We all know that marketing and sales are rarely aligned, right? I can see your heads nodding in agreement now. In fact, you don’t have to spend more than two minutes on Google to find numerous articles written about the cost of sales and marketing misalignment to businesses.
Factor in the new interest surrounding account-based marketing and you quickly realize that, despite entrenched thinking that marketing and sales will forever be at odds, it’s time to consider that we might need to find a way to align them.
According to Grad Conn in Adweek, “the relationship with the prospect is [now] based on value—through relevant content or through tailored experiences which have value to the prospect. It’s a ‘give/get’ model, with the seller making the first value move. This pay-it-forward approach to sales is anathema to the cold-calling Glengarry Glen Ross-style selling of the past.”
It has become clear that sales and marketing alignment is necessary today, particularly for business-to-business (B2B) enterprises.
We live in a post-consumer world.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) but also B2B companies have to compete on the value they offer in our post-consumer world — a world in which there are more products and services than there are people and companies to buy them. That’s why value, not false promises or merely good-enough products and services, is what will ultimately sell consumers on your goods.
What do companies need to do to communicate value from the first touch to the last? At my company, we call it “smarketing” (sales + marketing): the combined and aligned effort of marketing and sales to communicate the value of any product or service from the first touch to the last. Smarketing is the idea of marketing and sales working together so closely that it merits a new word. It is the antithesis of the standard and assumed misalignment between marketing and sales.
It’s time to kill the trope.
Companies can no longer afford to tolerate the push and pull between marketing and sales. Gone are the days of marketing bringing in leads with clever headlines and unverified promises and then throwing them over the wall to sales. Cutting through the noise to grab the attention of and engage with prospects is too expensive for marketing to neglect after sending them to sales.
Add fierce competition to the hard reality that marketing must touch a prospect 13+ times to achieve engagement, and you’ll suddenly be willing to kill the trope that marketing and sales never see eye to eye, let alone work together.
Thank you Sprout Social for this well written article about engaging your customers through creative hashtag campaigns. #lovethis!
The hashtag frenzy has been an important element in the rise of social media. It’s hard to achieve true brand awareness without at least one or two hashtags in your repertoire.
Not only does the right hashtag help you to connect with targeted audiences on social media, but a branded hashtag can also help give life to your digital identity, providing additional reach, impact and personality.
With approximately 81% of Americans using social media in 2018, companies can’t afford to overlook one of the most important resources in social.
But it’s not always as easy as it looks to craft, create and strategize your hashtag campaign. But don’t worry–we have you covered. To help inspire you for your next hashtag campaign, let’s look at eight creative campaigns in the last year or so:
1. #KnowYourLemons: Worldwide Breast Cancer
Often the best branded campaigns on social media are those with an important and meaningful purpose. In 2017, the Worldwide Breast Cancer organization launched its hashtag campaign #KnowYourLemons to convince women to check their breasts for signs of cancer more frequently.
The catchy concept went viral almost instantly. It was a fun and interesting way to give women the important information they needed to spot the lesser-known symptoms of cancer. The charity launched its own Facebook member’s page where people could take part in conversations about the subject. This extra step made the experience more engaging for everyone involved.
What We Loved About It:
The creativity in this hashtag campaign was a fantastic way to raise awareness for an important cause. However, the most exciting element of the strategy was that it made crucial information accessible to everyone. You didn’t need a doctorate or a high literacy level to learn more about breast cancer.
Using a light-hearted concept to convey a message about a serious subject, the Worldwide Breast Cancer group exceeded their Just Giving fundraising target by 317%.
2. #TeamVisa: Visa
At the beginning of 2018, Visa jumped on the Olympic fever bandwagon for the winter games. Since 2000, Visa has earned a reputation for accepting athletes around the globe into its “Team Visa” program. The program provides people with the resources they need to achieve their sporting ambitions. Ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics, Visa launched a special campaign to demonstrate how athletes can get involved with #TeamVisa.
