Last week Volkswagen tried and failed at an April Fool’s prank that involved changing its name to “Voltswagen” in recognition of its belated line of electric vehicles. The name change was confirmed through its press channels before Volkswagen eventually revealed that it was “only” a joke. Only a lot of people in the media weren’t laughing, believing that they had been manipulated as part of a marketing stunt.
The issue once again emphasized how tone-deaf companies can be in light of their reputations (Remember the whole diesel stats fiasco?) This brings up the topic of how to be cautious about your choice of language. The issue is particularly relevant in this time of hyper-sensitivity to issues of race, gender and disability.
An older article on The Hill has several examples of neutral language, such as using “pro-life” rather than “anti-abortion” to describe sides of that sensitive issue. My podcasting partner Paul weighs in on a recent experience he had writing an article about autism in the workplace: many of those folks prefer to be called “autistics people” rather than “people with autism.” The latter approach, called “individual first,” is favored by people with disabilities but autistic people don’t consider themselves to be disabled. Language has been widely used to shape the gun debate as well.
You might want to take some time to review these links to understand how much language matters these days and to think twice about how you express your corporate position. You can listen to our 15 minute discussion here:
Greg has made startups his speciality over the past 20 years, including full-time rose as VP marketing at Vidder, Cloudneeti, Vantage, Redline Networks and CloudVelox. The concept of a fractional CMO is an interesting one because it allows startups to purchase just enough marketing resources without having to commit to a full-time position. Ness brings a cadre of domain experts with him in a package he calls “go-to-market-as-a-service.”
Working for several companies concurrently means he can quickly cross-pollinate great ideas and also nip potentially bad marketing decisions in the bud. In this podcast, we discuss why marketing needs for startups differ from those of established companies. You can’t just transplant tactics that work for big firms; you need to rethink your tools and techniques to fit each company’s circumstances.
Greg is more comfortable with technology topics than a lot of tech CMOs that Paul and David have met. His Archimedius blog reflects his insatiable curiosity about all things tech and his 20 years in Silicon Valley. In this interview he talks about how he balances his work load among multiple clients, what tech entrepreneurs most often do wrong and what the best ones have in common.
I had the opportunity to be the guest on the White Bull video webcast series recently. I spoke about how to understand the conflicts between working from home and keeping your enterprise secure, understanding what the differences are between zero trust networks and multi-factor authentication, how the idea of a secure perimeter has changed over the years, and other practical suggestions about managing and protecting passwords. The webcast was about 50 minutes:
While we’ve all been staying home and being virtual, Paul has done some original research and I have written this white paper for Network Solutions on helpful tips and tricks for IT pros that are involved in supporting virtual events.
The results of Paul’s informal census is that folks can’t wait to get back to F2F. We all have been in our pandemic bubbles for far too long and the urge to have human contact and serendipitous hallway meetings is a big reason to return to the rubber chicken circuit. But we’ve all learned a lot in the meantime about what makes virtual events successful. At its heart, you are putting on a live TV show with a very small staff to handle the production. You need to plan accordingly on the mixture of live and pre-recorded segments and figure out what tech you are going to use, including the video conferencing and the event management tool. (The two are different and you should understand the differences, which I explain in my paper.)
But virtual events have their purposes, including creating content that can be archived and used for marketing purposes long after the last attendee has disconnected. Unlike physical events, this content can be helpful in bringing in new customers and supporting new marketing campaigns, as well as supporting existing customers with FAQs, for example. And they can be very cost effective to produce, since you aren’t picking up huge travel and event hosting fees.
We are experiencing a changing nature of cyberattacks, especially as the world has moved towards more working from home. These attacks have evolved with the changing nature of our enterprise networks. Back when everyone was working from well-defined offices, we could definitely state that there was a difference between what was considered “outside” and “inside” the corporate network. But then the Internet happened, and we all became connected. Even before the pandemic, there was little difference. With the advent of the cloud, and definitely since the pandemic began, we are now all considered out. We are all working from home, using devices that aren’t necessarily ones that IT has purchased and sharing them with other family members. In my talk talk, I want to identify some trends that have changed the endpoint detection and response marketplace, and examine a few of the EDR products and show how they have evolved as well to meet these new collection of threats.
