For Hurricane Michael victims, the Georgia DOR grants amnesty for taxes not administered by the IRS, like sales and use tax.Georgia Counties AffectedThe amnesty applies to taxpayers affected by the hurricane in the following Georgia counties declared part of the disaster area: Baker, Bleckley, Burke, Calhoun, Colquitt, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Emanuel, Grady, Houston, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Lee, Macon, Miller, Mitchell, Pulaski, Seminole, Sumter, Terrell, Thomas, Treutlen, Turner, Wilcox, and Worth.Taxpayers in counties added to the disaster area later automatically receive the amnesty. Information on what Georgia counties are included in the disaster area can be found at irs.gov/newsroom/help-for-victims-of-hurricane-michael.Qualifying TaxpayersThe amnesty is offered to the following Georgia taxpayers:– people living in the specified counties, if affected by the disaster;– businesses whose principal place of business is in a specified county, if affected by the disaster;– taxpayers not in the disaster area but whose records are in the disaster area;– relief workers affiliated with recognized government or philanthropic organizations helping in relief activities in the disaster area; and– people visiting the disaster area who were injured or killed by the disaster.Deadlines AffectedThe amnesty applies to return filing, tax payment, and other time-sensitive acts specified by the IRS. It applies to:– original or extended due dates occurring on or after October 9, 2018, and before Feb. 28, 2019;– monthly sales tax returns originally due in the months of October 2018 through February 2019;– quarterly sales tax returns due in October 2018 and January 2019; and– annual sales tax returns due in January 2019.Taxpayers who had an extension to file their 2017 return that was set to expire on October 15, 2018, now have until February 28, 2019, to file. However, the payments associated with these extensions are not eligible for the amnesty.Excluded ReliefThe amnesty does not apply to:– International Fuel Tax Agreement interest,– scheduled payments resulting from a taxpayer entering an Installment Payment Agreement, or– payments under a 2017 return extension due to expire on October 15, 2018.Paper Return FilersIf an affected taxpayer files paper returns, they should write “2018 Hurricane Michael” across the top of any forms submitted to the DOR.QuestionsTaxpayers should call the DOR at (877) 423-6711 if they:– need assistance,– have questions, or– are assessed a penalty and believe they are entitled to the amnesty.Department of Revenue Extends Relief to Victims of Hurricane Michael, Georgia Department of Revenue, October 12, 2018, ¶201-222Login to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.
By John PickrellOct. 31, 2018 , 2:00 PM Can you pick out the dinosaur egg? It’s the textured gray fossil on the far right, surrounded by (clockwise from bottom right) a green cassowary egg, a blue-gray emu egg, and a white alligator egg. Small corvid eggs surround the larger eggs. Dinosaur eggs came in many colors—just like birds’ Jasmina Wiemann Bird eggs have been admired since ancient times for their many hues and patterns, from the vivid blue of American robin eggs to the deep green-black of emu eggs. Now, a study shows these colors and markings are even older than we thought—they may have graced dinosaur eggs some 150 million years ago or more.“[This] is a true discovery,” says Mark Hauber, an ornithologist who studies the evolution of bird eggs and brooding behaviors at the University of Illinois in Urbana and was not involved in the research. Until now, most experts thought colored eggs evolved more recently, in various groups of modern birds, and that the earliest birds laid pure white eggs like crocodiles, he says.Research in the past few decades has shown many traits once thought to define modern birds, including feathers, wishbones, brooding behaviors, avian-style lungs, and hollow skeletons, evolved first in their dinosaur forebears. And last year, molecular paleobiologist Jasmina Wiemann of Yale University published the first evidence of dinosaur egg coloration, using chemical analysis to detect two pigments—blue-green biliverdin and red-brown protoporphyrin—in the eggs of a 70-million-year-old parrot-beaked oviraptorosaur called Heyuannia from China.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)To find out whether colored dinosaur eggs shared an evolutionary origin with those of birds, Wiemann and her colleagues amassed well-preserved fragments of fossil eggshell from 15 Cretaceous era dinosaurs and extinct birds, as well as eggshell from living chickens, terns, emus, and alligators. Instead of using the chemical analysis they developed for the 2017 study, which required grinding up fossil specimens, they turned to an innovative technique for studying fossils: something called Raman microspectroscopy. The method requires no destruction of fossils, instead bouncing a laser off the surface of the eggshells to betray their molecular makeup, including whether they carried traces of the two pigments known to color modern eggshells.The team