Thursday, 14 December 2017

Rogue Amazon Drone Delivering Bomb To Donald Trump At The White House Is Fake News



President Donald Trump receiving a bomb via a Amazon drone at The White House is fake news. Rather, a satirical website published a story making up the story that a rogue Amazon drone tried to deliver a bomb to The White House in an attempt to assassinate Trump.

Where did this fake news originate? published the fake news article on Oct. 25, 2017, falsely reporting that a rogue Amazon drone made an effort to deliver a bomb to Trump at the White House in an assassination attempt. You can read the fake news below.

This time, drones–and Amazon–may have gone too far. At approximately 3:30 am on October 25th, 2017, a drone arrived at the White House loading dock bearing what appeared to be gifts. […]

Trump is no stranger to disarming bombs. Sources close to Trump estimate between one and four seconds remaining on the bomb. In the nick of time, Trump was able to save both himself, as well as over two centuries of American history in one fell swoop.

However, there is no truth to the story, according to Snopes. For one thing, the above story presents the false claim that the president does not have a Secret Service detail in the evening. In 1902, The Secret Service established an around-the-clock White House detail to protect President Roosevelt.

Additionally, Trump does not have tactical experience handling and disarming bombs. At the moment, the Amazon Drone program is largely theoretical, though Amazon launched a small-scale test of the service in the United Kingdom in 2016.

Snopes also noted that The Daily Chronicle describes itself as “America’s best newspaper” despite a UK domain name and has a publishing history that began in November 2017.

Finally, The Daily Chronicle also presents this disclaimer on their “Privacy Policy” page:

The Daily Chronicle does not warrant or make any representations concerning the accuracy, likely results, or reliability of the use of the materials on its Internet web site or otherwise relating to such materials or on any sites linked to this site.

Further, some of the materials on this website may be satirical in nature. Satire is protected under the First Amendment as a form of free speech and expression. With the exception of instances in which public figures are being satirized, The Daily Chronicle could use invented names in some of its stories. Any other use of real names is accidental and coincidental.

Recently, Amazon has been granted a patent for drone technology that allows the craft to strategically self-destruct in the event of an emergency. The system uses the drone’s onboard computer to determine the safest course of action. This would seem to be an effort to prevent rogue drones.

Back in December 2015, the FAA announced that drone owners had to register any device over 0.55 pounds. The new rule was actually championed by big tech companies like Amazon and Google. The registration rule was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.

What did you think of the fake news that a rogue Amazon drone tried to deliver a bomb to Trump at The White House? Did you believe the fake news or see people sharing it falsely on social media? Let us know in the comments section.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Source: B2C

What to Look for in Personalization Technology for 2018

personalization technology for 2018

As we come upon a new year, marketers everywhere are considering their marketing strategies for 2018, and many are finally thinking about pursuing personalization programs. If you have put off personalizing your customers’ or prospects’ digital experiences thus far, it may have been for any number of reasons: you haven’t felt that your company was ready for it, it seemed like too big of an undertaking, you wanted to focus on other priorities, etc. But you don’t need to put it off any longer. The right technology partner can make it easy to get started.

In this blog post, I’ll walk through the high-level requirements for any personalization technology you invest in next year. There are, of course, many individual features and nitty-gritty details you’ll want to look for as well. You’ll want to figure out if any solution can integrate with your specific martech stack, and you’ll want to make sure it can help you accomplish your specific goals. But at the highest level, in order to deliver successful one-to-one personalization, you need a solution that is a complete cross-channel platform, contains a single profile for each person, operates in true real time, allows you to execute on your strategy without reliance on IT or engineering, and delivers robust and accurate attribution analysis.

For a more in-depth analysis of how to evaluate personalization technology, I also recommend you download our new full-length book, One-to-One Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning, for free. Let’s dive in!

1. A single platform to leverage across channels

The term “personalization” encompasses many different tactics and channels. Exit and cart abandonment messages, segment-based communications, product and content recommendations, account- and industry-specific experiences, web application, mobile app, push notifications, email, digital advertising, person-to-person, and search all fall under the umbrella of personalization.

Point solution vendors that provide tools for each of these individual tactics and channels have popped up over the years. It may seem wise initially to invest in a point solution, but it can become overwhelming (not to mention fragmented) as soon as you want to do more than that point solution was designed for. Soon you’ll find yourself with a jumble of unconnected technologies that you need to wrangle—each with a separate account and separate data.

It is much more effective and efficient to address all of your personalization needs with one single platform that allows for personalization across channels and tactics. While researching personalization technology, consider your potential future needs and find a solution that will grow with you — rather than limit you.

2. A single profile for every single person

It’s impossible to deliver an experience that is unique and relevant to an individual if you don’t have a comprehensive understanding of that individual. For example, imagine several different people observing a shopper in a physical store at different moments. Each person would notice the person taking different actions. If they didn’t share their observations, they would each have a very different view of that person’s preferences and intent. But once they put them together, they form a complete picture of what that individual is looking for at that moment and what his interests and affinities are.

In the digital world, successful personalization requires that all of your in-depth behavioral data from across channels be captured, synchronized with external attribute data, and brought together into a single profile for each visitor, customer and account. However, a single profile is not easy to deliver and hard to find among vendors. Many personalization vendors will appear to provide a complete platform that offers capabilities across the full personalization spectrum, but merging data sources is either impossible with their existing tools or very complex and time-consuming. It actually requires an integrated Customer Data Platform (CDP). Make sure you find a personalization solution that includes a CDP at its core and allows you to see a single profile for each person that interacts with your company.

3. The ability to act on any and all data in real time

We tend to be forgiving when anyone says that something is available in “real time.” We often take that to mean “quickly” or “soon” rather than the phrase’s real definition: “the actual time during which a process takes place or an event occurs.”

In terms of personalization, “real time” refers to the actual moment that someone is interacting with a digital property. When we say that the data should be used to deliver a personalized experience in real time, we mean it should be delivered the actual moment a person is interacting with the company, regardless of the channel. All aspects of every visitor’s complete history must be combined with everything she is doing in the moment, and everything you’ve learned about her from all relevant sources, to deliver a personalized experience — in a matter of milliseconds.

