Tag Archives: 10Fold

Security Never Sleeps 2018 – Buyers and Sellers Face to Face

10Fold hosted our eighth annual Security Never Sleeps event during the 2018 North American RSA trade show yesterday. The event is conveniently located within walking distance of the Moscone Center at the Red Dog Café in San Francisco. Building on the success of the events previous years, the luncheon had more than 90 attendees made of up CISOs, security architects, venture capitalists, and security vendors participating in the cybersecurity discussion. The conversation facilitated a dialogue between Security vendors and buyers, enabling a marketplace of ideas that helped all attendees perfect their communication strategies.

Panelists at the event included:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Carl Wright – CRO at AttackIQ – a continuous validation provider for enterprise security programs.
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Kathy Orner – Chief Risk Officer at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a business travel and management firm dealing with events, meeting accommodations and more.
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Mike Kearn – BISO at Consumer Banking Division of US Bank, responsible for the security of checking and savings accounts, mortgages, and more.
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Peter Galvin – CMO at Thales, a France-based multinational that supplies electrical systems and services to aerospace and defense industries.
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Rich Campagna – CMO at Bitglass, a Next-Gen CASB provider for Zero-Day data and threat protection.
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Dr. John D. Johnson – CEO and Founder Aligned Security, LLC, Which develops and delivers of targeted security training .

The event also saw attendance from many high-profile players in the security space, including Chad Sweet (Founder and CEO of the Chertoff Group), Shira Rubinoff (President of Secure my Social), Chenxi Wang (Managing Partner of Rain Capital) and many more!

The panel covered some of the biggest topics covering marketing and selling security products in the industry today. This included registration for content barriers, making your products accessible to buyers, the importance of building customer relationships, and the efficacy of alternative marketing efforts – such as video marketing and email marketing.

The audience was very active this year and led the discussion into many trends and how they relate to security today. GDPR was certainly a popular moment of debate, as the upcoming deadline (May 25th) is fast approaching, and means more than meets the eye for vendors, buyers, and even marketers!

Sad you missed all the valuable insights from this year’s event? Never want to miss one again? Get notified when we have and recap all the other awesome events we attend and sponsor, and have consistent B2B marketing content sent to your inbox by subscribing below!

By Tyler Trainer

Building a Social Media Plan – Content is King

How often should I Tweet? Is there a best practices strategy for sponsoring posts for maximum effect? Which products and services are best to monitor growth?

These are some of the most common questions I hear from those looking to put together growth-based social media plans. While it is important to consider how to track growth, there is no shortcut to success, especially without the right content.

Content production should be #1 on your agenda
News curation, short-form commentary, and event live-tweeting are great, and certainly necessary for many reasons, especially in the deep tech space. But what will gain you long-term growth in followers (i.e., people who care about consistently seeing your posts) is a focus on providing valuable insights in an original content format. Essentially, your social media strategy should be heavily influenced by your content strategy. It’s pretty intuitive when you think about it. We all understand it’s great to know when to post to maximize engagement, but what are you actually posting? Is this yet another curated news sweep, or are you adding to the conversation?

While it is important to consider how to track growth, there is no shortcut to success, especially without the right content. Click To Tweet

Dig In: How Do I Build an Influencer List?

Blogs

When is the last time you dusted off your blog page and added some of your expertise to the internet? Blogs are a relatively simple and effective way to get out short-form content and transmit your thought leadership in small, bite-size chunks. The idea is to allow people to finish reading in just a few minutes, with a focused post that delivers rich insights. Depending on the topic, the post should be between 450-800 words, otherwise, you will lose your audience, big time. If you use Google Analytics or a similar service and know the average time typically spent on each page, I’d write something to match that length of time. If users are only staying on a post for an average of 45 seconds, your 1200-word essay on influencer marketing probably isn’t going to work too well!

Videos
Video is really the ultimate in your digital marketing strategy. In fact, a recent survey of B2B marketing execs commissioned by 10Fold and conducted by Dimensional Research found that almost 40% of firms prefer video to any other media. This would certainly include webinars that showcase your product to prospective buyers, but beyond that, recording panel discussions where your leadership team presents, customer testimonial videos, and other promotional content. 10Fold’s video division, ProMotion Studios, produces many high-quality examples of this, such as the multi-award winning Silver Springs Year in Review video:

Dig In: Reciprocal Relationships: The Key to Influencer Partnerships that Work

What are best practices for keeping up consistent content?
Maintaining a strong stream of content is the strategy next in line to ensure your goals are met. There are many ways to do this, but we think creating a detailed content calendar is the best way to track and monitor your progress over time. We will dive into this, and other strategies that support a solid social media plan in future blogs. Keep a lookout for this new series, and make sure to subscribe below so the tips go straight to your inbox when they post!

By Tyler Trainer

 

Thinking (and Writing) Like a Thought Leader

This blog post marks the start of a 4-part series that will cover multiple steps on the path to becoming a thought leader.

