B2B Marketing News

Mixology Monday – Limoncello

May 4, 2015 by

Our last #MixologyMonday was a bit special. It was several weeks in the making, and it helped ring in out very on Holiday, Arketi day!

This isn’t a drink you can have fast, but the anticipation is part of the fun. It’s a great refreshing drink to start off Spring and Summer.

Here is our setup:

LC-setup

I prefer using the Reyka Vodka as it has a cleaner taste after absorbing the oils of the lemons. The bottle is from Ikea, a bit of food grade cheesecloth from the supply store, and the key here is to use organic lemons. These lemons are going to be releasing all of their oil into the liquor. Make sure they are as clean  and as pesticide free as possible. Then, suspend the lemons over the liquor using the cheesecloth to hold the lemons and sealing them within.

Lemons-in-jar

Once you suspend the lemons inside, leave it to sit.

Four weeks later…the fun part comes!

Once it’s done sitting for the full month, pour the lemon mixture into a new clean bottle, straining out any sediment that might have come from the lemons or cheesecloth. I use a coffee filter here, but if you want it to be a bit cloudy, a standard strainer will work.  Pop it into the freezer, and let it sit!

This is where I diverge from many of the recipes. Most recipes have you mix in your simple syrup immediately but I prefer to chill it in it’s own. I used rock sugar from a local asian market to give it a more earthy flavor, but white fine sugar will work just fine.
limon-prep

Here we are all ready to go. Combine the ice cold and frosty limoncello, cold simple syrup, a dash of fresh lemon juice and a bit of lemon zest in each glass.

What’s so lovely about doing it this way is that you can vary the proportions of syrup to alcohol on a glass by glass basis. Making it stronger or sweeter depending on personal tastes. I’ve found the best ratio is 1:1 of alcohol and syrup, then just a splash of lemon juice to the mix.

limon-prep2

It’s a great as an after dinner drink or just to end a warm day with. Try making some yourself this Summer!

You can find more details and a full recipe here and here.

Mobile-Friendly as a Ranking Signal for Google

April 21, 2015 by

Google is rolling out an updated algorithm – that factors in “mobile-friendliness” as a ranking signal – on April 21 (that’s today!).

Clients are asking us a few questions.

  1. 1. What does this mean?

Google will be increasing the visibility of sites that are optimized for mobile.

  1. 2. What should we be doing?

If you don’t’ have a mobile optimized site, you should begin work to create one. Don’t freak out though. Google is not going to penalize your site because it is not mobile-friendly. Google may, however, rank another site that is mobile-friendly – when a user queries a term that is relevant to what you offer – over yours.

If you have a mobile optimized site, good news for you. Your site may now perform better than it was on the search engines because it may outrank those that are not mobile-friendly. Think more traffic!

We think the most important thing to point out is, your site should be optimized for mobile, regardless of Google’s algorithm update. A mobile optimized site will improve site performance and conversions rates. It will provide users – who are more than 60% likely to use a mobile device or tablet to perform research (comScore report) – a better experience. If you’re site is not optimized for mobile already, this should have been on your radar prior to Google’s announcement of the algorithm update. Don’t you want to improve site performance? But more importantly, don’t you want more conversions?

If mobile optimization is not a top priority for your company, here’s a push to make it one.

We’re constantly telling clients that first and foremost, do things on your site that will improve the user experience. Usually, those activities are beneficial for search as well. Google’s algorithm update is a great example of that case in point. Optimize your site for mobile – which will improve a user’s experience – and Google will reward you for it.

 

When Bad Pitches Happen to Good Journalists

April 7, 2015 by

Quick Tips for Delivering Value to Reporters

Imagine for a moment that a majority of the people you work closest with are completely dissatisfied with your contributions. Pretty awful thought, right? Unfortunately, that’s exactly what PR professionals are facing with journalists. According to PRNewser and Forbes, a whopping 68 percent or journalists are unhappy with the current state of PR pitches, a.k.a. our emails (and bad pitches).

