SIIA Event Sept. 17 will Examine Software’s Transformative Impact on U.S. Economy

SIIA speaker seriesSIIA invites you to attend The Software Century: Analyzing Economic Impact & Job CreationThe new event, which will explore the software industry’s role in job creation and economic growth, will take place on Wednesday, September 17 at 11:30 a.m. in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, HVC 215.

The Software Century: Analyzing Economic Impact & Job Creation will feature Deputy Secretary of Commerce Bruce Andrews and business leaders, who will provide their unique perspective on how software is reinventing the way businesses and consumers operate and is transforming the U.S. economy.

At the event, SIIA will unveil a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind report on the software industry’s economic impact. As software has become essential to virtually all business operations across all industries, the new SIIA report – “The Impact of the U.S. Software Industry on the American Economy” – will provide detailed data and analysis related to output, productivity, exports and job creation. The report’s author, Robert J. Shapiro, former Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs under President Bill Clinton, and SIIA Vice President of Public Policy Mark MacCarthy will discuss the study’s findings and implications.

To register for the event, please click here

Announced speakers include:

  • Bruce Andrews – Deputy Secretary of Commerce
  • Robert J. Shapiro – former Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs under President Bill Clinton; Co-founder and Chairman, Sonecon, LLC
  • Jason Mahler – Vice President of Government Affairs, Oracle
  • Bernie McKay – Chief Public Policy Officer and Vice President of Global Corporate Affairs, Intuit
  • Henry Lightsey – Executive Director of Global Connected Consumer-Global Government Relations, General Motors

WHO: The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)

WHAT: The Software Century: Analyzing Economic Impact & Job Creation

WHEN: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

WHERE: U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, HVC 215

Sabrina Eyob is the Public Policy Coordinator at SIIA. Follow the Policy team on Twitter @SIIAPolicy.

Gaining New Readers Through Chat Platforms and Text Alerts

Since June, this appears at the end of stories on the Oxford (UK) Mail website:

“Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.”

A good article on the site chronicled the reasons why the Oxford Mail has gone to WhatsApp to reach more readers. (The fact that WhatsApp has 450 million users each day may be a good start.) I first downloaded WhatsApp about six months ago to communicate with a friend in Singapore and have continued to use it with friends and on trips overseas. It instantly recognizes the people in your contacts who also have WhatsApp and then uses the Internet to send the texts.

“It’s much more direct in turning around saying ‘come and read our story,’” Jason Collie, assistant editor of the Mail, told “Instead of hoping that yours is the one out of six or seven potential competitors that will be picked up by the readers.”

In the first two weeks they gained 200 followers. The Mail is careful not to overwhelm them, sending out only a morning and evening broadcast, plus maybe one more if there’s breaking news. A member I was speaking to at an INFO local dinner last night also warned me about sending out too many correspondences. He might have even used the word “desensitised,” which Collie does as well. There’s a point where we may turn off, the member told me.

The WhatsApp “alerts all link back to a story online,” Collie said, “so the website can only benefit.” Traffic announcements, appeals about missing persons, and breaking news provided the most click-throughs in those first couple weeks.

This also adheres to one of the new rules—that publishers are better off if they can get readers to tell them what they want. I just spoke with Andrew Leighton at Aroq Limited in Worcestershire UK, and he said that they are doing very well at getting many employees in their member companies—especially in their automotive vertical—to engage with them. The reasons for this are free trials and an email alert service that they just launched. “That caused a dramatic jump in usage,” he said. “They’re flexible, and the customer can choose the frequency” and the sectors they want to know about (there are about 40 of them).

“It’s all about meeting different demands,” Collie said. “There is not just one homogenous Oxford Mail reader who might buy the paper or might read the website or might see [news] on Twitter. There are different people who get their news in a different way and we’ve just got to supply it.”

Sending multiple messages to multiple lists can, of course, get complicated—blacklisting has to be constantly guarded against—but it’s essential to keeping users engaged. I was told last night that there is now a blacklisting program that measures on engagement and usage, so it’s vital to clean your lists and target as much as you can.

