Author:Tony Winders

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How Do You Communicate Your Hustle?

Communicating hustle will be the theme of tonight’s Youngry event where my start-up Pepper Bandits, will sponsor the pizza offered for a tasting of Fuegorita, our all-natural hot pepper blend. So, it seemed fitting to reflect on how that topic shows up in my work.

Do you work harder, spreading yourself thinly, double-booking and pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion each day?

Or do you work smarter, remaining hyper-focused on performing only the most essential tasks required to move you closer to your clearly defined objective?

I’m no model citizen when it comes to working efficiently — so “do as I say, not as I do,” — but here are a few things I try to do with my hustle every day.

1) Driven (literally) – I don’t have a choice except to be driven — my success depends on it. So I fill my days accordingly, using every waking moment to attend to my many irons in the fire — even when that means driving all over Los Angeles to get ‘er done.

2) Decisive – I make decisions quickly because I know how critical that is to achieving my ultimate objective.

3) Dialogue – I believe conversation drives progress, so I make a point of having active conversations which drive my next set of actions.

4) Direct – I don’t have time to bullshit you and I certainly don’t have time for yours. I will always give you my honest assessment of where things stand, even if the truth hurts sometimes. I hope you’ll always do the same for me.

5) Discipline – I suck at discipline, but I work to improve my time management skills each day. From saying no, to being respectful of others’ time and managing my own, I work hard each day to keep an earnest focus on the prize.

6) Downtime – I know the importance of downtime and I look forward to yoga, basketball, guitar and family time because I know those are the things that are really most important and recharge my batteries so I can do more of the work I love.

These are the ways I communicate my hustle. How do you communicate yours?

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BitBounce's Credo ICO will open on July 26,2017

Blockchain and the Future of…Everything

I’ve kept a skeptical eye on cryptocurrencies since Bitcoin became a thing, waiting to see what regulators and the market would say before diving in head first myself. While we may be years away from realizing its full potential, with a market capitalization approaching $100 billion, there’s too much traction not to take a closer look.

Over the course of the past year, blockchain technology has surfaced for a myriad of business applications and new companies are being financed daily through the creation of their own tokens offered via “initial coin offerings” or ICOs, cutting out traditional venture funding methods as savvy VCs like Tim Draper embrace it wholeheartedly, lest they become irrelevant in this new economic frontier.

It’s the confidence of people like Tim and commitments by institutions like Nasdaq to create the New York Interactive Advertising Exchange that give me confidence in our blockchain future, which it appears will have as far-reaching implications as the web did two decades ago. For my part I’m focused on how blockchain might improve decades-old processes in marketing and advertising and create new ways to exchange value for attention and engagement — the only things that truly matter in marketing.

So far, the Basic Attention Token and its companion Brave Browser have captured the most attention. More recently, MetaX introduced adChain, an open protocol on the Ethereum blockchain that gives buyers a scalable, trustworthy way to track and impressions and publishers the ability to capture the full value of their content and attract premium ad spend. Both hold great promise for delivering a more transparent advertising technology ecosystem currently wrought with fraud and malware. MadHive, is a blockchain-based video advertising and data platform that allows both brands and publishers to measure customer intent data and build audiences across screens and platforms.

And all of this is just the beginning.

The newest marketing entrant, BitBounce, seeks to solve issues around spam and email access. Its Credo token, which is being offered in an ICO starting on July 17, can be used to pay a small fee to guarantee an email gets through to its intended recipient. While other companies have tackled the issue, and spam filters have mostly eliminated it altogether, there are several other use cases to consider around making a market for email (e.g. paying consumers for their attention, allowing people to pay for access to celebrities, etc.). And while Credo may be starting in email, it has just as much a chance as BAT or adChain to become the de facto currency for advertising.

Many believe blockchain is as important as the HTTP protocol, and it certainly feels a lot like 1993, when the market woke up to the promise it held for everything. Like then, there is lots of excitement and speculation for a brave new global economic future built on security, efficiency, transparency — not to mention, the potential for enterprising minds to make a whole lot of money.

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eavesdropping

Terrible! Just found out marketing “wires tapped!”

Necessity is the mother of all invention, so it shouldn’t surprise me much that the “Eavesdropping On Marketing” podcast took form so quickly once we committed ourselves to recording our conversations. In fact, it should have come along much sooner.

The idea is simple: listen in as two colleagues talk frankly about our day-to-day marketing challenges, many of which we believe are shared by marketers everywhere.

For years, my friend and longtime colleague, Joergen Aaboe and I have helped each other along. From the time he worked with me at ValueClick and in the years that followed, we’ve had countless long chats about our respective marketing endeavors, often speaking from our cars on the long commute from the Conejo Valley to Santa Monica.