Let’s take a cue from Olivia Pope and “handle” this pitching problem. PR pros can’t afford to waste opportunities to generate awareness and earn visibility for the brands and products they represent. The following are a few quick tips for delivering valuable pitches:

  • Do Your Research

While there isn’t a silver bullet for securing news coverage, the more tailored your pitch is, the more likely you’ll earn media interest. Fire up Google and research outlets and reporters that cover the topic you’re pitching. Then craft a personalized email that ties your story idea to their specific beat.

  • Tell a Compelling Story

Relevance is important, but keep in mind, just because a reporter covers technology doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll cover your product or company. In other words, give the reporter a compelling story to tell. A good rule of thumb: focus less on the actual product/company and more on the people it helps and the impact it makes.

  • Paint the Picture with Visuals

Take your story a step further, and show journalists why it’s newsworthy. Part of journalists’ dissatisfaction with PR pitches is the lack of visuals supplied. In fact, a recent survey from ISEBOX states that 80 percent of journalists feel frustrated in needing to spend more than 30 minutes collecting visual content for stories. Have a photo, infographic, or video that supplements your pitch? Share it!

To sum up, quality is always better than quantity when it comes to pitching. Before reaching out to a reporter make sure your pitch is valuable by ensuring it’s relevant, compelling, visual, and of course, brief.

How do you add value to your pitches? Share your tips with us.

 

Georgia’s 2015 State of the Industry Report

March 30, 2015 by

Last week, the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) released its 2015 State of the Industry Report featuring insights into the rapidly changing landscape of Georgia’s technology industry. Specifically, the report dives into technology job growth, STEM education and the latest and greatest Georgia-grown technology platforms.

To check it out for yourself, visit the interactive website where you can learn about the 10 key findings.

http://tagstateoftheindustry.com/2015/

 

TAG SOIR 2015

TAG SOIR 2015

 

TAG is a leading industry association dedicated to educating, promoting, influencing and uniting the technology industry in Georgia. This report contains information on the current state of this industry as well as results from our latest TAG Technology Decision Makers Survey primary research study.

Rise of the Chief Marketing Tech (and Sales) Officer

March 24, 2015 by

I recently heard Bill Nussey, president and CEO of Silverpop, speak to a group of marketers where he advocated the need for organizations to create a chief marketing tech officer role. The notion is interesting and something I’ve seen discussed across several marketing blogs.

I’d like to take that thought a step further and propose that companies create a Chief Marketing Tech Sales Officer. After all, these three functions working closely with prospects and customers, and it just seems to make sense to have one person responsible for all.

While I love the idea of a CMTSO who breaks down department silos and seamlessly collaborates with everyone across the enterprise, will there ever be one? Probably not. It’s a bit far-fetched to think one person could or should assume responsibility for all three roles. However, I can see the CMO naturally taking the lead on owning the customer experience over all three functions. Apparently I’m not alone …

From a January AdvertisingAge article, a Gartner study revealed 25 percent of CMOs said the most-increased expectation CEOs have for them is to lead customer experience.

But what’s shocking is that customer experience is the area marketers have made the least progress in.

Why the disconnect? Is customer experience simply the latest buzz phrase that everyone expects to fade away? Or do CMOs lack the skills necessary to bridge organizational divides?

Tell us what you think. What’s the current state of CMOs, and what does the future hold for them?

Mixology Mondays at Arketi: Paloma

March 9, 2015 by

#MixologyMonday is back for round two at Arketi Group. The second installment of mixology Monday was headlined by a beachy drink to get us ready for the warm Spring weather to come: the Paloma.

Hailed the most popular drink in Mexico, little is known about the historical origin of the Paloma. However, it is a common belief that the tasty cocktail got its name from the popular folk song “La Paloma” – meaning “the dove” in English – written by Spanish composer Sebastián Yradier in the early 1860s.

Paloma

 

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 cup mezcal or tequila

1/4 cup club soda

Directions:

Pour some kosher salt on a plate. Rub half of rim of a highball glass with a grapefruit wedge; dip rim of glass in salt. Combine 1/4 cup fresh grapefruit juice, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, and 1 teaspoon sugar in glass; stir until sugar is dissolved. Stir in 1/4 cup mezcal or tequila, add ice, and top off with 1/4 cup club soda. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

To make it skinny, substitute agave for sugar!

