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Disney Takes a Playbook Out of Digitally Native Companies

“All of a sudden people are realizing that Disney is going to take the advantages that they have, content that nobody else has, moats that give them actual real leverage in the negotiations, and then they’re going to actually take a playbook out of these more digitally native companies,” says Sean Ammirati of Birchmere Ventures. “They’re going to actually build direct relationships with their end customers. They’re going to switch their business model from transactional to a subscription model.

Sean Ammirati, Partner at Birchmere Ventures, discusses how Disney has potentially reinvented themselves with the launch of Disney+ in an interview with Bob Evans on the always engaging and relevant Cloud Wars podcast:

Disney Takes a Playbook Out of Digitally Native Companies

Innovation is not relegated simply to 20-something small brand new companies. Large companies are able to leverage their assets and their unfair competitive advantages to play in this also. For instance, Disney recently had its Investor Day and announced its Disney Plus streaming offering. Disney Plus has been framed by a lot of people as a kind of “Netflix Killer.” The interesting thing about what’s happened there is the reaction from Wall Street tech journalists. All these different groups have been incredibly positive.

All of a sudden people are realizing that Disney is going to take the advantages that they have, content that nobody else has, moats that give them actual real leverage in the negotiations, and then they’re going to actually take a playbook out of these more digitally native companies. They’re going to actually build direct relationships with their end customers. They’re going to switch their business model from transactional to a subscription model.

How Do We Transform Our Relationships With Customers?

These are things that we’ve been talking about for four years with lots of legacy companies under the category of digital transformation. But it’s hard every time someone steps up and tries to do that, you’ve got to re-educate Wall Street on how to think about your financial metrics. It turns out that GAAP accounting is not that similar to subscription accounting. To be fair, that’s an easier challenge than it was a few years ago. I remember years ago when Adobe made that pivot and what a struggle that was to say (to investors) we’re going to make less money next quarter and you should be excited about that. Their stock went through kind of a full J-curve there as they walked people through it.

What was encouraging is after Investor Day there was a massive jump in Disney stock. All of a sudden these pieces that you’d watch the leadership put together for a while kind of came into a full mosaic picture. Not only did Disney stock shoot up but this arch competitor Netflix, they took a hit right away, although they’ve come back a little bit with recent earnings. I’m hoping that other CEOs in other boardrooms are taking note of this and asking themselves the same questions. How do we create products and services that transform our relationships with our customers to allow us to have that same type of growth mindset?

Case Study: How to Be a CXO In This Subscription Economy World

We have gotten to a point where we assume that if you’re a company that was born in the digital age and you’ve gone through the full capital formation prospect and gotten out and gotten public you must have certain things in your DNA that makes you the only organization who can win a market. Just look at the grocery industry. Amazon’s coming into grocery so I’m sure Amazon’s going to be the winner in that business. Maybe. But then you see the largest grocery chain in the United States (Kroger) partnering with Microsoft to actually be proactive instead of reactive.

Companies can actually play in this business that weren’t born in the last thirty years. Disney is a great illustration of that. Now Disney needs to continue to execute. They’re going to need to actually finish the vision that they cast. They’ve got to launch these. They’ve got to make it work. They’ve got to pick the right partners. I really think in a couple of years this will be a case study lots of executives point to and say, man, we can do it. In the same way that the Adobe thing has been how to be a CFO in this subscription economy world that we live in.

Disney Takes a Playbook Out of Digitally Native Companies – Sean Ammirati on Cloud Wars podcast

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Daily Search Forum Recap: June 14, 2019

Here is a recap of what happened in the search forums today, through the eyes of the Search Engine Roundtable and other search forums on the web…


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Landing Page Optimization: Original MarketingSherpa Landing Page Handbook now available for free download

The MarketingSherpa Landing Page Handbook is one of the most popular resources we have offered in 20 years of publishing, and we are now offering this handbook free to you, the MarketingSherpa reader.
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New Launch Evolves the Dropbox Experience To a Living Team Workspace, Says CEO

“We’ve launched the biggest change we’ve ever made to our product, an all-new desktop app,: says Dropbox CEO Drew Houston. “It evolves the Dropbox experience from a folder full of files to a living team workspace. You can have not just files but any kind of cloud content. We saw so many of our customers, and frankly ourselves, struggling. There are all these new apps and they’re great but how do you stitch them all together? We see a big opportunity to make that a much more seamless experience.”

