Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Power of BBG and the concept of KLT

Ivan and Geoff

Already this week from my group I have had two group members reach out and start to explore how we can add value to each other's enterprise.

I suspect the runway to "know like and trust" is exceedingly short because of the work you are doing to set up appropriate affinity groups with complementary members.

That means that at the end of week 1 I am challenged by the need to respond to the opportunity to engage in collaborative enterprise building presented by BBG.

This means I have now to think about how shared value is created between these enterprises and customers.

Achieving clarity in purpose and d exposition of story is a passing achievement that necessarily occur.

Building shared value to dominate a market across multiple enterprises, now that is an idea that excites me.

Am I wandering too far from the current path with this thinking?

Best wishes,

Hi Michael,

Isn't it exciting to see a plan come to fruition?

I am thrilled to learn that this level of collaboration is happening after just one short Training and Induction meeting.

Your thinking is not wandering from the path at all ... just three steps down the path from where we anticipated you would be at this point in time.

To explain, we intend to progressively educate BBG members on generating six types of referrals, as follows:
  1. Direct: Self referral
  2. Unprompted: Requested referral
  3. Prompted: Suggested referral
  4. Derived: Second tier referral
  5. Created: Create need, then refer
  6. Orchestrated: Identify opportunity, create solution, create need, then refer

You are already talking about level six - which is fantastic ... if a little premature.

By all means start thinking about orchestration, but do give us a chance to catch up with you.

On a separate note, I would be very happy to help find Megan and Matthew a suitable home within BBG.

Please ask them to contact me directly to discuss.

Kind regards,


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Still struggling with collaboration in your organization? Do a Barcamp!

Tara Hunt Digital Marketing Executive

Many newcomers to the social media scene don't know about a very important piece of history in the evolution of the social web. It wasn't mobile or virtual or any of that. It was actually the opposite of digital. It was as analog as you get and, though the social web powered it, it relied on people coming together in THE MEAT SPACE to happen.

It was/is called Barcamp:

The founders - Ryan King, Tantek Çelik, Eris Stassi, Chris Messina, Andy Smith, and Matt Mullenweg - were inspired by FOO Camp, an annual gathering of O'Reilly Media authors, speakers and partners, that came together and 'made the conference up as they went along'. 

The founders loved the idea, and thought it should be 'open sourced', so they organized the first one quite publicly and the rest is history.

 Barcamp is a fantastic format to encourage collaboration between people.

What kind of collaborations?
1. You bring outside ideas into your organization - TransitCamp did this by inviting developers, transit enthusiasts, startups, and more together with transit officials - and it bore amazing ideas and partnerships in a single weekend. 
2. You encourage cross-discipline collaboration - I've seen Barcamp-style events being done internally, bringing people from all sorts of different departments together who don't normally have a chance to brainstorm together. Growing organizations often come up against the issue of silo-ing - or a decline in cross-departmental collaboration. An internal Barcamp, where different members of different departments present their challenges could open that up. I encourage you to do this at least once per quarter.
3. You help encourage people who wouldn't normally speak up, speak up - And finally, many organizations bring their senior leadership to innovation days, but there are LOTS of great ideas at non-senior levels. 

The open schedule at Barcamp could give these ideas a platform to get in front of their colleagues and give rise to fresh, new ideas.

It's such a simple and fun format. The only barrier I've encountered are people who cling to structure and are fearful of uncertainty:

"But what are our goals?"
"What is our desired outcome?" 
"Should we hold some spots for keynotes from the senior management?"

These are also the people I find that get the most out of a Barcamp format at the end of the day. :)

Josh Turner on Joint Venture Partnerships

No matter what products or services you offer, creating a network of joint venture partners who constantly refer business your way is a time-tested strategy for quickly scaling your business. 

Many times your best referral partners will be businesses that serve the same audience you want to reach and won't necessarily be competitors but complementary to your business.


* You can use a formal affiliate program with tracking links, but you can also use a more informal referral network to get started.


* Good places to start looking for JV partners are LinkedIn, Twitter, Industry Associations, Conferences, Communities, Forums… anywhere where your target partners might hang out.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Loyalty – it is not what you think

Great insights by Michael Leander

Are conversations on customer loyalty taking a wrong turn?

Recently in Shanghai and Mumbai I overheard conversations about loyalty. These conversations focused on data and other technical inside-out stuff. Not so much about the core of customer loyalty.

I’ve had the privilege of being a speaker and an expert panelist at leading loyalty events on four continents. And that’s been great. Over the years different “loyalty trends” have been the topic of conversation.

