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Change Is Good Even When You Don’t Achieve the Desired Results [Rose-Colored Glasses]

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Change Is Good Even When You Don't Achieve the Desired Results [Rose-Colored Glasses]

Does anyone care about incremental change?

In my consulting practice, I see one challenge again and again at businesses large and small: Incremental improvements fail to excite people enough to motivate change.

When a content process is suboptimal but not so broken as to undermine success, the anticipated pain of changing feels greater than the pain that might (or might not) arise if you change nothing.

It’s a Catch-22. No one wants to throw out the existing approach to content strategy because they worked hard on it. And they question whether any reinvention will prove as amazing as promised.

Inevitably, they don’t make a major change because it risks failing. On the other hand, they don’t give themselves the chance to make a change that could produce remarkable results.

Seth Godin wrote these words about making something incrementally better a decade ago:

If you define success as getting closer and closer to a mythical perfection, an agreed upon standard, it’s extremely difficult to become remarkable. Particularly if the field is competitive. Can’t get rounder than round.

They’ve stayed with me ever since, especially because I see so many digital marketing strategies falling into a rut. Teams get stuck pushing harder than ever for every single incremental improvement. Trying to get “rounder than round” isn’t inspiring for anyone.

New approaches provide a much-needed shakeup. Just don’t try to sell them as more efficient or more productive. Pitch them as new windows into what’s possible.

Forget incremental change. New #content approaches shake up your team’s perspective on what’s possible, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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Selling change is hard when things ‘aren’t that bad’

I recently helped a client audit their marketing content development process and found the content team suffering.  Because siloed product groups held all the marketing budget, the content team couldn’t control content requests. And, because the product groups lacked insight into other teams’ requests, they often asked for new content pieces without realizing something similar already existed.

I recommended that the organization add a collaborative content planning step to the development process. Unfortunately, many of the product teams viewed the efficiency promise as an incremental improvement to an otherwise working model. They resisted adding “yet another step” to their content process.

For them, not changing anything was easier than changing the way they worked for a possible improvement.

Nothing changed. What happened?

Well, nothing. Nobody got fired. No massive failures occurred. Content development just kept going.

But the ongoing stress and drudgery felt insidious. How long will the content team stay inspired and engaged before they start churning out pieces that fit the request but go no further? And, worse, the company failed to gain any new perspective on how much better things (including content and employee satisfaction) can be.

Change nothing and you’ll never know how much better things could be, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Most of us do things based on what we think we know today. But what if we’re wrong? What if we took the time to test something new, even if the change caused temporary discomfort? The only way to know if things could work better is to try something different.

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No change gets you nowhere

Look, I know the idea of creating new content strategies and processes seems esoteric. And sometimes, even raising the suggestion raises hackles. People eye these conversations with suspicion based on their experiences with frustrating brand value conversations that didn’t move the needle in the past.

But doing nothing new rarely leads to success.

I know a large B2B company where the global marketing team created incredible experiences for customers, partners, and even prospective employees. Over the last 10 years, though, the steady drip of not doing anything new reduced the team to doing … almost nothing. They now only send brand emails created by an agency, review and distribute internal sell sheets created by the design team, create content on the company’s “sustainable” practices, and ensure the correct use of the logo in press releases by the comms team.

Is it any wonder this team ended up in the first of the company’s recent bulk layoffs?

Is it any wonder a global marketing team that did nothing new for 10 years was the first to experience company layoffs? @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

When selling change feels hard, what can you do? I suggest turning your maps upside down occasionally. Adopt a new perspective on what it takes to differentiate your business.

Here are some ideas.

Tell the change story the South Park way 

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, who created the hit series South Park, explained a clever technique for telling stories that hold people’s attention by creating tension and a sense that the outcome really matters. Their technique seems remarkably simple: When they write a sequence, they follow all “and then” phrases with “but,” and then “therefore.” It changes the nature of the script.

