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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Abiola Ajimobi Buried At Residence In Ibadan Amid Tight SecurityOgun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, Thursday, described as "end of an era" the death of the former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi.

Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, Thursday, described as "end of an era" the death of the former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi.

The late former governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi was buried at his Oluyole country home at 10 am on Sunday.

The burial took place amid tight security from the Oluyole main road to the Yemoja street residence of the late former governor.

Cleric at the burial include, Alhaji Kunle Saani, Shik Muideen Bello, Chief Imam of Ibadan land, Shik Abubakri Abdleganiyu Agbotomokere, among others.

The 70-year-old who died in Lagos was on life support machine at First Cardiology Hospital in Ikoyi, Lagos before his final breath.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi confirmed he died of multiple organ failure.

Earlier, the family had informed the general public that the remains of the former governor would be taking to his Oke-Ado mosque and his Oja-Oba family house.

But the story was different when Vanguard correspondent noticed that some Islamic cleric who performed the burial in Islamic rite moved out of his house after the burial.

No journalist was allowed to near the graveside of the former governor.

At 12 noon, prayers would be offered for his repose at the Sen. Ishaq Abiola Ajimobi Mosque, Oke-Ado

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

FG submitted proposed guidelines for reopening of schools

The Federal Government has submitted proposed guidelines for the reopening of schools across the country to the National Assembly.
The Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba made the presentation on Tuesday during a meeting with the Senate Committee on Basic and Secondary Education.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria, he intimated the lawmakers of the ministry’s plans for students to resume across the country
The FG had in March shut schools across the Federation as part of measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.
At the presentation today, the minister said, “In the document provided, we have suggested how we can move our education sector forward during this pandemic.
“We don’t want to make it known at this time so that some people will not take our proposed guidelines for school reopening.
“Even if the Senate has not called us, we would have come to you to discuss with you because we have already discussed with the House of Representatives.
“The documents were presented to you so that you can criticise and make inputs as major stakeholders.”
Vice-Chairperson of the Committee, Akon Eyakenyi, who presided over the meeting, expressed fears that the academic calendar could be distorted in public schools where no visible arrangement was being made to teach pupils and students at home, unlike their private school counterparts.

How Do I Find Orphan Pages?

Ultimately you will always need to compare two sets of URL data in order to find orphaned pages. If it helps you can go full-on with the analogy here by thinking of these two URL data sets as each parent:

The discrepancy between the two URL data sets should uncover all of the orphaned pages on your website.

Find All Your Pages Using Log Files

The easiest way to get your log files is logging into your cPanel and find an option called Raw Log Files. If you are still not able to find it, you may need to contact your hosting provider and ask them to provide the log files for your site.

Raw Access Logs allow you to see what the visits to your website were without displaying graphs, charts, or other graphics. You can use the Raw Access Logs menu to download a zipped version of the server’s access log for your site. This can be very useful when you want to quickly see who has visited your site.

Raw logs may only contain a few hours’ worth of data because they are discarded after the system processes them. However, if archiving is enabled, the system archives the raw log data before the system discards it. So go ahead and ensure that you are archiving!

Once you have your log file ready to go, we now need to gather the other data set of pages that can be crawled by Google, using Screaming FrogAlternatively, you can:

Find All Your Pages in WordPress

A useful WordPress plugin, quite aptly named Export All URLs, can help you to export all of the pages, posts and custom post types on your Content Management System. By exporting all of these pages from your WordPress site you will be able to compare and contrast against a list of the pages that were found when you crawled your site. Should there be any outliers, you will have uncovered pages that were not found with a site crawl.

From here you can simply evaluate whether there are pages that should be part of your site and incorporate them back in by simply linking to your orphan page from a page that you know has been crawled and is accessible by a bot.

Please back up your database before installing and activating any plugins.

  1. Install and activate the Export All URLs plugin.
  2. Select all types (pages, post and custom post types)
  3. Select all additional data (URL, Titles, Categories)
  4. Post Status: Published
  5. Export Type: .csv

Once you have all your WordPress pages, we now need to gather the other set of URLs that can be found when crawled, using Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

Crawl Your Pages with Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Screaming Frog is a fantastic tool that we hold in high regard here at UpBuild. Using the Screaming Frog SEO Spider, we can crawl our website as Googlebot would, and export a list of all the URLs that were found.

