Five Below associates recently completed the first values survey, which allows employees to rate their bosses on how well those leaders demonstrate Five Below's values and behaviors. More than 70 percent of the targeted audience completed the survey. Functional teams are reviewing the data to outline successes, action plans, and follow up items. Anderson says, “The only way we can maintain our unique, customer-driven culture is to define it, model it, and measure it as we grow." Don’t leave your team or department or company culture to chance. The proven path to a purposeful, positive, productive culture is to be specific about both performance and values then hold everyone accountable for both, every day. How well defined are your company’s values? Are they observable, tangible, and measurable -- as much so as performance metrics?
“Your products are great, but your competitor gives me what I’m looking for,” the client replied. As they talked, the CEO realized that closing this deal — and other deals — didn’t come down only to product price, quality, features, or sales capabilities. The competitor spoke the language of the customer. Its salespeople knew how to anticipate the customer’s needs, work closely with its leaders, and come up with solutions to problems that hadn’t even been voiced yet. The CEO now saw that his company lacked one key ingredient necessary to deliver what its clients needed most: a deliberate, well-designed, and perceptive customer strategy.
This real-life scenario is all too familiar. The conventional approach to gaining customers, which was based on picking a segment of purchasers to target and developing products for that segment, is no longer enough. A customer strategy goes further: It is the articulation of the distinctive value and experience your company will deliver to a chosen set of customers over three to five years, along with the offerings, channels, operating model, and capabilities you will need. Earlier in 2016 a team of researchers and advisors from the customer strategy practice at Strategy&, PwC’s strategy consulting group, conducted a global survey of 161 executives, and the findings indicated that having a customer strategy was high in importance. More than 80 percent of the respondents said their investment in customer strategy during the next three to five years would be equal to or greater than the amount invested this year.
A well-designed customer strategy will coordinate many different functions, skills, and practices. For example, it should encompass data analytics; go-to-market and channel choices; and the delivery of products, services, and experiences.
Have you ever fantasized about being your own boss—cutting the chord to full-time employment to embrace the life of a contractor? If you follow through with such plans, you may find that taking the hired-gun route isn't always what it's cracked up to be, according to a recent survey from Deloitte. In fact, most of the contractors surveyed said they wouldn't choose to work independently in the future, and only a minority reported that they are very satisfied with the experience. Many of them miss the steady paycheck of a full-time job, as well as the other benefits of full-time work, such as health insurance, training and mentorship. They also find it difficult to understand and connect to a company's internal culture when working in the gig economy. The takeaway: Given that full-time employees are now enjoying more flexible arrangements at the office, there's less incentive to take the plunge as a contractor. "Today's workforce wants the ability to choose how they work—full-time or contract work," said Mike Preston, chief talent officer at Deloitte. "Regardless of what they choose, they crave a holistic experience that combines good compensation and benefits with a focus on well-being and career development." Nearly 4,000 professionals who work or have worked as independent contractors, along with those working full-time jobs, took part in the research.
The 4 Key Areas of Enterprise IT Renewal *Ensuring the proper strategy for an evolving flexible technology landscape is critical. Companies must have a strategy that is designed to address issues that face companies today, including how quickly requests can be assessed, how decisions are made within the business and how IT aligns to business objectives.
*Cloud technology enables companies to build for scale. Cloud infrastructure and technology gives companies flexibility, which is how you build value in your technology delivery team. Technology, especially cloud applications, must align the overall shareholder and business vision and objectives in order to drive measurable improvements.
*In order to maximize the ROI of new and emerging technology platforms and ecosystems a company must have a clear vision and communicate the purpose of these changes to the entire organization. Doing this properly will shape the future and invent the next wave of cutting-edge business solutions.
*Companies that focus on implementations at a “constant speed” simply cannot keep pace with demand. Whereas companies that understand that it is now necessary to innovate at multiple speeds, and take advantage of business opportunities as they arise in the market, will succeed.
When enterprise architecture and cloud governance architectures are properly implemented and viewed holistically, executives can look beyond cost containment to full business collaboration with IT. Alignment between business and IT will encourage a more holistic path towards innovation and growth by offering a more agile, focused and flexible IT strategy.
