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.
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!
And the survey says… communication matters, and those two-way conversations whether by phone or via email are still the winners. You can’t build a relationship, or tell a story, with one-way communications … so focus on the people you are trying to reach on the other end!
Email is holding its own in B2B sales despite minor slippage, according to State Of Inbound 2017, a global survey by HubSpot. Of 6,399 professionals surveyed in 141 countries, 86% prefer email for business communications — a loss of two percentage points from last year.
That drop doesn’t mean much when you consider the gap that follows, however: Face-to-face communication is a distant second, falling from 61% to 60% Phone communication comes in third, holding steady at 56%. And social media has fallen from 42% to 39%.
No wonder HubSpot concluded that “when it comes to communication channels, email is the clear winner.” It added that it had seen “slight decreases in people’s preference to communicate in nearly all channels.” The only one to grow was messenger apps — from 29% to 31%.
At the same time, email was rated the second-most effective channel for sales reps to connect with prospects, falling from 29% to 26%. The telephone, holding steady at 36%, was first. Facebook came in fourth, having risen from 9% to 12%. These results were consistent around the globe.
Communication methods depend on the person’s seniority. The telephone is the most popular way of reaching everyone from VP/director on down, with email second. For example, the phone was cited by 42% of respondents as the preferred way to reach managers, and email by 24%.
But email has parity at the C level — it was selected by 25%, compared to 26% who chose the phone.
The most daunting chore was getting a response from prospects (38%). That was followed by closing deals (35%), identifying good leads (30%) and engaging multiple decision makers at a company (27%). Connecting via phone was listed by 20%.
Of course, these findings are about tactical channel choices. Asked for their wider marketing priorities, 70% mentioned conversion of contacts and leads — nothing else even came close. Second was driving traffic to the Web site (53%), followed by increasing revenue from existing customers, at (43%).
Inbound practices produced the most high-quality leads, and outbound the least.
Overall, 61% of the respondents say their marketing is effective, while 39% say it isn’t. But it depends on the person’s rank. CEOs are most likely to feel that way (69%), and individuals/contributors are less so (55%). And while all regions are upbeat, North America is the most positive, while Asia is the least.
That said, these executives are moving into social media. Their marketing teams “will maintain or increase their presence on YouTube and Facebook video and focus on figuring out how to market on messaging apps such as WhatsApp,” HubSpot writes. “Snapchat is still a mystery for many businesses, and we see a dip in focus as marketers opt to spend their time on larger emerging channels.
Here are two more tidbits:
44% claim that marketing and sales “are generally aligned.”
Salespeople are flummoxed when doing manual data entry – 23% say it’s their biggest hassle using their CRM tool.
What are these leaders’ sale priorities for the next 12 months? The answers were closing more deals (71%), improving the efficiency of the sale funnel (44%), social selling (29%), training the sales team (27%) and reducing the length of the sales cycle (26%).
But none of this will be easy. B2B marketers face these challenges:
Generating traffic and leads — 63%
Proving the ROI of our marketing activities — 40%
Securing enough budget — 28%
Identifying the right technologies — 26%
Managing our Web site — 26%
Targeting content for an international audience — 21%
Training our team — 19%
Hiring top talent — 16%
Finding an executive sponsor — 7%
Thanks, HubSpot. Let’s catch up again next year – originally published in Media Post, a commentary written by Ray Schultz, columnist.
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.
Christine Mau, named one of Ad Age’s “Women to Watch” and a former design director at Kimberly-Clark, says design must be brought into an organization’s full conversation, rather than considered an output.
American Marketing Association does an exceptional job of bringing us stories of people who we can learn from, emulate and follow. A recent story in Marketing News gives insight into Christine Mau, read on!
Mau’s work has included the redesign of Kleenex boxes into oval and triangular formats, as well as the U by Kotex launch. The tampon brand presented its product in black and neon colors, a massive departure from the typical blue and white found in the feminine hygiene aisle.
This ability to talk about and design for what are sometimes considered taboo topics made her the prime candidate for co-creating the logo for No More, a movement for raising awareness and engagement around ending domestic violence and sexual assault.
The logo (pictured at right with Mau), which consists of a blue circle with a disappearing center—intended to evoke the concept of reducing the number of such experiences to zero—has been part of a global public service announcement effort that has received more than $2 billion in earned media.