Tag Archives: 10Fold

How to Tap into the Media Love-Affair with Data

We currently live in a digital world and almost everything can, and is, described with numbers. Data gives reporters the unique ability to tell a compelling story with the sheer scale and range of digital information available today and using data to drive stories has become a widely-adopted best practice among media professionals of all types.

Long story short: reporters love data and you should too.

Data plays a key role in any successful media strategy and can help organizations secure media coverage, develop thought leadership platforms and achieve overarching business objectives. Click To Tweet

Data plays a key role in any successful media strategy and can help organizations secure media coverage, develop thought leadership platforms and achieve overarching business objectives. In today’s global economy, there are invisible connections between products, consumers, organizations and larger industry trends. Data helps provide a credible and timely way to link these and participate at the forefront of these conversations in the media. From a PR perspective, a data-driven media relations campaign hinges closely on the theme of providing value to reporters and can be a useful tactic to develop mutually beneficial relationships. By arming reporters with proprietary data or leveraging existing data to introduce a new perspective on a larger industry trend, you’re participating in a value-based interaction vs. something that is overtly promotional.

So, how can an organization utilize data, proprietary or existing, to secure media coverage that advances its overarching business objectives? Ultimately, you want to use data as a springboard or jumping-off point to start a conversation which legitimizes a problem or industry-wide POV, and then propose a way in which your organization can provide value to the conversation.

For example, CompTIA, the Computing Technology Industry Association, recently released a study on GDPR which states that 52 percent of U.S. companies surveyed are either still exploring the applicability of GDPR to their business; have determined that GDPR is not a requirement for their business; or are unsure. Pitching reporters this data, in conjunction with an expert from your organization who can speak to the steps companies can take to figure out if GDPR applies to their business, provides reporters with a timely media angle and an expert on the topic. The desired result? A win-win situation for all parties: an educational piece for the reporters’ audience, coverage and brand awareness for your organization and a thought leadership platform for your subject matter expert.

Successful data-driven media programs involve strategy, foundational work and ongoing maintenance. There are both reactive and proactive approaches to building a comprehensive data-driven media program. The first step in implementing a data-driven media program, whether proactive or reactive, is to determine a list of topics and keywords that you will use to monitor for data. Next, use these identified topics and keywords to conduct an audit to see what studies already exist. Ask these questions:

  1. Is this study annual? If so, what is the publish date?
  2. Who conducted the study?
    NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Is this study commissioned by a third-party association or analyst firm?
    NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Was this study commissioned by a competitor or different company? Note: If it was commissioned by a competitor, avoid referencing it. If it was conducted by a different company, thoroughly vet the company to make sure there are no competing interests.
  3. Was the study conducted by credible means?
  4. Was this study covered and well-received in the media?

If your organization has the bandwidth and budget to commission proprietary data, this audit will be a useful tool to determine how your company can provide value in the current data landscape. Identify gaps and areas of opportunity to contribute new data to the conversation. Insights garnered from the audit will drive survey development. Next, determine budget and audience. Is your audience B2C or B2B? Do you have budget to engage a third-party vendor? If you do not have budget to hire a third-party research firm, you can explore cheaper options, like SurveyMonkey, to pursue. Be cognizant of the “magic number” of survey respondents or sample size that is required for a study to be considered credible by the media; these figures vary when targeting B2C and B2B survey audiences. Once you have fielded your data, create a comprehensive media strategy that takes into consideration timing, media targets, messaging, distribution and how you’ll cross promote the findings on different social and corporate media channels.

A reactive data-driven media program can help your organization capitalize on a third-party’s investment in data. Use the topics and keywords previously identified to set up “Google Alerts” and “Talkwalker Alerts” to be notified in real-time if relevant data is released and be prepared to “trend-jack”; on an ongoing basis, this is crucial to running a successful and timely reactive data-driven media strategy because it will allow you to react in real-time. The audit on the current data landscape as it relates to your organization will play a key role in the reactive data-driven media campaign.  Start by adding any reoccurring reports or surveys which are not issued by a competitor into your media content calendar. This way, you can anticipate when they will be published and incorporate the data into a larger media strategy. Identity your spokesperson in advance and storylines that directly connect to your company’s value proposition. When the data is published, you’ll be ready to execute a comprehensive and timely trend-jack campaign.

