September 10, 2020
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safe covid reopening retailers

For most of 2020, small businesses all across the US have had their hands full trying to stay afloat amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. For some, it has meant slashing costs to the bone and putting their operations in hibernation with the hopes of a resumption when the crisis abates. For others, it has meant doubling down on online sales and work-from-home strategies, often by standing up new digital operations in a big hurry.

That said, as much of the nation begins to take tentative steps towards reopening local economies, small retail businesses face a new challenge: figuring out how to reopen safely and do business in what is being called the ‘new normal’. The trouble with that is the fact that there’s no single, unified strategy for them to follow. With the federal government offering little more than vague guidelines (that some states have all but disregarded already), making sure to get things right when reopening can make or break an already ailing business.

Safe COVID Reopening for Small Retailers

The best course of action is to study all of the available resources and adopt a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach that covers all the bases and keeps customers and employees as safe as possible. To help, here’s a guide to developing a reopening plan that does that.

Study Local Requirements

The first step for small retail businesses as they develop a reopening plan is to find out exactly what local authorities require them to do in terms of safety. In some areas, where the infection rate has remained low, there may not be too many hard and fast requirements to follow. In other places, local officials are calling for maximum caution and have issued lengthy guidelines for businesses to adhere to.

The US Chamber of Commerce has prepared an interactive map that should point small retail business owners in the right direction to find out what their municipality requires them to do. Whatever the local requirements, they should serve as a baseline to help business owners begin their draft planning. By making sure that all required steps are part of the plan, they’ll also make sure not to run afoul of local licensure requirements, and protect their business from liability upon reopening.

Secure Protective Equipment for Employees

Since providing store employees with the right equipment to keep them safe and healthy as they return to work is an absolute must, procuring an adequate supply of what’s needed is the next step. Once again, some states are helping small businesses with this all-important process by offering free or subsidized equipment on an as-needed basis. Most states with such programs require small businesses to sign up online, and the sooner the better. Even after months of lead time, certain kinds of PPE are still in short supply.

In some cases, it’s possible to purchase things like N95 or washable cloth masks on the open market. But small businesses often lack the clout to do so at a sustainable cost. The good news is, some small business cooperatives are stepping up to help secure supplies through collective bidding. In the long run, this option might be the best one for most small businesses to pursue. Finding a way to secure a private supply of PPE is going to be critical once government programs cease, so getting it done now could save plenty of headaches later.

Consider Reorganization

In most locales, businesses that reopen are still going to have to abide by social distancing guidelines for the foreseeable future. In the small retail footprint of a typical small business, that’s no easy feat. With limited space to display products to begin with, this means some amount of reorganization is the order of the day. The first step to doing this is to examine sales data to determine which products are most vital to the business’s bottom line. The identified products should be guaranteed retail space, while all others displayed on a more limited basis.

If space is in especially short supply, consider moving any back stock to an offsite location (home, storage unit) to open up as much retail floor space as possible. Then look at the historical sales trends for each essential product and plan to stock enough to cover approximately 20% of that volume. With foot traffic reduced, this is a decent starting point that should keep most products on shelves without wasting space. Along the way, make sure to leave enough room to give customers a wide berth to maintain social distancing as they shop.

Address Sanitation and Environmental Quality

With product displays all set, the next step is to figure out how to effectively sanitize the store on an ongoing basis and make sure its environmental quality is as safe as possible. Of course, the core component of doing this is to put stepped-up cleaning protocols in place using the CDC’s guidance as a basis for the plan. But with so much still unknown about the coronavirus’s transmission vectors, small businesses shouldn’t stop there.

First, they should take steps to sanitize their store’s air conditioning units and find ways to increase the outside air circulation as much as possible. This might require raising the store’s temperature a bit and leaving some doors or windows open, preferably with strategically placed fans bringing in air from outside. While this is hardly the most efficient thing to do, there’s enough uncertainty surrounding the role of HVAC systems in spreading coronavirus that small businesses shouldn’t take chances. As an alternative, businesses should explore installing a UV light sterilization system in their HVAC equipment. With studies showing UV light to be effective at killing coronavirus, it’s a cost-effective way to build in some extra protection without sacrificing energy efficiency.

Since indoor environments pose so many issues under these circumstances, small businesses should also consider seeking permission for outdoor storefront displays. They’re far safer for customers and provide some much-needed extra space to keep indoor spaces clean and socially-distanced. In most locations, officials are making provisions for businesses to use outdoor spaces temporarily. Although the moves are aimed at restaurants, other retailers can secure the needed permissions just the same.

Don’t Take Chances

Although it’s tempting to speed up the process on the way to a reopening, small retail businesses must think through every step before they do so. This is not only due to the possible legal ramifications of failing to abide by local reopening guidelines but also due to the very real possibility that any health issues traced back to their location could mean the end of their business. After fighting so hard to get through the closures, that would be an ignominious way to go out.

The most important thing for small retail businesses to do before reopening is to make sure nothing’s been overlooked. From regimented cleaning to adapted sales practices, they’ll only get one chance to get things right. And getting it right will also go a long way toward convincing wary customers that it’s safe to go shopping again. And in the end, that’s going to be the make-or-break factor in a small retailer’s survival – so it’s worth as much preparatory work and time as is needed.

Image: Depositphotos.com

This article, “How Small Retailers Can Plan for a Safe Post-Coronavirus Reopening” was first published on Small Business Trends

September 9, 2020
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What do B2B marketers stand to gain by using Reddit?

Just how effective is Reddit for advertising and organic marketing communication, and what are some of the top tips and advice for B2B marketers new to Reddit or those looking to expand their presence on the social media platform?

Let’s take a look at the answers to these questions and more, including eight things B2B marketers need to know about social news aggregator and discussion platform Reddit, including why more businesses than ever will be using the platform in 2021 and beyond.

While by no means a thorough guide to marketing with Reddit, we’ll explore what it is, who uses it, what it’s doing to help marketers, how some B2B marketers are using it, plus some of the latest news from the social media platform.

1 — What Is Reddit & Who Uses It?

As one of the world’s most used websites and the fifth most-visited in the U.S., Reddit presently counts some 430 million average monthly active users, generating more than 30 billion monthly views of user-generated content in over 130 thousand message board communities.

74 percent of consumers in a joint Reddit and YPulse survey said in a whitepaper that Reddit — founded 15 years ago — is where they learn about the topics they love the most.

Earlier this year our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite advised B2B marketers to proceed, but with some caution, when considering Reddit, in “6 Unconventional Social Channels for B2B Marketing.”

“If your target audience is on Reddit, it’s worth testing the waters with a few sponsored posts. Just keep it transparent, honest and genuine: There’s a whole sub-Reddit devoted to mocking tone-deaf marketing,” Joshua urged.

In my article “B2B Marketing Mythbusters: Dispelling 10 Common Myths with Extraordinary Marketing,” I used Reddit as an example of the myth that B2B marketers don’t use cool social media platforms, and pointed out that Fortune 500 firms now regularly have social media presences on the more fashionable social channels such as Giphy, Snapchat, Facebook Horizons — the social media giant’s foray into the virtual reality (VR) world — and certainly Reddit.

2 — What Is Reddit Doing To Help Marketers?

Reddit Screenshot

Reddit has noted its ability to let advertisers target their audiences, tell their stories, and measure their success, along with the opportunity to reach influential communities where millions of people are engaging with relevant content — all areas that B2B marketers are keen on improving.

Reddit offers a variety of promoted post options that let marketers place ads throughout the platform as well as in the firm’s official app.

To encourage businesses to try advertising on the platform, over the past year Reddit has partnered with three research firms and released report data showing some of the advantages Reddit offers over other social media sites.

In conjunction with Verto Analytics, Reddit has explored how the platform offers a unique path to driving purchases, in “Reddit’s Role in the Path to Purchase.”

The study compared some 1,500 instances of product research on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, and found that Reddit users evaluate just over twice as many brands in up to four times as many research sessions as on other platforms, with the notable exclusion of LinkedIn*, traditionally the leading social media platform among B2B marketers, which was not included in the survey.

The study noted that Reddit users decide on purchases nine times faster than on other social platforms, spend 15 percent more, and are some 13 percent more likely to share positive messages about a brand both online and offline. For B2B marketers dealing with often lengthy sales cycles, some of the speed advantages seen for Reddit could be a welcome experience.

Reddit users appear to spend more time in the consideration stage of the purchasing journey than those on other platforms — with its 32 percent tally versus 20 percent for other platforms, and they also tend to spend less time in the decision making stage.

Reddit Purchase Journey

The study also found that a whopping 90 percent of consumers trust the research they do using Reddit more than other websites or apps, a situation that will appeal to B2B marketers who have been working hard to rebuild eroded trust in marketing, as our CEO Lee Odden explored recently in “In Search of Trust: How Authentic Content Drives Customer Experience.”

Earlier this year Reddit joined with GlobalWebIndex to conduct a study examining Reddit’s increasing role in the online community space, resulting in the 29-page “The Era of We and the Rise of Online Communities” report.

The report offers marketers looking to begin advertising on Reddit a fair amount of background data including what the platform’s users want brands to be using Reddit for, with the leading desired qualities being content that is:

  • Bold
  • Exclusive
  • Funny
  • Trendy / Cool
  • Reliable

Reddit Brand Qualities

3 — How Are B2B Marketers Using Reddit?

“We’re using data sets like Reddit, where the depth and the quality of conversation are extremely high in the communities,” Brian Wright, social media listening and intelligence leader at Wells Fargo recently told eMarketer.

Jennifer Heyman, vice president of digital and social media at Wells Fargo, also mentioned Reddit in our annual social media marketing trends article, “13 Top B2B Social Media Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2020.”

“My prediction is that brands will divert spend from large paid awareness campaigns to more targeted authentic conversations found on platforms like Reddit or in Facebook Groups,” Jennifer observed.

“Essentially a shift of paid spend to the channels enabling a more focused and direct conversation with a customer. Personalization will continue to dominate social conversation, as brands emphasize both staying connected and infusing some fun into the message,” she added.