In the hopes that other nonprofit leaders don’t get caught in Amy’s predicament, here’s a quick three-step process for calculating the financial value of your time as a social change expert, based on the financial value your organization assigns to your time.
Determine Your Annual Cost: Take your annual salary and add the monetary value of your annual benefits (healthcare contribution, social security contribution, etc.). Typically benefits are calculated at an additional 25% of your salary. So, if your annual salary is $85,000 you would multiply that by 1.25 to get the total of your salary plus your annual benefits: $85,000 x 1.25 = $106,250.
Determine Your Hourly Cost: Then, divide that salary + benefits number by the average number of working hours in a full-time position (so 52 weeks a year at 40 hours per week is 2,080 hours per year). I know you probably work more than 2,080 hours in a year, but this is just a general full-time number of hours. So, in this example, your hourly rate would be $106,250 / 2,080 = $51.08. Or $51 per hour, just to make it easy.
Determine Your Hourly Value: If you are feeling bold, you can add a profit margin to this number, just as anyone who is paid to offer their expertise (lawyer, consultant, doctor) does. The idea here is that if someone pays you $51 for an hour of your expertise, you are only breaking even. But if you actually want to make a bit of profit that you can plow back into your organization, you could add in a little margin. So perhaps you round up to $65 per hour.
Marketers gave the most credit for their success to two factors—doing a better job with content creation (85% of B2B content marketers cited it) and developing or adjusting their content marketing strategy (72%).
The news wasn't all rosy, though. For example, although 72% of B2B marketers are more focused on building long-term relationships than on getting quick results from their content marketing, only half agree that their leadership team gives them ample time to produce content marketing results.
We'll be teasing out more information from the latest research in the coming months. But for now, here are more highlights from the report:
22% of B2B marketers say their organization's overall content marketing approach is extremely or very successful (that 22% constitute this year's "top performers"). 63% of B2B marketers say their organizations are extremely or very committed to content marketing (that's compared with 91% of top performers). 37% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy (compared with 61% of top performers). 72% of B2B marketers measure content marketing ROI (compared with 88% of top performers). 68% of B2B marketers agree that their organization is realistic about what content marketing can achieve (compared with 91% of top performers).
Flat pricing can represent a win-win for customers and firms.
During a recent overseas trip, as soon as I stepped into a taxi, the driver offered to quote me a fixed price for travelling to my destination instead of using the meter. The driver clearly knew more than me about the route and the road conditions that day, and there was a good chance that this information asymmetry would allow him to profit by charging more than the expected cost of this trip. I was nevertheless drawn to the fixed price and accepted his offer. I suspected that many customers also prefer to pay a flat price. A survey that I conducted later confirmed that the preference for flat fares is pervasive. Yet this pricing approach is not as common as I believe it should be.
Flat pricing –paying a pre-agreed price no matter how much you consume – offers predictability and relief from the common meter-running annoyance. It eliminates the challenge of resisting staring at the taxi meter in spite of being fully aware that gazing at it will not make it move any slower nor make the ride any more pleasant. Consider how painful it would be to pay a per-minute fee for conversations with your lawyer, including the really bad joke he told you.
Another benefit of flat pricing is that once you’ve paid, you can think of everything you consume as “free.” Customers love the sense of receiving something for nothing. Unrestricted consumption adds to the appeal – liberty feels great.
The alternative to flat pricing, better known as usage-based pricing, is the meter-based pricing that taxis usually rely on, for example. With this common approach customers pay for what they consume – no more, no less. Utility companies typically charge by the unit, hospitals by the number of days you stay and the medical procedures involved, and lawyers and other professional service providers typically charge by the hour.
Listening is at the heart of helping. It should be considered your Home Base. When you are not sure what to say, first listen. Then, reflect back what you are hearing and as needed, ask questions.
Beginning coaches often rely too much on asking questions. So do more experienced coaches. I often tell practitioners we have two ears and one mouth. Therefore, we should be listening twice as much as we speak.