Let’s be honest: we (marketers, communicators, PR practitioners) are all contributors to the next chapter of our industry’s evolving story. We’ve got a constantly shifting media landscape as the backdrop, and amidst all of the excitement and uncertainty, one thing remains consistent: rock-solid writing skills are a critical cornerstone in architecting any successful communications initiative.

With this (+ a bit of bias, due to my journalistic roots), I’ve opted to kick-off  this series with a focus on getting writing – for thought leadership purposes – right.

There’s been a paradigm shift around the concept of “thought leadership” – have you noticed? I sure have. Until recently, the idea of  having “thought leadership” readily accepted as a program objective was something I’d often only get to imagine about and hope for prior to a kickoff meeting with a new client.

In that hypothetical meeting with a new client, the hurdles of resistance and doubt I was trying to clear – by persuading an experienced marketing director that the effort required to source, write and seek approval on a 1,200-word contributed article was worth a placement that never mentioned their brand – were rooted in very valid uncertainties and completely warranted.

Here’s why: longform, written content – drafted on behalf of an executive spokesperson – is a labor of love, to say the least. That resistance I used to get from clients is understandable even before you consider the process that follows. Let’s be honest: internal edits and approvals can sometimes be equally – if not more – rigorous than editorial review

Here’s the good news
I’ve been able to scale back all that hoping and wishing. Mostly because 
nearly every marketing, communications and PR professional I’ve encountered recently will agree that this notion of “thought leadership” no longer requires quotation marks. In fact it’s no longer perceived as “just a notion,” either – it’s been elevated in priority and seen as a critical element of any solid external communications campaign

With the average blog now requiring more than three hours to write, it’s critical that we root thought leadership platforms in tactics that are executable, and those that rank high in terms of impact, visibility and efficacy. Click To Tweet

Ironically, the bad news sounds a lot like the good news: “since nearly every marketing, communications and PR professional I’ve encountered agrees…[that this is a] critical element of any solid communications campaign,” these thought leadership opportunities have become a bit more challenging to navigate, and – to some degree – more difficult to attach value to. While there are seemingly a TON of editorial opportunities to which our innovative clients can contribute their expertise; the cloudiness around when, where and how we can get the most value out of contributed thought leadership content has increased at the same rate.

With the average blog now requiring more than three hours to write, it’s critical that we root thought leadership platforms in tactics that are executable, and those that rank high in terms of impact, visibility and efficacy.

If all of this is ringing a bell, keep reading for tips on: putting pen to paper, understanding how and where your wisdom may be best spent and how to make the most of a thought leadership placement once the headline hits:

Teach vs. Preach and Show vs. Tell (or Sell)
Think of your contributed article as an opportunity to have an engaging, compelling and thought-provoking conversation with a target buyer – not dissimilar from the one you might have at a networking event or during a panel discussion. You probably wouldn’t use those opportunities to drop a series of not-so-subtle hints about how great your company’s products/services are; nor would you immediately follow a handshake with a hard sell; so, don’t do it here either.

Plus, the article you worked so hard to write and shepherd through the internal approval process  will never see the light of day if an editor reviews it and catches on (and, believe me, they will). If the creativity well feels a bit dry, look to recent events, industry trends/research and pain points in your industry as opportunities to elevate thought leadership. By tailoring our experts’ insights to timely topics – such as GDPR, DACA, the U.S. government’s Billion Dollar Climate Report and the Retail Apocalypse – our team has effectively raised the thought leadership profile of clients in every domain we work within.

Resist the Urge to be Redundant
At core, remember that the  most compelling thought leadership articles are rooted in authentic and often contrarian points of view supported by data or noteworthy experience, and present a new perspective that adds to the industry conversation. Your exec spokesperson may be a seasoned security expert, or a notable networking guru, but the overdone angle of “top X security/network threats to the enterprise” is – for lack of a different term – completely overdone. Daring to be different will pay off in dividends when it comes to landing a valuable thought leadership opportunity. Take a provocative standpoint by picking a fight with a giant entity – such as AWS – and call out the pain points the masses face due to a gap that has yet to be spotlighted by mainstream media. Drafting customer bylines – that effectively tell a unique and differentiated story – is another way to stand out from the crowd, in a good way.

“Pay-to-Play” Has Its Place
I used to be quick to dismiss any editorial that had a price tag attached as “illegitimate,” because there was a time when that wasn’t a necessary part of achieving thought leadership in the technology arena. Things have changed, and there are plenty of low cost, high value editorial  opportunities available through a number of well-respected media properties. Think of it this way: you’re not paying for the opportunity to publish, you’re paying for the opportunity to communicate to an in-demand audience that’s inundated with messages from companies like yours daily; this is your chance to stand out. In addition to the opportunity to reach a key audience, a recurring contributor opportunity – like the Forbes Technology Council – is a great way to guarantee a steady stream of content over an extended period of time.

