Friday, 26 June 2015

Consumer video mobile habits

Consumers' Mobile Video Viewing Habits [Infographic]

More than one-third (36%) of smartphone video viewers say they watch long-form video (five minutes or longer) daily or more frequently, according to a recent report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and On Device Research.
The report was based on data from a survey of 4,800 consumers in 24 countries who own a smartphone and watch videos on it.
Some 58% of respondents say they watch short videos (under 5 minutes) daily or more frequently.
Other key findings from the report include:
  • 35% of respondents report watching more video on their smartphone compared with last year; this percentage is even higher in the US (50%), Canada (42%), New Zealand (42%), South Africa (42%), and the UK (40%).
  • 53% of respondents say they often or sometimes watch mobile video while watching TV.
  • 48% of respondents only or mostly use mobile apps to watch video on their smartphone.
  • 68% of respondents share the videos they watch on their smartphones; 42% say social media is a way they often find the videos they watch on their smartphone.
Check out the infographic below for more insights:

Facebook's evolving video strategy

Four Reasons to Take Advantage of Facebook's Evolving Video Strategy

Facebook is investing heavily in its video service, working hard to grow its video reach and ad efficacy. And it's making inroads.
In August, Facebook achieved a billion more desktop video views than YouTube, according to comScore, and now serves up more than 3 billion video views every day.
Such a strong upswing of video views on Facebook can be attributed to a few things. First and most obviously is auto play. Facebook video auto plays in the newsfeed, driving video views and interaction. Second, more people are watching videos as they can now play easily on smartphones. A full 65% of views happen on mobile devices! And, lastly, the Facebook algorithm serves content that people interact with. So, the more videos people watch, the more videos the algorithm serves, creating a cycle of video views.
Moreover, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg noted about the future of Facebook, "One of the big trends will be the growth of video content on our service."
That quote is not lip service. Video helps keep people on Facebook, which in turn drives ad revenue. Facebook doubled down on this bet at the F8 Developer Conference, launching an embedded video player that allows users to embed Facebook-hosted videos anywhere.

Here are four reasons marketers need to begin or expand native Facebook video marketing and two things they should know as they dive in.

1. Third-party video link posts underperform
Though Facebook still allows marketers to post a link to a video on YouTube, Vimeo, or an organization's website, there is no reason to do this as it will appear as a static thumbnail rather than a Facebook auto play video.
In some cases, Facebook may not even show the visual thumbnail. The link will be there along with text, but the static image won't show.
For video to perform, it really needs to be hosted by Facebook. The reasons why Facebook is moving in this direction—and why it's going out of its way to reward video posters—should be obvious...
Greater traffic, engagement, and time on its site mean more ad revenue for Facebook.

2. Native video is rewarded
Facebook has updated its algorithm to reward video, increase its relevancy, and cater to the dramatic rise in viewership. Here's how Facebook explained this change on the Facebook blog:
"The improvement we are making today considers whether someone has watched a video and for how long they watched it. We're adding that to the factors we considered previously, which included likes, comments and shares. This change will affect all videos uploaded directly [natively] to Facebook."
Proving that the algorithm change is working, videos now get roughly 10% more promotion than images. And even though the number of photos still dwarfs videos, video gets much more pull.

3. Native video boosts organic reach
Videos show a 135% increase in organic reach versus image posts—and an astounding 148% increase among fans, according to Social Bakers. Organizations needn't look further than the news feed to understand why: It's a more natural way to share videos with friends, and auto play makes it easy to engage and interact with videos.
Helping to drive this phenomenon is that Facebook video is highly shareable (both on desktop and mobile) helping it outperform YouTube.
This chart from SocialBakers highlights just how engaging Facebook video is...

Clearly, companies that choose to post native video are cashing in on the dynamic market change, boosting organic reach that had been declining for many.
Though this boost may not last forever, Facebook video is on the rise. In fact, the number of native Facebook videos is trending to overtake YouTube by the end of this year.

4. The algorithm also likes video view ads
Facebook offer two ways to promote a video.
First, by boosting a video post or second, through a dedicated video views ad. Today, 27% of all videos are promoted. Though 17% of photos are promoted, there is a very large volume of photos, which means that promoted video is still far more effective at reaching audiences.
Additionally, Nielsen has found that the longer users watch, the more value a video ad has.
"Results show that from the moment a video ad was viewed (even before one second), lift happened across ad recall, brand awareness, and purchase consideration," Nielsen notes. "And, as expected, lift increased the longer people watch the ad."
And for users who watch the video to finish, Facebook video ads offer a call-to-action on the last screen of the video. This is a great place for advertisers to insert action—whether that be watching a longer video on an organization's Website to driving email newsletter sign-ups. Regardless of the action, quality video coupled with a strong call-to-action is performing exceptionally well.

