Total Eclipse of the Heart

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This post is aptly named to please the love of my life, who would thoroughly enjoy this cheesy pun…  I love you, KDB. You make me mad in every which way.


 

This year I told my love that I wanted to go to more festivals. When I was living in the Bay Area and San Francisco from 2003-2012, I had always frequented many of the local festivals in Golden Gate Park, Stern Grove, and Treasure Island. I was captivated by all the music, dance, art, fashion, general hoopla, and mainly the communities surrounding these events. After some years, it became a part of my soul, a part of who I am, and a piece of my heart. In 2008 I started attending Burning Man, and in 2009 I became part of one of the largest sound camps and communities on the Playa, Distrikt. California was not the only place I went to attend festivals and explore – I loved to travel as well. Outside of my driven and diligent working-girl persona, this was who I was inside-and-out: a festival girl, a wanderlust, a free spirit.

When I left San Francisco in December of 2012 to move to Seattle to chase new dreams and my heart, time seemed to slow down a bit. I moved here (Seattle) having not known anyone yet, did not have a job lined up, and generally had a bit of culture shock coming from such a wild place like San Francisco to Seattle, where things seemed much more understated; something I truly appreciate now.

In any case, let’s fast forward to 2017, the current year. I told my partner that I wanted to get back to some of my roots and start enjoying festival season again. Since I had moved to Seattle, I had enjoyed many wonderful things this city has to offer, and have traveled near and far, but had not really been to many festivals, if any at all – which is crazy because Seattle is such a musical town! …never did I realize how much he would take that request to heart…

A month or two into this year, we started planning which festivals we wanted to attend. Before we knew it, we had six festivals lined up:

  1. Detroit Movement (MI):  incredible underground Tech House, House, and Techno artists – Carl Cox and Minx, what what! – and really our jam
  2. Paradiso at The Gorge (WA):  an opportunity to camp with really good and fun friends at a visually breathtaking venue
  3. Critical Northwest (WA):  being part of a close-knit, local Burning Man community where we got to spend the week with the best of friends building and serving
  4. Pure Vision (CA):  where we got to see all of our California friends and family, where House heads unite, and where we first met six years ago
  5. Eclipse Symbiosis (OR):  HOLD ON ONE SEC, I HAVE A GOOD STORY FOR THIS… 😉
  6. Full Moon Festival and Jungle Party (Thailand, and next up!):  to be determined!

When I got to festival #5, my heart skipped a beat and a tear welled up in my eye. A happy tear… let me tell you a little something before I get to this, though…

In the last couple of years or so, my love and I had thrown around the idea of marriage a few times. However, we both were never in a big rush and wanted to give each other healthy space to grow on several accounts. We knew that we had found our person, but we also knew we both had considerable growth to do. What makes this so remarkable is that we recognized we were not perfect, made some huge mistakes, but found it in our hearts and minds to try to improve the people we were for ourselves, and for each other.

After having gone through a few extremely rough episodes in the past several years where we both thought it was over and could have easily given up, we somehow managed to heal and help each other become better people without placing serious force on the other or trying to change the other person. I think that takes a lot of damn courage and strength on both our behalves, and it also showed me how deeply we loved each other. This does not go without saying that we have some spectacular friends that have supported us along the way and believed in us as well, and for that we are thankful beyond words.

No human being is perfect, hell, perfection is boring as f*ck – but you can find the person perfect for you. To find someone that understands me in every way, let’s me be myself, always thinks I’m beautiful even when I have gross stomach issues and glitter cemented in my hair… that is a beautiful thing. He is never intimidated by my unbridled drive to be a successful business owner, we have loads of passion for each other, he let’s me be free to travel on my own to loved ones – like my little sister who I grow closer and closer to every day – and even reaches out to my father to tell him to contact me more when I feel so far from a good relationship. FYI – he called my dad one time and told him to call me, and my dad called me the next morning. My eyes exploded with a river of tears at the sound of his voice. You have no idea how much that meant to me… and how much it meant for my love to take that step for me. Still a lot of healing to do but moving on…

After a few times having discussed the possibility of joining our lives together legally (sound the alarm!), we completely dropped it and engaged in more wanderlust together. We were content and happy being just us. We had found a bit of a sweet spot with each other and we were okay being there for however long. It did not matter because we were in such a good place – I had started a successful business, we became God Parents, our best friends got engaged (I’m the Best Man!), he had been inducted into a local recording label (Viva Recordings) FINALLY after having proven over and over how talented he is, we were travelling all over, and just generally doing pretty damn good; albeit busy as hell with work (not necessarily a bad thing).

Anyways, after Pure Vision happened (festival #4) we were off to Symbiosis next. Having discussed the possibility of marriage a few times a while back and letting it go, I was completely oblivious to how much this festival may change the rest of our lives together.

