Tag Archive | "Values"

New Funding Round Values Reddit at an Astounding $3 Billion

Reddit announced a new $ 300 funding round valuing the company at an astounding $ 3 billion. The valuation is amazing considering that Reddit has been around for quite a while and is presumably past its high growth phase. Reddit was founded in 2005, a year after Facebook and a year before Twitter.

Half of that investment is coming from China video game producer Tencent, raising concerns from some about censorship possibilities. Reddit is currently banned in China.

Steve Huffman, CEO of Reddit, discusses the new funding round in an interview on CNBC:

We are reinventing the ads business both on the technology side and our ability to sell it and to create a friendly home for users and brands alike. We’ve made steady progress on all of these fronts over the last year. We feel pretty proud of where we are. As a result, we’re seeing a lot of attention from both brands and investors.

When we’re talking about competing for ad dollars, of course, we’re talking about Facebook and Google who take up the vast majority of ad spend. But when we think about our competitors, I half-jokingly but truthfully say, we’re competing with anywhere people spend their free time.

They (Tencent) are investing in lots of videogame companies and video games are one of many categories that are really popular on Reddit. But the fact of the matter is we are the only company at our scale that’s still a private company. We’ve had a lot of investor intention in the last year. So we find ourselves in a good position to kind of get something done right now.

The post New Funding Round Values Reddit at an Astounding $ 3 Billion appeared first on WebProNews.

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The 6 Values (and 4 Benefits) of Agile Marketing – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by AgileJim

You’ve probably heard of agile processes in regards to software development. But did you know those same key values can have a huge impact if applied to marketing, as well? Being adaptive, collaborative, and iterative are necessary skills when we live in a world where Google can pull the rug out from under us at a moment’s notice.

In today’s Whiteboard Friday, we welcome guest host Jim Ewel, founder of AgileMarketing.net, as he describes what’s important in the agile marketing process and why incorporating it into your own work is beneficial.

Agile Marketing

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Video Transcription

Hey, Moz fans, this is Jim Ewel. I’m the blogger behind AgileMarketing.net, the leading blog on agile marketing, and I’m here to talk to you today about agile marketing.

Agile marketing is an approach to marketing that takes its inspiration from agile software development. Like agile software development, it has a set of values and it has a set of benefits, and we’re going to talk about those values and benefits today.

6 Values of Agile Marketing

Value number one: Responding to change over following a plan.

It’s not that we don’t plan. It’s just that we don’t write 30- to 40-page marketing plans. Instead, every quarter, we write a one-page plan that specifies our goals, our aspirations to get everybody on the same page, and then every two to four weeks, we reset our priorities. We say, “This is what we’re going to get done during this two- to four-week period.”

Value number two: Rapid iterations over “big bang” campaigns.

In traditional marketing, we get together in a room and we say, “We’re going to run a campaign for three to six months to a year.”

We hash out the idea of what we’re going to do for that campaign. Then we communicate to the agency. They come up with creative. They review it with us. We go back and forth, and eventually we’ll run that campaign for three to six months. And you know what happens at the end of that campaign? We always declare victory because we’ve spent so much money and time on that campaign that every time we say, “It worked.”

Well, we take a very different approach in agile marketing. We take an iterative approach. We start out with a little strategy. We meet for half an hour or an hour to figure out what do we think might work. Then we figure out how to test it. We measure the results, and this is very important, we document the learning.

If something doesn’t work, we test it out and it doesn’t work, it’s okay because we’ve learned something. We’ve learned what doesn’t work. So then we iterate again, and we try something else and we do that, we get that cycle going in a very effective way.

Value number three: Testing and data over opinions and conventions

Here, again, the importance is that we’re not following the highest-paid person’s opinion. No HiPPOs. It’s all about: “Did we test it? Do we have data? Do we have the right metrics?” It’s important to select the right metrics and not vanity metrics, which make us feel good, but don’t really result in an improvement to the business.

Value number four: Many small experiments over a few big bets

And I like to talk about here the 70:20:10 rule. The idea behind the 70:20:10 rule is that we spend 70% of our budget and 50% of our time on the things that we know that work. We do it broadly across all our audiences.

We then spend 20% of our budget and 25% of our time modifying the things that we know that work and trying to improve them. Maybe we distribute it in a little different way or we modify the content, we modify what the page looks like. But, anyways, we’re trying to improve that content.

And the last 10% of our budget and 25% of our time, we spend on wild ideas, things where we fully expect that only about 2 or 3 out of 10 ideas is really going to work, and we focus those things on those creative, wild ideas that are going to be the future 70% and 20%.

Value number five: Individuals and interactions over one-size-fits-all

Now, I like to think about this in terms of one of the experiences that I have with SEO. I get a lot of requests for link building, and a lot of the requests that I get are form requests. They write me a little message that they’re writing to hundreds of other people, and I don’t pay any attention to those requests.

