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Why most good leaders use the 24×3 optimism method

(MARKETING) How this simple optimism method could radically change the way you lead your company, be it a team of three or 300.

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That biting, guilt-inducing voice says you can’t, and that won’t work. It’s an abrasive voice, one that explodes before rational thought, one that puts others down before it pulls them up.

We may argue that so many responsibilities tug at us that it may simply be self preservation that turns on our pessimism, fear of the unknown, aversion to change.

We live in a world of critics, in a society of naysayers, so why shouldn’t we join them?

Trusting our negative guts can be toxic to a life of innovation, and perhaps the next great idea is something that today you’re sure just won’t work.

Optimism is practice, just like any good habit, and parents and managers and executives everywhere could use a good dose. It sounds hokey, but hang with me…

Think about optimism using the 24/3 rule, a term coined by Venture Capitalist, CEO and author Anthony Tjan.

It’s name makes it sound way more complicated than it actually is but he provides a practical path to put optimism into daily practice.

When you first hear an idea, try to wait 24 seconds before you respond negatively. Think of every possible reason why this could be the right idea, the best possible plan, and save your criticism for a half a minute later.

Talk through the good and when 24 seconds are up, you’re welcome to say why that’s the worst idea you’ve ever heard.

Work your way up to 24 minutes of optimistic thinking, and then 24 hours. The goal here is to mull over an idea for an entire day before knocking it down. Sounds Zen doesn’t it?

Before your cynical brain takes over and you poo-poo this concept for wasting too much time, think about the last time you gave an idea to your manager or partner or friend and they shot it down immediately.

Wouldn’t it feel better if they really considered your thoughts, sat back and validated why it might work?

Wouldn’t it be nice if they took the day to really consider the possibilities? And wouldn’t it be valuable if the positives from your idea were repurposed and used to come up with a solution?

It’s not only a valuable management tool but it’s an important tool in life.

Optimism and hope are the entrepreneurs most powerful assets, they draw the starting line in any committed relationship, and they are a managers best friend.Click To Tweet

By seeing the future with rose tinted glasses and consciously considering the good in everything, you can change your own outlook.

You can train your brain to think about the wild what-ifs, the myriad of possibilities. You can train your brain to consider a future full of innovations that just might work.

And if you’re the person who considers every idea, then you won’t you won’t be the one to miss out on anything that could be the next big invention. Naysayers will almost always reject an innovative future. You don’t have to.

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C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

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Real Estate Marketing

The skills smart marketers need to survive the AI takeover

(MARKETING) Quality marketers are constantly evolving, but getting your head around artificial intelligence can be a challenge – let’s boil it down to the most relevant skills you’ll need.

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When Facebook and Twitter were born, a new era of social media was ushered in, opening the gates for new areas of expertise that hadn’t existed before. At first, we all grappled to establish the culture together, but fast forward a decade and it is literally a science with thousands of supporting technology companies.

So as Artificial Intelligence (AI) takes over marketing, doesn’t that mean it will replace marketers? If you can ask your smart speaker in your office what your engagement growth increase was for your Facebook Page, and ask for recommendations of growth, how do marketing professionals survive?

Marketers will survive the same way they did as social media was introduced – the practice will evolve and new niches will be born.

There are 7 skills marketers (like you) will need to adapt in order to evolve. None of these are done overnight, but quality professionals are constantly grooming their skills, so this won’t be stressful to the successful among us. And the truth is that it won’t be in our lifetime that AI can quite process the exact same way a human brain does, even with the advent of quantum computing, so let’s focus on AI’s weaknesses and where marketers can perform where artificial intelligence cannot.

1. Use the data your new AI buddies generate.

In the 70s, the infamous Ted Bundy murders yielded the first case that utilized computing. The lead investigator had heard about computers and asked a specialist to dig through all of their data points to find similarities – a task that was taking months for the investigative team. After inputting the data, within minutes, they had narrowed their list of suspects from several hundred to only 10.

We’re not dealing with murderers here in the marketing world (…right, guys?), but the theory that algorithms can speed up our existing jobs is a golden lesson. As more AI tools are added to the marketplace to enhance your job, experiment with them! Get to know them! And continue to seek them out to empower you.