To successfully run a data-driven media program, you must first have a solid understanding of the current data landscape, how you want to participate and the new value you’ll add to the conversation. A wide range of data currently exists, so be sure to capitalize on it to maximize media coverage, advance business goals and develop thought leadership platforms.

By Jacquelyn Daane 

10FOLD WINS THE BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE GROUP’S 2018 BEST PLACES TO WORK AWARD – PRESS RELEASE

Company’s Focus on Culture, Training, and Service Excellence Fuels Multiple National Award Wins in 2018

SAN FRANCISCO – May 29, 2018 – 10Fold, a leading B2B tech communications and content agency, today announced that it has won the 2018 Best Places to Work award from The Business Intelligence Group. 10Fold received the award based on workplace excellence, innovation, programs that support staff development, and its emphasis on community support – encouraging staff to participate in charitable ventures and community service. This award is announced just a week after 10Fold was honored with the Grand Stevie award for Most Honored PR Agency of the Year.

The Business Intelligence Group was founded with the mission of recognizing true talent and superior performance in the business world. Unlike other industry and business award programs, business executives—those with experience and knowledge—judge the programs. The organization’s proprietary and unique scoring system selectively measures performance across multiple business domains and then rewards those companies whose achievements stand above those of their peers.

“It is a particular honor to be awarded as a Best Place to Work because of the input our staff had in us winning the award,” said Susan Thomas, CEO of 10Fold. “Each year we dedicate significant time and resources to enhance our work environment and the experience our staff has at 10Fold – a program we call Crazy Good Employee Satisfaction. It’s very gratifying, and a credit to the strength of our people, to be recognized for this effort.”

“This year’s program identified an outstanding group of companies that make employee performance and engagement a central mission of their organization,” said Maria Jimenez, Chief Nominations Officer of Business Intelligence Group. “Unlike our other business awards that are judged by volunteer industry experts and business leaders, the Best Places to Work awards program puts the power of determining winners into the hands of the employees themselves. We were amazed at the sheer percentage of employees who participated in making their respective companies win. That alone should serve as testament to the success of each organization.”

“As a 25-year technology industry veteran, I especially appreciate the opportunity at 10Fold.  The company allows me to use the best of my skills and experience – in combination with my interests and passions – to support corporate growth. With that opportunity, I’ve automated the corporate systems, which resulted in a national award and a savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating expense, which has been used to fuel our double-digit year-over-year growth,” said Bart Tillmans, CIO / CTO, 10Fold.

10Fold specializes in providing award-winning services – including media, analyst and influencer relations, messaging, social media and content programs – for B2B technology companies. The agency has supported more than 400 complex technology companies in the application development, DevOps, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cyber security, enterprise software, mobile, semiconductor, cloud and storage industries. 10Fold is honored to have won nearly 40 national awards such as the PRSA Anvil Awards, Hermes Creative Platinum Award, The Stevie Agency of the Year Award, PR News Agency Elite Award, and Bulldog Media Relations awards.

10Fold thinks differently and strategically to support clients – which includes hosting events to connect clients to their buyers and key audiences. 10Fold’s next event, Media SharkTank, is an annual event taking place in October, which provides a unique opportunity for company executives to test their business pitch in collaboration with national business print, online and broadcast reporters.

About 10Fold Communications
10Fold is a leading North American integrated communications agency designed to create thought leadership and build brand value. Our agency is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices in Pleasanton, San Diego and Capistrano Beach, California; Austin, Texas; and Denver, Colorado. Our award-winning, highly specialized account teams consist of multi-year public relations veterans, broadcasters and former journalists who have been recognized nationally for media and analyst relations, written and video content, messaging, social media and paid digital services.

For more information, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Read the full press release here.