I’m looking for somebody who really knows that I’m writing a blog about agile marketing, who’s interacting with me, who maybe says something about a post that I put on Agile Marketing, and those people are the ones that I’m going to give my business to, in effect, and I’m going to do some link building with them. Same thing applies to all of our marketing.

Value number six: Collaboration over hierarchy and silos

One of the key things in many marketing organizations is that different silos of the organization don’t seem to talk to each other. Maybe marketing isn’t talking to sales, or marketing hasn’t got the ear of senior management.

Well, one of the things we do in agile marketing is we put some processes in place to make sure that all of those groups are collaborating. They’re setting the priorities together, and they’re reviewing the results together.

4 Benefits of Agile Marketing

As a result of these six values, there are four important benefits to agile marketing.

I. The first is that you can get more done

I’ve taught a lot of teams agile marketing, and, as a whole, they tell me that they get about 30% to 40% more done with agile marketing. I had one team tell me they got 400% more done, but that’s not typical. So they’re getting more done, and they’re getting more done because they’re not doing rework and they’re working on the right priorities.

II. Getting the right things done

Because you’re working with sales, you’re working with senior management to set the priorities, you’re making sure with agile marketing that you’re getting the right things done, and that’s important.

III. Adapting to change

Part of our life today in marketing is that things change. We know that Google is going to change their PageRank algorithm in 2017. We don’t know exactly how, but we know it’s going to happen, and we need to be able to adapt to that change quickly and accurately, and we put processes in place in agile marketing to make sure that happens.

IV. Improved communications

Improved communications both within the marketing team and, probably even more important, outside the marketing team to sales and senior management.

By representing what we’re getting done on something like a Kanban board, everybody can see exactly what marketing is working on, where it’s at, and what they’re getting done.

So that’s agile marketing in a nutshell. I’d love to hear your comments, and thanks for watching.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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The 5 Cornerstone Values that Build an Authoritative Presence Online

Authority

You’ve seen us talking a lot about authority — authority with your audience, with the search engines, with colleagues, with other web publishers.

Why do you want it? Because given the noisy, cluttered state of the web right now, it’s the authoritative site that earns the business.

  • It’s the site that delivers credible, effective solutions to customer problems.
  • It’s the site that attracts links from other authoritative publishers.
  • It’s the site that earns plenty of social sharing from an audience that wants to share high-quality, user-friendly content.
  • And it’s the site with a confident, ethical sales process that converts attention into business.

There are a lot of components to authority — site design, intelligent SEO, strategic content promotion.

But behind all of these is a single, non-negotiable element that every authoritative site needs. You’ll find a clue in the graphic that accompanies this post.

The “secret sauce” — the magic ingredient that makes the others work — is the intelligence and skill set of a talented, well-trained author.

In other words, the secret sauce is you.

Why the author is at the heart of authority

The web, for all of the automated stock trading and spambots, is made of people. It’s made of readers and writers, connectors and curators, mavens and clowns, teachers and trolls.

Creating a site that people trust and turn to can only happen when smart, informed authors make a concerted effort to create something worth reading.

That’s why “spun” content and anonymous content farms were never going to amount to anything. They might have managed to fool search engines for a short while, but they never fooled readers into thinking that their content was useful or interesting — and they never will.

After observing hundreds of authors with hundreds of different business and audience types, here are my thoughts on what makes the difference between a run-of-the-mill web publisher and a true authority. Remember, like all business values, these are important because of how they affect your audience and your customers. They come first, you come second.

#1: Authorities serve their audiences

Your worth as an authority, in my excruciatingly humble opinion, comes from the number of people you help and how profoundly you help them.

A “guru” whose advice doesn’t solve real problems in the real world isn’t an authority — she’s a con artist.

An train wreck who gets a million site hits a month for being an idiot isn’t an authority — he’s just an attention-craving jackass

Authorities help others. They serve their audience first.

That doesn’t mean you don’t get to put your own needs into the equation. As my favorite Zig Ziglar quote says,

You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.

#2: Authorities genuinely know their stuff

In order to help people, you have to actually know something.

In fact, we look for credible authorities precisely because there’s so much downright bad information available on the web.

Authorities take the time to really understand their topics. They sift out misinformation. They ask a lot of critical questions … including of themselves. They stay on top of their topics and make sure their advice is as good as it can possibly be.

That doesn’t mean that an authority is always the world’s foremost expert in a topic. Often, the most valued authority is the one who can take useful information and turn it into interesting, digestible, user-friendly content.

#3: Authorities give a damn

When you stop caring about your audience, it starts to show. Quickly.

Authority can bring tremendous satisfaction with it — from the good you do for the people you serve. The energy you bring to your site and your business comes from that satisfaction.

