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Data collection and analytics have always been crucial to chief business managers’ capability of making right business decisions. But unlike past, databases now have data with high volume, velocity, and veracity. Going by a big data infographic contributed by Ben Walker of Voucher Cloud in 2015, around 2.5 quintillion Bytes of data is created every day. The amount is good enough to fill 10 million Blu-ray discs.


Given the gigantic amount of data existing in databases nowadays, data industry coined a new term for it - Big Data. Big Data is basically large volumes of information present in databases in structured, semi-structured and unstructured form.


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A lot of hype has already been created around big data as its analysis opens new avenues for business managers to boost sales by targeting or retargeting right customers. Big data analytics helps understand what customers want to buy and what they don’t like about your products or services. Therefore, you can figure out a quick fix and improve the brand value of your business. Besides, you can provide personalized experiences and add more numbers to the list of loyal customers.


However, an important point to note here is that making sense of big data is a very challenging task. That said, one needs to put into use an analytics tool to make sense of big data and turn it into significant business value. Let’s discuss 7 tools business managers can use to work with big data for successful analytics.

7 Tools for Big Data Analytics

#1 Hadoop

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Apache Hadoop is an open-source software framework that facilitates distributed processing of very large data sets across hundreds of inexpensive servers that operate in parallel. It’s been quite a time business have been using Hadoop to sort and analyze big data. Hadoop uses simple programming models to ensure distributed processing of large data sets and making them available on local machines.


Click here to learn more about Hadoop

#2 Storm

Storm, another product from Apache, is a real-time big data-processing system. Storm is also open source and can be utilized by both small and big businesses. It is fault tolerant and goes well with any programming language. Storm is capable of performing data processing even if any of the connected nodes in the cluster die or messages are lost. Other tasks that Storm can perform is distributed RPC and online machine learning. Storm is a good choice for big data analytics as it integrates with existing technologies, which makes processing of big data much easier.


Click here to learn more about Storm

#3 Hadoop MapReduce

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Hadoop MapReduce is a programming model and software framework for writing data processing apps. Originally developed by Google, MapReduce enables quick processing of vast amounts of data in parallel on large clusters of compute nodes.


The MapReduce framework has two types of key functions. First, the map function which separates out data to be processed, and second, the reduce function which performs data analysis. As MapReduce involves two stage processing, it’s believed that a large number of varied data analysis questions can also be answered with it.


Click here to learn more about MapReduce

#4 Cassandra

Apache Cassandra is highly scalable NoSQL database. It is capable of monitoring large sets of data spread across large clusters of commodity servers and the cloud. Cassandra was initially developed at Facebook out of a need for a database to power their Inbox Search. The big data tool is now widely used by many famous enterprises with large, active datasets, including Netflix, eBay, Twitter and Reddit.


Click here to learn more about Cassandra

#5 OpenRefine

OpenRefine (formerly GoogleRefine) is an open source powerful tool that is meant to work with messy data. The tool allows quick cleaning of huge sets of messy data. Then, it transforms the data into useable format for further analyses. Even non technical users can integrate OpenRefine into their data workflow at ease. OpenRefine also enables to create instantaneous links between datasets.


Click here to learn more about OpenRefine

#6 Rapidminer

Rapidminer is an open source tool that is capable of handling unstructured data, like text files, web traffic logs, and even images. The tool is basically a data science platform that relies on visual programming for operation. With Rapidminer comes functions that include manipulation, analysis, modeling, creation of models, and fast integration in business processes. Rapidminer has become popular among data scientists as it offers a full suite of tools to help make sense of data and convert it to valuable business insights.


Click here to learn more about Rapidminer

#7 MongoDB

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Image courtesy: devGeeK

MongoDB is an open source and widely used database for high performance, high availability, and easy scalability. It is classified as a NoSQL database. MongoDB’s distributed key value store, MapReduce calculation capability and document oriented NoSQL features make it a popular database for big data processing. MongoDB is well suited for programming languages like JavaScript, Ruby and Python. MongoDB is easy to install, configure, maintain and use.


Big data analytics has become the need of the hour for business managers to make smarter business moves and yield higher profits. However, without a big data analytics tool, it’s very difficult to uncover hidden patterns, correlations and other insights to get a competitive advantage and take your business to new heights. With this, I am wrapping up this blog, hoping it helps you choose a big data analytics tool that suits your business the best.

Do you have a firsthand experience of using any big data analytics tool? Or, do you want to add more to what’s already being discussed above? As always, your views are vital for all our readers, please add them in the comment box below.

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NFC (near field communication) chips have become the new buzzword for marketers across the world. With NFC chips, marketers feel that they can easily deliver product/marketing content to their target audience, and thereby give a big boost to their respective businesses.

What are NFC chips?

NFC chips pave the way for an easy wireless connection between a mobile device and an NFC tag. Although NFC chips are not something very new - their emergence dates back to 1980s - they have become very popular in the past few years as marketers see them as a brilliant way to deliver content from one device to another.


The word “near” in near field communication signifies proximity since NFC chips-enabled smartphones can communicate with NFC tags only when they are 4 cms or less  close to each other. Such a proximity ensures high security and privacy.

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             Image source: www.makeuseof.com

                                     

“NFC technology essentially converts smartphones into loyalty cards, single-tap location ‘check in’ devices, concert tickets, coupon carriers, contactless payment devices, transit tickets, and secure keys to access cars, hotel rooms, buildings, and computers—the possibilities are endless”, says Ruediger Stroh, executive vice president and general manager, Identification Business, NXP Semiconductors.


