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Is the Offshore Outsourcing Venture Working Out for Your Business?
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Why Drupal Stands out from the Other Available Content Management Systems?
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6 Ways Agency Owners Can Own 2017!
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Can Startups Rely on a Remote Team?
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7 Important Tips for Leading a Remote Team
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Why Do Small Businesses and Agencies Fail at Social Media Marketing?
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How To Run A Cost Effective Project
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How To Drive Revenue In 2017 With Intelligent Marketing
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Most Employers, Workers Believe Workplace Will Be Freelance-Based By 2025
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7 B2B Marketing Trends Agencies Must Watch In 2017

There are many companies that think that as soon as a contract is signed, the process of outsourcing is complete. This is not exactly the case, as it is only the beginning of business. There are a lot of things that you need to do after that in order to be successful. If you have chosen to outsource your work, but are having doubts as to how you will be able to manage your work that is done overseas, you will need to be able to manage your offshore outsourcing project with great expertise. If you can manage your project well, you will you be able to see an improvement in the overall productivity. To get the best out of your business, always make sure to follow a well-developed plan from the beginning of the work. In order to decrease the overall cost and increase the overall performance, it is important to follow an effective management strategy. This will not only help you improve your business, but also achieve your outsourcing goals. Your offshore outsourcing venture will only be successful if you are able to manage your risks, improve co-ordination, have good control over the project and decrease the chance of failure of your projects.

If you have already started your offshore outsourcing efforts and want to know whether it is working out or not, here are some signs that will help you to know exactly where you stand and if you are on the path to success.

Sign 1

You have chosen the right partner

The first thing that is required for a successful offshoring, is the relationship between your offshoring partner and you. This is one of the most important things. If you haven’t developed a strong bond between your offshore partner and yourself, it could have a negative impact on your business. You should be able to let your offshore partner know what you want from them, and how you want them to work for your project. The communication between both of you should be easy, clear and understandable. Know your partner well. Are there existing clients happy with their service? Do they already have a good name in the industry? Have they increased their client base? If the answers to all these questions are yes, then you are on the right track.

Sign 2

Have clear goals and responsibilities

It is important to have clear expectations of what you want from your partnership. It is helpful if you have everything in writing. Plan out how your offshore and onshore team can work together to help your business grow. Give detailed instructions about the roles and responsibilities of each team. Also, as mentioned in the above point, communication is extremely important. It is always good to have an offshoring partner who offers client-centric services and takes care of all your new process opportunities and new concerns. Does your partner have the capability to cope with all the challenges that get in their way? There are many companies out there that find it difficult to do tasks that are outside their normal course of business. Stay away from these types of offshoring companies.

Sign 3

Co-ordination with your offshore team

In order to have success in your outsourcing venture, you need to have a good and positive professional relationship with your offshore team. If this relationship is not positive or lacks co-ordination, then it’s time that you start looking for a new offshore partner. Always hire your offshore partner in the same way as you hire internally. In the beginning, people saw outsourcing as an order and deliver relationship, but now, things have changed and organizations are looking forward to developing a long-term relationship with their outsourcing partner.  In this way, both your company and your outsourcing partner work together and contribute to the success of your business.

Now that you know all the signs, it will be a lot easier for you to understand if the offshore outsourcing venture is working out for your business or not.

If you have a good CMS or content management system, it should be able to not only create and manage the content of the website but also manage the related tasks such as formatting, editing as well as organizing from a centralized interface. As there are many good CMS platforms available out there, you may get confused as to which one to choose. Well, Drupal can be regarded as one of the best content management systems. Nothing seems impossible with Drupal. You can choose to run a blog or a blogging community or even share photos, upload files and a lot more. Here are some reasons why Drupal stands above the rest:

  • Great SEO Tools

You probably know the power of SEO as it is the reason behind the number of visitors that your website gets. Drupal can be regarded as the king of SEO in this case. In order to make your website SEO-friendly, you not only need to optimize the content but also the meta tags and keywords. Drupal enables you to do all these with ease. You have complete control over everything and it’s totally free of cost. In the field of CRM, Drupal far exceeds expectations when used in combination with other SEO tools such as Google Analytics.