#4: Authorities are strategic

All of this may sound very kumbaya — but to be a valued author who’s getting recognized on the web and elsewhere, you need a strong grasp of strategy.

You need to understand things like site design and SEO and content promotion. You need to understand how to put your great message into the world so it will be heard.

And if your authoritative site supports a business, you need to make money. Consistently. You need your expertise and authority to translate into paying customers, or all of it is just a time-consuming hobby.

#5: Authorities take the long view

We live in an “instant results” society, but a true authority knows that the riches go to the one who can successfully play the long game.

As I like to tell my students, Don’t take shortcuts, they take too long.

Fortunately, the web itself is such a powerful accelerator that we don’t have to wait 10 or 20 years for our hard work to pay off. But we’re not going to build thriving businesses in 10 days, we’re not going to triple our audience in a month, and we’re not going to double our revenue this year without plenty of hard work and smart strategy.

Patience, integrity, and hard work — combined with some smart business education to make sure you’re making the best use of your time — are what works. They always have been, they always will be. Put these at the heart of your business strategy and you’ll see real results that last.

About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

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Do Customers Actually Care about Your Company’s Values?

Image of a compass

There’s a lot of back and forth about the value of online “engagement” for businesses.

Do customers want more engagement with the businesses they frequent? Do they care about it? Does the word engagement actually mean anything at all? Or is it just another feel-good buzzword?

A recent article from Harvard Business Review asserts that customers don’t care much about interaction with businesses — instead they feel most engaged (and buy more) when they believe they share values with the company.

HBR’s position is that customers want to share a “higher purpose” with business. This is extremely fashionable at the moment, with businesses all over the web switching to taglines that start with the words: We believe.

So do customers care what you believe?

For some businesses, the answer is clearly Yes. Matt Frazier over at No Meat Athlete runs a values-based business. Brands like Patagonia and Prius get a lot of mileage out of building a tribe around shared values.

But for dog food? Software? Web design? Air travel?

The Zappos model

One of the poster children for the “values” argument is Zappos — the online shoe store that operates around a celebrated set of core values.

Zappos uses their value statement as a kind of corporate DNA. Values like “Deliver WOW through service” and “Pursue growth and learning” let employees and customers know who the company is.

Their values statement informs the way the company looks and behaves. It tells the company how it should grow. It’s the template for the decisions they make and the processes they put into place.

Their core values are such an important part of Zappos that they print them on the packaging.

So the question becomes — what is it that’s attracting the customer? Is it the statement of values on the side of the shoe box? Or is it the embodiment of values in the behavior of their employees?

Marketing is communication …

My definition of marketing is “Everything you communicate to your customers and prospects.”

Note that “communication” isn’t always explicit. It isn’t even always conscious.

We ran through a Zappos-style values exercise at our recent all-hands company meeting for Copyblogger Media. And the conversations were fascinating.

Did we unearth any values that truly surprised anyone? Not really. We believe in making our customers more powerful. When there are problems, we believe in pitching in together to make things right. We treat each other with kindness and respect.

It was the process of articulating and sharing them that created the benefit. Maybe it’s as simple as standing up and saying that Yes, we believe in profit — but that’s not the only thing we believe in.

So do you need a Zappos style values statement?

Sitting down together and figuring out your values can be a silly corporate time-waster, or it can be a meaningful and moving process. What makes the difference?

For me, working on our values with our whole team was tremendously powerful. (That’s a technique I stole from Tony Hsieh, Zappos’ CEO.) Our developers and support crew and writers and designers are all very different from one another — but seeing how similar we were in certain ways was eye-opening. And cool.

For another, we weren’t trying to come up with messages to print on the side of a shoe box. We were trying to figure out our own best selves — how to behave in line with our strongest, wisest internal compass. And that translates directly into how we treat people — customers, guest writers, colleagues, vendors, prospects — everyone.

It’s still all about them. Always.

Back to the dog food and air travel question. Harvard Business Review asserts that people fly Southwest because they share the value of “democratization of air travel,” and buy Pedigree dog food because they share the value that “every dog deserves a loving home.”

Does that ring true to you? It doesn’t to me.

People buy the kind of dog food that they think will keep their dog happy and healthy, and that fits their family budget.

People fly Southwest because the people who work there are nice and the fares are cheap.

The values inside those companies may very well help deliver what customers want. Southwest’s values are key to that nice, friendly work force. Their values also allow them the efficiency to keep fares ultra low.

The secret isn’t necessarily in the values. It’s in giving customers what they want.

So if your values statement exists to make you feel awesome about yourself, maybe you should skip it. But if it helps you give customers exactly what they want, the way they want it, you’re probably on to something.

How about you?

Ever sat down and tried to figure out a formal values statement for your company, whether as a team or for yourself as a professional?

What was the most interesting thing you learned? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

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