Mixology Monday: Making Your Winter Dreams Come True

December 15, 2015 by

Oh the weather outside is frightful. Ok, it may be an unnaturally warm Monday in December, but nothing can stop Team Arketi from toasting to the winter holidays.

This mixology Monday we’re mixing up a cold batch of Winter Dreams also known as “Christmas in a Cup.”barketi-kf-dec-2015-1

As you venture home for the holidays or brave the malls filled with Christmas shoppers, do yourself a favor and pour a tall glass of Winter Dreams. It may not make your in-laws disappear or place an Apple Watch under your tree, but it does promise to delight the taste buds and take the edge off.

Winter Dream: Mint on the rocksWinter Dream: Cranberries and Mint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the recipe, courtesy of the one-and-only Martha Stewart.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 ounces mandarin orange vodka
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau (orange liqueur)
  • 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Seltzer water – chilled
  • Optional: Fresh cranberries and mint for garnish

Directions:

In a tall cocktail glass add ice and pour in vodka, Cointreau and lemon juice.

Fill to the top with seltzer water and gently stir. Add in fresh cranberries and mint for garnish.

 

2016 Economic Predictions

December 11, 2015 by

This week I heard Dr. Donald Ratajczak, consulting economist and Regents Professor Emeritus of Economics at Georgia State University, speak about the 2016 economic forecast to a group of CEOs and CFOs at the December Technology Executives Roundtable meeting.

Given everything that’s happening on a national and global front, this was a great event to attend to get a peek into what’s in store for next year. Whether you run your own business or your own marketing department, Dr. Ratajczak’s take on the state of our economy, and its impact on Atlanta and our technology community, gives good insight into how you can strategically plan in 2016.

Here are a few observations:

  • Excess inventory: The U.S. continues to struggle here, particularly in the energy and retail markets. Some of this inventory overhang is in oil, while another is in retailer stores themselves. With online purchases up, retailers simply have too many brick-and-mortar stores they don’t need.
  • Dollar losing competitiveness: The dollar is too strong, nearing an all-time 20-year peak.
  • Gas prices going down: This means household purchasing power is increasing.
  • On the hunt for talent: The job market is growing, so competition is increasing to find the best employees. You’ll find more and more companies who are willing to bid employees away from their competitors and invest in training them.
  • Government spending: Look for it to increase on both a state and local level.

2016 economic predictions

Here in Atlanta…

  • The local Georgia economy is growing in line with the U.S.
  • A talent pool is being created in Atlanta, so our challenge will be to keep the talent here.
  • Looking to specific markets, the storage and data processing areas are creating jobs, and the engineering and system design areas are growing.

Come the end of 2016, Dr. Ratajczak predicts the U.S. will have absorbed its excess inventory and will be more growth-prone going into 2017.

Tell us what you think 2016 will look like. What economic indicator is most relevant to your business strategic planning process? Do you have a plan in place to make 2016 a profitable year for your company? Leave a comment or send us a note with your 2016 economic predictions.

Quick Stats on Assessing Marketers and Employing Predictive Analytics

November 30, 2015 by

For marketers, clicks and open rates can only go so far. Ultimately, the leads and revenue generated from marketing activities will assess the ROI of the program. In a recently released survey from 6sense, 70 percent of B2B marketers indicated they’re measured on the amount of revenue generated from marketing and lead-generation efforts for which they’re responsible. Check out the following highlights from the 2015 Survey of B2B Marketers.

Respondents said sales rejects 80 percent of their marketing-qualified leads. When performance is measured by revenue, the vast majority of leads never get past sales and marketers must find a way to make their leads better.

In an effort to do this, one third of companies that participated in the survey currently use some type of predictive analytics tool. Of these companies, only 17 percent have had their predictive analytics tools in place for three or more years.

While this area is unfamiliar to most marketers, the survey shows that will change soon. In fact, 54 percent of respondents who don’t use predictive analytics said it’s likely they’ll invest in the technology in the next one to three years.

Quick stats from 2015 Survey of B2B Marketers

When asked what type of data they use to score prospects, most respondents answered activity and engagement with website and assets. Contact data, such as job title and contact information, ranked second, followed by company data.

These companies’ top goal for predictive analytics is simple – increasing overall lead quality. Other main goals include increasing the volume of qualified leads, increasing the number of sales-qualified leads, and finding new prospects.

User Behavior as Ranking Factor and More Search Marketing News

November 25, 2015 by

Are User Behavior Metrics a Ranking Factor?