[bctt tweet=”Brands will shift social media focus from paid spend to channels enabling a more focused and direct conversation with a customer. @jheyman ” username=”toprank”]

Wells Fargo also mentions Reddit in some of its educational resources, noting that “Sites like Reddit and Quora are also popular options where potential students can talk about applying to schools,” all joining to highlight the social media platform’s increasing presence among large businesses.

Marketers promoting podcasts can connect with specific audiences on Reddit, or in its podcast-specific /r/podcasting sub-Reddit. Outside of that sub-Reddit, podcast marketers can generally find greater acceptance by first becoming known to an audience on the platform rather than posting links — to podcasts or any manner of outside content — right off the bat.

Podcasts have seen increasing numbers of listeners during the pandemic, and we’ve examined the growing success of podcasting among B2B marketers in several recently article including “What B2B Podcasters Need to Know About SEO” and “B2B Podcasting: 20 Stats that Make the Marketing Case.”

4 — AMAs Find A Welcome Home On Reddit

Reddit has also been a popular platform for hosting ask-me-anything (AMA) events, which can be a good way for B2B firms to begin utilizing the service if the interviewee is especially relevant to a particular topic.

Even NASA used Reddit’s /askscience sub-Reddit for a recent AMA event with planetary scientists and astrobiologists, which the organization cross-promoted on its LinkedIn and other social media accounts.

Technology giant Accenture also recently used its /accenture sub-Reddit for an AMA with its managing director Tristan Morel L’Horset, and last year the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity conducted its first Reddit-hosted AMA, featuring the noted festival’s managing director Simon Cook.

5 — Finding Relevant Audiences & Low-Hanging Keywords

In “The Guide to Unbundling Reddit,” Greg Isenberg, growth advisor at TikTok, has examined how Reddit has been affected by the pandemic, and looks at tools such as RedditList.com for finding relevant audiences.

The folks at Backlinko recently explored how to use keyword-finding tools such as those from SEMrush or Ahrefs to find relevant Reddit keywords for marketing efforts, in “17 Advanced SEO Techniques for 2020.”

HubSpot also recently took a look at some of the challenges and opportunities marketers face using Reddit, in “Everything Our Paid Team Learned From Attempting a Reddit Advertising Strategy,” finding the platform’s audience engagement a key advantage.

6 — Reddit’s Penchant For Technology Industry Professionals

With an especially avid cadre of technology enthusiasts, Reddit joins developer communities at GitHub, LinkedIn, HackerNews and others as go-to social destinations for engineers and programmers, making it a good choice for B2B firms in those sectors.

The tech-savvy nature of many of the communities on Reddit may seem merciless and intimidating at first glance, however with proper interactions brands can find valuable communication possibilities on the platform, especially when B2B marketers take the time to understand their audience and the questions they’re asking.

7 — Reddit Helps Customers Vent & Connect

Reddit joined Twitter and Facebook as the go-to platforms for venting about poor brand experiences online, with Twitter typically offering the speediest replies from brands — according to survey data from WhoIsHostingThis?

Who Is Hosting This Image

With enough effort, B2B brands that genuinely care about addressing such concerns can find Reddit a good spot for building goodwill, as we explored in “Wow Your Crowd: How Content Marketers Can Create Powerful Audience Connections,” and “B2B Marketers, Are Your Content Marketing Efforts Sparking Joy for Your Audience?

8 — What Else Is Up With Reddit Lately?

Reddit is presently running an “Up the Vote” brand marketing campaign — its first — as Adweek’s Sara Jerde chronicled in “Reddit’s Cheeky Marketing Campaign Encourages Users to Vote.”

In May Reddit tapped a former Pinterest and Google advertising leader in a move aimed at bringing more brand advertising activity to the platform, a shift that also saw the firm restructuring its sales team to adjust to changes brought by the global health crisis.

This year Reddit also rolled out its most visible advertising format to date, with “Trending Takeover” 24-hour campaigns that offer prime exposure advertisers, after having tested the format with partners including Adobe* and Spotify.

Adobe previously partnered with Reddit for a unique collaborative global digital canvas, with “Reddit X Adobe,” featuring thousands of artistic layers of imagery from users around the world.

Make Your Reddit High Noon Move Count

via GIPHY

While Reddit may no longer be the wild west for B2B marketers, incorporating it into your strategy doesn’t have to be a shootout at high noon if you take to heart the information we’ve explored together here.

When coupled with a powerful strategy such as B2B influencer marketing, Reddit can play an important role in driving successful business and customer communications.

* LinkedIn and Adobe are TopRank Marketing clients.

The post 8 Things B2B Marketers Need To Know About Reddit in 2021 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

September 7, 2020
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Do you know anyone that likes to shop online?

Win B2B Influence

Win B2B Influence
Today we live in an age of information overload where the speed of content discovery and the variety of options for media consumption across connected devices presents new challenges for B2B brands and buyers alike.

The natural response for buyers is to filter their choices and focus those few sources which are most trusted, credible and meaningful. For brands that want to differentiate and even dominate in their category, becoming known as “the best answer” for their domain of expertise will have enormous impact.

The challenge of increased digital sophistication brings an opportunity: businesses can differentiate and capture market attention by growing their authority and influence.

Content is a top priority for brands.
Numerous research studies continue to support the fact that content marketing is a top priority for marketers but there are also some challenges; companies find it difficult to produce enough content, as well as create content that engages and has enough variety.

Even when companies are able to produce high quality, relevant content on a regular basis, the challenge of distribution and reach is a concern for many. Part of the solution is to connect B2B content creation efforts with internal and industry influencers that already have communities they engage with on the same topics.

Influencer content and authority.
Brands aren’t the only non-traditional online publishers. Subject matter experts are also able to publish through social networks and media, blogs and increasingly easy contributions to online publications.  Besides creating topically competitive content, SME publishing has empowered individuals to attract their own audiences and become as influential as the some of the companies they buy from.

In addition to working with established influencers, brands can nurture future influencers to create a more effective brand community that exponentially scales reach and engagement.

The shock of content proliferation.
As a result of the content explosion, brands are faced with the reality that the majority of the content they produce might never be discovered or engaged. At the same time, brands must recognize their customers are becoming more influential about the same topics brands are spending advertising and marketing budgets on.

When business customers are empowered to create, consume, publish, interact and transact anytime, anywhere, how do brands break through to create meaningful connections and engagement? How does the dynamic of content and influence help fulfill buyer information discovery, consumption and engagement expectations while delivering on business outcomes for the brand?

As a vehicle for influence, content is one of the most powerful tools in a digital marketer’s mix to attract, engage and inspire buyers to act.

“Content co-creation is the currency for building relationships that can boost credibility, influence and action.”

The B2B content + influence solution.
A business content and influencer marketing strategy can be one of the most effective combinations B2B marketers can make.  By incorporating relevant influencers that can inspire action with content marketing efforts, marketers can reach new audiences with brand messages that are credible and trusted.

Influencer driven content marketing is also one of the best examples of how digital marketing and public relations are converging. The integration of messaging, content, social media and engagement right along with the promotion of information and media designed to inspire transactions should be the focus of any business that wants to differentiate and grow.

Buyers trust influential experts.
The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report reveals that 77% of B2B marketers believe their prospects rely on advice from industry influencers. Additionally, 84% trust influencers to create brand awareness and 69% count on influencers to help generate new leads.

While B2B content marketing on its own is effective, working with influential experts to co-create content is an approach that yields surprising results.

Lead with Empathy
Influencer content gets results.
When the pandemic swept through the world in early 2020, monday.com identified an opportunity to help support teams that had gone from working in-office to working remotely.

As a provider of remote project management software this transition created an opportunity for our client monday.com to position itself as a valuable resource for remote teams. Monday.com partnered with TopRank Marketing to develop an influencer marketing campaign featuring industry experts that could reach and engage remote work teams more effectively than the brand on its own.

Seasoned experts and influencers in the remote work space were engaged to collaborate on and promote content published on the brand site, on the influencers own sites, brand social channels and via livestream.

By engaging influencers with audiences hungry for information about remote work best practices, this campaign added value to the target audience and increased awareness of monday.com’s offering with impressive results:

  • 17.9M in potential reach from brand mentions by influencers (goal was 1M)
  • Over 300K organic impressions on social media
  • Nearly 3k video views of a live stream featuring two industry experts within the first week

See the full Monday.com influencer marketing case study here.

By connecting with market and niche influencers and working with them to achieve mutually beneficial goals, modern marketers can create invaluable relationships with authoritative experts. These connections can result in the creation of high quality, relevant and authoritative content that serves the interests of the influencer and the brand as well as providing access and reach to the influencer’s community.

B2B influencers are credible, authoritative individuals who have an engaged community that follows and acts on their thought leadership.

Winning at B2B Influencer Marketing means working with influencers to affect change in thought and action amongst a network towards goals that are mutually beneficial to the brand, the influencer and their community. Whether it is a partnership to co-create content or more general advocacy, business influencers open doors for brands to connect with engaged buyers they might otherwise never reach in a meaningful way.

“Everyone is influential about something.”

B2B influencers can be industry professionals, they could also be inside a company as subject matter experts or a company’s own customers. Influencer relationships with brands often include a value exchange of some kind and it’s up to the company and influencer to decide whether that’s an exchange of information, visibility, compensation or something else.

The essential questions of B2B influencer content.
To be effective when working with business influencers, B2B brands need to consider what they want the influencer to do for them beyond a simple endorsement.

  • How will the influencer’s involvement help the company reach a particular business goal?
  • What will an ongoing relationship with influencers mean to the brand’s marketing efforts and reputation in the industry?
  • Also, what kind of content does it make the most sense for the influencer to contribute to?
  • How does the brand want to be known and which influencers already have that credibility and authority?

These questions and more will be answered in the following model for B2B influencer content co-creation.

6 best practices for working with and influencing B2B influencers to co-create content:

  1. Identify Influencer Program Goals
  2. Research, Engage and Recruit Influencers
  3. Develop Co-Created Content with Influencers
  4. Inspire Content Promotion
  5. Influencer Measurement and Program Optimization
  6. Ongoing Influencer Relationships

1. Identify Influencer Program Goals – Serving different audiences (influencers, brand, prospects, industry media) requires a strategy that identifies distinct goals. While most subject matter experts and influencers desire increased visibility, B2B brands will want to grow their expertise for a topic amongst a target audience and attract new business. Consumers of the influencer content will want expert information from someone they trust. Industry news media will want examples they can reference and subject matter experts they can cite.