In April, BBC News India sent users of WhatsApp and WeChat information about the elections in India. WhatsApp users received three messages per day as push notifications, while WeChat users were limited to one. “The ‘technology barrier’ for messaging apps is much lower than that of other social media as users can sign up more quickly and send content more easily than on other platforms,” said Trushar Barot, assistant editor of the BBC’s UGC and social media hub.

Publishers are definitely finding more usages for the chat platforms of late. Yesterday I wrote how Access Intelligence has started to use an online chat system in their ordering process. They’re going through a company called Boldchat, saying it’s not that expensive given the value it can provide to frustrated users (and revenue that might otherwise go lost into the clouds). Chat platforms may also allow easier paths for user content, which many publishers still covet.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

9 Ways to Get Technology and Marketing Working Together

“Is moving this graphic from here to here really going to make a difference in your market?” asked Rob Paciorek, senior VP/CIO for Access Intelligence, speaking at a session on The New CIO-CMO Partnership at the recent SIPA 2014 Conference. “I think not, but if you can give us a compelling reason why it would, then we’ll spend the time there. These are the conversations we have. We try to sort through the noise and put some measurements to it. Let’s do a test; let’s do one page where we move it and one page we don’t. Maybe that will help us answer this the next time.”

The key is communication, Paciorek said. He presented with his colleague Heather Farley, divisional president, Access Intelligence. After giving an example of the hard but rewarding work involved in bringing their departments together, Paciorek said with a chuckle, “There’s a reason that our offices are right next to each other; it hasn’t always been like that.”

Here are 9 highlights from this excellent session, available—like all the other SIPA 2014 sessions—to members through the SIPA website.

1. Improve engagement. “This is a huge issue for us,” Farley said. “We spend a lot of time on our web design and user interface. This is where it really starts. There’s a great team that sits in New York and they can go through our sites and say, ‘This is where your content is sticky, this is where people are spending the most time on—this kind of content. Here’s your heat map, here’s how people are moving through your site.’ [If you can] understand those things and be able to tweak both on design and the kind of content you’re using, that gives you that higher level of engagement.”

2. Find the right people. “The holy grail for my team is finding technology people who understand business,” Paciorek said. “For instance, one member found a little team of freelancers to work on things he couldn’t get to. So now he’s also a project manager. There’s a technology person willing to give up a little piece for advancement of the company.”

3. Use quizzes. Access has been very successful with quizzes, provided through a technology company called SnapApp. “These really test your knowledge and have been great engagement tools,” said Paciorek. “It’s fun content.” Farley added that they are also sponsored and provide page views for advertisers. “We also get tremendous feedback. Editors will hear from readership, ‘it’s too easy,’ ‘it’s impossible.’ I hear from our CEO when he gets 100% on his quiz.”

4. Ease conversion. “We’ve been able to use pre-populated forms so that when you come it’s easier for you to buy,” said Farley. “There also might be a way to pay through your Amazon account. The easier we can make it, the better.”

5. Facilitate online chats. Shopping cart abandonment, they both said, can be frustrating. One answer has been the implementation of an online chat service. Paciorek said that might be something you identify more with a Verizon, but it only costs about $200 a month. “And we don’t have a huge customer service team—just 3 or 4 people man the chats for all of our websites, so it’s something you can manage.” He showed a chat that produced a subscription. They use a company called Boldchat.

6. Foster retention. Farley said that not enough attention is paid to renewals. “In our world, we’re totally focused on analytics at the corporate level. Technology needs to work with marketing more on this. It’s the difference between nice to know and need to know. This is what marketers care about. We need more of this [engagement] data. How do we take this piece [of information], boil it down and make it consumable. It helps to get our marketers focused. How do you bring them up the spectrum to understand what the important numbers are?

