Marketing Guides

Data…Data everywhere. What’s the right way to approach your reporting?

Data…Data everywhere. What’s the right way to approach your reporting?

Digital marketers are experiencing an “issue” at the moment. We have a substantial amount of data to analyse and use to our benefit. Definitely not a bad problem to have, as you would much rather have too much data than not enough.

Taking Google Analytics as an example, GA has a staggering 150 default metrics, which can be viewed through over 100 various dimensions. That is just the default settings, and does not include any advanced views, filters or implementations you may well want to setup.

Looking at social media, Facebook analytics exports a whopping seven spreadsheets with over ten columns of data, while Twitter analytics exports include up to forty columns of data.

That’s a lot of data to sift through! This can make it exceptionally difficult to choose one, or even a few, KPIs to really focus on.

You would think having access to such a wide range of data would make our marketing strategies easier, and this is generally true for larger companies who are able to outsource their data analysis to data science experts. These companies have indeed prospered, but the smaller businesses tend to struggle with where to start with this seemingly insurmountable mound of data.

In smaller businesses, resources tend to be much tighter and the luxury of spare time is sparse. The result of this is that employees don’t tend to digest the data, explore trends and ask questions. Instead, employees get into a routine of running the same reports over and over on a monthly basis, while not gaining much insight into what value the data at hand provides.

This is more common than not among small businesses, but there are steps and mindset changes one can take on to streamline your data reporting, to allow you more time to be inquisitive and find the value needed for your marketing strategies.

Marketing analytics is not rocket science, so don’t treat it as such.

Take A/B testing, also known as split-run testing, for example. It’s been around for what feels like decades now!

Have some ideas on how to improve your email? Go ahead and test it using various test buckets. Looks like our audience prefer our teal button more than our yellow button, great! How about our landing pages? Can we AB test our hero banner? Sure, why not. Let’s nail down what our audience responds best to.

Does A/B testing really represent how your customers respond generally, or just in that current moment they received your content? It’s difficult to tell and is why A/B testing can be so frustrating at times.

The results of the tests can often be inconclusive. Sometimes your test sample is too small to have a statistical weight behind it to make these difficult decisions. Other times, there are factors which are out of your control, that might influence your results, like a website loading speed issue.

The point here, is that A/B testing, or any other form of testing, may not yield the results for what works best from a marketing perspective. Having a controlled environment, like any scientific test, is paramount to obtaining an accurate depiction of your results. However, in Digital Marketing, controlled environments are few and far between.

These methods should not be discarded by any means, but we also need to be cautious when implementing them, because again, marketing is anything but a controlled environment.

Some metrics matter, others don’t.

Now back to those ridiculously large social media analytic reports. Here’s the honest truth: I rarely use even 50% of those metrics. Why?

Well, to begin with, it’s important you know what you are gaining value from when looking at these reports. Many metrics are just slight variations of themselves, or sometimes have very convoluted definitions as to what those metrics are. If they are too similar, or too vague I omit them from my report.

The fear of missing out is the real crux of the issue here. FOMO again.

Reporting on every metric available, due to fear of missing out on something, isn’t the best strategy, because it clouds the real valuable metrics. If a metric isn’t valuable, don’t use it, as it’s only going to make it more difficult for you to spot relevant trends in your data.

Just keep in mind that platforms like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, although they provide you with endless amounts of data to sift through, only you and your business can know what’s really important.

It’s about the ingredients, not the meal.

Before you start cooking up an analytics report, think about the value you are hoping to find in the data. Play devil’s advocate and ask yourself what results you would expect to see if your initial conclusions were wrong.

In doing this, you’ll be much better suited to finding patterns and trends you may not have spotted with your initial conclusion-based approach.

Stop searching for the right answers, and look for the right questions

Question yourself, your approach and your data regularly. If you feel you’re eventually questioning everything, don’t be overwhelmed. You’re doing it right.

The world is changing constantly, along with the platforms we use and HOW we use them. Your perceived concept of the “right answers” may be true one day, and wrong the next.

Keep adapting and be open to change.

