Tag Archives: InboundMarketing

U.S. regulators reject Bitcoin ETF, digital currency plunges

U.S. regulators reject Bitcoin ETF,
digital currency plunges

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday denied a request to list what would have been the first U.S. exchange-traded fund built to track bitcoin, the digital currency.Investors Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss have been trying for more than three years to convince the SEC to let it bring the Bitcoin ETF to market. CBOE Holdings Inc's Bats exchange had applied to list the ETF.

The digital currency's price plunged, falling as much as 18 percent in trading immediately after the decision before rebounding slightly. It last traded down 7.8 percent to $1,098. Bitcoin had scaled to a record of nearly $1,300 this month, higher than the price of an ounce of gold, as investors speculated that an ETF holding the digital currency could woo more people into buying the asset.

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be used to move money around the world quickly and with relative anonymity, without the need for a central authority, such as a bank or government. Yet bitcoin presents a new set of risks to investors given its limited adoption, a number of massive cyber security breaches affecting bitcoin owners and the lack of consistent treatment of the assets by governments.

"Based on the record before it, the Commission believes that the significant markets for bitcoin are unregulated," the SEC said in a statement. "The commission notes that bitcoin is still in the relatively early stages of its development and that, over time, regulated bitcoin-related markets of significant size may develop." The regulators have questions and concerns about how the funds would work and whether they could be priced and trade effectively, according to a financial industry source familiar with the SEC's thinking.

"We began this journey almost four years ago, and are determined to see it through," said Tyler Winklevoss, CFO of Digital Asset Services LLC. "We agree with the SEC that regulation and oversight are important to the health of any marketplace and the safety of all investors." The Winklevoss twins are best known for their feud with Facebook Inc founder Mark Zuckerberg over whether he stole the idea for what became the world's most popular social networking website from them. The former Olympic rowers ultimately settled their legal dispute, which was dramatized in the 2010 film "The Social Network."

Since then they have become major investors in the digital currency, which relies on "mining" computers that validate blocks of transactions by competing to solve mathematical puzzles. The first to solve the puzzle and clear the transaction is rewarded with new bitcoins. Solutions to the puzzle come roughly every 10 minutes. Advocates of the currency and the technology it relies on to document transactions, blockchains, were dismayed by the ruling. "How do we develop well-capitalized and regulated markets in the U.S. and Europe if financial innovators aren't allowed to bring products to market that grow domestic demand for digital currencies like bitcoin?" asked Jerry Brito, executive director of Coin Center, an advocacy group.

Spencer Bogart, head of research at Blockchain Capital, said bitcoin's price could fall as much as 20 percent but that its long-term adoption will continue. A Bats spokeswoman said the exchange is reviewing the SEC's statement and would have no further comment. There are two other bitcoin ETF applications awaiting a verdict from the SEC. Grayscale Investments LLC's Bitcoin Investment Trust, backed by early bitcoin advocate Barry Silbert and his Digital Currency Group, filed an application last year. SolidX Partners Inc, a U.S. technology company that provides blockchain services, also filed its ETF application last year.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Despite Similarities, Is Blockchain Really The Next Internet?

Despite Similarities,
Is Blockchain Really The Next Internet?

 

The Blockchain versus The Internet

The Blockchain is often touted as the next Internet. A technology so important that it will revolutionize the way we live our lives. There is no lack of interest in Blockchain amongst big technology companies, financial institutions, governments and even the members of the public. The impact of the Internet on our daily lives is now so complete that it would be impossible to think of a world without it. Canada and Germany have even declared the Internet as “essential for life.”

Yet, we are not at a stage where Blockchain has assumed a similar role. So what will it take for Blockchain to get there? What steps does it need to assume a similar significance?

Making things work with each other

The Internet of today is universal. We do not really have to think twice about plugging things into it. At the moment we have different Blockchains, some of which are open-source public Blockchains and we also have private Blockchains and the interoperability between Blockchains simply has not reached the level of the Internet. As an example, if a user of Blockchain A wanted to buy an asset on Blockchain B, it would be difficult in the present scenario. A common format like the Internet’s TCP/IP would make things considerably easier. Then there is also the sticky problem of how Blockchains will communicate with legacy systems of yore.

The need for speed

Blockchains still have the issue of moving sludge up the pipelines. As an example, Hyperledger can only handle around 1000 transactions per second. Bitcoin transaction rate per second is limited to seven. David Gilbert of IB Times writes in his article: “The problem relates to how transactions are processed on the Blockchain, the decentralized, distributed ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin.The average time it takes for a Bitcoin transaction to be verified is now 43 minutes, and some transactions remain unverified forever.” Blockchain systems need to evolve to instant or near-instant levels to reach ubiquity.

Blockchain cauldron has too many cooks

It is basically a question of too many cooks spoiling the broth. The more participants in a Blockchain network, the difficult it becomes to change things. We have seen splits and hard forks, we have seen an inability to change things because of the lack of consensus, etc. It can get quite unwieldy to maintain a network or to scale it up in order to stay relevant with the times. This is a question that Bitcoin will have to face in the future as well. However, on the Internet side of things, the evolution of governance has been done by a number of global bodies such as ICANN, the UN and others.

Who do we trust?

It took the Internet a while to emerge as a reliable platform. This, of course, has required the intervention of government and some legislative effort across the world. The established financial networks of today enjoy a level of trust among consumers, merchants, and bankers as well. Blockchain systems have yet to garner the same level of trust as these established players.

The stench of geekdom

The Internet, in the beginning, was a geek heaven – bulletin boards, terminal sessions, etc. The interface was simply not appealing enough for the common user. It was the World Wide Web that changed the Internet and made it more accessible to the average person on the street. Blockchain, unfortunately, still reeks of geekdom. We need an interface that will make Blockchain indispensable to everyone and we need it sooner rather than later.