Merchandising, Maximizing and Marketing Your Thought Leadership Win
Assuming one of the above – or one of your own – tips landed you a homerun thought leadership placement, it’ll be time to make the most of your hard-earned placement! As you do so, keep the following two objectives and strategies in mind:

Continue to elevate your thought leader’s profile to new heights
To continue to augment his/her profile, you’ll want to rely on your tried and true communications tactics: social sharing; bite-sized summaries in newsletters on the website and via internal platforms (i.e. Slack). However, a less traditional tactic that I’ve found to be effective – and a good reason to engage on positive marketing results with the sales team – is a quarterly coverage memo summarizing top wins that they can point to in order to further validate your organizational and executive thought leadership in the industry. A standalone summary may even be justified depending on what content was placed, and where.

Make the most of the already approved and compelling content you’ve created
To maximize the value of the content itself, consider condensing it into a teaser or summary format that can be repurposed as a longform LinkedIn post or a blog post that directs readers to the full text if they’re interested in reading more. Many outlets – such as eWeek – also accept contributed content in the form of a slideshow. If the contributed piece would play well in that format (i.e. a “listicle” concept), re-work the copy to ensure it’s differentiated, and pair it with some strong imagery to further the value of your already-placed piece.

Hopefully these tips have been helpful, and feel free to share additional insights you have advice or tactics that have proven especially helpful for you or your team.

Looking ahead, we’ll continue to explore opportunities for enhancing thought leadership via other program tactics, such as speaking opportunities and strategic leadership awards, social influence, key positions on boards and committees, as well as policy-driven positioning.  

By Meghan Brown

Three Ways to Get a Promotion: Elbow Grease with a Dash of Strategy & Creativity

There are few things more rewarding than getting a promotion. It’s an accomplishment that validates the hard work you’ve put in at your job, underscores your value to your organization and colleagues, and – as importantly – presents an opportunity for your friends, family and coworkers to heap some well-deserved praise on you. And no matter how humble you might be, that feels good! Oh, and a promotion usually means a bit more cash in the bank…

But promotions can be tricky things – not only in the sense that it usually takes a lot of hard work to get one, but also in the more nuanced sense that there is strategy involved in when to go for it. We’ve already covered that second point in a recent blog post on deciding when the time is right for a promotion, so in this post, we’ll offer three tips to help you reach the next rung on your career ladder.

Plan, Plan, Plan
We realize this isn’t the sexiest tip – and if you’re a slightly disorganized person, this will sound especially painful – but the quickest path to attaining that promotion is devising a plan for how you’ll get there. This is one of the reasons you (hopefully) have a manager or supervisor, as they can help you develop that plan.

One of the first items in your plan should be fully understanding the roles and responsibilities of your desired position. Well-run organizations expect you to be executing the responsibilities of the position above you before they move you into it, so you should know exactly what those responsibilities are. Hopefully your organization has an official job description for each role within the company – if so, get your hands on it, and if not, request that one be created.

Now that you know exactly what your new position entails, another critical step is to document everything. No, we’re not advocating that you become the “hall monitor” of your organization tracking every move your colleagues make – after all, that’s what HR’s for, right? Instead, we’re advising that you create a repository for all feedback you receive on your performance and anything related to your path to the next level. You can use almost any tool for this; a simple folder in your email will do the trick. The point here is you want to be able to demonstrate to your organization’s decision-makers that you’ve done what’s expected (and ideally, more) to warrant moving you to the next level.

You want a promotion, but maybe not to the position on the next rung on your organizational ladder. Rather than feeling trapped, get creative! Click To Tweet

Observe & Adapt
If there’s one skill the human species has mastered over the course of our existence, it’s being adaptable. Just as we learned to evolve so we could thrive alongside other species in highly diverse environments, we have the ability to change our behaviors and mindsets in the workplace. And you might just find that this skill comes in quite handy in your campaign to get promoted.

Now that you know the specific responsibilities of your desired position, you can take it a step further and begin observing your colleagues in that position:

NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Watch how they approach the tasks you hope you’ll be doing sooner rather than later

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Listen to how they communicate with their/your colleagues and customers, what questions do they tend to ask

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Talk to them about the techniques they use to perform well at their job

From those crucial observations, you can adapt your approach and mindset accordingly. Don’t become a copycat, but there are tremendous benefits to be gained from emulating the behaviors of successful people around you.

Get Creative!
You want a promotion, but maybe not to the position on the next rung on your organizational ladder. Rather than feeling trapped, get creative! Perhaps your organization has specialist roles outside of the “common track” you could explore. After all, skills are like muscles, and you’re bound to have some skills that you’ve worked extra hard at honing, meaning you’re especially strong in that area. If your organization has a certain specialist role that places an emphasis on that skill, it stands to reason you’d perform well in that role.

