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Bowers & Wilkins' PX7 Carbon Edition celebrates the tenth anniversary of its headphone range

While Bowers & Wilkins has been in the audio space since 1966, the company has only been making headphones for a decade. The company celebrates this milestone with a tribute to its original model with the PX7 Carbon Edition. The noise-cancelling PX7 is updated with an all-black finish that …

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Reblogged 4 days ago from www.acquiremag.com

Bentley reveals the Continental GT Mulliner coupe

The most luxurious Bentley Continental GT spec has arrived in coupe form with a Mulliner version of the high-performance grand tourer. The Continental GT Mulliner features a “Double Diamond” matrix grille with matching fender vents that signify the exclusive specification. It also sits on 22″ …

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Reblogged 4 days ago from www.acquiremag.com

On's new Cyclon is a running shoe with a subscription

On has launched an interesting new program that offers a subscription service for a running shoe. So why would you ever want to pay to subscribe to a shoe that you should own? Well, the company hopes to tackle sustainability with a running shoe that is 100% recyclable. It’s made out of castor beans …

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Reblogged 4 days ago from www.acquiremag.com

Nissan previews the future of the Z

Nissan has unveiled a preview of the next-generation Z with a prototype that ventures into the past while also bringing those signature design elements into the future. Details like the teardrop-shaped LED headlights and that unmistakable side profile reference the original 240ZG while the rear …

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Reblogged 4 days ago from www.acquiremag.com

Today’s Steals (9.15.2020): adidas Stan Smith Shoes – 40% Off ++

Benefits of agility and four keys to creating an agile team

30-second summary:

  • When we’re faced with new circumstances that alter the fabric of how we’ve always operated, agility becomes the determining factor of success. As such, agility must be vertically integrated into your organization in order to yield results.
  • In order to set the stage for agility, you must have a clear line to customer headspace and understand how to translate that into healthy business practices. Without it, you won’t be able to adapt as circumstances change.
  • Not only do you need to have agreement between departments, but you also must have a single source of truth for understanding how you as a partner are performing against this goal.
  • Organizations who viewed talent enablement as a core competency of growth were able to reap those rewards in the form of distributed leadership that rose to the occasion.
  • Agility extends beyond people and into the processes and technology that support them. If you’ve worked agility into your organizational DNA, it shouldn’t require a lot of operational effort to ebb and flow with the waves of new circumstances.

Mike Tyson said it best, “Everyone has a plan: until they get punched in the mouth.”

Despite the undeniable truth of that statement, preparation for that inevitable haymaker ensures that even as you stumble back to find your footing, training kicks in and muscle memory takes over.

Likewise, if there’s anything this year has taught us, it’s that the organizations who invested in best practices and planted that tree for tomorrow, even while the getting was good, were those that have been able to effectively create change.

When we’re faced with new circumstances that alter the fabric of how we’ve always operated, agility becomes the determining factor of success. As such, agility must be vertically integrated into your organization in order to yield results.

Here are the keys to doing just that:

1) Make sure you’re in balance

Most organizations zero in on making money; it’s the result of ‘data-driven marketing,’ not to mention ROI being a critical factor in growing a business. But how much do you pay attention to how the value you deliver is perceived by the people you serve?

In order to set the stage for agility, you must have a clear line to customer headspace and understand how to translate that into healthy business practices. Without it, you won’t be able to adapt as circumstances change.

After all, your solution means nothing if it’s not solving the problem your customers have. And without customers, revenue goes right out the window. Keep acquisition and retention in balance and you’ll have a solid foundation for everything else.

2) Align around a single source of truth

Organizations that have succeeded this year, despite devastating odds, clearly understood customer goals prior to the pandemic – this was their North Star.

Once changes came, they quickly worked with their clients to understand how recent events shaped those goals and shifted their joint success metrics accordingly.

They were able to calibrate this and made sure that their part in their customers’ operation was mission critical. This is only possible with company-wide alignment around why the customer needs you.

