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August 31, 2009

Six Ways to Save Money in Enterprise Content Management

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) projects are popular cost-savers but how do you ensure a successful project whether internal or external? Good tips from Gartner:

At a time when IT budgets are tight and few can afford to spend anything they don't have to, Gartner's research vice president Tony Bell is offering some interesting thoughts on best practices for reducing costs.

Six Ways to Save Money in Enterprise Content Management

Written by Steven Walling / August 30, 2009 3:30 PM

billfold.jpgEnterprise content management (ECM) is big business these days. There are scads of companies turning a tidy profit promising to do a competent job of managing every conceivable type of content, from records bound by regulation to Web content and freewheeling collaborative work. What there isn't as much of is sound advice from experienced professionals on how to save money when it comes to ECM.

Read more articles on enterprise content management from KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=enterprise+content+management

At a time when IT budgets are tight and few can afford to spend anything they don't have to, Gartner's research vice president Tony Bell is offering some interesting thoughts on best practices for reducing costs. Here's our assessment of his tactics for increasing efficiency when it comes to ECM.

Clean House

Before you're ready to make a new ECM implementation of any kind, take the time to assess what content you have and what you can do without. Either as a team or through designated point people, find and eliminate old and duplicate content that bogs down your current solution.

Keeping content around that is doing you no good is a waste of time and resources. If content migration and integration of systems is so important, more enterprises should be paying attention to how they can alleviate the burden that unnecessary content creates.

Develop Automated Policies

As Gartner puts it, "a policy about documents takes the form of rules and metadata that allow some automatic categorization and expiration of content." In other words, creating document policies for your ECM implementation is going to help preclude the need for spending a lot of time on the need to prune old content to increase efficiency.

Automated processes are ...click here to continue reading.

Topics: Document imaging scan document Office document imaging scanning document imaging software enterprise document management document imaging management software ocr optical character recognition document management content management document software document scanner imaging software

Enterprises Continue to Adopt Web 2.0 Blogs Wikis RSS and Mashups

Enterprises will adopt Web 2.0 technoloies in coming years according to Forrester Research. This marks a trend already underway at many corporations.

The 5-year enterprise Web 2.0 forecast includes technologies such as social networking, RSS, blogs, wikis, mashups, podcasting, and widgets.

Growing Adoption of Web 2.0: Are Enterprises Ready?

By Georgia Kennedy at Sys-Con.com

According to a new report by Forrester Research, despite a long-term future marked by commoditization, enterprise spending on Web 2.0 technologies will surge over the next five years, growing 43 percent each year to reach $4.6 billion globally by 2013. The 5-year enterprise Web 2.0 forecast includes technologies such as social networking, RSS, blogs, wikis, mashups, podcasting, and widgets.

Read more articles on Web 2.0 from KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=social

The enterprise Web 2.0 market, which includes the deployment of tools like blogs, wikis, and social networking within the enterprise, was a growing force in enterprise software in 2007 - 2008. While the market is still quite immature, it will continue to gain importance in 2008 as an increasing number of firms look to enterprise Web 2.0 tools to solve long-standing information worker problems. As a result, Forrester expects to see strong demand growth for tools like enterprise RSS and social networking, an increased role for IT departments in technology acquisition, and steadily growing ...click here to continue reading.

Topics: social networking social network social networks social networking sites Facebook MySpace Linkedin social networking software social network analysis online social networking free social network social network business social networking personals dating

27 Billion Fewer Pieces of Mail hurts US Postal Service - Email Marketing to Blame

Email marketing is making a dent in the US Postal Service's revenue. Advertisers are flocking to email marketing because of its high ROI, but will the Postal Service survive? Should it?

About 175 billion pieces of mail will be sent in 2009, down from 202 billion last year.

As Internet Booms, the Postal Service Fights Back

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON — Amid unrelenting bad news, the Postal Service is striving to make the case that mail is here to stay.

About 175 billion pieces of mail will be sent in 2009, down from 202 billion last year.

Read articles on how to use email marketing at KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=email+marketing

“We’re very optimistic about the future of mail because mail has great value,” said Susan Plonkey, vice president for sales. “Mail works.”

But even the Postal Service acknowledges that some mail is gone for good... click here to continue reading.

Topics: Email marketing advertising marketing campaigns Email marketing software campaign success bulk email marketing direct email marketing email marketing lists free email marketing services Internet marketing online marketing Opt in email marketing Opt in mailing list business marketing email lists

Social Media is Outlet for Consumers - Product and Brands Should Engage

Social media is a consumer creative outlet that companies can leverage for feedback and inspiration - but keep in mind the aging population using these tools. Good news though from Forrester Research - the internet (and social media) is NOT a waste of time... whew!

Most growth in social networking is occurring among adults 35 and older, Forrester Research says. Four of five adults of all ages now use social media, including blogs, social networks and review sites, in some form at least monthly; half visit social networking sites.

An Online Outlet for Creating and Socializing

By PHYLLIS KORKKI
Published: August 29, 2009

People sometimes criticize the Internet as a colossal time waster. But it also has a role in releasing people’s creative and social energies, as a new report from Forrester Research points out.

Nearly a quarter of American adults who use the Internet are “creators,” Forrester says, which means that they “write blogs, upload original audio or video, or post stories online.”

On the social side, “half of online adults now belong to social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, a 46 percent growth rate year-over-year,” Forrester says. It attributes this to friends’ encouragement (in other words, peer pressure?) and to news coverage.

Most growth in social networking is occurring among adults 35 and older, Forrester says. Four of five adults of all ages now use social media, including blogs, social networks and review sites, in some form at least monthly; half visit social networking sites. Time waster or not, social media are a phenomenon that is now nearly impossible to ignore. click here to read more...

Topics: social networking social network social networks social networking sites Facebook MySpace Linkedin social networking software social network analysis online social networking free social network social network business social networking personals dating

Traditional Marketing Loses Impact, Replaced by Online Advertising

Here's a good list of ten reasons why traditional marketing is losing pace with online advertising and why advertisers should consider shifting more budget to online advertising.

The Top 10 Reasons Why Online Marketing Dominates Traditional Advertising


by Assassin marketing

Online marketing has become the most successful method of advertising for any kind of business on the planet during the last decade. It is lightning fast and can promote your business to thousands of potential customers daily. As marketing is a primary factor for a long and successful business, the internet facilitates this process in a way that will ensure the maximum exposure to what you are offering.

Read more articles on online advertising at KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=advertising

Traditional marketing is becoming more expensive and slower to produce results. It also requires much more time and effort. It often has to be done by many employees and is restricted by many barriers and regulations which make it hard to get the most beneficial results. Then along comes the internet as it makes the entire globe seem like a short alley rather than a large city where you can reach customers overseas in a matter of seconds. Online marketing is superior to traditional ways of marketing in almost every aspect, and here we list the top 10 reasons online marketing dominates traditional advertising.

2. GEOGRAPHICAL RESTRICTIONS

4. SALES PROCESS

6. COST OF MEDIA

8. COST PER CUSTOMER

10. ONGOING MARKETING INFORMATION

Click here for a detailed explanation of each and to continue reading...

Topics: Email marketing advertising marketing campaigns Email marketing software campaign success bulk email marketing direct email marketing email marketing lists free email marketing services Internet marketing online marketing Opt in email marketing Opt in mailing list business marketing email lists

60% of Online Shopping Carts Abandoned - Live Interaction Helps

How to do increase sales when 60% of potential customers abandon their online shopping cart before submitting their order? Good tips on using online chat with customer support:

consumers abandon nearly 60 percent of all online transactions before they hit the "submit" button.

Maximize sales with live online interaction

From Wausau Daily Herald

The e-commerce Main Street is littered with deserted shopping carts and unsent online forms, travel itineraries and service applications.

According to Marketing Sherpa, consumers abandon nearly 60 percent of all online transactions before they hit the "submit" button. Each incomplete transaction reduces revenue, increases acquisition costs and represents a lost opportunity to win long-term customer loyalty.

Read more articles on online sales and marketing from KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=sales

There are many reasons customers leave a site before they finish a transaction. Some still feel uncomfortable with providing personal information online. Some feel they need more information to make a final purchase decision. Others, especially when it comes to expensive or complex purchases, feel more comfortable taking the leap when they have human assistance.

Live, interactive Web site help gives customers the opportunity to communicate with a live agent throughout their online shopping experience -- right up to the time they're ready to hit the "submit" button. As a result,...click here to continue reading.

Topics: web design website designer strategy graphic designer web site design meaning web design software Microsoft FrontPage Macromedia Dreamweaver Adobe Web designing Yahoo GoDaddy free web design tools web page design web design company web hosting logo design brand marketing

August 28, 2009

Why Marketing Executives use Social Media

Looking to pitch social media as part of the marketing mix at your company? Use this recent and compelling survey information as ammo.