But what if your organization doesn’t offer any specialist roles? Consider creating a brand new position! Yes, this could seem daunting and unrealistic, but you might be surprised to find out how open your organization is to this idea, provided you can make a case for the value it will bring your company. After all, if you’ve developed a skill – especially to the point that you’re the only one who has it, making you almost indispensable – your organization would be foolish to dismiss the idea of turning that into a full-time role for you.

So, there you have it: three techniques to help you get that promotion. As your parents would say, there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned hard work – and that’s true – but by putting a little bit of strategy behind that elbow grease, you’ll be climbing the ladder faster than you ever thought was possible.

By Drew Smith
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The Top Big Data Awards You Don’t Have to Pay For

Competing for industry awards brings a multitude of benefits. Not only does it allow industry experts to provide useful feedback about your company and its technology, winning or even participating in certain awards can result in different pieces of collateral like press releases, blogs, or social media promotions. This, in return, can become a great recruiting tool for your company and can also be promoted by your sales teams.

Although there is a wide variety of industry awards to choose from, some are quite expensive – think the CODiE Awards (a total of $995 for non-members) or the Best in Biz Awards (a total of $400 per submission). Furthermore, most awards don’t guarantee you a winning or finalist spot, and there is no refund policy in place.

To lead a successful award program, one should consistently compare the value of the submission versus the cost, and to help you get started, our 10Fold experts put together a list of valuable, free-to-apply awards in Big Data:

AI
AI.Awards
The AI.Awards are a relatively new award program, looking to support the AI community by recognizing the hard work and dedication of those working in the field. If your company is new, and is looking to snag their first few awards, the AI Awards would be a great place to start. Last year 17 winners were announced, but this year they are planning on announcing 52 winners. Nominations are open now!

CB Insights AI 100 List
The AI 100 recognizes the teams and technologies that are successfully using AI to solve big challenges, preferably startups. CB Insights holds a strong influence in the AI market, due to the large amount of research and focus they put on the topic. Of the 100 companies included on the list of 2016, 55 of them went on to raise additional funding nearing $2B and 5 were acquired. These awards are competitive with over 2,000 entrants, but the benefits of the award could be worth the time.

Big Data
Datanami Reader’s and Editor’s Choice Awards
Do you have a solution that is worth nominating? Do you have a good social media presence or a large audience? If you answered yes to both of these questions, the Datanami Reader’s and Editor’s Choice Awards may be one of the top free awards for you to apply for. Covering a large amount of Big Data categories, the primary audience here are readers of Big Data trade publications, as well as those possibly searching for better and new solutions for their companies. Although the awards are not open yet, they should definitely be on your radar, as winning these awards could earn you some nice editorial opportunities.

TDWI Best Practices Award
Does your client have a customer willing to speak on their behalf? Does your company have solid statistics or story of the deployment or development of their Big Data solution? The TDWI Awards are looking for just those things. The Awards are designed to honor companies that have demonstrated best practices in developing, deploying and maintaining solutions for BI, analytics, data warehousing, and more. Winners are chosen by a panel of experienced judges, and we all know that people seeking out winners of these awards may definitely be looking to bring a hint of innovative technology to their practice. Winning this award can definitely position any company as a proven leader in big data. Applications are open now, and deadlines are closing on April 23rd.

Health Technology Awards

Modern Healthcare Awards -100 Most Influential People in Healthcare List
Have an influencer that you believe is of the top tier of the healthcare industry? Then look no further. This Modern Healthcare list honors individuals who are influential in terms of impact, and leadership. Readers will vote for their top choices and the honorees are published in Modern Healthcare’s popular annual ranking. Nominations close on May 8th! This list is influential in itself, and those who search for it are more than likely looking to follow thought leaders.

IET Innovation Awards
Winning an IET Innovation Award is quite the feat, with competition being high, and the award being free to apply! IET is the second largest membership organization for engineers in the world, and by winning the awards, you could place your company in the forefront of innovation thought leadership. Engineers are the primary audience of the award, and who better to impress than some of the smartest individuals in the world?

Applying for industry awards leads to benefits beyond a simple self-assessment or a logo for the company website. It also allows you to research past winners and help you get a sense of what others are doing in your industry in addition to gains in your recruiting and sales outreach. Although time-consuming and sometimes distracting, you and your team should consider applying for a select few opportunities that can be of value to you and your business.

By Anne Stanley, Kyra Tillmans, and Kory Buckley

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How Do I Build an Influencer List?

How many times have you been mindlessly digging through social media purgatory with no direction looking for someone who might, maybe, possibly, kinda sorta be called an influencer? Us, too – until we found some amazing platforms that did a lot of that work for us!

