Jewish Marketing 101 – Merchant Circle Survey on Marketing & Social Media Trends

Jewish Marketing 101 – Merchant Circle Survey on Marketing & Social Media Trends

Merchant Circle Marketing Study

MerchantCircle Press Releases

Social Marketing Continues Meteoric Rise Among Local Businesses

New research from MerchantCircle reveals local merchants flocking to simple, free marketing methods such as social media sites, are slow to adopt mobile marketing and group buying.

Group buying gets mixed reviews: 55 percent of merchants who have offered a “daily deal” through a group buying service would not do so again

Mountain View, CA, February 15, 2011 — MerchantCircle, the largest online network of local business owners in the nation, today shared results of its quarterly Merchant Confidence Index survey of over 8,500 small and local business owners across the U.S. The data reveals that local merchants, who have very limited time and money for marketing, are gravitating towards simple, low-cost online marketing methods such as Facebook and other social media, as well as towards tried-and-true methods such as search and email marketing. The research also demonstrates that while new marketing services such as mobile marketing and group buying are generating significant buzz in the media, local merchants have yet to tap these unproven marketing methods.

“Online marketing continues to be a challenge for most local businesses, and many merchants are working with very small budgets and almost no marketing resources,” said Darren Waddell, Vice President of marketing at MerchantCircle. “The marketing methods we see gaining the most traction are therefore the ones that offer merchants simplicity, low costs and immediate results.”

Key conclusions from the survey include:

(1) Local businesses have little time or budget to devote to marketing.

According to the MerchantCircle survey data, more than half of local merchants are spending less than $2,500 a year on marketing, and 60 percent have no plans to raise their budgets this year. These merchants are also price-sensitive: one quarter of merchants cite high costs as their chief complaint about online marketing (26 percent).

Many merchants are also struggling to manage their existing programs and don’t have time to take advantage of new, unproven services, with lack of time and resources the top online marketing challenge for more than one third of merchants (37 percent).

(2) Social media are now the top marketing strategy for local businesses.

With its huge consumer adoption, ease-of-use and low barrier to entry, Facebook continues to be a popular way for merchants to market their business, with 70 percent using the social network for marketing, up from 50 percent one year ago. Facebook has now surpassed Google (66 percent) as the most widely used marketing method amongst local merchants, and is almost tied with Google search (40 percent) as one of their top three most effective marketing methods, with 37 percent rating Facebook as one of their most effective tools.

Facebook Places has benefited from this high level of adoption, soaring past Foursquare to reach a 32 percent current usage rate, with an additional 12 percent citing plans to use Facebook Places in the coming months. While Foursquare’s usage is up from just 2 percent one year ago, use of the location-based service has remained steady at about 9 percent over the past two quarters.

Twitter has also grown in popularity over the past year, with nearly 40 percent of local merchants using the microblogging platform to build awareness and community around their products and services, up from 32 percent in Q4 2009.

(3) Tried-and-true online methods trump new, unproven approaches.

With little time and budget to devote to marketing, local merchants are slow to adopt unproven technologies such as mobile marketing and group buying and are relying on more familiar methods that have delivered results. Three of the top marketing methods for local businesses — social, search and email — are also cited as being the most effective, with 36 percent putting social networking in the top three, 40 percent citing search and 36 percent choosing email marketing.

In spite of the hype around mobile marketing, less than 15 percent of merchants report doing any sort of mobile marketing or advertising, and more than half have no plans to do so in the coming months. Lack of understanding remains a huge barrier to adoption: 74 percent of merchants state that they don’t have a good idea of how to reach consumers via mobile marketing.

Group buying will also take time to penetrate the local market. Only 11 percent of local merchants have offered a “daily deal” using a service like Groupon or LivingSocial, with an additional 20 percent planning to do so in the coming months. Results of group buying have also been mixed and may be hindering growth: 55 percent of people who have run a daily deal campaign said they would not do so again.

(4) Use of traditional offline marketing methods continues to decline.

Traditional offline marketing methods continue to decline across the board. Over the course of 2010, use of print advertising dropped by 33 percent (from 40 percent usage to 27 percent); use of print Yellow Pages declined 18 percent (from 45 percent to 37 percent); and use of direct mail decreased 26 percent (from 39 percent to 28 percent).

