digitalNow
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digitalNow
Exploring leadership, management, innovation, and technology issues and trends; impacting associations & non-profit organizations in the digital age.
Curated by Don Dea
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Reviewing SEO Competitive Ranking with Ahrefs

Reviewing SEO Competitive Ranking with Ahrefs | digitalNow | Scoop.it
We live in an age of competition where you have to be at the top of your game to survive, let alone thrive. If you are in the field of Internet Marketing, then you have probably been encouraged to improve your content and your promotion techniques on several occasions to achieve better results. All of these work perfectly fine, but they are not enough to get you across the finishing line ahead of your competitors.

Sometimes you are required to broaden your horizon and think slightly out of the box. How can you do that? Well it’s simple. Tap into the minds of your competitors and figure out the strategies that they are devising. This way, you can better equip yourself to compete with them and outsmart them.

When it comes to SEO, checking your competitor’s strategy with Ahref's Site Explorer and Backlink checker can help you gain a competitive edge by reviewing their techniques and improving on them
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Social Media Ad Spending Trends

Social media advertising spend is expected to almost double by 2017, so companies must be realising ROI as they can become more targeted with lead generation campaigns and profiling against those customers likely to buy.

'Social Media Ads reach the audience .. you can see which audiences you are engaging with the most and ensure your ads are being bought correctly',
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Effectiveness of retargeting by age group

Effectiveness of retargeting by age group | digitalNow | Scoop.it
One of the challengers is to encourage shoppers to return to their shopping carts, once abandoned. So how do you encourage them to return?
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PRINCIPLES OVER PROCESS

Repeatable processes and procedures add great value in stable and predictable times. Those are not the times we live in today or likely in the future. Strategy that works has got to be based on something that proves successful in unpredictable, fast moving, and changing times. Principles, not process and procedures, provide the overarching guidance in any situation for making the right decisions and taking the best action.

A move toward the Advantage Strategy Paradigm begins with the adoption and commitment to a set of principles that guides all executives in the decisions and actions they take related to developing, planning, and executing strategy. Principles provide a broad context for strategic action and guidelines that can be communicated and taught at all levels of the organization, eventually becoming part of the organization’s culture. Throwing out standard process and procedures in favor of a handful of powerful but easily remembered principles for managing strategy will soon begin to show improvements in your business results.

Here are the five principles that guide Advantage Strategy:
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How You Fix Product Problems Can Make -- or Break -- Your Company

How You Fix Product Problems Can Make -- or Break -- Your Company | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Are your reliability testing, product design, manufacturing and supply chain processes, and your customer service consistent with the reputation you want? Or do they bring nightmares and comparisons to a city street department?
Ponder the reputation of most city street maintenance departments. Then, think about the reputation you want for your organization. Think about your ability to prevent and repair your product potholes before your customers are harmed. Think about your response in those cases where they are harmed.

Are your reliability testing, product design, manufacturing and supply chain processes, and your customer service consistent with the reputation you want? Or do they bring nightmares and comparisons to a city street department?

Every organization faces uncontrollable variables, demanding customers with high expectations, and financial limitations. It’s how priorities are set and financial impact considered that differentiates great companies from the street department variety. If monthly results are more important to you than required investments in reliability, you know where you stand.
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6 Communication Habits of Extraordinary Leaders

Communication is critically important for personal and professional effectiveness. In my experience as an executive coach and counsellor, most relationship issues, especially conflict can almost always be attributed to poor communication.
Don Dea's insight:

Hidden Requests and Expectations.

You want something yet fail to request it. You may be reluctant to ask, fear rejection or feel you are imposing. In fact, making a request is not an admission of weakness and most people are only too happy to help. Take a risk in being vulnerable as this is a great way to build trust and connect with others.

Understand the person receiving your request isn’t a mind reader. Most of us have hidden thoughts and often fail to make them known. Then when people don’t do what you expect then you become disappointed, resentful and angry. Many times I have observed people who expect their partners or colleagues to do things that haven’t been communicated verbally. Translating “shoulds” into clear and precise requests will result in more satisfying relationships.

Strategy One: Make Clear Requests

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It's All in the Numbers

It's All in the Numbers | digitalNow | Scoop.it
There is much value in creating a culture that relies on KPIs/metrics to measure organizational productivity and accomplishments. However, doing so is potentially fraught with danger, as we’ve seen through the various experiences shared above.

For best practices, implement KPIs/metrics that are . . .

Designed with forethought,
Defined accurately and clearly,
Aligned with corporate goals and objectives,
Quantifiable, measurable, achievable, and
Evaluated consistently and modified where necessary.
Don Dea's insight:

These key best practices will ensure that you and your organization will have a productive and successful KPI program.