Focus on Quality
With all the benefits of Facebook video, note that quality still matters. An engaging photo will still get more reach than a lackluster video. The better the video, the more entertaining, the better the production quality, the more engagement it will get.
Because Facebook users share video that they want associated with their social personas, organizations should ensure that above all else, their video is shareable and has a production level that people would feel comfortable being associated with and sharing.

Feel Free to Experiment
Not every audience is the same, and there isn't a formula for the ideal Facebook video. As such, organizations should conduct A/B testing with content types, length, and calls-to-action.
Get the audience involved and issue a call for user-generated video content to get an idea of what video the audience is drawn to. As other brands experiment with Facebook video, marketers should take time to learn from others' mistakes and successes while watching for best-practices to emerge

content marketing mistakes

These Mistakes Can Make Your Content Marketing an Epic Failure (but You Can Avoid Them)

Many marketers today seem quick to jump on the latest strategy, approach, or technology, attracted by the promise new and amazing results. It's done with great enthusiasm and the best intentions, but often also with a lack of planning and forethought. And when that happens, the enthusiasm and excitement can quickly turn to a feeling of epic failure.
With all the buzz about and allure of content marketing, jumping in quickly and then not seeing the expected results happens a lot. Here are three common content marketing mistakes and some ideas for how to avoid them.

Mistake No. 1: Of course I know my audience. Now let's crank out some content.
I recently had the experience of helping my 10-year-old plan a party she was having with some classmates. It was amazing how clear she was with what she wanted. From the games to the food to goody bags, she was detailed and precise. Anything I suggested that deviated from her vision was shot down immediately, but supported by some sound logic.
I relented and let her run the show based on one simple reason: I was pretty sure she knew her audience a whole lot better than I did.
The first big mistake a lot of companies continue to make: they jump right in and create content too focused on their own brand versus what their audience might really be looking for. They skip the critical first step of figuring out or validating what is truly relevant to the customer.
We should all know by now that if your content doesn't entertain, educate, or solve a problem for your customer, you are probably missing the mark. So even if you have a really great brand story, don't make it about you. Make it about your customer.
The good news is there are lots of quick and easy ways to learn more about what your customers might really be looking for before you start cranking out the content.

Do some keyword research. Look at the keywords that are used most to search and find whatever it is you sell. You may find terms that you do not immediately associate with your brand, but your customer and prospects do. If so, figure out how to align your solutions with those terms, and then work them into your content to create greater relevance.
Also look at your website's referring website traffic. It will tell you what visitors are looking at before they are looking at you. That can be a great source of information to help position your content or identify the digital channels your customer and prospects frequent.
Turn to your own sales and customer service teams, which are too often overlooked as sources of information. What are they hearing on the front lines? Maybe there are some common requests or needs being raised that you were not aware of. Use that information to create fresh content. Recent customer feedback is great source to help you keep things relevant and up to date.

Mistake No. 2: Absolutely, we speak with a consistent brand voice. Now let's blast out more content.
Your brand voice, and the personality you inject into, it is really important. It can be one of the most powerful ways to distinguish your brand and set it apart from others.
Brand voice is one of the staples of good marketing, but it is especially important when you introduce new content and through multiple tactics and channels.
Some variance in tone and language might be appropriate to address different audiences, but generally speaking your brand voice should be consistent and clear across all the channels you use.
Recently, a company was announcing the addition of a great new feature to its flagship product. On the corporate website, the announcement was formal and businesslike. The same announcement on one of the company's social media sites was significantly less formal and even used slang terms. The dramatic different in tone and approach could easily create an unwanted variation in the perception of the brand.

To avoid inconsistencies, create a style guide that clearly presents your brand voice and story line. It should define the focus, tone, language, and visuals to be used. Everyone creating content should adhere to that common set of guidelines—including Marketing, PR, HR, Corporate Communications, and any other group. You can also perform a periodic content audit, which is a great process for identifying where and when inconsistencies may occur. An audit can be done by collecting a broad sample of posted content for review. It can also be incorporated into an approval process for looking at content before it goes live.

Mistake No. 3: Crank out our content on blogs and social media. They're all that matter.
All too often companies seem to associate content marketing with blogs and social media, and not much more. But there are so many more options. Selecting the best options ties back to understanding your audience.
One organization implemented a B2B lead generation program, creating some pretty compelling content but not getting results. After looking deeper, it realized its mistake: It was distributing its content through social media sites that its prospects did not frequent. The organization instead integrated the very same content into a high-traffic section of its website, and also placed links on an industry association website where its prospects visited. Results improved exponentially.
It seems obvious, but the driving force behind your content tactics and channels of distribution should be how and where your prospects and customers consume information. If that's on a website where a blog can reside or through specific social media, that's great, but don't discount content tactics such as e-newsletters, e-magazines, articles, microsites, infographics, and video, just to name a few.
The good thing, especially in the digital space, is that you can test tactics and adjust or switch them quickly.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

content marketing agencies Benchmarks

Content Marketing Agency Benchmarks: Pricing, Production, and Metrics

Most content marketing agencies (66%) produce, on average, fewer than 10 campaigns a month for each client, according to a recent report from Moz and Fractl.
The report was based on data from a survey of 30 marketers working at content agencies. Respondents were asked to answer a 14-question poll that explored topics such as the cost of services and the reach of campaigns.
Some 41% of respondents say their agency produces fewer than five campaigns per month for each client, on average; 25% produce 5-9 campaigns per month, on average.

