Category Archives: Uncategorized

MAKING YOUR FIRST MILLION IS EASY — IF YOU FOLLOW THESE 5 STEPS

When you think about making a million dollars, does it seem like a far-fetched goal? Is it something you want to accomplish but just can’t picture happening? This was the case for my friend Ryan Moran — until his 26th birthday, when he made his first million dollars. Today, at 28 years old, his business generates roughly $500,000 per month.

I was curious what shifts took place that allowed someone so young to go from dreaming of making a million dollars to becoming a multi-millionaire in just a few short years. He told me me, “Making your first million is easy — if you do these five things.”

1. Surround yourself with people who will stretch your mind.
Since Ryan was a little boy, he has dreamed of owning the Cleveland Indians. Now in his 20s, he realized that in order for him to turn his dream into a reality, he would need to come up with roughly $500 million. For most people, the though of having $500 million liquid to buy a professional sports team is way beyond the range of what is possible. It was for Ryan too — until he started surrounding himself with people who already played at that level.

He explained that, “You can imagine what it will take to accomplish that type of a goal and by having people at that level as your advisors, they can tell you exactly what you need to do. It may be just a subtle shift in one part of your business, but suddenly what you thought was potentially impossible becomes realistic.”

It was that concept of demystifying the impossible that inspired him to host a live event that would bring the people who inspired him together with the goal of helping the next generation of entrepreneurs.

What is your dream that is so big that the thought of accomplishing it seems impossible — and maybe even scares you? Do you think you would be more likely to accomplish it if you had a group of advisors who were already playing at that level? If so, take action on forming relationships with them, and let them guide you the rest of the way.

2. Re-frame the impossible.
As you surround yourself with the right people, you will need to work on upgrading your mindset. Part of this will require you to recognize your limiting beliefs and re-frame those thoughts. Ryan shared, “When you feel like something is impossible, recognize that it’s just the story that you are telling yourself that makes you perceive it to be impossible and not the action itself.” Then it is just a matter of rewriting your story.

To rewrite your own story, ask yourself, “What are the things in my life that scare me and stop me from taking action? Is it the action that really scares me, or is it a false perception that is holding me back? How can I take action and move through it in spite of that fear?”

Your ability to increase your income hinges on your ability to deliver unexpected value. Most people think the only way they can add more value is by working harder or exchanging money. This is thinking too small. You deliver unexpected value through the connections you can make, the time you can allocate and the problems you can alleviate.

Big opportunities open up when you building relationships with the right people, invest your time in your highest leverage activities and are a person who solves problems. Break out of the old mindset of thinking that you have to work harder or find a higher-paying job, and start developing the habit of incorporating these three things in your everyday life.

4. Choose your customers wisely.
The easiest way to fast-track your path to a million is to charge more for your products and services. However, when you tell someone to raise their prices, they often push back and say that the market doesn’t allow for that type of increase. This is where you have to choose your customer wisely.

The price a customer is willing to pay is directly tied to the amount of value they receive. If your services deliver a 10 percent sales increase to company that does $1 million in revenue, then you brought $100,000 in value. If you deliver the same 10 percent increase to a $100 million company, your value is exponentially higher. Would the first company pay you $250,000 for your services? No way. Would the second? It is quite possible.

Sometimes what stands in your way from exponential growth is not you or your product. It’s the customer you are targeting. Ryan learned this lesson the hard way. For a few years he had been teaching his business model to people who wanted to start their own companies and was charging $1,000 for this information. A few years later, one of his students was teaching the exact same content but targeting a different group of people charging $100,000!

Ryan realized that he approaching his target market trying to get as many of they to say “yes” as possible, instead of positioning himself as a solution to the elite segment of his market and aligning his pricing accordingly.

The result? He found a select group that was willing to pay 50-times more than his original rates. You will find your path to a million dollars a lot easier if you choose your customers wisely.

5. Invest for the long term.
So many people go for the fast and easy win. While this may work for some, you will find that results come a lot faster when you invest for the long term. I’m not just talking about stocks and real estate. I’m talking about how you spend your time, the people you hire, the relationships you build, the products you develop and the structure of your company. These are all investments.

