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32 of the Best Office Pranks & Practical Jokes to Use at Work

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We asked our friends and combed the internet for examples of some of the funniest office pranks, and pulled together this list virtual April Fool’s pranks and in office pranks to serve as inspiration for your own.

Every company has a story about that funny office prank of yore. Whether you’re doing some early April Fool’s Day research, or just feeling a little tricksy, it’s time to get a prank of your own in the books. Here are some ideas.

Remote Pranks for Virtual Teams

The above pranks are awesome, but what about pranks that are inclusive for remote employees or teams that are 100% virtual? These pranks are ideal for the digital office:

1. Flash Mob

Here at HubSpot, we love flash mobs. That’s why Head of SEO Aja Frost and Blog Manager Christina Perricone jumped at the chance of organizing a virtual flash mob for one of our quarterly meetings.

This is a perfect prank for a large gathering but requires a bit of prep — from choosing a song, selecting the dancers, and teaching the choreography. However, the end result is worth it for the shocked and delighted expressions on coworkers’ faces alone.

HubSpot's virtual flash mob on Zoom

2. Virtual Background Shenanigans

There’s a lot of pranking potential using the virtual background feature in Zoom and other video conferencing platforms. For example, one Twitter user creates a virtual background with the shocking appearance of a doppelgänger… or maybe a time warp?

virtual april fools pranks: Zoom doppelgangerImage Source

3. Jump Scare

One way to take the virtual background prank to another level is by impersonating a horror movie director and relying on one of the oldest scary movie tricks in the book: the unexpected jump scare. The video below walks through the steps for executing this prank successfully:

Just make sure that you know who you’re presenting to. The wrong audience may not appreciate the humor in this one!

4. You’re Not on Mute

We’ve all heard the horror stories of users who thought they were on mute and went on to say something embarrassing. One prank would be to stage this situation and make your coworkers think that you think you’re on mute. You could enlist someone in your household to say really embarrassing or completely outrageous, the goal being to see how long your coworkers will watch in horror before letting you know you’re on mute.

5. Stolen Identity

If you have a workplace chat system, a simple and effective prank is to “steal” someone’s identity by changing your display name and picture to match theirs. The more coworkers you get to follow suit, the more effective, hilarious, and chaotic this prank becomes. Best of all, it’s easy to reverse at the end of the day: Just revert back to your original display name and photo.

virtual april fools pranks: stolen identity

6. Think Outside the Box

With video conferencing apps, we’re limited to our own little square of digital real estate… or are we? This Twitter user subverts expectation by dumping water on a coworker in another square, surprising all the other meeting attendees:

virtual april fools pranks: Zoom water prankImage Source

Funny Office Pranks to Pull on Your Coworkers

7. Caramel Onions

When Halloween is around the corner, these caramel onions are no match for other tricks (or treats). Dip each onion in caramel — maybe some red food coloring first, if you need to further disguise them — and stick popsicle sticks down the center. Your colleagues won’t know the difference, but they will wonder why these caramel apples are making them cry so much…

Caramel onions office prankImage Source

8. Nicolas Cage Toilet Seat

Speaking of Halloween, here’s what nightmares are truly made of. Nicolas Cage is easy to come by in the meme community. Print a picture of him at his most, well, enthusiastic — and allow him to greet everyone who takes a bathroom break.

Office prank with picture of Nicolas Cage on toilet seatImage Source

9. Fish Drawer

There’s something fishy about this office prank… Just be sure to include fish food; experts suggest you should feed this prank twice a day.

Office prank with desk drawer filled with water and fishImage Source

10. Pants in the Stall

Usually, when you see feet underneath the stall, you just have to wait your turn. In this case, you might be waiting forever. Set this guy up in your office bathroom and see how long it takes for people to start talking. We just hope nobody called the paramedics on this poor, empty suit.

Office prank with empty pants and shoes in bathroom stall
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11. Febreze for Days

Tighten the zip-tie, throw it, and run for your life. Or, leave it in your coworker’s office when they’re on break. They’re sure to return to a potent workspace.

