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TechJournal founder, Randall Gregg, remembered

Monday, April 28th, 2014

"Photo:<br DURHAM, NC- Randall (Randy) Gregg, 44, who founded the Triangle Tech Journal, precursor to the TechJournal, and seven other publications, was killed Friday, April 25th in a motorcycle accident in Durham.

Randy was a valued colleague and friend who loved creating both digital and print publications. He also loved adventure.

In an obituary, his brother Crash Gregg, editor and publisher of the Raleigh Downtowner, another publication Randy founded, wrote:

“He volunteered as an embedded journalist accompanying the Air Force in Haiti right after the earthquake, covered Hurricane Irene in Pamlico as it happened and wrote thousand of articles in his pursuit to tell the untold story. He was proud to have met four American Presidents, was interviewed on CNN and other national news shows numerous times and published four photography books of his travels and adventures.”

Other publications he created include The Raleigh Telegram, The Sun of Guilford County,and RTP-TV.

We never saw him without a camera and he published four books of his photographs.

He also loved vehicles, boats as well as motorcycles and once bought a full-sized bus he outfitted as an office with plush furniture.

Born in Greensboro, he was well known in the Research Triangle as a serial entrepreneur and journalist. He took a law degree, but never practiced.

He is survived by his mother and father, Grace and Stewart Gregg of the Greensboro area, and brothers Crash and Eric of Raleigh. He leaves behind a legacy of journalistic and philanthropic accomplishments and a large group of friends and family around the globe who will miss him dearly.

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, May 3rd at 11:00am at First Baptist Church of Summerfield, located at 2300 Scalesville Rd, Summerfield, NC 27358. In lieu of flowers, a contributing fund has been set up in Randall’s name at www.crowdrise.com/randallgregg

Atlanta’s Kanga takes on the $86B local delivery industry

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

By Allan Maurer

Everett Steele

Everett Steele

Can a crowd-sourced start-up in Atlanta outfox the $86 billion courier and local delivery service industry? Kanga, which launched in March (2014) and has $1 million in seed funding, is using mobile crowdsourcing technology to match consumers with local drivers who bid to provide the delivery service requested.

After the consumer selects the preferred driver, an order dispatches the delivery location and timeframe. Kanga says it also benefits local or independent retailers seeking a competitive edge over Internet retail giants by offering affordable professional delivery services.

This “last mile” delivery service is so important it has firms such as Amazon considering using drones to speed it up locally. But Kanga has a different concept, innovative in its own way.

“It feels good to interact with local shops you enjoy but with the convenience of eBay or Amazon,” says Everett Steele, Kanga president and co-founder.

An appetite for innovation

Kanga, one of the intriguing startups you can meet at the upcoming Eighth Annual Southeast Venture Conference in Atlanta, May 6-4 in Atlanta,  already has 35 drivers in the Atlanta Metro area and expects to kick that up to 100 over the next quarter or so, according to Steele.

“Atlanta has a strong appetite for innovation and a passion for all things local, which makes it the perfect test market for our launch,” says Everett Steele, Kanga president and co-founder, said at the time of the seed funding in March.

Steele tells us he comes from an entrepreneurial family. “My grandfather went from rags to riches,” he says. “He grew up in a dirt floor house in Columbus, Georgia, then at one point owned the baseball team and hotel in Columbus. My father built a huge transport company (Sunbelt Transportation). So I’m following in their footsteps.

He started his own entrepreneurial career early going door-to-door on his bicycle selling candy as a kid and says, “I’ve been in just about every genre of business since. Sales, marketing, technology, lots of different things.” Most recently that included Baby Robot Industries in Atlanta – which is a marketing agency.

A Hip-Hop cookbook?

Steele tells us the idea for Kanga came from an incident when he left his cell phone at a barber shop and had to pay someone to bring it back.

The service is looking at expanding into other markets, including Charlotte, Austin, Texas, and Tuscon. “We’ll be expanding aggressively over the next year to 18 months,” says Steele.

Steele himself – who once wrote a Hip-Hop Cookbook (“Bon Rappetite: The Hip Hop Cookbook,”) as a lark, says he is a diehard Braves fan and a mediocre guitar player.  But he clearly loves Atlanta. “I love the history, the food, the innovation…and it’s bottom line friendly,” he says.

 

 

Durham-based ArchiveSocial selected for Code for America Accelerator program

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013
Anil Chawla

Anil Chawla, founder, CEO, Archive Social..

Durham-based ArchiveSocial has been selected out of 190 national applicants to join the Code for America Accelerator, an exclusive four-month program focused on startups disrupting the state of technology in the public sector.

ArchiveSocial CEO Anil Chawla tells the TechJournal, “We receive an equity-free $25,000 grant, get to spend a week in their San Francisco headquarters each month for four months (Aug – Nov), and receive mentoring from high-caliber folks like Tim O’Reilly and Aneesh Chopra. O’Reilly is credited with coining the term Web 2.0 and Chopra is the former White House Chief Technology Officer.

Impact government for the greater good

ArchiveSocial was founded in 2011 to provide business-grade record keeping of social media for a variety of industries, but quickly realized that there was a special opportunity to impact government for the greater good.

An example of ArchiveSocial’s commitment to disrupting the state of technology in government, the startup pioneered a first-of-its-kind interactive “Open Archive” of social media available for any citizen to access. The states of North Carolina and South Carolina were the first to launch Open Archives with the company, with other major cities and counties following suit.

Although the company will temporarily work from San Francisco for the four months of the program, it says it remains “dedicated to its roots in Durham.”

ArchiveSocial has participated in several local initiatives including Startup Stampede, Triangle Startup Factory, and NC IDEA. The company was also the first tenant of the highly-touted American Underground @Main campus in Durham, which is now home to more than 40 local startups.

“The local startup community has opened more doors for us than I can count, and I can directly credit our involvement here in the Triangle with creating this opportunity for us. We now hope to play our small part in building the bridge between Silicon Valley and the incredible talent, technology, and unique perspective that the Triangle community has to offer,” Chawla said in a statement.

ArchiveSocial enables public entities to safely and effectively utilize social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. ArchiveSocial is the industry’s first archiving technology providing 100% authentic capture of social media for compliance with state and federal records laws such as FOIA. It provides a legal safety net, and eliminates the time and effort required to respond to public records requests.

Chawla participated in TechMedia’s Startup Summit, part of the Internet Summit in Raleigh in November last year. The Startup Summit will again be part of this year’s event.

Small increase in search engine best practices: huge boost in traffic, conversions

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

By Allan Maurer

Aaron Houghton

Aaron Houghton of Boostsuite is on his 15th startup.

If you’re looking for a way to substantially boost traffic and conversions on a small business web site, research shows that even a small increase in compliance with search engine best practices can do the trick. And read on for a single effective headline tactic that drives clicks.

Durham, NC-based Boostsuite conducted a comprehensive study of small business websites and their compliance with those search engine best practices. Boostsuite measures compliance by analyzing website pages and assigning them grades from A+ to F. Users of the company’s basic, $19 a month plan to pinpoint simple changes to conform to search engine guidelines saw traffic increases of up to 214 percent and an increase in sales leads and purchases of 146 percent.