As Ryan tried to grow his business, he realized many of his struggles were because he was making decisions based on short-term results. Then he made a conscious decision to focus on what would be best for the long-term focus. As a result, he was able to attract better clients who he could actually serve and add real value to, which allowed him to raise his prices. This was when he broke the million-dollar mark.

How much money are you leaving on the table because you are not planning out far enough and laying the foundation for long term success? Incorporate these five steps, and you may find that making your first million is easier than you originally thought.

original article:www.foxnews.com

3 REASONS YOUR SMALL BUSINESS SHOULD USE EMAIL MARKETING

Marketing has changed significantly in the last several decades. Technological advancements in the field have given birth to platforms like social media and search engine marketing, leaving marketers with no shortage of channels to leverage.

Just last year, the Direct Marketing Association reported that over half of all marketers they surveyed  planned to increase marketing budgets allocated to email as a result of their previous success.

So what is it then, in this era of demand-driven social marketing, that continues to make email marketing a core component of successful small business marketing strategies?

1. Insights you can count on

One of the strongest assets email marketing brings to the table is the detailed reporting and analysis at your fingertips.

Contrary to more traditional marketing channels like print or television, email marketing reports provide valuable insights into the overall success of your marketing campaigns.

While most email marketing apps provide basic metrics, like clicks or opens, the good ones allow you to dig deeper into the details.  Taking a look at metrics like how long your recipients spend reading your emails, as well as the devices or email services they use to access them, tells the marketer a lot about what is working and what isn’t with their email campaigns.

2. It doesn’t take up too much time

Most good things take time.  For small businesses that often operate without the resources of a large marketing department, every task must be weighed against everything else that can be done with that same amount of time.

Typically, we find it takes the average user only about 30 minutes to complete their first campaign. This includes the time it takes to import contacts, design a template, test it, and feel the adrenaline pump of pressing “send.”

3. Keeps your bottom line healthy

When it comes to a small business, the reality is that everything boils down to return on investment and how long it takes to get there.  Small businesses must be able to justify each and every dollar of marketing, and that’s what draws them to email.

According to the DMA, each dollar spent on email marketing generates roughly $44 in revenue. While this statistic may be somewhat inflated, it is hard to argue against email marketing’s proven ability to consistently deliver outstanding results.

In order to re-engage previous customers, move new leads through the sales funnel, and cross-sell to current clients, email targets the low hanging fruit  – your contact database. When you create email campaigns focused on existing relationships (no matter the level), you create a non-invasive method for staying relevant that will surely pay off in the future.

original article:www.foxnews.com

7 REASONS WHY EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IS ONE OF THE FASTEST-GROWING JOB SKILLS

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020.

The awareness that emotional intelligence is an important job skill, in some cases even surpassing technical ability, has been growing in recent years. In a 2011 Career Builder Survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71% stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ; 75% said they were more likely to promote a highly emotionally intelligent worker; and 59% claimed they’d pass up a candidate with a high IQ but low emotional intelligence.

The question, then, is why companies are putting such a high premium on emotional intelligence. Here are seven of the top reasons why highly emotionally intelligent candidates are so valuable.

1. THEY CAN HANDLE PRESSURE HEALTHILY
Dealing with workplace pressures and functioning well under stress demands an ability to manage our emotions. People with higher levels of emotional intelligence are more aware of their internal thermometer and therefore better able to manage their stress levels. They tend to have better-developed coping mechanisms and healthy support systems that keep working effectively even in tough situations. The increasing rate of change in the workplace is likely to increase work-related stress and boost the value of those who can manage it.

2. THEY UNDERSTAND AND COOPERATE WITH OTHERS
People with highly developed emotional intelligence are less defensive and more open to feedback, especially when it involves areas of improvement.
As teamwork becomes increasingly important in the workplace, people who are able to understand and get along with others will become ever more sought after. Highly emotionally intelligent people have well-developed people skills that let them build relationships with a diverse range of people across many cultures and backgrounds. That’s an asset in an increasingly globalized workplace.