Not only do you need to have agreement between departments, but you also must have a single source of truth for understanding how you as a partner are performing against this goal.

When your buyer’s world suddenly changes, you can work quickly to mobilize your teams toward understanding the impact of that change, updating your customer metrics, and invest in influencing success.

You already have your daisy chain of insight, execution and optimization established, you simply move the goal post and run. This is how you get your business focused on a singular North Star and create a truly agile business.

3) Build and develop your team accordingly

Alignment around a single source of truth and deep customer understanding requires having the right people in place. Hire empathetic professionals with a high degree of business savvy and a thirst for perpetual learning.

The best leaders spend equal time understanding and optimizing their teams as they do work on initiatives. In fact, talent development must be an initiative.

Crisis is not the time to micromanage. You need teams of folks who can, with clear direction, operate with a high degree of autonomy.

Strong employees become even stronger when they feel vested ownership in mission critical initiatives. Not many organizations are willing to admit it, but there was a large amount of convenient house-cleaning guised as COVID-driven furlough and layoffs.

But organizations who viewed talent enablement as a core competency of growth were able to reap those rewards in the form of distributed leadership that rose to the occasion.

4) Future proof your operation

Agility extends beyond people and into the processes and technology that support them. If you’ve worked agility into your organizational DNA, it shouldn’t require a lot of operational effort to ebb and flow with the waves of new circumstances.

This means ensuring that all potential channels and motions are operationally ready and everyone is prepared to pivot quickly.

If you find yourself in a place where you now have to create the entire operational motion for pivoting that spend into say, digital ads and content, that’s a big parachute to build while the earth gets closer by the second. When these things happen there’s no climbing back into the plane.

If you’ve taken the time to educate your sales force on inside motions, have virtual meeting and collaboration software in place and keep a small trickle running through all potential go-to-market options, it’s much easier to then turn that spicket on full blast because the infrastructure is there.

These four key elements considered, what if you realize there’s been a breakdown on your end? How do you begin to right the ship?

First, respect the gravity of the disconnect and fall on your sword. Admit you haven’t done well serving that customer and want to learn how you can better serve them. Secondly, follow through on the feedback you get.

There’s no telling when business and world climates will go back to normal, if ever, or when they’ll change on a dime again in a different way. But if you set yourself up to have a strong foundation, with agility at its core, you’ll be positioned to ride out the storms and continue on the path to success.

Justin Gray is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO and founder of LeadMD, the world’s largest revenue performance consultancy, having implemented over half of the Marketo user base. Justin has made a career of launching successful companies and scaling them, with successful exits of over 200MM+ in the last decade.

The post Benefits of agility and four keys to creating an agile team appeared first on ClickZ.

Reblogged 5 days ago from www.clickz.com

The 12Ps of marketing technology (martech)

30-second summary:

  • Colleen’s 12Ps of marketing technology© is built upon the tenet that martech is an enabler for marketing. Marketing technology, in and of itself, is not a strategy. The tech offers no value unless it enables a solid marketing strategy.
  • Further, for martech to succeed, the technology needs to be successfully adopted and utilized by the marketing team in a manner that advances, or accelerates, the marketing strategy.
  • The 12Ps is a framework that provides guidance (and guardrails) for one martech project or for a portfolio of projects. It is comprised of three phases, each with sub-steps, that directs marketing leaders through the marketing technology process.
  • Recognizing how easy it is to get carried away with marketing technology, riding the wave of promise without adequate checks and balances, each 12P step is designed as a hurdle – a decision-gate where marketing must decide if they should proceed, stop, or re-engineer.

Marketing technology (martech) projects are notoriously hard.

The technology landscape is complex with over 8,000 tools. The growth in marketing technology, from 150 tools in 2011 to over 8,000 tools in 2020, is mind blowing.

Scott Brinker, calls the phenomenon, of marketing teams evolving at a pace slower than the technology advances “martech’s law” and labels it the “greatest management challenge of the 21st century.”

