Meet Much?

  Interesting Business2Community article, here, about how to handle time wasting people at work.  There are just a few of key points:

·         Know how to delegate

·         Set times for handling questions and issues

·         Rethink your meetings

The last one applies to all of us.  How many meetings happen out of habit week after week or are much longer than they need to be?  Do many of your meetings share information that could have just as easily been sent as an email?  Do they have way more attendees than are really needed?   

As we look ahead to 2018 maybe we should all reevaluate our meetings. Make sure the attendees are appropriate and determine if they all need to be there the whole time. See if there are more efficient ways to share information. Try going without – what happens if you skip a few!  Give us your ideas for minimizing the time devoted to meetings, would love to hear your tips.

Is your business getting the most from micro-moments?

Are you part of a B2C company? If you’re not, you no doubt interact with them as a consumer, so the following is relevant to all of us. A recent Salesforce blog post  titled, “Micro-Moments to Transform the Customer Experience”, starts off with a bang:  "According to the fourth annual "State of Marketing" report, here, brands are increasingly competing on customer experience. In fact, 52% of B2C customers are likely to hop to the competition if you aren’t delivering a personalized experience."

52% is an astounding number. The article focuses on “micro-moments”, a term credited to Google. Micro-moments are all those time consumers turn to their mobile devices to answer an immediate question. They are key opportunities to present a great customer experience and even to increase customer loyalty. Each time we look for a review, check on status of a shipment, pull up tickets on our phone and so forth are key elements of our relationship with any business, including yours. 

The blog post has stories from many different companies about how they are using these micro-moments to improve the customer experience. It’s worth a read, it may spark a great idea for your company!

Vote for 2017 Advocate Marketing Program of the Year – Deadline is Nov 24

BAMMIESThe Best Advocate Marketing Awards (BAMMIES for short) are produced by Influitive and designed to showcase the great strides that are being made by B2B marketing leaders who are working with their advocates to drive brand, demand and revenue.  The BAMMIES are awarded annually.  The 10 categories include “Building Event Buzz with an Advocate Swarm”, “The Advocate Marketing Hall of Fame”, and the big one – “The Advocate Marketing Program of the Year”.  You can vote for the winner of the latter category, which is awarded to the program you think has delivered measurable value through inspiring and flawless execution. Vote here.    

Here are the 2017 Advocate Marketing Program of the Year finalists, congratulations to all!

  • Ceridian HCM
  • Cisco
  • DocuSign
  • GoGuardian
  • InTouch Health
  • Pearson
  • PowerDMS
  • Staples 

Hurry, voting ends Friday, November 24 at 5 pm EST. Winners will be recognized at the Best Advocate Marketing Awards ceremony at Advocamp on December 6th-8th, 2017, in San Francisco.

A week together!

Next week nearly all of Referential is gathering at our main office in San Jose.  Team members from 2 countries and 5 states will be here. We will be missing our team member from India, though we have creative ways to keep him involved and updated.  Subsets of us will be off to meet with local clients. There will be more security training. We're ensuring the whole team is conversant in our newest service offerings. New product training is also on the agenda.  One evening we're playing bocce ball.  Good food, and a chance to have some fun together is important. Our newest hire will have her first day Monday, talk about great timing!  Not only will she get a shiny new PC, many of the rest of us will too.  Everyone is here, great time for a technology refresh.  In the photo you can see part of the assembly line that is getting the PCs ready with the newest software and security tools. Large monitors are here too so we still have the benefit of a large display with new, smaller PCs which will be great for travel.Unpacking new PCs

A week together is quite a treat. Nice to see each other in person, not just via video or phone. We're all looking forward to it!

 

A week together!