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CIM Academy's curator insight, April 7, 2015 5:29 AM

This article outlines key steps in defining your organisations key performance indicators.

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A Chief What Officer? The truth about titles

A Chief What Officer? The truth about titles | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The truth is that titles’ get you in the door, but by no means does anyone understand why. To attempt to articulate my job is a job in itself. My responsibilities stretch wide, however it all boils down to one over-arching idea… To create solutions before people know they need one. Now take your management or C-Level job title, whatever it may be, and truly define your role. My guess is it will turn out very similar to mine, accept, instead of future tense, it may be present or past tense.
Don Dea's insight:

We all have responsibilities – it says so on the Job Specification sheet for each job you apply for. I call that the “If you do these things, we will give you this name” agreement. In my experience, there are a lot of people that live and die by that specification. Here’s the secret though… the title that you’re receiving is not what you’re working towards, it’s what you’ve already worked to accomplish – so in a sense, the title you have is already old and outdated. It is only showing what you have done, not what you will do – and that is the entire problem with titles.

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Finding the Right Companies to Benchmark

Finding the Right Companies to Benchmark | digitalNow | Scoop.it
some things to consider when you’re looking for companies to benchmark.

Industry. It’s natural to benchmark against other companies in your industry. There are so many things you have in common.

Processes, procedures, or guidelines. Regardless of industry, there might be organizations that have ways of doing business that you’d like to emulate. It might not be possible to do things exactly the same or get the same results, but it can provide a source of creative inspiration.

Programs or benefits. Similar to processes, there could be benefits that you’d like to benchmark. It might be impossible to duplicate every benefit or perk, but it can serve as a foundation for discussion.

Geography. This is important, especially if you’re in an industry where employee skills are easily transferred to other industries. Employees might not be leaving for your industry competition. They might be leaving for companies outside of your industry located across the street that pay better or offer better schedules.
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We Need to Talk: A 5-Step Process for Leaders

We Need to Talk: A 5-Step Process for Leaders | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Have you ever heard the words, “we need to talk” and not felt a little uncomfortable?

In a fast-paced work environment, communication challenges come up every day.  It’s natural for conflict to arise and disagreement to occur, so leaders need the skills to successfully manage emotionally charged conversations and help resolve issues between team members.
Don Dea's insight:

acronym SPEAK that Kalish recommends as a way of becoming comfortable with, and open to, others’ feelings.

SStating concerns directly. Speak up in a way that doesn’t alienate other people. Understand how to get at the essence of what’s important.

PProbing for more information to gain a deeper understanding. Learn how to get more information from someone who might be hesitant to talk. Learn how to gently, but firmly, probe and get somebody to speak out when it is going to serve them and the situation.

EEngaging others through whole-hearted listening. Be able to listen even when it is uncomfortable. Learn how to work with your reactions so that you can focus and understand what the other person is saying.

AAttending to body language. Pay attention to body language and be able to spot discrepancies between what you are hearing and what you are seeing. How many times have you been sitting in a meeting when somebody said everything was fine but his or her body language was saying that it is clearly not? Avoid the temptation to say, “Oh, good, everything is ok. Let’s move on.”

KKeeping forward focused, but only when everybody is ready to move forward. This can be a challenge for leaders with a natural bias for action. Learn to resist the urge to move forward prematurely. In challenging conversations the real issues often don’t come to light at first.

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What We Have and Haven’t Learned

Technology now makes access to information unbelievably easy. Answers are but a touch or a click away and yet we’re still covering content like we’re the keepers of information. Technology has changed the role of content, but most of us don’t seem to have noticed. Why aren’t we doing more to teach students how to evaluate information, synthesize and integrate it, and know when there’s enough of it? Why aren’t we grappling with how much information is enough in our courses? Will we ever challenge the assumption that more is always better?
Don Dea's insight:

We’ve also come to understand that student learning is just as important as teaching and is not the inevitable outcome of teaching, even very good teaching. More than 15 years ago, student learning was rediscovered by college teachers and we’ve learned much about it since then. Our knowledge has been supplemented by recent advances in neuroscience that have moved us beyond a fixed set of learning styles and to the complexity and individuality of learning. Many teachers are exploring the instructional implications of what’s known about learning, but so far most of us are just scratching the surface. We have yet to truly understand that when learning becomes the expressed goal of teaching, that’s a radical realignment with the potential to change every aspect of instructional practice.