Febreze office prankImage Source

12. Vehicular Sticky Notes

This is the perfect use for those sticky notes that keep piling up — especially if they’re all for someone who just won’t finish his or her tasks. The prank below is a wonderful way to remind them before they take off for the day.

Office Prank: Sticky note covered car
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13. Foghorn Entrance

Haven’t you ever wanted to get a room’s attention the second you walk through the door? Well, the prank below will even get the person entering to stand up straight. This is certainly one way to make sure everyone’s alert before a meeting.

Office prank with foghorn on door bumperImage Source

14. Ballooned Conference Room or Hallway

Hey, at least it’s not glitter? This prank works two ways: You can either surprise the next team who reserves this room, or have a day-long meeting in here without anyone knowing your business. You will of course have some static electricity when you exit the room.

office prank:  ballon filled conference room
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15. Desk Trolls

For trolls, by trolls. Luckily, you can buy many of these trolls in bulk. Click here if you’re serious about trolling your coworker’s workstation — just keep in mind you will have to buy more than one pack of trolls to make this stunt worth it.

Office desk full of pink troll dolls
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16. Water Works

Oh look, a budget trip to the beach. This prank gives a whole new meeting to the term, “staycation.” Surprise your coworker when he/she comes back from a beach getaway with, well, another beach getaway. The downside is it’ll be nothing like where they were. The upside is they won’t need a towel.

office prank: water themed cubicle
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17. Tiki Desk

Sick of those open office layouts? Create a tiki-themed hut for jokes and a bit of privacy.

Office Prank: Tiki desk
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18. Nailed the Cake

Hey everyone, there’s cake up for grabs in the kitchen! The prank, however, is written in frosting. This is a good gesture to someone who loves the expression, “needle in a haystack.” Happy hunting.

Office Prank: Find the toenail cake
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19. Psychedelic Supervision

“I don’t know, I feel like my boss is always watching me,” your coworker might say. Change their perception of micromanagement when this colorful prank. Suddenly a “quick check-in” doesn’t seem all that bad.

pictures of the boss papered all around the office in different colors
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20. Voice Toast

Simple, yet brilliant. Change the terms of breakfast ever so slightly, and the kitchen becomes the most confusing room in the office. This little note pranks the entire office — a true masterpiece of prank-dom.

toaster with label that says "it's voice activated"

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21. Work From Home

As Ron Burgundy from Anchorman says, “I’m not even mad. I’m just impressed.” Help your coworker who loves taking his/her work home, take their home to work instead. As you can tell, you might need to stay late the night before to get this prank just right.

paper mache house covering coworkers cubicle
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22. You’ve Been ‘Felined’

This could actually make your cat-loving coworker’s day. Or, it could make for the greatest prank of all time against the coworker who’s violently allergic to cats (that is, as long as they’re not allergic to photos of cats, too).

pictures of cats on computer desktop and papered across desk
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23. The Seedboard

Work with your IT department to fertilize this prank perfectly. Soon enough, its user will wonder why their keyboard is growing. We suggest targeting someone who sits close to the window — some pranks just need some sunlight. “You said you wanted to spend more time with nature,” you might say in your defense.

adding seeds underneath keyboard
sprouts growing from between keyboard keys
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24. The Ceilings Have Eyes

You could freak out just looking at the photo of this horrifying prank. It might be a little too much for your jumpiest colleague, but for the person who can’t stop talking about scary movies, it’s just the revenge you deserve. (Hint: paper mache, white paint, and a black wig. Done.)

horror movie photo hidden in drop ceilingImage Source

25. Chair Scare

Similar to the Entrance Foghorn, this prank will probably scare more than just the person who sits down. Of course, it’ll be a lesson to anyone who, I suppose, tries to sit too low at their desk.

office pranks: chair airhorn prank
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Funny Pranks to Pull on Your Boss

26. No Stalling

For the employee who never has enough time. Or, for the coworker who takes way too many bathroom breaks during the day. Prank them with their very own throne the next time nature calls.

bathroom cubicle prank
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27. Glitter Bomb

About that whole, “At least it’s not glitter” thing in prank #9? Well, this prank can’t make that promise. For the coworkers who don’t yet know the permanence of getting glitter on yourself, this prank is sure to set them straight.