With such a vast array of tools, and marketing technology companies (especially the big marketing clouds) being amazingly good self-promoters, it is easy for marketers to get distracted by the latest shiny new object  (i.e. the “it” technology du jour) rather than focus on maximizing current tooling or laser focusing in on their most critical capability needs.

Successful marketing technology planning and implementation requires discipline. According to a 2019 Gartner survey, marketers utilize only 58% of their martech stack’s potential.

While there are many reasons for low adoption and under-utilization, the top eight tend to be:

  1. Leading with technology before strategy.
  2. Non-existent or deficient business case.
  3. Lack of experienced marketing leadership to drive the project.
  4. Getting swept up in the excitement of martech rather than a detailed capability and vendor fit audit.
  5. Wrong tool selection.
  6. Insufficient marketing organizational readiness to successfully adopt and utilize the technology.
  7. No infrastructure to support the technology investment (data models and systems administration, most notably)
  8. Poor integration planning (i.e. tools are siloed)

I experienced first-hand how challenging it can be to get marketing technology right. My earliest foray into martech was plagued with many rookie mistakes.

After Technology declared the project successfully completed; it quickly became clear that the marketing team was underprepared for, and not excited by, the new technology.

I decided then, that if I wanted future martech projects to succeed, I needed a different approach. While this first project left some bumps and bruises, it also served as the catalyst for my marketing technology framework – The 12Ps of Marketing Technology©.

Since then, as a CMO and a consultant, I have led numerous martech projects where this framework, and the associated methodologies and guidance, have been core to my approach.

How the 12Ps work

The 12Ps of marketing technology© (12Ps) is built upon the tenet that marketing technology is an enabler for marketing. Marketing technology, in and of itself, is not a strategy. The technology offers no value unless it enables a solid marketing strategy.

Further, for martech to succeed, the technology needs to be successfully adopted and utilized by the marketing team in a manner that advances, or accelerates, the marketing strategy.

The 12Ps is a framework that provides guidance (and guardrails) for one martech project or for a portfolio of martech projects. It is comprised of three phases, each with sub-steps, that directs marketing leaders through the marketing technology process:

  • Steps 1-6: Marketing Planning
  • Steps 7-10: Active Project
  • Steps 11&12: Post Project

Recognizing how easy it is to get carried away with marketing technology, riding the wave of promise without adequate checks and balances, each 12P step is designed as a hurdle – a decision-gate where marketing must decide if they should proceed, stop, or re-engineer.

Steps 1-6: The marketing planning phase

The first phase focuses on the internal planning needed within the marketing function. It is led by the CMO. For organizations with an embedded marketing technologist, this specialist role is heavily involved.

While it is fine to collaborate with technology resources outside of marketing during this initial phase, it is not necessary to do so. Too many martech projects start without adequate pre-planning work.

Technology resources are valuable, and costly, (and often scant) and organizations should be judicious of how and when they use them. In addition, technology projects run more efficiently and at lower cost when there is robust strategic planning.

This first phase can take anywhere from a month to over a year depending on the complexity of what the organization is trying to achieve and their martech muscle.

A quick pilot, for a smaller organization should take no more than eight weeks, whereas a portfolio of martech projects, requiring a marketing transformation, for a larger organization usually takes over a year.

Step 1: Purpose

Successful projects start with an overarching vision and strategy. Marketing technology is an enabler. Therefore, it is critical to understand what you wish to enable and why.

How does the marketing vision support the wider organizational strategy? What are you trying to achieve (the specific business outcomes and metrics) and how will the technology accelerate your vision?

Step 2: Participation

Socialize your vision widely – within your marketing team, with you peers in other functions, and with the executive leadership team. At this stage, your vision is high-level, and you are seeking input to shape it further.

This socialization is the first step in your marketing team’s change management journey. Early, robust, and frequent communication galvanizes marketing around the vision and makes the team feel part of the process. In addition, issues flagged early in the process are easier to address.