Looking to make the case for why your organization or clients should be using social media marketing? A survey last month, highlighted today in eMarketer, outlines the benefits that marketing executives cite as reasons to embrace the medium:

 

Data: What are the Benefits of Social Media Marketing?

by Adam Ostrow at Mashable.com

social media customer engagement communications feedback cost research crowd reach

to continue reading click here...

Read more articles on social media at KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=social

Topics: social networking social network social networks social networking sites Facebook MySpace Linkedin social networking software social network analysis online social networking free social network social network business social networking personals dating

More US Companies Adding Email Marketing

Email marketing is an incredibly useful tool for any marketing and advertising campaign. The ROI's are extremely high when done even marginally.

53 percent of marketing budgets for US companies have increased in the past year, in the face of slow economic conditions. This extra budget is being used to fund high-return Online Lead Generation campaigns

New Research Shows Marketing Budgets are Up - and Email Marketing is the Number one Area of Spend

From PromotionWorld.com

New research from Econsultancy and Clash-Media, the online customer acquisition specialist, shows that 53 percent of marketing budgets for US companies have increased in the past year, in the face of slow economic conditions. This extra budget is being used to fund high-return Online Lead Generation campaigns, with Email Marketing the top area of spend, with 75 percent of organizations using it.

Read more articles on email marketing at KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=email+marketing

According to the research, Paid Search has become less popular within online marketing, with 12 percent fewer companies using it compared to last year – largely because ROI is harder to achieve and quantify. The US leads the way in innovation: 49 percent of companies use social media marketing, compared to 32 percent in the UK and 29 percent in Europe.

"It's great news for the industry that the majority of marketers have increased budgets and can see the benefits of Online Lead Generation," commented Matthew Conlin, Sales Director of Clash-Media US. "Advertisers need more ...continue reading

Topics: Email marketing advertising marketing campaigns Email marketing software campaign success bulk email marketing direct email marketing email marketing lists free email marketing services Internet marketing online marketing Opt in email marketing Opt in mailing list business marketing email lists

Affiliate Marketing Useful Pew Study Shows

For many e-tailers, affiliate marketing is low on the list of marketing tools they use to drive and convert buyers. Here are five reasons it may be a great way to stretch your marketing budget.

Is It Time to Affiliate?

By Heidi Cohen, ClickZ

Sixty-seven percent of U.S. Internet users seek the lowest priced items and 40 percent find coupons, according to Pew Internet and American Life Project's July 2009 "The Internet and the Recession" study. With lower sales, longer purchase consideration periods, and smaller marketing budgets, what can a retailer do to beyond price cutting to drive sales? One cost-effective method is to add affiliate marketing to your marketing mix or enhance your current program.

Read more articles on marketing and advertising at KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=marketing

Affiliate marketing can be a great way to extend your marketing efforts cost-effectively. (To better understand affiliates, check out this report.) Evidence of this is the recent Affiliate Summit East, where affiliates and retailers made real-world connections to solidify their online relationships. This year, the summit had an impressive 25 percent increase in attendance over last year.

Five Reasons to Add Affiliate Marketing to the Mix

For many e-tailers, affiliate marketing is ...continue reading

Topics: Viral marketing advertising marketing viral marketing video YouTube Viral marketing campaigns internet viral marketing Facebook MySpace

Business Process Management and Lean Six Sigma - Coexist

Business Process Management (BPM) seeks to optimize business processes and therefore it only makes sense that BPM should coexist in an environment adopting Lean Six Sigma (LSS). One leverages the other to merge business process and technology.

Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodologies can be used as the weapon to solve problems BPM uncovers.

BY ALEX KAYLE at ITWeb

There is no silver bullet in the business process management (BPM) journey. It requires complete buy-in from top management and Lean Six Sigma (LSS) methodologies can be used as the weapon to solve problems BPM uncovers.

Read more articles on BPM at KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=bpm

So argued David Lyneham-Brown, BPT Group CEO and event chairman, at the ITWeb BPM Summit held at Montecasino yesterday. “LSS and BPM are about creating a new culture and a new way of working that doesn't rely on the fractured, political relationship of departments, but rather on the back of people who understand from a customer perspective what is needed for customer fulfilment.

“That will never happen if you lack a business vision. When we get that philosophy in place, the business will see greater value.”

Lyneham-Brown said operational management need to be the process owners and have the responsibility, authority, and accountability from the early stages to carry through into the future.

“Unless the senior management is there you will not get the 40%, 60%, and 80% process improvements which require significant organisational change to get there. BPM has to be embedded in the business strategy itself.”

BPM versus LSS

Richard Aldous, head of sales and marketing for Rethink, pointed out: “Everybody is responsible for making BPM work; it's everybody's accountability to make BPM successful and the business needs to show the BPM success early on in the journey. If you can get that low-hanging fruit on a monthly basis you can get that buy-in quickly from the entire organisation.”

According to Aldous, BPM and LSS do ...continue reading

Topics: Business process management business management process software business rules business process manager bpm software business process management business process management system business process ERP systems enterprise resource planning outsourcing Business process outsourcing business activities outsourcing

5 Reasons Blog Marketing is Useful

A basic list of 5 reasons why businesses benefit from blog marketing and should be considered when creating a marketing plan for any company, brand, product or service.

Blog marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote goods and services on the internet today. Commonly referred to as business blogs, these sites are able to capitalize on their versatility and ability to interact with visitors to the site.

Blog marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote goods and services on the internet today. Commonly referred to as business blogs, these sites are able to capitalize on their versatility and ability to interact with visitors to the site. Whether you're involved in affiliate marketing or are promoting your own products or cause blogs have proven to be very effective online marketing platforms.

Read more articles on blogging at KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=blog

If you are looking to start you own business or perhaps already have one you may want to consider using a blog as your primary business site. Let's look at 5 reasons why blogs are so effective as online marketing platforms. continue reading...

Topics: blog marketing advertising blogging blogger company business customer brand product service internet online 

August 27, 2009

How To Make Value Case for Disaster Recovery

Great tips on how to propose disaster recovery plans to the business. Pitching disaster recovery in terms the business can understand is the most critical element!

In a tight economy, how do you make the case in your company to invest in disaster recovery? We talked with leading providers of disaster recovery services and asked how they are advising clients who need to prove the value of their DR programs

Seven tips to make the value case for disaster recovery

By Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer
25 Aug 2009 | SearchCIO.com

In a tight economy, how do you make the case in your company to invest in disaster recovery? We talked with leading providers of disaster recovery services and asked how they are advising clients who need to prove the value of their DR programs. Here are some of their dos and don'ts:

1. Sell a disaster recovery program by doing a risk assessment or a business impact analysis.
2. Stop talking about disaster recovery and business continuity as an IT program or in terms of IT's underlying recovery objectives.
3. BC/DR should really be integrated into an organization's normal change processes, ideally at the architectural stage.
4. Focus on business process resiliency.
5. Lay out a five-year plan that shows improvement over time by, for example, taking additional risks out, or by better supporting a business need, or speeding the recovery time, or reducing error rates.
6. Make sure DR is dependent on more than a few trained individuals.
7: Test the plan.

Click here to read an expanded description of these tips...

Click here to read more articles on disaster recovery from KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/advice_by_discipline/disaster_recovery/

Topics:  disaster recovery fort worth texas disaster recovery plan Disaster recovery planning business continuity disaster recovery planning Disaster recovery software DR backup system data Backup software online backup services

Penetration of Online Media for Small Businesses Increases to 77%

Online advertising is a great levelling tool for small and medium sized businesses and this latest study shows compelling results for SMB's to advertise online:

According to the latest report from the Kelsey Group, in the last 12 months, the penetration of online media for small businesses has increased from 73 percent in August 2008 to 77 percent this month.

SMBs moving to online marketing

2009-08-24

Although they have been slower to get on board than their larger counterparts, one study finds small businesses are increasingly moving to online marketing at the expense of traditional media.

Read more articles on advertising from KellyRShort.com at: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=advertising

According to the latest report from the Kelsey Group, in the last 12 months, the penetration of online media for small businesses has increased from 73 percent in August 2008 to 77 percent this month.

Conversely, traditional media has seen its penetration drop over that same period - falling from 74 percent last year to 69 percent this month.

Steve Marshall, director of research at the Kelsey Group, says that while the study focused only on small- and medium-sized businesses, it is a good barometer of the feelings toward online media across the business community. click here to read more...

Topics: online marketing trends fort worth texas online sales offline blogs social networking wikis web services podcasts widgets online games virtual worlds

How E-mail Marketing and Social Media Can Work Together

Leveraging email marketing with your social media campaigns can create huge ROI's when compared with traditional media options:

A shift has taken place in corporate marketing strategy. If your brand, company or organization is like many others, you’ve moved away from traditional marketing strategies and are now focusing on strengthening your online efforts. Social media and e-mail campaigns, in particular, have both seen tremendous growth in recent years.