In this talk, which I gave at the Work From Anywhere conference sponsored by 1e in London, I describe some of the challenges and compare 1e’s Tachyon with two other endpoint tools, Tanium and Carbon Black.
Mitch Ratcliffe is a business, product and content marketing leader with 35 years of experience in local media, technology marketing, online and broadcast publishing. Among the successful businesses he’s helped launch are the ON24 conferencing platform and BuzzLogic influencer marketing agency. He’s also served on the founding board of directors of Match.com. Mitch shares our publication lineage with roles at Ziff-Davis, CMP and numerous other publishers. And he has a bionic neck!
We spoke to Mitch about this recent post on Metaforce, his current digs. It touches on the changes that COVID-19 has wrought with modern B2B marketing. The new rule, he asserts, is to let no communication be wasted but also let no message waste your customer’s time. Engagement is an exercise in listening and serving, not selling.
One of the lasting effects of the pandem is that customers are embedded in their lives, not our brands. That means the last marketing mile matters: The local network of SMBs and service providers associated with your brand creates a base of deeply engaged influencers who can work on your behalf. All marketing is going local in COVID’s wake.
In today’s changing times, tech companies must renew their focus on customers, and use their data effectively to create a holistic, 360-degree view of those customers. With this view in place, they can both improve the customer experience and better inform product development in order to attract new customers and retain existing customers. Facing fragmented data, slow and fragile data pipelines, growing demands and increasing costs, legacy data warehouse solutions are no longer sufficient. Enter next gen Cloud Data Platforms. With integrated data and seamless sharing, tech companies can now serve real-time analytics, scale up operations, and enhance the customer experience. This will take you to a webinar that I did for Snowflake.
Paul Gillin and I discuss the wider implications about the movie for B2B marketers, particularly for the tech world that we both know so well. While neither of us learned anything new, the movie does portray a dark and dangerous situation situation developing. We feel that the time has come for advertisers to band together to acknowledge that this is a problem, to fight platforms’ tacit support for conspiracies and hate speech and to educate the public about how to be careful in their own consumption of social media posts and misinformation. There are several privacy suggestions in both the ending credits of the movie and on David’s post that could be starting places for a discussion.
Earlier this summer a group of advertisers banded together to boycott Facebook. The NY Times wrote about the results here. Basically, while many advertisers went dark, most of them came back in August. The revenue impact on Facebook wasn’t significant and many smaller businesses really have no choice but to use the platform.
We’d love to hear from you with other suggestions on how we can work together to improve the social media landscape. You can listen here for our podcast commentary about the movie.
Business intelligence software firm Domo had been planning its March 18 Domopalooza conference for nearly a year. About 3,000 customers and partners were expected to flock to Salt Lake City for four days of technical training and meetings, capped by a concert by the Black Eyed Peas. But as quarantines and lockdowns began sweeping the world in late February, Domo made the tough call to take the conference virtual, with just 12 days to make the shift.
Mellor turned a three-day event into one 90-minute plenary session that mixed live conversations with pre-taped segments, along with a series of dozens of break-out sessions that could be streamed on demand. He focused on delivering great content, driving a higher attendance and better engagement through a well-defined user community. He also saved a bunch of money, even after paying the no-show fees for the various in-person aspects of the event. In our podcast, he discusses his decisions and why he expects to take a “virtual first” approach to future events.
Lauren Vaccarello’s first year as CMO of Talend has been about resilience, psychological trust and safety, along with frequent quick pivots. The former marketing executive at Salesforce.com and Box and host of a Mission.org marketing podcasthas had to adjust to working with an entirely new leadership team, leading a full company rebrand (and a second rebrand thanks to COVID-19) and transforming a planned in-person event to a worldwide series of virtual events fielded across three continents in a single day.
In the process, Lauren has learned to think on her feet and how to rewire marketing in this brave new pandemic world. In our interview, we talk with her about the changes COVID-19 has wrought in the B2B world, what marketers still need to learn about digital marketing, how B2B is affected by the surge of e-commerce usage in the consumer world and why Talend is so transparent about pricing (its page is a model of clarity that every SaaS vendor should follow). She also tells why she is excited to be working for an all-female leadership team and the collaboration and shared responsibility they bring to the table. It’s something other Silicon Valley firms could learn from. Listen to our 30 minute podcast here: