Audience Entertainment Shows Off New Ways To Play Games With Everyone At The Movie Theater
Audience Entertainment Demo 02 Startup Audience Entertainment aims to get movie watchers twisting and turning as they play games together in the theater. I wrote about the company a few of months ago, when it was about to release a software development kit for outside developers to create content for the platform. The demos I saw then were pretty simple — for example a game where I jumped around to tap falling… Read More

Vía TechCrunch » Startups

Boogie Shoes & Musical Fruit: The Strangest Employee Rewards Ever Given by HubSpot

buckets-of-beansThis post originally appeared on the Sales section of Inbound Hub. To read more content like this, subscribe to Sales.

There are a lot of classics in the world of employee rewards. Money. Time off. Restaurant gift certificates. Trips. All oldies, but goodies.

However, sometimes business leaders get a bit more creative … and occasionally, downright strange. The book 1501 Ways to Reward Employees by Bob Nelson is chock full of examples of companies gifting cash, vacations, medals, and food. But every few pages, there’s also a more bizarre anecdote. After sifting through the book to find some of the strangest rewards, I compiled my top 10 favorites here.

These examples might inspire you to think outside the box when deciding on your next sales contest incentive or employee reward plan. On the other hand, they might reaffirm the choice to stay comfortably in the box. It all depends on how flexible your definition of “reward” is.

1) The Musical Fruit

For going above and beyond your daily duties at Lands’ End, you could win the “Big Bean Award.” Each month, one nominee (selected from a ballot box) gets to try their hand at the “Big Bean Machine,” aka “Plinko,” to determine which bean-themed prize they’ll walk away with. Some are pretty neat — beanbag chairs; beanie hats. Others, such as actual beans … are less so.

2) Regular Fruit

Outdoor retail company REI is all about maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. Avoiding scurvy is part of health — so it makes a bit more sense that the location in Ventura, CA rewarded two employees who went the extra mile with whole pineapples. (I hope their next prize was a corer.) 

3) Lawn Decor

Each recipient of the “Standing Tall” award at Synovus gets an extra day of vacation, $100, and … a pink flamingo lawn ornament wearing a bowtie. Thanks, I think?

4) Fido’s Delight

Flight attendants probably feel like they’ve seen it all until a CUNA Mutual Group “Big Bone Award” winner boards their flight. The leader who takes home the Big Bone one of three times per year literally takes home a big bone: a four foot long rawhide dog bone, to be exact. “If you won, you got to sign the bone, bring it home as an airplane carry-on, and display it in your work area,” said Eileen Doyle Julien, a division manager.

What I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when the inevitable argument goes down about whether there’s room for a giant dog bone in the overhead bins.

5) Working for Peanuts

At HP, salespeople receive pistachios from the marketing department when they close a significant deal. (I also wouldn’t mind if you threw in a steak dinner with those pistachios.)

6) King for a Day

At his behest, Automatic Answer designated a “John Day” when salesman John Gurden reached his monthly goal. And in #AlexFromTarget fashion, the company got really, really into the holiday-for-the-sake-of-a-holiday: putting up banners, creating a dedicated John Day photo album, and even answering the phones with a special John Day greeting. 

7) Hairless Wonder

Ever wonder what your boss would look like with a shaved head? Apparently the sales team at Korry Electronics was dying to know. To incent his reps to beat a record month, the director told them he would shave his head if they could top the goal. They did, and his hair bit the dust at a party later that month. Top-performing reps got a chance to make the first cuts. Victory is bald.

8) Rock-a-Bye-Quota

As an incentive for meeting sales goals, the president of TravelTrust Corporation built a nursery in a sales manager’s house for her newborn baby. Pretty sweet … 

9) Extreme Home Makeover: Work Edition

… until you hear about the prize for one lucky employee at Advanced Micro Devices. As a reward for the company reaching $200 million in sales, Jocelyn Lleno won a house. Suddenly a single room seems a little less impressive.

10) Boogie Shoes

As a nod to the Greek god Hermes’ golden winged sandals, employees at 3M in St. Paul, MN are given gold shoes for exceptional achievement. But they might not be as stylish as you’d hope. According to the book, “these tacky, plastic, gold-colored shoes are highly valued by employees.” Their words, not mine.

What’s the most bizarre employee award you’ve ever heard of or given?

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free state of inbound sales report 2014-2015

Vía Inbound Hub | Marketing

How to Objectively Evaluate Your Next Job Candidate by HubSpot

objective-hiringThis post originally appeared on The Agency Post. To read more content like this, subscribe to The Agency Post.

When it comes to interviewing candidates, our greatest enemy is ourselves. We lose objectivity and justify guesses with subjective evidence. We find arguments to justify our decisions and prove our analysis is correct.

To make matters worse, we hamstring our honest and good-faith efforts before we even get to the interview. Most hiring managers walk into an interview without a strategy or framework for finding the best candidate.

Consider this: You have six candidates interviewing for a position, and each person is interviewed by four different people. That results in 24 interviews where people ask the same questions, hear different answers, and form different opinions.

This sort of interview process propagates subjective decision-making and leads to costly mistakes in hiring. A well thought-out interview process and candidate evaluation framework provides guideposts to keep the hiring team objective and rooted to assessing each candidate on the same proven criteria.

Identify Your Primary Criteria

Let’s use the example of hiring an account manager to walk through the process.

First, you need to boil down the skills, talents, and experience you are looking for to a list of 8-12 criteria that will be used to evaluate each candidate. Here’s an example of a few points you might include:

1) Self-Starter

As the lead point person for multiple clients, an account manager must have an exuberance for tackling the highest priorities without direction or approval from her supervisors.

2) Marketing Aptitude

Account managers are known to be jacks-of-all-trades, but you need a candidate who has specialized knowledge in a specific field such as inbound marketing, search, retail marketing, and so on.

3) Emotional Intelligence

The client-agency relationship is never without some bumps, and the best account managers have a sixth sense about how happy clients are. Often the fate of a long-term relationship is not determined by the original mistake, but by how your agency responds. The account manager is on the front lines and needs to be equipped to handle these situations.

4) Curiosity

Clients are looking to agencies for the “big ideas.” The ideal account manager is not only interested in the needs of their clients but is also invested in self-education.

5) Team Player

Serving clients is a team sport, and the account manager must thrive in a collaborative environment.

Create a Scorecard

The next step is to compile your criteria into an interview scorecard that each interviewer must use in her assessment of a candidate.

An example might of an interview scorecard might look like this:


You should have multiple people interview a candidate, but their opinions should be formed around the same criteria.

While the goal is to find quality employees, a successful interview is one in which you accurately judge whether a candidate will be a good fit for the role and your agency.

Your Hiring Stool

While you’ve outlined a large list of criteria to judge candidates on, you should also identify skills or attributes a person must have to qualify for the position. This could be either personality traits that are key to maintaining your agency’s culture or specific skills for the position.

Imagine these criteria are like the three legs of a stool. Without one or more of those legs, the stool will fall over. A candidate who doesn’t meet all three points can’t be successful in her individual role or at the agency. If a candidate is missing one of these key traits, you can’t hire the candidate. This way, you can objectively rule out many applicants and can judge all those that make it through interviewing on a focused set of issues.

What are the three criteria that make up your hiring stool?

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Vía Inbound Hub | Marketing

Here’s Why Beyoncé Is Just Better at Instagram Than Taylor Swift

Beyoncé showed the world how she kicks it in her downtime with the biggest Instagram post of the week.

The 15-second clip represents why she is who she is, perhaps the biggest star on the planet. Also, her Instagram got more likes than Taylor Swift's recent post.

Swift gave the world a peak at how she lip-syncs to Kendrick Lamar while driving. Beyoncé showed us how she dances in a bathrobe and lip-syncs to herself. Both were worthy Instagram moments, but as the Adweek/Sharablee charts show, Beyoncé's 945,000 likes in five days definitely tops Swift's 925,000 in three weeks.

The Adweek/Shareablee chart below features eight categories (auto, beauty, consumer electronics, retail, fashion, celebrity, sports leagues and TV shows) every week and showcases the best branded effort. Two wildcard niches are always sprinkled in, and we've chosen travel and food and beverage for this week's edition.

Also, you're going to want to see how Walt Disney World went 8-bit for its birthday.

from Adweek : Technology

Which Channels Are Best for Content Promotion? [Infographic] by HubSpot

Content_Promo_Megaphone_Blog_Image-1Lately, I’ve been hearing more and more questions about earned, owned, and paid media. What are the differences between the three? How do they work together? How can they work separately? Which one is “better” than the others? 

Thanks to Column Five, there are now some quick, easy-to-consume answers to most of these questions. In Column Five’s infographic below, they give visual definitions of these marketing terms and back them up with data to help you decide how to promote your next piece of content.

In general, each of these channels allows for unique ways to promote your content, and they likely perform differently for everyone based on industries or audiences. This infographic lays out the facts so you can make the best promotion decisions possible for your business.

Ready to get started? Let’s walk through the basics of your content distribution options.


download free guide to content promotion

Vía Inbound Hub | Marketing

How to Use SWOT Analyses for Smarter Content Strategies by HubSpot

swot_analysisIt’s the most wonderful time of the year for content marketers. This time of year is when you measure your impact on this year’s company goals and uncover opportunities for moving the needle on next year’s.

But when most people run these analyses and calculate next year’s predictions, they forget about one crucial thing: market conditions. They’re so focused on internal metrics and results that they miss out on some fascinating, high-level insights. 

One way to analyze both internal and market conditions is through a content SWOT analysis. It provides a strategic view of the main opportunities and challenges that exist with content marketing in your market. The outcome of this analysis should be a high-level action plan containing the most important tasks that will impact the success of your content marketing.

In this post, I’ll walk you through the basics of a content SWOT analysis and show you how you can use one in next year’s planning process.

How to Do a Content SWOT Analysis

You can use our SWOT analysis template, or simply draw four boxes on a piece of paper, similar to the illustration below. 


Then, you’ll want to fill in each section accordingly:


Here you will list 3-4 major internal strategic strengths of your current content marketing efforts. You need to identify what has been working well for you so far. (Even if you haven’t started with content marketing yet, you can still complete this step.) In that case, for example, one of your strengths could be that you have expertise in a particular topic that your target audience is extremely interested in.

If you have started with content, however, some of your strengths could include a well-defined blogging strategy and established editorial calendar that continues to grow, or you could have really strong relationships with partners through which you can promote your content to generate additional traffic.


Here you will list 3-4 major internal strategic weaknesses of your current content marketing efforts. Again, if you haven’t started with content, you can still complete this step. For example, your weakness could be a lack of a dedicated resource to creating content.

If you have started with content, some examples of potential weaknesses would be an inability to track the ROI of your current content efforts. Or a weakness could be that your content focuses on one part of the funnel only, like lead generation, and you’re lacking content to help close deals.


Here you will list 3-4 major external opportunities that exist for anyone working within your market. Some examples of opportunities might include that paid social distribution as it isn’t as competitive as Adwords campaigns or generating leads from long-form ‘how-to’ content.


Here you will list 3-4 major external threats that exist for anyone working within your market. Some potential threats to your content marketing include creating content that is easily replicated by your competitors, like industry white papers for example, or your competitors might have more resources to develop a better resource centre, increasing their possibility to rank higher than you.


Once you have completed your SWOT analysis, you can then use that information to create an actionable plan. The actionable plan should be based upon the strengths and weaknesses you’ve identified from your current efforts, take advantage of opportunities in the market, and also account for potential threats to your strategy. 

Below is an example of an action plan we have created based on the examples we mentioned above.


This analysis and action plan will give you a good idea of how you should start to analyze your content marketing strategies. If you would like more help with your content analysis and planning, HubSpot and Smart Insights have put together The Content Planning Template, which includes four templates and instructions on how to complete them for planning out a more effective content strategy for next year. As they say, if you’re failing to plan, you’re planning to fail — so get planning now for a successful new year.

free download: content planning template

Vía Inbound Hub | Marketing

MOCAheart Makes Keeping Track Of Your Heart’s Vital Signs Easy
Mocaheart MOCAheart wants to make keeping track of your cardiovascular health as easy as pressing a button. The device, which is currently on Kickstarter, was developed by a team led by Naama Stauber and Dr. Daniel Hong, who was a physician at National Taiwan University Hospital, one of the country’s top teaching hospitals, before becoming an entrepreneur. Read More

Vía TechCrunch » Startups

These Aren’t The Drones You’re Looking For
doorman blade As we approach the holiday season, San Francisco startup Doorman has been getting a lot of attention from the press — after all, by delivering packages when you’re actually home, rather than when it’s convenient for the delivery service, Doorman should reduce the risk that your gifts will get stolen while they’re sitting on your doorstep. I was actually quoted in an… Read More

Vía TechCrunch » Startups

Le Wagon Is An Impressive French Coding Bootcamp For Entrepreneurs
703131_10152706798336336_1142471780_o Coding bootcamps are nothing new, but they have always been more popular in the U.S. than in Europe. Last year, when Le Wagon started, it was a breath of fresh air. The team not only wanted to bring the concept back to Europe, but also wanted to add its own flavor. Le Wagon is a coding school specifically targeted towards entrepreneurs. It designs its own high quality content to make you… Read More

Vía TechCrunch » Startups

Mobile Marketplace Carousell Raises $6M Series A Led By Sequoia Capital
Carousell_productphoto Carousell, a mobile app marketplace that lets sellers upload items with a few taps on their smartphones, has raised $6 million Series A funding led by Sequoia Capital. The Singaporean startup’s existing investors, Rakuten Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, 500 Startups, and serial entrepreneur Darius Cheung, also returned for this round, which brings Carousell’s total raised so far… Read More

Vía TechCrunch » Startups