Step 3: Plot capabilities

The 12Ps uses a capability planning approach. A capability is an articulation of what a business does or needs to do to drive value. Capabilities focus on the “what” you need to do rather than on the “how” you will do it.

A capability approach has many advantages: Capabilities:

  • Ensure organizations stay focused on strategy rather than jumping too soon to solutions.
  • Enable consistency and organizational alignment – avoids duplication and confusion.
  • Form the foundation for vendor RFPs and evaluations.

The 12Ps has an inventory of hundreds of martech enabled capabilities, with varying levels of granularity, to help organizations audit their current state and identify gaps.

In addition to identifying gaps, this process helps organizations spot where there are multiple tools delivering the same capability. Unnecessary duplication is costly and inefficient.

Step 4: Priortize capabilities

Once capabilities gaps are identified, they are prioritized by business value.  Your top priorities populate your strategic martech roadmap.

Step 5: Prerequisites

This step is about the planning work that should be done, within the marketing function, prior to kicking off an official martech project. The 12Ps encourages marketers to think through martech’s many implications, including:

  • How will your marketing strategy adapt?
  • Do you have the right organizational design, talent, and skills to utilize the technology (and new marketing capabilities)?
  • What processes need to change – both the processes within marketing and the processes that connect to other functions, such as sales and product.
  • How will the technology be managed and supported?
  • Do you have the right data infrastructure?
  • How do you envision the technology integrating with your other solutions and platforms?
  • How will your marketing metrics change? What constitutes success?

Step 6: Prize

By this step, the last pre-planning step, marketing has enough information to begin a “size of the prize” business case. At this stage, CMOs are estimating:

  • What are the benefits this martech investment will yield?
  • What is your best estimate of total costs?

While it is too premature to have all costs and benefits locked down, you should know enough to see if the prize is adequately sized (i.e. are the benefits worth the likely cost range?) In my experience, more than a third of martech projects do not make it past this stage.

Steps 7-10: Active project

The second phase, steps 7-10, is the project zone. You have a sufficiently “sized prize”, you understand the change needed within marketing, and now you are ready to partner with technology.

Step 7: Project definition

Marketing brings technology up to speed on the pre-work in steps 1-6. Technology partners with marketing to:

  • Connect capabilities with possible technology solutions
  • Develop project cadence and technology sequencing
  • Define the scope of the project (costs, resources, timeline, etc.)

With this added information, technology can help sharpen the costs in the size of the prize business case. This is another opportunity to validate whether the project should proceed.

Step 8: Platform

It is time to evaluate and select technology vendor(s). Vendor selection is largely about capability fit but it is also about service packages, costing, and numerous other factors.

Platform is also about your integration strategy. Integration capability is just as important as native functionality-based capability.

My personal philosophy is that the best martech stacks are best-in-breed. It is critical to understand how your new technology integrates with your legacy tools and your future roadmap.

Ideally you choose tools that help you plan an iterative digital transformation agenda (i.e. tools that integrate well with legacy systems and allow for optimal flexibility in the future). Happily, there are now vendors on the martech landscape with robust integration capability.

Step 9: Proposal

With the vendor selected, costs can be finalized. Martech projects are notorious for overruns and hidden cost. There are three main cost consideration for a martech project:

  • Project Costs: Project management, configuration. integration, and implementation costs plus the costs associated with the change that needs to occur within the marketing department (new roles, training, data model development, etc.)
  • Technology Running Costs: Subscriptions, license fees, activity, or volume costs, etc.
  • Ongoing Maintenance and Customization: Ongoing configuration, tool maximization, and technical support. What can be done by the in-house systems’ administrator? When will you need Technology to help? What is included in your vendor package?

With the costs finalized, the benefits get one last review and the business can be finalized. If it still makes sense, it can be advanced for official approval.

Step 10: Project delivery

Technology now shifts into project delivery. Both technology and marketing leadership needs to ensure the project scope is defended and project bloat is avoided.

