Online Biz

If you stick around long enough in the digital marketing business, you get to read a lot of these types of columns — one expert or another prognosticating about the future. If I had such a talent, my sense is that it would be put to best use in selecting next week’s lottery numbers. Like you, I have no crystal ball. But I have spent a great deal of my career meeting with marketers in search of innovative ways to acquire and retain new and existing customers, build lifetime value, and win back lost customers.

What follows are five digital marketing predictions for 2012 that are a direct result of numerous client and prospect meetings. 

1. The year of the tablet. All of this is likely to occur in the next 13 months:

  • the installed base of tablet devices will continue to grow exponentially;
  • consumer adoption of tablets will continue to accelerate;
  • new tablet devices will enable traditional print units to be displayed effectively;
  • the rising cost of paper, printing and postage will continue to fuel marketers’ desire for more cost-efficient delivery formats;
  • the web makes a comeback in terms of tablet applications; and
  • the App StoreOpens in a new window still dominates, but will have new competition.

 

2. New demands for greater attribution analysis tools and methods. As a result, be prepared for the following:

  • company finance departments will require greater proof and validation of cost efficiency;
  • marketers will demand greater accountability from channels on media plan optimization; and
  • there will be a new focus on integrated marketing proficiency and effectiveness.

 

3. Get mobile … and fast. The following trends around mobile will emerge next year:

  • consumers will spend more time accessing and communicating via mobile devices;
  • marketers will get their websites in shape to reap the benefits of the new mobile economy; and
  • mobile search and advertising will ramp up dramatically.

 

4. Social media grows up. Here’s what you can expect when it comes to social media marketing in 2012:

  • most marketers will aggressively launch a new array of social strategies and programs;
  • growth in social gaming will flatten out;
  • marketers crack the code in terms of turning community building into measurable transactions; and
  • websites will play second fiddle to social media destinations.

 

5. Digital will play a pivotal role in presidential politics. With 2012 an election year, don’t be surprised to see the following:

  • candidates will be smarter about how to use the full spectrum of digital tools at their disposal, following President Obama’s lead when he leveraged social media in building a coalition and donor base four years ago;
  • the battle will heat up in late 2011 and throughout the primary season; and
  • whoever wins the battle online will win the White House.

 

It’s challenging to predict trends in a marketplace that continues to evolve and change as quickly as the digital landscape. I continue to watch for signs that marketers are getting smarter about using the digital tools available to monitor the dialogs they’re having with their customers in real time.

As we watch the tremendous shift in media consumption patterns and the lamentations about the demise of direct mail, my sense is that digital still has a long way to go before it can be viewed as much more than electronic junk communication. It’s our responsibility as marketers to step up and show consumers that we can be trusted with their data. In earning this trust, we must build more meaningful relationships with them.

Of all of the predictions that could be realized, my sincere hope is that a new awakening to the power of the digital tools and strategies within our current toolkit comes to reality. Consumers have been waiting for years.

 

Provided by Al Diguido

In the second case of its kind in a week, a woman in Brazil reportedly awoke in the middle of the night to find her iPhone emitting sparks and smoke.

Being awoken from a deep, soothing slumber by an alarm clock or wake-up call is bad enough, but being awoken by a fire on your bedside table would be something else altogether. It’d certainly get you out of bed in a hurry.

According to Brazil’s techtudo website, a woman by the name of Ayla Mota had her iPhone 4 plugged in to charge overnight when it allegedly began to emit sparks and smoke as she slept (no, the picture on the right is not of the actual incident).

The fact that the phone was on Ayla’s bedside table meant the indoor fireworks display was kicking off only a short distance from her head. Upon waking, it seems that Ayla was able to deal with the situation without coming to any harm, though she was reportedly shaken up by the event.

The incident comes in the same week that another iPhone 4 device was said to have spontaneously combusted, this time on board a passenger plane in Australia. In that incident the phone was reported to have emitted dense smoke and a red glow. A quick-thinking flight attendant used a fire extinguisher to deal with the emergency and no one was hurt. Australian airline authorities are looking into the incident.

Apple has yet to publicly comment on either case, though no doubt the company will be keen to cast its eye over the results of any investigations.

It’s hardly time for iPhone owners to start sleeping with a bucket of water under the bed though. These are extremely isolated incidents and with Apple having sold so many of its smartphone device, what are the chances of yours going up in smoke?

If, however, multiple reports start coming in of iPhones spontaneously combusting here, there and everywhere, then perhaps that’ll be the time to start filling up the bucket. But one hopes it won’t ever come to that.

