The importance of data collection and keeping the database up-to-date

Did you run lately a marketing campaign and had little success?
There could be various reasons contributing to that but one the main reasons is an outdated database.
Nowadays, almost 67% of companies rely on CRM data for growth of their bottom line. Yet, close to 94% of B2B companies suspect their database to be inaccurate.
This causes a waste of time and money, with little ROI.

Your database is one of your most valuable business assets. It should enable you to grow your sales and increase your profits and this is why it needs special attention.
Up-to-date contact lists are the foundation of any direct marketing related strategy or program you wish to execute.

So, how to start?

  1. Develop a database sanitation plan
    1. Delete duplicates
    2. Identify the sources of irrelevant data in your database
    3. Verify if data is still up-to-date by contacting the organizations (check for relevant names and contact details)
  2. Build strategy for new data entries
    1. Create data quality key performance indicators (KPIs)
    2. Standardize the information you want to collect
    3. Initiate a data entry process to assure the uploading of accurate data
    4. Consistently track and validate your contact data
    5. Keep a record of collected data, how you use it and where it is stored, avoiding violation of GDPR or CASL

Your benefits for following these procedures are an increased ROI of your sales campaigns, reducing costs, segmenting decision makers in a more effective way, building brand value and avoid compliance issues

Do you need help? Contact me for information about my services and consulting. I’d love to explore how we could work together.

Why You Always Need a Plan B When Exhibiting

The basic preparations required for exhibiting at industry events are pretty much identical and seasoned professionals know that it is intense work to provide the required deliverables according to the event organizers deadlines and related internal guidelines. Having said that, it is fun work and very rewarding when everything planned turns out all right. 

Those days of hard work, which many times go hand-in-hand with stress always remain, however much of experience one has. But the difference between those who are prepared for what is called “the-worst-case-scenario” and those who are not prepared with a plan B, can make a world of a difference. 

So what should be included in a plan B: 

  • Be onsite during booth construction 
  • Bring copies of signed contracts with the event organizers and any (local) subcontractors from who you buy services (e.g. AV, internet, electricity, catering, cleaning services, courier), and contact details of each of them 
  • Print out lists of all materials needed at the event including for product display as well as to keep the stand and its team running  
  • In case you shipped materials, include in your backup plan, alternatives sources to obtain reserve products for display 
  • Check, check and double check 

To illustrate how essential having a plan B in place is, I’d like to share with you an anecdote of an scenario which easily could have turned into a disaster, resulting in having an almost empty booth without products to display, but as I was prepared with a plan B, I was able to turn the tables and make the event a major success.

A shipment sent abroad of 2 pallets with 12 boxes went lost, despite the fact that is was sent sufficient time in advance with a respectable international courier company. Bad luck, especially as there were local Holidays, offices were closed and attempts tracing the shipment failed.

The headache was huge, and all kinds of scenarios were running through my head but there was not panic I was well prepared; Armed with a printed out daily script which included: booth duties, team members’ arrival/departure dates and their way of transportation to the event site, action items, notes for briefings and debriefings as well as the earlier mentioned bullet points, gave me the toolset to create magic.

Quickly alternative products for display were organized, equipment and material were rented or bought and with a dedicated team committed to make the best of this unexpected situation, the booth was ready at the time of opening to the public and nobody would have guessed about what happened behind the scenes. Another successful event for the company was recorded.   

Did you have similar experiences? Did you come up with other ways to avert disaster? Do you have tips and tricks you’d like to share? Please feel free to share them!

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How to prepare for and beat your fear of public speaking

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Douglas Fairbanks, movie star, speaking in front of the Sub-Treasury building, New York City, to aid the third Liberty Loan. April 1918.

It is such an exciting opportunity to share your knowledge, thoughts and opinions with others but doing so in a meeting in front of colleagues is a complete different ballgame than speaking in public in front of strangers.

Knowing that you will be judged in every aspect from the moment your name is announced to give the presentation could be nerve-breaking and intimidating.

The way you walk to the stage (body-language), your appearance (being dressed properly to the occasion), and the first words you speak (is content appealing to the audience) could make or break your presentation.

There is only one way to ensure that all the above work out: be prepared and practice.