The week was full of delight. The stages were architecturally fantastical and innovative, the music was magic to my ears, the art was imaginative and out of this world, the science was stimulating – and in a lot of ways it reminded me of Burning Man, but also much, much different in an immersive and pleasing way. It is nice to change things up and challenge yourself every once in a while! And the festival was appropriately named after the astronomical phenomenon that was to take place on August 21, 2017 – ECLIPSE.

We had been up dancing all night from that Sunday to Monday, my love and I. We had planned with a few friends to meet up at camp around 7:30am to get ready for the eclipse and head over to the prairie to watch it together. There were about 40-50K festival-goers heading the same direction in a horde to find their little spot on the hill to take in the soon-to-occur phenomenon. Pleasantly surprised, we had stumbled upon many of our friends in the same area we ended up. Since there was no cell service, I got on the walkie talkie and started ushering any other friends that had not arrived yet to us. Thankfully, they all seemed to find us with ease, despite the large amount of people in one area. I thought, “fuck yes, we herded the cats!” and rejoiced in my elven hood costume thingy, taking and sharing swigs of good ol’ Jameson from the bottle.

As we sat there watching and reveling in the eclipse occurrence with our special eye glasses, my love drew me in close to his side. We talked about how amazing everything was and as the eclipse shifted into totality………

I ran off and started singing f*cking Black Hole Sun to all my friends! Then I frantically searched for a meaningful blanket I had misplaced that we had gotten from a trip to Ireland together. Not long after my frenzy, my love ran over to me and took my hand and begged, “baby, please come here, trust me…,” so I went with him with a bit of a furrow in my brow of “why the f*ck is he being all vulnerable-like.” He took my hands, looked into my eyes with a deep softness I do not get to see often from him, and said, “I love you so much. I love who you are to your family, to your friends, and who you are as a person. I cannot live without you.” Then he slipped a ring on my finger while the sun was coming back into play and asked me to marry him.

To that I said, “are you f*cking serious!? …is this because you’re up and at a festival, babe?,” and really I was just in total shock, but my heart was saying yes. He laughed and muttered some indistinguishable words for a second then asked me my answer, and I finally said “yaaa! of course, yes!” He turned around to all our friends… whom were all clearly there by plan, I realize now… and told them I had said yes.

Everyone surrounded us with love, I made a “Jenn face” per usual, and cried my eyes out with shock and happiness. I really hope one of those motherf*ckers got a really good picture. I wish I would not have been such a damn spaz and ran off whilst he was initially trying to propose to me under the total eclipse, but that about sums me up, and makes a whole lot of sense, right? 😛

Let’s talk about the ring for a second. It is beautiful. A huge rare fire opal surrounded by diamonds. Looked a lot like the eclipse, to be honest. A fiery gem surrounded by a ring of light. Opals are not only my birth stone, but the fire opal specifically has been my favorite gem since I was around 9 or 10 years old when I first saw it in the Natural History Museum. I remember just thinking, “my god, this is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” and shortly after started collecting rocks and gems. My love had known (most of) this… he knew how much the gem represented me and my identity. Every birthday from when I was 16 years old and onward, my father and mother had always given me jewelry with small accent opals. Sometimes they could not find the right kind, so they got an iridescent shell instead just to make me happy. I’ve lost a few pieces here and there over the years, but the most devastating loss was a ring my father had given to me. I will not lose this one. I will hold it close to my heart forever.

When we got back home to Seattle we were met with unconditional and overwhelming amounts of love and kind messages. Our hearts feel full. My parents asked me if we have a date set, and to that I say, “are you f*cking kidding me!? we just got engaged and it took us 6 years for that!” We shall see where our next steps take us, but right now I’m really enjoying the moment, and taking it all in with the love of my life, Kyle, my rabbit, my lion.

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ABM Part 2: Learning to crawl, walk, then run with ABM

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With Account-Based Marketing (ABM), it takes time to hone and get to know the behaviors of your target list. Getting it right will not happen overnight. You will also need to shift your paradigm from targeting based off of buyer personas to building a target list of accounts/business. When it comes to B2B, you can make a pretty accurate guess about which accounts will close. Here are some ways to build that list:

  1. Evaluate your current customers and discover common attributes
  2. Leverage predictive analytics if you have those capabilities available
  3. Go to sales and just ask them for a list they want to target

There can be several lists but you can always start small and then build broader conversations about ABM programs from there:

  1. A named account list
  2. A target segment (defined by attributes such as industry or revenue)
  3. A list of strategic accounts
  4. A customer list (retargeting)
  5. A list of customers up for renewal

Build marketing programs that target those accounts and move them through the funnel with some of these techniques:

  1. Segmenting your target account list
  2. A targeting approach is similar to buyer personas, but you can reach more people at a company
  3. Start with one ad campaign or section of your website, reach stakeholders at your target accounts and measure results

Once you have your lists set up and you are starting to hone them, think about how you are going to measure results.

