Archive | November 2012

New Devices Push Brands To Develop Mobile Websites

We talk about consumers with their devices on the go all the time. With the release of a new device on what seems to be a monthly basis, it could be unclear on whether or not a company should create a traditional website or a mobile website. The importance of a proper website has been proven to be a key factor for consumers returning to your site.

iPad & Friends

iPad & Friends (Photo credit: Yutaka Tsutano)

Creating the proper website experience is not only important for a retail company, but for any industry.  Sixty-four percent of smartphone owners are now using their mobile devices to shop online[1] and believe that mobile helps their shopping experience.

The release of the iPad mini, having a small seven-inch screen, can further blur the lines between mobile websites and traditional websites. Most tablet screen sizes vary between seven and 12 inches, where a mobile site would be best suited.

iPad Mini

iPad Mini Tablet: Visual Tour

The statistics for consumer’s behavior, in terms of using a mobile website, are staggering. Seventy-one percent of smartphone users that see TV, press or online ads do a mobile search for more information. And, according to a study conducted by Compuware, 57% of users would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site.

Traditional web can come into play if the intended audience prefers larger tablet screens or laptops. A one-column mobile website design would not be appropriate for a 15”, or larger, screen because the width for a traditional screen exceeds that of the height. These measurements prevent a one-column mobile design from fully utilizing the space on the screen whereas a traditional 3-column site design allows the viewer to see more across the page in one screen without having to scroll.

Providing what consumers want goes beyond optimizing their purchasing power, but tailoring a proper user experience that can prevent a loss of consumers and increase loyalty. By creating both traditional and mobile designs increases your odds of capturing your audience through their channel of choice ending in a successful user experience: purchase.

Waterstone's in-store ad for their mobile website

Waterstone’s in-store ad for their mobile website (Photo credit: ianfogg42)

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To Go Back to School, or not to go Back to School…

To Go Back to School, or not to go Back to School…That is the question. Especially for our generation of “Neverland” followers and dream seekers. Whether it’s to avoid the real world or to follow a passion, school is the number 1 option for our generation and those to follow. The Master’s Degree is now what opens the doors to opportunities like a Bachelor’s Degree once was to our parents’ generation. Doctorates will soon equate to our Masters… Do we keep going back to school to gain a fighting chance against those fresh faces that will inevitably be replacing us in the future?

English: Four graduate of the Kennedy School o...

English: Four graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University wearing academic dress. Visible is the hood worn by those awarded a master’s degree in public administration with a focus on international development. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The new scares we face in our generation cause a “Fight or Flight” reaction in us all. Our draining Social Security that cannot sustain our inflated spending habits and an “iffy” stock market that could make or break us – literally. To think, my parents at my age had infant twins and a toddler running around the house with a gracious benefits plan and 401K to offer the option to actually sustain an at-home-mom and housewife. Neither of my parents completed their stints in school – my mother barely finishing high school and my father landing a dream job before completing his last years at college. Yet, still they managed to build a cushy life and an amazing upbringing for my siblings and I. We traveled the world and they now have a house fully paid off with some retirement money stashed in stocks. But, do I have these same opportunities with my two Bachelor Degrees in a troubled economy and worrisome unemployment rates?

Unemployment Rates

Unemployment Rates (Photo credit: GDS Infographics)

I might be nervous about going back to school at age 26, but I am also nervous not to. Authors Emma Koenig and Peg Streep feel that those of us in our twenties have difficulties coming to terms with adulthood and explore the reasons. Although I agree with them the flashing outliers that go unconsidered way a troubling toll on this truth of pushing off adulthood. Peg Streep notes studies that say Millennials, like myself, “switch jobs every two years, compared to every five years for Gen-xers and seven for Boomers.” But, I don’t think we are “willingly” switching jobs, but forced to leave jobs as if a vicious cycle to stay abreast all the new roles, niche markets, and ever evolving industries. We’re hesitant to stay still because the constant thought is – “Do I leave before they make me leave, or do I stay loyal and get ousted anyways…” It’s an employers market and they hold the dice.

Unemployment Rates by Education Level

Unemployment Rates by Education Level

Grant it we can dedicate the long hours, but it doesn’t always mean the company itself will survive the economy at hand. A recent release by the Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that the average personal income and average annual compensation per job has increased, but the companies’ profits as a whole seem to be slowing. Also, United States Economy Profile 2012 by Index Mundi shows that the majority of the workforce are in roles such as managerial, professional and technical – which goes to show that education is king, but are we flooding the market with chiefs?

