Tag Archives: marketing

Finding a Great Fit with a Tech PR Agency

It’s fall, and it’s the time of year when many companies are building new budgets and considering hiring, or making changes, with their marketing and PR agencies in preparation for the new year. Not unlike updating a wardrobe, it’s important to find the right fit at the right price. Maybe you’ve outgrown your existing partner, or maybe this is the first time you have had the budget to hire an agency. In any case, if you are in the market to hire a tech PR or marketing agency, know there are (at least) three key common mistakes companies make when selecting an agency, including:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Narrowing search criteria to only agencies that have worked with big corporate giants (believe it or not, some of the expensive brands may not fit as well as you would hope);
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Not prioritizing what’s most important in your program is like spending too much on button-down shirts and having no money left for the winter coat; and
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Setting your budget artificially low for your PR and marketing partner is like buying a pair of pants on sale, but two sizes too small, in the hopes you will lose weight. Find a partner you trust to deliver the services you need.

Big Brands, Big Budgets
While not an absolute, it’s safe to assume that if the agencies you talk to mention only big brand names on their client list, they are also used to having large budgets to work with. Companies commanding a large share of voice spend a minimum of $25,000 per month and frequently spend $100,000 per month (or more) to dominate the industry narrative. Unless you are prepared for this level of monthly retainer, you may not want to shop in the designer section.

And, just because an agency is working with a tech superstar today, it doesn’t mean that same agency built that company’s share of voice and industry footprint. Rather than simply being dazzled by the logo on the slide, ask questions about when they began working with the company and what the company’s share of voice was at the time. Know their budget and the results they got that company – and ask how long it took them to achieve those results. And, ask if the same team members on that superstar account will also be on your account. Agency knowledge doesn’t necessarily transfer between team members.

Dig In: Sean Captain – Media SharkTank is a chance to clear many waters

Now, don’t get me wrong, 10Fold has worked with some tech superstars throughout the years (and we naturally love to brag about them – take AppDynamics or Nimble Storage, for example). The important thing to know is that we worked with them from the beginning – and starting out their budgets were much smaller.

To make a sound decision, compare your budget to the average client budget for that agency. If they match, move forward – and if they don’t, keep looking.

No agency can be all things to all clients, and when priorities are clear, agencies with integrity will bow out if the requests don’t match their capabilities. Click To Tweet

Knowing What You Want is 90% of the Battle
It’s hard to choose an agency when the agencies say the same things. Most agencies have honed their pitches to cover their bases – that’s why it’s really important to be specific about what you are looking for. And this is especially true if your budget is limited. No agency can be all things to all clients, and when priorities are clear, agencies with integrity will bow out if the requests don’t match their capabilities.

As an example, we recently replaced an agency where priorities had been unclear. The encumbent had exclusively focused on getting mentions of the CEO in business press articles focused on corporate culture. The client had originally agreed that business press was important, but after six months, the client realized the agency lacked the technical depth to secure articles about their technology that would be meaningful to their buyers. The previous agency had no clue that what they were delivering wasn’t matching expectations. Almost any and all visibility can be helpful, especially when you are just starting out – but it is important to decide what you really want, so the agency can have impact.

Also, make sure your proposed agency spend is directly aligned with that specific priority. If you must command 60 percent of the share of voice in application monitoring solutions, then make sure 60 percent of your spend is on media programs and verify that with your agency partner. Understanding how the agency will address your goals and objectives is key. What has the agency agreed to do for the budget? Are they offering you guarantees about the outcomes? Think about calculating a price per deliverable based on their proposal and make sure the value they propose aligns with yours. We recommend focusing on fewer services, so that there are meaningful results for each program and less fragmentation of the team. Savvy shoppers know to take an inventory of their current wardrobe before a shopping trip, and likewise you should know what is included in your agency budget and then align those results to the way you are being measured internally.

