: best practice, facebook, Foursquare, Google, linkedin, social media, Twitter
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in Google Analytics, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing
A short time ago, YouTube urged us to “Broadcast Yourself”. Well, they don’t have to tell us anymore. Consider that 4 Billion videos are viewed every day.* With all that content being uploaded and viewed, our video habits on YouTube provide interesting ways to get visible. More importantly, it also defines how to stay visible. I recently read an article that indicates we are at a transitional time for broadcast media. Part of that change, some argue, is that YouTube has become an online-studio system.
The five (5) maxims are:
*A complete list of YouTube statistics is posted on their site.
Now you know how to get viral and stay visible.
Tags: video, viral, youtube
Posted in Google Analytics, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing | 1 Comment »
in Google Analytics, Web Development
Information workers are used to solving problems. Approaches can vary to determine a viable solution and can be bound by many constraints. Resources, budget, and timing are among typical real world constraints. I read a column from the author and New Yorker columnist, Malcolm Gladwell, that talks about problem solving. Essentially, they can be thought of either one of two possible types: a puzzle or a mystery.
The article was published by the New Yorker in 2007 and is titled “Open Secrets” and covers multiple topics. The article is part of a collection included in the book “What the Dog Saw” and talks about the Enron financial debacle, hunting for Saddam Hussein, analyzing Nazi propaganda and techniques for cancer diagnosis. What caught my attention the most was the distinction between a puzzle and a mystery.
As Gladwell states it, the difference between a puzzle and a mystery are shown below along with my comments.
Puzzles are “transmitter-dependent”; they turn on what we are told.
For each puzzle, the information source controls what (and how) we are told. Completing the puzzle is possible if we are given accurate and sufficient information. The information source may withhold data that can hinder solving the problem.
Mysteries are “receiver dependent”; they turn on the skills of the listener…..
The skills you (and others) bring to solving the problem then determine if you can devise a solution. All the information is provided but you must be able to logically, sensibly interpret it. There is a related issue with the amount of data provided here. Gladwell argues that we can become saturated with data; too much data is a bad thing and could allow us to get lost in what is important vs. trivial and inhibit progressing to a solution.
If you can assess what problem type you have, it may drive your approach to a solution accordingly. Part of the assessment then will include things like:
I hope this blog has lead you to some insights on problem solving.
Is this a puzzle or a mystery to you?
Tags: information worker, mystery, problem solving, puzzle
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in Other, Web Development
Whatever we do, we deal with risks. Despite our best laid plans and intentions, there are always those uncertain and unwanted events that happen which are beyond our control. In previous posts, I have talked about risks on projects. This post deals more with risk behavior. Risk management (or, risk tolerance) covers the spectrum from total avoidance at all costs to a laissez-faire, what-does-it-matter attitude. A low risk tolerance leads to “safe” choices that eliminate, or substantially reduce, an unlikely event with a negative impact occurring. Likewise, a high risk tolerance leads to choices where outcomes are unpredictable and not guaranteed. In this scenario, the chances for unlikely risks occurring are higher. Financial investors know their level of risk tolerance and how it influences their investment choices. The occurrence of a highly improbable event that may not always be planned for. The impact can be positive or negative.
There is a related effect with investors called the “Black Swan” that describes what happens when an uncertain, unstable event does occur. In a 2007 book by Nasim Nicholas Taleb, titled “The Black Swan – The Impact of the Highly Improbable“, it is defined as:
Taleb makes a living betting on the occurrence of “Black Swans”. He is a contrarian when compared to the typical financial investor who avoids risk by seeking the small gains in the stock market. The positive effect of a “Black Swan” is seen over time. Likewise, a negative “Black Swan” happens very quickly. For most investors, the preference is to avoid the downside risk of a negative “Black Swan”. Managing risk can be tricky business. Taleb has 2 observations related to risk assessment I would like to highlight:
The first point bears repeating. We are more certain about something we know is wrong. Our intuition, skills and experience tells us what is wrong. Sometimes, we know something is wrong when we see it. That confidence drives our behavior with money, work and our personal life more than we may want to admit. I think that is because we are better at dealing with failure than success. We plan for success, of course, but realize we have to deal with a minimal level of failure.
The other observation related to uncertainty I have seen at work many times as well. Providing accurate estimates is a skill built on experience and dealing with knowns. When faced with new challenges, it is tempting to minimize complexity. How hard can this possibly be? More than likely, it is harder than you are able to imagine at this point in time.
When a risk is deemed highly improbably, we tend to not spend much time and energy thinking about it. When a negative “Black Swan” strikes, the risk mitigation(s) you have defined will be quickly tested. If your tolerance is low, you will have well thought out and documented options. Your sponsors, stakeholders and clients will benefit from and appreciate your efforts. The path forward that is selected is based on their risk tolerance of those negative “Black Swans”. Positive “Black Swans” can only make things better, right?
What’s your risk tolerance? What method(s) do you use to deal with uncertainty?
Tags: impact, risk management, risk tolerance, uncertainty
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in Google Analytics
With its new iOS app, Clear, Realmac Software has taken the “less is more” axiom to its ultimate conclusion. The Clear app puts a new spin on the common to-do list by enriching it with a playful perception of depth, dynamic transitions and crisp audio feedback, all wrapped under a minimalistic visual language and shallow navigation.