Lately I’ve noticed a shift in the focus of conversations about loyalty. Intense conversations taking place between accomplished professionals. All of who represents major global brands. Read the following as nothing more than some random thoughts. 

These conversations now mostly focus on data, data, data. Big data (not small data), data analytics, mining data, acquiring data and so on. Not on the emotional connect with consumers or business buyers. And very little on winning and keeping customer share of heart. At the Loyalty Summit in Mumbai, for example, one speaker after another presented the case for data. But offered no solutions as to how to make data actionable.

And I think that is a mistake. Because data, analytics and such can do little for loyalty, if the emotional connect isn’t established to some degree. And even less if data and insight isn’t used to improve the communication with each individual customer. Because relevant offers delivered in a timely fashion helps create or retain loyalty. Irrelevant offers are nothing but an irritation to consumers or business buyers.

Before we continue, don’t get me wrong. I too am a lover of data. But I believe data must be actionable. Any data you collect should enable you to improve the conversation with any given customer. Preferably 1-to-1.

The emotional connect creates sustainable and genuine loyalty

Intense loyalty conversation at the Think Tank for Retailers in Shanghai. Organized by Ignite – a division of Frankfurt Messe
You might agree with me that the concept of loyalty is a bit of an oddity. Because what exactly is it that makes someone loyal? What is it that makes someone choose you and then, perhaps out of loyalty, choose you again – almost on autopilot?

The memory of the last experience is where loyalty is found

I’ll tell you what it is in most cases. It is the memory of the last experience they had with your brand or service. If that memory was bad or disappointing, even the most loyal customer will think twice before making a new purchase with you. Let alone recommend you to someone.
(Solutions such as B2C satisfaction measurement system Litmus and B2B satisfaction measurement solution Relationwise are currently experiencing growth. Exactly because brands wish to measure the quality of the experience in real-time.) 

Genuine emotions eats rewards for breakfast

For years retail, automotive, travel and hospitality brands have been playing the “rewards and recognition“ game. This play creates stickiness to a large degree, but is hardly a major force able to create real, genuine loyalty. Unless, of course, the product or service is outstanding.
The memory of a great experience will almost always trump the benefit of points. So given the choice, I think, most consumers would choose experience over rewards.

Data collection to no avail

Conversations between data scientists and customer communication experts is the need of the hour. (from Think Tank, Shanghai)

Consumer brands traditionally have used loyalty schemes as a (smart) way of collecting large sums of data. But historically data collected has not been utilized properly to service customers better – bar a handful of exceptions we all love to praise. Pioneer retailer Tesco being one of them. Amazon being another.
I’d say that the inability to use data to improve the relationship with customers is a big part of the problem. Brands are sitting on all of this data, yet seem incapable of using the data to create better experiences for their customers; more relevant communication, smarter triggers etc.

When I look at the loyalty programs I’ve joined, the sad news is that not one of them have communicated to me according to my preferences and past behavior. Airlines and hotels take first prize for irrelevant communication.

Perhaps that is why brands talk so much about data. They’ve spotted the real Achilles heel and are desperately looking for solutions?

Of course some brands have improved the online experience through customization and/or personalization in recent years – for example with technology from market leader Sitecore. But the exact same brands are not able to deliver a unified experience in all customer touch points.
Loyalty is found somewhere in the sum of all parts

Hansa Cequity revealed study uncovering the impact of loyalty programs on the Indian consumer

What causes someone to be loyal to a brand is not one thing or one feature. It is the sum of a number of parts that draws people to your brand. Sure, rewards and recognition programs plays a part. But these mechanics – ‘cause that’s what they are – cannot stand-alone.
True loyalty is created as a result of the CORE of your product and/or service. With the added value of whichever system you’ve created for making customers your first priority. When many expert practitioners talk about the loyalty DNA – or the brand DNA – there is a good reason for that.
Whatever it is, it has to initially create an emotional connect. And then through your delivery and service system manage to retain and grow that initial emotional connect.

What can be done to earn genuine loyalty?
Now, that’s a big question. And the answer depends.
To me it is simple, albeit difficult to implement. But so is anything worth doing in this day and age. Earning and keeping someone’s loyalty is hard work. It is in people relationships, but even harder in relationships between brands and their customers.
But you must start by understanding what exactly it is that makes each individual customer loyal. You might find part of that answer in the data. But more likely you’ll find more and better answer by asking your customers.

