Tag Archives: Creating

5 Killer Tips for Creating LinkedIn Posts that Hook Readers

Type any text into a Word document and spell check the text. Once finished, the tool will display “readability statistics.” At the bottom of this box under the “readability” subheading, it will include a Flesch-Kincaid reading ease score and the grade level. The higher the reading ease score, the simpler the content is for your LinkedIn readers to understand.

Create a length that is optimal for the platform.

Creating an amazing LinkedIn post also involves understanding how much content your audience wants to read. In the past, marketers believed that shorter was better, but today experts find this is not always true. If you write amazing content that is truly valuable, not only will the audience read it, they will read it even if it’s very long.

An article published by the Content Marketing Institute found that short content, with word counts of 1,000 or less, dominate LinkedIn. But surprisingly, this is not the content that readers want most. Posts with 1,000 to 3,000 words get the most shares. Check this out:

Up to 1,000 words: Average shares of 6,439.

Medium content of 1,000 to 2,000 words: Average shares of 7,771.

Long content of 2,000 to 3,000 words: Average shares of 8,702.

The bottom line? If you want to hook LinkedIn readers, you must publish long-form, high-quality content to capture their attention and inspire them to share it with their peers.

Deepen the relationship with a strong CTA.

Creating great content that draws readers in and delivers the information they crave is just the beginning. Once they read the material and say, “Wow, that was really amazing,” readers want more. Sadly, many great LinkedIn articles stop short of asking readers to take that next big step: the call to action.

Creating an effective CTA starts with a goal. After reading your content, what do you want readers to do next? Maybe your goal is to entice them into viewing more content, in which case you might include links to related content on your blog, where you can continue building that relationship.

Or perhaps your goal is to capture the prospects’ email addresses so you can launch a nurturing campaign, in which you might encourage them to download a road map or guide to solving whatever pain point the content addresses. For example, you might say, “To get our free white paper on the three most common mistakes people make when doing X and how to solve them, click here.”

Every piece of content that you publish on LinkedIn should be part of an overarching strategy, and the CTA should be carefully designed to support and meet those goals.

Keep readers engaged with the perfect visual count.

Here’s a well-kept secret about creating content on LinkedIn: It’s not all about the words. How? Research shows that visuals are very important with all content, but especially on LinkedIn. One large study of LinkedIn posts found that LinkedIn content with images received a greater number of shares, likes, comments and views.

On average, a LinkedIn post with zero images receives about 6,413 views. However, when eight images are included, this number jumps up to 57,575 views — a sizable increase!

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League of Lawyers: Esports is creating a new class of white-collar jobs

Many old-school sports fans still might not take esports seriously. But the increased involvement of professional sports organizations such as the NBA, increased esports coverage on mainstream media, and increased regulation of leagues shows that esports is entering a new era of professionalism and mainstream recognition. After all, esports has been accepted as a sport for the 2022 Asian Games, and the Hong Kong government recognized its economic development potential in its 2017 budget announcement. One of the ways that the industry is pushing economic development is by creating a number of employment opportunities.

According to research from CareerBuilder, jobs in ‘traditional’ sports have a multiplier effect, with every job within sports teams and clubs themselves leading to four times as many job outside of the industry in areas such as construction, health care, sales, food preparation and maintenance in stadiums, and stores. However, while we are unlikely to see many “blue collar” jobs in esports stadiums just yet, we are seeing a new breed of “white collar” jobs offering support to players.

Sports therapists

While esports players might not face many of the injuries connected with more physical sports like ice hockey or football, they do face different types of strains. Hand, wrist, and back injuries are common, especially when players aren’t careful with their hand positioning and posture. However, the most debilitating injuries are often mental rather than physical.

Teams are competing for huge amounts of money, in real time in front of hundreds of thousands of engaged fans. Last year’s Dota 2 competition, the International 6, ended up reaching more than $ 20 million in total, which puts a lot of pressure on individual players. And it’s not just during competition time when players are at risk of stress, or overdoing it. Most professional players are plugged in training (or streaming) for at least 8-14 hours per day, if not more, which puts them at risk of burnout.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told Fusion that he wouldn’t invest in any esports teams for exactly that reason, stating “I’m worried about how quickly players burn out. It’s a grind to keep up and to become great. Particularly at [League of Legends]. I know teams are trying to do more, but the number of hours involved is a real concern for me.”

As such, many teams are employing therapists in their team houses and bootcamps to help players deal with stress and long hours at their computer screens, with techniques such as meditation and through encouraging healthy lifestyles like exercise and other sports.

Team owners are keen to break the trend of professional players’ careers ending so quickly. Unlike in other sports, in games like League of Legends, players that go pro in their late teens have mostly retired by the time they hit their mid-20s. This makes it expensive to invest in training people who will only be valuable for such a short time.

Data analysts

Due to the fact that competitions take place on a digital playing field, esports offer a data goldmine, which is appealing not only to marketers and fans, but also sports professionals looking to find patterns which could improve techniques and gameplay.

Due to the high volume of readily available data from esports, many teams and training camps are bringing on experts who can apply analytics and machine learning to make sense of data and find patterns. A recent study published by Swedish Lund University suggested machine learning and advanced data analytics can be used to track players and team behavior to identify patterns, which can offer teams a competitive advantage.

For example, esports data startup Mobalytics has created a service which uses data to categorize players based on a Gamer Performance Index (GPI), a set of statistics which break down individual players’ strengths and weaknesses based on millions of data points from their career. Players’ behavior is broken down in different categories or skill sets, such as fighting, farming, vision, aggression, toughness, team play, consistency, and versatility. The tool has reportedly been used by respected League clubs such as Team Liquid.

Mobalytics founder Amine “Uth” Issa runs proprietary datasets and statistics from Riot’s databases through an algorithm which can accurately measure player performance in particular skills, with extreme detail and accuracy. This allows teams to choose the best players for specific competitions, and also the ability to ‘substitute’ players for high pressure moments of gameplay.

In the same way as statistics for NFL and NBA are now being sold as a service to offer a foot up to fantasy league fans, we are sure to see esports data become big business in the near future, too.

Lawyers and agents

Up until recently, the esports industry had been described as the Wild West for players. There were few governing bodies, rules, or support agencies and as such, players were at risk of being taken advantage of by event organizers, team owners and sponsors.

As leagues have been franchised, and more professional sports teams have entered the melee, it has in turn pushed for a more organized, regulated landscape. The World Esports Association (WESA) founded in May 2016 claims to be the first esports organization to feature a player council, who are charged with protecting player interests, and challenging league policies, rules and team-to-team transfers.

To meet demand, professional esports lawyers and agents are emerging. They specialize in formulating the best contracts for their players, and making sure they get a fair chunk of their winnings and sponsorship deals. In an interview, Ryan Morrison, a NYC based esports lawyer, argues that until recently, esports players did not act in a professional manner when approaching contract deals, and would often sign anything offered to them. As such, teams were able to sidestep contract clauses to fire players in their performance slipped, or not pay them the wages they were due by imposing “fines.”