Trust is the Best Way to Build an Agency Relationship – Don’t Be Tempted by “A Deal”
When faced with a decision between agencies, it’s easy to get tempted by a low monthly retainer. Just like the loud sweater you bought on impulse at the half-off sale, you may regret picking the cheap agency. Cheap usually translates to a lot of work on your part. One agency we replaced was described as “such a deal” when they were originally selected until the marketing exec realized that they were sending speaking plans with simply the names and dates of conferences, with no other context (such as audience size or titles that attend, or even sponsors). If your bonus (or even job) is dependent on your ability to produce great visibility, find an agency you trust.

As you likely know from your own recruiting program, great talent is not cheap, and the same is true for agency staff. And, agency spend is not just staffing, it’s also the expenses associated with research and reporting tools to deliver the great service that most savvy marketing execs are expecting. If you are buying at a lower price point, then set your expectations accordingly. Get to know and trust the team for deliverables, and make sure those agreements are clear.

Dig In: Is it Time for Media Training? Three Questions to Test Your Media Savvy

Ask any agency you are considering which tools they use,  and ask them for sample reports. Also ask to meet the key staff allocated for your account so you can understand each of their roles and responsibilities,  and ask for examples of results they have achieved for others similar to your company.

Simply put: the staffing and overhead costs cannot exceed the budget. If an agency spends more to deliver service then it makes, it’s a recipe for bad business.

Fall means more than just colder weather and wardrobe changes. It means every tech marketing executive is expected to produce a budget and some may choose to revisit their ongoing agency relationships. If you are making changes in your PR firm, then think carefully about how you will make the decision and remember these simple tips:
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Big client logos frequently translate to big budgets. Determine if your spend fits nicely within the agency’s parameters.
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Prioritize your “must have outcomes” and verify the agency can deliver on those. Ask for case studies of companies similar to yours that demonstrate the capabilities you need.
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Don’t fall for “a deal” – build trust and align agreements to your budget.

Happy shopping!

By Susan Thomas

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ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES: B2B Tech Shows Us the Future, Now

Sometimes Jumping In At The Deep End Makes You Love Swimming

My first day at 10Fold was a whirlwind of acronyms, complicated jargon, and general confusion. I heard the term edge computing for the first time ever, I sat in on a meeting where at least fifty percent of the words made no sense, and I learned that the cloud is far less fluffy than I assumed. I vividly remember thinking, “what have I gotten myself into?”

I grew up with the technological revolution; if Google were a person, it would have been in my grade in school. I scarcely remember a world before CDs were the norm, and can hardly believe that people used to go everywhere without a cell phone (because they hadn’t been invented yet) and were not only functional but content with being unreachable. Technological paradigm shifts were as much a part of my childhood as Harry Potter or making mud pies, and for that reason, the next one has always been an exciting prospect for me. Dramatic change was not only a possibility but a probability.

We are advancing more rapidly than at any other point in human history. When you consider this reality, the possibilities are endless. Click To Tweet

Having grown up in this world of tech, I went into this summer feeling as though I knew all there was to know about it. I knew what the cloud was, I knew that robots existed and that they were useful sometimes, and I knew that computers can communicate with each other. Turns out, despite technology having been there every step of the way for me, there was A LOT I had to learn.

Instead of choosing to be discouraged by everything I needed to learn, I began immersing myself in the less-publicized side of technology. Now, two months into my internship, I am more fascinated by deep, complex tech concepts than ever. I find it incredibly exciting that the future innovations that we will someday come to rely on have their foundations within the kinds of clients that 10Fold works with.

Imagine a future in which every drop of water used in agriculture is accounted for, and leaks are a thing of the past; where a smart hospital not only knows that you’re sick before you do, but how to cure you; where cars can talk to each other to not only prevent collisions but also minimize or even eliminate traffic. All of these things sound futuristic, and they are, but the coolest part about living today is that by using concepts such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things, they will all likely be possible in our lifetimes.

