Recently, there’s been a significant spike on Google Trends of two very interesting queries “augmented reality wine labels” and “augmented reality business card.”
Both of these queries represent a marker-based augmented reality (AR) type of application.
Marker-based AR is a mobile device application that allows you to scan physical images, “markers”, and render a 3D model, another image, video, or scene and interact with it using your device.
Augmented Reality Business Card
An augmented reality business card is a very unique and innovative way to stand out during a business meeting, roadshow, or event using a fancy marker-based AR solution.
With an AR-recognized business card which works as an AR marker, a user is able to scan the card and see the most relevant information about the company and a call to action.
However, it has certain limitations which will be described further.
Augmented Reality Wine Label
Similar to a business card, an augmented reality wine label is a marker-based AR application. Additional content on an AR white label can be triggered using a specific smartphone application which your clients or users have to install on their phones.
An AR wine label is a great way to spice up your wine business and build more trust and loyalty with your clients. However, you have to have a solid client base where you will distribute your AR application.
Both AR business card and AR wine label are great if you’re working with well-established existing clients, however, it may not be a good fit for the acquisition of new clients.
The problem with these applications is that you have to make a client install the application first and then hand them the business card or show a wine label. The marker can only be recognized if it’s hard-coded into the application. Currently, such a solution is trying to find the right balance between practicality and originality.
Even though such applications are relatively easy to build using open source augmented reality libraries such as OpenCV, ARCore, ARKit, ARToolKit, and Kudan, the apps require additional improvements and accessibility points.
Luckily, in 2018, Google announced the WebXR API which has come to solve the problem of impractical use of AR apps. WebXR is a web augmented reality solution which stores data on the internet and provides access to the content elsewhere.
But what about the markerless AR applications? Do they make a difference?
Markerless AR applications do not use markers obviously, however, they use pre-baked content and 3D models which run within the special smartphone application anyway.
They require more time and resources to be developed and deal with different issues such as surface training, lighting, etc. Here are the most common examples of markerless AR applications.
IKEA Furniture AR App
IKEA app allows you to preview furniture before you buy it. The application is installed on a mobile device and uses a set of pre-built 3D models of furniture which a user can interact with.
The basic functionality of the app includes rotation, furniture placement, color variation changes, and photographing.
Google Maps AR Navigation
Google Maps AR Navigation is one of the most recent markerless AR applications which helps users navigate within the city.
The feature can easily be accessible by clicking the “Start AR” option. Currently, the application is supported at Pixel Devices and it’s unknown when it will be supported on all platforms.
Marker-based and markerless AR applications are a great way to add a spark to your business, improve engagement, and build loyalty with your existing customer base.
In the future, both solutions will find a better use for digital marketing and other industries as soon as they’re accessible through external web servers.
- Published in Business 2 Community
Do you want to become a tech mogul, or at least jumpstart your career in tech sales? This guide will help you understand the job hunting process in technology sales from both a job seeker’s point of view as well as the hiring manager’s. During my career I’ve hired, trained, and managed over 100 Sales Development Representatives (SDRs). But I’m the first to admit that I’ve committed many of the hiring and jobseeking sins I’m about to tell you about. But, hey, I did it so you don’t have to!
You are about to embark on a difficult yet necessary process for both you and your dream employer. Learn from other people’s missteps, apply these job hunting tips and you’ll be signing your pre-IPO stock option grants in no time!
A High-Level View of the SDR Hiring Process
Before we start our deep dive, take a moment and think of what the SDR hiring process is like from a 10,000-foot level. This is very similar in concept as it would be for a Venture Capitalist (VC) to invest in a seed round company. Typically, there’s no track record of success, so a VC—or in your case, a hiring manager—will evaluate many unknowns to try and gauge whether you have a low enough risk profile while exhibiting qualities for high potential.
In the end, both decisions are made with a limited amount of supporting data. The hope is that with enough training, the decision to invest or hire will create a high yield over time. Make no mistake, failure is expected in a significant number of these decisions, however, successful SDRs tend to have a very high impact, making this process a worthwhile investment.
Now that you understand the stakes, you want to take every possible effort to position yourself as the most obvious and risk-free candidate in the pool. If you follow this process, you’ll nearly guarantee success.
Figure Out Your “Why”
You need to be honest with yourself here. Why are you looking to start a career in sales? During phone screens and interviews, this is typically the first question I ask candidates. A well thought out answer to this question will almost always move you to the top of the applicant pool. Think of the above concept regarding mitigating hiring risk from unproven candidates. Sales is an excruciatingly difficult process to master and the transition period from training to jumping on the phones can be especially challenging. Without the right “why”, first-time salespeople fold faster than Superman on laundry day.
