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Learn How to Be More Creative in Any Field and in Life

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Be More Creative|Learn How to Be More Creative in Any Field and in LifeJust as IQ is an indication of your share of intelligence and EQ connotes your share of empathy, it is also possible to have a share of creativity, or CQ. A creativity quotient is not fixed. It is dynamic and increases as you practice building it and exercising it. What’s more, CQ isn’t reserved for artists. Anyone in any field – farming, law, plumbing, architecture, perfumery, real estate, medicine, education, and technology, to name a few – can learn to be more creative and apply creativity to be more successful in their work.

Exactly how do you raise your creativity level – especially if you don’t think of yourself as particularly creative? Specifically, your share of creativity can increase as you expand your capacity for inquiry, become more willing to improvise, and hone your intuition. Moreover, creativity can be scaled: both individuals and organizations can have a creativity quotient.

Here are 5 questions to ask yourself and pose to your team to build a culture of creativity and your own CQ.

1. Do you have a hobby outside of your daily job?

If you practice a craft or hobby diligently outside of your paid work, then you are regularly putting yourself into a beginners’ mindset. This is crucial because it primes you to get good at embracing being clumsy, learning from mistakes, and asking the naive questions. Inevitably, the beginners’ mindset that hobbies cultivate transfers into your work environment. You will get better at questioning the status quo, one of the first steps towards innovating.

2. Do you play regularly?

I mean really play, have fun, and do activities that bring you joy. Joy is distinct from happiness. While happiness is something we expect to sustain long term, joy is episodic and all about your perspective. A corollary to being more playful is developing a sense of humor. A sense of humor signals your capacity for abstract thinking – instead of only focusing on what is literally in front of you. Note that having a sense of humor will also be developed from question No. 1 above: having a hobby. How could you not chuckle at your clumsy attempts while tinkering away at a hobby?

3. Do you deliberately do things outside of your comfort zone?

At least twice a year, visit a place outside of your comfort zone or go to a conference that is totally outside of your sector, where you will be sure to learn something new. This helps you to practice lateral thinking. You can also practice getting outside of your comfort zone on a daily basis. For example, if you do not consider yourself an artistically visual type, begin to doodle. Set the timer for 5 minutes, and doodle away. It is one of the best ways to make the mind more limber.

4. Do you experiment with technology?

Sometimes we forget that at the end of the day, technology is a tool. It is there to help amplify what is uniquely human about us and free us up to do more creative work. In addition to the usual suspects of workshare platforms like Slack, Basecamp, and Zoom, also try experimenting with augmented reality tools, and visualization tools such as Canva, Mural or Ziteboard. Rather than fear artificial intelligence, welcome it. AI has the potential to up the ante on what makes us uniquely human.

5. Do you incentivize collaboration?

Even superheroes don’t go it alone, so why should you? It’s one thing to say you value collaboration, but until you incentivize it by linking collaboration to compensation or time, chances are your employees won’t put collaboration into practice. One of the best outcomes of collaboration is the necessary thought diversity that results. You quickly learn to invite in and lean on people from different departments and backgrounds. Remember: the more diverse the inputs, the more innovative the output.

If you answered YES to at least 3 of these questions, you’re doing a good job. Make it your goal over the next 12 months to be able to tick off YES to all 5 questions and share your techniques with others. Better yet, start with just one of these suggestions today!

As you move forward, keep in mind: increasing your creativity quotient is about building on what has come before you. And that requires, well, building. Building can be messy. While you may start with a plan, plans shift, agendas change, and assumptions are challenged. It requires taking leaps – from prioritizing deep specialization to valuing broad experience and from deferring only to what’s rational to embracing ambiguity.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Natalie Nixon, PhDNatalie Nixon, PhD is a creativity strategist, global keynote speaker, and the president of Figure 8 Thinking, LLC. She helps leaders apply creativity and foresight to achieve transformative business results and amplify value. Natalie is the author of The Creativity Leap: Unleash Curiosity, Improvisation, and Intuition at Work (Berrett-Koehler; June 2020), a regular contributor to INC., and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Learn more at figure8thinking.com and follow her @natwnixon.

