From Kissmetrics: Your Customers Don’t Care About Your Product

To learn more about the Jobs to Be Done concept, check out our Customer Service 2.o certificate course.

eazl customer service

“It’s true. Your customers don’t care about your product. Don’t worry, they don’t care about your competitor’s products either. Your customers don’t care about any products. Thankfully, your customers do care about something, which is why they buy your product.

Your customers care about the progress they will make as a result of using your product.

As Growth Marketers and Product Builders, it’s our job to make sure customers understand how our product will change them for the better. Then we can create an efficient customer funnel that turns potential customers into loyal, repeat customers. We use data to optimize each stage of the user lifecycle. However, it’s easy to get bogged down in user data and product features. When we lose sight of whether or not our customers have realized the better life we’ve promised, the customer becomes stuck in our funnel and we lose our customer.”

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Collaboration Skills: One of the Most Important 21st Century Job Skills

Collaboration Concept

This morning I (Davis) am speaking to Rich Campbell’s marketing students at Sonoma State (maybe you’re one of them?!) and I wanted to center this annual presentation to my fellow SSU alums around collaboration this year. At the end of this post, I’ll share an exercise with you that you can use to build your collaboration muscles.

First, let’s define “collaboration” for our purposes as working with someone to produce or create something outside of a traditional corporate structure.

Increasingly, I’m finding that the rise of decentralized work networks, contract work scenarios from larger corporations, the freelance economy, the sharing economy, and virtual workforces is creating an increased need for collaboration skills.

This isn’t just what I am personally feeling but Eazl is also hearing this from our corporate learning clients like PayPal, Yelp!, Volkswagon, and other enterprises. In a higher education landscape that increasingly prioritizes computer science education, employers are finding that soft skills are often lacking in their workforces.

Here, you’ll find links where you can explore some of the collaboration topics that I discussed with the Sonoma State students today and dive deeper into elements of collaboration or most appropriate for your use case:

Here’s a simple exercise to build your skills in this area:

  1.  Next time that somebody close to you starts to tell you about something that is important to them, use the “three whys“ technique to learn deeply about their attitude towards the situation. Simply ask “why do you feel that way?” and then follow up with another question like “why do you think that?“ and then finally, a final “why do you think that?“
  2. Call the information that you have learned about this person, their situation, and the assumptions that drive their thinking back to yourself. Simply take information if they’ve shared with you and then replay that in your mind. This will reinforce those ideas and enable you to retain the information that was shared with you.

This exercise is simply about learning to actively search for, listen to, and retain information about another person‘s interests and attitudes. After all, collaboration is all about working towards shared interests or goals outside of traditional work formats because you will often be unable to force people to do something. That means that you need to know more about what actually motivates them, align your actions with their motivations, and collaboratively work towards the goal.

Build your collaboration skills with these Eazl courses:

If you’re interested, you can also see a recording of my talk on campus last year on the History of the Entrepreneurial Spirit.

From World Economic Forum: How Our Brains are Wired to Respond to Confident People

world economic forum brain science

“Our brains are wired to allow confident people to influence our beliefs.

That’s according to a new piece of research that suggests all you need to convince people that you are right is a hefty dose of confidence.

Scientists at the University of Sussex found that human brains are programmed to value the opinions of confident people more highly.

In the study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, researchers studied brain activity, and were able to pinpoint a region of the brain that responds to the opinions of confident people. This region of the brain did not respond in the same way to the opinions of people lacking in confidence.”

world economic forum brain science

From The Mission: What Will Replace K-12 and College?

self directed learning

“The cat is slowly scratching its way out of the bag. Ever more people are becoming aware of the colossal waste of money, tragic waste of young people’s time, and cruel imposition of stress and anxiety produced by our coercive educational system.

Research shows that for far less expense, and with joy rather than pain, we can facilitate, rather than suppress, children’s and teens’ natural ways of educating themselves with excellent results. Ever more families are becoming aware of this and are finding ways of removing their children from imposed schooling in favor of Self-Directed Education.”

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Email Marketing Isn’t Just for Selling

Building a community makes a business more sustainable and powerful, which means that it’s important to have goals for your email list beyond making sales. In fact, you might find that your open rates suffer and your unsubscribe rates soar when your email list feels that all they ever receive is communication prompting them to buy something.

Check out this sneak peak of an interview between our Growth Hacker in Residence, Maja Voje, and Stella Korošec of EQUA Products, a lifestyle brand that has raised over $1,000,000 to launch two different physical products. Stella feels strongly that email marketing should not be used only to reach sales targets.

You can see more of this interview and learn more about email marketing in our Growth Hacking Masterclass update. You can enroll in the course now and receive the update next week when we launch the new material.

So, if your email lists aren’t just for advertising products, what other reasons are there to reach out to your customers?