There has been a lot of speculation lately about whether Google takes user behavior metrics (click through rate, bounce rate, dwell time, etc.) into consideration when ranking search results. Stirring the pot, Google representatives have given inconsistent responses to whether user behavior is a ranking factor leaving SEOs on their own to experiment.

This week, Masha Maksimava, wrote an enlightening article on the issue—a must read for anyone unsure about whether or not user engagement is considered a ranking factor.

Spoiler alert:  Based on experiments and several statements from Google search engineers, Google must use factors such as click through rate, dwell time and bounce to rank search results. Pages with higher CTRs and dwell times signal to Google that users found what they were searching for, so, in turn, Google will likely rank these pages higher in the search results because they offer searchers a good experience.

Link Building Is Not Dead

In a powerful article, link building expert Eric Ward boldly made the case for manual link building and why it will never go out of style. Putting to rest the controversial “link building is dead” remarks of many SEOs, Ward explained why  link building cannot be automated as building quality links requires manual outreach, in-depth research and personal, genuine relationships.

A lot can be learned from this link building article, so check it out!

Penguin Update is Upon Us, Make Sure You’re Ready

According to Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Gary Illyes, the nest Google Penguin update is scheduled to hit before the end of 2015.

What does this mean? If you were hit by the last Penguin update (in 2014) you now have the chance to recover. This update will be a real-time version, so as Google finds spammy links, sites will be impacted immediately. On the flip side, when those sites remove spammy links they should see a recovery immediately.

You might be asking yourself, “How do I make sure my site does not get penalized?” To get ready for the update, we recommend doing an audit of all inbound links to make sure they aren’t spam links. While it may be time consuming, discovering spammy links and getting rid of them before the next update can have huge impacts on your search rankings.

The Best Place to Network

November 17, 2015 by

Perfecting the art of networking takes time, requiring you to create your own style and method. With each occasion different from the next, you’ll have events where you know people and others where you don’t know anyone.

For some networkers, it’s not easy to attend an event with a room full of strangers. For others, the strangers are viewed as hundreds of opportunities for new friends by the end of the evening. However, if you’re one of the shyer individuals,  figuring out how to strike up a conversation can be difficult. So today’s networking tip is all about strategic locations and the best place to network at an event.

The Heart of Networking by Ricky Steele touches on many pieces of advice for networking, but my favorite takeaway was to stand by the bar to network – one of the best suggestions I’ve come across. Seriously.Best place to network: by the bar

Everyone loves to drink – hey, it helps take the edge off some events – and they also love to eat.

I’ve tried the approach over the last few networking events, and had great success. Each allowed me to create relationships that lead to new industry friendships or business ventures. After putting Ricky’s words into practice, I have my own top tip on how to conquer networking events every time.

Get to the event early, and meet the bartender and servers.

It’s really that easy. At an event a few weeks ago, I went to the bar upon first arriving to get my way up to the front of the line quickly. Doing so allowed me to help other networkers who weren’t as fortunate to get to the bartender in getting a glass of wine. In providing others with something they were struggling to obtain, it was the perfect gateway into connecting and beginning a conversation that night.

Don’t believe it’s that simple?

A few minutes later a server with hors d’oeuvres walked by and offered a tray full of pizza bites. Since the group was hungry, the stop-by was much appreciated. We jokingly told him to check with us as he had a new tray of food – and he took it seriously. I must have “sampled” every hors d’oeuvre that was served at least three times. When I arrived at the event I was hungry, and when I was left I was full.

This is just one night’s example of how standing by the bar worked out well, and it’s probably my favorite because of the well-connected people I connected with and have since had drinks with. Granted getting to the bar can sometimes be the largest feat of the evening, but it’s paid off for me each time.

Has this trick worked for you? Do you have a tip of your own to add? Leave your comments in the fields below.

Final Fantasy Football – Week 8

November 13, 2015 by

While our Fantasy Football brackets have been in motion for the past few weeks, we wanted to share an inside look at the friendly competition between our FF newbies and veterans. Enjoy!

 

Folks, let me tell you what a good week looks like. In the past week, J.K. Rowling announced she was penning a children’s book. CBS bolstered the spirits of Trekkies everywhere with the unveiling of a new Star Trek series. Carnival discussed plans for a Cuban cruise, highlighting the improving relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

This should have been an amazing week for all, right? But where it really counts, on the Fantasy Football field, dark news gathered like storm clouds, raining down loss and tragedy on many an Arketian and souring the week’s events.

