How Running a Startup Has Changed in the Past 5 Years [INFORGRAPHIC]

When I started my first marketing company in 2007, social media was just beginning to catch on as a viable communication channel for marketing to consumers and businesses alike. After successfully selling that company in 2011 and starting a new digital marketing agency later that year, the online landscape has changed significantly for small business owners. Email marketing company Constant Contact recently surveyed small business owners and asked how running a small business today, differs from just 5 years ago.

How Running a Startup Has Changed in the Past 5 Years

Need a refresher on what was happening 5 years ago?

  • Top Political Event: Barack Obama elected President
  • Top Buzz Word: Change
  • Top Financial Collapse: Lehman
  • Top Movie: Wall-E
  • Top Sports Moment: Tiger Woods’ U.S. Open Win

Running a Small Business Hasn’t Gotten Any Easier

  • 59% say it’s harder to run a business today
  • 30% say it’s the same
  • 12% say it was harder then

Small Business who think it’s harder point to:

  • 55% The Economy
  • 49% Keep pace with technology
  • 40% More competition

The 3 biggest differences in doing business then vs. now

  • 84% Use more online marketing tools
  • 59% Economic uncertainty
  • 27% Use more automated business solutions

Supporting Local Business – Is being locally owned important to customers? More small businesses are saying Yes! (42% vs 51%)

Top concerns of small businesses

Then / Now – Getting new customers (78% / 75%), Low on Time (61% / 65%), Keeping customers (49% / 58%)

The Right Tool for the right marketing job (Then/ Now)

  • Email Marketing (64% / 98%)
  • Online Directories (21% / 36%)
  • Event Marketing (20% / 44%)
  • Social Media Marketing (10% / 87%)

The growing importance of word of mouth can’t be overshadowed. It’s no coincidence that the rise in social media coincides with a rise in importance of word of mouth. Social media is amplifying word of mouth referrals.

I’m always interested to hear how other companies have embraced change over the past decade, please leave your comments below.

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How To Make Mobile Marketing More Personalized

Social networking websites like Facebook and Google use personal data and account information to provide relevant advertisements in turn for better services for their users. That same need for personalization in mobile experiences has now arrived, but few companies are are delivering on customers expectations. With mobile driving news consumption and responsive websites becoming more prevalent this infographic helps show marketers how to make mobile experiences more personalized.

The age of big data has raised customer expectations when it comes to the relevance and personalization of marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, according to a new report from Econsultancy, few marketers are delivering on those expectations of website personalization, especially on mobile. However, mobile marketing platforms have the ability to deliver personalized experience well beyond the web and directly in a customer’s pocket. This infographic provides insight into the current state of personalization and how marketers can start delivering tailored campaigns on mobile.

How To Make Mobile Marketing More Personalized

The Benefits of Digital Personalization

  • 94% of marketers stated that personalization ‘is critical to current and future success.’
  • Businesses that are currently personalizing web experiences are seeing an increase in sales of 19% on average.
  • 66% of marketers list improved business performance & customer experience as the main driver for personalizing.
  • Personalization can surprise and delight customers, building relationships and fostering loyalty.
  • Personalization can help develop purchasing behavior and drive customers through the sales cycle.

Opportunities to use Digital Personalization

How are Marketers currently using website personalization?

  • 30% – On-Site Behavior
  • 29% – Inbound Channel
  • 23% – Geography
  • 21% – Date
  • 10% Relational Geography
  • 8% Time

While 43% of companies currently deliver a personalized experience on desktop, this figure falls to just 13% on mobile. Nearly half of all marketers surveyed cited technology issues as the main obstacle to personalizing web experiences. Despite obstacles, mare than half of respondents stated that they plan to adopt mobile personalization in the next twelve months.

Mobile Marketing Personalization is Possible

With the right mobile platform, marketers can go well beyond a personalized website experience to deliver timely, relevant communication with mobile campaigns that reach your subscribers wherever they are with tailored messages and promotions.

Use personalization tools to pull in attributes that you’ve gathered about subscribers right in your messages. A personalized mobile campaign provides an easy way to call your subscribers by name and get their attention, amidst all their other incoming texts and app notifications.

Unsubscribe rates are high when marketers try to communicate during offensive hours on the “personal space” platform of the mobile phone. Collect data about customers’ time zones to respect their time and send valuable content in a ripple effect, rather than a blanketed blast.

Once you have all your customer data in a centralized marketing hub, you can communicate with only those people who are most likely to respond to your CTA. These personalized messages and special offers can make your communications feel like a one-to-one interaction.


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Holiday Shopping Goes Digital

Online shopping will break more records in 2012. E-commerce is quickly catching up to brick-and-mortar shopping and the importance of digital marketing has never been more important for retailers. The infographic below shows online shopping predictions for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Thanksgiving Day Weekend Shopping

  • 226 million consumers visited stores and shopped online, up from 212 million in 2012.
  • The average shopper spent $398.62
  • In 2011 52.4 billion was spent, an increase of 16% from 2010 when 45 billion was spent shopping.

Black Friday

  • Shoppers made 9.8% of their online purchases from mobile devices, up from 3.2% in 2010.
  • Mobile traffic increased 14.3% in 2011 compared to 5.6% in 2010.
  • Paid search increased 128%, making Black Friday 2011 the most ever spent on paid search.
  • From 2010 to 2011 Black Friday sales were up 24.3%
  • Online and Offline sales grew 39.3% at 11.4 billion, with 17.37% of shoppers visiting retailers’ sites.

