Category Archives: Marketing

48 C# Interview Questions Any Interview Worth Their Salt Will Ask

With over 7,000 C#.Net programming jobs advertised every month that have an average salary of over $90,000, the demand for this type of developer has exploded. But why is the C#.Net labor market so hot right now? Well, more and more engineering departments are adopting C#.Net to build their software because it’s similar to other common C-type languages like C++ and Java. This makes the language intuitive to learn — in fact — it’s the fifth most popular programming language for building software.

To help you prepare for your next C#.Net developer interview and land the job, check out the following C#.Net interview questions most interviewers will ask you.

48 C#.Net Interview Questions

1. What is C#?

2. What are the advantages of using C#?

3. What are an object and class?

4. What is an Object Pool?

5. What is an abstraction?

6. What is polymorphism?

7. Is C# managed or unmanaged code?

8. How do you inherit a class in C#?

9. What’s the difference between Interface and Abstract Class?

10. What are sealed classes in C#?

11. What’s the difference between a struct and a class in C#?

12. What’s the point of using statement in C#?

13. How is Exception Handling applied in C#?

14. What are boxing and unboxing in C#?

15. What are the three types of comments in C#?

16. Can multiple catch blocks be executed in C#?

17. What’s the difference between static, public, and void? What’s the outcome of each one?

18. What are value types and reference types?

19. What’s the difference between ref and out parameters?

20. Can “this” be used within a static method?

21. What are Arrays in C#?

22. What is a jagged array in C#?

23. What’s the difference between Array and ArrayList?

24. What’s the difference between System.Array.CopyTo() and System.Array.Clone()?

25. What’s the difference between string and StringBuilder?

26. What are delegates in C#?

27. What’s a multicast delegate?

28. What is a Reflection in C#?

29. What is a Generic Class?

30. What are Get and Set Accessor properties?

31. What is Multithreading?

32. What is Serialization?

33. What are the different ways a method can be overloaded?

34. What is the accessibility modifier “protected internal”?

35. What are the different ways a method can be overloaded?

36. What is an object pool in .Net?

37. What are the most commonly used types of exceptions in .Net?

38. What are accessibility modifiers in C#?

39. What are nullable types in C#?

40. What’s the difference between is and as operators in C#?

41. What are Indexers?

42. What are Singleton Design Patterns?

43. Given an array of ints, write a C# method to total all the values that are even numbers.

44. Is it possible to store mixed data types like int, string, float, and char all in one array?

45. Describe dependency injection.

46. Write a C# program that accepts a distance in kilometers, converts it into meters, and then displays the result.

47. What’s the difference between the “constant” and “readonly” variables when using C#? When would you use each one?

48. Which preference of IDE do you have when using C#? Why?

Marketing Resume Templates Download Now

Form UX: How to Design a User-Friendly Form

Think about a website you frequent — what’s that site’s overall functionality like? How long do the pages take to load? Is the site navigation easy to use? Are you able to quickly find the information you’re looking for? These are all aspects of a website’s user experience (UX).

UX applies to every part of your website, including your web forms, in regards to accessibility, ease of use, and convenience. An online form with great UX is easy for your visitors to work though, simple to understand, and feels professional. When your form has all of these factors, you’re likely to see an increase in your number of conversions. That’s why getting your form’s UX right is critical for your business.

 

Why does form UX matter?

The point of a web form is to collect certain personal information from your visitor, whether that be an email address or their shipping and payment details. But why would a visitor want to convert and conduct any type of business with you if the form they’re being asked to list their information on is difficult to use, hard to understand, or visually unattractive? Simple answer … they wouldn’t.

There are a number of factors that go into great UX and elements to consider when trying to achieve a fantastic and memorable form design. Form UX matters because you want to leave a good (and lasting) impression on your visitors, create a positive experience for them while on your site, and convert more leads.

UX impacts your web form’s level of accessibility (which refers to how easily your forms can be completed and submitted by many types of people, of various backgrounds) and usability (which refers to how easily someone can accomplish their goal, which in this case means completing a form). Without great UX, you’ll not only have poor accessibility and usability but you’ll also lose out on conversions.

10 Form UX Guidelines and Great Examples to Follow

We’ve curated the following list of guidelines that you can apply to your forms to help you enhance their UX. Each guideline also includes an example that you can follow and learn from to help you create successful and thoughtfully-designed web forms for your own site.

1. Enable autofill and autocorrect

Source

Autofill fills, or completes, form fields based on common attributes or responses, such as name and email, previously provided on the site or in the browser.

Autocorrect corrects, or rectifies, invalid responses visitors may accidentally try entering in the fields. For example, if someone were to enter the incorrect zip code in your form, the form might be able to recommend or fix that error based on someone’s given location or other information they’ve previously submitted. 

Autofill and autocorrect are two features that enhance UX because they simplify the form completion process. By enabling these features, you’re not only ensuring valid information is being submitted, but you’re also saving your visitors time, streamlining the form completion process, and helping them remain as efficient and accurate as possible.

2. Exclude all fluff

exclude-fluff-in-web-forms

Source

Keep your form as straightforward and easy to understand as possible by excluding all “fluff” — that is any words, images, fields, or characters that aren’t absolutely necessary. By excluding all unnecessary information, you enhance your form’s UX for a couple reasons. First, it removes any confusion for your visitors that could stem from having too much information. Second, users can submit their information with less friction, like scrolling or trying to determine what’s important.

3. Lay out the form in one column 

one-column-web-form-layout

Source

Your form field layout should be organized in a single column versus placing multiple fields in the same row or in various locations. Your visitors will easily see all necessary fields and have the ability to tab down to the next open box if they choose to work through the form that way.

A major aspect of successful UX is ease of use. By laying out all of your form fields in a single column, your visitors will be able to flow through your form naturally, with ease.

4. Don’t forget a mobile-friendly design

IMG_0842

Source

These days, it’s crucial your web forms include a mobile-friendly design due to the number of people who browse sites, sign up for new accounts, and purchase items from a smartphone or tablet. Without a mobile-friendly design, your form won’t fit or function well via one of these devices. 

Great UX means a quality end-to-end experience for your visitors. That means your visitors need to have consistent, positive interactions with your website no matter the device they’re on. Without a mobile-friendly design, your forms won’t help you improve UX or boost conversions. This has the potential to be a devastating loss for your business considering how many people carry a mobile device and browse the web via that smartphone or tablet on a constant basis.

5. Provide input constraints

input-constraints-in-web-forms

Source

If you have a form on your site with a long-form text entry box (meaning you need a short answer or a paragraph response from your visitors), you should include input constraints. These constraints prevent visitors from writing beyond a certain word count or limit. This is a helpful feature because it provides your visitors with parameters. It also prevents you and your business from having to read through responses that are several paragraphs long.

Input constraints enhance UX because they provide visitors with guidelines that keep them efficient. They ensure your visitors know exactly what’s expected of them, how much information they need to share with you and prevent them from wasting time writing a long, unnecessary response.

6. Use multi-step forms when necessary

multi-step-web-forms

Source

Multi-step forms are used in situations where there are multiple form fields, several of which could be split up into categories (such as “personal”, “shipping”, “billing”, and “payment review”). They improve UX because they increase a form’s usability by making it easier for a visitor to accomplish their goal (completing and submitting the form). With a multi-step form, you split your fields into several shorter forms, each on separate web pages. They help to organize your form fields and make the form appear more manageable for the user.

7. Provide clear and obvious action buttons

web-form-action-buttons

Source

Action buttons are what your visitors click to either move onto the next part of a multi-step form or to submit it. Needless to say, they’re a critical part of your web form, and that’s why you need to make sure they’re bright, bold, and obvious. 

Obvious and clear action buttons improve a form’s accessibility because they’re universally recognized as the way to submit information on a form. Also, because they’re so easy to see, you avoid confusing your visitor when they go to submit their information.

