Tag Archives | strategic planning

NFAIS Webinar: The World According to Google

Understanding Google’s Expanding Content Ecosystem

NFAIS LogoFrom phones to tablets to games, headwear, browsers, and even autonomous cars and balloon-based networks, Google has been moving forward with breathtaking speed towards dominating and breaking through in seemingly countless market segments. One thing’s for sure in the midst of all this: where other companies think about carving up market pies, Google is on the march constantly to invent new pies and to reinvent old ones in order to acquire, analyze and generate more usable “signals” for customers and marketers than ever before.

On September 19, 2013 NFAIS will hold a 90 minute webinar from 11:00am – 12:30pm EDST for its annual update on the Google landscape. John Blossom, award-winning industry analyst and President, Shore Communications, Inc, will bring you up to date on Google’s major product and platform initiatives and put them into an encompassing context of how Google products are influencing the strategies of publishers and content service providers. The webinar will include insights based on John’s attendance at this year’s Google I/O developers’ conference.

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U.S. Public Libraries are Weathering the Storm

Careful management along with creative and visionary leadership have helped U.S. public libraries survive the slashing of budgets during this Great Recession. They continue to act as a lifeline to the technology resources and training citizens need to fully participation in our economy.

A new report examines a study that explores the many concerns that face our libraries. Budget cuts over several years threaten access to libraries and services, the growth in demand for technology training and services, and the stubborn and lingering effects of the “digital divide” all force. Learn more at Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study.
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Decision Making

The Challenge of Decision Making faces your company, individual departments, staff, customers, vendors and more. Every day, decisions need to be made so that you can:

– Achieve success in this difficult economy
– Grow a company
– Improve customer service and customer relationships

Whether the choice is simple or complex, deciding has to be accomplished. Not making a choice is a choice. There are many methods that we have learned to select a choice, make a decision and move on. Here are a few:

  • Random – the coin flip, the ‘she loves me, she loves me not’, whatever first pops into your process. Random works for simple choice – restaurant menu, TV program, stop at next gas station when fuel tank is near empty. For complex choice, random is rarely effective.
  • Research – How much time does one spend on research can be based on how much data needs to be collected. You will never gather all the information about any one choice process. You can do a shallow analysis by seeking headlines and basic facts. You can do deep analysis by locating many sources and view content, images, facts and opinions. My view is to do what it takes to be comfortable with your choice. Deciding where to go on vacation is not as complicated as deciding to take your company public.
  • SALY – The long followed ‘Same as Last Year’ only works when the circumstances are precisely the same. If you enjoyed a vacation spot, you can return. Taking a company public will not be repeated quickly.
  • Lightning Strikes – Ben Franklin’s key and kite discovery can provide some immediate ‘AHA’ moments of inspiration. These moments can be helped if you gather usable information and see how they are connected. Your ‘AHA’ can leap from the content on your desk, whiteboard or computer.
  • It’s a Mystery – Sometimes choices are made an no one knows how they actually were done. You can spend days trying to figure it out or move on to what is next on your agenda.
  • Someone Else – try to avoid having other people make decisions for you. Making choices with another or with a team can work great. Avoid having someone else choose because you made the choice not to be an active participant in the process.
  • Your goal is to make choices within the timeframe that they need to be done. Try to avoid missing the opportunity to make a choice. We all get better with practice. Therefore, when it is time to make a choice – Do It. When your decision process is upon you, there are lots of ways we can support both the decision and the implementation. Contact us.

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The power of the cloud to make “what-if” real

Cloud PowerWe’ve written a lot about cloud computing — because we believe it can fundamentally transform a business in very positive ways. We were delighted to see this new report by IBM, The Power of the Cloud: Driving business model innovation, that describes the benefits of cloud computing and illustrates them with examples.

The report suggests that one way to think about the role cloud computing can play is to imagine some “what-if” questions. Four that fit well with small to medium sized businesses in the information industry are:

  • What if you could give customers access to your products and services anytime, anywhere and on any device?
  • What if you could inexpensively and rapidly develop and launch new product and service offerings?
  • What if you could easily and seamlessly connect and collaborate with business partners and customers?
  • What if you could redefine your role in your industry and change your competitive positioning?

Unlimited Priorities will be speaking on cloud computing at the NFAIS Annual Conference, Born of Disruption: An Emerging New Normal for the Information Landscape this week. If you would like to discuss how cloud computing can help make these what-if questions real for your organization, please contact us at the conference or through this website.