  • Huge Community

This CMS is incomparable with a well connected and organized a large community of programmers and developers. Drupal has been long in the game and its longevity is proof that it works, but that can be said about other CMS platforms as well. So you may ask, “Where is the difference between all the other available CMS platforms and Drupal?” It is in the way that the members of the Drupal community work together. The developers and programmers are devoted and passionate about Drupal,  helping each other and contributing on a continual basis to the well-being of the community.

  • Module Developer Practices

Everything is the module in Drupal CMS and you can get all these modules totally free of cost. They have neither widgets or plugins or components. If you check their website, you will see that all the modules are listed there in a categorized manner. There is no personal website that is used to sell a module. If you need or want to have a module custom built, you can have t it done by someone. The developers and programmers of Drupal use their expertise so that they can build these modules together as a team or a community. They don’t see each other as competitors but help each other so that they can give you the best modules/product.

  • The Drupal API

A hybrid of an extremely progressive Framework and a standard content management system, Drupal has an extraordinary API. Of course, they don’t claim to be Zend, Cake or CodeIgnitor, but Drupal offers you an attractive granularity of workflow control. Also, with Drupal, you get more time to add or tweak if required.

  • Versatile Theming System

The theming system of Drupal is extremely versatile and makes it perfect for users who are new, who are slightly experienced and who are professional. In other words, they have everything for everyone. They offer a number of free themes that you can make use of if you are a new user. These themes not only look beautiful but also professional. You can even customize your theme according to your choice and you can do all these things with extreme ease.

  • Content Types

With the Content Construction Kit (CCK) of Drupal, you can construct any type of content you want. The flexibility that this kit offers is something that no other content management system can offer. It offers thirty types of content and each of them is different from each other. To make it more understandable for you, here is an example. If you want to have real estate listings,  you can input things such as the number of bathrooms or bedrooms into fields that are already there in the modules.

  • Smooth User Management Including E-commerce

Drupal allows you to control everything from member profiles and registration to role assignments. You even have the power to restrict or allow the communication between members. When it comes to e-commerce, Drupal offers the very popular Ubercart. With this, you can do a number of things that you thought you could only dream of from calculating taxes and creating and controlling inventory, to handling fees and accepting payments from any of the available payment gateways – and there is no limit.

In conclusion, you can see that if you are planning to build a website that will have the possibility of huge growth, then Drupal is right for you. Drupal is definitely the best content management system available in the industry.

Each and every business or agency owner wants to grow their business and expand. In the world of business, you are either growing or you are dying. So it is very important that you get in motion and grow. So how are agency owners powering this growth? Apart from hiring, here is what you can do to take your business to a whole new level in the next 12 months.

  1. Go online and get better at SEO

In this age of digitization, it is extremely important for your business to have a great internet presence. People use the internet for almost all information nowadays. The first thing that you need to know is what kind of internet presence your business has. It is not enough to just have a good looking website. You need to know the ways of attracting new visitors. And this is exactly where SEO comes into play. As there are millions of websites that are active on the internet, it can be quite difficult for your business to be found online without proper SEO. There are a number of rules as well as protocols in SEO that help your business to get discovered. If you are not already involved in SEO, now is a good time to reconsider. If a person is looking for “web designing services”, your website should rank on top. And this is exactly what SEO does. This is also true for e-commerce websites. If you are a personal trainer, you can sell subscriptions to fitness videos, or if you are into the clothing business, you can sell branded T-shirts. Having an e-commerce presence could greatly benefit your business.

  1. Remote hiring

Remote hiring can be great for your business to grow in 2017. These remote workers not only have the same skills as their on-site counterparts, but their payroll costs are also much less compared to those associated with traditional employees. You can hire them from a talent pool that does not have any geographical restrictions, as these applicants don’t require commuting to an office. Also, remote workers are dedicated and more productive than regular on-site employees. With the remote hiring, your business can take advantage of reduced personnel costs.