8. Create inline field labels 

inline-form-field-labels

Source 

Inline form field labels are form field labels that are located inside the fields themselves. They make your form look sleek and clean. Placing your labels inline with your fields is the most thoughtful way to title your fields for your visitors — doing this improves your form’s ease of use since there’s no question about which label belongs to which field.

9. Add inline error messages

inline-error-messages

Source 

Now that you know what inline form fields are, you can probably guess what inline error messages are — they point a visitor to an error in their form by highlighting the issue in line with the field in which it’s located. These messages ensure there’s no question about which field includes the error. Some of these messages even include a short and clear statement that explains how the visitor can make the necessary correction. 

Error messages improve UX by making it as easy as possible for your visitor to correct the error at hand. Inline error messages make your form and company feel professional and thoughtful.

10. Mark required vs. optional form fields 

required-and-optional-form-fields

Source

You should always mark your form fields as “required” or “optional”. You can do this by writing “required” or “optional” in a small font next to your field, or by placing an asterisk next to your required fields so there’s no question about what your visitors need to complete.

Marking your form fields as required or optional improves UX by making your form accessible to everyone — you provide your visitors with a set of expectations as they fill out your form. Not only does this ensure all of your visitors are on the same page about the information they need to submit, but it also prevents them from having to waste time submitting and re-submitting your forms to try and determine which fields are the necessary ones.

Back To You

Great UX is how you’ll ensure positive interactions between your site visitors and forms. By taking these UX guidelines and examples into account, you’ll create a great experience for your visitors that’ll keep them coming back to conduct more business with you and your company. Let these examples inspire your own UX design so you can implement the guidelines that fit best with your site, business, and needs to boost conversions and make a great, lasting impression on your visitors. 

Marketing Psychology in 2019: Make Your Mark Digitally

As marketing professionals, we do market research, develop buyer personas, conduct thorough keyword research, and track user behavior on and off our websites through automation and technology. One skill set that separates great marketers from good ones is the ability to understand how and the why behind people’s thought processes, which leads to their consuming behavior and habits.

There are numerous articles on this topic explaining how to leverage psychology in marketing. However, consumers, especially millennials coined ‘digital natives,’ are on the cusp of surpassing baby boomers as the nation’s largest living adult generation, according to population projections from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Millennials are becoming increasingly desensitized to classic psychological marketing strategies, requiring us to head back to the drawing board and focus on fundamentals.

Psychological Marketing Strategies 101: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The internet has revolutionized our lives and impacted nearly every aspect of marketing. It deeply impacts how we as marketers approach and interact with consumers today.

With this, a whole new industry was born: digital and search marketing.

While we embrace the new, a couple of theories have stood the test of time. These are the foundation on which psychological marketing strategies are built. One of those is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This motivational theory of psychology was developed by Abraham Maslow, a specialist in human behavioral psychology in 1943.

It is a five-tier model of human needs, often depicted as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Needs lower down in the hierarchy must be satisfied before individuals can attend to needs higher up. From the bottom of the hierarchy upwards, the needs are physiological, safety, belonging and love, esteem, and self-actualization.

 

It is easy to get caught up with the latest trends. Don’t forget the great deal of research it took to segment, target, position, and define your ideal prospect. Always keep genuine human motivation at the forefront when you’re putting together a marketing campaign, and build a sturdy foundation for your success to build upon.

Social Psychology Marketing: How to Interest People

Classic marketing stimuli (you remember the 4Ps?) that were engraved into us didn’t approach the effect, cognition, and behavior of customers, of people, based off of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. What I am getting at here is, regardless of your product or service, your ideal customer or prospect doesn’t care about you.

What they care about is the added benefit you provide them. Once you convert them, then it’s client successes job to retain them. They do care as they invested money and usually their professional name on you.

Economics & Psychology

This leads me to the Fourth Principle of Economics: People Respond To Incentives, which is the basis of economists’ understanding of human nature that people respond to money and not much else.

One of my favorite lines from Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People is:

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”

This applies to marketers. In order for us to resonate and connect with our audience, we need to constantly reevaluate our messaging associated with our products and services, and keep it aligned with their emotions.

Driving with Emotion

The emotional component is frequently overlooked in the realm of digital. If this continues, as many of our budgets are steadily being increased for this channel, it will inevitably lead to an enormous amount of wasted spend with little actionable insight to build on.

As marketers, we have traditionally defaulted to targeting demographics that look like this:

The ideal client is a woman between the ages of 35-50, holds decision making power within the marketing department (senior manager, director, VP,  or the CMO-if you’re lucky) at a SaaS company with 200+ employees and a minimum of $50M in revenue.

While these characteristics are important, they are only attributes but not the person. People are multifaceted and the use of such demographics alone is limited at best in the digital world.

Digital Doesn’t Mean Less Human

Today, we as marketers are able to tap into psychology to positively impact our audiences through digital marketing channels. An example of this in action is Instagram’s introduction of numerous features to help promote a positive virtual community.

The social platform has teams that review anonymous reports of posts by individuals who seem to need mental health support. After, they are connected by Instagram to organizations that offer aid. The same resources are displayed when a user visits a hashtag page for a sensitive topic.

Marketing Psychology Example

As the number of channels grows, potential touchpoints where marketers can engage their audiences and understand behaviors is rapidly expanding.

In our world of automation and personalization, real connections are critical. At the end of the day, technology is only as good as the user. Customers are becoming more powerful in making their own purchasing decisions.

As a marketer, this is either an exhilarating and exciting opportunity or just another channel we are reactively responding to.

Marketing Psychology in 2019: Back to Basics

Referencing Dale Carnegie yet again:

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

If you can add this viewpoint, develop strategies, and assets with this as the core, and stay within your budget, you’ve made it. Welcome to “great,” marketer. Welcome to great!

The post Marketing Psychology in 2019: Make Your Mark Digitally appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Kroger and Microsoft Team Up to Fire a Shot Across Amazon’s Bow

From experience, we can tell you that the people who are
running Kroger are arguably some of the smartest people in grocery.  And, at the risk of puffery (no, Kroger is
not a client of The Wise Marketer), they are a company that always seems to be pushing
boundaries – and doing it well.

Now comes news of Kroger’s collaboration with Microsoft to bring cloud-enabled notification / quick check-out services to grocery shoppers.  The “EDGE” platform (which stands for Enhanced Display for Grocery Environment), looks a lot on the surface like a robust beacon system – which we’ve seen a lot of.  But the real power and utility of it goes much further than that.

Here’s how it works:

If a customer is looking for a particular item, say, Fage Greek
Yogurt.  The app will locate and direct
them to the item and then, as they approach it on the shelf, a digital icon
will light up indicating where the item is – saving shoppers time looking
around.  The item can then be scanned to
checkout and then the customer is directed to the next item on their list.

It’s pretty snazzy tech which has application beyond the actual grocery shopping experience.  Because items on shopper lists will now light up as they are approached, store personnel and shopping services can now identify their target products to re-stock and/or pick them much more efficiently.  And, as Kroger has pointed out, the digital labeling can also be used for advertising and promotional purposes.

But unlike Amazon, which has a built-in user base that is already accustomed to simple online ordering, Kroger customers will need to download & setup the app, and decide that it brings enough value / convenience to the shopping experience, to actually open it up and use it.  Adoption could be a hurdle.

Anecdotally, when I asked several avid grocery shoppers I know
if they would use the product or not, I got mixed responses.  I get that – grocery shopping and grocery
shoppers have been operating in pretty much in the same mode for 30-40 years
now.  And convincing shoppers to download
another app (in almost any industry) is no easy task.

When the announcement happened a few days ago, much of the press hailed it Kroger’s counter to Amazon – and indeed it is a significant foray into Amazon’s grocery territory – but the headlines might have been a bit, shall we say, enthusiastic.  As impressive as the new system is, it only represents one volley in what is sure to be a long war.

Mike Giambattista is Editor in Chief at The Wise Marketer and is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP).

