Follow by Email

Thursday, March 15, 2018

3 Easy Steps to Keep Your Marketing from becoming Fake News

As a marketer, I love a good stat. I think a lot of us do. That moment when you find a stat that perfectly aligns or gives credibility to some thought leadership you're creating is a magical moment.

Sadly, a lot of those magical moments quickly turn into disappointment. In an effort to find the source of many great stats, I'm led down a rabbit hole that ends in me realizing the stat is likely fake.

Below is a response I've gotten back recently from someone who wrote a great blog post with a stat that I would have liked to leverage, if it were legit. I've blurred out some details to protect this marketer's identity.

This probably happens ~75% of the time I reach out to someone trying to find the stat in their "great" piece of content marketing when the source is not clearly marked. I've even tracked down stats included an HBR article that were widely cited in our industry only to find out it was bogus.

Marketers, this can be easily prevented. If we want consumers to trust us, we need to step it up. As an industry we are a little too fast and loose when it comes to what we willingly spread. Here are a few simple steps you can take to not be the source, or even part of the problem.

1. Always link to the source
2. Don't have your source be another article with the stat, but with no source (most common issue)
3. Don't spread bad stats

Resist the urge, even if it makes a slam dunk case for your point or product. In the end it comes down to trust, while there is a large portion of the world that will blindly trust any stat out there, if we want to build trust with potential customers make sure anything you reference has a source.

Friday, March 9, 2018

How to Always Get the Best Deal on a Car Rental

This post is going to be short, but this process will consistently save you lots of money on car rentals. I've used it so many times to save me hundreds of dollars, so felt the need to share it. I used this tip yesterday to save me $50 bucks. Warning, this only works if you have a Costco Membership.

Step 1. Go to Costco Travel and book a rental car that works for you. This work best if you do it as far in advance as you can.

Step 2. Every couple of weeks check to see if the prices on Costco Travel have changed. For those of you that are not aware, rental car prices can fluctuate a lot.

Step 3. If you find a lower price, book the new car rental. You now have two reservations.

Step 4. Cancel the original one. This is where Costco comes in, there is no money down to book a rental and no penalty for cancelling at any time.

Step 5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 until your trip.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Decision to Finally Start Using a Robo Advisor (Wealthfront)

I feel like I've been stalking Wealthfront. I've been following the company for years. Wealthfront is a Robo Advisor. In other words they do what a financial advisor would generally do but in a automated, less expensive way. You give them your money, they ask you a bunch of questions, you tell them your risk tolerance and they invest it in a mix of stocks, bonds etc using software and algorithms.

Ever since I got my first big boy job, I've been a student of personal finance. For a long time though, after learning the basics, my wife and I were focused on cash flowing grad school, paying off any debt and building an emergency fund that could last six months. After all my research I believe those are important steps before investing (besides your 401k). I also believe that looking for low fee, long term investments are your best bet for building wealth through investing. Even after we had a little bit of money to invest, I was hesitant, but at the beginning of the year decided to start investing in Wealthfront and here is why.

1. Their executives/company seem to believe in sound financial principles. I follow their executives on Twitter and read their blog. After consuming their content for years, I believe their leadership teams investment philosophies are pretty aligned with mine.

2. I was not doing a good job on my own. While you can do a lot of figuring out what your risk tolerance is on your own and buy into a bunch of different stocks and bonds etc (which can be cheaper), I just was not doing it. It took too much time. Wealthfront makes it pretty easy. I had more than I needed for my emergency fund sitting on a online bank account making a lowly 1.5% interest. It was time to put that money to work.

3. The first $15,000 is managed for free. That takes a lot of the risk out of trying it, so at the beginning of the year I gave it a go. It's actually the first $10,000 is free, but if you sign up with someone's referral link they get $5,000 more managed for free and so do you. Shameless plug, if you need a referral link you can use mine.

How's it going so far? Not bad, but I put my money right before the last correction, so I'm down a little but not much. Does not bother me though, I'm in it for the long haul and will continue to put money in each month. Wealthfront has been really easy to use. Happy with my experience so far.

I'm interested to learn about other people's experiences, so please post it in the comments.

One More Tip for MBA Students LinkedIn Profiles

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by the Financial Times asking for me to share some advice on how MBA's can leverage LinkedIn to get a job. There is some great advice in the article, not just from me. I recommend you check out the article here.

There is one piece of advice that they did not publish from me or anyone else they interviewed. If you can, make sure that you share examples of your work on your profile. 

This can come in a lot for forms. Here are a few examples.

-Link in your profile to a news article about a product you worked on
-Post a YouTube video of something you have recorded that's work related
-Post something you've written for work. It could be a blog post, writing sample or anything in-between.

Look at how my friend and former classmate Nathan Tanner does it on his profile.

