Marketers need to adopt more sophisticate social advertising and marketing tactics if they want to improve their ability to hit objectives.
So says, Kenshoo Social, a global social marketing platform, which has published a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, “The Key to Successful Social Advertising,” that evaluates how marketers are using social advertising. The goal: educating marketers on how to develop social media strategy and activate the most effective tactics. Findings will also be presented by Kenshoo Social and guest from Forrester in a May 29 webinar.
Based on a survey of large social advertisers (i.e., social media and advertising professionals whose companies spend more than$100,000 per year on social media ads), Forrester found that, while social advertisers use a wide range of organic and paid strategies across a variety of social sites, more than one in three are not satisfied with their efforts.
The findings emphasized the increasing needs for more sophisticated social advertising tactics and methods to better match tactics to objectives.
“Generally, social advertisers get what they pay for,” according to the study. “They are more satisfied with the results they achieve from paid advertising than the results they achieve with less costly organic tactics like branded pages, groups or accounts alone.”
Notable findings from the study include:
Organic posting is the most popular social media tactic, but paid advertising is the most successful. Social advertisers use a wide range of social sites and strategies. The most popular tactic is maintaining branded pages on general social networks, business networks and microblogs. Branded pages alone, however, do not make an effective social marketing strategy.
Social advertisers still are not using advanced optimization tactics. More than half of large social advertisers use ad rotation, but only one-third use granular targeting to reach the right audiences. Most of those who do target primarily use basic criteria like demographic targeting.
Social marketers should pay for promoted content to drive awareness and buy ads to drive sales. The survey measured the tactics of satisfied social advertisers and found that different paid social strategies drove different kinds of success. Social advertisers who paid to promote their branded content were most satisfied with the awareness they created; while those who bought standard social ad units were happiest with their ability to drive purchases. Brand-focused social advertisers and response-focused social advertisers must deploy the tactics proven best for meeting their specific objectives.
“With billions of people around the world actively connecting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, marketers have eagerly turned to social media to engage their target audiences,” said Aaron Goldman , chief marketing officer of Kenshoo. “Today, most marketers include some type of social advertising in their programs, but the options available to them have increased exponentially, as has the ability to measure the effectiveness of their outreach.
“This research study demonstrates the importance of using advanced technology platforms to create highly-targeted campaigns at scale, leveraging a portfolio approach across promoted content and standard ad units to achieve overall business goals,” Goldman continued.
“Furthermore, marketers must connect the dots across paid, owned and earned media placements to understand the impact of each touchpoint along the path to conversion.”
The Forrester study concludes with four initial steps marketers can use to immediately improve results:
- Start with clear marketing objectives.
- Promote your brand and your content.
- Take advantage of robust targeting.
- Develop a holistic approach for greater success.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) may not be defining guidelines in the use of social media in healthcare communications, but the professionals within the space are rapidly shaping best practices for marketing communications.
The current issue of the Journal of Communication in Healthcare is showcasing a research study that measured the attitude of healthcare, pharmaceutical and life sciences executives on the use of social media. Survey respondents hold positions from CEO to CIO, from Marketing Director to Brand Manager, are active in their positions and serve primarily the United States. The results are surprising, especially given the historically conservative nature of the healthcare marketing community.
The survey focused on those who are tasked with the development, creation and delivery of brand and product information to target audiences. When asked about whether or not marketers should be permitted to use social media to promote their products and services to the public, most were positive. The mix of media (i.e. YouTube, Flickr, Twitter etc.) appears to be as important as the message.
The data indicates healthcare communications professionals are most reticent to adopt Twitter, a mainstream corporate communications tool. YouTube’s acceptability was pervasive, in fact twice that of Flickr or Twitter. The study also flushed out a number of perceived risks of embracing social media marketing in healthcare communications.
Intuitively, Twitter would have seemed to be the most likely adopted marketing tool based on its 140-character limit: no photos, few words, simple messages and clean delivery. But this is not the case for surveyed healthcare communications professionals.
Social media has long been a resource for industries such as financial services lifestyle products and retailers, but healthcare has been slow to adopt.
Kevin Popovic, Founder & CEO of Ideahaus, conducted much of the research from the company studios in Pittsburgh and San Diego. Popovic, the co-author of the paper, explains, “We’ve worked with every type of business for more than twenty years. As new types of communications have evolved, most industries have kept pace – except healthcare – and the hesitancy stems from a lack of guidelines from the FDA.”
“There is no question that the FDA’s lack of leadership in providing guidelines has limited the broad adoption of social media,”Chauncey Smith, MarketSMITH Services, LLC headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA and paper co-author, added. “Can these media be abused as a promotional communication channel by not being fair and balanced? Absolutely. But could social media become a force for positive change in healthcare? We think so, which is why we will continue exploring this topic.”
Popovic and Smith continue to believe that social media should be embraced as an integral part of any healthcare communication plan, and see signs that this is occurring with greater scale and frequency.
A survey of 318 C-level executives by Wipro finds that while all companies are collecting more data than ever before, those from companies where average EBITDA growth over the past three financial years has exceeded 10% are more likely than their less rapidly growing peers to analyse various data sources they collect (eg 58% vs 43%, with reference to third-party data) and to consider themselves effective at extracting useful insights from this analysis (81% vs 57%).
Furthermore, they are also far more likely to have to have changed the way they handle strategic decisions as a result of having more data (50% vs 36%), and to have seen improved strategic decision-making as a result of better data analysis (60% vs 38%).
These are among the major findings of The data directive: How data is driving corporate strategy-and what still lies ahead, a new report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, commissioned by Wipro.
“This research is a reflection of how organizations are leveraging data to sustain its competitive advantage for its products/services and be relevant in future. Leveraging the power of analytics, organizations can from prop up their key performance indicators -drive growth, enhance cost management and strengthen risk management,” said K R Sanjiv, Senior Vice President and Global Head, Analytics and Information Management Services, Wipro Ltd.
Key findings of the main report include:
Data has proved most valuable so far for marketing leaders. From better ways to segment the customer base, to rethinking the ideal product mix in a retail store, marketing leaders are finding wide-ranging uses for their data to help improve how they market their company’s wares. Already, 50% of chief marketing officers say they have tried and found a clear, positive difference in using data to improve their understanding of customers, as just one of a range of successful applications. This is a markedly higher proportion than their C-suite peers.
The financial services sector, technology companies, and professional services firms are most prepared for the data age. Three sectors stand out as being most prepared for the data age: the financial services sector (where 22% have a well-defined data management strategy in place); the technology industry (30%); and the professional services sector (40%). By contrast, such data management strategies are least often found amongst manufacturers (16%) and retailers (13%).
