Author Archives: dmerritts

April 12th, 2018 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

4 A’s of Successful Branded Content Campaigns

Writing content is not enough. Content that is not seen is worthless. Every marketer must think about developing content – organic or paid — that not only drives engagement, but also compels prospective customers to act. With the rise of branded content studios from publishers like Buzzfeed, The Washington Post, and Bustle, marketers have more choices than ever for branded content partners. Marketers must move past the basics of page views and industry average indexes (i.e., “Your article performed 20% better than your industry index”) for determining the success of the branded content campaign. Marketers must demand more for each branded …

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October 9th, 2015 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

5 Tips for Building a Results-Driven Company Culture

After recently being interviewed and included in an article for Entrepreneur’s magazine titled 3 Ways to Create the Company Culture You Want, I wanted to follow-up it up with a bit more depth. Company culture starts out organically and can morph quickly – for the better or worse — if not guarded. There are two approaches to culture: organic and structured. Organic cultures mirror founder or leader temperament. Structured cultures reflect founder or leader ideals, but often protect against known leadership flaws or blind spots. I believe strongly that company culture is about establishing a social contract of sorts with …

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September 9th, 2015 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

The Right Way to Restructure a Team or Company

Restructuring causes chaos. Layoffs sucks. Unfortunately, every leader needs to do it from time-to-time. It never gets emotionally easier, but recovering from it with dedication and renewed trust from your team is achievable. Do It Once, Do It Right Morale is often the largest hit of a restructuring. To maintain a one-time morale reduction and a collective path forward, it’s best to only have a single occurrence to create a new normal. Slow, pre-announced, and prolonged layoffs ensure that your teams are in fear of losing their job and all progress stops until everyone feels safe again. Robust Communication A …

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March 28th, 2014 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

5 Protips for Giving A Great Sales Product Demo

Get to Know Your Audience. First and foremost, you must know who you’re talking with and what role they have in the organization. If there are multiple audiences or roles of a prospect in the room or meeting, make sure that you mediate the demo story line to be inclusive of all three levels: (1) Executives; (2) Decision Makers; (3) Influencers. Tell A Story. Tell Your Prospect’s Story. Understand your prospect’s pain, purpose, and potential. By discussing the pain the prospect is currently facing, you’ll be able to weave those specific use cases into the storyline. Next by understanding the …

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May 17th, 2009 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

7 Ways to Make Twitter an Effective Channel

Twitter can be a very effective distribution channel for providing support and building community. I think there are seven simple methods that can help build out your company’s twitter presence effectively. Create Great Content Make sure that you’re saying things or creating content that’s worth reading. This should be targeted to your core audience and be interesting to read. Content can be links to your blog, interesting things you’re reading, or conversation starters directed to Friend Feed. Whatever you do: Please don’t constantly tweet about your service’s purpose – it’s not interesting or engaging. Keep Tweets Shorter (< 100 Chars) …

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February 19th, 2009 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

Top 10 Landing Page Form Tips

Making great landing pages for lead generation is a science. It requires a lot experimentation using A/B or Multivariate testing. I’m always amazed how little things like changing the text, background or button color will increase conversion rates. But, in order to make lead generation successful, it’s important to play with these things. Think of it as a game. There has been a lot on the web written about email marketing and landing pages, effective forms, color design, etc. I won’t try to replicate all that goodness. Instead, I’ve assembled a list of things I think about when creating high …

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January 12th, 2009 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

Do what you say you will do

Today, I ran into a situation where a leader is failing to deliver on a commitment. Sadly, this happens often with managers or business leaders. Ultimately, it erodes the person’s ability to lead effectively. This reminded me of one of the mantra’s that stuck with me from The Leadership Challenge by Posner and Kouzen. They have a mantra in the book called: “Do what you say you will do,” or DWYSYWD (note: it sounds more like a development tool than a leadership tool, but I digress). It’s simple: Don’t commit or say something that you’re not will or cannot do. …

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January 8th, 2009 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

Instrument. Measure. Test. Optimize.

Web 2.0 is a big experiment. The corpus of knowledge is under developed. Some argue that the current web world is really only 3 or 4 years old. I agree that web as a platform is young and still acts like a child finding its way in the world. Best practices are still being developed. There is certainly no clear clear path to success. Granted, there are guidelines and companies that one can emulate. But, every business is a little different. Success first requires failing quickly. I’ve spent a lot of time talking to and listening to people who’ve created …

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October 23rd, 2008 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

Web BETAs : Top 5 Communication Requirements

As someone who signs up for almost every BETA under the sun, I’ve seen five best practices emerge that seem to keep me engaged throughout the process. Since I’m a Marketing person, I look at this from a product manager / outbound communication perspective. There are a LOT of things that should be done internally with engineering and support during this process to make your BETA cycles effective. Internet BETAs have reshaped what BETA means. Traditionally, by definition, BETA meant a closed, invite only perfecting cycle before release. Well, in the web world of today, we now have private BETAs, …

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July 24th, 2008 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

Innovator’s Dilemma

Knowing when to launch a new product is tough. Is it ready? Does it work? Will they buy it? You must find the right point where the product is good-enough. If it’s too good, you’ve lost timely revenue because you could have launched it earlier. What is good-enough depends on your customer. In the web world, the customer is pretty forgiving. (Com’on Gmail is still in Beta; Twitter is up only slightly more than down; EC2 and other SaaS are at 2 or 3 9′s.) And, it’s better to get it out there to get feedback in the wild-wild-web. You …

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