28. Substitute Worker

Sometimes, you’re not sure how to ask for another day off. For those days where you simply can’t come into work, but don’t have the heart to call out again, the cardboard cut out who looks just like you is the perfect substitute. Or, just put ’em at your colleague’s desk and give them a much-needed identity crisis.

April fools office prank: Cardboard twin Image Source

29. Crushed It

When you finally learn about your colleague’s celebrity crush, make sure they know how much you care.

April fools office prank: Celebrity Crush Image Source

30. World’s ‘Best’ Boss

When words just aren’t enough to express your sentiment, give your manager the perfect way to say “thank you” every time they go to take a sip of coffee.

April fools prank: best boss ever mug prankImage Source

31. Cup o’ Spiders

“Hey chief, I found a spider on your desk, but don’t worry, it’s been handled.” This prank doesn’t have to have an actual spider in it — the mystery, alone, is all you need to prank your employee.

Spider office prank

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32. That’s a Wrap

For the boss who has everything, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Dwight Schrute from The Office sitting on gift wrapped chair only for it to collapse

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Show Off Your Prank Skills

All you have to do is find someone who will be in on the joke with you.

Pranking can be extremely good for morale and company culture. After all, why not have a little fun to break up the workday?

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

company culture template



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Comparing Credibility of Custom Chatbots & Live Chat

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Building Customer Trust: Comparing Credibility of Custom Chatbots & Live Chat

Addressing customer issues quickly is not merely a strategy to distinguish your brand; it’s an imperative for survival in today’s fiercely competitive marketplace.

Customer frustration can lead to customer churn. That’s precisely why organizations employ various support methods to ensure clients receive timely and adequate assistance whenever they require it.

Nevertheless, selecting the most suitable support channel isn’t always straightforward. Support teams often grapple with the choice between live chat and chatbots.

The automation landscape has transformed how businesses engage with customers, elevating chatbots as a widely embraced support solution. As more companies embrace technology to enhance their customer service, the debate over the credibility of chatbots versus live chat support has gained prominence.

However, customizable chatbot continue to offer a broader scope for personalization and creating their own chatbots.

In this article, we will delve into the world of customer support, exploring the advantages and disadvantages of both chatbots and live chat and how they can influence customer trust. By the end, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of which option may be the best fit for your business.

The Rise of Chatbots

Chatbots have become increasingly prevalent in customer support due to their ability to provide instant responses and cost-effective solutions. These automated systems use artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to engage with customers in real-time, making them a valuable resource for businesses looking to streamline their customer service operations.

Advantages of Chatbots

24/7 Availability

One of the most significant advantages of custom chatbots is their round-the-clock availability. They can respond to customer inquiries at any time, ensuring that customers receive support even outside regular business hours.

Consistency

Custom Chatbots provide consistent responses to frequently asked questions, eliminating the risk of human error or inconsistency in service quality.

Cost-Efficiency

Implementing chatbots can reduce operational costs by automating routine inquiries and allowing human agents to focus on more complex issues.

Scalability

Chatbots can handle multiple customer interactions simultaneously, making them highly scalable as your business grows.

Disadvantages of Chatbots

Limited Understanding

Chatbots may struggle to understand complex or nuanced inquiries, leading to frustration for customers seeking detailed information or support.

Lack of Empathy

Chatbots lack the emotional intelligence and empathy that human agents can provide, making them less suitable for handling sensitive or emotionally charged issues.

Initial Setup Costs

Developing and implementing chatbot technology can be costly, especially for small businesses.

The Role of Live Chat Support

Live chat support, on the other hand, involves real human agents who engage with customers in real-time through text-based conversations. While it may not offer the same level of automation as custom chatbots, live chat support excels in areas where human interaction and empathy are crucial.

