Sunday, May 20, 2018

5 things you should think about when moving country for work

A 'Husky' about to make the move back across the pond



The first big move I made for my career was in 2005 when I made a decision to take 2 years out of my life as a then salesman in Financial services, to take a full-time MBA in the USA. The 2 drivers for my decision were:
a. The USA is the centre of the business world
b. The MBA was invented in the USA
So why not study in the heart of it all? I also hoped to work in the USA for a few years afterwards and get some good contacts and experience there. It also didn't hurt that it was $2 to the pound at the time and that I got a scholarship and a part-time job at Northeastern University
1. Other than the usual challenges of getting an MBA; Taking the GMAT, making the applications, writing the application essays, interviewing for the schools, finding the money to go; I'd say getting the Visa sorted out was the hardest part. It required a mountain of paperwork. Further down the road, when I finally got my US Permanent resident card ('Green Card'), it was even harder. There were so many hoops to jump through that I had to hire an Immigration lawyer at considerable expense ( I'm a lawyer by training myself).

Shit, where's my car gone? I need to get to work!




2. My second shock was rather more prosaic; I was just not prepared for the weather in Boston. In the winter, it gets down to -10 C and that's -20 C or more with windchill. You also have big snowstorms. For example, during the last winter, I was in Boston, in 2015, over 14 feet of snow fell in the city. In the summer, you NEED air conditioning in your apartment. It gets up to 30 degrees C and it's also humid in the city.
Returning from Boston to move back to London, 10 years later, was actually a much bigger and more complicated affair. I was now married, with a 6-year-old son, with disabilities and a 9-year-old daughter. I had also just had back surgery at Mount Auburn Hospital and was recovering from that. We had a house that we needed to sell. And Catherine and I both had full-time jobs to keep running throughout this.
Let me back up here a little to explain. My wife, Catherine, had always wanted to live in the UK. She was running College recruiting at her company, Akamai, in 2015, when she was offered the chance to go to London, to run EMEA recruiting there; it was a huge promotion for her, from manager to director, from managing a team of 5 in Boston to managing a team of 20 recruiters, throughout the whole of Europe.
I said 'go for it' and promptly found a job setting up demand generation in Europe for a little-known Cybersecurity start-up called Zscaler (it has since had an IPO and is now valued at $3.8 Billion on the Nasdaq). This brings me to the next point:
3. Corporate relocations have experienced a paradigm shift in the last 50 years. In the 20th century, the husband usually was working and wife, who did not work, would manage a lot of these challenges of moving. Today, more often than not, you are dealing with 2 parents, who both have to manage demanding jobs, throughout this corporate relocation.
ANYTHING that will save them time (above all time) and money (much less important), is an absolute necessity.  Make sure you employ all the help you can. For this, we used a corporate relocation company to manage our move for us. We also used a veritable army of staff.

my son, Jack, in our dining room in Boston, Massachusetts, USA 



4.  Make sure you employ technology to your advantage. We live in a digital world for a reason. It's fast and efficient. Everything from using DocuSign to sign all our documents (including the sale of our house in Boston) to Skype for all those foreign calls, to using a video survey tool to track where all our furniture was; particularly useful when you are moving from a standard 2,200 square foot house in the USA to a standard large garage sized house in London and you have to put half your furniture in storage.
5. The importance of having flexible work. There is no way We would have managed this move so effectively without remote working. I had 2 weeks training  Austen, Texas and I travelled back to Europe a number of times to run conferences there.

There was a Sales kick-off in Las Vegas and numerous trips back and forth to London to orchestrate the move. Throughout this, Zscaler allowed me to work remotely, running demand generation for EMEA, from Boston, USA, for almost 4 months.

For that, I salute them. It's probably one of the reasons why the USA is 30% more productive than the UK (it's not all bad, London's productivity is actually 30% higher than the rest of the UK, so comparable with the US). Zscaler's and Akamai flexibility made a huge difference to Catherine and me.






Thursday, May 17, 2018

London Salesforce Trailblazers Conference

Me with Salesforce's Einstein 


I've used a bunch of Marketing Email Marketing and CRM tools, and Salesforce definitely is the one for me. Microsoft Dynamics could be awkward, and I got zero support from the company. I feel anti-Oracle from my experiences with that company and what I've heard about them.

Ronan Twohig, Account executive, Salesforce, Emer Merriman, Marketing Specialist, Salesforce and Isabella Hernandez, Marketing Executive, Buzzmove




My colleague and I, Bella Hernandez, met up with our team at Pardot in the SMB arena at the excel centre in the Docklands. It was great to see Ronan Twohig again and meet Emer Merriman. Straight away we were deep into a conversation about how I could make some adjustments to better integrate Salesforce with Pardot. Then right away, I was like 'hey Emer, our CEO really wants to get better insight into our Marketing ROI. How can I best accomplish that?'

