What Marketers Should Know About Facebook’s F8 Announcements

Facebook released a number of changes and innovations for marketers, consumers, brands, and technologists yesterday at its F8 conference. As is typical for an engineering-led organization, what the general public was told was not as interesting as what developers were told.

The big announcement of the day, of course, was the addition of bots to Facebook Messenger. Wrapped inside that announcement, however, was Facebook’s first general public, consumer-grade artificial intelligence play, Wit.ai.

Wit_Console.png

Wit.ai gives your average, technically competent marketer the ability to start constructing artificial intelligence algorithms for chat bots. If you can use the children’s programming tool Scratch, using Wit.ai is not a significant leap forward. Building a bot on the new send/receive API is equally straightforward. If you can write code in the web’s most popular languages such as Ruby, Python, PHP, or Java, you can begin writing a Messenger bot immediately. I was able to get one started in an evening, with relatively little difficulty.

The second major announcement was the Live API. This permits any camera, with appropriate development and code, to stream to Facebook Live. Gone are the days of having to do live video only from your mobile device. CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated a live stream from a drone at the event; think carefully about all of your existing video tools and how you will deploy them in a live environment. Imagine 360-degree live, immersive video: that’s where Facebook is going.

The third announcement was the Sharing Devices API. This is Facebook’s entry into the Internet of things. Devices can share content to Facebook. Imagine an Internet enabled television sharing what program you’re watching with your friends. Imagine an Internet enabled car sharing your roadtrip, photos and all.

The fourth announcement was the Reactions API, something I predicted when Reactions went live. We marketers will finally get granular reaction data including the total number of Reactions, the type of Reactions, and who reacted with what Reactions. This will assist us with structured sentiment analysis as a complement to existing unstructured sentiment analysis methods.

What can we take away from all these announcements? Certainly, there are many opportunities for marketers to take advantage of each of these APIs. The Messenger bot will provide Slack-like interactions inside a giant ecosystem. Expect to see many of the same innovative bots that we currently see in Slack within Facebook.

my_statsbot.png

For example, Statsbot, a Slack application that delivers daily Google Analytics updates, would be ideal for marketers who want to receive a quick update about how their website is doing.

The bigger picture is that marketers and technologists, marketers and developers, can no longer be separate. Look at Facebook’s 10 year roadmap:

F8 roadmap

Any organization that wants to win market share, awareness, leads, and sales will need to tightly integrate marketing and development. If you are a marketer who never talks to a developer at your organization, you are a liability to your organization rather than a benefit. Conversely, if you and your developers are having beers once a month or once a week, chances are you are well set up for success in the new digital ecosystem.

Marketing technology is no longer optional. To be fair, it was never optional to begin with. If you do not have a developer, get one – even if it is only a part-time contractor. Think you can’t afford a developer? There are plenty of developer exchanges online, and many students in school who you could work with in an internship role.

In the next few years, marketers who do not understand development and code will be as out of date as marketers who don’t understand the web or mobile. Be ready.


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Account-Based Marketing for Job Seekers, Part 3 of 5

Job seekers seem to be taking a spray and pray approach, stuck in the bad old days of marketing. What should they do differently? Adopt account-based marketing (ABM). In this part of our series, we’ll look at the framework for finding the right job with ABM.

ABM is built on the basics of marketing, like the 4Ps. If it’s been a while and you haven’t read Marketing White Belt, this is a quick refresher:

marketing_basics_4ps.png

Let’s examine the second P: pricing. When we are job hunting, we are the product for sale, and our asking salary is our price. Many pricing strategies exist, but most don’t apply to job seekers because we are a product with an inventory of one. Once we’re hired, no more product exists, so pricing strategies which rely on volume aren’t applicable.

Most job seekers use one pricing strategy: competitive. The competitive pricing strategy for a standard business involves determining what other businesses are charging for the same product and then offering a similar price. Competitive pricing strategy has led to the creation of an entire cottage industry of salary comparison sites such as this:

Salary_com_Salary_Wizard-_Do_you_know_what_you_re_worth_.png

However, competitive pricing strategy has one gaping flaw.

Competitive pricing strategy neglects to account for the cost of manufacturing. Whether or not a competition charges $1 less than us is irrelevant if we’re losing money on every product made at the same price point. We’ll go out of business.

The same is true for us as job seekers. If we neglect our cost of living and our financial targets as individuals, using the competitive pricing method for what to price our talents at will lead us to financial ruin. We should absolutely know what the pricing ranges in our market support. However, we must not make the mistake of relying solely on this information.

Cost-Plus: A Better Pricing Strategy

The Cost Plus pricing strategy takes into account manufacturing and distribution costs; for us job seekers, it accounts for what we need to achieve financially. What is your cost of living? To determine this, we must work out our monthly and annual budget. Take the time to do this right! Services like Mint and other financial planning software can analyze our bank accounts over the past year and explain what we’ve spent our money on.

Once we know what our cost of living is, we can go to market with the cost plus strategy. We know what we need to survive on. What could we price at to thrive, to put aside some money for a rainy day or save for retirement? This is the essence of cost-plus – we price in what would let us grow as people.