We heard a number of our clients love a little tequila, so we were very excited to share this recipe for our Mixology Mondays. Be sure to share you favorite tequila cocktails with us in the comments section below!

Should Products and Company Name Be One in the Same?

February 26, 2015 by

Arketi friend, David Cummings, recently wrote a blog post titled Products and Company Name Should be the Same (http://davidcummings.org/2015/02/18/product-and-company-name-should-be-the-same/). In it, he recounted how early on his company, Pardot, decided that their product needed a separate name from their company; however, over time he came to the conclusion that the product and company name should be one and the same.

David, we agree (most of the time) and here is why.

A company should consider branding each product as a strategic investment. The top three goals of brand strategy should be:

  • Increasing customer loyalty,
  • Differentiating the product from the competition, and
  • Establishing market leadership.

Branding architectures try to optimize the customer’s view of the product in relation to the company itself and the other products in the company’s portfolio. The product may be branded as a stand-alone product, associated with other products, or simply associated with the company as a whole.

Branding in service markets is made difficult because of the intangible nature of services. A key differentiator can be to emphasize the people of the company that distinguishes the service from the competition.

Technology companies often have short product life cycles and complex products. Branding individual products that may have short useful lives is costly. Here, the company brand can have a major impact on the customer.

Business customers have complex purchasing processes. A company with a strong brand has a better chance of making the short-list of vendors when a company considers a major purchase.

What we currently see happening in the marketplace, which is also supported by academic research, is a move away from branding new products as stand-alone brands. Instead, the idea of an overall company brand or an umbrella brand over the product line or business units is preferred.

What are your thoughts when it comes to aligning products and company name?

Young pros must STOP

February 24, 2015 by

Since being a college sophomore, networking and seeking out advice from PR pros has come naturally to me. Today as a young professional, reaching out for suggestions and assistance from more seasoned industry leaders and resources is still something I’m comfortable with.

As a desire to learn more about and grow within the PR industry, I enjoy reading up on industry trends and professional development articles. A few days ago I read an article on PR Daily, a resource I’m learning from, about things young PR pros need to stop doing and thought it was on-point. After reading the 10 points the article outlines, two really hit home.

The article references that young professionals tend not to speak up and that they also accept existing processes. In not speaking up, you may be withholding the next brilliant client campaign that everyone loves. You would hurt your company and your client by not mentioning your idea.

By not accepting existing processes, you could have a more small-scale impact. If you have an idea that would improve your organization, why wouldn’t you vocalize it? It’s very possible others haven’t thought of executing a task the way you have.

To take the PR Daily article a step further, I thought some of the points could translate to how Arketi operates. From my time here, I’ve learned all employees are encouraged to be comfortable and start doing. Arketians very much believe that it’s important to go outside of your comfort zone and take challenges by the horns. When you’re challenging yourself, everyone can win.

I recommend young professionals just start doing. If you’re going outside of your comfort zone, you are learning new things and growing. Don’t worry about making mistakes, a mistake can become your biggest learning opportunity. Of the mistakes I’ve made, each has taught me something about myself or a situation that I have since done differently.

So, young pros, how do you feel about the 10 things article? Do you think anything is missing?

For the more seasoned professionals, what things do you see young pros doing that they need to stop immediately?

Feel free to share your thoughts below.

MODX : Using getCollection or “Getting stuff fast, really fast.”

February 17, 2015 by

The more I learn about MODX and coding in general, the clearer it becomes that there are so many ways of doing the same thing. As the Vorlons from Babylon 5 say, “Truth is a three edged sword. Your side, my side and the truth.” I think with doing any sort of coding that sword has somewhere upwards of several thousand edges.

Lately, I’ve been working on increasing speed and building faster ways of doing the same thing. While a lot of MODX veterans or experienced PHP coders will have done this in the past, hopefully this will give those learning beyond the basic concepts a jump-start in building their own custom Snippets.