Followerwonk
One of our favorite tactics is targeting influencers based on their Social Authority. The best tool for that is Followerwonk, which finds a Twitter account’s Social Authority. “But wait,” you ask, “what is Social Authority?” Social Authority is an influencer metric from Followerwonk (a child firm of Moz) that calculates the level of engagement a user’s Twitter account receives. While Followerwonk won’t tell us exactly how Social Authority is calculated, we know it has multiple components. These include metrics such as the number of followers the account has; their Social Authority numbers; and the percentage of likes, impressions, and clicks they receive, to name a few. The most important aspect, however, focuses on the number of retweets the user earns. Further, the number of retweets cross-measured by the recency of those tweets that are shared is especially important. They emphasize this specifically in their algorithm because the size of a user’s audience and their engagement is a true test of their influence on the Twitter platform, and retweets are consistently the best way to determine if people are listening.

Pros:
Followerwonk provides a simple and user-friendly tool to track influencers from their Twitter profiles. The way it works is pretty intuitive, especially when you understand the significance of Social Authority. After you visit the site, start with the Search Bios tab.

When you enter your search query (we will take “B2B Marketing” in this example), select “Search Twitter Profiles” and enter the industry in which you are looking to search for users. When your results pop up, filter your results by ‘Social Authority’ – as we’ve done below:

From here, you can choose whether the most or least influential profiles show up first and organize your search around these and other metrics. Targeting these users will give you the most engagement if they promote you or a client’s content. Additionally, you can filter by other important factors such as followers, tweets, etc. This method is generally how we like to start an influencer list, but the social authority metric is not exactly perfect for finding all your influencers.

Cons:
Followerwonk is a good start, but should we rest on the Social Authority metric alone? Not quite. Although Social Authority is a strong marker for the influence a person holds within Twitter, it is inherently incapable of accounting for a person’s title or true status outside the platform. For example, if the CEO of a large healthcare organization doesn’t have a Twitter account or doesn’t tweet often, their social authority score would very likely be low and not come up as noteworthy in a search. However, this obviously doesn’t mean the CEO isn’t an extremely influential person. This is the case for many influential decision makers across many spaces: their social authority may not be high, but their actual influence in their organization or in the industry can still be massive.

Targeting influencers to grow your social authority score is always an important standard every account should hold themselves to for the inherent good it represents, but your search for influencers can and should encompass much more than solely social media influence. Social media can also be used as a way to keep up with the conversation in relevant spaces in order to better align your products and services to your customers in fast-changing industries.

Your search for influencers can and should encompass much more than solely social media influence. Click To Tweet

Let’s say your company mainly sells its products and services to healthcare organizations. It would be extremely important to target decision makers at these healthcare organizations in order to keep your company in the loop on what these people are talking about. Anyone who is a potential partner or customer should be labeled as important to your client. In this case, you would need to conduct searches for the social media profiles of the top hospitals and clinics, i.e. looking for the CEO of Aetna, the CEO of Blue Shield, and more. These people may not have a strong influencer score but are still very important to target nonetheless.

Right Relevance
Right Relevance is a free or paid social tool that can be used to find influencers for pretty much any topic or keyword. This allows you to view their area of influencer and find their top followers under that topic. The platform allows you to discover conversations involving influencers under any topic and provide an interface to interact with them. Right Relevance offers a premium version, Right Relevance Pro, which allows you to access the same features as the free version, but also adds some intriguing functions, such as:

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Save topics of interest as feeds
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Save articles, video for reading/sharing later
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Deep graph-based analytics for topical distribution of following as friends, and topical influence measurement and visualization

Pros:
You can access Right Relevance or Right Relevance Pro through its website, or use it as a plug-in on Hootsuite (my preferred method). You can also sort and filer by relevance, time, location, influencers and topic score. Sorting by time and location can be especially helpful if you’re searching for influencers at a specific tradeshow or conference. The free version works well, but we did upgrade to Right Relevance Pro when we were searching for influencers for our client OVH US around our VMworld social campaign. Right Relevance also lets you search for popular articles and shows you which articles each influencer has shared. Knowing which types of news your influencer cares about can help you develop a pitch or anecdote when you start engaging with them.

Right Relevance in Action
We used a few searches for influencers using various search terms: “VMworld,” “private cloud,” “public cloud,” and “hybrid cloud,” along with Followerwonk, to cross-reference our findings. All told, we followed the 65 people who were discussing these topics and had high influencer rankings.

We added them to a list on Twitter (which we also made a column on Hootsuite for) called “VMworld 2017” so we would be able to easily monitor their conversations in real-time.

Cons:
Right Relevance is usually pretty good about being able to separate business accounts from individual accounts, but I still found myself having to sift through all the accounts before selecting the relevant influencers. It also is not really clear how Right Relevance determines an influencer score, and whether there is a weighted value to criteria that you would think matters more (i.e. shares, followers, etc). The last major fault would have to be the plug-in version on Hootsuite; it just wasn’t as easy to use as going directly to the RR website, despite the convenience of it being right there in the customizable platform.