Customer loyalty questions for you and your team
1.  What makes a customer choose you over the competition? If you don’t know the answer, then ask your customers!
2.  What makes a customer repeat purchase? Was it out of convenience or simply because the customer was incredibly satisfied with the first purchase?
3. Could “Share of Heart” be a better measurement than, say, “Share of Wallet”? I think both are relevant with the former a bit harder to measure. But an objective to win a bigger Share of Heart will automatically give you a bigger Share of Wallet. Not so the other way around. 
4. Is likeliness or willingness to recommend – as in NPS – really an indicator of true loyalty, or merely an indicator of satisfaction? I think that NPS gives a good indication. But is it enough?
5. Will a deeper understanding of what makes each individual customer tick, enable your business to design better experiences, which in turn might improve loyalty? The answer here should be a resounding yes! So the right question might be: how do we capture customer preferences (etc) in a structured way that allows us to design customized experiences across all touch points
In summary, loyalty is obviously important. But don’t make it all about the data. Find ways to use data to enhance the relationship with your customers.
About the Author: Michael Leander

Michael Leander is an award winning international speaker, trainer, consultant and board member. He speaks about topics related to marketing automation, email marketing, social media marketing, digital marketing, direct marketing, CRM and loyalty marketing.A consistently highly rated keynote speaker, marketing workshop trainer and panelist, he has shared his knowledge in more than 40 countries.Practicing what he preaches, Michael Leander also shares his knowledge and ideas on his blog and in all of the most popular social channels. Michael Leander hails from Denmark 

Friday, May 6, 2016

4 networking mistakes you need to avoid

Great insights from business insiders Katheryn Minshew Inc 

Starting a new business, shifting to a new industry, looking for a job in a new city — there are times in your career when you'll have to look outside the network you already have and meet a whole host of new people.

And that often means hitting up events, conferences, meetups, and the like, situations that can leave even the smartest, most successful among us feeling awkward and uncomfortable.

In environments where you should be putting your best foot forward, it can be easy to stumble and damage your reputation before you even have the chance to really build it.

What are the most common faux pas? Here are four I see all the time — and how to steer clear of them.

1. Forgetting conversational etiquette

Many people equate networking with an opportunity for self-promotion. And, that's true — to some extent.

When meeting new people, you definitely want to present the best version of yourself and talk about the parts of your background or experience that will make them excited to learn more.

But that doesn't mean you should steamroll the conversation. In fact, going out of your way to show interest in others is the best way to leave a positive impression.

Business coach Alisoun Mackenzie recommends the 80-20 rule — keeping 80% of the conversation focused on your partner and only 20% on yourself — but at minimum, make sure you're listening just as much as you're talking.

2. Showing up unprepared

Networking isn't a meeting, and you definitely don't need to treat it that way, but you should plan on doing at least a little bit of preparation before any event you attend.

First, do some research on who's attending. Who might you have some comment interests with? Who could be a valuable contact in the future?

Jot down a list, and make a point to try and cross paths with as many of them as possible. (If you're heading out ASAP and haven't done this, a quick fix is to check the event hashtag to see who's tweeting in advance.)

If the event is smaller — say, you're attending a friend's book club with five or six others in your field, or a dinner for a conference you're at — do your best to get the attendee list in advance and spend a few minutes quickly Googling your tablemates.

It can be extremely valuable to find out beforehand that "Jennifer" is really Jennifer Smith from that industry blog you admire — and highly frustrating to figure it out a bit too late!

Once you know who you want to meet and why, make sure you have your elevator pitch ready to go — your brief elevator pitch.

Rambling on about just how passionate you are about your work or company is a mistake I see both career changers and new entrepreneurs making all the time. A few dry runs beforehand will help you keep it short, sweet, and engaging (see these tips for my best elevator pitch advice).

3. Getting too personal

Ideally, you want networking conversations to feel natural, and talking about your personal interests in addition to your business goals is a great way to get to know people quickly. (Some of my favorite topics: travel destinations, where to find a great burger, iced coffee, or chocolate chip cookie in NYC, and the history-meets-hip-hop smash Broadway hit Hamilton.)

But, that doesn't mean you should speak to a new acquaintance as if he or she is your oldest and dearest friend.

New connections don't necessarily want to hear about your recent nasty falling out with a friend, your regular laser hair removal appointments, or even your political opinions (and yes, I've found myself in conversations with near strangers on all three of those things).

Err on the side of caution and stick with topics you'd be comfortable discussing with your boss.