We are advancing more rapidly than at any other point in human history. When you consider this reality, the possibilities are endless. If someone had told my parents on the day I was born that, by the time I was in college, you could buy a pocket-sized device that can access the entirety of human knowledge, or store billions of gigabytes in the cloud, they probably would have looked at you funny. Today, not only are these technologies real, but we use them every day, and anyone can upload to the cloud; because virtually everyone has some form of internet-accessible cell phone.

Who’s to say that Back to the Future was wrong about what’s to come?

10Fold, in the multi-office format we exist in today, would have been impossible to operate only a short time ago. It’s very likely that your job would have been too. The ritualized, technology-reliant tasks we do every day would be unbelievable and fascinating to someone even only fifty years ago.

The initial pain of wading through a dictionary of terms I was totally unfamiliar with has ultimately been extremely worth it. Now, I don’t only feel more educated on the future of tech, but genuinely excited for what’s to come.

Yes, change can be scary. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t simultaneously incredibly exciting. Based on how far we have come in my lifetime alone, I am certain that in another twenty years, even more now-inconceivable technology will have become everyday and life-changing. There’s no reason for the exponential growth of advancement to slow, let alone stop. If you can dream it, you can do it.

By Chelsey Crowne  

4 Things You Can Do to Engage Influencers Online Right Now

Influencer marketing should be a part of every marketer’s strategy in boosting their brands credibility and reaching new audiences. If you’ve kept up with our blog to this point, you know we’ve talked about this before (and if you haven’t, subscribe below so you stop missing out!). While locking down an influencer may take some fancier maneuvering (See: Reciprocal Relationships: The Key to Influencer Partnerships that Work for the lowdown here), keeping a consistent eye on the high-profile players in your target market and building awareness with them over time, is foundational.   

Keeping a consistent eye on the high-profile players in your target market and building awareness with them over time, is foundational. Click To Tweet

Engage with their social media accounts
Yes, following the individuals you are seeking to build relationships is important. However, most of the pool of people we call influencers often maintain thousands of followers, and without further action they certainly won’t notice you. Consistently liking favoriting, sharing, or retweeting (respective to the platform, or course) their content – especially their original content- still goes a long way. Over time, this shows that you care about their perspective, and they are more likely to respond to your questions, comments, and other requests in the future.

Dig In: How Do I Build an Influencer List?

Follow, share, and (most importantly) engage with their blogs and articles
As above, consistently engaging with an influencer’s original work doesn’t go unnoticed if you keep at it. Commenting on blogs gives you the opportunity to personally ask questions and establish your own credibility and that you are worth speaking to. Hint – don’t just say “nice post” or “Agree” – add to the conversation! Doing your best to make sure your followers also see their content, can help further build a relationship, so make sure to reference and mention their work and share your own insights!

Join the discussion in their webinars and Tweetchats!
Participating in discussion forums is a good way to personally interact with influencers. Selecting those events that the hosts present as Q&A sessions are a particularly good idea to attend. Most influencers have a preferred platform they work with, but it’s always a good idea to make a habit of scanning Reddit, LinkedIn groups related to your industry, and developer forums are all great options to keep an eye on and in your to-do list. Tweetchats are great for this as well. These are essentially made for direct contact with influencers, and further, allow you to showcase your thoughts to a wider audience at the same time!

Dig In: Building a Social Media Plan – Content is King

Contact them directly
Sometimes simply reaching out can be the most effective! If you take this approach, make sure to have something to present so you spark their interest and can reciprocate their time with your valuable insights. Further, demonstrating that you’re willing to communicate and linking to your content or content stream gives them an idea of how to best approach you with content and opportunities that may interest you or further your relationship.

Ready for more?
Looking for more ways to build your influencer marketing strategy? Check out our blog here and stay tuned for more content by subscribing to our newsletter below as we delve into our series about why influencers matter and explore different ways to target them.

