Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Post 140 Twitter World

Will lifting the 140 character limit allow for more robust user experiences? Yes. Will it be the type of move that shifts significant ad dollars to Twitter? Maybe.

Via theverge.comBeginning September 19th, the company will cut down on exactly which types of content count toward the platform's 140-character limit. Media attachments (images, GIFs, videos, polls, etc.) and quoted tweets will no longer reduce the count. The extra room for text will give users more flexibility in composing their messages.


Via https://blog.twitter.com/express-even-more-in-140-characters
If you hold Twitter stock, the news has your attention. If you're a marketers, you're wondering what to do next.

In Time for the Holidays: 
While those aren't months away, this is one of the busiest periods for marketers. Media plans, strategic approaches for the 2016 holiday season and budgets for 2017 calendar year are being discussed. Twitter could win big if it can shift juuuuuust few dollars from current social media into Twitter, or tap discretionary marketing budgets in reserve.

Personally I like this move. As Twitter has matured, enhancing a tweet has been challenging because of the characters absorbed from incorporating such functionality. This update, in theory, should make Twitter more compelling, true to the initial mission of micro blogging and able to stay ahead of the times enhanced media within social posts. Helping further will be trend towards larger screens to consume content.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hillary Clinton's 9/11 Health Scare United the Country

Sunday 9/11/16 started with a very divided country, by evening the country was united. It wasn't the memory the day -- it wasn't a particular speech -- it was the images of Hillary Clinton, in obvious distress, being rushed in a van pulling up. 



On a 9/11 the country seemed the least united in memory, the politics were put away for legitimate concern towards Secretary Clinton's health. Previously health concerns and rumors had been brushed aside. Depending on which ideological you held that would be the likely a predictor of how you felt about the topic. In the moment many saw that video ideologies ceased and the country was perhaps one of the most united in recent 9/11 memory.

The seconds in that short video are very humanizing. Most of us will never know how hard it truly is to be part of these 24x7 campaigns; the minute by minute timing, the list of obligations, and the challenge to connect with as many people as possible. What we saw here is what it looks like what that limit is reached, then crossed. 

This reminds me a bit of the 1914 'Christmas Truce' during WWI. For those not familiar this was an unofficial ceasefire on the western front of The Great War. French, British and German troops put down their arms, crossed the 'no man's land area' of the trenches where they spoke to each other, shared food, and even by soccer. 

In the hours after that video predictable pundits salivating for 'gotcha moments' didn't treat it as that. They treated it as legitimate concern towards an advocacy. While often clashing politically they want to win on the field of ideas, not see their opponent rushed away like that. Maybe for these pundits it was a reminder of there own health challenges. 

An Opportunity for a Lesson
If there's a reason I'm particular empathic is because I watched the news clips that day from bed. I had been pushing myself in the days and weeks prior, nothing that I felt was a gray zone. 

My social media post on Saturday, 9/10/16. 
Spent 9/11 laying down. To say I could relate to Secretary Clinton is an understatement. 
Maybe had a few warning signs, but still thought I was safe. I wasn't. Things escalated in the hours after posting this. It took me a few days to bounce back. 

If I was advising Secretary Clinton, I would humanize the video of her getting into the van as much as possible. Almost everyone has had a situation like hers, but not everyone had it seen by millions of people. 


Friday, September 9, 2016

3 Business Lessons from the Start of WWI

WWI is an interesting war. Fought between 1914 - 1918, its somewhat glanced over in U.S. History classes. Maybe this is because we didn't join the fight until April of 1917 with the war ending 1.5 years later in November of 1918. Maybe its because the war itself is just so darn confusing.

Got 7-min? Check out The Outbreak of WWI on YouTube.



Seriously, through a series of alliances of "who has whose back," WWI is a power play of countries using this backup to take things too far.  As promised, here' those 3 Business Lessons from the Start of WWI.

1) What 'Team' Are You Aligning With?: Business can get highly political at times. It can be hard to stay neutral, and sometimes you're pushed to pick a side. Like a high school lunch table, having such an alliance can be beneficial. It can also cause problems (see #3). It's important in business to not only know IF you want to align with someone, but ALSO whom else that person is aligned with. Is it someone that you would also align with? Are they the exception to the alliance, or are you?

