Tuesday, December 22, 2009

E-Reader Mania Hits Barnes

The mad rush for e-readers this holiday season has led Barnes & Noble to offer in-store certificates worth $100 to customers who won't get its device, called the "Nook," by Christmas Eve as promised. B&N has said that demand is so strong it can't keep up with the orders.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

More People Dropping Landlines for Cell Phones

The latest government research shows that more people are dropping landlines for cell phones across all demographics, rich or poor. The proportion of wireless only homes continues to grow even during this recession. In fact, the poor are more likely to have one cell phone per household rather than a landline. For more interesting data on this issue click here: http://tinyurl.com/yje4r6l

Friday, December 11, 2009

US Online Ad Spend Turns the Corner

US Online Ad Spend Turns the Corner - eMarketer

"The economic cycle has reached bottom—at least for the online ad industry,” said David Hallerman, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report, “US Ad Spending.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Why Should Online Retailers Consider Bricks-and-Mortar Stores?

We all know how successful Amazon has been in carving out a substantial online business. So why consider a bricks and mortar presence when you have the most successful online business in the world?

It is rumored that Amazon is searching real estate in the U.K. While other stores are shutting down, Amazon is looking ahead. Consider for a moment that traditional retail presence like Walmart, BestBuy and others have had to incorporate an online business to stay competitive. What they offer that Amazon cannot offer is the ability to shop online, order and have it delivered to the nearest store for pick-up at a convenient time. It's also a faster service with no shipping costs. And this is exactly what Amazon is rumored to be doing in the U.K. Who knows, maybe we will see this strategy roll out in the U.S. in the not too distant future.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Social Media Should Be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy

Brands and advertisers are relying more and more on social media and online video streaming as a means of marketing their businesses. A new survey by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in conjunction with BtoB Magazine and marketing services firm MKTG, shows 66% of marketers now use social media to enhance their online PR, compared to 20% in 2007.

The most prominent sites featured in the survey are Facebook (used by 74%), YouTube (65%), Twitter (63%) and LinkedIn (60%).

In fact, social media marketing should be an integral part of your SEO/Internet Marketing Strategy. A corporate profile on Twitter for example, makes the company more approachable by consumers. But you have to be able to take the good with the bad. Not all comments can possibly be good, so be sure to monitor what people say and deal with the complaints as expeditiously as possible to turn that customer's experience around. How you respond or not, will influence new consumers considering doing business with you.

Dell for example uses Twitter to post daily news, special offers as well as respond to online comments. Word of mouth comments can be very powerful in stimulating sales.

No company can really afford not to engage in the social discussion.

Post your comment below or contact me for a confidential consultation at businessissuestoday@gmail.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cyber Monday - Internet Shopping Beats Bricks and Mortar

Cyber Monday beat Black Friday sales, meaning online retail is winning over in-store purchases. Dow Jones and Comscore predict this holiday season may exceed $900 Million in sales, making it the biggest day for online retailers ever! Sales rose 14% this year over last and the actual orders were about 30% more items. A truly good sign that the economy may just be improving slightly.

Is it convenience or better deals?

It is likely that people have less to spend (with all the cuts in salaries), and are therefore looking for the best deals with a few quick clicks rather than feet on the street. With taxes so high in most States, it's another incentive to shop from the biggest online retailer, Amazon.com and Overstock. But convenience does play an important factor when you consider that a significant amount of people are currently doing two to three jobs. PriceGrabber.com has seen increased traffic and provides an easy way to find the lowest prices on most items.

What motivates you to shop online?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Rumored Deals Could Give New Meaning to 'Apple TV'

Apple reportedly is eyeing a new service to be launched as part of its iTunes ecosystem: a TV subscription service with a fee of $30 per month. While the site already has numerous TV series episodes and seasons for rent or purchase, this service would represent a different go-to-market strategy for Apple. The service would be similar to cable TV offers but delivered through iTunes.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Microsoft,T-Mobile Loses Personal Data

If you're a T-Mobile Sidekick user, you already know that all your personal contacts and data may have been lost forever. Microsoft said "that the recovery process has been incredibly complex because it suffered a confluence of errors from a server failure". Not much comfort for users who are now left scrambling to find lost contacts and photos.
Now I've always been against any PDA that stores my data only at GMAIL or some other server. What happened to being able to back-up on your own computer as well? Here is where Palm and the iPhone have the edge. Synching with your desktop always gives you the option of backing it up on a flash drive.
Perhaps if Palm were any good at marketing they might seize this opportunity for a very convincing Ad campaign!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Andreessen says: Entrepreneurs Must Be Able To Make Plans And Then Break Them