Businesses are stockpiling an ever-growing range of data and expect data gathering to continue to expand rapidly. Whether social media sentiment, machine-generated data via sensors, staff emails, market data or otherwise, firms of all shapes and sizes are now collecting more information than ever before.
At least seven in ten companies collect syndicated third-party data, such as weather information (72%), or government data (70%), while many gather anything from internal staff data (66%) to some kind of location-based information (41%), among many other types. Two-thirds of business leaders say the range and types of data have expanded in the past two years, while about three-quarters expect this data stockpiling to expand yet further in the coming two years.
Working out which data matters most is the top challenge for firms. For companies seeking to gain more strategic insights from their data, many hurdles await. Whether organisational silos, a lack of skills, the usual disconnect between IT and the business, or worries over data quality, few consider the challenges and gaps easy to bridge. But clarity on which data matters most, amidst the data stockpiling now under way, is what tops the list of barriers, according to 40% of respondents. Furthermore, 34% of executives worry that the quality of their decisions is actually being impaired by data overload.
Many companies are unsure about the extent of data-fuelled strategic transformation within their business. While 68% of respondents think their strategy has improved in the past two years as a result of having more data, only 18% see a significant improvement in strategy, and few have found ways to use data to make a genuinely transformational shift in the business. Some 35% of executives agree that data has been more useful with operational choices and actions, rather than strategic ones. Just 22% disagree, while 41% are unsure.
A supplement to this report, The data directive: Focus on the CFO, is also released today. This paper drills down into the 62 responses to the survey by chief financial officers. The key findings of this supplement include:
CFOs identify improved scenario planning and forecasting as the key area where having more data has made the biggest positive difference to their role, identified by 40%. Furthermore, 34% have improved financial close management, and 32% have used data to bolster profitability.
CFOs are more cautious than their C-suite peers about the strategic insights data has delivered: just 24% believe that their company’s strategic planning is highly data-driven compared to 35% of CEOs and 43% of CMOs. Similarly, whereas relatively high proportions of CEOs (48%), CIOs (40%) and CMOs (33%) believe that their company has changed the way they tackle strategic business decisions as a result of having more data, fewer CFOs (24%) believe this is the case.
CFOs are more likely than their C-suite peers to see themselves as leaders of data initiatives. When asked who currently takes the lead on data-related initiatives within the business, an equal proportion of CFOs (27%) flagged both themselves and their CIO. Their C-suite peers are more likely to cite the CIO as the natural point person on such initiatives, followed by a range of other corporate officers.
The data directive: How data is driving corporate strategy-and what still lies ahead, and The data directive: Focus on the CFO are available free of charge at:
Erica McClenny, SVP, Expion, is participating in the upcoming Atlanta Digital Summit.
What’s the biggest change in digital marketing since the beginning of the year? “Social media has gone far beyond just being a marketing source,” says Erica McClenny, vice president of client services with Expion.
“That’s a huge shift since the beginning of the year,” McClenny says. “A lot of companies are breaking down walls to integrate and overlay what social is doing on the whole picture rather than looking at it on its own as a social bubble.”
What companies want now, she says, is to know what its social media users are saying on a real time basis. They say, “Give me something I can do something about and take action on.”
Expion is a social software company. Its centralized platform empowers global brands, agencies, and retailers to localize and manage their social marketing efforts to listen, content plan, publish, moderate, analyze, govern and share content on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and other social channels across thousands of users.
It has 20,000 pages managed by its software, including those of many high profile brands that have mounted hugely successful digital marketing campaigns via the platform (Expion does not do the creative end, it’s platform executes the campaigns).
The system produces real-time community intelligence giving brands and retailers the power to optimize consumer engagement, service, and ad performance. Its Marketing Insights Technology allows companies to integrate multiple social activity streams in real-time creating highly visual analytics to discover patterns, breakouts and trends.
Participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit
McClenny’s input into the development of a simple local interface for the local user has been a crucial piece to Expion’s success. She is a firm believer in collaboration between the agency of record, corporate marketing teams, and the integration local employees to gain valuable insight and best practices for a successful local expansion.
McClenny is one of dozens of digital thought-leaders, top brand executives from Google, Twitter, AOL, AT&T, The Wall Street Journal, Adobe, Apple, MailOnline and others participating in the Atlanta Digital Summit May 14-15.
Oreo created this Mars Rover cookie, complete with Rover tracks, for one of its digital marketing campaigns that inspired much social media sharing.
McClenny says another major shift she sees this year is a greater emphasis on “contextual listening.” One of Expion’s clients is Oreo, which has had enviable success with several social media and digital marketing campaigns. So, a brand such as Oreo might start listening not just for mention of its own cookie, but for conversations about cookies.
Smart companies do this
“Smart companies are becoming category aware, not just brand aware,” McClenny says. They listen for words associated with their product. “Then they can jump into the conversation in a matter of seconds when it makes sense, not days later when it’s irrelevant.”
She notes that more social channels are rising to the top with Vine the current “hot one.” But she also sees a “huge advantage” possible in using Google+. “Google dominates search and Google+ is a way to make search richer,” she points out. “It can show you everything you and your friends touch. I think it will be amazing. The business part needs some backend tools but it will be a huge powerhouse.”
She likes a new feature called Google Ripples that allows you to track the sharing and impact of a link you post on the Google+ site. “You can drill all the way down to how many plus 1s – it’s really rich,” she says.
Pinterest needs an API
Pinterest, on the other hand, still has limitations. “It’s too broad. It doesn’t have any geographic capabilities and brands using software to help with all their data don’t want to go to a native channel for one thing when they’re aggregating everything else. I think Pinterest will have a lot more legs in the business world when they have an API. (the interface that lets programmers create applications to make it more useful).
As something of a rule of thumb for social media marketing, McClenny says to focus on what you want to happen, avoiding fluffy terms such as “engagement.” “Be focused,” she says. “We want X number of things to happen: drive people to my website, increase the number of shares. You don’t just want lots of activity. You need to know what kind of activity you want and what result you want from that.”
Don’t overthink the process
It’s not just sales that produces ROI. You might instead increase product awareness by 25 percent over a quarter. “You can’t focus just on the bottom line first or you’ll never get there,” she says.
She warns, as many experts in social media marketing do, that brands can’t be overly promotional, using a “radio voice” with no interaction or reason for it.
She also suggests that some companies “overthink” the whole process, taking days to approve a social media post. Also, every post does not have to be professionally slick with high resolution images.
“Sometimes a behind the scenes, outtake type of thing can have more reach than a commercial you spend a lot of money on,” she suggests.
