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printForum is all about providing our customers and prospects with educational information. We have a number of fabulous resources who we look to help us bring our community the most up-to-date stats, trends and technology! Here are some of the latest articles:

The art of being intimate – and why it matters today

Q&A with Mayur Ramgir

Mayur Ramgir has seen it too many times with the brands he works with. When a company first starts out, it is likely to know its customers on a first name basis. But as it grows, it loses that personal touch. The company, more oftentimes than not, starts marketing its brand with one-too-many strategies.

More and more brands today are taking note of the significant difference made when they make an effort to add another layer of value for their customers. But, Ramgir admits that achieving customer intimacy is easier said than done. To read the full article click here.

 

Insights

We look to the employees and give them recognition. We are giving them the opportunity to put their imprint on the program, which makes it more compelling.” To read the full article click here.

 

Intimacy

By: Michael J. Pallerino

In his alter ego as The Workplace Therapist, Brandon Smith has had more than his
fair share of conversations about the interactions people have with each other – both internally and externally. To read the full article click here.

 

On The Wire

Are you winning in the content marketing game? The keys to success are right in front of you: Commitment. A documented strategy. Creativity. Meaningful goals and metrics. Experimentation. To note, according to the “B2B Content Marketing: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends
– North America” study, 62 percent of marketers are reporting more success from their strategies. To read the full article click here.

Point Blank

By Larry Light

Blockbuster. Remember them? In a time that seems far, far away, the 9,000-store video rental chain seemed to be everywhere. Families would practically camp out to secure the latest releases.

But as the industry and world changed, and movie-renting habits evolved, Blockbuster failed to adapt. Did you know that it once  declined an offer to partner with an emerging new company called Netflix.

Try to find a Blockbuster story today. I dare you. To read the full article click here.

 

Building Relationships for the Long Haul

Bill Schiemann knows a thing or two about this whole premise of staying engaged and connected with the communities you belong to. His role starts at the beginning. As the principal and CEO of the Metrus Group, he and his team are known for its pioneering work in the creation of the People Equity (ACE) talent optimization framework, strategic performance metrics and balanced scorecards.

He consults extensively with corporations on the development and implementation of business and people strategies. Ask him about the importance of keeping everyone connected up and down and all around the network, and he’ll tell you that it is an art form – one that more brands and its people must spend time mastering. To read the full article click here.

Creating Your Sales Playbook

Follow the instructions. Seems every time something gets off track, that the best course of action. Take your sales process – it works best when you build a playbook your sales team can use as a guide.

This structured guide features the best of the best practices your team uses – what works, what doesn’t.

Eric Estrella believes in this approach. As a client success manager for the management-consulting firm Sales Benchmark Index (https://salesbenchmarkindex.com/), Estrella spends his days helping clients work through their sales challenges.

Regardless of the initiative that’s driving the need for a sales playbook, the need is there. Estrella says “The key is to not allow your sales team to get lost on the journey.” Estrella likes to use this driving analogy to prove his point: When you are driving somewhere you have never been before, you get the address and plug it into your GPS. The GPS tells you how to get there. The process is simple: The GPS gives you the directions, you follow.

To read the full article click here.

 

So, You Want To Be A Market Leader

Go ahead, ask Ken Rutsky the question. What does it take drive a market? To be a leader? And, in today’s highly competitive and ever-shifting landscape, just how long can you stay on top?

To be fair, these are tough questions. And Rutsky knows it. The easy answer is that everyone wants to be a market leader. But, as Rutsky earnestly proclaims, some companies lead while others lag. The leaders. They focus on winning by articulating and connecting their unique value to their customers’ world and context, while the others focus their communication on features, functions and benefits. To read the full article click here.

 

PrintRules

SURVEY EMPHASIZES VALUE OF PRINT FOR SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS When it comes to small business marketing, print is it. According to Vistaprint Digital’s “Micro Business Marketing Mix Report,” 68.6 percent of small business owners with less than 10 employees say they use a strong mix of print with their online marketing strategies. To read the full article click here.

 

Insights

Today’s [brands] have to accept the role of both a growth and customer experience champion. Being the growth champion means making sure that you really understand the market you are playing in and how you win. To read the full article click here.