Below, additional key findings from the report.

Click Here!
Content Types
  • 35% of respondents say articles are one of the three content types ordered most frequently by clients.
  • 24% say infographics are one of the three most requested content types.

Pricing Structure
  • 70% of respondents say their content agency tends to work on a monthly retainer pricing structure; 15% work on a pay-per project structure; 8%, pay-per-hour; 7%, pay-per-word.
  • 35% of respondents' monthly retainers are between $1,000 and $5,000, on average; 24% are between $5,000 and $10,000.

  • 20% of respondents say clients measure content marketing success by the number of leads generated.
  • 14% measure success by the number of high-quality links generated.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 30 content marketing agencies.

Creating Buyer Personas

How to Create Buyer Personas 

Buyer personas give you insight into how to best engage with your various customer types. But before you start creating those personas, take time to do the research.
When gathering data about your customers, dig deep into both Web analytics and your own business intelligence, suggests WSI in the following infographic.
For example, research bounce rates, organic traffic, mobile traffic, leads via social media, referring sites, and page traffic.

Also consider conducting surveys. "Whether conducted via phone, in person, or by Web, surveys can collect valuable data like gender, age, geo-location, income, and ethnicity," states WSI.
Also investigate trends and patterns in demographic or behavioral data.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Unnecessary Marketing Matrix

These Six Stupid Marketing Metrics Need to Die

Way too often—several times a week—I'm amazed by what some marketers are still measuring.
Maybe they don't know any better.
Maybe some are just married to legacy metrics that were once logical but now just need to die.
Inspired by Rachel Sprung's recent post on pointless marketing metrics, I've come up with my own list of pet-peeve marketing metrics and reasons they're probably doing your campaigns more harm than good.
1. Facebook Likes

There once was a time when even rational marketers considered buying Facebook fans. The opportunity to get in front of such an audience—they would see your organic content over and over and over again—was just so attractive.
Those days are long over.
Last spring, the alarm was sounded for brands: Organic Facebook reach for Pages was rapidly trending toward zero. And that's exactly what happened: Many brands are now reporting less than 1% engagement with their fan base via organic content.

What's the point in measuring people who Liked your page at some point if they aren't even seeing your content? There could be 100 or 1 million of them... you still need ads or ridiculously powerful content marketing to reach them now on Facebook.
Still, some marketers point to increases in fan count as a social media KPI as though it will make a comeback. And someone must be buying those Page Likes, because an awful lot of people are still selling them. Just stop... Stick a fork in it, this one's done.

2. Display Ad Impressions
It's important to understand how many people actually saw your ads, right?
Unfortunately, impressions—the metric that display ad marketers relied on for so long—doesn't give you a clue about how many people actually viewed your ad.
Way back in November 2013, we learned that about one-third of your ad impressions weren't actually viewable. That's pretty bad, right? Now it's over 56%!

Source: Google
That's right, over half of your ad "impressions" aren't even being seen by people.
So stop using impressions as a yardstick for campaign reach. Instead, measure lower-funnel metrics, such as actual clicks and conversions.

3. Keyword Rankings
Keyword rankings are the insatiable, brain-munching zombie of marketing metrics. They just won't stay dead.

So many factors have made keyword rankings completely useless—personalization, geo-location, changes in the search algorithm, etc. And those aren't even new!
This shift has been happening over a period of years, yet some marketers still march out rankings for specific keywords at reporting time like they actually mean something.
Ditch the security blanket. Keyword rankings are done.

4. Anything to Do With Referred vs. Direct vs. Organic Segmented Traffic
This whole notion of segmenting referred, direct, and organic traffic, and using it as some kind of performance indicator, needs to die.
If you're in SEO, you're basically shooting yourself in the foot by using those metrics.
Rand Fishkin wrote and talked about this extensively in 2013, and what he predicted has played out pretty much as he said it would. In a keyword referral-less world, where both mobile traffic and organic search traffic are characterized as direct, attempting to use these metrics to measure or validate SEO efforts is just plain stupid.

There are a lot of logical reasons why browsers won't report exactly where traffic came from, but the bottom line is you can't rely on the segmentation of referral data as a KPI. At all.
Groupon showed the extent of this problem in an experiment it ran last summer. The company deindexed its entire site for six hours—and instead ended up losing 60% of its supposedly "direct" site traffic!

So you still think SEO isn't working? Understand that much of what you attribute to direct navigation is probably SEO and content marketing efforts at work. Don't sabotage your own efforts by discrediting them with what is crappy segmentation reporting.