3. THEY’RE GOOD LISTENERS
Everyone wants to be heard and understood. The ability to listen well and respond to others is crucial for developing strong working relationships. Many of us, though, aren’t as good as we could be at really listening to what others are saying. Because of their ability to understand others, highly emotionally intelligent people are in a better position to put their own emotions and desires aside and take others into account. Their ability to pick up on people’s emotions, through tone of voice and body language, come in handy in team settings.

4. THEY’RE MORE OPEN TO FEEDBACK
Open, timely, and honest feedback is essential to job performance—especially at a time when annual performance reviews are in decline. People with highly developed emotional intelligence are less defensive and more open to feedback, especially when it involves areas of improvement. Their high level of self-regard lets them look positively at areas where they can do better, rather than taking feedback personally.

5. THEY’RE EMPATHETIC

Highly emotionally intelligent people are in a better position to put their own emotions and desires aside and take others’ into account.
Collaboration doesn’t just present logistical issues—it also comes down to responding to teammates’ feelings. People with high emotional intelligence are able to use their sensitivity to where others are coming from to build trust and cohesiveness. This allows teams to focus on the task at hand rather than become embroiled in internal bickering and politics. Their sensitivity to the needs of others acts as a lubricant that helps team members work together.

6. THEY SET AN EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW
Highly emotionally intelligent people don’t get easily flustered when things don’t go according to plan. And their knack for getting along with others makes it more likely that others will take note and try to emulate them. That’s why high emotional intelligence is a key to influencing people in an organization regardless of official title. An ability to rise above daily irritations earns people with high emotional intelligence the respect from those above them as well as from their colleagues.

7. THEY MAKE MORE THOUGHTFUL AND THOROUGH DECISIONS
Because of their ability to see things clearly from another’s point of view, highly emotionally intelligent people are able to make better judgements about how their decisions will impact others. Not only does this result in better decision making overall, but it also helps manage damage control when certain decisions lead to negative consequences. Being able to judge the outcomes of their choices lets highly emotionally intelligent people behave more proactively.

People who show an enhanced ability to adapt to change, manage their emotions, and work well with a diverse range of people are already valuable in most workplaces. But with the rates of change and pressures in the workplace rising, they’ll become even more sought after than ever.

original article:www.foxnews.com

7 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Is One Of The Fastest-Growing Job Skills

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, emotional intelligence will be one of the top 10 job skills in 2020.

The awareness that emotional intelligence is an important job skill, in some cases even surpassing technical ability, has been growing in recent years. In a 2011 Career Builder Survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71% stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ; 75% said they were more likely to promote a highly emotionally intelligent worker; and 59% claimed they’d pass up a candidate with a high IQ but low emotional intelligence.

The question, then, is why companies are putting such a high premium on emotional intelligence. Here are seven of the top reasons why highly emotionally intelligent candidates are so valuable.

1. THEY CAN HANDLE PRESSURE HEALTHILY
Dealing with workplace pressures and functioning well under stress demands an ability to manage our emotions. People with higher levels of emotional intelligence are more aware of their internal thermometer and therefore better able to manage their stress levels. They tend to have better-developed coping mechanisms and healthy support systems that keep working effectively even in tough situations. The increasing rate of change in the workplace is likely to increase work-related stress and boost the value of those who can manage it.

2. THEY UNDERSTAND AND COOPERATE WITH OTHERS
People with highly developed emotional intelligence are less defensive and more open to feedback, especially when it involves areas of improvement.
As teamwork becomes increasingly important in the workplace, people who are able to understand and get along with others will become ever more sought after. Highly emotionally intelligent people have well-developed people skills that let them build relationships with a diverse range of people across many cultures and backgrounds. That’s an asset in an increasingly globalized workplace.

3. THEY’RE GOOD LISTENERS
Everyone wants to be heard and understood. The ability to listen well and respond to others is crucial for developing strong working relationships. Many of us, though, aren’t as good as we could be at really listening to what others are saying. Because of their ability to understand others, highly emotionally intelligent people are in a better position to put their own emotions and desires aside and take others into account. Their ability to pick up on people’s emotions, through tone of voice and body language, come in handy in team settings.