Drew Houston, CEO of Dropbox, discusses extensive new feature added to the Dropbox product from just a folder full of files to a living team workspace in an interview on Bloomberg Technology:

Evolves the Dropbox Experience To a Living Team Workspace

We’ve launched the biggest change we’ve ever made to our product, an all-new desktop app. It evolves the Dropbox experience from a folder full of files to a living team workspace. You can have not just files but any kind of cloud content. So G Suite, things like Google Docs, Sheets,  and Slides, really anything that you’re using. It also includes integrations with tools like Slack and Zoom. From within Dropbox, you can send people messages, you can start meetings, you can send things out for signature, or see your calendar. It’s a much more integrated workspace.

We saw so many of our customers, and frankly ourselves, struggling. There are all these new apps and they’re great but how do you stitch them all together? We see a big opportunity to make that a much more seamless experience. We’re really excited about it and can’t wait to get it out there.

The New Dropbox Experience Integrates Your Workspace

New Dropbox Organizes and Simplifies Your Working Life

Most, if not all companies, are going to have integrations. The opportunity we saw is to organize it, to really bring it into a well-designed coherent experience, and different from some of the messaging tools. What Dropbox allows you to do is within a native app you can have all your content in one place work across all these different ecosystems. Instead of the interface of just being a list of messages, you can see here’s what you’re working on. Here are our projects and here are the most important pieces of content. We think from a design standpoint it’s a pretty different approach.

What we’re seeing is that users want choice. They are using all kinds of different apps for communication, for content, for coordination. What’s missing is a way to stitch it all together. That’s the role that we think we can play. It’s very similar to the role we played in the beginning with helping you get to your stuff from all these different platforms and operating systems. Now we’re thinking about how do we organize and simplify your working life and help stitch together all these different things.

Second, I’d say a lot of what we’re doing is complimentary. You’re not going to stop using Slack or stop using these other tools. In fact, we’re making it easier for you to get to them. We find that a lot of our customers love using these different tools but they need a more integrated experience. Not having that means you’re always switching back and forth and there’s a lot of friction.

New Launch Evolves the Dropbox Experience To a Living Team Workspace, Says CEO Drew Houston

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Why LinkedIn Live Is a Big Deal

Brian Wallace presenting on LinkedIn Live
 PHOTO: BRIAN WALLACE

Just a few years ago, most people barely acknowledged LinkedIn as a social network. “Oh, LinkedIn? I never really pay attention to that.” was a popular refrain. While most people were snoozing, LinkedIn was growing, and a combination of LinkedIn influencers and back-to-back rollouts of new features made LinkedIn the place for businesspeople to network online — and now offline, as well.

LinkedIn Influencers Are a Thing

The people who blazed the trail in the early days of LinkedIn’s expansion did so because they saw an opportunity to leverage this vast network where most people were completely asleep at the wheel. Influencers like Michaela AlexisString NguyenKerri TwiggTim Salau and more began to advise others how to optimize their profiles and make the most of the preferred social network of the big leagues. It was a global grassroots movement that achieved what it set out to do — get people to take LinkedIn more seriously.

Then Came LinkedIn Local

Once people began to take LinkedIn more seriously, networks began to grow to include more than just the 17 people in your office and one person you knew in college. It turns out you can actually connect with people you don’t know at all and get to know each other over LinkedIn, growing your network far beyond your physical barriers — sort of like thinking globally for networking.

Then another LinkedIn trailblazer, Anna McAfee, started the #LinkedInLocalmovement when she set out to meet folks from her online network offline and was soon joined by four other founders — Swish GoswamiAlexandra GalvizErik Eklund and Ryan Troll. The movement spread across the world and now LinkedIn Local meetups happen every day.

As LinkedIn has grown, the network has developed new features to accommodate this new level of interest. You can turn on Find Nearby to find people you might already be connected to in a crowded conference, and you can generate a QR code to help people find your profile.

LinkedIn Live: The Next Big Thing From LinkedIn

linkedin live

One thing that has been consistently missing from the LinkedIn experience has been a true live streaming video. LinkedIn has had video capability for a while, but it has not been something that is interactive where you can see audience questions in real time and respond right there in the video.

Now LinkedIn Live is in beta. A few people across the world have access to it, and I am one of them. You can choose your video streaming service from an approved list, which includes Switcher Studio and others, to produce high-quality, engaging content.

The holdup has likely been related to figuring out how exactly to roll out a live video streaming feature that is going to uphold the professional feel of LinkedIn — we don’t really need another Facebook Live where people can make videos about their lunch on a whim.