To the results…as the Country Music Awards and drama unfolded, I thought I would pay homage and assign each team a corresponding country music track to describe their performance. Does this sound awesome? Am I genius? The verdict is out, though the jury leans “yes.” Let’s dive in.

Just when we thought parity was trending towards restoration in Week 7, disparity reared its ahead and stormed back in for Week 8. Team Barclay smoked Team Sikorski, moving to 7-1 on the season. Team Sikorski stands at 0-8 for the season.

Now playing for Team Barclay: “Strawberry Wine” by Deana Carter, as the season’s been nothing but sweet for Team Barclay.

Now Playing for Team Sikorski: “ The Christmas Shoes” by Newsong. Does a sadder song exist? Probably not. Does a more miserable fantasy football season exist? No. It’s fitting.

In a battle of “Who could care less about fantasy football,” Team VanderHaar (5-3) emerged victorious over Team Macaranas (3-5).

Now playing for Team VanderHaar: “Drink in my Hand” by Eric Church; the song captures the “no worries” vibe embodied by the continually successful Team VanderHaar.

Now playing for Team Macaranas:  “Should’ve been a Cowboy(girl)” by Toby Keith; it’s looking like Team Macaranas’ football days are on the downhill, so maybe a future of roping cattle is in the books.

Fantasy FootballTeam Fowler trounced Team Cochran, as both teams moved to 4-4 on the season.

Now playing for Team Fowler: “Ol’ Red” by Blake Shelton; Team Fowler was the only Dawg to win this week. Represent Red & Black.

Now playing for Team Cochran: “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac; a week of horrendous results helped bury the Commissioner in this matchup.

Team England bested Team Parker as the teams moved to 5-3 and 3-5 respectively.

Now playing for Team England: “Gunpowder and Lead” by Miranda Lambert; fierce and fearless, the song captures the essence of the 3 game win streak Team England finds itself on.

Now playing for Team Parker: “Why Don’t we Just Dance” by Josh Turner; as the season goes South, sometimes all there’s left to do is bust a mean move. Where you at, JP?

Team Neumeier and Team Cole reenacted the October 31 thrashing UF handed UGA, as Team Neumeier (6-2) Gator Chomped Team Cole to its 4th loss of the season.

Now playing for Team Neumeier: “House Party” by Sam Hunt; all that’s left to do is to party, as Team Neumeier cruises towards a playoff berth.

Now playing for Team Cole: “Smoke Break” by Carrie Underwood; stress levels are rising for Team Cole (who really isn’t concerned with Fantasy Football), but I’m getting stressed for her! Someone pass the Marlboro Reds…so I can throw them away. Smoking is terrible for you, folks.

In our final matchup of the week, Team Long (5-3) cruised over Team Carlton (2-6).

Now playing for Team Long: “Save it for a Rainy Day” by Kenny Chesney; Team Long may have struggled early in the season, but recent weeks have seen positive results.

Now playing for Team Carlton: “Whiskey Lullaby” by Brad Paisley and Allison Krauss;  not even a good whiskey can soften the pain as Team Carlton nears elimination from the playoff picture.

As Week 8 wraps, we look toward Week 9 for a clearer playoff picture. We’ll provide an update when it happens. But in the meantime, enjoy the week, and enjoy the Arketi Fantasy Football Spotify playlist by clicking here.

B2B Public Relations Talk on biz1190

November 11, 2015 by

Arketi‘s Mike Neumeier joined Eric Holtzclaw of The Eric Holtzclaw Show in studio to give share a glimpse into the expanding world of public relations. PR isn’t just about handling a crisis anymore, PR involves social media management and, according to Mike, is inching ever closer to being identified with driving sales. 

For Tech Tip Tuesday on biz1190, Mike and Eric took a look at the reality of ad blocking in B2B public relations. Check out the entire segment below.

The Eric Holtzclaw Show airs weekday mornings, 11am-12pm. Listen on the go when you have time with the biz 1190 mobile app, available at the App Store and on Google Play.

The Importance of Internal Links and More Search Marketing News

November 5, 2015 by

The search marketing industry is always changing, so it’s important to stay up to date on the latest news and best practices. Here’s a round-up of some of the most recent search marketing news and trends. Hope you enjoy!

Don’t Overlook Internal Links

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“We need to build more inbound links,” said every SEO practitioner ever. But, could we be spending too much time focusing on inbound links and not enough time focusing on internal links? Search Engine Land contributor, Patrick Stox, insists we should be taking better advantage of the value of internal linking.

