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Pinstripe Recognized as Top Global IT Channel PR Firm

Pinstripe Marketing has been named one of the top global public relations firms serving the IT Channel industry by Forrester, one of the world’s most reputable research firms. The rankings were determined by going directly to the source, interviewing members of the channel media and consultants to determine what PR companies “stuck out from the rest.”

In his post announcing the rankings, Jay McBain, principal analyst, Channel Partnerships and Alliances, describes the “trend that is affecting many channel leaders is the convergence of PR, marketing, and advertising. The line between them is blurring, as many channel vendors review budgets collectively. In response, today’s PR professionals have been forced to become brand ambassadors, content marketers, influencers, social media experts, and market analysts themselves.”

“I have worked with channel technology companies for over 20 years,” said Ginger Reichl, Pinstripe president. “The importance of their innovation is critical to powering business across the globe. Telling their stories is among the most satisfying work we do and to be recognized among these talented firms is humbling.”

See the entire list and read Do Channel Vendors Need Public Relations Anymore? at Forrester.

Pinstripe Answers: Do email newsletters still work?

by Michael Premo, Senior Content Manager

Remember when email was all we had for direct-to-consumer digital marketing? Today, marketers have so much more at their disposal, such as PPC, chatbots and influencers, that these seem to have pulled away from email’s effectiveness. In some cases, it’s absolutely true. But, for the most part, these newer marketing activities are simply diversifying how we can interact with our clients.

Email’s Effectiveness

Yes, email is probably the oldest digital marketing tool in the shed. It was there at the dawn of the internet and continues to be one of the primary ways businesses communicate. That’s probably why we question its effectiveness. It’s not new, and it certainly isn’t cutting-edge technology. So, the best way to answer this month’s question is through our misconceptions about email.

  • People already get too much email. I don’t want to SPAM them.

Statistics that say the average worker gets 121 emails per day is based on the number of emails sent each day. Only a handful of people get more than that, while most of us get far fewer. Statistics based on averages can be misleading. As a matter of fact, a majority of people get about six or fewer. Plus, we read the email we want to get. So, the key is to send a newsletter that your audience wants to read.

  • I already use social media.

Yes, social media is an effective tool. When you post on social media, you are essentially sending a message directly to your followers, but not all of them, since the algorithm is controlled by Facebook or LinkedIn. Only some of your followers will see it. With email, your messages go directly to their inbox.

  • Emails need to be highly designed.

Actually, the simpler, the better. Email with video or lots of graphical elements may experience more hiccups. Default settings may prevent viewing these, so it’s best to send your message with a few images that are small and quick to download on a mobile phone.

  • Unsubscribes are bad.

Don’t think of unsubscribes as narrowing down your list of subscribers. It’s cleaning it up, updating it, making it more healthy and less obtrusive to those that don’t want to be on it. Remember, a negative impression is hard to turn into a positive one.

  • Some keywords will send it into a junk folder.

The words you use have little or no effect on whether or not an email ends up in the SPAM folder. Internet service providers decide where these messages go, and they are typically guided by who or what sent them and your default settings.

  • It’s too expensive for what it does.

With a good list, the return on your investment is one of the best out there—38:1. For B2B, there’s not always a direct correlation between email and sales, but it does support your sales in a variety of ways. Can your other marketing activities do the same?

Successful email marketing is a combination of many factors. It all begins with your list of clients. Then, you need to understand what they want to read. At Pinstripe, we specialize in communicating the right message with the right audience. We make every email look professional, clean, and easy to read. Our creative team knows what it takes to effectively convey your messaging via email, so contact us to learn more about how we can help you design an email campaign today.

Pinstripe Answers: Is LinkedIn Live Something We Should Do?

by Michael Premo, Senior Content Manager

In the world of online business marketing, LinkedIn is a behemoth. Even though it was late to the social media party, it has solidified its niche as the premier online interface for B2B. Now, they have something new—LinkedIn Live. It’s actually been around for over a year, and it’s nothing different than what the other social media sites have been doing for several years. As a matter of fact, YouTube has been doing this for over a decade. So, what makes LinkedIn Live special, or different, and is it relevant for B2B?

What Is LinkedIn Live?

Short answer: live streaming video available exclusively to LinkedIn audiences. This service gives businesses a familiar way to present important events that foster real-time engagement.

LinkedIn’s mission is to make professionals more successful, which means they don’t want the fluff. They want their members to share advice and help others in order to grow their network: for businesses, about businesses. That means it’s a perfect place for B2B networking.

