Record number of CEOS sleeping on streets for charity

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CEOs from business, community and government will sleep on the streets of Sydney tomorrow night in an effort to raise money for the 116,000 Australians experiencing homelessness.

It’s a record turnout for the 14th annual Vinnies CEO Sleepout, which aims to raise over $7 million nationally for accommodation, counselling, healthcare, food and other homelessness support services.

Last year, a record amount of money was raised – 6.9 million dollars – which was used to help break the cycle of homelessness and poverty in Australia. This year, more than 370 CEOs are turning out for the event.

“My participation in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout will help to support the many Australians who are experiencing homelessness. Donations directly assist people experiencing homelessness by funding new initiatives, ensuring the continuation of existing homeless services like food vans and emergency support, and expanding the reach of existing programs for accessible accommodation, meals and emergency assistance,” said Patrick Coghlan, CEO of CreditorWatch, who is participating in the record-breaking charity event.

“I truly believe in this cause. Life can change in an instant for better or worse. When times are tough, nobody should have to wander the streets all night because they have nowhere to sleep. No one should have to sleep in their car or on the pavement. We are all human and everyone deserves the right to basic needs.”

He will be joined in the Sydney CEO Sleepout include government leaders Gareth Ward MP, Jason Clare MP, Niall Blair MLC, and Councillor Linda Scott, as well as several heads of ASX200 companies. They join more than 1,600 CEOs and leaders sleeping out across Australia.

“The CEO Sleepout is about much more than spending a night on a piece of cardboard. What happens over these 16 or so hours has a major impact on the weeks and months to come, by raising the money to keep our services going for those who need them most,” said Vinnies NSW CEO Jack de Groot, who will be participating in the CEO Sleepout.

“It’s so important that those at the top end of town take up the responsibility to advocate for those who haven’t been so lucky, and that’s what the CEO Sleepout is all about.”

By donating to this cause you can help:

  • Feed a family for a day
  • Help a family stay warm
  •  Help relocate a person sleeping on the streets to accommodation services
  • Provide emergency accommodation

You can find Patrick Coghlan’s donation page here, or find other participating CEOs’ dedicated pages here if you’d like to help raise money for this cause and help reach the target.

Science, art or corporate fad? What does an executive coach do… and do you need one?

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In 2005 I received a call from my best friend who was attending a Coaching Psychology Conference held at the University of Sydney. She said “I have just discovered what you have been doing all your life … it’s called Executive Coaching.”

I have to be deeply honest here. I told her that I thought it was a fad and that everyone should have the ability to solve their own issues. Fast forward fourteen years and I am now an executive and team coach, who leads a team of executive coaches and facilitators who work with 11 of the top 20 ASX listed companies. So, what shifted my thinking from sceptic to fan?

Firstly, coaching has definitely moved from a relatively immature, novel intervention to an evidence-based science that is practised by people with PHDs and years of experience. The best way to encapsulate the evolution is represented below.

Late 1980s:“A coach? What’s a coach?”

Early 1990s:“A coach? You mean, like… a corporate shrink?”

Mid-to-late 1990s: “A coach? Am I in trouble?”

Early 2000s:“A coach? Thanks – I think.”

Mid-to-late 2000s:“A coach? Great!”

Now:“A coach? How long can I work with him/her – and do I get to choose the one I want?

So what is coaching, what isn’t it and do you need one? Coaching is an enabler of growth and performance. In coaching, the coach helps the coachee unlock their potential and change. It isn’t mentoring or counselling. In mentoring, the expert is the mentor and they tell you and give you advice. Coaching is all about change and growth. It is a collaborative relationship between professionals with agreed goals and measures of future success. Coaching is future focused and usually solution focused with the emphasis being on what next and what is strong rather than what was and is wrong.

There are a many different ways executive coaching can be used. A common example is transition coaching when an executive is moving from one role to another or when the individual has continued to miss out on career opportunities and can’t quite seem to find the change they need. Coaching can be used as a leadership development opportunity or when behaviour change is required.

When selecting an executive coach it is important to look for experience and qualifications rather than looking for the individual doing or having done the job you are doing.

Great coaches will help you refine your goals and then design the behaviour and thinking and feelings required for the change.

To make sure there is a good relationship you will need to have a half hour coffee or ‘chemistry meet’ before you begin to see if you have rapport with the coach. Rapport is essential as this relationship has the ability to unlock your potential when you are able to be honest, feel safe and connect.

The coaching process usually looks like between 4-12 months of fortnightly sessions depending on the issues, needs and goals of the coachee and the organisation. The coach and coachee then agree the rules of engagement and then commit to the process. Some organisations will have a triangulated meeting with the sponsor, the coach and the coachee so that the measures of success are clearly defined. The coaching relationship is entirely confidential and the coach and the coachee will agree what information, if any, is shared. This enables honest, open and collaborative conversations for change.

Real executive coaching is more provocative than a cup of coffee or a professional friend. As the Global Head of Leadership for Citibank Mark Whiteley said in my latest Fast Track episode, “I think it’s really important that we know the difference between training, between coaching and between mentoring as a way of doing quite different things.”

It is helping someone find their potential and facilitating positive purposeful change. Ask around in your network for those that have used an executive coach and do your homework. This could be the catalyst for the most positive change you make to your career.

About Margie Hartley

Margie is one of Australia’s leading executive coaches and founder of Gram Consulting Group, an independent coaching and facilitation community. Having worked with 11 of the top 20 ASX listed companies, Margie’s strong track record with enabling results has seen her and her team transform individuals through facilitation and executive coaching. Her podcast Fast Track: Career Conversations with Margie Hartley features weekly career insights from some of Australia’s top CEOs and business leaders on how to, literally, fast track your career.

