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4 Key Enterprise Marketing and Sales Insights From Dreamforce

Here are the trends and takeaways from Salesforce’s annual sales conference. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy Image credit: Bjorn Bakstad | Getty Images Alp Mimaroglu Guest Writer Demand Generation and Marketing Technology Expert February 21, 2020 5…

Here are the trends and takeaways from Salesforce’s annual sales conference.

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Guest Writer

Demand Generation and Marketing Technology Expert


5 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Dreamforce is an annual Salesforce conference with keynotes on the latest trends and developments in marketing, communications, technology, and — of course— customer relationship management (CRM). 

The latest conference saw over 171,000 attendees from 120+ countries. Keynote talks included topics from AI and 5G to the value of improv skills in the workplace. As an annual attendee, I think there’s a lot that happened this year worth noting.

Related: What Is a Sales Funnel? The Guide to Building an Automated Selling Machine.

If you’re an enterprise marketer — or even if you just want to learn more about successful marketing and customer relationship management in competitive industries, here are a few of the biggest takeaways.

(And it’s okay if you missed Dreamforce this year—you can actually watch up to 100 keynote speeches from this year’s conference for free.)

1. We’re accelerating towards mobile-first CRMs

We all know that the mobile-first era is already here — that much has been clear for some time now. Catering to mobile customers through streamlined and personalized experiences is not only recommended — it’s essential.

But did you know that nearly half of all online shopping is done via mobile? In fact, during Cyber Monday 2018 (which generated $7.9 billion in online revenue), 54% of visitors shopped and purchased from mobile devices.

While most enterprise marketers are aware of this (to a degree), the extent to which you can adapt to a mobile-first mentality depends a lot on what industry you’re in and who your customers are.

Some customer-facing verticals, like Retail, are getting very good at figuring out where their customers spend the most time online, and have reacted accordingly. 

Others, like Consumer Goods, are still playing catch-up. As an example, nearly 95% of the annual $1 trillion in U.S. consumer goods sales still come from traditional retail, not online. 

In my experience, one of the biggest reasons so many businesses and industries are slow to catch up to customer’s mobile-first expectations is due to legacy CRM systems.

2. Soft skills are more sought-after, not just tech proficiency

Another interesting and little-talked about trend happening in nearly all industries, one that touches on everything from marketing and branding to CRMs and customer support, is a gradual shift back towards hiring for traditional ‘soft’ skills typically found in Humanities majors.

While digital literacy is vital to success in our tech-dependent world, the importance of possessing successful people skills (also referred to as behavioral skills) has become increasingly valued over the past few years.

In fact, IBM’s latest research found that behavioral skills were the top 4 core competencies sought by global executives — surpassing the previously dominant technical core capabilities for STEM, as well as for analytics skills and business acumen.

Ironically, fewer students are choosing the humanities (more are choosing STEM fields), but more STEM employers are hiring for humanities grads than ever before.

Related: 10 Research-Backed Ways to Improve Sales Success

Why the sudden shift away from tech grads? Probably because robots are starting to do everything better than humans. When it comes to data analysis, big number crunching, and automating mundane tasks, AI and machine learning are hard to beat.

By comparison, learning effective behavioral skills—like negotiating with a lead, closing new business, managing customer expectations, or even coming up with effective marketing and customer engagement campaigns—is much harder for AI. We still need humans for that.

3. Diversity, equality, and inclusivity matter more than ever

The concept of diversity poses a unique challenge to modern brands. In a time when user data is used as currency in exchange for improved user experiences, marketers have a huge opportunity to identify a unified, single view of the customer.

But while artificial intelligence can help marketers make sense of the wealth of user data at their fingertips, the ethics of AI are actually under scrutiny.

Did you know that artificial intelligence is not immune to unconscious human bias? Because the process of ‘training’ an AI isn’t neutral (humans pick and choose what to show it), an AI can actually ‘learn’ biases as well as patterns that perpetuate prejudice and harmful stereotypes.

Some recent examples of this “programmed prejudice” include voice recognition software that had difficulty understanding women and an online ad platform that was more likely to show high-paying executive jobs to men than women.

These instances of prejudice in AI (which is inevitably subject to human bias) underscore the need to apply diversity and inclusivity to programming.

With great tech comes great responsibility

It’s an exciting time to be an enterprise marketer. I’ve been doing this for over 10 years now, both brand-side and consulting-side, and I feel like I’m constantly learning something new each week.

Related: The Sales Superpowers of Introverts

But with so many new opportunities each year, it becomes harder to stay ahead of the curve. Even if you’re doing just fine in terms of revenue, if you aren’t innovating and keeping up with current trends in your industry? You’re probably getting left behind by a competitor.

So how are you keeping up with customer expectations? Do you know what the current trends are in your industry? And have you been following what your biggest competitors are doing quarterly?

If not, what are you waiting for?

6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop Doing

Nowadays SEO is becoming more difficult, and Google is releasing many algorithm updates and many websites are losing their rank. Here are some off-page SEO techniques you should stop doing today. These techniques may affect your website rankings negatively. Below are six SEO techniques that you should stop doing. What is off-page SEO? Off-page is…

Nowadays SEO is becoming more difficult, and Google is releasing many algorithm updates and many websites are losing their rank. Here are some off-page SEO techniques you should stop doing today. These techniques may affect your website rankings negatively. Below are six SEO techniques that you should stop doing.

What is off-page SEO?

Off-page is SEO which is short for the term off-site SEO. Basically, off-page SEO techniques are those actions that we do outside of our website in order to increase rankings in the Google SERP.

Here I have broken down the off-page SEO into three sections.

1) Link building.

2) Social media marketing or SMM.

3) Mention Brand your name on other websites without having hyperlinks.

Is off-page SEO important and why?

Many SEO experts say that “backlinks are not important for ranking better in Google SERP.”

It is half correct and half incorrect. Don’t get confused. Here is the thing.

The statement is true in the case where you are targeting a focus keyword with low competition or low keyword difficulty. In this case, if you provide quality content and with good on-page optimization, your page will rank easily without many backlinks.

But in the case of a highly competitive keyword, on-page optimization and quality content alone will not do the thing. Here you will need lots of quality links pointing towards your website.

If you are starting a new website focus for less competitive longtail keywords. Once your new site ranks well, automatically you will gain quality backlinks. Only then should you can focus on highly competitive keywords.

Here is what Google and Bing have said about the off-page techniques and backlinks.

google about off page - 6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop Doing

bing about off page - 6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop DoingWorst Off-page SEO techniques

Directory submissions.

It was a great off-page SEO technique a few years back when Google algorithm was not smart enough. Now Google algorithm is much smarter and directory submissions are simply just a waste of time.

Web directory submissions involve a danger that you may not still know. According to a survey taken by Moz on 2678 directories, 20% of them were penalized/banned by Google.

Being banned by Google means that your website link on these websites will harm your SERP rankings.

Directory submissions sites are having a high spam score now since lots of low-quality websites with high spam scores are being submitted on these directories. Google quality raters also recommend stopping doing directory submissions as an off-page strategy.

moz - 6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop Doing

Source: Moz Blog

Today more than 50% of the free web directories are deindexed by Google.

That means if you search for the web directories 50% of these directories are nowhere to be found.

Article submissions.

This method is also not recommended by Google. This 0ff-page technique is also irrelevant now.

It was a great way to increase article popularity and drive traffic to your articles. But it is not a good source to obtain backlinks to your website. Here are the reasons why article submission directories are bad.