People will be able to see what you can really do and get a much deeper understanding of your skills and abilities.

You might be saying, "What I do can't be put on my LinkedIn profile...". To that I say, dig deep. There is always something.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Secrets to Selling Over Video Conferencing

Happy new year! Another quick post here.

I recently teamed up with Sandler Training to talk about Secrets to Selling Over Video Conferencing. It was a fun discussion and full of what I hope are helpful tips.

Here are some more details of what it's about.

A face-to-face meeting can be 34 times more successful than an email according to a recent HBR article. Face-to-face meetings are always preferable when possible, but in reality, it’s not always an option or an effective use of time. In sales, face-to-face meetings can be expensive, time-consuming, and can seem like a large scheduling commitment for all involved. Video conferencing can give you many of the benefits of a face-to-face meeting while also allowing flexibility, cost savings, and scalability. Video conferencing software has become much easier to use and these days most laptops have cameras built in. We have asked sales experts what it takes to make the most out of video conferencing in the sales process, and we will share those secrets with you in this special educational webinar. PRESENTER: Derek Pando is currently a Product Marketer at Zoom Video Communications, a fast-growing, Sequoia backed Video Conferencing company. He writes and speaks on technology, sales, video conferencing, collaboration, marketing (especially product marketing) and professional relationships. He is fluent in Spanish. He's a poor surfer, mediocre runner and expert traveler. HOST: Mike Montague is VP of Online Learning & Development and a Certified Trainer at Sandler Training, where he teaches the behaviors, attitudes, and techniques of interpersonal communication needed to be more successful. He is also Sandler Training’s national LinkedIn expert for social selling.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How Product Marketers Can Make NPS Their Secret Weapon

Quick post here.

I recently spoke at the Product Marketing Summit on how product marketers can make NPS their secret weapon. It was published today, so I thought I'd share it on my blog.

You can see the presentation here.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

How Product Marketers can Build a Competitive Intelligence Program

A big part of my job at Zoom has to build out a formal competitive intelligence program. I had done competitive work before, but this was my first time building a whole program from scratch. As I usually do, I consulted a few experts. Here are the three experts I spoke to that shared some great ideas that I was able to implement into my program. 

Ken Porter Director Competitive Intelligence at Adaptive Insights
Jason Smith CEO of Klue
Peter Mertens Product Marketing at Sprout Social

Below are a few tips for anyone else getting a program off the ground that I picked up for the people mentioned above and through my own experience.  

Image result for competitive funny

1. Have a one stop shop. This could be a wiki or google site, really does not matter, but what matters is consistency. Your company needs to know where to find the latest competitive information. I built a simple google site for our team at Zoom. This saves me a ton of time. Everything I create is on the wiki and everyone knows to look there first before asking me a competitive question.

2. Select your main competitors. Even if your industry is not large or competitive, it helps to focus in on the main competitors. In our industry there are literally 100's of different competitors, but only a handful really matter. It'll be hard to do a good job if you don't focus. Select main competitors you'll be up to speed on and let the team know that they'll be on their own for the rest. As you get more time and resources you can always expand your list, but it will be hard to build a good program if you're stretched to thin from the start.

3. No competitor bashing or feature wars. While a Product Marketer likely won't do this, assets you create can be used to do both. It's important that there is a training/sales enablement element to help the sales team deal with competitors. Otherwise, especially for new reps, it's too easy to go down those paths which will not help your company sell more. 

4. Automate how you stay on top of your competitors. As much as possible, try to make sure relevant information gets pushed to you about your competitors. Here is a list of my favorite methods. 

Google news alerts
Page monitor chrome extension
Wayback machine

5. Other tools that help. Here is another list or tools/products that can help you with your competitive efforts. 

Glassdoor- When checking out the glassdoor of your competitors you might find some nuggets of good intel or at least some FUD. 

3rd Party Review Sites- Sites like G2crowd, TrustRadius and Gartner Peer Insights provide a ton of information on the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. New reviews are posted all the time. 

PointDrives- If you have LinkedIn Sales Navigator, use PointDrives to create public facing competitive assets. It will let you know who is looking at it and sending a customization web page will help prevent it from getting into the wrong hands. 

Salesforce- A few simple fields asking about which competitors were in the deal will help you do win/loss analysis and figure out where you might be able to help out your company from a competitive perspective. 

6. Tap into your company. Any Product Marketer that thinks they need to know more than anyone else about every competitor is in for a real challenge, but if you leverage the expertise in your company you're much more likely to have a successful program. Find the competitive experts on your sales, support or sales engineering team and build relationships with them. A lot of people like talking shop. Find ways to highlight their expertise to the rest of the company and they'll always be eager to work with you.
This is a work in progress, but hopefully give you a few ideas on how to build a competitive intelligence program as a Product Marketer.