 

Provided by Trevor Mogg

Email SpamAccording to Google, spam is either a canned meat product made mainly from ham or irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.  Either way, it’s not something I want to see on my computer in the morning.  And since I don’t think I’m in the minority on this one, it’s probably not something that should be a part of your email marketing.

Enjoy this fun infographic, and make sure to check out the bottom to see best practices so you won’t look like a spammer.  Enjoy!

 

The Evolution of Spam – An Email Marketing Infographic

 

Provided by marketo.com

Why should companies use content marketing? Risk mitigation, lead generation, lead nurturing and lead scoring are some of the benefits today’s companies are reaping from their content marketing efforts.

How are companies using it? Some of the most popular ways, by percentage of companies, are non-blogging social media (79%), article posting (78%), in-person events (62%), e-newsletters (61%), case studies (55%), blogs (51%), white papers (43%) and webinars/webcasts (42%).

Are content marketing budgets growing? Most definitely, with 51% increasing spending over the next 12 months, 45% maintaining their current level of spending, and only 2% planning to decreasing content marketing spending.

For more facts and statistics, have a look at the the graphic below:

Is Content Marketing Traditional Advertising’s New Rival? [Infographic]

Provided by http://www.marketo.com

If you want to participate in the kickoff of the holiday shopping season without feeling too much like a market-driven drone, check Small Business Saturday with the help of these social networking tools.

Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the unending onslaught of online deals, there is another holiday shopping day that might get lost in the shuffle: Small Business Saturday. This year marks the second annual such event, a new tradition that tries to steal some addition from chain retailers and big e-commerce sites and give it to local vendors.

And this year, the fledging ritual is getting some serious attention from social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, and Google have all pledge their efforts in support, offering and encouraging small business owners to use their sites’ tools to promote shopping this weekend.

Local retailers aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit this weekend. What happens to consumers who want the discounts but sans the chain names (that are sometimes attached to controversy) they go hand in hand with? Small business Saturday can fill that void along with the help of some geo-social applications.

Foursquare

amex-foursquareFoursquare has been at the top of the social-meets-location game since it began, and Small Business Saturday will be no exception. If you have an American Express card, sync it to your Foursquare account following these directions. Then when you check-in to shops who have partnered with the service via Foursquare on Saturday, you will see a button that says “load to card.” Then when you spend at least $25 or more at the participating store, you’ll get a notification saying $25 was credited to your Amex account. American Express is a sponsor of Small Business Saturday, so ratcheting up sales is in its best interest, but turns out they’re willing to compensate you for helping make the event a success.

 

etsy_iconEtsy

The purveyor of all things handcrafted is a natural fit for small business Saturday—and will appeal to those who want to buy “local” without leaving their living rooms. Just searching “Small Business Saturday” on the site brought up a slew of items that will be on sale this weekend, andthis blog catalogued some of the best e-shops on the site that offered discounts last year.

 

 

thedealmixDaily deal sites

While the likes of LivingSocial and Groupon tend to offer food and spa deals, the occasional local retailer pops up. Between now and Small Business Saturday, a minimal amount of homework and creating an account with one (or all) of these sites could save you some Monday. We’d advise getting with something likeThe Dealmix, which collects a large variety of all these local deals. Keep an eye out on any of these applications for vendor or shop deals in your area. Then make a call or check Facebook to see if they are participating in Small Business Saturday. Then add those savings to whatever discount the daily deal site was offering. Of course, you should check that you can use coupons during the Saturday sale.

 

 

 

Facebook

Facebook is offering a slew of tools for small businesses to take advantage of, but the site is also catering to consumers. Check out the Small Business Saturday Facebook page and you’ll have access to a variety of information, including city guides for optimizing your local shopping in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, as well as organized events in cities nationwide. Some of them include raffles, free gift wrapping, Santa visits for the kids, and community breakfasts.

 

 

 

 

smallbiz twitterTwitter

Be sure to follow your favorite local business on Twitter, if you haven’t already. We’re sure a great many of these sites will have implemented a Follow button (one of the tools in the Small Business Saturday kid), and will be using the hashtags #ShopSmall, #ShopSmallNov26, #SmallBizSaturday and #SmallBusinessSaturday to spread word of their discounts this weekend.

How-to-get-Macs-and-PCs-to-play-nice-together

Macs and PCs may work differently, but they can coexist together. Learn how to comfortably straddle the gap between both operating systems with these simple tips.