The best candidates will have a 100% clear answer for the why question. My top salespeople had done their homework, spoke with successful salespeople, read sales books, attended seminars, and more importantly, came prepared for the interview with a plan and a strategy.
Contrast this with the worst candidates. Anytime I hear “well, I’m not sure, it seems like a great company and this may be a way in the door,” they are nearly automatically disqualified. Why? Because sales development is a freaking tough job. Anyone who is not mentally prepared for the hardships of a sales career will churn out as soon as the ramp period is over. Being let go from a job is horrible for both the employee and employer. You want to make sure you land a job that you’ll be passionate about because you’ll need to pull from that inner strength when things get tough on the job.
Recently, we had a candidate who showed up at Invoca’s front door and asked to speak with the SDR hiring manager. I was thrilled at this initiative, however when asked why he wanted to work at our company he looked at me with a blank stare and said: “well, I need a job.” Ouch, thank you, next! The fact that you need a job is not a strong enough reason for any employer to extend you an offer.
Here are some questions to help you figure out your “why” in sales:
Are you a competitive person?
Have you been in a position where you are constantly rejected?
If so, did you come back for more? Why?
Do you have an outlandish belief in yourself?
Do you have a high tolerance for risk?
Do you have very high expectations for your income potential?
Are you willing to grind day-in, day-out for a decade plus?
Do I Really Want to Work in Sales?
If you answered NO to two or more of these questions, I highly recommend you look at yourself in the mirror and ask if you want to get into such a difficult career. Dan Finnigan, CEO of Jobvite, once said that only 23% of all people have the right mental makeup to be a successful seller. After nearly 15 years in sales, I wholeheartedly agree and would go a level deeper. I would say only 2-3% of people have the ability to stay in sales long-term with an average career. The number of top salespeople who consistently make presidents club and earn millions per year is a tiny fraction of this 2-3%.
You may be thinking to yourself, ‘wow, this is tough, with such a high chance of failure, why would anyone in their right mind want to do this?’ The simple answer is that sales is one of the most meritocratic professions in the world. It doesn’t care which neighborhood you grew up in, what school you attended, or if you know any country club board members. If you’re willing to bet on yourself, work extraordinarily hard, and make a commitment to figure out creative ways to add tremendous amounts of value to your customers, then you’re on the right track.
At this point, I anticipate we have lost half our readers. But that’s good. If you made it this far and are still interested, then a career in sales could be the right move for you.
How to Get Your SDR Job Search Started
Let’s get going, however before you submit any applications or write a single cover letter, you must set your house in order. Here are a few things you absolutely MUST do before you speak with any potential employer.
Clean up your Social Presence
Social media is now a critical part of the candidate screening process. You must learn to use professional media like LinkedIn (and to some extent Twitter), and protect your personal profiles such as Facebook and Instagram to avoid disqualification.
Most modern companies use an applicant tracking system (ATS) to help them manage the hiring process. This includes a repository of applications, candidate screening, interview scorecards, and onboarding logistics. In the candidate screening module of the ATS, there are many built-in tools to help the hiring team identify all the social media profiles of the applicant. This can work to your advantage or seriously backfire. Here’s what you need to do on each platform:
If you haven’t already, set up a profile. Make sure it’s as complete and detailed as possible. LinkedIn has become the modern-day business card and this is the medium where you showcase your professional qualities. Make sure you have a professional looking headshot, write a personal summary, and include media such as projects you have completed or even school projects you are proud of. Here’s a great LinkedIn profile to a top-performing SDR which you can use as your guide.
Facebook & Instagram
This section is easy. Set these to PRIVATE and delete any posts or profile pictures which can be considered obnoxious or offensive. When job hunting, there is very little to gain from having public profiles and a lot to lose. True story: I once had an applicant whose FB profile photos were mostly photos of him in his underwear. Think of a 90’s Calvin Klein ad but taken in a messy college dorm room. Besides giving me a good laugh, the only thing this candidate received was the cold, automated rejection email.
This is the least used platform by millennials, but if you are a regular twitter poster, make sure you delete any highly controversial tweets. Even if the HM agrees with your angry rants about the president, they likely cannot hire someone who has a compromised social media presence for a customer-facing job.
How to Prepare Your Resume
Now that you’ve cleaned up your social presence, it’s time to polish your resume. In this section, I will cover some of the must-dos and share some of the most common mistakes I see applicants make.
Resumes should be ONE page long. No more, no less. It’s your job to figure out how to compress all your experience into a concise format. Three-page resumes go straight in the trash.
