Almost 18 months ago I posted My Plan for Creating an Innovative City. In it I reasoned that we needed two major breakthroughs to help Newcastle reposition itself as a centre for technology and innovation; high-speed broadband and the hosting of a major event along the lines of SxSW.
In the ensuing year and a half the wheels of progress have been turning and a passionate community of “agitators” has emerged to run with the theme. Things are starting to happen and it’s time for you to get involved.
Firstly, Gordon Whitehead launched Digital Newcastle, under the banner of The Lunaticks Society of Newcastle, in order to lobby and educate anyone who will listen. His energy and enthusiasm has been infectious.
Secondly, a taskforce called Hunter DiGiT was formed with a vision to establish the Hunter Region as a leading digital economy with a global reputation, by 2020. Their objectives are:
- Online Participation: Encourage adoption of internet based technologies.
- Broadband Infrastructure: Attract commercial or government funded projects to provide world-class broadband infrastructure.
- Digital Literacy and Skills: Encourage investment in technology education to equip the region’s transition to a digital economy.
- Social Inclusion: Increase digital literacy & broadband access for low income & disadvantaged groups.
- Digital Industry: Support the growth of creative, digital and cultural sectors.
- Reputation: Promote the regions digital and creative industry sectors and position the region as a place where talented people and start-ups want to live.
- Investment: Develop support networks to enable start-ups to access funds for growth.
This Friday 30 November, 2012 the vision starts to become reality as we mark the official launch of Hunter DiGiT with a special breakfast and day-long Expo.
Topics to be discussed include:
- Technology Use in the Hunter 2012
- Why embracing digital is important to our region
- Gov 2.0 Looking to the Future
- Legal matters in a digital age
- Today’s New Business Model
- How to market to the World
Speakers and panelists include:
Brendan Brooks President of Hunter DiGiT, Tim Owen, AM, MSS MP, Isabel Boniface – Microsoft, Anthea Bill – Hunter Valley Research Foundation, Gareth Berry – Unleashed, Craig Wilson – Sticky, Matt Crozier – Bang the Table, Anthony Scully – ABC, Jason Rumianek – Hunter Medicare Local, Roger Pryor, Roderick Smith – Evescourt Legal, Nick Bowditch – Facebook, Stephen Bourne - Business & Commercial Lawyer at Mananua Inc, Tim Holloway – Deputy, Marcus Westbury – Renew Australia, Damien Mahoney – Stackla, Gareth Berry – Unleashed, Nick Bartlett – GeoOP, Wayne Schmidt – Xero, Roger Gregg – Invitbox, Tim Holloway – Deputy HR
There will also be a range of businesses showcasing their innovative products and services. you’ll be surprised to learn how much talent and how many great little innovative companies are now in Newcastle. It’s going to be an exciting day.
The team behind Hunter DiGiT have worked tirelessly to put this together and kick-start the digital economy here in Newcastle. Their doing it not for profit but because they love this town and want to see innovation and technology prosper here.
Now its your turn to get on board. What do you have to do? Just turn up. The Expo is free to attend. Meet great local businesses, hear some informative presentations and discussions. Get involved.
The wheels are now turning. “All aboard!!!”
Online display advertising is a tricky area. So many eyeballs, so much potential but is the model going to succeed in the long-term for big players like Facebook and Google or are there new threats looming? This infographic from Prestige Marketing nicely summarizes the global online display market, it’s trends and it’s best performing sectors, and throws in some nice tips for your own online advertising success.
The original iPad was launched back in April 2010, kicking off the tablet computing era. In less than two and a half years Apple have sold over 100 million iPads. Then there are the other popular tablets on the market from Samsung, Amazon and more.
In short, a lot of us are now using tablets a lot of the time and this is having a major impact on eCommerce. This has led to the rise of “couch commerce” as most people tend to use them in their living rooms. The implications for marketers are numerous as this great infographic from Monetate illustrates.
Continuing my recent theme of how technology and social media is affecting and interrupting various industries, this week I thought I’d look at real estate. My family was in real estate for 40 years so its something I have been watching for a long time. I also took a lot of interest in a friend of mine who sold his Sydney home after moving to the USA by utilising social media. He said the best inquiries and the ultimate sale came from his online strategy rather than the agent.
In a buyer’s market, exposure is one of the most important factors to consider when you are selling property. There is no outlet that will give you wider exposure than the internet. Real estate agents have long been aware of this, with a recent online marketing survey finding that real estate is the industry with the most internet savvy, second only to those in the internet business itself. For individuals who have property they wish to sell or rent, taking a two-pronged approach to online real estate marketing is recommended. The use of online listings websites combined with social media marketing will reach the largest audience in the shortest amount of time.
Listing Property with Real Estate Websites
One of the primary ways to use the power of online marketing is to use websites for selling your home. Approximately 87% of Australian consumers turn to online listings before they contact a real estate agent. This means you should put forth the effort to create a flawless listing. Attractive photos, attention-grabbing headings, and a list of your home’s most important features will help your property stand out. Listings without images or any relevant information will usually get skipped over by anyone performing a specific search, so be sure to include all pertinent information.