I've been writing business plans for over a decade for start-up companies and way before that as part of the annual corporate management process. Many times founders are reluctant to pay the fees to update a plan a year down the road, not understanding that it is a work in progress. In fact business plans need to be reviewed at least every six months, not only to ensure management is on track, but also to ensure you are aware of the changing landscape, whether it is the economy and or competitors. Constant fine tuning is the key to success! I agree with Andreessen, that "its the process of planning that's the most important thing to see". So many founders lack this discipline and end up with a fragmented, shoot in the dark attitude instead of a cogent, defendable strategy. This is the most frustrating part of working with start-ups. No one takes the time nor wants to spend a little money to research their market segment and their demographic - a costly mistake that could be the difference between a successful company and a bankruptcy!

Friday, August 28, 2009

What Has President Obama Done for Silicon Valley?

President Obama's inability to fill even half of his major political appointments is in the news this week, but the appointments he's already made are causing some in Silicon Valley to question whether they supported the right candidate. The president chose non-Silicon-Valley candidates for the nation's two major technology posts.

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Twitter Reaches 44.5 Million People Worldwide In June (comScore)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sprint Nextel to buy Virgin Mobile USA - Los Angeles Times

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Social Networking and Blogging Outstrips E-Mail use

A study just published by Neilson Co. shows that social networking and blogging are now more popular online activities than e-mail. In the 90’s it was e-mail. In the 200’s it is all about social networking since it is a more efficient means of communication for one to many people. It’s also become a great marketing tool and a way for companies to communicate with their users and indeed, to obtain feedback from the market place. According to Neilson, Facebook is the most popular network and is visited by approximately 30% of people online every month. Globally, social networks and Blogs account for one in every 11 minutes spent online. Nielsen also found that the social network and blogging audience is becoming more diverse, with the biggest increase in visitors during 2008 occurring among 35- to 49-year-olds. And this doesn’t take into account mobile communications, which is growing faster in Europe. In the UK, 23% of those visiting a social network are doing so via a mobile phone, that is 2 million people! In the US, the figures are 19% and 10.6 million people respectively or 156% increase over the previous year in the US. E-mail has its place for corporate communications but it’s time for companies to seriously incorporate social networking as part of their marketing mix. Post your comments or e-mail me at businessissuestoday@gmail.com

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Maintaining a Web Presence in a Recession

According to research from Webvisible and Nielsen, 63% of consumers and small business owners turn to the internet first for information about local companies and 82% use search engines to do so, only 44% of small businesses have a website and half spend less than 10% of their marketing budget online. Small business owners behave like consumers - they use the net to research products and to search for the best price, however there is a significant disconnect between the way small business owners act as consumers vs. the way they market their businesses online. Why is this? Perhaps because there’s a misconception that it requires large marketing budgets to create a website. Not these days. You can get domain and hosting packages for under $10 a month from GoDaddy. For a basic site, most systems will have an easy to use template. If you want something a little more professional, there are tons of website designers you can negotiate a good rate in this economy. (Check out Craigslist.) And then there’s video uploads, blogging and social networking to create a buzz for your business. Twitter and Facebook cost you nothing. The survey also found that search engines are the most popular source for finding local information: 50% said search engines were the first place they looked when seeking a local business, while 24% chose the Yellow Pages directories. As the recession continues to hit marketing budgets, it is even more important to not make the knee jerk reaction and cut Internet advertising. Maintaining a web presence is key to survival. Post a comment or contact me on businessissuestoday.com

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Economic Stimulus ('Stinker') Bill