Imagine the fun of shopping without having to face the hassles of carrying and handling your credit card. Moreover, you are relaxed all the way through since there is no danger of credit card theft. NFC technology revolutionizes the way we pay for items we buy - simply take your phone close to an NFC enabled kiosk and pay at one go for all your purchases. Sounds exciting, isn’t it? Google Wallet has already made it possible for users to store their credit cards, gift cards and coupons in their smartphones and make a purchase. Android Beam is another example of how people share photos, videos and other data via NFC.


While the NFC technology is rising to popularity among both marketers and buyers, QR (Quick Response) codes have begun to decline after a long-time popularity.

What are QR codes?

QR codes are like bar codes and a user has to scan it with the help of their smartphones. For analyzing a  QR code, a user has to download a scanning app in their smartphone to analyze the information written in the square shaped bar codes.


You must have seen QR codes on poster advertisements, newspaper ads, business cards, utility bills etc. QR codes are very popular in Japan. The US has also witnessed a skyrocketing rise in the use of QR codes in the past few years. However, many tech giants, including, Google says that NFC chips will replace QR codes as advertisement vehicles in near future.


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Source: www.123rf.com

There are several benefits of NFC chips over QR codes:


NFC Chips

QR Codes

NFC chips are flexible. No need to create a new NFC tag to store different types of information and cause changes into it.

Changes can’t be made to an existing QR code.

NFC offers faster, easier and more secure transactions. A user only needs to wave their smartphone near the NFC tag area to let the information transfer instantly.

QR codes are not as fast as NFC is since a user first needs to open a scanner app in their smartphone, hover over the code and wait till the time the smartphone analyzes it and reacts to the code.

The feeling of use is natural. Touch is a natural action.

There is no natural feel since a user needs to open a scanning app to perform the action of reading a QR code.

NFC technology allows a two-way communication, thus could be used for a wide range of applications, such as mobile payments, secure access control and pairing electronic devices.

QR codes have no concept of two way communication.

NFC tags can be hidden behind printed media or within products.

QR codes are visible and not much could be done to maintain their performance via customization.

NFC tags offer high security since they have a fixed manufacturer ID number. Moreover, encryption is supported by special tags to hide the programmed data.

QR codes are not at all secured.


The only disadvantage of NFC technology compared to QR codes is that NFC chips are expensive and cost £0.20 ($0.30) each for an order of 1,000 tags. However, many tech companies are investing in research and development of NFC technology to bring down the price of NFC chips by a big extent in future. That it may happen, NFC technology opens gates for digital marketers to use it as the preferred embedded digital advertisement tool as more and more people buy NFC-enabled smartphones.  According to a report, there will be 1.2 billion NFC handsets world over by 2018.


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Image source: www.mobilecommercedaily.com


The time is not too far when an NFC tag within a poster of the latest movie in a cinema hall will let you get all the details of the movie with the help of your NFC-enabled smartphone, including online trailers, pictures and special interviews.


With NFC chips, marketers can make it possible for their target audience to access online content with utmost ease.  Marketers can use proximity marketing to their advantage by sending messages to any smartphone within the range of a particular product. They can develop analytics based on the reaction of customers to those messages and target the ones who appeared interested.


If you have ever availed NFC services and have some additional inputs to describe how they can help marketers to grow their business, please share them in the comment box below.




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Nobody had perhaps thought when mobiles phones were born that they would one day become an essential part of marketing. The popularity of mobile phones and apps has gone sky high, especially in the past few years. Mobile apps have become an important cog in the wheel of marketing strategies of many businesses world over. However, it’s difficult to devise a marketing plan without getting a deep insight into mobile app statistics. So, here I am bringing for you 7 stats that highlight the importance of mobile app marketing.


  1. Number of mobile subscriptions surpasses the world’s population

According to Ericsson’s most recent Mobility Report, the total number of mobile subscriptions in 2015 outnumbered the number of people living on our planet. The implication is crystal clear that smartphones have become the first choice of people to access the Internet.


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Image source: statista.com

 

2. 58% Rise in smartphone application usage over the last year

 

A new report by Yahoo-owned mobile analytics firm Flurry shows that overall smartphone app usage grew by 58% in 2015.


  • A major chunk, i.e. 48%, of the 58% growth in app usage came from existing users in 2015, up from 20% the previous year.

  • Personalized apps, like Android-lock screens, witnessed a skyrocketing rise of 332% in session usage.

  • News and magazine apps, on the other hand, recorded a staggering growth of 135% in 2015.


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Image source: http://flurrymobile.tumblr.com/

 

3. Android apps rocked in 2015


Another interesting fact about mobile apps, according to a report by App Annie, is the total time spent on Android mobile applications soared by 63% in 2015.  


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Image source: App Annie


The report shows that the downloading gap between Android apps and iOS apps is widening at an unprecedented pace. However, an important point to note here is that Android apps are still way behind iOS apps when it comes to monetization. The key is to develop apps that are available to both Android users and iOS users since the duo reign the app market combined.


Emerging market like India, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico are making a significant contribution in the growth of Android app market.

 

4. Google Play will become the leader in app market by 2020


The App Annie report also shows that Google Play store will have 166.4bn app downloads by 2020. Such an abundance of app downloads will take Google Play store to the number one position in the app market.