Market your Listing Using Social Media
You may already have your listing up, but if you want to draw in the full potential range of potential buyers or renters you’ll need to start casting a wider net. This is where social media marketing tactics come into play. The following techniques can help you market your listing.
- Property Blog – Create a blog for your property. You could use free services like WordPress or Blogger to get started, which come equipped with free templates. This helps you tell the story of your home and reach out to potential buyers on a more personal level, using video, images, and social media widgets.
- Keyword Research -Determine which keywords are searched for most frequently by those looking for property listings in your area. You can then work these into your blog and online listing.
- Create Multiple Accounts – Setting up different social media accounts for your property will allow you to reach out to a potentially unlimited audience. Twitter, Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, and LinkedIn can all be used to sell your property when given its own unique profiles. This is less time-consuming than it seems, because you can use the same information for each account.
- Post Regularly – It’s tempting to set up these accounts, post your listing online, and be done with it. Yet this defeats the purpose of using social media to market your property. If you want to rent your house, use your Twitter account and blog to post interesting news for renters or personal anecdotes about features in your home.
- Engage and Share – Interact with your audience, responding to comments and encouraging contacts to share stories you’ve posted. The more you engage with social media, the higher the likelihood that you’ll find a receptive buyer.
By combining the use of a professional listings website with your own social media marketing campaign, you can reach out to a far more diverse audience. Although it takes a bit of effort to take the online initiative, you’ll boost your chances of success in a tight housing market.
The traditional commerce model has been something like this:
Manufacturer produces product -> ships it to retailers -> retailer markets product -> retailer sells to consumer –> retailer orders more product from manufacturer.
As the internet has grown and e-commerce become more viable many manufacturers looked to cut out the middleman:
Manufacturer produces product -> manufacturer markets product -> manufacturer sells to consumer
This worked for some but obviously resulted in a lot of retailers no longer supporting the manufacturer. Not an ideal outcome.
Now there’s a new model to consider, Retail-integrated eCommerce:
Branded manufacturers sell online directly to consumers -> manufacturer passes order to their retailers for delivery to customer
The following infographic from Shopatron demonstrates how the new model works. Is it Retail-Integrated eCommerce something your industry should be considering?
In 2012 its amazing to still learn that many businesses are yet to embrace online as part of their marketing and sales strategy. A recent survey by Hunter Valley Research Foundation revealed that many Hunter businesses are not embracing the digital economy with rates of taking orders via the internet remaining very low and 42.7% of businesses having no website.
Contrast those statistics with a new survey report released today by American Express showing those who have embraced e-commerce are 33 per cent more likely to have reported a profit increase in the 2011-12 financial year.
Here is the full media release. I have highlighted significant points.
GOING ONLINE MEANS GOING STRONG FOR SMALL BUSINESS
Company website and Facebook page top marketing channels
One in three small businesses have made their products available for purchase online and those that have are reaping the benefits, according to a nationwide survey.
Commissioned by American Express among more than 1000 Australian small business owners, the survey shows that those who have embraced e-commerce are 33 per cent more likely to have reported a profit increase in the 2011-12 financial year.
Those small businesses who have introduced e-sales say it accounts for almost half (45 per cent) of their revenue and the majority (55 per cent) predict an increase in this type of trade in the next 12 months.
“Small business owners who have incorporated e-commerce into their business are seeing it as a worthwhile investment and appear confident of its long-term benefits. This comes at a time when having an online presence is becoming more and more important for small businesses. In fact, Australian business owners cite company websites and Facebook pages as the most effective marketing channels,” said Amelia Zaina, Head of Marketing and Customer Engagement, Small Business Services at American Express.
Social media drives revenue growth
The American Express survey also found that social media has helped almost one quarter (23 per cent) of small business owners to grow their business – and those that attribute business growth to social media are more likely to have reported an increased profit in 2011-12 (57 per cent) than those who don’t (35 per cent).
Small business operators who use social media believe it has helped them grow their business in several ways, including:
- Sourcing new customers (54 per cent);
- Raising brand awareness (51 per cent); and
- Generating new sales (40 per cent).
“These findings support the notion that small businesses who have gone online and are using social media, are seeing comparatively stronger revenue growth” Zaina said.
“While different channels work better for different industries, both e-commerce and social media can be innovative and affordable. Businesses can benefit in many ways to offset the impact of tough economic times on their business.”
Non-embracers reluctant to introduce e-sales
Despite the success of e-commerce, those who have not established an e-sales strategy are reluctant to do so, with only 12 per cent planning to sell their products and services online in the next 12 months. An even smaller number of small business owners (9 per cent) consider e-commerce necessary for future-proofing their business.
This reluctance can partly be explained by the significant proportion of respondents (40 per cent) who don’t find e-commerce relevant to their business – a view most prevalent among those in construction, finance, insurance and health and community services.