The study, which is one in a series of customer-centric reports, measures the experiences of about 6,000 U.S. consumers across multiple industries.
The PwC study finds that in today’s empowered customer world, enterprise software vendors must rethink their value propositions and the experience they deliver.
Looking at five core enterprise software customer experience attributes–quality, support, convenience, presentation and community–the Experience Radar study reveals the hidden sources of value to help software companies drive exceptional, differentiated customer experience.
No more large-scale sales
“Responses to our survey suggest that the days of large-scale sales and implementations are behind us and as a result, software vendors in this demand-driven environment are no longer able to mandate terms,” said Patrick Pugh , PwC’s U.S. software and Internet leader.
“Today’s software customers have options and expect next-generation sales to be uniquely tailored to their needs and able to move at the pace with which they do business. To stay in the game, leading software vendors need to deepen relationships with customers and offer what they value most.”
The growth of non-traditional players offering cloud services, new online business models and lower margins due to vertical integration has shifted the balance of power to the customer.
Top considerations for today’s software user
According to the survey conducted by PwC, the advent of new user interfaces such as tablets and mobile devices are driving the focus toward interaction with the end user.
Customization, adaptability and multichannel access are top of mind considerations for today’s software end-user.
Experience Radar defines the five behaviors that enterprise software vendors can adopt to potentially enhance customer experience and create value:
Deliver what matters most: Look across the product lifecycle to ensure customers receive a consistently strong experience. Typically, only half of software features are widely used, which means most enterprise software is much more complex than the user needs. Prioritize performance over bells and whistles to deliver the most customer value. Keep the end goal in mind by educating customers and focusing resources on improving the main functions. Consider partnering with system integrators to achieve a smooth installation.
Infuse the human touch: While new technologies give customers a multitude of channels, human communication is still critical to delivering top-notch experiences. Focus on building long-term relationships by providing personalized support when issues arise. Use training and live demonstrations as opportunities to strengthen relationships. Ensure employee incentives are aligned to deliver an experience that meets customer needs.
Promote agility: With 78 percent of companies now embracing a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) policy, companies are creating agile, streamlined environments which require software to support the flexible workplace. Furthermore, businesses are moving away from traditional IT infrastructures to a flexible hybrid model that supports cloud computing. Software vendors will need to selectively expand to new devices, offer options to support mobility and build the right cloud capabilities.
Own the issues: While issues will inevitably arise, twenty four hours is the window in which most customers want issue resolution. Take ownership with swift action to resolve issues quickly. Conducting root-cause analysis on service issues and investing in processes and technology may help minimize errors. Create long-term partnerships with customers by building credibility through reliable products and support.
Turn advocacy into action: Customers are more likely to purchase from highly regarded companies and 84 percent will recommend a vendor after a great experience according to the survey findings. Software vendors should identify key influencers to serve as brand advocates and build communities among customers.
Experience Radar provides an analysis of behavioral profiles for the enterprise software segments; up & coming corporations, emerging empires and big business behemoths. In addition, the report outlines the Small & Medium Business (SMB) category across three behavioral segments: mid-sized movers, elemental establishments and vivacious ventures.
“Some of the top drivers of great customer experience for the software industry - smooth installation, prompt support and personalized attention - serve as powerful guides for other industries to follow in determining how to create meaningful experiences to drive long-term customer loyalty,” said Paul D’Alessandro, PwC’s U.S. customer impact leader.
Building and marketing an app is becoming increasingly complex and will demand a systematic fact-based approach to handle market turbulences in the coming years.
Over the last few years, there has been something of a ‘developers gold rush’ as almost every software developer on the planet has tried to leap into the apps market looking to make a fortune off the next smash hit like Angry Birds.
Angry Birds has both free and paid versions of its popular game.
The reality is that only a very small percentage of developers create multi-million dollar smash hit apps.
With over 1.5 billion people regularly downloading mobile apps, users have downloaded more than 46 billion apps on their smartphones.
The fast-growing apps market generated revenues of $12 billion in 2012, and that figure is set to grow to $20.4 billion in 2013. Annually, revenues are growing at 35% in Europe, 50% inAsia and 30% in North America.
While Apple’s market share of app downloads constantly fell from 81% in 2008 to 39% at the end of 2012, Android’s app downloads increased year over year reaching 42% at the end of 2012.
Both platforms now combine 82% of all app downloads. Will this duopoly last for the next years or will the market see another major change in the market structure as witnessed 5 years ago when the dominance of Symbian started to fade away?
The most likely scenario is that the duopoly will give way to a more heterogeneous mobile operating system landscape. There is evidence that already in 2013 the market will enter a new phase with more relevant mobile app platforms which would be the beginning of the end of the duopoly.
Adding HTML5 makes 7 platforms to watch and/or maintain. That is good news for the app development industry and multi-platform tool vendors but starts to become a real management task for companies trying to reach their customers with the help of mobile apps.
By comparing and evaluating different sources, the “Smartphone App Market Monitor” seeks to provide the most comprehensive picture of the app market available. the market monitor is designed to support internal discussions and business decisions, content is presented as much as possible in graphs and tables to make a key tool for any app publisher, app developer, app store and platform owner.
The amount of data government agencies must capture, store, and analyze is growing exponentially. Whether this data boom provides agencies with new opportunities to gain insights or threatens agencies with massive new data collection, security, and management requirements remains to be seen.
To find out how government can balance big data’s risk and opportunity, MeriTalk, the government IT network, and NetApp surveyed 17 government and industry big data leaders. The new report, “Big Data, Big Brains,” for the first time aggregates the thoughts of these big data leaders – providing insights on tools government will need to respond to big data as well as the risks and challenges agencies may face.
While big data is the newest buzz word in IT, there is little consensus about what it actually means. The big data leaders say it is the point at which the traditional data management tools and practices no longer meet the demands of the size, diversity, and pace of new data.
A management and process issue
The leaders also say big data is more of a management and process issue than it is a technology problem. Based on panel insights, big data is “the set of technical capabilities and management processes for converting vast, fast, and varied data into useful knowledge.”
The opportunities are significant. Big data leaders say organizational and IT leaders can expect four vectors of insight from big data. First, big data will deliver a full, start-to-finish model of a problem. Second, big data is real-time – providing immediate feedback on management decisions. Third, it offers atomic-level detail drawn from the whole population rather than inferred from a sample. Finally, it offers an understanding of how elements relate to one another, including a clearer picture of causality.
