Published by Jane Cirigliano , June 30th, 2015
Using new tools to respond faster
Agile Marketing aims to improve the speed, transparency, predictability and adaptability to change for your business. Based on Agile Development for software, Agile Marketing often employs tools such as marketing automation, social media monitoring and scheduling, and content development to move quickly in response to current events, customer interactions and crisis management.
Agile Marketers follow a process that allows for short marketing experiments, feedback (internal and external), assessment of results and adjustments to react to the changing market environment. The goals are to increase the swiftness and responsiveness of marketing, improve communication and better align the company goals with the sales staff.
Sounds great, right? But using Agile Marketing often requires a culture shift in established companies where there is a hierarchy for decisions and approvals. So how can you make your company culture more Agile?
Quickly responding to what is happening in the industry, customers and competitors is a key component of Agile Marketing. Agile Marketers focus on responding to change over following a plan.
However, that does not mean that there isn’t a plan. Agile Marketers think in sprints rather than long-term plans, though their sprints are designed to accomplish long-term goals. This method helps achieve over-arching goals while allowing marketers the flexibility and autonomy to make decisions on short-term campaigns.
If your company has a long-term plan (and you should), it will not hinder your ability to go Agile. Your company may need to look at the plan a little differently and you may need to set some decision-making boundaries with your management team.
Agile Marketing values the use of several smaller campaigns as opposed to investing primarily in large marketing campaigns. Smaller campaigns are typically faster to deploy. They can also be targeted based on market or position in the sales cycle.
Continuing to run large corporate campaigns is still a valuable component of your marketing mix. As with most media, it’s a matter of finding the right balance and integrating your messages.
Agile Marketing focuses on individuals and interactions rather than speaking to the masses. From customer service monitoring on social media to personalized content when a returning customer visits your website, Agile Marketers create experiences for customers that keep them coming back for more.
You must truly understand your customer base and develop deep profiles to take full advantage of personalization. Online tools can help you speed up and automate the process while producing quality interactions.
More and more, we are seeing companies collaborate with customers, suppliers and other external sources to generate content, extend each other’s reach and cross-sell. External orientation shows customers you care about meeting their needs, and it also gives you some built-in endorsements.
Agile Marketers trust data and insights over opinions and a “we’ve always done it this way” attitude. They use A/B and other forms of testing to determine what works best and constantly improve their marketing efforts.
This test-and-learn approach integrates automation, collaboration and monitoring to help Agile Marketers learn what works with small campaigns, then invest in what works to increase ROI.
Published by Chris Hlubb , June 2nd, 2015
One of the saddest things that has happened in the digital age is the rise of hackers - those people who have nothing better to do than to wreak havoc on other people’s websites, whether it simply be for sport or for shear maliciousness.
To gain access to websites, a lot of these people tend to do what are called brute force attacks or dictionary attacks, where they continue bombarding a login screen wanting a username and password. At OffWhite, we take security very seriously and are trying to make our clients well aware of the dangers that can occur, especially starting with something as simple as password protection.
As a general rule of thumb, passwords should not be something easily guessed and they should always contain a mix of lowercase/uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols. For each character that you add, the difficulty goes up exponentially. The problem is, most people aren’t going to remember a password that looks like a jumbled mess of gibberish. They stick to the basics of “password” or “abc123” - something that they can easily remember. Taking a little bit of time to create a good password can save your company money in the long run.
A simple solution is to harken back to when you were in school and used a technique called mnemonics. Who doesn’t remember learning the colors of the rainbow by the name Roy G. Biv? Or if you happened to be a math guy like myself and used my good friend Sohcahtoa to remember how to calculate the sine, cosine, or tangent of angles in a right triangle? The point that is being made here is that you can create passwords that are difficult for others to guess, while still being relatively easy for you to remember. On a show called "Brain Games," they talked about a five step process to create such passwords.
- Our first step is to create a saying or phrase that is a sentence or two long. We’ll use this as our example: “To be or not to be, that is the question”
- In the second step, we will take the first letter of each word in our phrase and make them all lower case letters. That give us the following: tbontbtitq
This may look like gibberish, but you’re well on your way to creating a strong password.
- Now, the third step is to change some of these letters to uppercase letters. One way that this can be accomplished is to make any letter in the first or second half of the alphabet uppercase. For our example, we will make all letters in the first half of the alphabet uppercase. This now makes our password look like this: tBontBtItq
By capitalizing the “b’s”, and the “i”, we are continuing to exponentially make this a tougher nut to crack.
- The fourth step is to add in some meaningful numbers. For example, you can change all “o’s” to a zero, change all “i’s” to the number one, or you could add a meaningful number to the end, beginning, or somewhere in the middle (like the 25th for your birthday). For our example, we will change the “o” to a zero and the “i” to a one. This gives us: tB0ntBt1tq
- Finally, you can add in some symbols, such as an exclamation mark or a question mark to give us our final password that looks like this: tB0ntBt1tq?
While this may seem slightly complicated, try it and see what you can come up with. This gives you a very personalized password that is very tough to crack. You can use this method for all of your different sites, whether it’s for personal use or simply using passwords to log into your administrative back end. I would also recommend not using the same passwords for multiple sites, and it’s also good practice to change your passwords every so often.
In fact, just because I’m a numbers guy, I’ll throw this last tidbit at you. If you have a twelve-character password using lowercase, uppercase, numbers, and symbols, the possible number of passwords comes to a staggering number over 540 sextillion combinations (that’s 540 followed by 21 zeros). That would definitely take some time to crack.
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
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