3 Top Tips for Building Your Business’ Online Brand

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Online Brand|3 Top Tips for Building Your Business’ Online BrandDo you want your business to become instantly recognizable in the eyes of both your target consumer base and the wider audience? If so, it’s absolutely imperative that you make a conscious effort to build your business’ online brand. The sooner you perform this all-important task, the sooner your company will become an easily identifiable figure in its industry.

To find out about three top tips for building your business’ online brand, be sure to read on.

Write a powerful mission statement

If you want to build a brand that is capable of resonating with your target audience for years to come, you must have a powerful mission statement at hand right from the off. This will provide your brand with the strong foundations it needs to be able to stand the test of time going forward.

When writing out your brand mission statement, be sure to put the following advice into practice:

  • Keep the statement short and concise
  • Think about the future and your long-term goals
  • Don’t make any false promises
  • Find out what other people associated with your business think about your statement before you go ahead and publish it
  • Never be afraid to rewrite or make changes to your statement as time goes on

Choose a tone of voice

The tone of voice that you use whenever you post new content to the web will make or break your ability to build an effective online brand for your business. You need to choose your tone carefully, as one wrong move in this instance could result in you alleviating a portion of your target consumer base. If that were to happen, your reputation as an inclusive business would take a hit and, ultimately, your sales turnover would be negatively affected.

To ensure that your tone of voice hits the mark right from the off, you must do the following:

  • Get to know the wants, needs, and expectations of your target audience
  • Identify and/or define your business’ core values
  • Know when to be formal, when to be serious, and when to be matter-of-fact

Harness the power of social media

Social media is one of the best platforms that you can use in your bid to build your business’ online brand. Harnessing the power of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will allow you to communicate your brand directly to your target audience members, which in turn will help you to avoid instances of miscommunication and misunderstandings.

If you want your maiden voyage into the world of social media advertising to prove successful, you shouldn’t attempt to go it alone. With a Facebook advertising agency such as MV3 Marketing by your side, you will stand a much better chance of running a social media branding campaign that actually resonates with your target audience.

If you’re determined to take your business right to the very pinnacle of its industry, you’re going to have to build a strong and recognizable brand for it sooner rather than later. When you decide to take on this all-important challenge, be sure to remember all of the advice and information laid out above.

B2B Lead Generation Strategies For SaaS Companies

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |SaaS Lead Generation|B2B Lead Generation Strategies For SaaS CompaniesSaaS lead generation in a B2B environment can be quite challenging, and SaaS marketing is famous for being very data-driven with extremely little margin of error. Meaning, we also can’t rely on our competitors making mistakes to find new opportunities.

In this guide, we will discuss some of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies for SaaS companies, starting with the first one.

1. A Performing Website

In B2B marketing, your website is a very important marketing asset more than in a B2C environment. A website is perceived as more ‘professional’ compared to social media profiles, and most B2B buyers today expect a professional-looking and performing vendor’s website.

So, how can we determine whether a website is ‘proper’? There are three main factors:

  1. Great content both in quality and quantity
  2. Proper user experience, technical-wise
  3. Aesthetically-pleasing according to today’s standards

We’ll cover more about content in its own section below, but your website would need to at least achieve the following:

  • Mobile-friendly: there are two main reasons for this. First, Google and the other search engines now prioritize mobile-friendly/mobile-responsive websites on their SERP rankings. Second, is that simply a majority (over 60%) of users, including B2B buyers, are using mobile devices to access your website. The latest data has shown that 80% of B2B buyers are using mobile devices at work.
  • Fast loading speed: close to half of the users will bounce from a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load (on a standard 4G connection).
  • Security: how you convey to visitors that your site is completely safe is very important, especially if you also sell your products on your website. At the very least, make sure your site uses an SSL certificate (HTTPS instead of HTTP).
  • Easy to navigate: your website should be an all-in-one resource for your users. Make sure it’s very easy to find your contact information (make it as obvious as possible). Also, include effective clear-to-action with proper placements. Don’t forget to also display clients’ testimonies, client’s logos, awards/accolades, and affiliations properly. They are really important for B2B websites.
  • Aesthetically pleasing: yes, we do judge our books from their covers. Close to 40% of B2B buyers admitted to leaving a website due to poor design and/or navigation. It’s especially important to be clear about what your company is, what you do, and what you sell.

In short, make sure your website is performing well in both aesthetics and technical performance. Even just one bad experience on a website can make most users less likely to revisit this site.

