Poster for Tom Shapiro and Jason Barnard

Rethink Lead Generation

Many companies are frustrated with their lead generation results. They try following best practices. They try copying successful competitors. They try doing what’s being hyped by the media. But none of these approaches work. In order to truly unleash leads growth, look to extreme creativity, lateral thinking, and marketing innovation.

Scheduled for 08 March 2022 at 17 H CET (Paris)

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Organised by Kalicube in partnership with Wordlift and Digital Olympus.

Part of the Kalicube Tuesdays series.

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[00:04:27] Jason Barnard: Let’s start with your Brand SERP. I always start with the Brand SERP and I’ve been looking you up. I googled your name. And as you can see, as you probably already know Tom Shapiro, very common name, lots of famous people with the name, you get one small presence there with your photo, which has already pretty good going, given your name.

[00:04:44] And then when I looked on your video vertical on the next slide and you get top spot. Thanks to us.

[00:04:52] Tom Shapiro: Nice, nice. Beautiful.

[00:04:54] Jason Barnard: Stefan Bajaio was passing the Baton and the passing the Baton, interestingly enough, because it’s trending. And because it’s a newsworthy, I hope. And because it’s recent often gets the top of those lists, especially with our tweets.

[00:05:09] So there you go, Stefan got you to the top of your own video lists. Thank you, Stefan.

[00:05:14] Tom Shapiro: Fantastic.

[00:05:17] Jason Barnard: Now on with Rethink Lead Generation. The first thing I thought was I haven’t even thought about it, so I’m not rethinking it. I’m just thinking it.

[00:05:27] Tom Shapiro: So the thing is, yeah, with lead generation we specifically speak to B2B companies and for a B2B company, leads are the lifeblood of the business, that’s how you generate revenue. Jason, what we were seeing is a lot of boring lead generation out there by B2B companies. We were seeing a lot of mediocre marketing. And so, I felt there was a need to write a book about how to rethink lead generation to spice it up a bit.

[00:05:57] Jason Barnard: Oh right, have you got your book just behind you there?

[00:06:00] Tom Shapiro: Yes.

[00:06:02] Jason Barnard: There you go. This is my opportunity to plug.

[00:06:05] Tom Shapiro: So let’s see if I can get this in the camera. Yep. There we go.

[00:06:09] Jason Barnard: Brilliant. Okay, because from my perspective, I need to read that, but do you think I need to think about lead generation before I rethink it or can I just rethink it straight away?

[00:06:18] Tom Shapiro: Just rethink it straight away.

[00:06:20] Jason Barnard: Brilliant.

[00:06:21] Tom Shapiro: So you know what a lot of people do when they start thinking about lead generation is they just go to what is described as best practices. And there’s a problem with that. To me, best practices are dead end because essentially what you’re doing is, you’re going to be a copycat brand in a sea of sameness with all of your competitors.

[00:06:45] Yes. Maybe a few firms can be very original in the beginning, but then if everyone is doing the same exact best practices and adhering to the same best practices, then, you’ve lost a lot of differentiation. And so the book goes on to explain how you should really look towards extreme creativity and lateral thinking, thinking differently, marketing innovation to really unleash growth.

[00:07:09] Jason Barnard: But I, from my perspective, copying what everybody else does without adding something original of your own is always going to lead to minimum performance at best. So, this is absolutely no different, lead generation, first of all, can you really quickly just go through what those normal best practices are, because then I can learn that before I start thinking about how to change them.

[00:07:32] Tom Shapiro: Yeah, sure. So a lot of what you’ve read about or what the media is hyping is for instance, you need to do this in LinkedIn or that in LinkedIn, right? Or, this is what you need to do with your email marketing, or this is what you need to do with your SEO. And I’ll use LinkedIn as a good example.

[00:07:54] So with LinkedIn and Jason, I’m sure you, you get hit with this as well. I get inundated with pitches every single day, and I would say that about 90% of them are the same.

[00:08:06] Jason Barnard: And they go straight for the jugular. They go immediately for the style, it’s stunning. And you’re just going even, I just closed them, but I, I don’t see the point because I can’t see how that ever hits home.

[00:08:18] Tom Shapiro: Exactly. And so it’s very clear that they’re all templatized, that they’re being sent out to thousands and thousands of people. There’s nothing customized about it. In fact, I received one yesterday and I’m not lying. It said, Tom, have you ever thought about writing a book?