4. THEY’RE MORE OPEN TO FEEDBACK
Open, timely, and honest feedback is essential to job performance—especially at a time when annual performance reviews are in decline. People with highly developed emotional intelligence are less defensive and more open to feedback, especially when it involves areas of improvement. Their high level of self-regard lets them look positively at areas where they can do better, rather than taking feedback personally.

5. THEY’RE EMPATHETIC
Highly emotionally intelligent people are in a better position to put their own emotions and desires aside and take others’ into account.
Collaboration doesn’t just present logistical issues—it also comes down to responding to teammates’ feelings. People with high emotional intelligence are able to use their sensitivity to where others are coming from to build trust and cohesiveness. This allows teams to focus on the task at hand rather than become embroiled in internal bickering and politics. Their sensitivity to the needs of others acts as a lubricant that helps team members work together.

6. THEY SET AN EXAMPLE FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW
Highly emotionally intelligent people don’t get easily flustered when things don’t go according to plan. And their knack for getting along with others makes it more likely that others will take note and try to emulate them. That’s why high emotional intelligence is a key to influencing people in an organization regardless of official title. An ability to rise above daily irritations earns people with high emotional intelligence the respect from those above them as well as from their colleagues.

7. THEY MAKE MORE THOUGHTFUL AND THOROUGH DECISIONS
Because of their ability to see things clearly from another’s point of view, highly emotionally intelligent people are able to make better judgements about how their decisions will impact others. Not only does this result in better decision making overall, but it also helps manage damage control when certain decisions lead to negative consequences. Being able to judge the outcomes of their choices lets highly emotionally intelligent people behave more proactively.

People who show an enhanced ability to adapt to change, manage their emotions, and work well with a diverse range of people are already valuable in most workplaces. But with the rates of change and pressures in the workplace rising, they’ll become even more sought after than ever.

3 Reasons Your Small Business Should Use Email Marketing

3 Reasons Your Small Business Should Use Email Marketing

Marketing has changed significantly in the last several decades. Technological advancements in the field have given birth to platforms like social media and search engine marketing, leaving marketers with no shortage of channels to leverage.

Just last year, the Direct Marketing Association reported that over half of all marketers they surveyed  planned to increase marketing budgets allocated to email as a result of their previous success.

So what is it then, in this era of demand-driven social marketing, that continues to make email marketing a core component of successful small business marketing strategies?

1. Insights you can count on

One of the strongest assets email marketing brings to the table is the detailed reporting and analysis at your fingertips.

Contrary to more traditional marketing channels like print or television, email marketing reports provide valuable insights into the overall success of your marketing campaigns.

While most email marketing apps provide basic metrics, like clicks or opens, the good ones allow you to dig deeper into the details.  Taking a look at metrics like how long your recipients spend reading your emails, as well as the devices or email services they use to access them, tells the marketer a lot about what is working and what isn’t with their email campaigns.

2. It doesn’t take up too much time

Most good things take time.  For small businesses that often operate without the resources of a large marketing department, every task must be weighed against everything else that can be done with that same amount of time.

Typically, we find it takes the average user only about 30 minutes to complete their first campaign. This includes the time it takes to import contacts, design a template, test it, and feel the adrenaline pump of pressing “send.”

3. Keeps your bottom line healthy

When it comes to a small business, the reality is that everything boils down to return on investment and how long it takes to get there.  Small businesses must be able to justify each and every dollar of marketing, and that’s what draws them to email.

According to the DMA, each dollar spent on email marketing generates roughly $44 in revenue. While this statistic may be somewhat inflated, it is hard to argue against email marketing’s proven ability to consistently deliver outstanding results.

In order to re-engage previous customers, move new leads through the sales funnel, and cross-sell to current clients, email targets the low hanging fruit  – your contact database. When you create email campaigns focused on existing relationships (no matter the level), you create a non-invasive method for staying relevant that will surely pay off in the future.