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11 Things Your Business Needs Online

Whether or not to maintain an online presense is no longer an option for most businesses. Businesses and consumers both are turning to online research when they want to find a vendor or product to fill a need. Ensuring that your business has a solid presence online can help keep your brand and services in the running when someone goes looking for the answers and solutions you can provide.

Many small and medium sized businesses do not have the internal resources to create an online presence that goes beyond the digital equivalent of an introductory brochure.

Forming a marketing consulting partnership with a team of experts like those here at Unlimited Prioritiess, is often the best way for these organizations make the jump to a twenty-first century online presence smoothly and effectively — and without breaking the bank.

Here are eleven things every business services company needs to have as part of their online presence:

1. An Understandable Address

When people are talking about your business and sharing information about your products or services they will need to tell others how to find your website or contact you by email.  This means your domain name needs to be clear and easy to communicate in writing and verbally.  If you cannot pronounce your website’s address you may need to think about a change or at least a name that can redirect to your site.

2. A Clean Homepage

You must have specific goals in mind when planning your homepage.  This may be the first impression you ever make on a potential customer so make sure it is the right impression.  When people are researching businesses online they can make a snap judgement about you based on very little information.  Your company’s mission should be clear immediately.  Web pages are relatively cheap; there is no reason to cram everything onto your homepage.

Your homepage should be welcoming and provide an easy to grasp introduction to your products and services.  Keep page elements separated and use short lists so new prospective customer can see and understand your core business at a glance.

3. Findable Pages

Your existing customers know who you are and where to find you.  New business can come from a variety of sources, but one major way to ensure that your website can be found by prospective customers is to ensure that your website is built with solid white-hat search engine optimization techniques in mind from the beginning.  Search engines read your web pages with programs called crawlers.

Web crawlers have come a long ways in the last few years, but they  still need your help to properly index your website and return links to your pages based on search terms entered by their users.  By using well crafted pages, complete with quality metadata and good document structure can help your site be found by the right people.

4. Scannable High-Level Pages

Prospective customers will land on your website with a single question in mind.  “Does this company provide the products or services I need?”  This means that your pages should be crafted to answer this question quickly for a visitor who is just scanning the page quickly.  It is hard to resist dumping a lot of information about your company and its great products and services right up front but this should be avoided.

After providing a clear answer to that initial question, you can provide links deeper into your site to pages with plenty of details about your business and services.

5. A Unified Look

Branding goes way past the logo on your letterhead and your business cards.  Do not skimp on the services of a skillful designer to create a branding scheme that includes logos suitable for a variety of sizes and uses, fonts, and color palettes. A prospective customer who stops by your booth at a trade show or receives a marketing email from you should recognize you immediately when they land on your website — or vice-versa.

6. Clear Contact Information

Your online presence does not operate in a vacuum.  Your site should be designed in a way that ensures visitors are never more than one click away from your contact information.  Your contact information should include online and offline methods to reach you.

No matter how complete you feel your website is, there may be prospective customers who want to pick up the phone and verify something they read about you online.

7. Some Customer History

Web giants like eBay and Amazon learned early on that customers like to hear from other customers —  even when they know nothing about the person providing feedback.  If at all possible your website should contain some testimonials from your existing customers.

Past customers who are willing to give a good reference can go a long ways towards building trust and comfort on the part of new business relationships.

8. A Long Reach

Your website should be a central hub of information about your business and your products and services.  Keeping that information limited to just that site is a waste of your online efforts.  Look at sites like LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter as other avenues where you can keep in touch with prospective customers.  If you take the plunge into the world of social media for businesses, make a real effort and stay on top of it.

A Facebook page or Twitter account with a few lonely updates from months or years ago is worse than no presence at all.  Share news and information about your business, but also share wider industry news that would be useful to your prospective customers.

Don’t be one of those businesses that fail at the social part of social media.

9. A Visible Human Side

Online communication is easy and is becoming expected by consumers.  If you have a presence on social media do not try to hide the fact that human beings are behind the tweets and updates.  This is not a suggestion to go wildly off-message, but your social media followers will appreciate the presence of a genuine personality behind the presence.

10. Depth of Expertise

Earlier we talked about making pages scannable with clear information that can be quickly absorbed in a few glances.  That is the way to draw in customers by explaining what you can offer.  Create additional pages on your site where you explain the how and why of your business offerings.

Albert Einstein is quoted as saying “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”  Keep that in mind while writing your deeper explanatory pages.  You are writing for a prospective customer with the goal of inspiring confidence in your ability to provide the services they need.  Many companies create pages that read like a technical training manual instead of an explanation of their services.

Get a non-expert in your circle to sign off on every page of your site to ensure you are not writing copy that is only meaningful to people who know as much as you do about your business.

