Category Archives: More from ReadyTalk

Marketo Summit Learnings: The Engagement Economy

The ReadyTalk team has returned from the 2017 Marketo Summit – we’re thankful for the wealth of knowledge we gained at different sessions, the friendly faces of customers and other visitors who stopped by our booth and the ever-popular sounds of Train to wrap up a great week.

The primary theme that rose to the top after our four days at the Marketo Summit is engagement. Marketo posits the idea of the Engagement Economy. The Engagement Economy is the convergence of sales and marketing, buyers and sellers, management, partners, prospects, and all other stakeholders in the business world. In order to succeed, companies need to create a more personalized and more meaningful experience for their buyers than ever before. In this new world, there are three cardinal rules: listen, learn and inspire.

Rule #1: Listen

This oft-forgotten behavior is vital in the Engagement Economy. It’s more than reading suggestion box submissions, escalating customer complaints and checking out your latest NPS score. Now more than ever, we need to be aware of how customers interact with our brand or company virtually and indirectly. During a panel discussion, Penny Wilson, CMO at Hootsuite, put it best when she said, “Now it’s time to empower your whole organization. You need to give your whole organization the tools, training, and content to engage with your customers. You can have them really work in social harmony with your customers.” Here at ReadyTalk, we are active listeners. We empower our client-facing teams to be active on social media and use it to consume and share relevant content, keep a pulse on what is important to potential buyers and stay in the know on the latest buzz. This turns social media like LinkedIn and Twitter into forums they can use to strike up meaningful conversations. Everyone is a brand ambassador and everyone plays a role.

Rule #2: Learn

It’s been said that we should never stop learning. From where we sit, this means continuously learning what “value” means to our customers and creating it. In today’s technology-driven world, there is a plethora of data we can use to make meaning and seek understanding. In addition to what we learn through listening, data allows us to learn about our customers and prospects in ways we couldn’t before. The need for greater understanding is leading to new concepts like account-based marketing, and new tools to support these concepts, like Marketo ABM, which was announced at the Summit. We have learned that, like most things in life, marketing is not “one size fits all.” We keep learning at ReadyTalk by working in cross-functional teams, which allow us to collaborate, share experiences, align our goals and keep progressing as a business. It’s a great feeling to sit in a room with an account executive, a marketing manager, a product manager and an engineer and work together to solve complex problems that are easily broken down into digestible parts with our varied talents and perspectives, resulting in a deeper understanding for us and better experiences for our customers because we’re delivering what matters to them.

Rule #3: Inspire – You inspire through engagement. Despite the importance of data and the rise of technology, nothing replaces personal human interactions, as we learned from Cvent CEO Reggie Aggarwal. While his business is centered around live events, and ours around web events, we here at ReadyTalk certainly share his view on the importance of 1 on 1 interaction to help engage customers and prospects. These interactions add up to relationships and relationships create value. This is engrained in our company’s culture and it is the primary way we engage with our customers. Our Customer Care and Event Services team (and all of us here, for that matter) truly care about creating memorable experiences and forming meaningful relationships with our customers. Simply put, our customers’ success is ours as well. I could tell countless stories of ReadyTalk Event Managers providing a little extra support and guidance for a first-time webinar organizer or cracking a joke during pre-conference to calm their nerves, or a Customer Care team member providing expert advice during a critical moment and going the extra mile to ensure a worry-free meeting. We want to be more than just your webinar provider; we want to inspire you to do your best work by taking the potential stress of technology off your plate and making it as easy. We will gladly step in as a technical trainer, trusted advisor, or a sounding board for your ideas as you plan your perfect webinar program.

The bottom line? The days of traditional sales tactics and marketing plans are over and it is changing the way all of us do business. The engagement economy requires increased attention to what really matters, heightened focus on data and broader and deeper relationships across all stakeholders. This results in better outcomes for businesses and buyers alike – we might even call it harmony.

Our Affinity for Marketing and Where It Aligns with Marketo Summit Sessions

If it wasn’t already painfully obvious, we’re adamant about our love for marketing. Our webinar and webcasting teams champion the marketer and their objectives every single day and we’re obsessed with helping them deliver business success.