  1. Adjusting your lists and segments depending on your results
  2. If you can demonstrate success with a specific segment or list of named accounts, you can use what you have learned to target additional segments and replicate your efforts at scale

 

Attribution Modeling Part 4: Finding your Attribution problem (5/5/15)

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To find out whether or not you have an attribution problem, the first thing you can do is look at your Path Length report in your web analytics platform. If a significant percent of your conversions have greater than one path length (aka more than one channel they pass through during their journey to conversion), you might have an attribution problem.

To dig a little deeper, what you should do next is check out your “assisted conversions” report. In this report, look at the credit a model gives each channel, i.e. Last-Click. If value<1 then Last-Click worked for that channel and if value>1 that channel is not getting much/any credit with that model. Once you do this exercise you will really start to see how blindly picking an attribution model can hurt your company’s marketing budget.

This exercise is simply a diagnostic test on your attribution health. It should be noted that there are simply too many paths a customer takes to actually control the path of every potential customer. If you have time, you should definitely read this blog post by web analytics guru Avinash Kaushik to read more on attribution issues. We will probably reference it a few more times.

Attribution Modeling Part 3: Setting up for success with a measurement framework (4/27/15)

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One of the key necessities for Attribution Modeling is successful analytics tracking and correctly tagging all your ads and campaigns. You need to have an appropriate measurement framework for Attribution to work in your favor. Why? It all relies on… wait for it… GOOD DATA!

There are four high-level concepts of analytics tracking that you need to understand before getting started:

Campaign Tracking – In which campaigns are your customers interacting with you? You will need to set-up tracking links to collect this data.

  • Value Event – Actions that do not tie directly to a conversion, e.g. someone watching a video. Set-up Goals within your web analytics platform for tracking.
  • Conversion Event – Tied directly to a baseline value-add on a website, i.e. form completion. These are also called micro-conversions and can be tracked by Goals.
  • PII (Personally Identifiable Information) – Try building a framework that collects PII so you can attribute success at an individual level and optimize/personalize content along the journey.

See the diagram for an example of this framework. It is a visual way to see the purpose of every webpage, event, and action within any view. It tells you what value events you want as a result of these campaign investments. These are the building blocks for proper Attribution Modeling.

Attribution Modeling Part 2: Understanding different model types (4/13/15)

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Remember when we talked about “search sessions” last week and the customer journey with all those fun clicks before conversion? You might still be scratching your head wondering which one gets credited for the conversion, but we’ll review a few ways this can go down.

First up we have Last-Click. Not to be confused with the order of introduction, but this model gives credit to the last Channel before conversion, First-Click models give credit to the first Channel, and Linear models give equal credit to all Channels. These are default models in many platforms that offer Attribution Modeling (like WebTrends or Google Analytics). Read about more models’ pros/cons here and find out why Time Decay modeling is your friend. Custom Modeling is also great if you have a stellar data measurement strategy!

Some honest thoughts shared with influencers in the space: Last-Click and First-Click models are kind of lazy and unfair. You cannot derive much value from them. Why? They skimp out on giving credit to your Channel efforts in every other step before conversion. This will skew your ROI reporting and mess up your budgets. We can go on with this topic, but let’s regroup next week.

Attribution Modeling Part I: What is Attribution Modeling? (3/30/15)

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As you think about your marketing mix investments, you will realize that your B2B customers are going to interact with multiple channels prior to adding value to business. Someone may do Google search on marketing services and find your marketing agency, then go to Facebook to further research your agency, then visit your website directly, and finally sign-up for services. This is called a “search session.”

It’s great that there are so many touchpoints guiding the B2B customer to the finishline, but which channel interaction gets credit for the conversion? This is both the definition and reason for Attribution. We need Attribution Modeling to find out how much credit each touchpoint gets before conversion. This enables efficient budgeting, to find out what is working and what isn’t, and accurate ROMI calculation.

What Attribution Modeling is NOT is a “set it and forget it” practice. You cannot build a model and walk away because the industry, your data, and your business objectives will evolve. You shouldn’t make things too complex right out of the gate. Its human nature to want to overcomplicate things, but only through active monitoring of data over time will you really be able to experiment with what’s best for your business.

Data Quality and Integrity Part 3 – Improve data with progressive profiling (3/23/15)

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As a marketer, you want to always be improving the customer experience so they keep coming back. One particularly popular topic for companies right now is what it takes to have a well-oiled Customer Experience Management (CEM) operation. How are successful companies leveraging data to improve this experience and be profitable?

For starters, they have a more sophisticated data management strategy. Disorganized and low quality data is simply expensive background noise. Actually investing in some tools to mitigate your data integrity issues would be a great step in the right direction. In comes progressive profiling.

Salesforce’s Pardot explains progressive profiling as the automation of displaying new form fields to prospects based on data points previously collected. By using conditional fields, you can use less form fields to maintain high conversion rates and still capture new information.