5. PageRank
Are we even still talking this? Why are we still talking about this?!

The last time Google updated the PageRank toolbar (in 2013), it was by accident. That alone should give you a pretty good idea of how high it is on Google's priority list.
Once upon a time, PageRank was probably a pretty good indicator of site quality, but the search algorithm has moved so far beyond this archaic metric that it's crazy anyone still takes it seriously.
(I'm thinking of starting a support group for people who can't get over PageRank. You don't want to be in it, trust me...)

6. View-Through Conversions
Most networks, agencies, and publishers are pushing view-through conversions (VTCs) big time, but can this metric be trusted?
Sure, it's a way to quantify the impact of ads that may influence consumer behavior without resulting in an immediate conversion, but how effective is it?
Google kind of screwed up view-through conversions right off the hop when it introduced the stat in 2009 by making the conversion window 30 days long. During that time, people could have been influenced by any number of factors, and if they did convert there was no guarantee they were influenced by an ad they might have seen weeks earlier.
You'd have to weight them properly, but who knows what that weight should be? And what are the chances it'll be the same across the board, for all VTCs?
View-through conversions are particularly dubious if you're using remarketing to target your display ads, because (by definition) anyone who converts off of those remarketing display ads already found your brand by some other means.
It's just not a great metric. It's a feel-good stat to help people think they're at least measuring something—without actually understanding what they're measuring or what it means.

Bonus Stupid Metrics: Most of Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools is great for some purposes, but really awful for others; getting any kind of real numbers for the metrics there falls under the latter category.

The numbers in Google Webmaster Tools are all based on estimates that are accurate to +/- 500%, according to my own internal analysis.
How do I know? Because you can compare some of the numbers with what is actually in your Google Analytics or Google AdWords. When you do, you'll see that the two sets are totally different.
It works in the same way as the Google AdWords Keyword Planner. The volumes and CPCs are just estimates and are similarly accurate to within +/- 500%.
Why would you put any stock in those numbers?
It's OK to use the data for trending purposes, but don't make the mistake of thinking of the numbers are real and accurate in an absolute sense. They're just estimates.
* * *
Those are it... my pet-peeve marketing metrics. Do you have one or two of your own? In the comments below, share the metrics you wish the industry would kick to the curb.
And if you're wondering which metrics still do matter, check out "Four Online Marketing Metrics That Actually Matter."

Monday, 22 June 2015

Google trends

#SocialSkim: Real-Time Google Trends, Plus 14 More Stories in This Week's Roundup

Find out about Google's redesigned Trends, how Twitter autoplay affects advertisers, which ad campaigns might win Lions, how to make millennial- and social-friendly infomercials, and why silent video's making a comeback. Skim to get the scoop!
What's Hot—Right Now. Google Trends got a timely makeover as the need to understand and better use data increases. Now you can explore Trends data in real time across over 100 billion Google searches per month—great for researching the curves of major events.
The homepage will also reflect a ranked, real-time list of trending stories gaining traction on Google right now, which includes data from YouTube and Google News. It's never been easier to ride the wave.

1. Who's taking home a Lion?

Click Here!

2. Why break Guinness when you can break Facebook? compiled a directory of social media world records—including Most Facebook Statuses Posted in One Minute (Michiel V. with 40 statuses) and Most Vine Videos Created in One Day to Raise Awareness for a Cause (RED), in partnership with Mashable, made 1,659 Vines).
Use the archive for inspiration; a social record-breaker is ambitious, draws attention, and pushes teams to test their creative limits. Think you can do better than a record-holder? Jump on the relevant page to challenge them—or even make a record of your own. Instant indexing!

3. We give you the social infomercial
Fast Company's published a profile of MikMak; the company's app punts a menagerie of—wait for it—infomercials for the modern mobile-shopping set.
Each video is 30-seconds long, packed with color and personality, and flanked by improv actors who specialize in comedy (elements that make video production both cheap and sticky). Users can browse by product, watch videos they like, and purchase directly from the app.
This isn't your mom's QVC; for a sense of its Millennial-friendly vibe, check out this 37-second

music video:

4. Twitter introduces autoplay... and a '100% viewability' commitment
From here on out, native videos, GIFs, and Vines on Twitter will autoplay in timelines—first on iOS and the Web, followed by Android.
When users scroll through timelines, videos will play without sound, like on Facebook; clicking on them will activate both full-screen and sound. Videos will also appear in a larger format, which Twitter found improved ad partners' view rates and lowered cost per view rates. Video recall also rose among users.
Speaking of advertising, Twitter's proclaimed that from now on it will charge for views only "when a video is 100% in-view on the user's device, and has been watched for at least 3 seconds." The so-called "100% viewability" standard jibes nicely with autoplay: Per Twitter, brands enjoy a 7x increase in completions of Promoted Videos when they play automatically.
Finally, Twitter is committing to work with third-party verification vendors to improve how they serve sponsored videos to audiences. Watch this space?