As Dominik Zynis, advisor to Wings.ai, says with regard to Blockchain and the WWW:

“The World Wide Web democratized the content lifecycle (creation, distribution, rating, consumption). For example, we no longer get our news from two or three channels, instead, we get our news from friends and associates sharing on places like Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Likewise, Blockchain technology can democratize the money lifecycle; however, to do that Blockchain technology must enable and empower the unseen and unimportant.”

He goes on to say: “Just like companies like YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and others capitalize on the long-tail of content creation empower cat owners to distribute cat videos, so too must Blockchain technology through projects like Counterparty creating PepeCash and BANCOR Network creating local coins enable the long-tail of coin creation.” While Blockchain is getting there, we are still far away from the day when it will be ever present. What we need is interoperability, simplicity, and standards that everyone can agree on. It is perhaps a matter of time.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

The gospel according to Blockchain, or is it the other way round?

The gospel according to Blockchain,
or is it the other way round?

Startup promises permissioned Blockchain-validated truth database

 

Analysis Startup Gospel Technology is evangelising the use of Blockchain to secure and verify shareable data.

Blockchain technology provides a way of doing this, claims Gospel, which says it's found a simpler way than any alternative methods. The early stage firm was founded in December last year by CEO Ian Smith, who was a co-founder, owner and CTO of Butterfly Software, a company IBM bought for an undisclosed amount in September 2012, for its data centre storage planning and migration tool software.

Smith, who was a storage transformation consultant at Dell before founding Butterfly, spent three years at IBM, finishing up as worldwide VP for flash and software-defined solutions. In May 2016, he became the owner and managing director of Kingwood Estate, an English vineyard making sparkling wines in the Thames Valley near Henley On Thames. The idea behind Gospel Technology is that a business has information chains with its suppliers, contracting agencies, partners, customers, regulatory authorities and so forth.

If it supplies information to other businesses then it has no control, except maybe contractual, over what that business does with it. An HR department could send hundreds and thousands of employee names to a travel agency which arranges business travel and that agency could send some or all if it to airlines who could do the same. As soon as the information leaves the originator’s premises, then, in today’s internet-connected world, there is effectively no control over its privacy, security, validity and correctness. This is where the firm claims Blockchain can provide the validity and correctness – and its product can the security and privacy.

Gospel Tech claims it’s is “pioneering the use of this immutable [Blockchain] record system to fully automate 'trust' into the interconnected global systems of the forward-thinking enterprise.” It is building an Enterprise Trust Fabric built on the Linux HyperLedger which features record immutability, cryptographic provenance and decentralised consensus. Gospel says it has enhanced the blockchain technology to enable it to operate with the stability and scalability essential to large enterprise businesses that operate in cloud-like environments. It enables the privacy, security, control and validity of a centralised system in a decentralised environment, it says.

Gospel claims its fabric offers:

  • A clear and transparent world state of data assets and key trust indicators within the ledger,
  • Real Time identification of abnormal behaviour and data breaches,
  • An immutable history of key trust indicators,
  • Scheduled erasure policies based on absolute expiry dates within the ledger.

Overall target use cases are business exchanging any kind of digital information that needs to be trusted and private, and the Internet of Things. Smith wrote an introductory article about the firm on LinkedIn in January, in which he said the “Enterprise Trust Fabric is based on a private, permissioned blockchain that has been engineered and enhanced by Gospel technology to deliver a platform that rethinks trust and confidence in a world that is essentially perimeterless and trustless.” We might expect more news from the firm later this year.

What is a blockchain?

As we generally understand it – meaning blockchain experts, be gentle – a block chain is a distributed database (digital ledger) holding a chain of data blocks in which the first block is composed of its data contents plus a prefix which is a hash of the data in the block. The next block in the chain has a data hash prefix which is a hash of the entire preceding block, and so on through the chain. It is a hashchain within a hashchain. Any data added to the chain of linked data blocks is appended. Nothing is deleted or over-written or has data inserted between existing data items. Data is immutable, which is great where that absolutely needs to be the case, and the blockchain can represent a proof of work.

In Bitcoin, a monetary transaction happens once and is spread throughout the database and its users in real time. A unit of the cryptocurrency, once spent, is spent and cannot be spent again. The acknowledgement of a bitcoin transaction between users is faster than the acknowledgement of cash transactions between bank users with cheques and simpler than digital transactions between banks. Bitcoin can disintermediate banks from financial transactions between users.

The verifiability and trust of blockchain transactions happens because parties involved compute the blockchain; each having a copy of the blockchain. Everyone thus verifies and audits transactions. Gospel reckons that in private sharing environments, less system overhead is needed to reach consensus because it can rely on fewer nodes being needed to arrive at a believable consensus. Reading and writing data to a blockchain database is CPU-intensive and network intensive and becomes more so as blockchains get longer and larger in number and users.

What is a hash?

In Blockchain a hash is a cryptographic number function which is a result of running a mathematical algorithm against the string of data in a block and results in a number which is entirely dependent on the block contents. What this means is that if you encounter a block in a chain of blocks and want to read its contents you can’t do it unless you can read the preceding block’s contents because these create the starting data hash (prefix) of the block you are interested in.