For those who aren’t aware, an internal link is any link on a website that links to another page on the same website. In Stox post he urges SEOs to add internal links saying, “If I could impart just one piece of wisdom to the current crop of SEOs, it would be this: Add internal links to related content where it makes sense.”

For instance, when we create new pieces of content we tend to include internal links to related content, but we often forget to go back to older pieces of content and add links to our newer, related pieces of content. The more content you have on a subject, and the more you can show the search engines that you have multiple pieces of content on a subject, the more likely search engines will view you as an expert on the subject.

By not adding links to all related content, you are missing out on stronger rankings. Adding links directs search engines to your strongest content on a subject, signaling to them the pages you consider to be the most important.

#SEOHorrorStories Hashtag Trends on Twitter

You may have noticed that SEO made it to the top of Twitter’s “trending topics” list over the Halloween weekend. Yep, you read that correctly. Last Friday, the #SEOHorrorStories hashtag began and was seen trending later that night and into the weekend. SEO’s from all over the world shared their SEO nightmares with the world and it was enough to keep any search guru up at night.

The official Google Analytics twitter account and Matt Cutts (Google’s former webspam chief) even joined in on the fun. Check out some of the tweets below, but beware, they may have you looking over your shoulder in SEO terror.

“Our website is written completely in Flash. #seohorrorstories” — @googleanalytics

“I was just discussing your sites with some of the webspam team. #seohorrorstories” – @MattCutts

“Is there someone at Google we can call to make an exception? #SEOHorrorStories”

@AlanBleiweiss

“Seo? Yes, I know it! You put your keyword into the title, heading and 5 times into the copy #seohorrorstories #5timesonly” – @xszamankax

Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update: Say Goodbye to Giant Ad Interstitials

On Monday, Google released an update to its mobile-friendly algorithm, penalizing sites using giant app install interstitials. Google announced sites using these giant app install ads will no longer be considered mobile friendly due to the fact that the ads hide a significant amount of content on the transition between the search results page and the content the user is trying to see. Sites using giant ads on mobile will likely see a decline in search engine rankings.

Google recommends using more user-friendly ad formats, like app install banners, rather than the full page interstitials. Their goal is to make it easier for searchers to see the content of the pages they are looking for.

To learn more about the update and its implications, visit the Google Webmaster blog.

Account-Based Marketing: Five Big Mistakes to Avoid – Part 3

November 3, 2015 by

As we wrap up our blog series on the topic, we’re sharing a few critical mistakes to avoid as you begin your account-based marketing journey.

1) Failing to set expectations

Connecting the dots between marketing and sales around the account list, contact names, titles and overall approach in an account-based marketing strategy should be a no-brainer.  But the effort impacts other parts of the organization too,  as it may produce a disruption in the “standard” activity set and performance metrics of the marketing and sales organizations.  Which brings finance into the picture.

If the initiative is aimed at existing customers, the support organization needs to be involved.  And above all, the entire executive team should be aware of the initiative and timeframe it takes to generate results.  Failing to ensure buy-in across the company can place substantial roadblocks in the way of any level of success.

2) Being one-dimensional in execution

Since today’s prospects are multi-dimensional in their consumption of information, it stands to reason that your account-based marketing strategy must sdeploy a variety of tactics to effectively engage these key targets.  By combining varied approaches like retargeted ads, select webinars, phone follow ups, social outreach and live events, you create a broad-based engagement platform that works to reinforce each contact with strong messages that drive engagement and finally sales.

3) Failing to establish and monitor the right metrics

Work with the Sales team to create a universal set of metrics for the effort that is shared between marketing and sales.

Work with the Sales team to develop metrics for the effort shared between Marketing and Sales.

True account-based marketing demands a different set of metrics than standard demand gen indicators. Given that the overall number of prospects in a typical account-based marketing campaign is much lower than other demand gen efforts, measuring high-level response won’t be as valuable as say measuring the level of engagement of prospects throughout the campaign.

One of the advantages of an account-based set of activities is that it gives you the chance to really leverage A/B testing to optimize your campaign during its run rather than waiting for a post-campaign analysis to identify gaps and shortfalls.  Work with the Sales team to create a universal set of metrics for the effort that is shared between marketing and sales.  And plan to test early and often to fully optimize the effort throughout the campaign.

4) Not piloting the initiative before full deployment.

Account-based marketing involves many moving parts, any one of which can have a significant impact on outcomes.  It’s best to identify a subset of the potential target list and pilot the activities before making a dramatic shift in marketing activities or sales commitments.  What is learned in a smaller short-duration pilot can usually be applied to ensure a more effective larger scale initiative.