 

5. Apple iOS will make the highest app revenue in 2020

Although Google Play Store is estimated to continue record the highest number of app downloads in future, Apple iOS is expected to remain at the top in terms of app revenue. Apple iOS app revenue was 75% higher than that of Google Play store in 2015 despite the latter having twice the number of app downloads than the former’s in the same year.  


Apple iOS app revenue will touch the $45bn dollar mark in 2020, almost 200% up from 2015.

 

6. One billion people will use mobile commerce to shop in 2018

More and more people are moving to online shopping every day. However, there is a clear shift in the trend of online shopping - shoppers are now increasingly using their smartphones to shop online instead of desktops.


It is expected that m-commerce buyers will exceed to 1 billion in 2018.



Image source: Statista.com.

 

7. Mobile ad spending to reach $200bn by 2019


Investment in mobile marketing will keep growing over the years. The market for mobile advertising is growing at such a rapid pace that it will soon surpass all other digital platforms. Since people are now spending more time on their smartphones than PCs, many businesses are feeling the need of investing a hefty sum of money in mobile ad spending. So much so that, $200bn will be spent on mobile ad spending by the end of 2019, says a report by eMarketer.



Smartphones present a great marketing opportunity to businesses. I have offered you an insight into now and future of mobile app marketing through some significant stats. If you want to add some more stats and give readers additional information on mobile app marketing, please share them in the comment box below.

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Last updated on: June 13, 2017

The world has witnessed a rapid shift from analog to digital in the past few years. Since digital content is catching more and more eyeballs on daily basis, digital marketing has become the mainstream marketing strategy for businesses worldwide to boost their sales. So it won’t be wrong to say that digital marketing has become the new frontier of digital marketing. Through this blog, I am attempting to shed light on 9 biggest digital marketing trends that’s been making the waves in the digital world.

#1 Social Media Ads

More than a billion people exist on social media, making social media sites a great platform to post ads and increase sells. With cutting-edge tools, digital marketers can identify their target customers and sell them products via social media ads. Targeted marketing and retargeting will certainly be a differentiating factor between digital marketing and traditional marketing in 2016.

According to Interpublic Group’s Magna Global, digital ad spend grew 13.5% in 2016 and left behind TV as the biggest advertising platform in 2017. Social media advertising account for a big percentage of digital advertising. According to eMarketer, social media ads spending soared to $23.68bn in 2016 and will reach $35.98bn by the end of 2017.

#2 Native Advertising

Since Ad blockers inhibit the strength of modern-day marketers to display ads on many websites, it’s essential to follow a pragmatic approach of native advertising.

The best characteristic of native ads is they do not appear promotional, which is why ads blocking technology can’t stop them from being displayed. Ads blocking technology has emerged as the bane of digital marketers, which is why it’s paramount to create native ads and reach out masses with your products.

#3 Ads via Facebook Messenger

We all user Facebook messenger to communicate with friends and loved ones. Taking a significant step further, Facebook opened Messenger to third parties as well, thereby allowing users to interact with businesses and buy products they feel they need.. Messenger has millions of active users, meaning it could have a great impact on your digital marketing efforts.

Digital marketers must see a great opportunity in Messenger app to tap into the abundance of users and bolster their coffer.

#4 Podcasts

A podcast, which is a digital audio file that you can download and listen on your preferred device, has emerged as a great tool for digital marketers to spread their message across the world. Podcasts are trending, which provides a brilliant opportunity to digital marketers to advertise their products and boost their business sales.

Podcasts also paves the way to build customer loyalty by allowing you to offer tips to customers to fix resolve their problems. For example, if your company sells financial products, then you can offer your customers the guidance on important financial matters via podcasts. The most popular podcast programs, like TED Radio Hour and “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me, were chosen by Squarespace and Casper to capture ad space during breaks, which significantly help them expand their ads reach and increase their bottom line.

#4 Marketing Automation

Marketing automation system has become the need of the hour for businesses in 2016. Marketing automation involves content management, social media automation, email scheduling, segmenting contacts and many more. Automated marketing not only reduces the size of your marketing team to half, but makes is possible to reach your goals faster, too.

By adopting marketing automation, digital marketers can bring ease to their jobs and make their goals achievable.

#5 Video Marketing

Video marketing possesses a great potential to create an impact on your prospective customers to buy your products. People are more likely to jump on videos than exploring a static ad. Since videos are full of colors, visuals, sounds and music, they keep the audience engaged and attract their attention to your products.

In 2016, digital marketers across the globe focussed on short videos (not more than 30 seconds) to take their businesses to fruition.

#6 PPC Personalization

Gone are the days when paid search was restricted only to targeting the right keywords to identify people who can buy your products. There have been many negative impacts on sales due to irrelevant clicks and site visits. But not anymore, the year 2016 calls for finding the right audience on the web. In 2015, Google introduced a top-notch feature, called Customer Match, to allow a company to upload a list of emails that customers have provided to the company and when these customers are signed into Google Search, YouTube, or Gmail, the company can show them its product ads.

The Internet knows a lot about people, the need is just to understand their behavior and make a list of those who are likely to show interest in what you have on offer.

#7 Buy Buttons

Social media sites, like Pinterest and Twitter, are also using buy buttons to make it easier for users to directly buy from there itself. Buy buttons on social media sites will avoid the need of visiting an e-commerce site to buy products, which would be a welcome change for more than one billion social media users worldwide. Marketers need to acclimatize to this changing trend and strive hard to make out the best of buy buttons on social media sites.

