Archive for the ‘Technology’ category

Bloggers Essentail to Brand Building

November 11, 2009

 

November 11, 2009

Gaining visibility as thought leaders

eMarketer estimates nearly 28 million US Internet users write a blog in 2009, and those bloggers run the gamut from hobbyists and part-timers to self-employed and corporate bloggers.

According to a Technorati survey of bloggers worldwide, most are men, ages 18 to 44, affluent and well-educated. About one-quarter work for a traditional media outlet in addition to blogging, and most still don’t make any money from their self-publishing activities. But there are other ways to create value.

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Fully 70% of bloggers polled by Technorati said they talked about products or brands on their blog. The most common activity was to post about brands they loved—or hated—as well as to write reviews or post about experiences with stores or customer service.

Bloggers who post about products and services may get some attention from brands in the form of free items and other perks—enough to attract the notice of the US Federal Trade Commission, at least—but the visibility they gain through publishing their thoughts also helps them in less-tangible ways.

Nearly six in 10 of all the bloggers surveyed said they were better known in their industry because of their blog, and one-quarter had used their blog as a resume or sent it to potential employers.

Further, bloggers who post for a business reported even higher levels of success: 71% had increased visibility for their company, 63% had converted prospects into purchasers through their blog, and 56% have seen their blog bring their company recognition as a thought leader in the industry.

Negative personal consequences, such as losing focus on work or getting in trouble on the job, were far less common than gaining visibility or even changing professions entirely based on blogging activity.

Printed with permission of emarketer.com

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Authenticity and the Leadership Mold

October 20, 2009

Stressed Over MoneyBy Kelly Hannum

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It’s and old question; how much of “you” can you reveal at work? I don’t mean dress code, but acting and saying things the way you would outside of work. Where’s the line between inappropriate and inauthentic?

With social networking, flexible schedules, and hip-mounted technologies that keep us connected to people and places all over the world—separation between work and non-work is no longer the default way of doing things. Most workers have to figure out and manage their boundries—-by reinforcing them, blurring them, or whatever makes sense in the moment. Switching from one’s “work-self” to one’s “non-work self” is something we have to do more frequently. 

To blend or not to blend?

Many folks blend work and non-work “friends” on social networking sites.  That could be a good thing, but is it? The idea of an integrated self is appealing—it’d make life easier, but is it a equal option for everyone?

Being authenic is bound to be easier for folks who are part of the leadership “in” crowd (aka folks who fit the leadership mold—who look, walk, or talk in a manner consistent with dominant images of leadership). As we collectively embrace more inclusive images of leadership, I imagine the option for everyone to bring their full self to work will increase.

Are we beging challenged?

In the meantime, we may have to ask ourselves is this inappropriate or is it something that challenges our image of leadership — and thereby places an expectation that someone else has to be inauthenic in order to fit our leadership mold?

Printed with permission from the Center for Creative  Leadership blog, Leading Effectively.

France Pursues Web Pirates

September 21, 2009

The French National Assembly has approved some of the toughest anti-internet piracy legislation in the world.

If it becomes law, the so-called Hadopi Bill, named after the new agency it would create, could allow the authorities to freeze the internet connection of illegal downloaders, impose fines of up to $441,000 and even jail repeat offenders for two years.

The new bill, already approved by the Senate, is also known as the ‘Three-Strikes Law’ for its graduated response to web piracy. The first step is to send a suspected illegal downloader a warning email and this is followed up with a letter. If an offender persists in downloading content without the permission of the copyright owner, their internet connection could be cut off for a year.

The bill also requires that wi-fi users block non-authorised users from accessing their connection.

Printed with permission of World Advertising Research Center

Marketers Moving to Digital

September 16, 2009

UncleSamCash.jpgSome 70% of US marketers will shift part of their budget from traditional to digital media in 2009, and a majority are also turning to promotions rather than building brands, the ANA and Marketing Management Analytics have found.

Based on a survey of 95 senior marketers, which was conducted by mktg, the ANA reported that 75% of participants will reduce their overall expenditure this year.

Furthermore, 67% of the panel had either seen their annual sales targets remain constant or increase when compared with 2008, despite the fact they now had fewer resources at their disposal.

A third of the sample predicted spending levels would be unchanged in 2010, while 36% forecast an increase, including 12% expecting an uptick of over 10%, and 14% said their outlay would fall by a similar degree.

One area witnessing an increased amount of activity has been the formation of multi-disciplinary teams, with 32% of the sample working regularly with members of their finance and research-focused colleagues, up 10% year-on-year.

Similarly, 38% of contributors have adopted the same metrics as their finance departments – up 11% on an annual basis – while 20% argued they now made strategy with their counterparts in this area.

Marketers are also using more detailed analytical tools, with 17% employing “what if” scenarios to estimate the impact on sales of changing their adspend, up from 8% last year.

A further 43% are building “customer lifetime models”, an improvement of 16%, while 19% were developing predictive sales models, almost double the total from 2008.

More broadly, 53% of industry specialists were diverting resources away from brand building and towards promotions, while 38% are turning to “lower-cost media”, such as shorter TV spots.

A total of 46% of respondents were “satisfied” with the return on investment, including sales, derived from marketing, while 34% were happy with their agency’s measurement processes.

However, just 28% felt they could respond flexibly where certain channels were not delivering the desired ROI, and only 20% were confident in their ability to predict how marketing will impact sales.

Finally, 43% of senior managers taking part in the study regarded marketing as being an investment in brand equity, compared with 39% who described it simply as an “expense”.

Printed with Permission from World Advertising Research Center

Data sourced from ANA; additional content by WARC staff, 15 September 2009

Microsoft Under Pressure From China

September 11, 2009

 Microsoft, the IT giant, is seeing the online stranglehold previously enjoyed by its Internet Explorer platform in China gradually erode under pressure from a number of domestic rivals, the latest figures suggest.

According to estimates from iResearch, Microsoft once held a 96% share of the web browser market in the world’s most populous nation, but this has now declined to 57.8%, and the exact total could be lower still.

Ding Li, an analyst at iResearch, said “according to my research, nearly 96% of China’s internet users have used an IE browser at some time in their lives, but only 50% of them keep to it regularly now.”

In particular, Microsoft’s share is being squeezed by three local alternatives with a combined market share of 31.1%, and which are “adopting advanced techniques and updating their products continuously,” Ding said.

Tencent has developed its own web browser, TT, and hopes to attract some of the 300 million people who are members of QQ, its instant messaging service, to switch to its new system.

“Its users are Tencent’s most prominent advantages. If TT can combine QQ software with its Tencent TT browser, it may become a browser with the biggest amount of users in the future,” Ding said.

Qihoo360’s360 Secured Browser, which is known particularly for protecting the privacy and data of its users, has increased its market share by 50% over each of the last three quarters, to 8.4% in all.

Qi Xiangdong, president of Qihoo360, argued “safety has become a top priority for people when choosing a browser. The 360 Secured Browser uses its ‘isolation mode’ to block any Trojan horse virus.”

Maxthon is another competitor to Microsoft, and offers a range of user-friendly features, such as tools allowing consumers to identify and access their favourite web portals from any computer.

Chen Jieming, ceo of Maxthon, said “most of our users were born between the 1970s and the 1990s and we are trying to attract those born before the 1960s to use our Maxthon browser.”

Chen said Google’s web browser, Chrome, has also struggled to make in-roads in the rapidly-developing online marketplace in China, for a mixture of technological and cultural reasons.

“Even though Google’s browser uses many of the most advanced technologies from all over the world, it still hasn’t gained popularity in China. Some Google Chrome functions aren’t even compatible with some Chinese websites,” he said.

Other multinational operators such as Firefox and Opera are also struggling to establish a substantial presence in the country as yet, according to Ding.
Printed with permisson of the World Advertising Research Center
Data sourced from Alibaba; additional content by WARC staff, 09 September 2009

P & G Aims to Increase OnLine Sales

September 11, 2009

Procter & Gamble, the FMCG giant, is looking to substantially increase the amount of revenue it generates via the internet, and will heighten its digital adspend to help achieve this goal.