The post Kroger and Microsoft Team Up to Fire a Shot Across Amazon’s Bow appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

Form Layouts: 6 Best Practices and Great Examples to Follow

Have you ever tried completing a form on a website and felt confused or lost while doing so? Did the placement of the form field labels and the fields themselves not make any sense? Were the form’s title and submission button not in locations that were easy for you to spot?

These factors, among several others, are major aspects of a web form’s layout that have the potential to either enhance or diminish its user experience (UX). By implementing a successful layout, you’ll create a great experience for your visitors as well as initiate a positive — and hopefully long-lasting — relationship between them and your brand. 

In this guide, we’ll review six best web form layout practices as well as examples of each practice to help you get started. But first, let’s review what web form layout actually is and why it’s so important.

 

Why does web form layout matter?

Almost every website has a web form of some kind. Your web form layout plays a large role in how well your form converts. That’s because a great form layout leads to seamless form completion and improves the submission process for your visitors. Visitors will easily convert since you’ve created a web form that’s hassle-free and feels both professional and thoughtful. 

In contrast, a poorly planned layout will lead to a confusing and difficult-to-work-through form that may frustrate your visitors and even cause them to abandon your site entirely, diminishing your conversions.

Now that we understand why getting your web form’s layout right is so important, let’s dive into how to create an optimal layout for your web form. Below are six best practices to follow when arranging your content.

Form Layouts: 6 Best Practices and Great Examples to Follow

We’ve curated this list of best practices, to apply to virtually every type of web form. We’ve also included great examples of each practice to help you better apply the concepts to your own forms.

1. Use a single-column layout

When it comes to your layout, you should keep the location and order of all your fields as straightforward as possible. This means you should use a single-column layout. By organizing your fields this way, your visitors won’t miss a field, they’ll complete the fields in the order that makes the most sense, and they’ll be able to submit your form faster than they would if you used a multi-column form.

Great example:

Source 

This example shows you what a single-column format should look like. The layout is just about as streamlined, straightforward, and minimalist as it could possibly be, which is exactly what you want. This way, you decrease the amount of time your visitors need to work through your form and there’s no possible cause for error or confusion.

2. Align copy to the left

Align all of your form fields to the left side of the web page. This is the most natural way to lay out your form because it’s how the vast majority of people learn to read content — by moving from right to left. If you aren’t using inline form field labels (which are located directly in the form fields themselves), you should also align your labels to the left. Again, this natural flow will help your visitors complete your form more efficiently without feeling confused about which label belongs to which field.

Great example: 

left-side-web-form-alignment

Source

This photo depicts left side alignment for both the form’s fields and labels. The form is organized in a way that makes it clear for visitors and therefore allows for speedy completion and submission processes. There’s no question about which labels belong with which fields and working right to left through the form is both natural and hassle-free.

3. Use a one-page layout

When creating your forms, you should use a one-page layout so there’s only one form located on each page. If you have a short form, everything should easily fit on a single page, making this an easy layout to implement. 

If you have a lot of form fields, you should break up them up into a multi-step form. When you do this, there will be multiple web pages with separate portions of the form, making the amount of work your visitor needs to complete appear more manageable. (If you do have a multi-step form, you can also add a progress bar at the top of the page so your visitors know how much longer they’re going to be working through it.)

Great example:

one-page-web-form-layout

Source 

Due to the large number of form fields that visitors are required to complete, this is a multi-step form spread across three separate web pages. By organizing the form this way, reviewing and completing it doesn’t feel like it’ll be a long, tedious process.

Rather than looking at a long list of form fields that need to be completed, seeing only a few fields at a time makes the form feel less overwhelming. (The progress bar at the top of the page also helps with this, especially since it clearly labels the names of the web pages the visitor needs to work through.)

4. Create a mobile-friendly layout

These days nearly everyone carries some type of mobile device with them at all times. No matter if they’re on-the-go, traveling, commuting, or simply sitting in the comfort of their own home, it’s no secret that people are signing up for your newsletter, registering for an account, and buying your products via their smartphones and tablets. That’s why it’s critical your site includes mobile-friendly forms.

Great example:

mobile-friendly-web-form-layout

Source 

This example displays many important aspects of a successful mobile form layout. The form has a clear title at the top of the small screen, a clear and simplified option to add (or scan) credit card information so a visitor doesn’t have to type our the series of numbers on such a tiny keyboard, a straightforward, single-column, and multi-step layout, minimalist design, and more. This form is laid out in a way that allows users to easily understand and complete it via a mobile device.

5. Add inline form field labels

Inline field labels and text make it exceptionally easy for visitors to understand where they should be placing their responses in your forms. They take the guesswork out of which label belongs to which field, making it simple for visitors to move through the form without hesitation. They also keep your form looking clean, minimalist, clutter-free, and sleek.

Great example:

inline-form-fields-web-form

Source

Since these field labels are inline, the form looks simplistic and shorter than it would if the labels were located outside of the entry fields. Visitors will have no issue determining where they need to input their information. Sometimes when the field labels are located above, below, or to the side of the fields, it’s hard to determine which label belongs to which field.

6. Use inline error messages

Using inline error messages in web forms is an effective way to ensure someone understands there’s an issue with a field they tried completing. They also direct that visitor to the exact location of the error so there’s no time wasted determining where the problem is.

Once you create your inline messages, be sure to add some context about why the error exists and how your visitors can correct it. This not only saves your visitors time when fixing the error(s), but it also saves you and your fellow employees from having to work through invalid responses once the form’s submitted.

Great example:

In this form, the error message appears inline, meaning the invalid field is highlighted red. The form includes an error symbol next to the field to further highlight the fact there’s an issue and where the issue is located. Lastly, the message explains why the error exists and how to fix it.

Back To You

With a successful web form layout, you’ll create a great user experience for your visitors that’ll leave a positive, lasting impression on them. Your layout should streamline the form completion and submission processes for your visitors so there isn’t any confusion or uncertainty regarding the form itself. Get started improving your form’s layout today by thinking about these practices and how you can incorporate them into your own forms to enhance UX and boost your conversions.

A Beginner's Guide to POS Systems (& the Best Ones for 2019)

When I studied abroad in Scotland last year, murmurs about the best restaurant in town echoed throughout my dorm complex all semester long. The joint was called Noodles & Dumplings, and despite its bland name, its cuisine was rumored to be packed full of flavor.

Naturally, once I heard about Noodles & Dumplings, I immediately bolted out of my dorm, power-walked down the cobblestone streets of my town, and burst through the front door of the restaurant. I was ready to gobble up all the shrimp fried rice I could possibly buy.

But after I placed my order and handed the cashier my credit card, she said something that turned my growling-stomach hunger into utter disappointment:

“We only take cash.”

As someone who never carries cash, eating my dinner that day required a jog to the ATM and a withdrawal of $200 to justify the hefty international ATM fee. It was quite a large commitment for some fried rice.

Now, I’ll be honest, the dish was delicious. It was definitely all that it was cracked-up to be. But was it worth the hassle? I probably wouldn’t be venting about this experience if it was.

Nowadays, your customers expect you to accept credit card as a form of payment, regardless of the size of your business. In fact, 77% of consumers prefer using credit or debit cards as their main form of payment. If you only accept cash, you risk losing a ton of customers — and revenue.

With this in mind, owning a POS system is crucial for your retail store’s or restaurant’s success. But POS systems aren’t just important because they can accept credit cards. POS systems can also track your inventory, measure your sales, and transfer funds to your bank account. It’s like a smart cash register that can help you better manage your business.

To help you pick the right POS system for your company, we’ve put together a list of the best ones for retail stores and restaurants. Read on to find the best POS system for your business.

What Is a POS System?

A point of sale (POS) system is a hardware and software system that lets you check customers out and accepts multiple forms of payment, like cash, credit cards, and mobile payments. POS systems’ hardware can print receipts, scan barcodes, and store cash. POS systems’ software can track inventory, measure sales, and transfer funds to your business’ bank account.

5 of the Best POS Systems for Retail & Restaurants

1. Square Point of Sale

square-pos-system

Image Credit: Square

Trusted by more than two million businesses across the globe, Square POS is an intuitive point of sale system that can keep tabs on your customers’ purchase history, send digital receipts, collect customer feedback, generate sales reports for specific products, and track your inventory. Square POS can also accept cards, cash, checks, and gift cards and transfer your funds to your bank account within one business day.

2. Toast

Image Credit: Toast

Tailored specifically to restaurants, Toast is an all-in-one point of sale system that can gather data on your food cost percentage, recipe costs, inventory variance, and menu engineering. It can also generate sales reports, sync your in-store and online menu so you don’t have to make the same changes multiple times, and has a built-in CRM that can collect your customers’ contact information and order history.

3. Shopify Point of Sale

Image Credit: Shopify

Shopify, the leading eCommerce platform, sells a point of sale system that can seamlessly integrate with your online Shopify store. In their POS system, each new order automatically creates a customer profile that includes their contact information, order history, and shopping habits.

You can also organize your products by category, type, season, sale, vendor, price, and inventory level. If you want to analyze your store’s performance, you’ll have access to a robust set of product reports, retail reports, and a dashboard.

4. Aloha

Image Credit: Aloha

Used by more than 80,000 restaurants around the world, Aloha is a single point of sale platform on which most servers and cashiers in the restaurant industry have been trained. With Aloha, you can let your customers order from their table, self-ordering kiosks, or even their mobile devices. You can also offer them promotions, rewards, and gift cards and generate reports about operational, sales, and employee data.

5. Vend

Image Credit: Vend

Designed for retail stores of all sizes, Vend is a smart point of sale system that more than 20,000 business trust and use every day. With Vend, you can keep track of your customers’ shopping habits in their customer database, measure your store’s performance, and manage inventory across multiple stores. Vend also integrates seamlessly with common business applications, like Shopify, Xero, PayPal, Apple, Worldpay, and Square.

Business Plan Template

Insights on How to Achieve the Greatest Marketing Impact

Not all marketing activities are created equal. Some yield great results. Some involve lots of marketing effort. Some take more sales resources. Some have clear objectives, others happen because it’s always been that way. But with so many opinions from across the business about what marketing activities are the best, it’s hard to keep focused.

Figuring how marketing can achieve the greatest impact and how to demonstrate it, was top-of-mind at Marketing Nation Engage in London.

Here’s what marketing leaders find most challenging about marketing with impact:

Attribution

Being able to attribute revenue to marketing campaigns is very important for speaking to leadership or the CMO. However, it is difficult to model. While first or last touch attribution is easier to model, it can lead to a biased decision. For instance, a last touch model may cause you to potentially overspend on search marketing while deprioritizing the tactics that got a customer there in the first place. Multi-touch attribution provides a more balanced view for a longer sales cycle, but it requires figuring out what weight to give to each stage. Once you get it down though, it becomes programmatic, and you can run reports to get updates easily.

KPIs

It’s important to figure out what your primary KPIs are, along with the factors that drive them. Another challenge that marketers face is how to continually optimize their KPIs. One way to address this is to keep a close eye out—if KPIs move positively, then you are on the right track.

Channels

Marketing spans across many channels, which presents its own set of challenges. Each channel has a differing role across the sales and marketing channel, and intent differs between them. As such, there is no uniform way to measure engagement. Attribution comes into play here, and the key is figuring out how and where each channel is influencing revenue to assign it proper weight. Remember that if you can prove that something doesn’t work, you can’t ditch it. And if you can prove where you deliver value, you will get more budget and resources to put into it.

Another challenge for marketers is figuring out how to focus program spend. Remember that it’s not the advocates or the never-purchasers that you need to worry about, it’s the swing customers in the middle. These are the prospects who have the mindshare to convince others of your value, and the people you should be focusing your spend on. Perception, awareness, and attitude are key to understand how these prospects are engaging with your brand.

Reporting and ROI

Issues abound for marketers in this area. Many teams are not at the stage where they can prove impact. Headline metric categories are easy to select, but marketers struggle to get the underlying metrics. Selecting benchmarks can also be tough. A good starting place can be to make sure everyone has one common view on simple metrics. Next, define goals for each product, and align those to measurements. Once that foundation is in place, you can work towards measuring marketing influenced bookings that resulted in a sale, also known as return on marketing investment.

Conclusion

With more marketing channels and activities at our disposal than ever before, we need to be more focused. Proving highest impact campaigns comes down to being able to assess elements of the mix against each other. Ultimately, when measurement comes in revenue terms, it helps the business understand marketing’s value, improving perceptions and helping justify future budget requests.

The post Insights on How to Achieve the Greatest Marketing Impact appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

Top 19 Ways to Generate Real Estate Buyer Leads from the Pros

Buyer leads are comprised of the individuals actively ready to purchase and looking for someone to help them find a home. Generating real estate buyer leads can skyrocket your business profits, and it doesn’t have to be costly. We talked to agents generating this specific real estate leads to learn how they do it. Here…

The post Top 19 Ways to Generate Real Estate Buyer Leads from the Pros appeared first on Fit Small Business.

The Loyalty Newswire – December 7, 2019

Keeping up with the technological innovations alone is a challenging task – but we’re on it. Plus, creative uses for AI, creative applications for tracking, it’s a good news / bad news day for Marriott – and lots of brands are updating their loyalty programs. Here’s what we’re following in loyalty news:

AI

AI improves customer
loyalty and revenue

AI tends to be thought of as an efficiency enhancement but there is growing evidence – this time from Australia – that indicates a positive effect on customer loyalty and top-line revenue.  “The implementation of AI has led to improved revenue for 70 per cent of research respondents, with more than half citing revenue increases of more than 5 per cent, while over 30 per cent see growth of more than 10 per cent.”

XXX

Artificial
intelligence tool used to catch people who lie to the police

If you needed to feel good about the potential applications of Artificial Intelligence, Police in Spain have implemented an AI-based system that recognizes “when somebody has been lying or exaggerating to the police.” Apparently the new system has been successful in identifying close to 80% of false reports.  But beyond the chuckle factor, those of us in the loyalty and CX space might consider how this tech could be applied to post-sale customer interactions.

XXX

CX

Customer experience
is about to take a different shape

“Brands marketing to machines”.  Take a moment to consider that idea and what
it will mean to marketers.  We expend a
considerable amount of energy understanding humans and our shopping & brand
propensities.  But more and more,
marketing channels and messaging are being determined algorithmically and executed
by layers of software before ever reaching an actual human.  Is it time to
start understanding and segmenting the algorithms?

XXX

DATA

More than 5 million
passport numbers leaked in Marriott’s data breach in November

This is a good
news / bad news moment for Marriott
which announced a massive data breach
this past November.  Initially estimated
to have exposed some 500 Million customer records, the company now estimates that
number closer to 383 Million.  That’s the
“good” news.  The bad news is that of
those 383 Million, 5 million contained user passport information.

XXX

BRANDS

Sephora Boosts Perks
For High-End Loyalty Shoppers

The new benefits build on a previous expansion that
was announced in August 2018.  A recent report
by our friends at Bond Brand Loyalty was acknowledged
as a factor in Sephora’s strategy
.  

XXX

Packers announce new
fan loyalty program

Although they are already known to be some of the most loyal
fans in the league, U.S. football fans
will appreciate the announcement
that the Green Bay Packers have
implemented a new loyalty program. Fans sign up for Packers Perks here: packersperks.com

XXX

TravelCenters of
America Revamps UltraONE Loyalty Program

We’ve said it before – the C-store
/ Fuel world is a hotbed of loyalty activity
and innovation.  Exhibit A: 
TravelCenters of America announces a newly re-framed program the brings
new benefits and increased redemption options to customers.