Remember: Verify Your Finds!
Sometimes you just have to do things the old-fashioned way (i.e. verification through manual search). By continuing your searches to relevant conferences in the industry and sorting through the list of speakers, you might be able to uncover some people you may have never found on social media, but are still influential. Yeah, we know it’s a boring and painstakingly long process! But it’s always worth the extra effort to verify your influencers. We’ve commonly come across a well-respected industry analyst or journalist who appear to not be active on Twitter – but are still considered a top influencer.
Anyone who has tried building an influencer list knows that while the project is an important one, it can be quite a difficult process. These quick tips should not only make your results more impactful, but should also make your job a little easier – and who wouldn’t want that?

By Tyler Trainer,  Katrina Cameron, and Nathan Zaragosa

The Beginning and Ending of Time: Stephen Hawking

The Contributions the Late, Great Stephen Hawking, the renowned physicist, cosmologist, and author, made to the tech industry

This Wednesday, Hawking, who had ALS, died at the age of 76. During his lifetime, he became what many considered the world’s greatest living scientist, and was widely known for his ideas about the universe (including theories about the big bang and black holes).

Hawking and his extraordinary ideas inspired many, some of whom, including big names in technology like Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple CEO Tim Cook, turned to social media to pay tribute this week. But why was he so respected within the tech community? Even though most of his contributions were related to science, his clever insights regarding the future state of technology made a significant impact.

How Technology Helped Him
Hawking’s used a wheelchair to move around after his disease left him paralyzed, and he was dependent on others and technology for most everyday tasks. Hawking lost his ability to speak when he caught pneumonia on a trip to Geneva. He started using Equalizer, an innovative program by California-based company Words Plus, that allowed the user to select words and commands on a computer using a hand clicker, linked to a speech synthesizer. As his disease worsened and his ability to communicate declined, Hawking met with Intel, who applied state-of-the-art computing technology to improve his communicating speed with the use of a keyboard on the screen and a word-prediction algorithm. This system later improved with modern artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technology.

His Commentary on Artificial Intelligence
According to Quartz:

“Despite the help machine learning gave Hawking in communicating, the physicist was somewhat pessimistic about the technology’s potential impact on society. He was known for his skepticism of developing “strong AI,” or general artificial intelligence, that would have similar reasoning capabilities as a human.”

Thanks to his innovative, assistive technology, Hawking could share this views on the future of computing and how technology improves the way we live. He believed that everyone played a role in engaging current and future generations with the study of science to create “a better world for the whole human race.” He predicted that technology could reverse harm caused to the planet by industrialization and help end disease and poverty, but AI needed to be controlled. He said: “computers can, in theory, emulate human intelligence, and exceed it.” Hawking’s comments were part of the escalating debate about the pro and cons of artificial intelligence, also commented on by technology innovators like Elon Musk and Bill Gates.

Stephen Hawking took the world on a remarkable scientific journey through the universe. He was a brilliant scientist, a great communicator, and his revolutionary ideas and arguments were inspiring to the scientific community and beyond. Although he will be missed, his legacy will live on forever.

 “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.” – Stephen Hawking

 

10Fold salutes you, Stephen Hawking, you will be missed!

By Kyra Tillmans

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Three Reasons Video Is Increasingly Important in Demand Gen

When we talk about demand gen today, it is an ever-growing beast akin to the mythical hydra, spawning two heads for every head lost. Indeed, businesses today deal with an exponentially growing number of components in each demand gen campaign, which now warrant a dedicated team member, if not a full team, to handle. Traditionally, demand gen’s content engine relied heavily on the written word and other data-driven digital content. However, the wild popularity of video assets, brought on by a generation raised with YouTube, Vine (RIP) and Snapchat, throws a curveball into traditional demand gen content strategies.

Fear not, businesses that incorporate video into their overall demand gen strategy wager minimal risk for great reward. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then, as Forrester’s Dr. James McQuivey put it, 1 minute of video is worth 1.8 million words. So if you’re tiptoeing the diving board, unsure of whether or not to take the plunge, here are three reasons to give you that needed push to think video!

Video is digestible
Would you rather read a 2,000-word whitepaper, or watch a 90-second video? The majority of senior executives today (59 percent) lean toward the latter. Don’t get me wrong – a fleshed-out whitepaper is still a valuable asset to have and use. However, people are consuming more content at a faster rate than ever before. Instead of taking unabridged adventures into full-blown thought leadership essays, your buyers only have time for the quick and dirty version.

Video is a happy medium – excuse the pun – between in-depth storytelling and tightly packaged content. Within the span of 1-2 minutes, video can cover pain points, industry context, innovative solutions and more. Furthermore, instead of a name and title on a byline, your thought leader gets quality facetime with your prospects as what we like to call a “talking head.” While face-to-face communication still reigns supreme as the most effective way to convey a message and build a relationship, video comes in as the close second.