“Some small business owners also say they are not sure how to approach adopting e-commerce with their main concerns surrounding difficulties in setting up the payment platform and customer privacy issues. Seeking out information and advice on how to do this could potentially benefit their business and allay any concerns they may have,” said Zaina.
“Fortunately for small business owners, the internet offers limitless opportunities so even those who feel e-commerce isn’t right for them can make use of the online opportunities offered by social media to promote their products and grow their business.
With thousands of ecommerce websites filling every niche interest under the sun, it’s difficult for website owners to stand out from the crowd. It’s also difficult for consumers to sift through all of the online clutter to find the products that best match their personal style and interests.
A solution to both of these problems has arisen organically over the past couple of years in the form of curated commerce. Sites like Pinterest use a combination of social networking and editorial layouts to create crowd-sourced collections of lifestyle, fashion, and other niche market products.
Pinterest has already become an extremely effective marketing tool for ecommerce business owners. According to a survey conducted by the shopping cart software giant Shopify, consumers arriving at Shopify stores via Pinterest were 10% more likely to make a purchase than those who arrived via other social networking sites. Referral traffic from Pinterest matched traffic from Twitter, and Pinterest has quickly become the third most popular social networking site on the web today. This makes it a potentially valuable tool for online retailers, who can set up their own profiles and interact with consumers to boost the chances of products appearing in Pinterest-curated collections.
Other top user-curated sites include Polyvore and Svpply, which allow users to mix and match their favourite products into stylish collections. There’s nothing trendy consumers enjoy more than trying their hand at becoming stylists, which is partially why these fashion sites have boomed in popularity. In addition to user-curated sites, the world of curated commerce also includes professionally-curated collections. JewelMint is a website run by Cher Coulter, a professional stylist, and Kate Bosworth, an actress noted for her sense of fashion. They send out personalized collections of jewellery according to subscriber preferences, laid out in a slick magazine-style format.
Online retailers are sitting on a potential goldmine if they are able to crack these curated collections, which reach a wide audience of internet-savvy consumers. One potential problem for established brand names is that these collections tend to be based on unique, quirky, or new products that aren’t advertised elsewhere. Consumers turn to sites like Polyvore and Pinterest to discover something new, not to see bland advertisements from big-box retailers. To break through this barrier and harness the power of curated commerce to promote a website, it’s necessary to stay on top of trends by getting involved with these curated websites.
Most ecommerce website owners already have a Facebook and Twitter account. Joining Pinterest, Polyvore, and other sites of this nature can help retailers reach out to consumers in a different way, by sharing interests and highlighting products that have influenced the brand’s aesthetic. It’s key to walk the fine line between sharing and spamming when curating your own collections; or the collection will ring false with viewers.
Another potential benefit of curated collections is that they allow business owners to see how their customers view and use their products. Searching for your brand on a curated website can allow you to see how your customers style your items in their own collections, and which other brands or products they pair yours with. This could help you define your marketing efforts more effectively, using the visual appeal and aesthetic that appeals to your real-life consumers.
It takes a little bit of effort and imagination to start using curated commerce effectively. There’s a playful edge to curated websites, and retailers that successfully use a combination of style and originality in their own collections will reap the most benefits.
The education sector is another example of an industry that is beginning to be interrupted by technology. In some cases this may be accelerated by the cost cutting of governments such as we have been seeing in NSW with TAFE courses recently being slashed.
The inevitable discussions have turned to online learning (and teaching) options. Online learning is still in the early stages of development and acceptance, however it also appears to be looming as a major growth industry.
The following infographic addresses some of the myths and facts around online learning.
Nielsen recently conducted some research on the organic and paid search click-through-rates in Great Britain and came up with some stunning results, which are presented below in this new infographic.
The most interesting and telling information is in the second half of the page. In 1.4 billion search queries 94% ended up clicking on the natural or organic search result. Only 6% clicked on the ads.
If you still decide to pursue PPC then the demographic is most likely to click on your ad is women 55+.
The main question you should be asking now is how much do you want to invest in Pay Per Click search advertising compared to a vastly more effective organic SEO strategy?
Remember the classic John West salmon television commercial with the fisherman intercepting leaping fish from clutches of a hungry bear? The spot received 2.6 million views on YouTube when it first ran years ago and became a very successful campaign for the company. Here it is as a reminder.
Well now John West is returning to this happy hunting ground in the hope of repeating the success with a sequel. Starting Sunday 7 October, John West will launch a new TVC where the iconic John West fisherman is pitched against his long-standing nemesis, The Bear, and cast alongside a beautiful heroine for the first time.
We all know that “viral” success involves more luck than planning. The first commercial took off like a house on fire but is it possible to manufacture repeated success? The company is certainly giving this its best shot with high production values, cliffhanger endings and a Facebook page to follow the progress.
Will you be hooked or do you think its a it fishy?