Advantages of Live Chat

Human Touch

Live chat support provides a personal touch that chatbots cannot replicate. Human agents can empathize with customers, building a stronger emotional connection.

Complex Issues

For inquiries that require a nuanced understanding or involve complex problem-solving, human agents are better equipped to provide in-depth assistance.

Trust Building

Customers often trust human agents more readily, especially when dealing with sensitive matters or making important decisions.

Adaptability

Human agents can adapt to various customer personalities and communication styles, ensuring a positive experience for diverse customers.

Disadvantages of Live Chat

Limited Availability

Live chat support operates within specified business hours, which may not align with all customer needs, potentially leading to frustration.

Response Time

The speed of response in live chat support can vary depending on agent availability and workload, leading to potential delays in customer assistance.

Costly

Maintaining a live chat support team with trained agents can be expensive, especially for smaller businesses strategically.

Building Customer Trust: The Credibility Factor

When it comes to building customer trust, credibility is paramount. Customers want to feel that they are dealing with a reliable and knowledgeable source. Both customziable chatbots and live chat support can contribute to credibility, but their effectiveness varies in different contexts.

Building Trust with Chatbots

Chatbots can build trust in various ways:

Consistency

Chatbots provide consistent responses, ensuring that customers receive accurate information every time they interact with them.

Quick Responses

Chatbots offer instant responses, which can convey a sense of efficiency and attentiveness.

Data Security

Chatbots can assure customers of their data security through automated privacy policies and compliance statements.

However, custom chatbots may face credibility challenges when dealing with complex issues or highly emotional situations. In such cases, the lack of human empathy and understanding can hinder trust-building efforts.

Building Trust with Live Chat Support

Live chat support, with its human touch, excels at building trust in several ways:

Empathy

Human agents can show empathy by actively listening to customers’ concerns and providing emotional support.

Tailored Solutions

Live chat agents can tailor solutions to individual customer needs, demonstrating a commitment to solving their problems.

Flexibility

Human agents can adapt to changing customer requirements, ensuring a personalized and satisfying experience.

However, live chat support’s limitations, such as availability and potential response times, can sometimes hinder trust-building efforts, especially when customers require immediate assistance.

Finding the Right Balance

The choice between custom chatbots and live chat support is not always binary. Many businesses find success by integrating both options strategically:

Initial Interaction

Use chatbots for initial inquiries, providing quick responses, and gathering essential information. This frees up human agents to handle more complex cases.

Escalation to Live Chat

Implement a seamless escalation process from custom chatbots to live chat support when customer inquiries require a higher level of expertise or personal interaction.

Continuous Improvement

Regularly analyze customer interactions and feedback to refine your custom chatbot’s responses and improve the overall support experience.

Conclusion

In the quest to build customer trust, both chatbots and live chat support have their roles to play. Customizable Chatbots offer efficiency, consistency, and round-the-clock availability, while live chat support provides the human touch, empathy, and adaptability. The key is to strike the right balance, leveraging the strengths of each to create a credible and trustworthy customer support experience. By understanding the unique advantages and disadvantages of both options, businesses can make informed decisions to enhance customer trust and satisfaction in the digital era.

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The Rise in Retail Media Networks

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A shopping cart holding the Amazon logo to represent the rise in retail media network advertising.

As LL Cool J might say, “Don’t call it a comeback. It’s been here for years.”

Paid advertising is alive and growing faster in different forms than any other marketing method.

Magna, a media research firm, and GroupM, a media agency, wrapped the year with their ad industry predictions – expect big growth for digital advertising in 2024, especially with the pending US presidential political season.

But the bigger, more unexpected news comes from the rise in retail media networks – a relative newcomer in the industry.

Watch CMI’s chief strategy advisor Robert Rose explain how these trends could affect marketers or keep reading for his thoughts:

GroupM expects digital advertising revenue in 2023 to conclude with a 5.8% or $889 billion increase – excluding political advertising. Magna believes ad revenue will tick up 5.5% this year and jump 7.2% in 2024. GroupM and Zenith say 2024 will see a more modest 4.8% growth.