My first LinkedIn Live video took place at a LinkedIn Local event, and my second took place at LinkedIn’s New York Headquarters where I talked with LinkedIn intern turned business solutions consultantAaron Fawzy.

My initial impressions are that this is going to be a great way to deepen professional relationships through the open sharing of information, and the biggest difference is that this sharing of information will now be collaborative thanks to real-time feedback and commentary.

If you want to prepare for the rollout of LinkedIn Live, polish up your profile and show that you can create high-quality, meaningful, and relevant content. It’s a great way to deepen your professional connections and grow your career.

This post initially appeared on CMSWire.

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We Are An Experience-Driven Company, Says Chewy CEO

“Last year we sent about 50,000 pet portraits to our customers,” says Chew CEO Sumit Singh.  “We’re an experience-driven company. This is not a cost. This is an engagement mechanism. We’ve partnered with about a thousand local artists across the country. We think of this as an experience building. We have 90 percent re-ups (of our subscriptions). Our customers love engaging with us.”

Sumit Singh, CEO of Chewy, discusses their IPO (launched today) and how customer engagement has driven their phenomenal growth in an interview on CNBC:

We Are An Experience-Driven Company

Last year we sent about 50,000 pet portraits to our customers. We’re an experience-driven company. This is not a cost. This is an engagement mechanism. We’ve partnered with about a thousand local artists across the country. They show up to your doorstep unannounced. It’s a total surprise. You can’t buy them. When they do (the paintings) they create memories. People talk about them. They drive dinner table conversations. They show up on social media. It’s just an emotive category.

We think of this as an experience building. We have this because we want it, not because we need it in some way. Once we get out there and once this shows up on your doorstep the engagement that it creates generates the loyalty, the repeat purchase rate. In fact, our cohorts just keep growing from $ 330 to $ 500, $ 600, and $ 700 as they go from year five, six, and into year seven. This is what does it. Pets is the only category where a consumer refers to themselves as a pet parent. The only other category where consumers do that is kids.


“Jackson loves his Chewy portrait!” notes Chewy customer Eri Anne

Our Customers Love Engaging With Us

Pet ownership is underrepresented in the growth of e-commerce. First of all today in the United States we’re only about 14 percent penetrated from an online point of view. Chewy, if you look at it, is a $ 70 billion dollar industry. We’re penetrated in about roughly 10 percent of the households. We have 11 million customers. We’re growing fast and we’re engaging them hard.

They stay with us. It’s the two flywheels, the engagement, and the acquisition. It just spins really well. Our investors love that. Our customers love that. We like it. We have 90 percent re-ups (of our subscriptions). Two-thirds of our revenue comes from Autoship and our subscription program. Our customers love engaging with us.

We Have An Incredible Amount of Data

Our shipping (cost) is built into our gross margins. What you’ve seen is as we’ve gotten big fast, we’ve also gotten fit fast. Our gross margin has expanded over 500 basis points over the last three years. We have a dense network. We have the predictability of Autoship. We can plan supply plan tighter and baseload build a lot tighter and get it to our customers fast and in a reliable manner. That’s how we make it work.

We have a ton of data. When you contact us you’re giving us (information). Pet profiles is an amazing way for us to engage with you. Customers are leaning in. We talked to you via customer service. At this point, we have 11 million customers but we manage over 27 million relationships between pets and pet parents. That is an incredible amount of data and facts to have on base.

Pets.com Was 20 Years Ago

The company (Pets.com) was 20 years ago. Look at the way the e-commerce has built out, the inputs are changing. Look at our stickiness. Look at the number of customers that we’re attracting. The fact that we’re servicing greater than 95 percent of US households in less than two days and the fact that customers keep coming back to us. Also, the necessity and desire to continue to engage and seek information via the high-touch high-class customer service that we provide. We just closed the loop better than anybody else out there.

We Are An Experience-Driven Company, Says Chewy CEO Sumit Singh

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Build your PPC campaigns with this mini campaign builder script for Google Ads

This script lets you build or add keywords to your Google campaigns following standard best practice.



