We accept your challenge!
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has gone beyond viral, to some new sort of social media stage where hip hop moguls, former Presidents, Dave Grohl, and a wide variety of your friends, family, and co-workers, have all pretty much been pulled in one way or another.
Contactually is no exception — here’s Brian stepping up (while refusing to remove his sunglasses, for some reason).
Social media at its best
I learned a lot more than I ever wanted to learn about ALS a few years ago, when a friend, co-worker, and blogging mentor of mine was diagnosed. And I have to say, in an age where we spend a lot of time questioning the ultimate point & potential of things like social media and “wondering what it all means”, I think the Ice Bucket Challenge is a pretty amazing example of what these channels can do well. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen in my Facebook feed who, in response to the challenge, literally ask “what is ALS?”, and get an answer. Clearly, awareness is an issue, and to see it actually addressed through something as simple and shareable as the Ice Bucket Challenge is pretty brilliant.
Solidarity isn’t the answer to everything, but for challenges that sometimes feel insurmountable to the people trying to overcome them, it can be pretty amazing thing. So thanks to everyone who’s participated, learned something, and of course, donated to help find a cure.
And remember, you don’t have to be challenged by a friend (or have extremely cold water dumped on you), to help fight ALS!
It’s been a while since we’ve done this sort of thing for CRM Evolution, the Big Apple’s big annual CRM conference, but we figured that this was as good a time as any to bust it out again. With great speakers like Paul Greenberg, Vala Afshar, Jim Berkowitz, and Leslie Ament, how could we not?
Day one was especially no slouch: the conference opened with Garrison Wynn and was home to great talks Jim Dickie, Ray Wang, and Jim Berkowitz, and day two kept the momentum going. As is standard fare with posts like this, we go through the conference’s tweets — so you don’t have to (although you’re more than welcome to) and give you some of the best that we find.
Trust takes time to build, but trust is the foundation for compassion & competence #CRMevolution
— Michael Wu Ph.D. (@mich8elwu) August 18, 2014
The link is not enough — don’t be a link dumper.
Here’s a scenario that happens a lot. You’re on the internet (I know, shocking), when you find something online that interests you. It could be a new service, or a competitor’s site, or even just the latest piece of delicious, Buzzfeedy-clickbait (“This puppy thought he couldn’t get any cuter — you won’t believe what happened next!”). Your coworkers need to know about this, so you quickly open your email and tap out this bad boy. read more…
“Friends, Romans, resellers, lend me your customer networks!”
Selling your product or service through partners can make a ton of sense, and rapidly expand your ability to reach customers without the overhead that comes with maintaining an enormous direct sales channel. Even when you have a great offering, sales can be a surprisingly (and frustratingly) customized challenge that requires you to tell unique stories to unique audiences. Many companies are able to make great products BECAUSE they don’t spread themselves thin trying to sell to the world. That’s where a great partner selling program can make a huge difference.
My colleague — and prolific blog contributor — Brian Pesin recently recently relaunched our partner program here at Contactually, and he was kind enough to explain a few of the lessons he’s learned, and how he’s baking them into the foundation of our new program. Here’s some of what he shared with me. read more…
“I’m really ashamed to see you go to something that can’t give you what we can.”
The first thing many people thought when they heard Ryan Block’s recording of a Comcast “retention specialist” was something along the lines of “wow, what a jerk”. It’s just common sense that if you’re arguing with a customer, you’re probably doing something wrong.
But while Comcast tried to defuse the situation by blaming one lone, poorly trained employee, it increasingly looks like that’s not what happened at all. The Verge has a fascinating collection of testimonials from current and former Comcast tech support employees who describe — in great detail — a systematic approach to mixing support with sales that encourages exactly the kind of behavior they allegedly disapprove of. By building their operating procedures around an incredibly shortsighted interpretation of metrics, and then creating strong incentives to adhere to these procedures at all times, Comcast brought this PR nightmare entirely on themselves. read more…
The big, stupid email list is dead
The next person who uses “email blast” and actually means it will be publicly flogged. Long gone are the days that you send your entire list of contacts the same email, not taking into account what the person may care about, how you know them, where they are located, and what they may ultimately buy from you. Continuing to do this is email marketing suicide.
The good news is that there are sophisticated (and fairly simple) ways to fine tune and segment your email list so that your company’s name is consistently a welcome breath of relevant fresh air in the dank, stagnant black hole that is the email inbox.
Dramatics aside, failing to segment your email list and send targeted messages results in mistrust and inability for your audience to separate the harmony from the noise (think Charlie Brown’s mom). When you have something important that they may actually want to read, you will have lost them already.
Say hello to Shammy Dee, Contactually’s new favorite DJ
I first talked with Shammy in late May. Even without having met him, I liked him immediately. He was vibrant, genuine, and had an infectious energy. He was also a proactive Contactually user. By our second conversation, he had already used Contactually to follow up with a contact and book a gig.
“If you don’t use your network, there’s no use in having it,” Shammy told me. “The ability to bucket each contact given the wide range of worlds that I’m in allows me to compartmentalize everybody and allows me to say, “Oh, I know somebody, let me refer you.” [Bucketing] gives me the chance to revise all my relationships and not let them go for a year or five years [without my talking to them].”
Hence the gig he landed. read more…
So what IS a private equity firm, anyways?
You’ve probably heard a lot more about private equity — or “PE” for short — in the news recently, as a number of well-known companies have been snapped up by PE firms over the last few years.
So what do these PE firms do, and why are they buying all these companies? Well, the goal of a PE firm is the same as any other company – to make money. To do this, PE firms buy a (typically) majority position in a company, leverage their networks and resources to help make the target more successful, and then ultimately resell the company (or take it public) for a profit — usually after 3 to 7 years. This process can be likened to someone buying a classic car, restoring it, and then banking the proceeds when they sell it.