Martech projects, due to how they greatly impact marketing strategy and day to day marketing activity, need a high level of training and change management.

It is critical that the training focuses not only on how to use the tool but also how the tool impacts marketing strategy, data models, and team processes, why the tool is important, and how you measure success.

The earlier work in step 5 (prerequisites) provides a solid baseline from which the project team can build upon.

Steps 11-12: Post project

The last two, and often forgotten steps, start after official project delivery. Unlike the prior two phases, with defined start and end dates, this phase is ongoing, as it is about continual optimization and monitoring your technology investment.

Step 11: Persistence

Once the marketing technology is implemented, ongoing maintenance and support are both critical. Marketing leaders need to:

  • Listen, through formal and informal mechanisms, to their teams to see if and how the technology is working.
  • Ensure continual training and configurations keep pace with evolving marketing strategies and new hires.
  • Understand and leverage vendor road-maps effectively advocating for desired enhancements.
  • Focus on in-house custom development and additional integrations, as needed.

Step 12: Performance

Once technology is in place, marketing leaders need to make sure the investment was warranted. The metrics in the business case need to be regularly monitored and reported.

If metrics are not achieved, marketing leaders need to understand why and adjust accordingly.

Conclusion

To support martech projects, most organizations invest in outside technology support (technology consultants, project contractors, ISPs (implementation service providers, etc.) and wonder why projects still fall short of expectations.

Colleen Scollans is a former CMO and current Marketing & Digital Transformation Consultant. As a consultant, advisor, and CMO coach, Colleen loves to advise on the strategic and operational aspects of Marketing. She is passionate about driving business transformation through a data-driven, technology enabled, and customer focused modern marketing organization. In addition, she provides strategic advisory services for martech, EdTech, SciTech, and other software and technology companies on their product and go-to-market strategies. Colleen frequently speaks and writes on marketing topics and is on the advisory boards of ClickZ and Conscia (an experience orchestration platform).

The post The 12Ps of marketing technology (martech) appeared first on ClickZ.

Reblogged 5 days ago from www.clickz.com

This Might Be the Ultimate Travel Trailer

The Living Vehicle is a mobile home but that hardly describes it. It looks like Apple, Tesla, Yeti, & The James Brand got together to create the ultimate travel trailer. Designed in Santa Barbara, CA, it features an all aluminum exterior shell with high-end materials & finishes throughout, plus an automotive-grade power system with enough storage to fully charge your electric vehicle. Rooftop solar, AC, a fold-out patio & awning plus comfortable, convertible spaces inside make it feel like home anywhere you park it.

Reblogged 5 days ago from www.werd.com

Book Your Stay at the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Mansion

Maybe a few days chilling at the actual Brentwood, California mansion from Will Smith’s 1990 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air sitcom is what you need right now. All you have to do is log on to Airbnb & pick your dates. While a reboot of the iconic show is currently in the works, this listing, with its period-correct decor, and details like basketball in the bedroom, will make for some fresh stories to share during Zoom Thanksgiving.

Reblogged 5 days ago from www.werd.com

Measurement in a post-third-party ecosystem: Why your current benchmarks are obsolete

30-second summary:

  • We need to evolve our benchmarks, KPIs, and other success metrics to meet today’s standards and measure the new, first-party data-driven and contextual ecosystem.
  • While click-through rate (CTR) had its moment as the go-to metric marketers defined success by, it’s no longer able to accurately depict how well our ads are performing.
  • Since marketers are only paying for real visits with a CPC, it’s imperative that we’re analyzing data and ensuring we’re putting forth ads that will perform best and resonate with audiences, ultimately leading to site visit conversions.
  • While we don’t know what digital advertising looks like post-third-party data, brands and adtech companies will need to get creative and look at new strategies in order to reach consumers. However, how we’ll define and measure success in this new era has yet to be identified.