However, because this is LinkedIn, there are restrictions in place to ensure that the content hitting the site is relevant. They want everything to have a professional context that maintains a trustworthy platform. This is a very different mindset than the other social media sites that focus solely on entertainment.

There’s a Caveat

Going live on LinkedIn is not easy. First, you need to apply. It’s not a long or involved application, but it does require processing time. They say it takes up to two weeks, but it could take longer. Some organizations have applied multiple times before getting accepted. It’s a subjective process, and LinkedIn isn’t sharing its criteria.

Once accepted, you’ll need to use a third-party broadcast tool:

  • Socialive
  • io
  • Wirecast
  • Switcher Studio
  • Wowza Cloud
  • Stream Yard

There are more, and the best one depends upon you whether or not you’ll be mobile or in a studio. These are typically subscription-based services with different levels and fee structures.

Finally, it’s suggested that multiple people work behind the scenes for each live broadcast:

  • Presenter(s)
  • Commenter
  • Technician

You’ll need someone to answer comments as they come, which allows the presenter(s) to stay on script. You should also have someone capable of handling video and sound problems if they occur. These maintain LinkedIn’s brand identity as a professional portal.

As you can see, a LinkedIn Live video is more time-consuming and requires more preparation and thought than an Instagram or Facebook Live video. If you have the resources for this, it’s worth the effort to produce higher quality videos that will represent your business in a more professional way.

People Prefer Live Video

Live video is more engaging than prerecorded video or video-on-demand. People will watch live video up to 8 times longer than other types of video. There’s more emotional engagement with a live feed because it’s less polished and more real. People are more forgiving if you make a mistake. Plus, anything can happen in real-time, which can be used to your advantage.

So, if you’re looking to engage directly with your target market, then LinkedIn Live is an excellent way to do it. Just remember that you’ll need more resources to do it and a content schedule to maintain the frequency you need to attract more people. At Pinstripe, we are experts with video production. We can help you get set up for success on LinkedIn Live and design a content schedule that connects with your audience. Contact us today to develop and execute a successful plan.

Quick Tips: Save Time When Working from Home

by Michael Premo, Senior Content Manager

More people are working from home than ever before. The team at Pinstripe Marketing have been doing it for years and truly appreciate the flexibility it gives us. But, there are things at home that occasionally keep us from doing our work efficiently. That’s why we need to be more aware of our time when we’re away from the office.

Mimic the Office

Your home is just like an open-plan office, filled with the same distractions and strains on your productivity. Research shows that open spaces don’t work—for collaboration or productivity. Though isolating and restrictive offices and partitioned workspaces provide the distancing required to stay focused and keep on task. Let’s take a look at some quick tips to save you more time when working from home.

Discover Your High Productivity Hours

We generally know when these are at work, but at home, those hours may be different. Once you figure them out, you’ll know how to structure your day.

Set Real Work Hours

Real work hours are typically when everyone is at work or bankers’ hours. But, there’s wiggle room when working from home. So, you should align your hours with everyone else while keeping those high productivity hours in mind.

Don’t Work in Your PJs

Even if you never leave the house, you should dress for work as if you were in an office. This gets you into the right mindset and ability to handle video conferences that simply pop up during the day.

Routine

Having a routine will prepare you for what’s next. A morning routine to start your day, as well as an afternoon routine to prepare for your family before they get home.

Set Alarms

Alarms will help you stick to your routine. In the office, people moving about can provide cues for lunch or the afternoon coffee break. At home, you’ll probably be more open to working through those times of day, even though it’s really important that you take them.

Take Breaks

Short breaks increase productivity. Walking away from your home office for five minutes will help you plan for what’s next.

Run Errands During Lunch Break

The best part about working from home is the flexibility it gives you. But, the errands you have to run may get in the way. That’s why it’s better to schedule appointments and run errands during your lunch break as if you were at the office. Stepping away during your day breaks routine and disrupts regular working hours.

Check-in with Coworkers More

Try to keep in touch with your team as much as possible. If you haven’t touched base as much as you would have in an office, then you should reach out and at least say, “Hello.” If you don’t, then every interaction will only be about business. This is where interpersonal relationships breakdown.

Stay Away From Social Media

It’s a colossal waste of time unless you’re managing an account for the business. Research has shown how the pull of social media during work hours kills productivity.

Having a flexible schedule gives us the work-life balance we need. Without it, we’re more prone to stress and other adverse effects that stifle productivity and creativity.