Article directories sometimes publish poorly written and spammy articles from random writers. Using this type of practice reduces the article directories page authority.

Many sites published articles that have duplicate content from unknown writers.

article submission e1580882983486 - 6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop Doing

Source: search engine land

As a result, the Google algorithm detects these article directories unfaithful sources. Hence Google deindexes these article directories. It is in the best-practices to stay away from these articles.

Buying or selling backlinks

Buying or selling backlinks is referred to as a black hat SEO according to Google webmaster guidelines.

buying links - 6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop Doing

Source: Google guidelines

Buying or selling backlinks is a very risky technique.

It will only be a matter of time before Google will catch your website for buying links. Don’t do it. Google will penalize your website and you will lose all your rankings and Domain rating. Here is a better way to build your SEO strategy.

Getting out of the Google penalty is a hectic task. Remember: don’t buy or sell backlinks. In the language of SEO, implement central keywords as a safe strategy.

Private Blog Network (PBNs)

This technique is not appreciated by Google. For those who don’t know about PBN.A PBN it’s a group of blogs or websites that are under your control and these blogs or websites link to your main website. Again: Don’t.

PBN - 6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop Doing

Source: search engine land

To elaborate, consider that you have five websites under your control, and they are linked to your main website in order to rank in Google SERP. It is also a great way by which you can get penalized by Google.

Google strictly prohibits the use of PBN for gaining rankings.

Link Exchanges

Google doesn’t like websites that promote link exchange.

What type of link building is termed as link exchanges by Google?

The link made in the way “link to me and I’ll link back to you” is termed as a link exchange. Cross-linking or link exchange is a good strategy, but excessive link exchanges and cross-linking are not recommended by Google.

link exchange - 6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop Doing

Source: Google guidelines

Try to make minimal crosslinking. A careful strategy can benefit your website — but excess cross-linking will burn you. Better not to cross-link.

Comment spam on blogs

If you are using the comment as a referral source for your website, it may help you.

Some blog comments drive referral traffic to their website or blog if it is relevant to the blog that they are reading.

But if you are trying to gain SEO rankings through comments then it is a waste of time. Almost 99% of links in the commenting sections are marked No-follow.

spam - 6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop Doing

Source: Google guidelines

You won’t get any link juice from links left in the comment section of the article or blog. Google will not track that link.

Dropping links in other blogs for the sake of link building is termed as comment spam.

no follow - 6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop Doing

Source: Moz Blog

The no-follow tag was introduced so that Google could reduce the amount of comment spam.

You can comment and provide relevant links that may be useful for the readers. Try to make good no-follow backlinks.

Remember: March 1, 2020Google will be starting to treat No-follow links as hints. A “hint” means that there is a chance that Google crawls these links.

Conclusion

The way to make the very best site possible is to follow the Google rules as they are laid out for websites. You don’t want to end up with Google Penalities.

For best success follow the rules, and proper off-page SEO techniques suggested here — and skip using the tactics that can negatively impact your site and company.

Happy success to you in your SEO efforts.

2dd0bfe6a7b60fe1c996033dd7f62493?s=125&d=mm&r=g - 6 Off-Page SEO Techniques that you Should Stop Doing

Akshay K

Akshay is an expert SEO analyst and digital marketer with content writing skills working in an eLearning development company Xpertcube. Helps to attract users into the website and convert leads into customers. Achieved success in making the school management software Eduxpert.in to rank in top positon of Google SERP. Also writes in eLearning industry, and elearning.adobe.

Trump’s Election Day YouTube takeover plan feels very different in 2020

According to a report from Bloomberg, the Trump campaign called dibs on some of the most prized ad space online in the days leading up to the 2020 U.S. election. Starting in early November and continuing onto Election Day itself, the campaign will reportedly command YouTube’s masthead, the space at the very top of the…

GettyImages 1202122689 - Trump’s Election Day YouTube takeover plan feels very different in 2020

According to a report from Bloomberg, the Trump campaign called dibs on some of the most prized ad space online in the days leading up to the 2020 U.S. election.

Starting in early November and continuing onto Election Day itself, the campaign will reportedly command YouTube’s masthead, the space at the very top of the video sharing site’s homepage. YouTube is now the second most popular website globally after the online video platform overtook Facebook in web traffic back in 2018. Bloomberg didn’t report the details of the purchase, but the YouTube masthead space is reported to cost as much as a million dollars a day.

The Trump campaign’s ad buy is likely to rub the president’s many critics the wrong way, but it isn’t unprecedented. In 2012, the Obama campaign bought the same space before Mitt Romney landed the Republican nomination. It’s also not a first for the Trump campaign, which bought banner ads at the top of YouTube last June to send its own message during the first Democratic debate.

youtube2 custom fcfe6b1a1eb3341a67f52ec481258df6e8708968 s800 c85 - Trump’s Election Day YouTube takeover plan feels very different in 2020

Screenshot of the Trump campaign’s June 2019 YouTube ads via NPR/YouTube

In spite of the precedent, 2020 is a very different year for political money flowing to tech companies — one with a great degree of newfound scrutiny. The big tech platforms are still honing their respective rules for political advertising as November inches closer, but the kinks are far from ironed out and the awkward dance between politics and tech continues.

The fluidity of the situation is a boon to campaigns eager to plow massive amounts of cash into tech platforms. Facebook remains under scrutiny for its willingness to accept money for political ads containing misleading claims, even as the company is showered in cash by 2020 campaigns. Most notable among them is the controversial candidacy of multi-billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who spent a whopping $33 million on Facebook alone in the last 30 days. In spite of its contentious political ad policies, much-maligned Facebook offers a surprising degree of transparency around what runs on its platform through its robust political ad library, a tool that arose out of the controversy surrounding the 2016 U.S. election.

On the other end of the spectrum, Twitter opted to ban political ads altogether, and is currently working on a way to label “synthetic or manipulated media” intended to mislead users — an effort that could flag non-paid content by candidates, including a recent debate video doctored by the Bloomberg campaign. Twitter is working through its own policy issues in a relatively public way, embracing trial-and-error rather than carving its rules in stone.

Unlike Twitter, YouTube will continue to run political ads, but did mysteriously remove a batch of 300 Trump campaign ads last year without disclosing what policy the ads had violated. Google also announced that it would limit election ad targeting to a few high-level categories (age, gender and ZIP code), a decision the Trump campaign called the “muzzling of political speech.” In spite of its strong stance on microtargeting, Google’s policies around allowing lies in political ads fall closer to Facebook’s anything-goes approach. Google makes a few exceptions, disallowing “misleading claims about the census process” and “false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process,” the latter of which leaves an amphitheater-sized amount of room for interpretation.

In recent years, much of the criticism around political advertising has centered around the practice of microtargeting ads to hyper-specific sets of users, a potent technique made possible by the amount of personal data collected by modern social platforms and a strategy very much back in action in 2020. While Trump’s campaign leveraged that phenomenon to great success in 2016, Trump’s big YouTube ad buy is just one part of an effort to see what sticks, advertising to anybody and everybody in the splashiest spot online in the process.

YouTube declined to confirm to TechCrunch the Trump campaign’s reported ad buy, but noted that the practice of buying the YouTube masthead is “common” during elections.

“In the past, campaigns, PACs, and other political groups have run various types of ads leading up to election day,” the spokesperson said. “All advertisers follow the same process and are welcome to purchase the masthead space as long as their ads comply with our policies.”