[00:08:35] Jason Barnard: I think I got the exact same one, to be honest with you because I’ve written a book too, so they obviously haven’t done the research.

[00:08:41] Tom Shapiro: I have your book.

[00:08:43] Jason Barnard: Oh right, brilliant. Wonderful. I’ll get, I better get yours then.

[00:08:48] Tom Shapiro: What I find is that there’s a lot of mass production going on where it’s yes, you can efficiently reach a lot of people, but nothing is customized.

[00:08:58] They don’t understand what our needs are. They don’t understand what our pain points are. They don’t understand what our goals are. And if someone would just take a step back and really analyze what, what is going to resonate most with us and then craft a personalized message to us. We would absolutely respond, but if we’re getting these types of canned messages where it could have been sent to any one of thousands of companies and a thousands of people it’s just, it’s a huge turnoff.

[00:09:26] And so that’s what I mean by a lot of the best practices. I’m sure there’s some guru out there or some masterclasses teaching these techniques because I, I see it all the time. I see it all the time. So someone is absolutely teaching this, but it’s not effective at all. And so that’s why it’s really critical to rethink lead generation ’cause that, that’s the real way to resonate more deeply. It’s the way to drive people to the actions that matter most.

[00:09:55] Jason Barnard: Yeah. The best practices say, I’m going to find my target audience. I’m going to use LinkedIn because it identifies them incredibly well.

[00:10:03] I’m just gonna throw as many emails or as many messages at these people as possible on the assumption that half a percent we’ll stick and that’s enough for me to make a living. The other thing that strikes me is even if it is well crafted to me, if I’ve never seen the person before, I would tend also just to switch off unless it’s incredibly convincing.

[00:10:27] Tom Shapiro: Yeah. Yeah. And the way that we like to approach lead generation is looking at it as relationship building. So you earn the person’s trust. And so the entire book is all about organic methods for lead generation. We don’t believe in paying to play. We don’t believe in paying for a click, that’s renting your audience, and instead of renting, we really want to earn their trust. And so, if you think about it, something like technology, something like how long you’ve been in business or how big you are, anything like that, these are all things that competitors can easily match or beat any technology company for example, how long are they the leading edge.

[00:11:10] At some point, someone is going to leapfrog you. And so what we argue is creativity is the only thing. The only, literally the only thing in your business that cannot be commoditized. And oh, I’m sorry. Go ahead, Jason.

[00:11:23] Jason Barnard: Before we come to creativity, I was talking to Joseph Sherman a few weeks ago about outreach and PR and journalists.

[00:11:32] And he was saying basically the same thing. You need to stand out, you need to be original. You need to understand the other person’s point of view. You need to understand their needs. And he was saying, you need to understand what their editor is asking for and what their deadlines are and what the subjects they need to write about are and approach it from that perspective.

[00:11:42] And he was saying, let’s look at it like lead generation. So this is absolutely perfect as a kind of segue for me. So yeah, you need to personalize. You need to understand the other person. You need to build a relationship. I just want to focus on building a relationship before we go into creativity. What does that involve? Do you have to be best friends?

[00:12:09] Tom Shapiro: No, you do not need to be best friends, but you do need to understand who they are, what they’re trying to achieve, what are their goals, what are their objectives, what are their main pain points, what are they worrying about on Sunday evening heading into the week, what’s that little pit in their stomach.

[00:12:26] You need to understand that. You don’t need to understand things like how many children they have or how old are they or things like that. That type of information doesn’t help you understand what they’re trying to achieve, but if you can really focus in on their psychology around their goals and their pain points, that’s where it’s really very very effective.

[00:12:49] And again, the more that you can apply, creativity apply innovation, apply lateral thinking to this, it can help you build stronger and stronger relationships. I’ll give you an example. So we took on a client last year where they did not have a CRM database at all. So we were dealing with zero contacts.

[00:13:12] And so we said, okay and they were trying to reach the C-suite. And so we said look, you can’t email your way towards the C-suite and expect any results. What we need to do instead is something that’s much more engaging and much more value-driven, you’re going to provide a massive amount of value for these CEO’s and the COO’s. And so what we did was we organized an executive briefing. So it was exclusive to these higher level executives. And we’re providing a massive amount of value in a very short period of time, knowing that executives can’t sit on an hour long webinar or something like that.

