Blockchain Blues, Case Study Heartache.

best practices blockchain marketing case studies For those of you who follow this blog, sorry for having been out of touch. It’s been an extremely busy summer and fall,  what with time off off touring Iceland and Scotland and then with increasingly strong demand for marketing content.

But not all tech categories are as healthy as others, and in some ways, creating quality content is becoming harder and harder. Among the changes I’m seeing:

  • Email struggles: Clients are getting more sophisticated in their use of marketing automation tools to target customized emails to the right prospects. But the logistical details (like honing the messaging and integrating it into different email templates) are still challenges. The more nurture campaigns I do, the more my stock advice holds true: Get your messaging and workflows down before jumping into your first campaign. That will save uncounted hours of rework and chaos as you ramp your email volume.)
  • Blockchain blues: After a colossal wave of hype, concerns over security, cost, and speed are spreading doubts over blockchain (the distributed database technology designed to eliminate middlemen for everything from financial trading to customs paperwork.) Every week seems to bring news of another intriguing pilot, such as the AP (my former employer) using blockchain to be sure it gets paid when its content is republished. But next there’s yet another hack of a blockchain-protected cryptocurrency or concerns that blockchain uses more power and is slower than conventional transaction systems. Suggestion: In your blockchain messaging proactively address concerns such as cost, speed and security, and back up any claims with real-life successes, not just pilots. 
  • The “T” word: The craze to use “digital transformation” to describe just about every part of the IT industry is worse than ever. While some clients agree “DT” is so vague as to be meaningless, many marketers can’t resist sprinkling it like fairy dust into every piece of copy. One client had a good definition that ran something like this: “Long lasting, quantum improvements in efficiency, sales or costs.” That level of precision eliminates a lot of the “transformation” stories that turn out to describe only conventional cost-cutting or moving workloads to the cloud (not exactly radical in 2018.) Why not hash out a one-sentence description of “transformation” everyone on your marketing staff understands, and make sure each piece of marketing material explains how you help achieve it?
  • Case study heartache: By definition, a case study must describe how your product or service helped the customer, and how your product or service is better, cheaper, faster than its competitors. But extracting that essential information from vendors’ sales and delivery staffs is getting harder, not easier. I have no easy answer for this, except to train, train, train the staff working with the client to think about the business benefits of their work. That means metrics like lower costs, increased sales, quicker time to market or increased customer retention, not internal benchmarks like meeting project milestones or the number of employees who use a new application.
  • Operationalize this. From cloud migration to Big Data, many of my clients are promoting their ability to “operationalize” IT functions with automated, consistent, repeatable processes. The aim is to cut costs, speed delivery, and reduce security and other risks with standard ways of working across the business. Describing all this can get pretty dry, though, with long descriptions of frameworks, best practices, and the capabilities you’re streamlining. I try to keep it relevant by describing a business benefit for every process the client is improving, and pushing them (again!) for how they achieve that improvement better than their competitors.    

Bottom line: There’s plenty of marketing work out there, but it’s getting harder to deliver the caliber of content that gets results. What are you doing to keep quality up amid the rush to push content out the door, the need to learn new marketing platforms and clients that struggle to describe the business benefits of the solutions they sell?

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

All I want to do is paste my logo in this email...

Chapter Three: Upon trying to create my first email campaign (one of my regular editorial calendar newsletters to tell my PR friends of upcoming assignments) I ran into a snag: LoopFuse lacks the type of drag and drop email design tool I had become used to in Constant Contact. While it supposedly has tools for designing and formatting newsletters, I couldn’t find them despite multiple good faith attempts by their tech support folks.

I spent several hours trying to export the HTML code for my existing newsletter from Constant Contact into LoopFuse. No go. I next tried downloading various HTML templates from the Web to LoopFuse and customizing them. Still too clumsy to edit. So I tried several editors to customize the templates. Close, but too much of a learning curve with so much else to do. As a stop-gap, I created emails using my existing template in Constant Contact, trusting LoopFuse will track readership through the tracking codes on my WordPress site even though I didn’t create the email in LoopFuse.

(LoopFuse tells me they have no plans to upgrade their email editing capabilities. They did, however, quickly link me up with one of their partners who is looking for a workaround. If anyone can tell me what obvious steps I’m missing, or how they tackle this, I’m all ears.)

In the meantime, after finishing several stories on my content map, I tried to post them only to run into sudden problems with formatting and preserving links in WordPress, and realized that on my Web site sub-pages weren’t showing up properly on the page menus. This meant several quasi-panicked emails to my on-call WordPress guru, and several hours explaining my needs and evaluating how several plug-ins would, and wouldn’t work.

Meanwhile, helpful emails about how to do SEO continued to cross my email, leading me to wonder just how important SEO is for someone like me selling niche services largely through word of mouth. For now, I’m doing the minimum (trying to optimize URLs and adding relevant keywords into my text) and focusing primarily on developing and implementing my content marketing plan.

Speaking of which, one expert commentary I just saw recommended 8-12 contacts with prospects over a four-week period to maximum effectiveness. That’s a good reminder to focus and refine my plan for delivering this content. Which means I need to get back to creating content for my first campaign, not to mention delivering some white papers whose deadlines have snuck up while I’ve been doing all this troubleshooting.

This week’s lesson: While you’re thinking Big Thoughts about personas, scoring metrics and lead flows, keep your tecchie troubleshooters close at hand. Good thing it’s only 12 degrees in Boston so I’m not tempted to venture outside and away from the computer.

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

Gotten a pitch to attend a conference or trade show lately? Did you decide to spend the money, or ditch it and stay in the office? It’s tough to get people to part with their money, or their time, to attend conferences these days. But one way to do it is to give them a sample of what they’d get if they attended.

 

A recent email from the SAP Insider trade pub for their Administrator and Infrastructure Conference  did a good job of doing exactly that. After a brief introductory paragraph or two, it provides a teaser list of six tips (each of which is actually a “best practices”) that was presented during earlier conferences. They are:

  • Tip 1 – 10-step guide to integrate SAP NetWeaver BW and SAP BusinessObjects security
  • Tip 2 – Technical prerequisites for your SAP enhancement package implementation project
  • Tip 3 – Tips for working with SAP NetWeaver variables in Crystal Reports
  • Tip 4 – 19 guidelines for avoiding common pitfalls during your next SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse upgrade project
  • Tip 5 – How to understand the difference between centralized, distributed, and autonomous data governance models, and
  • Tip 6 – 10 best practices for building Xcelsius dashboards

You don’t have to be an SAP expert to see that each tip is specific and technical enough to show the prospect the type of nitty-gritty value they’d get from the conference. By tracking which newsletter recipients click through to which tip (yes, the prospect has to give up their contact info to get the tip) SAP Insider (or a sponsor) can infer what products each prospect is using, and what challenges they’re facing. So even if you don’t get the prospect for the conference, you might have a lead for a product or service sale.

 

It’s a great example of “selling by offering value,” using valuable content that already exists from previous events. What great, usable content is sitting around your organization you could be using to attract conference attendees – or sales leads?

Author: Bob Scheier
Visit Bob's Website - Email Bob
I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.