Senator Lindsey Graham called it what it is, a "stinker" Bill. Earlier on Fox news he said: "This Bill is not an economic stimulus package. It's an orgy of congressional spending unrelated to creating jobs." Also today, President Obama called it what is: "a spending Bill". Well I'm glad we actually got to the truth! Everyone by now knows it is loaded with 'pork' but did you know that only 17% of the $920 BN Bill is intended to be spent in the first year? Most of the expenditure happens in the 4 th year..... yeah election year. Isn't that coincidental? And what if the economy picks up by the 4th year and we don't need all this spending and all this debt? The Democrats have ensured they get to spend it anyway. Senator McCain has at least introduced a sensible amendment: that when we reach 2 Quarters of positive GDP growth, the spending allocation in that Bill stops and cannot be re-appropriated. People need to ask deep deep questions here and take action by calling their congressional leaders. This Bill does little to create the jobs we so desperately need now. And since when was government any good at creating jobs? We've seen the mess at the SEC and the USCIS and no doubt countless other government departments wasting tax payers' money. The original House Bill has spending allocations for just about every department you can think of, but with no breakdown of expenditure or reason. How does this stimulate job growth in the private sector? " In addition to funds otherwise made available in this Act, there are hereby appropriated the following sums to the specified Offices of Inspector General, to remain available until September 30, 2013, for oversight and audit of programs, grants, and projects funded under this Act:"
  • Dept. of Agriculture - $22.5 M
  • Dept. of Commerce - $10 M
  • Dept. of Education $14 M
  • Dept. of Energy $15 M
  • Dept. of Health $19 M
  • Homeland Security $2 M
  • Dept. of Housing & Urban Development $15 M
  • Dept. of Interior $15 M
  • Dept. of Justice $2 M
  • Dept. of Labor $6 M (that's an ironic one if this is supposed to be a stimulus)
  • EPA $20 M ( you can only wonder about that one)
  • NASA $2M
  • SBA $10 M (for what? They never lend money to small business anyway.)
  • Corporation of National Community Service $1 M (What exactly is this for......ACORN?
And then the Government Accountability Office gets $20 M to oversee the above. This Bill is nothing more than an appropriations wish list by the Democrats - a boon dongle! In the process, they will increase government departments that will have lasting effects since government never downsizes like businesses do when needed. It's time for people to wake up. It's our money after all! Call you Senator and stop this 'pork'! (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-1) Comment or e-mail me at businessissuestoday@gmail.com

Friday, January 23, 2009

Apple in Good Health Despite the Economy

We've almost got used to turning on the TV or reading the headlines to hear the latest doom and gloom. While Intel is to layoff 6000 employees worldwide and Microsoft 5000, you'd think the entire tech industry is coming to an end. Sure, the economic downturn has had an effect on PC and consumer demand, but you have to dig deeper to see what is going on with some of these ailing companies. If it were all about the economic downturn, then why is Apple immune to this recession? Perhaps because they remain innovative and competitive and in touch with the consumer. Firstly, Microsoft's Vista has been a dismal failure in itself and that in turn has probably affected the lack of demand for new PC's in order to run Vista. Note the recent announcement of Windows 7 which apparently won't require such a massive hardware upgrade, (we'll believe it when we see it) and the fact that Microsoft is abandoning Vista. In the meantime, the Apple Mac environment is still years ahead technologically speaking and the Company continues to deliver products that consumers actually find exciting and usable. Sales of iPods, iMacs and iPhones remain healthy.

Apple sold nearly 23 million iPod digital music players, up 3 percent over the year-ago quarter, and 4.3 million iPhones. Apple also sold 2.5 million Macs during the quarter (ending Dec. 08), representing 9 percent growth over the year-ago period. The company had $7.2 billion in cash at the end of the quarter.

Staying ahead of the competition is obviously a strategy that helps in a recession. For those companies who were or are complacent, such economic times only serves to accentuate their already existing problems. Innovation in technology continues and we'll likely see more success stories as the year progresses. Watch out for the new and much awaited Palm Pre with new operating system and Google's Android is still in its early days.

Perhaps if the general media gave more time to good news, we might actually get out of this recession sooner!

Post your comments or e-mail me at businessissuestoday.com

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 - The Year of Social Media Marketing

While the general media continue to focus on the doom and gloom of the economy, exciting things are happening online and online advertising continues to trend up. However, if companies continue to use the Internet just as a static place, they are unlikely to make their goals, achieve traffic growth and ultimately increase revenues. The Internet is now a dynamic and socially driven medium of communities. For example, video social networks is positioned to replace television as the dominant medium for influencing consumers, voters and the public in general; Twitter may well displace Blogs in 2009 as shown by the News media in the 08 elections. But don’t expect social media marketing to produce immediate results. Just as getting picked up by search engines takes about three months, expect social network marketing to take about six months to grow. You can expect about a 10% conversion rate so for every 10,000 people invited to your network, about 1000 will actually join. That’s a much higher conversion rate than the old days of direct mail and even email and, at a fraction of the cost. Dell computers says Twitter has helped it bring in $1 million in revenue over the past 18 months via sales Tweets and other promotions. Can you afford to ignore social media marketing in 2009? Post your comments or email me at businessissuestoday.com for a private consultation.
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