Atomic Reach studies your content and finds ways to enhance what you’re delivering. CaliberMind augments B2B sales, Stackla hunts down user-generated content that matches your brand efforts, Nudge analyzes deal risk and measures user account health, and Market Brew digs up tons of data for your SEO strategy.

See? Independently, these all sound like amazing tools, but call them “AI tools” and people lose their minds. Please.

Your job as a marketer is to do what AI cannot. Together, you can automate, do segmentation and automation, beef up your analytics, but no machine can replicate your innate interest in your customers, your compassion, and your ability to understand human emotions and predict outcomes effectively (because you have a lot more practice at being a human than the lil’ robots do).

2. Take advantage of AI’s primary weakness.

As noted, you have emotions and processes that are extremely complex and cannot be understood by artificial intelligence yet. Use those.

How? Compile all of the data that AI offers and then strategize. Duh. AI can offer recommendations, but it cannot (yet) suggest an entire brand strategy. That’s where you come in.

And more importantly, it cannot explain or defend any such strategy. One of the core problems with AI is that if you ask Alexa a question, you cannot ask how it came up with that information or why. This trust problem is the primary reason marketers are in no danger of being replaced by technology.

3. Obsess over data.

AI tools are young and evolving, so right now is the time to start obsessing over data. What I mean by that is not to use every single AI tool to compile mountains of useless data, but to start studying the data you already have.

The problem with new tools is that marketers are naturally inquisitive, so we try them out and then forget they exist if they didn’t immediately prove to be a golden egg.

Knowing your current marketing data inside and out will help you to learn alongside AI. If you aren’t intimately familiar, you won’t know if the recommendations made through AI are useful, and you could end up going down the wrong path because something shiny told you to.

Obsess over data not by knowing every single customers’ names, but be ready to identify which data sets are relevant for the results you’re seeking. A data scientist friend of mine recently pointed out that if you flip a coin five times and it happens to land on tails every time, AI would analyze that data and predict with 100% certainty that the sixth flip will be tails, but you and I have life experience and know better.

Staying on top of your data, even when you’re utilizing artificial intelligence tools will keep you the most valuable asset, not the robots. #winning

4. Don’t run away from math (no wait, come back!)

One of the appeals of marketing is that math is hard and you don’t need it in a creative field. But if you want to stay ahead of the robots, you’ll have to focus on your math skills.

You don’t have to go back to school for data science, but if you can’t read the basic reports that these endless AI tools can create, you’re already behind. At least spend a few hours this month on some “Intro to Data Science” courses on Udemy or Coursera.

5. Content is God.

We’ve all said for years that content is king and that feeding the search engines was a top way to reach consumers. You’ve already refined your skills in creating appealing content, and you already know that it costs less than many traditional lead generating efforts and spending on content is way up.

Content can be blogging, video, audio, or social media posts. Artificial intelligence will step in to skyrocket those efforts, if only you accept that content was once king, but is now God. What is changing is how customized content can be. For example, some companies are using AI tools to create dozens of different Facebook ads for different demographics, which would have taken weeks of human effort to do in the past.

Because content is what feeds all of these new smart devices, feeding your brand content effectively and utilizing AI tools to augment your efforts will keep you more relevant than ever.

6. Get ahead of privacy problems

Consumers now understand what website cookies are, and know when they’ve opted in (or opted out) of an email newsletter, but to this point, humans have made the decisions of how these data choices are made. Our teams have continually edited Terms of Service (ToS), all done not just with liability in mind, but to offer consumers the protections that they want and have come to expect.

But AI today doesn’t have morals, and consumer comfort is not a factor unless humans program that into said AI devices. But it still isn’t a creature of ethics like humans are. Ethical challenges going forward will be something to stay ahead of as you tap into the AI world. Making sure that you know the ToS of any tool you’re using to mine data is critical so that you don’t put the company in a bad position by violating basic human trust.