Next week nearly all of Referential is gathering at our main office in San Jose.  Team members from 2 countries and 5 states will be here. We will be missing our team member from India, though we have creative ways to keep him involved and updated.  Subsets of us will be off to meet with local clients. There will be more security training. We're ensuring the whole team is conversant in our newest service offerings. New product training is also on the agenda.  One evening we're playing bocce ball.  Good food, and a chance to have some fun together is important. Our newest hire will have her first day Monday, talk about great timing!  Not only will she get a shiny new PC, many of the rest of us will too.  Everyone is here, great time for a technology refresh.  In the photo you can see part of the assembly line that is getting the PCs ready with the newest software and security tools. Large monitors are here too so we still have the benefit of a large display with new, smaller PCs which will be great for travel.Unpacking new PCs

A week together is quite a treat. Nice to see each other in person, not just via video or phone. We're all looking forward to it!

 

Weekend Habits of High Performers

Friday of a long week and thoughts go to the weekend. Often of fun times with family and friends, maybe just a chance to fully relax.  And then there is this article from Inc Magazine titled: “Do You Do These 4 Weekend Habits That Set High Performers Apart From Everyone Else?”  It makes one think if a change to the weekend could mean a more productive and even a more relaxing week.  The article says high performers do the following over their weekends:

·         They visualize their success

·         They review their KPI’s

·         They develop specific goals for the week

·         They adhere to the 1% rule (improve 1% each day and over time you will see big gains) 

The article is worth a read, it’s short and the time will pay back dividends.  Get a bit more detail on each of the 4 habits.  Do you do these things now?  If not, choose one to start with and let us know the impact on your week!

Congratulations to our Award Winning Client!

lisa.jpg

Congratulations to our client Lisa Matzdorff, director of customer experience at Symantec.  She was just named the winner of the Sherpa Award for Innovative Feature Use at the Elevate Customer Summit hosted by RO Innovation.

Lisa uses ReferenceView, an application from RO Innovation, to track recruitment and reference activities. She needed a granular method for tracking and reporting each stage of recruitment to support the volume and multi-step process in place at Symantec. Lisa turned to ReferenceView’s workflow functionality to keep recruitment of new advocates moving at an optimal pace. Notes are captured within each step so that a permanent record remains available.

This approach ensures the recruitment process is as efficient as possible, with a clear view of metrics. The process has enabled Lisa to consistently exceed the security industry’s standard advocate recruitment rate!  Congratulations Lisa on both your award and your great results!

Thank you, thank you!

firefighters
firefighters

Thank you firefighters.  California is burning and we couldn't be more thankful for their bravery.  Hit close to home this week, our managing partners were evacuated in the middle of the night, spent a night in an emergency shelter, and then other nights with family.  Thanks to the hundreds and hundreds of firefighters who are addressing the Bear Fire they can now return to their home.  Luckier than some throughout the state.  We all need to be careful, to be vigilant, and thankful to those willing to risk all for our safety. Again, thank you firefighters and all who assist and support them.

Signature of Approval!

freud.png

 (We just returned from the Cyber Defense Summit 2017 in Las Vegas.  Leading up to the Summit we worked with customers to create videos and quotes that were used throughout the event.  Our trip to Australia to film customers resulted in such great content we expedited processes and went from filming in one country to showing our videos on the main stage of the event 12 days later! 

Love this photo, Freud Alexandre, the Enterprise Architect and Security Manager for the City of New Orleans (and one of our favorite people!), was so happy to be featured he autographed his banner.  That is the signature of approval! What we like to see with all our customer deliverables.

October – National Cyber Security Awareness Month

ncsam National Cyber Security Awareness Month was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure everyone has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. This marks year 14!  The website has a wealth of resources from tip sheets to suggested social media posts and links to training and educational resources.  There is a great infographic here about how to get involved.  Each week of the month has a unique theme from online safety to protecting infrastructure from cyber threats.  The site is a great resource, visit to learn more. We're all responsible in keeping our personal, company, and client information safe, make sure you are well informed. Staysafeonline.org is a great place to start.

 

 

Dress code - does your company have one?