  1. Once you have Screaming Frog ready, first ensure that your crawl Mode is set to the default ‘Spider’.

Screaming Frog Spider Crawl Mode

  1. Then make sure that under Configuration > Spider, ‘Check External Links’ is unchecked, to avoid unnecessary external site crawling.

Check External Links

  1. Now you can type in your website URL, and click Start.
  2. Once the crawl is complete, simply
    • a. Navigate to the Internal tab.
    • b. Filter by HTML.
    • c. Click Export.
    • d. Save in .csv format.

Filter by HTML

Uncovering Orphan Pages

Now we should have our two sets of URL data, both in .csv format:

  • All of the page URLs ever created for your website from log files or WordPress.
  • All of the page URLs that can actually be crawled from Screaming Frog.

All we need to do now is compare the URL data from the two .csv files, and find the URLs that were not crawlable.

Uncover Orphan Pages for WordPress Using Spreadsheets

If you gathered your data from WordPress you can use a spreadsheet to uncover the discrepancies:

  • Open a new spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel, Google Sheets, or your spreadsheet tool of choice.
  • Place all the URLs from the WordPress .csv into column A.
  • Place all the URLs from the Screaming Frog .csv into column B.

Should there be any orphan pages you will notice that one column (most likely column A) contains more URLs.

Next, we remove all duplicate values from column A and column B:

Using Microsoft Excel:

Simply use the Remove Duplicates command in the Data Tools group on the Data tab. Then follow the on-screen instructions to select and remove duplicates from the columns containing the two sets of URLs. Once the removal of duplicate URLs is complete, all of the URLs that remain are your orphan pages!

Remove Duplicates Excel

Using Google Sheets:

With Google Sheets we can use a =VLOOKUP formula to point out the URLs that were not found with our crawl, which in this case would be our orphan URLs.

  1. Open up a new Google Sheet.
  2. Place the data URLs from your WordPress .csv in column A.
    • Note: It is important that the WordPress data is in column a, as the VLOOKUP formulates using the data in the leftmost column, for all succeeding columns.
    • Place the data URLs from your Screaming Frog .csv in column B.
    • In column and cell, C1 simply type the following:
      • =VLOOKUP(A1,A:B,2,0)
      • Then drag cell C1, all the way down as far as the amount of URLs that are in the spreadsheet.
      • Wherever VLOOKUP returns “N/A” that indicates an orphan page (one that was found in your WordPress .csv, but not your Screaming Frog .csv).

Skip ahead to learn what to do when you find orphan pages, or:

Uncover Orphan Pages Using Screaming Frog Log File Analyser

If you decided to analyze a log file instead, we can use the Screaming Frog SEO Log File Analyser to uncover our orphan pages.

The program is very easy to use and as you can see from the image below, we have the ability to import the two data sets that we need to analyze. Referred to here simply as Log File and URL Data (this would be our Screaming Frog SEO Spider .csv).

Screaming Frog Log File Analyser

  1. Import Log File.
  2. Import URL Data (Screaming Frog SEO Spider)
  3. Navigate to the URLs tab:
    • Change your view to Not in URL Data. This will show you all of the URLs that were found in the Log File, but not in the crawled data.

Not in URL Data

What to Do When You Find Orphan Pages

Once you have your list of orphan pages, all you need to do is determine the value that each orphan page holds:

  • If you want to keep a page, then adopt it!
    • Internally link to your orphan page from a page that you know is already accessible by users and bots. Think about your users; where would this orphan page naturally fit and provide value to my user.
    • Ensure that your new page is added to both your HTML sitemap and your XML sitemap.
  • If you don’t want to keep a page, then remove it and 301 redirect!
    • If an orphan page has thin content, duplicate content, or no value then you can simply remove the page altogether.
      • Note: Be mindful that you should provide a 301 redirect for the orphan URL from this page to the next most relevant page, as it could possibly be accessible from an external source.
  • If you want to keep a page orphaned, then noindex it!
    • Understandably you may have pages that you simply don’t want as part of the user journey. In which case you will simply want to ensure that your page has a clear noindex meta tag.


Once you have decided and implemented one of the three choices above for each of your orphan pages, you should run through the entire process again. This time you should be able to ensure when comparing the two URL data sets, that all of your outlying pages contain a noindex meta tag. If you have pages still without this directive then simply choose an option from above, until all your pages are firmly given a permanent home.
Lastly, you will want to make sure that all your hard work is on Google’s radar.