Just starting out, co-created influencer content can be as simple as a value exchange: increased exposure for both the influencer and the brand with the objective of attracting new target audience engagement and influencing a spectrum of conversion actions: subscribe, download, register, request information.

As an influencer content program matures, goals can become more sophisticated and multi-faceted to include public relations, recruiting, customer marketing and more advanced customer acquisition.

B2B influencer content programs should be tied into the content marketing plan and editorial calendar. An important part of designing an effective influencer content program is to identify the specific topics to be covered. Specifying topics and themes will drive all subsequent actions in the program from influencer recruiting to planning which media type to create to content promotion.

2. Research, Engage and Recruit Influencers – It’s important to identify the key themes that represent topical focus for the brand, the product or service and the campaign or program that you will creating with influencers. The sooner your company specifies these topical areas of focus, the sooner influencers can be identified and engaged.

“The time to start recruiting influencers is long before you need them. Romance takes time.”

It can be useful to start influencer identification by brainstorming with executives, marketing, communications and product managers to develop a list of known topical experts and even nominations of specific individual influencers. However, subjective measures like these bring heavy bias. It is always a good idea to validate influencer recommendations using data about topical relevance, resonance of that topic with the influencer’s audience and the their network size. There are many influencer marketing platforms which can provide the data needed to properly filter which individuals are perceived as influential by the communities that listen to them.

Influencer sourcing and engagement takes time. Many influencer co-created content projects will draw from both existing influencer relationships and involve making new influencer connections. Initial recruiting might be limited to small, easy projects that advance the relationship to more robust and substantial time commitments.

It is possible to jump start an influencer content program by working with a specialist agency that already has relationships with relevant industry influencers.

The most common mistake businesses make with influencers is to qualify them based purely on network size (fans, friends and followers) and affinity to a certain industry or area of interest. Without the ability to affect the way a network thinks and how they act, an influencer isn’t really influencing anyone.

“A brandividual is popular. An influencer is effective at creating popularity.”

Topical relevance, resonance and reach characteristics will be useful with influencer discovery tools like BuzzSumo which focuses on Twitter data. There are also robust tools like Traackr or Onalytica.

After you use a tool to identify and initially qualify influencers for each topic, then you can bring that list back to your internal subject matter experts to manually review and filter. Of course, no influencer discovery tool is perfect. Correlation between internal recommendations and data from an influencer marketing platform might take more time, but it’s a best practice for distinguishing between brandividuals and effective influencers.

When recruiting influencers, there are several important considerations:

  • Relevancy and effort to ask ratio – It has to be timely and on message with what they stand for. It also has to be easy for them to do. Popular, smart people are busy!
  • Be clever or humorous – Nothing cuts through the crap like humor but most of all, be a real person when you communicate, not salesy, pushy or entitled
  • You are a known entity – Having a reputation as a brand or being a well-known person in the industry is very useful. Previous personal contact with the influencer is even more valuable.
  • Vision of the project – Be able to articulate what the influencer’s involvement will be and what it will do for them personally. Also show how the project will help others.
  • Optimize for attract – Create influencer projects so good and so well known, people compete to be involved.

What doesn’t work.
Presumptive, high expectation recruiting pitches with no personalization and little upside for the influencer rarely work. It’s the equivalent of a stranger approaching you and saying, “Let’s get married”.

The time to start creating relationships with influencers is long before you actually need them. If a company is thinking that working with influencers is even a remote possibility, they should start identifying, qualifying and engaging with them now. That way, when the time comes to work together on a project, there’s already some familiarity and credibility before “the ask”.

Effective influencer recruiting for content co-creation projects comes down to being relevant and interesting, respectful and to deliver a great experience that results in a desire for more.

3. Develop Co-Created Content with Influencers – The content marketing plan for co-created influencer content should identify the primary and sub-themes, the influencers to work with for those assets, the types of contributions the influencers will make, the type of content to be created, deconstructed component parts, social share messages and details on repurposing.

Go modular – Modular content planning allows pre-promotion of the co-created content project to build momentum for launch and then deconstruction of the content for customized repurposing and social promotion on networks, blogs, and the media.

Select topics – Topics represent the themes and areas of focus for planning editorial and for sourcing influencers. Topic alignment between brand, influencer and community is essential for mutual value to be created.

Identify type of content or media mix – Types of content are often determined by the content marketing plan, and target audience. At the same time, there are some types of content more amenable to co-creation with influencers such as eBooks, reports, blog posts, quoted infographics and video compilations. A clear line of sight must be present between the co-created content and the content objectives in the marketing plan.

Once influencers, topics and media types are identified, a campaign to request content is initiated. Setting expectations during the recruitment phase for how participation will work is essential. Influencers are busy people and providing a timeline with due date, clear instructions and even examples will result in a higher participation rate.

Influencer content collection requests are often more effective when a few A-list influencers are already on board with the project. Leverage their name recognition to influence other influencers to participate.

Be prepared to send 2 to 3 content collection emails and when the deadline arrives, do not be afraid to use a fear of loss pitch. But by all means, be cordial, helpful and respectful.

4. Inspire Content Promotion – Influencer communications should provide expectations and clear timelines along with the benefits for all when a co-created influencer content project is successful.

Providing influencers with tools such as sharing images, pre-written tweets, embed codes and short URLs can substantially increase promotion participation and reach.

There are four important considerations when encouraging influencers to help promote the content they helped your company create.

Create content worth sharing. Topics that address issues that are important to the influencer will get your foot in the door and useful, visually compelling content will inspire them to open that door and share. Reaching out blindly and asking to share doesn’t work as well as having a connection first and then asking.

Let the ego do the talking. Content that includes an influencer’s contribution will probably get shared even more. Because let’s face it, people love to see themselves get recognized. Better yet, ask them to participate in the creation of the content.

However, when mentioning influencers in content it’s essential that it be credible, high quality and creative. Most influencers have caught on to the tactic of simply mentioning famous industry people just to get them to share. There must be value created that inspires and earns the share

Make it fun and easy. When emailing a promotion request, consider making it funny or at least clever. We’ve gone so far as to write outlandish examples of what NOT to do or suggest fake prizes for contributing like his/her beard scarves or beef jerky underwear.

Also make it especially easy for the influencer to share. Capture their attention, succinctly explain what it is and what you want them to do. Then offer pre-written social share text that’s even personalized just for them. You may even create a resource page with images and other share options for them to use.

Pay them. Either compensate the influencer with information and promotion or simply pay them to share your content. Once you start down this road, it’s pretty difficult to get off, so plan for continued compensation once you start.

5. Influencer Measurement and Program Optimization – Individual influencer promotions of the co-created content project can be measured based on social network shares, sentiment of those shares, engagement on the topic, links and blog pickups.

Embeds used by influencers to create blog posts can be tracked for referred search traffic along with referred social traffic from their links. Referred traffic that results in website visits can be further analyzed for metrics such as time on site, categories of content consumed, leads and sales.

Overall reach, engagement, traffic, leads and sales for the content project can be tracked as well, taking note of the contributions made by influencers towards key performance metrics like growing affinity between a topic and the brand as well as business outcomes like leads and sales.

6. Ongoing Influencer Relationships – Beyond the campaign or program at hand, do make the effort to continue the relationship with influencers you have worked with. The 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research found that 12 times more B2B marketers who run Always-On influencer marketing programs are successful vs. those running intermittent campaigns. Focus on creating a great experience for contributing subject matter experts and they’ll be very interested in working with your brand again on future projects.

The more influencer programs you develop, the more influencers you will have connections with and draw from. Remember, when it comes to promotions, you can also ask past influencers who are not part of your current program to help, since they are aware of the value that would bring and the effect of “a rising tide lifts all ships.”

Ways to stay connected and Always-On with influencers in a meaningful way include:

  • Offer them feedback after the program about the effect of their contribution
  • Cite influencers in your future blog posts
  • Connect and engage with influencers on social networks
  • Refer influencer expertise to other companies that could use them (i.e. help them get work)
  • Cite influencers in contributed articles to industry magazines, newspapers, websites and newsletters.
  • Include them in future projects

Whether your brand is engaging with influencers to provide useful information or you’re co-creating content with influencers to create a useful industry resource that will be shared with new communities, there’s a value exchange that can benefits everyone involved. Content is the key to that value transfer between brand and consumer, brand and influencer and for the overall community involved.

To learn more about B2B influencer and content marketing best practices, be sure to check out the 2020 State of B2B Influencer Marketing Research Report, or contact us directly at TopRank Marketing.

The post How to Win at B2B Influence With The Magic of Content Co-Creation appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

September 6, 2020
  • by

Are you ready to start your online business now?