However, with modern players making as much as $ 200,000 to $ 2 million in salary and bonuses for those who play in the world’s largest competitions, it is no surprise that specialized — and no doubt expensive — lawyers and agents are offering up their services.

With esport revenues estimated to have reached $ 696 million in 2017, and predicted to top $ 1.5 billion by 2020 as brand investment increases and the sport reaches further into the mainstream media, the industry as a whole is growing extensively, and as such the amount of employment within the industry is growing too.

As the industry becomes more professional, it is a logical next step that more and more professionals will start working within the industry. And it might not be long before we start seeing esports coaches, agents, trainers, and therapists becoming just as famous as the players who they manage as seen in other sports like soccer, tennis and American football. It might not be too long before esports Jerry Maguire becomes a reality!

Riad Chikhani is founder and chief executive officer at GAMURS Group, parent company of Dot Esports, the premier destination for news and data on competitive gaming.

The PC Gaming channel is presented by Intel®‘s Game Dev program.

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Creating Momentum For Digital Transformation In Pakistan

When members of Lowe’s Innovation Labs first began talking with the home improvement retailer’s senior executives about how disruptive technologies would affect the future, the presentations were well received but nothing stuck.

“We’d give a really great presentation and everyone would say, ‘Great job,’ but nothing would really happen,” says Amanda Manna, head of narratives and partnerships for the lab.

The team realized that it needed to ditch the PowerPoints and try something radical. The team’s leader, Kyle Nel, is a behavioral scientist by training. He knows people are wired to receive new information best through stories. Sharing far-future concepts through narrative, he surmised, could unlock hidden potential to drive meaningful change.

So Nel hired science fiction writers to pen the future in comic book format, with characters and a narrative arc revealed pane by pane.

The first storyline, written several years before Oculus Rift became a household name, told the tale of a couple envisioning their kitchen renovation using virtual reality headsets. The comic might have been fun and fanciful, but its intent was deadly serious. It was a vision of a future in which Lowe’s might solve one of its long-standing struggles: the approximately US$ 70 billion left on the table when people are unable to start a home improvement project because they can’t envision what it will look like.

When the lab presented leaders with the first comic, “it was like a light bulb went on,” says Manna. “Not only did they immediately understand the value of the concept, they were convinced that if we didn’t build it, someone else would.”

Today, Lowe’s customers in select stores can use the HoloRoom How To virtual reality tool to learn basic DIY skills in an interactive and immersive environment.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature3 Image2 Creating Momentum For Digital Transformation In PakistanOther comics followed and were greeted with similar enthusiasm—and investment, where possible. One tells the story of robots that help customers navigate stores. That comic spawned the LoweBot, which roamed the aisles of several Lowe’s stores during a pilot program in California and is being evaluated to determine next steps.

And the comic about tools that can be 3D-printed in space? Last year, Lowe’s partnered with Made in Space, which specializes in making 3D printers that can operate in zero gravity, to install the first commercial 3D printer in the International Space Station, where it was used to make tools and parts for astronauts.

The comics are the result of sending writers out on an open-ended assignment, armed with trends, market research, and other input, to envision what home improvement planning might look like in the future or what the experience of shopping will be in 10 years. The writers come back with several potential story ideas in a given area and work collaboratively with lab team members to refine it over time.

The process of working with writers and business partners to develop the comics helps the future strategy team at Lowe’s, working under chief development officer Richard D. Maltsbarger, to inhabit that future. They can imagine how it might play out, what obstacles might surface, and what steps the company would need to take to bring that future to life.

Once the final vision hits the page, the lab team can clearly envision how to work backward to enable the innovation. Importantly, the narrative is shared not only within the company but also out in the world. It serves as a kind of “bat signal” to potential technology partners with capabilities that might be required to make it happen, says Manna. “It’s all part of our strategy for staking a claim in the future.”

Companies like Lowe’s are realizing that standard ways of planning for the future won’t get them where they need to go. The problem with traditional strategic planning is that the approach, which dates back to the 1950s and has remained largely unchanged since then, is based on the company’s existing mission, resources, core competencies, and competitors.

Yet the future rarely looks like the past. What’s more, digital technology is now driving change at exponential rates. Companies must be able to analyze and assess the potential impacts of the many variables at play, determine the possible futures they want to pursue, and develop the agility to pivot as conditions change along the way.

This is why planning must become completely oriented toward—and sourced from—the future, rather than from the past or the present. “Every winning strategy is based on a compelling insight, but most strategic planning originates in today’s marketplace, which means the resulting plans are constrained to incremental innovation,” says Bob Johansen, distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future. “Most corporate strategists and CEOs are just inching their way to the future.” (Read more from Bob Johansen in the Thinkers story, “Fear Factor.”)

Inching forward won’t cut it anymore. Half of the S&P 500 organizations will be replaced over the next decade, according to research company Innosight. The reason? They can’t see the portfolio of possible futures, they can’t act on them, or both. Indeed, when SAP conducts future planning workshops with clients, we find that they usually struggle to look beyond current models and assumptions and lack clear ideas about how to work toward radically different futures.

Companies that want to increase their chances of long-term survival are incorporating three steps: envisioning, planning for, and executing on possible futures. And doing so all while the actual future is unfolding in expected and unexpected ways.

Those that pull it off are rewarded. A 2017 benchmarking report from the Strategic Foresight Research Network (SFRN) revealed that vigilant companies (those with the most mature processes for identifying, interpreting, and responding to factors that induce change) achieved 200% greater market capitalization growth and 33% higher profitability than the average, while the least mature companies experienced negative market-cap growth and had 44% lower profitability.

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Looking Outside the Margins

“Most organizations lack sufficient capacity to detect, interpret, and act on the critically important but weak and ambiguous signals of fresh threats or new opportunities that emerge on the periphery of their usual business environment,” write George S. Day and Paul J. H. Schoemaker in their book Peripheral Vision.

But that’s exactly where effective future planning begins: examining what is happening outside the margins of day-to-day business as usual in order to peer into the future.

Business leaders who take this approach understand that despite the uncertainties of the future there are drivers of change that can be identified and studied and actions that can be taken to better prepare for—and influence—how events unfold.

That starts with developing foresight, typically a decade out. Ten years, most future planners agree, is the sweet spot. “It is far enough out that it gives you a bit more latitude to come up with a broader way to the future, allowing for disruption and innovation,” says Brian David Johnson, former chief futurist for Intel and current futurist in residence at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination. “But you can still see the light from it.”

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature3 Image4 Creating Momentum For Digital Transformation In PakistanThe process involves gathering information about the factors and forces—technological, business, sociological, and industry or ecosystem trends—that are effecting change to envision a range of potential impacts.