How E-mail Marketing and Social Media Can Work Together

A shift has taken place in corporate marketing strategy. If your brand, company or organization is like many others, you’ve moved away from traditional marketing strategies and are now focusing on strengthening your online efforts. 

Read more articles on social media and social networking from KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=social

Social media and e-mail campaigns, in particular, have both seen tremendous growth in recent years. Although we tend to think of these two marketing avenues as mutually exclusive, they often make for more compelling and effective campaigns when merged into one fully integrated online marketing campaign.

While social media sites can offer a venue for companies to engage in two-sided conversation with their customers, e-mail serves as way for companies to provide a steady flow of information directly to interested customers. How the two efforts fit together is where the picture gets a little more interesting.

There are two ways to direct user flow between the social media experience and e-mail subscription. click here to read more...

Topics: social networking social network social networks social networking sites Facebook MySpace Linkedin social networking software social network analysis online social networking free social network social network business social networking personals dating

Time for Companies to Outsource Disaster Recovery is Now

Outsourcing disaster recovery reduces staff required to perform daily, weekly and monthly backups as well as reduces expensive hardware to support such activities. Plus, disaster recovery outsourcers can provide more sophisticated tools such as server virtualization that allow companies to recover more quickly when disaster strikes.

Technology is changing IT disaster recovery outsourcing

By Linda Tucci, Senior News Writer
25 Aug 2009 | SearchCIO.com

Many enterprises have been insourcing IT disaster recovery (DR) in recent years through a combination of disk-based backup, server virtualization and, increasingly, cloud server capacity. DR providers are now doing many of the same things, changing the nature of what CIOs can and should expect from outsourcing DR.

Read more articles on Disaster Recovery from KellyRShort.com: http://kellyrshort.com/advice_by_discipline/disaster_recovery/

One clear example is the shift from tape to disk backup. DR providers have long made a living picking up and storing tapes. Now, almost all the vendors interviewed for our DR trends story said they were advising clients to move from tape to electronic vaulting for backup, both to save money and improve recovery service levels.

While tape certainly is less expensive than a replication infrastructure, providers said that CIOs need to factor in the "people and risk" costs associated with tape in a recovery scenario, including the time spent on managing the tape, the risk of lost tapes, and being unable to recover tapes. click here to read more...

Topics: disaster recovery fort worth texas disaster recovery plan Disaster recovery planning business continuity disaster recovery planning Disaster recovery software DR backup system data Backup software online backup services

August 25, 2009

How Small Businesses Leverage Business Intelligence

Think of business Intelligence as really smart reporting for your business operations. It provides a clear data-driven summary of how your organization is performing using things like key performance indicators to define success and failure. Here are 9 ways small businesses can use BI.

9 Opportunities for Selling BI to the SMB

  1. Define business unit KPIs and embed those into company strategy
  2. Lose the dependence on spreadsheets
  3. Start looking at meta-data management tools
  4. Set up cross-functional teams to facilitate BI deployment
  5. Architect usage monitoring into BI systems
  6. Invest in formal training
  7. Implement customer-facing dashboards
  8. Establish a BI
  9. Re-evaluate BI software licensing, deployment and service options
Click here to read more...

Click here to learn more about key performance indicators: http://kellyrshort.com/lpkeyperformancekpi.html

Why Social Networking Will Go Enterprise Wide

Interesting argument:

Given all your employees are now online social creatures it stands to reason that these technologies will make their way into corporate applications as features.

By Larry Dignan at ZDNet

The social networking bandwagon is operating at near capacity: Only 18 percent of the online population is holding out from social media, according to Forrester Research.

Click here to read more articles about social networking: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=social+networking

To put that 18 percent in context 25 percent of the online population was socially inactive in 2008 and 44 percent were no-shows in 2007. Forrester’s third annual Social Technographics Profile, as highlighted by Josh Bernoff, reveals the following:

  • Nearly a quarter of the U.S. online population create blogs, upload audio and video and write stories.
  • Online forum traffic is down as folks move to Facebook and social networks.
  • One in five adults categorize content with tags, RSS feeds and voting systems like Digg.
  • Half of online adults are members of social networks.
  • We’re all spectators that consume social content. Social participation increased across all age groups, but adults 35 to 54 really got on the bandwagon.
Click here to read more...

Topics: social networking social network social networks social networking sites Facebook MySpace Linkedin social networking software social network analysis online social networking free social network social network business social networking personals dating

August 24, 2009

Sentiment Analysis Measures Feelings from Social Media

A beautiful extension of the richest set of data the world has ever known: social media. Never before have so many consumers so easily and accessibly expressed their likes, dislikes, wants and needs for product designers.

The rise of blogs and social networks has fueled a bull market in personal opinion: reviews, ratings, recommendations and other forms of online expression. For computer scientists, this fast-growing mountain of data is opening a tantalizing window onto the collective consciousness of Internet users. 

Computers may be good at crunching numbers, but can they crunch feelings?

By ALEX WRIGHT at NYTimes.com

The rise of blogs and social networks has fueled a bull market in personal opinion: reviews, ratings, recommendations and other forms of online expression. For computer scientists, this fast-growing mountain of data is opening a tantalizing window onto the collective consciousness of Internet users. 

An emerging field known as sentiment analysis is taking shape around one of the computer world’s unexplored frontiers: translating the vagaries of human emotion into hard data.

The "Next Big Thing" Will Come From China - click here to read more: http://kellyrshort.com/2009/07/india_china_internet_users_innovationhtml.html

This is more than just an interesting programming exercise. For many businesses, online opinion has turned into a kind of virtual currency that can make or break a product in the marketplace.
click here to read more

Topics: innovation, sentiment analysis, social networking, social media, facebook, twitter, myspace, linkedin, web 2.0, wiki, social networks

Powerful Evidence: Email Marketing Increases Sales

Email marketing is a great way to drive sales and engage customers with your brand. This article is one of hundreds of examples that email marketing works:

Mike’s Express Carwash, a chain of 37 carwashes located across Indiana and Ohio, announced today its email marketing program boosted online sales in June more than 60 percent over June 2008 totals.

From BusinessWire.com

Powered by on-demand email and one-to-one marketing provider ExactTarget, the Father’s Day email promotion boosted online sales of discount carwash books and prompted the car care company to launch a back to school campaign Aug. 9 to offer customers a free carwash in exchange for completing an online customer satisfaction survey and subscribing to its email marketing program.

For more information on how to use email marketing to increase sales click here: http://kellyrshort.com/2009/07/2_reasons_why_you_should_be_us.html

The 10-day back to school campaign concludes Monday and has already added more than 40,000 new customers click to read more

Topics: Email marketing advertising marketing campaigns Email marketing software campaign success bulk email marketing direct email marketing email marketing lists free email marketing services Internet marketing online marketing Opt in email marketing Opt in mailing list business marketing email lists

Time is Now for Web 2.0, Cloud Computing, Virtual Worlds, Internet TV, SOA

Very interesting report from Gartner on technologies reaching an inflection point (meaning they are ready to take off). Of note are: web 2.0, cloud computing, Internet TV, virtual worlds and service-oriented architecture.

The researchers at Gartner Inc. released their 2009 Hype Cycle Special Report last week. The report, prepared by the organization since 1995, is at its core a comparative tool for risk judgment which, this year, looked at over 1,500 technologies and nearly 80 tech sectors.

From VirtualWorldsNews.com 

The researchers at Gartner Inc. released their 2009 Hype Cycle Special Report last week. The report, prepared by the organization since 1995, is at its core a comparative tool for risk judgment which, this year, looked at over 1,500 technologies and nearly 80 tech sectors. Among the nearly 1,800 data points mapped on the cycle's peaks and troughs is virtual worlds, an area which Gartner thinks is nearing an inflection point as a technology: virtual worlds, says Gartner, are close to owning the basement of the hype cycle, bottoming out in the dire-sounding Trough of Disillusionment.

But that won't be for long, says one of the report's authors: "Looking at real benefit, rather than the hyped expectations, we see a number of potentially transformational technologies that will hit the mainstream in less than five years, including Web 2.0, cloud computing, Internet TV, virtual worlds and service-oriented architecture," Jackie Fenn, a Gartner vice president and Fellow said. [italics added]

Cycle detail The report ranks technologies and sectors along a segmented cycle which quantifies in both a specific and longitudinal manner, how the technology is perceived by the public today (what Gartner calls "the landscape of technology markets") and how likely that technology will be adopted further, in years to come.

Think of it as click here to read more

Retailers Target the "iPhone Mom"

Time to make sure those iPhone apps appeal to iPhone Mom's: 

Mobile ad network Greystripe has coined the term "iPhone mom" to describe the 29.5% of iPhone users on its network that are mothers and household decision makers.

by Mark Walsh at MediaPost.com 

"Our insights report shows the iPhone mom is becoming the most significant purchase influencer and decision maker in the iPhone community," said Greystripe CEO Michael Chang, in a statement about the data released Thursday.