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How to Strategically Think About Technical SEO – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BenjaminEstes

We’ve all agreed that technical SEO is integral, and many of us know at least a little bit about the subject if we’re not already practitioners. But have you considered that the way you think about technical SEO could be hindering or helping your success? Today, Ben Estes from Distilled shares the agency’s tried-and-true framework for tackling technical SEO quandaries strategically.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Hi. Welcome to another Whiteboard Friday. My name is Ben, and I’m a principal consultant at a company called Distilled. Today I’d like to talk to you about how we think about technical SEO at Distilled. Now, technical SEO is something that a lot of people know a lot of stuff about.

You accumulate knowledge over time from a lot of different sources, and that’s where a lot of the value that we deliver comes from. But not everyone can think about technical SEO from a strategic perspective, and that’s the skill that I think we should talk more about. 

Framing the problem

Let’s start by framing the problem. So look at these charts. Now, I would argue that most people’s mental model of technical SEO matches this first chart.

So in this chart, the solid black line is the actual traffic that you’re getting, whereas the dotted line is the hypothetical traffic you could be getting if all of the technical problems on your site were resolved. So some people see this and say, “Well, you know, if I can just keep fixing technical things, I can keep getting more traffic to my site.”

That’s one way of looking at it, but I would argue that it’s not the best way of looking at it, because really there are only so many technical things that can go wrong with your site. There’s a finite number of problems. It’s not an opportunity so much as an issue that needs to be resolved. So what I try and encourage my clients and colleagues to do is think about it in this way.

So it’s the same chart and the same situation. Here’s the actual traffic that you’re getting and the hypothetical traffic you could be getting. But really what’s happening is your technical problems are keeping you from realizing the most potential traffic that you could be capturing. In other words, there are technical issues preventing us from capturing all the traffic that we could. Now, once you’ve framed the problem in this way, how do you solve it?

So some people just say, “Well, I’ve got this big problem. I need to understand how all the things that could be wrong with this site. I’m just going to dive in. I’m going to go through page by page, and I’ll finish when either I run out of pages or more realistically I run out of time or I run out of the client’s budget. So what if there’s a better way to actually solve that problem and know that it’s been solved?

Well, that’s what this framework that I’m going to present to you is about. The way that we would recommend doing that is by taking the big problem, the overall problem of technical SEO and breaking it down into subproblems and breaking those down again until you have problems that are so small that they are trivially solvable. Now, I’m going to explain to you exactly how we accomplish that, and it’s going to be a little bit abstract.

The approach

So if you want something concrete to follow along with, I’d recommend checking out the blog post at this URL. That’s dis.tl/tech-audit. Okay. So when you have a big problem that you’re trying to break down, many people’s first attempt winds up looking something like this Venn diagram. So we take one problem, break it down into three subproblems, but there’s some sort of overlap between those problems.

Once there’s overlap, you lose a lot of confidence. There is, are you duplicating effort across these different areas? Or did you miss something because these two things are kind of the same? Everything just gets a little hazy very quickly. So to get past that, what I’ve used at Distilled is this consulting concept called MECE.

Mutually exclusive and comprehensively exhaustive

MECE stands for mutually exclusive and comprehensively exhaustive. That’s a lot of fancy words, so I’ll show you pictorially what I mean. So instead of having a Venn diagram like this, what if each of the problems was completely independent? Now they still cover the same area. There’s just no overlap between them, and that’s what MECE means.

Because there is no overlap between them, they are mutually exclusive. Because they cover all of the original problem, they’re comprehensively exhaustive. So what does this mean in technical SEO specifically? Now remember the problem that we’re dealing with is that there are technical issues preventing us from capturing traffic that we would otherwise be able to. So what are the three ways that that could happen? 

  1. Maybe our content isn’t being indexed. There’s a technical reason our content isn’t being indexed. 
  2. Our content doesn’t rank as well as it could, and therefore we’re losing this traffic. 
  3. There is a technical reason our content isn’t being presented as well as it could be in the SERPs.

This is things like having rich snippets, stars, things like that that could increase click-through rate. These things seem kind of trivial, but actually all of the technical problems that you can find on your site contribute to one or more of these three categories. So again, that was pretty abstract. So let’s talk about an example of how that actually plays out. This is actually the first technical check in this audit at that blog post.

An example

So, for instance, we’re starting by considering there is a technical reason our content isn’t being indexed. Well, what are all the ways that that could happen? One of the ways is that URLs are not discoverable by crawlers, and, again, that is a whole thing in itself that can be broken down further.

So maybe it’s that our XML sitemaps aren’t uploaded to Google Search Console. Of course, this isn’t a guarantee that we have a problem. But if there’s a problem down here, there’s a pretty good chance that that trickles back up to a problem up here that we’re really concerned about. The beauty of this isn’t just that it winds up helping us create a checklist so that we know all of the technical issues we ought to be looking at.