This recent blog post from 4Imprint about dress codes was interesting.  In general, attire is much more casual than it used to be.  Of course that varies dramatically by region, by industry and other factors.  We do have a dress code in our employee handbook and we do talk to new hires, especially recent college grads, about what is appropriate to wear to the office, what is appropriate to wear to events where they are representing us or our clients, and what to wear in casual work situations.  College really doesn’t teach that!  The blog post recommends an employee fashion show, illustrating clothing dos and don’ts.  We gathered photos from various places for our own do or don’t wear illustrations. Being specific, with photos or a fashion show, helps ensure everyone has a common understanding of what is appropriate for your company and what you mean when you say terms like “business casual”. Two of the sentences of our dress policy often referred to are: “A good rule of thumb is that if you are not sure if something is acceptable, choose something else or inquire first. Also, it is generally better to be overdressed than underdressed.”  Both are good points to keep top of mind.

We are a professional consulting team which is reflected in the work we do and also in how we present ourselves. In office or off site client meetings call for professional dress while Fridays are often more casual. It is rather nice to see a suit and tie once in awhile! Does your company have a dress code?

Already Fall!!

Fall The year is going so quickly, hard to believe that today is the first day of Fall.  Even in sunny California the weather has turned a bit cooler, a leaf or two is about to change color, and pumpkin spice is ubiquitous. 

In the Southern Hemisphere it’s the first day of spring so our two team members on their way to Australia will experience another week of warmth and sunshine!  We hope they have a chance to enjoy it between rounds of customer interviews and filming.  Here, we will sip a pumpkin spice latte or two to usher in the new season!

It is the summer’s great last heat, It is the fall’s first chill: They meet. –Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

Longer attention span: your target audience or a goldfish?

Longer attention span: your target audience or a goldfish? Hard to believe but the average person’s attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish! An article in Time Health quotes a Microsoft study which shows a human will pay attention for 8 seconds and a goldfish for 9! Our digital lifestyle may make us better multitaskers but we’re also easily distracted. There is a lot of content out there, coupled with short attention spans, it’s not easy to stand out from the crowd.

This  post from RO Innovation makes the case that video can be the way to go instead of the case study format. Our brains actually process video faster than text.

Think about how video might work for you as you share stories of your customers and your brand. Our clients have a clear need for written content but we’re seeing an increase in the desire for video. Often times our interviews will become both short and compelling video pieces and a complimentary case study with greater detail. We’re about to send a team to Australia for a second time this year to create video and written case studies for our clients. There are a lot of interesting customer stories among Australian businesses! Whether your customer is in Australia or right next door, think about the format which will tell their story best.

2 clients, 2 projects, 3 days, over 300 phone calls!

phone photo
phone photo

We had two projects overlap this week.  One client needed us to follow up on survey results and another asked us to invite customers to participate in an important event.  Both projects were at the stage where it was time to leave email behind and make phone calls. Between the two projects, two team members have made over 300 phone calls quickly, all in just a few days.  One person even came in at 5:30 AM so he could connect with the East coast early in their business day.  We were able to exceed goals for both projects.  We did leave a lot of voicemails but had great conversations with everyone who answered their phone.  A conversation is a great chance to meet your objective but also check in with advocates, see what other activities they might be interested in, see if anything has changed for them or their company, and answer questions. A lot of talking, but well worth the time!

Our Interns, and Summer, Are Almost Gone!

Hard to believe it but school is about to begin for our interns, and school starting is often seen as the sybolic end of summer.  It’s been great having them with us.  Two are employees of one of our clients, which we have hosted in our office, and one we claim as our very own.  So many benefits, for both them and us.  They have learned much of the ins and outs of customer advocacy but that’s only the beginning.  With very little experience in an office beforehand they also learned communication skills, how to dress, business etiquette for meetings, and that lunch with your friends might allow for a different set of manners than when in a work setting.  They all go to great colleges but there is a lot about day to day behavior in the workplace that they have no way to learn until they are in the workplace! 

We benefit as well.  Nothing like having your documentation tested by someone with fresh eyes and that has never used any of the referenced applications!  We’ve been able to accomplish much more with their help. While we might have to do some teaching or reviewing they have been able to contribute from day one, allowing us to get to ‘wish list’ projects.  Having interns also provides a growth opportunity for Referential staff. Mentoring others is valuable experience and we did match each intern to staff for the bulk of their work. 