Under the new normal of COVID-19, marketers are under heightened scrutiny. Every penny allocated to each ad investment must be attributed to ROI. Distribution strategies are also being re-evaluated in a pressure cooker social environment (social platform boycotts e.g. Facebook and Twitter) and out of brand-safety concerns. As marketing teams look at ad investments more closely than ever before, it’s time to take a fresh look at usual measurement standards and adopt new yardsticks, especially with the impending elimination of third-party cookies.

We need to evolve our benchmarks, KPIs, and other success metrics to meet today’s standards and measure the new, first-party data-driven and contextual ecosystem.

While click-through rate (CTR) had its moment as the go-to metric marketers defined success by, it’s no longer able to accurately depict how well our ads are performing.

Is it time to say farewell to CTR?

While there has been chatter in the advertising industry to eliminate CTR, it’s still a metric that can shed viable insight into performance.

However, in the new post-third-party ecosystem, we need to look at campaigns more holistically to have a stronger understanding of how audiences are engaging with content.

With privacy concerns dominating the advertising agenda, major players like Google and Apple have made moves ensuring that consumers’ privacy is their main priority. It’s a chance for advertisers to recalibrate how we’re targeting and how we’re measuring a successful campaign.

CTR is less meaningful with a newfound emphasis on performance marketing

Marketers have always been results-driven, but with growth in performance based advertising and the ability for premium advertisers to reach their audiences with a cost-per-click (CPC) model, CTR as a benchmark becomes less meaningful when analyzing campaign success.

As marketers are keen on seeing the ROI of campaigns, advertisers should leverage A/B testing on ad content, readability, and creative.

Since marketers are only paying for real visits with a CPC, it’s imperative that we’re analyzing data and ensuring we’re putting forth ads that will perform best and resonate with audiences, ultimately leading to site visit conversions.

With the phase-out of third-party cookies looming, brands don’t have anything to lose when they are only paying for results across premium publishers.

Brands can measure outcomes more efficiently and in-depth by working on a CPC model. Bounce rate and CTR are only parts of the whole measurement and benchmark process.

Benchmarks for the third-party cookie-less ecosystem

While we don’t know what digital advertising looks like post-third-party data, brands and adtech companies will need to get creative and look at new strategies in order to reach consumers. However, how we’ll define and measure success in this new era has yet to be identified.

While CTR may have previously cut it for advertisers and marketers, old measurement tactics won’t stack up in the new landscape. Other metrics like bounce rate, visit duration, readability, and response time, haven’t typically been top of mind for executives.

These other benchmarks can fill the gaps of what your one or two KPIs aren’t showing.

For instance, bounce rates can indicate that content your showing consumers isn’t resonating, or how if visit durations are consistently short, the information consumers are looking for might not be accessible or easily seen, forcing them to venture off and find it elsewhere.

Furthermore, our benchmarks won’t be the same for all of our campaigns, especially when running with different publishers. Context has a great impact on performance and our benchmarks need to be adjusted accordingly.

While ad spend has seen an uptick in May and June, marketers are scrutinizing these investments and looking to see results and accurately measure ROI.

As we prepare for the new normal, as well as the phase out of third-party cookies, we need to define success differently – touting a strong CTR won’t be enough to ensure your ad dollars are secure.

Marketers need to continue emphasizing performance and ensuring that creative and messaging are resonating with audiences, so ad dollars aren’t wasted in the process. Widening our benchmarks and KPIs is how we can accurately look at campaigns and deem them successful.

Rupert Hodson is the CEO and Co-Founder of Dianomi, the financial and business-focused native ad marketplace for premium brands and publishers. Rupert is responsible for sales and business development at Dianomi as well as leading the company’s geographical expansion in both North America and APAC. Prior to founding Dianomi, Rupert spent five years at Interactive Investor heading the commercial team. He began his financial career in 1994 at Petropavlosk PLC.

The post Measurement in a post-third-party ecosystem: Why your current benchmarks are obsolete appeared first on ClickZ.

Reblogged 5 days ago from www.clickz.com