By Tyler Trainer

Three Things You Need to Know Before Accepting Your Next Agency Job

Irrespective of where you are in your career, it’s tricky to find a new job.  Of course, we all worry about knowing the right things to say that will impress the hiring manager, but maybe you should worry as much about what they are promising you.  Just like job applicants, employers can all start to sound the same.  If you are going to throw your heart and soul into a new job, what will you really get back?

For most, especially at the beginning of a career, training and development opportunities are incredibly important.  It’s time to build your professional value, and many job seekers put a premium on opportunities to do just that.  The second most common “must have” we find from job applicants is finding a good culture to work within.  And although the company’s Instagram page may be full of alcohol-infused fun outings, it’s important to know how things go during the regular work day.   This blog is meant to help identify and ask about the key elements of a position that lead to job satisfaction.

Tip 1:  Training and Development Opportunities That Are More than Lip Service!
When asking about learning and development opportunities, almost every employer is going to say “we have those.”  Anxious to get out of your old job, and thrilled by the attention associated with the interview process, some candidates find themselves accepting exactly that answer.  Which is actually not a real answer.  Here are a few more specific questions to ask that will demonstrate your real enthusiasm for learning and development.  If an employer can’t recall or is hesitant to answer these types of questions, the job may not be for you!

NO FOLD ICON 15x15What is the training budget for the agency or budget per person?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 What are the training options?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 How do you measure training efficacy?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 How many people take training?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Is the training provided by someone in house? OR, do you work with external trainers?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Do you pay for team members to get certified in anything?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Where is the training concentrated?

Tip 2:  Should You Stay or Should You Go?
Culture is another biggie that applicants at every level seem to care about.  Because the majority of your waking hours will be spent at work, it’s really important to ensure you like the way the company works, and that you appreciate the way they treat team members.  Don’t be shy about asking some pointed questions about how people work together and how transparent the organization is (if they don’t share any information, it’s likely to create a rumor-oriented culture).  The best possible way to assess your fit in the culture is to meet one or two people that you will work with that would be considered your peers in the organization.  A casual conversation with these people will help you really feel good about your career choice.  Here are a few questions that might come in handy:

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 What is the best staff outing or event you have had in the past six months?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 When and and how do staff collaborate, and do you have any tools to facilitate that collaboration?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 When is the last time the team all got together (assuming the company has multiple offices)? How often do you do that?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 How are staff members recognized for a job well done
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 How transparent is the company? Do you share financial information?  Do you share client budgets?  What company milestones are shared with the team? When are these milestones communicated?
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 What’s the churn rate at the senior level? Focus on most senior execs because they stay many several years at those jobs
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 How often do you see or interact with upper management? Do you have access to the VPs, the President, or the CEO?

Agencies that tend to hire fast also typically have problems keeping great talent. If you read D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E between the lines, you are likely walking in to a difficult situation. Click To Tweet

Tip 3:  Is it You, or Would Anyone With a Pulse Do?
It’s always flattering when a company appears to be anxious to make you an offer – but don’t be flattered into your next position.  A company that moves too fast may be desperate.  Although we would all like to believe they are simply making an exception to the hiring process because you are so wonderful, agencies that tend to hire fast also typically have problems keeping great talent.  If you read D-E-S-P-E-R-A-T-E between the lines, you are likely walking in to a difficult situation.  Here is a short check list of a solid hiring process that reputable agencies should offer and ask for:

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 A job description
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 An application
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Skills testing
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Reference
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Background check
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 At least two people should interview you
NO FOLD ICON 15x15 The interviewers should be prepared with insightful questions that make you squirm just a little

If your potential employer doesn’t follow these steps, chances are they didn’t test or verify anyone working at the agency.  What does that say about the agency’s standards and your co-workers?

Having hired more than 200 people, my best advice is don’t fall for empty promises –  there is really no rush!  If you want a great position with a great agency, do your homework and ask great questions!  The best agencies won’t mind your questions, in fact, you might be hired because you ask them.  And, if you are in the market for a new position, check out the 10Fold website!