[00:13:56] And then what we did was we provided them a mechanism to book meetings right then and there on the screen during the executive briefing. So there’s no follow-up. There’s no oh, we’ll send you an email and just hope and pray that something happens. You enact action right then and there, because that is aligned to the way that an executive operates.

[00:14:17] They’re highly focused in short bursts. And so for those 20 minutes, those 30 minutes that you have them, book the meeting right then and there don’t follow up later.

[00:14:28] Jason Barnard: Brilliant. Absolutely. I saw that Vimeo does that, that you can with Vimeo, you can have things come up on the stream.

[00:14:34] So I’ve actually got the account now and I’m thinking about going down that route. But my other question was in fact what did you share with them during this executive super-duper meeting it wasn’t your product. It was something that’s helpful to them outside of your product?

[00:14:47] Tom Shapiro: It was both, it was sharing this revolutionary technology of our client, but then also explaining the implications for them, that talking about the ROI, talking about the implications for infrastructure and replacing lots of different parts in their plans. And so it was really getting to the business decisions that they have to make and the business drivers, it was revenue and ROI and costs and things like that, rather than getting stuck in the technical details of their technology. I’ve been in marketing for a really long time and one thing that I see over and over with technology companies is they just focus on talking about their technology. That is not why people buy from them. That’s not why a B2B buyer is going to buy from a company. It’s not because the technology is cool or good or better than others it’s because it solves a problem better, or because it helps them achieve their objectives better. And so with the executive briefing, it was totally focused on that.

[00:15:51] Jason Barnard: Okay, brilliant. So that’s one example of creativity. Give me another example, cause I’m looking for ideas as well, because if we’ve got the Kalicube process platform, I’m trying to do this outreach from the first time and actually creating that value is something that we’re trying to do.

[00:16:07] We’re probably not doing it very well. The other thing we don’t have is the CRM. So that’s my first mistake that we’re going to have to resolve tomorrow morning. What other ideas can you throw at me that we could use?

[00:16:19] Tom Shapiro: Yeah, sure. And actually, let me just close out the prior story with some results for you. So, we did the executive briefing without a CRM to begin with.

[00:16:29] So we had to start building their contact database. Within eight weeks we had a hundred people on board for the executive briefing, a hundred executives. And the client is telling us now that they’re so inundated with leads they’re asking us to slow down. And so that’s what we mean by building relationships, right?

[00:16:50] You align the type of marketing and the type of lead gen that it is based on who they are, in this case it was executives, short on time, needing a lot of business value. So very very successful. But if we had simply spammed them with templatized messages, we would have gotten nowhere.

[00:17:07] Jason Barnard: But how did you actually reach out to them and contact them if you didn’t do it through LinkedIn spamming techniques of sending templated. And you’ve got a hundred people, how do you get a hundred people? One by one contacting them?

[00:17:23] Tom Shapiro: So yes, yes, one by one contacting them. So the way that we found them was you can find them in LinkedIn, you can find them through associations, you can find them online. So the act of finding them was relatively straightforward.

[00:17:36] As long as you know who you’re targeting. As long as you have a niche that you’re targeting, it’s relatively straightforward. There’s lots of software out there that helps you uncover people’s email addresses. And so that’s what we used. And and that’s how it worked.

[00:17:50] Jason Barnard: Brilliant. Wonderful. No great. Okay. I’m thinking about all the things we can do and tomorrow my team is going to be terribly inundated with new ideas and they’re going to hate me. They’re probably going to hate you too, which is fair. I’m also one of the brilliant ideas.

[00:18:05] Tom Shapiro: Sure. Yeah let’s talk about this different idea. I kick off the book Rethink Lead Generation with this story of Ginger Shimp, who is a brilliant marketer at the software company, SAP she’s the global content lead.

[00:18:18] So she isn’t in charge of content at SAP. And SAP is a very large software company and they targeted about 25 different verticals, right? Healthcare or aviation or whatever it might happen to be so 25 verticals. So historically what they had done was they would pick two or three of the most relevant verticals. And then they would create all of their content for their content marketing to target those verticals and they would just prioritize. And then she and her team came upon the topic of digital transformation and they said, wow, we can’t prioritize because this is just as applicable to all 25 verticals.