Ensure that the presentation, whether you use slides or not, is structured properly; Tell compelling stories the audience can relate to and create your presentation based on the stories. Ensure to

  • start with a powerful opening (it should grab the audience’s attention, create curiosity, wanting them to hear more) in which you include what you will be talking about (agenda)
  • Include the What, Why, and How of your topic in your main message. Keep the core message focused and brief
  • have a strong closing (inform your audience you are about to close your presentation and summarize what you told them including the highlights). End e.g. with a quote or call to action

Add humor whenever suitable and invite people to ask questions for which you need to allow time.

Microphone_public speaking

If you use a PowerPoint presentation, ensure that the slides hold minimal readable text (font size at least 30 points), preferably only with a few keywords so that your audience is focused on listening to you instead of reading your slides. Use visuals as people find it easy to relate to that.

Learn your script by heart (tip: check it for too many repetitive words) to avoid long breaks which people may perceive as you are searching for words, or even worse, the use of “”um’s” to fill up time. At appropriate moments allow short pauses which help the information to sink in.

Practice the presentation standing up in front of a mirror (pay attention to the way you move and use gestures), and record yourself so you can review it and improve your speech. If possible perform it for colleagues and friends as well to receive their feedback.
And how to keep your audience engaged?
Know your audience, what interests and motivates them, while getting them involved by asking them questions and acknowledging them in your presentation.
If possible and relevant relate to earlier held presentations. Maintain eye contact to keep your audience involved.

Some tips:

  • Print out your presentation and script and have a backup plan for delivering the presentation in case electricity or technology fails (also for audiovisuals you include in the presentation)
  • Do a dry run of the presentation including the testing of all equipment, audiovisuals, sound and (internet) connections
  • Have a glass of water handy
  • Think of questions that could be asked and practice brief answers for each

Last but not least: smile and enjoy. If you’re tense people might focus on you instead of the content of your presentation. The better you’re prepared, the more fulfillment and enjoyment you’ll get out of it.

Changing the sitting culture at work

www.officeneeds.sulekha

The saying “movement contributes to a visible improvement in the health of the brain” is encouraging companies to alter sitting habits as many employees sit more than ten hours a day.

What can you do to discourage sedentary?
People should be enticed to change their behavior, especially in the workplace because there is much to be gained. Fact is that too much sitting may even cause health problems.

Hold meetings while standing – the investment is minimum and you can already start immediately. Another advantage is that in general the meetings are a lot shorter.

Use the staircase – encourage employees to make usage of the stairs. Make them attractive, for example with good lighting, pictures, funny mirrors and wall art.

Take frequent short walking breaks – stimulate employees to take short walking breaks, to the kitchen or outside, to give the eyes a break, the brain a short break and breathe in some fresh air.

Install desk cycles at work – several vendors offer height-adjustable desks with pedals underneath which allows “exercising while working”.While you are riding your upper body is virtually silent enabling writing, reading and talking like at a normal desk.

Use ergonomics and technology – change office furniture and design a landscape that challenges people to assume different positions instead of just sitting.

Even with nowadays technology you can battle sitting habits. When sitting too long at your desk, you will receive a message on your smartphone, from apps such as Stand Up! The Work Break Timer, StandApp Pro and StretchClock.

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image courtesy of http://www.bates.eu.com

 

 

 

About Cyber-attacks, Hacktivists, and Security Solutions

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In the 21st century, cybercrime is rampant with hackers stealing and using data from individuals, companies and governments for their personal, financial or political gain. In particular, government agencies and large corporations are prime targets for organized hacker groups (“hacktivists”) such as Anonymous.

For example, this group has been orchestrating its annual April 7 cyber-attacks on US and Israeli targets consistently for the last four years; it is widely anticipated that 2016 will be no exception. The Anonymous attack pattern includes targeting the websites of government agencies and major corporations with mega DDoS attacks with the objective of taking those websites down for as long as possible, causing extensive financial and reputational damages.

Organizations and governments around the globe are well aware of the ongoing cybercrime wave. Major cyberattacks impact well-known brands, governmental agencies, and enterprises of all sizes including their employees. Those in charge of information and data security frequently attend exhibitions, seminars and webinars, and read industry reports to stay ahead. Since the cost of attacks can be daunting, both financially and to the brand, organizations around the globe should be aware of the risks of DDoS attacks and protect themselves. Those that invest in a comprehensive defense program significantly minimize their exposure to those risks. They should deploy effective anti-DDoS and security solutions, as well as continually educate their employees on ways to use the Internet safely and securely for both professional and personal use.