By Susan Thomas
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Video Marketing and Its Effect on Marketing Today

This blog first appeared on our video divisions website, ProMotion Studios.

There is no denying video marketing has become a staple of modern online marketing. Brands have flocked to the web to exploit video’s explosive effectiveness, reflected in the projected growth rate of video to 80% of all internet traffic by 2019 as estimated by Cisco.

One in four of us will lose interest entirely if we are not able to watch a video Click To Tweet

Not only is this marketing tactic increasing in popularity, one could argue it’s becoming the de facto standard for top marketers. A recent Animoto Survey confirms that four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product rather than read about it, and what’s more — one in four of us will lose interest entirely if we are not able to watch a video!

Video has also exhibited a capability to drive higher sales as well.
Forbes has reported that 65% of executives who watch video continue their buyer’s journey to the vendor’s website.

So what does this mean for marketers? Video marketing success has reached over 82% in the B2B field and continues to grow. Ben Kopetti, Director of Video Commerce Strategy at Liveclicker, has said “It’s no longer a ‘nice to have’—it should be a key instrument in every brand marketer’s orchestra.” The demand from consumers is readily apparent, with greater than three quarters expressing their belief in the importance of a service providing a video to demonstrate what that service really provides and how it will benefit them. A LOT of Marketing Execs feel the same way about the value of video, and it’s easy to see why. Taking a look at 10Fold’s own Content Survey, you can see that nearly 40% of content decision makers said that video marketing was a top priority in 2017. If current trends continue, even if you only implement smaller income streams like affiliate marketing or web-advertising your partners will want to see video.

In short, if you have yet to add video to your content marketing “bag of tricks,” you’re missing a huge market opportunity as millions of customers will never even give you the time of day – no matter how great your product is – if they can’t see your story through video.

Looking for video content as well as an extra boost to your B2B Marketing? 10Fold has many packages that are crafted to fit your specific needs. Find more information about those here.

By Tyler Trainer

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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

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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Reciprocal Relationships: The Key to Influencer Partnerships that Work

“Influencers are an important factor in spreading brand awareness and increasing content visibility

What is an influencer?
Influencers are industry experts that maintain engaged followings in their niche. These individuals are highly sought after, for both their insight and the promotional ability for brands and ideas. A savvy marketer can utilize an influencer’s large reach and high engagement rates to promote their own or a client’s visibility and thought leadership. This transfer of credibility can help secure coverage, build an audience, and elevate industry authority.

So, how do you get their attention?
If you work in digital marketing, there is a pretty good chance you’ve made your share of attempts at influencer marketing. Some well-known strategies often comprise of a few common steps, including:

NO FOLD ICON 15x15 Engagement with social media accounts, specifically retweeting and sharing posts that promote their original content
NO FOLD ICON 15x15  Following, sharing, and (most importantly), engaging with their blogs, articles, and webinars
NO FOLD ICON 15x15   And joining discussion forums that they lead Q&A sessions in (Reddit, LinkedIn Groups, and Developer Forums are all good options)

These are all worthwhile and necessary steps you should take in order to keep attention on you or your client over time, and we will go into further detail on these tactics in another blog soon.  But when so many people are adopting the same strategies, what can you do to truly stand out?

Dig In: Running a Tweetchat- Best Practices for Success

How can I break through the noise?
One of the best ways to get your targeted influencer to work with you is to offer something of value in return. Organizing a unique and creative effort to promote an influencer’s thought leadership provides a good opportunity to present the value your reciprocal relationship can offer. Let’s take a look at a 10Fold case study to illustrate our point.

Former 10Fold client Silver Spring Networks wanted to run a tweetchat to provide opportunities to connect with and engage followers. To attract users to the tweetchat, 10Fold found a Smart Cities industry expert in Tech Republic’s senior writer Teena Maddox. 10Fold had worked with Teena before for media coverage, and this event represented a new development in the relationship.