There was no podcast to speak of then, just two guys doing the best they could to promote our respective technology startups and helping each other along. A typical conversation would start with, “Hey I need to warm something up.” What followed would vary widely, from tactical, to strategic to the downright silly, but we could always count on each other to serve as a constructive (and sometimes harsh) critic while serving as a sounding board for whatever was going on for us professionally.

Now, some 15 years into our relationship, we’re still calling each other to “warm something up” or to “break down” an industry topic, only this time we’re recording and posting it online for all to hear. Nothing overly produced — in fact it is decidedly *not* produced, which we think may give it some charm. It likely won’t be interesting to most, but for those who may benefit from listening in on two senior marketers chatting about the very real day-to-day practice of B2B marketing, boy have we got a show for you!

I’m proud that Joergen and I are still helping each other along after all this time, and I hope our conversations will benefit some entrepreneur, student, CEO or fellow marketing colleague who can learn from our experience, including the mistakes we’ve made and the accomplishments of which we’re most proud.

So, if you think you might find value in being a fly on the wall of our conversations, I invite you to please subscribe to “Eavesdropping on Marketing” and to let us know what you think about our perspective from the trenches of B2B marketing in 2017 and beyond.

Head to iTunes or Libsyn to hear our podcast.

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IMG_8227

What a trip to my alma mater can teach us about marketing and life

When I decided to travel back to my alma mater, the University of Central Missouri, for the 50th reunion of my Lambda Chi Alpha chapter, I offered to speak to the public relations undergrads and Dr. Tricia Hansen-Horn graciously accepted. Throughout the day, last Thursday, I had the opportunity to speak with more than 120 students.

Searching for an interesting topic beyond just droning on about myself, I was inspired enough by some of the interactions I had on my trip that I decided to use them as anecdotes for sharing a few lessons about marketing and life with the undergrads. Perhaps you too can find some value in my situation.

Parking Spot Shuttle Driver

The last time I parked at the parking spot I found myself frustrated by the lack of communication about the recent change to pick up returning passengers on the upper level at LAX. I swore I would never be back, but a free day of parking in my email a few days earlier prompted me to try again. This time, however, the driver taking us to the airport went out of his way to let passengers know about the change, making me feel like my speaking up might have had some small impact.

The lesson: Organizations need to telegraph change, and we as individuals can effect change by speaking up. Also, email marketing work and be sure to tip well when someone goes out of their way to help you.

Activision Programmer

In the security line, I met a young programmer from Activision. His t-shirt caused me to strike up a conversation since I worked in the games industry many years ago. This led to a conversation about how their company uses intranet software, which helped me a little with a current challenge for a client, but could easily have led to a larger business development opportunity or friendship.

The lesson: Get your head out of your phone and strike up a conversation. You’ll be amazed at what happens. Also, T-shirts are a great tchotchke item every company should consider.

TSA Manager

I tend to find airport security stressful, but I was running on time that morning, so at least I wasn’t crawling out of my skin thinking I needed to jump the line. I knew the can of shaving cream might get taken away, but I was willing to try getting it through rather than check my bag. My bag did get flagged, and the can of Edge gel was taken, but in the process I shared a good laugh with the TSA agent and the woman in front of me when it was discovered that a certain battery-operated toy, which she was allowed to keep, turned out to be the subject of the search. Afterward, I approached the TSA manager in charge and let him know what a great job I thought the entire team was doing.

The lesson: Take calculated risks and let people know when they’re doing a great job even if there’s nothing in it for you.

Passenger on Crutches

Getting to my plane turned out to take longer than expected because we needed to be bussed to our remote gate. I had seen the young man with one leg on crutches in the security line, but now he was right behind me boarding the plane. I chose not to strike up a conversation this time, but quietly was grateful for my mobility, humbled by the difficulty his handicap must cause him on a daily basis and cognizant of our human resilience in the face of adversity.

The lesson: Sometimes it’s better not to speak and always important to put things in perspective and be grateful for what you have.

Man in the Seat Behind Me

Once I finally sat down on the plane for our early morning flight, I was ready to get some sleep on my way to Kansas City. My window shade was in that awkward spot between two rows, but I closed it anyway not expecting to have it immediately reopened by the man behind me who pointed out that I was welcome to put something over my face should I care to block the light. What was odd, however, was that he closed the shade again less than a minute later and went to sleep himself.

The lesson: Focus on those things you can control and let go of what you can’t. It’s impossible to know what motivates others or what they are truly thinking.