2) Consider Bias In Opinions Speaking: German generals were nervous about the growth of Russia's rail system. Given a few years, a strong rail system combined with Russia's endless population of potential soldiers could cause trouble. These generals wanted a proactive war in 1914, thinking not doing so would cause doom in coming years. The population of Germany disagreed and generally didn't want war -- life was good at the time, a good portion of the population was socialist and anti-war. Germany was an industrial powerhouse and the center of learning for Europe. In the coming years London would take over this position.

3) Sometimes You Need to Call Out Your Friends: Austria wanted war baaaaad. They tried 20+ times prior to the assassination of Assassination of Franz Ferdinand. This is why the outbreak of war likely is confusing, Franz Ferdinand is a scapegoat. Post assassination Austria-Hungry gave Serbia a list of demands -- total of 15 -- some that made sense, others designed to provoke the situation further. An example being Austria-Hungry demanding trials in Serbia (their land) with Austria-Hungry overseeing. Lunatic request. Not agreeing to this gave Austria-Hungry a reason to declare war. Demands were easier to make because they knew Germany would have their back. Ironically an hour before war was declared, Germany expected the issue resolved without war because of what Serbia agreed to. The lesson, Austria-Hungry knew it could be unrealistic and extended itself because Germany would have it's back. We've all got friends like Austria-Hungry... sometimes blind alliance is a dangerous thing. Good reason to require a 'heads up' from your friends before pulling you into something like that.


What is so fascinating is the domino effect that alliances can have and what happens when friends call in favors you never thought possible.

Alright, back to business lessons from WWI. Reflect on someone you don't always get along with professionally. Is it a different of opinion, or are they your Franz Ferdinand?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Email Marketing Budgeting Cheat Sheet

For most companies there's hidden ROI waiting to be found in 2017 Email Marketing Budget Allocations.


Innovative. Game Changing. Transitional.

^^ These are all terms that should come to mind when you think about your 2017 Email Marketing Budget. I've long written the tools available to marketers are years ahead of how they are being used. That's a good thing. 

For most companies there's hidden ROI waiting to be found in how they allocate their 2017 email marketing budgets. Here's a cheat sheet of items to review and consider.
  • Current KPIs vs. Future KPIs: YoY stats are a marketers friend. It makes for a nice visual to senior management and provides logic for email campaign decisions. There's a problem, what if some of those KPIs are outdated to measure success? 
Easy litmus test, if your organization places a premium on email database list size, pause. Pause because the names at the top of the list need to be cherished, and understood. The names at the bottom of the list, beyond pumping up the size of the email list, may provide no incremental value -- and in some cases might even create challenges delivering your message to the high value names at the top of the list.
  • Campaign Effectiveness: Invest in understanding how your email program functions in the current state. From email acquisition paths, to segmentation, to automated email messages designed to 1) improve customer journey, and 2) provide a lift to your KPIs. Consider allocating a percentage of your budget (and team's time) to email campaign audits, strategy development and testing email creative.
  • Integrations (in-house): Related to personalization consider what data you have in-house on an individual. How is it keyed? Example would include email address, customer ID, etc. Now think back to your full email list... How is this in-house data being used with the high value top of the list email addresses? How can it be used better? When possible make this data bi-directional. Yes, we want to have this data incorporated into the email campaign -- we also want the meta data associated with email interaction being shared back to these in-house data sources. Invest in strategy and whiteboarding customer journey enhancements with various stakeholders. 
  • Integrations (3rd party): Whether you call it omni-channel or multi-channel, today's Email Service Providers have a wealth of flexibility with integrating with 3rd party programs. If there isn't a widget, plugin, or application available to configure between the 3rd party and your ESP, there is likely an opportunity to use the ESP's API functionality to architect such connections. The term "API" makes some people nervous, don't let it. These integrations will bring your data to a new level and allow for better client brand interactions. It can also take a process that is burning lots of $$$ and/or manual hours to complete and make it automated -- both a great long term investment, and a chance to free up time in the day-to-day to focus on other performance opportunities within the campaign.
  • Deliverability: You sent X-number of emails, Y-number opened it, and Z-number converted. Many organizations are too weighted on X and Z. Worse, many are taking on more risk than they may be comfortable with, boosting X-number of sends up knowing it'll produce a higher Z-number of conversions (though with diminishing returns on the additional emails sent). What's missing, Y-number opened. Invest in auditing and understanding Y-number opens. Understand not only who is opening (automated + personalization opportunity), but how the opens are performing across the various ISPs such as Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft (Hotmail, MSN, Outlook, etc). This is the least sexy part of email marketing (see 2016 Email Deliverability Trends We Can't Ignore). View it like an insurance policy -- allocate budget here to hedge for a rainy day. If you have pressure to send a massive email to X-number of people, fight for this type of insurance. That big email a month from now could cause people the following week with a Gmail address to not get your email (not good for Z-number of conversions for those emails). Invest in auditing your email lists, confirming email authentication is present and proper DNS records are in place. Also confirm the leading spam filter companies not blacklisting your emails (whether for past sending reasons or false positives). Again this more like insurance, think ROI hedge -- heck in certain cases this can be viewed as an IT / Security budgeting item and not a marketing budget item. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What WWI Shipbuilders Taught the U.S. About Building at Scale