2020 September 4 Socialinsider Chart

2020 September 4 Socialinsider Chart

COVID-19 drives more business to B2B marketplaces
Global marketplace growth is being led by the B2B segment, with sales expected to hit $3.6 trillion by 2024 — up from $680 billion in 2018 — according to recently-released report data of interest to digital marketers, which also showed that 89 percent of purchasing managers are spending at least the same or significantly more because of pandemic circumstances. Digital Commerce 360

How Committed Are Big Advertisers to Content Marketing?
Over the past two years major advertisers have doubled their commitment to content marketing, with 52 percent of senior-level marketers saying their firm is strongly committed to content marketing — up from 26 percent two years ago, according to recently-released survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and The Content Council. MarketingProfs

The Pandemic Pushes A Rebound in Mobile App Opens
Technology, Internet and productivity app opens saw a 55 percent year-over-year increase from March through June, with business app opens up 26 percent and finance and insurance industry app opens seeing a 22 percent rise, according to newly-released report data highlighting strong positive shifts from app opens during March. MarketingCharts

Facebook Announces Beta Launch of ‘Horizon’ VR Social Experience
Facebook has launched a test version of its Horizon virtual reality (VR) social media experience, offering features for collaboration along with social interaction elements — available via waiting list — the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Influencer Followers Will Continue Spending More Time on Social Media After Restrictions Lift
Among U.S. and U.K. consumers who follow social media influencers, 72 percent said they have spent more time using social platforms during the pandemic, and 64 percent also said that they are likely to continue the same level of usage during post-pandemic times, according to recently-released GlobalWebIndex survey data.. eMarketer

LinkedIn lets Page owners view, sort, learn more about their followers
LinkedIn (client) has launched an array of new features for its business pages, including more detailed page follower information, page-related event listings, and new employee content sharing and curation options, the Microsoft-owned professional social media platform recently announced. Search Engine Land

2020 September 4 Statistics Image

Twitter Tests Replacing ‘Retweets and comments’ with New ‘Quotes’ Count
Twitter has begun testing the use of a combined “quotes” metric comprised of the platform’s longstanding retweet and comment counts, in an effort to visually simplify its user experience elements, the firm has announced. Social Media Today

Google Ads to limit Search Terms reporting, citing privacy
Google has started notifying its Google Ads users that certain infrequently-searched terms will no longer be available in the Google Ads search terms report — a move the search giant says is aimed at protecting user data and maintain privacy standards, Google recently announced. The move has led certain advertisers to question whether the Google Ads change will remove the ability to discover helpful search terms. Search Engine Land

Want to create loyal customers? Get on the bleeding edge of data security
Brand loyalty is tied to strong data privacy, with 31 percent of U.S. consumers seeing it as the most important factor, while 40 percent said that trustworthiness is tops when it comes to brand loyalty, according to recently-released survey data also showing that 42 percent refuse to share sensitive personal data for any reason. TechRepublic

Instagram Carousels Are the Most Engaging Post Type [STUDY]
10-slide carousel posts have seen the highest engagement rates on Instagram, according to newly-released survey data from Socialinsider of interest to digital marketers. The study of some 22 million Instagram posts also shows that the use of carousels has risen faster than video content, while traditional image publication has fallen. Search Engine Journal

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 4 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “the rise of the customer service bots” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

The hashtag turns 13 — Chris Messina

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — New Report Says B2B Influencer Marketing Still Has Massive Room For Growth — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — Keynote Lineup for Pubcon Pro Virtual 2020 — Pubcon
  • TopRank Marketing — Nicht nur für B2C: Wie B2B-Unternehmen von Influencer Marketing profitieren [In German] — Futurebiz
  • Lee Odden — Monday’s Marketing Minute: The Relaunch — Mack Collier
  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Who Tells Your (Brand’s) Story? — LinkedIn (client)
  • TopRank Marketing — The Essential Qualities B2B Brands Look for in Influencers — MarketingProfs
  • TopRank Marketing — MGM Resorts cuts 18,000 jobs, NBA teams to offer arenas as voting locations, and 78% of B2B marketers say prospects rely on influencers’ opinions — PR Daily
  • TopRank Marketing — Influencer marketing daje pozytywne skutki w marketingu B2B [In Polish] — SOCIALPRESS

Have you located your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope you’ll return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: Mobile Apps Thrive, Carousels Most Engaging Format on Instagram, Facebook’s Horizon VR, & Data Security’s Customer Loyalty Connection appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

September 6, 2020
  • by

Did you know you could market your business online at a very low cost?

2020 September 4 Socialinsider Chart

2020 September 4 Socialinsider Chart

COVID-19 drives more business to B2B marketplaces
Global marketplace growth is being led by the B2B segment, with sales expected to hit $3.6 trillion by 2024 — up from $680 billion in 2018 — according to recently-released report data of interest to digital marketers, which also showed that 89 percent of purchasing managers are spending at least the same or significantly more because of pandemic circumstances. Digital Commerce 360

How Committed Are Big Advertisers to Content Marketing?
Over the past two years major advertisers have doubled their commitment to content marketing, with 52 percent of senior-level marketers saying their firm is strongly committed to content marketing — up from 26 percent two years ago, according to recently-released survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and The Content Council. MarketingProfs

The Pandemic Pushes A Rebound in Mobile App Opens
Technology, Internet and productivity app opens saw a 55 percent year-over-year increase from March through June, with business app opens up 26 percent and finance and insurance industry app opens seeing a 22 percent rise, according to newly-released report data highlighting strong positive shifts from app opens during March. MarketingCharts

Facebook Announces Beta Launch of ‘Horizon’ VR Social Experience
Facebook has launched a test version of its Horizon virtual reality (VR) social media experience, offering features for collaboration along with social interaction elements — available via waiting list — the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Influencer Followers Will Continue Spending More Time on Social Media After Restrictions Lift
Among U.S. and U.K. consumers who follow social media influencers, 72 percent said they have spent more time using social platforms during the pandemic, and 64 percent also said that they are likely to continue the same level of usage during post-pandemic times, according to recently-released GlobalWebIndex survey data.. eMarketer

LinkedIn lets Page owners view, sort, learn more about their followers
LinkedIn (client) has launched an array of new features for its business pages, including more detailed page follower information, page-related event listings, and new employee content sharing and curation options, the Microsoft-owned professional social media platform recently announced. Search Engine Land

2020 September 4 Statistics Image

Twitter Tests Replacing ‘Retweets and comments’ with New ‘Quotes’ Count
Twitter has begun testing the use of a combined “quotes” metric comprised of the platform’s longstanding retweet and comment counts, in an effort to visually simplify its user experience elements, the firm has announced. Social Media Today

Google Ads to limit Search Terms reporting, citing privacy
Google has started notifying its Google Ads users that certain infrequently-searched terms will no longer be available in the Google Ads search terms report — a move the search giant says is aimed at protecting user data and maintain privacy standards, Google recently announced. The move has led certain advertisers to question whether the Google Ads change will remove the ability to discover helpful search terms. Search Engine Land

Want to create loyal customers? Get on the bleeding edge of data security
Brand loyalty is tied to strong data privacy, with 31 percent of U.S. consumers seeing it as the most important factor, while 40 percent said that trustworthiness is tops when it comes to brand loyalty, according to recently-released survey data also showing that 42 percent refuse to share sensitive personal data for any reason. TechRepublic

Instagram Carousels Are the Most Engaging Post Type [STUDY]
10-slide carousel posts have seen the highest engagement rates on Instagram, according to newly-released survey data from Socialinsider of interest to digital marketers. The study of some 22 million Instagram posts also shows that the use of carousels has risen faster than video content, while traditional image publication has fallen. Search Engine Journal

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 4 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “the rise of the customer service bots” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

The hashtag turns 13 — Chris Messina

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — New Report Says B2B Influencer Marketing Still Has Massive Room For Growth — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — Keynote Lineup for Pubcon Pro Virtual 2020 — Pubcon
  • TopRank Marketing — Nicht nur für B2C: Wie B2B-Unternehmen von Influencer Marketing profitieren [In German] — Futurebiz
  • Lee Odden — Monday’s Marketing Minute: The Relaunch — Mack Collier
  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Who Tells Your (Brand’s) Story? — LinkedIn (client)
  • TopRank Marketing — The Essential Qualities B2B Brands Look for in Influencers — MarketingProfs
  • TopRank Marketing — MGM Resorts cuts 18,000 jobs, NBA teams to offer arenas as voting locations, and 78% of B2B marketers say prospects rely on influencers’ opinions — PR Daily
  • TopRank Marketing — Influencer marketing daje pozytywne skutki w marketingu B2B [In Polish] — SOCIALPRESS

Have you located your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope you’ll return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: Mobile Apps Thrive, Carousels Most Engaging Format on Instagram, Facebook’s Horizon VR, & Data Security’s Customer Loyalty Connection appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

September 6, 2020
  • by

Did you lose your job or business in this pandemic?

2020 September 4 Socialinsider Chart

2020 September 4 Socialinsider Chart

COVID-19 drives more business to B2B marketplaces
Global marketplace growth is being led by the B2B segment, with sales expected to hit $3.6 trillion by 2024 — up from $680 billion in 2018 — according to recently-released report data of interest to digital marketers, which also showed that 89 percent of purchasing managers are spending at least the same or significantly more because of pandemic circumstances. Digital Commerce 360

How Committed Are Big Advertisers to Content Marketing?
Over the past two years major advertisers have doubled their commitment to content marketing, with 52 percent of senior-level marketers saying their firm is strongly committed to content marketing — up from 26 percent two years ago, according to recently-released survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and The Content Council. MarketingProfs

The Pandemic Pushes A Rebound in Mobile App Opens
Technology, Internet and productivity app opens saw a 55 percent year-over-year increase from March through June, with business app opens up 26 percent and finance and insurance industry app opens seeing a 22 percent rise, according to newly-released report data highlighting strong positive shifts from app opens during March. MarketingCharts

Facebook Announces Beta Launch of ‘Horizon’ VR Social Experience
Facebook has launched a test version of its Horizon virtual reality (VR) social media experience, offering features for collaboration along with social interaction elements — available via waiting list — the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Influencer Followers Will Continue Spending More Time on Social Media After Restrictions Lift
Among U.S. and U.K. consumers who follow social media influencers, 72 percent said they have spent more time using social platforms during the pandemic, and 64 percent also said that they are likely to continue the same level of usage during post-pandemic times, according to recently-released GlobalWebIndex survey data.. eMarketer

LinkedIn lets Page owners view, sort, learn more about their followers
LinkedIn (client) has launched an array of new features for its business pages, including more detailed page follower information, page-related event listings, and new employee content sharing and curation options, the Microsoft-owned professional social media platform recently announced. Search Engine Land

2020 September 4 Statistics Image

Twitter Tests Replacing ‘Retweets and comments’ with New ‘Quotes’ Count
Twitter has begun testing the use of a combined “quotes” metric comprised of the platform’s longstanding retweet and comment counts, in an effort to visually simplify its user experience elements, the firm has announced. Social Media Today

Google Ads to limit Search Terms reporting, citing privacy
Google has started notifying its Google Ads users that certain infrequently-searched terms will no longer be available in the Google Ads search terms report — a move the search giant says is aimed at protecting user data and maintain privacy standards, Google recently announced. The move has led certain advertisers to question whether the Google Ads change will remove the ability to discover helpful search terms. Search Engine Land