There are a ton of reasons to reach out to your email list, but here are just a few of our favorites:

1. Company Update / What You’ve Been Working On
This is a way to plug future products and services and build excitement around them without selling anything. Give your list an update on what’s been going on and make it feel personal…almost like a letter you would write to a friend. It’s best to use plain text emails for these purposes and sign with an image of your signature.

2. Images from Social Media
Pick a platform where you’d like to increase engagement and send a few of your best and latest images with links to the original posts. Don’t take for granted that your customers are aware of the awesome content you share on social media. Some may have never considered looking you up on Instagram but would love to follow you there.

3. Blog Post Digest
If your blog is full of useful and unique content that you post regularly, don’t forget to send out a digest of all of your latest content regularly. Pick a few posts to feature and include the main post image, the title, and a bit of the copy that will lead them to click through and read the whole post.

4. Best Of
Best Of lists are a fun way to promote your content at the end of each year. Pick your top ten blog posts, videos, or social media posts based on engagement, traffic, and quality and send out before the new year. This is one of my favorite ways to repurpose content!

5. Questionnaire / Survey / Call for Opinions
If there is one thing humans love to do, it’s talk about themselves and share their opinions. Give your audience an opportunity to communicate with you by taking a quick survey, asking for advice, polling to see what kinds of future products they would like to see, etc. This is a great way to make customers feel more connected to you and your company and for you to better know your customer.

6. Contest / Raffle
Giveaways are a great way to increase engagement around your brand online and bring in potential new customers. Create a contest to be held on social media and use your emails lists to spread the word.

7. Feedback
Hopefully you’ve been segmenting your lists based on which products or services a customer has purchased. Send out a call for feedback from recent purchasers. This will show your customers that they are cared for and give you the information you need to improve your products and services.

8. Thank You / Appreciation
Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to bring in more new customers that we forget to ever say thank you beyond the standard email after someone has purchased something or signed up for the list. Think of a heartfelt way to show appreciation that your customers chose you.

Do you have any favorite non-salesy email campaign ideas that I didn’t include here? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below OR you can Tweet at me.

From Harvard Business Review: Happiness Traps

eazl happiness traps

“Life is too short to be unhappy at work. Yet many professionals who are free to shape their careers are just that: disengaged, unfulfilled, and miserable.

For years we’ve heard about dismal levels of employee engagement. Numerous studies show that close to two-thirds of employees in the United States are bored, detached, or jaded and ready to sabotage plans, projects, and other people. This makes no sense to me. Why do so many of us accept unsatisfying work, high levels of stress, looming burnout, and chronic unhappiness? Why don’t we fight back?”

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How Positive Emotions Change Who We Are

eazl positive emotions

Accordingly to research from UC Berkeley, 1% of the cells in your body are replaced per day, which means all of your cells change within a quarter or season of a year. It also takes that long to form a new habit.

In addition, our emotions affect our level of cellular change. The more daily positive emotions we have, the more we can change who we are and it can even affect the way our genes are transcribed (for the better).

Positive emotions also help in the areas of:

  • Mindfulness
  • Pain reduction
  • Development of trusting relationships
  • Healthy heart rate
  • Increased resilience in stressful or difficult situations
  • Increased levels of empathy

All of this has implications for career as well due to the fact that we spend the majority of our time working and a successful career is very much based on relationships.

What can we do with this information?
We can make sure that we are “inputting” situations and activities that positively influence our daily happiness level. This is more about what you fill your day with rather than striving for grin-inducing happiness, the search for which can actually impede your search for positivity.

Reflect on activities that make you happy or content and actively insert those activities to your day. For some, it might be taking a scenic walk or getting exercise, for others it might be reading a book or cooking. Spend some time thinking about this.

Some things you might also want to try to add positivity to your day:

  • Being kind to others / helping others
  • Practicing gratitude for things you might be taking for granted
  • Practicing active listening (listening to understand vs. listening to respond)
  • Try one new thing a day, even if it’s something small (like a different route to work or something different for lunch)

Making positive emotions more of a part of your daily experience requires some work and continual reinforcement. You can find a list of additional practices here.

Resources:
(1) UC Berkeley. (n.d.). Module 1: Introduction to the Science of Happiness. In Happiness and Positive Emotions. Retrieved from https://courses.edx.org/courses/course-v1:BerkeleyX+GG101x+3T2017/course/

From Social Media Examiner: How to Find Social Media Micro-influencers for Your Small Business

social media micro influencers eazl

“Want to promote your small business on a budget?

Have you considered partnering with less famous influencers?

Highly targeted micro-influencers can help your small business gain visibility, engage an audience, and promote your products.

In this article, you’ll discover how to find and connect with micro-influencers who can promote your small business.”

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Community & Team Building Tips from Stranger Things 2

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t watched it yet and plan on doing so, you might not want to continue reading just in case. I don’t want to be responsible for ruining your experience with that magical show.

stranger things logo

As I, like so many other Netflix users, marathoned Stranger Things 2 over the weekend, I began to take note of the numerous examples of collaboration and community throughout the series. This show is seriously Lord-of-the-Rings-level life goals for friendship and working to achieve a giant goal.