5. This is the sound of silent film
Silent autoplay has more significance for your marketing than you think. To this end, Business Insider explored Facebook's decision to leap into silent autoplay videos.
Because videos start silently when you scroll through your feed, they must be appealing and understandable without sound, at least in the first few seconds. This format also lets advertisers create attention-grabbing opportunities with videos that work just as well without sound—for example by including short quick phrases that tell a story instead of using narration, as in the below piece from Vox.
What Charlie Chaplin would have given to have been born a Millennial!

6. Six metrics for measuring video content effectiveness
Jonathan Hunt's produced a handy thought piece on how we should think about the video effectiveness. It also cites why the metrics are important, and what challenges you may encounter in tracking them.
One metric is mindshare: Did your work inspire awareness, popularity, and cultural cachet in your target group? Note that measuring mindshare is objective and most often measured by surveys... Unless you want to spend hours analyzing the tone of press and social posts. Metrics such as reach and viewability are also included.

7. AdRoll: Share your data in exchange for new clients
AdRoll, a Facebook Exchange partner, has launched Prospecting, which works alongside its existing Retargeting product to acquire customers more easily.
This is great for B2B clients because it works based on opt-in intent: You opt in to have your behavioral information shared, and in exchange get access to the same data from over 1,000 participating advertisers. You can use that data to find people who behave similarly to your existing customers, and target them directly.

8. Small businesses make the marketing automation switch
Nearly all small-business software buyers (98%) are shopping for marketing automation software for the first time, per Gartner's Software Advice division.
Some 47% of buyers still use manual methods to manage marketing activities, while just 17% use industry-specific software. As for marketing automation software, only 2% are users. Top reasons for making the switch include improved lead management (27%), dissatisfaction with current systems (15%), better or more features (13%), and company growth (10%).
Top features desired include contact management (74%), email marketing (55%), lead tracking (43%), drip marketing campaigns (39%), and follow-up management (38%).
9. Seven habits of engaging Facebook content creators
This breakdown shares interesting parallels with the 1989 Stephen Covey classic. A few appetite-whetters: Understand your audience. Are the people whose interactions you want different from those who currently engage? Facebook Insights is your friend! And have a validating sense of social self: Does what you have to say respond to your audience's motivations? What do your posts convey about your users? Also, don't fear failure. Test content types to learn which works best, and what people respond to; the Posts tab in Facebook Insights (shown below) is great for checking.

10. The seven social mistakes companies make
For every set of do's, it's always good to balance with a set of don'ts. And, to start with, don't worry: This isn't a set of embarrassing Twitter blunders. It's a list of common strategic errors that will help you approach social in a way that primes you for success.
To wit: Don't think in terms of acquisition on social; think in terms of retention (which produces long-term profits). And don't try to be everywhere. Think critically about which socnets serve you best.
A lot will come down to where your core customers are really spending time that's most productive for you (example: Pinterest may not have as many users as Facebook, but if you're an aspirational product that wants to appeal to women, there's no better place).

11. Abracadabra! It's disappearing Facebook posts
Now you can use the ephemeral appeal of Snapchat—on Facebook! Facebook's provided tips for enabling posts to "expire," creating a cool way for you to build flash deals that require immediate action. And, yes, you can do it for video too.
Adopt this approach for content custom-made with a short shelf-life in mind. Once they're gone, you can access them in Publishing Tools > Expired Posts. If you delete your videos after they expire, the posts will vanish from your Page, Insights, and anywhere else they were shared.

12. Speaking of ephemeral, Snapchat's cashing in!
10-second ads are raking it in for Snapchat. Anonymous sources claim it's charging marketers $0.02 per view on ads that appear in its Live Stories. So if a story is worth 20 million views, you're looking at ad space that could easily cost $400,000.
The math has motivated Snapchat to invest more on Live Stories: 40 human curators are now working on the team (up from 10 in January), and it's featuring "multiple events per day" versus one or two per week six months ago.
Interestingly, it's bringing in Vevo sales head Luke Kallis to lead its West Coast sales division. His experience at the so-called Hulu for music videos may prove handy.

13. Instagram: A $2 billion business?
RBC analyst Mark Mahaney estimates that Instagram could generate at least $2 billion in ad revenue next year—that's 10% of what Wall Street is estimating for all of Facebook's 2016 revenue, and double what Facebook paid for it in 2012.
Of course, all of this rests on how Facebook decides to monetize its prize darling. Different ad formats are being introduced bit by bit (this year it'll open to all advertisers), but it will have to scale up with care: Much of Insta's appeal lies in the feeling people have that it's a personal and creative space. Ad content should reinforce that sensation, especially as it takes up more and more room.

