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Brace Your Online Presence In 6 Easy Steps

Brace Your Online Presence In 6 Easy Steps

In today’s age of near internet-ubiquity, developing your brand’s online presence is key if you don’t want to be left in the dust of current marketing trends. Here are six tips to help you make sure your business creates and maintains a strong online presence.

Use Social Media To “Meet” Consumer Needs

Too often, companies will simply treat their Facebook or other social media page as just another place to post advertisements or press releases. This doesn’t realize the potential for communication with your customer base.

Allow your customers to actually communicate with your company’s social media accounts, and reach out to them when possible. You might be surprised at how much you could gain in terms of customer relations from a little back-and-forth online. Need concrete evidence? Check out this article on how JetBlue overcame the fallout of its “Valentine’s day crisis” by utilizing social media.

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Know How To “Go Mobile”

Now smartphones seem to be popping up everywhere you look; a lot of people are browsing the internet on smaller screens. If your company website only has a desktop version, it won’t look as sleek on the screen of a smartphone.

See what you can do to develop a mobile version of your website, and customers should notice your commitment to streamlining. You can still keep your regular site’s overall theme or format—just optimize and cut it down for a smaller device.

Pay For Ads A Click At A Time

Don’t have a lot of wiggle room in your marketing or advertising budget? Your company should invest in pay per click ads: customizable online ads for your business you only pay for when someone clicks on them.

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Pay per click ads are ideal for smaller operations who don’t have the budget for advertising agencies or SEO companies to provide them with quality marketing on the internet. Check out Google’s AdWords to get a feel for the concept.

Be “Real” Online

While it’s important to stay professional online, keep things a little more personable than the boardroom. Imagine turning off a prospective customer simply because they couldn’t relate to the voice of your online content like blogs, mission statements, or any other content that wouldn’t count strictly as marketing or advertising.

Adding a personal touch to your online content lets the consumer know an actual, real person is behind the message. Try to make your web content as “real” as humanly possible.

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Know Who You’re Selling To

No-brainer, right? You can’t sell your product if you don’t know who you’re selling to. In reality though, we know it isn’t so simple. But not every company has the disposable funds to get the latest focus group findings or case study results from Proctor & Gamble.

Smaller companies need good literature on their targeted demographic, too. This is where cheaper or free literature can become a real boon. Two examples: check out this Mashable article called “14 Tips to Nail Down Demographics,” as well as this free eBook, “Getting Women to Buy,” which aims to clue would-be advertisers and marketers in to selling to women as a demographic.

Keep Track Of Your Net Presence

Don’t fall prey to this online faux pas: posting great marketing content, then falling out of step with market trends by failing to update content over time in an ever-changing world of online advertising.

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Maybe you’ve heard of a concept called “file and forget.” Whatever you do, don’t let your website become an example of “post and neglect.” If you take care of your company’s internet presence, it will take care of you in the form of happier customers and a better relationship with your target demographic.

Featured photo credit: photopin.com via farm1.staticflickr.com

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The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

The Productivity Paradox: What Is It And How Can We Move Beyond It?

It’s a depressing adage we’ve all heard time and time again: An increase in technology does not necessarily translate to an increase in productivity.

Put another way by Robert Solow, a Nobel laureate in economics,

“You can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics.”

In other words, just because our computers are getting faster, that doesn’t mean that that we will have an equivalent leap in productivity. In fact, the opposite may be true!

New York Times writer Matt Richel wrote in an article for the paper back in 2008 that stated, “Statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.”

There’s a strange paradox when it comes to productivity. Rather than an exponential curve, our productivity will eventually reach a plateau, even with advances in technology.

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So what does that mean for our personal levels of productivity? And what does this mean for our economy as a whole? Here’s what you should know about the productivity paradox, its causes, and what possible solutions we may have to combat it.

What is the productivity paradox?

There is a discrepancy between the investment in IT growth and the national level of productivity and productive output. The term “productivity paradox” became popularized after being used in the title of a 1993 paper by MIT’s Erik Brynjolfsson, a Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Director of the MIT Center for Digital Business.

In his paper, Brynjolfsson argued that while there doesn’t seem to be a direct, measurable correlation between improvements in IT and improvements in output, this might be more of a reflection on how productive output is measured and tracked.[1]

He wrote in his conclusion:

“Intangibles such as better responsiveness to customers and increased coordination with suppliers do not always increase the amount or even intrinsic quality of output, but they do help make sure it arrives at the right time, at the right place, with the right attributes for each customer.

Just as managers look beyond “productivity” for some of the benefits of IT, so must researchers be prepared to look beyond conventional productivity measurement techniques.”

How do we measure productivity anyway?

And this brings up a good point. How exactly is productivity measured?

In the case of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, productivity gain is measured as the percentage change in gross domestic product per hour of labor.

But other publications such as US Today, argue that this is not the best way to track productivity, and instead use something called Total Factor Productivity (TFP). According to US Today, TFP “examines revenue per employee after subtracting productivity improvements that result from increases in capital assets, under the assumption that an investment in modern plants, equipment and technology automatically improves productivity.”[2]

In other words, this method weighs productivity changes by how much improvement there is since the last time productivity stats were gathered.

But if we can’t even agree on the best way to track productivity, then how can we know for certain if we’ve entered the productivity paradox?

Possible causes of the productivity paradox

Brynjolfsson argued that there are four probable causes for the paradox:

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  • Mis-measurement – The gains are real but our current measures miss them.
  • Redistribution – There are private gains, but they come at the expense of other firms and individuals, leaving little net gain.
  • Time lags – The gains take a long time to show up.
  • Mismanagement – There are no gains because of the unusual difficulties in managing IT or information itself.

There seems to be some evidence to support the mis-measurement theory as shown above. Another promising candidate is the time lag, which is supported by the work of Paul David, an economist at Oxford University.

According to an article in The Economist, his research has shown that productivity growth did not accelerate until 40 years after the introduction of electric power in the early 1880s.[3] This was partly because it took until 1920 for at least half of American industrial machinery to be powered by electricity.”

Therefore, he argues, we won’t see major leaps in productivity until both the US and major global powers have all reached at least a 50% penetration rate for computer use. The US only hit that mark a decade ago, and many other countries are far behind that level of growth.

The paradox and the recession

The productivity paradox has another effect on the recession economy. According to Neil Irwin,[4]

“Sky-high productivity has meant that business output has barely declined, making it less necessary to hire back laid-off workers…businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek.”

This means that more and more companies are trying to do less with more, and that means squeezing two or three people’s worth of work from a single employee in some cases.

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According to Irwin, “workers, frightened for their job security, squeezed more productivity out of every hour [in 2010].”

Looking forward

A recent article on Slate puts it all into perspective with one succinct observation:

“Perhaps the Internet is just not as revolutionary as we think it is. Sure, people might derive endless pleasure from it—its tendency to improve people’s quality of life is undeniable. And sure, it might have revolutionized how we find, buy, and sell goods and services. But that still does not necessarily mean it is as transformative of an economy as, say, railroads were.”

Still, Brynjolfsson argues that mismeasurement of productivity can really skew the results of people studying the paradox, perhaps more than any other factor.

“Because you and I stopped buying CDs, the music industry has shrunk, according to revenues and GDP. But we’re not listening to less music. There’s more music consumed than before.

On paper, the way GDP is calculated, the music industry is disappearing, but in reality it’s not disappearing. It is disappearing in revenue. It is not disappearing in terms of what you should care about, which is music.”

Perhaps the paradox isn’t a death sentence for our productivity after all. Only time (and perhaps improved measuring techniques) will tell.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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