Entrepreneur advice: How businesses can keep up with delivery demand

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Byline: Guy Mckenzie and Adam Gilmore, co-founders of Tonic

With the demand for delivery rapidly increasing, businesses across all industries, from food to health and retail, are feeling the pressure to provide fast and reliable delivery options.

In recent years, there has been a rise globally in the use of delivery services. It is estimated 84.7 million people in the United States will use restaurant-to-consumer delivery options by 2023 and Roy Morgan research revealed in just three months, nearly two million Australians aged 14 and above used a service like Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Menulog to have food delivered.

As co-founders of Tonic, Australia’s first pharmacy delivery app, we noticed a gap in the market where consumers were unable to have the medication they needed delivered to their door.

Using industry knowledge gained from our first business, PharmaData, a software program which provides real-time tracking of medicine and sales data for pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies, we shifted our focus to designing the app.

We wanted to ensure customers were getting what they wanted, but at no cost to the pharmacy industry. We consider Tonic to be an extension of the wonderful work pharmacists do in our community every day, with added convenience.

We’ve seen how the delivery service has resonated with users across Brisbane and we’re now expanding to regional areas around Queensland ahead of interstate launches.

Below are a few of our tips on how businesses can keep up with delivery demand.

Offer a convenient customer experience

As consumer expectations rise, offering a convenient customer experience has never been more important. Research by delivery platform Zoom2u found one in three Australians has chosen not to re-order products from a company because of an experience with poor delivery.

Most users of delivery services are time-poor and searching for a convenient solution to getting what they need. The Tonic app, for example, has been particularly popular among young mums, who can order prescription and other over-the-counter pharmacy products for themselves and their families to be delivered to their home or workplace. Our highest user base is those aged 20 to 38, many of whom are working full time and can’t find the time to get to a pharmacy when they’re sick.

Delivery reliability, along with value for money and product availability, are important drivers of customer retention. Businesses need to offer a convenient customer experience to attract new customers and keep their existing. They must make sure they can deliver on what they promise.

Partner with other businesses

Rather than trying to grow your business alone, look at partnering with organisations which have similar goals and can help you reach a wider audience.

Tonic has recently partnered with home doctor service House Call Doctor where doctors who make after-hours house calls are able to write prescriptions directly in the app for patients wanting to use the delivery service.

During a trial in Brisbane, 100 per cent of House Call Doctor patients who needed a script chose to have their medication delivered via Tonic.

Another example of a successful business partnership is between Spotify and Uber. Both businesses were looking for ways to get more users and collaborated so Uber riders could select a Spotify playlist to listen to during their trip. Through their collaboration, Spotify and Uber were able to give their customers a better experience.

The future of delivery                        

Australia Post predicts by 2020, 1 in 10 items will be purchased online in Australia, creating huge growth for online businesses. Although this may be influenced by Amazon entering the local market, small businesses can expect a share in the growth.

The biggest trend in the future of delivery is expected to be speed delivery, as same-day delivery options become increasingly popular. The cost of delivery to consumers is also expected to be driven down due to customer demand – two thirds of Australians say they would shop online more if shipping was free.

Businesses will need to ensure they have the resources available, including employees and delivery vehicles, to meet the rising expectations of consumers who more than ever, are expecting to get the products they need delivered to them in a fast, reliable and secure way.

Author bio:

Guy Mckenzie and Adam Gilmore are co-founders of Tonic, Australia’s first pharmacy delivery app. Guy and Adam also founded PharmaData in 2010, a software program which provides real-time tracking of medicine and sales data for pharmacies and pharmaceutical companies. In 2015, PharmaData was recognised as one of Queensland’s fastest-growing tech companies at the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Business Awards.

Are co-working spaces the future of Aussie workplaces?

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The use of co-working spaces is on the rise, but should you accept a job in one or move your employees into a co-working space? According to recruiting experts Hays, there are several pros and cons to consider before you embrace this new trend.

“Communal workspaces are not just for start-ups anymore,” says Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand. “Big business is embracing the co-working phenomenon, but it’s not for everyone.”

According to the latest Hays Journal, which explores this issue, co-working chains have grown rapidly. GCUC, a co-working conference company, and Emergent Research, a research and consulting firm, found that there were 11,790 co-working spaces globally in 2017, with 1.74 million members. They expect membership to rise to 5.1 million by 2022.

It is thought that co-working will increase by 15% over the next five years – indeed, in Australia alone, the number of co-working spaces grew by a staggering 297% between 2013 and 2017 according to Allwork.Space.

The benefits

“The opportunity to network is a big attraction of co-working spaces,” says Nick. “Most co-working companies want to foster a community and many use open-plan desks, as well as hosting regular social events, wellness sessions, product launches and investor meetings.”

“The open layout of co-working spaces also leads to a more collaborative, personal and socially dynamic culture within an organisation.”

“Just make sure you find out which other businesses are in the space before you sign up, and whether they align with your goals,” advises Nick.

Another benefit is the opportunity to spot emerging business opportunities. According to the Hays Journal, professional services firm KPMG is one example of an organisation working along start-ups in co-working spaces to spot emerging trends and opportunities to support them earlier in their lifecycle.

Kirsty Mitchell, Director of Growth for KPMG in the UK, says: “By placing small KPMG teams into co-working spaces, we are part of a fast-paced ecosystem, working daily with businesses to help them as they grow, and to identify key issues and opportunities for them as they arise.”

