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Archive for August, 2010|Monthly archive page

Malaysian stocks to buy

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2010 at 6:29 am

 

I Holdings,

Delloyd Ventures,

Signature International,

Axis REIT,

EP Manufacturing,

Notion Vtec,

Glomac,

Sunway Group,

Mamee-Double Decker,

Multi Sports,

Salcon,

Faber,

AEON Credit,

Protasco,

Zhulian,

Handal,

Engtek,

Southern Steel,

Evergreen Fibreboard.

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Social Media and Business Intelligence

In Uncategorized on August 29, 2010 at 5:29 pm

 

The Importance of Social Media and Business Intelligence Integration

Social media is now increasingly used to not only project marketing influence, but also to collect important demographic and consumer data based on interactions that occur across the various platforms. As this social internet continues to evolve, social media interactions are more easily collected into systems of metrics than can parse, store and interpret this interaction data into actionable market intelligence. Coupled with Business Intelligence, this makes for increasingly powerful, actionable and immediate access to consumer sentiment.

Where Social Media and Business Intelligence Intersect

As Social Media continues to evolve, it’s data formats become more standardized and easier to integrate into pre-existing systems, it is therefore an essential new pillar in a company’s marketing efforts. Together, there are five areas that are increasingly able to share and utilize this new, more immediate customer and client feedback:

  1. Social Media – As mentioned before, this medium is an excellent source of real time data that is authentic for being delivered first person from the end user without being pre-packaged into a survey or other pre-defined format. There are now a wide variety of software companies able to track, parse and do metrics on this information, including the use of natural language processing in order to better extract changes in sentiment toward a product or campaign.
  2. Marketing Strategy – Marketing strategy is not only informed by Social Media, it works bi-laterally, utilizing the social web to broadcast its initatives and engage potential customers with more accurate targeting and quicker response. Both components inform each other and mutually enhance value plus performance.
  3. Business Intelligence – The success or failure of marketing campaigns as well as the more granular data that is returned by parsing through interactions can then be fed into business intelligence systems that process this information either automatically or in conjunction with a marketing professional. Generally speaking, both methods are used, with automated processes often revealing marketing insights that could otherwise go unseen.
  4. CRM – Interaction data, campaign response and output from Business Intelligence querys can all inform how customers are handled, and these customer relations strategies can be updated with greater frequency and granularity with regards to demographics, purchase history and location. This is enabled by the rapid feedback that Social Media and Business Intelligence processing provide.
  5. Internal Business Processes – In the same way that customer facing activity can respond quickly to a more direct communication with the customer base, internal processes can now have the necessary data to make increased agility even more productive.

Key Reasons To Incorporate Social Media and Enterprise Marketing

  1. Cost Reduction – The cost of engaging in Social Media compared to traditional media is so low as to be negligable. In fact, improving social media performance is less a matter of increased budget and more a matter of creativity and genuiness. This is changing marketing in a significant way which favors those organizations that are willing to empower and converse with their customers.
  2. Flexibility – Social media is imminently flexible. When combined with marketing technology, such efforts do not end with broadcasting. In fact, using social media to broadcast is merely the beginning of many company’s efforts. A true social media campaign converses, and then parses, stores and repurposes that feedback via business intelligence.
  3. Analytics – Rather than pushing a survey onto a prospective or current customer, current technologies coupled with creativity allow for gathering this data via user interaction and real time feedback. This makes for much more abundant and authentic data, thus improving the usefulness of market research without inconveniencing the potential client.
  4. Targeting – Traditional media advertising and marketing is commonly one-size-fits all. Venturing into new areas requires additional cost and commitment. Using the social web, all that is needed is a newly defined test group and knowledge as to the sites they frequent. This makes market expansion much less risky.
  5. Value Creation – As many companies continue to drift further away from manufacturing and more toward marketing of goods, the value of an organization will increasingly be seen in its ability to reach an audience and retain its attention. Companies will continue to gain value to the extent that they can utilize information technology and integrate it systemically. Treating technology as a snap on component to the ‘core business’ will be increasingly seen as a liability.
  6. Responsiveness – Depending on staff size, it is possible for a company to respond to customer feedback in real time or withing 24 hours with a remarkable degree of personalization. While most companies will not go to such lengths, the fact that such capability exists (And can be strategically utilized, if only for PR reasons), will serve to impress upon an audience a true sense of dedication.
  7. Granularity – Because feedback from customers does not come in the form of a standardized 10 question survey, the range and specificity of response data will have a granularity that is orders of magnitude higher than traditional market research. Beyond this, since the data is stored in a database, it can always be recalled and interpreted at a later date, as inspiration strikes.
  8. Authenticity – This same open format to conversing and feedback response leads to interactions that are real one-to-one conversations. In addition, communities surrounding a given product or service commonly provide the sense of ‘realness’ that many customers anguish over when dealing with something like a phone menu.