The company's report says that the iPhone has made moms accessible to advertisers via mobile applications on the popular Apple device because the iPhone mom "is now a common and active mobile application user." Overall, Greystripe, which focuses on serving ads in gaming apps, found that 51% of iPhone users were women and 49% men. click here to read more.

You have one hour to do disaster planning

There's a brush fire bearing down on your small business. You've been told you have one hour to evacuate — which means you have one hour to come up with and execute a disaster preparation plan.

By JOYCE M. ROSENBERG Associated Press

This is a scenario similar to what thousands of small-business owners face each year. Luckily, that's enough time to take care of a company's most valuable assets, its employees and its data.

Read "Earthquake Rattles DFW, Swine Flu now Pandemic – Is Your Disaster Plan Updated?" »

Disaster prep is one of those tasks that many small- business owners keep planning to get to but keep putting off. And it certainly may not seem like a priority at a company that's contending with slumping sales and cash flow during a recession.

While it's understandable... click here to read more

iDatix now Business Process tool for Pitney Bowes

TradingMarkets.com - Pitney Bowes Inc. announced it has selected iDatix Corp., a provider of document management, workflow, and business process management and business activity monitoring (BPM & BAM) solutions, as a software platform for the company's Imaging and Workflow Solutions.

From TradingMarkets.com

Pitney Bowes Inc. announced it has selected iDatix Corp., a provider of document management, workflow, and business process management and business activity monitoring (BPM & BAM) solutions, as a software platform for the company's Imaging and Workflow Solutions.

For more information on business process management click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpbusinessprocessmgmt.html 

Imaging and Workflow Solutions help customers manage critical documents and information for increased efficiency and productivity through automated end-to-end workflow functionality. The solutions include document scanning, automatic indexing, secure storage, retrieval and integration into a single, central repository.

The agreement adds iDatix's iSynergy as a software platform for Pitney Bowes's Imaging and Workflow Solutions, providing secure document and data management and business process automation. iSynergy automates business process control and provides fast, user-friendly... click here to read more

August 21, 2009

Use CRM to Close More Sales Leads

What does your company do with all those sales-ready opportunities that fail to close quickly? These may be fairly long-term prospects, but without processes to nurture and retain them, they're sure to go unrealized. In order to have a leak-proof sales pipeline, your lead nurturing strategy should stretch across the entire lead life cycle, not just the front end.

Building a Leak-Proof Sales Pipeline

By Ian Michiels at CRM Buyer

In November 2008, Aberdeen published a study titled, "Lead Nurturing: The Secret to Successful Lead Generation." The survey captured the challenges and strategies from 213 organizations and found that on average, 16 percent of the total leads that are deemed "sales-ready opportunities" actually close.

To read more about customer relationship management and CRM topics click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpcustomerrelationship_kw.html

That's a fairly alarming number. The difference between a successful company and a mediocre company lies in how the remaining 84 percent of already qualified opportunities are handled. These are real opportunities that have a good chance of closing (albeit in the long-term), but without processes to nurture and retain opportunities, it's easy for unrecognized revenue to slip through the pipeline. However, it seems like everywhere we turn there are whitepapers, articles, webinars and research studies on "lead nurturing," which exclusively focuses on the front of the pipeline; but there is very little on the value of nurturing across the entire lead life cycle, which includes nurturing for existing customers.

In the July 2009 study, "Lead Lifecycle Management: Building a Pipeline that Never Leaks," Aberdeen explored the holistic lead life cycle to find out how Best-in-Class companies achieve significantly higher revenue growth, lead to sales conversion rates, and bid-to-win ratios. The study revealed that on average, 56 percent of all organizations exclusively relied on nurturing for customer acquisition, and ...click here to continue reading.

Obama's Health Plan calls for Electronic Medical Records

Considering that every filing cabinet costs $25,000 to create and maintain moving the American health care industry to an electronic document management environment can create significant cost reductions - not to mention valuable data for health care providers to use in administering care options.

"The Obama administration’s focus on digital patient records to minimize medical errors and improve efficiency has promise, but will face significant obstacles."

Does Health Care Have an Electronic Future?

by William J. Holstein
 
8/18/09
The Obama administration’s focus on digital patient records to minimize medical errors and improve efficiency has promise, but will face significant obstacles.

The Obama administration’s decision to spend an unprecedented US$19 billion over the next seven years to encourage the use of electronic medical records is triggering a scramble among government officials and health-care industry chiefs to define how such a system will work. 

For more information on electronic document management click here: http://kellyrshort.com/2009/05/paper_files_are_stealing_money.html

Hundreds of vendors, from small consulting firms to large systems integrators, from makers of software to all manner of hardware, are jockeying to take advantage of the new funding. Doctors, hospitals, and the dozens of entrenched subprofessions and interest groups are locking horns over which standards will prevail. It’s generally felt by health-care experts that President Obama’s goal of nearly universal use of electronic records is possible, but it could take several years — with some stutter steps in between — before it becomes clear what form electronic files will take and which companies will profit.

The U.S. health system is fragmented among hospitals, doctors, nurses, testing laboratories, and drug wholesalers and retailers. By and large, this eclectic roster depends on paper to collect, communicate, and share its most valuable information — patient files and prescriptions. A mere 17 percent of doctors have even basic electronic systems for patient records, and only 10 percent of hospitals do, according to David Blumenthal, the Harvard Medical School professor who has been named Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) national coordinator for health information technology.

Obama supports electronic records primarily because... click here to read more.

 

Companies Spending More On Application Development

Your competition is restarting their application development efforts to get ahead of the competition.

Nearly three-quarters of (6000) respondents, 71%, listed new product or software development as a top priority in their organizations. Cost-cutting also rated high, as did improving end-user usability.

Survey finds that app dev budgets are increasing

By Paul Krill at ComputerWorld

Despite current economic uncertainty across the globe, senior-level executives and software development professionals are seeing an increase in development budgets, according to a recent survey by software development outsourcer SoftServe.

Conducted from April to June of this year, the survey of more than 6,000 executives and development professionals revealed that 60% of respondents reported increases in software development budgets for 2009. Results of the survey were announced Wednesday. Twenty-six percent indicated budgets had increased in excess of 10% over 2008 expenditures.

In other findings in the survey:

  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents, 71%, listed new product or software development as a top priority in their organizations. Cost-cutting also rated high, as did improving end-user usability.
  • Enterprise applications were the focus of 62% of respondents, while 51% were focused on Web development.
  • Eighty-seven percent of respondents reported comfort with their company's basic coding skills, while 36% said they needed improved project management. Thirty-four percent cited a need for help in defining business requirements for development projects.
  • Some 38% of organizations revealed the use of some type of software development outsourcing, with two-thirds of those outsourcing doing so in India, with the Ukraine, China and other Eastern European countries also showing up as top development locations to watch.
  • Forty-two percent favored agile development methodologies while just 18% preferred the waterfall method.
  • CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) was cited as the process maturity and quality model of 36% of respondents.
  • For software customization and integration, Microsoft Dynamics/SharePoint was the most used platform, by 42% of those polled. Oracle and SAP followed with 38% and 29%, respectively.
To read the rest of this article click here.

 

Employers Screen Job Applicants Using Social Networks

What have you posted to Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace, etc that could cost you that potential job?

According to a new study conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com, 45 percent of employers questioned are using social networks to screen job candidates

Most social networking sites allow you to restrict access to status posts, comments, pictures and friend lists - make sure you are using these security features if you don't want potential employers reading about your late night where you "watered" the holly bush behind the Whataburger at 3am.

By Jenna Wortham

More Employers Use Social Networks to Check Out Applicants

Most job applicants have a general checklist before a job interview — updating a résumé, ironing a professional outfit, rehearsing an explanation for those two years spent bumming around after college. However, if tidying up the Facebook profile isn’t on that list, maybe it should be.

For more information on social networking click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpsocialnetworking_kw.html

According to a new study conducted by Harris Interactive for CareerBuilder.com, 45 percent of employers questioned are using social networks to screen job candidates — more than double from a year earlier, when a similar survey found that just 22 percent of supervisors were researching potential hires on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The study, which questioned 2,667 managers and human resource workers, found that 35 percent of employers decided not to offer a job to a candidate based on the content uncovered on a social networking site. (The survey has no margin of sampling error because it was not drawn from a representative nationwide sample but rather from volunteer participants.)

The report showed that Facebook was the most popular online destination for employers to do their online sleuthing, followed by LinkedIn and MySpace. In addition, 7 percent followed job candidates on Twitter.

More than half of the employers... read more at the NY Times

August 20, 2009

Top EBay sellers have some advice for GM

GM will begin selling automobiles on eBay this fall as part of its overall restructuring plan to lower operating costs (especially marketing and advertising). It will be interesting to see if GM's margins suffer from an inability to haggle, up sell, and use sales psychology to close the deal.