The takeaway

You’re smart, so you already knew that the robots aren’t taking your job, rather augmenting it, but adding AI into your marketing mix to stay ahead comes with risk and a learning curve. But seeing artificial intelligence for what it really is – a tool – will keep your focus on the big picture and save your job.

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Real Estate Marketing

FYI, influencer marketing dates back hundreds of years

(MARKETING) You may roll your eyes at sexy strangers hawking snake oil on social media, but influencer marketing is nothing new…

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Influencers is now one of those buzz words that you can’t go a few days without hearing. In fact, it’s become such a popular term that it was officially added to the English Dictionary this year.

While this is a recent change, the concept of an influencer is nothing new. For years, people have looked to friends and family (as well as high-profile people like celebrities) to be influenced (intentionally or unintentionally) about what to buy, what to do, and where to go.

Social Media Today notes that influencers date back centuries.

“One of the first “influencer” collaborations dates back to 1760, when a potter by the name Wedgwood made a tea set for the Queen of England,” writes Brooks. “Since the monarchy were the influencers of their time, his forward-thinking decision to market his brand as Royal-approved afforded it the luxury status the brand still enjoys today.”

Now, influencers are known as people blowing up your Instagram feed with recommendations of what to wear and stomach flattening teas to buy. Influencers are basically anyone who has the ability to cultivate a following and, from there, give advice on how followers should spend their money.

After the 1760 tea set influencer, influencers were found in the forms of fashion icons (like Coco Chanel in the 1920s, and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), celebrity endorsements (for example, all of the money Nike made in the ‘80s after signing Michael Jordan to be their spokesperson – I wonder if Hanes is raking in the same bucks as Nike…), TV stars endorsing products (like Jennifer Aniston when she was at the height of “The Rachel” cut and became the face of L’Oreal Elvive; now she’s the face of Aveeno).

Then in the mid-2000s, blogs became a space where “everyday” people could use their voice with influence. This trend has continued and has shifted into social media, usually with a blog counterpart.

Now, blogging and influencing is an industry in and of itself with influencer marketing being a key form of comms. According to Vamp Brands, the influencer industry will be worth $5-10 billion by 2020. Where can I sign up?

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Real Estate Marketing

Google launches tool to help marketers on a budget

(MARKETING) Google Ads (formerly AdWords) has added a feature that helps you squeeze more out of your budget.

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Limited by budget? If you utilize Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords), go ahead and make room for another tool – the Performance Planner. Google’s new planner, announced at this year’s Google Marketing Live, provides a safe space for advertisers to forecast performance without making adjustments to current campaigns.

Google claims this tool can drive 43% more conversions for advertisers by identifying ideal campaign spend. This is particularly useful for small or emerging brokerages that can’t always afford to compete at the same scale as larger brands when it comes to ad spend. Yes, the tool will probably advise advertisers to raise budgets. But the planner is accounting for billions of search queries, updated daily and uses machine learning to tweak its forecasts.

The planner can now be found in the “tools” menu of your Google Ads account. To use it, campaigns must have been running for at least 72 hours, received at least 3 clicks in the last 7 days or received at least one conversion. This forecasting tool only applies to search campaigns.

Using clicks or conversions as a key metric, the planner recommends how to distribute your monthly budget across campaigns to maximize conversions. The fun doesn’t stop there! The tool allows you to click around and see the number of conversions you could get if you raised your monthly budget even more. By selecting a date range, you can also compare your planned forecast with past performance.

And while using the keyword planner is essential during campaign set-up, you don’t need to turn to it for tweaks and adjustments. Within the planner is the ability to try out new keywords and see how they might affect conversions (don’t forget to try match types other than “broad”).

For those with limited budgets and/or manpower, this tool can save a lot of time and help eliminate a lot of guesswork. It provides deeper, data-driven insights to advertisers looking to optimize their campaigns. And at the very least, if you choose not to implement any changes based on the outcome of the forecast, you will have a concrete reason to blame a lackluster campaign on scarcity of funds.

Needless to say, Google doesn’t guarantee performance. A disclaimer at the bottom provides a friendly reminder that the responsibility of your campaign performance is of course, yours and yours alone.

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