Note: If you are using the Yoast SEO plugin to manage your XML Sitemap, then your newly adopted pages should automatically be included and the next few steps should not be necessary. However, if you still don’t have Google Search Console setup for your WordPress site then Yoast provides some specific instructions on how you can achieve that when using their plugin.

For those of you who don’t use Yoast SEO plugin, go ahead and open up the Screaming Frog SEO Spider one more time, so we can crawl our website again, and create a shiny new XML sitemap.

  1. Type in your website URL, and click Start. Once your crawl reaches 100%, simply choose Sitemaps from the menu then Create XML Sitemap.

Create XML Sitemap

  1. This will open up a number of sitemap configuration options. However, since the default XML sitemap export settings are as they should be, and only include HTML pages included in the ‘internal’ tab with a ‘200’ OK response from the crawl, you can go ahead and click Next.

Default XML Sitemap Settings

  1. Once you have saved and downloaded the XML sitemap, you can submit it to Google Search Console. This will help you with tracking the indexation of your pages and is a direct way to let Google know that you have pages you want to be indexed. That’s it!

Google Search Console

In Summary: Adopt Don’t Block

Googlebot crawls the pages on our sites by using internal links we have created. Always be mindful that if a user can’t access it, then it’s likely that neither can Google. Auditing for orphan pages can help you uncover valuable pages, and maybe even avoid penalization.

Think of your website like a tree. It can be easy to assume that all pages are accessible, but if you cut off a branch, you may find that you have removed more limbs than you think. So when your website is undergoing any sort of architectural change, be sure to audit for orphan pages. Adopt, don’t block.

What is orphaned content?

Orphaned content is content that doesn’t get any links from other posts or pages on the same website. As a result of that, this content is hard to find, for both Google and visitors. Posts and pages need internal links to them, to fit into a site’s structure and to be findable. Note that ‘links’ in this case means: contextual links. If content is linked to from the homepage, sitemap, or category and tag pages, but lacks text links, it’s still considered orphaned content. The reason for this is that text links provide both users and search engines with context and therefore, add more value.

Why does orphaned content affect your SEO?

To rank content, Google obviously needs to know about it. Search engines follow links and save all the content of pages in their index. Orphaned content has few meaningful internal links from other pages or posts to it. Google will consider this type of content less important. So, if an article is important to you, you should make that clear to Google (and your visitors). Link to that specific article from other (similar) content.

How is orphaned content created?

If you write a new blog post, publish it and then forget about it, you probably won’t link to it anymore in your new posts and pages. Is this a bad thing? Well, that depends on the blog post. It is definitely a bad thing if you want people and Google to find this post because it’s important. In that case: make sure Google and your audience can find that orphaned blog post. Linking to it from articles that generate a lot of traffic in the search engines will help Google and your audience get to your blog post.

How do I use the orphaned content check?

You can find the orphaned content filter in your post overview. If you have Yoast SEO premium installed, your post overview will look like this:

Clicking on the orphaned content filter will give an overview of all the posts without text links linking to them. On, we have quite a few orphaned articles as well (content-team are you reading this? We have some work to do here ;-)).

Scrolling through our own orphaned articles, made me very aware of the fact that recent articles are often orphaned. We just don’t get around to adding links to these articles in our older blog posts. Still, for articles that are important to our SEO strategy or to our brand, we should make sure to add links in posts that generate a lot of traffic. That’ll help Google and our audience to find those important posts.

You’ll receive a notification in your SEO dashboard if your site has orphaned content.

Should you always fix orphaned content?

For some articles, it isn’t that important to fix an orphaned content status. Some blog posts are only important for a short period of time. At Yoast, we’re writing a lot about YoastCon at the moment, because that’s a big event coming up. Announcing such an event makes for a great blog postb, but such a post probably has less value next year. It’s no problem for such a post to remain orphaned. In fact, perhaps you should consider deleting these pages (properly of course!) altogether. That’ll clean up your site a bit.

Conclusion: keep an eye on that orphaned content!

As I have shown, it’s easy to unwittingly create orphaned content, if you’re writing a lot of posts. Luckily, you can use the orphaned content feature of Yoast SEO premium to stay on top of things. You can easily check which posts and pages are orphaned, and add links to important content, so both Google and your users can find it!