And you can’t read that preceding block in the chain unless you can read its preceding block as its starting data item is a hash of its preceding block and so on down the chain. It’s a practical impossibility to break into a blockchain and read and then do whatever you want with the data unless you are an authorised reader. A blockchain database is thus organised quite differently from a relational database.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

When Markethive discovered herself

From Social Networks to Market Networks

 

Markethive is a full suite “Inbound Marketing” platform integrated with a full scale “social network” targeting the 800 million “Entrepreneur” global populations. Like Facebook meets Pardot. This new revolution of the next wave of progressions is known as Market Networks, compared to the last wave of Social Networks. Even MarketHive’s name reflects this new revolution. Experts predict the “Market Network” will dwarf the “Social Network” market.

1. Founder (Thomas Prendergast): 40 years’ experience in Ad Agency and Marketing professional. Educated and developed technology awareness from 1982 – 1992 in the Silicon Valley. Visionary, skilled programmer, innovation 1sts, Stanford and UCSD Super Computer Center foundations and over 20 years building marketing innovation on the Internet.
 

2. Pardot, a full scale Inbound Marketing Platform (very similar to Markethive's platform) sold for $95 million to complete the ExactTarget platform in preparation to be sold to Sales Force for 2.5 billion Using these metrics it is easy to assign a value to Markethive of a minimum of $100 million. see story: www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/blog/atlantech/2013/06/atlantas-pardot-helped-drive.html
 

3. The experts (like Nir Eyal) and many bloggers (like Guerric de Ternay) are recognizing the new emerging systems called Market Networks.

  1. Market-networks are hybrid animals: part social network, part marketplace, part SaaS.
  2. It’s a social network. Professionals use profile pages to showcase their work and demonstrate their credibility. They also connect with each other and build relationships.
  3. It’s a marketplace. Professionals come online together to find other parties with whom they can do business.
  4. It’s a SaaS (Software as a System) tool. Professionals use the tools on the top of the marketplace to negotiate, do the job, or manage the paperwork.

4. Hooked: Systems that improve with age are the sought after prizes as they retain growth and are considered monopolies, not commodities. Markethive possesses this trait on 4 serious levels.

  1. Leads (called children) from the profile pages advance organically and improve with time
  2. Blog subscribe organically builds subscribers (automatically publishing) to top social networks
  3. Profile page improves with organic advancement in workshops, blogging and groups
  4. Increased reputation builds via blogs and profile page growth

5. Markethive is the indisputable full platform Market Network and has the distinct advantage of ready to launch and be "First to Market".

6. At least three patentable products; Blog Subscribe, Blog Swipe and 1Click Subscribe Widget

7. Projected funds of minimum $1 million with 20% to polish the system in preparation to officially launch and the remaining 80% to drive the marketing and crowd funding to record breaking status.

 

Summary:
see story: https://techcrunch.com/2015/06/27/from-social-to-market-networks/

Social Networks Were The Last 10 Years. Market Networks Will Be The Next 10.

First we had communication networks, like telephones and email. Then we had social networks, like Facebook and LinkedIn. Now we have market networks, like HoneyBook, AngelList, Houzz, DotLoop and Joist.

You can imagine a market network for every industry where professionals are not interchangeable: law, travel, real estate, media production, architecture, investment banking, personal finance, construction, management consulting and more. Each market network will have different attributes that make it work in each vertical, but the principles will remain the same.

Over time, nearly all independent professionals and their clients will conduct business through the market network of their industry. We’re just seeing the beginning of it now.

Market networks will have a massive positive impact on how millions of people work and live, and how hundreds of millions of people buy better services.

“Markethive has the ability to be an incubator (hive) to produce more strategic “Market Networks” as well”. 

 

Thomas Prendergast
Founder and CEO Markethive, Inc.

 

P.S.
The "Market Network" Illustrated
(Do you see Markethive?)

P.S.S.

Definition of Hive (Curious aint it?)

hive (hīv)

1. A place swarming with activity.

2. To work with many others in a close network.
3. a network showing signs of great industry
4. a teeming crowd; a network

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

I’ll say it: the days of outbound marketing are over.

I’ll say it: the days of outbound marketing are over.

entrepreneur

The "Wolf of Wall Street" mentality of harassing customers over the phone, sending spamy emails, and going door-to-door to close deals has become much less effective in recent years. Customers have access to so much information every day, they’ve become increasingly resentful of marketing intrusions. The rise of blocking tools such as caller id, spam folders and ad blockers is not coincidence.

Inbound marketing is the new normal. That’s the idea that if you provide value to customers first, they will respond by returning that value back and doing business with you.

To get a peak under the hood inbound marketing, and get tips on how others can use it, I had a chance to chat with A.J. Agrawal – an entrepreneur who built his business, Alumnify, around it. A.J. is a fellow contributor at Entrepreneur as well as at Forbes, Huffington Post, and others.

Here’s an edited version of our e-mail interview:

Why begin with universities?

We started there because we saw a strong decrease year after year in alumni engagement. Right now, alumni engagement is at an all time low – under 10 percent. It was obvious that institutions were struggling to adjust to the new ways their alumni were communicating and engaging. So we saw the opportunity.

For about 85 years, alumni engagement was pretty steady. Then all of a sudden, in the 90’s it began to fall drastically. In panic mode, many schools chose to double down on the outbound marketing tactics that worked in the past: cold calls, snail mail, and increased email addresses. They also deployed better data tacking and software to help optimize open email rates as well as make the giving process easier for graduates.

But these strategies had no effect (or even a negative effect on engagement) because they were built on an overall strategy that was broken. So we decided we would build inbound marketing solutions to provide value to alumni first. 

How do you begin inbound practices?

First, make sure you know what inbound marketing is. At its core, inbound is anything that provides a tremendous amount of value to your target customer without asking anything from them in return. There are tons of ways to do this and the best part is that most of the major strategies can be done for minimal cost.