2. Effective B2B Content Marketing

Content marketing is obviously very important nowadays both in B2C and B2B marketing, and today content can come in many different forms and mediums from blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos, live streaming videos, podcasts, and more.

Content marketing is very important because as we have discussed, more and more buyers are relying on online content to make their purchase decisions. 91% of B2B marketers are doing content marketing, and close to 80% of B2B buyers have admitted that content quality significantly influences their buying decisions.

So, how should B2B businesses approach their content marketing? Which types of content should they develop?

There are no one-size-fits-all answers for these questions, and ultimately how you should approach your content would depend on your target audience’s behaviors and preferences. Here are some of the content forms you can consider:

  • Blog posts:

Blog posts, articles, and other similar forms of textual content are very useful in the awareness building/demand generation stage.

The idea here is to provide content that tackles your target audience’s needs and problems, which should be related to the problems your product or service solves. Your content should show customers that you understand their needs and pain points and that your brand can be a potential solution for this problem.

Your blog shouldn’t only focus on promoting your product or service but to provide your readers with actionable, informative tips.

  • Social media posts:

Social media is where our audience is nowadays (yes, even B2B audience), and it would only make sense that we should have powerful, engaging content on social media platforms. We will discuss this more on the social media marketing section further below.

  • Video content and live streaming

We all know how big video marketing is nowadays, and it is also one of the most important formats in influencer marketing nowadays. Videos—in a B2B environment—allow businesses to offer in-depth tutorials and demos of your products, and are also a great medium to promote a product launch.

Live streams are also a very effective medium to engage your audience. You can, for example, create a behind-the-scenes content about your team or your product/service.

  • Podcasts

Podcasts are getting bigger in recent years, and can be a very effective medium to establish your credibility/thought leadership in your niche.

The key takeaway is to define your target audience, understand their behavior, pain points, and needs, and produce content to cater to these needs.

3. Social Media Marketing

As discussed, social media is an effective platform to engage your audience, since it’s simply where the audiences are.

We can divide social media marketing into two different types: organic and paid. Organic effort is building your own followers and posting your own social media content. Paid efforts, on the other hand, are about using the platform’s paid options (advertising, LinkedIn’s Sponsored Post, etc. ) to reach more audience.

The key here is finding the balance between both. Organic social media efforts are obviously more affordable and can be totally free, but it would take more time to build your audience. Paid efforts, on the other hand, would save time, but can be very expensive.

So, it is actually the case of finding the balance between time and cost.

4. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing used to be a channel that is almost exclusively B2C. However, in the past couple of years or so, many B2B businesses now adopt influencer marketing in their strategies with varying successes.

Even in the B2B environment, people are more likely to purchase products based on the recommendations of their peers, and this is why when a trusted influencer in the niche promotes your product/service, it can be very effective.

Influencers in the B2B influencer marketing offer:

  • Their authority and followers. They can help you promote your existing content and help make your brand more visible to their followers.
  • A different point of view than your brands’ which can help you in targeting your audience as well as reaching a new audience.
  • Authentic professional credibility that can otherwise take you years to build. This can help provide answers to the pain points of your target audience.

End Words

Although B2B lead generation is difficult, that’s not saying it’s an impossible game. With the right SaaS lead generation strategy, we can generate more leads and open up tons of new opportunities. It’s very important to remember that in B2B lead generation, lead quality is often more valuable than quantity, and we should always aim in getting higher-quality leads with each effort.


About the Author

Mike Khorev is an SEO consultant who helps SaaS, software, IT, technology, B2B and startup companies generate more sales and grow revenue online. He offers expert advice on marketing your company the right way through performance-based SEO, inbound marketing, conversion rate optimization, search engine marketing and many other online practices

Marketing Essentials: Finding Your Target Audience Is a 9-Step Process and It Goes Like This

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Finding Your Target Audience|Marketing Essentials: Finding Your Target Audience Is a 9-Step Process and It Goes Like ThisWhen it comes to effective marketing, few things could be considered more basic than identifying the target audience. Unfortunately, when the subject is discussed, it is often dismissed as just buzz words. This belies the history of successful marketing campaigns that are replete with target audiences that were identified and made the objects of effective appeals.

Effectively identifying and reaching the correct target audiences for your business can turn the tables on sales. Find your target audience (or audiences) over at Benchmark, and you will find your pot of sales gold.