found fossil eggs of many colors and speckling patterns. A relative of Velociraptor called Deinonychus laid eggs with blue-green color; the lightly built carnivorous troodontids had eggshells of blue-green, beige, or white; and the eggs of the Chinese oviraptorosaur Heyuannia previously tested were deep blue-green. Maps of protoporphyrin accumulation across the surface of many of the eggs, including Deinonychus and some troodontids revealed darker speckling patterns on top of the background color.As the researchers write today in Nature, the fact that they found colored eggs in so many carnivorous theropod dinosaurs that are closely related to birds—and exactly the same method of eggshell pigmentation—means colored eggs evolved “deep within the dinosaur tree and long before the spectacular radiation of modern birds,” likely more than 150 million years ago.Tinted shells probably camouflaged dinosaur eggs from predators, as do the shells of today’s birds, whereas distinctive speckling patterns may have helped parents distinguish their own eggs from those of cuckoolike dinosaurian nest parasites, Wiemann says. Birds with white eggs today, such as ostriches, parrots, and some domestic chickens, must have later lost the trait of coloring their eggs through evolution, she says.Traditionally, dinosaurs were thought of as reptilian-style breeders that dumped their eggs and left. But because egg color in birds is associated with complex nesting behaviors, this—along with existing fossil evidence—signals such advanced parental care may have also taken place among dinosaurs. Egg coloration as camouflage likely evolved soon after dinosaurs switched from burying their eggs to building open nests, Weimann adds, because from that point on, they needed to hide them from predators.No hint of pigment was detected in the eggs of several herbivorous long-necked sauropods or a duck-billed dinosaur Maiasaura, suggesting these species—which are on more distant branches of the dinosaur family tree—had white eggs that they buried in the ground like modern-day turtles.David Varricchio, who studies dinosaur reproduction and brooding at Montana State University in Bozeman, says that because the authors used a novel technique, others will want to test its veracity. But, he says, the fact that we are even beginning to discuss the color of eggs more than 66 million years old is “pretty dang amazing.”Wiemann plans to increase the dinosaur sample size to see whether she can pin down exactly where and when within the carnivorous theropod group of dinosaurs (which also includes birds) colored eggshells first evolved, and what color came first. Given the analytical methods from other scientific disciplines now available for work on fossils, “It’s an amazing time to be a paleontologist,” she says.
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Marketers and small business owners we speak with at HubSpot often ask how many visitors their site should be getting.The answer depends on several variables including size of company, industry, and the type of product or service the company is selling. To provide a general benchmark, I pulled together some aggregate data on website traffic based on company size and type.The chart below shows the median weekly unique website visitors for 1,324 HubSpot customers for the 7 days ending September 10, 2009. So, if you’re a 6-10 person B2B company and you’re getting 124 unique visitors a weekly you’re about average for similar companies.A few notes on the data: The median was used as opposed to the average since a few sites with large numbers of visitors skewed the average up in each category. Therefore, the median serves as a better benchmark for typical companies in each segment. I broke out the data by size of company based on number of employees and also by whether the site is for a B2B or B2C company. Not surprisingly, companies with more employees tend to have more website visitors. Also, B2C companies have more visitors than B2B companies regardless of size. However, it’s interesting to note that the difference in visitors between B2C and B2B sites seems to be more pronounced in larger companies:• B2C companies with over 200 employees had 203% more unique visitors than the B2B with over 200 employees.• B2C companies with 1 to 5 employees had only 67% more unique visitors than the B2B with 1 to 5 employees.Two groups of customers were filtered out of the analysis:• Customers with less than five unique visitors per week were filtered out of the analysis since those customers often have not fully launched their websites or have not installed the HubSpot tracking software.• HubSpot customers that signed up after 7/31/09 were excluded to ensure that the tracking software was fully installed and functional at the time of measurement. How to Generate Leads for Small Business Originally published Sep 22, 2009 8:15:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Web Analytics Topics: Learn how small businesses can level the playing field and generate leads efficiently by leveraging inbound Internet marketing strategies and tools.Download our Lead Generation for Small Business Webinar.