Contact:
Gary Good
10Fold Communications
gary@10fold.com
(707) 837-1718

 

10FOLD HONORED WITH STEVIE® AWARD FOR PR AGENCY OF THE YEAR (PRESS RELEASE)

Also Garners Grand Stevie Award as Most Honored PR Agency of the Year.  Awards Recognize Agency for B2B Communications and Video Excellence

SAN FRANCISCO – May 16, 2018 – 10Fold, a leading B2B tech communications and content agency, today announced that it has won the 2018 Grand Stevie Award as Most Honored PR Agency of the Year and the Bronze Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. 10Fold received the awards for overall excellence, innovation, execution and results in campaigns; a corporate culture that promotes staff growth and development; and charitable and community service. These awards come on the heels of the Hermes Creative Award and the PR Daily Best B2B Campaign Award that 10Fold has won in 2018.

The Stevies (American Business Awards) is the U.S.A.’s premier business awards program.  More than 3,700 nominations from organizations of all sizes and in virtually every industry were submitted this year for consideration in a wide range of categories. More than 200 professionals worldwide participated in the judging process.  Stevie Award winners will be honored on June 11 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City.

“It’s a true honor to be named a winner of two Stevie awards,” said Susan Thomas, CEO of 10Fold.  “Now in our 24th year, we have held true to our drive to deliver what we call Crazy Good Client Satisfaction.  But the Stevies place a premium on excellence in every aspect of an agency’s operations, and I’m honored to be acknowledged as meeting those high standards.”

“The nominations submitted for the 2018 American Business Awards were outstanding,” said Michael Gallagher, president and founder of the Stevie Awards.  “The competition was intense, and those recognized as Stevie Award winners should be immensely proud of this accomplishment.”

10Fold specializes in providing award-winning services – including media, analyst and influencer relations, messaging, social media and content programs for B2B technology companies.  The agency has supported more than 400 complex technology companies in the application development, DevOps, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cyber security, enterprise software, mobile, semiconductor, cloud and storage industries. 10Fold is honored to have won nearly 40 national awards such as the PRSA Anvil Awards, Hermes Creative Platinum Award, PR News Agency Elite Award, and Bulldog Media Relations awards.

10Fold thinks differently and strategically to support clients – which includes hosting events to connect clients to their buyers and key audiences. 10Fold’s next event, Media Shark Tank, is planned for October and is an annual event for company executives to test their business pitch in collaboration with national business print, online and broadcast reporters.

About 10Fold Communications
10Fold is a leading North American integrated communications agency designed to create thought leadership and build brand value. Our agency is headquartered in San Francisco, with regional offices in Pleasanton, San Diego and Capistrano Beach, California; Austin, Texas; and Denver, Colorado. Our award-winning, highly specialized account teams consist of multi-year public relations veterans, broadcasters and former journalists who have been recognized nationally for media and analyst relations, written and video content, messaging, social media and paid digital services.

For more information, please visit our website or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Read more here.

Contact: Gary Good

 

The CMO’s Customer Conundrum and Why You Should NEVER “Ask for a Favor”

We hear almost daily from our clients that they are challenged with converting customers to become marketing and PR advocates. Common cries from CMOs and VPs of Marketing include: “They will never talk!” “They were interested in helping us out, but now they are upset due to integration issues.” “The sales guy won’t even give us their contact information to start a conversation!”

Why is this such a universal problem that seems to only be getting worse? Logic would say that if you have a great product — and it’s consistently delivering value for your customers — that those content customers would be happy to assist by participating in a webinar, talking to an industry analyst, or contributing a quote in a press release. After all, humans are wired to genuinely want to help one another, so why don’t customers “do a favor” and assist their vendors with marketing and PR requests?

Customers = Gold (a coveted commodity meant to be guarded for dear life)
A customer reference is like gold for emerging technology companies – and established ones for that matter. The challenge is the sales team wants to hang onto such “gold” like aggressive miners from the days of the California Gold Rush of 1849. Salespeople see their customers as their customers – and rightfully so, carefully restricting access to such prized possessions and almost always reserving them for their next big deal. The typical “closing” sales scenario reaches its final critical phase near the bottom of the funnel when the only thing left for the prospect to do to “seal the deal” is to speak to a happy customer who will sing the company’s technology praises, resulting in the prospect moving forward with a purchase order.  But when you have a type A salesperson on a mission to hit their year-end quota to earn President’s Club recognition and a luxurious trip to Paris, the game changes. Truth be told: most coin-operated salespeople are motivated by commissions and maintaining the primary relationship with the customer, and not “playing nice” with marketing.