Shopify joins Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra Association

After eBay, Visa, Stripe and other high-profile partners ditched the Facebook -backed cryptocurrency collective, Libra scored a win today with the addition of Shopify. The e-commerce platform will become a member of Libra Association, contributing at least $10 million and operating a node that processes transactions for the Facebook-originated stable coin. If Libra manages to…

After eBay, Visa, Stripe and other high-profile partners ditched the Facebook -backed cryptocurrency collective, Libra scored a win today with the addition of Shopify. The e-commerce platform will become a member of Libra Association, contributing at least $10 million and operating a node that processes transactions for the Facebook-originated stable coin.

If Libra manages to assuage international regulators’ concerns, which are currently blocking its roll out, Shopify could gain a way to process transactions without paying credit card fees. Libra is designed to move between wallets with zero or nearly-zero fees. That could save money for Shopify and the 1 million merchants running online shops on its platform.

Shopify stressed that helping merchants reduce fees and bringing commerce opportunities to developing nations as reasons it’s joining the Libra Association . “Much of the world’s financial infrastructure was not built to handle the scale and needs of internet commerce,” Shopify writes. Here are the most critical parts of its announcement:

Our mission is to make commerce better for everyone and to do that, we spend a lot of our time thinking about how to make commerce better in parts of the world where money and banking could be far better . . . As a member of the Libra Association, we will work collectively to build a payment network that makes money easier to access and supports merchants and consumers everywhere . . . Our mission has always been to support the entrepreneurial journey of the more than one million merchants on our platform. That means advocating for transparent fees and easy access to capital, and ensuring the security and privacy of our merchants’ customer data. We want to create an infrastructure that empowers more entrepreneurs around the world.

Shopify Libra - Shopify joins Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra Association

As part of the Libra Association, Shopify will become a validator node operator, gain one vote on the Libra Association council and can earn dividends from interest earned on the Libra reserve in proportion to its investment, which is $10 million at a minimum.

The Libra Association had lost much of its e-commerce expertise when a string of members abandoned the project in October amidst regulatory scrutiny. That included traditional payment processors like Visa and Mastercard, online processors like Stripe and PayPal and marketplaces like eBay. That threw into question whether Libra would have the right partners to make the cryptocurrency accepted in enough places to be useful to people.

As it works to convince regulators Libra is safe, Facebook has been working on its other payment plays, including Facebook Pay and WhatsApp Pay, that rely on traditional bank transfers or credit cards.

Shopify’s CEO Tobi Lutke tweeted that “Shopify spends a lot of time thinking about how to make commerce better in parts of the world where money and banking could be far better. That’s why we decided to become a member of the Libra Association.”

“We are proud to welcome Shopify, Inc. (SHOP) to the Libra Association. As a multinational commerce platform with over one million businesses in approximately 175 countries, Shopify, Inc. brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the Libra project,” writes Dante Disparte, the Libra Association’s head of Policy and Communications. “Shopify joins an active group of Libra Association members committed to achieving a safe, transparent, and consumer-friendly implementation of a global payment system that breaks down financial barriers for billions of people.”

A recent hire further tied the two companies together. Facebook’s former lead product manager for its payment platform and billing teams, Kaz Nejatian, in September became Shopify’s VP and GM of money.

Operating an e-commerce store can be difficult or impossible without a traditional bank account that can be tough to attain in some developing countries. Libra could allow these merchants to establish a Libra Wallet where payments are sent instantly, without steep credit card fees, and in theory could be cashed out at local brick-and-mortar establishments or ATMs for local fiat currency.

shopify reader isometric 01 - Shopify joins Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra Association

Shopify’s credit card readers

But for any of that to happen, the Libra Association will have to convince the U.S. government, the EU and more that it won’t help terrorists launder money, hurt people’s privacy or weaken nations’ power in the global financial system. “The French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, “the monetary sovereignty of countries is at stake from a possible privatisation of money . . . we cannot authorise the development of Libra on European soil.”

Libra was initially slated to launch in 2020. We’ll see.

Here’s the full list of Libra Association members:

Current

Facebook’s Calibra, Shopify, PayU, Farfetch, Lyft, Spotify, Uber, Illiad SA, Anchorage, Bison Trails, Coinbase, Xapo, Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Breakthrough Initiatives, Ribbit Capital, Thrive Capital, Creative Destruction Lab, Kiva, Mercy Corps, Women’s World Banking.

Former members

Vodafone, Visa, Mastercard, Stripe, PayPal, Mercado Pago, Bookings Holdings, eBay.

Anomalous data can lead to growth opportunities

Julian Shapiro Contributor Julian Shapiro is the founder of BellCurve.com, a growth marketing team that trains startups in advanced growth, helps you hire senior growth marketers and finds you vetted growth agencies. He also writes at Julian.com. More posts by this contributor We’ve aggregated many of the world’s best growth marketers into one community. Twice…

GettyImages 872250702 - Anomalous data can lead to growth opportunities

Julian Shapiro
Contributor

Julian Shapiro is the founder of BellCurve.com, a growth marketing team that trains startups in advanced growth, helps you hire senior growth marketers and finds you vetted growth agencies. He also writes at Julian.com.

More posts by this contributor

We’ve aggregated many of the world’s best growth marketers into one community. Twice a month, we ask them to share their most effective growth tactics, and we compile them into this growth report.

This is how you stay up-to-date on growth marketing tactics — with advice that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Our community consists of 1,000 startup founders and VPs of growth from later-stage companies. We have 400 YC founders, plus senior marketers from companies including Medium, Docker, Invision, Intuit, Pinterest, Discord, Webflow, Lambda School, Perfect Keto, Typeform, Modern Fertility, Segment, Udemy, Puma, Cameo and Ritual .

You can participate in our community by joining Demand Curve’s marketing webinars, Slack group or marketing training program.

Without further ado, on to our community’s advice.

No one wants your $25 referral bonus

Insights from Julian Shapiro of Demand Curve.

Even people who earn minimum wage can’t be bothered to refer a friend for a $25 referral fee. The most successful referral programs typically focus on app features that naturally incentivize users to invite friends and colleagues.

Amazon’s Trash Chute of a Marketplace Is Now a Hotbed for Products Claiming to ‘Kill’ Coronavirus

Photo: INA FASSBENDER/AFP (Getty)It’s no secret that Amazon’s marketplace is overrun with garbage—literal or otherwise—and that the company struggles and often fails to manage its own massive marketplace that lumps legitimately trustworthy brands and products in with third-party sellers. Amazon’s latest challenge appears to be regulating a burgeoning market for products feeding off of flu…

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Photo: INA FASSBENDER/AFP (Getty)

It’s no secret that Amazon’s marketplace is overrun with garbage—literal or otherwise—and that the company struggles and often fails to manage its own massive marketplace that lumps legitimately trustworthy brands and products in with third-party sellers. Amazon’s latest challenge appears to be regulating a burgeoning market for products feeding off of flu and coronavirus fears—including products that claim to “kill” them.

In an email obtained by CNBC, Amazon has been contacting third-party merchants about products that make extraordinary and unapproved claims relating to coronavirus, as a strain that originated in Wuhan, China continues to spread globally. In that email, Amazon informs a seller that the company removed from its store an item “identified as a face mask or related product that makes unapproved medical marketing claims regarding coronavirus or the flu.”