Quantify your accomplishments. An HM is not looking for your job description, but rather what you got done. For example, instead of saying “Worked at the University Intramural league office”, you can say: “Increased enrollment in intramural leagues by 50% in a three-year period by launching campaigns targeting students who had previously expressed interest but had not yet registered”. If you fail to quantify accomplishments, this is usually interpreted as the candidate who is a clock puncher and not focused on driving results.
Opinions vary on listing interests, but I’ve never been a fan. They just take away from the larger message of your accomplishments. You’re working with very limited real estate in your resume, so save this for the in-person interview.
Hire a resume editing service: I get it, you just got out of school and burning $150 on something you can do yourself seems like a waste of money. Trust me, it’s not. A resume is a reflection of yourself and if you’re submitting average work, you’ll be perceived as an average candidate.
I don’t recommend using the standard MS Word resume template. Microsoft has done some upgrades here recently, but I still see a steady stream of subpar resumes using this format.
Here’s an example of a truly innovative resume. This was created by a third party company to showcase their resume making ability and they used Marisa Meyer, CEO of Yahoo as their test case.
Required Reading for Future SDRs
If you were to build a piece of IKEA furniture, chances are you may be able to figure it out without reading the instructions, but it would take you 3X longer and the end result could be disastrous. Interviewing for a sales role without the proper base of knowledge is the same thing. There’s a chance someone will hire you without putting in this work, but you will have spent way more time interviewing and potentially burn great opportunities as opposed to simply taking a full day to educate yourself with some of the top sales development training materials. Here are some books I recommend to every candidate during the interview process and prior to their first day on the job:
Sales Development by Cory Bray & Hilmon Sorey – This book breaks down every aspect of the SDR role and serves as a step-by-step manual on how to become a successful SDR.
The Sales Development Playbook by Trish Bertuzzi – This book will help you see the bigger picture, making you a star in the eyes of your manager. This book is geared 50% to the SDR and 50% to the manager, so don’t worry if some stuff goes over your head. The 50% that is applicable to the SDR is more than worth it.
The Challenger Sale by CEB – This is THE defacto textbook on selling disruptive solutions. It does not teach step by step techniques but rather the framework and mindset required to sell expensive products or solutions to an organization.
Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross – This is the equivalent of a ‘64 Ford Mustang, meaning this is the original piece of content that brought the world of sales development to the forefront. Tons of insight on how to be successful as an SDR, plus I found it very fun to hear some of the stories about the early days at Salesforce.
Even if you only read ONE of the above books, you’ll be miles ahead of your competition. If you only remember one thing from this entire article, this section should be it. Feel free to send me a thank you note later.
Starting Your SDR Job Hunt
Enough theory, let’s start looking for jobs! The good news is that the SDR role is exploding in popularity because it accomplishes two things: 1. It specializes prospecting efforts, allowing senior salespeople to only speak with qualified prospects. 2. it acts as a recruiting and training ground for other more senior roles in the organization.
Currently, there are over 1,000 open SDR positions in the Bay Area alone. Should you apply to all of them? Not unless you want to waste a lot of time. Try this approach instead:
Start with your organic list of your 20 dream companies. Chances are if they’re growing quickly, they likely have SDR jobs open.
Look through Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn. GD & LI are expensive job boards, so if you see a job here, you will know that companies are willing to make a serious investment into their SDR team.
Learn about the company’s culture in advance by reading their company blog or Glassdoor reviews.
When looking at Glassdoor reviews, look for patterns, mostly good or mostly bad. There will always be some bad reviews, and these typically can come from the worst employees, so take those with a grain of salt. Some companies are inclusive and cheery like Invoca, others like Tesla are all about performance and high pressure. Pick the environment where you feel you will thrive.
Hunting for a job is very similar to hunting for a deal. You have to build a pipeline of opportunities and the more successful you are here, then the more complicated your job tracking will become. I recommend you sign up for a free trial of Salesforce (you will need to know how to use a CRM as an SDR anyway) and use it to track your various applications and progress you make with each company. If Salesforce is too complicated, a simple spreadsheet with companies, contacts, dates, and statuses will do.
If you read all this way, you’re probably ready to put rubber to the road and start applying for sales jobs. It might not be quick, it won’t be easy, and there will be bumps in the road. Take it from me—I’ve struggled mightily during my career and have taken these lessons to help build one of the top Sales Development Organizations in all of SaaS. My team currently consists of 25 hand-picked and trained SDRs who will become leaders at Invoca or will move on to other companies to accomplish great things. I measure my success not only by the results our team achieves but by the number of people I am able to promote.