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned working with digital marketing data, it’s that you have to be a perpetual sceptic. Of the metrics, of your reporting, of yourself.

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Sian HeaphyData…Data everywhere. What’s the right way to approach your reporting?
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Marketing isn’t just for Christmas

Marketing isn’t just for Christmas

Whilst ’tis the season for brands to splash the cash on fancy holiday-themed adverts, we take this time to look at what you could and should be doing with your marketing over this festive season

 

1. Little things can tug a lot of heart strings

Phil Beastall – a ‘frustrated filmmaker’– reportedly spent just £50 creating the perfect Christmas film as a reminder to viewers that we are not defined by our careers and materialism, but that family comes first.

2. Video seems to be pulling some strings too!

71% of B2B marketers report that video converts better than other content types, with product video continuing to be the most commonly produced video for marketing and sales teams.

3. The Christmas party shouldn’t be the only event in your diary

The longer your sales cycle, the more important events are at building awareness, trust, preference and pipeline. What events have you got in the diary for 2019? If the answer is none, it’s time you put your new diary to good use.

4. You should be sending more than just Christmas cards

Recent DMA research showed that 57% of people open addressed mail when it first arrives, with 20.8% opening mail within a 28-day period. This means you have 28 days of your content living within a household, compared to a couple of moments in an inbox. Is it time you revisited the post office?

5. Don’t just recycle your wrapping paper!

If you can take anything from the fancy holiday-themed TV adverts, it’s to follow in Coca Cola’s snow dusted footsteps and recycle your content. If it’s good, there’s no point in reinventing the wheel. Just make sure you are updating any content that is time sensitive, so it doesn’t feel dated when seen by your audience.

6. Humour isn’t just for making Santa’s belly laugh like a bowl full of Jelly

Yes, you’re talking to business decision makers. And yes, you really want to make the right first impression. But humour is something unique to humans, and since humans are the people you are selling to, it can cut through all the noise whilst making your point in a way that connects with people so they listen. You don’t need to be a rip-roaring comedian to be successful at B2B marketing, but it does pay to step slightly out of your comfort zone and show your brand’s personality.

7. More marketing for your buck

Over the festive period, it’s no secret that business owners’ priorities shift from growth to retention. This usually means less competition in the B2B marketplace which broadly speaking means less expense when bidding for advertising services such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, PPC and LinkedIn marketing. Whilst most decision makers will be preoccupied with Christmas antics and not looking to covert immediately, maintaining an active presence in the commercial space is fundamental to your marketing efforts over the coming year. If you’re keen to learn how you can develop your pipeline, build reputation and brand this Christmas period, this eBook is for you.

8. Stay social in between work socials

Social media channels are an invaluable tool for the modern B2B company, and whilst the extended Christmas break, awkward staff parties and questionable secret Santa unwrapping can take attentions away from updating social channels, ‘going dark’ on social for extended periods of time can have a negative impact on your audience. Use platforms such as hootsuite to plan some form of social presence whilst your team are sleeping off the mince pies!

9. Grab yourself a sherry

And last but certainly not least, take Christmas to reset those batteries and refresh your thinking. Sometimes it takes a two-week winter break and a few cheeky sherries to take an invaluable step back from a project you’ve spent months working so closely on. Coming back in the New Year with a fresh pair of eyes gives you the chance to evaluate your campaign objectively and ensure you’re still aiming for the right stars, and not just following three wise men on a starry night.

Have a bright Christmas  

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Lydia KirbyMarketing isn’t just for Christmas
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8 Tips for creating (lots of) great content

8 Tips for creating (lots of) great content

We’ve all been there, you hit the publish button in the morning and then spend the rest of the day waiting for likes, shares, leads and further accolades to come rolling in….and nothing.

Content is the cornerstone of any successful marketing campaign or program and it’s the fundamental way to educate your audience on your product or service.

However, creating noteworthy, memorable content can be daunting, even for the most experienced pro. 94% of B2B marketers say they use content in their marketing, do you know how many believe it’s effective? 42%…

Thankfully, we’ve got 8 easy tips anybody can use to create great, engaging and exciting content.