Thursday, June 18, 2020

What To Do If You Lose Your 401(k) Employer Match

a person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: An older African-American man talks on the phone in his home © shapecharge/Getty Images An older African-American man talks on the phone in his home

In the wake of all the economic carnage unleashed by the coronavirus, many companies are cutting jobs and benefits such as the company match on 401(k) plans. If you're among the fortunate ones still employed, you may still have to deal with reduced benefits, too. While experts generally recommend saving as much as you can in your 401(k) plan, you'll want to consider many other things in these exceptional times, including not contributing at all.


"With more employers suspending retirement benefits and company matches, consumers are facing greater financial responsibility for how to save for the future and act in their own best interests," says Pam Krueger, CEO of Wealthramp in the San Francisco area.

Here's what to do if you lose your 401(k) employer match and what alternatives you may have.

Assess your financial picture

The 401(k) plan is one of the most popular retirement savings programs in the U.S., and the company match is one of the easiest ways for workers to quickly earn extra retirement funds. Workers contribute directly from their paychecks, and the company contributes additional funds, often as much as 3 to 5 percent of the worker's salary each year, depending on the plan.

A 2019 study by Natixis Investment Managers of 700 workers with defined contribution plans such as a 401(k) found that the top reason (56 percent) for participating was the company match. And 57 percent said that a larger match would incentivize them to save more.

So it's definitely a shame if your company cuts its matching funds. But if it has, you'll want to do two things at first:

  • Determine why the company cut the match and its overall financial health.
  • Assess your own financial health.
  • By looking at these two factors you'll get a better read on what kinds of actions are best for you.

    "First, is your company healthy enough to survive this period," says Nicholas Stuller, founder at MyPerfectFinancialAdvisor in West Cornwall, Connecticut.

    Did the company cut its matching plan because it's in serious financial trouble that it's unlikely to recover from, or is the problem more short-term in nature?

    But you'll also want to get a read on your own personal finances. Could you muddle through if one spouse lost a job? Do you have money stashed away in an emergency fund such as a high-yield savings account - not the stock market - that is risk-free and easily accessible?

    What actions you can take

    Depending on your assessment, you may have several courses of action. Importantly, continuing to contribute to your retirement plan won't always be the best path to take. It's critical to make it through to the other side of tough times without ruining your financial health. Taking on loads of debt during a downturn may hurt your long-term future more than not saving for a year or two.

    "If your company has simply decided to no longer match funds, then there's nothing you have to do," says Michelle Sloan Jones, chief external affairs officer of Money Management International, a nonprofit in financial education in the Atlanta area.

    1. When your company is in poor financial shape

    If your company is not healthy, Stuller recommends looking to shore up your own personal financial and career situation before worrying about retirement, a move that others echo.

    One of the first options is getting your emergency fund in order while you can. Experts recommend having at least six months of expenses on hand, but in tougher times having more is not going to hurt you. You can always return to your retirement accounts later.

    "If you are already struggling to make ends meet or are uncertain about the security of your job, put more cash into a liquid savings account instead," says Laura Hearn, CFP, a wealth advisor at RMB Capital in Chicago. "Why? If you increase the savings to your 401(k) and find yourself crunched for cash, tapping into your 401(k) savings can be costly."

    Hearn notes that 401(k) withdrawals will incur a 10 percent bonus penalty on top of any taxes already due on distributions, if you're under age 59 1/2. Thanks to recently passed legislation, however, you can wriggle out of the bonus penalty, If you have a COVID-19-related hardship and withdraw the money this year.

    "If you can't make up for the lost match this year due to uncertainty of cash flow, don't fret," says Hearn. "One year of not having a company match savings is unlikely to derail your long-term financial plan."

    From here you can then think about the next best move, both financially and career-wise.

    2. When your company appears relatively stable or healthy

    If the company and your personal situation are stable, then you'll have more options. But even then you may still want to shore up your finances before you commit to further retirement savings. From there you have a few avenues you can take advantage of.

    "If [your company] is healthy, then can you afford to personally make up the match and continue to save? If so, do it," says Stuller. "Consider paring back other expenses to re-allocate those monies to savings if you can."

    But without the match, workers are missing out on one of the most important benefits of a workplace retirement plan.

    "Continuing to contribute to your retirement is highly recommended but, without an employer match, the only real benefit to staying with your employer's plan is convenience," says Jones.

    Still it can make sense to stay in your employer's plan for other reasons, such as a good selection of funds and the convenience of having money invested straight from your paycheck.