- Published in Business 2 Community
The classic film Singin’ In The Rain is a lighthearted musical comedy depicting a production company’s tumultuous transition from silent film to “talkies.” Gene Kelly and the gang sing and dance their way through some of the challenges film studios faced as they sought to keep up with the evolving film landscape in 1920s Hollywood. Though the technology involved differs, the transition from silent films to talking pictures is not unlike the current shift from traditional forms of advertising (think commercials, banner ads, and billboards) to content marketing (social media and content-based marketing). In this evolving advertising landscape brands are frantically re-working their marketing strategies to grab the attention of Millennials and digital natives who have built-in Adblock and an aversion to any content that is not sincere or authentic.
In this reinvented marketing space “communication becomes a two-way dialogue that focuses on earning, not buying, a person’s attention.” Gen Y and Z are inherently suspicious of pushy advertisers and reject ads that interrupt in favor of marketers that provide valuable information or a unique perspective. For these consumers it’s all about trust and authenticity, and the best way to develop these qualities is to build a relationship with your audience over time.
But how can brands develop a personality, build relationships, and be heard amongst all the noise? As Gene Kelly’s character laments the production studio’s imminent failure in the wake of talking pictures, his loyal companion Cosmo Brown reminds him that the best way to win over audiences is to make ‘em laugh. This philosophy couldn’t be more applicable today. In an age where brands have to be relatable and build relationships with their consumers over time, a little humour goes a long way with a generation that craves authenticity and personality from their brands.
3 Reasons To Make Yourself The Butt Of The Joke
Today one of the best and most memorable ways to facilitate connection with your audience is through a good laugh. A number of marketing and advertising experts emphasize the importance of humour in marketing because it’s fundamental to forming positive relationships.
1. Move away from the image of a rigid, corporate brand.
For David Alston content marketing creates an opportunity for brands to show us their soul. Brands use self-deprecating humour to show emotion without feeling artificial or contrived. According to Forbes, humour helps corporate brands distance themselves from the image of a “rigid and stereotyped” brand. Humour is a great way to show your audience that you’re humble, flexible, and fun, while helping your viewers feel relaxed and connected.
2. Poke fun at yourself to become more relatable.
Researchers at Seattle University conducted a study which found that “project managers who used self-deprecating humour tested highest for transformational leadership, defined by motivational qualities such as likeability, trust, individualized consideration, and intellectual stimulation.” Eric Markowitz of Inc.com explains that when used correctly “self-deprecating humour enhances the perceptions of leadership ability because it tends to minimize status distinctions between leaders and folllowers.” Essentially, poking fun at yourself makes you more relatable.
3. Create a “unique transparency” with your audience.
Humour is a great way for brands to demonstrate self-awareness. Moz’s Rand Fishkin believes that self-deprecating humour is great way to show that you are aware of your weaknesses and that you don’t think too highly of yourself. Don’t give your audience a list of reasons why you’re better than all the other brands out there; boasting doesn’t craft meaningful relationships with the audience. Instead, poke fun at your weaknesses or find a clever way to play with the stereotypes associated with your brand. This strategy gives you a “unique transparency” that customers will naturally gravitate towards. Your audience is much more likely to get onboard and share your content if you can draw out a laugh.
So which brands are the best at turning the joke on themselves and creating humorous content? We’ve compiled some hilarious examples below:
1. IKEA’s Mänland, Apple Parodies, & Literary Critiques
IKEA is no stranger to using humour to win over their audience (they might even be considered masters in the field). They have a history of hilarious commercials such as the infamous and award-winning Lamp commercial. More recently the brand released several longer videos that parody different genres and brands while keeping IKEA furniture at the heart of their content.
In 2014 IKEA released a video playing on Apple’s product commercials. The video highlights the “bookbook” (or simply, the IKEA catalogue) as if it were a groundbreaking piece of new technology.
[quote]“The 2015 IKEA catalog comes fully charged, and the battery life is eternal,” narrator Jorgen Eghammer explains. “At only 8mm thin, and weighing in at less than 400g, the 2015 IKEA Catalogue comes pre-installed with thousands of home furnishing ideas.” [/quote]
This over-the-top video demonstrates that the brand isn’t taking itself too seriously, while also distancing themselves from the perception that they are a rigid and impersonal corporation.
The furniture chain also recently released a video featuring Hellmuth Karasek, Germany’s most famous living literary critic. Karasek critiques the IKEA catalogue as if it were a literary work.
[quote]“The characters are forced to crowd themselves between the furniture, they seldom get their say, they barely speak coherently — and yet this work has become such a success.”[/quote]
Once again, the overly academic nature of this parody actually brings the brand down to earth, demonstrating that IKEA can laugh at themselves while also being creative. IKEA isn’t trying to push the catalogue or furniture on the customer, and instead uses the video as an opportunity to laugh at both the catalogue and themselves.