An editorial position will help to shape your name, tone of voice, visual identity and choice of content.

Over time, your audience will come to recognise your editorial position, and come to anticipate content with a certain approach or attitude, making it easier to trial new forms of content.  As competitors in your industry start to create quality content, it becomes harder to stand-out and stay present in your audiences’ head for a period of time. So it’s important that your editorial positioning is driven by the distinctive quality of your brand and a category or a specific genre.

When it comes to any form of content or copywriting, defining a tone of voice should be the first step in the process. But where do you start? First, it’s important to understand the difference between your channel tone and your overall voice. Still with me? Think of the example of singing – you only have one singing voice, but you can sing in a variety of different tones to deliver a different sound. Content creation is no different to this, your copy tone helps you define how you want your voice to be heard on each individual channel or platform.

While your content should have a cohesive and targeted message, it should also be adapted to its medium. Twitter is character-limited, for example, so the message you provide must be shorter and more concise. However, it can still carry the same type of message and information as your content used elsewhere. Keep your message consistent, and adapt as needed.

The successful implementation of any content strategy, or individual written piece, depends upon a crucial (and often overlooked) group of people – your content team. In the past, this team would either consist of a single person, or rigidly consist of account managers and creative copywriters. However, in order to create strategic and valuable content, you need a strategic and valuable team.

There are as many ways to structure a content team as there are teams themselves, so you need to build one that suits your business needs, whether that be a one-man show or a team of 20. But before you start hiring your ideal combination of strategists, writers, editors and coordinators, you first need to consider the possibilities you already have within your company, what they can share and how to engage them as part of your team.

Possibly the most adept framework for how you should think about your approach to content is the PESO (paid, earned, shared, owned) model, developed and championed by author and PR industry leader Gini Dietrich.

The method serves as a means of segmenting all the marketing channels at your disposal into discrete groups, looking if there are opportunities to integrate additional channels or sources into new or existing programs, highlighting any opportunities to re-purpose content you may already have. By re-purposing content, or freshening it up, you give yourself the opportunity to expand something that may have been a single idea, into a several new pieces, each tailored to a different audience.

There’s also no reason, if it’s of a high quality, that you shouldn’t take inspiration from your competitors and their content. It’s often hard to consistently come up with appealing articles or topics, and you can often find yourself repeating pieces – but not re-purposing them. Of course, it’s unwise to simply visit your competitor’s blog and start copying their strategy from the ground up. Instead, use their content strategy merely as inspiration or direction for your own. Find a way to put new twists on topics they’ve already covered, and think about what topics they haven’t covered.

Creating a publishing content can be time consuming and stressful work, so you need to be able to keep organised and be on top of every step in the process. The simplest way of doing this – create a content diary or plan. When you have a visible schedule you can commit to, the content process becomes a lot less daunting.

Creating a plan, calendar or diary allows you to keep track of everything you’re doing, and makes all the necessary information easily available to stakeholders.

It’s easy to get lost in detail when you’re in the heads-down process of content creation, so having a larger visioning session to create the calendar plus taking regular peeks at the calendar once it’s made can help bring your work into context.  And by planning your content in advance, you can prep and organise around any key dates that could influence your content. An effective diary or plan will also help with keeping your audience engaged by preventing your content from stagnating, or getting overly repetitive and random.

There’s no better way to drive sales leads and expand your brand visibility than by producing thoughtful original content. Yet as more and more companies start to hop on the content marketing bandwagon, it’s getting harder than ever to ensure that your brand stands out.

Producing reactive marketing content is a great way to ensure that your company’s thought leadership is generating interest. The idea itself is relatively simple: by capitalising on a newsworthy event, your content instantly becomes more clickable. There are a few drawbacks to an over-reliance on reactive marketing content – namely, the relevance of your posts inevitably withering with time – but, if used correctly, reactive content can achieve staggering results for your brand, chiefly in the following areas:

  • It helps your brand stay relevant
  • It helps you connect with customers
  • It extends the longevity of your other content

Is your content often delivered late?  Do you have trouble getting it signed-off? If so, then it sounds like you could benefit from defining a content workflow; a set of tasks that determine how content is requested, sourced, reviewed, approved and delivered. Trying to get by without such a process will lead to you running the risk of projects getting stuck and people being unsure or unaware of their responsibilities and the amount of time that it may take to complete a task.

