Contract Review Made Simple By Devon Smiley

Quick show of hands. Who wants to spend tonight reading a contract!?!

Uhhhhh…ok then.

So, I’m pretty sure I was the only one getting quite so pumped to spend quality time with a legal document. Well, maybe a few of you lawyers out there…but even then, maybe not. I’m a weirdo. I love that stuff. But if you don’t get the same sort of thrill I do, chances are that when it comes time to review a contract for your business you’ll give it a quick skim, sign it, and then stick it in a drawer.

That may be quick and easy – but it’s also dangerous.

 

Today, I’m going to share with you my time-tested process for working your way through a contract so that you understand it, and have some sort of sanity left at the end.

Step 1. Make this as pleasant as possible.

Yoga pants, a fresh cup of coffee, a candle – get started on a nice, calm, comfortable foot.

Step 2. Quickie Once Through

Give it a skim. No pencil. No highlighter. Just give it a read. Then take a break. 15-30 minutes on something else.

Step 3. Once More with feeling

Give it a purposeful read. You’re on the lookout for a few things: any words or concepts you don’t understand, and any items you do understand, but leave you cold. Or pissed off. Make notes of all of these things. Then take a big break. Like – 24 hours. You need to give your brain and the document some time to breath. There’s no point obsessing over things at this point. You’ve got the lay of the land…so time to let things just simmer a bit.

Step 4. Research

Get online and start noodling around for those terms you didn’t understand and write them down in your own words. If you have a friend with more experience, a negotiation consultant on call *cough cough* or legal counsel they can help you with figuring what things mean and what the potential impact could be.

Step 5. Get ready to make the ask.

Now that you know what things mean, you can identify what you need to have changed. You’ll want to ask for changes to things that you either can’t deliver on, don’t fit with your business policies, or that create inefficiencies or burden. This could mean a timeline of 4 weeks instead of 2 weeks, not waiving moral rights as an artist, or having communications stay strictly in email – instead of coming from all directions. Start thinking of your proposals to the client or vendor in terms of “I can’t do xyz, but what I can offer instead is abc” and “If they 100% need me to do 123, then I’m going to need 678 in return” – coming up with these trades will prepare you for what lies ahead in Step 6…

simple contract review for entrepreneurs negotiation skills.png

Step 6. Make the ask

Time to negotiate! This blog would be far too long if I got talking about this step – I’m far too passionate about it – but there are lots of articles and videos on the site here devonsmiley.com that can help, so I’m going to link to those below.

Don’t forget

One last thing! If this seems like it takes a while. It does. If someone is pressuring you to sign a document on the spot and gives you attitude…that’s a warning sign. Take the time you need to understand the deal and transform it into one that not only works for you – but lights you up.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2ypVllv

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Contract Review Made Simple By Devon Smiley

Quick show of hands. Who wants to spend tonight reading a contract!?!

Uhhhhh…ok then.

So, I’m pretty sure I was the only one getting quite so pumped to spend quality time with a legal document. Well, maybe a few of you lawyers out there…but even then, maybe not. I’m a weirdo. I love that stuff. But if you don’t get the same sort of thrill I do, chances are that when it comes time to review a contract for your business you’ll give it a quick skim, sign it, and then stick it in a drawer.

That may be quick and easy – but it’s also dangerous.

 

Today, I’m going to share with you my time-tested process for working your way through a contract so that you understand it, and have some sort of sanity left at the end.

Step 1. Make this as pleasant as possible.

Yoga pants, a fresh cup of coffee, a candle – get started on a nice, calm, comfortable foot.

Step 2. Quickie Once Through

Give it a skim. No pencil. No highlighter. Just give it a read. Then take a break. 15-30 minutes on something else.

Step 3. Once More with feeling

Give it a purposeful read. You’re on the lookout for a few things: any words or concepts you don’t understand, and any items you do understand, but leave you cold. Or pissed off. Make notes of all of these things. Then take a big break. Like – 24 hours. You need to give your brain and the document some time to breath. There’s no point obsessing over things at this point. You’ve got the lay of the land…so time to let things just simmer a bit.

Step 4. Research

Get online and start noodling around for those terms you didn’t understand and write them down in your own words. If you have a friend with more experience, a negotiation consultant on call *cough cough* or legal counsel they can help you with figuring what things mean and what the potential impact could be.

Step 5. Get ready to make the ask.