#8 Mobile Marketing

Mobile users have already surpassed the numbers of desktop users, which has a great implication for digital marketer.. A sudden rise in mobile users to access the internet has caused the stir in SEO arena, requiring marketers to optimize their sites for mobile devices too. So, digital marketers must deploy mobile marketing strategies to increase the visibility of their products to maximum users.

Digital marketing has become the need of the hour, no matter what type your business is. If you are a digital marketers, you must take cognizance of the above eight trends to add new dimensions to your business. If you have interesting digital marketing strategies in mind, please share with all our readers in the comment box below.

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Growth Hacking

The term growth hacking has created a lot of buzz already, with Facebook, Hotmail, Twitter, Instagram etc having grown beyond expectations and estimations of many renowned growth experts world over. You must be thinking what’s this new jargon is all about, right? Well, growth hacking is actually the linchpin for startups to grow a new business and it is completely different from traditional means of marketing, like ads on television, radio, newspaper or setting up big distribution partnerships. Until now, Search Engine Optimization(SEO) was the only means to grow business by attracting visitors to a particular website through improvement in its ranking in search engine results. However, SEO is not enough to get the much-needed growth to your business now, you must employ growth hacking techniques along with SEO to achieve the objective.


The distinction between conventional marketing and growth hacking is very important to understand to get your business what it needs to survive in the very beginning - GROWTH. Growth hacking means using marketing tricks that are effective to increase user base for new companies. Growth hacker has only one business to do, increase the numbers of users and make every decision from the perspective of growth only, nothing else at all. Growth hacking strategies are meant to make your presence viral on the internet so that people can take a good note of what you are saying and offering to them.


The aforementioned statement does not implicate that traditional marketing tricks do not target growth, but the approach is highly intensive when a new company adopts growth hacking. Growth hacking does not mean getting 10 million users for your business in no time. Instead, it means getting a first few users who will get you more users with everyday passing by. For example, cross-posting on Craigslist did wonders for AirBnb and increased its user base to an extent that left its counterparts scratching their heads.




Product development team and marketing team are known to be two different departments. But it is very important to understand that more often than not a product development team develops a product in a non-empirical way. They develop a product they think people would like, without actually knowing it if it has the features that people would actually embrace. And once the product is developed, the marketing team is supposed to sell it even if they have to push customers. Well, this is what a marketers are believed to do, aren't they? But all changes with growth hacking as it allows a product to market itself. Growth hacking in simple words can be described as understanding your customers and figuring out ways to help them find and start using your products.


Twitter is another great example to support the virtues of growth hacking. Many users were coming to Twitter everyday, but the problem was not many of them were sticking around. So, Twitter instead of emailing newsletters or investing money in other traditional means of marketing to bring them back, focused on making the product better. Twitter learnt very quickly that chances increased by many folds for a user to stick if he/she followed at least 5-10 Twitter accounts on the very first day. It’s simple human psychology, we tend to spend more time on something that interests us. Twitter began to help users get followers who they knew, which further increased their interest to use Twitter. It was no stopping for Twitter, it kept on improving features that helped users achieve things they wanted, thus successfully managed to retain users.



 

In this blog, I am covering the five most effective growth hacking strategies to take your new business to great heights.


  • Identify growth goals that need not to be extravagant but achievable

First, ensure to have 10,000 visitors on your product page. Put ads on social media and use influence marketing to generate leads. You can increase traffic on your website through blogs, so pay special importance to it and use remarketing to ensure conversions of at least 5 bounced site visitors every two weeks.


Ask yourself questions, like adding what features to your product will drive in more customers to begin using your product, what kind of content you need to produce to sound appealing and convincing to your target users etc. Klout is a great tool to determine as to how your are doing on social media platforms. A Klout score, based on your retweets, likes, shares etc, paints a clear picture about your influence on the internet. Posting content on websites with best Klout scores enables you to be accessible to more people, thereby increasing your popularity and odds to get more and more users. Not only this, Klout also suggests you the kind of content you need to develop to ensure your audience likes and shares it.

  • Referral Program


For a growth hacker, a referral program could result into a significant hike in numbers of users signing up on the respective website. Dropbox is a very good example to explain this growth hacking strategy. Dropbox came up with a referral program wherein it offered 500mb worth of storage space over cloud for getting someone onboard. The program made a huge contribution to grow the numbers of users on Dropbox from 100,000 to 4 million users in mere 15 months. PayPal is another great example it offered $10 to a user who invited someone and another $10 for the person who subscribed through that invitation. The program helped PayPal acquire 7-10% growth in numbers of users on daily basis. However, new startups could find such a move expensive. But nevertheless, they can offer something they can afford in exchange of more numbers of users.

  • Platform Hacking

You could make use of other successful platforms to make your business thrive by enrolling more and more users everyday. Think of ideas that could help you work with other businesses, products etc. Cross posting could help a great deal to skyrocket numbers of users on your website. AirBnb is a perfect example as it recorded a burgeoning rise in its user base by allowing users to post their listings on Craigslist. Instagram also banked upon the popularity of Twitter and Facebook by allowing users to cross-post.


When your content is posted on other famous platforms, it gets exposed to more people. As a result, you reach out to masses who may like to give a try to your product.

  • Use Retargeting Ads and Remarketing Tools

It often happens that a user comes on your website, searches a product and spends sometime checking its feature and other things, but then changes his/her mind and leaves without making a purchase, which could be for many reasons. However, it’s important that you follow the prospective customer with the product he/she was looking for on your website. This technique is called retargeting and really encourages such customers to make a purchase on your website. Moreover, right ads tools lift the rate of site visits and brand search. 