14. We'll wrap with the latest in social platform evolution: gender
Socnets like Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and OKCupid are increasingly giving users the option to identify as genders beyond male or female. Notably, Ello doesn't ask for gender at all.
Software engineer Tilde Pier at Pinterest explains why this change makes a difference: "The right to self-identify in a way that fits you is a basic human right... Online spaces are particularly important for gender-variant folks... Anything we can do to make Pinterest and other sites a safer space for marginalized groups of people is important."
As your social strategy evolves, consider how the people you're talking to are also evolving. Make sure you're keeping pace.
To that end, we leave you with a Google Business ad—produced for Pride Month—that touches on this very topic in a way that's sensitive, human, and practical:

Successful tradeshow exhibition Planning

Six Tips for Planning a Successful Tradeshow Exhibition

You need a solid strategy to stage a successful tradeshow exhibit.
A lot of thought, effort, and planning goes into any marketing exploit, but if you're going to put up a display at a tradeshow, you're going up against every other booth in that space, even if they're not your direct competitors.
You're competing for space, attention, and sales, so you can't get lazy with any part of your tradeshow planning.

1. Get your goals in order
What do you hope to accomplish at the tradeshow?
  • Are you interested in generating more leads?
  • Do you want to turn 500 prospects into an equal amount of sales, or five times the return on your investment?
  • Do you simply want to get your product or service out there and available to more people?

Your goals are your own, so you're the only person who can define them. However, you do need goals, and you need to keep them at the forefront of your mind.
As soon as you know you're attending the show, sit down with everyone involved and come up with a list of goals. Don't make outlandish, unattainable goals you have no hope of reaching, because that will just make you feel you've failed. If need be, start small.

2. Create a game plan around those goals
Once the goals have been decided, you need a strategic plan in place so the team can attain, and hopefully exceed, those goals.
Planning for the tradeshow is not just booking the hotel room and plane tickets for the staff going to work the show. It takes time and it shouldn't be taken lightly.
Consider the following:
  • How are you going to drive visitors to your booth?
  • Are you going to use direct mail pieces to your current customer base?
  • Do you have a plan for calling your customers?
  • Will you be hosting a contest?
  • Are there going to be giveaways at the show that will entice people to visit your booth?
And what about using social media marketing? Is there a plan to maximize your upcoming show using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn?
Social media marketing should be well planned, in advance, to build pre-show buzz.
Short video clips about upcoming product releases, services your company offers, teaser demos, teaser clips about the contest or giveaways you're planning... all can be posted on YouTube or your website. Those clips can then be tweeted, posted on your Facebook fan page, shared on LinkedIn, and even incorporated into blog posts.
Social media can be used to reach out to media personalities and influencers within your niche who are attending the tradeshow. Being able to connect with them socially and pitching them an idea to write about or a reason to come visit your booth can be a huge win for your company leading up to the show.

3. Choose valuable team members
A high return on investment (ROI) is probably one of your goals, especially if you're investing a lot to attend the show in the first place.
One of the best ways to ensure an enviable ROI is to have great people on your team.
The people you choose for your booth represent your business. Make sure they're knowledgeable about the product or service, and friendly and engaging; they should be persistent without being aggressive, and responsible. They need to be well versed on the type of questions to be asking to prospective customers who visit the booth to pre-qualify and lead the visitor down the sales process.
Choose team members whom your customers already love.

4. Keep it clean and comfortable
Whether you choose to go all out with bright colors and high-tech displays or you keep things simple and subtle, you still need a clean, comfortable space. Above all, it should feel inviting.
Visitors to your booth should never feel confined or claustrophobic. You're probably wondering how you can avoid that when you're sharing the show with hundreds of other booths, but it's easy.
For example, your company can choose an open-air booth like this one Displaydata create:

Try to avoid clutter, even if you're showing products, sharing demonstrations, or putting up colorful displays. Simply keep them clean, neat, orderly, and attractive.
If your booth requires a table and chairs, that's fine, just try to arrange them in a corner so there's nothing between you and your potential leads when they visit.

5. Make sure they know your name

Source: Nimlok
You can't have too much signage.
On your display booth, your letterhead, your clothing, and your promotional items, put your logo front and center. Everyone who passes by should know the name of your brand or company.
By making yourself instantly recognizable, you're also ensuring that you stay at the forefront of everyone's mind, and that turns into leads.

6. Follow up after the event
It's critical to your goals and ROI for you to have a follow-up strategy in place to maximize the process of relationship-building with the people who gave you their contact information at the tradeshow.
Remember to treat these people as "warm leads," not as ready-to-buy hot prospects. Your strategy should be to send a follow up email, thanking them for stopping by, reminding them of your social media profiles, offering them the opportunity to download some digital asset that would be of value to them.
Those who download what you've offered can then be part of your prospect nurturing campaign, consisting of a series of emails sent over the next 3-6 months.