She believes these environments could help KPMG project teams come up with new solutions to problems as well, rather than internal project rooms which, she suggests, can stifle creativity.

The downside

“We are not all the same and to be effective a co-working space must therefore be able to adapt to the needs of individual tenants and their staff,” warns Nick. “This includes ensuring there are enough meeting rooms and private areas in which to meet clients or have private conversations.”

“If you don’t take the appropriate steps, the culture of the co-working company can become more dominant than the employer’s. Regular video conferences with your head office team and private offices within co-working spaces can help to minimise this risk.”

A private office within a co-working space also addresses some of the other common drawbacks of co-working: overcrowding, noise, mess and lack of privacy.

New to co-working? Here’s how to make the transition

If you think co-working might be for you or you’ve accepted a job that’s based in a co-working space, these tips will help you make the transition seamlessly:

  • Make the effort to introduce yourself to your fellow co-workers – first impressions count;
  • Set a routine as quickly as you can. You will have more flexibility in a co-working space, so it’s important that you are diligent and mindful of your time – otherwise, your productivity could suffer;
  • Make the most of the opportunity to work with different people each day to build your network, upskill and make new contacts. Many co-working spaces run regular networking and office events, so head along to these wherever possible;
  • Make your desk feel like home – experiment with different areas of the shared working space and see what works best for you;
  • Get to know the office/community manager – having a good relationship with them will make it easier to get help from them if the printer breaks or the Wi-Fi goes down;
  • Move to a quieter space if you know you are going to be on a long conference/video call that could be distracting for your co-workers;
  • If you are working for a brand, keep your employer front of mind, rather than the culture of the office space you’re working in. It can be easy to feel detached, but regular communications and face-to-face meetings should help;
  • Eat away from your desk and take breaks out of the office. In many co-working spaces, everything is under one roof, so it can feel like there’s no need to get out, but the truth is that you do need to get out for your own wellbeing.

Transcript of The Ins and Outs of Marketing Automation

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Transcript of The Ins and Outs of Marketing Automation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

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John Jantsch: This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is brought to you by Gusto, modern, easy payroll benefits for small businesses across the country, and because you’re a listener, you get three months free when you run your first payroll. Find out at

John Jantsch: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Jason VandeBoom. He is the CEO and founder of the CRM and marketing automation platform known as ActiveCampaign and we’re going to talk about how CRM and how relationship building and how email marketing and marketing automation have changed for the better. Jason’s going to talk about some of the things they are doing there at ActiveCampaign. So Jason, thanks for joining me.

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah, thanks for having me. Looking forward to it.

John Jantsch: So you know, marketing automation has been with us for a while and it certainly was a real boon I think for a lot of folks that were at least attempting to kind of help drive the funnel or drive people down the funnel or whatever the term that they used for it, but it’s really not that personal or at least in the traditional way. I think a lot of people have found a lot of ways to abuse it, let’s put it that way. So what is your take on marketing automation space in general right now?

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah, I think if you look in the past, it started from a good place, saving time, maybe personalizing experiences and whatnot, but ultimately the focus has been so much on kind of the time savings, replacing humans as much as possible and that leads to experiences that are less than ideal. Also, as an industry, we always talk about personalization, we talk about highly personalized to the contact level, but then when we look at what you can build within marketing automation platforms, it’s oftentimes personalization doesn’t mean personalization by the individual. It means a grouping of people or a segment of people getting these unique experiences. So that makes them not actually that unique at all because there’s so many other contacts or customers going through that same workflow.

John Jantsch: Well, and I think there’s no question that at least… You know, you go to the conferences today and everybody’s talking about personalization, personalization, and I think that for some people it’s not gone beyond, Hey, first name, here’s my email.

Jason VandeBoom: Exactly. Yeah.

John Jantsch: And I think that that’s the nut we have to crack, isn’t it? I mean, it’s great talking about personalization, but how do we do it? I started the show off talking about customer experience automation and predictive sending. So let’s just lay that out. I mean, how does that work that’s any different than designing campaigns so to speak?

Jason VandeBoom: Sure. Yeah. And I think there’s those two focuses, it’s the bringing humans in at the right time and then functionality that can be developed and predictive sending is a good example of that where instead of thinking about messaging that’s delivered at the same time for a group of individuals, really learning from the contact level when is the best time, and not just when is the best time to open, but when is the best time for someone to be willing or open to respond to the engagement from the brand.

John Jantsch: Let me stop you right there because I just want to clarify that. So how would… Let’s say we send out, we have this list, we think they all care about the same thing or they care about the same product and we send them an email or something that explains a new offering. I mean, how would then timing be changed? Would it be changed based on the behavior, how they interacted or didn’t interact or what they did would, would actually automatically sort of put them in another timing?

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah, so a couple of different things. If you don’t know a lot about them, then we have to go to baseline ideas that have been done in the past of just like overall time zone, overall characteristics, compared to other contacts that kind of follow the same attributes and whatnot. But then as you get a better understanding of that individual, the timing should change. So predictive sending is very much about a message going out, right? But where we’re going with that as well is not just like in terms of a message, but think about predictively figuring out the optimal time for a sales rep to reach out. So really finding that blend of like automation and human touch, because timing plays such a key role with most any sales process and also post-sale process of getting someone to actually see value out of whatever you’re selling.

John Jantsch: So another thing that’s very common is we’ll have an ebook. It has a great promise, a great message, and people want to get it, but just because they downloaded that, I mean doesn’t necessarily mean… I mean they were solving a different problem. They were in a different stage of their journey or searching. I mean how do we then kind of take this thinking and say, “Okay, let’s add what we think they need in terms of content”? I mean how do we actually, so not just send different timing but maybe different content altogether? Is that part of kind of the new norm?