Of note, another recent MeriTalk and NetApp report, “Big Data Gap” corroborates the panel’s insights. The report reveals that Federal IT professionals believe big data can improve government, but that the promise of big data is locked away in unused or inaccessible data. Federal IT professionals say improving overall agency efficiency is the top advantage of big data (59 percent) followed by improving speed/accuracy of decisions (51 percent) and the ability to forecast (30 percent).
Not without risk
Big data is not without risk. According to big data leaders, top risks include analysis paralysis or getting lost in the review of data, spending too much time and effort looking at the data details and too little time extracting or understanding the value of the data, overreliance on the data which can lead to blind spots in decision making, and relying on wrong or incorrect data.
Before agencies can transition from the risk of big data to the opportunity, they have some work to do. The panel revealed the top big data challenges are personnel, skill sets, data silos, data ownership, and budgets.
Big data will require new professionals to build IT systems and craft analyses that distill data into insights. These new professionals – data scientists and statisticians – will need wholly new skill sets to manage big data. In addition, big data presents a technology challenge – agencies must change how they capture and manage data. To deal with the volume of data, many agencies will need new IT solutions.
Threat or opportunity?
“Agencies are at a crossroads where big data can be a threat or an opportunity,” said Mark Weber, president of U.S. Public Sector for NetApp. “To ensure big data is an opportunity, agencies need to get prepared by partnering with the private sector on technology solutions that will enable them to easily and efficiently manage, process, and store their data.”
According to the Big Data Gap report, while the promise of big data is strong, most agencies are still years away from using it. Just 60 percent of IT professionals say their agency is analyzing the data it collects and less than half (40 percent) are using data to make strategic decisions.
On average, Federal IT professionals report that it will take their agencies three years to take full advantage of big data.
While the big data leaders agree that there are many hurdles to overcome before agencies will see the full benefits of big data, they recommend that agencies get started now with these five steps:
Start Preparing Now: Agencies must invest in the infrastructure to capture and manage data. Without the proper computing and storage components, agencies cannot analyze the growing amount of data
Tackle Ownership/Sharing: Agencies and industry need solutions to data ownership and privacy issues. Start working through these issues now
Education/Training: Big data will require specialists in data handling fields. Agencies should look into programs that educate data scientists
Identify Partnerships: Industry and government should partner to realize the full potential of big data
Try It: Agencies should start trying to leverage big data today by finding opportunities to create value and then accelerate budget accordingly
U.S. businesses spend billions of dollars generating sales leads only to lose more than 70 percent of them simply because they don’t make contact quickly enough, according to one study.
But that’s not the only way they’re losing out on opportunities, says Brandon Stuerke, president of Advisors Edge Marketing , a specialist in marketing strategy and automation for financial advisors and other professionals.
“A study of more than 600 companies by Dr. James Oldroyd of MIT found that the odds of a lead entering the sales process were 21 times greater if the business made contact within 5 minutes of generating the lead versus contact in 30 minutes,” Stuerke says.
Ways sales leads are lost
“Another study, this one by the Harvard Business Review, found that the average response time by businesses to a generated lead is 42 hours – and that’s just for responses that occurred within 30 days.”
Generating sales leads is big business, with more than $23 billion spent on internet leads alone, he notes.
“If you’re a financial advisor or another professional, you may also be spending money on direct mail, invitations to seminars, TV commercials and/or print ads,” Stuerke says. “How many leads are you generating, and at what cost per lead, only to lose them?”
Stuerke, who began developing innovative marketing strategies while working as a financial advisor, says he has found four ways professionals commonly lose sales leads.
“And they can all be fixed!” he says.
• Advertising calls to action that are all-or-nothing. Most sales people offer only a face-to-face meeting or a telephone appointment as their call to action in their advertising. But that’s asking a lot of prospects who are simply exploring options and aren’t yet ready for that level of commitment.
Those are leads that, three to six months from now, may become sales – but they’re lost early in the process. Instead, offer a less committed option such as “download this free report” in exchange for their information for follow up.
• No lead capture on your website. This is a huge problem! Many sites have no strategy for capturing information about visitors to the site, such as an email address.
As a result, businesses spend thousands of dollars driving traffic to their website, but capturing none of the prospects’ information. As a result, those prospects come to the site and leave and the business never knows they were there.
A free report, or series of reports or videos with useful information based on your expertise are good lead capture tools. Buyers today turn to the web for information while doing research, so that’s what you should give them. Offering free resources in exchange for a small bit of information is a great way to do that.
• Indifference in interactions. No matter what your profession, it’s likely you’ve got a lot of competition. For consumers, shopping includes researching, and they’re comparing services, expertise and experience before deciding who best deserves their patronage.
If your interactions with prospects fail to “wow” them, they will quickly move on. But most professionals don’t have a storyboarded plan for giving prospects that experience, which is what is needed for consistent results. An automated system that delivers carefully planned interactions is a great way to achieve this.
• Using social media without a plan. Many professionals have discovered that delivering consumer-friendly, useful content through social media is an effective means of attracting followers and cultivating prospects.
However, one of the biggest problems with how businesses use social media is that they post a lot of high level, one-way communication with no call to action.
Having a call to action in your posts leading prospects back to a website designed to capture leads is critical for producing tangible results through social media.
A lot of these issues stem from a common problem: businesses focusing only on the hottest leads – the people who are ready to buy today, Stuerke says.
“Instead of allowing those ‘cooler’ leads to fall by the wayside, businesses should capture and cultivate them,” he says. “Eventually, they’ll find that instead of constantly chasing leads, they’re harvesting new clients.”
Customer experience has become a common topic for companies that sell to consumers (B2C), but Temkin Group has found that it is also critical for business-to-business (B2B) firms.
In its new report Best Practices in B2B Customer Experience, Temkin Group identifies leading practices that companies can use to build a client-oriented mindset across their organization and to establish client-centric relationships.
“Consumer companies may get most of the press when it comes to customer experience, but there’s enormous opportunity in the B2B sector. We found that customer experience can be the foundation to building stronger B2B enterprise relationships,” said Aimee Lucas , CX analyst of Temkin Group and lead author of the research.
Temkin Group found that B2B lags behind B2C in all four of what it calls the customer experience core competencies—Purposeful Leadership, Compelling Brand Values, Employee Engagement and Customer Connectedness.
The gap is largest in the area of Compelling Brand Values where 37% of large B2C firms are rated as good or better, compared with only 24% of large B2B firms.
The research identifies B2B best practices in seven broad areas:
Develop Closed-Loop Voice of the Client (VoC) Programs. Having a reliable flow of customer insights across the organization is critical to driving customer-centric actions.
Use Journey Maps to Better Understand Clients’ Needs. To better understand how clients see their experiences, B2B organizations can use a tool known as customer journey mapping.