The email cites federal regulations on products making unapproved medical claims in their marketing and further states that its own rules bar “the listing or sale of products that are marketed as unapproved or unregistered medical devices.” According to CNBC, users have also posted about receiving these warnings in seller groups on Facebook.

Disturbingly, CNBC also found multiple live listings for disinfectants that were still up on Amazon’s marketplace as of this writing, several of which claimed the item “kills coronavirus.” Moreover, Gizmodo found that simply searching “kills coronavirus” or “kill coronavirus” turns up numerous products with these claims in their titles, so they’re not exactly needles in a haystack.

Amazon did not respond to multiple requests for comment about the seller notice, its ongoing response to the products, and items that remained on its site at the time of publication.

As of this week, there have been roughly 2,100 deaths and roughly 76,000 confirmed cases of the virus since the outbreak began late last year. Director of the Center for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Dr. Nancy Messonnier said during a recent call with journalists that this strain of the “virus represents a tremendous public health threat.”

That Amazon is conveniently benefitting from the sale of products in its marketplace making false or misleading claims about their ability to protect against or treat coronavirus is not exactly surprising but is concerning and potentially dangerous, particularly given an already bad situation with the spread of misinformation about the virus.

As if there were a need for further evidence that Amazon cannot adequately manage the scale or quality of its own product, here it is. More garbage on the world’s largest tr

The cannabis influencers of social media, New York’s top creators, and a leaked TikTok campaign brief

Welcome to this week’s Influencer Dashboard newsletter! As always, this is Amanda Perelli, and I’ll be briefing you on what’s new in the business of influencers and creators.First up, my colleague Dan Whateley and I highlighted 21 top social-media influencers who live and create content around the Greater New York City area.Los Angeles often takes…

Welcome to this week’s Influencer Dashboard newsletter!

As always, this is Amanda Perelli, and I’ll be briefing you on what’s new in the business of influencers and creators.

First up, my colleague Dan Whateley and I highlighted 21 top social-media influencers who live and create content around the Greater New York City area.

Los Angeles often takes center stage when it comes to the influencer world, with headline-making creators like David Dobrik and Tana Mongeau sharing popular vlogs in the city, but New York is its own hub for some of the internet’s most prominent creators.

These leading digital stars, like the lifestyle and fashion Instagram influencer Courtney Quinn, run successful digital businesses in podcasting and on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

“You have really great access to brands and organizations here, so even if you’re just starting out, you can go out and network and meet people,” Quinn said of New York. “There’s always a way to get your foot in the door if you’re willing to put yourself out there.”

We chose the 21 creators based on factors like audience size, creativity, and their impact on the influencer industry as a whole.

Check out the full list of leading digital creators in New York, here.

You can read most of the articles here by subscribing to BI Prime. And if this is your first time reading Influencer Dashboard, subscribe to the newsletter here.

Inside the world of cannabis influencers on Instagram and YouTube, who can make over $1,000 for a sponsored post but often get their accounts shut down

svg%3E - The cannabis influencers of social media, New York's top creators, and a leaked TikTok campaign brief

Cannabis influencer Teresa Garibyan runs the Instagram account, Trippy Treez.

Teresa Garibyan/Trippy Treez


Did you know there’s a community of popular cannabis influencers who are dominating social media?

Dan spoke to four creators who post cannabis-related content on platforms like YouTube and Instagram, all of whom said they’d had their accounts shut down at various points, likely due to shifting laws and regulations.

When their accounts aren’t deactivated, however, these influencers are well-compensated for sponsored posts and affiliate sales.

Teresa Garibyan, who runs the popular cannabis Instagram account Trippy Treez (223,000 followers), told Dan that she earns between $1,000 and $1,500 for a single sponsored post on her Instagram account. 

Read the full post on what it’s like to be a Cannabis influencer, here. 

The metrics that brands use to measure the success of an influencer-marketing campaign are changing, as ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ fall out of favor

svg%3E - The cannabis influencers of social media, New York's top creators, and a leaked TikTok campaign brief

Instagram influencer and blogger Tomi Obebe.

Tomi Obebe


With only a few dollars, anyone can go online and purchase fake followers, comments, or likes on an Instagram post as a way to boost their social-media engagement. 

And sometimes it can be hard for brands to separate the real from the fake, which is why some are turning to different metrics to judge the success of their influencer-marketing campaigns.

I spoke with two influencer-marketing experts about some of the metrics they expected brands to pay attention to in 2020 and dove into a recent report from the influencer-marketing agency Collectively.

With new Instagram features rolling out, like the ability to shop directly on the platform, brands will place emphasis on metrics like comment sentiment (such as if followers are name-dropping the brand), post saves, brand mentions in DMs, tags in shopping posts, and story replies, Collectively said.

Read the full post on the metrics brands are paying attention to in 2020, here

What else happened this week on BI Prime: 

YouTube video of the week: Losing a Best Friend

svg%3E - The cannabis influencers of social media, New York's top creators, and a leaked TikTok campaign brief

The Dolan Twins and their family.

Screenshot from Ethan Dolan/Twitter.


The popular twin influencers Ethan and Grayson Dolan recently shared a long-form documentary project with their 10 million YouTube subscribers, which follows the story behind losing their dad to cancer, and I am highlighting this video as our YouTube video of the week.

In the video, they share a link to the charity Love From Sean, which they set up to honor their father. The proceeds will go toward supporting research, treatments, and support services for families and patients affected by cancer — and in 24 hours, the charity had already raised almost $200,000, Grayson said on Twitter. 

The documentary was written, produced, and directed by the duo. You can check out the full video, here

Send tips or feedback to me at aperelli@businessinsider.com. 

Here’s what else we’re reading:

Subscribe to the newsletter here.

Tesla Is Now Consumer Reports’ Highest Ranked U.S. Automotive Brand – InsideEVs

Tesla moved up 8 spots to #11 overall and is now the top-ranked U.S. automaker. Consumer Reports just released its annual automotive brands’ ranking report and Tesla is now the #1 U.S. automaker, according to the survey results. Lincoln is the second highest-ranked U.S. brand. Most of the remaining U.S brands placed near the bottom…

Tesla moved up 8 spots to #11 overall and is now the top-ranked U.S. automaker.

Consumer Reports just released its annual automotive brands’ ranking report and Tesla is now the #1 U.S. automaker, according to the survey results. Lincoln is the second highest-ranked U.S. brand. Most of the remaining U.S brands placed near the bottom of the list.

Jake Fisher, senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports, told Bloomberg:

“The vehicles perform phenomenally. People just love these vehicles.”

Consumer Reports ranks cars based on various factors, including road test results, reliability ratings, owner satisfaction and safety.

In addition to Tesla scoring impressively as a whole, the Model 3 received a top honor from Consumer Reports. The Model 3 was selected as a top pick in the electric car category. The magazine only awards top picks to 10 cars, trucks and SUVs per year. The other top picks include the Toyota Corolla, Toyota Prius, Subaru Legacy, Subaru Forester, Kia Telluride, Honda Ridegline, Toyota Avalon, Lexus RX and Toyota Supra. We should note then that the Model 3 is the only U.S. top pick then too.

Of the Model 3’s top pick honor, Consumer Reports states:

The Model 3 proves that EVs can challenge conventional upscale sedans by offering invigorating performance with a high-tech vibe. It boasts rapid acceleration that’s delivered in near silence, with instant passing power available at any speed and enough thrust to push the driver back into the seat. The car’s superb handling and quick, precise steering help it feel like a sports car. The Model 3 has excellent visibility and a stark interior dominated by a floating 15-inch touch screen that governs many controls. Its impressive road performance is diminished only by the stiff ride and notable wind noise. But its long range of 250 to 330 miles (depending on the version) and green credentials offset those drawbacks.