    "If the company has promised to restore the match in the near future, it may be in your best interest to stay put," says Jones. "But if not, assessing plan performance should be your next step. If you find stronger performance and better gains elsewhere, you can always choose to voluntarily move the funds."

    On the one hand you can roll that 401(k) money into an IRA - either traditional or Roth IRA - but you'll want to understand the advantages and disadvantages of such a move. But you have other alternatives to your company's 401(k) plan, and even a taxable brokerage account could be a good option if you need penalty-free access to your money.

    On the other hand, don't be in such a hurry to move the money, if the company is in otherwise solid shape, as experience from the last recession shows.

    "Remember, employers by and large returned to making matches once the economy recovered," says Steve Parrish, co-director of the Center for Retirement Income at the non-profit American College of Financial Services in Des Moines, Iowa.

    Should you always contribute to your 401(k)?

    If your job and personal finances look secure, then adding to your retirement savings is a great option. Some experts recommend always opting for retirement savings.

    "The most important step consumers can take is to continue contributing to their retirement plan because contributions are automated and therefore help you to systematically invest," says Krueger. "Then there's the benefit of tax deferral on those 401(k) contributions."

    "Keep up your retirement savings for two reasons," says Parrish. "First, the government is allowing access to retirement funds if you have a COVID-19-related need," he says. "If tough times continue, they will likely extend this liberalized access. Second, call it behavioral finance or human nature: If you continue to contribute, you're less likely to touch your savings."

    By keeping up the commitment to your retirement account, you'll tend to see it as untouchable money that must be maintained for your future, allowing the money to compound over years.

    Still, you have to balance the future against your present needs.

    Other alternatives to consider

    Sometimes in personal finance there may not always be a trade-off for a decision. That might be the case now with low mortgage rates. If your financial situation is strong - and maybe even if it isn't - you may be able to take advantage of historically low mortgage rates to refinance.

    "Perhaps the best way to take advantage of these record-low interest rates is not within a 401(k)," says Tim Shaler, economist in residence at iTrustCapital in Encino, California. "As soon as the Fed and Treasury actions in the mortgage market normalizes originators’ ability to help borrowers, everyone who can save money should refi their mortgage on their homes."

    The savings there could total hundreds of dollars a month alone, depending on the size of your loan. Any money could then be rolled into savings, either to bolster your emergency fund or allowing you to add more into your 401(k). In effect, you can create your own match via savings.

    "I'd also encourage consumers to look for every dime of benefits at work you may be ignoring, like health savings accounts (HSA)," says Krueger. "These are triple tax-advantaged accounts that can be used for qualifying medical costs in retirement and you don't lose the funds like flexible spending accounts (FSA)."

    Bottom line

    Contributing to your retirement savings - and your future financial security - is important, but you'll want to carefully assess your own financial situation to see if continuing your contributions during uncertain times really does make sense for you. If it doesn't, shore up your finances and then return to your retirement savings as soon as it does make sense for you to do so.

    “Most importantly, 401(k) investors are reminded to 'know thyself' — what are your goals, what is your situation and what kind of volatility comes with your return requirements," says Shaler.

    How Much Money Should A Startup Allocate To Digital Marketing

    Digital marketing has become one of the cornerstones of brand development and cultivating user knowledge of your existence. With so many people connected on the web, it’s easy to see why more and more businesses rely on digital marketing to boost their exposure – even more so right now during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The reality is that if you’re operating a startup at the moment, you’re likely working with a shoestring budget in order to stay afloat. Maybe your ‘doors’ aren’t even permitted to be open. Regardless, when considering your budget, you’ll need to allocate sufficient capital for digital content creation that will capture the attention of your target demographic. 

    The difficult part is figuring out just how much capital is necessary to build and maintain a solid marketing plan for your startup. Because buyer behaviour is constantly morphing in response to how the current situation develops, you need to maintain a high level of flexibility in order to react.

    Every dollar counts and online advertising is where it’s at least for the foreseeable future. Here’s how best to get started with your budget strategizing.

    Evaluate Your Revenue 

    Before making any rash decisions on how much money needs to be spent on digital marketing, you need to figure out the revenue and projected income of your business. This is the first step in crafting a great living budget.

    By default of being a startup, you’re likely going to be just a tiny spec on any user’s radar at present. This means that now more than ever, you’ll need to allocate some additional funds to marketing. You haven’t yet made a name for yourself, so you’ll have to dish out a bit more in order to have an impact.