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Some Sage Advice

There’s urgency when we first hear about a problem—there may be a line shutdown in the factory, a phone call from a frustrated field technician or an email from an angry customer. If it’s a recurring problem, there’s the added reminder of the previous unsuccessful efforts. The person with the problem just wants it to go away as quickly as possible, and the problem-solvers also want to resolve it in as little time as possible because they have other responsibilities that are being interrupted. Who can take the time for structured problem-solving?

Whatever the urgency, effective problem-solvers have the self-discipline to develop a complete description of the problem. They may be tempted to ask, "Have you tried ___?" But then they slow down and ask, "Who first noticed the problem?" and all those other tedious Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? How many? questions. This takes discipline.
Don Dea's insight:

Even if the team hasn’t decided whether to follow DMAIC or 8D, the first two steps of the 8D process are helpful early in problem-solving. Effective teams often ask the people reporting the problem to provide photos or videos, describe the failure mode precisely, or provide data from products that are working well and products that are failing. It often helps to make a formal request for the people who experience the problem to join the problem-solving team.

Einstein and Lincoln’s ratios also help focus effective problem-solvers on root cause analysis. Especially in customer-supplier problem-solving, it is easy for one side to assign responsibility to the other before understanding the failure mode in detail. This can set up an unnecessarily adversarial relationship, which makes it even more difficult to understand the problem in full.

Experienced problem-solvers know that, in many cases, it is necessary to "circle back" to earlier steps in the problem-solving process. The problem definition may need additional details, the team may need another member, or understanding the failure mode may give a clue to improve containment. In cases like this, when everyone involved is eager for solutions (when will you be done?), Einstein and Lincoln remind us that we must take the time to complete the first steps of problem-solving. Spending this time at the beginning of the problem-solving process is an investment worth making.

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These Six Stupid Marketing Metrics Need to Die

These Six Stupid Marketing Metrics Need to Die | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The numbers in Google Webmaster Tools are all based on estimates that are accurate to +/- 500%, according to my own internal analysis.

How do I know? Because you can compare some of the numbers with what is actually in your Google Analytics or Google AdWords. When you do, you'll see that the two sets are totally different.

It works in the same way as the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. The volumes and CPCs are just estimates and are similarly accurate to within +/- 500%.

Why would you put any stock in those numbers?

It's OK to use the data for trending purposes, but don't make the mistake of thinking of the numbers are real and accurate in an absolute sense. They're just estimates.
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Paid social media advertising: Is it worthwhile?

Paid social media advertising: Is it worthwhile? | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Key insights I think are worth highlighting include:

3/4 of respondents use Paid Advertising and 64% were seeking to increase spend this year.
Budget spend is shifting from off-line to on-line.
ROI is being measured in social mentions including Likes, PIns and CTRs. Though Agencies forecast sales generation, shares and brand metrics will be more prominent and relevant to justify spend.
Some key insights from the report (PDF download) include:

How are advertisers using social media?

Advertisers and Agencies are blending use of free social media updates with paid advertising to engage and reach out for new customers; 89% of Advertisers use free tools and 75% buy paid media.
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Display advertising clickthrough rates

Display advertising clickthrough rates | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Average Internet ad clickthrough and interaction rates

Display ads are renowned for low clickthrough rates as this compilation of display ad clickthrough rates from across the UK and Europe shows. Display ads only gain around 1 click every 1000 impressions. Shocking! It seems that banner blindness is alive and kicking. But if you review interaction rates, there is a greater degree of interaction depending on format as the charts later in this post show.
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Are you listening to the Voice of the Customer

Are you listening to the Voice of the Customer | digitalNow | Scoop.it
The report highlights that 'Looking ahead, companies plan on focusing less on multiple-choice surveys and more on interaction history and predictive analytics. In terms of metrics, our analysis shows that satisfaction and Net Promoter Score work most successfully at the relationship level, whereas Customer Effort Score works most successfully at the transactional level.' 
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CIM Academy's curator insight, April 8, 2015 5:31 AM

Are you collecting customer feedback? This article highlights the link between business performance and acting on customer feedback. 

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A culture of teaching and learning often produces great achievement but a culture of achievement rarely results in great teaching and learning

Perhaps the most saddening part of a Culture of Achievement is its low ceiling. While it may be politically and strategically smart to pursue the quick hits of raising test scores, it’s a fool’s bargain that limits the potential of our students in a myriad of ways.