Bloomberg points out that Tesla moved up eight spots this year in the rankings and that it more than any other automotive brand. Additionally, the electric automaker is now closing in on some luxury makes such as BMW, Audi, Lexus and Porsche (#1 on the list this year).

Just recently, Consumer Reports declared Tesla the leader in the electric car segment, citing advanced motors, battery technology and range that leads the pack. It now seems that these latest ratings place Tesla at the top among U.S. automotive brands as a whole too.

24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

How important is influencer marketing to businesses in 2020? Influencer marketing will see global brand spending of up to $15 billion by 2022 (Business Insider Intelligence), and B2B marketers who haven’t yet experienced its many benefits now have more research data than ever to make the case for starting an influencer marketing program. Even if…

InfluencerMarketingStatsB600w - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

How important is influencer marketing to businesses in 2020?

Influencer marketing will see global brand spending of up to $15 billion by 2022 (Business Insider Intelligence), and B2B marketers who haven’t yet experienced its many benefits now have more research data than ever to make the case for starting an influencer marketing program.

Even if you’ve already developed an influencer marketing strategy, the wealth of new information coming out about its power to build trust and inspire action is growing, which is why we wanted to share 24 significant B2B influencer marketing statistics that combine to tell a compelling story that will alter your future campaigns.

Let’s jump right in with a look at some of the latest influencer marketing statistics.

Making The Statistical Case For B2B Influencer Marketing

It Makes Financial Sense

Among B2B buyers the type of influencer content with the most value is the venerable case study. 47 percent of B2B buyers found case studies to be the most valuable type of influencer content, ahead of webinars at 39 percent, third-party or analyst reports at 35 percent, and user reviews and video content, each at 32 percent, according to survey data from Demand Gen Report published by MarketingCharts as shown below.

MarketingChartsChartA600w - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

Influencer marketing has also delivered impressive value, beginning in 2018 when analyst data showed that each dollar spent for influencer marketing yielded $5.20 return in media value.

NeoReachChart600w - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

From that point forward influencer spending increased, as in 2019 it saw the highest growth of all online channels, reaching some $2.6 billion in the U.S. alone, and a growth rate of a whopping 70.5 percent year-over-year, according to report data from Winterberry Group published by MarketingCharts.

MarketingChartsChartB600w - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

The same forecast predicts $3.4 billion for influencer spending in 2020 in the U.S. alone.

It Builds Trust & Credibility

“Partnering with relevant influencers to co-create content can open doors for brands trying to engage hard to reach and increasingly skeptical audiences.” @LeeOdden Click To Tweet

The recent Edelman Trust Barometer report placed influencer trust above that from delivered from brands.

63 percent of survey respondents said that they trust influencers more than what a brand says about itself.

EdelmanTrustIMImage - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

A compelling case for influencer marketing in the B2B world also comes from the aforementioned MarketingCharts B2B buyer survey, which found that 95 percent of B2B marketers say they prefer credible content from industry influencers.

Separate survey data from Demand Gen Report of senior level marketers, also published by MarketingCharts, revealed that 65 percent of B2B buyers said their consumption habits have changed to prefer credible content from industry influencers.

When done well, influencer marketing builds levels of trust that exceed traditional campaign methods, however consumers need to feel confidence in the influencers they follow. 82 percent of U.S. consumers believe that influencers should disclose their history of personal use of a product or service. (Influence.co)

Consumers are also wary of influencers who post too frequently. The same survey found that 74 percent of consumers say they would sever ties with influencers who post too often, a statistic savvy B2B influencer marketers take into account.

It’s Being Rapidly Adopted For Good Reason

In several 2019 surveys influencer marketing was cited as one of the top marketing trends expected to have a sizable impact in 2020, a prediction that during the first two months of the year has materialized according to initial influencer marketing spending figures that we’ll examine.

By the end of 2019 survey data forecast that influencer marketing adoption among B2B tech marketers was expected to expand by 31 percent from 2018 implementation levels, a prediction that now appears on the conservative side as influencer marketing has continued to swiftly evolve.

At our client SAP’s annual conference, a group of only 15 influencers drove 25 percent of all social media impressions, which our CEO Lee Odden explores in more detail in a recent article examining how even a small number of influencers experiencing a brand event can make a big impact, with “25 B2B Influencer Marketing Campaign & Engagement Ideas for 2020.

Another positive signal for the growth of influencer marketing is that 21 percent of marketers plan to make influencer posts the focus of their 2020 social media strategy, according to Social Media Today poll data.

SocialMediaTodayIMPollImage - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

Additionally, 88 percent of consumers have found purchasing inspiration from viewing influencer content. (Rakuten 2019 global influencer marketing survey.)

It Spans Global Boundaries & Generations

The global nature of online advertising has proven to mesh well with influencer marketing, as nearly 70 percent of consumers follow at least one influencer from a country not their own (Rakuten), which plays especially well in the hands of B2B businesses that often include multinational units.

Globally during 2019 some 59 percent of marketers said their budget for influencers has increased, while 39 percent of brands in the U.S. say they would be encouraged to invest even more in influencer marketing programs if they were better able to see the impact it has in the broader scope of the customer purchasing journey, the same survey noted.

“Influencer marketing for B2B offers impressive options to optimize marketing performance across the entire customer lifecycle.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet

Implementation of influencer marketing has grown not only among pure B2B marketers, but also in the marcomm sector. 67 percent of global marcomm professionals now see influencer marketing within their scope, according to recent data from Talkwalker and MarketingCharts.

Influencer marketing’s power has been seen not only in its global scale, but also its multi-generational pull, as 18 percent of Gen Z consumers say they discover brands via influencers (GlobalWebIndex).

GlobalWebIndexIMChart - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

When an influencer recommends a product, 51 percent of Millennials say they are more likely to try it, according to survey data from Valassis and Kantar.

Influencer Marketing & Social Platforms

When it comes to the under-10,000-follower micro-influencer niche, Instagram is the clear top social media platform of choice at 75.9 percent, according to recent survey data, which offers a look at the top social network choices among micro-influencers.

We recently published a list of “31 DIY Marketing Tools To Create Remarkable Experiences,” which includes some of the tools used most frequently by micro-influencers to create content targeting Instagram.

Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and LinkedIn (client) top one recent list of most popular social media platforms for influencer marketing. 89 percent of marketers said that Instagram was important for their influencer marketing strategy. (Fourstarzz Media)

FourstarzzMediaChart600w - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

How Do I Begin An Influencer Marketing Program?

Finding the ideal influencers for your audience is a challenge most marketers consider significant, as 51 percent of marketers have reported difficulty finding the right influencers. (Visme.)

2019July5StatisticsImage600w - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

At TopRank Marketing we’ve specialized in influencer marketing for years now, and were named by Forrester as the only B2B marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top capability in its “B2B Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019” report.”

To help you along your influencer marketing journey, including suggestions for finding the right influencers for your particular audience, here are five articles we’ve written that dig in to the nuances of the process:

Learn More From TopRank Marketing Online & In Person

toprank clients influencers mpb2bforum19 600 1 - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing Statistics

Statistics tell an important story that can help direct B2B marketers along a data-and-research-based journey. No matter how revealing statistics may be, however, they don’t tell the entire story, as the human elements are what drive real progress in successful influencer marketing programs.