Now that you know what things mean, you can identify what you need to have changed. You’ll want to ask for changes to things that you either can’t deliver on, don’t fit with your business policies, or that create inefficiencies or burden. This could mean a timeline of 4 weeks instead of 2 weeks, not waiving moral rights as an artist, or having communications stay strictly in email – instead of coming from all directions. Start thinking of your proposals to the client or vendor in terms of “I can’t do xyz, but what I can offer instead is abc” and “If they 100% need me to do 123, then I’m going to need 678 in return” – coming up with these trades will prepare you for what lies ahead in Step 6…

simple contract review for entrepreneurs negotiation skills.png

Step 6. Make the ask

Time to negotiate! This blog would be far too long if I got talking about this step – I’m far too passionate about it – but there are lots of articles and videos on the site here devonsmiley.com that can help, so I’m going to link to those below.

Don’t forget

One last thing! If this seems like it takes a while. It does. If someone is pressuring you to sign a document on the spot and gives you attitude…that’s a warning sign. Take the time you need to understand the deal and transform it into one that not only works for you – but lights you up.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2ypVllv

Supergrowth Calls For Superpowers: These Are The Tools Your App Startup Really Needs By Connor Iny

Best tools for startups

Sometimes, making the right purchase decision involves a great deal of contemplating and research. Be it university, school for your kids, insurance plans or even a smartphone. All of these choices can greatly impact our lives or the lives of the people around us.

But for startups, making the right choice can sometimes mean life or death, As Suhail Doshi, Founder of Mixpanel, said himself: the first 18 months of starting a company are a matter of life or death. You’re going to have to be extremely focused, agile, and as data-driven as possible. There will be a lot of background noise to filter; meetings, events, emails, feedback, etc. Thus, ignoring this white noise and sticking to the initiatives where you see actual value, is key.

So, yes, founding your own app startup and bootstrapping requires A LOT of decision making. It means you’re going to be running multiple projects and initiatives simultaneously. While this sounds like complete chaos, it doesn’t always have to be.

There are many tools out there to help you and your startup team run as fast and as efficiently as you can, but when I say many tools, I mean it. The variety is quite overwhelming and choosing the right ones can be pretty exhausting. After all, you’re an app startup- you want to at least try to have a positive ROI from your tools.

So here – we’ve saved you some research and have handpicked the ‘crème de la crème’ of tools, the ones we believe in as a startup. We hope you find this list helpful.

Do note that this list includes both professional/administrative tools to help you move forward as a company, and product-focused tools to make sure you deliver a stellar product.

Our favorites, handpicked

1. Aha!

Roadmapping is one of the most important processes your app startup will go through. Your roadmap will typically showcase what you’re going to build, and when. Sounds easy, right? Well, it could either look like a complete mess only you understand, or, it could look neat and organized. We recommend the roadmapping tool Aha! as it allows you to plan, collaborate and share your product strategy, all in one robust platform.

Pricing: Startup – Free trial and a discounted plan if you qualify (contact Aha! team)

2. G Suite

Yes, you’re probably already using G Suite, which includes Gmail, Calendar, Google Docs and Google Drive – but just in case you’re not, we think it’s time you introduce yourself to the big G. G Suite for business provides startups with even more features, such as unlimited cloud storage, the ability to track and report user activity within your company (emails, chats, files) and offers a smart search across all G Suite products and cloud services.

Having a single solution to control your company emails, document sharing, storage and calendar is not only convenient and neat, but also time saving. Put yourself in the employee’s seat. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to send emails, book calendar events, start a video call, collaborate/share docs and store files in the cloud, all from one platform? Now that Google has rolled out its new redesign for Gmail, you can actually access your to-do lists, calendar and Asana/Trello boards directly from your Gmail interface. Time-saving? Check.

Price: Basic – $5 per user, per month / Business – $10 per user, per month.

3. Appsee

Appsee is a mobile-analytics solution, built for mobile applications. It utilizes a unique approach, called Qualitative Analytics. While quantitative analytics solutions (traditional analytics) allow you to observe metrics on an aggregated level and get the bigger picture about your product’s KPIs, there are still blind spots – you’re missing the reasons behind these numbers.

This is where qualitative analytics comes in as it’s all about understanding the user’s behavior, diving deep into the individual user level via session recordings and touch heatmaps and getting to the bottom of each action users take within the app. It’s basically like being able to look over your user’s shoulder, taking your product insights to a whole new level.