Video is convertible
OK, it might not do 0-60 mph in a matter of seconds, but it is most likely the best-looking and most powerful vehicle you have in your demand gen garage. According to our Tech Marketing Content Survey, video is tied with social media as the most effective medium for content. And the numbers don’t lie. Videos on your homepage increase conversion rates by 20 percent. Videos on your landing pages increase conversion by 80 percent. Better yet, videos in email campaigns result in a 200-300 percent increase in click-through rates (CTR), and 64 percent of consumers are more likely to buy product after watching a video.

As such industry research proves, video is without a doubt a fast and furious accelerator to your demand gen campaigns.

…I’ll stop now with the dad puns.

Video is scalable
Regardless of your company’s size and success, and/or where your buyers are in the customer journey, there is always a time and place for video. If you’re trying to establish brand awareness, company overviews and customer case studies can quickly establish who you are and what you have to offer. As your company continues to expand, videos that highlight your products, as well as those that promote recruitment and culture, will help you maintain momentum. Finally, once you’re ready to establish yourself as an industry leader, a healthy helping of video blogs (vlogs) and consistent sales kickoff (SKO) and Year in Review videos will do just that.

Industry research proves video is, without a doubt, a fast and furious accelerator to your demand gen campaigns. Click To Tweet

That’s a wrap!
Content consumption will continue to trend toward smaller, faster, more visual assets. In order to keep up, and more importantly stay ahead, businesses must invest in video to bolster their PR, marketing and demand gen efforts. For a sneak peek into how this looks when put into real-world practice, swing by ProMotion Studios and take a quick look at our recent content survey to learn more.

By Webbo Chen

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Think Business Press is Mission Impossible?

Commentators and pundits in the media like to point out that times have changed, and that the way to a splashy business feature for your client is not the same today as, say, 3-5 years ago.  To some extent, that’s true, but it’s also beside the point.  There may be a few new rules to observe, and they may complicate your life, but when has that not been true?  So let’s forget all that and focus on the here and now.

Let me share a few observations from my experience with our account teams in scoring coverage in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, and other top outlets: such as this Forbes feature on software-testing firm Tricentis, or this WIRED feature on networking technology firm Barefoot Networks.

Tell a story.  One of the top network industry editors recently told a client of mine that “At the end of the day, I’m just a storyteller.”  In fact, the best business and trade editors and reporters are just that!  Those are the folks who either:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Take your pitch, envision the storyline behind it and write that story
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Take your pitch, dump your storyline and write one of their own, or…
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Reject your pitch.  So, never forget the storyline!  A pitch without a storyline is boring.

Case in point:  too many pitches by PR practitioners neglect to state the problem their client solves, and for whom.  And yet the problem is the core of the storyline!  Neglect it at your peril.  If you don’t know the problem, or can’t articulate it, don’t start pitching until you do.

Find the beat.  The ranks of business editors and reporters have thinned in the last few years, threatening to load more beats on the backs of the remaining staffers.  Those staffers who survive end up with unimaginable loads and responsibilities, which means that fewer and fewer pitches make the cut.  It’s simple math.  Worse yet, your client’s market or technology may fall between reporters’ beats rather than squarely within one, and the inevitable reply to your pitch is “Sorry, not my beat.”  (Left unsaid is this: “And nobody else’s beat either.”)

Too many pitches by PR practitioners neglect to state the problem their client solves, and for whom. Click To Tweet

Well then, it’s time to move on unless you can refashion your story to one the editor wants.  Better yet, take a look at the publication’s roster of contributing writers, one of whom might be a specialist in a topic suitable to your client.  Then go for it!

Find supporting data.  Would you buy a car without examining its “supporting data”?  Or course not.  And you don’t have to.  The sticker on the side window is replete with data.  Nor would a business reporter buy a pitch without supporting data. In the minds of reporters, data equates to either validation or proof – and may give your pitch enough credibility to get past their pitch filter.  A pitch without data is just a bunch of unsupported claims.

But be cautious of the “Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics” rule, and be sure to check your data before publishing it.

News may be irrelevant.  We tend to counsel our clients that news is the route to coverage.  And often it is.  Network-focused trade outlets such as Network World, eWeek, and InformationWeek thrive on news, because many of their readers are product buyers or influencers.  But any respectable business publication thrives on trends.  My clients are in technology, but most business reporters are attuned to markets, not technologies per se.  They don’t have “technology” in their titles, but, to my benefit, they have it in their blood.  They see the trends, they see innovators emerging, and they’re often obsessed with Battle Royals — who’s getting ahead and will dominate, and who will be a relic lost to history in a few years.  The big question for PR pros is not how they can insert their clients into the story, but which clients they can insert.