Microsoft and Apple have always been competitors on some level, and as a result, their fans often contain a bit of that old competitive spirit. It’s not uncommon for Mac buyers to become overnight loyalists, but Windows has an entrenched fanboy battalion as well.

Given the situation, it’s almost unnatural to think that – *gasp* – someone might own both a Windows PC and a Mac. Can you imagine the nerve? In the same household! Yet it does occur. In fact, I myself own a Windows PC as well as a MacBook, and so far one hasn’t killed the other (or me) while I slept.

With that said, getting the two to play nice can take some time. File, software, and hardware compatibility issues are not as bad as they were a decade ago, but they do exist. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome them.

Conquering old-fashioned file compatibility problems

There was once a time when trying to move a file between a PC and a Mac was a real hassle. Software on each end was wildly different, so files saved on a Mac often could not be opened in Windows without some form of conversion. Error-Cartoon

Today, this problem has lessened. However, the two operating systems continue to use different file systems. Windows relies on NTFS, while OS X uses HFS Plus.

This has no impact on actual file compatibility. A Word document written on a Mac using HFS Plus can be opened on an NTFS file system Windows PC. The problem is the method of file transfer. Macs can read files on an NTFS drive, but can’t write to an NTFS drive, while Windows can neither read nor write to HFS Plus drives. If you normally use physical media to transfer files, this could be a stumbling block.

What’s the solution? Get FAT…32. This file system, which was used by Windows back in the Windows 95/98 era, is read/write compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X. Thumb drives and external hard drives formatted with FAT32 will be compatible with both systems. Problem solved right?

Software compatibility continues to disappoint

Software is still a compatibility sticking point between Macs and PCs. It is still up to a developer to code for either operating system.

Microsoft’s debut of Office for the Mac was the only major software compatibility change to recently take place (and even this occurred years ago), but it was important. Basic productivity tasks are now much easier to complete if you own both platforms because you’ll have a set of familiar and compatible programs available on both.

Windows-7-and-Mac-OS

However, it’s almost universally true that you must purchase the Windows and Mac versions individually, which can be a pain to your pocketbook. One notable exception is Steam for Mac. This gaming platform provides gamers with both a Windows and Mac copy of a video game (if the Mac version is available) when they purchase a title.

Syncing files between systems

File sync software is a blessing if you own multiple computers, but for those who own both PCs and Macs, software compatibility issues are a roadblock. Sync software often only supports one platform or the other.

Surprisingly, one of the easier solutions comes from Microsoft. The company offers a program called Windows Live Mesh that can be used to sync files between systems, and it has both a PC and Mac version. I’ve personally used this and found it works well – and it’s completely free, no matter how much data you need to sync.

Another option is, well, any service that’s based in the cloud. Dropbox is the most common example, but there are tons of similar offerings. However, you usually need to pay once your storage needs go beyond a certain point because the files are stored in the cloud, not on your computers.

BlackBerry-Bold-9790-Curve-9380

A crowd of over 1,000 people mobbed an Indonesian mall for a chance to buy a half priced BlackBerry 9790. Over 90 people passed out in the mob, and at least three people suffered broken bones.

If you thought local Black Friday deals were good, you need to go to Indonesia. A crowd of over 1,000 people formed outside an Indonesian mall on Friday for a sale on the newly released BlackBerry 9790, pictured on the left above. The phone that retails for around $520 was available at half price.

Customers had been in line since 4 pm the day before waiting for the sale to start. Rumors started spreading throughout the massive crowd that there wasn’t enough phones for everyone in line so they started to get a little rowdy. The crowd pushed through a barricade which caused at least 90 people to pass out and three people to suffer broken bones. It took 200 police officers and security guards to restore order to the mob.  Three people were rushed to the hospital for treatment to their injuries.

While it might be a little surprising for us here in the U.S. but BlackBerry is by far the most popular phone maker in Indonesia. Four of the top five selling phones are made by BlackBerry. Combine the insane popularity of the device with a half off discount on a recently released device and this sort of situation is predictable.

Local police said that BlackBerry officials will be questioned for failure to provide a safe environment for the sale. The police were not informed by BlackBerry prior to the event, and say that if they were they would have been able to control the situation.

After the initial mob was dispersed phones went back on sale for a short time until ultimately the sale was shut down prematurely.  There is no word as of right now if other retailers will attempt a similar promotion, but Indonesians should be able to buy the 9790 at any of their local BlackBerry retailers starting tomorrow.

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