[00:18:58] And so how can we reach all 25 verticals with the same message?

[00:19:02] Jason Barnard: But I’ve got the same problem with Brand SERPs and Knowledge Panels. It applies not just to 25 verticals, but every single vertical in the world. So I’ve got that problem multiplied by a gazillion. So what do I do? And what did they do so that I can then steal the idea and do it myself.

[00:19:18] Tom Shapiro: It’s a great idea to steal. So they developed what they call a digital chop shop. So what that means is that they would create one core piece of content. In this case, it was a white paper, and then they would take 80% of it and apply it to all the different verticals, but then they would customize 20% for every single vertical.

[00:19:43] So it enabled them to scale massively. Then they said, okay how can we do the same thing, but in different content formats. So in other words, take that same type of 80 20 approach to scaling and create infographics and create reports and press releases and presentations and videos and podcasts and Ted Talks and on and on and on.

[00:20:06] In total Jason, they created 650 pieces of snackable content targeting 25 different verticals. And you might say, okay did it work? And it did in spades, they generated $23 million US in pipeline from this one campaign. And so obviously they’ve replicated this over and over and over again through the years.

[00:20:33] Jason Barnard: Brilliant actually, I’m sorry. While you were saying, I was thinking of the things we can do and Katrina is going to be terribly pleased because one of them is the checklist for Brand SERPs and the checklist for Knowledge Panels that would fit exactly into that because it is 80% exactly the same thing with 20% that we can personalize for each different vertical and then allow people to download it and also providing data Lawrence O’Toole from Authoritas once suggested to me that we could use the Kalicube Pro database and provide that segmented data by industry. And I’ve already got the data. I’ve just got to package it in a way that makes it snackable and useful.

[00:21:09] Thank you very much. That’s already too many ideas for tomorrow. But and so we’ve got, my biggest problem here, sorry, it’s not so much creating the content, but actually getting to the people. And obviously there are tools out there to find the emails or to contact them through LinkedIn.

[00:21:29] My question then is how do I build a relationship? What approach should I be taking if I’m emailing somebody cold to get them into this snackable content, all the brilliant event that I’ve created.

[00:21:39] Tom Shapiro: Yeah. So again, it comes back to understanding their psychology, understanding their goals, what matters most to them and connecting with them on a one-to-one human basis.

[00:21:52] I’ll give you an example. One of the services that we provide is account-based marketing, ABM. And so I have an entire chapter in the book all about how you can use account-based marketing for better lead generation. Now, keep in mind, this only works if your price point is high enough, because if your price point is really tiny, then it costs too much in terms of investment of effort and resources in order for this to pay off.

[00:22:19] But as long as your price point is at a certain level, what you do is you flip the funnel. And so instead of inbound marketing where you have no idea who might contact you today or tomorrow, or the next day, with ABM you know exactly who’s going to contact you who’s or at least who’s going to be in touch with your brand.

[00:22:39] And what I mean by that is you’re going to wave a magic wand and you’re going to select your ideal future clients. So if you could pick your next 100 or 200 or 300 ideal accounts, or let’s say you have an account, that’s an enterprise and you want to expand within that enterprise into other divisions works the same exact way.

[00:23:04] And so what you do is you target those specific individuals who make up your wishlist and you reach out to them repeatedly over and over and over every single month, oftentimes, usually multiple times a month. And what you’re doing is you’re customizing in any way that you can, so that might be audience segmentation.

[00:23:23] It might be by role. It might be by geography. It totally depends on what’s appropriate for you, but I’ll give you an example of this, where you know when the pandemic hit, our video partner their name is Rewatchable. They were hit hard by the pandemic. The business dried up because no one wanted to create videos anymore because it used to be pre pandemic, you would go on site, you would be in person, you have lots of people on set. And so their business completely dried up and they were panicking. And I talked to them about the power of ABM and what they did was they started reaching out to different accounts with customized videos and the videos were 100% customized for each company, each account that they were reaching out.

[00:24:09] Jason Barnard: Sorry, I wasn’t interrupting. I am now, but I wasn’t interrupting. I was going, Ooh. Cause I just had another idea. So my team is gonna hate me even more than they did before. Sorry. Yes. Carry on. So individual very well-made videos to specific people. Totally bespoken personalized.