Cyber Monday

  • From 2010 to 2011, Cyber Monday sales were up 33%.
  • 10.8% used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site on Cyber Monday, up from 3.9% in 2010.
  • Cyber Monday 2011 was the heaviest online shopping day in history at 1.25 billion in sales.
  • Half of the dollars spent online at U.S. websites originated from work computers.
  • 2011 Mobile sales were up reaching 6.6% on Cyber Monday vs. 2.3% in 2010.
  • Social discussions leading up to Cyber Monday increased 115% YoY.

2012 Online and Mobile Shopping Predictions

  • 16% of consumers will shop on mobile devices in 2012, up from 13% in 2011.
  • Web shoppers who plan to visit stores will drop from 48% to 46%.
  • The average consumer who shops online will make 6% of their holiday purchases from a mobile phone. 62% online and 32% in stores.


ecommerce shopping trends for 2012

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Digital Journalism – How News is Sourced with Social Media

A week ago I wrote a post on how social media is replacing traditional journalism as a news source and the feedback was interesting to say the least. When I look deeper at how mobile and social media drive news consumption the information begins to add up. A recent article points out the growing trend of digital media in newsrooms with their fifth annual Oriella Digital Journalism Study:

The data from this year’s study, done with our partners in the Oriella PR Network,  struck us in a few different ways.  First of all, a far wider range of content assets are being used by more publications.  All kinds of media – from national newspapers to lifestyle titles and B2B media – are using content such as infographics, videos and blogs to enhance their coverage.

Particularly striking is the adoption of video, which has shot up from 20 percent in 2011 to over 36 percent today on a worldwide basis.  Closer to home, 69 percent of the journalists we spoke to said their publications published video produced video in-house.

Social media aren’t just shaping the way publications package and deliver their stories.  They’re having a huge impact on the way newsgathering is carried out. Our study suggests that enthusiasm for ‘open source’ journalism has been tempered a little, while reliable contacts are more valued than ever.

More than half of our respondents (55 percent) said they use microblogs to source new stories, and 44 percent use blogs in the same way – but only when the source behind it is known or trusted by them. For unknown sources, reliance on social media roughly halves – falling to 26 percent for microblogs and 22 percent for blogs.  However, 63 percent of respondents would source stories from industry insiders.

This preference for the ‘trusted source’ is also supported by where journalists say they go as their first point of call for news stories.  In 2011, the press release in-tray was the top starting point; this year, it had fallen to third place.  Spokespeople have become the most valued starting point for news stories, by a comfortable margin.

These trends are telling of the expectations media (and other influencers) have of brands today.  Journalists won’t accept ‘pre-packed’ news from brands (and their agencies) in the form of releases, and they are looking for far more variety in the kinds of stories brands talk about, and the way they are told. And, they expect brands to be properly engaged with the relevant social networks: not as a box-ticking exercise driven by the PR department, but a genuine engagement at all levels of the business.


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How Social Media is Replacing Traditional Journalism as a News Source

We are living in the digital information age with nearly half of all Americans get some form of local news on a mobile device, and 46% of people get their news online at least three times a week. What’s more, online news sources officially surpassed print newspapers in ad revenue in 2010. Thanks to online news, we’re getting more breaking news than ever before. And thanks to social media, we’re getting news as it happens—sometimes even before news organizations have a chance to report it.

Are more people turning to social media for breaking news? And can we trust the news that social media delivers to be accurate and factual? Check out this infographic to learn more about the changing face of news delivery and how social media will may end up leading the charge.

social media news source

The Truth About News Sources

  • Over 50% of people have learned about breaking news via social media rather than official news sources.
  • 46% of people get their news online at least 3x a week.
  • As of 2012, online news revenue has surpassed print newspaper revenue.

Where do People Get Their News Overall?

  • 59.5% TV News
  • 28.8% Newspapers
  • 27.8% Social Media
  • 18.8% Radio News
  • 9.5% Other
  • 6% Other Print Publications

With social media accounting for over a quarter of all sources, Facebook leads the way with almost 60% of all news sources, followed by Twitter, (20%)YouTube (12.7%) and Google+ (11.6%). Since 2009 traffic to news sites from social media has increased 57% and 9% of adults who get news on a digital device use Facebook or Twitter to get that news very often.

News Stories That Broke Via Social Media

  • Egyptian uprising via Facebook
  • Hudson River plane crash via Twitter
  • Announcement of the royal wedding via Twitter
  • Protesters killed in Bahrain via YouTube
  • Whitney Houston’s death via Twitter
  • Osama bin Laden raid and death via Twitter – The first person to tweet about the Osama bin Laden raid was a neighbor who, while complaining about the noise next door on Twitter, unknowingly tweeted about one of the biggest news stories of the decade.

What’s Next in Social Media News?

As Mashable points out in a recent op-ed piece:

We’ve already seen attempts at robot journalism that have shown some promise. There may even be things we could learn from companies like Narrative Science, which automatically generate online articles on finance statistics. The days of the Rolodex are also gone. In fact, the Rolodex has been replaced. Public Insight Network, which is a network of sources for journalists as well as a collaboration tool for news organizations, is a step in the right direction. People who want to be sources are able to opt-in and create a profile on the network. It’s essentially a shared, digital Rolodex.

If content is king and distribution is queen, where does that leave the news-gathering process? The very reporting process that produces information for content has been deprived of much needed innovation. There is no silver bullet, but it’s clear that the opportunity lies in investing in distributed reporting, a platform for the citizenry to contribute, and tools that will enable skilled journalists to make sense of the vast amounts of information being generated across the web.

How has social media affected the way you gather news? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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