B-2-B Marketing analytics - What we may be missing



Emer asked me about our product suite, and it turned out that we are missing one component that can achieve this, the B-2-B analytics suite. We fixed up a demo next week, so I can best understand this and then, hopefully, remedy the situation. But also We're going to talk through a couple of those questions I had about best practices in Salesforce/Pardot integration.

Ronan then asked me 'hey, Rudy, how is that rolling out and implementing Pardot coming along, the one you mentioned a couple of months ago when we were at the Shard?'

Bella asking the Salesforce trailblazer scout for directions 



I was happy to report to Emer and Ronan my first 2 months progress at buzzmove; I wrote my marketing plan, pitched it and had it was agreed by my CMO, Gabriele La Gona, in the first week. By the following week, I had implemented Pardot for all our campaigns.

Emer said 'wow, two weeks, that's amazing!'  But it's no big deal - Pardot is easy to use, and there's plenty of content and people to guide you if you get stuck.

Gab and Darius Medora, our managing director, and I have worked hard on ensuring that we are employing GDPR best practices ready for this EU data protection legislation, which comes into effect on May 25th this year.

Why do I love these Salesforce headphones so very much? 
1. Is it the cute logo? 2. is it that they light up with a warm glow? 



Yes, all our contact data is now inside of Salesforce, we are fully integrated, and we are running a range of campaigns from LinkedIn inmail, to events, to Email. Not only that, but the data quality is far better and more actionable by the sales team than it was previously.

I have also set up lead scoring and Marketing automation, including nurture campaigns; we can roll this out for all other parts of our business too; not just buzzsurvey, but buzzmovebuzzvault and any others too.

Ronan Twohig kindly suggested that I come and present this at a Salesforce conference coming up, which sounded cool. Small businesses actually generate over 1/3 of Salesforce's total revenue.

The keynote was terrifically entertaining and informative; the CMO, Simon Mulcahy, is a natural presenter and he brought on some real powerhouses of digital and b-2-b marketing, from Ulster Bank (part of RBS) and Adidas, to run some live demos. The marketing feats they had accomplished using Salesforce were quite mind-blowing.


Simon Mulcahy, CMO, of Salesforce, hitting it out of the park with his keynote



I was particularly taken with Simon's concept of 'trailblazers' - how it's people like 'us' - intrepid pioneers, innovators, game changers, who are doggedly trying to improve the organisations we work at; we are the ones who are driving growth in our companies. That was a powerful message.

I consider myself to be that kind of person. So that message was compelling to me.













Along the way, I ran into a few old colleagues and friends. Bella and I had a good chat with Pedro Jose, rockstar Sales engineer at Vlocity, a Salesforce company. I worked with him at Sigma. Pedro was pivotal in signing our biggest deal last year with Telstra, for $15 Million. In fact, Many people at Sigma said that it wouldn't have happened without him.

Pedro Jose, Senior Solution Consultant at Vlocity, a Salesforce Company



He worked like a maniac on Telstra, flying back and forth from his home in Portugal to Sydney, Australia, many times. He was 'all over it'! That deal was also important from a marketing perspective; since it was our first big account in the APAC region.

I'm glad to report that Pedro was thrilled at Vlocity, performing exceptionally well and being treated even better by Salesforce.



We rounded off the day with Bella rocking the floor of over 5000 salesforce event attendees with her killer tunes, breaks and massive bass*.




*full disclosure - Bella was not actually playing any music. We just took some photos of her in the DJ booth.

What I got out of the event

1. I learnt valuable information that will make me a more productive marketer and will enable me to carry out more effective marketing at my company

2. I connected with those who can help me in my journey; not least of all some of the salesforce team. This was sadly lacking when I ran global demand generation at my last company, using Microsoft Dynamics.




Saturday, May 05, 2018

Financial Management for start-ups

Season 3 Showtime GIF by Billions


Most founders of start-ups want to end up in one of two places; Becoming a public company (by having it’s IPO) or being acquired by another company. Each of these scenarios has played out at 2 of the last three companies at which I’ve worked. If, as an entrepreneur, you want to reach either of these goals, someone in your organisation must have a good grasp of finance.