Many coaching traditions advocate for as much as 80% listening, especially in the initial sessions. The bottom line is to listen more and talk less. Many people think they are good listeners, but because we live in such a fast-paced world, it is easy to be a summarizer or a person who draws conclusions and diagnoses too quickly. Remember, this is not part of the coaching job description.
Because they are so passionate about serving their clients well, coaches can be easily distracted searching for the next question. A mistake of many new coaches is that they move to solution-finding too quickly. Again, coaching is never about “fixing” but we all have to check in with ourselves when that desire to “make it all better” and provide value for our clients shows up – and it will – from time to time.
Good listening is like slow cooking. That is the rhythm. What needs to be mastered is the Art of Active Listening. This means listening not only to what is being said, but to what is not being said. To listen between the lines… for the feelings, the unsaid thoughts, fears, and desires. This is the place from which the best questions will arise.
Although there are numerous key performance indicators (KPIs) that any CMO can use to measure social success, the following four are the most surefire for telling whether you're executing a successful social strategy:
Content engagement levels Consumer sentiment Consumer market insights Business impact on non-marketing departments Content Engagement
Content engagement is a great way to evaluate whether you are actually reaching consumers with the blogs, case studies, and bespoke branded content you are amplifying on social.
It's a noisy world, especially when trying to gain share of mind and voice on social media, and most people don't care about most of the content you or I, or anyone else, publishes. So one way to check the effectiveness of your content is by measuring social engagement.
Simply look back at historical data around previous engagement. Did you run content around a similar topic or scope last year? If so, you can do a comparative analysis between past and current content, measuring the number of shares, untagged mentions or links, and social interactions that occurred during both efforts.
Myth #1: Major donors NEVER give through the mail or online
Myth #2: Your best donors will FREAK OUT if you contact them multiple times within a few months
Myth #3: Social service organizations (especially those that feed/shelter the homeless) just don’t have REAL major donor supporters
What we’ve proven out over the last year is that the three myths above simply aren’t true.
Using a proven formula of integrated digital, phone, direct mail, and in some cases face-to-face touch points, focused on a thematic campaign supporting a very strong (and specific) offer in a short window of time (6-8 weeks), we’ve raised millions of dollars.
Here are some key results for your consideration:
Organization A: Goal was to raise $1 million in 8 weeks from a group of 2,500 donors who had given anywhere from $250 – $10,000. The campaign delivered a 27% response rate, a $452 average gift, and $972,000 in revenue at a 14:1 ROI. This included 71 gifts of $1,000, 8 gifts of $5,000, and one gift each of $10,000, $15,000, $25,000, and $85,000.
Organization B: Goal was to raise over $400,000 in 8 weeks from a group of 1,900 donors who had given anywhere from $250 – $9,999. The campaign delivered a 24% response rate, a $300 average gift, and $388,000 in revenue at a 6:1 ROI. This included 30 gifts of $1,000, 13 gifts of $2,000 – $3,500, and one gift each of $5,000, $6,000, $23,000, and $50,000.
Organization C: Goal was to raise $500,000 in 6 weeks from a group of 2,300 active and lapsed donors who had given anywhere from $250 – $10,000. Some donors hadn’t given to this organization in more than four years. The campaign delivered a 58% response rate, an average gift over $700, and more than $1.3 million in revenue at a 12:1 ROI. This included multiple five and six-figure gifts.
Each of these organizations are local-based social service organizations. And in each case, at least one of the myths listed above had been surfaced (in some, all three were concerns). What our campaigns proved out is that social service organizations do in fact have the kind of donors who can make significant contributions. We were also able to prove out that major donors do, in fact, give through the mail, email, and via phone — if they’re presented with a strong and compelling offer. And lastly, I can tell you that multiple, coordinated touch points in a short period of time did not produce complaints from any of these three audiences.
When it comes to running an online business, a CEO usually has the final say on what happens and where the future of the company might be headed. One area that every CEO and entrepreneur need to be focusing more effort on, is in the department of business and marketing automation.