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah. No, I think that’s something that has been talked about for years and years and years and it’s ultimately fallen into the idea of just like then use split testing or something like that. Split tests down emails is nothing new. Split testing within an automation workflow is something we’ve had for quite some time and some others have started to grow their own versions of that, but ultimately that still is trying to figure out like one solution that’s going to work well for everyone or for a group or for a segment of contacts, when in reality what we should be thinking about is within that content of the message, whether it be an email, whether it be on another channel, determining based on that individual contact what type of content would work best and not necessarily trying to find the number one winner across a variety of options.

Jason VandeBoom: So doing that for messaging is very much… that’s kind of where we’re spending a bunch of time right now and then also taking the concepts and fundamentals of like split testing actual workflows, but doing that in a way where it’s not split testing to some singular end result, but actually finding the right paths and the right content by the individual contact.

John Jantsch: And so the implication, if we’re going to use the word automation here, is that I’m not just sitting here with a giant spreadsheet of all my split tests and plugging in data and then redirecting or remessaging. The idea here is that there’s an automation aspect of that.

Jason VandeBoom: Exactly, yeah, and that there’s an intelligence built in where to try to create those, like right now it’s very static experiences that you have to try to create to create these personalized workflows. Instead of having to build out thousands, tens of thousands, of workflows to try to get that granularity and personalization, that trust can be enabled within a platform to help you get there faster.

John Jantsch: For those that aren’t familiar with the backend or workings of ActiveCampaign, they use something they call automations where you can kind of drag and drop, do this, then do that, if they do this do that. So how, with that really, really brief explanation, how has now… how has the artificial intelligence that’s being built in here and the decision making process, how does that change that kind of drag and drop approach?

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah, so the approach is still there. It just provides… That’s the general theme of a direction. Meaning a good way of thinking about automations is just thinking about a flow chart. You have a start with your flowchart, that’s typically the trigger. Something happens to create the automation and then you have a sequence of events like you said, and then the only time you have actually different experiences would be if you have like if and else, so like if an action occurs then do something, otherwise go down a different path. And that’s how you create that like tree looking situation within a flowchart.

Jason VandeBoom: So taking that but making the actual paths vary by the contact and the independent timing between those actions, whether it be sending a message or when’s the optimal time to get sales or customer success involved, and then also within the content. So you’re personalizing the paths, you’re personalizing the actual content, you’re personalizing the timing, creating a really going from a static experience that everyone sort of hits all those check boxes at the same time with the same content to something that is far more dynamic and individual to the individual contact.

John Jantsch: And so then is the software platform merely making recommendations to me as the user that hey, we’re seeing this or this format of content is getting all the play. You ought to move this direction or is it just automatically making those alterations for me?

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah, so we believe that nobody would really trust it out of the box if it was just like we’re going to make all the decisions for you. So instead of that, you still know your business more than anyone else at the end of the day. So you probably know your customer propel, you know what will probably work one way or the other. So allowing you to kind of set that up and then choose as you gain more and more confidence with the platform what you want to allow the platform to play around with, so whether it be the timing aspect or if you want to… you like the idea of personalized content, you don’t necessarily want to split test it and you want it to actually be a little bit more dynamic by the contact, allowing you to sort of enable these different pieces as you gain more and more trust.

Jason VandeBoom: Now we’re also working on ways where we can make suggestions. Things that maybe are not thought of today or maybe you have automations that are currently running and we’re seeing something with the data that just, you know, maybe you haven’t analyzed quite yet or just something that may not make sense outside of what the data actually tells and to surface some of those as recommendations, but still then allowing that business owner or that marketer to choose to opt in on some of those things. Eventually the idea is it should not… like a true platform that’s focused on CX automation shouldn’t feel like a tool. It should feel more like a business partner, it should feel like it’s actually adding value, enabling you to do more.

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John Jantsch: So one of the things that I think a lot of business owners struggle with obviously is you hear about a platform like this and you think, “Oh this is great. This is going to do all the work for me.” But in reality, if we don’t set our businesses or our lead capture processes up on the front end right, I mean it’s probably not going to collect anything that you could do anything with. So what are some best practices for say, routing and segmenting and capturing somebody… enough data about somebody so that we can kind of understand what bucket to put them in even?

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah. So a couple things. I would say one err on capturing more data than you may even think you need right now. By having that capture and having that capture historically allows you to actually be able to do something in the future. The other thing I would spend a lot of time, not so much thinking about tactically how you’re going to cause a conversion or how you’re going to cause certain actions to take place, but what are those key pieces? What are those key conversions that you care about?

Jason VandeBoom: Sometimes it’s obvious, like it’s actually purchasing the product or whatnot, but then with your own insight and knowledge into, going back to you know your business more than anyone else or any other platform from a different vantage point, what are those influencers you think that may assist along the way? Like what are those key points where someone starts to find value and whatnot? And that isn’t always like a quantitative sort of thinking. Oftentimes it’s much more qualitative in the way of you just think something has some sort of a weight to it. Where all the sudden they start seeing the value or they become a little bit more hooked with the product or service you’re offering.

Jason VandeBoom: When you start figuring out what those are, then you can build out more tactical execution as to how do you drive more of that behavior and how do you drive ultimately to that conversion. But if you’re not thinking about those and if you’re not thinking about the key conversion events, you’re really just going to struggle quite a bit and there’s nothing that can really help, because everything has to work to some end goal.

