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You may ask yourself, “Where has the year gone?” We’re already halfway through Q2 – and as we let the days go by, do you feel panic or excitement? Is it the same as it ever was? As we continue to navigate these uncertain waters, remember that this could be a once in a lifetime chance to make big things happen!

Give this cool song by Talking Heads a listen with me as we ask ourselves what the experts are saying this week:

The Latest HubSpot Data

It’s that time again! Let’s look at the HubSpot April 2021 data and see how sales and marketing activities are trending – and we ask ourselves, “How did we get here?”
(Benchmark used is Jan 2020 data):

  • Deals created and deals closed remain strong (27% and 8% over benchmark), but lower than March. Typically the first month of a new quarter has more new deals created. Hmm…
  • Sales email volume continues to trend high, but sales email responses dropped to 30% below benchmark!
  • Sales calls dropped vs. March, but are still 65% above benchmark.
  • Marketing emails continue to be high (36% over) but open rates have been declining the past few months.
  • Average contacts added was 42% above benchmark – and has been very strong through Feb/March/April.
  • Sales conversations remain high – the second highest month since January 2020… at 21% over benchmark!

What does this all mean?

Overall the activity levels are positive, but we’re seeing email response rates declining – there is so much noise out there, I think this data is showing us that a continued multi-channel approach is required. Sales can’t sit back and rely on passive communication channels – I believe that sales conversations need to remain a big part of the mix to help move and build sales activity for 2021. You may ask yourself, “Am I right? Am I wrong?” You’ve heard me say this before, and it’s the same as it ever was: it seems that a mix of digital and human touches remains the best way forward.

The Data-driven Music Economy and Fraud

As we know, today’s music economy is dominated by streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. And, of course, they rely heavily on data and stats to determine how much they pay artists. But there are plenty of potential issues within streaming numbers – things like streaming fraud, which could easily sabotage the trajectory of an artist’s music career – and the artist may not even realize it!

Streaming fraud is defined as fraudulent attempts to generate streams and manipulate a platform into paying an artist for song plays that weren’t actually listened to by real listeners and fans, AKA ‘artificial streams.’ An artificial stream doesn’t reflect any authentic statistics; instead, these fraudulent streams can be generated by automated processes, otherwise known as scripts or bots.

In B2B, we’re all aware of the presence of click farms – and shouldn’t be surprised that similar issues arise with music streaming services. Any time there is an opportunity to game the system and make an easy buck, it seems that there are many businesses ready to step in.

As the way we consume music continues to advance, the music industry is finding more effective ways to stop fraudulent streaming by proactively removing content that violates their terms. Additionally, services like Spotify have been using real people to review suspicious streaming numbers while also developing technology to identify streaming manipulation.

Always remember that it’s easier to distinguish fraudulent streams from legitimate ones than you’d think. Higher numbers doesn’t mean more talent, and even if you think you’re working with a legit service that promises streams in exchange for money, there’s still a high possibility of illegal methods being used. And you may say to yourself, “My God! What have I done?”

Once in a lifetime opportunity? Remember that faking success is always going to be more damaging than helpful.

As always, don’t hesitate to call me to brainstorm or just say hello.

Looking forward,

Rick Endrulat, President | ricke@v-causeway.com | www.linkedin.com/in/rickendrulat