A defined content workflow tells people in all roles where the content is in the process when their turn comes, and it clarifies what they must do to deliver what’s needed when it’s needed. The workflow will also help the project manager recognise bottlenecks so that he or she can take measures to keep content moving toward production and ensure that sign-off matches required deadlines.

If you don’t know your audience and what they want, then no form of marketing (content included) is going to work for you. Take the time to listen to your audience (perhaps building personas) and what they’re telling you based on how they interact/ engage with your content. This kind of information is a goldmine, and who wouldn’t want to dig into a goldmine when they find one.

This kind of analysis is key to any content strategy, it allows you to discover gaps, identify new opportunities, adapt to the needs and desires of your market and discover if your content is truly addressing those needs.

Even if you follow all these tips, it’s still crucial to remember that content marketing isn’t a short-term investment. One you get it right, it will really pay-off, you just need to be willing to put the time and effort into it.

If you’d like any more advice about creating content, the type that will build revenue and drive relationships, then simply contact a member of the Bright team and we can get started an approach that works for you and your audience.

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Lydia Kirby8 Tips for creating (lots of) great content
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Three ways to promote your B2B business on LinkedIn

Three ways to promote your B2B business on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is by far the most important social network for reaching out to prospective clients and connecting with professionals. Therefore, one needs to have a strong process in place in order to establish thought leadership, conduct market research and build online communities.

According to the ‘State of B2B Social Media Marketing 2015,’ not only do 91% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn, but 80% of all B2B social media leads come from the social network itself. It’s important that businesses keep these statistics in mind, and give LinkedIn the attention it demands. But what is the best way to promote your B2B business on LinkedIn?

You will need to have created a separate business profile in order to showcase your company (rather than just a single employee). Your company page represents your organisation as a brand and helps in building and establishing your credibility – it is also vital for talent requirement.

Having tried and tested various methods over the past 4 months, I have chosen my favourite 3 top tips to promote your B2B business, which I think are the most beneficial:

1. Update frequently

I would recommend using your company LinkedIn page more frequently than expected, I suggest posting 1 to 2 times a week. Any special news or completions of projects should be shared with the LinkedIn network as soon as possible to display that your business is moving forward.

Keeping potential customers updated with the progression of your company will help to reassure them that you are worth putting their money into.

2. Encourage employee interaction

There is nothing worse than spending time and energy creating a LinkedIn post that gets minimal likes, comments or shares. In order to increase the influence of your company page, you need get your staff members on board.

It is very important for employees to interact with the posts that are being sent out each week. They should share the articles and push them out to their own connections.

If a potential lead sees that your company page is followed by professionals with skills and experience, then your credibility will become more solid, increasing the potential of a new client.

Ensure that your team know how important their engagement is and encourage them to like and share relevant content.

3. Build a multimedia profile

Have you ever looked at a LinkedIn profile and lost interest the moment you laid eyes on it due to the huge chunk of text the user expects you to read? To instantly stand out, you need to build a visual profile.

Your personal page is just as important as your business page, LinkedIn allows you to include photos, videos and even presentations to set you apart from your competitors. Add in any projects you are currently working on, or, if possible, publish the work you have written to show off your talents. This will provide prospective clients with visual examples of what your company has to offer.

Not only does this tactic showcase your business, it also makes your profile look far better and makes you seem like a more approachable person. Win win.

The example is from our very own, Zoë Merchant, Managing Director of Bright, she displays a good example of how to engage your prospects through LinkedIn.

There are many ways to promote your business using LinkedIn, the three methods mentioned are tips to get you started that will not take long.

Contact the Bright Team to see how we can help you further optimise your social platforms for best results.