It’s Not a Zero-Sum Game
We like to think about customer references on a continuum – on one side you have the very cautious customer from a risk-averse Fortune 500 company who faces internal “corporate communications police” on a daily basis and may only be available to participate in a very minor capacity; whereas on the opposite end of the continuum, you have a very ebullient, customer champion who wants to see her or his “name in lights” and use the positive publicity to build their own personal brand and to advance their  career  – not to mention, enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas to speak at a major event like CES.

Find the Win-Win, but Never Ask for a Favor!
Regardless of whether you desire customer advocate is at one of these extremes or in the area between, you should never ask them to do a favor for marketing or PR purposes.  You have to find “what’s in it for them and their company,” and then find a win-win scenario where they would also realize value when they give up their precious time to become a mouthpiece for you.

Bigger is Not Always Better
Many companies – especially Series A-B funded start-ups – want to appear bigger than they are so they can improve their chances of selling into large enterprises and move beyond the SMB market (where deal sizes are much smaller). One strategy to elevate your brand is to associate your company with bigger brands – such as Goldman Sachs, Nordstrom, or Mercedes – as you target vertical buyers in financial services, retail, automotive or other industries. But bigger is not always better when it comes to leveraging brands for marketing and PR, because the larger the company, the bigger the obstacles in converting a customer champion to sing your product’s praises. All things being equal, you want a household name Fortune 500 customer, with a senior executive spokesperson who is as ebullient and smooth as a silver-tongued politician to conduct media interviews, do a video case study, and participate in a webinar.  And, good luck with that – you would have more success finding a unicorn or winning the lottery!

Beggars can’t be choosers, so “think small” when kicking off your customer reference program. It’s perfectly fine to utilize a relatively unknown brand who might actually appreciate “riding your PR coattails” to generate some visibility for their company and their career while promoting your company along the way – a win win!

It’s Not Who Says It, But What They Say
While you may covet a relationship and reference from your biggest customer, don’t let that blind you to the power of a smaller customer.  We once cultivated a relationship for one of our clients with a spokesperson from Associated Food Stores – which provides wholesale distribution services for independently-owned retail supermarkets – and we placed him on the cover of multiple magazines! Why? Because he saw the customer/vendor marketing partnership as mutually beneficial, where he was willing to invest his time to conduct several media interviews to generate the most powerful sales tools (feature articles) our client had ever seen, and he felt very proud to have his face plastered on magazine covers and get some “free PR” for Associated Food Stores.

Imagine if we had pursued Target or Wal-Mart as a customer reference – we would still be in the checkout line. The bottom line is you are better served having a very passionate champion from a lesser-known brand than a guarded spokesperson – fearful of getting reprimanded by their boss – be your focus when kicking off a customer program.  Over time, as you land more big-brand customers, you can evolve your strategy to lure some whales as customer champions – but it takes a long time to reel them in, and you need special “bait” and a process to be successful. Contact us to learn more.

The ROI of a Las Vegas Boondoggle – No, this is NOT an Oxymoron
As mentioned above, it’s important to view your customers on a continuum – from the ultra-reserved or constrained “never going to happen” customer ,to  friend and  ally, to  effusive champion.  There are a plethora of possibilities when considering how to tap your customers as PR and marketing references. There are several to consider, including very conservative approaches – such as a once-a-year industry analyst briefing under NDA (where nothing would ever leak into the public domain); to a middle-of-the-road approach where you can byline an article on the customer’s behalf and be able to control the message and every word in an article; to a more aggressive approach where a customer might consent to conducting media interviews, participating in a webinar, and doing a video case study.