  1. Know how to organize your business

Organization and prioritization are the two main elements that one needs to run a business. When it comes to operations, make sure that your business organization does not disintegrate into any type of complex blame game. If you have any queries regarding lean business operations, then you can take the help of books. This will be of great help. You need to know about the quality of the agencies that are not only successful but also have maintained their success. There should be no complication in your business operations. To make your business a grand success, it should have three main operational components – the right staff, level five leaders and confronting brutal facts. If a business understands all these three components properly, then the managers can optimize as well as simplify operations.

  1. Focus on your customer

You can make the profit from your business, only if you have a good customer base. Your customer will come for the first time, if they are satisfied with your service, they will come for the second time, and finally, they will bring their friends with them. This is what you want, right?  In this regard, small agencies have more advantage over large companies. Small agencies get to interact with their customers at a more personal level. This does not mean that large companies do not care about their customers. Actually, it is quite challenging to put the CEO of a company face to face with customers. Give priority to your clients or customers, make sure you understand what they want and then cater to their specific needs.

  1. Pay attention to cash flow

You need to define your free flow of cash. Generally, cash flow is calculated depending on what is left after making all the non-cash adjustments and payment of all the necessary financial expenditures. You will be able to gain new opportunities and perspectives when you start considering free cash flows before making business decisions.

  1. Invest the retained earnings wisely

If you run a successful business, have the great understanding of the balance sheet and want to explore other opportunities, you have two options – you can either choose to invest in external assets that are non-operational subsidiaries, or you can invest your retained earnings back into the operational business. Deciding what to do can be tough. In many cases, the right decision can be to reinvest retained earnings into the organic business. But there are cases, where small business owners fail because of their overconfidence from the previous success and end up killing both the businesses. It will be good if you don’t invest huge capital in low-probability business options and invest in assets that are non-operational.

Your business may face challenges, but these six ways of growing your business can make your business stand out in 2017. Just focus on simplification and understanding your free cash flow, and will be able to get the most out of your business.

Remote hiring is something which is slowly being accepted more and more as we edge into the future. Shunned earlier by many companies owing to the lack of clarity regarding the entire process, remote workers are now gradually being inducted into the workforces and task teams of various companies. This is contributing to the growth of workplace expansion beyond the physical confines of the office. What’s even more encouraging is the fact that this trend is being quickly adopted by smaller companies, especially start-ups.   

There’s good reason behind people getting excited about remote offices. It is, first and foremost, quite cost-effective, saving money by not having to invest in the physical expansion of the workplace. The cost of office furniture, broadband internet connection, computers, air-conditioning, etc., is really difficult to muster for most start-ups. So, it is logical that the trend of remote working from different locations would come as a blessing in disguise for them. There are plenty of jobs that do not require the daily physical presence of workers in the office. A few examples would be a biochemist, a biomedical engineer and construction engineer. If you are planning to set up a firm that is primarily centered around these (or similar) jobs, then you’re at full liberty to forgo the office set-up. Instead, you would conduct business from your own home (or any other ‘headquarter’ location you choose). and a few decentralized locations scattered across various geographical locations.

Now, the question that arises out of all this is: Is it possible for start-ups to completely bank upon a remote team instead of an office team?

The answer is multi-layered. There are several things that ought to be kept in mind while beginning to work with a remote team. The first thing is the culture of the workplace. Remote workers that are being hired should first be tested for cultural compatibility as well as the speed of task completion and work ethics followed. The second thing is the structure of management. If you have a work supervision and employee productivity tracking system that depends on the physical presence of the employee in question, then problems are bound to arise. As I’ve mentioned previously, there are certain kinds of jobs that people can hold without having to actually travel to an office. If a start-up is made up of people who would be working chiefly from home or other remote locations, then an office would not be required in the first place. On the other hand, if a huge part of the company’s staff consists of people in traditional office-based roles, then that company would need a separate work building. It really depends upon the kind of industry the company is part of, and the type of work the company does.