Is this “less is more” approach revolutionary?
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in Google Analytics, Other, Web Development
Behavioral studies prove we have a natural tendency to avoid risk. I want to refer again to Malcolm Gladwell and present the following scenario. You have $300.00 and are presented with 2 choices.
• A) You can receive another $100.00 or • B) Toss a coin and if you win, you get $200.00. If you lose, you get nothing.
Most people prefer A. They tend to go for the sure thing and avoid the 50% risk of getting nothing. Even though there is the potential to get 2X if you win. Now consider this scenario. You now have $500.00 and have 2 choices.
• C) Give up $100.00 or • D) Toss a coin and pay $200.00 if you lose. If you win, you pay nothing.
All the choices (A, B, C, D) have equal probabilities. In his New Yorker column, Gladwell wrote “… we have strong preferences among them. Why? Because we’re more willing to gamble when it comes to losses, but are risk averse when it comes to our gains. That’s why we like small daily winnings in the stock market, even if that requires that we risk losing everything in a crash.”
Assessing the severity of a risk happening (or, not happening) is a key skill for project managers. When evaluating a risk on a project, be aware of the bias to gamble on the loss rather than the gain. We look for ways to mitigate risks. When a risk does happen, it creates chaos, can jeopardize a project and usually requires additional work to resolve. Communicating with your team, stakeholders and client(s) is crucial during this time. As a project manager, you must identify and define potential solutions (among them – do nothing). Some events are ’acceptable risks’. Typically, the sponsor(s) and stakeholders will determine what is or is not acceptable. Depending on the situation and the client, they may also determine what is acceptable.
Have you noticed how you are risk averse? What are effective risk management strategies you use?
Tags: projects, risk assessment
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in Hosting Services, Managing Web Content, Web Development
When was the last time your disaster recovery (DR) plan was revised? A viable DR plan may be what saves your business. Having a DR plan is a bit like an insurance policy. You don’t want to use it but are glad to have one when you need it. If you have a current DR plan, you realize the value of being able to recover from a catastrophic event. Well run companies not only have a DR plan but have assigned a monetized value for it. Establishing the value of a DR plan also indicates a level of commitment.
The extreme weather that has created earthquakes this summer in the Northeast is one disaster example. If your business is not impacted directly, chances are your suppliers or vendors are in some way. How prepared are you?
A basic DR plan includes :
Let’s assume you have a plan. When did you last update it? Is the plan reviewed periodically? Is having the plan revised connected to anyone’s performance goal? The amount of planning captured in the plan is directly proportional to the value management assigns to the DR plan.
Having a DR plan is fundamental to every business. What it contains and how extensive it is indicates your level of commitment. Kind of like the value of your insurance policy.
Tags: business recovery, disaster recovery
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in Web Development
In a recent book review I read, the author proposed that the Big Bang might be cyclical. The premise is that given enough time, everything in the universe starts over again. That is a long cycle for sure. We have some time before the cycle is complete and begins again. Until then, the universe will keep expanding.
Having a repeatable cycle is also beneficial on a smaller scale. Like our daily routine. We humans are creatures of habit. Typically, we do not like change. This is especially true in business – we like having a predictable and repeatable process. There is the challenge to keep it from boring routine execution. Management types appreciate working with knowns as opposed to unknowns. Having that consistent process cycle is a good thing.
When managing projects, I like having distinct phases (i.e. – discovery, planning, execution, etc.). Managing phases and cycles across multiple projects can be challenging yet also very rewarding. I enjoy the interesting challenge of having a cycle of multiple projects in different phases. Those situations keep you focused!
I think we are entering a business cycle where things will accelerate. Companies that are properly positioned with resources and good business processes can take advantage with increased sales, market share and ultimately, profit.
What phase is your company currently in? When the boom cycle starts again, will you be ready?
Tags: project management
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in Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing
One thing I’ve noticed with trends and fads is that looking back on them, we usually say “What were we thinking?” With the passage of enough time, it can be difficult to remember what motivated us at the time. The reason(s) why something that was so important changed into the commonplace and then, a drudgery or worse, not cool anymore becomes lost over time. We’ve all seen examples of this and the same progression will occur with Social Media. I may be ahead of the curve with this, but there will come a time when Facebook will no longer be required but, instead, passe. Will you remember where you were at this pivotal future moment? It will happen at some point. Certainly not a question of if, but of when. When it does, will that moment become an indelible memory for you? One social media statistic I read recently was that if Facebook was a country, it would be the 3rd largest in the world with over 500M users, or, “netizens”. Will they experience the same future experiences and logoff Facebook never to return?
Another thing I’ve noticed is that trends based solely on technology have a finite lifetime. We tend to stay with something even when it’s past its’ prime. Comfort, resistant to change, the migratin effort and learning curve involved all play a part of staying with status quo, the familiar. We accept trade-offs and shortcomings; we settle. Until, of course, a game changer comes along. The bright, new shiny bauble that excites you, entices you, teases you — you have to have it.
As someone once said “Technology is cyclical”, there will be another widget/new thing to displace Facebook and occupy our time. It will have to be better, more convenient, easier. Also, it will need to make money. At some point in the (not so distant) future, there will be a decisive moment when many of us will say “Facebook, I haven’t used it in months. Who does that anymore?”
Tags: facebook, social media
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