Ad exchange is also a lucrative way to get more users to grow your business. It could be both paid and unpaid, but ensures that top publishers, advertisers, networks and agencies spread a word about your product as they have a wide reach to masses.

  • Create Online Communities

Building your own online community could go a long way in increasing numbers of users on your website. An online community enables your business to get access to new prospects and build a strong bond with existing ones. With the help of online communities, people can share their experience with your product from time to time. You can also join forums and other existing popular communities to give rise to engagement with even more people. This strategy is good to adopt to make people know that you exist and are offering a product to improve quality of their lives.


With this, I am wrapping up this blog, hoping it provides a good insight into the next frontier of marketing and will help your business grow exponentially.

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Overview

Sensei Project Solutions approached Evon Technologies, a web and mobile app development company, in May 2013 with an idea of a mobility task management app for Android, iPhone and Windows mobile platforms. The idea behind the mobile app was to allow project team members to update tasks and get access to timesheets on the go from Microsoft Project Server’s Project Web App (PWA).

The client wanted the app to support both Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft Project Online.

The client shared with Evon details of an app that was already developed for Office called the “Sensei Project Dashboard”. The application ran within Microsoft Project Professional 2013 and worked on the SenseiDev2013 environment that was being used for the Time Reporting app. This app used HTML5 and C# code and had implications for the new mobile app. The code had significant importance to draw an outline of the business logic that the client needed in the new app for Android Phones, iPhones and Windows 8  Phones.

The app’s idea was very exciting for Evon as it was going to be the first app to support Project Online to both view and update tasks on the three most famous mobile platforms, as we know them - iOS, Android and Windows.


Challenges

The Evon app development team had to cope with some challenges too while developing the app. First was to develop features for iPhones and Android phones capable of working with  Microsoft Project Online and Microsoft Project Server. Another big challenge was to support Project Online due to authorization issue and scarce documentation.


Research & Analysis

The Evon app development team did a lot of research to make the new mobile app for Android Phones and iPhones compatible with Microsoft Project Online and Microsoft Project Server. And as there is a famous saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”, the valiant efforts of the team finally paid off with an architecture that enabled hassle-free interaction of Android phones and iPhones with Project Online and Project Server.

The Evon app development team did not just leave any stone unturned to deliver the apps as per the client’s requirements but even exceeded the client’s expectation and won accolades from them.

Solution

The ‘Tasks’ section in Sensei Task Master allows a user to first select a task and then edit it to send progress to their respective project managers. The Time Sheet feature, on the other hand, helps users see all the work planned for the selected period, track actual work and update remaining work. It also allows to insert tasks from other schedules or time periods. Users also get an option to save or send the timesheet, along with recall and delete.

The app works with both Microsoft Project Online and Microsoft Project Server 2013 and 2010.


Industry Reception and Acknowledgements

Evon has developed a plethora of immaculate apps for various clients across the world since its establishment in 2006 and has earned a stature every app development company strives for. Microsoft’s acquisition of Sensei Task Master from the client is another corroboration of the coveted expertise Evon has achieved in app development over the years.

Evon believes in walking an extra mile with its clients to ensure they always thrive in their respective businesses. Making regular enhancements and updates for the app on client’s demands and ever-evolving requirements only adds a significant degree of veracity to the aforementioned statement.

About Evon

Evon has so far developed 70+ iOS apps, 40+ Android apps, 10+ BlackBerry apps, 5+ Windows mobile apps, 5+ cross-platform desktop apps, and 300+ Websites & Web Portals.
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Before I begin explaining the SEO checklist which goes into making an effective SEO plan for the successful marketing for any business, let me give you an introduction of SEO. It stands for Search Engine Optimization, which means optimizing a website as per the guidelines defined by major search engines like Google, Bing & Yahoo, so that a website can perform better in those search engines and come up higher on the search engine listing page for certain sets of keywords searched on them by a user.

Smart SEO Checklist

The SEO checklist I’m defining here is the sets of tasks that every SEO developer need to keep in mind right from the beginning of a website development. This checklist should have a certain hierarchy maintained so that search engines treat a website as a flawless (or as flawless as it can be) entity and provide it a better place among thousands of other competitor websites. This SEO checklist is extremely beneficial for eCommerce development projects, as they need special attention so that they can become flawless project and always come ahead of their competitors.

Now let’s focus on the checklist which I’m going to split in two parts: On-page SEO and Off-page SEO.

On-page SEO Checklist

The On-page SEO is still divided into three parts with respect to different stages of web development mentioned below:

  • Pre Website Launch

  • Google Webmaster and Analytic Code Implementation

  • 301 Redirect for Canonical URL’s

  • Sitemap.xml Implementation

 

Business Analysis and Research

 

The first thing that is required to understand client business is the thorough analysis and research of client business without which other SEO tasks can’t be implemented correctly. The main important task SEO developer need to understand are what is client business, Geolocation for his business and end users to client business.

Competitor Business Analysis

Before targeting specific keywords for the client, there is a strong need to first analyze the top 3 competitors of client which help to determine what are the main keywords competitors are targeting, what is the design architecture they are focusing on and finally what are the top websites from where they are getting anchor backlinks.