John Jantsch: Yeah, and I think one of the things that I’ve always struggled with frankly is I have a couple of very unique segments and some listeners are probably going to say, “Yeah, you’re not doing this well,” but they need very different messages, but it’s not always obvious who they are. I know that sounds really vague, but how hard is it in that kind of initial, hey, here’s a piece of content that you found really compelling. You wanted to give me your email address, but now I want to know who you are. And you know, common wisdom is, hey, just get the email address and don’t put any more friction up, but by taking that path, I’m also not learning how to serve them.

Jason VandeBoom: Yep.

John Jantsch: So help me out. What’s the best practice for should… Once somebody gives that and they get the content, should we immediately go to asking them to sort of self identify?

Jason VandeBoom: I think it’s a couple of things. One, I do believe in the less is more up front to get the process going. So maybe you just start with that email address. Based on that, ideally your first couple of pieces of content or first messages going out have some clear… like if it’s actual content that’s enabling something, there’s a couple of different varieties in there. So based on engagement with that, you can classify and don’t just treat it as like there’s a link click or something like that and now you know that someone has something. You can set maybe a tag or something to that contact so you have a general understanding, but then trying to find different ways, just basic like profiling of as they take more action over time to get something, either from their action or them to fill something out additionally in the future.

Jason VandeBoom: But it also goes back to just kind of testing overall, because there’s the what content are they interested in, which I think a lot of people focus on, and there’s the how do they actually like to consume the content, which I think more people need to focus on sooner than later. And that could be simple as like some people like to consume heavy content and versus like more of a CliffsNotes style and a bunch of different similar types of variations. But I think that piece focusing on both at the same time in small iterations, not trying to get it all at once, is probably the best path forward.

John Jantsch: So let’s outline just kind of a very typical use case. It’s really common these days to have an indoctrination series. So somebody is new to you, they come and they say, “Hey, I like what you’re doing here. I want to get this checklist. Get on your list, start getting stuff from you,” and then we kind of drip out, typically been written as an automation. Maybe we put two days or three days between each and we drip out what we think will be useful information in a sequence of maybe over 45 or 60 days. They should know, assuming they read it all, a lot more about us. How would that very common practice be changed in a CX automation predictive sending way?

Jason VandeBoom: Sure. So for one, instead of having a single piece of content each step of the way, ultimately having the ability to have multiple versions but not testing for a single source of truth. So as you have a better understanding of both what types of content they’re looking to consume but how they want to consume it, it can start personalizing to that behavior. Additionally, there’s different types of people for consuming the content and maybe different levels of maturity if you will or want for consumption in terms of timing.

Jason VandeBoom: So based on interaction, based on if we can start grouping things up based on attributes that are known prior, even if they’re anonymous attributes such as like the pages they visited, sources, things like that to possibly accelerate that entire process that you’re talking about, but to do both of those things at more of an individual level instead of just trying to get like the one overall, and I think that’s the theme of where things are going in the future is all too often in the past we’ve really tried to optimize for this one overall workflow or this one overall like drip set of emails that overall is the best. But we’re leaving a lot on the table by really having to just focus on the overall instead of thinking about it at a far more personalized level.

John Jantsch: So the typical sort of person that actually is very engaged, ready to solve their problem, they want to consume the content in five days instead of five weeks would get that experience because they demonstrated that behavior.

Jason VandeBoom: Yes. But then ultimately, you know, at the end of the day, try and get all of this to tie to like going back to those key pieces that you know that are going to be drivers for your conversions and your actual conversions as well, because at the end of the day that’s what we should all be optimizing for is those known sort of events or transformative moments where they’re actually converting.

John Jantsch: Yeah. So it’s just a matter of of how we deliver them to that event.

Jason VandeBoom: Exactly.

John Jantsch: Great. So what’s in the future then? I know we’re talking about stuff that is new and people are still wrapping their heads around, but I’m guessing that you’ve road mapped an evolution of this even.

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah, so quite a bit, and it all revolves… there’s a lot more to do with timing. When you start thinking about when humans are involved in any form of a process, the timing is so critical, whether it be a phone call or reach outs and whatnot. So really digging into that further. The content piece, we’re just sort of scratching the surface of. We’re investing quite a bit into that right now. Making a truly personalized content where we’re not just testing to a single end result, but really the best variation and trying to get predictive content across channels as well and not just stick to just email.

Jason VandeBoom: And then there’s the concept of like dynamic routing, so like we have, you know, as marketers, we create these funnels and whatnot that you’ve been describing and they’re not like normally just thought up of from nothing. They’re, to your point, it’s well thought out, been doing these for quite a while, and so allowing a marketer to create a couple of these and then dynamically placing context down them, but not necessarily testing for the single one answer, but finding the optimal one.

Jason VandeBoom: After that, it’s very much about how do we take all of these practices and provide predictions and provide ideas. So seeing all the data, so you know, all the movement doing these personalizations and whatnot, we should be able to predict more and more. So even as you start off as a marketer using the platform, you should be able to get guidance as to like, here’s something, here’s a recipe for a sequence of events that we think would improve sales by X or save Y number of hours building off how do you make more and more of these predictions and how you actually follow up with the outcome, that’s ultimately where we’re looking to go.

John Jantsch: Of course it means you have to pay attention to what’s actually going on behind the scenes doesn’t it?

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah.

John Jantsch: And I mean that sort of facetiously, but sort of not. Because it’s not a matter of setting these things up if you’re not going to analyze them and learn from them, then you know you probably won’t get nearly as much out of them.

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah.

John Jantsch: So Jason, I know people can find all they want about ActiveCampaign at but are you… this is June of 2019 so dependent upon when people are listening to this, are you doing conferences or any kind of roadshow or anything that people need to know about?