The reasons and benefits of marketing automation should be clear to nearly anyone in business, but even more so now that the internet is generating the majority of leads, sales and revenue for most businesses in the world today. With more competition online, that simply means more costs and focus needs to be spent in this area as well… unless you have automation working for you.
As someone who’s been active in the world of online marketing for 20 years now, I’ve personally experienced the days of dial-up, basic HTML websites and an online world without the concept of social media. To think of the internet two decades ago versus what it is today… it’s quite amazing.
I recently had the opportunity to connect with Simon Grabowski, CEO of GetResponse.com, who has also had his fair share of experience in the world of online marketing. To main focus of this discussion was on the concept of marketing automation and how it’s changing the way business is done online.
Since we both started online in the mid-90s, I thought that would be a perfect place for us to start our discussion… looking back at how simple thing used to be, yet quite tedious and slow in the process.
Passion may hurt you more than help you in your next argument. That’s a conclusion of new research into persuasion by a pair of university academics and reported by Shankar Vedantam of NPR. Passion, often highly prized by leaders, may actually work against that leader if he or she is trying to reach out to someone who may not agree with them. This new research into persuasion really is confirmation of what all good leaders do when seeking consensus; they first seek to understand what the other is thinking and why they are thinking it. To become more persuasive consider these three questions: How does the other person see the world? This question addresses the other person’s value system. How can I frame my argument in terms my opposite understands? Relate your values to the others. When you scratch the surface many people can agree on what is good for others – love, security, opportunity and integrity. How can we find common ground? Know what you know about the other person you have a foundation upon which to build your argument. Focus on the values the other person holds and relate them to values you hold.
Empathy can be a transformative tool for deconstructing unconscious biases and building understanding between people of different backgrounds. Typically, empathy is defined as "walking a mile in someone else's shoes". But this may not actually be the most helpful frame for thinking about empathy, particularly as we use empathy to bridge the biases among people from different backgrounds in the workplace. The reality is that many individuals have singular experiences in the workplace, and people from underrepresented backgrounds may have particularly challenging experiences that others may not fully be able to understand. We cannot simply ask ourselves how we would act in someone else's situation because we may not perceive that situation the same way. Emotions, however, are universal and therefore provide much clearer lens for understanding someone else's experience. To empathically connect with someone, we must identify how someone feels in a particular situation and use that emotion as an entry point for mutual understanding.
Genuine, authentically great leaders possess character. The word itself comes from a Latin root meaning “engraved.” In other words, a person’s character, etched with care and concern, shows their true worth. A character gouged or hacked out with recklessness might turn out wonderfully, but it might turn out to be a pile of rubble. The thing about character is it can’t be dressed up or cosmetically improved into something good. It must be intrinsically strong and positive. There are 6 key elements of character, which we’ll consider in turn:
Courage is intrinsic to character. Genuine, noble, spontaneous self-sacrificial concern for the defenseless is true courage and not fanaticism. Courage doesn’t mean feeling fearless, but being willing to act out of conviction. A person can feel fearless, but sometimes act cowardly. Similarly, I have worked with executives who behave with incredible courage despite being fearful.
It’s also important not to confuse heroism and courage. Acts of heroism occur every day that are acts of impulse rather than character. True character has consistency. We have all learned of “heroes” in whatever field (athletics, politics, business) who ultimately have feet of clay. Controversy, financial ruin, and criminal charges can follow heroism. Courage isn’t just bravery at a single point in time, but a catalytic agent that underpins every virtue in the face of crisis.
A new study from the Pew Research Center shows Democrats and Republicans differ greatly on their perception of the value of higher education in the nation's positive forward movement. A majority of Republicans (45%) say that higher education has a negative effect on the country, while 72% of Democrats believe colleges and universities have a positive impact. The disparity in impact perspective was the second highest in the survey, behind the differences of opinion on the impact of the national media. Dive Insight: It is possible for citizens with two different ideologies to be correct at the same time. For people with a liberal perspective, it is correct to believe that higher education and its role in creating wealth, prosperity and independent thinking is helpful to the nation's fortunes. For conservatives, the increasing student loan debt, politics and widening opportunity gap in higher education are legitimate reasons to feel negatively about the industry.