Making Your First Million Is Easy — If You Follow These 5 Steps

Making Your First Million Is Easy -- If You Follow These 5 Steps

When you think about making a million dollars, does it seem like a far-fetched goal? Is it something you want to accomplish but just can’t picture happening? This was the case for my friend Ryan Moran — until his 26th birthday, when he made his first million dollars. Today, at 28 years old, his business generates roughly $500,000 per month.

I was curious what shifts took place that allowed someone so young to go from dreaming of making a million dollars to becoming a multi-millionaire in just a few short years. He told me me, “Making your first million is easy — if you do these five things.”

1. Surround yourself with people who will stretch your mind.
Since Ryan was a little boy, he has dreamed of owning the Cleveland Indians. Now in his 20s, he realized that in order for him to turn his dream into a reality, he would need to come up with roughly $500 million. For most people, the though of having $500 million liquid to buy a professional sports team is way beyond the range of what is possible. It was for Ryan too — until he started surrounding himself with people who already played at that level.

He explained that, “You can imagine what it will take to accomplish that type of a goal and by having people at that level as your advisors, they can tell you exactly what you need to do. It may be just a subtle shift in one part of your business, but suddenly what you thought was potentially impossible becomes realistic.”

It was that concept of demystifying the impossible that inspired him to host a live event that would bring the people who inspired him together with the goal of helping the next generation of entrepreneurs.

What is your dream that is so big that the thought of accomplishing it seems impossible — and maybe even scares you? Do you think you would be more likely to accomplish it if you had a group of advisors who were already playing at that level? If so, take action on forming relationships with them, and let them guide you the rest of the way.

2. Re-frame the impossible.
As you surround yourself with the right people, you will need to work on upgrading your mindset. Part of this will require you to recognize your limiting beliefs and re-frame those thoughts. Ryan shared, “When you feel like something is impossible, recognize that it’s just the story that you are telling yourself that makes you perceive it to be impossible and not the action itself.” Then it is just a matter of rewriting your story.

To rewrite your own story, ask yourself, “What are the things in my life that scare me and stop me from taking action? Is it the action that really scares me, or is it a false perception that is holding me back? How can I take action and move through it in spite of that fear?”

Your ability to increase your income hinges on your ability to deliver unexpected value. Most people think the only way they can add more value is by working harder or exchanging money. This is thinking too small. You deliver unexpected value through the connections you can make, the time you can allocate and the problems you can alleviate.

Big opportunities open up when you building relationships with the right people, invest your time in your highest leverage activities and are a person who solves problems. Break out of the old mindset of thinking that you have to work harder or find a higher-paying job, and start developing the habit of incorporating these three things in your everyday life.

4. Choose your customers wisely.
The easiest way to fast-track your path to a million is to charge more for your products and services. However, when you tell someone to raise their prices, they often push back and say that the market doesn’t allow for that type of increase. This is where you have to choose your customer wisely.

The price a customer is willing to pay is directly tied to the amount of value they receive. If your services deliver a 10 percent sales increase to company that does $1 million in revenue, then you brought $100,000 in value. If you deliver the same 10 percent increase to a $100 million company, your value is exponentially higher. Would the first company pay you $250,000 for your services? No way. Would the second? It is quite possible.

Sometimes what stands in your way from exponential growth is not you or your product. It’s the customer you are targeting. Ryan learned this lesson the hard way. For a few years he had been teaching his business model to people who wanted to start their own companies and was charging $1,000 for this information. A few years later, one of his students was teaching the exact same content but targeting a different group of people charging $100,000!

Ryan realized that he approaching his target market trying to get as many of they to say “yes” as possible, instead of positioning himself as a solution to the elite segment of his market and aligning his pricing accordingly.

The result? He found a select group that was willing to pay 50-times more than his original rates. You will find your path to a million dollars a lot easier if you choose your customers wisely.

5. Invest for the long term.
So many people go for the fast and easy win. While this may work for some, you will find that results come a lot faster when you invest for the long term. I’m not just talking about stocks and real estate. I’m talking about how you spend your time, the people you hire, the relationships you build, the products you develop and the structure of your company. These are all investments.