Forrester, the research firm, reported that eCommerce retail sales reached a value of $156.1 billion in the US last year, a figure it predicts will grow to $229.1 billion by 2013.

Nielsen also estimates that only one third of Americans currently buy packaged goods on the web, although it forecasts sales levels will see an uptick of at least 20% each year in the short-to-medium term.

At present, online delivers just 1% of P&G’s annual revenues, or $500 million, a total the world’s biggest advertiser hopes to drive to $4 billion going forward.

Lucas Watson, P&G’s global team leader, digital business strategy, said “some categories see as much as 30% to 50% of their business in e-commerce. Our forecasts don’t suggest consumer products will ever work like that.”

Despite this, he argued it is “not out of the realm of possibility eCommerce will be more than 1% of our sales. Getting north of 10% would be an aggressive goal, but somewhere in between that would be, we think, within the realm of possibility.”

The Cincinnati-based company has recently started adding links to the online portals of various retailers to its own brand websites, a programme it now intends to roll out globally.

During the first quarter, the owner of Tide and Pampers also boosted its digital advertising expenditure, taking the medium’s share of its budget to 4%, TNS found, and this did not including all search, video and targeted ads.

“Whether it’s an investment in a banner ad, in a search-marketing ad or in a shopping experience … we will look at all of those and their ability to drive revenue for our company,” said Watson.

“The ability whenever the consumer raises her hand and says, ‘I’m ready to buy,’ to connect her directly to a purchase rather than have her wait and go to a store, we think of it as providing better service,”  he added.

Moreover, Watson suggested marketing mix models have shown digital advertising is providing P&G with a strong return on investment, even though “many people predicted it would not happen that way.”

Printed with permission of the World Advertising Reseach Center

Data sourced from AdAge; additional content by WARC staff, 09 September 2009

Mobile Commerce Still in its Infancy: eMarketer

September 7, 2009

By Giselle Tsirulnik

Mobile commerce still has a few years to go before consumer adoption gains strong momentum, according to research by eMarketer.

There are a couple of key growth engines such as the increasing number of smartphone users and new mobile shopping applications offered by retailers and third-party developers.

“One surprise is that upscale apparel brands like Ralph Lauren and Net-A-Porter have launched apps in the belief that some people are ready to buy $3,000 gowns and $1,000 pairs of shoes from their mobile phones,” said Jeffrey Grau, senior analyst at eMarketer, New York.

The report also found that more than 70 million U.S. mobile phone users will access the Internet from their device in 2009.

A number of recognized retail brands including 1-800-Flowers, Amazon.com, Ralph Lauren and Sears have launched mobile commerce programs so they can be where their customers go.

Nevertheless, mobile commerce is still in its infancy.

Web-enabled mobile phone users are much more likely to employ their devices to get weather forecasts, read news, find movie times and bank online than to buy products.

Consumers are willing to use their mobile phones to buy items such as pizza, movie tickets and travel reservations. And some have even used their devices to purchase consumer electronics, computers and apparel.

But mobile phone users say they would make more purchases if the process were not so cumbersome, products were easier to find and their devices supported secure credit card transactions.

A number of retailers and third-party developers have introduced mobile apps that give consumers powerful new shopping tools and added convenience.

But most retailers are either standing on the sidelines or in the midst of planning their mobile commerce strategy.

The main obstacles retailers cite for not moving more quickly are capital constraints, followed by consumer privacy issues and security concerns.

Retailers expect the primary benefits from mobile commerce will be improved customer loyalty and greater customer spending.

“One piece of advice is that retailers must take the time to understand how their customers like to shop and then design apps that are practical and that integrate with features on smartphones such as GPS navigation and address book,” Mr. Grau said.

“Also important, retailers need to consider the unique characteristics and constraints posed by the mobile phone,” he said. “Do not assume that an app can be designed in the same way as a Webpage.

“A Web designer does not think about the world from a touch-screen perspective. Trim down the shopping experience and make it easy to search and navigate.

(c) Copyright Napean LLC.  Reprinted with permission from Mobile Marketer (linked)