When it comes to online auto sales, there are no smiling, smooth-talking salespeople to help seal a deal.

So how can General Motors Co. sell more cars on EBay?

 

It may be as simple as running a lot of photos, having short, spiffy descriptions and responding to e-mails quickly, according to EBay "power sellers" who earned their title by selling at least $1,000 worth of merchandise each month.

72% of Customer Lead Calls Mishandled - Learn From Auto Dealers' Mistakes


"The most successful sellers create great listings, with clear, concise titles and lots of quality pictures," said Brad Schepp, coauthor of several books about selling on EBay, including "EBay PowerSeller Secrets."

In a monthlong experiment that started last week, about 225 GM dealers in California are teaming up with the auction site to sell new vehicles. Buyers can check it out at gm.ebay.com.

EBay Inc. and GM are not releasing preliminary sales figures until the experimental period ends Sept. 8. But the auto manufacturer said Wednesday that dealers received 2,400 offers to buy new vehicles in the first week of a pilot program. GM is considering rolling out the program nationwide if it's successful.

To do well on EBay, dealers must first know their audience, experts said. Online buyers are not tire-kickers. They have done their research, weighed their financial options and are looking for deals.

EBay buyers are "suspicious by nature, and some will test a seller by sending messages to gauge response time, friendliness, eagerness and willingness to bargain," Schepp said.

Responding to these sorts of inquiries might seem annoying and time-consuming, but it is a big part of doing business on EBay, said Debbie Imlay, who sells about $100,000 in merchandise a year. She said dealers need to... read more.

Social-Media ROI Elusive: MarketingProfs Poll

Only 21% of marketers say they are now adequately measuring the impact of social-media campaigns in terms of tangible results, according to the MarketingProfs poll results.

In corporate terms, social media is a very new concept. Not suprising to me then, corporations are not sophisticated yet in measuring their social media impact. Given the loosely defined universe of "social media" will good tools ever exist to measure the ROI of social media?

From MarketingProfs.com 

Social Media ROI

Social-media measurement is top of mind among marketers surveyed in an informal poll by MarketingProfs: 47% of respondents say social media measurement is important to them; another 36% say it is somewhat important.

For more information on social networking click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpsocialnetworking.html

Those findings are not surprising, considering Forrester projects that companies will spend some $3.1 billion annually on social media by 2014 ("US Interactive Marketing Forecast, 2009 to 2014," Forrester Research, July 6, 2009).

However, only 21% of marketers say they are now adequately measuring the impact of social-media campaigns in terms of tangible results, according to the MarketingProfs poll results, released as part of a collection of case studies ("Social Media ROI Success Stories: How 11 companies—like OfficeMax, Nissan, BMC and Microsoft—are listening, engaging and measuring").

Accordingly, determining social media's return on investment (ROI) seems a major challenge for marketers, with 70% of respondents saying their companies are not adequately measuring the impact of social-media campaigns.
 
The biggest hurdle to social-media measurement is, apparently, finding the personnel to do the measurement and analysis: Asked to select the most-applicable measurement obstacle from several listed...

  • 30% of the respondents pointed to "dedicated resources."
  • 25% selected "don't know what to measure."
  • 20% selected "social media measurement isn't primarily about ROI."
Continue reading....

Social networking skills important in the online marketing job hunt

I was surprised at the importance companies place on social networking - seems very high to me - but even if inflated by 50% social networking skills are obviously very important.

It appears that knowledge of web 2.0 is a must for those in the workforce as more companies are looking for experience in social networking and blogging.

A new study from Pressroom, with help from the Public Relations Society of America, Korn/Ferry International and Trendstream, finds that...

From KoMarketing Associates

an increasing number of public relations companies say they are looking for recruits with a variety of online marketing knowledge - including search engine optimization (SEO), blogging and social networking.

For more information on social networking: http://kellyrshort.com/lpsocialnetworking_kw.html

More than 80 percent of companies said knowledge of social networking was important when hiring while 72 percent said skills surrounding the use of Twitter were important.

Firms with revenue ranked blogging as the number one digital skill they were looking for from new hires, with social networking coming in second. For smaller companies, the roles were reversed with social networking ranked as the top skill.

"Hiring decision makers recognize the importance of social media in organizational communications," finds the report. "To meet the needs of internal and external communications today's organizations, public relations or marketing job seekers need to develop a comprehensive portfolio of digital communications skills."

Although a growing number of companies appear to be ... read more.

August 19, 2009

Mobile internet audience continues to grow, says Forrester

The number of people accessing the mobile internet is continuing to increase, industry analysts have noted. According to Forrester Research, Weather.com now attracts more than 12 million unique visitors to its mobile website every month. In addition, the number of people accessing sites such as Yahoo! and ESPN through their mobile phones was described as "significant".

For other articles on mobile internet click here: http://kellyrshort.com/wordmaverick-mt/mt-search.fcgi?IncludeBlogs=2&search=mobile


This has prompted Forrester Research to predict a further upturn in mobile internet usage, partly because mobile devices are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

"Devices like the iPhone, BlackBerrys and Android handsets deliver a more satisfying mobile web experience than standard mobile phones," it commented.

The organisation added that businesses could take advantage of this trend by launching a mobile marketing strategy aimed at mobile web users.

This comes shortly after Forrester analyst Ian Fogg noted that web-enabled mobile phones have ensured that people have internet access every hour of every day, whereas PCs only offer a "part-time" web experience.

Could your firm advertise through the mobile internet?

By Michael Grady at Velti.com

Top 5 Considerations for Automating Business Processes

Interesting (foundational) white paper on what business processes should be automated via business process management by Michael Hammer and Thomas Davenport:

  1. Most work, they asserted, does not add any value for customers and therefore should be eliminated, not merely accelerated through automation.
  2. Advances in information technology, acceptance by well‐established management thinkers and consulting firms, and an increasing focus on overcoming foreign competition fueled continued adoption of BPR.

Posted by Interactive Intelligence Inc., on August 18, 2009

In 1990 consultants Michael Hammer and Thomas Davenport introduced a bold idea to the business community: managers were focusing on the wrong issues. In articles published in the Harvard Business Review and the Sloan Management Review, respectively, they essentially charged managers of using technology to simply automate “non‐value adding work” rather than making such work obsolete.1 Most work, they asserted, does not add any value for customers and therefore should be eliminated, not merely accelerated through automation. Companies, they proposed, should reassess their processes to maximize customer value, while minimizing resources required for delivering their product or service.

For more information on business process management click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpbusinessprocessmgmt.html

Business process re‐design (BPR), or reengineering, became a widely adopted management technique used to rethink how work got done in order to dramatically improve customer service, cut operational costs, and increase competitive advantage. In 1993, 60% of the management letters appearing with Fortune 500 company annual reports explicitly discussed reengineering efforts that were currently under way. 2 Advances in information technology, acceptance by well‐established management thinkers and consulting firms, and an increasing focus on overcoming foreign competition fueled continued adoption of BPR. By the mid ’90s, however, adoption slowed as the shortcomings of BPR’s emphasis on technology automation over people and failure to consistently produce its much‐heralded performance improvement became evident. In recent years, business process management (BPM) has become the apparent successor to BPR. As a management discipline, BPM ostensibly emphasizes process efficiency supported by information technology. But like its predecessor BPR, BPM is now subject to the same critique of shifting the focus to technology and discounting the “people” element.

Download the full verison of the white paper below.

Adding Search to Your Marketing Mix

Great research from Forrester regarding success rates, ROI, and increasing focus on search engine optimization:

The powerful capabilities of organic search engine optimization (SEO) are now a highly sought after marketing tool by many companies that want to alert customers to their products or services by focusing on certain keyphrases that highlight these offerings. And though SEO has embarked on a meteoric rise in the past few years, other non-traditional forms of marketing are now gaining a great deal of well-deserved credibility as well. More and more marketers are using paid ads to hone in on a potentially profitable client base, while other more traditional channels, such as PR and print ads, appear to be becoming somewhat less effective.

 

By Scott Buresh at IT Business Net

In a recent study,1 Forrester Research found that interactive marketing spending will reach nearly $55 billion by 2014, representing 21% of all marketing spend. And the fact of the matter is that marketers are continuing to place more stock in newer forms of marketing and social media, leaving many higher-ups to wonder if it is time for them to include these channels in their own marketing mixes. And with the help of your search engine optimization company, it's possible to achieve outstanding rankings and results!

What follows are some common considerations that should be analyzed prior to the launch of an SEO campaign so that you will know what you are getting into, what you will need from your own team and your prospective search engine optimization company, and how to most effectively pursue this particular form of marketing.

For more information on search engine optimization click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpsearchengineseo.html

Achieving Buy-in
Search engine optimization is unlike many traditional forms of marketing in that several departments must be involved in order for the SEO campaign to be successful. Apart from the obvious need to get buy-in from upper management (unless, of course, you are upper management), you will also need to get buy-in from your sales department and, very importantly, your IT department before pursuing the powerful capabilities your search engine optimization company can bring to the table.