Antwone Fisher

The highlight of my trip was learning that the inspirational figure whose life was chronicled in the Antwone Fisher story was sitting right next to me. Our common ground was that we were both giving speeches the next day. When I shared with him some of the advice I was planning on giving the UCM students, he was happy to provide a couple of his own insights which I promised to share with the students the next day, including:

  1. Dress well. It was probably his Navy experience that created such an emphasis on looking great. He explained that our entire persona is on display when first impressions are made, and that everyone recognizes high fashion, even if they don’t have good fashion sense. He suggested everyone in business needs to own a great suit. Guys, polish your shoes. Gals, have a pair of shoes for business that’s different from the Stilettos you wear to the club.
  2. Be a good listener. Let people speak and consciously take good mental notes of everything they have to say. Then, when it’s your turn to talk, you’re guaranteed to be a much better conversationalist.
  3. Remember why you’re here in the first place. A student’s number one job is to graduate from college and get out into the real world. Don’t get bogged down by love, pregnancy, drugs or alcohol, and remember that while you may make a few lifetime friends, most of them will change over time.
Uber Driver

By now, I was on a roll, collecting unsolicited advice for the students from anyone willing to have the conversation. So I let Alvin the Uber driver in on my plan. Recently retired from the Marines at 39, he didn’t have a care in the world. Drawing from his experience abroad, Alvin’s advice for the young American students was to avoid falling into the trap of materialism. “You’re not truly free until you are debt-free,” he said. All too often we take on credit card debt for things we don’t need and end up in a vicious cycle of doing jobs we hate to make money to pay for things we don’t need when all we’re really doing is feeding consumerism and making big banks wealthier.

Independent PR Colleagues

Finally, during my walk through LAX I had posted a question to colleagues on a discussion list of independent PR professionals, asking them to share any advice they would offer the PR undergrads. Here’s a summary of what they had to say:

  • Build your network now, the importance of networking
  • Take internships seriously and do as many as you can
  • Take a service job to show your work ethic
  • Keep well-informed, PR is not the world unto itself
  • Become a voracious news reader and put yourself in journalists shoes
  • PR is hard, so don’t forget to keep a good work/life balance
  • Take the opportunity to work across many categories
  • Promise effort, not results, you can lead a horse to water…
  • Think like a salesperson, many sales adages apply to a career in PR
  • Be loyal, but not to the point it becomes detrimental to yourself

 

I was honored and humbled by the opportunity to speak to the young students. The whole process gave me a greater appreciation for how much work it is to prepare content and to be “on” for so many hours in front of the class. I was extremely proud of the work of the entire University of Central Missouri PR department is doing, and especially grateful to Dr. Hansen-Horn for the invitation to speak and also to join the department’s Professional Advisory Board.

Got a similar lesson to share? I’d love to hear about it.

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SIIA Conference Tony 1 (Jan 2017)

SIIA Digital Marketing Bootcamp Highlights and Insights

Last month I had the pleasure of reconnecting with the SIIA community during its Digital Marketing Bootcamp and picked up a few pieces of information worth passing along.

During my panel, “Using Social Media to Raise Awareness and Drive Change,” I had the opportunity to hear firsthand tips and tactics from one of my favorite performance marketers, Jonathan Dane of KlientBoost.

Jonathan reminded us about the importance of usability in getting to a conversion event – you must minimize the number of clicks and remove friction wherever possible. Testing multiple landing pages is critical for improving performance and knowing with precision the audience you want to reach allows you to spend your available budget with laser focus.

We also discussed the increasing role of video in social media. With 8B videos day posted on Facebook, and 10B on Snapchat, “snackable” video content (10 seconds or less) still works.  And speaking of Facebook, with 1.89B accounts globally, it was mentioned repeatedly how it continues to be an under-utilized platform for B2B marketers.

Using Facebook is also a great way to create “ancillary audiences,” or to find people you didn’t think were your audience. Dane suggested “taking the temperature of your audience” based on how much time they spend with a boosted post. From there you can include/exclude people from audiences for future paid targeting efforts based on an increasing likelihood of their interest.

On Twitter, the most interesting (albeit inauthentic) tactic mentioned was to create multiple twitter accounts to follow, share and stimulate excitement for a campaign.

Throughout the day, I picked up a few other tidbits worth sharing:

 

On marketing automation
  • Sales and marketing are collapsing
  • A qualified sales lead is when a salesperson is willing to open an opportunity
  • Prospects won’t engage until they’re ready. Marketing’s responsibility is to make sure you are in the consideration set
  • Marketing automation success is based more on design than what tool is selected
  • If you don’t know what you’re spending, you’re not optimizing

 

On content marketing
  • Talk about what your audience wants to talk about, not what you want to talk about
  • Define success metric up front – there is only one bottom line
  • Make your head of sales sign off on the definition of a qualified lead
  • An editor can make a piece of content more marketable
  • Be a curator of content – share the work of others and they will share back

 

Above all, quality, crafted content is what truly commands attention and gets results. As one panelist put it, “without content, there is no marketing.”

If you are interested in the SIIA’s plans to revive the Technology Council of Southern California, more information about membership can be found at http://www.siia.net/tcosc.

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