What if we pursued a Culture of Teaching and Learning? One that placed an emphasis on things like deep, rich inquiry and craftsmanship?
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Mediocrity and disappointment are the outcome from following “Best Practices” for Managing Strategy

Ubiquitous Leadership
Having a few very good leaders at the top of your organization is necessary but insufficient to successfully develop and execute strategy. Leaders are needed at every level of the organization, from every business, function, and geography. In fact, every single person in the organization should have an understanding that they are expected to lead in some way. They may not all have the same leadership role, but everyone should have some leadership to provide even if it is as simple as being able to explain your company’s strategy to a customer or a new employee. Best practice of the past was to develop leaders at the top. Next Practice is to develop leaders everywhere!
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Critical Balancing Act

What is the impetus for the campaign? This may sound simplistic, or even abstract, but it’s a critical question to be able to answer, and you’d be surprised how few can actually answer it clearly when pressed. So test yourself, and your campaign. Do you have something to say, and someone to say it to? Something to share, and someone to share it with? We’re years past the “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” days; you have to know your audience: who they are, and what they want. You have to be able to answer these four questions in 100 words or less:
What are you offering?
Why are you offering it?
Who are you offering it to?
Why should they want it?
Don Dea's insight:

Example answer: “We have a new white paper. It’s meant for recruiters, but specifically those focused on data. It’s cutting-edge, proposing fairly radical changes to some archaic systems. We want to disrupt, and we want to target those interested in disruption. This isn’t for old-guard influencers serving antiquated institutions, this is for up-&-comers filling ranks at progressive start-ups with funding in place to build long-term staffs. If you’re this kind of recruiter, you’ll love this, because it contains tangible solutions for the challenges you’re inevitably facing.”

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Designing a Curriculum for Deeper Learning

Designing a Curriculum for Deeper Learning
Don Dea's insight:

For teachers devoted to deeper learning, this means keeping a few key design principles in mind as they create powerful, effective learning experiences. These principles incorporate the idea that deeper learning, among other things:

  • Insists on depth over breadth;
  • Creates something that did not exist before; and
  • Tells a story.

Teachers have long struggled with the tension between breadth and depth.

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Social Media Marketing: Does It Work?

Still, people keep asking “does it work?” when it comes to social media marketing. Does it work?!? Well, yes, and no. Does it work when you invest in it? Yes. When you deploy talented practitioners who are well-trained and exhibit discipline and patience? Yes again. Does it work when you clearly define your objectives, clearly enunciate and document your strategies, and clearly identify your KPIs? Yes, yes, and yes. But does it work when you shortchange it financially by underfunding it? No. Does it work when you shortchange it talent-wise by understaffing it? No again. Does it work when you shortchange it vision-wise by excluding it from broader strategy discussions about your brand’s mission? No! Social media is a remarkably responsive organism, and you really do get out of it what you put in. But that means you DO have to put in. As our friends over at Convince and Convert recently pointed out, the “I” in the acronym ROI stands for “Investment,” yet far too many still focus only on return.

The truth is, social media marketing CAN produce genuine ROI, and it CAN generate qualified leads, and it CAN drive engagement rates. In short, it CAN work. In fact, it DOES work. And we’ve got the story to prove it.
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Transform Innovation with Organizational Change Management

For the change to stick, you must understand why your employees are behaving the way they do and address the core organizational elements that impact culture. Otherwise, people will shift back to the way they have always done things.
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Are You Keeping Up With the Speed of Technology

If technology is always changing, how do we figure out what the right products are? This applies to both companies and individuals. For example, if a new phone is introduced on the market, what is the criteria for deciding to purchase that model versus sticking with the old version? Yes, some of it will be cost. But evaluating capabilities is absolutely necessary.
Don Dea's insight:

How can we keep up with the speed of technology?

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Curating Content: A Few Principles and Tools to Guide Your Efforts

Curating Content: A Few Principles and Tools to Guide Your Efforts | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Curating content helps fill the gaps that form when you produce and promote your own high-quality content.

Curata finds that "enlightened" marketers use a content marketing mix that consists of 25% curated content in addition to content they themselves create (65%) and content they syndicate (10%).

Content Curation Principles

Content curation requires a keen eye, thoughtful additions (and subtractions), and time. Sifting through hundreds of content pieces from dozens of content sources is almost certainly not a quick task. And you must do that nearly every day.

To do content curation right, you need to keep a few best-practice principles top of mind, including...

Balance: Is the content you curate in balance with the content you create yourself?
Emphasis: Is the content you curate reinforcing your created content?
Variety: Is your curated content coming from a variety of trusted sources?
By keeping balance, emphasis, and variety in mind when curating content, you'll be on track to providing your customers with the content they desire.
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What Do You Want To Be Known For

What Do You Want To Be Known For | digitalNow | Scoop.it
Bigger picture – organizations and individuals have to figure out what they want to be known for. Are you a company that starts a whole bunch of projects and never finishes them? Or are you publically testing the waters, not only for your business, but for the rest of us to watch? And, whatever the answer is…should you communicate your plans to the world or just let bystanders create memorials in your honor?
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