The term is used liberally in many vendors’ marketing messages — and isn’t always meant in its full and accurate sense. Dig into any vendor’s capabilities to determine if it will allow you to instantly and undetectably deliver relevant experiences that leverage a person’s in-the-moment, not past, intent.

4. The ability to manage the platform without the need to rely on IT or engineering

You’ve probably experienced the pain that results from relying on other teams in your organization to accomplish your marketing goals. Whether you need assistance from engineering, IT, customer success, or sales, it can be frustrating when other teams — with their own priorities — fail to put your initiatives at the top of the list. When it comes to something as important as the customer experience, you don’t want to be forced to always count on others. So what can you do?

With a best-of-breed personalization platform, you and your team should be able to launch, measure, and adjust personalization campaigns quickly and easily on your own, without intervention. Yet the platform needs to be comprehensive enough to address all of your complex multi-tactic, cross-channel demands. With some vendors, a platform like this just does not exist. It’s a good idea to find out from current customers if the solution is easy or cumbersome to use.

5. Robust and accurate attribution analysis

Testing, analytics and attribution analysis are critical components of any personalization campaign. Without the ability to test, you cannot know if your campaigns are successful or if there is anything you can do to improve your approach. You need built-in testing and attribution analysis to iterate rapidly and ensure your experiences and algorithms deliver the best results possible.

Some solutions are not transparent when it comes to attribution analysis. Some vendors, particularly those with product recommendation tools, will provide reporting on campaign results but not enable customers to run or manage those reports themselves. And many will boldly claim that their “black box” solutions have made you hundreds of thousands or even millions in incremental revenue—taking credit for growth that may have occurred anyway. When selecting a personalization solution, make sure that you have the ability to compare the results of every campaign against control and that the solution utilizes sound statistical science for accurate and defensible attribution analysis.

Final Thoughts

If you’re evaluating personalization for 2018 for the first time (or if you’re reevaluating your existing tools), make sure that your personalization technology is a complete cross-channel platform, contains a single profile for each person, acts in real time, allows you to execute on your strategy without relying on IT or engineering, and delivers accurate attribution analysis.

To learn more about why these aspects of personalization technology are critical to delivering relevant, one-to-one experiences for your customers and prospects – and a whole lot more – download a free digital copy of our new book, One-to-One Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning today.

Source: B2C

ADA Website Compliance Testing: What to Look for on Your Site


In today’s age, technology has made information and entertainment more accessible to people in all parts of the world. Whether it’s on a phone, tablet, or computer, a user is able to view photo galleries of cats or read articles about current affairs or stream an endless number of videos. So what happens when a user is not physically capable of accessing information? How do you cater to users with special needs? Well, you can thank the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 for allowing technologies to benefit people with disabilities.

In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require federal agencies to make their electronics and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. It was enacted to eliminate barriers in information technology, to make available new opportunities for people with disabilities, and encourage development of technologies that will help achieve these goals. This pretty much states that agencies and companies must give their employees and members of the public with disabilities access to information that is comparable to the access available to others.

You may have noticed that the law refers to federal agencies, so you might be thinking, “Well, this a federal issue — how does this relate to a private business website, or how am I affected by this law?” Websites are now considered public entities since any user can access them via a computer or any other device. Think of this as a building requiring wheelchair-accessible ramps. The same basic principle applies to websites or any other technology.

Now you are probably wondering, “How do I make my website accessible? What am I looking for in terms of making my site accessible?” Even though there are great guidelines (such as WCAG 2.0) and documentation on how to make your site accessible, rarely do they discuss what to look for on a site to make it more compliant for people with disabilities. After reading this blog, hopefully, you will have a bit more of an understanding of what to look for and using both automated and manual testing to make your website more accessible.

ADA-compliant website test: What should I look for?

As testers, we need a better understanding on what it means to make your site ADA-compliant. You have to consider the needs of people with disabilities, which can include the following:

  • Visual Impairments: This can include blindness, various common types of low vision and poor eyesight, various types of color blindness.

  • Motor/Mobility: This includes difficulty or inability to use hands, tremors, muscle slowness, loss of fine muscle control due to conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, stroke.

  • Auditory: Deafness or hearing impairments, including individuals who are hard of hearing.

  • Seizures: Photo-epileptic seizures caused by visual strobe or flashing effects

  • Cognitive/Intellectual: Developmental disabilities, learning disabilities (e.g., dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc.) and cognitive disabilities of various origins, affecting memory, attention, developmental “maturity,” problem-solving and logic skills, etc.

So when it comes time to do accessibility testing, what do we look for? How can I, as a tester, determine whether something is an accessibility issue or not? While it would be best to ask the people with disabilities directly, budget and time constraints can prevent firsthand feedback. A second approach is to emulate some of these disabilities and use other automated testing platforms to determine where the site needs ADA compliance.

Before we get more into manual and automated testing, let’s focus on what we are looking for when it comes time to address and implement ADA compliance for your website. Keep in mind though, that these methods may not work for all testers personally, but it’s a good way to approach accessibility testing:

  • Visual: Use a screen reader to help you navigate the site. Users who are blind must be able to understand any element on the site where they land and if it contains functionality such as a link. Several ways to emulate this are to close your eyes or turn your monitor around and navigate the site using the keyboard. If, you as a tester, land on an element and a screen reader cannot make sense of what the element is, that is an issue of ADA compliance. For users with poor vision or colorblindness, testers have to make sure colors are distinguishable, and these can include background colors, link colors, font colors, etc. Screen magnifiers are a great way to test for poor visibility. There is a great tool known as Color Oracle that can emulate what a user with colorblindness sees on the screen. If colors can’t be distinguishable, that is an issue of ADA compliance. Make sure text alternatives are provided to images that convey information (look at the alt tag on the code).

  • Motor/Mobility: Voice recognition software, touch screens, head/mouth wands, special switches, keyboard overlays, one-handed keyboards, oversized mouse or trackball are some of the tools a user with limited mobility may use, but for testers, all you’ll need is a traditional keyboard to test. Ensure that there is a logical tab order (left to right, top to bottom) and provide logical and standard keyboard commands. Tab through the site and visually see if the tabbing order is logical (usually known as OnFocus). If an element is skipped or the tabbing order doesn’t make sense to you as a tester, that could possibly be an issue of ADA compliance.