Here’s what you can do if you’re a start-up and want to utilize a remote office:

  • Don’t use e-mail for communications; make use of Skype or Slack. The only place where you should use e-mail for communications is when you are notifying your employees on an official communication made with another organization. Another instance would be when you’re sending out official invites for a conference call. If you have a very small staff, you may have no need to communicate via technology.
  • You could make use of, as we have already stated above, real-time communication technology such as Flow, Skype, Skitch or Slack. These not only help in interpersonal and inter-group communication but also have live video chats and can also be used to keep track of employee progress. When it comes to keeping all work progress recorded centrally, there are few alternatives to cloud storage mechanisms such as Dropbox. It not only keeps all files stored in one place, sorted according to size, date, priority, and employee, but it also has the provision to bring back a deleted file by clicking the “undo delete” button (Note: This can be done within 30 days of deletion).
  • Create a position that is Two-in-One: Office Assistant and Manager. You could have the same person who has the responsibility of office secretary also carry the responsibility of the event scheduler. They would not only assign you the tasks to be completed but also fix meetings, book flights, carry out transactions with banks and other similar work. Thus, you could have a person handling your projects who knows the details and schedules of the company inside out. Having a position like this can help with better task coordination and optimization time. This position, acting as a schedule manager, is also an able observer of the company’s progress. Owing to their deep knowledge about the work mechanism and schedules of the company, they would be able to provide valuable inputs regarding the work to be completed.

In general, there are many good reasons for a start-up to go completely remote. It is definitely worth the time and effort to explore this as a possibility if nothing else.

Employees are the most crucial part of any business or enterprise. If you have a team with good employees, you will have an edge over your competitors due to increased productivity. Leading your employees through the daily business operations requires you to put in the extra effort. Leading a team of remote employees can have its own set of challenges.

The work environment today grants employees the freedom to work from anywhere in the world due to the presence of the internet and computers. They don’t have to be present at a physical location to work.  There are many benefits to having a virtual team of employees working remotely.

The most crucial advantage is that you can hire talented candidates from across the globe, which contributes to taking productivity to the next level for you. You can bring in innovative ideas by hiring virtual employees and save the cost of maintaining an expensive infrastructure. Although there are many benefits of hiring virtual employees, there is one area that can cause concern – leading a virtual team can be tough. This problem is not insurmountable and can be solved if you follow certain tips. Here are seven tips that will help you to manage and lead a virtual team of employees like a pro.

Hire with Care

When you hire a virtual employee, you have to make sure that you hire the right candidate for the job. You must remember that not everyone can tackle the task of working alone. Although you and other virtual employees may be in contact, there are certain times when individual decision-making might be required. There are people who tend to be inclined to seek help from coworkers or seniors when put in that position. Remote workplaces are generally less social than physical ones and it is difficult to be available to the employee all the time. That is why it is important that you choose candidates who fit all the criteria of the job.  

Set Expectations

When your employee is working via a remote location, it is difficult to keep track of who is doing what amount of work. There is always a fear that keeps you wondering whether your employees are working well or abusing the privilege of work from a remote location. Productivity is the most important factor to consider when hiring regular or virtual employees. To maintain the right levels of productivity you must set expectations that are clearly communicated in a remote workplace model.

You can draw the daily output requirements, the time within which the employee should be available to you and other employees and team goals. This will act as a guideline for employees and will also keep a check on their output. If you have hired the right set of people, setting expectations will give you a thriving team that enjoys the privilege of working from home, but does not misuse it.

Use Technology

Communication and connection are the key to maintaining a successful virtual team. There are many technological tools that help you to connect and communicate with your employees and allow the employees to be in touch with each other.  There are tools that allow you to manage tasks and projects.  You can use tools like calendar, time manager, time zone scheduler, file storage, human resource management, etc to increase productivity.  It’s important to take the initiative to encourage your employees to use these tools as well.

Promote Voice Calling

While text messages and emails are formal and good ways of communication, they are often not easily understood and lack tone. By using voice calling on a regular basis, it will be easier to ensure that the entire team is on the same platform.

Video Meetings

Video meetings will help the entire team to connect with each other. You should encourage video meetings not only with yourself but also among other employees in your absence. As everyone is in remote locations, video calling is a better way to promote a sense of togetherness.

Deeper Bonds

Virtual employees want the privilege of working from remote locations and they often want more warm and friendly bonding than the regular working setup. You must catch up on what is happening in the employee’s life. Try to keep a more relaxed relationship with your employees. This develops a deeper sense of job satisfaction. Virtual employees enjoy a good balance between work and life. You can help them achieve that by adopting policies that encourage work-life balance rather than focusing only on your own profit.