 

Hanging in the Balance

In the case of Cotopaxi, which makes tents, sleeping bags and other gear for outdoor adventures, the certificate calls for inspiring “social and environmental change that results in the improvement of the human condition, increased social consciousness and the amelioration of poverty.” By the time Davis and Jacobs met at the Wharton School of Business in 2010, Davis was already running his second successful online retail startup in Brazil and scouting industries susceptible to disruption. But as someone who grew up in Latin America, he also had a yearning to lift people out of poverty. To read the full article click here.

 

2020 Vision

It’s a lot to take in. But there is some good news (if you can pick yourself up off the floor). These same technological advances also will create 2.1 million new jobs. And here’s the catch – many of the new jobs will be in more specialized areas such as computing, mathematics, architecture and engineering. And all of those manual and clerical workers who may find themselves out of work? They most likely will not have the required skills to compete for the new roles. To read the full article click here.

 

Their Aim Is True

Just how successful is content marketing in today’s marketing landscape? Turns out the numbers are very good indeed. According to the newly released “B2B Content Marketing: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—North America” study, 62 percent of B2B marketers in North America say their organization’s overall approach to content marketing has been much more or somewhat more successful than a year ago. The report surveyed 2,562 marketers from varying industries around the world. To read the full article click here.

 

The Inbox

In a marketing landscape where the search for Big Data rules supreme, technical skills related to data analysis are the most in-demand jobs by employers looking to fill marketing jobs. But according to Venngage’s “Marketing Skills 2016” study, there are few candidates available with these abilities. To read the full article click here.

 

The Great Escape

In his book, “Pre-Suasion,” social psychologist Robert Cialdini shines a curious light on the art of effective persuasion, revealing that the secret doesn’t lie in the message, but in the key moment before that message is delivered. Cialdini, the bestselling author of the iconic book, “Legendary,” explains how to capitalize on that essential window of time before you deliver an important message – the “privileged moment for change” that prepares people to be receptive to a message before they experience it. As Cialdini says, optimal persuasion is achieved only through optimal pre-suasion. To read the full article click here.

 

Strength in Numbers

Their success lends credence to what’s come to be called “internal branding,” or the systematic process by which organizations consciously cultivate employees to be brand ambassadors. Internal branding is based on the simple, and often overlooked premise that every time an employee comes in contact with a prospect, customer, vendor, investor or other stakeholder, they are leaving an impression that will overpower and outlast every dollar their organization spends on brand marketing. To read the full article click here.

 

Q&A With Melissa Lopez

Design. Development. Execution. Ask Melissa Lopez, and these are what she calls the tenets of success for every brand and marketing campaign. After nearly two decades of honing her craft, Lopez currently serves as director of marketing and sales services at MarketSource, which uses a proprietary process to bring technology and training together for business-changing results. As the marketing leader for MarketSource, she is responsible for developing and delivering consistent brand and marketing strategies through all internal and external messaging and brand touchpoints, with a focus on expanding brand awareness. Here, she provides a glimpse into what marketers can expect in 2017. To read the full article click here.

 

2017 is coming – What trends do you need to put on your watch list?

Before he shifted his career to helping brands manage and promote their programs, from start ups to billion-dollar enterprises, Pete Wiltjer started as a newspaper reporter covering local and state government in Indiana.

His experiences taught him the extreme power of communication. Throughout his career, he has carried these lessons with him, crafting a career as a marketing leader with a story to tell.

As founder and president of PWMG, Wiltjer specializes in helping companies engage their prospects by communicating in a valuable way.

As he tells his clients, it’s about rising above the noise. That’s why he believes that the need for a powerful message and the ability to effectively communicate that message through a variety of channels is at the forefront of marketing and branding success today.

We asked Wiltjer to share some of insights on what to expect as we slide into 2017 and what you can set your sights on keeping an eye on:

What is top of mind for every marketer heading into 2017?

For printers, the opportunity is to figure out how to become a bigger part of the content marketing equation. Shifting from design and direct mail to leveraging email marketing, sales nurturing campaigns and marketing automation turns a printer into a marketing solution provider. This is especially true for those serving B2B audiences, as B2B customers prefer learning about products and services through content, as opposed to paid advertising.

What three trends will help shape every marketing budget today?