Aaron Houghton, founder and CEO of Boostsuite tells the TechJournal that some of study findings were surprising. The average small business website has 140 pages. “That’s a lot more than we would have guessed,” says Houghton. “But there are categories where it’s easy to get a lot of pages. Ecommerce sites, for instance. Even if they don’t have many employees, could still hae a catalog of 1200 pages.”

How often is new content posted?

Media sites and active bloggers also generate a lot of pages, he says.

The study also found that 60 percent of small businesses add new content to their site once a month and the average growing site adds 15 new pages each month. While Google has said its new algorithms could punish sites that publish too much content for their size, Houghton thinks “It’s hard to overdo it. But a weekly publishing schedule may be the sweet spot for staying in Google’s good graces.”

Google pandaHe admits that figuring out exactly what Google wants can lead to gray areas, but says the basics are simple: Don’t republish content available elsewhere verbatim. You can be inspired by the topic, but write your own copy.”

Another study finding: the software and IT services industry racks up the highest number of average monthly online marketing conversions, mostly sales leads. “That’s the most tech savvy group,” Houghton notes. But he suggests that digital marketing companies are better off designing products that a marketer with no tech experience or knowledge can use effortlessly.

In particular, he says software companies selling products that give users less data – even in easier to understand formats such as plain English – isn’t useful to small businesses. “It can be valuable to expert marketers,” he says, but doesn’t help those who need to know what to do about the problems the data exposes.

“If you still need someone to analyze the data, it doesn’t help the local coffee shop owner be more successful,” he says. Boostsuite’s product, he notes, not only analyzes a website’s compliance with search engine best practices, it also provides actions the user can take to remedy site problems.

A headline trick that drives clicks

Finally, the study also identified a headline tactic that is the most successful at driving clicks. The keyword “7 reasons” is the most commonly used “high opportunity” keyword for software and IT businesses. “The reality,” says Houghton, “is that kind of information content – clearly about solving a problem – is what drives sales. “Seven ways to do this, 7 things not to do, that sort of thing, short and to the point, is incredibly effective for driving leads, much better than advertising.”

Houghton is on about his 15th startup if you count those for which he didn’t take any outside funding, the best known probably being Triangle-based iContact, the email marketing firm he co-founded. Four employee Boostsuite grew its revenue 688 percent in its first six months. “The numbers are small but positive in the right direction,” he says.

The company has not sought outside funding and isn’t looking right now, but Houghton says, “When the time is right, six to 12 months out” the company might seek backing to expand its marketing and advertising efforts.

Here’s the infographic Boostsuite developed from its study:

Small Business Marketing Statistics based on 6,000 BoostSuite users

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winklevoss fund could bring bitcoin into the mainstream

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013
Bitcoins

Bitcoins

UPDATED – The digital world is abuzz with the news that Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, famous for their dispute over the creation of Facebook, have filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to create an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that would let investors trade bitcoins like stock.

The Winklevoss twins, who spoke at one of TechMedia’s earliest Southeast Venture Conferences, have what the New York Times calls “sizeable bitcoin holdings,” and say their proposed $20 million bitcoin trust could thrust the virtual currency into the mainstream.

Created by anonymous hackers in 2009, bitcoin are entirely virtual, created by a network of users who use a complex mathematical method called “mining.” Some stores and web sites accept them as payment (BitPay processed 4,500 applications from merchants as of March).

Stehpen Pair

Stephen Pair, co-founder of BitPay.

No personal or financial info required

Stephen Pair, co-founder and CTO of Bitpay, a leading bitcoin transaction processor, handled over $5.2 million in bitcoin transactions for its merchants during month of March. The Winklevoss filing notes that “The value of bitcoins is determined by the value that various market participants place on bitcoins through their transactions.”

Pair says, “Fundamentally, Bitcoin is newer and better software for conducting transactions. It doesn’t require providing any personal or financial information that’s so attractive to thieves online. There is no other method of payment over the Internet that doesn’t involve a bank, credit card or PayPal.” Pair spoke at TechMedia’s recent sold-out Digital Summit in Atlanta and discussed “What will make bitcoin succeed or fail” in an interview with the TechJournal.

We asked Pair for his outlook on the proposed ETF. He replied:

“A Bitcoin fund is a great way to allow people to invest and trade bitcoins without actually holding them and having to secure them.  It makes a Bitcoin investment available to people through traditional and familiar brokerage services.  I expect that there will be multiple Bitcoin ETF like products available in the future.  Such funds will add liquidity to the Bitcoin market and open new avenues through which BitPay could manage its trading operations.”

Tyler Winklevoss told the Times the Winklevoss Trust “brings bitcoin to Main Street and mainstream investors to bitcoin.”

Both bitcoin and the proposed Winklevoss fund pose security and legal difficulties that Simone Foxman examines at Quartz.

In fact, the Times points out that it isn’t even certain securities regulators will approve the Winklevoss proposal. The proposal itself includes 18 pages of risk factors, including the relatively small use of bitcoins in the market compared to that of speculators, and the uncertain regulatory environment, among others.

Also, over at TechCrunch, you can read about This ATM machine turns bitcoins into cash.

 

B2B websites need to improve industry-wide

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

ForeSeeIndustry-wide improvement is necessary in B2B websites, which are generally not providing satisfactory customer experiences, says ForeSee. Those who don’t may lose customers, and those who improve will also boost their business.

Overall, the average customer satisfaction with B2B websites is at 64 on ForeSee’s 100-point scale, representing the industry measurement against which B2B companies can measure their own online customer satisfaction, according to ForeSee’s annual Business-to-Business (B2B) Benchmark that reports on customer satisfaction trends.

With ForeSee’s methodology, scores of 80 and higher are classified as “highly satisfied,” while scores of 69 and lower are considered “less satisfied.”

The B2B industry average score of 64 indicates that business customers are generally less satisfied with the online experiences that B2Bs provide and that industry-wide improvement is critical.

Across the Spectrum
As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, ForeSee’s technology is founded on a scientific methodology that has demonstrated a strong relationship between customer satisfaction and a company’s financial future. Essentially, when customer satisfaction is scientifically measured, it can be used to predict key outcomes such as future purchase, recommendations and loyalty.

While customer satisfaction with B2B companies improved from 62 to 64 since last measured in June 2012, the industry continues to lag behind Business-to-Customer (B2C) companies by nine percent in terms of satisfaction.

Satisfaction scores for individual B2B companies included in the benchmark range from a low of 26 to a high of 86. This dynamic range in satisfaction illustrates that some companies are performing at an extremely high level and are being rewarded by their customers with a higher likelihood to recommend and return again, while lower-scoring companies are running the risk of alienating not only their existing customer base but future prospects as well.

Predicting Future Behavior
ForeSee’s benchmark provides insights into the value of a highly satisfied customer (those who rated their satisfaction at 80 or higher) by comparing their likely future behaviors to those of less-satisfied customers (with satisfaction below 70). This comparison illustrates the impact that customer satisfaction with B2B experiences can have on a company’s future success.

Based on likelihood scores, highly satisfied customers report being:

  • 67% more likely than less-satisfied customers to return to the site, which means higher frequency of interaction, improved engagement and increased share of mind and wallet.
  • 79% more likely to purchase next time, which means increased sales.
  • 133% more likely to recommend the company, which means more business and increased loyalty.