[00:24:26] Tom Shapiro: Exactly. And so I’ll give you an example, for certain accounts they simply had a talking head speaking to the issues of the day and then to another account, they had already been producing certain videos for that account.

[00:24:42] And so what they did was they recreated the background. So it looked like the exact same background. It was in a lab, it was a scientific lab. And so they recreated the scientific lab and made it look like they were shooting their video for this account in their lab, in the client’s lab. And they said, see, we can do anything even with the pandemic.

[00:25:02] You can be at home, we’ll show you and you can still be in your scientific lab. And this caught fire. When they sent this, all of a sudden it was being shared all around the enterprise to divisions that they had never worked with ever before and they were inundated with calls. They wound up that the ABM campaign was so successful that it immediately brought in an incremental $500,000 US because of these efforts.

[00:25:30] Jason Barnard: Right and that’s the nice thing from him thinking it from a perspective that content creation is not actually difficult to do anymore. Back in the day 25 years ago, when the internet started, you didn’t really have the software, you didn’t have the means to do it, the so much software to be able to do this stuff.

[00:25:46] Recording on a green screen. I did that the other day for Digital Olympus and just taking the green screen, you have the video and you can put anything behind me. So potentially that’s of another groovy idea. Let’s have another idea I’m having fun here.

[00:26:02] Tom Shapiro: Yeah, so one thing that I like to do is I always like to think what if we did the opposite, okay.

[00:26:14] Jason Barnard: So you had to just hold that thought. Hold that thought. Turn the funnel upside down. I just wanted to point out we had David Bain on a few weeks ago, and he’s talking about his pump and funnel model, and it’s brilliant. It’s absolute genius. So if you want to watch that episode at some point, it’s great, but we’ve now got the pump and funnel upside down the funneling pump or something like that, which would be brilliant.

[00:26:34] So we’re going to try to mix that with Katrina, mix the pump and funnel with the upside down funnel and see what comes out. Which sounds slightly strange. Anyway, off you go.

[00:26:43] Tom Shapiro: I love it, a remix. I love it. So yeah so Jason, if you take me the framework, right? The thinking framework of what, if we did the opposite, it’s a fantastic way for you to explore lateral thinking and creative thinking and marketing innovation, something that your competitors never would have dreamed of doing.

[00:27:03] And I’ll give you a good example. At the last agency that I was at prior to starting Stratabeat, one of the things that the company did was it would spend tens of thousands of dollars on each marketing conference or trade show. So we would spend 30,000, $50,000 US on each trade shows hundreds of thousands of dollars a year just to be attending these conferences.

[00:27:27] Now, what happens? You go to these conference. You’re at the booth and you’re talking with someone for about two minutes and then they go to the next booth and the next booth and the next booth and the next booth, and guess who is in those booths? Your competitors. It’s not it’s a, it’s not rocket science that this is not a good thing.

[00:27:47] Jason Barnard: And that brings me to giving out t-shirts when we were talking about swag from Ahrefs, people love swag. I personally don’t particularly get excited about it because everybody gives me a t-shirt. I end up with this big part of t-shirts and I can’t take them home with me, cause my rucksack is already full.

[00:28:04] And from that perspective, somebody gave me something different or did something different. I would definitely be on board. So carry on with your story. I was just to comment about t-shirts and absolutely nobody asked me to make that comment and please don’t stop giving t-shirts ’cause lots of people love it.

[00:28:24] Tom Shapiro: And I think that your example of, yeah, everyone giving out t-shirts is another example of everyone following best practices. They were told, oh, you have to give t-shirts cause then they wear it and they remember your brand. If everyone is doing the same exact thing, it’s ineffective, it’s just ineffective.

[00:28:39] You’re not going to drive a lot of leads. And that’s why a lot of B2B marketers are frustrated because they’re doing these things that, Hey, I gave out all these t-shirts why aren’t I getting leads? It’s because everyone’s doing it. And so it’s very diluted. Your marketing is very diluted. And so what we did was we thought what if we did the opposite? So colleague and myself said, okay, instead of getting in front of thousands and thousands of marketers, all at the same time, I had these big trade shows, these big conferences. What if we got in front of as few people as possible, but we had amazingly intense conversations with them, amazingly valuable conversations with them.