Seeing New Worlds

Intel, for example, looks beyond its own industry boundaries to envision possible future developments in adjacent businesses in the larger ecosystem it operates in. In 2008, the Intel Labs team, led by anthropologist Genevieve Bell, determined that the introduction of flexible glass displays would open up a whole new category of foldable consumer electronic devices.

To take advantage of that advance, Intel would need to be able to make silicon small enough to fit into some imagined device of the future. By the time glass manufacturer Corning unveiled its ultra-slim, flexible glass surface for mobile devices, laptops, televisions, and other displays of the future in 2012, Intel had already created design prototypes and kicked its development into higher gear. “Because we had done the future casting, we were already imagining how people might use flexible glass to create consumer devices,” says Johnson.

Because future planning relies so heavily on the quality of the input it receives, bringing in experts can elevate the practice. They can come from inside an organization, but the most influential insight may come from the outside and span a wide range of disciplines, says Steve Brown, a futurist, consultant, and CEO of BaldFuturist.com who worked for Intel Labs from 2007 to 2016.

Companies may look to sociologists or behaviorists who have insight into the needs and wants of people and how that influences their actions. Some organizations bring in an applied futurist, skilled at scanning many different forces and factors likely to coalesce in important ways (see Do You Need a Futurist?).

Do You Need a Futurist?

Most organizations need an outsider to help envision their future. Futurists are good at looking beyond the big picture to the biggest picture.

Business leaders who want to be better prepared for an uncertain and disruptive future will build future planning as a strategic capability into their organizations and create an organizational culture that embraces the approach. But working with credible futurists, at least in the beginning, can jump-start the process.

“The present can be so noisy and business leaders are so close to it that it’s helpful to provide a fresh outside-in point of view,” says veteran futurist Bob Johansen.

To put it simply, futurists like Johansen are good at connecting dots—lots of them. They look beyond the boundaries of a single company or even an industry, incorporating into their work social science, technical research, cultural movements, economic data, trends, and the input of other experts.

They can also factor in the cultural history of the specific company with whom they’re working, says Brian David Johnson, futurist in residence at Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination. “These large corporations have processes and procedures in place—typically for good reasons,” Johnson explains. “But all of those reasons have everything to do with the past and nothing to do with the future. Looking at that is important so you can understand the inertia that you need to overcome.”

One thing the best futurists will say they can’t do: predict the future. That’s not the point. “The future punishes certainty,” Johansen says, “but it rewards clarity.” The methods futurists employ are designed to trigger discussions and considerations of possibilities corporate leaders might not otherwise consider.

You don’t even necessarily have to buy into all the foresight that results, says Johansen. Many leaders don’t. “Every forecast is debatable,” Johansen says. “Foresight is a way to provoke insight, even if you don’t believe it. The value is in letting yourself be provoked.”

External expert input serves several purposes. It brings everyone up to a common level of knowledge. It can stimulate and shift the thinking of participants by introducing them to new information or ideas. And it can challenge the status quo by illustrating how people and organizations in different sectors are harnessing emerging trends.

The goal is not to come up with one definitive future but multiple possibilities—positive and negative—along with a list of the likely obstacles or accelerants that could surface on the road ahead. The result: increased clarity—rather than certainty—in the face of the unknown that enables business decision makers to execute and refine business plans and strategy over time.

Plotting the Steps Along the Way

Coming up with potential trends is an important first step in futuring, but even more critical is figuring out what steps need to be taken along the way: eight years from now, four years from now, two years from now, and now. Considerations include technologies to develop, infrastructure to deploy, talent to hire, partnerships to forge, and acquisitions to make. Without this vital step, says Brown, everybody goes back to their day jobs and the new thinking generated by future planning is wasted. To work, the future steps must be tangible, concrete, and actionable.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature3 Image5 Creating Momentum For Digital Transformation In PakistanOrganizations must build a roadmap for the desired future state that anticipates both developments and detours, complete with signals that will let them know if they’re headed in the right direction. Brown works with corporate leaders to set indicator flags to look out for on the way to the anticipated future. “If we see these flagged events occurring in the ecosystem, they help to confirm the strength of our hypothesis that a particular imagined future is likely to occur,” he explains.

For example, one of Brown’s clients envisioned two potential futures: one in which gestural interfaces took hold and another in which voice control dominated. The team set a flag to look out for early examples of the interfaces that emerged in areas such as home appliances and automobiles. “Once you saw not just Amazon Echo but also Google Home and other copycat speakers, it would increase your confidence that you were moving more towards a voice-first era rather than a gesture-first era,” Brown says. “It doesn’t mean that gesture won’t happen, but it’s less likely to be the predominant modality for communication.”

How to Keep Experiments from Being Stifled

Once organizations have a vision for the future, making it a reality requires testing ideas in the marketplace and then scaling them across the enterprise. “There’s a huge change piece involved,”
says Frank Diana, futurist and global consultant with Tata Consultancy Services, “and that’s the place where most
businesses will fall down.”

Many large firms have forgotten what it’s like to experiment in several new markets on a small scale to determine what will stick and what won’t, says René Rohrbeck, professor of strategy at the Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences. Companies must be able to fail quickly, bring the lessons learned back in, adapt, and try again.

SAP Q417 DigitalDoubles Feature3 Image6 Creating Momentum For Digital Transformation In PakistanLowe’s increases its chances of success by creating master narratives across a number of different areas at once, such as robotics, mixed-reality tools, on-demand manufacturing, sustainability, and startup acceleration. The lab maps components of each by expected timelines: short, medium, and long term. “From there, we’ll try to build as many of them as quickly as we can,” says Manna. “And we’re always looking for that next suite of things that we should be working on.” Along the way certain innovations, like the HoloRoom How-To, become developed enough to integrate into the larger business as part of the core strategy.

One way Lowe’s accelerates the process of deciding what is ready to scale is by being open about its nascent plans with the world. “In the past, Lowe’s would never talk about projects that weren’t at scale,” says Manna. Now the company is sharing its future plans with the media and, as a result, attracting partners that can jump-start their realization.

Seeing a Lowe’s comic about employee exoskeletons, for example, led Virginia Tech engineering professor Alan Asbeck to the retailer. He helped develop a prototype for a three-month pilot with stock employees at a Christiansburg, Virginia, store.

The high-tech suit makes it easier to move heavy objects. Employees trying out the suits are also fitted with an EEG headset that the lab incorporates into all its pilots to gauge unstated, subconscious reactions. That direct feedback on the user experience helps the company refine its innovations over time.

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Make the Future Part of the Culture

Regardless of whether all the elements of its master narratives come to pass, Lowe’s has already accomplished something important: It has embedded future thinking into the culture of the company.