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Zoe MerchantThree ways to promote your B2B business on LinkedIn
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3 key google analytics tips to impress your boss

3 key google analytics tips to impress your boss

In this blog, I will take you through the 3 best analytics tips I’ve been given to track website performance and impress your boss. Make good use of them.

Tip 1: Customised dashboards

It can be easy to get overwhelmed with data from Google Analytics but your colleagues are still expecting you to create amazing reports, to share analysis with them and to spot opportunities or issues. Relatively unknown but very useful, Google Analytics offers customised dashboard to help you monitor your performance.

You can easily use customised dashboards for social media, for SEO, traffic acquisition, branding and content marketing…  You just need to have a look and choose what you need.

They are free and accessible in just a click. Since every business is different, the monitoring objectives are, so you will need to make some changes or get inspired to develop your ideal table edge.

1. Select the customised dashboard you want (you can also use the search bar to look for relevant terms)

2. Click Import

3. Select the website you want to monitor (in select a view)

4. Click create

Tip 2: Customised alerts

It can also be frustrating not to be instantly aware of what happens in real-time on your website. You cannot afford to spend every minute of your day on Google Analytics trying to to spot unusual behaviours. The ability to spot in real time a particularly successful campaign or an issue could be invaluable

After identifying the key performance indicators, you can associate a tolerance level to be told when there is an unusual behaviour on your website. Whenever the tolerance level is reached, Google Analytics will notify you and you can take the required actions to change the situation.

1. Click on Admin

2. Under View, click on “Custom alerts”

3. Click New alert

4. Create your alert and click save

Get some inspiration with the 5 examples of customised alerts by Google

Tip 3: Send reports automatically

After building multiple dashboards that will respond to your needs, you can easily share these reports with your colleagues.

Google Analytics provides automated emails for your reports so that you can you all have a shared vision of your website performance.

1. On each dashboard, click on email

2. Complete the pop-up with

  • The recipient
  • The frequency
  • The format

(if the structure of the dashboard were to be changed, the next report will automatically adjust to the new structure)

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Sian Heaphy3 key google analytics tips to impress your boss
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Media outreach to support your marketing goals

Media outreach to support your marketing goals

Public Relations (PR) or media outreach has historically been viewed as an important, yet distinct, part of the marketing mix. In the past PR agencies often worked quite independently from marketing, devising their own campaigns, usually with one eye on the overall marketing strategy (although not always!). However, the arrival of the Internet changed both the media landscape and traditional ways of working. PR is now much more integrated and at Bright Innovation we see it as an intrinsic part of what we do.

A shared goal but a different approach

While PR, marketing and advertising all share the same end goals of building brand awareness, increasing demand and attracting the right talent – the way each element approaches this is quite different.

The value of PR is high because it is what is termed ‘earned media’. This means that the exposure has to be ‘earned’ through strong, relevant and compelling content rather than bought (like advertising where you are essentially paying to be able to say what you like). The flip side to this however is it is much harder to make a direct correlation between a positive piece of coverage, an increase in demand or in good people applying for a role in your organisation.

Social Media: a must for PR practitioners

The value of PR is high because it is what is termed ‘earned media’. This means that the exposure has to be ‘earned’ through strong, relevant and compelling content rather than bought (like advertising where you are essentially paying to be able to say what you like). The flip side to this however is it is much harder to make a direct correlation between a positive piece of coverage, an increase in demand or in good people applying for a role in your organisation.

Today, it is increasingly rare for a PR campaign not to involve at least some element of social media. Having said that it is surprising how many businesses still fail to understand its importance.

If the Queen and President Obama are on Twitter, it’s a pretty safe bet that the CEO of the company you really want to get in front of is too. And in the unlikely event that he/she is not on Twitter, they almost definitely will be on LinkedIn. By failing to consider how to build social into a PR and marketing strategy, businesses may be missing out on the opportunity to directly connect with key business people.

In my experience people working in B2B technology tend to view PR in one of three ways:

  1. We are a fascinating company that does something totally unique and everyone will want to hear about us and our new products (especially FT journalists)
  2. We have nothing to say and can’t think of any reason why anyone would want to hear about us (unless maybe we do a major deal with Tesco or appoint Bill Gates as our Chairman)
  3. What’s PR?

