To celebrate their 15th anniversary on September 26, Google announced their latest and one of their biggest algorithm updates—the Google Hummingbird. The event was staged in a garage which Larry Page and Sergey Brin rented when the website was just starting. The company mentioned that the Hummingbird will be able to analyze longer, more difficult questions and rank websites according to their relevance to queries.
Like a hummingbird, the update is "precise and fast": It gives an exact answer to your question with just one click instead of just giving results that contain the keywords you are looking for. The Hummingbird focuses not only on individual search words but also considers its context when put together to return accurate and relevant pages.
What exactly does Hummingbird do?
Hummingbird expands the Knowledge Graph-a database of over 570 million interconnected concepts. This catalogue, introduced last year, consists of known people, places, events, modern culture, history that enable users to get intelligent results. If "Venus" is entered, Google will supply a list of possible answers to the keyword since it's a broad topic. It can be Venus the planet, the goddess of love, the tennis player, or a title of a film. The knowledge graph understands that keywords can have various meanings and it can differentiate it from one another.
We seem to live in a world saturated with KPIs. Our corporate rivers are overflowing with them drenching everything in numbers and targets. KPIs stands for Key Performance Indicators and most companies and government organization are either drowning in metrics and/or are using them so badly that they are leading to un-intended behaviors.
The other week I wrote about the 75 KPIs every manager needs to know. That list of metrics was intended as an overview of all the 'good' KPIs I see in use today. I thought I made it unmistakably clear in the article that no-one should pick all 75, but some still didn't get the message. Anyhow, my suggestion was to learn about the 75 good ones and then select the vital few that would be most relevant and meaningful to any given business.
With this post I want to follow on to say that there are really only 4 KPIs that every manager needs to use. These four are the same KPIs that come out of every workshop I run with executive from all over the world, across all different types of industries. To get to them I create a simple exercise and say to them: "You are running this business and want to understand how well the business is performing. You now have to select KPIs for the business and those metrics are the only management information you can use to judge whether the business is doing well or not. The challenge is that you have to agree on only 4 and together they should give you a complete picture."
Pity the big brands. No matter how much money they toss at digital-this and social-media-that, it's rare that even the biggest and most beloved get a fraction of the traction of the Gagas and Biebers of the world.
Of course, this is pretty predictable: Celebrities have personalities. They're relatable. They're people. They're engaging.
Isn't this what every company wants? To exhibit personality? To be engaging? Surely there's some lessons that big brands can crib from social media-savvy celebrities in order to drum up user engagement?
To dig in, I called up Matt Michelsen, founder and CEO of Backplane, a company that produces the social backend used by celebrities such as Lady Gaga to build their online communities (Backplane powers her popular Littlemonsters.com site, and recently announced deals to bring their platform to Coke, Nike, and Cirque de Soleil.) My simple question for Michelsen: When it comes to building community and engaging audiences, what can big brands learn from social-media savvy celebrities?
To paraphrase Mark Twain: The death of TV has been greatly exaggerated.
Despite the rise in numbers of digital and mobile viewing, industry experts say TV won't become obsolete anytime soon; in fact, numbers show that TV remains marketers' top choice for their initiatives.
Erik Dochtermann, CEO of KD+E, a New York-based media research, planning, and buying agency, said what he has noticed during the past two decades is the continuing, cyclical pattern of both advertisers and consumers flirting with a new advertising/marketing concept, seeing little visible return, and then returning to television.
"There is no indication that this roller coaster will end—advertisers and consumers will always look for the latest and greatest, but in the end it comes down to sales," he told CMO.com. "If you afford the minimum thresholds for creative and media budgets, television is the most effective medium to grow a brand quickly. However, in the long term, the spread of TV viewing to other mobile devices will be more rapid as the younger generation gets older, as their viewing habits are significantly different than the previous generation."
Disclaimer: My background is in sales.
According to Forrester Research, buyers are anywhere from two-thirds to 90 percent of the way through the buying process before they ever contact a vendor or sales person.
In many cases, both business-to-business and business-to-consumer buyers wait until the last possible minute to contact a sales representative, relegating sales to mere order takers.
For a moment, just think about your own buying experiences. To what lengths do you go through to avoid talking directly to a sales person?
Consumers today are in complete control of the buying process, and are engaging in information to become smarter at a torrid rate. According to Google's Zero Moment of Truth research, in 2010 the average consumer engaged with five pieces of content before making a buying decision. In 2011, that number doubled to more than 10.
Twitter has came along way from a social network in which people told you what flavor of ice cream they were eating to a powerful platform for inside sales teams can count on for success.
Lists allow you to filter out all the noise and organize important people. For example, creating a list for industry influencers to help you establish yourself as a trusted source and thought leader by sharing their information and networking with them. Also essential is a list of your current prospects that are in Twitter. Monitor this list to listen for trigger events, or to get to know your prospects and establish some value for your next formal touch point. Also essential is a competitors list for you to gain insight into their positioning, their problems, and who they're talking to.
The Personal Touch
Twitter gives you a glimpse into what your prospects personal life, likes, and interests are. This information combined with their professional LinkedIn profile will give you a 360 degree understanding of what makes your prospects tick. Knowing their personal lives allow you to immediately build rapport on your calls or email, and have context to have a great conversation. As sales moves toward a more buyer-centric model, this personal information will be going in to your CRM system in order to raise success metrics across the board.