It's been about ten years since I completed my MBA. But all the lessons remain fresh in my memory. I majored in Finance, so I was fortunate to have studied with a lot of, primarily US (my business school was in the USA.), finance professionals from organisations like Blackrock, State Street, Fidelity and Bain Capital. I was even more fortunate to have completed an internship at a New York Investment Bank, Bryant Park Capital

During my internship and studies, I learnt a lot about - valuing companies, presenting financial data to investors, powerpoint (doh! I'm an MBA, of course!). Most importantly, I started to understand the special language that Finance professionals use; Market Cap, Fifo/Lifo, beta, default risk premium, arbitrage, hedging and so on..

Back at business school, I hit it off with one of my professors, Don Margotta, who is an expert on corporate governance and shareholder activism. I want to share a few of the ideas here, that ignited my passion for Finance.

Here are some of the books, that did the same; Liar's Poker, Barbarians at the Gate, and Black Swan (where Nassim Taleb proceeded to pull apart all the concepts I'd devoted hundreds of hours learning in my Statistics classes).

First off, Time value of Money. This one is crucial. A pound today is worth more than a pound you get tomorrow, which is worth more than a pound you make the next day and so on, like this. The interest rate drives this value.

If I said all Finance calculations stem from this one idea, I wouldn't be far wrong. For example, you could get a good read on the value of a company by using this method to calculate the present value of all it's future cash flows. 




Or if you thought the company had legs, you could use the perpetuity equation here:

PV of a Perpetuity = PMT/I

PMT = $1,000,000
Interest rate = 2.5%
Company Value = $40 Million

When they start negotiations, a lot of Investment Bankers will use earnings multiples to value a company; these vary for industries and countries, one may be x 4, some may be x 20. You will use the EBITDA figure for a company - Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, which is a standard measure of a company's operating performance. Here's a good example of one such valuation, using two parameters - High & Low:


At Bryant Park Capital, I began using Capital IQ, to find comparable public company data to estimate a Private Company's value. I also used Bloomberg, when I was at MFS Investments, for the same.

I hope I've given you some ideas about valuing your start-up. Next week, I will explain why successful start-ups need to lose money to make it. Think Amazon.







Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Enterprise level marketing for your start-up, with Pardot




Tommie O'Brien (pictured, above, right) at Salesforce, kicked off the presentation at the Shangri La Hotel on the 34th floor of the Shard (pictured, above, left, view from the Shard). I was deeply impressed by the demo, which illustrated a relatively high level of sophistication for Small businesses. For example, when setting up workflows, they demonstrated a real-time and highly effective way to re-engage prospects that hadn't signed up for an email offer; by sending them targeted ads across Facebook, LinkedIn and AdWords.

Marketing Automation lies at the heart of most Start-up demand generation programs. In My own career, I have run Marketing Campaigns using a variety of tools, from Salesforce, Marketo, Hubspot, Dynamics, and more. Last year I had to learn to use the Microsoft Dynamics with Clickdimensions whilst running global campaigns for a company of around 500 employees, Headquartered in Toronto, Canada.

Currently, I'm switching from using Microsoft Dynamics to Salesforce. I've never learned to run campaigns in Pardot, so I thought that this session would be particularly helpful. After just 3 weeks, I can tell the level of support on Pardot is streets ahead of Microsoft Dynamics. I had to learn to use Dynamics by reading manuals and watching videos online. Particularly challenging was trying to coordinate fixing several serious bugs in the system with our IT team that was based in Canada.

The Salesforce team initiated some useful discussions around lead generation forms - often these forms ask for too much information. I know I have been guilty of this. According to Salesforce, 3-5 questions maximum is the standard and really first name and email are enough. The part of the talk devoted to the automation workflow was fascinating and really got me thinking about the way I run campaigns.



And they had some great insights on Lead scoring; they talked about the usual ones of course, like Job title and company revenue. But there were some surprises. This slide shows that they can track your prospects sentiments about your company and products across social media, like this:



That can really give your sales and marketing team an edge over your competition. Pardot can also allow you to create buyer personas within Salesforce so that you can use these to gauge your ideal prospect, for even more accurate lead scoring. But what really blew me away was the analytics on the dashboard and Pardot's ability to measure marketing campaigns' effectiveness in a way that will appeal to CFO's and CEO's.

Not only can you demonstrate return on investment of entire programs, you can also dig in at the granular level, to show what specific leads generated what specific revenue. As a metric-driven marketer, with an MBA in Finance, this is what I'm aiming to accomplish.

Tommie told some great anecdotes, with his classic Irish wit; I couldn't help thinking Tommie would go down a storm in my old hometown, Boston, which is pretty much run by Irish Americans. And of course, they love anyone from the old country, particularly if he or she has a lot of drive and a good sense of humour.