We have executed a number of  creative customer advocacy campaigns over the years, and for customers who are “tough to budge,” here are a couple of ideas we have found to be successful.  “You have just won an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas for you and your spouse!” No, this is not the sketchy offer in the snail mail or the robo-dialer leaving you a cheesy voice mail to go to Disneyworld; this is YOU making a genuine offer to submit your customer to deliver a case study presentation at a key vertical-focused conference where your prospects convene and you will pick up the tab for all travel and lodging expenses for her/him and their significant other!  Who wouldn’t want a free boondoggle to Vegas – talk to a group of 100 or so attendees, play a round of golf while the spouse enjoys a spa day, then enjoy a nice dinner and see a show — Viva Las Vegas and Viva PR ROI!

When All Else Fails, Throw a Party
“Loose lips sink ships” and they also sell millions of dollars in product when red wine-induced happy customers sing your praises when accepting their award in front of a room of prospects. Such is the typical outcome of VIP customer award dinners which have proven to be a very effective strategy for wooing customers into a controlled environment – not in the public domain – where they are comfortable sharing their “love story” in a private room in front of a room of prospects and fellow customers.

We have had great success co-locating such events in conjunction with industry trade shows where your customers and prospects are already in attendance (and looking for a gourmet dinner and fine wine one evening during the conference, rather than ordering room service and being a slave to their laptop all night).  These awards dinners are a great way to honor big brands – who are under corporate communications gag orders to never speak publicly as mentioned above – and genuinely recognize them for such awards as “most innovative use case of 2018” or “fastest deployment and ROI.”

We recommend limo service from the conference venue, so you can start the evening in style and whisk away your customers and prospects to a swanky restaurant with a private room. After a hosted cocktail hour, you proceed with the awards program during dinner where you invite 2-3 customers to accept their respective awards. You present them with a beautiful Tiffany crystal award and ask them to say a few words, which ends up being a glowing case study about how much they enjoy working with you and the incredible value they have realized from the product – all in front of a room of prospects who are also on their third glass of wine by that time! The old adage now becomes: “Loose lips convert customers!”

Cheers to converting more customer champions – and if you need a chef to cook up a recipe for success, give us a ring and make a reservation!

By Ross Perich

THE INTERN WISH LIST

What do interns want? I feel like this question is rarely asked within companies (except for 10Fold of course – they practically force this answer out of you) In fact, ‘what do you want out of me?’ seems to be the real question.

I went into the real world with that mentality: what can I do for you? What do you need out of me? How can I be better? Being so fresh in any industry is scary. You can prepare yourself all you want, but until you have real-life scenarios in front of you, it’s not the same.

What do we want?
We want a company who wants to invest in us. We want a boss and people around us to want us there, we don’t want to feel like we’re bothering anyone or not learning. The whole point of interning is to be a sponge, to learn as much as we can so we can determine if this is the career for us. If we can actually do this and do it well. No intern wants to go into a job, and leave feeling useless or unwanted. We want a company to show us the ins and outs and make sure we’re getting as much out of them as they’re getting out of us. It needs to be a two-way street of investment.

We want to grow 
Whether that’s with the company or apart from the company. No intern wants to wake up every day and realize this career wasn’t for them, or that person, for that matter. We want to be that generation who loves going to work every day, so much so that we wouldn’t mind coming in on the weekends (don’t quote me). Growing with our company would be the ultimate goal, however, because we really do not want to waste our time or yours. 51% of interns want the full-time offer letter.

We want real work and real results
We want a chance to do real work, that’s meaningful and impactful. We don’t want to feel like we took that extra year of trigonometry, and will never use it again. We’ve already taken the unnecessary classes to get where we are now. We want work that is going to be helpful to us later. Things and knowledge we can actually share with the real world.

In the end, interns just want to be loved and trained; like a puppy. Take us for those walks, train us, love us and we promise to be good and make you proud.

Interested in the intern experience here at 10Fold? Learn more about the program and apply here.

By Racheal Geremew


Securing a Speaking Slot: Five Things You Should Know

All clients want their 15 minutes in the spotlight. Often it comes in the form of an article or a press interview, but it can also come in the form of speaking engagements. However, it’s is often up to us PR practitioners to make that on-stage opportunity happen. While it’s not always easy, it is possible to see regular success in a speaking program. Here are five points to keep top of mind for your event speaking strategy.