The ForeSee B2B benchmark includes customer satisfaction scores for companies including Cummins, Eaton, Emerson Network Power, Gale-Cengage, HNI Enterprise, MSC Industrial Supply, Praxair, ProQuest and Scholastic.

“Looking at the industry average score, there is clearly some work to be done in the B2B space, but it’s important to acknowledge that many organizations are ahead of the game and are providing their customers with a highly satisfactory experience,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee.

“Those who are lagging should answer the charge, take steps to focus on what elements are most important to customers and make improvements that will have the greatest impact on improving the customer experience.”

Half of media and entertainment revenue coming from digital

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
Samsung Smart TV

A Samsung Smart TV.

The average revenue of media and entertainment (M&E) companies will shortly cross the 50 percent mark from majority traditional to majority digital, according to a new report, Digital agility now! Creating a high-velocity media and entertainment organization in the age of transformative technology, released today by Ernst & Young that surveyed more than 550 senior executives from global M&E companies.

Today, revenue from digital is 47 percent and survey respondents say that by 2015 it will account for 57 percent of revenue – thus making digital the new norm and the primary source of revenue for M&E companies.

It isn’t always considered in these studies, but the impact of this change on media and entertainment company offerings is already substantial and likely to increase. It can lead to serious disruption of traditional industries. TV replaced radio as the primary in home entertainment device in the 1950s and had a devastating effect on movie attendance. The Internet seriously challenged the newspaper and magazine industries, and continues to do so.

Characteristics of digital leaders

The study goes on to identify characteristics of M&E “digital leaders” – companies that are using new technology not only to deliver digital products and services, but to build more agile organizations capable of sensing and responding far faster to shifting customer expectations and marketplace opportunities and risks.

The digital leaders are pioneering the path to a higher level of organizational agility as the M&E industry transitions to digital as its new norm.

“Mobile-social-cloud and big data analytics technologies are game-changers for M&E firms,” says
Pat Hyek, Global Technology Industry Leader, Ernst & Young. “These technologies can help M&E digital leaders who broke ahead of the pack in the early stages of digital to extend their advantages, as well as offer opportunities for those who fell behind to adapt quickly and catch up.”

Major differentiators

According to Digital agility now! Creating a high-velocity media and entertainment organization in the age of transformative technology, a major differentiator between these digital leaders and other survey respondents is a greater emphasis on mobile-social-cloud and big data analytics technologies for internal collaboration.

For example, digital leaders are 60% more likely than all other respondents to emphasize the importance of social media for internal communication among employees: 67% said it was “very” or “extremely” important, versus 42% of all others. The study points to the kind of rapid collaboration that is enabled by social networks and characteristic of an agile organization, where silos are broken down by the ready flow of information.

Advanced social listening programs

The study shows that digital leaders’ advanced social listening programs, leading-edge analytics and cloud-based infrastructure enable rapid deployment of new products and resources, and give companies the ability to quickly learn from and fix mistakes. This organizational agility is necessary
to meet the demands of rapidly evolving digital consumer behavior.

“Media & Entertainment companies no longer live in a world where everything lives in ‘their’ world. It’s a connected eco-system with consumer technology leading the way,” says John Nendick, Global Media & Entertainment Leader, Ernst & Young.

Other results from the survey include:

  • Technology alliances: Digital leaders emphasize alliances that let them act faster than “going it alone”; 51% rank alliances with technology and other M&E partners among their top three strategic priorities for digital transformation, vs. 30% for others.
  • Second-generation deployments: Digital leaders were generally more than twice as likely to incorporate lessons learned from initial technology deployments to achieve more advanced functionality. For example, 49% of digital leaders use second-generation mobile technologies to develop products/services vs. 16% of all others.
  • Smart mobility: Similarly, 32% of digital leaders use second-generation or later techniques in mobility to enhance employee engagement and communication, vs. 13% of all others.
  • Cloud: Digital leaders emphasize the importance of cloud computing to enhance internal and customer-facing flexibility. For example, 74% of digital leaders say it’s important to host business tools in the cloud, vs. 49% of all others; and 43% of digital leaders use second-generation cloud solutions to speed product/service development vs. 12% of all others.
  • Big data analytics: Digital leaders are three times more likely than other respondents to use second-generation big data analytics techniques to improve customer engagement (26% vs. 9%). Among all respondents, 66% rely on in-house resources to get insight into customers yet 41% say they gain no insight from their data, suggesting they don’t have the right big data analytics tools or skills in place and may be better off partnering to access external resources.

Agility Index

The report concludes with an agility index that ranks the relative organizational agility of different M&E segments as well as enabling technology and digital leaders. The average score of all respondents is indexed to 100. A score of 110 denotes performance 10% above average; 90 is 10% below average.

Banks see big data, mobile wallets as priorities

Monday, June 10th, 2013

mobilewalletBankers believe mobile wallets add value beyond just banking and most think Big Data will help them boost top line revenue. Not surprisingly, most banks would like to “own” their customer’s financial transactions.

That’s according to  the results of an NGDATA survey executed by Finextra in co-operation with Clear2Pay – sharing insights from 183 global bankers around issues like the monetization of mobile payments and the value and revenue that could be generated with the support of Big Data.

The survey was executed in Q1 of 2013 and respondents were primarily (76 percent) employed by large banks with more than 2500 employees and ranged from C-level executives to business development, IT and marketing strategy management – with a nearly even split between national and international banks.

Banks and the Mobile Wallet
There continues to be growing awareness among banking executives as it pertains to mobile wallet strategies. More than half of respondents said they understood the mobile wallet’s role in the overall mobile banking ecosystem.

In terms of the biggest mobile wallet drivers and strategies, the survey found that:

• 81 percent of banks would like to add value beyond the transaction by making relevant commercial offers at the Point of Sale (POS);

• 67 percent of banks said they would like to capture and be the full custodian of their customers’ value (money, coupons, air miles, etc.);

• 43 percent said they have plans to deploy a mobile wallet offering within the next six to 12 months;

• 60 percent believe that the natural home for mobile wallet is within the trusted banking environment, rather than a third party application; and

• 49 percent said they would co-operate if there was an open industry wallet initiative to drive the future of a customer-centric mobile wallet offering.

Big Data is a Big Priority
Customer churn and engagement has become one of the top issues for most banks. In fact, several empirical studies and models have proven that churn remains one of the biggest destructors of enterprise value. Yet, while most banks are aware how important a Big Data strategy is when it comes to understanding customers, many are still unsure of how to effectively assess and use their data to improve customer loyalty and lower attrition. Approximately 44 percent of banks claim they do not have the right resources in place to take advantage of Big Data. Additionally, 68 percent say that one-to-one targeting and personalized product offers are or will be an important business driver for their Big Data initiative.

Other findings from the survey include:

money• 76 percent of banks say that the business driver for embracing Big Data is to enhance customer engagement, retention and loyalty;

• 71 percent acknowledged that in order to increase their top line, banks need to better understand customers and Big Data will help them do so; and

• 55 percent of banks feel that having a real-time view of data provides a significant competitive advantage and believe that batch mode data is ineffective.