One of Tommie's best stories was about him setting up a new internet provider in his new home. The provider was terrible and he was forced to contact them multiple times whilst suffering from flu and working from home. All this time he was receiving prospecting advertisements and emails from the company; which only exacerbated his annoyance with their poor service. Imagine how much money this company is throwing out the window!


via GIPHY

At the end of the talk, Rory O'Neill, Data and Systems Manager at the Drum came to talk about his experience using Pardot. I know the Drum very well. When I was at Visual IQ (now part of Nielsen), we successfully exhibited at several of their events. I found out in the presentation that Rory is responsible for sending 35 Million emails a year. My last email contact list was 30,000 strong (B-2-B) and the largest I've worked with was 400,000 (B-2-C).



I was able to ask him a question in at the end, which was to ask his advice as to what first steps he would take if he was in my shoes, rolling out pardot at my company. He recommended that most important was that I consult with the sales team and get them on board with our plan. He also offered to give me some advice on that if I got in touch with him, which I definitely will.


Thursday, January 11, 2018

Moonshot thinking to unleash innovation



Before you say, yeah, right, but moonshot thinking is by its very nature, hard to quantify and only useful in very remote instances, take a look at this slide below; though Moonshot thinking only gets 10% of Company budget, it is responsible for generating 70% of the revenue (This is taking a long-term view, over years, rather than over the short-term range of standard financial quarters):



It's worth trying to solve those crucial but seemingly impossible problems, especially ones that may only come to a head 5 or 10 years from now. You could transform your company or even yourself!

We played a great exercise where we were asked to count the number of red balls on this slide in 10 seconds. Quite a few got the correct answer - 10. However, when Dr Pablo Rodriguez asked us now to tell us how many green balls there were, no one got the answer right. There were fewer of them and they were larger.  

This demonstrates the danger of over-focus. By being so intent on solving one problem that you may completely miss solving a much greater, more significant and simple one! Over 50% of scientific discoveries were made by accident; so in effect, counting the green balls, when the exercise was to count the red.




Clearly, the problems Alpha has solved, whether for improving performance at Telefonica, radically changing health habits across the globe, or bringing power to regions that were greatly lacking, all required phenomenal, high-performing, cross-functional teams. 

I asked Pablo how he selected his teams; his answer surprised me. I thought he would say that He chose the most talented or educated individuals. But He said that He selected those who had an absolute passion for solving these problems. 

If you think you might be that person, Alpha is hiring right now. They are fully owned by Telefonica but, despite having Telefonica's CEO José María Álvarez-Pallete López, on their board, they are fully independent of it.

Pablo has worked as an entrepreneur, at various start-ups in Silicon Valley, as well as in Academia. He showed the curve of an idea, where at the very early stages, often Academia can do best in advancing innovation. In a later stage, it could be a start-up. Dr Rodriguez's projects sit in the middle of that, between academia and start-ups. 

He makes a great point that in the 20th Century, it was the government that primarily initiated innovation; The creation of the internet, the human genome project and yes, of course, NASA pioneering the first men to the moon, were all government-backed missions. 

But now, and in the future, most innovation is driven by corporations. This can come in many forms; Alpha, an innovative organisation owned by Telefonica; or a Start-up, like Cloudlock, founded by one of my colleagues at Northeastern University Business School, and bought last year by Cisco for $293 Million 

This was a brilliant lecture, as good as the one I attended on Venture Capital. I thoroughly commend Professor Milan Vojnovic and Dr Pablo Rodriguez.

If you are still sceptical about Moonshot thinking after reading this, I want to leave you with a great quote about it from one of the founders and CEO of Google:






Sunday, December 10, 2017

Should Telcos be getting a bigger bite of the digital economy ‘Pie’?

The big issue in the Telecommunications industry right now is declining margins. The past several years have been tough for telcos. Their revenue and cash flows have dropped by an average of 6 percent a year since 2010.