If it's not in your vocab already, the shipyard at Hog Island needs to be. I learned about this facility during my 2016 train trip cross country when I visited the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.


via the National Museum of American History - Smithsonian (Washington, D.C.)

  • EFC (Emergency Fleet Corporation) created days after the U.S. enters WWI (1917)
  • Purpose to to construct a fleet of merchant ships
  • American International Shipbuilding Corporation is hired to build and operate the largest shipyard in the world.
  • "Hog Island" is that shipyard. Located near Philadelphia it stretches 1.25 miles along the Delaware River. 
  • 50 shipways, 250 buildings, 846 acres
  • 30,000 workers (most with no factory experience that received emergency job training)

Now for a few stats that jump out:

  1. New merchant ship built every 5.5 days during peak production
  2. Powered by prefabricated parts into the supply chain, the development of building complex large ships, quickly, at scale results.
  3. Most of the 30k factory works had no factory experience and received emergency job training
  4. Allows the U.S. to expedite ship building during WWII

Right after students learn about Henry Ford and the success of the assemble line, they need to learn about Hog Island.

Not so subtle plug for The Great War Channel (YouTube). Easily one of my favorite pieces of content being regularly published currently. I've long said history can be stranger than fiction, and subscribe that history repeats itself.  Seriously take a look.


The Great War Channel

  • Covers WWI 1914 - 1918, exactly 100 years ago, "week by week"
  • Format is approx 10 min video
  • Discusses side angles, and topics not covered in history text books and/or TV documentaries
  • War starts using 1870s tactics, but concludes with the technology and strategy that would be seen at the beginning of WWII 



Tuesday, August 9, 2016

I'm not the Keith Hanks Murder Guy - That's a Different "Keith Hanks"

The last I heard there are only 33 men named Keith Hanks. In the past being the most know "Keith Hanks" or dominating first page of Google search results was a hobby of mine. Even wrote about it during my SEO days back in 2010, http://www.bkv.com/blog/5-easy-essential-steps-of-using-seo-to-rank-for-your-name/

Others with my name have been elected officials, popular chefs, well-guarded football coaches, and a car dealership executive. I'm older now, more mature, and instead of domination I'm more concerned with reputation ESPECIALLY should one of the other 32 men named Keith Hanks get into trouble.

Google Search Results, "Keith Hanks" - Page 1 Results

Previously I've seen a few of my fellow named counterparts in trouble with the law (mugshots). Looks like this news is a first of its kind -- a very tragic story.

Sad to see someone do this. Odd when the person accused has the same name and is in the same age bracket.