It is known that for startups, every second matters and every slice of feedback you can get about your product is gold. Thus, if your app startup can eliminate the guesswork around app metrics (why ‘quit rate’ on specific screens is high, how is this bug reproduced, is the UI intuitive, etc.) it should definitely do so by utilizing Appsee’s platform.

Price: Appsee not only offers a free 14-day trial with all features included, but also offers a free plan for small startups/teams. I suggest giving it a try first via the free trial.


4. Asana

Asana is one of the most popular project-management tools out there, and there’s a good reason for that. It allows you to break down large projects into bite-sized, actionable tasks, collaborate with your team, set goals and integrate with 3rd-party apps, all extremely valuable for startups. Every company, no matter the size, has its own stream of projects. Managing them properly is crucial. Utilizing a project management tool will ensure that no double-work is done by the team, it’ll save you valuable time as you and your team can see exactly who’s doing what, for how long, and what’s the status. It’s basically a place where you can bring designers, marketers, product managers and C-level together to collaborate and observe the company’s progress.

Price: Free – up to 15 team members / Premium – $9.99 per member, per month.

5. Slack

Slack feels like an hybrid between a project-management tool and a messaging platform. And that’s why it’s so great. You can either just have a chat conversation with one of your teammates, or create a channel to communicate with a group of people. But what really makes Slack stand out is its amazingly useful integration with 3rd party software (in short – it’s called Slack Apps).

Now just imagine this – you’re having a Slack chat with one of your co-workers, and you want to share, say, an Asana board with him. You can to that directly from your message. Want to see if his calendar is available on a specific time and set up a meeting? Just summon Meekan, one of Slack’s personal assistant bots and he’ll take it from there. You can also share JIRA tickets, receive Trello / Google Drive alerts, integrate your company Twitter account, and SO much more.

Price: Free – up to 10 integrations / Standard – $6.99 per user, per month.

6. Instabug

Instabug is another mobile-only solution geared towards your product. It focuses on crash/bug reporting and user feedback. Instabug is sporting a lightweight SDK (what’s an SDK? Learn more here) that’s easy to integrate within your app. Once integrated, it’ll track all user interactions and will report live once a crash/bug has occurred. Crash/bug reports contain tons of useful information (like: number of affected users, running environment, device details, steps to reproduce, relevant code, etc.) as well as collaboration options. For me, the biggest differentiation from other crash analytics tools is that Instabug allows you to run in-app surveys, in-app chat and feature requests.

Why is crash analytics relevant for app startups? Because in today’s saturated app market, small and less-known apps simply cannot afford having issues: “53% Uninstalled or removed a mobile app with severe issues like crashes, freezes or errors”. The variety of apps is so big that users might prefer trying another app rather than giving you a second chance. In addition, crash analytics solutions will save your R&D team hours, maybe even days/weeks of guesswork and bug reproduction, and that alone – will save you some serious cash.

Price: Bronze – $41 a month / Silver – $125 a month.

7. InVision

InVision is a one-stop-shop for all things product design. It’s where you and your team can create rich interactive prototypes and design concepts, collaborate and keep track of all your design projects and changes. I particularly like InVision’s ‘whiteboard’ feature that allows you and your team to explore your best ideas and breathe life into them instantly. InVision is used by some of the biggest names in the tech world: Spotify, Airbnb, Salesforce, Netflix, and the list goes on. But that doesn’t mean there is no plan for startups or smaller teams.

Price: Free – 1 prototype / Starter – $15 a month, 3 prototypes / Pro – $25, unlimited prototypes.

Final words

There are so many factors which can make or break a startup. From the concept, to the brand name, the first hire or even the domain you’re using, all of these can make a huge difference. Once you’ve nailed these (phew!), you’re in for a hell-of-a-run. During this run, you’re going to need all the help you can get, financially and strategically. So to get you started properly, we’re giving you this list of the best tools to start your journey with. Obviously, there are a lot more tools out there, but these will set you off to a great start with streamlined workflows.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2tnmK1K

13 Ways to Stay Productive When You Can’t Use Your Computer By Kayla Sloan

When you’re trying to work and be as productive as possible it’s annoying when circumstances prevent it. But unfortunately, there are times when you just can’t do anything about it. For instance, computer updates, internet interruptions, power outages, and network downtime will sometimes interrupt your day.