— blogs, other websites, twitter, facebook, linkedin, etc. Your domain should turn into a glorified landing page. @bhalligan 1. The word “campaign” goes away. My blood curdles every time I hear someone talk about doing a “social media campaign” or “blog campaign.” Blogs and social media behave like compound interest, so if you treat them like “campaigns,” you lose all the benefits. Marketers should be permanently creating, optimizing, promoting, converting, & analyzing. your 7. Twitter stays independent. love 4. The PR industry transforms itself. [Yes, I know some percentage of PR firms have already transformed. If you are one of the enlightened, I wish you a breakout 2010!] than they were when you first wrote “Crossing The Chasm.” Shake us up with your brilliance! Free Marketing Webinar: learn everything you need to know about how CEOs can measure marketing efforts, hire the right people, and communicate using social media. Your ideas are more applicable now where the customers are 8. Steve Jobs announces something/anything in a new, remark-able way that we can all learn from (again). I am more interested in the innovative marketing practices he uses to announce his new “thing” than I am in the new “thing” itself. A CEO’s Guide to Internet Marketing – with HubSpot CEO Brian Halligan — 5. Google’s growth flattens as Adwords “efficiency” model finally gets “efficient.” Bing emerges as a viable competitor to Google. I 10. Marketers stop worrying about “social media ROI” and just start doing it. What’s the ROI of putting your pants on in the morning? My 2010 Marketing Wish List: Download the free webinar 6. Madison Avenue keeps shrinking and the center of marketing gravity decentralizes to places like California, Boston, etc. wishlist you’d like to share with me? Learn everything any CEO needs to know about internet marketing. What do you think? Anything on 9. Geoffrey Moore writes a follow-up to “Crossing The Chasm” for the internet age. Where are you, Geoffrey? 3. The concept of a website should get turned on its head. Companies spend 90% of their “internet” time worrying about what is happening on their website (their domain) when they should be spending 10% of their time there and 90% of their time out 2. The phrase “marketing automation” goes away until 2012. 99.9% of companies need “marketing transformation” — the last thing they should be doing is “automating” the old rules of marketing into their business and ossifying themselves. Google, but I don’t think it is “healthy” for one company to dominate an industry like they are doing. Originally published Jan 4, 2010 3:22:00 PM, updated July 11 2013 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack In his Check out Scott’s . As part of his book launch, Scott is giving away a free ebook: Monitor What’s Being Said . For his book and ebook, Scott conducted research that examined the communications infrastructure and stock price of the top 100 companies on the Fortune 500 list. Scott uncovered an interesting correlation: Companies that participate in real time are more successful. During the period he measured – closing price on December 31, 2009 through closing price on September 3, 2010 (when the book is a successful marketing author and speaker who just launched his latest book, operate in real time were up 2010 year-to-date. went to print) – the stock prices of 67% of companies that operate in real time were up, while only 42% of companies that do ebook , Scott provides examples of how companies have made the transition to the real-time web. Some of the primary steps he outlines include: According to Scott, “Real time means news breaks over minutes, not days. It means ideas percolate, then suddenly and unpredictably go viral to a global audience. It’s when companies develop (or refine) products or services instantly, based on feedback from customers or events in the marketplace. And it’s when businesses see an opportunity and are the first to act on it.” Develop Guidelines and Train Staff Becoming a Real-Time Company Engage With the Market Real-Time Marketing and PR not Build a Team Real-time communication is causing organizational changes and is impacting how companies organize staff and implement strategies. In an interview Scott conducted with Coca-Cola, Petro Kacur, senior manager of marketing communications, said, “There has been a convergence and blurring of lines between traditional ‘communications’ and ‘marketing.’ This has changed our view of the communications function and how we engage with our consumers. We are moving from a monologue to a dialogue. In recognition of these growing trends and their impact on our company’s reputation, in March 2009 we formed an office of digital communications and social media. [This office] will help us become even more comfortable and effective in these new spaces.” ebook Real-Time: How Marketing & PR at Speed Drives Measurable Success Originally published Nov 1, 2010 11:30:00 AM, updated October 20 2016 Topics: for a more in-depth look at real-time marketing and PR practices and to learn which companies are winning and losing the real-time battle. What is Real Time? David Meerman Scott Time Management Real-Time Marketing & PR