In 2011 the brand also played on male stereotypes by building Mänland, a ‘daycare’ where men could hang out while their partners shop. Mänland was installed at various IKEA locations around the world and documented by films crews. The videos was watched, liked, and shared over half a million times online, fan growth grew by 11% in the week after posting, and 84% of male guests said they were more likely to come back to IKEA. By laughing at themselves IKEA becomes more relatable and also gives their audience engaging content to share.
2. Dissolve’s Stock Footage
In 2014 the stock footage company Dissolve released a video that both showcased their content while simultaneously poking fun at stock footage stereotypes. The “This Is A Generic Brand Video” features the company’s high-quality stock footage while the narrator points out various stereotypes and tropes such as, “See how this guy in a lab coat holds up a beaker? That means we do research” and “What about an ethnic old man whose wrinkled smile represents the happiness and wisdom of the poor.” By beating the viewer to the punchline the brand facilitates a “unique transparency” and facilitates a sense of trust. The humorous video has been viewed over 1 million times on YouTube and was successful in drawing attention to a company that would otherwise go unnoticed by the general public.
3. iStrategyLabs’ Beard Swipe App
In celebration of April Fools Day, iStrategyLabs created the Beard Swipe App. The app played on beard technology and fashion trends with a mobile application that “allows men to easily access their devices by simply rubbing their phones against their facial hair.” When users clicked on the download button, they wire send to ISL’s website and informed that they had been fooled. The humorous app was not only a great way to get a laugh out of their audience, but, like Dissolve, also showcased the company’s talent.
BeardSwipe from ISL on Vimeo.
4. Groupon’s Unicorn Rides
Groupon is a marketplace that connects subscribers with discounts on activities, travel, goods, and services. The company recently gave their subscribers a good laugh when they released an offer for a unique opportunity – a 1-Day Unicorn Ride. The ad explained that “despite common reduction to myths and theatrical ponies, USA imported unicorns welcome mortal riders through scenic greenery and streams of dreams also known as Sungai Ulu Yam.” The fake offer was obviously a hoax, but also a great way for the company to poke fun at themselves and show their viewers that they are fun, flexible, and relatable. The fake coupon was shared across social media, giving the company good exposure and giving the audience a good laugh.
Do you know any great examples of humorous content marketing?
- Published in Business 2 Community
Selling a full-size IKEA mattress that is four years old. I've only slept with four guys in this bed, and that's honestly not that many guys. You should feel bad for me! But in my defense, I've only had the bed for the past three years. Before that it was my cousin's, and she gave it to me for free because she also felt bad for me. I've gotten a lot out of this world based on pity alone, and I don't plan to end that streak anytime soon. I mean, come on, I'm a woman!This is a very nice bed for a lady looking to be a spinster or a guy who is really trying to "just work on himself right now." It's comfortable, but not so comfortable that you'll feel guilty about how well you are sleeping and then spiral into self-awareness of your cushy life and the social injustices of the world. When you travel and spend the night in a hotel, you'll definitely appreciate the quality of the hotel bed and maybe even miss the hotel bed a little bit when you return home and look at your sad fucking IKEA bed and think to yourself, Jesus, how did I get here? Where are all these crumbs coming from?! What do my friends even mean by wanting to "help me help myself?" Listen, the bed is a little creaky. I think it's the box spring. You'll either be having crazy-loud sex, or teaching your partner how to sex you real gentle-like. That's for you to figure out, along with the rest of your horrible and messy personal, professional and familial life. Please buy this bed and get your goddamn shit together. Think of this mattress as a stepping stone towards a better version of yourself. I was in your position once–willing to take whatever bed someone was ready to ditch at the curb, accepting the fact that someone else's trash was indeed my treasure. Hey, you have to IKEA before you can West Elm. Buy this bed and you too will grow up. You might even go from being 22 to 24. You could possibly, during the course of owning this bed, get a not-so-entry-level job that's less administrative and slightly more interesting. Maybe, against all odds, you'll find someone who regularly wants to sleep in this awful fucking excuse for a bed with you. I am not kidding, this bed doesn't even have springs. No springs at all. It's just a soft, plush pallet that is generally mattress-shaped. And then maybe you, too, will be lucky enough to have a roommate who is moving out and pities you so much that he'll sell you his much nicer bed for a super reduced price. That's called moving up in the world. Trust me on that. I'm 25 now.Looking for $100 but will take more if you have any empathy whatsoever. — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.
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