But that doesn’t mean you should sit around gossiping on the phone or with others who are nearby. Instead, look for ways to stay productive when you can’t use your computer.

1. Revise Your “To Do” List

One thing to do when you can’t use your computer is to revise or create a “To Do” list. Even if your original task list is on your computer you can still make a written list.

After your computer is available again, check the written list against your online task list. Then, just add anything new to your online list. Using your offline time to stay productive will make work go faster once your computer is accessible.

In order to maximize your time while waiting you can also put your list in order by importance. Then when you are able to get back to work you will know just what task comes first.

2. Substitute a Cell Phone

At times, some of the work you do on your computer could be done instead on your phone. Let’s say the power’s out but your phone is fully charged. You might be able to access your online calendar, website, task list, email or other apps from your phone.

Although it won’t be as fast as using your laptop, at least you’ll get some productive work done. During your computer down time, always plan ahead as much as possible. Then, as soon as a computer is available, get back to the bigger projects you can’t do on your phone.

3. Review Your Calendar

If you have access to your calendar from a cell phone, go through it and make updates. You can also review upcoming events so you know what the next day or two will bring.

Schedule appointments, make cancellations, and do any necessary rearranging. Then, after your computer is available again you will be able to move on to other work.

4. Return Phone Calls

Returning phone calls is another way to stay productive when you can’t use your computer. Of course, that is provided you don’t need to use your computer during the call.

When you place your call, if you’re put on hold, preplan what you will say. This will also save time when your party comes on the line.

5. Answer Emails

Another productive and efficient thing to do while you can’t use your computer is answer emails. Again, this is provided you can access your work email from your cell phone.

Because email can interrupt other work, answering them while your computer is unavailable makes sense. It also allows you to increase productivity and efficiency. What’s more, you’ll be able to get back to bigger projects once you can use your computer again.

6. Create Meeting Agendas

Are you going to be holding a meeting with other people soon? If so, use your idle time to stay productive by creating your meeting agenda.

Write out a rough draft of your meeting agenda. Include all important issues that need to be discussed. Consider how long it will take to go over each topic you have listed.

Will there be enough time? If not, does the meeting need to be held earlier, longer, or at a different time?

Working on your meeting agenda when you can’t use your computer is a good use of your time. It allows you to make adjustments in advance of the meeting to avoid wasting anyone’s time, including your own.

social media for business owners

7. Schedule Social Media

If your business regularly posts social media you may be able to use this time to schedule some. Mobile versions of some social media posting apps will let you post from your phone. If yours does, it may be a way to stay productive when you can’t use your computer.

8. Set Goals

You can stay productive even when you can’t use your computer by utilizing your time wisely. As an example, use the time you have available to set goals for yourself.

The goals you set can be either personal or work related. Setting goals in both areas will help you manage time better by pushing yourself to meet your goals.

9. Have a Planning Session

Need another idea for using down time productively? Have a planning session with yourself. Or, if you need to hash out some work details with others, include them in the planning session as well.

Impromptu planning sessions can be just as productive as prescheduled, formal meetings. In addition, because they are less formal, team members may feel more willing to share ideas and thoughts.

If you are having planning time on your own, the quiet time may be just what you need. With less outside distractions you can let your mind wander and jot down ideas. This approach may get your creative juices flowing.

To engage in this activity, grab a notebook and write down whatever comes to your mind. When you are finished, try to organize those thoughts and ideas into groups to see what can be accomplished.

10. Run Errands

When you’re working constantly there are often errands that get put off until later when you have time. But since you have the time now, why not get them out of the way. You’ll feel accomplished and raring to go once you can get back online.

11. Organize Your Desk

Sometimes stuff gets buried on your desk as you work to meet specific deadlines. Turn your otherwise unproductive time into a cleaning and organizing session.

File paperwork that should be put away, place supplies where they belong, and grab the cleaning supplies. Dust off your computer screen and desk. Throw away or shred what needs to be done away with.

Go through the mail. Make new folders or desk trays as you’ve been meaning to. Use the time to rearrange things to be more pleasing. Take it a step further and add plants or pictures, repaint, or put up wallpaper.

All of these activities will make your work environment cleaner and more efficient. They may also help you find what you need faster in the future increasing your productivity.

12. Listen to Podcasts

At times to stay productive it helps to get inspiration from other sources. One way to do that is to listen to podcasts.