Although it is virtually impossible to be 100% protected against the impact of cyberattacks, security solutions have come a long way since the dawn of the Internet. Anti-DDoS  and anti-malware solutions have proved to be highly effective in warding off attacks – even at the scale and sophistication of the Anonymous ones. Those solutions are able to identify the threats, mitigate them and monitor new ones.

A nice example of how an effective security solution works, is the case of hacktivists threatening to disrupt the Catalonian elections in 2015 using DDoS attacks. CTTI, the agency responsible for the Catalonian infrastructure, deployed ServiceProtector to protect its networks in real time, and prevented potential high-volume attacks before any damages were incurred.

Information security is no longer the concern of just a few in the organization. On the contrary, each and every employee should be educated about the risks of online behaviors while the organization as a whole takes measures to effectively protect itself against multiple cyber-risks before they impact the network. And it can be done!

25 Years of Fruitful Business Opportunities at Fresh Agro-Mashov

agromashovThis year “Fresh Agro-Mashov agriculture exhibition” celebrates a quarter century of having grown into the central meeting point for the members of Agricultural industry from Europe, Asia and Africa. This year, the participants are streaming in Tel-Aviv in Israel for two days of amazing meetings with the sole players of the world’s Agricultural sector.
The exhibition will devote itself on the production and marketing of fresh agricultural produce and reduction of the brokerage costs in agriculture. Being the summit of growers of fresh agricultural produce, buyers, wholesalers and marketers from Israel and beyond, it will set the platform for active and unique business. The exhibition will set a central platform for displaying groundbreaking technological innovations and fertile ground for business relationships with Israel’s Agricultural sector.

Click here to read the blog.

Enjoy !

Agriculture’s “Annual World Cup” is Back in Town

fruits_sweet_fruit_smallFresh Agro Mashov international Fresh Produce Summit and Exhibition also tagged as the “agriculture’s annual World Cup” is holding its annual agricultural products exhibition at the Israel Fairs & Conventions Center, Tel-Aviv, June 23-24, 2015 where it will facilitate a cooperation of all stakeholders in the fresh agricultural products. This will entail display of fresh farm produce by key upcoming companies, as well as large scale farmers around the globe.

Click here to read the blog

Enjoy !

Concepts to Human Behavior and Teamwork – What We Can Learn From Animal Team Work

Canada Geese Flying at Sunrise

Image courtesy of http://www.galleryhip.com

If you would have to find great examples of teamwork, cooperation, concept of leadership and dedication, and a combination of them all, there is no better place to look for them than in Mother Nature.

We can learn so much from animal behavior by observing what nature instinctively has taught them, as they understand that collaboration with team members is necessary for protection, survival and getting the job done; they have motives, vision and understand team work.
Identical cooperative and team work behavior and spirit are detected in air, sea and land animals; plenty of examples are to be spotted all around us.
We only need to take the time to learn and understand how and why they team up and apply these concepts to our lives. Below some samples:
•    Coyotes and badgers show a most unlikely collaboration; often they hunt together on the same prey; by doing this together more ground is covered, energy conserved in the hunt and the prey is less likely to escape

Fantastic Leaf-tail Gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus) mimicking leaves, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Madagascar

Image courtesy of http://www.wired.com

•    The Leaf Tailed Gecko is master in camouflage, giving it protection and the perfect hunting position
•    Fish are shoaling and schooling to seek defense against predators

But best example of teamwork is in

•    Migrating birds like ducks and geese. By sharing the same direction and working together, they reach their destination faster and easier and accomplish feats that seem inconceivable and impossible to other animals.
By flying in the “V” formation, flight efficiency is increased by 71% compared to one bird flying alone as they take advantage of ‘upwash’ thrown up by the wings of the bird ahead.  Synchronizing the flapping of their wings and fine-tuning their position enables them to deal with the subtle effects of air turbulence.
They rotate flock leaders when getting tired, honk to hearten those up front to keep up their speed. Even more amazing is that if one is wounded or gets sick, some other geese leave the formation, accompany  the ailing goose down to help and protect him until he dies or is able to fly again. Then they will continue their journey.