Know the audience
There are countless events, covering even more topics. Meaning there is a lot of noise in the events market. As you’re digging into specific events, do your due diligence in understanding who the event targets. One of the worst things you can do for a client is put a CEO on stage at an event where the audience is nowhere near their core customer base. You then have a client that invested a lot of time, and often money, into a presentation that has no benefit for their business.

Understanding how your client best shares their story is key to knowing how to position them in the nomination process. Click To Tweet

Ask yourself these questions when deciding on which conferences to present at:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Are potential customers attending?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Does the audience include appropriate decision makers?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Is there an opportunity to meet with relevant media and analysts at the show?

Also, make sure the topic you’re nominating will resonate with the event audience. Clients can even use their customers as a focus group for this, by asking what pain points they’d like to see covered for specific topics.

Know your presenter’s strengths
Understanding how your client best shares their story is key to knowing how to position them in the nomination process. This will help you to categorize their presentation appropriately. If the presenter does not easily speak to a large room, a round table or breakout session would be a better option for them. Keeping personality traits in mind will make sure your presenter is comfortable in the environment they’re presenting in.

And, although it should go without saying (but we’ll say it anyway), make sure the presenter’s title and the opportunity and topic are appropriately aligned. For instance, you wouldn’t want to put a CMO on a panel discussing engineering best practices, nor would you want to put an engineer in a keynote session discussing business impact, or in general pitch a CEO on a round-table with a number of mid-level executives.

Know what topics the event is looking to include
As you’re in the planning stages of the nomination, try calling the organizers to get a copy of the preliminary agenda. Additionally, while you’re on the phone with them, find out what topics and industry trends the event is focusing on and if nothing seems like a perfect fit, test to see how open they are to additional ideas. This will help you craft a targeted nomination, as well as potentially gain your client access to an event they really hope to address. You might even pique their interest during the call and secure a speaking slot right then and there. (Trust me. It’s possible.)

Also, use this opportunity to learn their recommendations to make your nomination stand out. They might suggest including a video of a previous presentation or a ranking of the proposed speaker’s social and industry influence. In recent years, we’ve seen videos become a bigger part of speaking submissions and have assisted a number of clients with developing videos and producing submissions through our award-winning Pro-Motion Studios.

As well, keep in mind that event organizers are looking for impactful, educational content. So, leave the sales pitch at home, and speak to industry-wide topics that are vendor neutral.

Know the deadlines
It seems pretty obvious, but deadlines are the one thing that determines whether or not your nomination will even be considered. Conferences have extremely long lead times on speaker nominations, and the larger the event, the longer the lead time. Just as an example, SXSW in Austin, TX, closes nomination in July for the Interactive conference that takes place the following March. That’s a full nine months in advance. Strata New York closes their call for speakers six months in advance, as does RSA.

However, if your nomination does not get chosen, stay in touch with the event content organizers. A speaker might drop out at the last minute, leaving a hole in the agenda that will need to be filled quickly, and they’ll look to speakers and nominators that have been engaged with them throughout the nomination process.

Additionally, keep your client’s internal calendar in mind and work with them to prioritize nomination deadlines with their own user and customer conferences and internal board meetings.

Know that sponsorship is still an option
While we’d all like to position our clients for free, that’s not the only way for clients to get their message out. Sponsored panels and sessions at key events are still an excellent way to position clients and enable them to communicate directly with their target audience as well as network with fellow peers and presenters.

For a sponsored presentation, make sure to take full advantage of the included benefits. Some of these benefits could include:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 A featured blog post on the event site
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Synopsis inclusion in the conference newsletter
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Executive feature at the event.

With the right person presenting on the topic that resonates with the event audience, 15-minutes in the spotlight can turn into countless sales leads and industry influence. We’ve used these five points to secure presentations for our clients time and time again and now you can, too.

By Kathleen See

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 (plus 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.

Find the next entry in this series here: Crash the Keynote!

“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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