Cost-plus sets the floor, the basement, the bottom of the market for our purposes. We know what we cannot accept less than.

Skimming: Finding Your Top of Market

The most powerful pricing strategy blends the information we’ve gathered from both competitive and cost-plus. Skimming, in regular product-based marketing, is the process of going to market at the top end of the price range at the outset, then discounting over time to identify new niches and segments of the market we can sell to. Skimming is the strategy behind selling a movie at full price to ardent fans as soon as it’s released; we’ll find the same movie in the bargain bin a year later.

The catch with a skimming pricing strategy is volume. When we are using ABM, we are cherry picking a handful of companies we know we want to work for, not spamming the broad marketplace. If we go into an interview with a ludicrously high offer, we risk not being taken seriously. Go in at cost-plus and we risk short-changing ourselves.

If we look at the chart above from Salary.com, we see the median salary plus a few intervals. The interval we’re most interested in is the interquartile range. Let’s simplify the chart by highlighting the quartile boundaries – the 25%, 50%, and 75%:

iqrs.png

Where does your cost-plus line fit in? Are you in the first quartile, second quartile, third quartile, etc.? I would argue if your cost-plus line is on the extremes, meaning it’s in the first or fourth quartile, you’re looking at the wrong job listing. If your cost-plus target is in the first quartile (meaning you are severely underpaid), you may need to climb up to the next rung in your industry’s career ladder (unless you’re incompetent). If you’re in the fourth quartile (meaning you are vastly overpaid), you are either exceptional talent or you’re also in the wrong place.

If your cost-plus is below the median, find your way to the median. Don’t open any salary negotiation below the median unless the opportunity is too good to pass up or there are other financial modifiers (such as the ability to work remotely/fewer days/paid education/significantly flexible hours).

If you’re above the median, find your way to the 75% line. That’s where I’d start skimming. Remember that you can always negotiate downward, but it’s difficult to negotiate upward. If you’re pitching your dream company, and you’d like to stay there a long while, entering at the next quartile above your cost-plus line will give you comfort and the ability to stay there and grow over time.

We’ve now established product value and pricing. In the next post, we’ll tackle placement from the perspective of ABM and your job search.


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Account-Based Marketing for Job Seekers, Part 2 of 5

Job seekers seem to be taking a spray and pray approach. They’ll fling their resume at anything that moves – and that’s it. They carpet bomb their prospect list and hope someone calls them back with an interview. Job seekers are still stuck in the bad old days of marketing. What should they do differently? Adopt account-based marketing (ABM). In this part of our series, we’ll look at the framework for finding the right job with ABM.

Before we can discuss the execution of ABM tactics, we must understand the strategy. ABM is built on the basics of marketing, like the 4Ps. If it’s been a while and you haven’t read Marketing White Belt, this is a quick refresher:

marketing_basics_4ps.png

Let’s examine the first P: product. When we are job hunting, we are the product for sale. We are marketing ourselves, our capabilities, our skills. The key mistake marketers make when first starting ABM practices is to assume every customer wants the same thing. Here’s the product, now buy it! That’s a sure way to turn off all but the most generic businesses – and a generic business is a generic employer. A generic employer treats its employees as replaceable commodities instead of valued specialties.

ABM best practices require us to customize not only how we communicate but the product itself to best fit the customers we want. Consider the average word processing software package like Microsoft Word. We use perhaps 10% of its features. However, customers use wildly different 10% portions of the product; the way a lawyer uses Word differs from how a scientist uses Word. If we were to market the most common features, we would risk not addressing the needs of each customer type. ABM best practices force us to focus on emphasizing what each individual customer type needs.

Consider your own career now. What skills do you have? What’s on your resume or LinkedIn profile? Consider what kind of employer you want want to work for. Which of your skills map to what that particular employer needs?

Once we know what we have – and don’t have – we can improve the product, improve ourselves. Suppose our ideal employer’s marketing talks frequently about analytics and analysis skills. Would we have a better chance of landing a job if we were a Google Analytics Certified Professional? Probably. Suppose our ideal employer’s marketing or product line is obviously driven by process, by quality improvement methods. Would we have a better chance of landing the job if we were a Lean Six Sigma certified project manager? Probably.

Here’s an exercise to try. Examine your LinkedIn profile’s skills section:

Edit_Profile___LinkedIn.png

Start categorizing the different skills you’ve received endorsements for into groups, so that you can understand how to present your “features” to your ideal employer. Let’s take my skills list and start categorizing:

color_coded_interests.png

If I knew my ideal employer wanted a strategic marketer, I’d emphasize skills, experiences, and ideas highlighted in the red topics above.

If I knew my ideal employer wanted a strong social media marketer, I’d emphasize skills, experiences, and ideas highlighted in the yellow topics.

If I knew my ideal employer wanted a strong thought leader and speaker/brand representative, I’d emphasize skills, experiences, and ideas highlighted in the green topics.

If I knew my ideal employer wanted a marketer with development skills, I’d emphasize skills, experiences, and ideas highlighted in the blue topics.

One size doesn’t fit all companies and employers. ABM tells us to focus our product on what our ideal customer needs and wants.

Next, we’ll look at the second P: pricing.


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