  • Auditory: The best approach for testing for this criterion is to turn the volume off on your machine and look at the website. This is mainly to focus on audio media elements such as videos. Do video elements contain captions, text transcripts, or a description of what the video contains and the purpose of the video? If the captions or text transcripts are not added to the video or the description of the video does not make sense, this can be an issue of ADA compliance.

  • Seizures: Users who suffer from seizures are usually triggered by viewing images or video content showing strobe lights or repeating bright lights. Avoid these as much as possible. If an image (gif) or video is showing strobe lights or similar effects, remove these from your site.

  • Cognitive/Intellectual: Make sure the content on your website can provide simple and clear instructions and contains an intuitive interface design. The site must use consistent UI elements and prominent icons to make the site easier to navigate. Whenever possible, the content should not contain jargon or large blocks of text, since people who have this disability have a hard time understanding, and avoiding these allows them to consume the information and commands easily. Reading aloud with simultaneous text highlighting, predictive or auto-text for input fields, and adjustable time for completing site tasks are also factors a tester should look for.

Manual and automated testing: The two best friends any tester should have

When Section 508 compliance was first implemented, testing for accessibility was a very time-consuming process. Manual testing is performed by a tester sitting in front of a computer carefully going through pages, trying various usage and input combinations, comparing the results to the expected behaviors and recording their observations. Most testers had to rely on manual testing since not many automated testing platforms were available.

But in recent years, automated testing tools have become more available and even more sophisticated. Automated testing platforms, such as Siteimprove and Tricentis, can now crawl a site and use visual indicators to detect which issues might need to be addressed on your site for accessibility. Testers can set test criteria based on the level of compliance (Level A, AA, and AAA) they are trying to achieve on a site. Automated testing software can reduce test times and vastly increase test coverage.

Even though automated testing is a great tool any tester can have, there are still some issues that even the most sophisticated testing platforms can’t detect. Automated testing platforms are not able to detect how a screen reader relays the content to the user, how the page navigates using the keyboarding (tabbing through the site), alternative text that is inadequate (automated tests are just checking to make sure you have something in the ALT text field), certain color combinations that fall outside acceptable ratios for contrast, and videos that are uncaptioned or do not contain text transcripts.

Automated testing also tends to find too many false positives, indicating something is wrong when your website does not actually need any more work. Performing manual tests on the code and pages allows testers to identify the issues that automated tests cannot detect. The solution is always a mix of manual and automated testing. Always perform both for best results, and to ensure that you meet the level of ADA compliance needed for your site. Think of it this way: automated testing is a great start, and will help you determine where there’s a need for manual testing. Both are extremely important and, if performed well, can make your site more user-friendly for all users.

Source: B2C

Are You Coachable?

Being coachable, whether you are a top executive, a middle manager, a front-line sales manager, or an individual contributor is critical to your success. To grow and develop, to improve our abilities to achieve our goals and results, we have to be constantly learning and developing.

Having others providing feedback, coaching, helping us think about ways in which we might improve our ability to achieve our goals is something we must actively seek out.

Yet I’m amazed at the number of people that are not only uncoachable, but actually refuse to take coaching and feedback.

One of my clients has adopted a fantastic practice as part of their recruiting and interviewing process. Each candidate is given a role play scenario. They are given the chance to ask questions about the scenario and to prepare for it. The role plays are recorded, the roleplay is played back with my client coaching them on how the candidate might improve their execution, and the candidate is then asked to try the role play again.

The goal of this roleplay is to understand their “coachability.” We tell the candidate that we are less concerned about whether they are right or wrong about the facts in the role play–clearly, that would take deeper understanding of the products and strategies. Our only goal is to understand how they learn, their openness to feedback, and how they apply that feedback in the second role play.

You can see how powerful this technique is, not only for salespeople but also sales managers. After all, if a sales manager isn’t coachable, how effective will that manager be in coaching the team?

My client has applied this in every sales and marketing job, as well is in all key management roles. They have recruited some stunning leaders.

But what’s interesting–and disturbing is the failure rate in this exercise, particularly among manager candidates.

We recently reviewed a key role sales management role. 66% of the candidates this job were “actively” uncoachable. This doesn’t mean they didn’t apply the feedback in the second role play, this means they actively rejected the coaching that was provided.

Some, after receiving coaching on how they might have improved, said they would not change anything they did, and went on to do the role play exactly as they had done the first time, making the same mistakes again–despite having been coached how to improve.

Some, started to blame others. One stated, the instructions had been unclear. One started pointing out spelling errors and grammatical mistakes in the instructions. They wouldn’t accept that they could have done better.

Each of these focused on proving themselves “right,” rather than listening, challenging, learning, and incorporating the feedback into how they could improve.

What all of these candidates missed was my client wasn’t interested in whether the strategies they executed in the role plays were right of wrong. They were complex issues, so it was reasonable to expect they might not know the answer.

What my client needed to know was whether these candidates were coachable, how they dealt with feedback, how they incorporated the coaching into what they did in the follow-up role play, and how they learned. This was important, both from the point of view of their own development, but also from the point of view of their ability to effectively coach and grow their people.

66% failed miserably. The process stopped there, they were out of consideration for a key sales management job with a very hot company–something each of them dreamed of.

And each of them will have learned nothing from this experience. They won’t recognize what went wrong, some will grumble that my client had it all wrong.

Being uncoachable, being unable to give and receive feedback is a formula for failure, possibly not today, but certainly tomorrow. The uncoachable have made the decision to stop learning and growing.

Regardless how well they perform today, they will quickly fall behind and fail.

Afternote: I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to Mark Roberge. Mark told me about this approach years ago, I’ve since borrowed and adapted it. He provides an outstanding description in The Sales Accleration Formula.

Source: B2C

Instagram Model Selling Her Virginity For 500 Bitcoins Is Fake News

An Instagram model selling her virginity for 500 bitcoins is fake news? There is no truth to a report that a model on Instagram was selling off her virginity for 500 bitcoins.

Where did this fake news originate? posted the fake news article reporting that an Instagram model agreed to sell her virginity for 500 bitcoins. You can read the fake news below.