It isn't hard to make your tradeshow exhibition successful, as long as you're willing to put in the work ahead of time. I think tradeshows are much better than cold-calling, but you and your company have to take strategic steps to prepare for success. These six tips are a start.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Loosening fasteners

Loosening fasteners

A survey was completed in the United States of automobile service managers which indicated that 23% of all service problems were traced to loose fasteners, with even 12% of new cars being found to have fasteners loose. Presented below is information and techniques intended to assist an Engineer in ensuring that threaded fasteners are tightened so that the desired preload is achieved

The drive for improved quality throughout manufacturing industry has had an impact on the assessment of the accurate measurement of assembly line torques. It is no longer sufficient just to run a nut down a bolt until it stops and hope that it is tight enough.
The critical weakness in many products is the region of joints which exist in the design. Bolted joints in particular can be a source of concern for the Engineer. A single bolt, inaccurately or incorrectly tightened, can lead to the failure of the complete product. 

Too high a tightening torque and the Engineer sustains the risk of a bolt shank or thread stripping failure. Too low a specified torque and the bolt tension can be inadequate to meet functional requirements. Failure to meet the tightening specification can have unfortunate consequences for the reliability of the product. Such failures could occur either during production assembly or during subsequent maintenance on the product after it had entered service. Either is obviously undesirable.

The most prevalent controlled method of tightening threaded fasteners is by tightening so that a specified torque is achieved. This method is generally known as torque control. The major problem related to this method is that the clamp force generated as the result of an applied torque is dependent upon the design of the fastener and the prevailing frictional conditions. Despite these problems, it is still the most popular way of ensuring that an assembled bolt complies with an engineering specification.

Big problems for Boeing

Written by Dave Damejian
Boeing has sold more than 900 787 Dreamliner commercial jets without ever having flown one, but with delays stacking up like holiday traffic over O’Hare you have to wonder if all those customers aren't feeling some buyer’s remorse. 
Just days after admitting the first 787 flight will be pushed back until next year, Boeing revealed that as many as 3 percent of the unique fasteners basically the nuts and bolts holding the first five Dreamliners together were incorrectly installed and must be replaced. It’s a colossal embarrassment and serious problem for the world’s second-largest aircraft manufacturer, and it almost certainly means a sixth delay for the project and a company still reeling from a labor strike that cost billions.
Boeing won’t say exactly how many fasteners must be replaced, but Jon Ostrower of FlightBlogger, who practically lives at Boeing, says 2,500 to 5,000 will need to replaced. What’s more, the problem’s been found on parts fabricated by outside suppliers, suggesting there could be untold others that must be replaced.
Boeing stresses that the problem rests with the installation of the fasteners, not the fasteners themselves, and they must be reinstalled to ensure the aircraft’s structural integrity. "It’s a matter of whether the structure will hold together properly," Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said. "In commercial airplanes, it has to be right. It can’t be ‘good enough.’ So we go back and we fix it."

Inspectors discovered the problem about two weeks ago during an inspection of the
 "static test" 
proving the structure is stronger than it needs to be, but the company said it could not ignore any potential threat to the aircraft’s structural integrity. Inspectors later found the problem on the four 787 undergoing final assembly.

Boeing won’t disclose where on the aircraft the problem fasteners are located, but The Seattle Timessays they were used to join titanium components to the plane’s composite fuselage. In an interview,
Boeing spokeswoman Mary Hanson said the fasteners were installed to incorrect lengths — essentially, they are either longer or shorter than specified. As a result, she said, there is a gap between the head of fastener and the airplane surface, preventing it from lying flat.
Ostrower, citing conversations with several sources at Boeing, offers a more detailed take and explains the implications of the problem. Drilling holes in the 787’s titanium components and composite skin can leave a tiny burr. The head of the fastener sits on the burr instead of lying flush, causing stress to be focused on one spot instead of distributed evenly across the surface.
Because outside suppliers are building different chunks of the 787
and then shipping them to Boeing for final assembly, they were notified by the company of the fastener issue. Guess what? Many found that they were having the same problem, and now are doing their own damage control.
This isn’t the first fastener fiasco at Boeing. In 2007, facing a big shortage, Boeing bought temporary fasteners from Home Depot and Ace Hardware so assembly work could continue while more suppliers were lined up. Not only did locating and removing the temps turn into a huge time suck for Boeing, but removing the faux fasteners caused damage to the plane.
This is the last thing Boeing needs. The company is still reeling from a 57-day machinist strike that cost some $2 billion in lost profits. 
The strike has delayed the first Dreamliner flight until next year, the fifth such delay the program has seen. Now that employees are returning to work, Boeing will have to lose more time training them on fastener installation procedures.