“Stories are just data with a soul.” @BreneBrown Click To Tweet

B2B marketing’s use of influencer marketing to bring a human touch is the focus of a Break Free B2B video interview we held with our client LinkedIn’s Marketing Manager Judy Tian.

You can learn more about how B2B marketers are benefiting from influencer marketing, whether it’s through building better customer experiences (CX) or building trust, by attending one or all of the speaking events our CEO Lee Odden has lined up in the coming months, which are listed below.

February 24-25, 2020 – B2BMX – Scottsdale, AZ

How to Optimize ABM Results with Influencer Marketing

March 19, 2020 – Convergence Summit – Minneapolis, MN

In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience

March 24, 2020 – Pubcon – Miami, FL

B2B Influencer Marketing Workshop

April 20-22, 2020 – Content Tech – San Diego, CA

How to Optimize Content Performance with Influence

April 22-23, 2020 – Content Marketing Conference – Boston, MA

Be Best Answer for Your Customers with SEO and Influence

May 27 -28, 2020 – B2B Ignite USA – Chicago, IL

In Marketing We Trust: How to Build Influence with the C-Suite and on the Street

loading - 24 Essential B2B Influencer Marketing StatisticsLoading…

Facebook is testing tabs to organize your News Feed

Facebook caused a lot of hullabaloo when it changed the News Feed from chronological order to an algorithmic ranking, and some people will never get over it. While you can still sort your feed by ‘Most Recent,’ the option is currently buried in the sidebar and reverts to normal after 24 hours. But as spotted…

Facebook caused a lot of hullabaloo when it changed the News Feed from chronological order to an algorithmic ranking, and some people will never get over it. While you can still sort your feed by ‘Most Recent,’ the option is currently buried in the sidebar and reverts to normal after 24 hours. But as spotted by developer Jane Manchun Wong, the social network is considering adding tabs to your News Feed to make it easier to organize your content.

Facebook is working on tabbed newsfeed for easier access to “Most Recent” and “Already Seen” feeds pic.twitter.com/8Z9KLG9nc8

— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 18, 2020

Wong found the code in Facebook‘s Android app that suggests the network is considering dividing the News Feed into three tabs: Relevant, Recent, and Seen. Facebook later confirmed to TechCrunch that it is testing the feature internally and considering an external test.

Filtering your feed been already-seen posts isn’t new either, but again, it was obscure to the general public. It was only accessible by visiting the URL facebook.com/seen.

At first glance, it seems like a handy idea, making it easier to find the content you’re looking for, and giving users a bit more power in how their feed is organized (if only by making these tools easier to access). It’s also possible the company could add more tabs or let you create custom ones down the road. Granted, there’s nothing to suggest it plans to do so at the moment, but it’s not an outlandish concept; the company did at once plan to have separate feeds for music, photos, and close friends.

On the other hand, the Facebook app seemingly becomes more bloated with every update, but I’d still argue this is a worthwhile change.

Now if only Facebook would do the same for Instagram…

Read next:

Google Stadia finally launches on phones that aren’t Pixels

Facebook sued by the IRS for $9 billion in unpaid taxes

Facebook is facing a lawsuit from the US Internal Revenue Service, which claims the social network owes $9 billion in unpaid taxes, according to Reuters. That lawsuit went to trial in a San Francisco court on Tuesday, and the crux of the case is a 2010 deal between Facebook and an Irish subsidiary it uses…

Facebook is facing a lawsuit from the US Internal Revenue Service, which claims the social network owes $9 billion in unpaid taxes, according to Reuters. That lawsuit went to trial in a San Francisco court on Tuesday, and the crux of the case is a 2010 deal between Facebook and an Irish subsidiary it uses to shuffle money around internationally. The IRS alleges Facebook undervalued the intellectual property it sold to the subsidiary, thereby dodging billions in taxes.

Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer, AR and VR chief Andrew Bosworth, and three other Facebook executives will be called to testify, Reuters reports, and Facebook expects the trial to last three to four weeks.

Many giant tech companies shelter billions from taxes by keeping their money in Ireland because of the country’s low corporate tax rates. That often involves creating Irish subsidiaries that license out proprietary technology, trademarks, and other company property for which the subsidiary then pays royalties. The IRS claims Facebook undervalued the royalty amount between 2010 and 2016, which cut the company’s domestic tax bill as the royalties are ultimately reported as income.

In a statement provided to The Verge, Facebook’s Berti Thomson said the company “stand[s] behind” the 2010 transaction, which it says occurred when the company had no mobile ad revenue, a “nascent” international business, and when its “digital advertising products were unproven.

In recent years, some government entities have taken action against the practice. In 2016, the European Union ordered Apple to pay $15.4 billion in back taxes to Ireland after ruling that Apple had received illegal tax benefits from the country. Apple finished paying back those taxes in 2018, though it and Ireland appealed the decision in court last year.

In September, Google said it would pay more than $1 billion after a French investigation into its tax practices. And last December, Google said it would stop taking advantage of the so-called “Double Irish” and “Dutch sandwich” tax loopholes that allowed it to move overseas funds from Ireland to the Netherlands and Bermuda, and effectively shelter it from taxes.

The 10-Step Effective Content Marketing Campaign

Content marketing isn’t hard. Follow these 10 steps to do it right.

Content marketing isn’t hard. Follow these 10 steps to do it right.

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Robert W. Bly

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Author, Copywriter and Marketing Consultant

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s The Content Marketing Handbook. Buy it now fromAmazon | Barnes & Noble

What makes for successful B2B and B2C lead-generating content marketing campaigns? There are 10 key steps.

Step 1: Define the Target Audience and Their Information Needs

In B2B, defining the target audience or readership involves knowing the industry, company size and prospect’s title, responsibilities, education and degree of knowledge in your chosen topic, as well as how they use your type of product in their business. You should also think about the information needs of prospects at the stage of the buying process at which you’re reaching them.

Step 2: Come Up with a Strategic or Useful Content Plan

A strategic content plan is one in which publishing and distributing the content solves a marketing problem. A useful content plan disseminates information that’s of value to the prospect in their job but isn’t a sales pitch for your product or service. For instance, a computer reseller might offer prospects and clients a special report on how to prevent data loss or avoid hackers, malware and viruses. This kind of actionable information doesn’t specifically accelerate the steps in the sales cycle or sell the prospect on the reseller or its solutions. But the prospect will appreciate the free tips and will reciprocate by viewing the reseller in a more favorable light. It builds goodwill and creates the impression that you’re an expert in your field.

Related: 9 Ways Your Content Marketing Can Generate Leads and Close Sales

Step 3: Select a Format or Medium for Your Lead Magnet

Content can be presented in many formats and media, and your choice can make a big difference in the success of your content marketing campaign.

In addition to downloadable white papers or reports, there are many other options. You can:

  • Offer a free webinar, online course, podcast, infographic or poster.
  • Post a video on your site or YouTube.
  • Send an audio CD or a DVD.
  • Load useful data and content onto a thumb drive.

The key is to think beyond a downloadable report or white paper. Alternative media, because they’re less common, often gain more attention.

Step 4: Create a Great Title for Your Lead Magnet

Perhaps the biggest factor determining whether prospects will request your free content is the title of your lead magnet. The purpose is to grab the prospect’s attention, generate interest and curiosity and compel them to request the lead magnet.