Tap Into Virtual Client Advisory Boards. Client advisory boards (CAB) and councils provide the opportunity to acquire more insight into customer needs and expectations.
Account-Level Experience Reporting. To acquire, retain, and grow B2B relationships, account managers need to understand what’s working and not working for each of their clients.
Insightful Business Development. B2B organizations that gather and use the right customer insights during this early stage will create a differentiated experience from the start of the relationship
Collaborative Account Planning. By taking a structured and collaborative approach to developing in-depth account plans, companies can tap into their enterprise knowledge.
Proactive Intervention and Support. B2B organizations need to use customer insights and feedback from account managers to intervene in service experiences gone wrong as quickly as possible with well-defined, robust recovery procedures.
The report provides a many specific practices from companies such as CDW, Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Enterasys, Genworth Financial, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Oracle, Salesforce.com, SanDisk, Stream Global, and VMware.
Denial of service attacks against a spam-fighting organization by anonymous users of a Dutch Internet service provider known for hosting spammers has drawn attention to a problem that can be solved.
The DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks against antispam group Spamhaus and the company it hired to help it fight off the attacks, CloudFlare, was so powerful it slowed internet service for many users early this week.
According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), these attacks render servers and/or network resources unavailable by overwhelming them with traffic.
The evolution from hacktivism to financial gain to disguising more targeted attacks is evidence of a re-emerging trend that exploits the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of some of the world’s largest and most powerful organizations, IDC says.
In 2012, there was a sharp increase in the frequency, bandwidth volume, and applications orientation of these attacks. “As these attacks surged in prevalence and sophistication, organizations were often caught unaware.Embedded capabilities were quickly overwhelmed and outages were readily apparent on the Web.”
As detailed in the IDC forecast, the worldwide market for DDoS prevention solutions (including products and services) will grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2% from 2012 through 2017 and reach $870 million.
Many in the Internet community hope these prominent attacks knock the complacency out of service providers before the capability of mounting ever larger, more massive assaults cause even more harm.
Best practices could limit attacks
These attacks could also be stopped if Internet companies and organizations followed a set of best practices described by the Internet Engineering Task Force, a voluntary group of Internet and telecom engineers.
However, the New Times has noted that those best practices are used only by a relatively small number of companies.
There is hope in the Internet engineering community that the recent high profile attacks may wake up ISPs and others so that they invest the time, effort and money necessary to implement best practices to help create a “peaceful Internet.”
New research shows that the multitude of digital devices and social media actually help people work rather than hinder them.
The advent of Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and smartphones means people are connected in a multitude of ways leading some critics to believe it is affecting workers’ concentration span and ability to analyse in detail, with some firms even banning the use of social media.
But a study of leading technology companies in the UK, Finland and Germany by Professor Joe Nandhakumar has found that the myriad ways of communicating allows people to be more flexible about when and where they work and more effective.
The Warwick Business School Professor said: “We found that the ubiquitous digital connectivity altered workers’ sense of ‘presence’ and helped rather than hindered the effective completion of collective tasks.
Flexibility fits in with the modern world
“This study also indicates that such digital connectivity afforded workers much greater latitude and control over their timing and location of their work.”
In a paper entitled Exploring social network interactions in enterprise systems: the role of virtual co-presence set to be published in the Information Systems Journal Professor Nandhakumar, Joao Baptista, and Niran Subramaniam, of Warwick Business School, and found that the flexibility social media gave at the workplace fitted in with the demands of the modern world where, frequently, jobs are no longer a straight forward nine-to-five affair.
The Professor of Information Systems also found that the global nature of modern business also means working ‘out of hours’ as workers converse with colleagues around the world.
Information empowers workers
Professor Nandhakumar dded: “The amount of information now at the fingertips of the modern office worker should not mean they are overloaded, but empowered.
“In academic settings, digital connectivity and interactions are often seen as a positive aspect of our work and an essential part of how we keep up to speed with new knowledge and developments within our field.
“Ubiquitous digital connectivity should be seen not as an unwelcome interruption but as part of the changing nature of knowledge work itself that needs to become part of normal, everyday practices of contemporary organisations.
“The popular view that workers are passive in responding to their digital communication alerts and notifications, fails to recognize the extent of their ability to exercise choice in their interaction with digital media.
“Even in the case of constant connectivity afforded by mobile digital media, studies suggest that workers are able to respond to communications in their own time, enabling time shifting of tasks by the participants.
“Evidence from our research suggests that knowledge workers who were able to successfully deal with the timing and sequence of their ‘presence’ and responses in a digitally mediated workplace were better able to organise the flow of work through digital media.”
Make sure workers have control
Companies and organisations should make sure their workers can control the flow of information, turning it on and off when needed.
“There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that instead of adopting uncritically popular views of digital connectivity as something disruptive, organisations should instead investigate further,” said Professor Nandhakumar, who has worked with Ford and Nestle.
“They should explore how employees can be better equipped and empowered to manage their time and productivity in this environment.”
Delivering services through cloud computing is a high priority objective for many IT departments, even though nearly 4 of 10 IT managers say they’ve experienced a cloud outage.
“With nearly one-third of respondents spending $1 million or more on cloud services annually, unplanned outages in the forty percent range won’t be tolerated by business leaders or their customers,” said TeamQuest Director of Product Management Scott Adams .
Capacity management is sighted as one way to minimize the risks associated with cloud computing, according to respondents in a survey from Kelton Research, commissioned by TeamQuest Corporation.
“Cloud, whether it’s internal or external, is here to stay and it has great benefits, but IT managers need to know whether there is sufficient service capacity to support growth or peaks in their workloads and still meet required SLAs, for example,” said Adams.
“The IT team must play a larger role with the emergence of today’s dynamic environment. You have to ask the right questions and provide expertise and advice to a variety of constituents to mitigate risks.”
To help decrease the number of outages, Adams suggests a diligent business capacity management analysis.
Adams provided a short to-do list for business capacity management in the cloud:
Evaluate cost/performance trade-offs for alternative infrastructure deployment strategies
Determine the best mix of sourcing options to best meet business service needs
Monitor service levels on cloud deployments
Size and optimize cloud infrastructure to meet SLAs
Understand how costs grow with increased volumes and workload growth
Adams advised that companies familiarize themselves with more than just the business side of capacity management. “You have to look at capacity management from the component, service and business levels to improve cloud implementation, for example.”
According to the survey, 65% of IT managers agree with Adams on the importance of capacity management in the cloud. Adams said proper capacity management is more important now as IT and the business rely on cloud computing to house business critical services.