Keyword Analysis and Research

It is one of the core SEO task which is the basic building block to get a website on top position on SERP. Lack in proper keyword research may lead to poor reputation of a website for some specific keywords chosen during keyword research. So keywords should be chosen after a deep research on client business.

SEO Friendly URL Generation

SEO friendly URL generation helps to make a website URL easy to understand by visitors and create more chance of getting clicked, as visitors also read the URL content while browsing on search engine for the searched query.

Robots.txt File Creation and Implementation

Robots.txt file is an important file that tell web robots which web pages to crawl(read) or not. And during the time of development, a robots.txt file need to be implemented which tells the robot, not to crawl the draft web pages of the website. If it’s not done then there are chances that draft site web pages may get crawled and indexed on Google’s database. If it happened then it implies a bad impact on website reputation, so this task need to be done on time.

Content Creation with Correct Keyword Density

Content creation practice should be done with the use of correct keyword density as per defined by the major search engines like Google. A web-page content which is specifically written for users and has keyword density of around 1% is considered to be SEO friendly content.

Meta and Image Alt tags Implementation

Meta tags play a vital role in keyword rank positions for the desired business keywords, so meta tags which include meta title & description should contain primary keywords that are describing the web-page’s content. Apart from this image alt tags are important too, as Google reads image tags also.

Google Webmaster and Analytic Code Implementation

Just before website live, a website need to have Google Webmaster and Analytic Code Implemented, so that website errors and important stats can be monitored easily.

301 Redirection for Canonical URL’s

Before live, it is also important to put a 301 redirect on different versions of URL’s to one main URL so that Google do not treat different versions of URL as different URL and penalize due to content duplicacy.

Sitemap.xml Implementation

Sitemap.xml implementation is also important as it makes the crawling and indexing of web-pages more easier on search engines. So, it need to be done at final stage of website live.

Off-page SEO Checklist

The successful off-page SEO work plan involves Link Building that need to be considered after website live is segregated into four parts which include directory submission, content marketing, video optimization and social media marketing. Let’s have a look on all these tasks separately:

 

Directory Submissions

 

  • Search Engine Submissions

  • Manual Directory Submissions

  • Niche & Local Business Submissions

  • Forums Posting

  • Social Bookmarking Submissions

  • Blog Submissions

  • Classified Ads Posting

Content Marketing

Video Optimization

  • New released optimization of Youtube Videos with proper Title, Description, Keywords.

  • Publishing Videos on top video sharing websites like dailymotion, metacafe, vimeo, myspace, etc.)

Social Media Marketing

  • Daily updating, sharing, commenting on major Social Media accounts (Facebook, Google Plus, linkedin, Pinterest, etc.)

  • Joining & creating communities related to your business and updating things there.

  • Creating account on social media community websites related to your business and will promote your business there.

All these off-page SEO plan require a strategic approach for successful business promotion. Hopefully, I will share the detailed information about these off-page SEO plans in future with thorough analysis on each and every aspect of these tasks.

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Retail merchandising strategy is paramount for small and medium sized retailers to boost sales of their products. It’s imperative to explore every corner of business strategy landscape to survive tough competition. For example, determining the place where a particular type of product needs to be placed so that maximum prospective customers can see it with ease, which can be the difference between a sale and non-sale.

Retail merchandising involves:

  • Launching right product

  • Setting right price

  • Positioning Products at the right places

  • Placing products in right amount

  • Knowing types of customers buying a particular product

  • Drawing traffic to particular products

  • Improving customer relationship

  • Buying trend

The problem is that with all this, there comes a huge volume of disparate data, which is basically useless if one can’t run proper analytics on it to figure out sales patterns, optimum positioning and buying behaviours of customers and perhaps more importantly so, the prospects.

Use of analytic tools could do wonders for small and medium sized retailers. Many of them often struggle to come up with an effective merchandising strategy because of being deprived of information they can extract from their own databases, forget about the vast amount of useful data floating around on the interweb.

Social media, industry forecasts, existing customers records and web browsing patterns can help retailers predict products a specific segment of customers is more likely to buy. For example, Kohl’s had announced personalized offers for customers in five of its stores. Smartphones were all required for customers to opt for the offer while they visited one of those stores. A customer who had looked for a pair of shoes online but never went ahead with the purchase would receive a coupon based on the same shoes. This had increased the chances of the sale of the shoes for Kohl’s by many folds, as customers have a very high likelihood to avail an offer when they get it at the time of purchase while they are shopping.

With increasing use of the internet on cellphones worldwide, experts predict that 25% of the world will be soon on social network. This creates big opportunities, but simultaneously, it also creates problems owing to unstructured, semi-structured and muddled nature of data. Here pops up a question how to use big data to help small and medium retailers devise marketing strategies that improve customer experience, boost sales, understand buying trend inside a retail outlet etc.

But first, let’s get some concepts right about Big Data. Let’s start with the three Vs of big data - Volume, Velocity and Variety.

Volume - Nowadays, a lot of data is available in the form of videos, musics and large images on social media channels. The volume is so large that normal computer systems are incapable of processing it.

Velocity - Data movement has become very fast. Gone are the days when data of 24 hours ago was considered recent. Now, people don’t rely on newspapers to stay updated, they rather get the latest news through social media, which even tells you what happened half an hour ago. Updates are now made almost every second as data is being accumulated across the world on various platforms. This fast movement of data represents big data.

Variety - Data is available in many formats, like database, excel, csv or access.  It’s sometimes even available in the the form of video, SMS, pdf etc. It’s a big challenge with big data to arrange data available through different formats in one format.