But it also helps us convey exactly what the meaning is of our findings and why people should care about them. So this is the template that I encourage my colleagues to use at Distilled. “We are seeing ________. This is a problem because something.You should care about that because something else.” The way this works is like Mad Lib style, except we work like inside out.

So we start with this point here. We are seeing that our XML sitemaps aren’t uploaded to Google Search Console. This is a problem because maybe URLs are not discoverable by crawlers. We should care about that because there is a technical reason our content isn’t being indexed, and that right there is exactly the message that you deliver to your client.

So again, this is exactly the framework that we use for our technical audits at Distilled. It’s given us a lot more confidence. It’s given us a lot more insight into how long this process should take for our analysts and consultants, and it’s also got us better outcomes particularly because it’s helped us communicate better about what we found. Thank you very much. I would love if more people use this, and feel free to reach out to me personally if you have any thoughts or questions.

Thank you.

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Fiverr Is The Everything Store For Digital Services, Says CEO

“Fiverr is the everything store for digital services,” says Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman. “The way people usually find freelancers is they post on Facebook asking if someone knows a good graphics designer. What we’re doing is we’re making it a one-click experience. There’s no bidding, betting, negotiating. There’s browse, search, buy. It’s an Amazon experience to buy a digital service.”

Micha Kaufman, CEO of Fiverr, discusses today’s IPO and how Fiverr has become the Amazon for digital services in an interview on CNBC:

Fiverr Is The Everything Store For Digital Services

Fiverr connects freelancers with businesses of all sizes. Really, the uniqueness of the platform is that the experience of buying a digital service on Fiverr is very similar to shopping on Amazon. You browse, you search, you find something, you click order, and it’s done. Graphic design is one of our most popular services on the platform. Also popular are content marketing, videography, animation, music services, and marketing and advertising. Anything you can imagine.

It’s the everything store for digital services. The system helps you productize your offering. You can define what you’re offering, how much time it’s going to take you to deliver, and the asking price. All the buyers have to do is screen through the offerings, find something they like, click order and pay, and they are done.

It’s An Amazon Experience To Buy a Digital Product

In the categories in which we operate there is a volume of activity of $ 100 billion in the US alone. It’s still only a single digit percentage online. It’s a very old-school business. The way people usually find freelancers is they post on Facebook asking if someone knows a good graphics designer. What we’re doing is we’re making it a one-click experience. There’s no bidding, betting, negotiating. There’s browse, search, buy. It’s an Amazon experience to buy a digital service. Nobody has done it before. The average time to make an order on Fiverr is 15 minutes. this is unbeatable. It’s unmatched.

We take a take out of every transaction. It’s one of the industry-leading take rates of over 26 percent. If you look at the EBITDA margins, you see that they’re shrinking. The way we actually structured the business is that we continue to grow aggressively while shrinking our negative EBITDA. There is a clear path to profitability. We are operating in over 160 countries. Our growth is coming globally from the adoption of freelancing online.

Our Primary Competitor is Definitely the Offline Market

Our primary competitor is definitely the offline market. I don’t know if it’s 96 or 97 percent of the activity offline, but we don’t need to eat anyone’s lunch to grow. We just need to move offline activity to the online. The offline freelancing market is massive. we’ve estimated that market to be a hundred billion dollars in the US alone. Europe is 1.5 times bigger than the US. There are over 162 million freelancers between the EU and the US. The opportunity is massive and it’s just starting to come online. This is like 1995 for ecommerce. This is so exciting.

Fiverr doesn’t hire its freelancers. It’s just the market that connects freelancers with businesses that have their digital needs. The way the marketplace is structured is such where we don’t have any employee-employer relationships. We are not relying on freelancers. We’re just connecting that supply with a demand that comes forward. We’re the platform on top of which they actually conduct their transaction. We just provide the platform to make that happen. It is very different than Uber and Lyft.

Fiverr Is The Everything Store For Digital Services, Says Fiverr CEO Micha Kaufman

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Search Engine Roundtable Vlog – Searching The Roundtable Files – Need Your Help

I am attempting to start a new vlog series on the topic of SEO and SEM where I interview you – the SEO/SEM community about topics on SEO/SEM. I think I am going to call it Searching The Roundtable Files Vlog or something like that (if you like it or dislike it, let me know in the comments).


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