7. Hold get-togethers. “It’s not always easy,” Paciorek said. He talked about a time when a relationship between a key technology person and key marketing person was broken. “It was costing productivity for [Heather’s] and my team. So we got the best people together for half-day team meeting. We gave both teams the opportunity to express what was happening. There [emerged] a better understanding of what the problems were. We shared expertise. The marketers were impressed by a digital person who said, here’s a cool project I do on my own time. A marketer said here’s all the revenue I drive. The key is we recognized something wasn’t working.” They’ll try to hold these once a quarter now.

8. What if your organization doesn’t have a CIO? “You have to make sure somebody is managing technology,” Paciorek said. “Reach out to all of your friends who found technology solutions. How did implementation go? Did you use a consultant? Create some other kind of group in your company. Use SIPA conferences for this. Reach out. And try to find your own references at SIPA…Do your due diligence.”

9. The new challenge. Farley said that they’ve talked about launching a series of micro-sessions for their employees. Technology might give a demo or show how to analyze a piece of data. “With the goal of moving people up the technology chain,” she said. “Folks under age 35 are so sharp, but technology is the marketing [for them]. Technology can’t be your strategy. So it’s more of a challenge,” especially as more people from that generation join your company.

Again, here’s the link to this excellent session and others like it.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Indies Fighting Google, Amazon for Control of .Music Domain Name (Billboard)
The American Association of Independent Music has announced its intention to give the music industry control of the domain name .music. In doing so, the coalition will go up against Google and Amazon, which are also pursuing .music for their own purposes.

Judges Toy With One-Strike Policy on Patent Damages (The Recorder)
Facing increasing waves of Daubert motions in patent litigations, judges can’t seem to agree on what penalties to impose when the challenges succeed.

A Federal Court Rejects Aereo’s Request to Argue It’s a Cable Company (The Washington Post)
Aereo’s seemingly last-ditch argument to save itself won’t be given an airing in court, according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Study Shows Patent Trolls Target Rich Companies (The Washington Post)
New data from the National Bureau of Economic Research confirms that patent trolls overwhelmingly target companies that are either “flush with cash,” beset by other lawsuits or have tiny legal teams that trolls likely perceive as weak.

Google Wins Victory in Row With German Publishers (Re/code)
A German regulator handed Google a victory as it said it would not pursue a complaint brought against the Internet search engine operator by a group of publishers for giving users access to their news articles.

Man Jailed For Filming ‘Fast and Furious’ in Cinema (BBC)
A man has been jailed for 33 months after recording Fast and Furious 6 from the back of a cinema. The upload of the film was downloaded more than 700,000 times.

Monkey’s Selfie Cannot Be Copyrighted, US Regulators Say (Ars Technica)
United States copyright regulators are agreeing with Wikipedia’s conclusion that a monkey’s selfie cannot be copyrighted by a nature photographer whose camera was swiped by the ape in the jungle.

Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Two Research Studies Reveal Keys to Working Better

Think small. And work together.

That may be the conclusion coming from research in two recent studies. The first was conducted by University of Houston marketing professor Melanie Rudd, and reported on in the Science of Us department of New York

Rudd gave 50 adults a 24-hour challenge: One group was asked to do something to make someone happy, while others were told to make someone smile. After accomplishing this, the people who had made someone smile said they felt both happier and more confident that they’d actually achieved their goal than the people who’d simply tried to make someone else happy. Rudd found similar results when she asked people to try to save the environment versus increase their own recycling efforts for one day.

“If you can meet or exceed your expectations of achieving a goal, you will be happier than if you fall short of your expectations,” Rudd explained. Common sense? Not so fast. “A separate experiment in the study showed that people incorrectly predicted that they’d feel happier by going after the bigger, more abstract goal of trying to make someone else happy than they would after trying to make someone else smile,” wrote reporter Melissa Dahl.

This certainly can apply to our everyday business life. I am going to be much better off trying to write two Member Profiles and one Member News column a month rather than just saying, “I need to increase the spotlight on members.” In my personal life, I’d like to blog more about the arts but have had trouble getting started again. I think I’m looking at it wrong, saying, “I need to start blogging every day now”—intimidating!—instead of, “I need to write a post about this movie I really liked.” And then feeling good after writing it.

