Just Veem It!

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I’d like to tell you about a client of mine, Veem. Veem is a global payments solution that helps small to medium-sized global businesses send and receive payments around the world. Who knew that would be so interesting? But it is. Here’s what I’m finding so interesting about this engagement:

  1. I’m learning about yet another revolutionary technology

My specialty is in marketing technology. Global payments technology is new to me and it really is fascinating. Veem is based partly on blockchain technology, which is truly revolutionizing financial systems on a global scale. Here are a few of the articles I’ve had the opportunity to write for Veem on this revolutionary technology:

  1. Globalization is a key theme for Veem

Because Veem customers are US importers and exporters, current administration policies—particularly with regard to trade—are relevant. Here are a few of the topical articles I’ve had the opportunity to write for Veem:

  1. I’m writing about small business

I’ve been focused on enterprise B2B most of my career. It’s a fun change to take a look at the SMB market. Here are a few SMB-focused articles I’ve enjoyed writing for Veem:

 

Feeding the Internet Content Beast

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Honey, it’s time!

I remember the night a friend came home from bar hopping and said all she could hear in the background was “wah-wah-wah.com”, “wah-wah-wah.com”. That was the late 90s. I remember the number of cars on the streets of San Francisco tripling overnight. 

Oops … false alarm

I looked into digital jobs, but didn’t understand the value of affiliate marketing or getting “web hits”. I didn’t understand where the money was supposed to come from. I sat out the internet’s shall we say, false labor and started a small business. When tech crashed, the streets of San Francisco positively dried up. The tech workers left, businesses shuttered, and you couldn’t swing a dead cat in this town without hitting an unemployed investment banker.

Congratulations!

But the baby survived to term and was finally born for real. The internet came back in a big way in the early 2000s and I jumped on. I love emerging tech, I love having been in on the early days of web experiences, web analytics, email marketing, marketing optimization technology, social media, big data, content marketing and now content strategy.

What a growth spurt!

To my eyes, the internet is now an adolescent. We’re still not sure what it’s going to be when it grows up. What we do know, is that right now the internet is growing by leaps and bounds every day and it’s always hungry. The internet has an insatiable appetite for content. Content marketers must radically scale their efforts in order to remain relevant to customers—and to the search engines.

But there are terrific tools and resources to help us to do just that. Here are a few I’ve been using and have been super happy with.

What’s in my content marketing toolkit

SEMrush – keyword research, competitive ranking research. I use this tool to vet keywords on my list, decide whether to go after them and how much content I’ll need to start ranking on that keyword.

Google Analytics – tracking and analysis of organic, referral, and paid traffic volume and onsite behavior. I mostly work for startups that depend on this free tool. It’s always been fine for my needs.

CoSchedule – help with optimizing content titles and headlines

WritingBunny – outsourced writing. This resource has affordable articles, blog posts and white papers with a quick turn around time. I’ve been pleased with their work.

WordPress – my favorite CMS. I’ve used it across many clients and use it for my own site.

HubSpot – email marketing. Seems like most of my clients in the past used Marketo. Now, most of my clients use HubSpot. I like it better than Marketo for email marketing and reporting.

Facebook Advertising – building awareness, driving demand. Facebook advertising is inexpensive and their tool is very easy to use. I like the ability to micro-target by location, age and interests.

Google AdWords – pay-per-click advertising. Great for driving traffic to the site, testing messaging and keyword strategies, but have to pay attention to ROI to ensure you’re really getting the traffic you want.

Right Brain – Left Brain Integration

right_brain_integrationLast fall, it was data-driven marketing I declared as the new black when I cited a recent NYT article glamorizing what had traditionally been the realm of geeky good with numbers types (like, ahem, yours truly). Data-driven marketers, it said, are a hot new business persona that looks something like Madison Ave. meets Wall Street: Don Draper meets Gordon Gecko. At last! Those who actually enjoy manipulating spreadsheets, know the difference between a mean and a median, love to talk about outliers and statistical confidence, experimental design and hypothesis-driven adaptive strategies could come out. “Hi my name is Bonnie and I’m a dataholoic,” I could finally admit—and become fashionable!

This fall, I’ve discovered that the right brain is the new black and I’m just as thrilled. “Hi my name is Bonnie and I’m a closet creative,” I can proclaim with dignity. What’s hot this year? Emotion, context and meaning. Story telling, passion, values and experience—all very right brain and very, very fun.

But wait – am I a dataholic or a closet creative? Could I perhaps be both? A great way to find out is to ask yourself is, “Do I think in words (analytical/left brain) or pictures (creative/right brain)?”

My assessment is that I am both. I had to stop and think when that question was put to me recently. I didn’t have an immediate idea as to whether my thought patterns were language-driven or pictorial. I was told that those who stumble over this question and hesitate to choose are indeed both—equally right and left brain oriented.