Companies like Lowe’s constantly scan the environment for meaningful economic, technology, and cultural changes that could impact its future assessments and plans. “They can regularly draw on future planning to answer challenges,” says Rohrbeck. “This intensive, ongoing, agile strategizing is only possible because they’ve done their homework up front and they keep it updated.”

It’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen in the future, but companies can help to shape it, says Manna of Lowe’s. “It’s really about painting a picture of a preferred future state that we can try to achieve while being flexible and capable of change as we learn things along the way.” D!


About the Authors

Dan Wellers is Global Lead, Digital Futures, at SAP.

Kai Goerlich is Chief Futurist at SAP’s Innovation Center Network.

Stephanie Overby is a Boston-based business and technology journalist.


Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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Creating an HR System Weaved into the User Experience

websitelogo Creating an HR System Weaved into the User Experience

Posted by Trevor Vollet, Product Marketing, New Products Introduction

Disconnected, departmental applications have always created barriers for front line employees, but there is perhaps none more frustrating than the HR system.

While a sales rep may occasionally need to get into the transactional system to check on a customer’s outstanding balance or a senior executive may be drilling into sales figures, that’s not where they spend most of their time. And, with few exceptions, no one spends most of their time in the HR system. The end result has been HR systems that are rarely accessed and when they are its wholly disconnected from the user’s workflow. Need to get approval for a purchase order but the approver is on PTO and you need to know their manager? Better log out, move over to the Employee Org. Chart, find the person’s name, title and email, then back into the PO system. Need to request time off? Better check the deliverables schedule in the project system. What’s needed is a system that lets people perform their employee-related tasks without going out of context or disrupting their train of thought.

With SuitePeople, NetSuite has built a system on the NetSuite platform from the ground up, that works the way work is actually done and creates HR functions and processes that are “weaved into their everyday user experiences.”

Available now with the 17.2 release, SuitePeople includes a number of features designed for people, not the HR department. It features:

Employee Center that minimizes the steps it takes for an employee to conduct an action, with an intuitive and user friendly interface and behaves the way other applications in the suite operate, making work quicker and easier.

Employee Directory that minimizes the time and effort it takes to find key information about employees. Often, employees need to contact co-workers outside of their usual context, or other employees with whom they would not normally interact. Connecting with the right person can be very difficult, especially in large or extremely geographically-distributed organizations. The Employee Directory provides a quick and easy way for employees to find the needed information to contact the right person at the right time.

Org Browser, an interactive way for employees and human resources to browse the organization. More than an org chart, which are traditionally updated manually and can very quickly become out of date, the Org Browser updates automatically whenever related information is changed. Employees, jobs, and positions are connected graphically through formal reporting relationships. Users can easily navigate the organization to understand how individuals or teams fit within its structure. This helps users to find the right person to reach out to, especially in mid to large organizations where people don’t all know each other, and it is hard to find the right person to help solve a problem.

Payroll, a complete, full-service solution for managing U.S. payroll. It is tightly integrated with NetSuite accounting features so employees’ time entry, attendance, and commission data translates directly to their payroll with no manual data re-entry. It handles compliance issues, with all federal, state, and local jurisdictions supported and includes a “No Penalties Guarantee” that promises that deposits and filings will be accurate and on time.

Time-Off Management that automates tracking employee time off with easy-to-customize time-off plans, removing what has traditionally been a manual burden for the HR department. The user-friendly, self-service process gives employees, managers and HR the power and flexibility to easily request, approve, track, and report on time off activities through a centralized system, without the need for manual entry. The Time-Off Management integration with NetSuite Payroll and Services Resource Planning (SRP) also accurately tracks and reports employee time-off activities for the organization. It automatically accrues time off based on rules for eligibility, entitlement, accrual frequency and carryover. Rules can also be configured to update with an employee’s tenure.

Job Management to help organize and streamline Jobs within the organization. It includes functionality to manage jobs within the org with tie-ins with Job Requisitions, Job Classifications and Levels, competencies and job requirements etc.

Job Requisition to help organize and streamline jobs within the organization. It manages jobs within the org with tie-ins with Job Requisitions, Job Classifications and Levels, competencies and job requirements.

Workforce Analysis which lets HR personnel easily visualize the headcount, growth and turnover trends of the organization, segmented by departments, locations, employee class, and subsidiaries. HR can also apply filters to view specific groups of employees. When business leaders ask for headcount trends, the tool can automatically aggregate the information most relevant to headcount changes (hires, turnovers, trends). HR can now spend more time in understanding the headcount trends, and performing analysis by drilling down to specific employee segments.

Compensation Tracking that allows organizations to track compensation details from the Employee Offer Letter such as earnings (wage/salary), pay frequency, overtime rate, start and hire date. Variable compensation such as bonuses, Restricted Stock Units awarded, Stock options, are also tracked.

Learn more about the other new features in 17.2.

Posted on Mon, November 20, 2017
by NetSuite filed under

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Best Practices for Creating Data Quality Rules

In my prevous blog post, I shared four data quality trends I observed at recent industry events that are essential to data governance. In today’s post, I take a deeper dive into my conference presentation, reviewing best practices for creating data quality rules that help organizations to improve data governance and support business intelligence.

The 7 Dimensions of Data Quality Rules

When creating data quality rules, consider the data quality dimensions you want to create. There can be up to seven dimensions, but you might just want to start with 3 or 4.

1. Accessibility

  • Definition: Software and activities related to storing, retrieving or acting on stored data
  • Monitor & Measure: How steward and users have governed access to the data they need and be able to provide governed access

2. Accuracy

  • Definition: Correct data values and real-world state.
Transformation from origin, understanding provenance and lineage
  • Monitor & Measure: How data changes over the time and compares to industry or organizational standards

3. Completeness

  • Definition: The Extent to which expected attributes of data are complete, as required by the data consumer or organization. (Data can be complete, but not accurate) Does it cover external or IoT (sensors)? weather records? call data records? etc.
  • Monitor & Measure: Measure comprehensiveness of data and metadata. The dimension does not need to be 100% complete but must match expectations and policies

4. Consistency

  • Definition: Does the data match across data values and data sets. Gartner describes as “consistency of data across proximate data points.” E.g., if Chicago and Louisville are 30° and 32°, then it’s unlikely that the temperature in Indianapolis is 70°
  • Monitor & Measure: Uniformity of quality metrics across the organization

5. Relevance

6. Timeliness

  • Definition: Extent the data is sufficient, up to date, and available when required
  • Monitor & Measure: Data availability compared to consumer time requirement

7. Validity

  • Definition: Conforms to defined definitions and policies/rules; a value could be valid but still inaccurate
  • Monitor & Measure: Compare data and policy (format, type, range)

blog banner ASG webcast Winning with DQ and DG Best Practices for Creating Data Quality Rules

Data Quality Policies and Implementation

Once you determine which dimensions are important, the data steward creates the data quality policies. Our customers document these policies in our partner products such as ASG Enterprise Data Intelligence and Collibra Data Governance Center.