The reality is that PR can be an incredibly effective way of getting your message across if you are both ambitious (every company has something interesting to say, we just need to work out what it is), pragmatic (it probably isn’t the launch of Widget 3.2.6) and you don’t compromise on the quality of what you produce. The most interesting content will be useless if badly written and you would be surprised what you can do with something quite mundane with good imagery and some smart statistics.

What results can you expect from PR?

To give an idea of the kind of results a successful PR campaign can achieve, as part of our work with Red Badger, Bright Innovation recently ran a campaign to promote the launch of Fortnum & Mason’s brand new, fully responsive eCommerce site, designed and developed by Red Badger.

Bright Innovation produced a range of content that appealed to different audiences across key industry sectors including tailored press releases and award entries:

  • To ensure that the content was as compelling as possible, data and imagery from the new site and real customer feedback were used to demonstrate tangible results.
  • Content was also drip fed across social channels and made to work harder by turning it into direct mail campaigns and a series of more technical blogs were produced for the Red Badger website.

The results included coverage in 10 key titles, including a blog style critique of the new Fortnum site on Econsultancy that had a direct impact on new business leads who approached Red Badger after reading it. The award entry drafted by Bright Innovation also led to Red Badger and Fortnum & Mason being shortlisted for Retail Week’s Technology and Ecommerce Awards in the Best Customer Experience category.

Creating a range of compelling content which was disseminated through different channels including traditional media, to an email campaign and through social networks helped to maximise the impact the campaign had on Red Badger’s target audience and led to direct new business enquiries.

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Zoe MerchantMedia outreach to support your marketing goals
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LinkedIn a key part of every B2B marketing strategy

LinkedIn a key part of every B2B marketing strategy

With more than 300 million members worldwide, LinkedIn has truly established itself as the largest professional network online. In B2B and in particular the IT & tech industry, it’s my experience that more people have a LinkedIn account than a Twitter account. Trends in B2B marketing also show that companies are taking advantage of different technology when researching, and in some cases they are at least 75% of the way through the buying cycle before contacting a vendor. Having said all this, it’s still my experience that LinkedIn is a tool which many companies struggle to fully utilise.

Here’s a short guide to 5 reasons why LinkedIn should be a key part of your B2B marketing strategy:

1. Research

Whether you’re looking for new prospects, delegates for an event or new talent, LinkedIn allows you to easily find and approach the people you’re looking for.

For effective research you need to have built a good number of connections (200 – 500) however, make sure your network is relevant and is acquired using best practice.

2. Driving traffic to your website

Driving traffic to your website from LinkedIn is a great way of showing ROI and in the LinkedIn strategies I run, sending an increasing amount of traffic to websites is the main metric.

In fact, across many of our clients LinkedIn drives more traffic than any other social network.

3. Show your brand personality

Your prospects will research your company and even had made their buying decision before contacting your sales team directly. A company’s brand is becoming as much about the people they employ and culture they create as it is about the services themselves.

Your prospects are gauging your brand personality by looking at your company profile and the profiles of your key staff. Make sure you are reflecting well!

4. Leverage personal networks

Most businesses will have people internally who either have a strong personal LinkedIn network, or a strong personal brand.

Make sure you leverage these individuals on social media and especially LinkedIn. When executed correctly these people will demonstrate significant thought leadership in your market whilst driving interest in your business.

5. Share great content with your brand advocates

Your LinkedIn followers tend to be people that have an interest in your brand. Don’t be fixated with the number of followers you have; you should care more about the quality of your followers. Company updates allow you to interact with your customers, prospects, staff, suppliers and talent pipeline. When they see great content they will share and in turn, your followers and web traffic will grow.

LinkedIn often rolls out updates, and it can be difficult to keep up. LinkedIn strategies need to be kept up to date and will need to evolve as market trends shift. If you are looking for advice and guidance on how to make your LinkedIn strategy work for your business, get in touch with Bright Innovation.

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Zoe MerchantLinkedIn a key part of every B2B marketing strategy
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