Money

Money (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

Well, it looks as though no matter what year we end up finishing school there will always be something that threatens our employable status. If beggars can’t be choosers we mine as well be doing what we love and be the best at it. Who says achieving higher skill sets and becoming more educated is a bad thing?! No matter what age, for me my late twenties, may reveal your true passions for your ideal career path you should always strive for it. I don’t see it as avoiding adulthood, but attaining higher standards. But, for those of you who feel differently – Here I come Peter Pan!

Peter Pan (2003 film)

QR Codes Continue to Gain Popularity

In 1994 a matrix barcode, now known as the QR code, was developed by Toyota as a way to track vehicles in the manufacturingprocess. It wasn’t until late 2011 that QR codes were adopted and widely used as a marketing tactic.  It’s intriguing that these small, static visual blocks are now a new technology utilized by businesses to offer a way for consumers to receive additional virtual information about promotions. But, these handy codes are completely foreign to a majority of mobile device users. Slowly, but surely, they have caught on with the consumer and proven to be a top resource for target consumers. [1]

Quick Response Code

According to a recent report from Nellymoser, QR codes have jump-started response rates from consumers and are now shown to have the highest response rate among direct marketing tactics.

QR codes have no limits on location, which is a no brainer advantage for any business. They can be found in magazines, on tv and in flyers just to name a few.

Most importantly, they are not limited to connecting consumers with a company’s website; however, when it does, it needs to direct to mobile websites – which loads quicker and provides the most relevant information. They can also direct consumers with a call-to-action via videos, sweepstakes, a social media page and even an eCommerce site.  Regardless of where one can find a QR code, it proves that consumers are actively engaging with their devices simultaneously with another medium.

Nellymoser’s report also found that codes promoting mobile coupons or a chance to enter a sweepstake have a higher response rate.

With the increasing success of these scan able blocks, businesses of all sizes, including one of the largest: Target, are being integrated into a well-designed mobile strategy.

Think it to Achieve it

He awakes in a daze. He can’t feel anything but the tears from his mother falling on his forehead as she reaches down for one more grateful kiss that her son survived. He just wondered…why? Never did he think this would happen to him, and neither did anyone else. Champion member of his high school wrestling team, and accepted on a full-ride scholarship to Florida State University for his notorious slamming moves. But, what was he to do now?

Derrick (pseudonym) looks back on his life-altering day that left him in a wheelchair. It all started with a ride to his favorite Asian restaurant with his then girlfriend driving. Everything was fine until their ill-fated journey home. An argument ensued, one too many, that put Derrick over the edge and led him to break-up with his girlfriend minutes after leaving the restaurant. It was only a 15-minute drive back to his house, but that is not what his now ex-girlfriend had in mind. Overcome with emotions she yelled, “If I can’t have you, nobody can!” She jolted the SUV’s steering wheel into a quickly approaching tree at a little over 40 miles an hour. His seat broke and he flew into the back seat where his head hit first and body quickly followed. He lay paralyzed from the neck down. His first memory after he awoke was EMS workers whispering to one another, “I don’t think he’s going to make it.”

EMS Help

Image Source: liveinsurancenews.com

Despite the results, Derrick was still his goofy, fun-loving self. His doctors and nurses loved him. They remember him to this day – ten years later. He cracked jokes, even on the operating table. A nurse never left the room without a smile on her face. He would comfort those who visited him rather than the other way around.

Although they said he would never walk again, Derrick’s spirits have led him to a spot on a wheelchair rugby team, a job he loves, friends from all over, and I saw him walk! Yes, unstable and clumsy, but still I saw him walk. A wise man once said, “If you think it, you will achieve it” – Earl Nightingale.

London 2012 Paralympics Wheelchair Rugby (Murd...

London 2012 Paralympics Wheelchair Rugby (Murderball) (Photo credit: Sum_of_Marc)

It’s days like these that people reflect back either wishing they could take it all back or realize this was the momentous event that made them who they are today. Derrick inspires me to look at every day as though it’s my last, to live without regret, and to always look on the bright side.

How to Build a New Age Resume

Whether you’re a Baby Boomer or Millennial the new age job recruiters are looking for a different resume that suits the needs of present day technology. By developing a web-based resume not only do you appear more “hirable”, but you are also more “searchable”. There was a time when plastering your resume on a billboard was out-of-the-box thinking that could get you hired, but now the best reach and probability is the interactive web. But, if you don’t know what you’re doing, believe me, the recruiter can tell.