“We truly believe that banks are best positioned to deliver the ultimate customer experience to their clients and move beyond the payment into the heart of the transaction, thereby adding value and meaning to clients and merchants alike.

“This way people can use the bank’s infrastructure from any device for any value: real or virtual or loyalty points with the same security and ease of use they are already accustomed to. This way, the wallet becomes a ‘brand wrapper’ for the bank instead of a disintermediator,” said Mark Hartley, Chief Innovation Officer at Clear2Pay.

“Banks are in a vulnerable stage when it comes to losing customers to outside businesses. This survey is a clear indicator that there is a lot of confusion about how to effectively use Big Data to increase customer loyalty by offering personalized and convenient methods of banking,” said Luc Burgelman, co-founder and CEO of NGDATA.

“These banks are sitting on a goldmine of data that will help them better understand what their customers want and what they are interested in. By quickly finding a way to access and use this data to their benefit, as well as working with the customer on how they can better control its use, through opt in programs, banks will greatly improve customer retention rates and therefore be uniquely positioned to win on the mobile wallet and mobile banking fronts.”

This survey is part of an on-going relationship between the two companies on the issue of mobile payments and Big Data.

“Homing from work” offers opportunities to markters

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Office PulseMore people are putting in longer hours at work, but manage to keep a work/life balance by “Homing from work,” according to a Captivate Network Office Pulse survey. That means they take care of some personal, home and family needs during the workday.

That trends opens up numerous opportunities for digital marketers.

Captivate first looked at the issue of work/life balance in 2011. The 2013 study revealed there has been an 11 percent increase in the number of people reporting a healthy work/life balance since 2011.

This improvement comes despite a 30 percent increase in respondents reporting working more than nine hours a day. This unique finding of longer working hours but healthier balance seems to be explained by the increase in “Homing from Work” behavior.

“People seem to be getting more comfortable with putting in longer hours,” said Scott Marden, research director at Captivate Network. “Part of that appears to come from the growing ability to take care of personal business during the workday. In fact, 93 percent of people reported “Homing from Work.” It’s a definite shift and it’s impacting not only the way people work but also the types of issues and activities that are on their minds during the workday.”

Receptive to home and personal offers

Most advertisers recognize that white-collar workers are in-market for business products and services during the workday. The research from Captivate’s Office Pulse shows that its audience would also be receptive to offers that help them manage their home and personal lives.

“What ‘Homing from Work’ says to me is that the channels that reach people during the workday should be used for more than B2B brands,” said Dan Levi, chief marketing officer at Captivate. “This research points to new opportunities for reaching consumers when they are researching and purchasing products and services for themselves and their families.”

The fastest growing “Homing from Work” activities are entertainment (an 80 percent increase between 2011 and 2013); surfing and shopping online (a 63 percent increase between 2011 and 2013), running errands (a 31 percent increase between 2011 and 2013) and shopping in retail stores (a 34 percent increase between 2011 and 2013).

Captivate’s Office Pulse study uncovered details on the specific types of products and services people report engaging with during the work day:

Online Activity Percent

Engaging

Financial / Insurance 83%
Travel 66%
Gifts / Clothing 50%
Career / Lifestyle 31%

*Base: Workday Online Surfers

Errands Percent

Engaging

Banking 71%
ATM 56%
Gifts / Greeting Cards / Flowers 52%
Personal Mailing / Shipping 46%
Doctors / Dentists Appts 45%

*Base: Conduct Workday Errands

Shopping Percent

Engaging

Clothes, Jewelry and Accessories 85%
Food, Beverages, Medicine 66%
Gifts 47%

*Base: Conduct Workday Shopping

“The workplace presents an under-utilized advertising opportunity,” said Levi. “People are researching and purchasing products, they are stepping out to take care of personal business and highly-targeted media channels like Captivate Network can effectively educate them on their options and alternatives. This study reinforces that there is an opportunity for marketers to make the phenomenon of ‘Homing from Work’, work for them.”

A detailed report on the findings, “Captivate Office Pulse: Work-Life Balance Research Insights 2013,” is available atcaptivate.com/homing-from-work/.

Silicon Valley deals show Q1 weakness in venture environment

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Fenwick signFenwick & West , a law firm providing comprehensive legal services to high technology and life science clients, in its First Quarter 2013 Silicon Valley Venture Capital Survey.

The survey analyzed the valuations and terms of venture financings for 118 technology and life science companies headquartered in the Silicon Valley that raised capital in the first quarter of 2013.

“During the first quarter of 2013, up rounds exceeded down rounds 68% to 11%, with 21% flat.  This was a slight decline from the fourth quarter of 2012, when up rounds exceeded down rounds 71% to 8%, with 21% flat,” said Barry Kramer, partner in the Corporate Group of Fenwick & West and co-author of the survey.

An up round is one in which the price per share at which a company sells its stock has increased since its prior financing round. Conversely, a down round is one in which the price per share has declined since a company’s prior financing round.

However, the Fenwick & West Venture Capital Barometer – which measures the percentage change in share price of companies funded during the quarter compared with the share price of their previous financing round – showed a 57% average price increase for the quarter, a noticeable decline from the 85% reported in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Similarly, the median price increase of those financings was only 14%, a significant decrease from the 41% recorded in the fourth quarter.

“The Barometer results showed some valuation softening this quarter,” said Kramer.  “We will need to see next quarter if this is an anomaly or a trend.”

“The best performing industries in the quarter from a valuation perspective were internet/digital media and software, but hardware and cleantech did reasonably well, with only life science performing poorly,” added Michael Patrick, partner in the Corporate Groupof Fenwick & West and co-author of the survey.

“At the big picture level, it was a tough quarter for the venture environment, with venture investing, acquisitions and IPOs all down compared to the last quarter of 2012.  And while valuations were reasonably healthy this quarter, they declined from last quarter.

But with the macro environment appearing to stabilize, and Nasdaq up both in the first quarter and second quarter to date, there is reason to believe that the venture environment will improve,” added Patrick.

Complete results of the survey with related discussion are posted on Fenwick & West’s website at www.fenwick.com/vcsurvey.

Cloud benefits exceeding expectations, report says

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

cloud computingCloud computing is exceeding expectations. According to The TechInsights Report 2013: Cloud Succeeds. Now What? commissioned by CA Technologies (NASDAQ:CA), respondents indicate the cloud has moved beyond adolescence and is on the path to maturity in the enterprise.

Survey participants—IT decision makers that have implemented cloud services for at least one year—reported they are achieving better results, faster deployments and lower costs than expected as a result of cloud computing implementations.

Luth Research and Vanson Bourne conducted the survey on behalf of CA Technologies to learn how cloud computing is being used, problems or successes encountered, and how its use changed as IT teams gained more experience.

The report confirms that cloud computing is not only delivering on its major promises of saving money and speeding time-to-market, but also exceeding expectations.

This somewhat contradicts some other reports we’ve seen at the TechJournal that suggest some firms are having troubles implementing cloud solutions – often due to lack of in-house expertise.