Marketo’s annual Marketing Nation Summit presents an invaluable opportunity for us to meet many of those marketers face-to-face, and we’ll be sending a crew over to San Francisco next week to show off ReadyTalk’s latest webinar platform offerings, share the most inventive ways that marketers are utilizing webinars and live video webcasts as part of their content marketing, and demonstrate how they’re feeding marketing automation and CRM systems with webinar attendee engagement data and analytics.

While we can’t wait to see how James Corden and Queen Latifah bring the celebrity glamor to follow up last year’s Will Smith sightings, we’re most excited about the sessions where our passions intersect with innumerable chances for marketers to share and learn from each other. Here are five sessions that we think are going to be especially good:

1) From Personalization to Individualization: Micro-targeting and Big Data with Michael Fauscette, G2Crowd

When it comes to webinars and the actionable lead gen insights that they can deliver for marketers, which in turn allow sales teams to tailor interactions with prospects and customers, personalization and individualization are hugely important. We’re keen to hear how webinars and similar strategies might fit into this talk.

2) Embrace Customer-Centric Measurement to Optimize Business Performance with Rusty Warner, Forrester

Can we make a collective confession? We’re measurement geeks. And we fully expect Forrester to deliver the goods on how to tie marketing measurement and analytics to sales outcomes and business performance, otherwise known as the holy grail of marketing. Hopefully, they’ll also present a few illustrative case studies along the way.

3) What’s Your Story? How Powerful Narratives Drive Great Companies with Deb Lavoy, Narrative Builders

Spoiler alert: We love a good brand narrative. Plus, we strive to help customers tell their stories through video and other content. Deb is also running a companion workshop on the same topic, so if your company is struggling to figure out your brand story and the channels to tell it through, check this pairing out.

4) SiriusDecisions Unveils New “State of Marketing Automation” Research…and What It Means for You! with Jay Famico, SiriusDecisions

What would a Marketo conference be without a little marketing automation discussion? SiriusDecisions employs some of the sharpest analysts we know when it comes to best practices, benchmark reports and strategies for marketers, so we’re eager to hear how far MA has come and where we can take it from here.

5) The Rise of AI in Marketing: IDC Shares What Every Marketer Should Know with Gerry Murray, IDC

–AND–

How to Use AI to Add Relevance to Your Marketing with J.J. Kardwell of EverString, Kristen Wendel of VersionOne and Peter Herbert of VersionOne

Ok, we cheated on this last one and combined two sessions about AI. It’s still very much the Wild West of every industry, and particularly within marketing, so we figured the more info we can gather on it, the better. We’ll aim to get a blend of overarching AI trends from IDC’s research director and more practical insights from VersionOne based on their implementation of the technology in the context of their marketing program.

See you in San Francisco, Marketing Nation! We’ll be at booth #S446, so stop by and say hello!

Boost Productivity with Spring Cleaning!

Spring has officially sprung, and what better way to start off the season than with some spring cleaning. While most of us break out the dust rags and mops to clean our homes, we sometimes forget about cleaning the place where we spend most of our time—our work space.  It doesn’t matter if you work from home or an office building, it’s important to have a clean, organized space.

A cluttered desk and dirty office can say a lot about you. Most workers (57 percent) admit to judging coworkers by the cleanliness of their workspaces, according to a survey by staffing firm Adecco.

An organized desk not only looks nicer, but it makes it easier to find items, which helps you save time and become more efficient, effective and productive.

The following 4 tips will help you get your desk nice and tidy.

  1.      Get rid of old papers

Chances are, you have a large stack of papers sitting on your desk or stuffed in a drawer. Go through those and decide if you still need them. If you no longer need the papers, throw them away. If you still need to hang on to them for a little while longer, create a filing system so you can quickly find the documents when you need to refer to them.

  1.      Clear out your junk drawer

To quickly rid things from desktops, people sometimes throw everything into the nearest desk drawer. As time goes on, this drawer fills up with random objects. Go through your junk drawer and decide what you can get rid of. Organize the remaining items so you can easily open the drawer and see what’s inside. Check back every so often to make sure it doesn’t start to overflow again.