Trendjacking rules.  Trendjacking is a technique honored by the legions of practitioners who want to associate their clients with a trend or practice that will drive a market ahead.  Will trendjacking drive major feature coverage for your client in the business media?  Not likely. But smart business reporters are hungry to find vendors who are driving trends, and not just riding those trends.  And what client does not want to be mentioned as a trend driver by Fortune, or Barron’s, or CNBC?  In an industry with a sizable TAM (Total Available Market (multiple millions or billions of dollars), even if your client is mentioned alongside five other companies in the segment, would  you turn down the opportunity?  I’d take that opportunity in a nanosecond!  Think of it this way:  Fortune just named my client as one of a half dozen companies that are leading the way in a multi-billion-dollar industry!

That’s a huge win in itself.  And could that single mention open opportunities for a feature on just your client in the months ahead?  Believe it, and make it happen.  Patience and timeliness are everything.

By Gary Good

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It Takes a Village: 10Fold’s Spirit of Giving

One of the things we are most proud of here at 10Fold is our employees, not only because they are smart, accountable and talented professionals (although they most definitely are that, too), but because they all care deeply about the community in which they live. It’s no coincidence, then, that an overwhelming number of our employees are involved with and committed to charities and non-profit organizations with a wide range of missions, including cancer research, empowering underserved populations and providing resources to individuals suffering from mental illness.

In short, our employees reflect 10Fold’s strong culture of helping others in need and giving back — a value that 10Fold has promoted and supported since its inception. And we want to see them to continue to thrive and grow as leaders – not just as PR professionals, but in various capacities throughout the greater world. As such, 10Fold has made it a point to support our employees in their charitable efforts.

Most recently, an employee on the board of the San Francisco chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the largest grassroots organization dedicated to the education, outreach and advocacy for the mentally ill and their families, was hosting a fundraiser at a local venue. 10Fold recognized the personal connection she had to this issue, and our significant donation to her efforts was critical in helping put the project over their fundraising goal. The money went directly to programs that linked those suffering from mental illness with mental health resources that would help them thrive.

But it hasn’t stopped there. Since 2008, 10Fold has consistently been an annual donor to the San Francisco chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society when another employee lost a good friend to leukemia. As an assistant coach for Team in Training’s SF Bay Area Cycle Team, he now rides in his friend’s memory by doing a “century ride” one season each year to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in their efforts to cure for all blood cancers. His last century ride was in November at El Tour de Tucson, where the team rode their bikes 108 miles around the city of Tucson, Arizona.

10Fold also contributes regularly to the Junior League of Oakland East-Bay (JLOEB), which has been near and dear to another 10Fold employee for going on eight years. The JLOEB partners with local organizations to support efforts that help East Bay families secure food, clothing, housing and jobs.

Last year, 10Fold donated a significant amount to the Young Texans Against Cancer Austin Chapter for their PowderPuff game/fundraiser, an event launched in 2013 that has grown considerably each year. The money helped raise $30K for local cancer research and support organizations, as well as cancer patients and their families.

Perhaps not surprisingly, our employees mirror 10Fold’s own charitable endeavors as a team. Every year, the entire 10Fold team spends an afternoon sorting and boxing food at the Alameda County Community Food Bank, providing much-needed nutritious fruits and vegetables, as well as protein and canned goods, to families in need. Team members – led by our fearless CEO, Susan Thomas — have also raised money by participating in the Avon 39 Walk to Cure Breast Cancer, a lengthy 39-mile, two-day hike that extends from Marin County to the San Francisco Marina.
The list goes on and on. But safe to say, we don’t just pay lip-service to our philanthropic endeavors – we walk the walk – because we want to see the communities in which we live, work and raise our families to flourish and thrive. It not only makes us feel good, but it’s the right thing to do. After all, it takes a village – and we take that to heart.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to any of our favorite charities, more information can be found below.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness in San Francisco (NAMI SF) is the community’s voice on mental illness. The organization is part of the grass-roots, nonprofit, national NAMI organization, and also an affiliate of NAMI California. Its mission is to support and educate people with mental illness and their families and advocate for more research and awareness around mental illness.

The San Francisco Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is the voice for all blood cancer patients. Their mission is to ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients, find a cure for blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

The Junior League of Oakland East-Bay (JLOEB) is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

The Young Texans Against Cancer Austin Chapter is an independent, nonprofit organization that is run completely by volunteers. The board is comprised of young men and women who have either lost or witnessed a loved one fighting cancer. The organization is focused on raising funds for local research and support organizations in Central Texas, using our member base to increase awareness of volunteer organizations and helping to educate our community on cancer research.

The Alameda County Community Food Bank distributes millions of healthy meals every year, and is on the forefront of new approaches to ending hunger and poverty. The food bank is committed to food distribution, ending child and student hunger and community education and outreach.

Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer is the largest fundraising event for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Since its launch by the Avon Foundation for Women in 2003, more than 235,000 participants have raised nearly $620 million in the fight to end breast cancer. Funds raised at each event provide direct impact in the area where the event takes place, and also help make sure that care and research programs nationwide have adequate resources to make the most progress possible.

By Stefanie Hoffman

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