5 common Plastic fasteners mistakes

Common mistakes people make with plastic fasteners

There’s nothing more frustrating than purchasing plastic fasteners and having them fail after you install them in your application.  
Plastic can fail in a multitude of ways, from cracking, creeping and deforming to fading.  Different kinds of plastics are vulnerable to a wide array of elements, including UV rays, processing chemicals, water and saltwater, and more.  Unlike metal, which bends before breaking, giving the user a warning that the part needs to be replaced, plastic fasteners will snap if they are put under too much pressure.
So what can you do to try to avoid plastic fastener failure? 
Of course, you want to select a manufacturer whom you trust to provide you with high quality parts.  You are not completely at the mercy of the plastic manufacturer, however.  There are certain mistakes people make when they purchase and install plastic fasteners. 
Let’s take a look at them:
1)      Not doing your research.
Most people do not understand the sometimes nuanced differences between the many different types and grades of plastics available.  Reliable mechanical properties and chemical resistance data sheets can be hard to track down.  Plastic resin manufacturers do not always pay for extensive testing on all the grades of plastic they put on the market.  So let’s say you go to buy plastic hardware and you have only heard of a few types of commercially available plastic materials.  It is a mistake to just choose a familiar name without really considering the specifics of your application.  Not all plastics will work in all environments.
2)      Being cheap.
So let’s say you’ve done your research and you know what kinds of properties you’re looking for.  Sometimes customers will balk at the price tags on some high performance plastics.  You might think that you can just go with an inexpensive material like nylon and you’ll probably be fine.  Well, you might be, but you also might not be.  The only way to ensure that your plastic components won’t fail is to pay to have them made in the proper material.  If you don’t, you may end up having to buy the more expensive material anyway after the cheaper product fails.
3)      Not testing samples.
Remember how I mentioned that most resin manufacturers don’t spend a lot of money on testing their products?  Well, they certainly don’t pay to have their materials tested 10,000 feet under water after a period of 30 years.  They only do the most basic level of testing and the information they release may just not be enough for you to really know if a material will work for you.  So if plastic failure is a major concern, you should consider doing your own testing.  Most manufacturers can provide samples for you to test.  If they do not have your part in stock, sometimes they can provide you with a similar part made from the same material.
4)      Not designing for plastic.
Many customers make the mistake of buying plastic parts just as if they were metal without allowing for the differences between the two types of materials in their design.  For example, just making a plastic screw thicker will not necessarily make it stronger the way it might with a metal screw.  There are also limitations on how thick different materials can be molded.  For example, some glass-reinforced TPU’s and many thermosets can be molded to almost one inch in thickness under the right circumstances.  Other compounds, such as CPVC, can be molded only with difficulty in thin sections.  So you may want to do a little research as you’re designing you application with plastics in mind, which brings us to mistake #5…
5)      Not consulting someone who is familiar with plastics.
So I was tempted to write “not consulting a plastics expert” but I thought maybe that’s a little intimidating.  You don’t need an expert-you just need someone to check your work.  I don’t want you to do all that research and then still end up with plastic failure because of a small mistake.  Many years ago, we had a customer who ordered thousands of Celcon Polyester rollers to be used in an oven.  He was dismayed to find that, after installation, the rollers were melting.  Upon consulting with our engineers, he discovered that in reading the mechanical properties for Celcon Polyester he had mistaken the glass transition temperature for the maximum service temperature.  Oops!  So take an extra moment to ask the plastic manufacturer if he thinks you’re making the right material choice.  Most plastic manufacturing engineers will be happy to consult with you for free.  They have many years of experience working with plastics, so let them help!

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Happy Youth Day


Author: Lesely Claire King

I am too young to remember
Yet I have inherited this.
I played no part as an innocent child,
But I must face the consequences.

Because the wounds have not healed.
We try to make it better,
But the hurt, the bitterness, runs so deep.
Sometimes it feels like we’re fighting a losing battle.

It is an undeserved part that we play
In trying to undo the injustice.
It is a burden, a sorrowful load
That we never asked to carry on our shoulders.

As the youth of the new millennium
We do not have the experience, the memories
To guide or hinder us on our journey –
We see the world through untainted eyes.

And yet we feel it, we feel it every day.
We sense the anger and the pain.
The blood spilt has dyed society,
It is a dark shadow, always in the back of our minds.

And yet, there is hope;
A light shines that cannot be put out.
It has burned throughout the dark night of the past,
And continues to give courage to the youth today.

Because to those who are brave enough,
To those who know that they must stand up and fight,
The future has been given –
They are the inheritors of the rainbow nation.

The journey will not be an easy one,
Its nature is such that it will not be over quickly.
But as soldiers we accept the challenge –
Together we stand, together we can be victorious.

We accept the past as part of our history,
Yet we do not live by it.
Forming new links and relationships every day,
We find strength in our shared humanity.

As children of Africa, united,
The burden becomes lighter.
The future has been handed to us
And it is a bright one. 

Happy Youth Day

'Youth Day'

Author: Wilma Neels

Y - yesterday, we had this bright future
O - owned by us
U - under African Skies
T - they promised us the world, in
H - hindsight it was never theirs to promise

D - daily grace are attained from God
A - and that is the only surety in a world where 
Y - young people are still being used as pawns