These then need to be implemented. This is where data quality tools like Trillium Discovery come into play.

blog Trillium Discovery1a Best Practices for Creating Data Quality Rules

The results can then be rendered in Discovery.

blog Trillium Discovery2a Best Practices for Creating Data Quality Rules

We’ve also built integration with our partner products and are also publishing API’s for our customers to customize this integration with our partners or other tools in their ecosystem. This integration then allows the results to be in their product products and data quality dashboards.

Watch our on-demand webcast From Compliance to Customer 360: Winning with Data Quality & Data Governanceto discover how integrated data quality and data governance tools help you confidently achieve regulatory compliance, as well as revenue-building initiatives requiring a 360-degree view of your customers.

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Creating a Customer-Centric Culture in a Customer-Focused World

CRM Blog Creating a Customer Centric Culture in a Customer Focused World

Creating Your Customer-Centric Culture

A recent conference on customer service and engagement shared principles that everyone can use to develop pro-customer organizations. The story is not necessarily one of revolution, but evolution.

Even though digital transformation is more about the customer than technology, putting your customers at the center of an organization requires technology. The customer story has many chapters—sales, marketing, customer service, field service, purchasing, billing, social engagement, etc. As each chapter is written, the typical problem is that vital information gets trapped in separate systems, emails, files and spreadsheets. You can’t read one chapter of a book and expect to understand the full story.

Customers always have looked for the best products or services, but now their buying decisions are increasingly based on who also will provide the best experience. How can your business improve customer engagement to increase satisfaction and value?

This is one reason why we at BKD are excited about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement. We can help build a fully integrated, centralized platform for end-to-end customer management—for businesses of any size. It helps level the playing field for creating a customer-centric culture and elevating the customer experience. It has removed many barriers to competing on customer experience, particularly for small to midsize businesses.

Click here to read more, and watch our webinar, about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement can help businesses of any size achieve excellence in customer service.

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CRM Software Blog | Dynamics 365

Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

00 guest 300x225 Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

One of the exciting new features introduced as part of Dynamics 365 is the ability to create custom apps using App Designer. In today’s blog, we’ll show you exactly how to take advantage of this cool enhancement. With that in mind, here are step-by-step instructions for creating a custom app that we’ll call TestApp:

Go to Settings -> Application -> My Apps.

053017 2026 Creatingcus1 Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

Click the + CREATE APP button in the upper-right corner, as shown below:

053017 2026 Creatingcus2 Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

In the “App Designer” pop-up window, enter the details for your desired app. These include the app’s Name and Unique Name, which are both required, as well as Description, Icon, and App URL Suffix, which are all optional.

053017 2026 Creatingcus3 Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

Once you’ve added the information in Step 3, click Next to reveal the “Components” window. As you can see in the screenshot below, for our TestApp, the App Designer has the following components:

ARTIFACTS
– Entities
– Dashboards
– Business Process Flows

ENTITY ASSETS
– Forms
– Views
– Charts

053017 2026 Creatingcus4 Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

Next, you need to configure the “Site Map.” To do this, click on Site Map.

053017 2026 Creatingcus5 Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

This will navigate you to the screen shown below, where you will be able to configure the Area, Group, and Subarea.

053017 2026 Creatingcus6 Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

Click the Area button, and provide the details, as shown below. Do the same for the Group button and the Subarea button (also shown below).

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In this example, we named our Area, “Demo,” and added two Subareas, “Accounts” and “Contacts.” TestApp now looks like this:

053017 2026 Creatingcus10 Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

Next, for each entity, we add the Forms, Views, and Charts, as shown below:

053017 2026 Creatingcus11 Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

Click Validate to check for dependencies. This button is displayed in the top-right corner of App Designer.

053017 2026 Creatingcus12 Creating Custom Apps using App Designer in Dynamics 365

If there are any missing dependencies for these entities, they are shown with the orange-colored validation icon along with the total number of dependencies. In our example below, “Forms” has 18 dependencies in the “Account” entity and 15 dependencies in the “Contact” entity.

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The specific dependencies are displayed in the window on the right side of the screen, as shown below. To fix the outstanding dependencies, simply click the Add Dependencies button. Then, click Save and Publish.

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Navigate to TestApp as shown below.

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And here it is, in all its newly-created glory!

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We hope you found this helpful. For more information on creating custom apps, please check out our PO TV WEBCAST: The Beginner’s Guide to PowerApps. It’s chock-full of useful information. Happy CRM’ing!

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Creating a Profit-Center Marketing Department – An Interview with Matt Heinz (Part 1)

Creating a Profit Center Marketing Department – An Interview with Matt Heinz  351x200 Creating a Profit Center Marketing Department – An Interview with Matt Heinz (Part 1)

Matt:

For those of you who don’t know Heinz Marketing, we are a B2B sales and marketing consulting firm. I tend to describe us as ‘sales pipeline people,’ even though we really are working primarily in the marketing side. We’re working with companies that want to grow their business, want to increase the sales output of their sales and marketing efforts.

We think a lot in terms of creating profit-center marketing departments, helping marketers be measured based on the sales and revenue and business output of what they’re doing, as opposed to the traditional operational measures like open rates, and click rates, and even MQLs that a lot of companies are rightly focused on. But at the end of the day you can’t buy a beer with an MQL. You can buy a beer with a closed deal. And so the more we can help marketers align behind metrics you can buy a beer with ‒ and ideally how that changes the way they operationalize and prioritize our efforts ‒ the better.

Michelle:

If someone’s trying to shift how they’re perceived and viewed, how do you really do that? What would be that first step to be moving toward being a profit-centered marketing organization?

Matt:

Well, there are a couple things. First, you have to understand that your job in marketing is the same as the sales team. The sales team may be sitting at the table when the prospect signs on the line that is dotted. But marketing needs to be responsible for the same metrics. And when you can align and prioritize what you’re doing based on the right outcome, it starts to align the metrics you’re focused on and need to be focused on as well. There’s a big difference between your operational metrics and your business metrics.

A lot of marketers stop at the operational side. You look at the dashboard for most marketers, and it talks about open rates, and click rates, and social engagement ‒ and that’s all fine and good. It’s all important. But the business does not think that marketing’s job is to squeeze more value out of Facebook ads or get a higher open rate. I think to know that your job in marketing is to drive revenue, and to then start to report on metrics that matter, metrics that your CFO will easily recognize as business metrics … If you have to teach your CFO and CEO what your dashboard means, what your acronyms are, that’s probably a sign that that’s an operational dashboard that you mostly keep to yourself and use to manage and improve your marketing. The executive dashboard you take to the C-suite needs to be metrics they already care about.