What if you create a new way to deliver content to sales teams through training events rather than distributing it through the DAM system? It might even be less efficient, but it might give them a new perspective on how to enable a better sales experience. Try explaining the project using “but” and “therefore” phrases: “You want to get the most relevant and up-to-date content to your customers. But finding it takes multiple searches through confusing file systems. Therefore, by the time you reach out to the prospect, they’ve already moved on. Wouldn’t it make sense to try a different way?”

Even if you don’t try this tip with your colleagues, experiment with it in your storytelling. You’ll be surprised how it energizes your work.

Do something new because you don’t know how

Even when teams say they’re open to changes in content management, distribution, structured content, or new content platforms, I hear this pushback: “We don’t know how.”

Oddly, this response usually doesn’t come from content practitioners but from senior leadership. Their reluctance to adopt a fundamentally new approach happens because the organization doesn’t understand it. It is unfortunate that “not knowing how” is the equivalent of “we can’t do it.”

Ultimately, you need to be comfortable with only one change – your desire to push for and attempt something new.

As you exercise the business muscle of content marketing, customer experience, and expanded customer touchpoints, understand that all these goals depend on your ability to create new.

New what?

New ways of engaging audiences. New stories to move them and earn their trust. New reasons for them to come back to engage with you again. New everything.

You have the power to develop these new maps. It’s a choice. You can continue to fix only those things that are in such disrepair as to qualify for demolition. Or, you can look for things that could be better and try a new way of doing them.

You might fail. Or you might not. Either way, you’ll have a new perspective on what to try next.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

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HubSpot to cut around 7% of workforce by end of Q1

This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.

The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.

Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.

In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.

Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.

The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.


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About the author

Kim Davis

Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.

He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.

Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.

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Advocate | DigitalMarketer

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Advocate | DigitalMarketer

Happy customers love to share their experience, but sometimes they need some encouragement to do so. The cool thing is, once they do, they become even more loyal to your brand.

So, at this stage of the Customer Value Journey, ask people to share their positive experience with your brand by writing a review or sharing a social media post.

Once you get to stage seven, the Customer Value Journey is going to get a whole lot easier for you. This stage is all about learning your customer’s experience, and building up your testimonial database. 

The most important part of this step is asking these four questions. 

What Was Your Life Like Before Finding Our Solutions? What Challenges Were You Facing That Caused You to Consider Us? 

These questions are great not only because it gives you some really good stories, but because it gives you some insight on how you can provide similar prospects with that AHA moment. Understanding the average day of your clients is important in reflecting on your Customer Value Journey, and helps you understand what really set you apart from your competitors.

What Key Features Had the Biggest and/or Fastest Impact?

Not only is this going to get you to really specific stories, you will understand the specific things you provided that gave the biggest impact. The answers to these questions will not only give you great insight and testimonials, it will provide you with ideas for new lead magnets. This part is a new Entry Point Offer goldmine! 

What Has Been the Impact or Results in Your Life or Business Since Using Our Product or Service? 

This is a fairly broad question, and that’s why we put it after the others. You will have already gotten all of the specifics out of the way with #1 & #2. But when you ask this question, this is where you get the most valuable stories. You can use this part as testimonials, as an order form, as a sales page, this part is testimonial gold. 

If You Were Asked to Justify this Purchase to Your Boss or a Friend, What Would You Say? 

This is our favorite question by far. If you had to go back in time and justify this purchase, what would you say? I promise you what we’re going to find is a lot of great ideas for the jobs that your product or service has done. You’ll get a lot of great ideas for your core message canvas. This question is about backfilling all of the assets that you may not have. Here you’re going directly to the customer who are already happy, and using their justifications to help you sell to new customers. 

Hopefully you now understand just how valuable the Advocate stage could be, as well as the key questions you need to ask to get your customers talking. Here’s how it works for our example companies.

When it comes to fashion we all love to show off our outfits. So a good example for Hazel & Hems would be to have customers write reviews for a discount code or points towards their next purchase. 

Better yet, follow up with the customers to ask them to share and tag themselves wearing the items in a social media post and providing them with something valuable as a reward.

For Cyrus & Clark Media, hopping on zoom meetings or a streaming service for live talks about them and their business could generate valuable awareness for them, and a live case study for the agency. They can use the questions Ryan provided during this lesson to conduct the interview.