9. Meta Keywords Topics: Use both the keywords that are in your page title at least three times in the page’s content. Try to bold or underline the keyword at least once. This has an effect on how relevant the keyword is to the page. SEO Here are nine SEO techniques that you should always follow regardless of the changes the search engines are continuously making. The website page’s URL should include the first keyword you used in the pages page tile . If can’t identify two or three keywords for a page you than need to separate out the pages content and create a new website page. The page title needs to be under 70 characters and no more than 3 long tail keywords in the page title. Your most important keyword should be first and each keyword should be separated by pipes (|). major changes Originally published Dec 13, 2010 7:00:00 AM, updated October 30 2019 3. URL The page should have one (1) or two (2) H1 heading tags that use the first two keywords in the page title in step 1. These keywords should be used in a conversational format in the pages content. In addition to H1 tags, the page should include a couple of H2 heading tags that usually go underneath each H1 tag. The meta description should be under 150 characters and incorporate two of the keywords used in the page’s page title. The best meta descriptions provide a valuable, compelling reason why someone should visit the page. Don’t add keywords into the meta description for the sake of having them in there, but include them in a conversational format. Create one (1) or two (2) internal links on the page linking to related pages. Use the keywords you’re targeting on the page that you’re linking to in the anchor text for each link. Pre-Step 1: 4. Heading Tags 8. Cross Linking Pages Make sure you have at least three internal links that link to the page you’re optimizing. The link’s anchor text should have keywords that are included in the page you’re linking too. 1. Page Title 2. Meta Description 6. Internal Links 7. Images Any images used on the page should have their file name match one of the keywords in the page title. Each word in the file name should be separate with dashes (-). The image alt text should match the image’s file name and the keyword in the page title. Don’t use dashes between the word in the alt text. SEO is actually a relatively simple technique that requires small changes based on If you are unable to change image file name or it’s a very time consuming process, then only change the image’s alt text using a keyword from the page title. Read the page’s content and identify two or three keywords that are most frequently used in the page’s content and are relevant to the overall page topic. You should only target from step 1 The primary goal of your search engine optimization (SEO) is to drive relevant people that are interested in your industry or company to your website. If you follow SEO than you know how fast things change. You also know how hard it can be to keep all with these changes. . The keywords in the URL should be separated using dashes (-). e.g. www.sample.com/best-vermont-ski-resorts 5. Page Content the search engines announce. I bold major changes because the changes really need to be major to affect your overall website rankings and SEO strategy. They aren’t part of Google’s or Bing’s search algorithm, so they aren’t as important as steps 1-8. However, still add three (3) to five (5) meta keywords to the page that are related to the page title and content. Smaller search engines still might use them in their algorithm. two (2) or three (3) keywords per website page Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Calls to Action On pages where a call-to-action is the focus, one of the most important features is the conversion button itself. We’ve seen single changes in buttons that can improve conversions by well over 30%. A button sounds like a simple decision, but there are a number of variables that quickly make the decision feel complicated. How big should the button be? What color? What should the text of the button say? Here are a few tips to make your buttons more successful.1. Button size- Make it BIG!A big button gets noticed. It doesn’t have to be huge, but if your button is too small, it can be ignored. We’ve found that a good button size is around 225px wide and 45px high2. Button Location — Put it above the fold!When deciding where to put your button, think about the ﬂow of your page. Does it follow the path of your eye? Does it ﬁt average browser size? Browsersize from Google Labs is a great tool to ﬁnd out what portion of your page most visitors can see without scrolling.3. Button Color – Make it ContrastColor matters. Strong, contrasting, colors generally perform better than colors that blend in with the theme of your landing page. Take this example from Carelogger, who increased their conversions by 34% with a red button instead of a green one.4. Button Text — Include a call-to-actionYour button text should tell people what to expect. Instead, we generally opt for a strong call-to-action. Firefox improved their conversions by 3.6% (over 500 more downloads per test) when they changed their button text from “Try Firefox 3″ to “Download Now – Free.” “Download Now,” “Get Started Today,” and “Free Trial” are all good examples of strong calls-to-action.A Bonus: Test, Test, Test.There’s no universal right answer for what webpage works best, but testing can ensure that your webpage is the best that it can be. Topics: Originally published Jul 25, 2011 3:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack
Design Trends Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics: Has Apple become a brand that’s primarily targeting women?That’s what some people are wondering after seeing Apple’s radically redesigned new smartphone operating system.That system, iOS 7, becomes available today. If you’re planning to download it, get ready for a big change in the look and feel of the software on your phone.The new operating system interface introduces translucent elements, as well as a palette of lighter, softer pastel colors.As with any big change that Apple makes, this one has been controversial. One of the harshest critics, tech blogger Jim Lynch, called the software “an estrogen-addled mess designed for 13 year old girls” and complained that “the manly, solid colors and design found in iOS 6 have been chopped off.”He cites the following screenshots to make his point. The old iOS is on the left, the new one on the right.Lynch got shellacked and called a sexist. After all, who says only women like pastel colors? The “estrogen-addled mess” comment surely contributed to the backlash, as well.He has since updated his post, warning people that it contains “a few politically incorrect observations,” and pointing to a later article where he says he has come to appreciate iOS 7 and calls it “a major triumph for Apple.”But Lynch’s tirade prompted some pundits, including Jim Edwards at Business Insider, to wonder whether Apple is indeed making a concerted effort to target women. Edwards isn’t hating on the new operating system; he just points out that the new software contains colors some would consider feminine.Edwards also points out that the new low-end iPhone 5c comes in five bright colors, but “the new colors do not include ‘masculine’ shades like burgundy, navy blue, or Lincoln blue.”If this is what Apple is doing, Edwards points out, it probably makes good business sense. According to a study released in July, when it comes to Apple versus Android, moms in the U.S. are “over-indexed” toward Apple. (Hit the link and scroll down to “iOS Beats Android in the Mommy Market,” to see the actual numbers.)Kawasaki is a legendary Apple evangelist, but now he has become an Android fan and is working as a marketing consultant for Motorola, promoting its Android-based Moto X smartphone. His take on the subject? Kawasaki doesn’t think the new iPhone models or the new operating system are especially aimed at women. “Apple is targeting anyone with $99,” he says. “I don’t think it cares about gender — just disposable income.”Don’t Go ThereFor what it’s worth, I brought up this subject among my immediate colleagues at HubSpot, who are mostly women.They found the topic irritating, asking things like, “What exactly does that even mean to say that a design is feminine? And even if Apple is trying to sell to women, why is that a problem, since women control so much spending power?Anyway, one of our colleagues has been using the beta version of iOS 7 for a while. She says she loves it.Several others in the room — male and female — say they want to get the new iPhone 5s as soon as they can. They’re more excited about the new fingerprint scanner “Touch ID” system than they are about the software, but they all think the new software looks cool.Same goes for reviewers, who have all been raving about the new iPhone 5s.Bottom line: If you download the new OS, your iPhone is going to look really, really different. Whether you think the new software is better than the old software, or whether it’s “masculine” or “feminine,” will have to remain a matter of opinion.If you’re an Apple user, you have no choice. This is the future. But don’t worry. Male or female, you’ll probably love it.Image credit: Johan Larsson Originally published Sep 18, 2013 3:00:09 PM, updated February 01 2017
Career Development Our buddy Doug Kessler is at it again — this time with yet another fantastic SlideShare presentation that should be required viewing for anyone who calls themselves a B2B marketer.First, he had us mesmerized by his commentary on crappy content. Then it was his secret ingredient to great content. This time, he’s searching for the meaning in B2B marketing. Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more. Have you ever questioned whether your career is worthy? Let’s face it — our jobs as B2B marketers aren’t particularly glamorous or altruistic. “When you were a kid, you never said, ‘I want to be a B2B marketer when I grow up.'”But all that’s not to say a career in B2B marketing can’t be fulfilling, and that’s exactly what Velocity Partners Creative Director and Co-Founder Doug Kessler emphasizes in his latest SlideShare masterpiece, “The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing.”So whether you are in fact questioning the meaning of your B2B marketing career, or you just want to check out another example of remarkable content, give Doug’s SlideShare a look. In it, he shares his 7 sources of meaning — the things that give him fulfillment and a sense that his work is worthwhile. Something tells me you’ll be able to relate, or at least benefit from a little Monday morning burst of inspiration. And if you want to learn more about the genius behind Doug’s content creation, we spoke to him one-on-one about it here, and actually called out this very SlideShare, too. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Feb 24, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing from Velocity PartnersWhat do you find fulfilling about your B2B marketing career? Share it in the comments!
Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Apr 3, 2014 11:30:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Marketing Metrics I believe that performance measurement is the most important tool in every nonprofit’s fundraising toolbox. In order to improve the outcomes of your fundraising efforts, you need to measure performance, analyze results, and improve performance over time. But this begs the question … What should your organization measure?Well, it depends on your fundraising goals and strategies. Measurement should always be determined by your unique fundraising plan and the validation you need to improve your fundraising performance. This may include measuring the performance of your marketing channels like your website, social media engagement, and direct mail performance, as well as other efforts like special events, peer-to-peer fundraising, and major gift fundraising performance.However, underlying all of these channels, efforts, and activities are two metrics that lay a foundation for fundraising performance measurement: return on investment and cost per dollar raised.These two metrics are powerful because they allow us to start answering some very intriguing questions, like:We raised “X” dollars from this fundraising strategy, but what does that mean? Was that fundraising strategy more or less effective than the same strategy last year?How does the performance of that fundraising strategy compare to our other strategies? More importantly, we can answer strategic questions that drive fundraising improvement and growth. The most critical of these strategic questions are: Are we raising money or losing money? and How do we know if we are raising money or losing money?FundamentalsReturn on investment and cost per dollar raised can be calculated from two variables: revenue by strategy and expenses by strategy.Return on investment is the amount of revenue you generate for a given strategy divided by the expenses required to generate that revenue. Return on investment calculates the total yield for every dollar expended to produce that yield. If the outcome of this calculation is greater than one, the strategy produced a return. If the outcome of this calculation is less than one, the strategy produced a loss. Cost per dollar raised is the inverse of return on investment. Cost per dollar raised is the total expenses allocated to a certain strategy divided by the total revenue generated by that strategy (revenue could also be replaced with “raised” funds to alter the focus of the metric). As opposed to return on investment, cost per dollar raised calculates the total cost to yield a single dollar of revenue. If the outcome of this calculation is greater than one, the strategy produced a loss; and if the outcome of the calculation is less than one, the strategy produced a return.In order to calculate these two metrics, we need two things: an aggregate sum of all revenue generated for the strategy we want to measure, as well as an aggregate sum of all expenses for that strategy. The “strategy” is the specific fundraising effort, activity, or tactic. You can be specific or broad in how you bucket revenue and expenses under a strategy, but with both metric calculations you must use a ratio of revenue and expenses that are associated with the same strategy.If we measure revenue and expenses for each strategy, we can improve return on investment and cost per dollar raised performance by improving each variable in the calculation. There are three scenarios that lead to increased performance in these two metrics:While holding expenses constant, we increase revenue.While holding revenue constant, we decrease expenses.We increase revenue and decrease expenses at the same time.Key PointsIn addition to the fundamentals of these two metrics, there are three key points that can improve the accuracy and value of your measurements.1) Filter down to the micro-level.While you can generate return on investment and cost per dollar raised for annual fundraising performance on the macro-level, both metrics become more valuable as you evaluate performance on the micro-level.Tracking and calculating performance for these metrics on the micro-level requires a segmented fundraising plan with specific and discrete strategies. Filtering your strategies down to the sources, channels, and methods of fundraising you employ makes it easier to find the weak points in your strategy and make changes to improve your fundraising performance. When you run these metrics in a macro view, it’s challenging to determine where improvements can be made. Specific micro-level segments allow you to pinpoint exactly which strategies and tactics are effective, and which ones aren’t. 2) Collaborate across the organization.For most organizations (dependent on your organizational setup), your development staff and your finance and accounting staff must work together to produce these metrics. Generally the development staff will have data on the sources of revenue and can attribute revenue to specific fundraising strategies, while the finance and accounting staff will have data on the expenses and can attribute those expenses to specific fundraising strategies.As a result, it’s important that these two functions collaborate to produce these metrics. It’s also important that both functions track revenue and expenses using the same specificity and granularity. Without clearly defined tracking and coding of revenue and expenses across both functions, you cannot generate accurate or relevant ratios for these two metrics. 