XXX

LOYALTY TECH

Brick-bait: three
tricks up retailers’ sleeves to lure you back to physical shops

Eloise Zoppos,
Senior Research Consultant, Monash University (AU) posits several concepts
retailers can consider to bring back & retain in-store shoppers.  She provides an intelligent look at ways retailers
can address some of their shopper leakage
– plus, coining the phrase “brick-bait”
is worthy of a tip o’ the hat.

XXX

The Israeli Startup
That Wants to Make Shopping Carts Smarter

File this under “Brilliant”. 
Rather than rely on a store full of cameras and sensors to track and
manage purchases (like Amazon Go) the Artificial Intelligence Cart (AIC) uses
four cart-mounted cameras to achieve fully-automated
checkouts without the creepy factor
.

XXX

The Loyalty Newswire
is compiled and edited by the staff at The Wise Marketer.

The post The Loyalty Newswire – December 7, 2019 appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

The Quick & Easy Guide to Fixing 504 Gateway Timeout Errors

In a world hooked on instant gratification, one of the worst things a brand can do is not give their audience what they want. If your website visitors sees a 504 Gateway Timeout Error page when they’re looking for help or information to do their jobs better, they could get annoyed and lose trust in your brand, permanently damaging your reputation.

Unfortunately, 504 Gateway Timeout Errors are rather mysterious. They indicate what happened to your website, but they don’t tell you why it happened, making it challenging for you to pinpoint its cause and ultimately correct the issue.

To help you fix your 504 Gateway Timeout Error and avoid losing brand sentiment and trust, we’ve fleshed out exactly what the issue is and its most common solutions.

pasted image 0-19Image Credit: Cloudflare

Fortunately, there are five common and effective solutions for fixing most 504 Gateway Timeout Errors’ causes.

1. Look for server connectivity issues.

Most websites live on multiple servers or third-party hosting providers. If your server is down for maintenance or any other reason, your website could serve visitors a 504 Gateway Timeout Error page. The only way to troubleshoot this issue is to wait for your server to finish maintenance or fix the problem causing the error.

2. Check for any DNS changes.

If you’ve recently changed host servers or moved your website to a different IP address, it’ll make changes to your website’s DNS server. This could cause your website to serve its visitors a 504 Gateway Timeout Error page. Your website won’t be up and running until these DNS changes take full effect, which can take a few hours.

3. Sift through your logs.

Server logs will provide details about your server’s health and status. Sift through them to uncover any alarming information.

4. Fix faulty firewall configurations.

Your firewall is your website’s gatekeeper, protecting your site from malicious visitors or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Sometimes, a faulty firewall configuration will cause your firewall to deem requests from a content delivery network as an attack on your server and reject them, resulting in a 504 Gateway Timeout Error. Check your firewall configuration to pinpoint and fix the issue.

5. Comb through your website’s code to find bugs.

If there’s a mistake in your website’s code, your server might not be able to correctly answer requests from a content delivery network. Comb through your code to find bugs or copy your code into a development machine. It’ll perform a thorough debug process that will simulate the situation that your 504 Gateway Timeout Error occurred in and allow you to see the exact moment where things went wrong.

Improve your website with effective technical SEO. Start by conducting this  audit.  

How We Boosted Conversions 4x by Revolutionizing the Form

Boosting conversion rates is a constant battle for marketers. According to data collected by Snap Agency, businesses are spending $75,000 on marketing every year, on average.

That’s a huge money pit that could be going to waste if you’re not convincing people to buy.

My team and I were looking for a way to create substantial growth without needing an acquisition. Instead, we focused on our conversion rate, starting with the form. We asked ourselves; “how can we not only increase the number of people who sign up, but make it enjoyable in the process?”

Here’s how we did it.

The Background Story

This journey began back when my company in the forex broker comparison niche, BrokerNotes didn’t have a huge amount of organic traffic to boast. Nor was it a prominent brand name at the time.

Combine that with the fact we’re operating within a very competitive niche (the term “forex brokers” is £40 per click in Google AdWords), and you’d probably understand why it was so important for us to make sure the basics were spot-on before pouring more money into acquisition.

We needed a huge percentage of the people visiting our site to convert to make it worth our while.

The one thing standing between traffic and conversions was our form. So we got to work, coming up with ideas on how we could flip the entire form model on its head.

We aimed to build an interactive, visual tool that increased conversion rates—and convinced anyone who was visiting the site to continue their journey with us.

How we revolutionized the form and boosted conversions by 4x

After $8,000 and a three month build time, our results were fantastic:

A 47% conversion rate—which was 4x more than our original conversion rate of just 11%. That’s now increased even further to 54%.

Understanding cognitive biases was key to this experiment. Which is why we used “The LIFT Model” by Wide Funnel to direct what we updated on our form.

We prioritized the following elements:

  1. Making the value proposition as clear as possible (“Find the best online broker for you”).
  2. Increasing question relevancy by segmenting visitors based on responses to the first question (which instrument they wished to trade in).
  3. Making the desired action clear by including written instructions on the first steps.
  4. Removing distractions by replacing the background image with a plain color.
  5. Illustrating that it’s 100% free and only takes 15 seconds to complete to reduce anxiety and friction.

Here are the steps we took to achieve these goals:

1. We Focused on Interactivity

Interactive content is more engaging than static content because it makes your audience do something, rather than passively read or watch it.

A Demand Metric study discovered that interactive content converts 70% of the time (versus 36% for non-interactive content). We ran with this idea and encouraged people to interact with the form by placing it on the homepage and promoting it on social media.

Broker Notes Form Step 1 Example

Adding this new form to the homepage of the site worked wonders, too. It’s the first thing that new visitors to the home page see, making it accessible and allowing them to immediately get involved.

2. We Enabled Image Select Questions

Image select questions reduce the number of clicks a person has to do to complete a form submission. You want to make this figure as small as possible.

Nobody likes spending (what feels like) two hours completing a form. Your audience is the same. You must make it as easy for them as possible. That’s what we aimed to do with our new form:

BrokerNotes Step 2 Form Example

We switched out traditional drop-down questions in favor of image select question. That reduced the number of required clicks to just three (previously required nine clicks) and shaved valuable seconds off the time you need from a site visitor to complete the form itself.

3. We Used Conditional Logic to Fill-in Fields

The goal of this form was to make things as easy as possible for the user. We discovered that using conditional logic could shave more seconds off the form completion time. This would auto-fill information a user has already submitted and fills-in other fields based on that data.

For example: If we knew the person was visiting our site from the UK, we’d automatically fill-in the “Country” field, so they didn’t have to.

This was the final piece on our mission to create the perfect form because it contributed to personalization. That’s something that modern-day shoppers now expect, according to a report by Segment.

Final Takeaways

Revolutionizing something as staple as the form isn’t easy. What works for a banking firm won’t work for a beauty retailer; it takes lots of trial and error to discover which elements work well for your customer.

You don’t need to start from scratch. While we created a scalable solution in the form of Leadformly to implement these changes yourself, here are a few smaller tweaks you can apply today:

1. Place Your Content Above the Fold

The placement of your form is critical. Just like we did on the BrokerNotes website, your form should be above the fold—or at least in the first portion of the page that’s displayed without scrolling down.

Why? Because a study by Nielsen Norman Group discovered an 89% difference in how users treat information displayed above the fold versus below it.

Melyssa Griffin Form Example

2. Using a Single Column Layout

Multi-column forms can look overwhelming. Nobody wants to land on a website and be faced with a wall of text to access something. Don’t make your site visitors feel the same way.

Single column forms have a faster completion rate of 15.4 seconds at an average confidence rate of 95%, according to ConversionXL. Use them to your advantage.

ISM Form Example

3. Including Your Privacy Policy

If you’re concerned about privacy when browsing the internet, you’re not alone. Research by Arbor Networks found that 84% of internet users worry about their privacy, which could significantly impact your form submission rates.