Sales and Marketing Alignment 

Michelle:

I agree. It’s that everyone should really understand their impact, not just on leads generated, but how they’re contributing to the business and to the revenue. And it’s interesting that when my heads of sales and I talk about it, he says it’s not the sales pipeline, it’s our pipeline. It’s marketing and sales. And, I guess from your point of view, when you provide a lot of insight to other organizations, you really think about it as shared. You always hear about this dilemma of sales versus marketing, when it really shouldn’t be one versus the other. What do you think contributes to that? And how do people get toward alignment and practice not just in spoken words?

Matt:

Well look, I’m a lifetime marketer. I’ll be the first to say, this is our fault. We have perpetuated this perspective from sales that says, no matter what you say, no matter what you do, marketing, we know that at the end of the month, at the end of the quarter, we are on our own. I say this as a joke, but it’s a true story. Sales, at the end of the month and end of the quarter, is out grinding it out trying to close a number, trying to get deals across the table; meanwhile, marketing’s already at the bar celebrating that they met their goal for the quarter. And I wish that was a joke, but that’s an actual true story from a company that shall go nameless.

I think we have trained the organization to think that we care about things that are not metrics driven and not revenue driven. And we’ve trained the sales team to believe that they’re on their own. I’m not saying that marketers need to be paid on a commission basis, but for you to have the same metrics, at a minimum for marketers to start believing their job is not done when the lead is generated and the sales collateral is created. If you think about the late stages of the buying process and the sales process, and you start to think of the marketer: How do I impact that? How do I help the sales team be more efficient? How do I help the sales team be more effective at those late stages? What are the insights? What are the processes? What are the tools? What’s the content that can help get more of those deals across the line?

That’s where you start to get a real partnership between sales and marketing, where you put egos aside, and you put traditional lines aside, and you say we are a coordinated, integrated team reinventing how sales and marketing is done, such that it isn’t a pass-off of leads, it’s a partnership through the entire buying journey.

Michelle:

That really speaks to me. And there’s a lot of my background that’s from a product-marketing standpoint, where it’s a little bit of enabling and helping toward the later stages of the funnel. And there’s kind of this dilemma sometimes where it could be marketing throwing things over the wall and seeing if anyone’s there to catch them. What are some things that people need to do from a marketing standpoint, and programs, and actual advice to the people who are wanting to not just throw it over the wall, but to take it forward through the rest of the funnel? What are some programs they should put in place, or tools, or what have you seen that works?

Matt:

I’d say there are three foundational elements I find really, really important for marketers to really nail this. And these are things anyone in the organization can drive, but I think for marketing to drive them, it starts to demonstrate and be a proof of the concept that marketing really cares about driving revenue and changing the way they operate.

Number one is just knowing what the right metrics are, having one spreadsheet that defines what sales numbers need to be hit and what marketing and pipeline input needs to go into that. I’ve seen a lot of marketing organizations that have an MQL goal. But that number has nothing to do with the sales number. This should be one simple spreadsheet. How many deals need to be closed? How big a pipeline do you need to get there? How many qualified leads need to go into that? It’s basically three numbers. And those need to align with an understood or an accepted or a perceived conversion rate that you can use as a baseline and then it can improve. But you start with that single spreadsheet. That’s one.

Two is to have agreed-upon definitions of leads and opportunities at different stages. What is a qualified lead? What is a qualified opportunity? Not only so you’ve got commonality between how sales and marketing think about that, but to ensure that everyone then in sales is thinking the same way so that there’s accuracy in your forecast, in your pipeline.

And third is to have a common understanding of the target audience, both from a company standpoint and from an individual decision-maker standpoint. Your target audience, whether you’re doing ABM, account based marketing, or not, understanding who you’re going after and why. Which companies should you be selling to? What are the demographic, firmographic details of companies that are in your purview? But then what are the individual characteristics that make some of those companies potential early adopters, that make them more likely to engage with your value proposition?

And then further, who are the people in that company that make up the buying committee? The CEB now says that the typical B2B sale involves 6.8 people inside the company to make a decision. And so if we treat the company as a unit, or if we think there’s one decision maker that we want to talk to, whether that’s the senior person or whoever, then we’re ignoring and failing to align behind the reality of the consensus building that happens inside companies that make group decisions today.

So at the risk of belaboring the point, the three things are: having the right metrics and a common set of metrics, having the right definitions and nomenclature between sales and marketing, and then really identifying the corporate and individual targets you’re going after. And there is all kinds of operational and execution and campaign work beyond that, but those become far more efficient and far more aligned if you’ve got those three things in place first.

The Buyer’s Journey

Michelle:

You’re speaking of the buyer’s journey; what’s your take on the 6.8 people? Do you think of a different journey for all the different people? How do you think about content marketing within that context?

Matt:

I still think a lot about the SiriusDecisions model where they’ve got six stages. And stage one for them is challenging the status quo, getting someone to think a little differently. It’s a very challenger type notion, like getting someone to [think about] the problem they did or didn’t know that they have. And then stage two of that buying journey with SiriusDecisions is to commit to change. It’s one thing to say, ‘Well, you’ve helped me think differently about the world I live in.’ And it’s another thing to say, ‘It’s important enough and it’s urgent enough for me to do something about it.’

I tend to think there’s a stage zero. Maybe it’s the first stage, maybe it’s stage zero. And that is attention. What can you do to get and earn and keep that prospect’s attention? And all three of those stages, by the way, have nothing to do with what you’re selling. It has nothing to do with your product or service. It has to do with the prospect, what they care about, what they’re interested in. That attention stage, it might have nothing to do with the industry they’re in. Someone wants to come talk to me about raising backyard chickens, I’m all over it. I can tell you all the things I say, like on certain days don’t let them out because the coyotes might come get them. I could go on for a while about that one. We used to have seven chickens, now we have five. The reason: coyotes.

People that come and want to talk about chickens are going to get some of my time. Does that mean that I’m going to sign a PO on that day? No. But now there’s some attention building there. Understanding our humanity, our interests, our personalities, as a way of getting into that buying journey conversation is interesting. I think also you mentioned the buying committee. Understanding the roles people have is important: Who are the decision makers? Who are the stakeholders? Who are the influencers, and what part do they have to play in the process? Too many sales people want to go immediately to the decision maker. And too many times today that decision maker is just delegating research and delegating decisions to other people in the organization.

Your ability outside the organization as a seller to drive influence with that decision maker will always pale in comparison to that internal buying committee, building and creating consensus, and then them going upstream to say, ‘We all believe we need this.’ That is always going to be more powerful. It’s harder, but if you try to swim upstream against the way companies are making decisions today, you’re going to be frustrated.

Benefits vs. Features 

Michelle:

You’re often quoted saying, ‘sell the hole, not the drill.’ Can you expand on that?

Matt:

Earlier today someone on LinkedIn sent me a little direct message and said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this service. Here’s what it does ‒ do you want to learn more?’ And maybe I was just feeling cheeky after lunch, but I’m like, ‘Okay, what’s in it for me?’ And she wrote back and said, ‘Well, you get these benefits.’ I’m like, ‘Well, I know ‒ I get that ‒ but why do I need that? Why am I spending time on this conversation?’ But I just wanted to see if she could peel back the onion and say, ‘Why is this important? Why is this important? Why is this important?’

Literally, you hear some people say, you’ve got to ask three-to-five ‘whys’ before you get to the real reason. And that reason ‒ we talked about that commitment to change that SiriusDecisions uses ‒ that commitment to change is the foundation of the sales process. It becomes the sense of urgency that keeps your prospect engaged. It’s what allows you as a sales person, in the challenger nomenclature to take control, to be a little pushy. You are not advocating for your sale. You’re advocating for the customer’s objectives. And because you’ve identified that and because you’ve agreed on that together that something’s important, and for what reason, and based on what outcome, and if you don’t do it, with what opportunity cost? When you’ve got all those enumerated, and ideally quantified, now you’ve got something.

Your ability to come around and provide a solution to that problem, to provide a bridge between need and outcome ‒ the hard part of the sale is done. The hard part of the sale is convincing someone of the problem and getting someone to commit to change; that is the heart of the sale. And what’s exciting to me as a marketer is that marketing can drive that entire process. The hardest part of the sales process is completely within marketing’s purview to maintain and manage. It’s exciting.

Marketing Tactics

Michelle:

What tactics do you see working best? Is that typically a content marketing thing? Is it physically an inbound thing? How do you think about addressing that from a marketing standpoint?

Matt:

Well the beautiful thing is that if you’ve got the right approach, if you’ve got the right message, the channel you use needs to align with who you’re targeting and what they tend to want to engage with. I’ve talked to a lot of folks who are selling an enterprise at Salesforce. And oftentimes when I’ll say, ‘What are the best channels to reach your enterprise targets, your C-level enterprise targets?’ the answer I hear is it’s not direct mail, it’s not email, and it’s not Twitter ‒ it’s dinners.

Go into a market you care about, find a great place to eat, a great meal, some great wine, and invite 30, 40 people in the room ‒ 70 percent prospects, 30 percent customers and partners ‒ and have an agenda, have things you want to talk about. But do not bring out the projector, do not pitch; have an interesting conversation with people that are birds of a feather, that can learn from each other. You network with some peers and you get some good wine. Plenty of time to have the business conversation later, but you set the foundation, you get the attention. And ideally in that dinner you’ve got their attention, you’ve done a little bit status quo challenging, and then you can take things from there.

Now that doesn’t scale. You’ve got a bunch of system administrators, or, if you’re trying to sell Dreamforce tickets, you’re not going to take everyone to the best place in town just to get a Dreamforce registration. You’ve got to understand the economics of your sales process and what it’s worth to get someone in the door. But I think the tactical opportunities, the channel opportunities to marketers are wide open right now.

What if you were to increase the cost and time and attention it took to get people into the pipeline, but you were doing that in a category or in a vertical or with certain attributes of prospects that led to triple the lifetime value of those signed deals versus others you had before? What do you really care about? Do you care about cost per leads? Or do you care about lifetime value, and profitability, and margin for the business? I’ll guarantee that if you go to your CFO’s office, your CFO doesn’t care about the MQL.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Matt’s interview with Michelle.

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Act-On Blog

The Art of Creating Curated Content

blog title curated magazine content 351x200 The Art of Creating Curated Content

Content creation is on the rise, with 76 percent of marketers reporting that they plan to generate more content this year than last. Producing valuable, authoritative, and compelling content, however, takes time – and many marketers have already spread their resources thin.

A simple trick, however, is saving marketers dozens of hours creating content. The secret? Not all the content that you make needs to be your own. Incredible value lies in curated content.

Of course, you must always give credit to the source, but showcasing the work of others can leverage content and help you meet pressing marketing goals while providing highly valuable, authoritative marketing materials that your audience craves.

But where should you start?

Content curation: the benefits

Curated content opens up many opportunities that would otherwise not be available. For example, you may publish a piece of content about SEO but personally don’t have a high level of expertise in the matter. Seeking out established experts on the topic and creating a blog post that features quotes about the future of SEO from leading specialists, however, instantly establishes the authority and quality that you need. As a side benefit, the experts will likely share the content in which they were quoted.

Do you want more examples to inspire your use of expert-borrowed content? Here are five tips and examples of curated content done well.

1. Leveraging expert insights

IBM has a “smarter planet initiative,” which shares examples of people and companies that use technology to build a smarter planet. This initiative ties in perfectly with the use of curated content, as the company can elevate the voices of experts in their relative niches while providing customers with great, informative material.

For example, IBM recently highlighted the work of Dr. Sabrine Hauert, who believes that robotics and artificial intelligence receive too much hype. In this piece she presents content about the ethical questions that need to be asked to make the most of the technology and set expectations and predictions for the future.

IBM’s initiative has featured various forms of curated content covering topics including electricity grids, details about water management, green building, and more.

Key takeaway. Keep an eye out for types of content would be good candidates for curation. Perhaps it’s a series of blog posts or an upcoming eBook. Look for opportunities to enhance content while lightening your workload.

2. Use quotes

A great strategy for adding life to content and infusing it with authority is using germane quotes. For example, this post from TopRank Marketing titled “The Future of Influencer Marketing: Top Predictions for 2017” includes several content marketing experts and their expectation for what content holds in the coming year.

Check out this forecast from Amisha Gandhi, Senior Director of Influencer Marketing: “I think the trend and the importance of micro-influencers will increase in 2017, but more importantly – companies/brands will look to the business results they can drive with their influencer programs versus awareness and reach. Specifically, in B2B influencer marketing, we will see companies plan campaigns that include influencer content and offers that help both lead gen and demand gen in the customer journey.”

The curated content includes a quote from each expert, a “Click to Tweet” quote, and his or her respective Twitter handle.

Key takeaway. Do you want to create more high-quality, authoritative content? If so, the easiest way is to select a trending topic, get influencers’ perspectives, and fill the content with valuable quotes and details. As a result, the content will be more valuable than writing from just one person’s perspective, and it also will help you establish authority in your niche.

3. Use audience insights

If you want to build rapport with your audience and encourage sharing, consider audience-curated content. But how does that work? It’s actually pretty simple. Take a look this example from MarketingProfs, who asked their audience to complete this sentence: “You know you’re a marketer if ….” Then the company pulled together this catchy SlideShare.

Each slide highlights an audience member’s answer, giving credit to its author. For example, Libby Eddleman Spears wrote, “You know you’re a marketer if you give your kids ideas about how to market their lemonade stand.” In the captions, a woman is saying to her children, “Did you launch an awareness-building marketing campaign first? What are your S.M.A.R.T goals? What’s your plan for engaging with your customers?”