Jason VandeBoom: Yeah, sure. I’m at a couple of things in the upcoming months. I think Traction is the next conference I’ll be at. Otherwise we have, we’re doing over 200 marketing events this year throughout the world where we’re really talking about marketing strategy and whatnot and helping people grow their business. That can be found at, .com/events and then other than that, anyone wanting to reach out, I can always be reached at

John Jantsch: Awesome. Thanks Jason, and hopefully we’ll run into you next time I’m up in the Chicago area.

Jason VandeBoom: Sounds good. Thank you.

The Ins and Outs of Marketing Automation

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The Ins and Outs of Marketing Automation written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with Jason VandeBoom
Podcast Transcript

Jason Vandeboom headshotToday on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I visit with founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign, Jason VandeBoom.

ActiveCampaign is an SaaS solution built in the cloud that is focused on marketing automation. Managing everything from email campaigns to SMS messaging to sales and CRM is possible through the platform, and their predictive technology can help you to send highly individualized content to the right customers at the right time to generate the best results.

VandeBoom and I talk all things marketing automation and personalization on this episode.

Questions I ask Jason VandeBoom:

  • How do we really ensure personalization?
  • How do we manage customized timing and content within automation?
  • What’s the best practice for getting more information about customers after they’ve initially reached out?

What you’ll learn if you give a listen:

  • How to strike the right balance between automation and human touch.
  • Why it’s important to think about content delivery method as well as the message.
  • Why the future of marketing automation is about individualization.

Key takeaways from the episode and more about Jason VandeBoom:

  • Learn more about ActiveCampaign
  • Attend one of ActiveCampaign’s upcoming events
  • Follow on Twitter
  • Connect on LinkedIn

Like this show? Click on over and give us a review on iTunes, please!

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How to Craft the Perfect Email

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How to Craft the Perfect Email written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Some small business owners are intimidated by email marketing. Having to write an individual email is scary enough if you don’t consider yourself a writer. The thought of sending an email out to an entire mailing list can be downright terrifying!

Fortunately, the perfect email is about more than just writing. And even for the written elements, once you’ve figured out the essential components, it’s easy for even those more timid writers among us to excel.

Here are the steps that go into crafting the perfect email.

Start with a Strong Subject Line

According to Campaign Manager, the average office worker receives 121 emails per day. That’s a lot of activity in just one inbox, and it means that you need to do something from the start to catch your readers’ eyes.

This starts with a strong subject line. There are a number of approaches you can take to make sure your subject line stands out. Consider including one of the following elements:

  • Create a sense of urgency – “Sale ends TONIGHT at 9pm”
  • Make an offer they can’t refuse – “Free shipping on orders of $25 or more”
  • Pique their interest – “What’s the secret to maintaining a healthy lawn?”
  • Provide value – “5 Tips for Hosting the Perfect July 4 BBQ”

An eye-catching subject line just might include an emoji, too. Of course, including emojis won’t be the appropriate choice for all businesses, but for some it can be a fun way to stand out in a text-heavy inbox.

Personalize the Message

There are a few steps that go into personalizing email messaging. You should begin by segmenting your lists. By breaking your customers and prospects down into groups based on demographics (like age, location, or gender) or by behavior (past purchases, most recent interaction with your brand, etc.) you can target different subsets of your population with messaging that will be most relevant to them.

This doesn’t mean you need to reinvent the wheel for each variant, but there are little steps you can take to tweak the messaging to best appeal to each group. Let’s say you own a landscaping business. You’re offering a big start of the summer promotion; anyone who schedules regular yard work appointments at the start of the summer will get 10 percent off each session.

This is great news for all of your customers, but you can tailor the messaging based on how you’ve segmented your list. Let’s say you’ve broken your list down by types of services those customers currently receive. For those who take advantage of your gardening services, make the messaging about how you’ll keep their flowers in bloom all season long, for a fraction of the price. For those who use your lawn mowing services, the email can say something like “The only thing better than the smell of fresh-cut grass is saving 10% off your lawn care services this summer.”

To further personalize the messages, take advantage of merge tags, which allow you to include the name of the recipient in the greeting, rather than a generic “Hey there.”

Write Smart Body Copy

This is where those non-writers start to get intimidated. What is good copy, anyway? Really it’s about being concise, clear, and helpful.

Keep sentences short, eliminate jargon and technical speak, and make it very clear what you’re offering in your email. Because we do all get so many emails each day, no one has time to sit down and read a thousand word email. Keep it to 250-500 words maximum, and devise ways to draw attention to the most important keywords. This can be as simple as bolding relevant text or including an image that draws the viewer’s eye to the most critical part of the message.

If you’re feeling shaky in your copywriting skills, check out this list of dos and don’ts.

Incorporate Elements Beyond Text

Creating the perfect email is all about standing out from the crowd. And what better way to do that than to add elements beyond text? A stunning photo, an informative infographic, or a quick video are all ways to add other media into your messaging.

If you’re going to go this route, set it up with a brief sentence or two, and then let the media speak for itself. If needed, include captions on images so that viewers have more context. Videos should also include subtitles, so that those viewing in a place where they can’t turn their volume up can still grasp the content (a service like Rev can help you with your transcription needs).

End with a Call to Action

Once you’ve dazzled your readers with relevant, personalized content and exciting visual elements, it’s time to bring it on home. One simple, clear call to action that’s tied in with the rest of the email is the way to do that.