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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

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Drive Conversions and Generate Engagement With Instacart Promotions

Through deals and coupons, Instacart has saved consumers more than $700 million in 2022. As we dive into 2023, the leading grocery technology company in North America has big plans to help consumers save even more while also helping CPGs generate sales. Instacart recently announced an advertising solution that helps both sellers and consumers called Instacart Promotions. This exciting feature is designed to help drive conversions, boost sales, and generate overall engagement on the app.

Interested in this feature and how it can help your business on Instacart? Read on as we dive into everything you need to know about this ad solution including benefits, how to get started, and more.

 

What are Instacart Promotions?

 

Instacart Promotions is an advertising feature that’s now available to all brand partners, including emerging brands, within their open beta program. Promotions give CPGs the opportunity to offer new deal structures, promotions, and incentives with Instacart Ad campaigns. With this feature in place, consumers will have access to more promotions, coupons, and deals that are tailored to them within the Instacart Marketplace.

“With the launch of our new Instacart Promotions, all of our brand partners now have the ability to set up coupons and promotions that can drive meaningful business results while also passing on more savings opportunities to consumers. We’re proud to continue expanding our portfolio with additional self-service capabilities, ad formats that drive results, and measurement that brands need to understand the true impact of their campaigns on Instacart.”

 

– Ali Miller, VP of Ads Product at Instacart

 

Source: Instacart

 

How Do Instacart Promotions Work?

 

Promotions, now available in Ads Manager, gives consumers the ability to discover more promotions and savings opportunities within the Instacart app. These promotions now show up directly on product item cards before checkout for easy accessibility. Promotions allow advertisers to customize their campaigns to sync with their goals and objectives whether that be driving sales, building baskets, or boosting trials.

Instacart shared a recent example of a brand successfully utilizing Promotions… 

Athletic Brewing, General Mills, Sola Company, and Wells Enterprises (maker of Halo Top) are strengthening campaign performance by pairing Instacart Promotions with ad formats such as Sponsored Product and Display. Instacart Promotions include two new flexible and customizable structures: Coupons (“buy X units, save $Y”) and Stock Up & Save (“Spend $X, Save $Y”). 

According to Instacart, in the coming months, the company “will work to further enhance the new offering with new deal structures such as Free Gifts and Buy One, Get One (“BOGO”). The new deal structures will help brand partners run “Free Sample” programs that can win new customers and serve personalized discounts for different customer segments, such as “new to brand” and “new to category.”  

 

Example of Instacart Promotions

Source: Instacart

 

Instacart Promotions Benefits

 

Deliver Value and Savings to Consumers

 

With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to deliver value and savings that will have consumers coming back for more. With this savings feature, your brand can stand out among the competition and offer a variety of deals to shoppers ie: “Buy X units, Save $Y”.

 

Hot tip: Ensure you are selecting products for your promotion that are well-stocked and widely available.  

 

Tailor Your Campaigns to Specific Objectives

 

With a variety of savings options available, your brand can structure deals to fit specific business goals and objectives. 

 

Hot tip: If you’re looking to drive visibility and awareness, try pairing promotions with Sponsored Product campaigns. 

 

Access Real-Time Performance Insights 

 

The Promotions beta program is live and can be accessed within Instacart Ads Manager. Within Ads Manager, advertisers can access real-time insights to maximize performance and adjust campaigns as needed.

 

Hot tip: Make sure your budget matches your discount and objectives.

 

“As an advertiser, Instacart’s unique offering to self-manage promotions is so exciting! Historically, making adjustments to offer values and other promotion parameters was a more manual process, but now we’ll be able to easily make optimizations in real-time based on redemption performance.”

Emily Choate

Emily Choate, Senior Specialist, Marketplace Search at Tinuiti

 

Interested in Instacart Promotions?

 

With Instacart Promotions, you have the opportunity to reach new customers, build bigger baskets, and drive sales. Interested in testing out the beta program or looking to get started with advertising on the app? Drop us a line – we’d love to help elevate your CPG brand on Instacart.

 

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