As Ryan tried to grow his business, he realized many of his struggles were because he was making decisions based on short-term results. Then he made a conscious decision to focus on what would be best for the long-term focus. As a result, he was able to attract better clients who he could actually serve and add real value to, which allowed him to raise his prices. This was when he broke the million-dollar mark.

How much money are you leaving on the table because you are not planning out far enough and laying the foundation for long term success? Incorporate these five steps, and you may find that making your first million is easier than you originally thought.

7 reasons to choose Latin America for your dev outsourcing

Latin-America-930x698

There’s a new twist in America’s 20-plus-year outsourcing narrative. U.S. companies have historically looked to India for cost-effective programming talent, and more recently to Eastern Europe for mobile development. But these days, more and more IT jobs are being outsourced in a new direction: south.

A number of trends in Latin America have created a growing pool of IT talent. The continent’s 400 million-strong population has seen Internet usage grow by 1644.3 percent over the last 15 years, with an Internet penetration rate in 2015 of 61 percent (the global average is 45 percent). There’s also a growing number of startups (a.k.a. “TechnoLatinas”) in the region. Programs like Startup Chile have backed over 1,000 startups, while Colombian business development bank Bancoldex has raised $500 million to spur economic development through young companies.

U.S.-based technical marketplaces like Toptal, publicly traded Globant, and the company I founded, Scalable Path, are increasingly looking to Latin America as a possible offshore center for development — and with good reason. The smaller time difference and less drastic cultural differences can mean better cooperation, lower employee turnover, and more success at meeting key performance indicators than other markets can offer.

Here’s a closer look at the reasons Latin America is becoming a strong alternative for U.S. tech development:

1. Time zone: One of the biggest challenges of working with personnel in India or China has been the large time zone difference. There’s a 13.5-hour difference between the U.S. and Bangalore. By comparison, time zone differences between the U.S. and Latin America are negligible: Colombia is on Eastern Time, while Argentina is only two hours earlier. This allows synchronous communication and reduced response times between teams, enabling them to resolve issues quickly. When face-to-face meetings are a must, travel within similar time zones is less painful. I’ve dealt first-hand with the challenges of working across distant time zones while managing a team of software developers in India. Those in India had to stay up until midnight in order to join conference calls with the U.S., and our communication suffered. By contrast, when working with developers in South America, we can chat on Slack or hop on a Skype call whenever the need arises.

2. Favorable business environment: According to the 2016 A.T. Kearney Global Services Location Index, a study tracking the offshoring landscape, six Latin American countries rank in the top 20 for financial attractiveness, people skills, and business environment: Brazil (4), Mexico (8), Chile (9), Costa Rica (19) and Colombia (20). With political stability and favorable business policies, these countries are becoming preferred offshore options.

3. Costs: Hiring quality developers in the US costs anywhere from $80 to $150 per hour, with Latin America and India ranging from $40 to $70 per hour and $20 to $50 per hour respectively. Hiring costs for developers in Latin America, although higher on average than places like India, are still less that half that of of developers in the United States, with the added advantage of similar time zones.

4. English proficiency: According to the EF English Proficiency Index 2015, a number of Latin American countries — including Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Brazil — have surpassed China in English proficiency. And more English-speaking Latin Americans could be coming: In 2013, President Barack Obama launched the 100,000 Strong in the Americas program to expand educational exchanges in higher learning by doubling the number of exchange students between the U.S. and Mexico. Latin America, with its countries investing more in English language training, may one day be the top destination for outsourcing services.

5. Tech talent numbers: The quantity and quality of Latin American tech talent has seen a significant rise over the last few years. According to Stack Overflow, a site for programmers with 4.7 million users, the average reputation of top users is higher for Latin American countries like Peru (24,809), Colombia (21,064), Chile (18,080), Argentina (16,500), and Brazil (14,150) than for India (13,882) and China (13,236). Even though India boasts a larger number of top users, the quality of developers in Latin America is higher or on par with Indian programmers.