One thing we recommend to companies we work with us is to start by getting a blog set up and to have someone be responsible for publishing regular content. One of the nice things about inbound marketing is that it requires companies to build major assets for their business. Your content library is a huge asset and will eventually help your SEO, and pull in more customers to your website.

Other popular inbound strategies include webinars, eBooks, infographics, mobile apps built to help your customers, and optimizing your social media.

Each business is different, so the strategy depends on factors including audience, industry, and expertise. Like most things, the hardest part is just getting started. Once you find an inbound strategy that starts to work, it becomes much easier to fine tune and expand on your traction.

Do you avoid outbound strategies?

Not at all. While inbound is definitely the future, some customers still respond well to outbound strategies. Even as an inbound company, we still cold call customers and send promotional emails once in a while — but as part of a complete plan.

When thinking about the brand I want for Alumnify, I don’t want prospects and customers avoiding our phone calls. The image of a customer seeing an Alumnify Team Member calling them and saying “Not these people again” is my worst nightmare. And it should be any entrepreneur’s nightmare too.

Instead, I believe that the key to getting customers to love us is to provide value without asking for anything in return. For example, we have a free inbound marketing email list we just launched yesterday with weekly tips and webinars. And I’m always happy to help any fellow entrepreneur hammer out an inbound strategy. That type of approach may take more work in the short run, but it’ll also help build a much better brand to our customers in the long run.

Article writen by:

Inbound Marketing solution

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

The Ultimate Marketing Machine

 

The Ultimate Marketing Machine

Tools and strategies

 In the past decade, what marketers do to engage customers has changed almost beyond recognition. With the possible exception of information technology, we can’t think of another discipline that has evolved so quickly. Tools and strategies that were cutting-edge just a few years ago are fast becoming obsolete, and new approaches are appearing every day.

Yet in most companies the organizational structure of the marketing function hasn’t changed since the practice of brand management emerged, more than 40 years ago. Hidebound hierarchies from another era are still commonplace.

Marketers understand that their organizations need an overhaul, and many chief marketing officers are tearing up their org charts. But in our research and our work with hundreds of global marketing organizations, we’ve found that those CMOs are struggling with how to draw the new chart. What does the ideal structure look like? Our answer is that this is the wrong question. A simple blueprint does not exist.

Marketing leaders instead must ask, “What values and goals guide our brand strategy, what capabilities drive marketing excellence, and what structures and ways of working will support them?” Structure must follow strategy—not the other way around.

To understand what separates the strategies and structures of superior marketing organizations from the rest, EffectiveBrands (now Millward Brown Vermeer)—in partnership with the Association of National Advertisers, the World Federation of Advertisers, Spencer Stuart, Forbes, MetrixLab, and Adobe—initiated Marketing2020, which to our knowledge is the most comprehensive marketing leadership study ever undertaken. To date, the study has included in-depth qualitative interviews with more than 350 CEOs, CMOs, and agency heads, and over a dozen CMO roundtables in cities worldwide. We also conducted online quantitative surveys of 10,000-plus marketers from 92 countries. The surveys encompassed more than 80 questions focusing on marketers’ data analytics capabilities, brand strategy, cross-functional and global interactions, and employee training.

We divided the survey respondents into two groups, overperformers, and underperformers, on the basis of their companies’ three-year revenue growth relative to their competitors’. We then compared those two groups’ strategies, structures, and capabilities. Some of what we found should come as no surprise: Companies that are sophisticated in their use of data grow faster, for instance. Nevertheless, the research shed new light on the constellation of brand attributes required for superior marketing performance and on the nature of the organizations that achieve it. It’s clear that “marketing” is no longer a discrete entity (and woe to the company whose marketing is still siloed) but now extends throughout the firm, tapping virtually every function. And while the titles, roles, and responsibilities of marketing leaders vary widely among companies and industries, the challenges they face—and what they must do to succeed—are deeply similar.

Highlights from the Survey

Winning Characteristics

The framework that follows describes the broad traits of high-performing organizations, as well as specific drivers of organizational effectiveness. Let’s look first at the shared principles of high performers’ marketing approaches.

Big data, deep insights.

Marketers today are awash in customer data, and most are finding narrow ways to use that information—to, say, improve the targeting of messages. Knowing what an individual consumer is doing where and when is now table stakes. High performers in our study are distinguished by their ability to integrate data on what consumers are doing with knowledge of why they’re doing it, which yields new insights into consumers’ needs and how to best meet them. These marketers understand consumers’ basic drives—such as the desire to achieve, to find a partner, and to nurture a child—motivations we call “universal human truths.”

The Nike+ suite of personal fitness products and services, for instance, combines a deep understanding of what makes athletes tick with troves of data. Nike+ incorporates sensor technologies embedded in running shoes and wearable devices that connect with the web, apps for tablets and smartphones, training programs, and social networks. In addition to tracking running routes and times, Nike+ provides motivational feedback and links users to communities of friends, like-minded athletes, and even coaches. Users receive personalized coaching programs that monitor their progress. An aspiring first-time half-marathon runner, say, and a seasoned runner rebounding from an injury will receive very different coaching. People are rewarded for good performance, can post their accomplishments on social media, and can compare their performance with—and learn from—others in the Nike+ community.

Purposeful positioning.

Top brands excel at delivering all three manifestations of brand purpose—functional benefits, or the job the customer buys the brand to do (think of the pick-me-up Starbucks coffee provides); emotional benefits, or how it satisfies a customer’s emotional needs (drinking coffee is a social occasion); and societal benefits, such as sustainability (when coffee is sourced through fair trade). Consider the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, which defines a set of guiding principles for sustainable growth that emphasize improving health, reducing environmental impact, and enhancing livelihoods. The plan lies at the heart of all Unilever’s brand strategies, as well as its employee and operational strategies.