These firms can address this issue, by improving the speed of delivery of new products, reducing order fall out and simplifying and improving their customer experience.
When redesigning their value proposition, go-to-market, and interaction model, operators find it increasingly difficult to differentiate between traditional drivers of customer choice. Instead, they have turned to customer experience as the key influencer. For example, Vodafone Germany has transformed their business to enable their path to digital transformation:
“It is the first time we have raised Vodafone’s organic EBITDA [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization] guidance in recent history,” said Vittorio Colao, chief executive. Polo Tang, an analyst at UBS, said the company’s performance in the second quarter was ahead of expectations in almost every geography but notably in Germany and Spain.
Success lies in reimagining the end-to-end customer journey to create signature customer moments. Companies can accelerate the delivery of a new customer experience by implementing a seamless Omni channel experience, digitizing core business processes, deploying artificial-intelligence platforms to simplify customer interaction, and creating a more agile organization.
What can companies do to alleviate the squeeze on margins and create more value?
Major advances in data analytics, artificial intelligence, network equipment, and other technologies have rewritten the industry’s winning formula. With the newest software and hardware, along with digital-age management practices, mobile operators can achieve breakthrough cost savings and capital intensity while maintaining or even increasing their scale.
Many mobile operators have essential processes that are more complex and labor-intensive, and therefore costlier than they have to be. The Management consultants Mckinsey estimate that just 20 to 30 processes generate 45 percent of the average operator’s operating costs.
There are a lot of Telecommunications providers can do to improve businesses margins operationally. This can also be part of an even bigger over-arching strategy for CSPs to boost their bottom line. For example, increasingly, slow but stable growth Telcos (at Business School we called such businesses 'Cash Cows') are acquiring high growth and high margin content companies to increase their profits.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The Adobe Global Marketing Conference

Having fun at the Adobe Marketing Conference, with the AMEX digital Marketing Team



Watching Vampire Weekend play at the Adobe event 



Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas - me at the Money Show



In the last 10 years, I've gained vast amounts of experience attending and setting up a large variety of Conferences in multiple business sectors and diverse locations; I've got good at assessing which are effective and which aren't; using both hard metrics and softer skills - the art and science of conferences. In the past, I've had to justify the budget to my Managers or CEOs so I've had to nail this. However, I'm a bit of a geek and enjoy doing these calculations. Therefore I will do them for my own benefit regardless.

At the Financial Traders Conference at the Money Show at Caesars Palace Las Vegas, I got to stay in the same hotel that 'The Hangover' was filmed in, which was great. I also played Poker, which I learned in the US and Craps. We got plenty of good leads but it was also the kind of crazy testosterone fuelled event that you'd expect from a bunch of financial traders; think 'Wolf of Wall Street'.

The Economics forum in Washington DC was fascinating; Paul Volcker, the ex-Federal Reserve Chairman spoke. I liked the city a lot, although I do like JFK's quip that 'DC is a city with northern charm and southern efficiency'. We were marketing a new Business intelligence tool called Datazoa, to business Economists at Government agencies, Research organization’s and Universities amongst others; our efforts secured new clients from Universities, Banks, and State Treasuries.

I've been to numerous shows in New York City, including Trading Software and most recently the Digital Analytics Association. I was also in Chicago for the Internet retailers conference. I would have liked to explore the city but on that occasion, I was so busy I pretty much never got out of the area my hotel and the event was in.

My all-time Favorite Conference would have to have been the Adobe Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah: We Set up 11 meetings in 4 days, all with C level decision makers at Fortune 500 Companies; Several of which were turned to new logos by our sales team. I went to see Vampire Weekend play live and had to top it off had my best day's skiing in 8 or 9 years, in Park City with a guy from London who now lives in Toronto.

I also made some great contacts on the ski day that I wasn't expecting; for example, heads of business divisions at Bell Canada, American Express, Verizon Wireless and the Gartner Group. 

Photo was taken by a colleague I was skiing with at Park City, Utah - the final (4th) day of the Adobe Marketing Conference





Saturday, May 27, 2017

Creating Sales Growth at your start-up



Creating Growth at your start-up 



I have now been part of the Marketing teams of two start-ups that have grown extremely rapidly and achieved phenomenal success. Visual IQ, a Marketing Attribution Software provider (founded in 2006), was acquired by Nielsen last year, for $3 Billion. And Zscaler (founded in 2008), a Cyber Security Software company, just had its IPO, which took it's valuation up to $3.8 Billion. 


I think I have learned quite a bit from being part of these successful teams and also, previous experiences in the start-up ecosystem, including several years as Head of Marketing at a Start-up in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

All across the globe, there is a dearth of Marketing talent, particularly in red-hot Software businesses like Fintech, Networking, Data intelligence and Cyber Security.

By Marketing talent I mean individuals with smarts, training, experience and drive who can take a business to 'the next level'; whether that means faster growth, more sustainable or greater revenue or higher profits. This goes for any start-up from first-round venture-backed to private equity invested all the way to IPO or Merger and beyond 


For this reason, Start-ups sometimes tolerate the types of personalities that the HR department of regular Fortune 500's would not accept. There are numerous examples of this in the media but I find the satirical comedy Silicon Valley is the best example. 