Lets say you want to build a set of press releases for your site. You have an overview page, and maybe you have them all listed underneath the overview page in the document tree or you’ve installed the awesome “Collections” tool to keep them organized. (Check back here! We’re going to be talking about the Collections tool soon!)

On your overview page you’ve placed a getResources snippet like this:

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[[getResources?
    &parents=`53`
    &tpl=`tplPressReleaseLine`
    &limit=`0`
    &sortby=`publishedon`
    &sortdir=`DESC`
]]

With your tplPressReleaseLine chunk looking something like this:

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<h3>[[+longtitle:notempty=`[[+longtitle]]`:default=`[[+pagetitle]]`]] - [[+publishedon:strtotime:date=`%A, %B %e, %Y`]]</h3>
<p>[[+introtext:notempty=`[[+introtext]]&nbsp;`]]<a href="[[~[[+id]]]" class="readMore">Read More</a><p>

Here is an alternate way of doing things that is extremely fast, and contains everything inside a single snippet.

getCollection is a MODX function that allows you to get an array of objects meeting whatever criteria you set down. Once you have your array you can manipulate it however you see fit.

We are going to use MODX’s getCollection to grab everything we need and walk the data back through a foreach loop, outputting our press releases.

First lets look at the completed snippet, “buildPressReleases”, before breaking it down.

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<?php
//clear the output
$output = '';

//the Parent ID of where your press releases are
$ids = $modx->getChildIds(53);

//Start defining your criteria
$criteria = $modx->newQuery('modResource');
$criteria->where(array(
    'id:IN' => $ids,
    'published' => '1',
    'template' => '7'
));

$criteria->sortby('publishedon', 'DESC');

//Get your array of objects using getCollection
$pressReleases = $modx->getCollection('modResource', $criteria);

//Now walk through the array
foreach ($pressReleases as $pressRelease) {
   
    //check to see if we have a longtitle
    $title = $pressRelease->get('longtitle');
    if (empty($title)) {
        $title = $pressRelease->get('pagetitle');
    }
   
    //Make our date pretty
    $date       = strtotime($pressRelease->get('publishedon'));
    $prettydate = date('F j, Y', $date);
   
    //See if the introtext is blank and add a nonbreaking space
    $introtext = $pressRelease->get('introtext');
    if (!empty($introtext)) {
        $introtext = $introtext . '&nbsp;';
    }
   
    //put the pieces all in place, including the link
    $output .= '<h3>' . $title . ' - ' . $prettydate . '</h3>
    <p>'
. $introtext . '<a href="' . $pressRelease->get('uri') . '" class="readMore">Read&nbsp;More</a><p>';
}

return $output;

It is fast and elegant. So lets look at each step of the process to understand what happens.

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//clear the output
$output = '';

//the Parent ID of where your press releases are
$ids = $modx->getChildIds(53);

This ensures we have a clean and empty output before using getChildIds. As it is written here, it will get an array of IDs that reside under document number 53. As there are no conditions, it will grab everything no matter how deep it is in the the document tree. There is no sorting done here.

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//Start defining your criteria
$criteria = $modx->newQuery('modResource');

$criteria->where(array(
    'id:IN' => $ids,
    'published' => '1',
    'template' => '7'
));

$criteria->sortby('publishedon', 'DESC');

//Get your array of objects using getCollection
$pressReleases = $modx->getCollection('modResource', $criteria);

This is where we get what we want! However, there are still a few things we need to do. First, set up a new query in the $criteria. Next we are going to ad a few conditions into it. We only want our array to have objects that meet three conditions:

  • The id is IN our array we have in the previous step.
  • That the document is published
  • Finally that it is using template number 7, The template for a press release

Finally, we want all this sorted by the “published on” date in descending order. This will show the most recent first. Once our criteria is set up we do the getCollection call. It is important to remember that what we have now is an array of objects sorted by the criteria we set up. If you need to turn it into a regular array, you will need to use the “toArray()” command on each object.