For both sides, much of the perspective may be shaped by the current administration, and prospects for the next candidate to occupy the White House. But even with those variables, college leaders should view this information as a chance to gain further insight into the minds of their future donors, customers, sports fans, vendors and community members.
A shocking number of the software applications acquired by companies are considered "waste," meaning they go unused for one or more months at a time—and sometimes longer, according to recent research published by 1E. The accompanying report, "Software Usage and Waste Report 2016," defines software waste as any piece of software that has been deployed to a desktop but is not being used. Such practices cost businesses millions of dollars a year. The report states that software waste "is immensely costly. Indeed, a single enterprise of a few thousand seats will likely be wasting millions of dollars on this area of IT. … In addition, for the first time, [our research reveals] the applications that are the most widely deployed among the survey's participating businesses, the applications most likely to go unused, and [those that cost] businesses the most money because of high levels of deployment and waste." The research is based on an analysis of an estimated 4.6 million machines from nearly 150 companies in the United States and the United Kingdom
Platform companies are playing an entirely different game with a new set of rules, requiring them to do more than alter their technology approach. Instead, it mandates companies to run their business off of different economic principles. There are three rules that underpin the Platform Economy which can help companies better understand how to maximize its copious opportunities:
*Network Effects/Two-Sided Market: When two user groups (typically, producer and consumer) generate network value for each other, there are mutual benefits that generate demand-side economies of scale. The network effects of platforms, with more connected users and transactions, drive value creation and scale.
*Distribution Power Law: Platform business models that enable scale allow others to generate profits in the “long tail” of the distribution curve, avoiding diminishing returns associated with traditional (linear) value chain models.
*Asymmetric Growth and Competition: The demand of a core market is driven through complementary markets, which are often subsidized (or free) to users and which often cross industry lines. Asymmetric competition exists when two companies go after market opportunities with very different approaches and resources.
The Platform Economy represents a decisive economic shift–from supply-side to demand-side economies of scale. This results in companies creating value by tapping into resources and capacity that they don’t have to own. Apple, for example, has mastered demand-side economies of scale with the iOS App Store. Launched in 2008, the iOS App Store is an ecosystem of nearly 380,000 developers that created 1.5 million applications that have been downloaded more than 100 billion times. They have generated $33 billion in sales by the end of Apple’s fiscal year 2015. Based on Apple’s 70/30 split with developers, the App Store has generated $10 billion for the company, enabling Apple to harvest the resources of the ecosystem–resources it does not need to own.
Whether a company “owns” a platform ecosystem or is plugging into another’s, what matters is having both a platform strategy and the business expertise to exploit it. Progress starts with a clear understanding of which parts of the business are prime for adaptation to platform business models, along with those that are most vulnerable to unforeseen attacks from other platforms.
To survive and thrive in today’s digital economy, companies must master the strategic use of digital technologies to build successful platform business models. Their business’ future depends on it.
The thing is, stories have power. If they're meaningful, they can touch something deep inside of us. We carry them long after we're done reading. They materialize at random moments, ghosts of another reality that's just one step sideways from the one we inhabit.
Our challenge as marketers, particularly on the B2B side, is that we live in a world powered by stats and facts instead of stories. Our prospects want hard data proving our products and services will be worth their investment. They're hungry for stats that point to broader industry trends. They want quantifiable ideas they can use to support their business objectives.
So it's no mystery that data visualization has taken off in a big way in the content marketing community, since people tend to be visual learners. But how does that mesh with storytelling?
I'll let you in on a little secret. The key to great data visualization isn't a pretty design or clever concept: it's a great story. And it's actually pretty easy to tell a compelling story backed by stats and facts.
Marketing Strategy - Today's most progressive marketers understand that the path to purchase and brand loyalty is paved by gaining a detailed understanding of the customer journey and embracing multichannel marketing.
The recreational cannabis industry holds lessons for building brands in an industry with negative associations.