Get The Job

Image provided by http://www.3seventy.com

New Age Resume Must Have’s:

  1. Digital Resume Types: Pick your poison and master it – mobile website for iPads and mobile devices, YouTube video for virality, responsive design for all devices, mobile application to show off interactive skills, SMS integration for fast reference, QR codes for visibility, or Blog for a more personal note.
  2. Mobile Strategy: How are people going to view your resume or portfolio? Try a QR code to show your tech savvy knowledge.
  3. SEO: #1 item that most job seekers miss is Search Engine Optimizationthat allows your resume/portfolio to be found.
    1. Links: Link to sites that relate to your resume to increase your searchability (i.e. your college)
    2. Keywords & Tags: Include trigger words that you think a recruiter would input into a Google search to find the perfect candidate
    3. Hypertext: Clean up the look of your site by just linking certain words within your copy to other articles and resources that may backup your claims (i.e. awards, accomplishments, or articles that mention your work)
    4. GPS locating: Increase your ranking on Google by adding an address linked to Google Maps
    5. Mobile Ready: Make sure you have a mobile website design version of your resume as well as a traditional site. You don’t know when an opportunity might arise on your job hunt so make sure you’re ready to show off your resume on any mobile device. If you show a traditional site on a mobile phone it looks poorly organized, thrown together, and certain items will appear as errors (images, Adobe Flash, modal windows, etc.)
    6. Mobile Website DESIGN: Use the technology to your advantage by means of visuals to depict your skills. You could add an interactive element – Ex. Create an image library of your references and as you click each reference their information pops up. Use this to eliminate unnecessary copy because the natural rules to resume writing still apply: keep it short and to the point.
    7. Responsive Design:  Think about all the different ways one can access your resume – input a code that detects what type of device your resume is being viewed on to ensure it is appropriately displayed and aesthetically pleasing.
    8. An Employer’s Perspective: (1) Online job forms now have input fields for blogs or website URL’s. (2) When looking for a candidate they may go as far as searching in another state or even another country, which makes these new age resumes more readily available for a global search. (3) In this new generation employers are determined to find a candidate that already fits in to their technology packed environment. (4) The top hiring cities are generally technology centric cities – check out Forbes article “The Top Hiring Employers in America’s Biggest Cities”.
Guy Burchak

Guy Burchak – http://guyburchak.com/

Text Marketing Changes the Future of Campus Security

Schools and universities alike have begun to use technology to their advantage as a security solution. According to Mashable, seventy-five percent of high school students and 90% of college students own a cell phone with over 70% that state SMS is their channel of choice. Adding a mobile strategy has shown to be the best form of communication to instantly notify the student body of a security threat.

Following the devastating shooting that took the lives of 33 people on April 16, 2007, Virginia Tech put in place changes to create a safer environment for their students and staff. Their improved reaction time and response plans may have helped advance security and prevent further actions of the recent shooter.

On December 8, 2011, news blasts and blogs stated that “thousands of students were alerted by cell phone that a gunman was on the loose and the [Virginia Tech] campus was locked down.”

* 12:15PM – Derick W. Crouse was shot in his unmarked cruiser during a routine stop.
* Shortly before 12:30PM – Police received a call from a witness.
* About 6 minutes later – The first campus wide alert was sent by email, text message and electronic signs in university buildings.
– The campus was vacant and still as everyone was told to go indoors and stay put.
* 15 minutes after the witness called police – A patrolling deputy sheriff noticed the shooter.
– Deputy watches the suspicious Ross Truett Ashley pacing the Cage parking lot. As the deputy circled, Ashley took his own life.

Did the vacant streets alter his plans for greater violence?  Did he know that thousands of students were already alerted by sms marketing?  Did the Virginia Tech mobile alerts provide a model for disaster response planning?

Some feel that due to the immediate release of the shooter’s whereabouts and actions through text message and other devices, lives were saved.

“The alert system worked exactly as expected,” said school spokesman Larry Hincker. “It’s fair to say that life is very different at college campuses today. The telecommunications technology and protocols that we have available to us, that we now have in place, didn’t exist years ago… We believe the system worked very well.”

Many government entities are starting to use mobile phones as an asset to help school safety, security, and police. 98% of text messages are opened, generally within the first 3 minutes they are received, and nations around the world are taking advantage of it.