An important word of caution here, if you need your query to exclude things like deleted, hidden from menu or other parameters you have to tell it. This way will grab everything meeting your parameters, ignoring the rest.

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foreach ($pressReleases as $pressRelease) {
   
    //check to see if we have a longtitle
    $title = $pressRelease->get('longtitle');
    if (empty($title)) {
        $title = $pressRelease->get('pagetitle');
    }
   
    //Make our date pretty
    $date       = strtotime($pressRelease->get('publishedon'));
    $prettydate = date('F j, Y', $date);
   
    //See if the introtext is blank and add a nonbreaking space
    $introtext = $pressRelease->get('introtext');
    if (!empty($introtext)) {
        $introtext = $introtext . '&nbsp;';
    }
   
    //put the pieces all in place, including the link
    $output .= '<h3>' . $title . ' - ' . $prettydate . '</h3>
    <p>'
. $introtext . '<a href="' . $pressRelease->get('uri') . '" class="readMore">Read&nbsp;More</a><p>';
}
return $output;

This is where we walk through the array. It uses some basic PHP.

As a practice, we use the longtitle field as the headline of the page or a longer more SEO friendly title. The pagetitle field is  used  primarily in the manager to make clear what the page is. But it is important to always have a fallback just in case the longtitle is not set for some reason. That is what we check first. We get the longtitle from the object. If that is empty, then we grab the pagetitle.

Next we pretty up the date. Grabbing the date from the object and using the strtotime command, follow that up with the PHP date function to display it in a more friendly format.

Then lets see if we have some introductory text. If there is, add a non breaking space after it. This will keep our read more link from breaking strangely if the copy gets close to the edge.

Lastly, in each loop lets build our HTML from each piece we have created. Here, I am getting the uri from the object in the link. In most cases this will work, but if you need to create a full http/https link you can always add another step and use MODX’s makeURL function.

After we have stepped through each array entry, you simply return your output variable to the page.

Hopefully, this is just a starting point for you to jump off from when exploring more ideas of how to manipulate content in differing ways. You can modify this technique and add additional conditions to perhaps grab all the press releases for a year, or building a blog style Previous and next function for your documents. You can see a front end example of this here . A variation of this code is what runs the Arketi Press release overview page, with additional sorting by year built in. This snippet is called uncached, and just look at the speed!

The best advantage of MODX is that it lets you choose, build and manipulate your content in the way that works best for your site and structure. Can you use the basic getResourses way? Sure. Build your own custom snippet that’s fast? Sure! You can even do something else entirely.

Resources

Bob’s Guide – Understanding MODX Revolution Objects and xPDO

Bob Ray wrote the book on MODX. Literally. It’s an invaluable Resource.

Documentation for getCollection is here.

Do you have any unique ways of manipulating your MODX? Leave a note and let us know!

Mixology Mondays at Arketi

February 9, 2015 by

#MixologyMonday has arrived at Arketi Group. The first installment of mixology Monday last month was headlined by a simple and unique cocktail: the classic Black Velvet.

Legend has it, this classic drink was invented in 1861 at Brook’s Club in London. Prince Albert had died, and the country was in mourning. As the story goes, the steward at the club, overcome with the emotion of the occasion, ordered that even the champagne should be put into mourning. He then proceeded to mix the bubbly with Guiness. The taste was so delicious the Black Velvet quickly became extremely popular. Check out the recipe below!

Arketi Mixology Monday taste testers

 

Serves 1

Ingredients:

Champagne

Guiness Extra Stout

 

Directions:

Pour the Guinness Extra Stout into a clean champagne flute or collins glass until half full. Then top the glass off with champagne, being careful not to spill.

Pro tip: Position a bar spoon in the glass with its backside facing upward with one hand, and slowly pour champagne over the back side with another hand until glass is full. To get a perfect separation of layers, make sure the tip of spoon floats over the surface of the beer and adjust as the glass fills.

Black Velvet pouring technique

 

Do you have a favorite drink or recommendation for our next Mixology Monday at BARketi? If so, leave us a comment!