Small businesses spend between $1,000 and $2,500 on their social media marketing. Marketing Weekly has created an infographic suggesting how small businesses can make the most of their advertising on Facebook.
According to a study by Vertical Response, 90 percent of small businesses use Facebook and 32 percent of companies post at least once per day. Enterprises don’t often have a lot of money to spend on marketing and have to make the most of cost-efficient initiatives and best practices.
Do you know what happens if your business web site loads slowly? Visitors go elsewhere. Yet a news study by Radware reveals that website load time for the top 2,000 U.S. retailers slowed by 22 percent in just one year – representing a significant degradation in performance.
Radware tested the website performance of the top 2,000 U.S. retail websites (as ranked by analytics firm Alexa.com) over a two-week period.
Complexity and size slowing sites
An in-depth look at the page composition of each site in the Alexa Retail 2000 found that websites are plagued by more resource requests than ever before.
From December 2011 to December 2012, the number of requests has risen by 8.22 percent due in part to an increase of web site complexity and size, resulting in slower page load times and posing an additional challenge for retailers.
For an infographic detailing the reports see: http://www.radware.com/images/Radware_SOTU_Spring2013_Infographic_Final_Hi-Res.jpg
Key findings include:
At 7.25 seconds, the median load time for the Alexa 2000 retailers was more than double the average user threshold of 3 seconds or less. If this rate of slowdown continues, it could reach 9 seconds by the end of 2013.
Surprisingly, the top 100 retailers actually underperformed the rest with an average load time of 8.23 seconds – and they’re slowing faster than the others.
Mobile shoppers, already dealing with slower connections and processing power, are going to be a challenge for these slow-loading retailers to capture.
Firefox outperformed both Explorer and Chrome at 6.64 seconds vs. 7.09 seconds for Chrome and 7.25 seconds for IE9.
Retail sites are not taking advantage of best practices.
The survey found that only 25 percent of the Alexa 2000 retailers use a content delivery network (CDN), which allows site owners to cache static page resources to shorten server round trips.
At the same time, 13 percent of sites also fail to enable “keep-alives” and 22 percent fail to compress resources. Using these best practices improves start render time, document complete and time to fully load – all important performance indicators for complex websites.
Many professionals try to make themselves at home at the office, but some take the concept to an extreme.
We’ve seen some unusual office decor in startup offices. One in the Advanced Technology Development Center in Atlanta had built a floor to ceiling pyramid of empty Coca Cola cans.
Another had a large wooden model of a pig. A third has a large gong they bang when they make a software sale.
In a new survey from The Creative Group, advertising and marketing executives were asked to describe the strangest or most surprising item they have seen on an employee’s desk or in his or her workspace. Here are some of their responses:
“A live pig”
“A punching bag”
“A mermaid sculpture”
“A pair of men’s underwear”
“A rock collection”
“A hair dryer”
“A drawer full of clothes”
Creative professionals often have unique “tastes,” and these individuals were no exception as evidenced by the snacks found in their offices:
“A jar of pickled pigs’ feet”
“A rotten orange”
“My supervisor eats a banana every morning and leaves the peel on the floor until the end of his shift.”
No need for fancy accoutrements for these workers, whose decor was homemade:
“A wall of empty soda cans”
“A jar of soda pop tabs”
“A desk full of paper airplanes”
“So many paper dolls that you can’t see anything else”
These employees had only to look to their desks for a blast from the past:
“A cell phone from 1986″
“A LIFE magazine from 1934″
“Antique model cars”
“A lava lamp”
“A 1950s-era television”
Then there were those whose office accessories revealed a somber side:
“A bottle opener in the shape of an eye; when you open a beverage, it appears to be crying”
“A flowerpot shaped like a skull”
“A marble tombstone”
“A bottle of vodka”
The office can be lonely, which may be why the next few workers showed up to work with these companions:
A Siamese fighting fish.
“Siamese fighting fish”
“A large black rat”
“A tree frog”
“A stuffed pink gorilla”
“A bug-eating plant”
Finally, there was this sentimental individual, whose coworker may have left but isn’t forgotten:
“A person who sat next to the employee left the company, so the employee cut out a picture of the guy’s head and put it on a wooden stick on his desk.”
“Creative professionals like to surround themselves with things they find visually engaging or inspiring, but there can be too much of a good thing,” said Donna Farrugia , executive director of The Creative Group. “Displaying items that could cause people to question your professionalism can work against you.”
The Creative Group offers four tips for creating a polished workspace that inspires creativity:
Play nice. Some companies have guidelines about what employees can and can’t display in their work area. If your employer has no formal policy, take cues from how colleagues have customized their offices.
Don’t offend. Your workspace is on display for your coworkers, clients and bosses to see, so keep that in mind when selecting decor. Avoid off-color calendars, political posters, racy photos and other items that can raise eyebrows.
Be a minimalist. Showcasing a few souvenirs or gizmos can provide the eye candy you need to stay inspired, but filling your work area with too many knickknacks can be distracting.
Keep it neat. Even if you’re highly effective and efficient in your role, a cluttered or messy workspace can give others the impression that you’re disorganized. Make time each week to clear your desk of old papers, food wrappers and additional debris so you have room for new projects and paperwork.
The survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service for interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals.
It was conducted by an independent research firm and is based on more than 750 telephone interviews — approximately 575 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 175 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees — in the United States and Canada.
Almerico speaks not only from his experience operating a crowdfunding site on the Internet, but also from his background as a television and radio producer and host.
“A good video is a necessity if you want a successful crowdfunding project.” Almerico says. “More than 50% of crowdfunding projects with a video are successful. Conversely, only 30% of those without a video succeed.”
Almerico’s new video explains the five things that make or break a crowdfunding video. “Your video doesn’t have to be a Spielberg epic to be a good crowdfunding video,” Almerico notes. “But, it needs to follow five simple rules to give you the best chance of success.”
Here are Almerico’s five tips:
1. Good video and audio quality make a difference. While a good quality crowdfunding video can be shot on an iPhone or with a camcorder, care must be taken to assure good lighting and audio. Recording a video in a well-lit room or outdoors makes the lighting part easier.
The sound is another issue. If using a phone to record the audio portions, speak loudly, clearly and not too close to the phone, or too far away from it. Listen to a sample. If it sounds too hollow or if words that start with a P make sound “pops,” do it over. Also, beware of echoes.
If shooting outdoors, this is usually not a problem. But recording indoors in a room with wood or tile floors is asking for trouble. By trial and error, it is easy to find a room that works.