6. Culture: The cultures of the United States and Latin America were both strongly influenced by European civilization. And while there are strong cultural differences, certain similarities do extend into the work styles and business approaches across the continents, making it somewhat easier to collaborate.

Latin American developers seem to be more assertive and creative, viewing the relationship more as a partnership rather than a hierarchical client/worker relationship. For example, Latin American developers are more likely to give important feedback like “actually, that can’t be completed by your desired deadline” despite the risk of conflict, while in places like India, developers may have a more difficult time voicing important concerns early on.

7. Fastest-growing outsourcing market: As the global market for offshoring services expands, Latin America seems to be growing most rapidly, with Brazil, Colombia, and Chile leading the way. According to a 2014 KPMG study, while Latin America’s outsourcing industry currently represents only 5 percent of global spending, or around $7 billion, its annual growth rate through 2017 is projected to average nearly 10 percent, up from 5.3 percent in 2013.

Most of the Latin American economies continue to expand at a steady pace, although they’ve been affected by political instability, language barriers, and a general inequality with supply and demand. Despite these challenges, Latin America has emerged with great promise as a destination for offshore services.

Damien Filiatrault is founder of development-outsourcing firm Scalable Path. Previously, he headed PHP development at SolutionSet, where he spent a five-month period in Goa, India managing a team of software developers. He has also held sales and marketing positions at other San Francisco technology companies, including Evite and CNET Networks.

How to Solve the Marketing Skills Gap In Your Company

Training-Marketers-600x345

A few weeks ago I was talking to Maureen Blandford about marketers, marketing technology, and the need for all of us to move faster.

Our conversation turned to skill sets and the current digital and technology skills gap in marketing today. A thought I had in that conversation has been gnawing at me since: “Today’s marketers don’t have the aptitude for marketing technology.”

We continue to hear about the skills gap in marketing today and marketers are continuing to get trained on technology. But it isn’t closing the gap. If anything, as we rely more on technology in marketing, the gap is actually getting worse! Why?

Because today’s marketers don’t want to deal with technology.

I complete my time sheets because I have to. It is a requirement, and I’ll here about it from my boss if I don’t. I don’t love doing my timesheets. I have no passion for it. (Well, actually I do, but it isn’t a good kind).

Many marketers approach technology the way I approach timesheets. It is a functional requirement. Just one more thing they need to deal with in their day. This is why we are facing a shortage of the skills we need today, and the situation continues to get worse.

The solution to today’s marketing skills gap isn’t training. It is hiring people who are genuinely interested in and curious about marketing technology. People that look for ways technology can solve their challenges and aren’t phased by using technology in new or unexpected ways.

Training many marketers today to use technology is a band-aid that just briefly covers up the problem, until our marketing technology changes again a few months later.

So let’s stop focusing on training the wrong people and start focusing on hiring people with the interest in and aptitude for the technology we will use today and into the future.

One change that dramatically improved B2B marketing results

Slice-of-a-TractorYou can’t rely on your own data.

Your prospects spend the vast majority of their time doing everything except opening your emails, visiting your site or viewing your content.

Despite the magic of marketing automation and the ability to collect information on every mouse movement on every page of our sites, we only get a tiny window into the lives of our prospects. And that tiny window can turn out to be very misleading.

What happens when we start to fill in the picture? We have a better understanding of what people are interested in and our marketing performs significantly better.

Here are a few recently published results:

Case 1: Email click rates increased 279%.
Case 2: A 463% increase in email click rate. (Wow)
Case 3: You say clicks don’t matter? I won’t disagree, so how about a 200% increase in whitepaper downloads.

Tractor-in-the-Sky-Image

A little bit more data can completely change our view!

There are many new ways B2B marketers can use data and when we look only at what someone does on our own site, we miss most of the picture. Of course we get it wrong!

The results above, all of which were published by Madison Logic, show how just a little more data can make a huge difference, and by extension, just how little relevant data many marketers actually have today.

Imagine for a moment: you have a database with thousands of contacts that haven’t engaged with you in at least six months. You had some indication of what they might be interested in six to 18 months ago. But you don’t know if their interest has since changed!

For your email marketing to be relevant, you need to know what they are interested in now, not six months ago.