    According to a recent CMO Survey, on average companies that make more than 10% of sales online allocate 13% of their total budget to marketing. It varies greatly by industry. But since you’re the new kid on the block, you may want to up those numbers in the beginning (if at all feasible).

    Spice Up Your Social Media Marketing

    This brings us to our next stop – social media. It’s something you really can’t afford to go without in the modern business world. There’s honestly such a massive audience, especially now while many people find themselves quarantined at home.

    Over 90% of businesses in the United States use social media for their marketing. Let that sink in for a moment. When going about social media marketing strategy, you’ll have to work extra hard to stand out from all the noise.

    You can do most of the digital marketing yourself, but it can be a challenging and time-consuming endeavour. If your budget allows, it’s worth it to consider hiring a professional specifically for this purpose. 

    If you go down the route of a marketing strategy consultant, a social media management package may cost you anywhere from $600 – $2,500 a month depending on your business’ needs. You may be able to find cheaper freelancers or higher-end companies, depending on your revenue realities.

    At the end of the day, though, leaving it to the pros and freeing up your time to focus on all the other tasks on your ever-growing agenda can work wonders.

    Optimize Your Website

    In order to stay competitive in the digital age, you can’t effectively conduct business without a proper website. Along with your social media, this helps you get established in the online community. We’re talking digital marketing, after all.

    Maybe you have a basic understanding of web technology, and you’d like to attempt to build your website or start a blog from scratch. But if not, it may be wiser to outsource this job.

    On average, an all-inclusive website costs around $3,000 – $6,000 if you rely on a professional’s help. And, of course, prices can vary greatly from your location, and how experienced your website engineer is.

    You need to be incredibly careful when dealing with website design. While ensuring users experience an interactive onboarding walkthrough, you also have to be sure that everything is mobile-friendly. 

    More and more people access the internet and do their browsing on the move. If you don’t create a mobile friendly online environment for them, you’ll miss out on valuable traffic.

    Carefully Curate Content 

    Content is the ketchup to your digital marketing hotdog. Valuable content is essential for creating user engagement on the web. Your website, social media pages and guest blogs are all outlets for content, so they must be curated properly to garner the right audience and foster interaction.

    Again budget-wise, you’ll need to allocate to this depending on you and how hands-on you want to be. You can attempt to go it alone and rely on top content marketing tips from the pros, or you can again solicit the help of outside content consultants.

    A regular flow of evergreen content will help establish your startup as thought leader customers and prospects turn to. Increased traffic and more page views will, in turn, result in Google indexing your site more often. A win-win if there ever was one.

    Bear in mind that “Youtility” is the name of the game. Instead of focusing on grandiose marketing campaigns, try to hone in on the creation of consistently useful and usable content. 

    If going the outsourcing route, small scale content creation agencies tend to charge anywhere from $1,000 – $3,000 for content strategy and creation. But as with everything else, these are just estimates and can vary depending on your situation and location.

    Hit the Ground Running

    As I bet you’ve gathered, digital marketing does come with a cost. It can be done with the minimal capital requirement, but for more effective results, you will need to sink some cash into it. See what works well with your budget and go from there.

    Don’t rush when deciding whether to go with the DIY approach or hire consultants. Do your research carefully and be sure of your choice. Given everything that’s going on, it’s completely understandable if you just do the best you can when you can.

    However, if you can afford it, hiring an experienced professional can save you tons of time, money and stress. Stay safe and choose wisely!

    How To Bring Digital Transformation To Marketing

    Every large-scale organization today has employees separated into different teams and scattered across the business (often across geographies). Many of those people are now working from home and more disconnected than ever.

    If teams aren’t careful, fragmented information and disconnected processes can quickly hamper progress. According to an analysis by McKinsey, in an average workweek, employees spend 20% of their time “looking for internal information or tracking down colleagues who can help with specific tasks.” That’s why it’s important for members of the organization to come together with shared tools, knowledge and processes to achieve common goals.

    Many organizations are turning to digital strategies to foster cross-department success in business growth and customer service — particularly now that physical sales and marketing events are off the table. While it’s true that digital transformation can have far-reaching implications across a company, marketing arguably has the most to gain. According to Frost & Sullivan’s 2019 “Top End User Priorities in Digital Transformation” report, which surveyed 1,636 IT decision makers, more than two-thirds of organizations believe sales and marketing departments will be most impacted by digital transformation.