In addition to engaging customers and inspiring employees, a powerful and clear brand purpose improves alignment throughout the organization and ensures consistent messaging across touchpoints. AkzoNobel’s Dulux, one of the world’s leading paint brands, offers a case in point. In 2006, AkzoNobel was operating a heavily decentralized business structured around local markets, with each local business setting its own brand and business goals and developing its own marketing mix. Not surprisingly, the outcome was inconsistent brand positioning and results; Dulux soared in some markets and floundered in others. In 2008, Dulux’s new global brand team pursued a sweeping program to understand how people perceived the brand across markets, paint’s purpose in their lives, and the human truths that inspired people to color their environments. From China, to India, to the UK, to Brazil, a consistent theme emerged: The colors around us powerfully influence how we feel. Dulux wasn’t selling cans of paint; it was selling “tins of optimism.” This new definition of Dulux’s brand purpose led to a marketing campaign, “Let’s Color.” It enlists volunteers, which now include more than 80% of AkzoNobel employees, and donates paint (more than half a million liters so far) to revitalize run-down urban neighborhoods, from the favelas of Rio to the streets of Jodhpur. In addition to aligning the once-decentralized marketing organization, Dulux’s purpose-driven approach has expanded its share in many markets.

Total experience.

Companies are increasingly enhancing the value of their products by creating customer experiences. Some deepen the customer relationship by leveraging what they know about a given customer to personalize offerings. Others focus on the breadth of the relationship by adding touchpoints. Our research shows that high-performing brands do both—providing what we call “total experience.” In fact, we believe that the most important marketing metric will soon change from “share of wallet” or “share of voice” to “share of experience.”

A spices, and flavorings firm, emphasizes both depth and breadth in delivering on its promise to “push the art, science, and passion of flavor.” It creates a consistent experience for consumers across numerous physical and digital touchpoints, such as product packaging, branded content like cookbooks, retail stores, and even an interactive service, FlavorPrint, that learns each customer’s taste preferences and makes tailored recipe recommendations. FlavorPrint does for recipes what Netflix has done for movies; its algorithm distils each recipe into a unique flavor profile, which can be matched to a consumer’s taste-preference profile. FlavorPrint can then generate customized e-mails, shopping lists, and recipes optimized for tablets and mobile devices.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Inbound vs. Outbound: Part 2

Inbound vs. Outbound: Part 2

Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing?

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, you are always the footnote. You are forced to stick out or not be seen at all. It makes your relationship with your customer based on attention-grabbing rather than value. If you are at the trade show you can have the best booth with the best giveaway prize, but you are not the keynote speaker. When you are advertising at the Super Bowl you can be the best commercial but the best commercial is merely a footnote to the main event. At best, with outbound marketing you might strive to be the best footnote. Unfortunately, to stick out in traditional advertising you usually have to sacrifice your message for a gimmick and hope that some of the people who see the gimmick look closely enough for the footnote.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, you are the story. You are the keynote speaker. Inbound marketing is all about creating great content to share with your audience. It’s about telling stories and speaking to your audience where they want to be spoken to, how they want to be spoken to. It’s about delighting them, educating them and engaging them in an open and transparent way. But inbound marketing is much more than simply being the keynote speaker at the trade show; it’s about being the article featured on the cover of the magazine. It’s about being the most valuable player at the Super Bowl. And when done correctly, inbound marketing can open up these amazing distribution channels that make it so you don’t have to wait for the next trade show, the next magazine or next year’s Super Bowl to show off your brand. You can do it on-demand with laser-like precision penetrating a group of your peers and the influencers in your industry.

Linear vs. Holistic

Best inbound marketing linear vs holistic

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, the strategy is very linear. You only have so many marketing mediums to choose from like radio, TV, direct mail, tradeshow, billboard, sponsorships, etc. With this linear strategy, you assess which mediums most accurately address your target market and you start checking the boxes. You begin to attribute higher percentages of your budget to the more effective mediums and leave out the least effective mediums. You create a unified message across all mediums, and your job is done for the period. Come back again next period, sift through the data, reassess the percentages and do it again. Digital marketers can make the mistake of approaching the web with this outbound marketing approach. Social media, check! SEO, check! Email marketing- check!

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, the strategy is holistic. Inbound marketing is a much more complex approach than outbound marketing. It takes simultaneous usage of all the digital channels, continuous strengthening of the website, development of effective content and implementation of measurement tools all in concert with one another to achieve these unparalleled results. Many digital marketers don’t understand the complexities, they stick with the approach that they are comfortable with, the outbound or linear approach applied to the digital world. This approach gets you the traditional results. The difference between digital marketing and inbound marketing are the complexities and the holistic approach.

Inbound marketing is like a holistic lifestyle — in order to carry out an inbound marketing campaign, a website needs to have a strong foundation. It needs to be in good enough shape to carry out strong messaging, a content marketing strategy and be a hub for distribution. It needs to have a blog, it needs to be responsive, it needs to have a call-to-action strategy, it needs to have micro and macro conversions and it needs to have an easy-to-use CMS. Once the website is in shape, the content can be created and the distribution can begin.

Content creation needs to be engaging and meet the objectives of your keyword strategy. The distribution needs to tap into all avenues: RSS-fed email for blog subscribers, social media channels, lead nurture campaigns, etc. But it is not the linear check-box approach of outbound. Inbound requires daily attention with constant analytical review. Like a holistic healthy lifestyle, it requires discipline and fortitude. Sometimes you need more content, sometimes you need more distribution, sometimes more landing pages, sometimes more blog posts, sometimes better conversion rate optimization, sometimes a stronger call-to-action strategy, but it always takes adjustment and strategy.