You can listen to a podcast from your phone when you can’t use your computer. Choose some that inspire organization, time management, or other topics that interest you. As you listen keep an open mind for new ideas that will help you improve your work and home life.

eating healthy

13. Go to Lunch Early

If your computer is unavailable around lunch time, why not go to lunch early? This may make better use of your time. When you get back from lunch, if your computer is accessible again, you will be able to dive back into your work.

It’s frustrating to try and work only to discover you can’t use your computer. However, as you can see, there are plenty of ways to stay productive during this time. Some of them may even put you further ahead in your work instead of behind.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2MHbrdx

Security by Design – Security Risk Owners By Kent Howard

TheDigitalArtist / Pixabay

This is the third part of a multi-part series on security program design. The previous article highlighted the security design process at a fairly high level. This iteration dives deeper into the functional groups that are owners of security risk and are, therefore, key partners for Security.

As stated in the security design process, people from functional groups that own security risk should be involved in the design of the security program. In all actuality, however, security risk owners from across the organization will be key partners with Security on an ongoing and collaborative basis. The level of collaboration between Security and the risk owners is vital, so these relationships need to be deep enough to allow for mutual sharing of the who/what/when/where/how/why of security risks and security risk management. This will help Security know more about how to enable the security risk owner to manage their people, processes and technologies most effectively in the management of the risks that are present.

How are security risk owners identified? The primary means of identifying and documenting the owners of security risk is a formal risk assessment. One of the outputs of a risk assessment will be a list of business processes where security risk exists. This will help Security ensure that all stakeholder groups have been identified and, subsequently, will help ensure that all security risks have been documented.

Who are the security risk owners? These groups will vary by organization, but the risk assessment process commonly identifies Human Resources, Accounting, Finance, Supply Chain, Information Technology, Enterprise Risk Management and, where applicable, Tours/Groups/Event Management, as well as both Cyber/Information Security and Physical Security. There will likely be additional groups that are called out by the risk assessment.

In addition to the security risks that are presented through various internal groups, the risk assessment process will help document where potential external risks exist through business partners, suppliers and other groups that the company interacts with. This may be risk that is present in system integrations between the two companies (Ie., product ordering systems, technical support systems or other remote access that a service provider might have), processes in which work is executed externally or myriad other potential examples.

Note: Relationships with external groups like Law Enforcement, Regulatory, etc., need to be pursued as a key component of the security risk management strategy. Depending on the scope of the effort, these external groups may or may not be identified in the results of the risk assessment.

The role of Security is to enable the enterprise to manage security risk. As such, the security risk owner is a critical touchpoint within the respective company for Security. These are the people that Security will enable through education, consultation, coaching and mentoring to manage security risk. In turn, these folks will report the status of security risk at the enterprise level – keeping risk transparent and leadership informed.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2K32vxl

Aligned for Success: How to Market Your Identity Protection Program By Laura Bruck

Identity protection marketing

In a world of mounting risks and waning attention spans, effectively marketing your identity protection program is imperative to your success. That’s why EZShield takes a partner approach to identity protection. We don’t just offer a proven product. We help financial institutions align world-class protection with targeted marketing materials and multi-channel communication plans to ensure success.

In fact, these partner marketing resources were recently honored with a 2018 Communicator Award of Excellence for a promotional campaign. In total, EZShield received 11 Communicator Awards this year — making this post exceptionally timely.

It wasn’t without its challenges. Identity protection marketing falls into a tricky realm — one filled with marketing caveats and regulatory guidelines. But with a knowledgeable team aiding in your marketing initiatives, you can ensure a smooth go-to-market strategy.

In this post, I’ll break down the best practices for identity protection marketing and how we arm our own partners with marketing resources to ensure an aligned, successful program.

Define Your Strategy

Have you ever heard the saying, “market to everyone, appeal to no one”? While on the surface identity protection seems like a must-have for anyone living in today’s increasingly data-vulnerable world, not everyone sees protection in the same light.

It’s important to segment and position your program accordingly. With a targeted audience, you can assess a demographic’s unique identity theft and fraud risks, as well as develop a communication plan that will effectively engage them.

We’ve developed targeted marketing campaigns for our partners that address the needs, wants and preferred methods of communication across a variety of demographics. With this targeted approach, consumers can easily find value in protecting their identities and enjoy the benefits that matter most to them.