Data-driven marketing decisions are top of mind. ROI is required from marketing investments.

Digital ad blockers are helping enhance the value of print. It is up to printers to find a way to leverage this. And marketing plans that include a strategic approach, a data management component and demand generation will continue to grow in popularity.

How will marketers boost the play for customer engagement moving forward?

When marketers stop focusing on what their companies do, and shift their focus to what their customers care about, they will be on the path to better customer engagement.

What is the most important trend that marketers should prepare for?

B2B buyers are already nearly 60 percent of the way through the purchase decision-making process, on average, before reaching out to vendors; sales representatives. This means that if you aren’t putting out an effective, strategic message about your capabilities, then your sales team won’t have the opportunity to get in front of your best prospective customers in time.

What is the key to identifying new customers?

Call it inbound marketing. Call it pull marketing. The ability to have meaningful discussions with your customers at the right stage of their research and buying process can only happen if you are putting yourself in the right place, i.e., regular email marketing, blogging, social media publishing), with the right targeted content.

 

Mixology 

Is she intimating that data can sometimes steer you of ccourse? Depends on your interpretation. Macleod, president & CEO of The Holistic Marketing Agency, believes that data tends to be totally context-dependent. Take, for example, website metrics. Your intel may tell you that very few visitors ever make it past the first page. The initial reaction is that your home page is just plain terrible. But what if that page contains all the information your customers need, and there is no need for them to press on? That may be what the data implies. But what do your customers say? What information did you (should you) uncover from having real world engagements with them? Is hiding behind data analysis alone the answer? To read the full article click here.

 

One Size Does Not Always Fit All

Name a place, any place, within the customer journey that can’t be bolstered by content. Tough, isn’t it? The key is in what type of content you use. According to the “Content Marketing’s Evolution: The Age of Hyper-Personalization and Automation” report, 80 percent of marketers say their objectives are met when they use personalized content over any content. The report, conducted by the Demand Metric and Seismic Report, surveyed more than 180 B2B enterprise stakeholders. Here’s a look at the types of content personalization marketers are using today. To read the full article click here.

Out of Sight Out of Mind

By her own admission, Liz Miller flies a “ridiculous” number of miles with American Airlines. As senior VP of marketing for the CMO Council, which entails hosting executive functions or presenting marketing-focused research findings at global conferences and thought-leadership events, her travel schedule is as closely aligned as possible with that of the quintessential jetsetter. To read the full article click here.

 

Q & A Trending With Andrew Neitlich

In his book, “Elegant Leadership: Simple Strategies, Remarkable Results,” Andrew Neitlich shows how strong leaders are the ones who remain committed to learning what they don’t know. If it sounds simple, it’s not. Maybe that’s why Neitlich, founder and director of the Center for Executive Coaching, spends so much time helping today’s leaders perfect their craft. Over the years, he has trained more than 1,000 coaches around the world, with an impressive client list that includes the likes of FedEx, Aflac, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Department of Defense, and Deloitte Consulting, among scores of others. Here, Neitlich dishes on what today’s leaders are made of and how they can get better. To read the full article click here.

 

Disruption

When our lives are disrupted, it feels uncomfortable. And it’s not necessarily viewed as a positive. We may recall in our school days, when a teacher scolded a student for being “disruptive” in class, the connotation wasn’t positive. Penalties typically ensued.

 

In today’s business world, disruption is embraced and celebrated. The Netflix case study has been written about endlessly, serving as the poster child for disruption. In fact, companies passionately talk about how they need disruptors on their team, and encourage others to challenge how things are being done at every step of the process.

 

Being disruptive for the sake of being disruptive is not a good thing. Little Johnny shouldn’t get patted on the back for disturbing the diligent work of everyone else in class. But disruption for the betterment of everyone is a just cause, and should be the impetus for positive change.