Another interesting theory comes from Priyanka Carr and Greg Walton of Stanford University. As reported by Heidi Grant Halvorson on the Harvard Business Review Blog, they found that we respond positively to the idea of working together, regardless if we actually do or not. Two groups were formed to solve a difficult puzzle.

“People in the psychologically together category were told that they would be working on their task ‘together’ even though they would be in separate rooms, and would either write or receive a tip from a team member to help them solve the puzzle later on. In the psychologically alone category, there was no mention of being ‘together,’ and the tip they would write or receive would come from the researchers.” In both groups, people actually worked alone.

The people in the together category “worked 48% longer, solved more problems correctly, and had better recall for what they had seen. They also said that they felt less tired and depleted by the task.” The puzzle also proved more interesting to them when working together, “and [they] persisted longer because of this intrinsic motivation.” The word “together” can have a huge impact on us. We connect, we belong, we have the same goal.

I’m working on a new information outlet for members. An email this morning from a colleague in New York who is working on the project with me went a long way to settling my stomach. And, of course, he’s not doing the work for me, but it just sounded like he is supporting me, and yes, we are in this together.

“Executives and managers would be wise to make use of this word with far greater frequency,” Halvorson concludes. “In fact, don’t let a communication opportunity go by without using it. I’m serious. Let ‘together’ be a constant reminder to your employees that they are not alone, helping them to motivate them to perform their very best.”

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

8 Lead Generation Ideas to Consider

One thing in particular stays with me from June’s SIPA 2014 Conference. It came during the session on Lead Generation from Dan Oswald, CEO of BLR. “I’ve learned one universal truth [and that] is we have to figure out lead generation,” said Oswald, who earlier that day was named to the SIPA Hall of Fame. “…Where I sit at the top, this is the next big thing.”

To respond to this, SIPA’s next, always-popular Publishers Roundtable—taking place Tuesday, Sept. 23 here in Washington, D.C.—will focus on Lead Generation for Publishers. Among the speakers, Danielle Ballestra of will talk about how they used marketing automation to completely turn their lead gen program around.

Here are 8 ideas to get your mind thinking in that direction.

1. Mix up your content. If you focus on social media, remember that variety of content is key. One day you can be recommending yours or another’s blog, the next day quoting from your latest publication, and the next passing along an important new government decision. You’re becoming their go-to place and building trust.

2. Find interesting photos to use. Not everyone can run the fun pictures that SIPAward winner Event Marketer features—an Old Navy vending machine that offers flip-flops for tweets; a Samsung party truck—but still their layout formula of photo, engaging headline and half of a sentence…is a click-inspiring one. 

3. Use polls and surveys. Another association asks a poll question each week like, “If you could immediately increase only one of the following resources for your company, which would it be?” Another week they asked a poll question that prompted people to go to their website. Clever. Gale Media sends out surveys once a month through Survey Monkey, getting feedback on their content. They promise to send results to those who reply.

Here are three I like from Josh Haynam blogging on the unbounce website:

4. Optimize your About page. I often click on that page after coming to a new site, and I doubt I’m alone. But I don’t always see a strong Call to Action there. “Your About page should be a conversion-friendly hub where your visitors are directed to shop, jump on your email bandwagon or begin a free trial – all after being informed and inspired” wrote Jen Havice, also on unbounce. “If you’re not using your about page to convert customers, you’re losing out.”

5. Try quizzes. Haynam offered the example of SkilledUp, which gives visitors a comprehensive Excel guide. At first, it was getting no leads. Then they “implemented a quiz which tested people on their Excel skills, [and it] generated 1,438 leads in the first two and a half months.”

6. Avoid using “Spam.” Haynam points to a test where the phrase “100% privacy – we will never spam you!” was included on a signup form. It reduced conversions by a full 18%.

7. Run – and publicize – blogs or columns. Kiplinger uses a bunch—Kip Tips, Torn From the Kiplinger Letters—AIS publishes at least one weekly blog post and lists all their bloggers with photos, and MDM calls theirs “Insights” and then breaks it down into categories such as Management & Strategy; Online Marketing; and Industry Insiders. All are engaging.