However, including a link to your privacy policy is a fantastic workaround. It clearly shows a visitor how their information will be used—giving them more confidence in your brand and convincing them to hit submit.

Privacy Policy in Form Example

4. Optimizing Your Call-to-Action

Calls-to-action are important.  They prompt someone to submit your form. But you need to go beyond standard phrases like “submit,” “buy now,” or “enter.” In a world where consumers are becoming fussier about the content they engage with, you need to let your creativity shine.

Play around with the text you’re using in your form’s call-to-action—mentioning the benefit for your visitor, like this example by Freshbooks:

Freshbooks Form Example

Final Thoughts

Now it’s time for the tables to turn. It’s your turn to experiment with your own forms. Whether you’re changing the placement, layout or style of question, we found split-testing new approaches to be the most effective way to supercharge our form conversion rates.

The post How We Boosted Conversions 4x by Revolutionizing the Form appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

How to Advertise on Google and Boost Your Small Business

Google advertising is a great marketing strategy for small businesses. You can show an ad for your business to people who are searching for your type of business at that very moment and who are looking for businesses in your area. This type of targeting makes most small business owners want to advertise on Google….

The post How to Advertise on Google and Boost Your Small Business appeared first on Fit Small Business.

10 Local SEO Predictions for 2019: Job Security For Local SEOs

 

  1. SMBs As a Group Will Continue To Not Get SEO
    A little over a year ago, my dentist moved his office but never thought about updating his listing in Google Maps, Apple Maps or his website. I showed him how to fix the issue, but this morning on the way to my end of the year teeth cleaning, not only was his old location back on Apple Maps, but he had also decided to change his business name from Joseph A. Grasso DDS to San Ramon Valley Cosmetic & Family Dentistry (perhaps for SEO reasons?), but had not bothered to update either his GMB or Apple Maps listings, let alone his Facebook page or any other citations. I mentioned this to his receptionist. Her response was “Wow, I didn’t know anything about that stuff.” I envisioned my kids’ future tuition bills and sighed with relief.
  2. Voice Search Will Continue To Be YUGE, But So What?
    We keep seeing reports of how everyone is increasing their use of voice search to find information and buy stuff. Outside of being the default app for specific type of query on the various assistants, the end result is still often position #1 or #0 for a Google SERP. For local businesses this means you’ll want to be #1 or #0 for relevant local queries, and if there’s an app (e.g. Apple Maps, Yelp, etc.) that shows up in that position, then you’ll want to be #1 in those apps. Kind of like the way local search has been working for years…
  3. Some Of Your Clients May Actually Ask For Bing SEO Help
    If people are asking Alexa a lot more questions, per the previous prediction, Microsoft’s Cortana recently announced integration with Alexa may lead to more Bing results surfacing via Alexa. So those clients who have a data issue on Bing and the CEO happens to hear their kids looking for their business using Cortana on Alexa might send you that urgent message for “Bing SEO ASAP!” OK, we know – we just needed an extra prediction to get the right number for an Instant Answer result…
  4. Google My Business Posts Will Be Where The Action Is
    Since the roll out of GMB Posts, we have been calling them “the biggest gift to SEO agencies in years.” The ability to add minimal content to appear on a business’ GMB/Knowledge Panel that can attract clicks, most of which are from brand queries, and show clients how these impact performance will be hard to resist for most agencies that are currently blogging for their clients and praying someone cares about their 250-500 words of cheaply written brilliance. Expect GMB posts to be standard in most Local SEO packages, until of course Google deprecates them later this year.Bonus Prediction!: And while we are on the subject of GMB, I expect to see a lot more functionality, and promotion thereof, poured into this service. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a Super Bowl ad this year that shows how a business uses all Google services (websites, GMB messages, Q&A, Local Service Ads, GMB Post Videos, Reviews, etc.) to run its business and get customers.
  5. Retailers Will Invest More In Local SEO
    Google will continue to cannibalize SERPs with ads and “owned and operated” content such as GMB (which is basically training wheels for ads) making it easy for brands to increase their ad spend to eye-popping levels. Sooner or later multi-location brands who are tired of having to re-buy their customers every week will realize that for about 1% of their Google Ads budget, they can make a serious dent in their organic traffic and revenue. Topics like rebuilding their store locators, rewriting location pages, local linkbuilding and GMB optimization (including feeding real-time inventory to GMB) will no longer cause the CMO’s eyes to glaze over.
  6. Links Will Still Be The Biggest Line Item In Your Local SEO Budget
    There are only so many ways you can publish the best content about how to hire a personal injury attorney, before and after bunion surgery photos, or local SEO predictions. I am sure there are some cases where E-A-T trumps links, but sooner or later, in 2019 we will all need a link or two, or twenty…
  7. We Will See More Consolidation In Local Listings & Review Management
    While the business has become somewhat commodified, there is just too much value to owning the customer relationship attached to thousands of locations. Yext appears to be continuing its focus on high-value verticals (healthcare & financial services), international expansion to serve global brands and adding related functionality like Yext Brain. Over the past year, Uberall gobbled up NavAds and Reputation.com grabbed SIMPartners. Any big digital agency serving global multi-location brands sooner or later will want to own this functionality. Look for Asia to be a big growth area for these services.      (7.5)And I Wouldn’t Be Surprised If One Or More Of The Review Management StartUps Gets Acquired
    While online review management feels like something of a commodity, kind of like listings management, it’s also a great gateway drug for multi-location brands & SMBs to eventually buy more of your services. I recall Ted Paff, founder of CustomerLobby, once telling me “the value of review management is trending towards $0.” Of course, that was right before he sold CL to EverCommerce and took off to Nepal to find his Chi. Fast-growing services with review management and related services that are not trending towards $0 are prime targets. Keep an eye on Broadly, BirdEye, Podium, GatherUp, NearbyNow and others.
  8. Google Search Console Will Specify Local Pack Rankings In The Performance Report
    Yeah, right. But maybe, just maybe, we’ll get regex filtering?
  9. Apple Maps Will Continue To Be The Biggest Local Search Platform Everyone Ignores
    Apple made a big deal in 2018 about its new map platform and while it is exciting to have more vegetation detail, Apple still shows little sign of giving a shit about its business data. In the four years since Maps Connect launched, the functionality for businesses to control their Apple Maps profiles has barely changed. While I find Apple Maps generally fine to use (except for that time it led me straight into a dumpster in San Francisco), I still see plenty of people criticizing it. At some point perhaps Apple will realize that businesses and their agencies can help make Apple Maps much better. It would be great if we could get actual analytics, ability to enhance profiles, true bulk account management, etc., but I am skeptical that will happen in 2019.
  10. Amazon Will Not Buy Yelp!
    But if the stock price goes below $25, it seems like there’s a private equity play here. cc: David Mihm.

So in 2019, Local SEO will pretty much look like this:

The post 10 Local SEO Predictions for 2019: Job Security For Local SEOs appeared first on Local SEO Guide.

2018 Loyalty Marketing Year in Review – Part 2

After reviewing all the news reported during 2018, our staff
identified 4 topics that you needed to know about as we transition into a new
year. In part 1, we covered:

1.The Biggest News in Customer Engagement and Loyalty from 2018

2. Cannabis becomes a smokin’ hot topic (and will be a growth market for loyalty marketers in 2019)

Today, we’ll highlight:

3. Crumbling of the Coalition Empire

4. The Never-Ending Story – Becoming Customer Centric

We hope you enjoy this summary of news from 2018 and wish
you all the best in your endeavors during 2019. We’ll be with you all the way
and hope you will keep The Wise Marketer bookmarked as your top source of news,
insights and education on the global customer engagement and loyalty business.

Happy New Year!

3. Crumbling of the Coalition Empire

The coalition loyalty model has been highly successful in
many markets around the world save for one big one, the United States. Before
2018, there was industry consensus that coalitions were a brilliant play to
lift participating brands to higher profitability with customers than they
might have done through individual efforts.