Key takeaway. Leveraging audience insights to drive content is a double win. First, you engage your audience and discover their perspectives on the selected topic. Second, you amplify their ideas and content, and in turn, they share the content with peers and co-workers, expanding the reach of your brand.

4. Compile the best tools

Short on time but still want to create a valuable post for your target audience? If so, consider creating a “best tools” piece. Check out this post from BufferSocial titled “45 Best Mobile Apps and Tools for Marketers: How to Manage Social Media from Anywhere.”

This article specifically highlights tools that help the reader become more productive when managing social media. When creating the article, the author likely identified that as a pain point of the target audience and then decided to round up programs that would help. The post details 45 different apps that fit the bill.

Here’s another example that uses a similar strategy, published by SmarterBlogger, titled “63 Blogging Tools That Will Make You Insanely Productive.” This blog post breaks the tools into subcategories, including those for the minimalist blogger, the serious and committed blogger, and the entrepreneurial blogger. The post was highly successfully, with 154 comments to date, many of which included additional resources for blogging tools.

Key takeaway. Lists are valuable type of curated content because they save readers time and energy. Instead of your audience having to search for tools that solve specific problems, such as increasing productivity, you do the work for them and create engagement and value.

5. Social media lists

What social media channels does your target audience engage with the most? For the B2B audience, it may be LinkedIn or Twitter. But regardless of channel, you can curate content that highlights who they should follow in those niches.

For example, consider this post published by Jay Baer at Convince & Convert, titled “88 marketers you should follow on Twitter.” The list reflects the recipients of “shout-outs” given by Baer at the end of many of his Jay Today podcasts, when the author acknowledges individuals he respects and admires ‒ people he believes marketers should be following in social media.

Baer pulled from the content of previous podcasts and created the list of 88 influential and relevant marketers. The finished product is simple, including the name of the person to follow and a link to their Twitter profile. The list ranks these prominent professionals in order of importance. At the beginning, Baer starts with his top 10, using the subtitle “The Most Connected Marketers.”

Key takeaway. List posts are a great way to share information of value without creating a large amount of content. In the example above, readers can quickly skim the list, click on the relevant links, and receive instant value from the post.

A few more ideas

The above are great examples of curated posts, but if you need some more inspiration for publishing that next piece of content, here are a few more ideas:

  • The ultimate guide on a topic. For example, you could create “The Ultimate Guide to Publishing a Blog Post.” Make an outline of the topic and then pull valuable links and resources from all over the web into the post to get the reader started. This takes far less time than generating all the content from scratch and allows you to highlight the work of others who have already produced great content on the topic.
  • A reading list. For example, the Content Marketing Institute published “The Most Significant Content Marketing Books Published during 2016” right before the holidays. Assemble a reading list that is pertinent and useful to your target market during a specific period of relevance. For example, you could easily craft a post on the “3 Must-Read Books to Review Prior to Planning That Next Marketing Budget.”
  • Best webinars list. There are many great webinars that are available on demand. Select a hot topic for your target audience, and then pull together links and quick descriptions of on-demand webinars that your audience can listen to at their leisure.

The bottom line

Curating content helps you create more valuable pieces while maximizing the use of your existing resources. Writing a high-quality blog post may take several hours, but using a curated post could significantly reduce that time, freeing up more resources for other marketing activities. Plus, you’ll generate content that resonates with your target audience, is reasonable to manage with your existing workload … and gets results.

Does your marketing team use curated content? If so, please share your best tips!

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Creating and Editing Views: 1.) Learn the Basics. 2.) Conquer the World!

00 views 300x225 Creating and Editing Views: 1.) Learn the Basics. 2.) Conquer the World!

One of our most frequently requested customizations is to add new views to the set of system views that come out-of-the-box with Microsoft Dynamics 365. It seems most of our clients are hesitant to play around with modifying these system views or adding new ones out of fear that it may be too difficult or complex. However, this could not be further from the truth. The ability to customize Microsoft Dynamics 365 is very easy to complete, and almost easier to learn HOW to complete these customizations.

Below are some simple steps to get you started in creating and customizing views for the Account entity. Using the below instructions as a framework, you will be able to come up with some pretty exciting combinations to fulfill your business needs – and therefore, conquer the world!

We will first walk through how to change the default view.

1.)In CRM, click on the module menu drop down, then click on Settings, then click on Customizations

041217 2054 Creatingand1 Creating and Editing Views: 1.) Learn the Basics. 2.) Conquer the World!

2.)Click on Customize the System- this will open another window

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3.)In the new Customizations window, expand the triangles to expand Entities, then expand Account and click on Views.

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4.)To change which view is the Default View, click to select the Active Accounts view, then click More Actions, then click Set Default

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As you can see, changing the default view is quite easy. It may be more challenging to decide which view you and your users want to be the default view.

We will now walk through the steps to create a new view. These options are available in the same area in Customizations from which we set the default view.

1.)To create a new View, simply click on the New button on the main action bar.

2.)In the New View window, type a name and optionally a Description. I choose to name my new view My New Accounts

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3.)Click OK.

4.)On the right hand navigation, click Add Columns

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5.)In the Add Columns window, you can select which columns to add to your view by checking the boxes next to them

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6.)You can rearrange the columns by highlighting one and click on the left or right arrows to move them

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7.)You can also choose which data appears in the View by clicking on Edit Filter Criteria

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8.)Since I want to show Accounts that I own and that were created in the last 30 days, I will update my filter criteria to reflect this:

  • Click Select and grab the Owner field; the next filter part defaults to Equals Current User, so I will leave this.
  • Click Select on the next line and grab the Created On field. Click where it says On in the middle and scroll down to grab Last X Days. Then click next to that where it says Choose Date and type 30.
  • Your finished query should look like this:

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9.)You are also able to choose which column to sort on by clicking on Configure Sorting in the right navigation

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10.)In this window, you are able to sort based on two columns; I have chosen to also sort based on Account Name as well as Created On date

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11.)Lastly, you can also adjust the width of your columns individually by selecting a column and clicking on Change Properties in the right navigation

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12.)In this window, you can select from a variety of pixel widths for your columns. The default is 100; however, I wanted to make my date column more narrow

041217 2054 Creatingand14 Creating and Editing Views: 1.) Learn the Basics. 2.) Conquer the World!

The most important thing to remember here is that your users will not see any of these changes until you click Save and Close and the Publish. If your users report that they are not able to see the view immediately after you published, just ask them to refresh their browser and it should appear.

You can use the above items to come up with infinite possibilities of different views for all of your different record types, as well as modifying the views after you have saved them. As you can see, there was no coding required. That is the hallmark of Dynamics 365: its ability to seamlessly match the technology with the needs of each business.

For more tips and tricks, check out these similar blogs:

Who Wore it Best: System View vs. Personal View

Assigning System Views Based on Security Roles

Happy CRM’ing!

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