Brandless

 

As much as I love branding, you probably wouldn't think I'd adore this mission so much.

Brandless is a startup that works with manufacturers to eliminate the extra costs that are often associated with offering branded products. Instead, the company just provides basic products with simple labels that just state what’s in each product. And all of those items cost just $3.

Do these products interest you? 

How much weight do you put on the products that are made by the brands you love? 

This concept puts that sentiment to the ultimate test. 

AR Will Change in a Snap

Apple's new AR Kit is going to change the way we interact with our phones, with our apps, and most importantly, our environments. 

Where engaging selfie-driven apps have thrived, superior technology will take over. As capabilities become innate in hardware itself, there are less hoops to jump through to get to an output. 

I'm not saying that these apps will die with these hardware improvements, but you will certainly see unprecedented adoption rates in other (more accessible) places. 

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We are the World

  1. Hydrogen
  2. Oxygen
  3. Nitrogen
  4. Carbon

These are the 4 most prominent ingredients on Earth.

So is it a coincidence that humans consist of these same 4 things?

As we travel through the Earth, in a sense, the earth travels through us. 

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Inconsistent Normalcy

You can thrive off of stress and pressure. The adrenaline and excitement are just what you prefer. It drives you. 

On the other hand, others aspire to get ahead of chaos to avoid high-pressure situations. Being organized is their normal. 

Normal is whatever we make it out to be. 

The trick is to stick with what we are most comfortable with. The second we depart from our comfort levels, we consider it abnormal. Abnormalities breed confusion, which perpetually fuels discontent. 

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My Exciting New Adventure

Today is my first day as the Director of Marketing for PartsMarket. 

Go ahead and Google the company. I'll wait. 

PartsMarket makes it easy to buy and sell used auto parts online.

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My job will be to garner attention to the value this incredible company, and technology is creating for the automotive industry. I'll be getting in front of customers looking to buy auto parts (B2C) as well as garnering interest from auto professionals looking to sell the parts they source (B2B). 

This is an immense opportunity to disrupt an unproductive and antiquated space. The company is already on track to make a dent (pun intended) and I am extremely excited to join in the movement. 

I'll be checking in with updates on some of the marketing strategies I deploy for PartsMarket. As always, I will try to be transparent in my efforts because what works for me, and companies like PartsMarket, can work for many readers of this blog. 

If you feel there may be any synergies between what you do and PartsMarket, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I will look forward to changing an industry... together. 

Trust and Truth

Jack Welch is right. 

Trust is the single most important factor in business. Period. 

Having trust at the top, and ensuring it connects to every single fabric of your organization, is what ultimately builds a thriving culture based on success. 

Without trust, you can't manifest the truth.

Truth needs to come in two very important forms in an organization:

  • Speaking up when you have something to say
  • No sugar-coating (even your boss)

When a new employee is able to speak openly about his emotions, and perhaps his criticisms of what observes, you're building a powerful machine of honesty. 

Only the trust that you put into that new employee allows him to speak up - and allows even the CEO to listen with an open mind. 

The Power of Anticipation

We often underestimate the sheer power of anticipation. When you think about life's ebbs and flows, the good times are always what keep us going through the bad ones. There's much lesser of a force in this when looking backward. The act of looking ahead to something that excites you is what keeps us smiling.

Life is a series of countdowns. 

This can be proven through your excitement for that Bachelorette party you are going to Vegas for in a few weeks. You think about it daily at this point and can hardly sit at your desk during the day anymore. 

I'm constantly looking forward to events I put on my calendar. For me, it might be a concert, the birth of my next child, or an impending vacation next month. 

More than anything, if anticipation is made finite, you are living a happy and exciting life of fulfillment.

What do I mean by this? 

The reason people that love what they do are so happy is that they anticipate every single day. They wake up ready to attack the day. 

Don't be tricked into believing you have to make a job for yourself or a daily regimen you can thrive with. Instead, look at your current situation and figure out how to look forward to the moments you know you enjoy the most. We will do much better as a society if we make the most out of what we already have rather than overextend ourselves into believing we want something we might not. 