Upper Management
While a well thought out, highly targeted SEO campaign is becoming an increasingly popular marketing tool, many "old school" bigwigs are uncomfortable pursuing something that is completely foreign to them. This is not an indictment of the individual - keep in mind that the traditional marketing methods that the company has likely relied upon (trade shows, direct mail, print advertising, etc.) have been relatively unchanged for decades.

While these traditional marketing channels may have remained relatively stagnant, the allocation of spend for them has not. According to a 2008 SEMPO report, more marketers are shifting their budgets to search rather than spending it on the more traditional channels of the past. Nearly 26% of advertisers shifted budget for print magazines to search; 23% from direct mail; 18% from print newspaper; 15% from website development; and 7% from email marketing.

One of the reasons for this is obviously the effectiveness of the channel. In the same study, SEMPO found that respondents viewed online marketing efforts as their strongest tactic or best ROI. 63% of respondents saw paid search as the best return on investment in terms of marketing or advertising efforts; 49% for organic SEO; 43% for email marketing; 12% for conferences and exhibitions; 11% for public relations; and 6% for print magazines.

Another reason for the shift in marketing dollars, which can be used as ammunition when you are trying to convince your higher-ups to go with a search engine optimization company, is the ultimate accountability that goes along with online marketing: the data that indicates success or failure of your SEO campaign is of the black-or-white variety.

Chart 1

Chart 2
When describing the effectiveness of a company's marketing strategy, there is often an old sentiment tossed around - "I know that half of my marketing is not working, just not which half." Because of the analytics involved in search engine optimization, your company higher-ups can take comfort in the fact that this is not another marketing initiative that will self-perpetuate indefinitely - the metrics involved in your SEO campaign will demonstrate that it is working, justifying the continued expenditure.

When trying to get buy-in from upper management, you also have a formidable weapon in the actions, or inaction, of your competitors. If your hated rivals are actively embracing the tools offered by a search engine optimization company, there will be a tendency among upper management not to want to let them get too far ahead. If none of your top competitors appear to be actively pursuing this channel, your company can gain traction before your rivals do and thus gain the competitive edge. Whichever the case, it is now much easier to present a compelling argument to pursue an SEO campaign.

Sales Department
There is often a mutual suspicion and distrust between sales and marketing, but in order for your SEO campaign initiative to be as successful as possible, you should involve sales in the process of selecting a search engine optimization company as early as possible. Achieving buy-in from the salespeople is critical in making certain that the leads that are generated from the website are followed up on as diligently as they should be. By asking sales to assist in important areas of the SEO campaign, like creating an ideal prospect profile and helping to identify targeted keyphrases (after all, they talk to your prospects more often than anyone), you should be able to ensure that when the leads start coming in, your sales team will believe that leads from the website are high-quality and worthy of their immediate attention. After all, without increased revenues, the SEO campaign is not a success - and your salespeople will play a crucial role in determining this.

IT Department
This can be your most difficult challenge. Unlike most other forms of marketing, search engine optimization is a mixture of marketing and technology. Without achieving buy-in, or at least acceptance, from the IT team prior to the launch of an SEO campaign, you are likely to run into problems. IT teams can be particularly protective of their "turf" and may be reluctant to hand over information to your prospective search engine optimization company. This is not inherently bad (it obviously shows dedication to the job), but it can make things difficult when your search engine optimization company is requesting that changes be made to the company website or that analytics platforms be introduced (to name only two likely scenarios).

If you are not used to dealing with your IT department, it would probably serve you well to involve your prospective search engine optimization company in the process of achieving buy-in with them. After all, the vendor should have years of experience in approaching these situations without ruffling feathers. If you choose to approach IT yourself, make it a point to let them know that they will receive a fair share of credit for the success of the initiative and involve them in how you are defining success. This may be enough to win them over to your side.

3D Tool Decorates College Student Dorm Rooms

What's fascinating about this innovation is not that a college student can view their room in 3d - it's that the retailer has provided an innovative tool that helps customers buy their products. Imagine if more retailers did this!

DesignYourDorm is a web-based 3-D interior design tool that allows college students to customize their dorm room interiors and purchase what they need online.

Beginning a year at college can be stressful enough in its own right without the added hassle of scrambling to buy myriad dorm room supplies and decorations before classes begin. Target and other superstores may benefit from that rush, but a new site aims to help students plan and shop for their living quarters ahead of time with the help of some 3-D modelling.



DesignYourDorm is a web-based 3-D interior design tool that allows college students to customize their dorm room interiors and purchase what they need online. When students register with the Los Angeles-based site, they begin by indicating the university they'll be attending. Ultimately, that will generate a selection of floor plans with exact room dimensions used in the corresponding dorms, and DesignYourDorm is currently pilot-testing those capabilities with the University of Pennsylvania, according to TechCrunch. For universities that haven't signed on, however, students are given a series of generic room layouts. Either way, they next choose the type of room they'll have—single, double or triple, in various configurations—and then begin moving furniture and accessories around. Gaps can be filled in from items available from DesignYourDorm's online store—furniture, accessories, appliances and more—and many of them can be virtually dragged and dropped into the room to see how they will look. Perhaps best of all, roommates can collaborate virtually over the summer using the site to plan and coordinate their purchases ahead of time. Once they've decided what they'll need to buy, they can order the items and have them shipped directly to their college—order fulfillment is handled by Amazon, which passes revenue on to DesignYourDorm through its affiliate program.

Similar in many ways to DesignMyRoom—which sadly got repurposed since we covered it last year—DesignYourDorm is free for both ... click here to read more

Website: www.designyourdorm.com

Spotted by: Roberta Steinberg at Springwise.com

Mass And Niche Social Networks Enhance Social Media Campaigns

Brands need to harness the power of both mass social media and niche social networks to extend brand awareness to online consumers according to Reality Digital, the leading provider of social networking software for brands and businesses.

Mass social networks such as Facebook and Twitter can be used as effective crowd sourcing tools, as brands seek to reach out to a larger audience and engage them, whereas niche social networks dedicated to a brand can offer deeper consumer interaction. It is a combination of the two that reaps the greatest results and ROI for businesses.

Reality Digital has urged marketers not to become confused between the two types of social media, and the benefits that they can both have for a brand, indicating that they are best used side by side.

For more information on social networking click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpsocialnetworking.html

Robert Proctor, Head of EMEA for Reality Digital, commented: "Businesses should ensure that they understand the key differences between mass social networks and niche social networks. A mass social network such as Facebook is a great way of raising awareness of a brand and attracting them towards a separate niche social network, which in turn serves as a much more efficient message platform to communicate and engage with consumers in a more direct fashion.

"With mass social networks there is little or no control over what is said about a brand, and so there is a danger of negative content being spread. A brand focused social network has the advantage of being a brand-safe environment where content can be moderated, eliminating this risk. It is the transition and reciprocation between mass and niche networks that will have the biggest impact on a business's online marketing activities."read more...

Manufacturers Shift Marketing Dollars Online

Manufacturers focusing on quantifiable ROI for advertising increasingly prefer online advertising - especially online directories/Web sites, e-mail marketing using in-house lists, and search-engine optimization.

While you may think of the manufacturing sector as "old economy," it's increasingly "new economy" in the way it conducts its marketing efforts. That's one conclusion to be drawn from a new GlobalSpec report that analyzes polling during the first quarter among marketing and sales professionals at manufacturing companies.

By Mark Dolliver at Adweek.com

Twenty-nine percent of the respondents said they already spend more than half of their marketing budget online. And 48 percent said online marketing will account for a bigger proportion of their total marketing outlays this year than was the case last year.

This trend reflects an increasing emphasis on getting quantifiable results. One part of the survey asked respondents to use a scale from 1 to 10 to indicate whether they agree or disagree with some statements (with 1 denoting "total disagreement" and 10 showing "total agreement"). Respondents gave an average score of 7.9 to "There is greater pressure to demonstrate accountability and return on marketing investments." And they gave an average score of 6.1 to "There is greater push to shift marketing dollars to online programs." Elsewhere in the survey, 53 percent said they'll "choose marketing programs that are measurable." Sixty-nine percent said they'll "closely evaluate the performance of marketing programs and reduce or eliminate programs that don't perform well."


For information on email marketing click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpemailmarketing.html


The top three online marketing channels for the respondents' companies are online directories/Web sites, e-mail marketing using in-house lists, and search-engine optimization. More than 60 percent of those polled said they're including each of these in their marketing mix this year. Fewer than one in five said the same about blogs and podcasts.

While online efforts take a bigger share of total marketing expenditures, older media are getting pinched. The top three areas respondents identified for budget cuts were trade-magazine advertising, trade shows and printed directories.