This article will provide you with nine steps to help you find that gold.

1. Know your selling points. Whether you are selling a product or a service, you should know all of your selling points, including every reason your customer should know about what you are offering to fulfill their needs.

2. Know everything you can about your current audience. Understanding your current customers will go a long way toward identifying and selling future customers. They are your best source of identifying and appealing to prospective customers.

3. Dig deeper. There is no such thing as knowing too much about your audience. Every new data point that you learn about your audience will provide one more way to reach out to them.

4. Challenge your assumptions. When it comes to your customers, never assume you know anything. The best example is the fitness buff who starts a gym thinking his or her best customers will think about health the same way. Unfortunately, people get fit for many different reasons and need to be appealed to in different ways.

5. Know your competition. Everyone likes to believe that they have a product or service that is different from everyone else. This is usually not true. Check out competitors that sell something like yours.

6. Develop an audience profile. Any business owner should develop a detailed profile of who their target audience is. They should know, among other things, demographic data such as income, gender, age, marital status, job status, ethnicity, and educational level. As much as possible, they should also be able to identify psychographic data such as hobbies, behaviors, lifestyle choices, and more.

7. Go find your audience. To many marketers, this step is a matter of “easier said than done,” but it’s much easier when you know your resources. For example, with a list of demographic data about your target audiences, you can visit your county’s geographic information systems office, input the data, and get a complete printout of everyone who fits your criteria. Easy enough.

8. Run a test campaign. Building a relationship with target audiences is just like building a relationship with someone. To develop a relationship, you need to reach out. For target audiences, run a sales campaign to see how it works. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, tweak it until it does.

9. Grow your future. Thanks to ever-growing technology, advances in marketing couldn’t come at us faster. Utilize them. Campaigns might be shorter because of these changes, but don’t send out erratic and scattered messages. And, never assume what worked in the past will work again. Continually educate yourself about your changing target audiences.

Your target audiences will keep up with you, but will you keep up with them?

How To Improve Your Business Productivity While Working From Home

StrategyDriven Practices for Professionals Article |Business Productivity|How To Improve Your Business Productivity While Working From HomeWorking from home can be challenging for some because there are so many things that may need your attention. From your children to household chores, your productivity may be suffering. If you are looking for ways to improve your business productivity, here are some helpful tips that will help you get through the day getting everything done on your to-do list.

Be More Efficient

Think really hard about how your business is running. Are there any opportunities for some processes to be streamlined? For example, if you own a commercial dash cam company, installing fleet tracking dash cams can be beneficial to improving your delivery times as some of these come with GPS features. Maybe you are spending too much time answering emails in which case a simple day restructure will help you move more efficiently. Ultimately, it depends on what your business’ short-term and long-term tasks are.

Know When To Delegate

This is something a lot of great managers and executives understand. You cannot do everything yourself. There is not enough time in the day. Delegating allows you to focus on the most important tasks for your day while someone else can handle the less pressing, but just as important tasks. Delegating can feel uneasy because you are essentially giving someone else the responsibility of pulling through.

Doing this not only improves your productivity but it also benefits your employees by giving them a sense of achievement and direction in their careers.

Cut Out Distractions

Distractions are typically the main culprits when it comes to business productivity. Things like social media and texting can be major time wasters. You want to make sure that you and your employees are utilizing the work hours efficiently. While you do not want to implement a no-phone policy, you can instead opt for frequent breaks. Taking lots of breaks will reduce your chances of getting distracted.

Use The Right Tools

Thank goodness for technology and apps. There are tons of time and productivity tracking apps that you can use to help keep you productive. These apps help you stay accountable for your time for the day, making sure that you are getting most out of the workday. You can also use collaboration tools like Google Drive and Trello to keep track of your projects and those contributing to those projects. Google Drive streamlines the collaboration process, allowing you to share things in real-time as they are being updated.

Keep Your Employees Up-To-Date With Training

Set your employees up for success by offering training that allows them to develop their productivity skills. Sometimes the process of hiring someone new can be nerve-wracking because this is a time typically when things start falling through the cracks. The best way to avoid this is to make sure all your employees, new and old, are properly trained. Training greatly benefits not just the employer but also the employees as well as improving greater efficiency and productivity.