When a holistic inbound marketing strategy is hitting on all cylinders, your website is rock solid, your distribution is amplified and your distribution channels are feeding the website a steady diet of visitors, where prospects are being converted with the utmost optimization.

Obfuscate vs. Educate

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, the message is inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of shit. It has to be. With very little room to work with, whether it be in a newspaper ad or a few seconds on the radio, the goal of outbound marketing has always been to stand out. And in order to do this, to be a clutter buster, the relationship with the client is compromised. Think about it: how else can we get someone to see your mortgage product in a quarter-page ad at the bottom of an article about Obamacare? If you’re lucky enough to know where the ad will appear, you can try to force the message to fit the audience, but this rarely succeeds, and more often than not, you’re trying to message males and females ages zero to one hundred with the same message. It’s all one big hoax. Misdirection. It’s pulling that shiny quarter from behind your ear.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, the message is specific and useful. Rather than forced upon you, the message is instead offered up on a nice shiny silver platter — ready for you to consume whenever convenient. This message contains quality content that educates and engages. It’s meant to answer a consumer’s question, to fill in the blank. I remember not long ago when marketing professionals would advise their clients to create deep discounts and BIG sales and then advertise them to the masses. The thought process was that more consumers would then thereby seek out the product and the increase in customers made up for the lost product value. The idea that I got paid to offer up that piece of bullshit advice is astonishing. The reality today is that instead of advising our clients to slash prices or advertise on all mediums, we instead encourage them to offer something of even greater value — thought leadership (and if we have to offer discounts, we offer them to our loyal brand ambassadors… a reward for subscribing).

Renting vs. Owning

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, you are always renting your distribution. As most advertisers know, you’re only as good as your last campaign or your last media buy. If it works and sales get a bump, it’s on to the next campaign. If it fails, then jobs and budget are on the line. With an outbound campaign like direct mail, the leads come in for a couple weeks when the mail’s hitting households. Once those leads are processed and the mail is distributed, you need to start again, new message, new distribution.

All marketers know there is only one good tradeshow a year, the rest are all washes. The Super Bowl only comes once a year, the World Cup eventually comes to an end, and the newspaper gets recycled tomorrow. Nothing in outbound marketing is iterative, and there are always costs associated with lead generation. This often makes for a negative ROI, finicky CEOs and an overall high-pressure job.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, you own your distribution and it depreciates much more like an asset. You build up your subscription-based email list, you earn a top ranking on product-related keywords, you build a following on social media and voilà: you are creating assets. There is a cost of acquisition (creating the content), but it is iterative and it keeps working for you long after you stop the acquisition/creation phase.

For the first time in a marketer’s career, we are creating value that will last beyond our tenure. Create a 20,000-person email list, acquire 50,000 social media fans, rank in the top 10 for 400 plus keywords with a total search volume of 1 million monthly searches and you’ve created a Super Bowl opportunity every month of the year. There are companies (Hubspot) literally lobbying our federal government to allow them to book inbound marketing as an asset instead of an expense. It makes a lot of sense. If you have 10,000 blog posts generating 1,500 leads per month through online searches and you stop posting for a year, that lead volume will likely only diminish slightly. Over the years, you might see some fall-off, but it is a lot more like depreciation of traditional assets. Needless to say, this is the type of marketing that makes CEOs happy and makes heroes out of the marketing department.

Immeasurable vs. Quantifiable

inbound marketing vs outbound marketing - immeasureable vs quantifiable

Outbound Marketing: With outbound marketing, the success of the marketing is hard to measure. We can ask our prospects how they heard of us, but in general, the results are unreliable. This makes for a margin for error that is inherent within this archaic and linear model of marketing. Sure, it’s great to hear that the company call center received a few dozen calls as a result of a targeted marketing effort. It’s also great when someone fills out the “How Did You Hear About Us?” form, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. The margin of error occurs when you assume you know the whole story and assumptions lead to underperforming campaigns. The measurement of outbound marketing lacks complexity and a lack of complexity leads to a lack of results.

Inbound Marketing: With inbound marketing, everything is digital, and everything is quantifiable. There’s no need to assume anything. Complex algorithms track not only if your marketing strategy is effective, but also if it is converting potential customers into full-blown clients. An inbound marketing strategy is highly measurable. It allows for analysis of everything from the ROI of various distribution methods to whether the size and shape of a CTA button is more likely to attract a customer or not.

What I love most about inbound marketing is that it allows for closed-loop reporting. It lets me track someone’s IP address from the second it hits our website; it tells me how that IP address got there and how much time it’s spending on the site. It gives me an in-depth glimpse into the thought process of a consumer — showing me which blog posts they have read, which pages they viewed, whether they entered the site organically or through another avenue like social media, and lead generation metrics. Again, inbound marketing is highly measurable.

Inbound marketing succeeds because it allows you to talk to people who have given you permission, and to tell your story in a holistic, educational way on your own distribution platform, with quantifiable metrics. We know this to be true because we’ve experienced the shift, from our founding days in branding in 2001, through the rise of the digital marketing age and into this new era of inbound marketing. Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing? It works. We’ve made it work for us and our clients. Talk to us to see how we can make it work for you.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Inbound vs. Outbound: Part 1

Inbound vs. Outbound: Part 1

Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing?