What We Loved About It:
The great thing about Visa’s campaign is that it takes advantage of a trending topic to draw attention to an existing product. The company teamed up with influencers who were sure to get plenty of attention around the winter games. Everyone from Billy Morgan to Elise Christie got involved.
3. #BrandBowl: Twitter
While there are 330 million monthly active users on Twitter, some experts suggest this social media platform isn’t seeing as much growth as its competitors. Fortunately, the channel decided to tackle this problem with a hashtag campaign of their own at the beginning of 2018.
Twitter announced at the end of January they would launch their #BrandBowl campaign alongside the Super Bowl. This was perfect timing to be involved with one of the most talked-about events on social media. The #BrandBowl campaign was a social contest designed to award companies for different achievements, like:
The brand with the highest number of tweets
The brand with the highest tweet per minute score
The brand with the most retweets
What We Loved About It:
To help improve engagement, Twitter combined the excitement of a social media contest with the appeal of an important trending topic. #BrandBowl gamified the concept of talking about companies, to ensure that everyone was chatting on Twitter during one of the most important sporting events of the year.
4. #ORIGINALis: Adidas
2017 was a highly successful year for Adidas. The company managed to cement its position as both a fashion icon and thought leader with its #ORIGINALis hashtag campaign. The promotion centered around the new Adidas Originals line, and asked people to re-think the concept of being unique.
Adidas partnered with some of the biggest names in the hip-hop world, including Stormzy, Snoop Dogg and ASAP Ferg to promote their new lineup. The brand even created a video to help link its products back to the idea of hip-hop culture.
The first thing that makes the #ORIGINALis hashtag campaign so effective is it’s targeted appeal to Adidas fans. On top of that, in a world where influencer marketing is one of the best ways to generate trust for a company, Adidas managed to partner with some of the most influential figures in the hip-hop environment.
Overall, Adidas just goes to show that the best brand hashtags can help to establish credibility for a company and elevate its position in any marketplace.
5. #WeAccept: Airbnb
Sometimes the best brand hashtags are the simplest. And that’s certainly the case with Airbnb’s campaign from 2017 revolving around the hashtag #WeAccept. This popular branded hashtag was a great way for the travel giant to share the universal nature of their company while showing their support for a crucial ethical issue.
The campaign began with an inspirational video posted on the Airbnb branded social media feed. It continued with a selection of emotional photos delivered by people from different backgrounds and places around the world.
It’s not always easy to produce an effective political campaign. This is particularly true on social media where everyone has an opinion that they’re ready to share. Fortunately, this hashtag campaign saw an incredible response, with hundreds of thousands of supportive likes and comments.
The theme of acceptance helped Airbnb to present themselves as a more approachable and authentic company on social media.
6. #WhatsInYourBag: RYU
People don’t just visit social media for information and news. We also use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to add a little bit of fun into our lives! That’s why building an Instagram hashtag campaign around a giveaway or competition can be such a great idea for building engagement. Ryu did this with #WhatsInYourBag campaign.
Ryu’s campaign was a great example of a social photo contest that leveraged the trend of Instagram Stories to increase their follower count to well over 20,000.
Hashtag campaigns with gamified elements like competitions or giveaways are a great way to build engagement for a company and encourage your customers to share user-generated content on your behalf. Ryu’s branded hashtag prompted people to share more photos in relation to the brand. This instantly expanded awareness for the company and helped to add a little fun to their identity.
7. #TrippinWithTarte: Tarte Cosmetics
It seems like everyone is investing in the power of influencer marketing lately and Tarte Cosmetics are no exception. In 2017, the company flew a gang of fitness and makeup influencers to an island off the coast of Australia and followed up with them with plenty of Instagram-able excursions like candlelit dinners, yoga, hikes and more.
The hashtag #TrippinWithTarte also encouraged followers of the makeup brand to get involved with their own outdoor experiences, sharing photos that highlighted the versatile nature of the company.