For me, that’s pretty easy to imagine because it hit close to home. We all have a marketing database with high quality contact data (for at least part of it), and yet we don’t know what many of the people in our database actually care about today.

Top 3 Media Buying Mistakes B2B Marketers Make

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Sometimes the best advice and perspective doesn’t come from the public figures we hear at conferences or see quoted in publications. It comes from the people who are hands on, doing the work in a wide range of situations.

Toby-Hudson

Toby is one of those guys. You probably don’t know Toby, but maybe you should. He recently joined Business Insider as the Sales Director for the Southeast, after a number of years with CBSi, parent to B2B technology focused properties ZDNet and TechRepublic (among others). Like many of the people I work with at publishers, Toby works on more programs in a month than many of us work on in a year and that position gives him first hand insight into what is working, and what isn’t, at scale.

I had a chance to talk to Toby recently (when he was still with CBSi) and he shared three of the most common mistakes he sees B2B marketers make when they first start working with publishers. I thought it was great insight for B2B marketers looking to work with publishers for the first time (and a healthy reminder for many of us). So, with a hat tip to Toby, here they are, along with some of my thoughts he sparked:

  1. Setting Unrealistic Expectations

When our expectations are unrealistic, we don’t have an opportunity to be successful. What many marketers would consider a success will be seen as a complete failure, not even as a modest result that can be built on.

Toby highlighted two areas in particular where he sees marketers coming in with unrealistic expectations.

ROI. Yes, marketing should build the business, but it doesn’t make the trees around your office burst into beautiful blooms of money. If your expectations of ROI would make even the most risk-averse CEO give you a blank check, you are setting yourself up to fail.

Content. We are all awash in content today. If a publication can target your audience, you are likely one of dozens of marketers trying to offer up your content to their audience. Content focusing on the challenges or needs of one audience can’t be used effectively with other audiences that don’t share the same challenge. Particularly with “lead guarantee” programs, where a publisher contracts to provide a certain number of contacts meeting specific criteria, marketers fall into the trap of believing their content isn’t critical.

Toby shared a number of examples with me, including a marketer that expected more than $1.2 million in revenue from a $15,000 lead generation program and another that expected to use content created for help desk administrators in a program to increase visibility with VPs and CIOs. These are extreme examples, but unfortunately mismatches like this are not unusual.

When you set unrealistic expectations, you have nowhere to go but down.

  1. Underinvesting

 

Publisher sites are noisy places, some have more than a dozen ads on a single page and 10′s or 100′s of millions of ads served every month. You are one of many marketers, and if this is one of your first ventures into advertising, you are likely one of the smaller and lesser-known ones.

In addition, each publisher represents only a tiny slice of the total time your audience spends online. Is your buy really big enough to meaningfully sway perception when your competitors aren’t just sitting silent? Often, the answer is “no.”

One of the best ways to address this is to narrow your focus. Many marketers start with retargeting because it reaches a very finite audience that is already familiar with your company (people who visited your site) and is relatively inexpensive. When you look at larger B2B publishers, start by focusing the specific sections of the site.

Toby highlighted the tendency many marketers have to run small pilots with a large number of companies and then conclude advertising won’t work. Instead, focus on just a one or two partners, at a scale that delivers a more meaningful impact. Not only will you see better results, you will be testing programs that are more like the ones you will ultimately roll out.

  1. Jumping Straight to Sales

Someone downloaded your perspective on industry trends, market research you sponsored, or your tip sheet. No, that doesn’t mean they want to buy from you. Chances are, they still don’t even know what you do!

Yet this is still what many marketers are doing. I’ve received the calls, I’m sure you have too. But buyers hate it, it is interruptive, presumptive, and rarely successful. Even worse, many marketers don’t have a separate long-term nurturing process for the vast majority of people who may actually be interested in the future, but don’t want to talk today.

If you are asking for someone’s email in exchange for content or information, you better be ready to followup with additional content that is useful, entertaining or timely. If your plan is to cold call everyone on the list, just skip the content promotion, buy yourself a list and start making calls.