Meeting or exceeding expectations

The vast majority of respondents reported their cloud implementations met or exceeded expectations across service models including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Experienced cloud users also shed light on the evolving nature of the cloud, and how their objectives and requirements for success change as they advance along the cloud adoption curve.

“Going in, we expected the results to be much more balanced between successes and challenges across a variety of deployments and service models,” said John Michelsen, chief technology officer, CA Technologies. “Surprisingly, survey respondents were pleased with their cloud computing initiatives, which validates that the cloud is not just a fad, and instead they are focusing on making the most of it to drive innovation, speed and performance.”

Though the overall study results were generally consistent across US and Europe, the length of experience and overall intended objectives for cloud differ. The US leads Europe in terms of years of experience, with 55 percent reporting three or more years of cloud use, compared to only 20 percent of European respondents.

The majority (79 percent) of European IT decision makers have implemented cloud computing for one to two (41 percent) or two to three (38 percent) years.

In terms of intended benefits, while cost savings continues to be a priority, increased speed of innovation rose to the top for more experienced organizations. When asked to name their top three objectives across IaaS, PaaS and SaaS deployments, Europeans most often selected “reduced total costs,” while US respondents noted “increased speed of innovation” and “superior IT performance/scalability/resiliency.”

In fact, cost reduction did not even make the list of the top three objectives in the US. One cloud provider told the TechJournal that often costs go up with cloud use because companies use it more than they expected to.

“As enterprises advance in their adoption of cloud, the desired outcomes evolve, as well,” said Michelsen. “Cost is often considered an early benefit – or even a required result – in order for IT teams to justify moving in the direction of the cloud. Once they show that cloud computing improves the bottom line, they can shift their focus to innovation and other objectives, such as increased performance and enhanced security.”

Additional notable results include:

  • Larger organizations are leading the way:
    • They have been in the cloud longer (93 percent that report using cloud for four or more years have revenues of $1 billion or more), and;
    • They are more likely to be using all three types of cloud services (79 percent of those using IaaS, PaaS and SaaS together in their organizations have revenues of $1 billion or more).
  • Security remains a contradiction:
    • Nearly all respondents (98 percent) agree that the cloud met or exceeded their expectations for security across IaaS, PaaS and SaaS.
    • Nearly one-third indicated “security has been less of an issue than originally thought” when asked to share their primary reasons for success with cloud computing.
    • Yet, security was cited as the number one reason that an application is not moved into the cloud by nearly half of respondents (46 percent).
  • Cloud spending plans increase at a faster rate for IT decision makers with more experience:
    • Companies using cloud computing for four or more years are almost six times more likely (34 percent compared to 6 percent) to report that they are increasing cloud spending by more than 30 percent in 2013.
    • US respondents plan to increase spending on cloud at a higher rate than their European counterparts, with 48 percent planning to increase spending up to 30 percent, and 17 percent more than 30 percent; versus 42 percent and 4 percent for European respondents, respectively.
    • Overall cloud spending is expected to stay about the same or increase for the majority of respondents (95 percent across US and Europe).
  • Experienced cloud users recognize the need for IT management to ensure future success:
    • Respondents that have been using cloud computing for longer, or have used multiple types of cloud, identified the following IT management capabilities as critical to their success:
      • End-to-end service automation,
      • Service-level management across both cloud and non-cloud environments, and,
      • The ability to switch between cloud service providers.

Middleware market growth slows for vendors without cloud options

Monday, May 20th, 2013

IdcThe business process management (BPM) and middleware market grew 3.6% year over year to $18.8 billion in 2012 with growth underperforming compared with that of the previous two years.

New research from International Data Corporation (IDC) shows that the slow growth in 2012 was only partially caused by poor macroeconomic conditions – the failure of large vendors to deliver products that met the growing appetite for public cloud significantly contributed to their growth problems.

cloud computing“A large factor in slow growth across BPM and middleware was the failure of large vendors to deliver PaaS offerings that met the growing appetite for cloud-based automation,” said Maureen Fleming, Vice President of IDC’s BPM and Middleware research programs. “Cloud was the single biggest factor separating market share gainers from share losers.”

Other key findings from this research include:

  • Among the four tiers of growth, the top tier grew 58.7% to $992.4 million in aggregate revenue in 2012. Of that, 80% of revenue came from public platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offerings. While only accounting for 5.3% of the total market, this tier generated more net-new revenue than the three additional tiers combined.
  • The slowest-growing tier accounted for $12.7 billion – 67.5% of the market – and collectively generated negative net-new revenue in 2012. About 8% of revenue was attributed to cloud. This tier was represented by the largest BPM and middleware vendors.
  • 2012 also signaled growing demand for newer, higher-performance messaging centered in the Internet of Things and for mobile and partner integration via APIs, requiring API management.

The study, Worldwide Business Process Management and Middleware Vendor Shares (IDC #240986) examines the business process management and middleware market for the period from 2008 to 2012. Worldwide market size is provided for 2012, with trends from 2008. Revenue and market share of the leading vendors are provided for 2012 as well as details about the impact of cloud offerings on growth.

Three tips for digitally grabbing attention and keeping it

Thursday, April 25th, 2013
Erik Muendel

Erik Muendel, CEO, Creative Director of Brightline Interactive.

By Allan Maurer

If you’re designing an onsite digital game or activity for an event, what’s the first thing you have to remember about usability?

“Keep it simple,” says Erik Muendel, CEO and creative director of Alexandria, VA-based Brightline Interactive. It designs, produces, promotes, and installs fun social machines and digital experiences for national brands and agencies at sporting and entertainment events, mobile tours, museums, retail stores, lobbies, and conventions.

You have to remember that you only have your audience for a few seconds or minutes at such events. “They don’t want clever navigation or a ton of information. They want an experience. So you have to distill that experience down.”Brightline Interactive maps out every phase of consumer interaction with its “experiences,” Muendel says.

What they do to capture these busy, moving targets, is of value to anyone thinking about usability design. So Muendel will join more than 100 other digital thought-leaders, executives from brands such as Google, Twitter, AOL, Adobe, NASCAR, and many others at the upcoming Digital Summit in Atlanta May 14-15 to talk about just that.

Mapping out the experience

When Brightline plans out its experiences, he says, first they consider “The initial attraction. What catches the eye and how long that takes.”

Then, they consider how long instructions showing how to do the activity requires, followed by the activity itself and finally post-activity, which encourages users to share something from the experience and/or provide personal information such as an email address.

“We’re developing content to be shared or to capture data from the consumer,” Muendel says. “Those are the ultimate goals. We back design the interface to highlight that goal.”

They consider factors such as the best placements and strategies for bringing out certain features and placing buttons. “We focus the consumer on one or two selections to lead them through the activity. Then we layer in the brand.”

Keeping it on brand

Brightline Interactive strives to provide a unique experience while keeping the message on brand. “It’s a fun challenge,” Muendel says.

Meeting the challenge leads up to some entertaining and memorable event experiences. At the recent Final Four Basketball tournament, for instance, they developed a “Twitter balloon.” The more people tweeted, the more air was fed into a large balloon that would explode when a final tweet filled it to bursting.

“People had to enter their information and Twitter account to play. People really loved it. They went wild when the balloon popped. The winner received a phone.”