Respect and Flexibility

Your employees might belong to different countries, cultures, and mindsets. Make sure you respect them and have a flexible attitude towards them.

These are some of the tips that will help you lead a team of virtual employees and may even help resolve conflicts or problems before they even arise.

Social media marketing is an integral part of making a site more popular to the target consumer base. There are numerous benefits to placing an advertisement on social media. If you open a fan page of your company on Facebook, for instance, then you can use your personal contacts list to spread the link and gather more followers by means of ‘likes’. The more friends that ‘like’ your page, the more likely your page will be visible around the virtual world. Suppose one person from your Facebook ‘likes’ your page. The people on their friend list would be able to see that the person liked a page and would be curious to check that page out. If the curious person also ‘likes’ your page, the cycle of spreading ‘likes’ goes on and on. If you follow the principles of online PPC techniques,  you can place advertisements on Facebook (and other social networking sites) where a person would be able to view your advertisement if he/she displays a leaning towards the kind of product or service you sell.

Twitter is not far off. The Twitter Analytics feature platform is of huge benefit to business owners. Through it, a business can track the changes in the size of their customer base. In addition to this, they can also see the demographics the followers belong to, and their tastes and preferences.

The question remains: why do small businesses shy away from using social media to their full benefit? The answer is multifaceted:

  • The majority of small companies, especially start-ups, are intimidated by the idea of social media campaigning. To them, a social media campaign is something that requires a lot of time, resources, efforts and energy that cannot be afforded. A lot of these companies are not aware of campaign tracking tools such as Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics, Omniture, etc. Because these companies want to play it safe, under the notion that social media campaigns only work when a company is well established, they end up depriving themselves of the benefits that online business campaign tracking tools can give them.
  • Many times, a company doesn’t even have a plan for conducting a campaign on social media. They simply enter the space and work randomly, even taking flawed routes (such as bombarding members with spam messages). As a result, their campaigns fail and they end up dismissing the effectiveness of social media campaigning as a whole. Social media marketing requires a plan in order to succeed. Each business needs to target a certain demographic and then develop their campaigns accordingly, instead of simply making a universal appeal. They need to make use of tools, such as market survey tools and holding consumer contests, with special offers to be won as prizes. Yet, all these, for some reason, intimidate smaller companies.
  • There may be companies that feel that the competition is very packed and that the ‘early birds’ have caught all the worms. That is, the bigger or early-arrival companies have already reaped all the benefits from a particular social media strategy and occupied all the niches. While this fear is not totally unjustified, it is also true that sustained and diligent marketing can indeed popularize a company among social media users without even needing to spend much on advertising. For example, if a company sells health products, they can hire people to research health-themed Facebook groups (or other social media communities)  and promote the products of the company. They can participate in discussions on social media groups and share the positive aspects of the products that are being sold by the company. In doing so, you gain popularity within a particular niche.

Thus, it’s mainly a combination of unrecognized potential and a presence of uncertainty regarding social media that prevents small companies from achieving success in social media marketing campaigns. The scenario is slowly changing, but as small and niche businesses become more informed about social media marketing, there’s a promising future ahead.  

Behind every good technology implementation, there is a good project manager and a strong project management team. Being a project manager, you need to handle a budget and work with it. But sometimes it becomes extremely difficult to organize all the work within the budget.

If you are among those, who want to know if it is possible to run a cost effective project, then the tips below will definitely help you. Read on-

  • Use Technology Over Travelling:

Isn’t it amazing to travel to different cities in order to attend meetings? It really is, but the problem is that it will burn a big hole in your budget if you continue to travel over sustained periods of time. In today’s world of digitization, you don’t need to waste money by traveling to a different place to meet with someone as video conferencing will connect you with the people you want and need to meet. By attending a meeting through video conferencing, you can save the costs of flights, hotels, and taxis. You can arrange a face to face meeting only for the most important projects. Video conferencing is enough for the initial stages of meetings. Modern technology brings all the amenities at your doorstep. If you don’t implement video conferencing, you may end up wasting a lot of money unnecessarily. In fact, by choosing to use technology over traveling, you can avoid a lot of wasted hours traveling, saving both time and money.