3) Track time and apply as an expense.Including time in your return on investment and cost per dollar raised metrics is a “game changer.” If you’ve been tracking return on investment and cost per dollar raised for your fundraising strategies, but haven’t been adding time as a part of the expenses variable, try running your metrics again including time.It’s very easy to think about time as a free resource, but we all know time is a scarce resource and is therefore valuable to your organization. Time is a direct expense. If it takes one hundred hours of prep for your development director to plan and coordinate a special event, there is a cost for that time. The direct cost of time will depend on who expended the time, how it was expended, and how your organization values that time.Time is also an opportunity. Depending on how time is spent, there could be more valuable uses of time that generate higher returns for the organization. Adding time to your measurement of return on investment and cost per dollar raised gives you a true measure of fundraising performance.Practical Tip: Try tracking time for specific fundraising strategies. Start out with an isolated experiment of one or two strategies. Use a time tracking software like Harvest, RescueTime, TSheets, or Toggl; or keep track of your time in an Excel spreadsheet. Then calculate return on investment and cost per dollar raised two ways. Calculate one set of these two metrics with time included as an expense (valued at a particular rate) and one set without time included. The difference should be evident.Take Action How do we put these metrics into practice? How do we apply them to real-life scenarios, and actually use them to improve fundraising performance?1) Invest in what works; put fundraising dollars toward effective strategies.Fundraising budgets have limits. There isn’t an endless pool of funds to invest. As a result, we need to be selective, strategic, and smart in where we invest our fundraising dollars.Where should we spend our fundraising dollars to generate the highest return? If you use specific, granular details on the micro level of your fundraising strategy to calculate return on investment and cost per dollar raised, you can identify the best fundraising opportunities. Identifying effective opportunities can focus your organization on shedding waste (which are those activities that don’t produce a return) and investing in value (which are those activities that do produce a return).In addition, both of these measures allow us to create “baseline” metrics. Baseline metrics are comparable across incomparable strategies. For example, you can compare the returns from your direct mail campaign to the returns from your special event using these metrics. You can also compare the returns from your social media efforts to your major gift personal solicitations. If we base our comparisons on revenue or expenses by themselves, we cannot compare unlike fundraising strategies. However, as a ratio we can compare these strategies to uncover those that are most effective. Note: While a particular strategy may be highly effective based on these measures, it may not scale. For example, you may find that your event is less effective than a direct mail campaign, but the event’s scale cannot be matched by your direct mail efforts. Scale is an important factor to consider when investing in effective strategies. The correlation between scale and effectiveness, as it pertains to developing a cohesive fundraising strategy, is an important consideration when deciding how to invest limited fundraising dollars to produce maximum return. 2) Test and experiment; test smart, learn, and adapt.It’s important to remember that if you’re measuring these metrics for the first time (especially if you include time in your expense calculations, which I highly recommend), the results may be enlightening or shocking. Something you thought was high performing may be generating poor performance. This is why it’s important to test strategies, evaluate the effectiveness of each strategy, and learn. However, testing and experimenting have limits. Again, our budgets aren’t infinite. We need to be smart in our testing approach. Jim Collins states it best in his book Great by Choice, “fire bullets then cannonballs.”Because time and money are scarce and valuable, Collins uses this premise as a method to validate strategies and learn. “A bullet is a low-cost, low-risk, and low-distraction test or experiment. Based on empirical validation that the bullets are hitting their mark, then concentrate resources on a calibrated cannonball. Calibrated cannonballs enable large returns from concentrated investments.”Don’t waste resources by firing uncalibrated cannonballs when you don’t know if you will actually hit your target. Test and experiment by firing bullets until you feel confident you’ve fine-tuned your methods. Then fire a cannonball when you’re confident you’ve dialed in performance with the right specifications to make the biggest impact. You can use return on investment and cost per dollar raised to validate your strategies and then scale those strategies into larger fundraising efforts once they’re proven. 3) Turn the dial up; improve the return of each fundraising strategy.Lastly, with these metrics you can improve performance. If you understand the drivers that affect these two metrics, you can “crank up” the return on each fundraising activity by improving similar fundraising strategies over time.For example, if you run the same event every year and calculate the yield of that event based on the return on investment and cost per dollar raised, you can strategically improve performance for that event in the upcoming year. Employ the three scenarios described earlier:Increase event revenues while holding expenses constant.Decrease event expenses while holding revenues constant.Increase event revenues and decrease event expenses at the same time.If you can improve any one of these scenarios, you can yield higher returns for the upcoming event than the past event. The fundamentals of these two metrics allow you to squeeze more value from your fundraising efforts to generate more return with less cost, while contributing to your organization’s year-over-year growth.These aren’t the only metrics you should be tracking, but they can get you started. The goal of any development professional is to invest in positive fundraising projects. Fundraising success is directly correlated to managing a portfolio of projects that yield positive returns as standalone efforts and as a total, combined portfolio of fundraising projects. By measuring a spectrum of macro- and micro-level returns using these two measures, you have a litmus test for whether your fundraising strategy is contributing positively to the growth of your organization. Topics: