Amazon’s Alexa was the breakout hit that took consumers and analysts by surprise in 2016, with over 20 million devices sold in the U.S. alone. Both Apple and Google have invested significant research and development into voice assistant technology embedded in the mobile operating system. Language is the fastest and most natural way for humans to provide input, and natural language processing has become sophisticated enough to understand most of what we say.
In fact, some product strategists are suggesting new products be designed with voice in mind first, a repackaging of the “mobile first” revolution. As a startup founder, CTO and a lead mentor at New York City’s largest accelerator program, I spend much of my time educating myself on transformative technologies. Voice has one of the greatest potentials for massive disruption and opportunity.
Great products today are defined by great design, especially in the age of social media, where what consumers say about you matters as much as your direct marketing plan.
Having led multiple product teams, advised numerous startups and most recently served as the CTO of an online marketing solution for small- and medium-sized businesses, I’ve seen firsthand how design has evolved. In the age of mobile, social and data, here are four key principles to keep in mind as you approach the design process.
For any brand, its “voice” is communicated via smart, concise copy that communicates how its offerings align with the customer’s needs and values.
In order to create copy that inspires, however, agency executives must conduct extensive research on how to craft a message that will resonate most: this could range from creating buyer personas to determine the attitudes of those to whom the copy is catered, or speaking with emotion to build a deeper bond between company and consumer.
Below, seven agency executives from Forbes Agency Council share their top tips for effective digital copywriting.
When it comes to generating awareness, FacebookFB +1.10% may just be the single most important social media platform to insert your brand into the conversation. Unfortunately, the competition is fierce and your paid advertising may just not be yielding the ROI you were hoping for.
Luckily, there are numerous avenues to garnering more Facebook fans organically — but doing it the right way is key. Read more here on Forbes.
It’s no secret that agency life can be grueling. Between managing client expectations and turning projects around under the tightest of deadlines, it takes a certain type of person to handle the oftentimes demanding workload.
While agencies often have a reputation of having a high rate of turnover, seeking out candidates with determination and deep understanding of the business could help you retain the best talent in the industry. And other qualities, such as an attention for detail while also being able to recognize the big picture, should not be overlooked.
Content marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of brands’ overall marketing mix, but many leaders are still unclear about what works and what doesn’t.
When educating clients on the benefits of content marketing, agencyexecutives should be prepared to devise a strategy that ensures a maximum return on this investment. How often to publish, what channels to use, and how to measure its effectiveness should all be planned out carefully to avoid creating content for content’s sake.
Below, eight agencyexecutives from Forbes Agency Council share what components should always be included in a fruitful content marketing campaign.
If you skip to page 29, you can see some really nice coverage we received about LocalVox and our innovative approach to search engine optimization (SEO). Some quotes and overview of LocalVox and our evolution.
Many of my most treasured contacts are those who have been working with competitors. They are facing similar challenges, and you would be surprised what you are both willing to share once you let down you competitive veil. – Trevor Sumner,LocalVox
Feedback from industry leaders on tips and tricks to generate more leads from webinars. One of my suggestions to increase attendance and target people who don't convert on the landing page is to use retargeting ads. At that scale they are remarkably cost effective.
Talk to a Previous Company That Had A Period of Failure
The true test of a great investor is how they react when times are tough. Do they disengage? Provide helpful guidance and introductions? Do they redouble their efforts? Every investor has had struggling investments. Find out who in their portfolio went through tough times and get the skinny about what it’s going to be like for you when you face your most important challenges.
Getting emotional will not help you solve your issue. Always be dispassionate and analytical to find the best path forward at this critical time. What's more, everyone will be looking at you to set the tone. Getting emotional can yield untold organizational costs down the line, from productivity to employee retention, etc. Keep cool. This too shall pass.--Trevor Sumner, LocalVox
Because of the explosion of social media and mobile as the primary, go-to consumer device for local information, Google is increasingly losing search share to local directories, social media sites and maps apps. In the local space, about 50%1 of searches are done on directories and map apps – further fragmenting an already dizzying number of ways customers find out and select small businesses.
Five to ten years from now we will be amazed by how uninformed our business decisions are by available data. Internal and third party data sources are more accessible than ever and smart IT leaders are being proactive in how to take advantage of opportunities to gain visibility, predict insight and provide greater client value. But the challenge is that a clean data architecture has to be built into the system to get the benefits. Trying to clean data going backwards is onerous, expensive and often fails to answers the questions you really want to ask.— Trevor Sumner,
Smartblogs asked leading entrepreneurs what made their onboarding effective and I discussed the importance of getting close to the customers, the sales team, the pitch and most importantly to revenue by listening to sales calls, even if you are an engineer.
Investors are very good at their job: maximizing their return. When you only have one option, you will get squeezed because you have no leverage. Another funding option, a no-funding operating plan, or a M&A option is critical to getting the terms you need in the timing you want. Create urgency by ensuring competition on both sides of the deal. – Trevor Sumner,LocalVox
A primary function of HR is to instill process and compliance in a complex world of regulations, vendors, process and internal people. They will be a key advocate of your culture, need to be approachable in sensitive situations and must know how to tow the line absolutely in difficult situations. — Trevor Sumner, LocalVox
Type in a generic search term for nearly any local service and you’re likely to see listings for national brands and retail chains. Local businesses have largely been pushed out of the first page of organic results for generic product/service keywords. Although Google displays a higher percentage of local search results for generic search terms than Bing or Yahoo, non-local, non-SMB websites still take up roughly 50% to 65% of the page-one space, according to a study by BrightLocal.
Mobile apps are more difficult than the web for quickly engaging customers. To overcome the additional friction of app downloads and installs, grease the virality with incentives for sharing and purchase. Turn your active consumers into marketing advocates. – Trevor Sumner,
Avoid Too Much Tied to Performance-Based Financial Incentives
“Once you sell your company, you are no longer in control. With every founder I have talked with, performance-based incentives have gone sideways. Timelines get thrown off by longer than expected integration, revenue targets didn’t take into account sales ramp and organization change, etc., and all create perverse incentives for the acquirer. Value your business for what it’s worth now.” ~ Trevor Sumner, LocalVox
Sometimes, openness and opportunism lead to success for startups. But more often than not, it’s as much about the opportunities a company declines than than those it pursues, that determines whether company succeeds or fails. That’s particularly true in a local marketing industry where timing and distribution can be as important as the product itself.
“You’d be surprised how different the same content looks with a few simple font changes. Make an update. Go modern. Websites are trending more toward a brochure style. Up the font size, and use a Google Web font to expand your options. It’s a simple change that yields a big effect. The same content will stand out in the crowd.” — Trevor Sumner, LocalVox
As the publisher of the largest local business newswire, I know there is a great and growing demand from organizations, businesses and community leaders seeking to push their messages out to a largest possible audience. Why not? 78% of CMOs think that custom content is the future of marketing.
Get your happiest and most engaged customers to help give feedback on your roadmap, marketing and support by inviting them to join a small advocacy council. Getting direct feedback channels to your customer is invaluable, and they will love being involved in shaping your company's future.--Trevor Sumner, LocalVox