    What Will Marketing Gain From Digital Transformation?

    For most organizations, the twin goals of digital transformation are increasing organizational efficiency and improving customer experience. In fact, these goals should be directly linked: increasing efficiency in order to improve customer experience.

    While the implications of this notion are far-reaching for marketing, one key ramification is ensuring organizational cohesiveness, consistency and responsiveness. From marketing messages and materials to customer journey and touch points, each disparate business line or geography should speak with one voice and engage customers with a consistent experience.

    The larger an organization, the more important this brand consistency, yet, the harder it becomes to maintain. Digitalization, thus, becomes a dual-edged sword for marketing: It can supercharge the ability of disparate teams and geographies to “roll their own” chaotic approach in tweaking digital assets, campaigns, customer engagement, etc. Versioning challenges, inconsistent approval processes, local or individual preferences, and different (and often incompatible) systems and software can all contribute to the mayhem.

    Conversely, digital can be a transformation for global marketing. Materials can be easily findable, rapidly propagated and consistently delivered, while customer experience can be cohesive across systems, offerings and geographies. Best practices and successful campaigns can be quickly identified, iterated and disseminated across teams. The overall result can be a dramatic improvement in organizational cohesion, agility and responsiveness. 

    Breaking Silos

    One important roadblock to consider for any digital transformation is the existence of silos. Whether those are organizational, geographic or systemic, they will hinder the drive for consistency and efficiency. From a marketing perspective, those silos might be at the team or business level, driven by geography, or they might be a reflection of disparate systems and procedures.

    The right approach to digital transformation can eliminate silos without the need to scrap everything and start from scratch. The answer lies in the use of automation to wrap and connect silos so that their existence no longer matters — not so much “breaking them” as making them disappear. For marketing, this might take the form of a unified content repository/dissemination, or automation that pulls and presents data insights from various tools, or process automation to route a customer journey through various systems.

    In all cases the key consideration is that this automation eliminates the delays, errors and inconsistency that exists in manual approaches and disconnected silos.

    Centering Excellence

    Every transformation is a journey, and like any journey, it’s necessary to get and stay on track. For digital transformations, many organizations look to maintain bearings using what’s known as a center of excellence (CoE), which Gartner describes as “concentrating existing expertise and resources in a discipline or capability to attain and sustain world-class performance and value.” For marketing transformation, this means centralizing and sharing best practices across teams and identifying potential opportunities for digital media and technology to better meet marketing goals.

    In creating a CoE, it’s important to begin holistically with the business’ long-term goals. What is marketing trying to achieve, and how does it support the larger business plan? How does marketing collaborate with and support other parts of the organization? Outlining specific objectives and best practices will guide team members within the organization in sharing resources and streamlining processes.

    Since we’re talking about digital transformation, the members of that CoE must embrace agility and innovation. This isn’t about the digital technology itself as much as the business transformation; it means identifying change, understanding risk and moving rapidly to adjust and improve.

    With objectives and teams in place, it’s important to identify how to measure success. This means not only establishing the key performance indicators (KPIs) but also the metrics relevant to the CoE itself (resource utilization, best practice propagation, etc.), along with assigned responsibility for achieving each goal.

    The CoE should encapsulate a library of go-to marketing materials to drive consistency and efficiency. These materials could be as simple as document templates (for case studies, e-books, etc.) to branding kits or process guides. Clear and centralized assets and processes lead to faster iteration, as members across the organization gain visibility into successful campaigns. Without this insight, teams might duplicate efforts or wander in directions that don’t match the overall business plan.

    The CoE also plays a critical role in keeping the transformation on track and constantly adapting. This is one journey that’s never done, and an iterative methodology ensures relevance as the organization evolves. Done correctly, the CoE helps enforce consistency, currency and collaboration.

    Automation And Excellence In Action

    The combination of automation and a CoE can drive cohesive transformation, ensuring a company’s digital assets are available to everyone, ready for use as needed. This can allow marketing leads to proactively monitor what is being used inside and outside the organization, and understand where to concentrate for continuous improvement.

    Most marketing departments are ripe for digital transformation. Done correctly, it can have an outsized impact on the organization as a whole.

    The United States Mission to Nigeria has celebrated Dr Onyema Ogbuagu, for his role in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine.

    The United States Mission to Nigeria has celebrated Dr Onyema Ogbuagu, for his role in the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. . Ogbuagbu, wh...