Robert says that the feeling of an ad slump and other predictions of advertising’s demise in the modern economy don’t seem to be coming to pass, as paid advertising not only survived 2023 but will thrive in 2024.

What’s a retail media network?

On to the bigger news – the rise of retail media networks. Retail media networks, the smallest segment in these agencies’ and research firms’ evaluation, will be one of the fastest-growing and truly important digital advertising formats in 2024.

GroupM suggests the $119 billion expected to be spent in the networks this year and should grow by a whopping 8.3% in the coming year.  Magna estimates $124 billion in ad revenue from retail media networks this year.

“Think about this for a moment. Retail media is now almost a quarter of the total spent on search advertising outside of China,” Robert points out.

You’re not alone if you aren’t familiar with retail media networks. A familiar vernacular in the B2C world, especially the consumer-packaged goods industry, retail media networks are an advertising segment you should now pay attention to.

Retail media networks are advertising platforms within the retailer’s network. It’s search advertising on retailers’ online stores. So, for example, if you spend money to advertise against product keywords on Amazon, Walmart, or Instacart, you use a retail media network.

But these ad-buying networks also exist on other digital media properties, from mini-sites to videos to content marketing hubs. They also exist on location through interactive kiosks and in-store screens. New formats are rising every day.

Retail media networks make sense. Retailers take advantage of their knowledge of customers, where and why they shop, and present offers and content relevant to their interests. The retailer uses their content as a media company would, knowing their customers trust them to provide valuable information.

Think about these 2 things in 2024

That brings Robert to two things he wants you to consider for 2024 and beyond. The first is a question: Why should you consider retail media networks for your products or services?   

Advertising works because it connects to the idea of a brand. Retail media networks work deep into the buyer’s journey. They use the consumer’s presence in a store (online or brick-and-mortar) to cross-sell merchandise or become the chosen provider.

For example, Robert might advertise his Content Marketing Strategy book on Amazon’s retail network because he knows his customers seek business books. When they search for “content marketing,” his book would appear first.

However, retail media networks also work well because they create a brand halo effect. Robert might buy an ad for his book in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal because he knows their readers view those media outlets as reputable sources of information. He gains some trust by connecting his book to their media properties.

Smart marketing teams will recognize the power of the halo effect and create brand-level experiences on retail media networks. They will do so not because they seek an immediate customer but because they can connect their brand content experience to a trusted media network like Amazon, Nordstrom, eBay, etc.

The second thing Robert wants you to think about relates to the B2B opportunity. More retail media network opportunities for B2B brands are coming.

You can already buy into content syndication networks such as Netline, Business2Community, and others. But given the astronomical growth, for example, of Amazon’s B2B marketplace ($35 billion in 2023), Robert expects a similar trend of retail media networks to emerge on these types of platforms.   

“If I were Adobe, Microsoft, Salesforce, HubSpot, or any brand with big content platforms, I’d look to monetize them by selling paid sponsorship of content (as advertising or sponsored content) on them,” Robert says.

As you think about creative ways to use your paid advertising spend, consider the retail media networks in 2024.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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AI driving an exponential increase in marketing technology solutions

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AI driving an exponential increase in marketing technology solutions

The martech landscape is expanding and AI is the prime driving force. That’s the topline news from the “Martech 2024” report released today. And, while that will get the headline, the report contains much more.

Since the release of the most recent Martech Landscape in May 2023, 2,042 new marketing technology tools have surfaced, bringing the total to 13,080 — an 18.5% increase. Of those, 1,498 (73%) were AI-based. 

Screenshot 2023 12 05 110428 800x553

“But where did it land?” said Frans Riemersma of Martech Tribe during a joint video conference call with Scott Brinker of ChiefMartec and HubSpot. “And the usual suspect, of course, is content. But the truth is you can build an empire with all the genAI that has been surfacing — and by an empire, I mean, of course, a business.”