A 31-year-old American Instagram model, going by the name Spicy Salt, Is selling her virginity for 500 bitcoins estimated to be worth over 8 million dollars, She hopes on selling her virginity soon and using her new found wealth to travel and buy fidget spinners for all her friends.

However, there is no truth to the above story, according to Hoax Alert. Their research found no record of any profile of this model on Instagram. Nor is there any model with the name “Spicy Salt”.

Additionally, the image of the woman used in the fake news article dates back to 2004, which was six years before Instagram was even launched. Hoax Alert noted that the image used in the fake news appears to be part of a series of photographs of someone’s girlfriend posing with his car.

This image among other photographs of the “model” were posted to a forum a long time ago and ended up being mocked and spread all over the internet. Finally, and most importantly, Huzlers styles itself as a “fauxtire” website and carries a disclaimer at the bottom of each page: is the most infamous fauxtire & satire entertainment website in the world. If it’s trending on social media you’ll find it here!

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. It is the first decentralized digital currency, as the system works without a central bank or single administrator. The network is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly through the use of cryptography, without an intermediary.

What did you think of the fake news that an Instagram model was selling her virginity for 500 bitcoins? Did you believe the fake news or see people sharing it falsely on social media? Let us know in the comments section.

Photo Credit: Source

Source: B2C

Cops In Black Neighborhood Harassed Whites Who Wanted To Vote For Roy Moore Is Fake News

Cops in a predominately African-American neighborhood harassing whites who wanted to vote for Republican Roy Moore is fake news. There is no truth to a report that African-American police officers were found to be harassing white voters in the special Alabama Senate election.

During a special election, Democratic candidate Doug Jones beat Moore in a tight race for the Senate seat left vacant by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Where did this fake news originate? The Last Line of Defense published the fake news article on Dec. 13, reporting that cops in a black neighborhood were seen harassing white voters who were looking to punch their ticket for Moore in the special election. You can read the fake news below.

Homewood, Alabama is “home” to yet another way that the deck was stacked against Roy Moore. Apparently, the idea of a good Christian man who is amazing with children and would help restore Alabama to glory is just too much for the mostly-black police force in the majority-black city because whites sure had a hard time voting.

While liberals have accused Alabamans of being “racist” because driver’s license offices in high-crime areas that happen to have some blacks in them, the real racism was on full display Tuesday when Jasmine Alexander drove to her polling location at Santa Recto Elementary School at 8:15 a.m. when she saw flashing red-and-blues in her rear view window.

She was ticketed for “allegedly going down a ‘one way’ before 8:30 — something that is unavoidable as there are only one-way streets surrounding the school. She was then held for an hour — a violation of the Supreme Court’s 1993 decision that traffic stops may not be “unreasonably prolonged.”

Jasmine said in a subsequent post that the offending officer was Darnell Haglock, a black 6-year veteran of the force who has “multiple use of force complaints against white victims” according to the Homewood New-Times, who reports that “at least four others have come forward with similar stories” in Homewood.

However, there is no truth to the above story. For one thing, there is no “Santa Recto Elementary School” in Homewood. Additionally, there is no record of a newspaper by the name of Homewood New-Times. Here are some examples of people sharing the fake news on social media.

Finally, The Last Line of Defense carries the following disclaimer on its website:

DISCLAIMER: America’s Last Line of Defense is a satirical publication that may sometimes appear to be telling the truth. We assure you that’s not the case. We present fiction as fact and our sources don’t actually exist. Names that represent actual people and places are purely coincidental and all images should be considered altered and do not in any way depict reality.

In other words, if you believe this crap you’re a real dumbass.

The fake news story was picked up by Conservative Stamp, which had no such disclaimer besides a very general warning on their about page:

All the information on this website is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. ConservativeStamp does not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information you find on this website (ConservativeStamp), is strictly at your own risk. ConservativeStamp will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of our website.

What did you think of the fake news that Obama was kicked out of the dorm after an incriminating video surfaced? Did you believe the fake news or see people sharing it falsely on social media? Let us know in the comments section.

Photo Credit: Source

Source: B2C

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

How to Get Over Your Fear of Appearing on Video

Free-Photos / Pixabay

If the thought of going live or recording videos for your business makes your pits sweat and skin crawl I’m right there with you.

Video (and even audio) is something I’ve resisted doing for years because I hate hearing the sound of my voice. I’ve also been scared to death that I wouldn’t be able to clearly get ideas across without writing them down and editing them.

Last month, I hired a marketing coach to help me develop a sales funnel for my new financial coaching package. She said video in the marketing sequence is non-negotiable. I won’t lie. As soon as she mentioned this a bunch of excuses were at the tip of my tongue. But I was so scared to disappoint her that I dipped my toes into the water anyway.

Now I’m actually enjoying video and excited about the opportunities that communicating this way will bring. Here are my tips if you’re also scared of video:

Don’t Be a Perfectionist

One of the main reasons I avoided video is because I had this grand idea of what my first video should be. I wanted a beautiful backdrop with luxurious staging that’s filmed by state of the art equipment. Essentially, I wanted all of the bells and whistles which is the kind of set up that other business owners have spent thousands of dollars on. This expectation is unrealistic.

Start now with what you have. It could be just your phone or a computer camera.

Plenty of business owners have started this way as well. The production doesn’t need to be perfect your first few times around. You can make an investment in staging and equipment when your content starts seeing results.

Get an Accountability Partner You’re Scared Of

I’ll be frank. Venturing into video would probably still be the last thing on my mind if it hadn’t been for the urging of my coach. Ask someone to hold you accountable if you know you’re unlikely to jump out of your comfort zone without a little push.

Don’t ask just anyone to be your accountability partner either. It has to be someone who you respect, who you may be a little scared of, and who will shame you for not following through. People who let you make excuses without speaking the truth about your behavior aren’t going to help you.

Record Before Going Live

Recording videos isn’t like public speaking. There’s a lot less pressure. You can edit to your heart’s desire. Dabble in recording to get more comfortable if the thought of going live makes you queasy. Think about how the content you’re creating will change lives instead of how nervous you are to be on camera. People are most interested in gaining value from what you have to offer.

Final Word

I’m still working through the kinks in my video strategy, but I can tell you there is something exhilarating about trying something new. For all my fellow business owners who are hiding behind your keyboard (writers specifically) — give video a try! What have you got to lose?

Source: B2C

#OddThemeWeddings Trends As Social Media Visualizes Bizarre Themes for a Wedding

NGDPhotoworks / Pixabay

There are some truly weird wedding themes out there—from games and skulls to Nascar and outer space, some couples have given new meaning to being completely unique on their special day. Thanks to a hashtag game, Twitter users had their own ideas as to what the most eccentric wedding themes would be, as inspired by pop culture, history and death.

#OddThemeWeddings, which became a trending hashtag in the Whimsy Tags hashtag game Wednesday evening, pictured how different weddings would be if staples such as dresses and flowers were given an incredibly unconventional twist. The hashtag game, which generated more than 3,000 tweets, included outlandish themes like bees, creepy clowns, carpool and even hashtagging.

Take a look at some of the best #OddThemeWeddings tweets below:

Social Media Pictures Strange Wedding Motifs with #OddThemeWeddings

What is the most bizarre wedding idea you can imagine? Which #OddThemeWeddings tweet was your favorite? Sound off in the comments section below!

Source: B2C

B2B Content Marketing vs. B2C Content Marketing — Content for Human Beings

Content marketing, the creation of useful, valuable content to attract viewers to your website (naturally) with little-to-no promotion, is different in every industry — however, speaking broadly, we can define clear differences between B2B content marketing and B2C content marketing.Three emojis, a graph, and some content on a clipboard — B2B content marketing requires the realization that, just like these emojis, B2B customers have emotions too :P

Now while you may be tempted to believe that B2C content marketing is where the fun writing, design, and creation work is happening and B2B content marketing is generally stiff, stilted, dry, and boring, I urge you to think differently — I think half the reason B2B marketing comes across as boring is precisely because of that attitude.

You want to know what the main similarity is between the two?

In both cases, B2C and B2B, you’re marketing to human beings.

Businesses Aren’t Machines — They’re Run by People

I think the main way that people go astray when creating content for other businesses is by writing as though they’re writing for a pile of bricks instead of for actual people.

In both cases, B2C and B2B, you’re marketing to human beings.

It’s like they drop into English 101 mode, trying to create the driest, most boring, most lifeless piece of content imaginable, as though the style and type of content that impressed Mrs. Borders is going to, in any way, grab the attention of the average business person.

(For the record, I suspect it didn’t even impress Mrs. Borders…)A silhouette, a building, a question mark under a magnifying glass.

Businesses are run by human beings just like you and me — shocking, I know. The secret to awesome B2B content marketing is rooted in this knowledge, the idea that your content can be just as lively, interesting, and exciting as B2C content as long as it contains two things:

  • The information and detail necessary to make business decisions

  • The level of professionalism and respect that is considered normal within your industry

Stellar B2B Content Marketing Starts With Audience

I’m going to backtrack a bit on what I just said, but hear me out:

Your content depends entirely on your audience.

With that being said, it’s entirely possible that the businesses you’re targeting with this content are run by an entire staff of Mrs. Borders clones who want nothing more than the most boring information presented in the driest possible format.

I shudder to imagine such a situation, but I allow that it may exist.

Your content depends entirely on your audience.

However, in most modern businesses, you’re dealing with regular, non-English-teacher type folks.

Here’s the main difference between B2B human beings and B2C human beings (and note that they’re both human beings…):

  • B2C customers are happy to be pandered to, to be entertained, and are usually fine with having some details glossed over if you can do it in a fancy, engaging way

  • B2B customers are primarily interested in the content you have for them, so it needs to be stellar (no glossing allowed), but they are more than happy to have it dressed up fancy if the base is solid

That is to say, B2C and B2B customers both appreciate unique, entertaining, fancy, stylish pieces of content as long as the content is addressing their unique needs and goals.A megaphone and printed pages of a website — B2B content marketing is all about getting your message out to an audience by whatever means necessary

That’s really about it. If you want to create excellent B2B content, you need to do just about the same thing you do with B2C content — create something that’s useful to your audience, that they find valuable, and make it look nice.

The only real difference is that the content itself usually needs to be much more detailed and much more accurate than the B2C content, often with a shade or two less pizazz.

I’ll give you an example.

B2B Content Marketing vs B2C Content Marketing — What It Looks Like

I’ll start with B2C.

Your B2C Audience Wants Content That’s Quick and Entertaining

For my first example, let’s say that I’m selling a car. Nothing fancy — just your average SUV that fits a family of four.

What does my audience care about? Certainly they care about price, gas mileage, engine size, and the bells and whistles inside. They might want to know how long it takes to get from zero to sixty, but this is an SUV, so they’re probably more worried about four-wheel drive and performance in trying conditions.

Safety is obviously going to be a key issue, but more to the point, they’re going to want to know how this vehicle stacks up to the competition.

If I’m a content marketer trying to reach these folks, I’m going to go with video as my medium (they need to see this car). I’m thinking we make an entertaining video with a charming host (who is incredibly relatable) testing this SUV and 1 or 2 competitors — the host can even bring their kids along to test the features in the back seats (which are mostly just for the kiddos).

This content is simple, simple to produce, straightforward, and exactly what my audience wants

My host is flashy, knowledgeable, fun, funny, relatable, and is about the right age and temperament to match my audience. The video is no more than 5 minutes and covers the basic information my very human B2C customer needs to make the right decision.

This content is simple, simple to produce, straightforward, and exactly what my audience wants — something quick that helps them make a decision while being entertained.

After all, our customers have a very short attention span these days — even a 5-minute video is pushing it, so they certainly don’t want something that’s an hour long and breaks down every single detail of these vehicles…

But let’s look at the B2B customer.

Your B2B Audience Needs More Details of Different Types, but They Still Like to Be Entertained

My B2B customer is looking at the exact same product, our SUV, except for one minor detail — they’re thinking of buying 100 of them.industrial website design shaking hands and thumbs up

This customer differs remarkably little when compared to my B2C customer — in fact, they could even be the same person. The difference is this — in the scenario above, my customer is buying a single SUV for themselves and has to think only about how this will affect their family and the uses to which they intend to put the vehicle…

But when they’re at work and considering the purchase of a fleet of SUVs for their employer, they need to think much more carefully about the purchase — and the information they’re going to consider is going to be slightly different.