  • Make a Virtual Management Team:

If you are from a country where hiring an employee costs you more than you can afford, then it would be wise to hire a more cost-effective global team. If you get experienced employees at a cost-effective rate, why not hire them? You can use any global freelancer site, find qualified people, and offer them a trial run by giving a short piece of work. If s/he does it well, go for the next assignment. In this way, you can build a virtual management team in a budget-friendly way.

  • Time Is Money:

Another rule of thumb for running a cost-effective project is that you need to avoid delays. This is because when you run your project into delays, it will always cost you money from your budget. If the work is not done on time, you might have to pay your team for working overtime. On the contrary, a well-controlled project that runs on time will help you to minimize and hopefully avoid any budget problems.

  • Plan Well:

A well-formed strategy will help you to stick to your budget, therefore you need to plan well and execute your project according to your plan. Try to keep your project on track and remember that there are many chances for your project to get off the track at any time.

  • Project Management:

In terms of project management, you need to keep in mind some points. They are:

  • Make the budget correctly during planning.
  • Use your in-house expert effectively at their appropriate position.
  • Make sure that your human resource department is managed efficiently.
  • Audit your business and your business budget constantly in order to keep a record of your business’s ups and downs.
  • Know how to manage your vendors.

By keeping these points in mind, you can manage your project effectively.

These are the top 5 points that will help you in learning how you can manage your project and run it in a cost-effective way.  You need to implement all of them in order to save a large amount of money. Following these project management tips, you can make money saving ideas that may even open new doors for you in your career.

Marketing is an arena that has changed over the past few years. Marketers, with time, have changed their tactics to reach the target audience.  After analysing and tracking the results of yester years, marketers have realized that customers must connect with the products on a deeper level.  This is the reason behind the growing needs for a more customized and a more personal approach.  In the past year, marketers included everything from ads to social networking sites to market their products.

However, with all the new ways adopted by the marketer, we often find that ads do not bring the results that are actually expected.  Therefore, experts suggest that you need to incorporate some intelligent strategies as a marketer to make your marketing plan more viable in 2017. This means you have to be as accurate as possible while expanding the horizons within your budget restrictions. Here are a few changes that will help you achieve better returns on your investments this year.

Beyond the Conversion Funnel

If you look at the data of the past few years, you will see that users are becoming intelligent enough to catch on to the gimmicks of marketing.  This is the reason that the conversion funnels, that were the holy grail of marketers before, are no longer able to represent a buyer’s journey online. The conversion funnel has now become an “influence loop.”  As a marketer, you will now have to adapt to the customer behavior and intentions. You will have to outpace the intelligence of the customer to fetch better marketing results. These days people are becoming more and more familiar with technology. They want to find products and brands more organically online, such as through social media. How these people behave in online and offline areas gives you a hint about the intent behind their purchases. You use this information to reach the specific users you would like to reach through things such as customized messaging. These messages are based on specific demographics and behaviors. You will have to maintain constant feedback in order to make these marketing strategies more effective.

Connect Through Creativity

As we discussed, users are becoming more aware of marketing tactics. The result is that they are doing everything possible to avoid online ads. This is the reason you have to be creative in such a way that you hit all the right chords while marketing your product or your efforts will be wasted. Your campaigns have to be much more than just creating awareness about the brand or product. Another thing that you have to keep in mind is that being repetitive is like making a hole in your own boat. Using the same creative idea over and over is an easy way to fail your campaign. Your creative ideas should be made with a purpose. This will help you to connect with the target customers. You can design an effective campaign if you use the user information properly.

Build What Works

As the technology has evolved, marketers have easier access to the user information and that works to their advantage. The user data helps in making strategic decisions and also helps in setting the budget for the marketing campaign.  You should analyze customer data to develop marketing tactics and then test their effectiveness.  You can build an attribution model by tracking every marketing channel to calculate exact return on investment.

Media Mix

The year 2017 is the year of intelligent marketing. This means you will have to focus on full media mix.  You will need to run your ads on different platforms. If you want the users to get the sense of ubiquity, your ad units must work together.