As CEO of a digital marketing agency and inbound marketing convert, I’m always talking about the differences between inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, or, more to the point, “Why is inbound marketing better than outbound marketing?” In case you can’t tell from the header graphic, I’m more partial to the complexities of inbound marketing than the simplicity of outbound marketing. But seriously, I’m pretty sure people keep asking this question because the same answer seems to be given no matter whose blog you read. It’s as if someone (Hubspot and Pardot) wrote a canned answer and it’s being regurgitated without real life experiences and insights into the actual evolution of inbound marketing.

The canned answer usually goes something like this:

Why try to buy customers with traditional “outbound marketing” when consumers aren’t even paying attention?

  • 45% of direct mail never gets opened, 200 million people are on the national Do Not Call Registry
  • 85% of people fast forward through commercials
  • 84% of 25­–35 year-olds are likely to click off a website with excessive advertising
  • You have a better chance of surviving an airplane accident than having someone convert on a banner ad
    Etc., etc., etc. …

Forget about trying to reach a prospect under 40 with outbound marketing. Inbound marketing is different. Inbound marketing works by earning someone’s attention, rather than buying it.

It’s a good enough answer with compelling supporting statistics, but there’s more to inbound marketing than this. In this post I’m going to give you my insights. I’m not just going to harp on how outbound is reaching increasingly diminished audiences and how inbound is more engaging and more accessible — although both statements are very true.

I’m going to speak from experiences that are real. And in the spirit of full disclosure: Vital is a Hubspot Partner Agency, so I could simply repurpose Hubspot’s experiences and playbook like most partner agencies. But we also consider ourselves a Moz shop, with a Moz Pro account, and we develop using the WordPress CMS with the Yoast SEO plug-in (not the Hubspot COS), which means we have some independent experiences and additional tools that frame our perspective.

No experience is more relevant to that perspective than our own inbound transformation. Over the past three years, we went from referring to ourselves as a creative agency (web design, SEO and branding) to wholeheartedly embracing the moniker “inbound marketing agency.” But we weren’t sold inbound — we experienced it. We are our own best inbound marketing case study. In an industry many say is difficult to scale, Vital has experienced 300% growth in revenue and 300% growth in employees, all of which is solely attributed to our inbound and content marketing strategies.

First, let’s define inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, keeping in mind two aspects of marketing strategies: distribution and message.

Inbound marketing — if Hubspot didn’t coin “inbound marketing,” they have certainly spent a lot of time and money branding it as their own. Here’s how they define it:

“Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time.” 

This is a decent definition, if somewhat oversimplified.

The term “inbound” is relatively new. It took Vital a while to embrace the term “inbound” to describe what we were doing with our clients. In the beginning, we referred to it as “SEO” and “content marketing,” and although we weren’t a Hubspot partner agency, we were reading their content. We knew a term was needed for the paradigm shift we were seeing in online marketing, because SEO had fundamentally changed and digital marketing was becoming increasingly more disparate from traditional marketing. Digital distribution made analysis highly measurable and results-oriented, showing that inbound marketing was exponentially more successful than outbound marketing when done correctly.

It’s not just that traditional distribution was so different from digital distribution; the message was changing, too. And the more we were learning about the message, the better the results we were getting. The terms “digital marketing” or “traditional marketing” only spoke to the distribution aspect of the message, and “inbound marketing” included the new message itself. This new message was educational, it involved thought leadership, and was transparent and engaging. So, in the absence of anything better, we drank a little of the Hubspot Kool-Aid and gave in — today we call it inbound marketing, too. But there’s more to inbound marketing than the statistics on the dwindling audience of outbound and the engaged and accessible audience of inbound.

Outbound marketing is inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of s***

Outbound marketing, or traditional marketing, is the marketing we grew up with: radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, direct mail, billboards, event sponsorships, etc. The traditional outbound strategy can even be found in such digital distribution forms as email blasts, banner ads, PPC, and SPAM. But the defining qualities of outbound marketing is a message. Outbound marketing’s message, as eloquently stated by Jeff Rosenblum of Questus, “is inherently obfuscated, duplicitous and full of s***” (check out his keynote speech “Can marketing save the world?” at Hubspot’s Inbound ’13).

Outbound is a world of jargon where the loudest and most obnoxious are rewarded. Back in the day, clever was rewarded, but due to the escalating costs and increased competition to reach dwindling audiences, marketers have had to dumb things down to the lowest common denominator to maximize their conversions. So we are left with advertisements that use fluorescent pink, bold print, BIG discounts, exploited women and puppy dogs. How dumb do they think we are? No wonder a paradigm shift in advertising had to take place.

Now that we have defined inbound marketing vs. outbound marketing, here are some of the comparisons we like to use at Vital:

Interruption-based vs. Permission-based

best inbound marketing Interruption vs permission based

Outbound Marketing: Outbound marketing is interruption-based marketing. Its premise is to find a medium with a large following and periodically interrupt that following with disassociated ads. The hope is that with some careful planning and a study of the demographics, a small percentage of the audience will listen to the interruption in the storyline and convert in to a customer. If you can find a large enough following or an above average association, the small percentage of conversions will be worth the investment. Those opportunities are increasingly more like a needle in a haystack.

You find some at these locations: TV, Radio, Direct Mail, Newspaper, Billboards.

Inbound Marketing: Inbound marketing is permission-based marketing. There are two premises here:

  • First, communicate via mediums in which the audience has given you permission to communicate.
  • Second, answer the questions people are asking and proliferate those answers around the web in anticipation of the question.

Both of these premises are permission-based.

In the first method, the audience is smaller in numbers than mass media, but because the audience is inherently more friendly and has already raised their hand to get your messages, the audience converts at a 750% higher rate than interruption-based marketing.

These are some examples: subscription based email marketing, social media, blog subscribers, webinar attendees, etc.