Successfully working from home requires a lot of patience, empathy and communication. At Pinstripe, we understand how difficult working from home can be. If you have any advice or stories to share, we’d love to hear from you, so send us an email.

Quick Tips: How to Manage Expectations and Reduce Conflict When Working from Home

by Michael Premo, Senior Content Manager

During this unprecedented time, millions of Americans have been ordered to work from home. Sure, we’ve all had to work from home for a day or two, but not weeks on end. Plus, the kiddos were always in school, so there were far fewer distractions. All of it just adds to the general anxiety and stress of the situation.

This is all so new that you’re probably finding shortcuts and life hacks to get through your day—doing what works with limited resources and a ton of restrictions. You want to be able to perform at your best, but there seem to be obstacles everywhere.

Here are some tips for managing employee expectations, as well as your own. We’ve also included some tips to reduce conflict because you’re not able to sit down with people and have those face-to-face conversations that matter.

 

Expectations

Talk with your supervisor and identify your priorities. What will standing meetings be like? What are their expectations for responses to email, DM, or phone calls? You’ll also need to know the best way to coordinate efforts and track progress. These are only a portion of your expectations.

 

Start with Your Technology

Does your home computer support video conferencing? You may have a laptop from work, but there may come a time when it’s not working correctly, and IT is nowhere to be found. You’ll need to update your home computer to compensate for this. Make sure that video conferencing works, you can share screens, and that you have the latest updates installed.

Do you need an extra screen? Two screens are better than one and improve your productivity. How about your printer? Bandwidth on WiFi? Your kids will probably be online, too. You should check to see if that has any effect on your connections. Together, these are really important to manage your ability to perform and meet your expectations.

 

Children at Home

As a parent, you are facing one of the biggest challenges in your life. For online schooling to be successful, you’ll need to be there for them while they navigate online classes and act as a tutor. This requires you to be as flexible with work as possible. Be realistic with your expectations and communicate your situation with managers. They’ll understand.

There is no striking a balance unless you have a plan in place for their education and entertainment. Their teachers will have a great plan in place. Follow it as carefully as possible and reach out to them for teaching advice when necessary. Books and puzzles are great and limit screen time when it’s absolutely necessary. Video chats and most gaming consoles allow kids to interact while playing together. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than complete isolation.

 

Your Home

A workspace is essential. If you don’t have a home office, make one. Put up boundaries to limit traffic and disruptions. Homemade signs will help.

More time at home means more cooking and cleaning. Get everyone involved. Being a family is a team effort. This is hard to do with young children, but they are capable of doing small tasks. Just ask their teachers. Kids are expected to clean up after themselves at school, wipe down surfaces, even sweep. It won’t be perfect, so try to relax your expectations.

 

Reducing Conflict

Successfully managing conflict is even more difficult if you’re now required to manage teams remotely. With the unique nature of our current situation, conflict is bound to happen at some point. As with any workplace conflict, disagreements and pettiness need to be managed carefully.

Context, nuance, body language, facial expressions, and anything else we use to take cues in face-to-face communication are missing when using text, email, or other forms of electronic communications. Most people hate confrontation. But, there are some telling signs when they get frustrated or feel like they are being treated unfairly.

You’ll see it in a terse email or abrupt conversation over the phone. Also, look for back-and-forth conversations that escalate. You’ll see this, especially with the “blame game.” People sometimes feel less inhibited in what they say when online, so they’re more apt to express harsh opinions that attack personalities. It’s one thing to voice personal frustrations, and another to attack others. If these things arise, you’ll need to stop them immediately.

 

Communication

When you see it, get involved right away. You need to deescalate all conflicts. Even if you’re not their boss, you need to step in and be a neutral party, a mediator to stem any damage the conflict may cause.

If you are in a position to intercede, then take it into a private space where you can acknowledge that there is a problem.  You’ll need to bring them together to define the problem, and each party has a chance to talk about the problem. Your job will be to find commonalities that each side agrees upon, then lay out follow-up actions to bridge their disagreement.

  • Focus on the problem, not the people.
  • Restate each position and offer a solution to their complaint.
  • Keep communicating until a resolution is achieved.

Always be proactive when conflict arises. This will keep it from getting out of control. You’ll find that these issues become opportunities when appropriately harnessed.

Successfully working from home requires a lot of patience, empathy and communication. If you have any advice or stories to share, we’d love to hear from you during this difficult time. We’re in this together, and our community will become stronger because of it.