Want to create loyal customers? Get on the bleeding edge of data security
Brand loyalty is tied to strong data privacy, with 31 percent of U.S. consumers seeing it as the most important factor, while 40 percent said that trustworthiness is tops when it comes to brand loyalty, according to recently-released survey data also showing that 42 percent refuse to share sensitive personal data for any reason. TechRepublic

Instagram Carousels Are the Most Engaging Post Type [STUDY]
10-slide carousel posts have seen the highest engagement rates on Instagram, according to newly-released survey data from Socialinsider of interest to digital marketers. The study of some 22 million Instagram posts also shows that the use of carousels has risen faster than video content, while traditional image publication has fallen. Search Engine Journal

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 4 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “the rise of the customer service bots” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

The hashtag turns 13 — Chris Messina

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — New Report Says B2B Influencer Marketing Still Has Massive Room For Growth — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — Keynote Lineup for Pubcon Pro Virtual 2020 — Pubcon
  • TopRank Marketing — Nicht nur für B2C: Wie B2B-Unternehmen von Influencer Marketing profitieren [In German] — Futurebiz
  • Lee Odden — Monday’s Marketing Minute: The Relaunch — Mack Collier
  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Who Tells Your (Brand’s) Story? — LinkedIn (client)
  • TopRank Marketing — The Essential Qualities B2B Brands Look for in Influencers — MarketingProfs
  • TopRank Marketing — MGM Resorts cuts 18,000 jobs, NBA teams to offer arenas as voting locations, and 78% of B2B marketers say prospects rely on influencers’ opinions — PR Daily
  • TopRank Marketing — Influencer marketing daje pozytywne skutki w marketingu B2B [In Polish] — SOCIALPRESS

Have you located your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope you’ll return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: Mobile Apps Thrive, Carousels Most Engaging Format on Instagram, Facebook’s Horizon VR, & Data Security’s Customer Loyalty Connection appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

September 5, 2020
  • by

Did you lose your job or business in this pandemic?

kelly Jones, CVS Health

As we head into the Labor Day holiday weekend, many companies are focused on having their employees return to the workplace to accelerate efforts to get business back on track.   To help companies safely bring employees back, Salesforce and CVS Health are teaming up to integrate Salesforce’s Work.com workplace management platform, which allows for wellness monitoring and manual contract tracing, with CVS’ Return Ready offering, which offers tracking and insights on COVID-19 testing.

To learn more about the partnership and how it can make it easier for companies to bring employees back in ways that keep them safe while still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I recently spoke with Bill Patterson – Salesforce EVP/GM of CRM Applications, and Kelly Jones – Division Head, National Accounts Business Unit at CVS Health.

Interview with Bill Patterson – Salesforce and Kelly Jones – CVS Health on How to Bring Employees Back Safely

Below is an edited transcript from a portion of our conversation.  Click on the embedded SoundCloud player to hear the full conversation.

Small Business Trends:  Before we get into the partnership, maybe each of you can talk about what each of your companies were working on to help get people and companies safely back to work.  Bill, maybe you can tell us about Work.com.

Bill Patterson: It’s a solution that we built on the Salesforce CRM platform infrastructure to really help organizations come back to work. Plan coming back to work, plan their safety for their employees, and to operationalize new policies, new procedures, new focus around things like wellness that I think are really just such a critical function for businesses today to kind of reopen their operations.

But the other thing that Work.com did was it really inspired us to lean in with the health and medical expert community. We have great partnerships with the UCSF Medical Center, working with great data sets like the New York Times around just the rate of testing and progression of the COVID-19 virus as we think about around the world. And we wanted to also lean in with our partners. I could not be more excited to have our partner in CVS here today really to kind of talk about how the power of applications, and data, and ecosystems come together really to manifest this new era of safety. I think that’s really just kind of the inspiration that we had in creating this new product line.

Small Business Trends: Hey, Kelly. Maybe you could tell us about Return Ready.

Kelly Jones: Kind of similar to Bill, when the pandemic initially started, we realized we’ve got some amazing assets that we can leverage nationwide to really help the nation, our citizens, our employers out there in the economy. From the beginning just about, we’ve had our focus on increasing access and accessibility to testing for COVID-19. It’s evolved from community testing … just open to the public at our CVS drive-throughs… to now what we call Return Ready, which is really an offering intended initially for employers.

And then we realized there’s a need as well for universities to be able to offer COVID testing on their own outside of just the public option, so that they can really get either back to work or to help with business continuity as well. We offer testing now as well through our CVS drive-through sites. But additionally, we can essentially stand up a laboratory onsite at an employer or campus to be able to increase that local access to testing, and basically give folks an easy button to be able to get testing.

Small Business Trends: What brought you guys together? What brought the combination of what Salesforce is doing with Work.com, with CVS and what you’re doing with Return Ready?

Bill Patterson: I think both of us really are cultures of action. As you talk about and hear Kelly’s words, there was a lot of great innovation that CVS has in its arsenal to be able to help at this time. What we know is that the focus around testing, tracing, quarantine … these are kind of key primitives that we’ve proven to be successful to help economies get into a better position to be able to reopen. As we went forth with the Work.com announcement, I think it was May 6th, it was not long after that we had a great partner in CVS wanting to stand alongside us to really come in and make this ecosystem really something powerful.

Kelly Jones: Just as we think about testing, it obviously plays a really important role in COVID management, workplace management, campus management. But that’s not the only thing that needs to happen really to have a comprehensive view of what’s going on in a community. You need to be able to take action off of those test results as well. That’s really where we saw a partner, or an alliance, possible with Salesforce where we could complete that circle. Looking at wellness checking, as well as the contact tracing. And with testing kind of sandwiched in between, and being able to inform both of those or be informed by those tools in those solutions as well.

Bill Patterson: Yeah. Brent, just one other thing that kind of led to the orientation of this. In this time, given the state of the pandemic, the opportunity for the private sector and the public sector to work with one another … We leaned in very early with the state of Rhode Island and Governor Gina Raimondo to use the Salesforce platform to stand up rapid contact tracing for citizens of that state.

Rhode Island today is one of the most densely populated states in the nation, and has done an amazing job with their contact tracing experiences. Also, Governor Raimondo was very instrumental in making the initial connections between our organizations. It’s not often that a software company and a health company have worked together closely, but she was very instrumental in it, and also made those initial.

Walking through an Example of How to Bring Employees Back to the Workplace

Small Business Trends: Could you walk us through how a potential use case, or maybe a typical use case, would be for this partnership?

Bill Patterson: Yeah. I’m happy to start. And Kelly, maybe you can kind of add in … especially the employer-led testing scenario I think would be great here. But Brent, you’re totally right. Man, there is nothing typical here. I think we’re all experiencing a relative degree of newness around the comfort of coming back to the office. The one thing that we do know is that data, and access to data, and clear access to data is super paramount in terms of planning the operations about coming back to work. We leaned in very heavily with Work.com and our Tableau data hub around public and private data sets coming together giving that information to decision makers, whether that be HR directors, facility managers, operations managers who have to plan the opening of their facilities.

 

The first scenario is just clearly access to data to make those decisions more harmonized. The second thing we did was we built out a wellness surveying application. And this example would be in the event that you were going to plan, say, a reopening of a building let’s say in San Francisco like where I work here in Salesforce Tower, you would want to notify everyone that the building is open. But prior to coming into the building, let’s have you go through a wellness test in a wellness check at-home before you get in your car or hop on public transportation.

The wellness application for Work.com, we built in partnership with the CDC. We modeled all of the initial questions for CDC guidelines for just overall screening. Those questions also can be modified or tailored to the needs of any state, any geography, any sovereignty that has maybe different data requirements to capture in the moment. All that data is stored privately, and with high degrees of discretion in the Salesforce platform. It’s not shared. It’s encrypted. It’s something that won’t be used for marketing or sales reasons. But the wellness application basically says I’m eligible to come in, but that’s where that Work.com platform kind of stops. This is where really getting into testing as someone gets into the workplace is really paramount, and I think a great opportunity for Kelly to share how the CVS solution comes in.

Kelly Jones: That’s exactly right. If you’ve got the wellness monitoring upfront, somebody raises their hand through that monitoring application that says, “Hey, you know what? I’ve got a fever. I’m not feeling well.” What do you do at that point? That’s where an employer could direct them to Return Ready depending on which mode of testing that they chose to have available to their employee population, and give them that access and direction on where they could go get a test.

And then conversely if they’re already at the worksite, they’re feeling well, we have a lot of employers that are using testing more as a proactive surveillance tool to make sure that folks are remaining negative, that they’re not there potentially asymptomatic working onsite as well. It gives them that option … just one more risk reduction tool in their arsenal of workforce strategy and business continuity.

And then conversely if somebody does test positive, whether it’s because they were feeling ill and they got a confirmation, or just through that proactive surveillance testing, then that’s where our solution has really robust comprehensive reporting that the employer can access down to individual-level results. We get consent to be able to share that information back with their employer, but then what does the employer do with that information?

They need to do contact tracing. Especially if that individual had been in the workplace, we need to be able to be sure that if they are in a type of job function where they were interacting with other employees or might’ve passed through an area. That’s where that contact tracing and the tools Work.com offers can really fill in that gap, and give the resources, and the technological aspect to be able to do that contact tracing in a less manual way than what a lot of employers started out with, which was truly just an Excel spreadsheet trying to keep track of it. That got old pretty quickly. So, being able to really do that full continuum from symptoms all the way to contact tracing, and then that testing is so critical in the middle.

Small Business Trends: What do companies need to do to be able to take the most advantage of this partnership? Are there things that they have to make sure they’re organizationally ready to handle before they jump full into this?

Kelly Jones: I think from the Return Ready perspective, we’ve designed an offering intentionally that’s meant to be very personalized and configurable by employers. We have multiple different types of testing that they can make available to their employees. Really, it’s sitting down, having a conversation, and allowing us to be consulted with them to help them design a testing offering that really meets their specific needs. Whether that’s rapid testing that’s right there on site, if you’re taking advantage of the 1,800 and growing CVS testing sites around the nation, or doing an onsite collection event. A large scale collection event where we can get everybody at one of their facilities. We have samples collected all in one day.