The characters on Stranger Things accomplish amazing, superhuman feats together and I love that the general storyline has followed a pattern of personal responsibility through teamwork vs. individualism.   

I mean, what better way is there to take on a supernatural force from a another dimension than with all hands on deck and collective use of force and problem solving; a perfect combination of brains and brawn where all members contribute what they do best?

There’s a lot to be learned from these fictional characters as they possess qualities that humans admire in real life but may not experience first-hand that often.

You don’t have to be up against a shadow monster from Upside Down to reap the benefits from collaboration and community building.

Try applying some of these lessons from the series to your own work and career goals:

  1. Bravery is required for anything meaningful
    Steve Harrington and Chief Jim Hopper were two of the series’ most physically brave characters in Season 1 and they maintain their fearlessness in Stranger Things 2, with the former utilizing his bat with nails a second time and the latter venturing underground to see first hand what the monster is up to.
steve harrington eazl
Steve and Dustin prepare to take on the Pollywog.
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Chief Jim Hopper explores the monster’s underground tunnels.

Nancy doesn’t hesitate to expose the government’s role in Barb’s death or snatch up a shotgun to take on the demidogs.

nancy wheeler eazl
Nancy and Jonathan wait for Barb’s mom at the park as part of their plan to expose the research facility.

Winona Ryder’s character Joyce Byers, the mother of Will (the boy once abducted by the monster in Upside Down and now returned home), displays great mental and emotional strength and bravery when she “exorcises” the monster from her son’s body.

joyce byers eazl
Joyce builds the fire to “burn” the monster out of her son, Will.

People tend to think that those who demonstrate bravery are somehow endowed with special characteristics or attributes but we are all actually capable of courageous acts. We just have to make the choice to be brave.

Check out The Heroic Imagination Project by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, famed director of the Stanford Prison Experiment.

What brave and courageous moves can you make in your career, your daily actions, and your personal life? What ideas and movements can you boldly support for the greater good?

  1. Have a clear mission
    In Stranger Things 2, there are multiple groups working parallel in order to achieve the goal of finding out how to get rid of the monster. Eventually, at the end of the season, they come together and fight alongside each other only to divide and conquer once again.

You never really see a group conflict and members naturally assume their roles based on their talents. In this series, any time a character is told they should stay behind and keep themselves safe, they pretty much never listen. Even the kids!

No one is willing to put themselves ahead of the group. Everyone contributes and understands the mission, which is what makes achieving the mission possible.

Note the Rule of Law established by Will’s friends: when someone needs help, they show up and help.

Will’s friends, Dustin and Mike help strategize.

It’s easier for a group of people to work together when there is a clear mission. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the mission gets buy-in from all team members, perhaps by setting some kind of Rule of Law at the start of the engagement or project.

Remember this when you work in team, whether you are the leader or not. You can always lead by example even if you don’t have formal power within a team by showing that you are committed to the mission.

  1. Pyramid structures don’t work
    Pyramid structures are rarely if ever truly effective. This kind of structure implies that there are just a few people giving orders and many acting on those order, regardless of what their own expertise and intuition tells them is the right course of action.

There is no centralized authority deciding how to take on the monster…and that’s what makes taking on the monster possible.

Steve, Dustin, and Lucas join Nancy and Jonathan at the research facility just before they provide a getaway car for Joyce, Mike, and Chief Hopper.

Different characters have different perspectives and there are multiple problems to solve, making those individual perspectives highly valuable.

From Dustin’s creative and playful imagination developed through role playing games and Bob’s coding skills to Steve’s experience with sports teams and Chief Hopper’s familiarity with approaching dangerous situations, everyone has something they can offer and adhering to centralized leadership would squash that.

When you create your teams for work and projects, remember that your co-workers can thrive without a single manager of leader. Organic organization is powerful.

  1. Focusing on community is the biggest middle finger to “the man”
    The government as the enemy isn’t just a cheesy throwback theme that was most often seen in 80s sci-fi movies. There is meaning behind this theme and the reason we are attracted to themes like these is because they hold a lot of truth in them.

Government and military are responsible for opening the gate between reality and Upside Down, along with all of the destructions caused by it. There’s that centralized authority again.

The community coming together was the only thing that could balance out the power and limit the destruction, including getting the gate between worlds closed.

You too can organize something that has impact and counterbalances the “powers that be”. You just have to build the community, no matter the scale.

  1. Be a doer
    Chief Hopper never hesitates to jump to action, whether it’s belaying into a super creepy and perilous underground tunnel or setting up formation to shoot up some demidogs.

Nancy follows her intuition to do the right thing and expose the research facility.

Steve doesn’t need to weigh his options when asked for help.

There are a lot of people in the world who spend a lot of time talking about problems but they never do anything to help solve those problems. Don’t be one of those. How can you contribute? What problem can you help solve? What community can you bring together in collective power?