They not only need more information, but they also need very detailed information as even a tiny difference in something like gas mileage or lifetime maintenance costs could have a huge effect on their employer’s expenses.

Still, for the purposes of this example, let’s say it’s the same person, which means they certainly don’t mind being entertained — they just want to make sure that the information they’re getting is really solid.

For this customer’s unique goals and needs, I make another comparison video — heck, I even use the same host — but I make it slightly more professional, and I significantly enhance the informational value of the content.

Instead of 5 minutes, I’m going with 15 (the customer’s attention span is still short). Each vehicle gets 5 minutes of detailed breakdowns. I nix the kids in the backseat and have the host dial down the humor a bit, but the core personality that led me to choose this host in the first place remains.

The video is still fun, it’s still entertaining, but the focus is heavy on the content, showing our customer that we understand the content deeply and can convey that in a useful manner.

The customer walks away with deep knowledge about 3 vehicles — even if they don’t purchase from us today, they certainly won’t forget who helped them learn the information they needed to make a purchasing decision their boss was happy with.

The Secret to Quality B2B Content Marketing — Focus on Content, but Don’t Forget Personality

At the end of the day, you’re marketing to human beings — if you can remember that, you’ll always create quality content. In our examples above, the same customer who was researching SUVs for their family went to work the next day and looked at SUVs for their employer. Their personality — who they are and what they believes — that didn’t change.

At the end of the day, you’re marketing to human beings

The only thing that changed was their motivation and their goals. They needed to do a deeper, more thorough evaluation for their employer, and the end-use of the product was different.

They were still happy to be entertained, still happy to listen to a knowledgeable host, but the exact same information needed to be framed differently because of the motivations that drove them to the content in the first place and their goals for the use of the product.

Get to Know Your Customers (So You Can Create Better Content)

Struggling to produce quality B2B Content? Marketing woes got you down?

Do you know who your buyers are? Most of those who struggle have no clue who they’re really selling to.

Get our free Buyer Persona Template and map out all the different customers you want to sell to — click the button to get it free.

Get the Free Template

Source: B2C

Drew Brees Teams With Audubon Institute On All-Inclusive Playground For Children With Disabilities

Drew Brees teamed up with Audubon Institute to open the Walnut Street Playground, which offers features for children of all abilities. Drew and his family attended the grand opening of the Walnut Street Playground at Audubon Park, which is the very first fully inclusive playground in the city. The place has everything from swings to slides to zip lines. In addition, the play area was designed to be fully accessible for wheelchairs.

Check out some photos and videos from the big day which opened for all children.

The Brees Dream Foundation was founded in 2003 and is a reliable source of charitable funding globally. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need. Since their inception 12 years ago, they have contributed over $25,000,000 to charitable causes globally. They would not be where they are today without the endless support from their many partnerships and from those who donate to their cause daily.

Audubon Nature Institute is a 501(c)3 not for profit that operates a family of ten museums and parks dedicated to nature. We serve our visitors, our community and our world as an educational resource, an environmental guardian, a leader in economic development and a venue for family entertainment.

Brees is on pace for the lowest touchdown total (23) and lowest yards per game (274.5) of his 12-year tenure with the Saints. On the flip side, he is on pace for his lowest interception total (seven) and the highest completion percentage in NFL history (71.7). His passer rating (104.3) and yards per attempt (8.1) are also among his personal best.

What did you think of Brees working with Audubon Institute to open the Walnut Street Playground? Have you seen similar projects in your area? Let us know in the comments section.

Photo Credit: Source

Source: B2C

Managing Risk or managing risks?

The keys to a successful second line of defence

There are many risk management methodologies in existence but it is not uncommon to come across large firms still following today simplistic, dysfunctional or flawed practices, in particular around operational risk management.

The main issue with many of those approaches is that they are plagued by a fundamental theoretical issue, which goes far beyond semantics: There is an abyss between managing “Risk” (broadly defined as “the impact of uncertainty on objectives”) and managing “risks” (events or scenarios that might have an undesirable outcome).

But many practitioners, when faced with the challenges of establishing a second line of defence type-of-function, still follow the path of least resistance and start with the arbitrary definition upfront of a series of “risks”, that are generally collected through workshops with senior executives in the business. In practice, that’s where many aspects start to go wrong, driven by a short-termist business agenda or a complacent “tick-in-the-box” management culture around compliance.

The dynamics of those workshops often revolve around “what keeps you awake at night” type of discussions, which force the participants to imagine situations where something could go seriously wrong and hit the firm. Participants generally engage with the process based on their own experience and ability to project themselves. Almost always, they draw on past experiences, things they have seen at other companies (in other jobs) or things they have heard of. Rarely are those stories based on hard facts directly pertinent to the firm and its problems. It often results in organic and very rich exchanges but also leads to an avalanche of scenarios, unstructured and often overlapping. The lack of rigour in the approach also results in most cases in a considerable language mix-up, with the description of the so-called “risks” combining shamelessly threats, controls and other elements – internal or external.

Then follows a second phase during which participants are asked to estimate how likely are those scenarios to affect the firm and what could be the resulting financial loss.

The first part (“how likely are those scenarios to affect the firm”) is plagued by a fundamental confusion between frequency and probability (in many cases, this is entirely by design i.e. participants being asked “could this happen weekly, monthly, annually?”). Again, participants tend to engage with the question by drawing on past experiences (the “bias of imaginability” theorised by Kahneman) or things they have seen elsewhere, irrespective of the actual context of the firm itself. At best, it results in “educated guesses”; at worst, we end up in pure “finger-in-the-air” territory.

The assessment of the potential financial losses is often more reliable, as this is an area where most of the senior executives involved would have more experience, and as long as the monetary brackets are wide enough, they are likely to put the various scenarios in the right buckets.

At the back of that, a risk “heat map” is drawn, a number of action plans are defined and a budgetary figure is put on each (in terms of the investment required to have an impact of the risk map). This is the point where risk is either “accepted”, “mitigated” or in theory “transferred”.