Step 5: Research, Organize and Write the Content

The amount of research you need to do depends on your knowledge of the topic. But even if you know the topic well, do some outside research to augment your knowledge of the subject with facts, figures and ideas outside your own.

Once you’ve gathered your content, think about how to organize and present the material. Sometimes the content naturally dictates a particular organizational scheme, such as alphabetical or chronological order. At other times, something as simple as a numbered list might do. Or you might choose a Q&A format, as in a FAQ page on a website.

Finally, write your document. Once the document’s done, edit to make it tighter, clearer and better, then have a professional proofreader go over it.

Step 6: Create a Landing Page for Downloading the Lead Magnet

A landing page is a stand-alone web page where the prospect can request the free bait piece or lead magnet. On a properly designed, effective landing page, there are only two choices: Request the free lead magnet or leave. Therefore, the conversion rate — the percentage of visitors who fill in and submit your form — is much higher on dedicated landing pages than on homepages or any other web pages.

Step 7: Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page

How do you drive traffic to your site without burning through your available cash in a couple of weeks? There are seven cost-effective ways to get hits on your site: running Google ads, through affiliate marketing, participating in co-registration pop-ups, buying web-hosted ads, email markting, buying online ads or doing viral marketing by adding a line to your outgoing email marketing messages that says, “Please feel free to forward this email to your friends so they can enjoy this special offer.”

There are many other cost-effective ways to get hits on your site, including postcards, sales letters, print ads, blogs, social media ads or posts, webinars or podcasts.

Related: The 7 Rules of Writing Persuasive Technical Content

Step 8: Fulfill Inquiries

When a prospect requests the lead magnet, you must deliver electronic lead magnets, such as PDF downloads, within seconds or minutes. Physical lead magnets, such as books or DVDs, should be mailed within 24 to 48 hours.

Step 9: Follow Up

Though opinions vary, I prefer to require prospects to give both their phone number and their email address to enable salespeople to follow up.

Step 10: Secure an Appointment or Conversation

Marketers frequently need to be reminded that the ultimate goal of content marketing is not to give away information but to sell something. So eventually, you have to take the next step in the sales process, which is securing an appointment — either in person or on the phone — with the prospect to do some personal selling.

If you’ve done steps one through nine correctly, you’ll have an edge in making that sale, for several reasons. First, by offering a lead magnet, you’ll have gotten more leads, and thus more sales appointments. The more appointments you have, the more sales you’ll close.

Second, a well-written white paper or other lead magnet can educate prospects before the sales appointment. So when you have that first conversation with them, they’re already predisposed to buying your product.

Third, good content can anticipate and answer the most common objections prospects are likely to have. When objections are asked and answered before the first sales call, the conversation can focus on positives, because the negatives have already been dealt with and dismissed.

https://nicheplrnewsletter.com/news/9-ways-your-content-marketing-can-generate-leads-and-close-sales/

The 5 Cs of Content Marketing Copy

How to create engaging social media videos with zero experience (or talent)

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission. Each HD video comes out to less than $1. Image: design wizard By StackCommerceMashable Shopping2020-02-19 10:00:00 UTC TL;DR: Elevate your marketing skills with the Design Wizard: Stock Video Bundle for $49, a 95% savings.  In this algorithm-driven age,…

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.

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Each HD video comes out to less than $1.

Image: design wizard

By StackCommerceMashable Shopping

TL;DR: Elevate your marketing skills with the Design Wizard: Stock Video Bundle for $49, a 95% savings. 


In this algorithm-driven age, video is king. Not only does this type of content have the most visibility on your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds, but users find it really engaging. Just think of how many minutes in a day you spend watching those 30-second clips of puppies or someone meal prepping their weekly lunches.

Marketers, social media personalities, small business owners, writers, and anyone who has a social media or website presence that craves more eyeballs can find real value in video content. And the good news is, new technology is helping people with little to zero videography experience still be able to create professional-grade clips for their pages. 

One example of this is Design Wizard. This intuitive software combined with its stock video bundle enables users to edit videos using preset templates and 50 premium video clips. You can seamlessly add text, choose a custom color palette, and upload your own fonts, photos, logos and other types of overlays that can make your content pop. Once your creation is done, simply download your video file and upload it to your site or social media page. The service is made even easier if you have access to another stock photo library where you can easily upload professionally-shot images into Design Wizard (if you don’t have one, we have a recommendation, erm… 101 of them, for you to check out). 

By now, you might be wondering: Is it really that easy? Design Wizard customers seem to think so, with one exclaiming “The editor is simple to use and there are lots of templates to choose from in order to make your posts as professional-looking as possible,” and another stating that “This is the best application for creating stunning content in minutes.” They’re not the only users impressed with the software; Currently, Design Wizard has an impressive 4.4-star rating on G2 and an equally impressive 4.3 on Capterra. 

If you’re ready to start making viral promotional videos for your brand or business, the Design Wizard Stock Video Bundle is on sale for 95% off its usual price of $999.50, making access to both the platform and 50 premium video clips just $49. 

uploads%252Fcard%252Fimage%252F1210004%252Fac22e20e cc54 46ae 9bae e16badbe163e.jpg%252Ffull fit in  950x534.jpg?signature=1RjLcb76CQffa1KHEJE uRZVXic=&source=https%3A%2F%2Fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws - How to create engaging social media videos with zero experience (or talent)

How Problem-Solving Case Studies Help You Market Your Business

Few marketing tools are more effective than an anecdotal case study. Discover how you can create your own and increase sales. Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox Stay informed and join our daily newsletter now! Will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy Image credit: thomaguery | Getty Images Robert W. Bly VIP Contributor…

Few marketing tools are more effective than an anecdotal case study. Discover how you can create your own and increase sales.

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VIP Contributor

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7 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s The Content Marketing Handbook. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble 

Almost any company can profitably market with case studies. And while case studies don’t need to adhere to any one formula, there are general guidelines you should follow. The average case study is relatively brief: one or two pages long, or approximately 800 to 1,500 words. More complex or in-depth case studies can run 2,000 to 2,500 words.

An effective case study makes readers want to learn more about the product it features. It’s a soft sell designed to lure your prospects into requesting more detailed information. If you’ve mirrored the reader’s problem successfully, the case study will propel them deeper into the sales funnel and closer to buying.

You needn’t be overly creative or reinvent the wheel when writing a case study. Most follow some variation on this outline:

  1. Who’s the customer?
  2. What was the problem? How was it hurting the customer’s business?
  3. What solutions did they consider and ultimately reject, and why?
  4. Why did they choose our product?
  5. Description of how they implemented the product, including any prob­lems and how they were solved.
  6. How and where does the customer use the product?
  7. What results and benefits are they getting?
  8. Would they recommend the product to others? Why?

Because case studies are told as a story, readers are more inclined to take an interest—especially if it holds some sort of benefit for them. Unlike sales presentations, case studies are all about showing, rather than telling, how a product or service works. Instead of presenting a pile of facts and figures, you tell an engaging story that vividly shows your product’s effectiveness. And by using a satisfied customer as an example, you can demonstrate how well your product works. Since its benefits are being extolled by an actual user, the claims are more believable.

An equally strong selling point is the level of empathy a case study creates between your prospects and your satisfied customers. Prospects feel far more at ease listening to their peers than to a salesperson. They relate better, because they often share the same issues and problems.