When asked to identify their "primary marketing goal in 2009," 44 percent of respondents cited "customer acquisition." "Lead generation" was the runner-up, picked by 29 percent, followed by "customer retention" (13 percent) and "brand awareness" (11 percent).

August 18, 2009

iPhone Users Vulnerable to Data Theft

While the iPhone is the undeniable king of smartphones, security flaws in the operating system create vulnerabilities hackers can exploit to steal email, contact and personal data.

Surprisingly, smartphone users are seemingly unaware of data security issues with their cellular phones. According to a recent Trend Micro report, respondents (44%) feel surfing the internet on their smartphone is just as safe as surfing the web on their computer, despite the fact that most smartphones offer no internet surfing security. What can you do to protect your iPhone? Use these tips:

1. Wifi Hotspots Attract Hackers – those bent on maliciously collecting information from laptop and smartphone users know that wifi hotspots offering broadband internet access to anyone are great places to troll for the unprotected equipment. When surfing at your local hot spot, make sure you know whose network you are connecting to. Reference the name of the hotspot and ask yourself if the name makes sense with the location. For instance, all Starbucks have a hotspot named “att” that requires validation through the iPhone’s Safari internet browser. Connecting to any other wifi network increases your risk of data theft.

2. Wifi Hotspot Login Page – many wifi hotspots require you to accept terms of service and login to a web page on your internet browser. While checking a box to accept terms of service is rather innocuous, no other information is typically collected (such as name, address, credit card number, etc) so be wary of any login process requesting such information. Also (more applicable to laptops) if the login page seems to be taking an extraordinary amount of time to load or appears to be loading a large file to your laptop or smartphone immediately disconnect your wireless internet connection as malicious software may be downloading to your device.

3. Password Protect Your Data – most smartphones provide a feature to password protect your device and the data inside it. This is typically enabled in a settings panel on the phone and requires the owner to enter a password before gaining access to phone data and functionality. While this might be annoying it is a great way to protect your data from theft, especially if your phone is lost or is left unattended in public for an extended period of time.

For tips on protecting corporate data click here: http://kellyrshort.com/5_steps_for/

4. Layered Protection – exercising caution when connecting with wifi hotspots and password protecting your data is a great start, but you can increase your data protection with additional layers of security such as the Trend Micro application Trend Smart Surfing freely available on the iPhone application store that blocks users from accidentally visiting a site that could exploit an iPhone vulnerability.

These simple steps will greatly increase data security on your smartphone device and better protect you from identity theft. Also be certain to regularly update your smartphone or iPhone to receive the most up-to-date security patches made available from hardware manufacturers.

Online Advertising Drives 9% Sales Gain For CPG Brands

Studies are proving that in a down economy online advertising makes even more sense. This latest study from the experts over at Media Post

Study: Online Advertising Drives 9% Sales Gain For CPG Brands

A new study indicates that online advertising boosts retail sales of consumer packaged goods brands by 9% on average -- comparable with the lift from TV ad campaigns.

by Mark Walsh, Yesterday, 5:35 PM

The findings come from comScore and marketing consultancy dunnhumbyUSA based on research involving online campaigns run over three months for a variety unnamed CPG brands.

Specifically, the study focused on 200,000 comScore and dunnhumbyUSA panelists who were members of supermarket loyalty programs and whose retail-buying behavior was measured through point-of-sale UPC scanners at checkout.

For information on email marketing and advertising click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpemailmarketing_kw.html

By comparing the retail buying of people exposed to online CPG advertising with that of control groups of panelists who were not, comScore sought to determine the impact on actual sales of the advertised brands. The ad campaigns featured both static banner and rich media ads for a range of products including tea, pizza, snack bars, deodorant and toothpaste.

In addition to the 9% lift in retail sales, the study found that 80% of the campaigns analyzed resulted in statistically significant sales increases for the advertised brands. The results suggested that the influence of online advertising was on par with that of TV based on the IRI paper "How Advertising Works" showing that TV advertising delivers an 8% retail sales lift on average over the course of a year.

In a statement, Bill Pearce, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Del Monte Foods, said the study results show that online marketing can drive offline sales. "These are precisely the types of persuasive studies we are looking for at Del Monte as digital plays an increasing role in our marketing strategy."

CPG companies have traditionally lagged behind other sectors such as financial services and automotive. Last year, the CPG and food products category accounted for only 6%, or $1.5 billion, of the $23.4 billion spent on online advertising last year -- up from 4%, or $925 million, in 2007.

DunnhumbyUSA is a joint venture between The Kroger Company and London-based dunnhumby, with clients including Kroger, Macy's Coca-Cola, General Mills and Kimberly-Clark.

August 17, 2009

Online Community Gives Early Feedback on Marketing Concepts

Interesting concept on community based feedback covered over at Springwise.com:

Marketers can now get early thoughts on new designs and concepts through Concept Feedback, which provides a simple tool for getting free, sincere feedback from like-minded professionals. more...

Much the way consumers can solicit feedback on their own appearance through checkyourimage.com, marketers can now get early thoughts on new designs and concepts through a community of peers at Concept Feedback.

Currently in beta, Concept Feedback is designed specifically for marketers, graphic designers and web developers to provide a simple tool for getting free, sincere feedback from like-minded professionals. Website designs, ads, logos, videos, presentations and more can all be uploaded to the site and submitted for review by other members; the person posting the material keeps all rights. Using a standard review template for consistency, professionals participating on the site can then offer their constructive advice, which gets automatically collected and archived for the submitting member. A system of reputation scores, meanwhile, keeps members honest and helps interpret their advice. The result, according to Concept Feedback, can be that any design problems are caught earlier, ensuring that only high-quality ideas make it into launch.

Andrew Follett, the company's founder and CEO, explains: "Most small business marketers and freelancers lack the budget and resources it requires to obtain useful feedback on marketing concepts. A third-party point of view can be critical to launching a website, advertising campaign or concept that is clear, concise and effective."

Two heads are better than one, as the saying goes, and in June Concept Feedback was already approaching 500 users. There's no doubt other professions could benefit from something similar--how about applying this to the industry of your choice? (Related: 'Open-mic nights' for business ideasProfessional feedback, instant and peer-to-peer.)

For information on other marketing concepts click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpviralmarketing.html

Website: www.conceptfeedback.com
Contact: www.conceptfeedback.com/contact

How BPM Can Help The Bottom Line In Difficult Financial Times

Great research report on business process management (BPM) from Forrester:

The current global economic crisis is putting increasing pressure on enterprise architects to find new — and more cost-effective — ways of meeting business needs. One software category in particular offers proven solutions to help increase operational efficiency while...

supporting higher levels of business innovation at the same time. Business process management (BPM) tools cannot solve all of an enterprise's integration and process improvement challenges, but they can significantly increase the likelihood of success of projects designed to address them. read more...


For more information on business process management click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpbusinessprocessmgmt.html

SMBs spend more, enterprises buy more managed services

By Carol Wilson at http://telephonyonline.com: Large enterprises are still planning to cut IT and telecom spending, but small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are ready to invest more, according to two new studies out this week from Forrester Research. Both groups show more interest in buying managed services, and larger companies are doing more of that buying already.

The two reports, “The State of Enterprise Networks and Telecommunications: 2009” and “The State of SMB Networks and Telecommunications: 2009” were based on interviews with enterprise and SMB IT executives in North America and Europe.

“We are seeing that the market for network and telecom services is growing and growing pretty well,” said Ellen Daley, the Forrester analyst who authored the studies. “The main reason is they don’t want heavy capex. At the same time, firms are telling us that the rate of technology change is coming so fast that they are not confident they can keep their skill set up. A down economy puts the emphasis on opex versus capex, but the second reason is increasingly the more complex technology, which makes it hard for the IT staff to keep its skills up to speed, especially with IT staff getting laid off.”

While 47% of large enterprises are buying managed services, another 4% are preparing to buy, and 11% are considering such a purchase. But the SMB numbers on managed services tell a different story: Only 37% have deployed, 4% will deploy and 11% are considering.

“This is the big irony or paradox,” Daley said. “Every telco will tell you the SMB doesn’t have a strong IT staff and will want managed services, but there is no data that supports that. They have higher interest in managed services, but their adoption rate is much less.”

One possible reason, Daley said, is because enterprises are more sophisticated in their ability to assess where to best allocate capex and opex dollars and can determine the value of managed services and the return on that investment. Service providers that want to sell managed services to SMBs need to do a better job of explaining that ROI in a way that is relevant to that particular business, Daley said.

“Decision-making in the SMB space is much more personal – it can come down to whether the family takes a vacation this summer or signs a contract for a new managed service,” Daley said. “If they have a hard time understanding how to build the business case, they are more likely to just buy a server and start running applications and hope the person managing their LAN can also manage the WAN.”

SMBs also tend to be more attracted to service bundles, Daley said. “If you can link data-center services with access, so that you are providing a network-based backup and storage, for example, but it is billed along with access, that tends to make sense to a small business,” she said.