Hone Your Voice

Branding and messaging are the key credibility-builders every program needs.

Identity protection marketing was once plagued by ill-practices. Historically, others in the industry used their voice to carry scare tactics and ambiguous promises about the protection they offered. It quickly unraveled.

For long-term success, clear and transparent messages are the only route to take. With a humanized voice that delivers easy-to-understand value, consumers can easily navigate a product and get the most out of it.

Honing your voice also includes gauging your audience’s relationship with your brand and implementing branding practices accordingly. This could mean leading with your own brand or using it in conjunction with the trusted provider.

At EZShield, our team works with partners to understand their unique audiences to provide branding and messaging that aligns with their needs.

Master Your Communication Channels

Be a wealth of information by arming accountholders with the information they need to make an educated decision about their identity protection. This includes offering targeted sales collateral in both digital and physical formats.

Our partners have a library of resources available to them to help market their products. This depository includes a wide range of flyers, graphics, and even videos. With this targeted collateral, partners can reach their accountholders on web, email, mobile, social media and in-person.

Keep collateral clean, concise and eye-catching. With the growing rate of identity crimes, it doesn’t take much to spark interest in these services. Don’t let cluttered or jargon-filled collateral take away from an important message.

Compliance is King

Always lead with integrity and compliance. The regulatory environment that you operate in is challenging and often unclear. For more than 16 years, EZShield has provided well-defined products and services that have met or exceeded regulatory guidelines.

We are committed to aligning with the Dodd-Frank Act, GLBA and all other applicable consumer protection legislation and guidance. Our years of industry experience help us avoid unfair, deceptive and abusive practices and allow us to bring our products to market in a fair and transparent way. We make compliance a priority and constantly monitor the compliance landscape to ensure we incorporate best practices into our products, partnerships, and marketing.

Going above and beyond in terms of compliance is just good business. This dedication to integrity has allowed EZShield to enjoy an A+ Better Business Bureau Rating. We’re proud to deliver a world-class product that keeps partners ahead of the regulatory curve.

It’s Time to Position Your Organization for Success

The cost of identity crimes will continue to rise — impacting both accountholders and the financial institutions they look to for guidance. To be competitive in today’s market, it’s vital that banks and credit unions take proactive steps to minimize risks and add value to their existing offerings.

By aligning proven identity protection products with marketing best practices, you can alleviate one of the most top-of-mind accountholder concerns while uncovering additional revenue streams.

Three Keys to Kicking Off Your Identity Protection Program

  1. Lead with your user portal
    Your user access points should lead this initiative. Use a secure, intuitive online experience to gain consumer trust and empower them to take the first steps in securing their identity. Ensure your website is branded accordingly and is accessible no matter where they go — this includes a mobile app and responsive design.
  2. Target familiar communication channels
    Identity protection is a sensitive product that requires an established sense of trust and security; your communication channels should leverage this concept as you disperse your message. Look to your most trusted sources to disperse information. Relay messaging on channels that consumers are already with — including your online banking portal and monthly statements. Back these with advertisements that appear naturally along your accountholders’ journey through their banking experience.
  3. Champion your team
    Arm your in-branch and customer services teams with information and collateral about new releases to ensure they are confident in answering consumer questions. Keep the momentum going by ensuring your identity protection program is backed by expert support. At EZShield, this mission is led by our in-house Resolution Specialists. This highly-trained team of fraud experts is standing by to assist accountholders, whether they need comprehensive resolution services or have a simple question about your program. With continued support, accountholders can feel confident in their protection choice.

via Technology & Innovation Articles on Business 2 Community http://bit.ly/2JS2fVU

Aligned for Success: How to Market Your Identity Protection Program By Laura Bruck

Identity protection marketing

In a world of mounting risks and waning attention spans, effectively marketing your identity protection program is imperative to your success. That’s why EZShield takes a partner approach to identity protection. We don’t just offer a proven product. We help financial institutions align world-class protection with targeted marketing materials and multi-channel communication plans to ensure success.

In fact, these partner marketing resources were recently honored with a 2018 Communicator Award of Excellence for a promotional campaign. In total, EZShield received 11 Communicator Awards this year — making this post exceptionally timely.

It wasn’t without its challenges. Identity protection marketing falls into a tricky realm — one filled with marketing caveats and regulatory guidelines. But with a knowledgeable team aiding in your marketing initiatives, you can ensure a smooth go-to-market strategy.