Having just that consultation, and talking to somebody who understands what a lot of different employers are doing and trying to manage is how to really start the process at least from a testing perspective. And then once they’re up and running with us, that’s where that tie in to Work.com happens where they can allow the testing results to be available within Work.com. It’s an easy action on their part, but that’s certainly something that … we recommend taking action off of the data, and Work.com is a great place to do that.

Bill Patterson: Kelly just said the perfect word, which is action. What employers need to do is act. And what employers need to do is act in the spirit of what is right for their employees, what is right for their customers, what’s right for their communities around them. It’s more than just kind of investing in technologies. It’s really being willing to step into boundaries that maybe once were not clear. As you mentioned, Brent, companies now need to be respectful with data around the health of their employees. They need to help all employees understand the new policies and procedures that will come back into the workplace, meaning maybe I’m not allowed to have personal items on my desk anymore. That might be a new policy that you really see as a result of kind of this crisis coming full suit.

But at the end of the day, it’s really action. I think that what we need right now are not really those just to sit on the sidelines and watch as this game is unfolding, but really get in there. Take care of your employees. Take care of your customers. Know the role that we have to reopen business to get our communities back and thriving again. This is truly something I think we need to make sure that we have a culture of action hitting our business landscape around us.

Small Business Trends: Is this aimed at any particular kind of businesses, or sizes of businesses? Who is this for?

Bill Patterson: The virus doesn’t discriminate if you’re a big business or a small business, nor do our technologies. This solution really for Work.com can be used by the smallest of businesses and the largest organizations around the world. I think that our partner in CVS is also really excited at making sure that everyone has a chance to participate here as well.

Kelly Jones: Yeah, and I’ll echo what Bill said. Yeah. We’ve designed the solution in such a way that it’s really about what the employer needs to address their specific type of work that they do, the type of job functions that they do. And if they have enough need for testing given their business, we are happy to be a partner with them to be able to provide that for them.

Small Business Trends: There’s a lot of … each state could have different regulations or different rules. How do you help with that part of the process?

Kelly Jones: From a Return Ready perspective, we actually handle all of the regulatory reporting. When you see all those statistics out there on how many positive cases there are, if that test was performed by CVS Health staff, we are handling the reporting to those agencies that then report it out publicly. We make that easy on the employers and then take care of that for them.

Bill Patterson: Yeah. Same on our side. We have built it … is a really an open platform so that if there are different regulations. I just saw last weekend that maybe six feet is not the required distance that we need to now be spending, so maybe it’s now 10 feet. Well, those are variables that can be easily modified quickly inside the platform, and things like your shift scheduling, or your distance spacing for Qs can be accommodated appropriately. We find out new things about this virus every day. I think sometimes it’s a little confusing for businesses about what are the actions that need to be taken, or should we wait for more clarity here? But technology can facilitate so much good. Again, working in this open platform way is something that we definitely want businesses to have the tools they need to mobilize.

CHECK OUT MORE:

This article, “Kelly Jones of CVS Health: We’ve teamed up with Salesforce to Make Going Back to Work Safer, Easier” was first published on Small Business Trends

September 5, 2020
  • by

Did you lose your job or business in this pandemic?

kelly Jones, CVS Health

As we head into the Labor Day holiday weekend, many companies are focused on having their employees return to the workplace to accelerate efforts to get business back on track.   To help companies safely bring employees back, Salesforce and CVS Health are teaming up to integrate Salesforce’s Work.com workplace management platform, which allows for wellness monitoring and manual contract tracing, with CVS’ Return Ready offering, which offers tracking and insights on COVID-19 testing.

To learn more about the partnership and how it can make it easier for companies to bring employees back in ways that keep them safe while still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I recently spoke with Bill Patterson – Salesforce EVP/GM of CRM Applications, and Kelly Jones – Division Head, National Accounts Business Unit at CVS Health.

Interview with Bill Patterson – Salesforce and Kelly Jones – CVS Health on How to Bring Employees Back Safely

Below is an edited transcript from a portion of our conversation.  Click on the embedded SoundCloud player to hear the full conversation.

Small Business Trends:  Before we get into the partnership, maybe each of you can talk about what each of your companies were working on to help get people and companies safely back to work.  Bill, maybe you can tell us about Work.com.

Bill Patterson: It’s a solution that we built on the Salesforce CRM platform infrastructure to really help organizations come back to work. Plan coming back to work, plan their safety for their employees, and to operationalize new policies, new procedures, new focus around things like wellness that I think are really just such a critical function for businesses today to kind of reopen their operations.

But the other thing that Work.com did was it really inspired us to lean in with the health and medical expert community. We have great partnerships with the UCSF Medical Center, working with great data sets like the New York Times around just the rate of testing and progression of the COVID-19 virus as we think about around the world. And we wanted to also lean in with our partners. I could not be more excited to have our partner in CVS here today really to kind of talk about how the power of applications, and data, and ecosystems come together really to manifest this new era of safety. I think that’s really just kind of the inspiration that we had in creating this new product line.

Small Business Trends: Hey, Kelly. Maybe you could tell us about Return Ready.

Kelly Jones: Kind of similar to Bill, when the pandemic initially started, we realized we’ve got some amazing assets that we can leverage nationwide to really help the nation, our citizens, our employers out there in the economy. From the beginning just about, we’ve had our focus on increasing access and accessibility to testing for COVID-19. It’s evolved from community testing … just open to the public at our CVS drive-throughs… to now what we call Return Ready, which is really an offering intended initially for employers.

And then we realized there’s a need as well for universities to be able to offer COVID testing on their own outside of just the public option, so that they can really get either back to work or to help with business continuity as well. We offer testing now as well through our CVS drive-through sites. But additionally, we can essentially stand up a laboratory onsite at an employer or campus to be able to increase that local access to testing, and basically give folks an easy button to be able to get testing.

Small Business Trends: What brought you guys together? What brought the combination of what Salesforce is doing with Work.com, with CVS and what you’re doing with Return Ready?

Bill Patterson: I think both of us really are cultures of action. As you talk about and hear Kelly’s words, there was a lot of great innovation that CVS has in its arsenal to be able to help at this time. What we know is that the focus around testing, tracing, quarantine … these are kind of key primitives that we’ve proven to be successful to help economies get into a better position to be able to reopen. As we went forth with the Work.com announcement, I think it was May 6th, it was not long after that we had a great partner in CVS wanting to stand alongside us to really come in and make this ecosystem really something powerful.

Kelly Jones: Just as we think about testing, it obviously plays a really important role in COVID management, workplace management, campus management. But that’s not the only thing that needs to happen really to have a comprehensive view of what’s going on in a community. You need to be able to take action off of those test results as well. That’s really where we saw a partner, or an alliance, possible with Salesforce where we could complete that circle. Looking at wellness checking, as well as the contact tracing. And with testing kind of sandwiched in between, and being able to inform both of those or be informed by those tools in those solutions as well.

Bill Patterson: Yeah. Brent, just one other thing that kind of led to the orientation of this. In this time, given the state of the pandemic, the opportunity for the private sector and the public sector to work with one another … We leaned in very early with the state of Rhode Island and Governor Gina Raimondo to use the Salesforce platform to stand up rapid contact tracing for citizens of that state.

Rhode Island today is one of the most densely populated states in the nation, and has done an amazing job with their contact tracing experiences. Also, Governor Raimondo was very instrumental in making the initial connections between our organizations. It’s not often that a software company and a health company have worked together closely, but she was very instrumental in it, and also made those initial.

Walking through an Example of How to Bring Employees Back to the Workplace

Small Business Trends: Could you walk us through how a potential use case, or maybe a typical use case, would be for this partnership?

Bill Patterson: Yeah. I’m happy to start. And Kelly, maybe you can kind of add in … especially the employer-led testing scenario I think would be great here. But Brent, you’re totally right. Man, there is nothing typical here. I think we’re all experiencing a relative degree of newness around the comfort of coming back to the office. The one thing that we do know is that data, and access to data, and clear access to data is super paramount in terms of planning the operations about coming back to work. We leaned in very heavily with Work.com and our Tableau data hub around public and private data sets coming together giving that information to decision makers, whether that be HR directors, facility managers, operations managers who have to plan the opening of their facilities.

 

The first scenario is just clearly access to data to make those decisions more harmonized. The second thing we did was we built out a wellness surveying application. And this example would be in the event that you were going to plan, say, a reopening of a building let’s say in San Francisco like where I work here in Salesforce Tower, you would want to notify everyone that the building is open. But prior to coming into the building, let’s have you go through a wellness test in a wellness check at-home before you get in your car or hop on public transportation.

The wellness application for Work.com, we built in partnership with the CDC. We modeled all of the initial questions for CDC guidelines for just overall screening. Those questions also can be modified or tailored to the needs of any state, any geography, any sovereignty that has maybe different data requirements to capture in the moment. All that data is stored privately, and with high degrees of discretion in the Salesforce platform. It’s not shared. It’s encrypted. It’s something that won’t be used for marketing or sales reasons. But the wellness application basically says I’m eligible to come in, but that’s where that Work.com platform kind of stops. This is where really getting into testing as someone gets into the workplace is really paramount, and I think a great opportunity for Kelly to share how the CVS solution comes in.

Kelly Jones: That’s exactly right. If you’ve got the wellness monitoring upfront, somebody raises their hand through that monitoring application that says, “Hey, you know what? I’ve got a fever. I’m not feeling well.” What do you do at that point? That’s where an employer could direct them to Return Ready depending on which mode of testing that they chose to have available to their employee population, and give them that access and direction on where they could go get a test.

And then conversely if they’re already at the worksite, they’re feeling well, we have a lot of employers that are using testing more as a proactive surveillance tool to make sure that folks are remaining negative, that they’re not there potentially asymptomatic working onsite as well. It gives them that option … just one more risk reduction tool in their arsenal of workforce strategy and business continuity.

And then conversely if somebody does test positive, whether it’s because they were feeling ill and they got a confirmation, or just through that proactive surveillance testing, then that’s where our solution has really robust comprehensive reporting that the employer can access down to individual-level results. We get consent to be able to share that information back with their employer, but then what does the employer do with that information?