Here's my 7 point plan to create a good start-up Marketing Strategy and then to execute it:

1. E
nsure that you are on the same page as the person who has created your marketing Strategy or even better, create that Strategy yourself. So many problems occur when CMOs and CEOs or Investors do not agree on this. See 'Why CMOs never last

2. Data; explore this and find out what is going on. Don't just rely on the facts you see. Talk with people, try to establish whether the data you are seeing on paper matches what you are hearing. Countless times I have dealt with either no data at all or data that doesn't match reality. Don't be the fool that devotes inordinate hours and resources creating complex models using bad information. 


Even a fledgeling Start-up will inevitably have had many failures already and you can use this information to avoid making mistakes and model successful behavior. “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” —Michael Porter (See Porter's 5 Forces)


3. Targets, start thinking about what you are trying to accomplish. Is the problem that you have a weak brand? Is it that no one outside your core user group really understands your products? Are you simply preaching to the converted? Do your competitors have an iron-grip in certain Regions or markets? Is it that you have poor growth? Are you sinking resources into the same old Marketing investments getting diminishing returns? Are you properly measuring your Marketing investments even? Rarely have I seen this happen, actually, particularly with Company Events.


Establish what that core problem is and then ensure that all your efforts are geared towards driving solutions to that.


4. Create a plan around that. For example:


a. If the problem is that your sales team are not converting your good leads, then bring in added Business Intelligence. A remarkable tool for this is Rainking, which has a team of 600 researchers calling companies and finding out information that will enable you to identify opportunities quicker and more effectively.


Additionally, if you are not lead scoring already, then I would suggest you start doing this. The way this works is - your sales team will immediately get alerted automatically when a lead reaches a certain 'threshold' score. So let's say that score is 10, then a lead from a company with $1 Billion revenue that has requested we contact them would immediately be a 10. 


A Lead from a company that is on our target list would immediately be a 10. A Lead from a company that could be a target, would be a 5. When that lead has downloaded 3 key reports in the last week, then it becomes a 10, and so on. However, you have to ensure the algorithm that determines scoring is accurate. I've worked at companies were this is not the case and I'd say no scoring is better than bad lead scoring. 

b. If the problem is that you lack the numbers of leads needed to start with, then both Zoominfo, which I started using back in 2009 or Rainking, which I started using in 2015, are both effective for outbound activity. For inbound, I find Twitter to be remarkably effective, in addition to Google AdWords, and AdSense, of course.


I would also work with the Marketing team to create compelling content, ideally Gartner or Forrester or failing that, some other well-known research firm, like IDC. These are great because they are high-value pieces of content that your prospects will 'trade' their contact details with you to gain.

Also, Linkedin has also just developed a new Account-based Marketing - (I met with the Head of Linkedin's EMEA business in a previous blog post) tool called Lead generation forms.

One idea that We have done in the past very successfully is an 'Industry report' based on surveys we send out. Usually, I use SurveyMonkey, which I first got familiarized with at Business School back in 2006. Everyone is interested in what their colleagues are thinking about and sending these surveys out can also be a good way to reconnect with customers and prospects.

Another highly effective are of Marketing I've managed over the last 9 years has been events. I have had some great successes in this regard, from the Money Show at Caesar's Palace, Las Vegas, to the Adobe Marketing Conference in Salt Lake City, to the biggest Cyber Security event in Europe, Infosec. 

Not a lot of companies employe rigorous financial analysis to the results here, so I have created an edge in this way. I write more on this subject here. Suffice to say, we've had events that have generated thousands of leads, and business meetings that have gone on the create millions of pounds/dollars in sales. I particularly like using ZoomInfo to get contact details of attendees in conjunction with using Linkedin inmail (you can download the list of attendee companies into Linkedin and then run targeted adds to the job titles of those you think are going).

Content from blogs can be good. The only problem is that some companies want to 'vet' and control this content as though it was some kind of financial or legal document. The point of blogs is that they are quick and dirty; if the stories have been edited through several rounds of management review, they will rarely be fresh or dynamic anymore. I have developed Ebooks, infographics, Webcasts and slides, which can also be a good source of leads or simply creating additional awareness of your company.

5. Ensure that everyone is on board with it. If they are not, then discuss it, and get to the bottom of the problems. Time and time again I've seen marketing teams get on board with a big project that they had serious concerns about. In certain environments, only the courageous (or stupid!) will give their negative opinions. Once you are certain everyone is on board, then execute the plan relentlessly!