Not only did this creative campaign give Tarte Cosmetics plenty of great content to share on social, it also presented a great opportunity to reach out to new audiences. The influencers were all picked carefully based on their follower count and industry niche, meaning that Tarte could connect with thousands of new users within a matter of weeks!
8. #OpenYourWorld: Heineken
During 2017, Heineken decided to follow the trend of using social media to shed a light on important social concepts by conducting their very own experiment. The beer company used #OpenYourWorld to see how easy it was for people with opposite social and political views to accept each other when they went through a series of team-building activities together.
When everyone at the end of the experience shared their political or social views with the other, Heineken offered them the opportunity to share a beer and discuss their differences–something they all chose to accept.
What We Loved About It:
The #OpenYourWorld hashtag campaign addressed a meaningful concept in a new and heartwarming way. The first video achieved around 3 million views within the first week of its launch and around 50,000 shares in its first month too.
Heineken shows how addressing an important idea with your social media campaign can help to get people talking about your brand and strengthen new relationships.
SproutSocial.com is one of my go-to resources for smart writing and great ideas – consider adding them to your must-read list too.
The other day my hairdresser’s new assistant asked me what my favorite vegetable was. I thought she was asking in some context related to hair, but she told me she had a series of questions she was using to open conversations with the salon’s customers and thus improve her communication skills too. That was a first, and it worked as we went on to talk about other topics and got to know one another.
The link above will take you to a Fast Company piece on using 10 questions you can use to get to know your team better… you might even learn they love artichokes!
When you hire a new team or inherit someone else’s, your first instinct as a manager might be to assess the situation for the best way to move forward–and fast. But if you aren’t careful, you’ll create more problems than solutions for you and your new team. Before you start diagnosing your team’s challenges and look for ways to improve, it’s crucial to take a step back and get to know your new direct reports.
The key is to learn how to support your team in the most effective way for them, not just for you. To do that, you have to listen first, diagnose second. Just as in relationships outside the workplace, the better you get to know someone, the better you can collaborate. That takes time, but there’s one way to jump-start the process: These 10 questions can help you quickly take the pulse on your new team members and their hopes for you as a manager.
1. WHAT ARE SOME FEATURES OF YOUR BEST WORKING RELATIONSHIPS WITH PREVIOUS MANAGERS?
Knowing what qualities your team admires in a manager can help you quickly adjust your style for each direct report. You may learn that they crave autonomy, or that they prefer more active support. This can help you graduate from instinctively providing the management support you prefer to intentionally providing the management support they prefer.
Plus, asking your team to describe traits they’ve admired in previous managers–rather than in the abstract–also ensures their answers are grounded in specific, real experiences, which may prove more actionable for you.
2. WHAT ARE SOME FEATURES OF YOUR WORST WORKING RELATIONSHIPS WITH PREVIOUS MANAGERS?
Learning about the bad side of your team’s past management experiences can be just as instructive as hearing what worked. Whatever created friction with previous managers is usually something to avoid, adjust to, or just keep an eye out for. And because it’s sometimes harder to articulate positive feedback than negative feedback, you may find you learn a lot more by asking this question than you do by asking about positive qualities (even though both are important).
3. HOW TRANSPARENT DO YOU PREFER MANAGERS TO BE?
Some teams prefer the full play-by-play as it happens. Others would rather skip the details and just be kept in the loop only as necessary. While some teammates love to follow every step of whatever changes might be happening, others find that distracting and even demoralizing. As a leader, you’ll be privy to information others won’t be. So finding out what level of transparency your team expects from you is an important factor in how, what, and when you communicate to your team.
4. HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO USE OUR ONE-ON-ONE TIME?
Every one-on-one meeting is different. While one team member may come to you with a list of updates and specific actions they need you to take, others may use the time to brainstorm solutions to a certain problem, while still others may arrive with no agenda at all. You can certainly find out your team members’ preferences by experience, but asking this question up front encourages them to think more intentionally about your time together, and how you can best support them.