Marketing trends change every year and in the end, it depends on how marketers adapt to the new trends. In 2017, you can create an impact by adopting these intelligent marketing strategies.

If you have been bored by traditional ways of working and you are not a perfect fit for the typical 9 to 5 job, don’t worry, things are going to change in the next decade. According to a study conducted by the Randstad US, workplaces will be agiler by the year 2025. Out of all the employers and workers who participated in the study, 68% of employers and 70% workers agreed that there is a change in the way of working. They also agreed that by the end of the next decade a majority of the workforce will be employed on a contractual, temporary or freelance basis.

Some Highlights of the Study:

  • The study, in which 1500 HR and C-suite company executives participated with 3,100 employees, also revealed that half of the workforce is looking forward to becoming a part of an agile capable workforce within the next three years.
  • The Randstad study also revealed that employers are already preparing themselves for the shift that might occur. They are already accommodating both regular and agile employees to fulfill their current staffing needs. Employers also believe that having a freelance model workforce will allow them to take advantage of global forces and innovation.
  • This study also affirms that employees are thinking independently, which has fuelled their desire to go solo into the job market.
  • One of the important highlights of the study is that the agile workforce may also include involuntary part-time workers who want full-time employment. Another aspect to consider is that the low-skilled workers might not find the agile employment system or gig economy to be a suitable condition.

The job market, like any other field, is subject to predictions made by experts. While there might have been many forecasts, like the possibility of robots taking away your job, a freelance-based workplace is nothing that has appeared out of blue.

Reasons Behind Such Change

If you analyze the data of the past few years, you will see that the change has already started. Many have termed it to be the fourth industrial revolution. Factors like the use of machines, mass manufacturing requirements, globalization, the digital revolution, and automation have led to this revolution.

Employers are becoming more committed to building an agile workforce. On the other hand, the study was done by Randstad US also indicated that staff and working professionals are also considering working in a more flexible manner rather than the fixed 9 to 5 routine. Advancements in technology have helped in fast-pacing the change and given support to the freelance workplace concept.

The employees feel that the freelance workforce fits better with their lifestyle. Thus, motivating them to change the way they work. Many employees also pointed out that being in an agile workplace will benefit them in their financial growth as well as giving them better control over the growth of their career.

Advantages to Employers

The agile workforce model will be very beneficial for employers. According to the study, these are some advantages that employers will enjoy.

  • This model will help employers to reach the highly skilled and talented professionals needed for their projects.  
  • Another aspect employers will benefit by is that they will have access to and the advantages of a global talent.
  • The agile workplace will bring innovation and creativity to the workplace.
  • The operation of a company or enterprise will improve. Being able to hire the best of talent from a pool of global talent will give businesses an edge over their competitors.
  • Being agile will help in reducing cost. The company may not even have to maintain a physical workplace or other expenses like refreshments, etc., will be reduced. In other words, employers will get better value for the salary they will pay.

Advantages to Employees

As an employee, there is a wide range of benefits that comes with the freelance working model. The most crucial advantage that employees get through this model is freedom from rigidity. Employees will not be encumbered by a regular and robotic nine-to-five job within one place. With the help of the latest technologies, they can work from anywhere. Working on a contractual basis or working as a freelancer will require an employee to connect and work with many companies and professionals. This will generate overall growth and skill development.  According to the study, employees feel that the experience they gain will be very valuable.

In conclusion, this survey reveals that the agile workplace will be useful in building a world-class talent base. It will help companies find the highly skilled workers and professionals needed for their projects. Employees, in turn, will flourish in this flexible environment.

The term ‘B2B’ is fairly familiar to people who belong to the market research or digital marketing industries. It is a field where there is an exchange of technology, information, services and products between businesses rather than between a business and its customer. As with every other field of technology and business, the trends and practices for B2B keep changing and upgrading from year to year. It’s in this context that we will discuss some of the biggest B2B trends that will dominate 2017.