6. Analyse your results regularly, at least once every 3 months and if not effective, pivot. If it's truly disastrous, be honest about it and go back to the drawing board quickly. This is essentially the same idea that I learned in Product Marketing for innovation, the stage gate process 


When you do this look at Key financial metrics, like ROMI - Return on Marketing Investment (NPV, IRR, Payback period, etc..  Customer Lifetime Value, Cost per Click, Transaction conversion rate (For B-2-B, numbers of prospects who click on your links who go on to become Sales Qualified Leads).     
           


7. Finally, and most importantly, encourage criticism and make your entire company a safe place to share information and mistakes. You cannot take important calculated risks without making mistakes and you can't learn without them either. If you're not failing then you're not trying hard enough! 






















Wednesday, May 10, 2017

House of Lords Cocktail Party

Lord Maurice Saatchi, the founder of Saatchi & Saatchi and MC Saatchi, told us He only applied to one University. His message on the evening and now the world's shortest poem was 'LSE made me'. In my case, I did apply to other colleges since I never expected to get into the LSE, particularly to study Law, which is highly competitive, as my grades were not that good.


Maurice Saatchi got a first in Sociology back when getting a first was a very hard accomplishment. He is also one of the greatest minds in advertising, author of the Iconic 'Labour isn't working' Campaign that ushered Margaret Thatcher and the Conservative Party into power in 1979.


                    
There were some prominent MPs, Peers, Academics and Executives from organizations like JP Morgan, HSBC, Fidelity Investments, Barclays Bank, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, BP, PWC, and Accenture, at the event, to name a few.


Lord Maurice Saatchi, below




My friend and Law School classmate, Joanna Mcdwyer, formerly Head of government affairs at HSBC Bank, currently organising corporate membership and marketing for the Colnaghi Foundation  



On the river outside the reception, from the House of Lords 






Thursday, December 22, 2016

What's new at Linkedin; Transparency in the workplace





You arrive on your first day at a new job, you're ushered into the induction room for your first day of training. The first thing the HR Director tells you is that they know you will leave the company one day. This seems strange but is exactly what happens on your first day at Linkedin. Reid Hoffman, the CEO, in his book 'The Alliance' says that the days of the 'Company man', where you could be expected to work at the same organization for 30 or more years are long gone.
Nowadays, Reid sees a job more as a Military 'Tour of duty'. The Company needs your skills to fulfill certain problems they have. Once you have completed that you are on to the next job solving the next set of problems. Apparently, Linkedin has lots of great data showing that employees leave companies!
 A few weeks ago I attended an Audience with Linked organized by Sandy Pepper, a Management Professor at the LSE. He as plenty of real-world experience since prior to this position he had a long career at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where he held various senior management roles, including the global leader of the Human Resource Services consulting practice.
  The main event was Joshua Graff, Linkedin UK Country Manager and EMEA Head of the Marketing Solutions business, talking about his vision for Linkedin. Linkedin's mission statement is to create economic opportunity for the entire Global Workforce. This seems like a wildly ambitious aim. However of the 780 million Professionals worldwide, already 487 million have LinkedIn accounts; and that number is growing rapidly.
 Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook coined the term 'The Social Graph'. Linkedin has tremendous amounts of social data that can show what skills are leaving your company and what skills are coming in. They can even predict what skills will most be in demand in 5 years time. For example, the job 'Data Scientist' was relatively unknown 5 years ago. Today it is one of the most sought-after job titles in the world.
 Josh told a great story about a High Tech company that he had worked with that was growing exponentially and hiring large amounts of salespeople. Linkedin was able to show that they were only reaching 1% of their potential talent pool with their current methods.
 He elucidated some of the more detailed aims of the company which revolved around creating value through their talent solutions business (60% of Linkedin's revenue), Marketing Solutions, including sponsored content (20%) and of course Premium Subscriptions (20%). All this is going to drive the company forward, particularly now that Microsoft has just completed acquistion of Linkedin for $26 Billion on the 8th of December. Josh said it was ironic since prior to working at Linkedin, He was working at Microsoft, and now he will be back there again.
 He rounded off the talk with a discussion of values. 50% of employees would not consider taking a job at a company unless they had visibility into its culture and what it stands for, so obviously this is important. Linkedin espouses compassionate management, which is not necessarily empathy, but rather being able to imagine what it's like to do your colleague's job.
Josh said that empathy may debilitate you if you feel too much. But to understand what, for example, your team members are going through will enable you to manage them much more effectively. As he put it it's simply 'walking a mile in someone else's shoes'.
 Equally, he talked about Linkedin's culture of transparency. This was the most powerful part of the discussion since He shared his own deeply personal story of coming out as a gay man in the workforce. When He first came out to his parents, he immediately went back 'into the closet'. This is what 60% of Millenials and Generation X's do in the workforce. Yet on Linkedin He finally published a piece talking about his homosexuality and embraces that in the workforce today.
 Josh was obviously keen to get everyone publishing on Linkedin. In addition to his own story, He shared 2 other situations where publishing stories had had a really positive impact. The first was around the well known Cyber breach at Target. At this time the CMO of Target wrote a piece on Linkedin which admitted Target's mistake, apologized and showed the steps they were taking to rectify the matter and ensure it never happened again. This was widely shared and appreciated.    
             Similarly, when a very unpleasant article came out in the New York Times, criticizing the work culture at Amazon, an Amazon employee published a piece disputing this and saying it was a great place to work; this quickly went viral and garnered more than 1 million views.
    I was inspired by this value. According to research, workers who are more transparent about who they are, end up as more productive, more engaged and happier. Since Josh's epiphany came from publishing his piece on Linkedin, I was also motivated to publish more myself. 
 After the talk, we all retired to the bar/restaurant in LSE's new building. I met a really interesting array of Professionals from all walks of life; Financial Services, Marketing, Recruitment, Management Consulting, even a Surgeon.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe

The Euro: How a Common Currency Threatens the Future of Europe by Joseph E. Stiglitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I went to see Professor Stiglitz talk at the LSE a few months ago and that's when I purchased this book, which I also got Joseph to sign for me. I've enjoyed quite a few of his books before including 'The Roaring 90's' about the boom in the Economy in that decade.

This is compelling reading. He shows that even the Success story of the European Union, Germany, has only had fairly anemic growth since the European monetary union was formed. You can see this demonstrated here: http://www.tradingeconomics.com/germa...

At the other end of the spectrum, you have crumbling economies like Spain, Portugal and particularly Greece that according to Stiglitz is being decimated by the austerity measures imposed on them by the EEC and heavily enforced by member States like Germany.

The book made me feel better about Britain's decision to leave the European Union. Though admittedly this book is about the damage that the European currency has done to Europe, whereas Britain retained its own currency.

It also went some way to explaining some of the Economic struggles the EEC has gone through since the Euro was introduced 17 years ago; That the EURO has shackled a lot of Economies that may need the financial independence of their own currencies to perform to their highest potential.

He also questions the fact that an unelected body is imposing budgets on countries that their own people have rejected, for example in the case of Greece, which actually voted against these measures but had them imposed upon them by the EEC nevertheless This may be the reason why tax revenues have fallen significantly in some of these countries. 'No taxation without representation' was the rallying cry of another well-known revolution.

In addition, the Economics Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz raises the question of Currency manipulation and who really benefits from the Euro. Much is made in the News about China artificially reducing the value of the Yuan in order to make their exports cheaper so that they operate with a trade surplus. However, Professor Stiglitz shows that actually German has a larger trade surplus than China. It's entire Economy relies extremely heavily on exports.

In February Germany's trade surplus--or the balance of exports and imports of goods--increased to 252.9 billion euros ($270 billion), which marks the highest surplus since records began after WWII. Because all the weaker Economies in Europe bring the value of the Euro down, Germany ends up with a currency that is 15% undervalued; thus creating their imbalance. Conversely, countries like Greece, Spain, and even France, operate with a currency that is valuable too high; Hence their poor economies, high unemployment, lower exports and trade deficits (as opposed to Germany's surplus).

It seems counter-intuitive, but Professor Stiglitz believes that the only hope of saving the Euro in the long term is for Germany to leave the European Economic Union.


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Saturday, May 07, 2016

The Economics of Persistent Slumps


This week I went with a friend to the Philips lecture  at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) with Professor Robert Hall of Stanford University, originator & author of ‘The Flat Tax’   & one of the founders of Macroeconomics (author of one of the first books on the subject and now the standard University textbook on Macroeconomics )
The gist of the lecture was how productivity has declined in the USA. Areas of concern included the rapid fall in the Labour participation rate, which has now started to affect women (who previously were increasing in the labor force quite rapidly) too.



The biggest surprise here is that almost all of the decline in the Labour force is in the top levels of income and education.

Almost all the Labour participation shrinkage in the US Economy is from the richest and most highly educated sectors






 Professor Hall calculated that US GDP would be approximately 15 percentage points higher if this and a few more minor issues were addressed. He was only covering the US in his lecture. However, I'd imagine these issues with productivity will only be worse for some of the other developed countries if you look at this chart below. 


Current GDP per hour worked, G7 countries 2013 and 2014



We rounded off the night with dinner at The Delaunay.