5. HOW DO YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE PRAISE?
You expect your team to do great work–so how do they like to be celebrated when they do? Here, too, everyone you manage will be different. Where one person might love public recognition, another may cringe in the spotlight and prefer one-on-one or even written praise. Check in with them early on to avoid inadvertently embarrassing your direct reports.
6. HOW DO YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK?
Feedback is essential to your direct reports’ growth, and it’s your job to help them improve in big ways and small. But depending on the person, feedback can be something they dread or something they hunger for. It may be something they prefer to hear in real time, or something they’d rather get after the fact so there’s time to reflect on it. There are many ways to deliver critical feedback. If you’re not sure what the best approach is for your direct reports, just ask.
7. ANYTHING I SHOULD KNOW ABOUT YOUR WORKING STYLE?
Working styles are highly individualized. Some people prefer meetings in the afternoons and thinking time in the morning. Others value getting home early enough to put their kids to bed. Where one direct report may crave structure, another may seek opportunity in chaos. What does it take for your team to do their best work? Ask your direct reports to self-reflect so you can identify what it takes to help them feel happy and productive.
8. WHAT EXPERIENCES MAKE YOU HAPPY AT WORK?
Which environments, situations, or projects get your team riled up? Do they enjoy projects that draw notice from elsewhere in the organization, or would they rather focus on work that makes an impact outside of the spotlight? Do they prefer to collaborate, or to keep their heads down to get the job done? Knowing these preferences early on helps you figure out which projects, staffing, meetings, or even desk areas best align with the types of things that make your direct reports happiest at work.
9. WHAT EXPERIENCES MAKE YOU STRESSED OR FRUSTRATED AT WORK?
On the flip side, what drains them? What makes one person jazzed can cause serious stress for another. For instance, too much socializing can be challenging for more introverted types on your team; too much solo work can make your more extroverted direct reports feel isolated. Knowing what triggers stress in the people you manage can help you avoid potentially frustrating scenarios before things get out of hand.
10. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU’RE HOPING I CAN HELP WITH?
As a leader, you may have a mental list of your strengths and be ready to share them with your team. But the strengths you see in yourself may be different from the strengths your direct reports see in you–or the ones they need from you.
For instance, if relationship-building comes naturally to you, you may take it for granted (“that’s just who I am”)–but someone on your team may see and admire that quality in you, and hope to learn from you in that area. On the other hand, if you know you’re a strong presenter, you might be inclined to teach others that skill, too, when unbeknownst to you, what they really want your help in is running more effective meetings and setting better agendas. Asking this question helps you understand the delta between the help you’re preparing to offer and the help your team members are hoping to gain.
Needless to say, while these questions can be helpful, they’re just a humble start to getting to know your team. They’re not enough to replace your long-term efforts to build strong relationships with the people you manage. That takes time, but with this 10-question “intake form,” so to speak, you can get a running start on a process that might take other managers weeks or even months to begin.
Would you clean the toilet if a big client or VIP was coming and the bathroom needed cleaning?
Imagine an important person–a client, a potential hire, an investor, someone you wanted to impress — is coming to the office. You discover the bathroom needs cleaning, and there’s no time to call someone else to clean it.
When you feel that sense of ownership, when something has to be done and no one else will do it, you do it.
When there’s no alternative, would you tackle the toilet and clean the bathroom?
What it takes to succeed
Because paying attention to details and having passion for the entire mission is what it takes to succeed.
Because when the meaning of your work is your vision, everything you do is a part of realizing that vision. If that means running across town at 2am because that’s the only place still open to drop off a proposal or make the copies you need, you do it.
The important part is the sense of ownership and vision.
Meaning and purpose
Does the work’s meaning and purpose come from inside or does the work require big external incentives?
What you’ll clean the bathroom for means a project and result you care about, even love. What you have to be paid a lot of money for or you won’t do it… how much can you love it?
Would you clean the bathroom for your work?
If not, and not that you’d enjoy it, but do you wish you loved your work so much that you would?