The client received all that consumer information. These “experiences” are effective at getting people to give up that information, Muendel notes.

At South by Southwest, the company did a “social booth” for Dorritos. People would select their favorite flavor, have a photo taken with it and share it on Facebook. The photos were then pulled into a concert display on the stage for a “big payoff.”

Tips for getting and keeping attention

Muendel has several tips for capturing attention and keeping it:

Number one? “You always need something in motion,” he says. “You never want activity stagnant. Keep things fluid but not annoying. That’s the key.”

Next: “Give them some sort of audio element to get their attention and lead them through the experience. You can have crappy graphics, but if you have amazing audio, you’ll still have a good experience.”

Finally, he suggests: “Give them something they’re not expecting.” One way of doing that is to personalize the experience. “If they use their name or Facebook connection, we’ll pull in that data and use it,” says Muendel. “You can also personalize the experience so they’re interacting (via a gesture or sensor) in ways they haven’t done before. ”

Twenty-employee Brightline Interactive is located in Alexandria, VA, just outside DC. Founded in 2004 it’s self-funded, but may consider venture capital in six months for a possible spin-off venture.

 

 

 

 

Is online privacy dead? Millennials think so (infographic)

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

A new survey shows significant differences in the way Millennials think, compared to older users of the Internet, when it comes to online privacy, access to personal data and how they share information with businesses online. It’s probably no big surprise, but younger users of digital media care less about their privacy than in getting something in return for shared personal information.

The survey, conducted by the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future and Bovitz Inc., reveals a “Millennial Rift” — distinct differences in online behavior and core values among Millennials (ages 18-34) compared to other users, many of whom are only a few years older.

Millennials, the survey found, report more willingness to allow access to their personal data or web behavior and a greater interest in cooperating with Internet businesses — as long as they receive tangible benefits in return.

“Online privacy is dead — Millennials understand that, while older users have not adapted,” said Jeffrey I. Cole , director of theUSC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. “Millennials recognize that giving up some of their privacy online can provide benefits to them. This demonstrates a major shift in online behavior — there’s no going back.”

The survey found that compared to Internet users age 35 and older, larger percentages of Millennials report:

  • More enthusiasm about sharing their personal information with online businesses
  • Greater receptivity to targeted advertising when their personal information is involved
  • More willingness to trade personal information in exchange for relevant advertising
  • Greater likelihood that they allow access to their personal data or information on their web behavior – as long as they receive concrete benefits in return
  • Much larger numbers of online contacts and greater use of social networking

Millennials: different perceptions of privacy

The survey found a large percentage of Millennials – and an even larger percentage of users age 35 and older – are uncomfortable with others having access to their personal data online or information about their web behavior. When asked about the statement, “No one should ever be allowed to have access to my personal data or web behavior,” 70 percent of Millennials agreed, compared with 77 percent of users 35 and older.

However, in spite of those views, significant percentages of Millennials compared to those age 35 and older are willing to give up some of that privacy – if they benefit from it.

Most will share location

When asked if they would share their location with companies in order to receive coupons or deals for nearby businesses, 56 percent of Millennials agreed, compared to 42 percent of users 35 and older. And when asked if they would share information with companies “as long as I get something in return,” 51 percent of Millennials agreed, compared to 40 percent of those age 35 and older.

“We are seeing a whole new set of values driving Millennials in their behavior online,” said Greg Bovitz , president of Bovitz Inc. “The fact that Millennials are willing to part with personal information creates new opportunities for businesses to develop marketing models that capitalize on the wants of this generation of Internet users.”

Millennials are also more receptive than older users to accepting targeted advertising when their personal information is required. When asked about the statement, “I’m ok with trading some of my personal information in exchange for more relevant advertising,” 25 percent of Millennials agreed, compared to 19 percent of Internet users age 35 and older.

“Millennials think differently when it comes to online privacy,” said Elaine B. Coleman , managing director of media and emerging technologies for Bovitz. “It’s not that they don’t care about it — rather they perceive social media as an exchange or an economy of ideas, where sharing involves participating in smart ways.

“Millennials say, ‘I’ll give up some personal information if I get something in return,’” said Coleman.  “For older users, sharing is a function of trust — ‘the more I trust, the more I am willing to share.’”

Millennials: more online contacts, more social networking use

Related findings from the annual survey by the Center for the Digital Future also reveal that Millennials are more active on social networks compared to non-Millennials.

The survey also found that Millennials regularly contact many more people through social networking than users over 35 do. The average number of people whom Millennials regularly contact through social networking sites is 18, compared to only five for users over age 35.

Millennials are also more frequent users of social networking sites than older users; almost half of Millennials (48 percent) visit social networking websites several times a day, compared to only 20 percent of users age 35 and older.

PR spend up, but there is unmet demand for better tools

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

MarketingThe 2012 global spend for public relations information (including regulatory disclosure) & software was up 4.41% versus 2011, to reach $1.99 billion. If you’re looking for a product opportunity, though, you might look into the need for better tools to track key influencers, journalists, and social media.

The UBM PR Newswire unit and Cision were the overall market share leaders with 14.32% and 7.33% respectively, in what is generally a fragmented industry.

The report also shows that Social Media is the fastest-growing area of spending for PR professionals. Almost 60% of respondents to an exclusive Burton-Taylor survey expect their spending on social media tools to grow in the coming year.

“Since the economic meltdown in 2008, there has been much greater emphasis on transparency and tighter controls on information distribution, which positively impacted the Press Release Distribution space,” says Douglas B. Taylor , Managing Partner of Burton-Taylor.

Desire for online visibility boosts growth

“Client Interest in online visibility, especially via social media, is also boosting growth.”

The B-T survey results show HootSuite and Radian6 currently top the list when PR practitioners are asked to name their primary social media provider.

“Contact management tools for PR professionals are another consistently strong area,” says report contributor Chris Porter , Director at Porter Walford Consulting.

“There’s a real unmet demand for better tools to pinpoint key influencers, whether journalists or social media commentators, to track their coverage across all channels and to maintain strong relationships with them.”

What makes a good company logo? (infographic)

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Have you ever helped a company develop a logo? It can be a tiring process of looking at dozens of fonts, graphics, and colors.

But at some point, every firm has to do it, including startups.

Here’s an infographic looking at dos and don’ts, top logo designers, top fonts used, and what colors in a logo suggest:

Mobile local ad revenue to grow at nearly 50 percent annually

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

mobile devicesHere’s some impressive numbers that should give mobile advertisers a buzz: BIA/Kelsey, advisor to companies in the local media industry, forecasts U.S. mobile local advertising revenues to grow from $1.2 billion in 2012 to $9.1 billion in 2017, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49.3 percent.

This corresponds to a 0.9 percent share of local media ad revenues in 2012, growing to a 6.1 percent share in 2017, according to the firm’s recently released U.S. Local Media Forecast (2012-2017).

BIA/Kelsey’s projected mobile local ad revenues represent a subset of total U.S. mobile ad spending, which the firm forecasts to grow from $3.2 billion in 2012 to $16.8 billion in 2017.