The SMB market is taking on more importance for service providers because these are the businesses spending money, the Forrester Research showed. While 58% of large enterprises said they will spend less on IT and telecom – mostly because they expect their own revenues to be off – 57% of SMBs interviewed in the study said they expect revenue to go up, and 51% said they would spend the same amount or more on telecom and IT.

“This is reflective of where the recovery is coming, and we see this broadly,” Daley said. “We have seen large enterprises cut IT spending and resist any new initiatives because they think they are bloated in IT and technology. On the SMB side, it’s not completely rosy, but they are more nimble. Mid-market SMBs haven’t been as hurt by the economy – except in some specific sectors like construction, because of the housing market – and they have been focused on technology to gain higher linkages with customer and productivity elements. They have investment dollars; they are smaller dollars than an enterprise might need, but they are spending.”

63 Million US Households To Pay Bills Online By 2014

If you provide products and services to consumers what is your strategy to accept online bill payments? Do you have a strategy? Forrest Research predicts the adoption of online bill payment to continue to grow hitting 68 million US households by 2014. Read more...
The number of US households paying bills online will grow from 48 million this year to 63 million by 2014, according to a new forecast by Forrester Research Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). The 5.4 percent compound annual growth rate reflects a maturing market where growth rates will shrink in the years ahead, but it also reflects a market that is not yet saturated. Forrester RoleView™ clients; subscribers to Forrester's ForecastView receive more detailed forecast data.

Forrester sees a shift in the online bill payment market as more consumers turn to banks and bill payment consolidators like Yodlee and Corillian because of several factors, including: the convenience of having multiple bills aggregated at a single Web site, the elimination of bill payment fees, and innovative marketing efforts to drive adoption. By 2012, consolidators' share of the online bill payment market will surpass direct billing by merchants for the first time.

Young consumers — especially young affluent consumers — will be a key battleground among financial services firms as the market matures. To date, this generation has shown less of an interest than older consumers to use aggregators such as banks for their online bill payment.

For information on accepting mobile payments click here: http://kellyrshort.com/2009/06/are_you_accepting_mobile_payme.html

"eBusiness executives at banks need to work to establish earlier and stronger bill payment relationships with young affluents and other young adults," said Forrester Senior Analyst Edward Kountz. "To strengthen their position and better support these customers, banks need to add more payment options, deploy online and mobile alerts with greater visibility, and continue to hammer home the message that online bill payment is free."

The Forrester report "US Email Marketing Forecast, 2009 To 2014" is currently available to Forrester clients and can be purchased directly at http://www.forrester.com/go?docid=54120.

How to Select a Business Process Management Vendor

Good tips for selection a business process management vendor from CIO Midmarket:

Business process management (BPM) has seen increased interest during the past year as organizations look to automate and streamline business processes to wring out cost and become more efficient. So for those that are evaluating business process management solutions vendors and tools to map processes and integrate electronic workflows, we have compiled a list of questions to ask up front to ensure a good technology fit.

Business process management (BPM) has seen increased interest during the past year as organizations look to automate and streamline business processes to wring out cost and become more efficient. So for those that are evaluating business process management solutions vendors and tools to map processes and integrate electronic workflows, we have compiled a list of questions to ask up front to ensure a good technology fit.

For more information on BPM click here: http://kellyrshort.com/lpbusinessprocessmgmt.html

For information on selecting an open source vendor click here: http://kellyrshort.com/2009/06/5_pro_tips_for_running_your_we.html

But first, a word about how to approach BPM: Organizations should gear their BPM initiatives to fit a purpose -- be it continuous process improvement, competitive advantage or business transformation, according to Clay Richardson, a senior analyst at Forrester Research Inc. in Cambridge, Mass.

For those that haven't yet taken this step, some cloud-based collaboration tools can help with strategic mapping and planning, he said, through a combination of collaboration and business process discovery. These capabilities help to identify workflow bottlenecks and other types of inefficient processes that BPM can then help you resolve. Tools for this purpose include Lombardi Blueprint and IBM's BPM Blueworks.

"If you need help building the business case for BPM or if you have no idea where you want to go, these can be good starting points," Richardson said.

"Now, on to the questions to help with evaluating business process management solution vendors:

Does the vendor have experience in your industry?

It may sound obvious, but it's important to find a vendor that specializes in your specific needs.

Some BPM service vendors are geared toward banking, telecom, insurance agencies, health care, etc., and are thus well suited for the general processes associated with those industries, said Jim Sinur, vice president of the business of IT research division at Gartner Inc. "A vendor promoting case studies in particular industries has had experience and success there and will most likely be a better ma... read more

August 13, 2009

Smart Disaster Recovery Options for Small Businesses

Great summary of newer DR options for small businesses over at FreshBusinessThinking.com:

Click here for more information on Disaster Recovery from KellyRShort.com

No doubt, as a small business owner, the thought of a major incident or disaster occurring sends shivers up your spine. If your business was affected by a fire, flooding, or perhaps vital IT equipment was stolen, what impact would this have on your business and do you have a plan in place if such events were to happen?

It's likely that today's uncertain economic environment may make failure more...
read more


August 12, 2009

Twitter Attack Proves Sites' Popularity

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, a Denial of Service attack must be the sincerest indication a web site (Twitter) has become wildly popular. As Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and other social networking sites become increasingly popular hackers will focus their efforts on disrupting these sites' functionality, stealing members' profile data, and finding other surreptitious methods of exploitation. 

The denial of service (DOS) attacks which knocked Twitter offline and slowed down Facebook response times yesterday may have been designed to target just one individual.

Max Kelly, chief security officer at Facebook, said the problems experienced by those trying to access the two sites, as well as LiveJournal and Blogger, may have been motivated by efforts to silence a Georgian blogger on the one-year anniversary of Georgia's invasion of South Ossetia. read more...

August 04, 2009

Offshoring by US companies surges: survey

(AFP) WASHINGTON — US companies are increasingly turning to offshoring their functions to achieve cost savings, and few plan to bring those jobs back to the United States, the Conference Board said Monday. The number of US companies with a corporate offshoring strategy in place more than doubled in the past three years, according to the fifth annual report on offshoring trends, published by Duke University in collaboration with the Conference Board.

Of the companies surveyed, 53 percent had a corporate offshoring strategy in place, up from 22 percent in 2005, said the Conference Board, a nonprofit business research organization.

"Sixty percent of companies that had already offshored say they have aggressive plans to expand existing activities, and very few plan to relocate activities back to the United States," it said.

The report also said the globalization of innovation -- defined as engineering, research and development (R&D), R&D support functions, product design, and software development, is accelerating. continue reading article at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iDaq1D2KZU16YfbKrMPdborD7SDw

August 03, 2009

IBM Provides Disaster Recovery to SMBs

Most small and medium businesses are not properly using disaster recovery techniques to protect against data loss. IBM is now offering solutions in that space for those leveraging IBM hardware/software:

Big Blue is now offering native replication as an option for remote office data storage in its ProtecTIER Deduplication appliances. ProtecTIER is an integrated physical appliance that includes a server, storage and data deduplication software.

http://www.eweek.com/showblog/54688/IBM-Upgrades-Disaster-Recovery-for-Deduplication-Appliances/

IT Departments to Spend 10% more on BPM in 2010

Very interesting survey by Gartner on expected business process management spend in 2010 - I've heard of many companies following the "do more with less" approach to technology during the current recession.

IT departments are expected to spend 10% more on business process management over the next 12 months, according to analyst Gartner.

Half of organisations surveyed in a poll of 500 business said they would spend 5% or more on BPM, while a third said they would spend more than 10%.

Facebook's Member Profile Image Used to Sell Dating Services

A brew-ha this week over at Facebook highlights the fact that many are learning the accepted norms of social networking and media. Apparently, a Facebook third-party developer used the profile picture of a Facebook member (without permission) to create an online advertisement for a singles group.

Once notified, Facebook immediately contacted its third party developer community issuing a stern warning to abide by its privacy policy. However, the breach of privacy (use of the member’s image) had already hit the news and blogs highlighting the need for industry norms to be defined and expressed by the larger body of companies providing products and services to companies advertising on sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Linkedin.

 

(read "Evolution of Web Ads: Social Media's New Challenge" by Alexandra Klein at CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/32172315)

 

 

I remember back in the early days of the Internet when online advertising (in the form of banner) was becoming popular. Many mistakes were made by companies pushing the envelope of what was technologically and socially responsible. Some made mistakes while most defined the “norms” of online advertising which are not accepted by the masses. Soon, a time will emerge where the norms of advertising on social networking sites exists – but until then – we will continue to watch a few companies hiccup.

 

Advertising on social networking and media sites can be great for advertisers – it is a great way to extend brand, increase conversion rates, and speak to new audiences. However, brands must also be careful when asking their ad agencies and marketing service providers to push the envelope since they may inadvertently break a site’s privacy policy.