Don’t expect these methods to disappear anytime soon, however, as many continue to deliver results for local merchants. 24 percent say that coupons or direct mail are still one of their top three most effective marketing tactics, 23 percent say print Yellow Pages are a top three tactic, and 20 percent put print newspaper ads in the top three as well.

(5) Online marketing services companies are aggressively targeting local businesses.

Despite the fact that local merchants have very little budget for marketing, online marketing services companies are working hard to reach and serve this market, often with a direct sales force making cold calls. MerchantCircle’s research reveals that 51 percent of local merchants get at least one online marketing sales call a week, with 10 percent getting called almost on a daily basis.

About the Merchant Confidence Index

The Merchant Confidence Index is a quarterly survey conducted by MerchantCircle, the largest social network of local business owners in the U.S. with over 1.6 million members. The Index is designed to track trends in small business sentiment over time and is derived from four key questions designed to synopsize the prevailing trends among local business owners. The overall index score is based upon a standardized five-level Likert scale.

This fifth Merchant Confidence Index survey was fielded online, between January 22nd and February 3rd, 2011, and sent to a random sample of MerchantCircle’s member base of over 1.6 million local business owners. There were 8,456 total responses from local business owners across the United States. Responding businesses classified themselves as legal and financial services, automotive, health and beauty, entertainment, travel and more, with 75 percent of respondents having less than 5 employees. The survey data can be broken out by state, business type or business size (by headcount) upon request. No incentive was offered to complete the survey. To read the full survey and its results, please visit www.MerchantCircle.com/corporate/blog.


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Jewish Marketing 101 – American Express Small Business Forum – 6 Tasks You Could Be Outsourcing

Jewish Marketing 101 – American Express Small Business Forum – 6 Tasks You Could Be Outsourcing

6 Business Task You Could Be Outsourcing

 

 

 

6 Business Tasks You Could Be Outsourcing

Royale Scuderi Freelance Writer and Life Fulfillment Expert

April 3, 2012

Some businesses can handle normal daily activities but need outside help to take on new projects that don’t justify another employee. Other businesses are just struggling to manage day-to-day business. Still others are seeking ways to get more done or cut expenses in this challenging economy.

There are many valid reasons to consider outsourcing, but here are some of the most compelling.

  • Focus on core business activities. For many businesses, the primary motivation to outsource is that it frees owners, managers and employees to spend their time on income generating activities.
  • Improve opportunities for growth. Frequently opportunities for company growth and a desire to expand business operations exist, but resources to make it happen are lacking.
  • Increase efficiency and effectiveness. In many cases, outsourcing allows access to expert talent. Outsource service firms can offer innovative approaches, the latest technology, and creative, cutting-edge solutions that otherwise aren’t available.
  • Improve your bottom line by decreasing your expenses. A skilled contractor or firm can generally perform work less expensively than a full-time employee can, and the costs of hiring, training, and maintaining employees are eliminated, as are taxes and benefits.

Here’s what you can, and should, be outsourcing.

1. Administrative tasks. Scheduling, travel arrangements, data entry, typing and other administrative tasks can usually be handled by a virtual assistant or administrative service. While these tasks are crucial to the proper functioning of any business, they are not usually core business activities.

Where to find help: Assistant MatchAssistU and IVAA help match businesses with screened administrative service providers and offer directories of professionally trained virtual assistants.

2. Lead generation and customer service. Sales calls are often a matter of numbers; more calls equal more sales and leads. Once the initial outreach has been made, closing the sale can be handled by the internal sales force. A talented salesperson’s skills can be better utilized to close sales and handle clients, rather than make cold calls. It can also be a great deal more efficient to outsource customer support than it is to maintain a qualified support staff, especially for product-based companies.

Where to find help: Global Response and The Connection are recognized sales and customer service providers to many of the world’s top brands. Resource Nation allows companies to get quotes from pre-screened business solution sources.

3. Accounting and financial duties. Accounting firms or individuals can help with many financial services including bookkeeping, invoicing and accounts payable and receivable, as well as financial reporting, analysis and planning. Outsourcing payroll processing alone can save considerable hours, headaches and dollars. Many financial contractors will bundle these tasks for even greater savings.