8. Go on Linkedin. “It’s one of the best sales sources ever,” said Lexie Gross, sales director of BVR. “You can do searches by state in [your] industry. Like Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation, I know people one or two degrees away. It’s a great place to get new fresh names. On the west coast, people do their mining between 3-5 p.m. They aren’t as used to being sold, so [your message] can come across nicely, not as overt. Invest in the LinkedIn upgrade. It will tell you who looks at your profile.”

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Member Profile: Carola York, Managing Director, Jellyfish Publishing, Reigate, Surrey, UK

IIN: How is your structure set up?
We have three main business units—Jellyfish UK and Jellyfish US, plus Jellyfish Publishing which works specifically with publishers. We took on our first publishing client in 2002 and now work with a range of consumer and B2B publishers in the UK, US, Australia and South Africa, running both domestic and international campaigns for them. Across the business we have more than 180 staff in four offices: Reigate and Brighton in the UK, Baltimore in the US, and Durban in South Africa.

What kind of work does Jellyfish Publishing do?
Jellyfish Publishing is a digital marketing agency which primarily works with publishers to acquire qualified leads and paid subscriptions using a variety of digital channels. We create a dedicated microsite for each brand we work with, and then drive traffic to the site using a wide range of marketing channels—PPC search, display, email, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. There are other digital marketing agencies out there, but it’s our specific publishing knowledge and expertise that sets us apart. And we offer a full digital marketing service covering SEO, social, creative (including video) and development as well as PPC search and digital display advertising, all of which supports our lead and subscription generation offering.

Why do you create microsites?
Typically, if you go to a publisher’s own website, you’ll see banner ads, free editorial content, promotions for events/awards etc., all of which can distract a prospective customer from the reason they might have initially landed on the site—ordering a subscription. So using a dedicated environment, with every page on the microsite focused on selling a subscription or encouraging the visitor to sign up as a lead, we get higher conversion rates—which generates both a higher volume and a better ROI for our clients.

How do you optimize your digital marketing campaigns?
We write new content and create specific landing pages for specific keywords. For example, for a boating publication, if we spot that there are a lot of searches around keywords such as “boat design” and “latest innovations in boat design”, we will create a landing page featuring specific content all around boat design and also explain how the publication covers this in its regular content. So we offer quite a bit of free “editorial”, but it’s designed as a teaser to encourage sign up.

And you mentioned that testing is big at Jellyfish.
Testing is fundamental to what we do. Our mantra is test, analyze and refine. We test every element involved in a campaign—different keywords, different landing pages, wording on the call to actions, colors on buttons etc. Once we have attracted a potential customer [to a site], we want them to stay and then sign up. And we’ve learnt that beautiful doesn’t always work. A designer might say that the creative needs a full overhaul, but in reality, the existing creative can work better, with just a minor tweak. What’s key is to split test and look at the results. The numbers ultimately tell.

Doesn’t it take time to do that much testing?
That’s what we get paid for. We monitor all the key statistics every single day. The closer and better you manage a campaign, the more you get out of it.

What are some reactions?
That acquisition cost is too high. How do we bring it down? Or that was a fantastic response—what can we do elsewhere like that? We’re constantly looking at how we can optimize campaigns to get the best results.

I see that you do some blogging.
We try to do a few a month, and it’s the members of our team who are hands-on running the digital campaigns who write the blogs. We don’t have a dedicated person blogging. But unless we have something worthwhile to share—new initiatives from Google, a new area we’ve tested and want to let publishers know about—we don’t blog for the sake of it. We’re not a publisher but an agency wanting to share best practices, good ideas, case studies and things we’ve tested.

How do you view the Information Industry Network?
It’s been good so far. It’s trying to be different. SIPA has some history here, but we’re in the early days of create the brand, understand what it is we’re trying to do, and how we can help and support publishers. The emphasis is on learning, connecting and sharing.

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