Leadership and instilling ownership
If you lead a team, can you give your teammates such a sense of ownership that they’d do what it took to get the job done?
If you weren’t a team leader, do you think if you had the skills to inspire that passion in your teammates that you’d become a leader?
With thanks to INC magazine, written by Joshua Spodek, author of ‘Leadership Step by Step’.
Today is a holiday! And, it seems as if there are national holidays, a national day or national month for everything. In fact, there are over a thousand national holidays, national weeks and national months. Add bank holidays and major religious holidays, and you have one crowded calendar!
National days of observance have become trendy and popular in part because companies have learned to use them for marketing. Just look at social media. Judging from the hashtags for various food days, people days, pet days, medical condition days, military days or industry days — it seems like every single day is a national holiday or national day of observance on Twitter and Instagram.
How to Use a List of National Holidays for Marketing in a Small Business
Are you in a pet related business, such as dog grooming or pet treats? If so, your customers may be interested in a special spa day you host on National Love Your Pet Day.
Own a coffee shop? Then National Coffee Day could be an awesome opportunity to run a sale on lattes or do a flash Facebook promotion to drive some foot traffic to your cafe.
Or perhaps you do financial planning or business succession planning. In that case you might want to highlight National Employee Ownership Month on your blog to get some attention for your thought leadership in that niche.
Some national observance days are more popular than others, of course. You’ve probably never heard of National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (December 30), and probably never will again. On the other hand, every business owner knows Valentine’s Day — especially florists and candy shop owners.
However, for small businesses, some of the lesser-known national holidays might be your best marketing opportunities. Here’s why.
On a smaller national day you’re less likely to have your marketing campaign overshadowed by Big Mega Corp’s humongous marketing budget.
Some funny national holidays just make people smile, like National Make Your Bed Day on September 11. The fun factor alone could get you mileage (particularly if you run a furniture or mattress store!).
And weird national holidays like National Handbag Day on October 10 grab attention through their sheer … weirdness. Yet a day like that is perfect for marketing in a boutique or fashion eCommerce shop.
Smart Ways to Use National Holidays for Marketing
Here are some idea starters for how to use national holidays for marketing:
Use National Holidays on Social Media and in Content Marketing:
Create content for your blog highlighting a national holiday, national week or national month relevant to your business. You can publish the content on the day in question, but if you’re looking for potential search engine traffic, publish a post ahead of time. People may be searching in search engines before the holiday arrives. Then post another when the national holiday starts, linking back to your first one.
Share that content on social media, using the relevant hashtag. Others may find it when they search the hashtag on social media.
Include an image in your social post. Use a tool like Canva or Picmonkey to superimpose the name of the national holiday, the date and any relevant hashtag on the image, too. People love to share images to visibly show their support of national holidays, so a properly labeled image can increase shares.
Use National Holidays As a Reason to Run Sales and Specials:
Put something on sale or offer a special deal in honor of the national day observance.
Publicize your sale, by putting signs in your physical location if you have one.
Distribute details about the special deal to your email list and social media channels in honor of the day, week or month being commemorated.
Use National Holidays As a Theme for Events:
Hold a celebration at your office or physical location in honor of the national holiday.
Invite customers to attend along with your team. It gets both groups more engaged with your business.
Take pictures celebrating the national day (or national week or national month).
Take the celebration online. Load pictures to social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, using the related hashtag such as #FarmersMarketWeek.
Repurpose the pictures along with a bit of background text about the celebration and use in your next customer newsletter. Or use the pictures to create an engagement-building post for your company blog. Put a blurb and picture in your website’s About page, too, about your celebration and support.
The above quick and easy tips for using national holidays in marketing should get you started. Research Chase’s Calendar of Events or nationaldaycalendar.com for more ideas.
But you know you can also make your own! Be creative, be fun and put your customer first, that works every single day!
The Science Of Gratitude And Why It’s Important In Your Workplace
Lack of gratitude is a major factor driving job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, and often, burnout.