They need to do contact tracing. Especially if that individual had been in the workplace, we need to be able to be sure that if they are in a type of job function where they were interacting with other employees or might’ve passed through an area. That’s where that contact tracing and the tools Work.com offers can really fill in that gap, and give the resources, and the technological aspect to be able to do that contact tracing in a less manual way than what a lot of employers started out with, which was truly just an Excel spreadsheet trying to keep track of it. That got old pretty quickly. So, being able to really do that full continuum from symptoms all the way to contact tracing, and then that testing is so critical in the middle.

Small Business Trends: What do companies need to do to be able to take the most advantage of this partnership? Are there things that they have to make sure they’re organizationally ready to handle before they jump full into this?

Kelly Jones: I think from the Return Ready perspective, we’ve designed an offering intentionally that’s meant to be very personalized and configurable by employers. We have multiple different types of testing that they can make available to their employees. Really, it’s sitting down, having a conversation, and allowing us to be consulted with them to help them design a testing offering that really meets their specific needs. Whether that’s rapid testing that’s right there on site, if you’re taking advantage of the 1,800 and growing CVS testing sites around the nation, or doing an onsite collection event. A large scale collection event where we can get everybody at one of their facilities. We have samples collected all in one day.

Having just that consultation, and talking to somebody who understands what a lot of different employers are doing and trying to manage is how to really start the process at least from a testing perspective. And then once they’re up and running with us, that’s where that tie in to Work.com happens where they can allow the testing results to be available within Work.com. It’s an easy action on their part, but that’s certainly something that … we recommend taking action off of the data, and Work.com is a great place to do that.

Bill Patterson: Kelly just said the perfect word, which is action. What employers need to do is act. And what employers need to do is act in the spirit of what is right for their employees, what is right for their customers, what’s right for their communities around them. It’s more than just kind of investing in technologies. It’s really being willing to step into boundaries that maybe once were not clear. As you mentioned, Brent, companies now need to be respectful with data around the health of their employees. They need to help all employees understand the new policies and procedures that will come back into the workplace, meaning maybe I’m not allowed to have personal items on my desk anymore. That might be a new policy that you really see as a result of kind of this crisis coming full suit.

But at the end of the day, it’s really action. I think that what we need right now are not really those just to sit on the sidelines and watch as this game is unfolding, but really get in there. Take care of your employees. Take care of your customers. Know the role that we have to reopen business to get our communities back and thriving again. This is truly something I think we need to make sure that we have a culture of action hitting our business landscape around us.

Small Business Trends: Is this aimed at any particular kind of businesses, or sizes of businesses? Who is this for?

Bill Patterson: The virus doesn’t discriminate if you’re a big business or a small business, nor do our technologies. This solution really for Work.com can be used by the smallest of businesses and the largest organizations around the world. I think that our partner in CVS is also really excited at making sure that everyone has a chance to participate here as well.

Kelly Jones: Yeah, and I’ll echo what Bill said. Yeah. We’ve designed the solution in such a way that it’s really about what the employer needs to address their specific type of work that they do, the type of job functions that they do. And if they have enough need for testing given their business, we are happy to be a partner with them to be able to provide that for them.

Small Business Trends: There’s a lot of … each state could have different regulations or different rules. How do you help with that part of the process?

Kelly Jones: From a Return Ready perspective, we actually handle all of the regulatory reporting. When you see all those statistics out there on how many positive cases there are, if that test was performed by CVS Health staff, we are handling the reporting to those agencies that then report it out publicly. We make that easy on the employers and then take care of that for them.

Bill Patterson: Yeah. Same on our side. We have built it … is a really an open platform so that if there are different regulations. I just saw last weekend that maybe six feet is not the required distance that we need to now be spending, so maybe it’s now 10 feet. Well, those are variables that can be easily modified quickly inside the platform, and things like your shift scheduling, or your distance spacing for Qs can be accommodated appropriately. We find out new things about this virus every day. I think sometimes it’s a little confusing for businesses about what are the actions that need to be taken, or should we wait for more clarity here? But technology can facilitate so much good. Again, working in this open platform way is something that we definitely want businesses to have the tools they need to mobilize.

CHECK OUT MORE:

This article, “Kelly Jones of CVS Health: We’ve teamed up with Salesforce to Make Going Back to Work Safer, Easier” was first published on Small Business Trends

September 5, 2020
  • by

How easy is it to market online?

2020 September 4 Socialinsider Chart

2020 September 4 Socialinsider Chart

COVID-19 drives more business to B2B marketplaces
Global marketplace growth is being led by the B2B segment, with sales expected to hit $3.6 trillion by 2024 — up from $680 billion in 2018 — according to recently-released report data of interest to digital marketers, which also showed that 89 percent of purchasing managers are spending at least the same or significantly more because of pandemic circumstances. Digital Commerce 360

How Committed Are Big Advertisers to Content Marketing?
Over the past two years major advertisers have doubled their commitment to content marketing, with 52 percent of senior-level marketers saying their firm is strongly committed to content marketing — up from 26 percent two years ago, according to recently-released survey data from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and The Content Council. MarketingProfs

The Pandemic Pushes A Rebound in Mobile App Opens
Technology, Internet and productivity app opens saw a 55 percent year-over-year increase from March through June, with business app opens up 26 percent and finance and insurance industry app opens seeing a 22 percent rise, according to newly-released report data highlighting strong positive shifts from app opens during March. MarketingCharts

Facebook Announces Beta Launch of ‘Horizon’ VR Social Experience
Facebook has launched a test version of its Horizon virtual reality (VR) social media experience, offering features for collaboration along with social interaction elements — available via waiting list — the firm recently announced. Social Media Today

Influencer Followers Will Continue Spending More Time on Social Media After Restrictions Lift
Among U.S. and U.K. consumers who follow social media influencers, 72 percent said they have spent more time using social platforms during the pandemic, and 64 percent also said that they are likely to continue the same level of usage during post-pandemic times, according to recently-released GlobalWebIndex survey data.. eMarketer

LinkedIn lets Page owners view, sort, learn more about their followers
LinkedIn (client) has launched an array of new features for its business pages, including more detailed page follower information, page-related event listings, and new employee content sharing and curation options, the Microsoft-owned professional social media platform recently announced. Search Engine Land

2020 September 4 Statistics Image

Twitter Tests Replacing ‘Retweets and comments’ with New ‘Quotes’ Count
Twitter has begun testing the use of a combined “quotes” metric comprised of the platform’s longstanding retweet and comment counts, in an effort to visually simplify its user experience elements, the firm has announced. Social Media Today

Google Ads to limit Search Terms reporting, citing privacy
Google has started notifying its Google Ads users that certain infrequently-searched terms will no longer be available in the Google Ads search terms report — a move the search giant says is aimed at protecting user data and maintain privacy standards, Google recently announced. The move has led certain advertisers to question whether the Google Ads change will remove the ability to discover helpful search terms. Search Engine Land

Want to create loyal customers? Get on the bleeding edge of data security
Brand loyalty is tied to strong data privacy, with 31 percent of U.S. consumers seeing it as the most important factor, while 40 percent said that trustworthiness is tops when it comes to brand loyalty, according to recently-released survey data also showing that 42 percent refuse to share sensitive personal data for any reason. TechRepublic

Instagram Carousels Are the Most Engaging Post Type [STUDY]
10-slide carousel posts have seen the highest engagement rates on Instagram, according to newly-released survey data from Socialinsider of interest to digital marketers. The study of some 22 million Instagram posts also shows that the use of carousels has risen faster than video content, while traditional image publication has fallen. Search Engine Journal

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE:

2020 September 4 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at “the rise of the customer service bots” by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

The hashtag turns 13 — Chris Messina

TOPRANK MARKETING & CLIENTS IN THE NEWS:

  • Lee Odden / TopRank Marketing — New Report Says B2B Influencer Marketing Still Has Massive Room For Growth — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — Keynote Lineup for Pubcon Pro Virtual 2020 — Pubcon
  • TopRank Marketing — Nicht nur für B2C: Wie B2B-Unternehmen von Influencer Marketing profitieren [In German] — Futurebiz
  • Lee Odden — Monday’s Marketing Minute: The Relaunch — Mack Collier
  • Lee Odden — What’s Trending: Who Tells Your (Brand’s) Story? — LinkedIn (client)
  • TopRank Marketing — The Essential Qualities B2B Brands Look for in Influencers — MarketingProfs
  • TopRank Marketing — MGM Resorts cuts 18,000 jobs, NBA teams to offer arenas as voting locations, and 78% of B2B marketers say prospects rely on influencers’ opinions — PR Daily
  • TopRank Marketing — Influencer marketing daje pozytywne skutki w marketingu B2B [In Polish] — SOCIALPRESS

Have you located your own top marketing stories from the past week of news? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us for the weekly B2B marketing industry news, and we hope you’ll return again next Friday and tune in for another look at the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news.

The post B2B Marketing News: Mobile Apps Thrive, Carousels Most Engaging Format on Instagram, Facebook’s Horizon VR, & Data Security’s Customer Loyalty Connection appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

September 4, 2020
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kelly Jones, CVS Health

As we head into the Labor Day holiday weekend, many companies are focused on having their employees return to the workplace to accelerate efforts to get business back on track.   To help companies safely bring employees back, Salesforce and CVS Health are teaming up to integrate Salesforce’s Work.com workplace management platform, which allows for wellness monitoring and manual contract tracing, with CVS’ Return Ready offering, which offers tracking and insights on COVID-19 testing.

To learn more about the partnership and how it can make it easier for companies to bring employees back in ways that keep them safe while still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I recently spoke with Bill Patterson – Salesforce EVP/GM of CRM Applications, and Kelly Jones – Division Head, National Accounts Business Unit at CVS Health.

Interview with Bill Patterson – Salesforce and Kelly Jones – CVS Health on How to Bring Employees Back Safely

Below is an edited transcript from a portion of our conversation.  Click on the embedded SoundCloud player to hear the full conversation.

Small Business Trends:  Before we get into the partnership, maybe each of you can talk about what each of your companies were working on to help get people and companies safely back to work.  Bill, maybe you can tell us about Work.com.