The leverage enjoyed by partner brands in a coalition
through the shared use of customers, data, and technology were illustrated
through the historical success of AirMiles in Canada, Nectar in the UK, Dotz in
Brazil and Bonus in Peru. There are at least 15 coalitions operating at large
scale with tenure of over 15 years in the market. We don’t name them all here
but offer up these three as best practice examples of coalition operations.

Two things happened in the coalition realm during 2018. First Plenti closed its doors, probably bringing an end to the efforts of major brands to build a “pillar” style coalition in the US. Next, and more surprising, was the struggle of two well-known and highly established coalition loyalty programs outside the US, Aeroplan and Nectar.

The root cause of each issue is distinct. Outside the US, there is a maturation process that causes periodic reevaluation among coalition partners. In Canada, agreements were expiring with Aeroplan, Air Canada, and the banks issuing cobranded payment products with Aeroplan. In the UK, lead partner and retailer Sainsburys reached a milestone in its evaluation of continued participation with Nectar.

For most brand partners in a coalition, participation can
become increasingly expensive over time unless costs are carefully managed.
Interests among and between participating partners must be balanced closely and
at any point in time new leadership can determine that a solo approach to
customer engagement and loyalty might be more compatible with brand interests.

Data ownership is the most valuable asset in play in these negotiations. As the value of customer data grows and customers gain more self-awareness of the value of their data, every brand will be forced to evaluate how best to interact with its customer base.

It is important to remember that “coalition” still works in America, though we probably should give it another name. We learned from interviews with Excentus that a wide-ranging partner model can be successful. We also witnessed many new examples of smart-partnerships between brands facilitated by card linked offers and related technology.

Coalition Loyalty continues to work well outside the US.
Dotz in Brazil, Bonus in Peru and AirMiles in Canada are among the most successful
programs. These programs share a management perspective that treats partners like
customers and proactively works to balance and serve all participating
interests.

The conclusion from a review of all that happened in 2018 is
that “coalition loyalty” is not the panacea that some industry experts once believed
it to be but continues to be a highly successful model when operated with best
practice standards in place. Where market conditions provide an opportunity and
the business is operated effectively, the traditional coalition model will
succeed.

For the US, the partnership model is the way of the future
and we expect to see more growth in complementary partnerships designed to
bring added value to customers throughout the US market in 2019.

4. The Never-Ending Story – Becoming Customer Centric

The journey to customer-centricity has taken on the nature
of a fantasy novel. In the novel, the foreshadowing of an important truth yet to
be revealed creates a threat for the protagonist. To vanquish the threat, the
protagonist must chase down dark forces who seek to prevent the truth from
being revealed. A complicated journey ensues where the rules change, the
environment presents unpredictable challenges, and risks abound at every
corner. Just when things appear the most-dire, a shining light appears, the
protagonist vanquishes the dark force, and truth is revealed.

The declaration from the board level of many public companies that “we are committed to becoming more customer centric” is one that we encountered pervasively across the business landscape during 2018. We documented some brand struggles on this journey and cited ways to go beyond the buzzword and turn words into action to make stronger progress on the journey to customer centricity.

We hope that the journey towards this goal will have an end
and that we’ll have more examples of success to report on during 2019. To be
successful in today’s market, our observations tell us that each company must
determine is own path to customer-centricity, meaning that each brand will
determine the pecking order of key components needed to engage with customers,
build trust, and win their long-term brand affinity (i.e. loyalty).

We reported on the premise that personalization was the most important element of creating a customer-centric organization. Others believe a purpose driven organization will get the best results. We also gave coverage to the novel idea that “time” is the most valuable currency for today’s consumer.

Often overlooked is the need for employee training in order to close the loop on the flawless execution of offer delivery and purchase experience online and in the store. There is also substantial evidence that the make-up of talent on your marketing teams needs to evolve. Adding persons with background in behavioral science and opinion research could unlock new perspectives on marketing strategy.  

One other theme we noted was that as Millennials age, their category can be divided into 2-3 groups, each exhibiting distinct behaviors and tendencies. We wrote about how it is time to move on from marketing to Millennials and expand focus to better understand the preferences of Gen Z.

In the early 1900’s the concept that the “customer is always right” was floated by some legendary retail giants. This great top-line concept was moderated over the years as common sense tells us that customers can be dishonest, manipulative and self-serving. Even though not all customers are right for every brand, the growing call for the corporate enterprise to put the customer first has become louder and louder over the past year. With technology enabling full transparency of brand promises, product specifications, and the opinions of hordes of other customers, brands are wise to seek out the needs, preferences and opinions of their greatest asset, their customer base.

The discipline of talking to our customers and asking them
what they want is still not executed as often as other marketing tactics. We’re
in a technology age where it’s tough to fool anyone, and only the fool would
miss the opportunity to strike up an authentic relationship with a valued
customer in hopes of building trust and establishing an emotional bond that
keeps them close over time.

The white light that brands can follow to ensure the journey
to customer-centricity does not become a never-ending story is the customer. There
is an expectation from our customers that we (brands and marketers) listen
more, ask for their opinion more frequently, and consistently take actions that
show we are listening.

That will be the story for 2019.

Bill Hanifin is CEO of The Wise Marketer and is a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional (CLMP).

The post 2018 Loyalty Marketing Year in Review – Part 2 appeared first on The Wise Marketer.

9 Reasons for Leaving Your Last Job That Hiring Managers Will Completely Understand

Out of all the questions hiring managers can potentially ask you during an interview, “Why did you leave your last job?” could be one of the hardest to answer.

To effectively answer this question, you need to frame your response in a way that shows hiring managers that you know what’s important to you and how to handle less than ideal situations. But you also don’t want to sound ungrateful for the opportunities you had in your previous role, or come off like you’re still bitter about how you left things with your last employer.

It can be challenging to explain why you decided to leave your last position without throwing your old company under the bus. But if answered thoughtfully, this question can help you highlight your flexibility and self-awareness.

To help you nail this question at your next interview, we rounded up nine reasons for leaving your last job that hiring managers will completely understand. And even if you’ve only worked in your current role for a short amount of time, these reasons can help you frame your decision to depart your last role in a way your potential new employer can truly respect.

1. You’re looking to level up in your career, and your current company has limited opportunities for career growth.

Career stagnation can be incredibly frustrating. If you’ve worked hard at the same company for a few years, and you haven’t been promoted or even promised a promotion, you have every right to leave your current job. If you can communicate that you haven’t been able to climb the career ladder at your preferred pace during your interview, you’ll show hiring managers that you’re ambitious and goal-orientated.

2. You don’t feel challenged or fulfilled at your current job.

No job is perfect, but if you don’t feel any satisfaction at work, it’s definitely time for a change. Work becomes a chore if you don’t feel mentally stimulated or emotionally fulfilled. And hiring managers will completely understand why you’re leaving your current role, if this is the case. They’ll also be impressed with your internal need to be passionate about your job.

3. The nature of your work is not what was promised to you.

Did your current employer promise you a copywriting job, but now you somehow work in product marketing? If they’ve baited-and-switched you like this, wanting to leave the company is more than understandable. They promised you something, but failed to honor it — so why stay?

Leaving your job to find a new role that actually meets your expectations will also show hiring managers that you can stand up for yourself and pursue what you truly want in life.

4. You’re burnt out.

If your job’s heavy workload or endless stress make you hate going to work, it’s time for a fresh start somewhere else. Burnout can make work and, in turn, life miserable and most hiring managers have experienced it at least once in their careers, so if you need a new change of pace, they’ll definitely be able to empathize with you. They’ll also respect your willingness to take care of your mental and emotional health.

5. You feel undervalued at your current job.

When your current manager underestimates your potential or doesn’t know how to leverage your skill set to its full potential, work can become frustrating and dull. So why work for a company that doesn’t challenge you or allow you to make a impact?

If you can genuinely convey these frustrations and aspirations during your interview, hiring managers will perceive you as someone who truly wants to make a difference at their company — and that’ll only boost your chances of landing the job.