In this post, I’ll break down the best practices for identity protection marketing and how we arm our own partners with marketing resources to ensure an aligned, successful program.

Define Your Strategy

Have you ever heard the saying, “market to everyone, appeal to no one”? While on the surface identity protection seems like a must-have for anyone living in today’s increasingly data-vulnerable world, not everyone sees protection in the same light.

It’s important to segment and position your program accordingly. With a targeted audience, you can assess a demographic’s unique identity theft and fraud risks, as well as develop a communication plan that will effectively engage them.

We’ve developed targeted marketing campaigns for our partners that address the needs, wants and preferred methods of communication across a variety of demographics. With this targeted approach, consumers can easily find value in protecting their identities and enjoy the benefits that matter most to them.

Hone Your Voice

Branding and messaging are the key credibility-builders every program needs.

Identity protection marketing was once plagued by ill-practices. Historically, others in the industry used their voice to carry scare tactics and ambiguous promises about the protection they offered. It quickly unraveled.

For long-term success, clear and transparent messages are the only route to take. With a humanized voice that delivers easy-to-understand value, consumers can easily navigate a product and get the most out of it.

Honing your voice also includes gauging your audience’s relationship with your brand and implementing branding practices accordingly. This could mean leading with your own brand or using it in conjunction with the trusted provider.

At EZShield, our team works with partners to understand their unique audiences to provide branding and messaging that aligns with their needs.

Master Your Communication Channels

Be a wealth of information by arming accountholders with the information they need to make an educated decision about their identity protection. This includes offering targeted sales collateral in both digital and physical formats.

Our partners have a library of resources available to them to help market their products. This depository includes a wide range of flyers, graphics, and even videos. With this targeted collateral, partners can reach their accountholders on web, email, mobile, social media and in-person.

Keep collateral clean, concise and eye-catching. With the growing rate of identity crimes, it doesn’t take much to spark interest in these services. Don’t let cluttered or jargon-filled collateral take away from an important message.

Compliance is King

Always lead with integrity and compliance. The regulatory environment that you operate in is challenging and often unclear. For more than 16 years, EZShield has provided well-defined products and services that have met or exceeded regulatory guidelines.

We are committed to aligning with the Dodd-Frank Act, GLBA and all other applicable consumer protection legislation and guidance. Our years of industry experience help us avoid unfair, deceptive and abusive practices and allow us to bring our products to market in a fair and transparent way. We make compliance a priority and constantly monitor the compliance landscape to ensure we incorporate best practices into our products, partnerships, and marketing.

Going above and beyond in terms of compliance is just good business. This dedication to integrity has allowed EZShield to enjoy an A+ Better Business Bureau Rating. We’re proud to deliver a world-class product that keeps partners ahead of the regulatory curve.

It’s Time to Position Your Organization for Success

The cost of identity crimes will continue to rise — impacting both accountholders and the financial institutions they look to for guidance. To be competitive in today’s market, it’s vital that banks and credit unions take proactive steps to minimize risks and add value to their existing offerings.

By aligning proven identity protection products with marketing best practices, you can alleviate one of the most top-of-mind accountholder concerns while uncovering additional revenue streams.

Three Keys to Kicking Off Your Identity Protection Program

  1. Lead with your user portal
    Your user access points should lead this initiative. Use a secure, intuitive online experience to gain consumer trust and empower them to take the first steps in securing their identity. Ensure your website is branded accordingly and is accessible no matter where they go — this includes a mobile app and responsive design.
  2. Target familiar communication channels
    Identity protection is a sensitive product that requires an established sense of trust and security; your communication channels should leverage this concept as you disperse your message. Look to your most trusted sources to disperse information. Relay messaging on channels that consumers are already with — including your online banking portal and monthly statements. Back these with advertisements that appear naturally along your accountholders’ journey through their banking experience.
  3. Champion your team
    Arm your in-branch and customer services teams with information and collateral about new releases to ensure they are confident in answering consumer questions. Keep the momentum going by ensuring your identity protection program is backed by expert support. At EZShield, this mission is led by our in-house Resolution Specialists. This highly-trained team of fraud experts is standing by to assist accountholders, whether they need comprehensive resolution services or have a simple question about your program. With continued support, accountholders can feel confident in their protection choice.

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