Localized share at 38 percent

This puts locally targeted mobile ads at 38 percent of overall U.S. mobile ad spending in 2012, growing to 54 percent in 2017. Several factors will drive the “localized” share of U.S. mobile ad revenues, including:

  • Large brand advertisers will increasingly adapt their campaign objectives to the capabilities of the mobile device due to effective, abundant, and currently undervalued mobile local ad inventory.
  • Mobile advertising will move down market to the SMB segment through a combination of self-serve tools and local media direct sales channels.
  • Premiums that develop for location-targeted ads will compound ad volume growth.
  • Innovation will increase among ad networks and ad tech providers (i.e., Enhanced Campaigns).

“Though inventory growth currently outpaces advertiser demand, we believe the latter will begin to accelerate,” said Michael Boland , senior analyst and director of content, BIA/Kelsey.

“This will not only increase overall mobile ad spend, but mobile ad rates such as CPMs and CPCs, which are currently lower than desktop equivalents, due to inventory oversupply.”

Mobile Local Media Forecast by Format
This forecast comprises advertising placed in mobile search, display, video and commercial SMS. Search advertising currently holds the largest share, followed by display and SMS. Search’s dominant share indexes higher within this localized segment than within the broader of U.S. mobile ad revenue total, due to the high correlation between mobile search and local user intent.

There is conversely a lower percentage of localization within the display category, due to the branding (as opposed to direct response) and reach-driven objectives inherent in display campaigns (i.e., in-app ads).

The forecast includes a breakdown of mobile local ad spending by format as follows:

  • Display (display advertising applied to app and mobile Web inventory) will grow from $379 million in 2012 to $2.7 billion in 2017
  • Search (text advertising applied to search queries on mobile devices) will grow from $704 million in 2012 to $5.7 billion in 2017
  • SMS (commercial SMS messaging) will grow from $101 million in 2012 to $162 million in 2017
  • Video (rich media ad units distributed within app and mobile web inventory) will grow from $38 million in 2012 to $515 millio

Top network challenges? Mobility and cloud services

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

cloud computingWhether it is the use of smartphones, laptops or tablets, a recent survey by CommScope shows that mobile devices are playing a larger part as game changers in today’s businesses, as enterprise IT managers struggle to keep pace with mobility’s dramatic effects on workplace productivity and requirements.

Meanwhile, cloud-based IT services and applications also have grabbed the attention of those responsible for enterprise networks, according to the CommScope study. While nearly three-fourths of respondents confirmed they already are deploying some cloud-based applications, the shift to the cloud is far from slowing.

Top challenges

The seventh edition of the CommScope Global Enterprise Survey, released today, found that enterprise mobility and cloud services beat out infrastructure intelligence, 40/100GbE and green power initiatives as the top challenges facing company networks around the world. More than 1,100 IT professionals from 63 nations participated in the tri-annual research.

The survey found a noticeable gap between usage of mobile devices within enterprise facilities and the capability of those buildings to enable wireless traffic. According to the survey, an average of 43 percent of all phone calls originating within an enterprise facility involves a mobile phone, yet only 30 percent of these businesses say their carrier-provided in-building signal coverage and capacity are sufficient to handle the mobile traffic.

This had more than three-quarters of respondents admitting that employees had to roam around the office, or even go outside, to get an adequate signal for a call.

BYOD a growing trend

“It’s clear from the survey that bring-your-own-device is a growing trend and places a heavy demand on organizational infrastructure, while weighing heavily on the minds of most network IT professionals,” said Kevin St. Cyr, senior vice president, Enterprise Solutions at CommScope.

“The pace of mobility adoption by consumers—and thus the workforce and company visitors—has outrun the infrastructure and practices in place within enterprise facilities to support it. This also factors heavily into the uptick in a majority of survey respondents confirming deployment of cloud-based applications.”

Key findings from the CommScope Global Enterprise Survey include:

  • Enterprise mobility: Forty-four percent of surveyed participants see the widespread use of mobile technology as a game-changer. About a third of respondents reported having a distributed antenna system (DAS) deployed on site to support the indoor wireless traffic, while another 36 percent reported no capability to provide adequate indoor mobile coverage or capacity.
  • Cloud services: Forty-four percent of surveyed respondents also pointed to cloud services as a top game-changer and expect that importance to grow. While 21 percent currently rely on cloud technology to run more than half of their applications, 52 percent believe that by 2017 more than half of their applications will reside off-site in the cloud.
  • 40GbE and 100GbE: Nearly a third of respondents indicated that 40GbE and 100GbE would have a significant impact on their future operations, with a majority citing the emergence of laser-optimized multimode. There was also consensus among the respondents as to their installation strategies for future data centers. Sixty-one percent of operators favored a pre-terminated data center solution as opposed to a field-terminated solution.
  • Infrastructure intelligence: Nearly one in three of surveyed participants mentioned the need for intelligent infrastructure as an IT infrastructure game-changer. The key driver, cited in 61 percent of the surveys, is the increasing demand for greater productivity.
  • Green, reliable power: Energy usage is still near the top of many respondents’ minds. One-fourth of respondents indicated that energy and green initiatives would be a game-changer over the next five years. On average, respondents are looking to reduce energy consumption by 18 percent; their strategies involve server virtualization, consolidations and cloud computing.

“We are trying to capture what’s important to IT managers, and the impact of trends in network planning and connectivity on the jobs they do,” said St. Cyr. “This survey is part of our ongoing commitment to fully understand our customers’ needs while getting a better perspective on how they view and manage their evolving enterprise networks and data centers.”

To view/download a copy of the report, click here:

Content markeing: not only king, it’s taking over the kingdom

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

marketing scrabble tilesIf content marketing is king, it’s acting  like one who just took the throne: it is taking a larger and larger share than the previous engines of marketing- public relations, paper-based media, television and radio advertising.

A Cambridge Internet marketing software solution provider conducted a survey last year of nearly 400 B2B marketing professionals, and found that marketers tend to use more and more content marketing instead of traditional marketing.

According to this B2B marketing trends survey report, the amount of professionals that advertise using content marketing is twice than do that in print media, TV and radio.

This series by Boostsuite that the TechJournal ran last year is excellent for getting a handle on how to make your content marketing effective. The last of the series on picking the best keywords, has links to the others in the series.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing includes both original content and a release. You can release the content through a blog, case study, white paper, video or photo; the main purpose is to attract customers, increase brand awareness and showcase the company’s expertise.

Examples include entrepreneurs who use blogs to share experiences and celebrities who play on Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.

The survey shows that 82 % of B2B marketing professionals will use content marketing, 70% will use search marketing, 68% will use event marketing, 64% will use public relations and 32% will use paper, TV and radio advertising.

The results of the questionnaire show that the goal of 78% of the respondents is to use marketing to promote sales and their brand’s image, 28% say that the main goal is to increase traffic and 24% say that the main goal is to optimize search results.

Why is content marketing fascinating?

Because through content marketing the establishment of a brand’s image can transform a fascinating prospect and the cost is not high.

Half of the professionals in the survey said that content marketing only cost less than 1/3 of their overall marketing budget, and they believe most of the potential customers are staying online, so content marketing that is Internet-based will be more effective than offline marketing.

In addition, the planning process of content marketing is the process of finding, organization and sharing content, so content planners will also face related problems. 70% of the people in the survey say that they feel that the time is not enough.