Above samples demonstrate how genomes and animal behavior need to be understood and that individuals can benefit without being “selfish.”
When we work in a team, we feel bonded to each other, share the same feeling of satisfaction when meet our challenge and comprehend the real value and importance of teamwork.

So, let’s glean lessons from the importance of teamwork and collaboration from partnerships like badger’s and coyote’s or migrating birds.

Is there a connection between Wet Dreams and Bitcoin?

Read this article by  in the Bitcoin magazine called “Is Bitcoin causing Libertarians to Experience Wet-Dreams?”.

Researching all things bitcoin thoroughly for the last two years has led me to come across several occurrences of articles referring to bitcoin as a “Libertarian wet-dream”. It is commonly referred to this way in several blogs, forums, computer technical websites and even some professional economic journals. The expression is now so pervasive that a Google search brings up seemingly countless instances for your linking pleasure. Perhaps it is now time for a journalistic undercover investigation to confirm the phenomenon is indeed a new epidemic.  If the connection between bitcoin and wet-dreams is established we my ask ourselves – could wet-dreaming also happen with owners of  litecoin or other alternative currencies?  Is it safe for one to ask – “Is anyone safe”? The topic of bitcoin has been covered extensively in most other angles, but in the name of science it seems, nobody can yet answer the questions of  “what happens to bitcoin when you sleep”?

Read the full article here.

 

21st Century Biggest Paradox – Prolonging Life with Job Vacancy Inadequacy, Now What?

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image courtesy of BBPN

Through the ages continuous efforts by scientists have increased the average life expectancy. Foreseen is that in the course of this century life expectancy will reach 100 years and possibly far beyond.

Endless medical research and efforts are made with the aim of prolonging life; fighting life threatening diseases, predicting new epidemics and curing those who are expected to become victim of and suffer from for example Alzheimer, world’s worst enemy, as one becomes completely dependent on society, our love and care.
Undeniably the main challenge of the preceding is to grant mankind a long healthy life and find the ultimate formula to remain independent as long as possible and stem the financial burden on society.

For some of us this might be a comforting idea but guess who is going to support the ever so fast growing aging population. Your guess is right; you and me, our kids and grandkids.

An unescapable chain reaction is created; as we become older, the age at which we will become eligible for pension will rise1 and is escorted by another problem; combating age discrimination.
It comes down to retaining 40 plussers in the organization and hiring the unemployed ones for long term positions (if possible until they reach the pension age).

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image courtesy of ANC

What steps can and should be taken to keep the older generation included in the work force and change the attitude of the majority of companies who choose to employ young team players over experienced workers ages 40 and up?

A distinction can be made between “computerized” office jobs and “physical” professions such as plumbers, doctors, electricians and hair dressers, just to mention a few samples. The “older physical” professionals are naturally and instinctively easier accepted by society due to their experience accumulated over the years. Their “aged experience” which many customers are looking for brings with them a certain tranquility and security which can’t be taught, measured but adds great value.

“Computerized” office jobs are a different ballgame. Statistically proven, relative younger people are preferred above older individuals. Whether this is justified or not that is a different issue which I will discuss in a future blog.

So, what possibilities are there to keep 40 plussers at work so that they can make a respectful living?

  1. Employment generation – wisely and expansively planned employment programs funded by the government can spur growth in job openings by creating and changing labor activities which are done momentarily by machines
  2. Preserve work by keeping it “national”– keep the activities whenever possible within the country and “export” less work to other countries such as China where a worker will manufacture a t-shirt for US $0.10
  3. Shorten work days so that the amount of work done by one person is divided over two (who created the “rule” that we are expected to work 9-10 hours a day?)
  4. Lower salaries which will “afford” companies to employ additional workers
  5. Invest in professional retraining employees – place will be made for other and more skilled employees while saving workspace for the retrained ones
  6. Companies should pay into a pension for their employees – question is if employees should be given the option to “opt out” of the structure and decide for whatever reason to save or not
  7. 3% of the companies should employ ages 40 and up

These are just some suggestions, not answers to this major worldwide problem.

But if even one of them can give the push in the right direction, it can make a difference to many of us whose only wish is to be able to get up in the morning, get dressed for work and with dignity be able to make a living.

Is that too much to ask for?

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1
Claiming pension will most probably not become relevant before reaching late sixties and possibly even later, according to the DailyMail.