Where to find help: BookkeepingHelp is a popular source of experienced financial professionals. This is one area to be very careful when outsourcing. It’s a good idea to check with certifying organizations, such as the American Institute of CPAs or American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers.

4. Marketing. Effective marketing determines how both brand and company reputation are perceived in the marketplace. A marketing firm or consultant can often provide an outside perspective that an internal marketing staff cannot. Professional freelance writers can develop higher-quality, polished content that will improve marketing efforts. Website design, brand development, press releases and online marketing duties such as social media, blogging and search engine optimization are good candidates for outsourcing as well.

Where to find help: Guru and Elance are two of the best-known sources of freelance contractors. They cover many areas of outsourcing, but excel in the areas of writing and design.

5. IT operations. It can be extremely expensive to handle IT operations in-house. The average business has limited ability and knowledge to manage all of its IT needs. Unless you’re an IT company, IT is a maintenance and repair function, not a core business activity. The potential advantages of outsourcing IT tasks are enormous.

Where to find help: CrossLoop and Tech Guru both offer access to full spectrum of IT remote services.

6. Human resources. Employee acquisition and human resource functions can easily be administered by an outside agency. Outside firms are more skilled at advertising, screening suitable applicants and checking references. Using an HR or employment service to manage employee benefits can also be wise, since they must stay up to date on the latest employment laws and standards.

Where to find help: Ceridian and Trinet are both well-known HR service providers offering a wide range of resources from recruitment to payroll to benefits administration.

Final word

Often, the best way to locate high-quality outsourcing prospects is through recommendations from your professional network. A referral from someone you know and trust is a much more reliable gauge of quality and is usually based on the level of skill and not simply the cheapest cost. Professional groups or associations and LinkedIn can also be great sources.

Royale Scuderi is a freelance writer and success coach. She is the founder of Productive Life Concepts and has been featured on top rated blogs such as Stepcase Lifehack and The Huffington Post. You can also find her musings on life and business at GuardWife.com andTwitter.com/RoyaleScuderi.

Photo credit: iStockphoto


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Jewish Social Media 101 – To Hire or To Outsource Jewish Social Media? You Decide!

Jewish Social Media 101 – To Hire or To Outsource Jewish Social Media? You Decide!

Social Media - In House or Outsource?Hiring a full time Social Media Strategist, though highly important in the new age of digital PR & fundraising, can be very expensive for the budget strapped non-profit or school. As shown below, you have to budget in between $46,000 to $71,000 for a Social Media Specialist alone (benefits not included). For Jewish companies, you also have to factor in health insurance, benefits, and the intangible “Jewish cost-of-living”, as well as the risk of high turnover due to the strong demand for Jewish social media employees. Plus, the ROI from social media is still tough to determine – is it how many “Likes” you get, or maybe the amount of “Tweets”? And how do you tie it back to sales? (this ALSO doesn’t take into account that your employees will end up being on Facebook all day. Not much work ethic there.)

Bear in mind also that many Jewish non-profits and schools are still focused on traditional methods of Jewish marketing & communications. Which is why advertising in Jewish print media has continued to remain stable while digital & social marketing lags behind. The extent of Jewish social media is the community shul listserve, such as Yahoo Groups or Google Groups, which is a textual Craigslist type of community bulletin board. Jewish social media groups have attempted to pop up though most are merely groups within Facebook & Linkedin. As a result, social media as a career hasn’t taken off in the Jewish marketplace, except as a freelance option.

Overall, the smarter choice is to outsource your Jewish social media (social media outsourcing rose 128% last year) to freelance experts who don’t require full-time employment but can do the job equally well. Using the outline of salaries and need for social media strategy, you can judge your need and decide what tasks you can outsource and what tasks to keep in house. Reposted from Onward Search, a Social Media Recruiting Firm.

http://www.onwardsearch.com/Social-Media-Salaries/


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Jewish Marketing 101 – Marketing Outsourcing grew over 100% in 2011 (CMO Survey)

Jewish Marketing 101 – Marketing Outsourcing grew over 100% in 2011 (CMO Survey)

CMO Survey on Marketing OutsourcingReposted from CMO Survey

Outsourcing Marketing

January 24th, 2012

I asked top marketers to report how much they expected their companies to outsource marketing in the next 12 months. This percentage has grown over time as shown in Figure 1. In fact the last measurement, taken in August 2011, grew by over 100% over the prior year!