2. Plan the video in advance. Trained public speakers or actors can turn on the camera and talk without a plan. For others, this is is a recipe for disaster. Write a script, and try to stick to it. When writing the script, think about how a journalist tells a story. Give the “who, what, when, where and why.”
a. Tell the story.
b. Talk about the rewards.
c. Give people a reason to get excited.
d. End with “the ask” and a thank you.
“The ask” is the portion of every crowdfunding video at the end where the project creator asks for donations.
3. Only talk about two or three rewards, not all of them. People do not want to hear about every reward being offered. Highlight some of the best rewards. Pick one from the low end, one from the middle range, and one high-end reward and discuss them. Remind the viewer that there are other rewards they can see by reading the project text. Most importantly, get excited to pitch the rewards. Excitement is contagious, and the viewer will also get excited about it if done correctly.
4. Add update videos as the project continues. People should update their crowdfunding project constantly, adding rewards and trumpeting their successes. Consider posting additional videos when these things happen. Not only do videos get more interest for the crowdfunding project, but they get lots of additional plays on Facebook and social media when they are posted. An update video is particularly effective down the home stretch, when trying to get everyone excited again to fully fund the project as the end approaches.
5. Keep it short and simple, but end with a bang! The video should be no longer than 3 minutes unless absolutely necessary. The last 10-15 seconds should be “the ask” where the project creator requests donations and ask for help spreading the word. This should be clear, carefully worded, and create a sense of urgency and action. Tell people what to do, and do not leave it up to them to figure it out on their own. Check out these examples:
Bad Ending: “Thank you for watching my video and for your attention.”
Good ending: “We only have 30 days to raise $10,000 and we need your help, now! Donate today and, just as important, spread the word by sharing our project with everyone you know. Thank you for helping to make our dream, a reality.”
The best-practice organizations highlighted in the -APQCstudy focus on providing structure, guidance, and oversight to achieve the maximum value from diverse portfolios of projects.
They balance strategic needs, aligning development and improvement activities to the business goals and objectives of their organizations, with an emphasis on providing the hands-on skills, tools, and assistance which empower those leading individual projects.
“The APQC research team found several patterns, insights, and findings from the best-practice organizations including strategies, practices, technologies, and metrics,” said Jeff Varney, senior adviser and business excellence practice lead for APQC.
What best practice organizations do
“From measuring and reporting on project status monthly to using straightforward and dynamic dashboards to display project performance, the findings differentiate best-practice organizations from others in the study, and may provide solutions to challenges many organizations face.”
The best-practice organizations examined in detail in the study include: Dell Services, DTE Energy Co., IBM, United Illuminating Company, and a multi-billion-dollar beverage manufacturer.
Effective Project Management Offices details 14 best practices demonstrated by the study participants, but four in particular stood out:
Best-practice PMOs actively contribute to enterprise strategic planning – In order to establish the importance PMOs are given within the enterprise, most best-practice organizations have either a formal or informal business case to establish its prominence. In addition, a key enabler to PMO’s contributions to strategy creation is executive support; most best-practice PMO’s in the report were established by and report to either C-level management or just one level below. For example, senior leadership at DTE Energy chartered its PMO, called major enterprise projects, as part of an effort to transform itself into one of the best-operated energy companies in the U.S.
Best-practice organizations take a strategic and integrated approach to resource forecasting and loading – Resource loading, which is planning for and allocating a portion of an employee’s time to a project to ensure appropriate staffing, is utilized by The United Illuminating Company to help create a formalized planning process around project resources to ensure the right employees are staffed on the right projects. A project manager may work on five to seven projects at a time, all at different stages.
Best-practice organizations make large investments in training project managers – All of the best-practice organizations in the report provide training that includes soft-skills training; coaching and one-on-one mentoring from senior project managers; and providing all employees with project management-specific content. For example, Dell Services, which views project management as both an art and a science, trains its employees in both components. Dell’s PMO has a project management competency model that lists required technical, functional, and leadership skills/knowledge for each job role.
Best-practice organizations use automation and centralization for PMO technologies – The majority of the featured best-practice organizations in APQC’s study purchased project planning/scheduling and tracking/reporting software programs to facilitate project management. Others also developed internally automated tools for risk management and knowledge repository. For example, IBM developed a work center as its platform of choice for project program management. The work center provides project managers a wealth of functionality including requirements management; proposal management; resource management; exception management; and defect tracking.
Detailed descriptions of the practices, supported by case studies from the best-practice organizations, may be found in the full research report published by APQC.
Janet is a savvy small business owner. She successfully navigated her way through the recession and is enjoying steady growth. She’s well-versed on her clientele and knows their individual likes and dislikes. She knows who her competition is and what they’re up to.
She keeps up with trends, so she has a Facebook profile and a Twitter handle. So, why has she seen a marked increase in the growth of her competitors’ business and not her own? When she hears people speak of her product, why do they associate it with her competition? What can Janet do to make sure her company is foremost in her customer’s minds?
Regardless of the size of your company, or your position within its ranks, you know how important it is these days to be established on social media, spending ample time actively engaging your client-base.
When it comes to social media, most companies are online networking when they need to be social media marketing. The same principles apply to marketing your company on the Web as they do in print – frequency and repetition are imperative. You need to be in front of your target audience again and again on multiple platforms to build top of mind awareness.
Here are some areas to concentrate on while building your social media marketing strategy:
Avoid the ‘Field of Dreams Fallacy’
You have a firm presence on a variety of social media platforms and have carved out a stout digital footprint? Terrific – now, are you taking time out regularly to engage your client-base? Despite the optimistic ‘if you build it, they will come’ mentality, creating social media outlets without frequent, active participation is like fashioning a clipper ship without a mast or sails.
In order for your efforts to produce a spike in business or revenue, you need to get into the trenches with your clients. Use ‘@’ replies on Twitter to demonstrate light-speed customer service; post valuable, thought-provoking status updates on Facebook and participate in the conversations that unfold.
Never underestimate the value your customers place on actively engaging their questions, concerns and compliments.
Market, Don’t Network
A critical misstep many business owners make when launching a social media campaign is immediately adding or following everyone they know. While inflated friend statistics may serve to massage your ego, they do little to promote your business or cause.
Instead, you should be participating in social media marketing. Priority one should be positioning yourself in front of your customers to generate online traction and expand your reach. Social networking should be confined to your personal profiles, where you’re free to follow your neighbors, and their Great Dane named Pickles, should you choose.
Limit your interactions on your company profiles to providing useful content and information to those who frequent your establishment, and restrict any exchanges with colleagues, friends and family to your personal profile.
ROR Trumps ROI
Make no mistake – the endgame in a social media marketing campaign is to turn a profit; but many new adopters often fail to utilize the interactive aspect of their online presence.