A recent article in Lift, a cannabis news magazine, entitled “Cannabis Brand Wars” shed some light on the challenges of building a brand in a stigmatised or “underground” product category such as recreational cannabis. While recreational cannabis use may have become legal in several U.S. states (e.g. Colorado and Washington), and Canada may be considering the legalisation of recreational cannabis use, the product still carries negative associations and the image of recreational cannabis users is negative.
As such, building successful mainstream brands in this category and indeed moving the whole category mainstream poses special challenges.
This reminded me of parallels with the country-of-origin effect and a case I wrote several years ago on building the LG brand in the U.S. – the parallel between the cannabis industry and the LG brand at the time of its introduction in the U.S. in 2002 is that both are victims of negative stereotyping – Korean products were broadly perceived as second rate in the U.S. at the time, and LG, as a Korean brand, had to overcome this,
There are two truths about major gifts, and if they are embraced, you will be successful: Leadership has to welcome participating fully in major gift fundraising. This means the CEO, executive director, chief operating officer, chief financial officer, chief technology officer—whatever C you have in your organization—as well as the board. You, as the head of development or major gifts, have to lead them. Richard and I have sat with development directors across the country, listening to them lament about how their CEOs don’t like to ask for money or even want to talk to donors. They tell us how there is no culture of philanthropy; all the responsibility is on them to raise money from major donors. On the flip side, we also have sat across the table from many CEOs who are so frustrated with their development teams because “They don’t use me enough in talking to donors.” Or, “I just wish they would tell me what I have to do because I’m too busy to worry about this everyday.” Both of these types of problems really require the development director to take two courses of action: leadership and action.
You’ve figured by now that being a great boss is less about what you do than how you cultivate a working environment that you can step back from without it falling apart. The final point to remember for now, then, is how to nurture this environment while moving forward. There will never become a moment when you are the perfect boss: all you can be is the best boss for a particular scenario at a particular time. But all of the factors within that scenario are constantly changing, not least of all yourself. Your own skills, ambitions, even your disposition will fluctuate and develop over the months and years, and you must adapt with this as much as with changes of staff or of business climate. Constantly strive for improvement, for self-knowledge, and for innovation – and know when to grip on to these, and when to let them pass. Be sure to communicate these changes, however indirectly, with your team, and watch also for the way that they develop. An employee who’s excelling at one moment may feel under-challenged by the same work within a few months, or undervalued if they are taken for granted. Listen carefully to their needs, whether they’re stating them openly or it is implicit in their behavior and in the work that they do. Ensure that you give them regular feedback on their good work and on problem areas, but always keep it constructive and keep that dialogue open. Your employees will respond to being praised not only as individuals, but as a team: the feeling of collective accomplishment can help the team to bond and to work even better together in the future – and that collective includes you. You job is not to instruct, but to develop that ethic.
Empathy can be a transformative tool for deconstructing unconscious biases and building understanding between people of different backgrounds. Typically, empathy is defined as "walking a mile in someone else's shoes". But this may not actually be the most helpful frame for thinking about empathy, particularly as we use empathy to bridge the biases among people from different backgrounds in the workplace. The reality is that many individuals have singular experiences in the workplace, and people from underrepresented backgrounds may have particularly challenging experiences that others may not fully be able to understand. We cannot simply ask ourselves how we would act in someone else's situation because we may not perceive that situation the same way. Emotions, however, are universal and therefore provide much clearer lens for understanding someone else's experience. To empathically connect with someone, we must identify how someone feels in a particular situation and use that emotion as an entry point for mutual understanding. Real empathy is about matching emotion, not situation.
You feel like you spend the whole day in meetings: one-on-one sessions, team meetings, large-group conferences. So it seems you’re always in front of the people who work for you. But if you analyze who you spend time with, you’d realize that you’re visible to only a small percentage of employees. And the larger and more spread out your organization is, the greater the likelihood that many employees rarely see you.
What to do differently: You need a communication plan designed to provide maximum visibility, given your time available. The best practice is to schedule a mix of:
An all-hands or town hall meeting at least once a quarter Briefings with managers several times a year Informal sessions (you can call them “coffee chats”) with small groups of employees at least six times a year. These chats are more about hearing from staff members than delivering a message.
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.