If your email was about a sale going on right now, include a “Shop the sale” button that takes readers to your e-commerce site. If your email was an offer for a free ebook, end with a “Get the book” link. Whatever the case may be, make sure that the call to action flows with the rest of the email content and is set apart visually so that readers can’t possibly miss it.

And Don’t Forget the Unsubscribe Option

Last but not least, you want to give your readers a chance to unsubscribe. Not only is it the law to give folks a chance to opt-out of your marketing messaging, it can also help you maintain a clean email list. When your email is going directly to spam folders or getting deleted without being opened week after week, that puts you at risk of being punished by ISPs. A clean email list, with higher open rates and fewer people marking you as spam, ensures that your messaging is ending up in the inboxes of your most engaged subscribers.

Once you get the hang of creating compelling marketing emails, you must keep it up! Staying in regular contact with your subscribers is the best way to remain top-of-mind, so establish a cadence for your email marketing and stick to it.

5 Technological Innovations Changing Small Businesses

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technological innovationsTechnology is changing much of the world we know. From medicine to industry to military, technological applications are taking over. Barring any earth-shattering events, technology seems like it is here to stay. It is humankind’s effort to make the world function with efficiency. One of the areas most affected is business—technology has almost completely transformed the business landscape of today. Small businesses particularly are taking advantage of technological innovations at affordable prices. This blog explores modern technological innovations that are changing the small business landscape.

5 Technological Innovations Changing Small Businesses

Small businesses form the backbone of the American economy. Entrepreneurship is part of the American Dream. The ability to achieve success from rags to riches is appealing. Using nothing but your wits, determination, and hard work to do so is an almost romantic concept. Luckily, technology is making life easier for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It is helping them to realize their version of the American Dream. The slide toward innovation began early, ever since the internet became available to the public in the early nineties. Over the years, technological innovations have come and gone. But, some of them have stuck around. These 5 technological innovations are helping small businesses achieve success today:

  1. Management Reporting Systems
  2. Virtual Reality
  3. Virtual Assistants
  4. 3D Printers
  5. Remote Collaboration

Let’s discuss these technological innovations in more detail below.

Management Reporting Systems

Management reporting systems have been around since the early days of the computer. But the versions we have today are much more advanced than their predecessors. Management systems make it easier for managers to assign work to their subordinates. They also make it easier to manage work queues, reports and make business decisions. Many management systems are all-in-one solutions for smaller businesses. Others are scalable to your needs as your business grows in size and operations. Management reporting systems also reduce the amount of paperwork your business generates. All your business data and information is within easy reach.

Virtual Reality

What comes to mind when you hear the word Virtual Reality? A VR gaming headset? A VR cinematic experience? Both are very good examples of VR in commercial use. But VR also has many applications in businesses, especially small businesses. Over the years, technology has become more accessible and affordable. Design or engineering business functions stand to benefit the most. Why? VR eliminates the need for complex physical models. Instead, your designers and engineers create virtual models. 3D walkthroughs and models tend to appeal to many customers. They are also easier and cheaper to create in VR than in the physical world.

Virtual Assistants

Virtual voice assistants are very common these days. Some of the most popular ones are Bixby, Siri, and Google Assistant. There are also smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa in many homes across the country. But did you know voice assistants have a place in many small businesses as well? Investing in a voice assistant can be a good move considering today’s business world. Voice assistants can make calculations, set up appointments, and even place orders. For a small business owner, there is no end to work in sight. So, a voice assistant can help share some of the load by taking on mundane, simple tasks.

3D Printers

3D printers have been around long enough for some of the novelty to wear off. But they are still one of the most important inventions of our time. They are also much more accessible to businesses now than they were a few years ago. Some innovative 3D printers can be a solid investment for small businesses. Many printers generate gorgeous 3D prints using plastics or inks. Others print in 3D using other materials like metals. With the 3D printer, you can print almost anything if you have the right plans and materials. Small businesses can use them to print anything from souvenirs to repairing parts for tools.

Remote Collaboration

In the Digital Age, physical distances are almost nonexistent. Technology has made the world a much smaller place. Businesses have access to international markets. This is possible through the power of the internet and logistics companies. Businesses also have access to human resources and talents outside their country. They can expand the areas they operate in. Thanks to remote collaboration software, you can manage your global team with efficiency—most of the time, with much more efficiency than you could manage the old-fashioned way. Cloud-based remote collaboration software is the way to go for diverse teams. They reduce the need for expenses like equipment as well as travel costs. They also make it easier for businesses to operate beyond their physical limitations.

Remote software makes physical distances immaterial. You can manage all your business devices, networks, and servers with ease. You can track remote teams as well as offer support to your field operatives. You can collaborate with employees that are in different physical locations. Most important of all, you can do all this in the cloud.

As technology evolves, we may see even more changes to the small business landscape. How many will become common across small businesses and how many will fizzle out? Only time will tell.

About the Author: Rosie Harman is a senior content strategist at Visi One Click, specializing in Technology. She holds a Master’s in Business Administration from The University of Texas at Arlington and has spent the majority of her career working in tech giants in Texas. When she’s not helping the content team, Rosie enjoys adventuring with her two children around her home. You can connect with her on Twitter at @Rozie_Harman and learn more at:

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What Are Apps Doing With Your Data? Five Things To Know About Data Privacy And Security

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by Anish Sebastian, Co-Founder of Babyscripts

Earlier this month, the New York Times published an opinion piece titled “It’s Time To Break Up Facebook“. The title itself is not necessarily provocative — voices have been calling for the disbandment of the social media conglomerate in greater and greater numbers — but the by-line is. The article is authored by Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook.