It's called "looking forward" to something for a reason. 

Stop underestimating your emotions. 

Lingua Franca

Differences should never divide us. What we don't have ourselves should pique our curiosities and breed a hunger for definition. 

When two strangers with two completely unique upbringings meet, they won't be able to communicate. Think about that for a second. To be completely different is to not be able to understand one another. It requires a departure from one's current thinking to even consider the other's perspective. 

And we aren't even talking about language barriers. That's another monster altogether. 

Those that are observant, considerate and compassionate accommodate the other in these circumstances. They take the time necessary to learn the traits, behaviors, and perspectives that can bring two parties together for a greater purpose. 

It's not the easiest task in the world, but this sort of sacrifice is always worth it. 

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Unmeasurable Viewership

Everybody saw it coming, but no one (other than the technologies leading the evolution) prepared for it. 

As Disney cries about a massive downturn in viewership, not just of ESPN but also the Disney channel, the media is acting as if this is a newsworthy surprise. 

  • Do you know anyone anymore that hasn't considered cutting cable? 

  • Do you know anyone anymore that don't subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, or otherwise?

  • Worse yet, do you know anyone that doesn't have a jailbroken unlimited content device? 

All signs have continuously pointed to free and web-based content over the past few years. While Netflix and Hulu have the power to measure their engagements, many downloaded and pirated content are left untracked (and not advertised against). 

This leaves only one option. Content creators will continue to flock to streaming services while companies like Disney panic to try to figure out what to do with their original content. They'll need to act fast before these other juggernauts create something better and more interested to the viewers seeking simple and more cost-effective alternatives these days. 

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2 Billion Active Users

It's both impressive and scary at the same time. The power and growth that Facebook has accumulated over the past several years are unprecedented. 

To celebrate, Facebook continues to innovate on new features and ideas. Their most recent development is called "Good Adds Up." 

Let's see how much larger Facebook will become over the next few years. With China potentially opening up and a wider internet adoption taking place, the sky is truly the limit for them at this point. 

What's Happening in July?

A better question is... what isn't happening in July?

  • 4th of July!
  • Excessive Bar-B-Q'ing (like 5 times over)
  • Incubus at Perfect Vodka
  • Trip to Huntington Lake, California
  • Cirque du Soleil OVO at BBT Center
  • Baseball every Sunday

Much like recent months, I will also be working on a few personal developments and routines to make me more knowledgable and effective. 

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What are you hoping to accomplish in July? 

Win or Learn

I overheard an unsuspecting individual proclaim the following the other day...

There is no losing. You either win or you learn. Know why? Because you're always a winner when you're always learning.

I know many people use failure or loss to refer to times that they learned a lesson or grew as a person, but I never heard anyone avoid using the word "loss" or "lose" altogether. 

I'd like to thank the individual for his moment of genius for I will now be disposing of this word as well. 

The next time I don't win, I simply learned. I can't wait to use this on my kids as they grow up as well. 

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For Your (Re)Consideration

We're repeatedly reminded of the importance of first impressions. This is more prevalent today given the state of our attention spans and how much noise we are constantly being inundated with. 

How we linger on our initial judgments can hamper our own progressions, though. 

Is it always right to...

  • Judge individuals after meeting them only once?
  • Dislike a piece of art regardless of our mood at the time?
  • Never buy a product again because it broke?
  • Generalize poor customer service due to one interaction?

The list goes on and on.

It can be extremely liberating to forget about one-time encounters in order to keep an open mind for the future. 

Everyone should be entitled to improvements. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone learns. Everyone evolves. 

What the Health?

I watched a documentary called "What the Health" on Netflix over the weekend. The film argues the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet and avoiding animal products altogether. 

It's one of the most comprehensive arguments I've observed. The facts are all there.

Long story short... 

My wife and I are now considering how we can focus our dietary habits more toward a plant-based diet. I'm certainly not saying we will become full-blown vegans for the rest of our lives, but we are investigating how to veer away from meat more often. 

I highly recommend streaming the film on Netflix. I've also embedded the entire film below in case you are not a Netflix subscriber. 