The immediate value of websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are the relationships you build along the way, and an appropriate measure for this is ROR, or Return on Relationships. Any owner of a Mom and Pop corner store that has enjoyed decades of success can tell you that the reason they have remained in business is because of the friendships and rapport they’ve developed with their clientele.
Product loyalty stems from strong relationships, and this is the inherent payoff that social media marketing provides. Stop framing your online success in an immediate monetary return, and instead, view your success in a long-term mindset, where you’re crafting long-standing, profitable connections.
On the Run? Go Mobile!
Businessmen and women are highly aware of the hectic travel schedules and deadlines that accompany their chosen profession.
The bad news: in a society that increasingly revolves around the Internet, being ‘too busy’ for social media is no longer an excuse to let your platforms lay dormant. Thankfully, software developers recognize the needs of an ‘on the go’ culture, and have created apps that allow users to access and update their social media cache while heading to a meeting or waiting for a flight.
Utilize “check-ins” on Facebook when entering an annual conference or leadership seminar to let your followers know what you’re up to. Snap a few pictures and upload them to your Instagram feed – just ensure there is no lull in your Internet activity when things get busy.
Now armed with a practical and effective understanding of social media marketing, Janet is well-equipped to best her competition online and ensure that her product is associated with her business.
By streamlining her digital footprint to only encompass her customers and potential clients, and dedicating a bit of her daily activities to interacting with her followers, she has realized the full-potential of social media and will enjoy the return on relationships that her web-presence provides. Follow Janet’s example and become engaged with your customers online.
Russell Trahan is President of PR/PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in positioning clients in front of their target audience in print and online. PR/PR represent experts of all kinds who are seeking national exposure for their business or organization.
Brett Reizen launched his startup Entertainment Benefits Group (EBG) on September 12, 2001, a day after 9-11, so he learned the value of running a lean operation quickly in the economic turmoil that followed.
Today, EBG, which has 200 employees and 7,000 corporate clients, reaches 34 million people and is still growing. It provides travel and entertainment worldwide, reaching corporations and consumers through their corporate benefits program, TicketsAtWork.com, and several consumer sites: BestOfVegas.com, BestOfOrlando.com, BestOfNewYork.com.
Brett, 35, tells the TechJournal that he learned very quickly that he needed to stay on top of bills and the financial side of the business, but if he had one thing to do over, he would pay attention to that even earlier.
It’s challenging for a startup to hire professional help with accounting and financial planning, he notes, but says if you can’t do it yourself, you need to bring someone in from outside.
He also warns against buying an office condo or other unnecessary property. “Liquid cash is more important than anything,” he says. “Rent. It gives you a lot more flexibility if you grow more quickly than you expected to or if you have to downsize.”
He also says entrepreneurs need to “Stay focused. I still have a lot of ideas every day. Focus on areas you can expand with your resources and your business model. Don’t try to do everything at once.”
Here are his nine top cost-saving tips for startups:
1. Have good personal credit - Get credit cards, pay them off in full and keep asking for a higher credit line. I did this for the first 24 months and also earned membership rewards points. I soon paid for all travel expenses with the credit card rewards points.
2. Lower your living expenses – I was young and saved enough money to go about two years without making any money. I lived with my parents for six months to start the company and then had a roommate for three years. When working 12-15 hour days consistently with the ultimate goal of moving up, your confidence is high in knowing that with hard work, you will get there. Where you live and sleep doesn’t seem to matter much.
3. Find a good landlord - For a new company this is always the challenging part. Try to find a landlord willing to be flexible and supportive. You shouldn’t get too much space, but the trick is always the length of the lease and what to do if you grow fast and need more space. Always be a close friend with your landlord.
4. Rent and do not own. (unless you already do). Renting gives you more flexibility. Stay away from office condos.
5. Spend more on the company and less on you. Remember that when spending more on the company means less money for you short-term, but the long-term and bigger picture will make it all the more worthwhile later.
6. Review all bills. It can be surprising how many errors vendors make on all sorts of bills. Make sure you review your phone plans, electric, server expenses, photocopy details and almost every bill you get. The little numbers add up and a monthly reconciliation can save you thousands. We didn’t pay attention to this early on and when we woke up and started, we were pleasantly surprised.
7. Don’t underestimate the importance of good bookkeeping. The only way you truly know your bottom line is quality reporting. It is mind boggling in how many entrepreneurs focus on the gross sales and neglect all expenses and proper accounting. I also learned the hard way and learned through mistakes early on. Make sure to not cut any corners, pay the extra money to hire a professional or a strong person to evaluate your accounting and reconcile your finances every month.
8. Don’t by new equipment. No need to buy brand new furniture. Large companies move all of the time and in many cases they leave behind their furniture, often times great furniture, which looks brand new. Spending some extra time asking friends, family, associates and business colleagues can save you thousands, and in many cases if you find the right used furniture –it can look brand new. I never bought new furniture during the first 6 years we were in business.
9. Start when you’re young. You are used to spending less and have not yet developed expensive tastes. You need a healthy balance of having enough experience or mentors in your life to help with answers that you think you should know but don’t, but age is an important factor in starting a business. It’s much easier before marriage and kids come into the picture because if things don’t work out, you don’t have the stress and responsibility that you will have when you’re 35-45.
Mobile marketing is highly regulated, with new rules coming out every month, so Mogreet, which sells a mobile messaging platform, has published a free guide to help marketers navigate best practices in text messaging.
James Citron, CEO and co-founder of Mogreet, said, “To help reduce confusion, Mogreet put together this set of best practices featuring the common sense dos and don’ts to ensure mobile marketers are keeping in line with all regulations while protecting their reputation with their customers.”
Accessible by 98 percent of U.S. cell phone owners and with a 95 percent open rate, text messages have become a key marketing tool for retailers, media outlets, entertainment properties and others.
Several separate entities including the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and CTIA-The Wireless Association regularly audit the industry to ensure that people’s rights are protected.
“2013 is poised to be a huge year for text marketing,” added Citron. “We are seeing new campaigns launching nearly every day, and we have even started seeing references to text marketing in television and movies. In order for this to continue to be a successful marketing tool, it is important that campaigns are always executed in compliance with the industry regulations.”
Included in Mogreet’s guidelines for running a successful and legally compliant text marketing program are:
Building a mailing list with legally acquired, permission-based subscribers
Clearly communicating the content and frequency of texts to potential subscribers
Documenting and saving opt-ins and messaging permissions
Avoiding text distribution too early in the morning, too late in the evening, or during typical rush hour times.