5) Not doing enough custom research

Let’s be clear – identifying the industry group or vertical market of your target list of prospects and targeting messages that appeal to that industry might be a starting point but by itself it isn’t account-based marketing.  Identifying the specific attributes of a group of companies within an industry group, understanding their unique challenges, identifying the unique things that concern the company executives will get you closer to the ultimate target of true one-to-one marketing.  Not spending the proper amount of time at this stage is one of the biggest potential failure points of any account-based strategy.

If you’d like to discuss account-based one on one marketing with us in more detail, drop us a note of give us a call.

This is the final blog in our series on account-based marketing. You can also check out our previous posts including Part 1 on the key considerations of ABM and Part 2 which outlines steps to getting started.

Account-Based Marketing: Getting Started – Part 2

October 12, 2015 by

Like most significant business initiatives, a key reason for failure to launch an account-based marketing (ABM) plan is often the quite reasonable question: “How do I start?”  Or put another way, “How do I do this without really screwing it up?

The good news is, stripped of the hype, account-based marketing is fairly straightforward.  Note that doesn’t mean easy, just not wildly exotic when it comes to planning.  Here are some tips to help you get your pilot initiative off the ground.

  • Build an integrated marketing plan. Once Sales and Marketing agrees on the account or accounts to target, jointly develops a prospect contact list within the account and develops a Sales plan, it’s time to begin building out a marketing support plan. Keep in mind that even though you’re approaching prospects in a single account, you still need a multi-channel approach to effectively engage both existing prospects and new contacts as part of the account planning exercise.
    • Simply following a retargeting approach or sending a targeted set of emails to a small group of prospects won’t get it done.  Use part of the research phase to try to identify options for engagement based on the account’s make-up, culture and market position.
    • And don’t forget the metrics.  With account-based efforts, traditional activity-based marketing metrics might be interesting, but your campaign will live or die on harder engagement, pipeline and revenue performance.  Make sure you have a mechanism in place to track the “cradle to grave” path of the account prospects.
  • Do a marketing team skill set evaluation. This is ensure you have enough internal horsepower to pull off a true account-based marketing initiative. Nearly half the marketing execs polled by Demandbase in their recent survey said their teams lacked the right skills to keep this type of initiative in play.
    • To be successful, you’ll need team members with keen analytical minds, the ability to understand research and customer pain points and how to translate those into message elements.
    • And writers – strong writers.  To craft the individualized content components that quickly reach prospects and get them engaged.  If you don’t have the talent, acquire it, lease it, rent it, but don’t fail to obtain it, before you launch.
  • Assess organizational readiness. This might seem like common sense but unless you turn a real critical eye to your company’s culture and market position, to review a broad set of parameters, expectations and limitations, you’re likely to miss something critical.
    • For example, if you run on a six-to twelve month sales cycle but do quarterly Marketing reviews, you’re out of alignment before you begin. If your C-Suite tends to be of the “What have you done for me lately?” mindset, meaning it’s all about leads now, maybe account-based marketing isn’t your best fit or at least shouldn’t command the bulk of your marketing efforts and resources.Sales has every reason to support the ABM effort
  • Get internal buy-in. With the confidence you have the right structure and the right talent, you’re ready to make your first sale; to your internal stakeholders. Unless you Sales team is all in, willing to support the initiative completely, and your execs are willing to give you the time to execute before demanding results, the effort is doomed to fail.  The good news here is that Sales has every reason to support the effort if they are asked for guidance at the start as the outcome is measurable in Sales revenue.
    • It’s also important, at this stage, to identify the amount of focus your Sales team devotes to specific target accounts vs. broad market coverage so you can align marketing efforts accordingly. Be sure to include current customers in your account mix as these can be the best source of success from up sell and cross sell efforts.
  • Lastly, pilot your strategy before jumping in with both feet (and significant budget). Be sure the pilot account is large enough to produce a substantial return on your investment but not so large as to force an unnatural amount of effort just to manage.  Like most other major marketing initiatives, the first round will probably be more learning experience than absolute perfection.  But planned well, with the right level of support and attention to detail, it can be the foundation for a strong ongoing strategic focus that will carry your marketing efforts to new success levels.

This blog is the second entry of our account-based marketing blog series. Check out part one as we address “ABM: Key considerations” and tune in next time for: “Five mistakes marketers make in establishing account-based marketing.”