Social Media Metrics and Actionable Responses

All of the benefits above help make for extremely useful metrics. Companies now have far more control over customer sentiment, provided they wish to be proactive and use the data that is available to them. This requires a new set of skills and technologies, but it enables an organization to arrest a crisis long before a single customers creative complaint goes viral. These same analytics services and programs can also help companies determine which format and media type work best for their audience, thus allowing for a more gradual and lower cost entry into a new space. Test marketing is cheaper, faster and provides more accurate response. Metrics also allow for the monitoring of one’s competitors. They are likely using many of the same platforms but just as likely using unique approaches. Watching their progress can save the time and cost of undertaking a faulty strategy on your own. Research also becomes more powerful because analytics and data standardization not only make data collection possible, but also infinitely interpretable.

The Social Media Marketing Work Flow

Social media marketing get the most out of business intelligence when there is a strict work flow involved. A strategy must be developed to outbound communications, including a core messaging that must be delivered to the target audience. The tools for communication then need to be defined. The format of your message will depend on the medium you’ll be using. YouTube, Twitter and Facebook not only have unique types, but also unique ways of communicating, including how upfront one can be with regards to product or service promotion. When the strategy is then matched to the tools and various formats are created, the actual broadcasting and conversations can take place. Once a campaign has been run for awhile, interaction data can then be collected , analyzed and acted upon. How much data and to what degree of detail one goes into depends of the scope of the effort as well as the sophistication of the software being used to gather information.

Linking Social Media, Marketing and Business Intelligence

There is already a wide variety of companies offering solutions for gathering and interpreting social media data. While the high end of the spectrum (SAP, IBM, Oracle) all have offerings, they tend to be more focused on the database and number crunching analytics side of the equation as opposed to the data collection and marketing insight components. This gap is currently being filled by companies like Omniture, Unica and a Attensity among others. Which solution you choose depends on how you define your needs as well as the volume of data you see your Social Media efforts producing. In addition, you should consider whether you are more focused on analytics, marketing insight/strategy or public relations. Now is a great time to have such exact needs met because there is now an extremely wide variety of companies serving along this spectrum.

Conclusion

Social Media Marketing will continue to develop its capabilities as a scalable and measurable science. While there will never be a means to automate the creativity and personal attention that makes a campaign really successful, failure to use distributed information technologies to better target and interpret the results of your creativity will simply lead to gross disadvantage in terms of flexibility, response time and consumer insight. Going out and buying ‘The best one on the market’ will not create instant advantage either. The current state of marketing does not call for a new product purchase, but for a new set of skills and understandings with regard to the changes to market dynamics that Social Media has brought upon us.

All the Business Advice You Need — From My Old Man By Michael Hess | August 26, 2010

In Uncategorized on August 29, 2010 at 1:05 am

 

I’m a young (I like to think) 44 years old, and I own Skooba Design, a young, hip, creative, and thoroughly modern company. Yet some of Skooba’s core business values might be considered by some to be “old school.” If that makes me or my company seem in any way less with-it or progressive, so be it — I wouldn’t trade or compromise these principles for anything. And these concepts that guide our business are largely based on, well, stuff my dad told me.

My family’s first business (which we sold in 1998) was a 50-year-old manufacturer and distributor of photographic equipment. By any measure it was a successful company — significant, profitable growth every year, no debt, great products, happy and dedicated employees, and a wonderful reputation in the industry. My father guided the business with many dyed-in-the-wool (read: stubborn-as-hell) philosophies, which usually manifested themselves as pithy sayings. Some were handed down from his own mentors, some borrowed from others, some were well-known expressions, some his own creations. Many of them would probably get him in trouble with the Political Correctness Police these days.

We came to refer to these nuggets as “Steve-isms,” and if I can eventually remember and record them all, I’ll have the makings of a good book. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few of his favorites. If you’ve heard some before, I hope you’ll enjoy them again. If you’re hearing them for the first time, even if you find them oh-so-cute, I hope you find some meaning and value behind them, as I have:

“Volume is vanity, profit is sanity.”

This could be the only advice any business needs. While there are, of course, economies of scale and other arguments for “deficit spending” to grow volume, at the end of the day — especially in small business — the real rules never change: It’s not how much you sell, it’s how much you keep. Now, I realize it is a simple and convenient statement. But the core meaning is solid and irrefutable, yet ignored or dismissed by many in the too-big-to-fail camp. You can be as big as you want, but it’s real profit–and nothing but real profit–that sustains a business, ensures a livelihood and lifestyle for its employees and other stakeholders, creates products that make life better, and makes most things possible. Bigger is not always better (hey, small business represents more than half of our economy).

“What is bound to fall should be pushed.”