Gratitude is absolutely vital in the workplace, says UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons, author of The Little Book of Gratitude: Creating a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks, and a leading researcher on the subject. “Most of our waking hours are spent on the job, and gratitude, in all its forms, is a basic human requirement,” he says. “So when you put these factors together, it is essential to both give and receive thanks at work.”
Gratitude has been the subject of numerous studies, and the findings could be beneficial to your workplace:
GRATITUDE IMPROVES CORPORATE CULTURE
Lack of gratitude is a major factor driving job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, and often, burnout, says Emmons. “In many organizations the workplace culture is toxic,” he says. “Symptoms of this are exploitation, complaint, entitlement, gossip, negativity.”
Expressing thanks is a remedy against these symptoms, says Emmons. “Grateful individuals live in a way that leads to the kind of workplace environment that human beings long for,” he says.
Gratitude also reduces aggression, according to a study by the University of Kentucky. Participants who practiced gratitude were more sensitive toward others and less likely to seek revenge or retaliation when given negative feedback.
GRATITUDE STRENGTHENS TEAMS
Gratitude takes people outside of themselves and to a place that is part of a larger, more intricate network of sustaining relationships, says Emmons, relationships that are mutually reciprocal. “In this sense, it, like other social emotions, functions to help regulate relationships, solidifying and strengthening them,” he says.
Gratitude also leads to reciprocity. “It is not only a response to kindnesses received, but it is also a motivator of future benevolent actions on the part of the recipient,” says Emmons. “Serving these functions, gratitude enhances our own well-being in that we are built for relationships,” he points out. “Gratitude is the high-octane fuel that, without which, we’d be in relational ruin.”
IT’S A BETTER MOTIVATOR THAN MONEY
Researchers from the London School of Economics found that financial incentives can backfire when it comes to motivating employees. An analysis of 51 separate experiments found overwhelming evidence that “incentives may reduce an employee’s natural inclination to complete a task and derive pleasure from doing so.”
Appreciation is a much better motivator. A study by Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% said they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly.
A study done at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania underscores this point. Researchers divided participants into two groups, and asked them to make fundraising calls to solicit alumni donations. One group followed the traditional method of making calls while another group was given a speech by the director of annual giving, who expressed gratitude for their efforts. The group who received the pep talk made 50% more fundraising calls than those who did not.
HOW TO DO IT
There is no limit to the way in which gratitude is expressed, says Emmons. “We are hungry for genuine expressions of gratitude,” he says. “Everyone wants to feel appreciated, valued, recognized.”
Employee recognition programs are a common way gratitude is demonstrated in workplaces, but little micro-expressions of gratitude are easier and can be delivered more frequently. “Just saying ‘thank you,’ acknowledging a kindness, or engaging in a helpful act are all ways of expressing gratitude,” says Emmons.
Particularly important is sincerity, adds Emmons. “With something like gratitude in the workplace, we know that it works, but we also know you have to keep gratitude authentic,” he says. “If, for instance, a leader tries to offer gratitude for purely cynical or instrumental reasons, it’s unlikely to work.
“Gratitude is the ultimate performance-enhancing substance at work,” says Emmons. “Gratitude heals, energizes, and transforms lives in a myriad of ways consistent with the notion that virtue is both its own reward and produces other rewards.”
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, you are very much appreciated – Laura
Will you be “out of office” over the upcoming holidays?
While traveling recently with a large group of travel writers, the discussion turned to the importance of travel and maximizing your vacation time. Which led to me to thinking about the best way to manage your “out of office” communications.
I have an attorney friend who constantly has the same message up when she travels for business, and she does that weekly it seems.
In my case, I rarely post an out of office message, because I answer my phone and email anytime and from anywhere.
Are we both missing an opportunity to continue building our brands? Yes I think we are, and as of today I am changing my ways!
Are you looking to add some personality, humor and information to your response? Here’s an excellent piece from the New York Times on how others are managing this opportunity. Click here to be inspired.