It seemed a tough pill to swallow. For my left brain, anyway. It likes definition, categories, simple and neat explanations. Pondering upon this, I lamented that I can never claim complete loyalty to either side of my brain, destined as I am to live in both hemispheres, born of mixed-hemisity, bi-hemisual (don’t you love coining a neologism? very right-brain), living half my consciousness in linear analysis, words, language and the other in non-linear synthesis, pictures, and possibilities.

But then my right brain remembered a catch phrase I heard a year or two ago, “We need to stop chasing either/or and start reaching for and.” And I realized: Being bi-hemisual means I can don which ever is in season—right brain or left—and look equally as fetching.

Right Brain Workout

right_brain_workoutSpeaking of right brain, I recently had the good fortune to work with an interesting social business, TeamWorks. Far outside my B2B marketing technology wheelhouse, the positioning and awareness building done for this cooperative business network was a welcome stretch for me and a rare opportunity to go full-on right brain with the production of a new video declaring for TeamWorks who they are, what they do and where they’re headed. I wrote, produced, directed and edited this 8-minute piece for an audience of potential donors and advisors—in two very full weeks—giving my right brain one mother of an exhilarating workout. Check Out TeamWorks on YouTube.

BTW: TeamWorks is a very cool organization in a burgeoning, dynamic and very interesting space: Social business. These are typically for-profit businesses, but guided by a social mission. In TeamWorks’ case, the mission is to reduce poverty. TeamWorks gives traditionally low-wage service workers an opportunity to get out of poverty by helping them to start and run employee-owned business cooperatives.

Right Brain Renaissance

right_brain_renaissanceIn A Secret History of Consciousness, Gary Lachman (among many other very interesting musings) muses that the Internet could be the harbinger of a right brain renaissance. The decisively non-linear, highly contextualized way content is displayed and digested online, he says, moves markedly away from its hugely linear predecessor, the printed page.

Language functions such as grammar and vocabulary have long been attributed to the same hemisphere said to control linear reasoning—the left. But because the way we consume information while moving across web pages involves not just language, but visual and audio cues across many more complex spatial relationships, it’s the right hemisphere that’s getting the workout when we go online.

What’s more, the right brain tends to kick in more when presented with novelty while the left takes over the more routine processes. With its constantly emerging nature, the Internet is nothing if not constantly novel, apparently giving more right brains more exercise since, according to Lachman, the advent of language.

The Internet has long since been identified as an economic game-changer, profoundly impacting not only product innovation, but employment distribution, shopping patterns, manufacturing priorities and, of course, social interactions. Could it be so all-powerful, so far reaching that it could substantially change the way we use our brains? If, as Lachman professes, consciousness and the mechanisms for learning are indeed one in the same, totally interdependent and constantly emerging, no doubt future historians will claim the dawn of the Internet era as at least as influential to man’s development as the acquisition of language, tools and agriculture.

BTW: Gary Lachman was the lead guitarist for Blondie throughout the 70s and 80s, now lives in London and is the tireless chronicler of culture, consciousness, mysticism and the occult.

Cloud Marketing – Bring it On!

cloud_marketing1I’ve long been interested in ideas about the future workplace and how it will one day look dramatically different than what we’ve known. Those of us making a living in digital services and technologies may already be experiencing it. Our work teams can easily be made up of half employees, half contractors and consultants and nearly always include at least one party who we’ve only met on conference calls because he lives in Idaho.

Having made my living as a freelancing contractor for the better part (and the worst part) of the past four years, I can only attest to its many, many benefits for both the employer and the employed alike and express a fervent hope that it truly becomes more common. It saves time, energy and money (no transportation costs! no commute!) and in my experience, contributes to a more agile marketing practice and helps companies stay nimble.

The Economist says freelance and contract work is on the rise. Whether the new pool of freelancers is simply fed up with seeking full-time employment in today’s economy, or wants to move toward the more flexible (albeit less secure) lifestyle that freelancing affords is unclear. What is clear, is that many of those who do take the leap into independence are experiencing higher quality of life, increased productivity, and even more lucrative professional lives.

The Zen Internet

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  • The very transitoriness of the Internet is a sign of its perfection
  • To the mind which lets go and moves with the flow of change, transience becomes ecstasy
  • Rebirth from moment to moment reincarnates the value afresh each moment
  • To hold the Internet is to loose it
  • The Internet is miraculously natural without trying to be so
  • The pleasant and the painful are inseparable
  • To learn is to survive to become ignorant
  • The Internet essence is immediate and instantaneous
  • The ultimate reality of the Internet cannot become the object of knowledge
  • Living in the Internet is a constant awareness of watching
  • An awakening to the startlingly obvious may occur at any moment
  • Rigid control shuts out the experience of learning
  • Ends are achieved neither through repression nor indulgence
  • Regarding each new manifestation as our home puts us at home in each new manifestation
  • The Internet unfolds as we walk upon it