Content tools accounted for 34% of all the new AI tools, far ahead of video, the second-place category, which had only 4.85%. U.S. companies were responsible for 61% of these tools — not surprising given that most of the generative AI dynamos, like OpenAI, are based here. Next up was the U.K. at 5.7%, but third place was a big surprise: Iceland — with a population of 373,000 — launched 4.6% of all AI martech tools. That’s significantly ahead of fourth place India (3.5%), whose population is 1.4 billion and which has a significant tech industry. 

Dig deeper: 3 ways email marketers should actually use AI

The global development of these tools shows the desire for solutions that natively understand the place they are being used. 

“These regional products in their particular country…they’re fantastic,” said Brinker. “They’re loved, and part of it is because they understand the culture, they’ve got the right thing in the language, the support is in that language.”

Now that we’ve looked at the headline stuff, let’s take a deep dive into the fascinating body of the report.

The report: A deeper dive

Marketing technology “is a study in contradictions,” according to Brinker and Riemersma. 

In the new report they embrace these contradictions, telling readers that, while they support “discipline and fiscal responsibility” in martech management, failure to innovate might mean “missing out on opportunities for competitive advantage.” By all means, edit your stack meticulously to ensure it meets business value use cases — but sure, spend 5-10% of your time playing with “cool” new tools that don’t yet have a use case. That seems like a lot of time.

Similarly, while you mustn’t be “carried away” by new technology hype cycles, you mustn’t ignore them either. You need to make “deliberate choices” in the realm of technological change, but be agile about implementing them. Be excited by martech innovation, in other words, but be sensible about it.

The growing landscape

Consolidation for the martech space is not in sight, Brinker and Riemersma say. Despite many mergers and acquisitions, and a steadily increasing number of bankruptcies and dissolutions, the exponentially increasing launch of new start-ups powers continuing growth.

It should be observed, of course, that this is almost entirely a cloud-based, subscription-based commercial space. To launch a martech start-up doesn’t require manufacturing, storage and distribution capabilities, or necessarily a workforce; it just requires uploading an app to the cloud. That is surely one reason new start-ups appear at such a startling rate. 

Dig deeper: AI ad spending has skyrocketed this year

As the authors admit, “(i)f we measure by revenue and/or install base, the graph of all martech companies is a ‘long tail’ distribution.” What’s more, focus on the 200 or so leading companies in the space and consolidation can certainly be seen.

Long-tail tools are certainly not under-utilized, however. Based on a survey of over 1,000 real-world stacks, the report finds long-tail tools constitute about half of the solutions portfolios — a proportion that has remained fairly consistent since 2017. The authors see long-tail adoption where users perceive feature gaps — or subpar feature performance — in their core solutions.

Composability and aggregation

The other two trends covered in detail in the report are composability and aggregation. In brief, a composable view of a martech stack means seeing it as a collection of features and functions rather than a collection of software products. A composable “architecture” is one where apps, workflows, customer experiences, etc., are developed using features of multiple products to serve a specific use case.

Indeed, some martech vendors are now describing their own offerings as composable, meaning that their proprietary features are designed to be used in tandem with third-party solutions that integrate with them. This is an evolution of the core-suite-plus-app-marketplace framework.

That framework is what Brinker and Riemersma refer to as “vertical aggregation.” “Horizontal aggregation,” they write, is “a newer model” where aggregation of software is seen not around certain business functions (marketing, sales, etc.) but around a layer of the tech stack. An obvious example is the data layer, fed from numerous sources and consumed by a range of applications. They correctly observe that this has been an important trend over the past year.

Build it yourself

Finally, and consistent with Brinker’s long-time advocacy for the citizen developer, the report detects a nascent trend towards teams creating their own software — a trend that will doubtless be accelerated by support from AI.

So far, the apps that are being created internally may be no more than “simple workflows and automations.” But come the day that app development is so democratized that it will be available to a wide range of users, the software will be a “reflection of the way they want their company to operate and the experiences they want to deliver to customers. This will be a powerful dimension for competitive advantage.”

Constantine von Hoffman contributed to this report.

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