In practice, the impact of the proposed scenarios on the risk map is often estimated and rarely quantifiable, and the whole process is simply used to drive or justify a positive or negative investment decision, or to present an illusion of science to auditors or regulators.

The agreed actions are then given to a project manager or to a programme office to supervise, often with some form of progress reporting put in place back to a risk committee, with all sorts of convoluted KPIs and KRIs wrapped around it.

This whole approach is certainly better than doing nothing, but it is flawed at a number of levels. Essentially, it is vulnerable to political window-dressing from start to end, and the various estimations made by senior executives along the chain (willingly or unwillingly) can be used to adjust to any internal political agenda (e.g. presenting a particular picture to regulators, limiting expenditure, not having to confront boards or business units with an inconvenient truth).

Fundamentally, the “risks” being (allegedly) “managed” may have nothing to do with the actual reality of the firm, and even the “management” aspects may be disputable, in particular if the governance around the actual delivery of the agreed action plan is weak or inefficient (or, at the other end of the scale, bureaucratic and overly complex). This is more about “doing stuff” (at best) than “managing Risk” because of the colossal amount of assumptions made along the way.

There are 3 aspects that need to be addressed for those methods to work better and deliver proper results in terms of real “Risk Management”:

1- Talking to senior executives and running workshops with them is a good start, but they should be focused on “threats” – and not “risks” – and on the “assets” the “threats” may target. Focusing on threats and assets brings advantages at 2 levels: First it roots the language of the discussion in the reality of what is at stake, instead of hypothetical scenarios. Second, by following simple threat modelling practices, it offers a structure to guide the discussion with some rigour:

  • Who are the people or organisations who could cause you harm? (the threat agents)

  • What are their motivations? Their level of sophistication? The attack vectors they use? The attack surfaces they look for?

  • What could they do to you?

By combining and ranking those factors, you arrive to a number of key scenarios that are rooted in the reality of the firm and its context, and in the process, you have forced the executives involved to face the reality of the firm, the world it operates in, and its real viciousness.

But for the result to be truly representative and meaningful, it is also essential to ensure that all stakeholders are involved across all geographies and corporate silos (business units, IT, Legal, HR, procurement, etc…), and to include key external business partners where business processes or IT facilities have been outsourced.

2- Asking executive management to place the resulting scenarios is broad financial loss buckets is a good step that is likely to work well as we indicated before, and could be kept, but the assessment of any form of probability of occurrence or potential impact should be dissociated from the discussion with executives at this stage and, again, firmly rooted in the reality of the firm through an independent assessment of the actual presence or absence of the necessary protective measures.

This is essential in focusing management on the fact that “managing Risk” is about protecting the firm from undesirable outcomes, and that it is achieved through the actual implementation of tangible measures that are known to protect, and can be:

  • determined upfront based on the identified threat scenarios,

  • mandated by policy or adherence to good practice,

  • enforced through good governance, internally and with third-parties.

Risk is a by-product of the presence or absence of such measures, and the actual Risk “heat map” for the firm can be drawn in a quantified manner from those independent assessments, instead of being estimated.

3- Once the Risk “heat map” is firmly linked to the presence or absence of actual protective measures, it is possible to define risk treatment scenarios also linked to those measures and map in a quantified manner the impact they would have on the Risk “heat map”.

managing risk

It is then possible to compare those Risk treatment scenarios and determine the most attractive for the firm. It also becomes possible to track and visualise progress in a quantifiable manner.

It is easy to argue that the governance issues around the actual delivery of agreed Risk treatment actions still remain (in particular for larger firms), and that the two approaches are fundamentally the same (one qualitative, and the other quantitative), but the quantitative approach is truer to its purpose (“managing Risk”), considerably richer in terms of managerial levers, and far less vulnerable to manipulation and window-dressing.

Source: B2C

How to Write Engaging Tweets For Your Brand

Being one of the most popular social media platforms out there, Twitter can be used to create brand awareness, gain more leads, perform competitive analysis, and so much more.

With the latest update regarding the 280-character limit on tweets, it has become easier than ever for marketers to come up with more engaging content. While having an appealing cover image or an optimized description will certainly help you gain brownie points on Twitter, you won’t be able to perform an outstanding Twitter marketing without working on your content.

To help you write engaging tweets, I have come up with this comprehensive post. Simply focus on these expert suggestions and draft winning tweets for your brand.

#1.Make your tweets more visually appealing

Almost every market knows that the retention rate of visual content is more than plain text. This is one of the main reasons why video and GIF-based content has grown over 220 times on Twitter. Therefore, to start with, you should unravel the art of video marketing on Twitter.

By including photos, small clips, or GIFs in your tweets, you would certainly be able to convey more and get your audience’s attention instantly. Here are some proven statistics to provide how important visual content has become.

  • On an average, pictures get a 35% boost for retweets

  • The inclusion of videos provide a boost of 28% for retweets

  • Around 98% of users would like to learn about a new product through visual content

  • Visual content gets a better engagement on Twitter (around 2.5 times replies as compared to plain text)

While using any visual aid, try to make it more product-centric. If you can showcase a product in a compelling manner, then it will certainly leave a lasting impression on your audience. Here, you can see how Starbucks played with their iced-coffee and cold-brew drinks.

According to Madalyn Sklar It’s important to tag the people and/or brands you’re talking about. Make your tweets compelling. Paint a picture along with 280 characters. Use videos in your tweets. It grabs attention.

#2. Include “Power words” in your tweets

Every experienced copywriter knows how a few “power” words can make headlines, copies, tweets, etc. more personal and effective. By including the right kind of words, you can convey a message in a better way and make your tweets resonating.

  • Before you draft a tweet, take a step back and analyze its purpose.

  • If you want to include a CTA then you can come up with a few options and pick the best one.

  • If you are including a visual aid, make sure your text is going well with it.

  • Power words should not be extremely difficult. Your audience should be able to understand them without looking up their meaning.

  • Don’t be repetitive.

Most importantly, don’t make your tweets too wordy. Even though Twitter has increased the character limit to 280, you should not get carried away. If you are able to convey something in limited characters, then try not to drag your message.

Here is an example of how Buffer conveyed the same message in two different tweets. The one that was clear and precise got almost twice the traction than a wordy tweet.

According to Keith Keller Creating “hooky titles” really is the essence of my Twitter Strategy. Just like the chorus of a really great song – something short and sweet that “hooks” you into the song.

Get to know about some of the useful power words here.

#3. Tag your audience and the related brand in your tweets

If your tweet is related to a certain follower, influencer, brand, or any other user, then you should always mention their Twitter handle. This will notify the mentioned user instantly about your tweet. If you have mentioned them in a constructive manner, then they would certainly give it a retweet (or reply) which will boost the overall reach of your tweet.

Additionally, it will help you maintain a fruitful relationship with the mentioned influencer or brand as well. In this way, you can expand your social circle on Twitter while giving your tweets more visibility.

According to Lisa To craft a better tweet, you should personalize it. Write why you read something and want to share it prior to the tweet and link. Be sure to have their handle in the “via” part of the tweet as well.

I just left a comment on a blog post that I loved and here is the tweet I shared

We all can follow this expert suggestion by Lisa. The next time you read something you want to share on Twitter, feel free to mention the author’s or the brand’s handle. Even if you are managing a brand’s account, you can tag influencers and collaborators in your tweets like this.

#4. Simplicity is the key to drafting great content

If you will include complicated and difficult words in your tweets, then it will certainly have a direct impact on its reach. Before drafting a tweet, take a step back and think from the perspective of your audience. You can even take the assistance of Twitter Analytics to get an in-depth knowledge about your followers.

Afterward, you should develop the kind of content that your audience can relate to. Especially, if you are running a promotional campaign, then your content should be as simple and effective as possible.

Writing tweets is a science that can easily be mastered in no time. Even if you are showcasing a product, you don’t have to write an entire description. Just an engaging phrase like this would be enough.

Similarly, a regular tweet can be simple and engaging as well, like this:

#5. Start a conversation with your tweets

Too many times, we forget that a platform like Twitter or Instagram can be used to be more “social” without much trouble. You should make an effort and get to know your audience by posting more engaging content. Ask your followers a question or simply initiate a conversation.

In this way, you would be able to involve your community too. At the same time, the engagement rate for the respective tweet would also increase. I use these three techniques to start a conversation with my audience.

A. Asking a generic question or feedback: This is one of the best ways to start a conversation with your followers. Simply ask them a question about a product, welcome their feedback, and let them make a decision for you. In this way, your followers will feel valued and heard as well.

B. Hosting a poll: If you have too many options and would like to follow a statistical approach, then hosting a poll would be the best idea. Since Twitter has an inbuilt feature for this, you don’t have to use any third-party tool.

C. Twitter chat: By hosting or participating in a Twitter chat, you can easily expand your circle and get in touch with industry-specific influencers and experts. This will also help you stay updated and be aware of the trending topics.

#6. Include relevant hashtags in your tweets

If you want to run a dedicated campaign on Twitter, then you should take the assistance of hashtags. Firstly, make yourself familiar with the do’s and don’ts of hashtag marketing. Ideally, you can consider these suggestions while running a hashtag campaign:

  • The first step is to come up with a hashtag to drive your campaign. People should be able to understand it easily. Try not to combine more than 3-4 words together.

  • There are also dedicated tools like RiteTag and Hashtagify that you can use to discover new hashtags and know more about the trending hashtags. Also, you can use a Twitter tracking tool to measure the reach of your hashtags.

  • Don’t include a hashtag that is already used by a competitor. Be original and don’t come up with a hashtag that is insensitive or rude.

  • Don’t include too many hashtags in a tweet. Besides using the main hashtag, you can use a maximum of 2-3 other hashtags to make your tweets easy to discover. Making every word a hashtag is a big no!

don’t use more than two hashtags. Make a complete, crisp sentence if you want to express more. You can also make a tweet stream as well.

Hashtags can be used to run an entire campaign or contest as well. For instance, here is how Lay’s ran a global contest with #DoUsAFlavor, asking their audience to vote for their best flavor.

You can also use an already trending hashtag while posting your tweets. Here, you can see how Hubble used the popular #ThrowbackThursday and posted an informative tweet. With the 280-character limit for tweets, they were able to draft such an educational tweet for their audience.

#7. Run exclusive and limited offers on Twitter

If you wish to win over your followers, then treat them with exclusive offers. This will also help you gain more followers. By tapping this human behavior hack, you would be able to convert your social media followers into prospective customers and leads. Here is a simple example of the same.

#8. Share links in different ways

On an average, 500 million tweets are posted in a day. With so much of noise around, chances are that your tweets might go unnoticed. Therefore, if you wish to improve the conversion rate of your audience to leads via Twitter, then you should post your important links in different ways.

Firstly, make sure you are posting the content at the right time. Ideally, you should avoid posting important tweets after 8 pm. Also, you should keep the timezone of your audience in mind. Take the assistance of a post scheduler tool in order to automate the posting of tweets. This will certainly save your time and resources.

Don’t make the rookie mistake of posting identical content on the same day. This will only spam your audience and they might end up unfollowing you. Even if you want to share the same link, draft your tweet in different ways and analyze their results.

#9. Add gripping Call to Actions in your tweets

At the end of the day, Twitter is just like any other powerful platform that can help you generate more leads. By including different kinds of CTAs in your tweets, you can direct your audience to your website (or any other target). By using Twitter Tracking Tools you can even analyze the conversion rate of your Twitter audience to prospective leads as well.

After increasing the word count of tweets to 280 characters, you can experiment with your call to actions as well. Though, I would recommend that you should make them crisp and sweet. Ideally, there are different kinds of CTAs that you can try:

A. Free trial: Asking users to go to a website, create their account, and try a service for free.

B. Buy now: Simply share your content and let users know where they can buy a product. You can also use it to increase the download or subscription of your service/product.

C. Retweet: Include your CTA in a tweet and ask your audience to retweet it to be eligible for the giveaway.

D. Read more: Share a glimpse of your content and redirect your readers to your website, where they can read the whole story.

I’m sure that after following these suggestions, you would certainly be able to draft more compelling tweets leading to a better engagement. If you also have a suggestion that can help our readers to come up with effective tweets, feel free to share it with us in the comments below.

This article originally appeared on Socialert Blog.

Source: B2C