Bill Patterson: It’s a solution that we built on the Salesforce CRM platform infrastructure to really help organizations come back to work. Plan coming back to work, plan their safety for their employees, and to operationalize new policies, new procedures, new focus around things like wellness that I think are really just such a critical function for businesses today to kind of reopen their operations.

But the other thing that Work.com did was it really inspired us to lean in with the health and medical expert community. We have great partnerships with the UCSF Medical Center, working with great data sets like the New York Times around just the rate of testing and progression of the COVID-19 virus as we think about around the world. And we wanted to also lean in with our partners. I could not be more excited to have our partner in CVS here today really to kind of talk about how the power of applications, and data, and ecosystems come together really to manifest this new era of safety. I think that’s really just kind of the inspiration that we had in creating this new product line.

Small Business Trends: Hey, Kelly. Maybe you could tell us about Return Ready.

Kelly Jones: Kind of similar to Bill, when the pandemic initially started, we realized we’ve got some amazing assets that we can leverage nationwide to really help the nation, our citizens, our employers out there in the economy. From the beginning just about, we’ve had our focus on increasing access and accessibility to testing for COVID-19. It’s evolved from community testing … just open to the public at our CVS drive-throughs… to now what we call Return Ready, which is really an offering intended initially for employers.

And then we realized there’s a need as well for universities to be able to offer COVID testing on their own outside of just the public option, so that they can really get either back to work or to help with business continuity as well. We offer testing now as well through our CVS drive-through sites. But additionally, we can essentially stand up a laboratory onsite at an employer or campus to be able to increase that local access to testing, and basically give folks an easy button to be able to get testing.

Small Business Trends: What brought you guys together? What brought the combination of what Salesforce is doing with Work.com, with CVS and what you’re doing with Return Ready?

Bill Patterson: I think both of us really are cultures of action. As you talk about and hear Kelly’s words, there was a lot of great innovation that CVS has in its arsenal to be able to help at this time. What we know is that the focus around testing, tracing, quarantine … these are kind of key primitives that we’ve proven to be successful to help economies get into a better position to be able to reopen. As we went forth with the Work.com announcement, I think it was May 6th, it was not long after that we had a great partner in CVS wanting to stand alongside us to really come in and make this ecosystem really something powerful.

Kelly Jones: Just as we think about testing, it obviously plays a really important role in COVID management, workplace management, campus management. But that’s not the only thing that needs to happen really to have a comprehensive view of what’s going on in a community. You need to be able to take action off of those test results as well. That’s really where we saw a partner, or an alliance, possible with Salesforce where we could complete that circle. Looking at wellness checking, as well as the contact tracing. And with testing kind of sandwiched in between, and being able to inform both of those or be informed by those tools in those solutions as well.

Bill Patterson: Yeah. Brent, just one other thing that kind of led to the orientation of this. In this time, given the state of the pandemic, the opportunity for the private sector and the public sector to work with one another … We leaned in very early with the state of Rhode Island and Governor Gina Raimondo to use the Salesforce platform to stand up rapid contact tracing for citizens of that state.

Rhode Island today is one of the most densely populated states in the nation, and has done an amazing job with their contact tracing experiences. Also, Governor Raimondo was very instrumental in making the initial connections between our organizations. It’s not often that a software company and a health company have worked together closely, but she was very instrumental in it, and also made those initial.

Walking through an Example of How to Bring Employees Back to the Workplace

Small Business Trends: Could you walk us through how a potential use case, or maybe a typical use case, would be for this partnership?

Bill Patterson: Yeah. I’m happy to start. And Kelly, maybe you can kind of add in … especially the employer-led testing scenario I think would be great here. But Brent, you’re totally right. Man, there is nothing typical here. I think we’re all experiencing a relative degree of newness around the comfort of coming back to the office. The one thing that we do know is that data, and access to data, and clear access to data is super paramount in terms of planning the operations about coming back to work. We leaned in very heavily with Work.com and our Tableau data hub around public and private data sets coming together giving that information to decision makers, whether that be HR directors, facility managers, operations managers who have to plan the opening of their facilities.

 

The first scenario is just clearly access to data to make those decisions more harmonized. The second thing we did was we built out a wellness surveying application. And this example would be in the event that you were going to plan, say, a reopening of a building let’s say in San Francisco like where I work here in Salesforce Tower, you would want to notify everyone that the building is open. But prior to coming into the building, let’s have you go through a wellness test in a wellness check at-home before you get in your car or hop on public transportation.

The wellness application for Work.com, we built in partnership with the CDC. We modeled all of the initial questions for CDC guidelines for just overall screening. Those questions also can be modified or tailored to the needs of any state, any geography, any sovereignty that has maybe different data requirements to capture in the moment. All that data is stored privately, and with high degrees of discretion in the Salesforce platform. It’s not shared. It’s encrypted. It’s something that won’t be used for marketing or sales reasons. But the wellness application basically says I’m eligible to come in, but that’s where that Work.com platform kind of stops. This is where really getting into testing as someone gets into the workplace is really paramount, and I think a great opportunity for Kelly to share how the CVS solution comes in.

Kelly Jones: That’s exactly right. If you’ve got the wellness monitoring upfront, somebody raises their hand through that monitoring application that says, “Hey, you know what? I’ve got a fever. I’m not feeling well.” What do you do at that point? That’s where an employer could direct them to Return Ready depending on which mode of testing that they chose to have available to their employee population, and give them that access and direction on where they could go get a test.

And then conversely if they’re already at the worksite, they’re feeling well, we have a lot of employers that are using testing more as a proactive surveillance tool to make sure that folks are remaining negative, that they’re not there potentially asymptomatic working onsite as well. It gives them that option … just one more risk reduction tool in their arsenal of workforce strategy and business continuity.

And then conversely if somebody does test positive, whether it’s because they were feeling ill and they got a confirmation, or just through that proactive surveillance testing, then that’s where our solution has really robust comprehensive reporting that the employer can access down to individual-level results. We get consent to be able to share that information back with their employer, but then what does the employer do with that information?

They need to do contact tracing. Especially if that individual had been in the workplace, we need to be able to be sure that if they are in a type of job function where they were interacting with other employees or might’ve passed through an area. That’s where that contact tracing and the tools Work.com offers can really fill in that gap, and give the resources, and the technological aspect to be able to do that contact tracing in a less manual way than what a lot of employers started out with, which was truly just an Excel spreadsheet trying to keep track of it. That got old pretty quickly. So, being able to really do that full continuum from symptoms all the way to contact tracing, and then that testing is so critical in the middle.

Small Business Trends: What do companies need to do to be able to take the most advantage of this partnership? Are there things that they have to make sure they’re organizationally ready to handle before they jump full into this?

Kelly Jones: I think from the Return Ready perspective, we’ve designed an offering intentionally that’s meant to be very personalized and configurable by employers. We have multiple different types of testing that they can make available to their employees. Really, it’s sitting down, having a conversation, and allowing us to be consulted with them to help them design a testing offering that really meets their specific needs. Whether that’s rapid testing that’s right there on site, if you’re taking advantage of the 1,800 and growing CVS testing sites around the nation, or doing an onsite collection event. A large scale collection event where we can get everybody at one of their facilities. We have samples collected all in one day.

Having just that consultation, and talking to somebody who understands what a lot of different employers are doing and trying to manage is how to really start the process at least from a testing perspective. And then once they’re up and running with us, that’s where that tie in to Work.com happens where they can allow the testing results to be available within Work.com. It’s an easy action on their part, but that’s certainly something that … we recommend taking action off of the data, and Work.com is a great place to do that.

Bill Patterson: Kelly just said the perfect word, which is action. What employers need to do is act. And what employers need to do is act in the spirit of what is right for their employees, what is right for their customers, what’s right for their communities around them. It’s more than just kind of investing in technologies. It’s really being willing to step into boundaries that maybe once were not clear. As you mentioned, Brent, companies now need to be respectful with data around the health of their employees. They need to help all employees understand the new policies and procedures that will come back into the workplace, meaning maybe I’m not allowed to have personal items on my desk anymore. That might be a new policy that you really see as a result of kind of this crisis coming full suit.

But at the end of the day, it’s really action. I think that what we need right now are not really those just to sit on the sidelines and watch as this game is unfolding, but really get in there. Take care of your employees. Take care of your customers. Know the role that we have to reopen business to get our communities back and thriving again. This is truly something I think we need to make sure that we have a culture of action hitting our business landscape around us.

Small Business Trends: Is this aimed at any particular kind of businesses, or sizes of businesses? Who is this for?

Bill Patterson: The virus doesn’t discriminate if you’re a big business or a small business, nor do our technologies. This solution really for Work.com can be used by the smallest of businesses and the largest organizations around the world. I think that our partner in CVS is also really excited at making sure that everyone has a chance to participate here as well.

Kelly Jones: Yeah, and I’ll echo what Bill said. Yeah. We’ve designed the solution in such a way that it’s really about what the employer needs to address their specific type of work that they do, the type of job functions that they do. And if they have enough need for testing given their business, we are happy to be a partner with them to be able to provide that for them.

Small Business Trends: There’s a lot of … each state could have different regulations or different rules. How do you help with that part of the process?

Kelly Jones: From a Return Ready perspective, we actually handle all of the regulatory reporting. When you see all those statistics out there on how many positive cases there are, if that test was performed by CVS Health staff, we are handling the reporting to those agencies that then report it out publicly. We make that easy on the employers and then take care of that for them.

Bill Patterson: Yeah. Same on our side. We have built it … is a really an open platform so that if there are different regulations. I just saw last weekend that maybe six feet is not the required distance that we need to now be spending, so maybe it’s now 10 feet. Well, those are variables that can be easily modified quickly inside the platform, and things like your shift scheduling, or your distance spacing for Qs can be accommodated appropriately. We find out new things about this virus every day. I think sometimes it’s a little confusing for businesses about what are the actions that need to be taken, or should we wait for more clarity here? But technology can facilitate so much good. Again, working in this open platform way is something that we definitely want businesses to have the tools they need to mobilize.

CHECK OUT MORE:

This article, “Kelly Jones of CVS Health: We’ve teamed up with Salesforce to Make Going Back to Work Safer, Easier” was first published on Small Business Trends

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