Marketing Automation: First, we speak about marketing automation. This is the software which is used to automate a lot of the actions required for sales pitching of a product or service. It includes marketing on social media, putting up ads on Google, cold calling and mass emailing. Some of these can definitely be tuned into automation, especially the client mailing and cold calling. Marketing automation can not only be used to generate leads, but it can also help companies keep a tab on the progress of their campaign. This also allows them to be updated with key metrics concerning lead conversion. There are three cardinal steps to achieving this:

  1. Having a multiple-tier opening sequence which can be considered useful and relevant for dynamic and ever-changing content, based on the needs of the company.
  2. You can put to use the task of lead scoring and lead grading in order to ensure that automated sending of emails and outbound calls can be done in a more relevant manner. There should exist strict rules and guidelines so that mass-solicitation techniques are not blocked by popular spam-detection technologies.
  3. Content should be re-marketed on third-party sites in order to encourage and enthuse people who have shown an interest in being a customer.

Long and Short-term Balance: Next, we should think of balancing things out in the long and short terms. You should apply all SEO techniques in place to ensure that your brand gets ranked at the top of SERPs. Top-ranked websites usually inspire confidence and solidify people’s trust in a brand. The ideal path would be to develop both the leads and the brand simultaneously with a 40:60 priority ratio.

All Eyes on Thought Leadership: One should also understand the value of thought leadership. It is important to buy products and services that help to circumvent and eliminate risks, as well as improve customer experience. Rather than merely bringing about external improvements to the product, you should introduce ideas that are revolutionary or definitive in the industry. Something that would emerge as innovative or pioneering. This is something that’s surely going to be big in 2017.

Augmented Reality to the Rescue: Augmented reality is close to thought leadership. This is virtual communication which has taken on a different hue with the success of Pokémon Go. The technology, in which virtual objects can be “planted” across various real-life locations and would be spotted only by means of physical traveling, is tracked by GPS. Application of this technology would assist a lot in communicating complex ideas by the practical demonstration on an interactive gadget such as a PC/Laptop, projector or a Smartphone.  This will also lead to the growth and development of multi-dimensional gadgets and mechanisms which would improve Point-of-Sale terminals, record transactions and enhance staff training.  Taking giant leaps in the field of virtual reality, with the objective of bettering communication and customer engagement techniques, will definitely be on the cards this year for most B2B firms.

Bots in Charge: Use of ‘Bots’, or robots, is yet another huge area that is slated to become big this year. Coming out of the confines of more conventional uses, such as scheduling meetings or sending out ‘to-do’ notifications, robots can be put to use in functions such as creating SEO-friendly content, addressing very specific customer complaints, spotting complex technical errors and bugs and communicating them in a life-like manner and synthesizing user research. . They can also serve as guides to take visitors on a virtual ‘tour’ of the website and demonstrate how the site works. Overall, bots could be of great use for optimizing marketing in many ways.  

Why Are Businesses Hiring Remote Teams To Get The Job Done?: Another trend that is going to be big in 2017 is the use of ‘remote teams’ or ‘virtual companies’ to do part of a company’s work online. This helps the company to be well-distributed in terms of workload and in meeting deadlines. Remote working is something which has displayed a healthy growth of about 80% in the period 2005-2012 and is slated to grow even more in this year and the coming years. Remote workers log in for a greater number of hours and are more focused on their work, free as they are from the trappings of a normal work environment. They are chiefly driven by the passion for their work and the alluring aspect of getting to work from their own home. Hence, productivity takes a giant leap when companies hire remote or virtual teams.  

Bringing Back Spotlight on the 80/20 Rule: More Recognition for the 80/20 rule is set to become the norm. Quite often companies fall into the trap of hyper-marketing, zealously hard-selling their ware, which can serve to put customers off.  Also, by going all-out to cover every possible area of marketing, they miss out on identifying those crucial things which can actually bring in the bulk of the business. In technobabble, this is classified as the ‘80/20’ rule—striving to identify that vital 20% of your advertising content which is providing 80% of the returns. This twenty percent must be identified and a majority of the advertising resources must be spent in further improving them. More stress on the 80/20 rule is definitely going to be a major trend of 2017.

Apart from all these, some of the major toasts of this year would go to maintaining the ‘touch-point consistency’ in marketing, building up and careful cultivation of the talent brand, and digital dissolution. Overall, things are looking good for the B2B industry this year.

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