Don’t hold on to something you shouldn’t, whether it is a product, project, business model, price, employee, or idea. Sure, sometimes bad things will get better — this is not about throwing in the towel the second things get tough. But too many of us let bad things go too far, hoping against hope that they will somehow get better. This Steve-ism is about making difficult decisions quickly. If you know something is inevitable, make it happen now: Kill a project that’s fruitlessly sapping your resources, close out bad inventory, fire bad employees. Don’t wait or hope or avoid. Push.

“It’s like giving a dead man an enema… it can’t hurt.”

OK, not exactly Shakespeare, but an all-time crowd fave. Steve said this whenever an “iffy” suggestion came up (even if it was his own). It basically covers that range of ideas that are neither fantastic nor terrible. They may or may not work, and they won’t do much damage if they don’t. It was the Old Man’s way of saying “sure, give it a try, why not.” Maybe not the most rah-rah, new millennium way of encouraging exploration, but we all knew what he meant. I still say it, though with much more obvious and intentional humor (and more often than not, about my own ideas), when my gang sits around and brainstorms.

“Figures can lie and liars can figure.”

You can figure that one out.

“Everyone makes tea with boiling water.”

Pretty straightforward. The rules — in the great, cosmic scheme of things — don’t change, and really never have. Sure, times change, technologies change, possibilities change. But the basic DNA of business truly doesn’t. My father often used this expression to make a point about humility. He believed, as do I, that hubris is one of the most dangerous things in business. The people who think the rules somehow don’t apply to them are often the ones who go down in flames. One need only read any business newspaper or magazine from the past two years to see the concept in action.

And there are many more, but I’ll have to save those for a follow-up piece some day.

My father will be the first to admit that these are the bons mots of a very traditional and fairly risk-averse businessman from a different generation. He’d concede that more adventurous, bet-the-farm entrepreneurs and companies have different points of view, and many might chuckle at the sheer quaintness of it all. They might think of these as the words of a dinosaur (never mind that dinosaurs ran the joint for about 175,000,000 years more than we have so far).

But at the heart of every Steve-ism is the experience and hard-earned wisdom of someone who built something from nothing and had nothing to prove. And the results of our half-century-old business, guided by these principles, spoke for themselves.

Do you, your business, or mentors have “Steve-isms” of their own, whether serious, humorous, or a little bit of both? Would love to hear from anyone who has a gem or two to contribute.

6 Priceless Business Lessons By Steve Tobak | August 25, 2010

In Uncategorized on August 29, 2010 at 12:32 am

 

You learn how to learn in school. You learn how to do a job at work. And if you work hard and groom yourself well, you may eventually learn how a business operates in an industry. But once in a blue moon, through experience, you pick up one of those lessons that nobody can teach you. Those hard to come by lessons are truly priceless.

Last week, in 5 Business Books That Made a Difference, I mentioned Mark McCormack’s What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School. That inspired me to share a few big lessons I’ve learned over the years. Each one figured prominently in my success:

If you want to gain management cred, tell folks what you’re going to do and then do it. Having the guts to stick your neck out and take a big risk, then executing and delivering on the promise, has management written all over it. It works both internally and externally. Broadcasting an aggressive goal and then achieving it is far more effective than just doing it. Just make sure you pull it off. Sure, it’s a risk, but no risk, no reward, right?

If you’re way behind on a hot deadline, take some time to relax and chill out. First, you’ll think more clearly and be more productive going down the stretch. Second, there’s a reason why you’re behind to begin with and that pause may provide just the right inspiration or perspective you needed all along. Third, in case you need anyone to help you, nobody likes working with a stress monster.

If you want something badly, consider what would happen if you don’t get it. The earth will continue to turn and your life won’t end. In fact, nothing will happen, except that you’ll lighten your load, reduce your expectations, and in so doing, actually increase your chances of getting what you want. It’s the whole “if you want something let it go” thing. It really works.

If you want to be calm during an important presentation, stress-out beforehand. When you stress yourself it raises your blood pressure and your arteries widen to account for the change. Afterwards, when your body returns to normal, you feel a physical sense of calm that lasts a pretty long time. It’s the same reason you feel relaxed after getting out of a hot tub or a sauna. I noticed this empirically; a doctor I know added the explanation.

If you want to get support for a groundbreaking product or program, lose the big pitch. Grassroots efforts sell new ideas far more effectively than mass-market approaches. It works internally or externally. Get support from key stakeholders one-on-one rather than attempt to take on the world and sway everyone all at once. Pretty sure that was inspired by Geoffrey Moore’s Crossing the Chasm.

If you want someone to talk, shut up. Whether it’s a customer, an employee, your boss, whoever, set the stage by stating your purpose and then shut up. In general, people like to talk and that’s exactly what they’ll do, probably telling you far more than if you’d tried to drag it out of them bit by bit. If the person is unusually guarded, then give a little to get a little. Ask leading questions and listen actively, of course.