Being honest, we’re looking for a great pool of talent to help us not only in the summer but throughout the school year and just possibly to join Referential, or one of our clients, once they graduate.  We’ve had interns for years and the set we have now is great, we’ve been very happy to work with them.  And we must thank them for introducing us to a wonderful fried chicken restaurant, another benefit!

IDC Research: The Role of Marketing in Customer Advocacy

Our partner, Influitive, has a variety of great resources for those in the customer advocacy field.  One is recent research from IDC, The Role of Marketing in Customer Advocacy which you can download here.   The world has changed, how buying decisions are made has changed, and customer advocacy is more crucial than ever for continued business success. The report has interesting commentary and charts about how advocate marketing staff splits their time among their many responsibilities and which advocate marketing tactics are most common.  There is also discussion of common barriers and suggestions for key success metrics.  The research concludes with recommendations for success. 

This is worth a read.  Let us know if the content resonates with you.  Is this is what you are seeing in your industry, with your clients?  Interested in your thoughts!

Take Your Vacation - All Of It!

Last year fully 54% of American workers did not use all their vacation according to this post from Business 2 Community written by Kristen Carlson.  Taking time away to refresh and recharge is valuable but do you know just how valuable? This article from Inc by Lolly Daskal has some interesting statistics. When we do go on vacation 3 out of 5 of us do some work, some more than others! If you don’t take your vacation you’re likely to have higher stress levels and negatively impact both your cardiovascular health and even your year end performance rating!

At Referential we believe taking vacation is important.  We just did a quick mid-year reminder to everyone of how much vacation they have already used this year and how much they still have available. We encourage early planning for time off at the holidays, which is really important for us as our clients still need our services. We are open and stagger time out of the office so as to continue to provide coverage.  We discourage carry over, we’d rather people take their full vacation and get the associated benefits each year.  So far team members have had staycations, attended music festivals, visited the Caymans, the Dominican Republic, Spain, France, and Seattle, to name just a few places, with more exciting locations in plan.

Be among those that take all of their vacation time each year!  You’ll feel better and perform better as well.

Localization - most marketers aren't happy with results

Do you localize content?  Some of our clients do.  We’re involved as we have on staff native speakers of several languages and are able to localize, not just translate. A recent study from the CMO Council surveyed marketers for information about the state of localization in their company and is summarized in this article on MarTech Today by Amy Gesenhues.  A full 75% of CMOs invest less than 10% of their budgets for localization and, regardless of spend, a large majority are unhappy with the results. Of the total surveyed only about one third felt they were doing well or were very advanced in this area.  

The report address the broad issues of localization, it’s certainly not language alone. For international content one must address everything from number, currency and date formats to colors and visual images plus so much more.  Even strictly within US borders localization efforts are also applied to content due to large differences across the population. it is important to change your content to best meet the needs of various locales. Localization is a complicated area!  

Get the full report here  for insights on marketers views about localization efforts and see how your company compares. 

Facebook: 500 New Users Every 60 Seconds

Whether personally or professionally, it’s likely you use Facebook.  Just last month Facebook hit the milestone of 2 billion, yes billion, users.  Nearly 25% of the world’s population uses Facebook.  These stats and others are in a recent post from Business2Community by Mandy Edwards, 20 Facebook Statistics for 2017, here.   Did you know Shakira has the most Facebook fans of any musician? Or that 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound?

From a business perspective 40% of Facebook users have never liked a business page, yet Facebook is the social platform marketers say is most important.  If you have decided Facebook is a good channel for your business, how do you make your business page stand out? Are you reaching your social, and more specifically, your Facebook goals?  Let us know.

We work with the best!

There is a great article from Forbes about the world’s most influential CMOs.  They name the top 50.  Forbes teamed with Sprinklr and LinkedIn to compile the list.  Their criteria included impact on brand performance, impact on brand awareness, external and internal influence, and influence on peers. An impressive list of CMOs indeed! Worth a read for more information about their shared characteristics. We are proud to say our clients are well represented on the list.  4 of the top 13 are clients, showing their appreciation of and concern for the influence their customers can have.  Congratulations to all of course and extra congratulations to our clients!