Organizing a unique and creative effort to promote an influencer’s thought leadership provides a good opportunity to present the value your reciprocal relationship can offer. Click To Tweet

Offering her influencer status to moderate the discussion, Teena was instrumental in the success of the tweetchat. On the day the event took place, Silver Spring’s 37 Tweets earned 24,148 organic impressions. At the conversation’s peak, 13 participants were involved and the #SSNIchat hashtag was also used over 150 times. 10Fold and Silver Spring Networks were able to offer Teena a position to exercise her thought leadership and industry authority, while reciprocally elevating her own brand and transferring credibility to our event.

Looking for more ways to earn the attention of influencers? Stay tuned for more content and subscribe to our newsletter as we delve into our series about why influencers matter and how you can get their attention.

By Katrina Cameron and Tyler Trainer

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How to Play Your Cards in Getting that Promotion

One of the biggest considerations most people have in their careers is when to expect, or ask for, their next promotion. Let’s face it: a promotion sounds like it solves a lot of problems. It demonstrates that your efforts have actually meant something meaningful, and it validates your successes to those that care about you, as well as to those in the industry. Most importantly, a promotion often comes with a nice bump in salary which helps you pay for an upgrade in your San Francisco apartment, makes the payment on your new Tesla, or affords the Hulu, Netflix, Spotify, or Lyft account you just opened (depending on the promotion we are talking about). Promotion criteria can change, depending on the phase the industry you work in may be in. During times of steep growth, experienced people for high-level jobs may be few and far between – creating earlier-than-normal opportunities for faster promotions. But how do you know if the time is right for a promotion? Read on…

Differentiating Promotions from Raises
It may be obvious to most of you, but let’s start with the basics: a promotion is different than a raise. A raise is recognition for doing a good job – and perhaps a bit of an incentive for continuing to do a great job. A promotion means you will be taking a new job, with new (and sometimes added) responsibilities. When asking for a promotion, carefully consider what you are asking for. Sure, you would like the additional cash associated with the next level – but are you ready to deliver the work at that level? One common “myth” that I sometimes find people adhering to is that time is the marker to identify someone who deserves a promotion. I’ve heard on more than one occasion, “I’ve been here two years, I deserve a promotion.” My contention is that time has little, if anything, to do with it (that’s the good and the bad news). Time often suggests you have been assigned a task a certain number of times – but does not indicate your level of success or the quality of your work, nor does it suggest the initiative you have put into your job. The good news about not using time as the primary measuring stick is that if you demonstrate repeatedly the ability to do something successfully, even after only a short period of time, you may be ready to move to the next level. The point is, don’t let yourself be bound by time.

Are You Ready?
Admittedly It’s hard to be totally objective about your own work – but before you have that conversation with your manager, it’s good to think through your personal readiness for the next job. Here are a few tips that should help you:

1. Read your current job description (and if your company doesn’t make that easily accessible to you, you should ask that they do). How many of the objectives have you met? Try to differentiate the things you have done successfully once or twice from the things you have done successfully on a repeated basis. If you have accomplished 80 percent or more of the items on the job description, that’s a good thing! Onto step two!

2. Read the job description for the level above your current position. How many of those objectives are you successfully meeting? Pay special attention to whether you can demonstrate that you have done those several times, without assistance.

3. If you feel you are not only doing the job you currently hold successfully, but are doing 25 to 30 percent of the job above yours successfully, it’s time to sit down with your manager and make sure that his or her opinions align with yours. In this conversation, check for qualitative differences, which are typically the basis of any misalignment. Ask for training or a mentor to help you work on those things. Most importantly, get specific on what success does look like and ask how long they think it will take you to get to the point of being successful at whatever is holding you back. It is really important that you have a trusting relationship with your manager, and the manager above him or her. They should definitely be advocating for you in this process.