In the second method, the numbers are virtually limitless, since your audience online is infinite. Thanks to targeting keywords, you can answer the questions prospects might be asking about your products and your industry. Since this audience is looking for the answers that you are proliferating throughout the web, the conversion rates are unparalleled.

More examples: SEO, keyword targeting, landing page strategy, content/blog strategy, etc.

An example of permission-based marketing that will put inbound into context is the Yellow Pages. Before websites, subscription-based email and blog subscriptions, the Yellow Pages was one of the few places you could advertise where prospects were actually looking for you and you weren’t interrupting them. Yellow Pages was so successful that companies would name themselves AAA or ABC to be at the top of the listings. In 2001, Vital had a $10,000 a month Yellow Pages marketing budget, buying enhanced listings (bold) and an ad in every book from Boston, MA to Portland, ME.  Why? Because it worked, and there was an undoubted ROI.

Chuck Reynolds
Contributor

 

Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member

Boost Your Success as a Blogger – 7 Tips

All blog writers want their blog to be successful—this is the one thing they all have in common. For most blog writers, success is loyal followers.

Regardless of when or why you began your blog, a few modifications here and there to your blog and your mindset can transform things for the better.   Here's a list of 7 tips to help you be successful as a blog writer.

1. Finding Your Niche

This little bit of advice has been jumping around the Internet since the beginning of the first effective blog.   Still, a lot of beginning writers don’t take this advice, partly because a lot of new writers aren’t sure what to write about and partly because they don’t know what a niche is.

Niche is described as, “a specialized but profitable corner of the market.”

What we really mean when we say to “find your niche” is to slim down the focus of your blog.   Referring to anything and everything that comes to mind is great if you’re composing for yourself, but visitors may discover it to be disorderly and challenging. What visitors really want is an assortment of relevant and beneficial content on the same subject to help fix an issue or query.

Examples of areas include:

  • Health & Wellness
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Writing

While it’s correct that there are blogs on essentially every industry, the key to really succeeding and reaching your focus on industry is to filter your subject even further. Choose a gap in the marketplace and concentrate on that. This will decrease competitors while making you a go-to professional in your industry.

An example would be if you desired to start a blog about your travels.  Instead of concentrating on travel in general, you might concentrate on an individual nation or town. That way, you are likely to become the number one go-to blog for people who will be visiting that area.

2. Self-Promote

Promoting your own venture on public networking or within your team of buddies is overwhelming for a lot of people. You don’t want to appear to be boasting, and you definitely don’t want to come across looking like spam.

If you want to be successful, however, you have to tell others to get the word out, and who better to do that than you? It’s all part of the marketing procedure, and writers have to figure out how to use public networking and use feedback on blogs to promote themselves.

Many writers and public networking lovers recommend using 80% of your public feedback and shares to enhance other people’s works and 20% of it advertising your own services and products.  Sometimes tooting your own horn isn’t all that bad. The key is to find balance between self-promotion and humbleness.

3. Build on What Works

Use your web page statistics and comments feature to see how visitors respond to these new concepts. If you’re not seeing any sign of a response in your statistics, study visitors to see what they think.

Experimenting is all an element of the procedure, so don’t be worried about trying something new. Start guest posting, a new weekly blogging series, and try placing ads.

Testing one thing here or there isn’t likely to harm your writing exercise. Some of these tests often lead to a surge in visitors. What's promising is that you can always dump the ones that don’t work.

4. Perform an “Above the Fold” Test

Above the fold includes the content you see when you first view your blog. It’s anything that you see without scrolling.

Since you only have a few moments to create an excellent first impression and help visitors determine what they’re looking for, you want the most essential info above the fold. For example, individuals should be able to tell who you are and what you do without scrolling. If it’s not obvious in your blog headline, there is value including a tag line. If you want to highlight your call-to-action, that should appear above the fold as well.

Test your own site by using the Clue App to set up a free 5-second test.  Don’t like the results? It’s worth rethinking your website layout.

5. Make Your Blog Sticky

Sticky is a term that means you’re motivating individuals come back to or stay on your blog. For example, you might link to an appropriate article from your blog’s archives. You can do this within the material, or you can list additional sources at the end of each short article. The idea is that these hyperlinks point to your own material and offer visitors more in-depth information on the topic or a related topic.

As you do this, everyone is more likely to keep coming back and subscribe to your  blog. You can also make your blog sticky by inviting visitors to subscribe to your blog or by making your RSS feed available with the click of a button.

6. Ways to Extend Your Blog

To get individuals to stay and keep returning, it’s worth increasing  your reach outside of simple blog posts. This allows you reach more individuals who appreciate other types of content and contact, and it keeps your blog from getting boring.

Examples of ways to increase your reach include:

  • Releasing videos
  • Starting a podcast series
  • Hanging around industry forums or social media
  • Sending out newsletters

7. Create Quality Content

People have been saying it for a long time, and the saying still applies.  CONTENT IS KING!

Without well-written and interesting material, your blog isn’t going to go anywhere. Yes, your blog style and your promotion methods are essential, but they’re essentially ineffective if you don’t have quality material. Individuals may come because of the promotion, but they’ll remain when you provide material they need.

Pro tip:  Developing material customers “need” can include anything from educating them on something to offering them entertainment.  While writing a blog about yourself can have its advantages, you should always be concentrating on fixing the reader’s issues first (whether they are looking for advice or a good laugh.) 

Fulfilling your visitors’ needs is what will generate visitors to sign up to your blog.

If you believe that my message is worth spreading, please use the share buttons if they show at the top of the page.

Stephen Hodgkiss
Chief Engineer at MarketHive

markethive.com


Alan Zibluk – Markethive Founding Member