Poplar murder suspect Keith Hanks charged in Fort Peck Tribal Court 
MTN News - BILLINGS - Keith Hanks, accused of killing Duran Jackson in Poplar last week, made his first appearance in tribal court on Thursday. 
Hanks, 33 years old, was arraigned in Fort Peck Tribal Court on a charge of murder for the death of Jackson, 19, on the reservation. 
According to court documents, Jackson was stabbed to death on Friday morning on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. 
The judge asked Hanks if he was enrolled as a tribal member and he said he was, but he is not a member of the Fort Peck tribe. 
The relationship between the two men is unclear. 
Scott Siefert, the Fort Peck Tribal Attorney, said that a second suspect is not in custody. 
In an obituary posted on the Clayton Stevenson Memorial Chapel’s website, Jackson is described as a loving father who was deeply proud of his Native culture. 
According to the obituary, Jackson served in the Montana National Guard as a 91E 
Allied Trade Specialist. 
Investigators have not commented on a motive. 
Hanks is being held in tribal jail. 
We will update you when we get more information.



Poplar murder suspect charged in Fort Peck Tribal Court
KTVQ - POPLAR - The suspect accused of killing a man enlisted with the Montana Army National guard in Poplar last week made his first appearance in tribal court on Thursday. 
Keith Hanks, 33, was arraigned in Fort Peck Tribal Court on the charge of murder for the death of Duran Jackson, 19, on the reservation. 
According to court documents, Jackson was stabbed to death early Friday morning on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. 
The judge asked Hanks if he was enrolled as a tribal member and he said he was, but he is not a member of the Fort Peck tribe.



I'm not the Keith Hanks Murder Guy - That's a Different "Keith Hanks"

The last I heard there are only 33 men named Keith Hanks. In the past being the most know "Keith Hanks" or dominating first page of Google search results was a hobby of mine. Even wrote about it during my SEO days back in 2010, http://www.bkv.com/blog/5-easy-essential-steps-of-using-seo-to-rank-for-your-name/

Others with my name have been elected officials, popular chefs, well-guarded football coaches, and a car dealership executive. I'm older now, more mature, and instead of domination I'm more concerned with reputation ESPECIALLY should one of the other 32 men named Keith Hanks get into trouble.

Google Search Results, "Keith Hanks" - Page 1 Results

Previously I've seen a few of my fellow named counterparts in trouble with the law (mugshots). Looks like this news is a first of its kind -- a very tragic story.

Sad to see someone do this. Odd when the person accused has the same name and is in the same age bracket.


Poplar murder suspect Keith Hanks charged in Fort Peck Tribal Court 
MTN News - BILLINGS - Keith Hanks, accused of killing Duran Jackson in Poplar last week, made his first appearance in tribal court on Thursday. 
Hanks, 33 years old, was arraigned in Fort Peck Tribal Court on a charge of murder for the death of Jackson, 19, on the reservation. 
According to court documents, Jackson was stabbed to death on Friday morning on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. 
The judge asked Hanks if he was enrolled as a tribal member and he said he was, but he is not a member of the Fort Peck tribe. 
The relationship between the two men is unclear. 
Scott Siefert, the Fort Peck Tribal Attorney, said that a second suspect is not in custody. 
In an obituary posted on the Clayton Stevenson Memorial Chapel’s website, Jackson is described as a loving father who was deeply proud of his Native culture. 
According to the obituary, Jackson served in the Montana National Guard as a 91E 
Allied Trade Specialist. 
Investigators have not commented on a motive. 
Hanks is being held in tribal jail. 
We will update you when we get more information.



Poplar murder suspect charged in Fort Peck Tribal Court
KTVQ - POPLAR - The suspect accused of killing a man enlisted with the Montana Army National guard in Poplar last week made his first appearance in tribal court on Thursday. 
Keith Hanks, 33, was arraigned in Fort Peck Tribal Court on the charge of murder for the death of Duran Jackson, 19, on the reservation. 
According to court documents, Jackson was stabbed to death early Friday morning on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation. 
The judge asked Hanks if he was enrolled as a tribal member and he said he was, but he is not a member of the Fort Peck tribe.