4. Following up — the wrong way

You already know that networking extends past making connections — it's all about maintaining them. And that starts with a friendly follow-up a day or so after you've met someone.

Emphasis on the "friendly." I can't tell you how many times I've met someone, then the next day found an email in my inbox requesting a major introduction, a job lead, or some other major ask.

Just because you've met someone once doesn't mean you're now in the inner circle.

Stay in touch with your contacts casually by connecting on LinkedIn or sending along articles or opportunities you think they'd be interested in from time to time. You'll build the relationship organically — and that's bound to be more fruitful in the long run.

Getting back in the networking game isn't easy, but some of the most common mistakes aren't hard to avoid.

Stay friendly, be prepared, and keep it appropriate, and you'll be on your way to long-lasting relationships.

Building Trust is key to doing business

My favorite LinkedIn strategy could help people close 10 times the deals — and hardly anyone uses it

Courtesy of Alex Pirouz

Over the course of building and selling two successful companies, I realized you have to find a market hungry for your services where demand is high and supply is low.

That’s your fastest way to a successful business, given you provide a quality product or service.

Eventually I developed a methodology through LinkedIn to help me take a shortcut to claiming my share of the market, even in a saturated marketplace. Now, I teach businesspeople my shortcut through my company, Linkfluencer.

I use the untapped power of joint venture partnerships — your most important connections on LinkedIn.

Why chase one when you can get in front of thousands?

A joint venture partnership is a process of finding products and services your target market uses before, during or after your particular service, and then approaching those businesses to partner with. It makes your time spent marketing much more efficient.

In an ever-crowded marketplace, any edge you can get can be the difference between success and failure. Sure, you can spend time trying to generate single leads through LinkedIn, but why not get to thousands in a short space of time by finding a good-quality partner who has database hungry for your service?

For example, if you have a $1,000 product and you spend one week trying to close a deal, then it’s taken you a week to make $1,000.

However, let’s say you find a partner who introduces you to 10 of their clients. Because you’ve been recommended by someone they trust, it only takes a week to close the deals, and you’ve just created 10 times the business in the same amount of time.

It usually takes 7-10 steps to turn a cold prospect into a closed deal, but a partner introduction can decrease these touch points significantly.

Advanced People SearchLinkedInThe advanced people search option on LinkedIn.

How to find partners on LinkedIn

Now that you realize the importance of getting partners on board and how it makes your business more efficient, it’s time to find those partners.

First things first: Identify your ideal partners by planning out what your clients do before, during, or after they use your product or service.

For example, if you’re a web designer, it’s highly likely that your prospects would go to a graphic designer first for a new logo before needing a website.

Therefore, you should be searching for established graphic designers to partner with who can pass clients on to you when they are ready for a new website design.

Using the advanced search features of LinkedIn available to any member, you can search for graphic designers (freelance or business owners) and then connect with them on LinkedIn.

Once you find them, send them a personalized invitation to connect.

Building relations with partners

Once you have identified the partners and connected with them on LinkedIn, you need to be strategic in your approach.

Most people send a message to prospects straight away, basically outlining what they want from them. It’s spammy, rude and intrusive. Whatever you do, don't do this!

Wait at least two weeks to start sending them good-quality content and building your relationship. For example, if you have connected with someone who is an accountant, find a good article from a credible publication around the accounting industry and then send them a message or email to say:

Hey [name], I came this article earlier today and given you operate in the accounting industry, I thought you’d find it valuable.

[link to article]

Interested to hear your thoughts.


Then, once you feel you have connected with them enough, perhaps ask them to chat on Skype to see if there’s any way you can collaborate. Remember your goal within the session is to build trust, rapport, and identify whether or not there is room for collaboration opportunities.

If there is a good fit, let that partner know that you will go away and think of a few ways you could add value to them and their community. Then get back in touch with the partner for a follow-up call or face-to-face meeting to chat further.

This is a completely different angle on using LinkedIn than anyone else — most people use it for lead generation on a one-on-one basis. Yes, at the end of the day you are also generating leads, but you're getting partners to promote to their community, helping you generate hundreds, if not thousands, of leads in a very short period of time.

As Mark Twain said: "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to reform (or pause and reflect).” This is a prime example of that concept. Set yourself apart by using LinkedIn to build relationships and find joint venture partnerships.

Alex Pirouz is the founder of Linkfluencer, the world’s largest online community for LinkedIn training, having serviced over 14,000 people from 33 countries in 55 different industries. To find out more about Alex head to Linkfluencer.