 

So, if you can find a way to do something 10 times better than the status quo, then be as disruptive as you possibly can. Just consider the following tips when doing so:

 

  1. Determine the who rather than the what. Disrupting a process to make it more efficient is fine, but we must always consider who will benefit. If the company benefits, but the clients do not, keep searching for a way that serves all stakeholders.
  2. All aboard. The entire organization must be in lock-step for change to take place. This cannot be some sort of “behind-the-scenes” deal, because resistance will happen and the pace of positive change will slow.
  3. Change comes from the outside. When a baseball team fails to win, the manager gets fired. Oftentimes, to make impactful changes, a replacement is hired from outside the organization, as opposed to recycling an internal coach. The moral to the story is that we always must seek outside perspectives, and push aside our biases and preconceived notions of how things are or should be.

 

According to the “2015 ANA’s Marketer’s Edge” report, there are five red flags that prevent us from making the positive changes we crave. Ironically, they mostly relate to the lack of customer centricity that’s critical to any organization’s success. According to the report, the red flags are:

 

  1. A lack of focus –You can’t be everything to everyone. This diffuses resources and strains the organization.
  2. Hunting for capabilities –The proliferation of technologies and the complexity of Omnichannel customer experiences require new capabilities, and marketers must be on the hunt for them.
  3. Customer experience –Only 13 percent cited C-level leaders as being very effective in focusing on the key customer journey metrics needed to drive the business. Without clarity about what matters to customers, or the ability to articulate that as a strategy, business leaders will have significant issues delivering growth.
  4. Too data-driven –The ability to make data-informed decisions was the top mover in terms of the capabilities that marketers deemed important. However, only 10 percent of marketers believe they were very effective at using insights into customer behaviors to improve performance.
  5. Slow pace – Top-performing companies have flexible models and agile ways of working so that things get done fast. Despite the move to more networked marketing organizations, almost 60 percent of initiatives take at least six months to make it to market.

 

Disruption may be getting a lot of buzz these days, but changing for positive impact is not quite as colorful. It takes grit, collaboration and an unrelenting customer-oriented mindset. In other words, true disruptors have the best interests of others in mind and are willing to work hard for a greater purpose.

Source for the ANA study: http://disruption.ana.net

 

 

Change In The Air

The “Future of Jobs Report,” which was created in 2015 in collaboration with the Global Agenda Council, states that, “Disruptive changes to business models will have a profound impact on the employment landscape over the coming years.” And while many of us didn’t need a fancy report to uncover this nugget, it is simultaneously comforting and discomforting to know that empirical evidence backs up the hypothesis that new types of jobs and corresponding skills will be needed over the next five years.

The drivers of change are many, and somewhat obvious. Few would dispute the facts that technological change, socio-economic variables and geopolitical events will continue to have a significant impact on our world. However, the immediacy of these changes is what seems to fall

on deaf ears.

To read the full article click here.

 

The Fall of the Story

A lack of true content is killing the reputation of content marketing. That’s the view of Joe Pulizzi, who is hearing more griping from the small business owners and executives attending his content marketing classes. They complain that their email newsletters, blogs and Facebook pages are not getting enough traction. When the complaints came up at a workshop a few months ago, an exasperated Pulizzi asked his audience how their content was different. He was greeted with silence. To read the full article click here.

 

Trending with Joseph Michelli

In his latest book, “Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes-Benz Way,” bestselling author Joseph A. Michelli, PhD, provides an insider’s look at the iconic brand’s approach to creating and sustaining customer experiences. The sought-after speaker and organizational consultant has become a globally recognized thought leader in customer experience design by creating masterful roadmaps that help transform the relationship between leaders, employees, and the customers they serve. To read the full article click here.

 

Stoking Creativity

The managing partner of SalesGlobe, which helps companies connect their sales strategies to their bottom lines, says that when you take away your employees’ “box,” which represents tried-and-true processes and technical specs, you inadvertently create a major constraint – not being able to conduct business in a way that is familiar to them.

Rather than promoting new thinking by creating an “outside of the box” environment, Donnolo recommends identifying a company’s creativity need – boosting functional creativity, which has constraints, but is targeted toward an issue or objective, or artistic creativity, which has minimal or no constraints and is targeted toward expression. To read the full article click here.

 

What’s Your Story

Content. Ask any marketing department, and they’ll tell you that the quest for organic and compelling content is among their top priorities. According to the “2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America” from Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, 82 percent are highly focused on creating more engaging content. The report surveyed 1,521 U.S. B2B marketers representing a full range of industries, functional areas and company and size. To read the full article click here.

A Recipe To Scale

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