Figure 1: Percentage of Company Outsourcing of Marketing Expected in Next 12 Months

Why do companies outsource marketing?

  1. Companies don’t have the expertise to perform key marketing tasks.
  2. Companies don’t think the benefit of building knowledge and skills is better than the value they get from an expert partner performing that same task.
  3. Companies can’t produce the same function at the same low price as they can buy it in the open market because the provider has scale, scope, and experience (and perhaps cheap labor?).
  4. Companies prioritize other strategic areas more highly than doing marketing internally.
  5. Companies want a new point of view. It is easy to stop learning when you are stuck listening to the same colleagues every day. An external partner can offer important insights.
  6. Companies don’t understand the value of marketing.

What are the costs of outsourcing marketing?

  1. Integration costs: Outsourced marketing doesn’t fit well with marketing the company produces or with other strategies it is pursuing
  2. Customer costs: Managers lose sight of customers and what the firm is doing in the marketplace. They spend a lot of time on inventory, balance sheets, analyst conference calls, or building plants. This turning inward can be tragic in some cases.
  3. Control costs: Coase and Williamson both won Nobel prizes in Economics for their study of transaction costs, which are those costs the firm must control, contract, and incentivize away to ensure partners act as its agent. When a company chooses to “buy” its marketing services and not “make” them itself, the challenge is to ensure the relationship produces value.
  4. Objectivity costs: No marketer wants to be fired for sharing bad news about the value of a strategic decision or initiative. This can make it tougher to be a truth teller if you are providing marketing from outside the boundary of the firm.
  5. Risk costs: Partners may take more or less risk than a firm would take given they are not responsible to shareholders, employees, and customers in the same way managers are.
  6. Path dependence losses: A path dependence means that experience matters. The down side to path dependencies from marketing experience is that firms get locked into their own habits and routines. However, the upside of path dependency—grinding out the knowledge and efficiencies that come from learning by doing over and over and over again—is not realized either. These positive path dependencies can make it difficult for competitors to jump in because the firm is so good at what it does.

Is your firm outsourcing marketing? How is the calculus of these costs and benefits working out? Any suggestions on how to tip the scales in the favor of benefits? I’ll share more next week on who is outsourcing. In the mean time, jump in and share your view.

—-

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Jewish Marketing 101 – Why Non-Profits Should Consider Outsourcing

Jewish Marketing 101 – Why Non-Profits Should Consider Outsourcing

Jewish social media outsourcing
Reposted from Third Sector Magazine

Why Not-For Profit’s should consider outsourcing

Wed, 12 October 2011

Outsourcing is becoming increasingly popular in the not-for-profit sector as it allows associations, charities and other not-for-profit organisations to benefit from the expertise of specialists when they need them and at rates they can afford.

Outsourcing refers to contracting the skills of a company to fulfil an organisation’s needs and allows them to take advantage of experts that they do not have, or cannot afford, internally. This may include marketing, graphic design, organising conferences and events, secretariat services, publishing, marketing or finance.

Outsourcing is a cost-effective way for not-for-profit (NFP) organisations to achieve their organisation’s goals and keep within their budget.

Findings from The Outsourcing Institute’s most recent study, which surveyed 1,410 members, found that reducing and controlling costs is the most common reason organisations choose to outsource. With a limited budget NFPs often can’t afford five or more employees to fulfil their organisation’s marketing, graphic design, editorial, secretariat and event needs; and it’s difficult to find one person with skills in all of these areas. However, outsourcing allows NFPs to draw on the skills of specialist departments with differing areas of expertise for often less than the cost of hiring one internal employee. Depending on a NFPs needs outsourcing can be the equivalent of employing ten specialists for less than the price of one.

Not only is outsourcing more cost effective than hiring staff internally, it can also result in a great level of efficiency. With access to teams of experts in a range of fields, organisations can enjoy a more professional standard of work, which can improve efficiency, the image and reputation of the organisation, and increase member/donor support.

CEO of The Institute of Hospital Engineers Australia Greg Bondar outsources their member magazine to Third Sector Services. He says “I am of the view that specialisation is the key to productivity and effective cost management, hence why do what others do better?”