IBM is among many companies that offer big data solutions to retailers to help them devise personalized marketing campaigns. IBM’s big data solution helps retailers understand customer shopping behavior, improve cross-selling & upselling, analyze product and customer data to avoid stock-outs and overstocks etc.

However, these full-fledged big data solutions are very expensive for small and medium sized retailers. The best remedy to reduce high costs of big data solutions is to go for customized solutions. Evon Technologies offers such custom-made big data solutions to retailers at very nominal prices, thereby providing them an affordable way to make their business more agile and robust. Having a tool to understand big data is next frontier for small and medium sized retailers in order to ensure their survival amid cut-throat competition.  


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A lot of songs have been sung about the virtues of having precise information at the precise time. And these songs just don’t get old. If anything, they are only getting BIG.

 

People are looking for information (read products and services) all across the web. You, as a salesperson might have an offering but the problem is - what are the chances that the person interested in it will find you and reach across to you? Frankly, the chances are quite less. So what do you do to increase your chances to make a sale? Well, obviously the best thing you can do is to find and reach across to that person before he decides to give his money to someone else. But how to do that? Traditional lead generation methods are only so effective as to give you an excuse of an alternate to shooting in the dark. The generated lead data is limited, the windows are short, the targets are big, the work is harder and the results are uncertain. The conversion rates can well be compared to the conversion rate of a toiling army of bees for one drop of honey.

 

Lead-Generation-Methods-1

A decade ago, most salespeople would agree that the traditional methods only took them so far in terms of conversion rates. The data was too limited or redundant and took too long to accumulate but the silver lining, if we can call it that, was that because it was too little, it was easy to process. You got 30 leads, you go and do your salesperson thing with 12 based on some quick prospecting/scoring and depending on how good or lucky you are, you score a couple.

 

Then five years ago to until recently, salespeople were agreeing that the contemporary methods with the power of web and social media, brought improved capabilities in data acquisition and reach but still something was keeping them from milking that cow. You’d think with all that talk about shrinking degrees of connection, businesses increasing their online presence and all, you’d be better off than mere 3% growth.

 

Conversion-Rates.jpg

 

Yes, something was definitely missing from the picture. And that something was to do with this - “Having access to a lot of data means nothing if you don’t have a way to utilise it...to its full potential.”

 Analytics-Requirements.jpg

Hmm…”utilizing”, people thought. And then they thought of newer ways to do that. New buzzwords started cropping up - Mining, BI, Analytics. But while that was happening, the data kept spawning silently, persistently and exponentially. And by the time the Sales teams settled on their Analytics tools, they found to their utter despair that they weren’t enough anymore to handle the Volume, Velocity and Variety of data that has been piling up all that while. That almost took the whole bang out from the so called data-explosion. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Especially, in our case, for the Modern Salesperson.

 

The modern salesperson, despite having the same problems (perhaps even Bigger), are agreeing, either reluctantly or expectantly to one thing - that a major paradigm shift in the way information is produced and consumed has been set in motion for some time now, that there is an enthusing buzz in the air and that that buzz seems to hold a Big promise!

 

Big Data Promise and The Age of Proactiveness

 

There’s lots and lots of data floating around the web holding immense potential information for you as a sales person, if only it can be churned to your benefit somehow. But given the speed at which this data is getting generated and becoming obsolete, even the first step can become overwhelmingly discouraging. That first step is - to capture this huge amount of data in one place. But then, the tougher part comes next -  to make it sensible and actionable. For a salesperson, this sensible and actionable information is what he calls a Lead.

 

So how does Big Data help or proposes to help? Well to start with, Big Data Solutions solve this problem of getting you actionable leads by helping you with at least four things making your chances to conversion far better than those of that salesman a decade ago. These are:

 

Avoid Paradox.jpg

  • Identifying most valuable potential customers and creating windows of opportunities
  • Telling you the precise thing to show or say to them when the window opens
  • Have the right thing to offer at the right time to your prospect
  • Raising right flags at the right moment to generate cross-selling and/or up-selling opportunities 

 

 

Big Data Impact on Sales

 

Big-Data-Sales.png 

Companies collect a lot of data through a wide array of channels like mobile, website tracking/analytics tools, contact forms, social media, lists, groups & forums, CRM systems and news feeds. While big companies prefer to use their custom developed or customized Acquisition and Analytics solutions by Big Data solution providers like IBM (BigInsights), Cloudera and HortonWorks; most companies (SMBs mainly) prefer to source their data from a new breed of service providers falling under DaaS (Data as a Service) category who provide On-Demand industry-wise, rich, hard-to-find-data of personnel who can be potential clients. This data is then imported into organizations CRM systems from where the analytics and further lead nurturing process is taken up. Or some prefer to go for the simplest of the solutions - "Outsource" the whole lead generation process to companies like Technology Sales Leads (www.tslmarketing.com), let them deal with the grind and hope to get valuable leads.

 

HadoopAnyway, let’s take a moment to see how the actual data acquisition works in terms of Big Data in general. Well, it’s usually done using the combination of traditional, contemporary and modern methods using techniques like manual and/or automated web content mining, data scraping, searching, social media profiling and crowdsourcing. This data is usually in an unstructured form and is constantly fed and processed into what we call in Big-Data terminology as data-sets using technologies like Hadoop. 