[00:29:18] And so we were launching a Chicago office at the time. And so we said, let’s capitalize on that opportunity. And so we rented out a room at the house of blues. Music is lots of fun, lots of great food. And so we said rent out a room and we’ll invite people and we’ll just talk with them.

[00:29:38] Just talk with them and no competitors. No, we’re not going to 30 competitors right next to us giving out t-shirts. And so we did this and the first event, we only got 10 people to show up 10 marketers showed up.

[00:29:50] Jason Barnard: It’s not the point at which people think, oh, it’s not really working, I’ll give up.

[00:29:55] And in fact, you then say, let’s keep doing it because it ends up becoming a “thing”.

[00:29:59] Tom Shapiro: Well think about it. So let me tell you what happened that evening. So we only had 10 people show up, and yet you and maybe everyone listening is thinking, wow, that really sucks. That’s really horrible.

[00:30:11] But the reality is that we walked away with a seven-figure contract from that as well as a six-figure contract from that, massive sales. And then, so we did another one and we got a few more people, so it was a little better. And again, we walked away with a seven-figure contract with a Fortune 500 company.

[00:30:31] And so, we did the exact opposite of what anyone, any sane person would do. We were not very sane when we decided to do this, but we just said, let’s do the opposite. And Jason, I, internally at the company, there were certain people who were vehemently opposed to this. They said it will never work. It will never work.

[00:30:48] It got so bad. They went to the CEO of the company to try and shut us down. And we said, nope, we’re doing it. We’re going to try anyway. And so we did it and it became the number one leads driver for the agency. So I was the 85th employee at the agency. We skyrocketed to over 700 employees in five years.

[00:31:07] And this was the number one way that we generated leads was these tiny tiny little events.

[00:31:13] Jason Barnard: And to round all this up the problem you’ve just put your finger on the problem. If your original people don’t want to do it because they’re taking a risk with that job, they’ve taken a risk of looking stupid or foolish in front of the boss, just to finish up, how do you get around that?

[00:31:33] Tom Shapiro: So, you need to explain that you’re just testing, it’s not permanent, it’s just a test. And if you frame it as a test, people are a bit more willing to give it a chance. So I would definitely frame it as a test. And you’re maintaining the risk of costs, right?

[00:31:53] So we’re going to limit it to X number of dollars or whatever currency you’re working with. And you have to explain that to the top executives.

[00:32:03] Jason Barnard: Which is perfect. It be creative, frame it as a test, limit the cost, limit the risk, show how brilliant you are, make a fortune for your company and become everybody’s favorite friend within the company.

[00:32:17] Thank you so much, Tom. That was brilliant. You’ve given us lots of ideas, at least for me, and I hope to the audience as well. Thank you to everyone for joining us. We’re going to introduce next week, which is the 100th episode, as I said… I’m really excited and I have a 100th birthday cake here with two characters and I was going to do an amazing animation.

[00:32:34] I’d written the scenario and everything. I just haven’t had time in the last couple of weeks with everything that’s going on. It’s going to be with Carrie Rose who’s absolutely brilliant. And she’s going to be talking about why SEO should be more reactive and short term. And before that, don’t forget to submit your favorite knowledge nugget for the knowledge nugget competition.

[00:32:53] Look on our social media channels for how to do that. And now could you possibly pass the baton to Carrie, Tom?

[00:33:00] Tom Shapiro: Absolutely. So Carrie is going to be an amazing guest and I, if I can go this way and pass the baton to her. Oh yeah. So everyone should definitely check out Carrie next week.

[00:33:13] Jason Barnard: Brilliant.

[00:33:15] Wonderful. Thank you. So everybody submit your favorite knowledge and I get so that we can choose a winner and we can announce it next week with Carrie. That’s going to be absolutely amazing. Thank you so much, Tom for today, I’ve learned absolutely boatloads. You get the outro song: that’s great. Good bye to end the show. Thank you, Tom. That was a lot of fun.

[00:33:37] Tom Shapiro: Thank you so much, Jason. And thank you for singing.

[00:33:40] Jason Barnard: That’s a pleasure. I love singing. Give me any excuse. I will sing a song. Thank you, everybody. Kalicube. It’s all about your Brand SERP.

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