The Australian Counselling Association (ACA) CEO Philip Armstrong also outsources their magazine to Third Sector Services and says “The journal in its ten year history had reached its optimum in relation to delivering a peer reviewed journal to members that was produced internally by the association. To go to the next level and compete internationally in design, content and layout with other similar journals it needed the expertise of professional publishers as this was not and is not the expected strength of ACA. Therefore an external publisher was sought to take the journal to the next level.”

The Outsourcing Institute’s research shows that the second most common reason organisations outsource is that it allows them to focus on their key objectives, which can increase their effectiveness and improve member/donor satisfaction.

Outsourcing allows an organisation to focus on what is most important to the running of their association, society, institute or charity – whether it is advocacy, governance, pleasing members or fundraising.

Additionally, outsourcing allows NFPs flexibility which is not achievable when hiring someone internally. Outsourcing allows organisations to access professionals when and only for as long as an organisation needs them.

“Without sounding gratuitous, the services provided Third Sector Services are both professional and friendly, and very flexible,” admits Bondar.

By decreasing costs, improving the quality of an organisation’s offerings and allowing NFPs to focus on their core objectives, outsourcing is expected to continue to rise in popularity as the smarter choice for NFPs.


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Insourcing – Keeping “outsourced” tasks in America

Insourcing – Keeping “outsourced” tasks in America

Reposted from The Press Enterprise

‘Insourcing’ outsourcing to other American firms a benefit

Sarah Cullins

04:03 PM PDT on Saturday, August 20, 2011

Outsourcing has become a dirty word in the American labor market, because it brings to mind the image of employers sending jobs overseas to countries where they can pay workers less than a dollar an hour.

Many companies have realized that outsourcing comes with its own set of problems, as customers complain when they have trouble understanding customer service reps based in other parts of the world. Outsourcing also can cause quality control or supply line issues, as seen in the recent Japanese earthquake.

However, many American companies have opted to outsource some of their in-house services to American contractors. This has been termed “insourcing.”

The work is contracted out of the company, but remains with American businesses. Companies often decide to insource auxiliary work, such as accounting, public relations and IT, which are important, but not central to the company’s mission.

Here are some of the reasons why companies opt to do this:

It’s cheaper. If you have to pay an in-house HR or IT person, it will probably cost you at least $3,000 a month in wages. When you add on benefits, you are looking at a total cost of more than $4,000 per month. For many companies it easier to pay an outside company $2,000 for the same services. Employers also know there is no way they can find a top-level employee for $2,000 per month.

It’s more efficient. When you insource some of your duties, you send the work to a person who is not going to get caught up in office politics or water cooler chat. Most contractors realize that if they don’t perform, they don’t get paid. This ensures that the work will be done right and done on time. Insourcing also allows you to hire experienced people who have the skills to complete projects faster.

Insourced workers can also adapt to change faster. One of the biggest complaints about working in a large organization is trying to implement a new procedure. The decision has to be kicked up several layers of management, and it can take months for it to be approved. With a contract employee, the decision can be made fairly quickly since they do not have to go through as many layers.

It allows you to focus on what you are really good at. If you make tires, you want to focus on making tires and not have to worry about accounting, HR or public relations. A large company has divisions to focus on these areas. But in small companies it is the owner that has to handle all of these duties. Of course, while he is doing this, he does not have time to focus on his actual business. Insourcing this kind of work to contractors frees up the owner’s time and allows him to concentrate on actually running his business.

From the points I have listed, it is easy to see why more and more American companies are moving to towards insourcing work, as a way of staying leaner and meaner. In today’s market companies are constantly looking for ways to shave fat off the bottom line, and increasingly that means sending work to local contractors who save time and money.

Sarah Cullins is president of Finesse Staffing in Rancho Cucamonga. Reach her via 909-466-9933 or scullins@finessestaffing.com.

Henry Isaacs

http://www.Henry-Isaacs.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daily News article on the “Jewish Valentine’s Day”

Daily News article on the “Jewish Valentine’s Day”

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Posting on Shul Lists? Here’s how to write it…

Posting on Shul Lists? Here’s how to write it…

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Part Time Workers Becoming The New Corporate Trend

Part Time Workers Becoming The New Corporate Trend

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Companies – Reducing Full-Time to Part-Time becoming more attractive

Companies – Reducing Full-Time to Part-Time becoming more attractive

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