 

 

However (can’t stress this enough), just acquiring a lot of data isn’t good enough, for the simple reason that due to its muddled and voluminous nature, it is of little value in itself. To make some sense out of it requires a lot of sifting through, filtering, consolidating, cleansing and validating. And because this effort requires time, using traditional (slower) approaches, it’s more prone to become counterproductive, especially in case of Sales because from Sales perspective, the long exercise might lead to generating more cold leads than any useful ones, as data keeps coming in and changing at a rapid rate and has the tendency to become obsolete fast.

 

So it becomes imperative to find a way to do it in a more efficient and productive way. One way to do it by having a tool or a system to do this crunching and churning for you - and giving you a streamlined and consolidated picture of what the above systems are feeding you with. But given the big volume of such acquired data, managing it and running complex analytics queries on it becomes a challenge with traditional RDBM systems. And that’s where the Big Data guys come in. Companies like Oracle, Cloudera, Hortonworks, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and many others all have identified the potential of a solution to this Big Data problem and have come up with their own versions of Big Data Analytics solutions.

 

In our graphic, this whole thing is happening at stage 2.

 

Once you have the targeted leads, the usual Sales Process takes over, the only difference is that since the lead generation, prospecting and scoring has been mostly taken care of by the system, you as a Sales person hit the ground running armed with exact information of who to contact to, what to offer him and when.

Start Well to Finish Well 

 

One of the big advantage that these solutions offer is the range of Analytics one can perform over a large amount of data in a quick and visual (graphs, charts, tables) way. If we take our case of Big Data application vis a vis Sales Process, the direct implication is the shortening of the traditional long-tailed lead nurturing and lead scoring processes by doing the dirty mining work and handing over targeted insights based on your specific criteria (like industry vertical, company size, company revenue, location etc). This ultimately allows a Salesperson to filter out the weak leads and focus on nurturing only the valuable leads (graphic: Stage 7), the ones which have the greatest chance of conversion to Actual Sales.

 

The beauty of the system is that at every step, new transactional data (financial, logistical, communications etc) is getting generated and getting fed-back into the system which in turn helps in the process of generating repeat, cross-selling and/or up-selling opportunities. Talk of eating your cake and having it too!

 


 

Evon Technologies is a software consultancy based in India and has performed Proof of Concepts for data mining companies with Data-Integration and Hadoop Analytics requirements.

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Here, in this blog, I would like to tell you why marketing of a product should start when its development starts. I am sure, you may think what is the need to market any product at its pre-mature stage. You may also think it is the stupid idea ever because the idea can be leaked or copied, but, let me tell you friends that it is the best idea to start marketing any product when its development starts.

 

Well, nowadays, entrepreneurs are more focused on marketing products from their initial stage. The agenda of marketing a product at its initial stage is only to provide awareness. Give a brief description of your product and explain its benefits.

Why do now than later?

  • He did not like the flow! I can't recode that again.
We built our product/website/app with our own seed idea, however different perspectives and views always help to improve the product idea. By involving your social and professional network along with potential customers early in the product development lifecycle, you not only improve the chances of success but also reduce the time required for taking the product from inception to release in the market. Hence, the key is to develop the product iteratively with an inbuilt mechanism of Customer Feedback early in the development lifecycle.
 
  • I have launched the product on 10 January and I have 1000 users on 16 January.
The above statement impresses the investors the most. Marketing takes as long as building a product. Today just results are not important but, quick results are. Your early marketing will give you a seed user base which is most important.
 
Hence, the two important keywords are, “Early Feedback” and “Seed User Base or Clients”.
 
Also, we would like to emphasize on early development of marketing plan. Marketing of a product is not something that strikes your mind when you are taking a shower, rather a proper planning and research is required to develop any idea. The marketing plan has to be clear and target oriented. It should strike the audience directly, then only it will work.
 
The marketing ideas can be generated with the help of family and friends' reviews. Involving and sharing the ideas of both old and new generations bring experiences and modernity respectively that help you evolve a new idea. To start a marketing plan, one should follow some simple rules.
 

Sell yourself and your product from the start:

  • Social media, YouTube and various other promotional sites will help you to promote the product. Promotion is not only free on these sites, but also fast & easy. In the previous era, to promote any product entrepreneurs not only indulge their money in its development, but also in the promotion. But now, because of these social media sites, promotion is advanced and free. Create your videos explaining the idea and tell about yourself why this idea can be best implemented by you.
  • Create noise, be loud; this can be done by sharing your idea, as simple as you share the logo of your product on the Social Media with your friends and family. The likes and comments will not only encourage you but also help you to know whether this idea is fruitful or not. Reach is important!
  • Conduct the SWOT analysis in order to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the existing market. This will keep you connected with the changing market situations and enable you to take decision what to be done next.
  • Use more target oriented search for companies which specialize in giving a launch platform to startups and bring your idea into reality.

 

Choose the marketing options like, Social Media & Print Media and, step by step walk along through the things you have done for developing a product. Treat your product like a baby, and let the world know what all efforts you made to bring your product into maturity.

Just to give you some initial steps you should do:

  • Create Twitter, Google, LinkedIn and Facebook page for your product and promote it on these websites.
  • This page should be like your daily journal. Your frustrations, your happiness everything should be recorded.
  • Ask your friends and family to follow that page.
  • Create a simple blog, with the product user stories.
  • Share, Share, Share. Let ideas come in.

 

At the end, I would like to say, our company, Evon Technologies has a dedicated team focused on digital marketing of the products we build for our customers as well as our in-house products.

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