11. Fresh and Relevant Website Content

Do not treat your webpage as if it is chiseled in granite. Search engines reward fresh and current content that is relevant and well presented.  In your professional life you are always learning as new information becomes available and technologies evolve.  Your website should reflect any changes and new information as quickly as possible.

Revisit your entire site at least three times a year and make sure every page is fulfilling its mission in the best way possible based on today’s understanding of your business and your customers needs.

If your business presence online is missing some or all of these critical business building tools, contact us to learn how Unlimited Priorities can help take your business to the next level.

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Will You Miss Paper?

NewspapersThe marketing of a paperless world dates back to the last century. With no further reference to the gag line about a “paperless bathroom,” what has been impacting our worlds is the onrush of digital everything taking over the publishing of magazines, newspapers and books.

Early in 2012, discussions and announcements are raising everyone’s focus towards the rise of digital reading material with a decline in paper based printing. These are indicators that need to be assessed by anyone in the process of either doing research or the process of creating research materials. The world of digital will increase both the volume of researchable material and the accessibility to far distant data that can be located anywhere. Researchers will not have to travel the Library at Alexandria to immerse themselves in knowledge and information. Here are three recent indicators about the move from paper to non-paper:

Apple expands its volume of digital textbooks to be read on the iPad Tablet. WSJ 1/20/12

Exchanging an overweight backpack filled with text books for a Tablet computer will help shoulders, spines, and knees to survive High School, College and Grad Schools. Apple developed a new version of its iBook’s Apps that support textbooks. These digital versions will include quizzes, note-taking, study cards and other interactive features.

Currently, Apple has agreements with McGraw-Hill, Pearson, with titles from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to be announced soon. Textbooks will be sold for $14.99 or less. Eventually, Apple said, it expects textbooks for almost every subject and grade level.

Apple also released a free tool for authors to create interactive titles. Consequently, authors of research material can start to focus on how to re-engineer how a book can be used as flexible learning tools rather than sequential page after page.

Amazon Wants to Burn The Book Business – Bloomberg Business Week – 1/30/2012

Librarian and NPR commentator, Nancy Pearl, is assisting Amazon Publishing to launch a new series called, “Book Lust Rediscoveries.” Pearl will select a handful of out-of-print books each year to be republished by Amazon in both print and digital formats.

The original text of each book will be augmented with an introduction by Pearl, reading group discussion questions and a list of recommended further reading. Books will be available in print and for Kindle: With a modest first budget of only six books per year, Amazon will be very careful with market reaction to this new service. Audio books, eBooks and paper is an ambitious undertaking for literature that may or may not find a readership. The is multi-format opportunity will also impact schools and libraries as to what their users want to obtain.

New York Times has display booth at CES

The legendary newspaper is still publishing its print edition every day. Many New Yorkers cannot make it from to Monday without the Sunday Times. For a while the Times has provided a digital version of the newspaper. With all the flight to digital, here was “The Old Gray Lady” that has been published since 1851, appealing to on-line readers. Currently the newspaper has over 30 million views of their website each month. Print subscribers have declined to one million.

As in all digital selling there was a come-on to get 6 months for 1/2 price. The grandest newspaper recognizes that readership demands access through phones, tables and other computing devices.

Whether the user or the provider, you need to plan how your research will be accomplished and expanded over the next few years. Check in with Unlimited Priorities for a very valuable conversation about the digital publication universe.

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Stephen Abrams’ 12 Things to Watch in 2012

Stephen Abram

Stephen Abram

Stephen Abram, MLS is Vice President, strategic partnerships and markets for Gale Cengage Learning. He has been VP Innovation for SirsiDynix and Chief Strategist for the SirsiDynix Institute.

Stephen is an SLA Fellow and the past president of the Ontario Library Association, SLA and the Canadian Library Association. In June 2003 he was awarded SLA’s John Cotton Dana Award. He received the AIIP Roger Summit Award in 2009 and Outstanding Teacher Award from the U of Toronto iSchool oin 2010. He is the author of Out Front with Stephen Abram and Stephen’s Lighthouse blog.

He put together this  presentation of 12 Things to Watch in 2012 for the Education Institute in December of 2011.

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When it Comes to your Organization’s Social Media Efforts: Plan Ahead

Social media is here to stay.  Every day more and more organizations make use of services like Twitter and Facebook to reach out to their existing and potential customers.

Connecting with customers via social networks provides a unique way to interact with people and keep them informed about news and information in real time, but, as recent events have shown, it is important to have a plan in place detailing roles and expectations within your organization.