Relating your customers’ positive experiences with your product is one of the best ways to establish credibility in the marketplace. Giving your customers confidence in what you’re offering dramatically increases the likelihood they’ll do business with you.

Writing the Case Study

To prepare to write the case study, the writer interviews the person in the customer organization who’s most involved in working with the product. Before the writer calls, the vendor salesperson or account manager handling that customer should contact the customer to make sure they’re willing and even eager to participate.

During the interview, get as many good quotes as possible, include them in the case study, and attribute them to your interviewee. Quotes in published case studies can later do double duty as customer testimonials.

Often prospects answer questions vaguely, and it’s up to the interviewer/writer to wring the specifics out of them. Whenever possible, get the subject to give you exact numbers so your claims and results can be specific. For instance, if they say the product reduced their energy costs, pin them down: “Did it reduce energy consumption by more than 10 percent? More than 100 percent?” They may give you a guesstimate, which you can use as an approximate figure: “The XYZ system reduced the plant’s energy consumption by more than 10 percent.”

Before you release the case study, get the person you interviewed to approve and sign off on it. Keep these signed releases on file. If your authorization to use the case study is questioned and you can’t produce a signed release, you may have to remove it from your site.

Also, ask subjects of case studies whether they’re willing to serve as reference accounts. That way, a prospect with similar needs can speak directly to the product user in a case study.

Using Case Studies in Marketing Campaigns

“Companies [can] usually multiply the value of a good customer story by using it in many different ways,” says Casey Hibbard of Compelling Cases, a marketing firm that develops case study materials for technology companies. Here are some of her suggestions:

Treat case studies as fresh news. “Before a case study is republished on your website or distributed to sales reps, pitch it to the trade press,” Hibbard advises. “Many publications now have sec­tions called ‘Case Studies’ or ‘Technology in Action’ specifically for this purpose—and many readers regularly troll these publications for real-world business and technology solutions.”

Post them on your website. “Websites are an obvious place to post case studies,” she notes. “But it pays to put some thought into where and how you present them. The best approach is to feature product-specific cases among other product information on your site, along with white papers and brochures that highlight each product. You can even go a step further by allowing visitors to search for case studies by industry to find one that best matches their situation.”

Add a short version to the company newsletter. Case studies are popular content for enewsletters. In fact, Hibbard says one large software company with more than 300 products publishes an entire newsletter filled with customer stories. “Newsletter stories educate customers and prospects about the many ways that other people are using the product successfully,” she says.

Create slides for sales presentations. “To punch up sales presen­tations, give the sales team slides with highlights from successful client implementations,” says Hibbard.  

Enter them in awards events. “One CRM software vendor submitted a particularly compelling case study for Aberdeen Group’s annual ‘Top Ten CRM Implementations’ list,” she recalls. “The company was honored as one of the top ten and was then mentioned in at least a dozen follow-up stories.”

Add testimonial quotes to your sales materials. “Make sure that quotes within the case study can stand by themselves if you choose to pull them as testimonials on your website or in collat­eral materials,” she says. “I’ve also seen sales materials that feature ‘snapshots’ of success stories, and that’s very powerful.”

Distribute them to prospects and customers. This is a terrific way to keep in touch, raise awareness about a new product or service, and even convert prospects into customers.

Give them to your salespeople. Salespeople like case studies. A case study is often more convincing than a brochure.

Present them. If your executives speak at meetings and conferences, a case study makes an excellent presentation. The content can easily be converted into slide decks, and the printed case study itself can be used as a handout.

Hand them out at trade shows. Case studies are a great way to break through the clutter of fliers and brochures that permeate trade shows. One marketer even had a case study enlarged and printed on a trade show exhibit wall.

Wegmans again named top workplace by Fortune magazine – Democrat & Chronicle

Victoria E. Freile, Democrat and Chronicle Published 10:22 a.m. ET Feb. 18, 2020 | Updated 5:05 p.m. ET Feb. 18, 2020CLOSE Talk about recycling, Greece woman uses more than 300 plastic shopping bags to knit a suit. Democrat and ChronicleOnce again, Wegmans has been named to Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, an annual list…

, Democrat and Chronicle
Published 10:22 a.m. ET Feb. 18, 2020 | Updated 5:05 p.m. ET Feb. 18, 2020

CLOSEicon close - Wegmans again named top workplace by Fortune magazine - Democrat & Chronicle

Talk about recycling, Greece woman uses more than 300 plastic shopping bags to knit a suit.

Democrat and Chronicle

Once again, Wegmans has been named to Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, an annual list that celebrates the nation’s top workplaces.

For the second straight year, the Gates-based supermarket chain ranked third.

Wegmans has made Fortune’s list for all 23 years of its existence; on 17 occasions the store has been included in the Top 10. The last time Wegmans was ranked No. 1 was in 2005.

For the second straight year, hotel giant Hilton ranked No. 1 and Florida-based information technology company Ultimate Software ranked No. 2.

“We are so grateful for our dedicated employees who have made us a part of this list for the past 23 years,” President and CEO Colleen Wegman said in a news release. “Our people make shopping and working at Wegmans a truly special experience every day. We celebrate and thank them for all they do to earn this incredible honor.”

In compiling this year’s list, Fortune and a global consulting firm asked more than 4.1 million workers to rate their companies in more than 60 categories, including pay, fairness, camaraderie and trust in managers.

Wegmans will celebrate its 2020 ranking at 11 a.m. Saturday by serving free slices of cake at every store. Customers who prefer a healthy option will be offered Clementine tangerines.

The Gates-based supermarket chain operates 101 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina. Three more stores are set to open in 2020 — in Westchester County (New York) in West Cary, North Carolina, and Tysons Corner, Virginia.

Contact Victoria Freile at vfreile@gannett.com or at 585-258-2330. Follow her on Twitter @vfreile and Instagram @vfreileThis coverage is only possible with support from our readers. Sign up today for a digital subscription.

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How to Automate Your Social Media Marketing Like the Pros

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How to Prevent Ring from Sharing Your Data with Marketing Companies

Ring home security devices are supposed to help keep your family and home safe, but it turns out the company uses its products to sell your personal data to third-party advertisers and marketers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently published a report showing that the Ring app contains undisclosed third-party trackers to collect user data,…

Ring home security devices are supposed to help keep your family and home safe, but it turns out the company uses its products to sell your personal data to third-party advertisers and marketers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently published a report showing that the Ring app contains undisclosed third-party trackers to collect user data, which it then sells to other companies. That Ring is tracking and selling user data isn’t that surprising—Ring is an Amazon-owned company, after all—but it’s intrusive nonetheless.

In response to user complaints and public criticism over the report, Ring put its third-party analytics tracking on hold and is updating the Ring app with a new option for users to opt out of their data-sharing program. The new setting is included in this week’s app update, which you should have soon (if not already). Once you’ve updated your app, here’s how to opt out of Ring’s data tracking:

  1. Open the Ring app.
  2. Go to Menu > Third Party Service Providers.
  3. Scroll down to the “Personalized Advertising” section and and turn off “Personalized Advertising.”

Unwanted data tracking isn’t the only privacy issue Ring has taken criticism for lately. The company recently updated its app with a new security dashboard and is (finally) forcing all users to enable text or email-based two-step authentication to prevent unwanted logins from outsiders and hackers—not to mention multiple instances of questionable data storage practices that have made videos and other user data easily accessible. Be sure to check out our guide for turning on these new settings and our other tips to keep your Ring devic