Sixty-six percent of planners feel that there is a lack of originality and high quality content and 38% of the planners said they did not know how to measure the effect of content marketing. 37% of planners said a shortage of manpower was their main problem.

Finally, though the implementation process along with the emerging new requirements, content marketing will only become more and more popular; whether you are business-oriented, or for the general public, its importance will only increase.

IPO market surges, 9 more expected in Q1

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Ernst & YoungThe U.S. IPO market surged in the early part of 2013, although the housing market recovery has bumped technology down and given the real estate sector a boost.

In overall equity capital markets volume, the US exchanges continue to dominate the globe, driving the most deal activity. According to Ernst & Young’sGlobal IPO update– 24 IPOs have gone effective in Q1, raising more than $6.7 billion in proceeds.

The Ernst & Young U.S. IPO Pipeline Analysis indicates an additional 9 IPOs, which are scheduled to price before quarter end, will raise $1.8 billion and will be on par with the 33 IPOs which raised $8.7 billion in Q4.

As the U.S. housing market continues to see recovery, the real estate sector is dominating, bumping technology down, and boasting 18 IPOs that raised $11.0 billion.

Returns have been strong

IPO returns for Q1 have also been strong with the 24 effective IPOs having an average of 12.7 percent return on the first day of trading compared with the 9.96 percent YTD total return for the S&P 500 index.

In a recent EY survey of institutional investors, they have responded in an overwhelming show of faith as 82 percent globally have invested in pre-IPO and IPO stocks in the past 12 months compared with only 18 percent in the past two to three years.

“There have already been far more IPOs than we anticipated in 2013. I think we are finally seeing a level of confidence return to the markets after a tumultuous few months following the U.S election and the fiscal cliff,” said Herb Engert , Strategic Growth Markets Practice Leader for Ernst & Young LLP.

“We’re seeing positive signs for the IPO window to stay open.  The Dow Jones industrial average hit an all time high earlier this month and investors look optimistically to the U.S. markets. In fact, over 50 percent of institutional investors rank the U.S. as a top three investment destination, and I expect that mindset to continue.”

Looking Ahead:
For Q2 and the remainder of 2013 stability is key – a strong, steady stock market and potential clarity on tax hikes could make for a very solid IPO market this year.

North American institutional investors cited the prospect of stabilization in macro-economic conditions as their number one concern for positive market sentiment at 65 percent followed by more stable equity markets at 61 percent and brighter corporate earnings outlook at 57 percent.

However, there are still concerns around the stability of the European economy which continues to hinder global recovery.

Also, the number of new public registrants has been trending up. The IPO pipeline, clouded by the confidential filers, saw 25 new registrations enter into the public IPO pipeline since the first of the year, seven in January, 14 in February and four in March thus far; a strong indication that companies are lining up to access the capital markets while the IPO window is still open.

Pricing playing a big role

Pricing will also play a big role in IPO momentum. North American investors cite attractive pricing as the top success factor for an IPO at 90 percent while overpricing ranks as the top challenge at 85 percent.

IPO valuation is driven by market confidence in the ability of a company’s management team to execute their business plan and consistently deliver strong investor returns.

There is no denying that investor confidence can be affected by market or industry volatility and economic uncertainty. But, there is always room in the market for companies with attractive pricing, a good management team, and the ability to clearly explain their business proposition to investors.

“The U.S. market environment in 2013 has presented a window of opportunity for IPOs, and we expect at least 9 more companies to go public before the quarter closes” said Jackie Kelley , Americas IPO Leader, for the global Ernst & Young organization.

“Equity markets are reaching new highs, and valuations are very attractive. We expect continued investment in IPOs through 2013 given investors’ positive sentiment towards public listings. The key question of timing will depend on when pre-IPO companies are ready to meet investors’ terms and expectations and if the price is right.”

PE-Backed IPOs
The year should be active from a PE perspective as sentiment is rapidly improving and PE-backed IPOs have performed well. Currently, there is a significant backlog of companies in the “PE portfolio,” many of which were acquired over the 2006-2007 timeframe.

Nonetheless, PE firms have been highly disciplined and opportunistic in their exit strategies, and that should continue to be the case. There is also a significant pipeline of PE-backed companies waiting to IPO. Through March 15th, there were more than 48 PE-backed companies in active registration that could potentially raise more than $9.0 billion.

While the window is open, firms will IPO, but to the extent that increased volatility starts to drag valuations, firms will explore alternatives – through sales to strategics, secondary buyouts, and in particular through the credit markets, which are extremely open and can allow PE firms to achieve some liquidity for their LPs.

Venture-backed IPOs trending down

In the U.S, PE-backed IPOs are on the rise with six deals going public already this year raising $1.4 billion.  In 2012, the U.S. saw 68 PE-backed IPOs go public raising $14.5 billion.

Venture Capital backed IPOs on the other hand have trended down during the past few years yet better exits and returns of late suggest the slump in fundraising could be over for VC in 2013.

An uptick in VC inflows this year would obviously not be enough to reverse the recent declining trend; however, an improvement would bolster investor confidence and prospects for future capital raising.

At TechMedia’s recent Southeast Venture Conference in Charlotte, several venture capitalists noted that most companies should expect to exit via a merger or acquisition rather than an IPO.

Year-over-year pipeline comparison chart or table:

 

Time period

# of companies in the Pipeline Total dollar amount in the Pipeline $bn Average deal size in the Pipeline $mm # of U.S. IPOs that went public in the quarter
End of Q1 2011 149 37.2 249.6 30
End of Q1 2012 187 48.1 256.3 40
Q1 2013 as of March 19, 2013 99 24.5 247.4 24

Q1 2013 figures are as of Mar 19, 2013

The Q1 Review:
Twenty five new registrations entered into the public IPO pipeline through March 19, 2013. Five of the 25 new registrants were cross border listings-a trend we expect to continue due to strong performance in the U.S. capital markets.

Withdrawn and postponed IPOs continued to slow with four companies withdrawing from the pipeline at the end of Q1 compared with five that withdrew just in the month of December 2012. The Dow Jones industrial average hit an all time high in March, and IPOs were also gaining higher returns, maintaining the institutional investor support.

Notable Q1 companies that priced include:

  • Zoetis Inc, an animal health unit spinoff from Pfizer raised more than $2.6 billion
  • CVR Refining LP, a spinoff from CVR Energy raised $690 million
  • Norwegian Cruise Line raised $514 million

Sector Breakdown:
A sector breakdown of the 99 IPOs currently in the pipeline shows that:

  • 18 are in Real Estate, raising $11.0 billion
  • 14 are in Life Sciences raising $1.7 billion
  • 11 are in Technology raising $1.1 billion
  • 10 are in Oil & Gas, raising $2.7 billion.

Financial Services and Consumer Products / Retail round out the other top sectors in the pipeline raising $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion, respectively.  Together, the top sectors for new IPO registrations – Real Estate, Life Sciences, Technology and Oil & Gas — account for 53 of the 99 registrations.

Regionally, the Northeast leads deal volume with 25 companies seeking $8 billion; followed by the West with 21 companies seeking $3.3 billion; and the Southwest with 17 firms seeking $3.6 billion.