A current California lawsuit provides a cautionary tale for organizations with employees participating on social networks on their behalf.

Mobile phone retailer and tech news hub PhoneDog.com had a staff member who tweeted as @PhonedogNoah while working there.  When Noah Kravitz and PhoneDog parted ways, Noah changed his Twitter handle to @noahkravitz and kept the seventeen thousand plus followers he had attracted while tweeting as @PhonedogNoah.

According to The New York Times, Kravitz claimed that PhoneDog told him he could keep his Twitter account in exchange for posting occasionally. It is now eight months later, and PhoneDog, referring to his Twitter followers as a customer list, seeks damages of $2.50 per month per Twitter follower for a total of $340,000 from Kravitz.

Since this story has hit the news, PhoneDog has published their side of the situation in which they present a their view that this has all been a far more complex situation stretching back to promises made and not kept by Kravitz when he left the organization.

And, of course, PhoneDog promoted this message via Twitter.

Curious about the Twitter lawsuit? Here’s the full story http://t.co/iUqjPovu#meritless
Jan 03 via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply

Embedly Powered

PhoneDog’s Side

Noah joined the PhoneDog team in April 2006.  During that period, PhoneDog.com was in the very early stages of becoming the personality-driven mobile tech review site it is today.  … Over the next four years, we invested in Noah and the site by sending him to trade shows and conferences from San Francisco, Vegas, New York, Barcelona and many places in between. …  During this time, we also expanded our efforts into many forms of social media, starting with our YouTube channel, then to Twitter and Facebook respectively; each with the very specific intent to grow PhoneDog’s social media following and its loyal audience.  From all of our efforts, the site’s popularity continued to grow and Noah essentially became a micro-celebrity of sorts.  What started out as a small part-time freelance opportunity grew into a very well paid career for Noah.

So when Noah notified us in October 2010 that he wanted to leave PhoneDog and the mobile tech industry to pursue something more “meaningful,” we were obviously disappointed.  However, we completely respected his decision and wished him our most sincere best of luck.

Shortly after Noah left the company, we found that Noah’s intentions had changed.  Whatever his motives, he began publishing content for other tech publishers while still being paid by PhoneDog, thereby going against the terms we agreed to prior to his departure.  In addition, he was promoting the competitors’ content to the Twitter account we clearly had and have rights to.

Regardless of who said what, and when, this is a matter that will probably be settled in a courtroom unless both sides come to some agreement.

The best thing to come out of this, for anyone, will be if organizations take a moment to think about their social media strategies and ensure that both the organization and its staff members are clear about their expectations in regards to social network contacts in the event of a parting of the ways.

I find it sad that this matter has come to be a matter to be passionately debated by people who were not part of the original discussions and agreements; however, every new innovation in customer communication needs a cautionary tale.

Unlimited Priorities can help you plan and implement an effective social media strategy. Once implemented, we can help you monitor, improve it and ensure that it stays current.

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Tips on Designing a Customer Feedback Survey

Customer SurveyA new year is approaching which means many businesses and organizations will be reaching out to their customers and stakeholders to learn what they are doing well and where they need to invest time and resources in improvements.

When it comes to the design of a ‘voice of the customer survey’, there’s been a long-standing debate about the right placement of key customer satisfaction questions, such as “Overall Satisfaction with the Company” and “Willingness to Recommend.” Some place them at the beginning of their customer feedback surveys, while others lean toward placing them at the end.

There’s no right or wrong answer to the issue of the placement of overall satisfaction questions; however, the location of these questions can and likely will alter your survey results, so it’s important to carefully consider which placement makes the most sense for your business needs.

Question placement really does impact your overall results, and it’s extremely important to make a well-thought-out decision that you can stick with.

Read Heather Mitchell’s full article — Designing a Customer Feedback Survey — at CRM Magazine’s website.

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Looking Ahead at 2012: Questions and Solutions

With a new year approaching there are some questions that need to be asked — and soon. Unlimited Priorities can help answer these questions and even help your organization implement the solutions you need to meet your goals for the new year.

You and your organization should ask yourselves:

  1. What goals do you expect to reach by December, 2012?
  2. How will you adapt to the increased use of mobile technologies?
  3. Where will you hook on to Cloud Computing data and applications?
  4. How will your business refocus and change to deal with evolving economic issues?
  5. What specific skills will you need to hire?
  6. What is your strategy for gaining more customers/clients?
  7. What are your plans for lowering your cost of operations?
  8. How will you share your time and interest with family and friends?
  9. What new knowledge do you want to acquire?
  10. What new events, activities, and relationships do you anticipate?

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