As a bonus, we may even be ordering the official cookbook. 

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Preparation

You're either ready or you're not. There is no in between. 

It's this type of binary scale that ultimately paves the way for success or failure. 

Are you prepared or not?

Even proper preparation takes us on its own twists and turns. Are you prepared for the many different types of outcomes, desirable or otherwise, that preparation can lead you toward? 

At the end of the day, the more we are able to look ahead and anticipate, the better we will be when the water gets choppier. 

Keeping Pace

Thoughtful individuals often get caught saying "Life is a marathon, not a sprint." 

To dissect that truth a bit further, though, you must first acknowledge that life is a series of many simultaneous races. And much like how you handle so many other things at once in your life, it's how one balances these races to not run out of breath. 

Of the many races that you may be competing in right now, it's important to keep your eyes on each finish line. When you need to sprint, go all out. When you need to keep up with others, maintain your stride, and if you are feeling too tired, don't be afraid to walk. 

Just don't stop. There's no reward for those that don't cross the finish line. 

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LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

Maybe you've heard about LinkedIn's progress surrounding their advertising options for businesses. Ever since they were acquired by Microsoft, the network's capabilities have extended and the allure for companies everywhere has elevated greatly. 

One example of this is LinkedIn's new Lead Gen Forms. It's a fantastic way to create lead capture forms natively within LinkedIn, rather than forcing users off of LinkedIn to a third party site. 

We are seeing more of this pop up on websites with strong user bases but LinkedIn's targeting capabilities are what makes this such an appealing advertising option.

To help you with getting started with LinkedIn's Lead Gen Forms, I walk you through the steps that will set you up with your first ads. If you have any questions after reading, please do not hesitate to reach out and ask. 

#1 – Choose The Ad Type

Depending on your goals and KPI's, you will want to select the ad type that will help you meet your goals. Advertisers can select Sponsored Content, Text Ads, or Sponsored InMail as ad types within LinkedIn. 

#2 – Choose Your Settings and Language 

Enter a meaningful name for the campaign and then select the language of your content and what you’d like to happen after someone clicks your ad. Then click “Next >” to proceed with Lead Generation Forms.

#3 – Choose Content You’d Like to Sponsor

There are a couple options to get started. Option one is to select existing content that will appear as “Sponsored Content” and will be shown in newsfeeds.  or create a new post to promote. The second option is to choose “Direct Sponsored Content”, which will send customized messages to your audience segments (you’ll need Company Page Admin permission).

#4 – Create a New Form 

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create a form template that describes your offer. Simply enter your offer headline and offer a deal. Take the time to ensure that your headline and offer are compelling and speak to the needs of your target audience.

#5 – Identify Your Desired User Information

Depending on what information your team has determined is most beneficial for your campaign, select up to seven pieces of data you’d like to collect from each prospect.

#6 – Create A Custom Thank You Message

You can also determine what message your prospects see after submitting their form. This is a great opportunity to redirect the user to your company website for more information.

#7 – Define the Call-To-Action

Depending on your goal, you may want a prospect to sign up, download or request more information. Make sure that your CTA properly aligns with your ad message.

#8 – Specify Your Demographics

In order for an ad on LinkedIn to be effective, you must target your audience appropriately based on your message. You can select everything from locations and industries to specific job titles and even fields of study or skills.

#9 – Choose Your Budget and Time Period

You can choose to either pay when someone clicks on your ad, or pay based on the number of impressions. LinkedIn will also recommend a bidding strategy based on what other advertisers are doing. Typically, it will be best to start out by using LinkedIn’s recommended bid but you should optimize once you see which ads are performing best.

#10 – Review, Confirm, & Optimize (Continuously)

Keep a close eye on the performance of your ads and form completion to identify what is working best, and which ads to pause. That way you can optimize ad performance to increase results.

Test LinkedIn’s New Lead Generation Features

As you will notice, LinkedIn’s new Lead Generation Forms offer a way to make it easier for targeted audiences to convert based on your offer. By removing a barrier, these one-click conversions can help fill your customer database and encourage participation from targeted audiences.