  1.      Organize your computer

When you can’t make out the picture on the background of your computer, it’s time to de-clutter your desktop. As you come across files and folders you don’t need, send them to the recycling bin. For everything else, create a filing system that will make it easy to find the things you need. Also, don’t forget to empty your recycle bin every once in a while.

  1.      Tidy up once a week

Fridays are generally slow and quiet around the office. Take advantage of this down time and clean your desk. Dispose of trash, rinse out all of your coffee cups and get rid of any other things you no longer need. Think about how happy you’ll be on Monday when you sit down at your clean desk.

Keeping your space clean and organized will not only help keep you sane, but will also keep your productivity level high.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

 

Your Technology, Your Communications, Your Culture

Your company’s communication strategy, culture and technology usage all interconnect and depend on each other in many different ways. This may include ensuring user adoption based on office culture and internal communications, or having employee beliefs and wants drive the integration of new software. Essentially, technology, communications and culture need to closely align at your business to be effective.

In order to bring these three elements together, start by technology, community, culturedefining your organization’s culture. While established companies may have already fully defined what they are, this may not be the case for small businesses or startups. Therefore, take the time to find what makes your company unique and then celebrate this. Defining your organization’s culture will not only improve your client relationships, but it can also give your employees a renewed sense of purpose and drive at your company.

Once you have determined your organization’s culture, you can then develop a communication strategy and leverage certain technology tools to turn this plan into a reality. For example, if you want to improve internal communications, consider implementing a collaborative software that allows employees to organize and manage internal communications through one unified platform. Instead of losing track of documents and information in lengthily email chains or chats, your employees will appreciate the simplicity of a collaborative solution.

Meanwhile, if you want to bring your entire team together into one place but employ a remote workforce, consider updating your audio and video conferencing tools. This way, you can easily improve your current communication approach, benefit from new technology and maintain your company’s culture – all from your computer or tablet.

Man in the Pi Castle

Pi Day comes but once a year, but what the heck is Pi Day?

March 14th, or 3/14, is the day that all the nerds eat pie (both pizza and dessert), and celebrate our nerd culture. Specifically, we use a tiny inexpensive computer called a Raspberry Pi to build fun, sometimes useful projects. We see everything from weather balloons, to tiny loop pianos, to magic mirrors.

At ReadyTalk, we celebrate this day by giving our engineers two workdays to build these projects followed by the opportunity to demo them to our fellow geeks. Of course, we can spend more time than that on the project, and many of us do. The winning team gets to spend the year lording it over their fellow engineers by displaying this amazing trophy.

Man In The Pi Castle – A Chess Playing Robot

While there was only one named victor (and holder of the trophy), the real winners were everyone who participated. Pi Day celebrates more than just a single winner; it gives everyone a chance to work together and showcase technology in a really fun manner. Those who spectated rather than demoed learn something from the experience as well: a new way to tackle a problem or a new application for a certain aspect of software (and sometimes hardware).

I was part of the team, Man in the Pi Castle, that took the trophy this year with our attempt at building a chess playing robot. This may seem overly ambitious for a two-day project…and it was. The team spent a month of spare time and 200+ hours on three separate 3D printers to get where we did on this project.

While it may not have actually played chess, the robot arm was able to move a piece on the 3D printed board. In addition, it has an AWS hosted UI, and a microservice architecture. You can see a more detailed write-up of the robot and the software in this blog article. The team will be posting additional detailed articles, and you can check out their code on github.

Takeways

ReadyTalk has always taken great pride in its people and culture. The Pi Day celebration was one of the best examples I have seen of that since I joined the team. There were so many amazing projects and almost the entire engineering team participated.

I encourage other companies to consider having a Pi Day celebration. The level of excitement and innovation that it produced at ReadyTalk were unparalleled. Going forward, we plan to have additional days of innovation around other topics, but Pi Day was by far the largest success I have seen from an event like this.

As one of my co-workers once said about a hackathon, “You could cut the synergy in there with a knife.”