6. You want to make a career change.

In a world where most industries never stop changing, it’s common to leave a job to pursue a new career path. But even if you think your lack of experience in an industry is a vulnerability, you shouldn’t fret. Most hiring managers actually like hiring candidates from other industries because they can bring a fresh perspective to their team and company.

7. You want a better work life balance.

Sometimes employers forget that people work to live and don’t live to work. If your current job steals too many hours away from your personal life, it’s time to go. Life is for living, so if you can express your desire to work in a new role that provides a better work life balance, hiring managers will admire the respect you have for your own time.

8. Your values don’t align with the company’s values.

Whether you were never a good fit at your current company or a merger or acquisition altered its values, a moral conflict with an employer is totally a justifiable reason to leave. If you stand firmly behind your own beliefs, you shouldn’t have to compromise your ethics to drive results for a business you don’t support.

Hiring managers also want to hire people whose values align with their company’s, so clarifying that you both have similar principles will help you out tremendously during an interview.

9. You had to leave the company due to family or personal reasons.

Life happens. If you left your last job because you needed to take care of your family or nourish your physical or mental health, hiring managers won’t knock off any points during your interview. In fact, this reason will most likely bump up your score because you’ve proved that you can prioritize what’s truly important in life.

download free guide to company culture

What Does HTTP 302 Mean?

If you’ve spent any time on the internet at all, chances are you’ve encountered an HTTP status code.

>” src=”https://no-cache.hubspot.com/cta/default/53/bd685600-02f9-40f3-a4e7-18488a8d79ba.png”>

In simple terms, HTTP status codes are essentially standard response codes used to show the relationship between all the things that go on in the background when you travel from web page to web page: things like the user agent (i.e., your web browser), the web page you’re trying to load, and any third-party web applications you might be running.

Because of the complexity of how all those things interact, there are a ton of possible HTTP status codes you can run up against. HTTP status codes can be used to identify and diagnose the particular blocker preventing you from loading a resource, or give you more information about the journey you took on the way to a page.

What Does HTTP 302 Mean?

One of the most common HTTP status codes is HTTP 302. This status occurs when a resource or page you’re attempting to load has been temporarily moved to a different location — via a 302 redirect.

As opposed to 301 redirects — which are used to permanently direct users from one location to another — 302 redirects are temporary. You usually won’t notice a 302 redirect if it’s set up correctly. The web server serving up the 302 redirect should immediately indicate the new location of the page to your browser, and should send you there right away.

If you want to see when you’ve encountered a 302 redirect (or any type of redirect), consider using an application or Chrome extension (like this one, Redirect Path). This type of tool will show you directly in your browser when you run into a redirect.

It’s important to note that an HTTP 302 status code is caused by the web server you’re attempting to reach. It’s not an issue with your web browser, or anything you can control on your end of things.

If you’re thinking about setting up 302 redirects on your own website, you should know that these types of temporary redirects aren’t appreciated by Google. Google’s crawler will follow and honor a permanent 301 redirect, but will ignore any temporary 302 redirects you set up. If you want to maintain your search ranking on a page you need to redirect to a new location, opt for a permanent 301 redirect instead.


How to Survive and Thrive This Holiday Season and Beyond

Some businesses reportedly get 18 to 20% of their annual sales between Thanksgiving and the cut-off date for Christmas delivery, so there is pressure and monetary incentive to make sure those few weeks run as smoothly as possible. Owners must keep up with demand while managing depleted budgets, employees’ holiday vacation time, and the ever-increasing costs to keep up with it all.

All that said, the holidays can be a boon for business. Black Friday, named for the day when retailers move out of the red and into the black, promotes spending across the board, from gift shops to restaurants and B2B to B2C organizations.

Here’s how businesses can make the most of the holiday season so you can keep it in mind for next year. You don’t have to wait though—many of these tips can be implemented now for a financially stable start to 2019.

B2B Tips and Tricks

According to a 2017 Harvard Business Review report, “the number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today.” Competition is stiff, but savvy B2B businesses can stand out from the crowd by following this advice:

Move Pipeline Up in the Year

When businesses focus on boosting sales numbers early in the year, they can turn increased holiday revenue into a bonus, rather than a necessity. No profits are ever promised so this strategy can help safeguard against any negative holiday season surprises.

Digital agency PMG advises B2B companies to plan strategic launches: “Try to avoid launching big-splash branding campaigns or any campaigns backed by a significant investment during November and December. These would be better scheduled at the top of the new year or between summer and fall. The campaign is likely to have a better impact on your marketing strategy and hit your KPI goals outside of peak holiday season.” And if businesses still have open pipeline from these launches going into November or December, they would do well to close as much as possible by the 20th of each month to avoid haggling with prospects during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Focusing on Converting Existing Opportunities Over Driving New Leads

Especially at the end of the year, it can be more efficient and fruitful to nurture existing opportunities than to try to create net new leads that likely won’t close by the end of the year. B2B organizations are selling to other businesses that are also scrambling to balance budgets by the end of the year, so they likely won’t be as motivated to explore new business opportunities. They will, however, want to tie up any loose ends to deals they have been considering, and get time- and money-saving solutions in place by January. This means that they may be more ready, willing, and able to convert if the relationship has already been established.

Make the Most of End-of-Year Budgeting

Businesses with outstanding budgets will likely need to spend the balances before Dec. 31. So focus the last of those dollars around closing deals for this calendar year by identifying those lead sources that close quickly, and those with longer sales cycles that can close in the following year. Put a holiday pause on the channels that won’t move the needle before the end of the year, and funnel that money into another channel that is more likely to deliver quick wins, especially when bolstered by extra financial support. “It’s important to be tactical about which channels you’re investing in for your holiday media mix,” PMG notes. “Costs spikes for programmatic, social and native channels are inevitable as retailers up their bids in hopes of getting in front of more customers.”

B2C Tips and Tricks

B2C companies have the advantage of casting a wide net to consumers eager to spend during the holidays. But at the same time, consumers have countless businesses to consider spending with as they shop. Here’s how they can shine during the holiday season:

Use Social Media

Knowing that companies may head to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to promote the latest specials or flash sales, consumers will likely be even more tuned into social media during the holidays than they are the rest of the year. Plus, they’ll have shopping in the back of their minds at all times, always keeping an eye out for gift ideas and stocking stuffers for friends and family. Companies that choose to create campaigns that fulfill customer needs instead of adding to the holiday noise will succeed over those riding the coat tails of the holiday season. They evoke emotions and promote sharing, sometimes even connecting people with their loved ones, or partnering with a charitable organization.”

Seasonal Decorations and Attractions

Sometimes all it takes is a little holiday spirit to attract customers during the holiday season. B2C businesses should consider adding some holiday promotions and decorations to get everyone in the spirit of spending, from adding seasonal decor to giving discounts or special gifts to anyone who spends over a certain amount.

Host a Holiday Event

B2C companies should consider hosting a holiday party that aligns with their brand. An after-hours gathering or daytime soiree can encourage customers to show up, bring friends, and take advantage of exclusive deals for attendees. People who experience memorable moments with the brand are likely to become loyal customers for life.

The post How to Survive and Thrive This Holiday Season and Beyond appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

23 Bar Promotion Ideas From Experts

Bar owners can attract customers through various bar promotions, such as live local band performances, other on-site events, giveaways, and online marketing. Effective marketing techniques are critical for any bar’s long-term growth. We reached out to professionals across several industries and asked them to share their most successful bar marketing techniques. Here are the top…

The post 23 Bar Promotion Ideas From Experts appeared first on Fit Small Business.

GDPR Inquiry Form

Thanks for your interest in becoming part of the Data Protection conversation.  Please leave us your contact information so that we can keep you informed and apprised as things develop.

GDPR Inquiry Form

GDPR Inquiry Form

The post GDPR Inquiry Form appeared first on The Wise Marketer.