Is it Worth the Wait?
It’s easy to get discouraged when you are waiting on a promotion. The important thing to understand is why your company is also waiting. Sometimes promotions are not made at the time people are “ready,” but instead made when it suits the business. Some businesses plan only a specific number of promotions per year, and the other people who are ready for a promotion simply have to wait until the next time the business is ready – which sets up an unhealthy competitive dynamic, a la Hunger Games. For example, some European PR firms promote only every 16 months – and have only a few promotions to offer based on profitability goals. And some small PR agencies simply cannot afford the higher salaries associated with promotions, because their revenue stream is unpredictable. If these are the reasons given to you about the wait on your promotion, then my advice is to seek another employer. This type of system is unpredictable and the owners or key executives are putting profit before staff – and you deserve better.

Another consideration is how long you have been waiting. As mentioned earlier, while time is far from the only factor in determining a promotion, let’s face it, it does take a certain amount of time to repetitively accomplish a task successfully. If your job is to do tasks that require only a short time frame to complete (such as a few hours to a couple of days), then a promotion in less than a year is feasible. When the tasks become more complex and take longer to measure success, you might have to wait 18 months to two years.

Finally, when seeking a promotion within your place of business, or if you are looking to take a higher position in a new company than one you’ve had in the past, make sure your references align with your title aspirations. A couple of years ago I had an account executive interview for an account manager position. His only references referred to his work as an intern. They couldn’t speak to his work quality at the account manager level – only that he was a nice guy. Recent examples and references that speak to you doing some or most of the job you are going after are really important.

Are all the Boxes Checked?
What is most important is that you can demonstrate readiness for the promotion you are seeking. This will demonstrate that you are thoughtful, strategic and not impatient (which makes a big difference to your perspective employer). Demonstrating that you’ve spent time to devise an ambitious yet realistic career path will create even more trust with your current or future employer. Talk to your manager, make sure they are advocating for you, and have a realistic (and as objective as possible) perspective of your strengths and your gaps, and practice talking about both comfortably.
Good luck as you climb the career ladder!

By Susan Thomas

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If You Are a B2B Tech Marketing Exec, Get Ready to Increase Content Production by 300%

Most Prospects Purchasing B2B Tech Do Their Research BEFORE They Talk to Any Vendors – Content is the Lynch Pin to Ignite Sales

10Fold recently commissioned a survey with Dimensional Research to better understand U.S. tech marketing executives’ plans for content as part of their marketing initiatives for the coming year. We uncovered five interesting trends – all that surprised us, and will definitely surprise you too!  In this first blog, we’ll be discussing the amount of content marketing execs have planned for the next 12 months.

First, a bit about our research.
Survey respondents included 172 U.S. technology marketing executives that had both budget and approval authority over content development. Vice Presidents of Marketing, CMOs, and CEOs all qualified as participants. Responses were evaluated as a whole and based on company revenues, vertical market focus, and headquarters location.

But, here’s the punch line.
Seventy-six percent of tech marketing executives expect to TRIPLE content production in the next 12 months. Let that sink in for a moment.

10Fold had a hunch that demand for content was increasing, but even we were surprised that these tech marketers were planning an increase of 300 percent. We think that it’s largely based on the pivotal role content is having in the B2B sales process.  A new report from Forrester suggests that prospects have completed more than 50 percent of their buying process BEFORE they ever speak with the vendors they are considering.

Dig In: Content is Still the King!

The line of site is pretty clear:  Companies need to produce more videos, blogs, and articles detailing customer successes, technology differentiation, and vendor stability so that when the research is complete their name ends up on the short list for that RFP.

But how are they going to produce all that content? Over 40 percent of our respondents claimed they plan to have at least a $250,000 budget dedicated to content next year and 90 percent suggest that will be an increase in budget.

 

One more thing: It’s not just the big companies that plan to spend on content – small companies also have aggressive plans to produce content.

For additional information about content quantities and budgeting, including budgets for small companies, check out our full report here. As we approach 2018 and begin to finalize marketing plan and budgets, consider taking your content marketing to the next level.

This blog is the first in the series, Content is Still King.

By Sarah Thorson

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