When you’re trying to start a business, it can be tough to figure out your next step. Daquan Oliver, founder and executive director at WeThrive, learned this from a young age, and now he works to develop entrepreneurial skills in students from middle school on up.
In this episode of Hacks and Flacks, Daquan shares a few lessons in social entrepreneurship and nonprofit marketing and communications. Having successfully built a national collective of undergrad mentors for youth in under-resourced communities, Daquan describes how informal mentorships have given him the support system to build his company.
He also explains why he chose to avoid media outreach at a certain point in WeThrive’s development, how press coverage gave him a boost at the right time, and how a few simple marketing and tech tools helped his business scale in a way that eludes many other nonprofit organizations.
One of the quirks about the cloud is that many people don’t really know they’re using it – until something goes wrong.
Take, for example, the four-hour Amazon Web Services outage on February 28. When the company’s S3 service went offline for reasons that have yet to be explained, the domino effect touched numerous websites and apps. Business Insider. Slack. Trello. App stores. Mashable. Even, in the cruelest irony, a website that tells you if other websites are down.
Non-techies who’d never heard of Amazon Web Services may have been surprised to find out that the company they know for retail, video streaming, and Alexa was also, somehow, a crucial support system for so much of the internet.
To be honest, even as someone who tries to stay informed on the cloud and its major players, I found the outage eye-opening in certain ways: it was interesting to see all of the specific and unique ways different companies were affected.
Ultimately, the outage showed that Amazon’s cloud reach is massive. And it’s growing.
In her latest LinkedIn Pulse piece, March VP Juliana Allen offers a glimpse of the growing cloud market. She cites three recent cloud studies from Gartner, IDC and Synergy Research Group, the latter of which reports that AWS now owns 40 percent of the public cloud market.
Even as Amazon’s primary competitors (Microsoft, Google, IBM) try to take a bite out of its market share, their growth most often comes at the expense of other smaller players – not Amazon itself.
Overall, the wider cloud market is expected to keep growing, which likely will mean even more of the apps and services we depend on each day will rely on the cloud.
Companies like to talk a lot about their fancy gadgets and whiz-bang whirligigs (good word), but are customers actually listening? In most cases, probably not.
So, how should brands re-think marketing and PR to grab the interest and attention of the right buyers, and drive them to take an action? We ask Jodi Petrie, Executive Vice President at March and the head of our new Consumer Innovation shop, for her perspective. Jodi offers thoughts on the current state of tech communications, and suggests a better way forward for brands in this space.
OK, not really. But, robots and artificial intelligence are certainly having a major impact right now on the global workforce.
In her most recent LinkedIn Pulse piece, March Senior Vice President Juliana Allen summarized statistics from a new McKinsey report, which shows that robotics will have its most profound impact in industries with highly structured or predictable environments. Data collection and processing are also impacted. The upshot is that up to 51 perfect of activities in the US economy could be affected by robotics, representing almost $2.7 billion in wages.
Those findings touch on a common public fear: that robots and automation will replace human jobs. The opposite argument is that automation simply frees up humans for more interesting work. For example, March VP Meredith L. Eaton wrote last year about the growing use of automation in journalism, in which systems automatically turn investment data into finance news stories for publications like CNBC and Fox Business.
That describes a much more symbiotic relationship with robots, since actual journalists theoretically benefit from spending less time on rote stories and more time on interesting reporting.
These are just a few of the debates that robotic and artificial intelligence creators have to wrestle with every day. As a business in this industry, how should you communicate the value of your technologies without exacerbating these very valid worries? It’s a challenge that tech PR pros will have to account for in the years to come.
January was a busy month for the tech world, and for March Communications. We sent team members out to major tech events this month, and in this episode of Hacks and Flacks, three of them report back what they heard and saw while on the road.
Courtney Allen, James Gerber and Alex Jafarzadeh check in after trips to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the National Retail Federation (NRF) Retail’s Big Show. They evaluate how the biggest innovators in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics and more are succeeding or failing to connect with their target buyers.
Which of these trends are overhyped and which are underrated? We also pay our respects to the dearly departed 3D TV trend and ask: how can companies avoid seeing their product end up in the graveyard of gimmicky tech?
Rica Elysee is a builder. Based on her personal experiences with family and friends, she saw the need for a community for women that care about a natural hair lifestyle, which is why she created BostonNaturals. Now she’s built a business in BeautyLynk, an on-demand marketplace for people to find beauty professionals for at-home appointments.
Through both experiences, she found that staying true to herself and her own personal journey helped her build grassroots communities, whether it was women who want to embrace their own definition of natural beauty, or customers who need someone to help them craft their style.
In this episode of Hacks and Flacks, March’s Marina Askari and I talk to Rica about her journey. We talk about why authenticity is so important to how companies – startups and large enterprises – grow, gain customers, gain media coverage and more. We also ask about the local startup resources – like MassChallenge – that helped her build her business.
If some content is good, more is better, right? Marketers know that’s not always the case, especially in today’s content marketing environment, where the sheer volume of content available for buyers to read can be overwhelming. When there’s too much content out there, you have to change your own content creation strategy to get noticed.
In the final Hacks and Flacks of 2016, we talk with Joe Flynn, Managing Editor at Sales Engine Media, about that exact challenge. A veteran B2B content marketer, Joe tells us how his own content strategy has changed to reflect the current state of SEO, social media and content consumption habits.
Most tech businesses abide by that old rule of thumb: never discuss politics and religion in polite company. However, this year we’ve seen many prominent individuals and companies thrust into the political spotlight, whether they wanted to be there or not. How have they responded? And as tech becomes more intertwined with our everyday life, should we expect to see more companies comment on social and political issues that are typically outside their depth?
In this episode of Hacks and Flacks (which, it’s important to note, was recorded before the 2016 presidential election) Manny Veiga and Andrew Grzywacz discuss the communications responses of some of the biggest names in technology – Facebook, Airbnb, and even figures like Peter Thiel or Sheryl Sandberg – when faced with political issues. We also muse on the issues (data security, personal privacy) that could force B2B enterprises to wade into these murky waters.
If you’re a marketing writer, then you’re probably a ghostwriter too. Most, if not all content marketers have been asked to assume the (writing) identity of their boss, their boss’s boss, or someone else in the organization. To do a good job, you have to satisfy regular editorial demands while making sure the piece fits the tone and voice of your author. These ghostwriting tips can set you on your way.
Bloomberg is a brand of contrasts. It’s simultaneously one of the biggest names in news, while also flying under the radar for those of us who don’t keep up on the latest in business or investment. The Bloomberg Boston office is inconspicuously tucked away on two upper floors of a Downtown Crossing high-rise, but within that space, reporters are creating stories that are read and heard by a huge international audience.
In this episode of Hacks and Flacks we talk to Anne Mostue, radio anchor and reporter at Bloomberg Boston, to help PR professionals get a better sense for this dichotomy. After transitioning from the world of public radio, Anne now spends each afternoon on Bloomberg’s airwaves, covering the latest in finance for an audience of movers and shakers. She describes the types of news that’s important to her audience, the differences between Bloomberg and her past stops in journalism, plus the best ways for PR professionals to pitch her.