Hughes’ claim that Facebook poses a “threat to democracy” is grounded in the social media’s access to an incredible amount of raw data. Facebook and its affiliates, Instagram and Whatsapp, aggregate data such as likes and dislikes, engagements, time spent watching a video, etc.; and encourage users to share even more personal information; ostensibly to improve their targeted ad services. However, as Hughes points out and the Cambridge Analytica scandal confirmed, such unfettered access to data can lead to more concerning problems than targeted ads that seem to read your mind.

Hughes is neither the first nor the only tech entrepreneur to blow the whistle over data privacy concerns, and the problems he identifies are not limited to social media. The current generation, fueled by smartphones, smart speakers, smart homes — smart everything —  is waking up to the serious challenges to privacy that these technological efficiencies are potentially introducing, driving policies like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

For companies that deal with special categories of sensitive data — like medical information — the stakes are much higher, as publications like the Washington Post and Vox have enumerated. Access to information such as mental health, sex life, family planning, history of disease, physical wellness, etc. could potentially jeopardize users’ job opportunities, promotions, and may even engender or perpetuate discrimination in the workplace.

While the increased awareness of data privacy and security issues is forcing companies to take a second look at their protection policies, there are steps that consumers can and should take on their own to keep themselves informed — a “know before you go” approach.

As an executive at a data tech company, here are my five top tips for consumers to keep data private and safe:

1. Ask yourself: how do they make money?

If an app or tool is “free,” it’s likely collecting revenue from advertising rather than sales, which means that your data — everything from number of logins to location to the number of times you visit the app in a day —  is potentially being shared with third-party sites, either in a direct or de-identified form

2. Look for the company message and prioritization of security.

If a company has a chief information security officer, that likely means that data is being monitored 24/7, making it a critical part of a cybersecurity system. If the company has any users in the EU, or does any business with the EU (and this is the case with many companies), they may need to be GDPR-compliant. While there is a long list of requirements for GDPR compliance, one of the most significant is that a company must inform its consumers of a data breach without undue delay and in many circumstances within 72 hours.

3. Is there a consent process?

Is the app or tool upfront and transparent about data use and policies? Do you have a good understanding of how your data will be used after you have been given access to the App?  Apps or tools that do not ask for permission at set up, or mask their data sharing practices in complicated language are suspect. Pay special attention to third party data sharing, including services like Apple, Alexa, and others; and make sure you are okay with this before you sign up.

4. Check the fine print.

Not all data use and sharing is equal. Sharing data in a de-identified and legally-compliant manner can have the positive effect of improving outcomes or performance for the benefit of all users without compromising user privacy. Check the fine print to determine what type of data sharing a company is performing.

5. Do your research!

It is always a good idea to do your own research. Take the time to do a simple Google search on a company’s privacy and security policies. Look up the third-party sites that are sharing their data. Determine whether you can delete your own data from a site should you choose to. Companies may or may not adhere to regulations of data, but the consumer has the power to hold them accountable.


Anish Sebastian co-founded Babyscripts in 2013 with the vision that internet enabled medical devices and big data would transform the delivery of pregnancy care. As the CEO of BabyScripts, Anish has focused his efforts on product and software development, as well as research validation of their product. Under his leadership, the Babyscripts product development team has refined the product offering, enhanced the product market fit, and commercialized their product suite in multiple markets.


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Five Simple Rules To Achieve Anything You Want In Life

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History has taught us that anyone can achieve anything they want in life, no matter how grand or little. Although the possibility of such an event might seem utterly ludicrous and entirely fictitious, it is incredibly true.

As long as you can stick to the simple laws of success, almost anything is possible.

As such, depending on what is to be achieved, we have drawn a list of five simple rules which if followed, can make what seems like the most frivolous of ideas come to fruition.

1. Identify What You Want.

It is obviously unwise to set out on a quest without having a destination in mind or to embark on a pursuit without an end in sight.

Therefore the wisest thing to do, which is often the first step to take, to achieve anything you want in life is to identify what you want.

Once an individual identifies what they want out of life, it suddenly becomes achievable. As a matter of fact, many plans fail to materialize into reality because people are indecisive about what direction to go in life and are easily distracted by every wind of doctrine. If you are not sure what you want and how to go about it, you can consult a life coach to help you with many things in your life.

2. Draw A Plan.

After identifying what you want, it is easy to make the mistake of not following it up with this next simple step.

This step is what turns a passive strategy into an effective strategy. It turns options into objectives.

This simple act of drawing up a plan of how you hope to achieve your dreams indicates seriousness and definiteness of purpose.

Write down your plans, goals and objectives on a vision board, as this will help to identify what has been achieved and what is lacking, as you make your way forward.

3. Measure your results.

It is certain that if you put all necessary effort into any given task, there will be resultant progress, as long as you don’t give up.

For this reason, it is essential to measure the results from every physical, mental, emotional, or financial input.

With this, you will be able to easily appreciate how much progress you are making and judge your methods to know if they are working for you.

4. Never stop believing.

This isn’t some religious mumbo-jumbo or psychobabble that exists for the sole purpose of keeping the hope alive.

Depending on the nature of what you plan to accomplish, there will be occasions that require you to believe in the possibility of your dream, the feasibility of your plan and the reality of your idea, even if no-one believes in you.

Only by keeping the faith alive will you be able to achieve anything you set out to accomplish when the going gets tough.

5. Be flexible with your plans.

The biggest challenge that stands on the path to achieving a goal is resistance to change.

No matter how new and un-explored your idea, dream or plan is, it should be open to modification and revisions when necessary.

Being flexible does not affect the big picture; most times, it only changes the means to achieving the desired result.


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