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  • You know we’re in a whole new world of technology when companies like HBO, Netflix and Amazon can stroll into the Primetime Emmys and cleanup against the big boy TV networks like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. But that’s exactly what they did with HBO taking home 43 wins after 126 nominations.

    There has been a large migration of people unplugging and leaving the traditional confines of cable or satelite providers and embracing streaming. It certainly has it’s benefits.

    Are you one who’s embraced streaming? Tweet us @jasegroup and let us know how you like it.

    image credit: Consumer Reports

  • Amazon launched “Prime Now,” their one hour delivery last December in Manhattan. It has expanded to Dallas, Baltimore and Miami in the first half of this year. Now, it’s made its way to London. Available in select areas of London, Amazon Prime members can order certain items and have them delivered to their home in about an hour.

    It’s pretty crazy if you think about it, right?

    Read more from TechCrunch here: http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/30/prime-now-london/

    image credit: TechCrunch

  • Establishing your brand is the first step to successfully marketing your business to consumers. As they say, imitation is the best form of flattery, and Entrepreneur created a list of the secrets of the top 10 brands.

    • Get personal: Amazon- Created a strong brand that resulted in the highest brand trust ranking.

    Takeaway- Amazon consumers know they can quickly search for a product at a decent price. They are consistent and allow customers to tell them how they feel with reviews. Do the same for your consumers. Provide them with a valuable experience where you welcome their opinion. They will learn to respect and trust the brand.

    • Sell Happiness: Coca-Cola- Since the beginning the brand has promised to make consumers happy with their coke.

    Takeaway- Coca-Cola’s brand is linked directly to happiness, what emotion does your product or service evoke with your consumers that you can tie directly to your brand? Figure out how your brand makes consumers feel and make sure it is a part of your branding strategy.

    • Live up to your promise: FedEx – Ranked highest in ability, consumers know that FedEx is reliable.

    Takeaway- FedEx does its best to deliver your products unharmed and on time. Its consumers appreciate it by continuing to use the brand. Make sure you deliver on any promises your business makes. When consumers know they can depend on you they will continue to support you and recommend your brand to others.

    • Keep it cool and fun: Apple- Consumers wait anxiously for new Apple products because they are usually smart, sleek and innovative products they can be used for business and personal communication efforts.

    Takeaway-  Is your brand something that consumers crave? Find  something about your brand that makes it unique to consumers, so unique that your consumers find the attribute, cool.

    • Design an experience: Target – Through ads and the structure of the store, Target has designed an experience for shoppers that wanted more than the average discount store.

    Takeaway- Target stands out amongst its direct competitors. Make sure your brand can be distinguished from your competitors. You should establish a brand identity in everything that represents you including; ads, website, social media and the design of your online and physical store.

    • Stay consistent: Ford – The Ford logo and brand has been a consistent brand in the minds of consumers since its inception. The brand ranked high for stability and dependability.

    Takeaway: Once your brand is established be consistent. There is no need in constantly changing your brand as the times change, especially, if you have established a strong, trustworthy brand. If your branding plan is not working change your plan so that you can establish a brand that best represents your organization.

    • Can-do attitude: Nike – Self-empowerment is Nike’s main brand attributes. They believe their consumers are capable of doing what they desire.

    Takeaway- Believe in your consumers. Your brand should make consumers feel confident in their purchase. Encourage consumers to purchase the right products so they can be confident in their decision.

    • Forge connections: Starbucks – The Starbucks brand has always focused on bringing people together. The brand used this to differ themselves from competitors.

    Takeaway- Build relationships with your consumers and allow them to build relationships with each other. Use the relationship you have with your consumers to build a niche in your industry.

    • Serve up the quirky: Southwest Airlines- Southwest has created a brand that is completely different that many in the airline industry. Although different, the industry has found a way to succeed.

    Takeaway- Think outside the box when it comes to your business practices. Staying in line with a branding plan, figure out ways to make your brand stand out in a unique way while still succeeding in your industry. There is never a need for duplicate businesses, only one will prosper.

    • Focus on the customer: Nordstrom – Ranking high in customer service, Nordstrom’s brand is known for concern for the customer and quality products.

    Takeaway- Remember that your business thrives off of  consumer support. In everything you do make sure that your customers feel that their needs are being met and that they are appreciated. Find ways unique to your brand to show your concern and appreciation.

    Have you created a brand strategy that works for your business? JASE can help your business create a brand strategy that will help provide longevity for your business. Contact JASE for a brand strategy that separates you from the field.

    Target Logoimage credit: Mr. T in DC on flickr

  • JASE top 5 listEach week we check our analytics profiles and marketing numbers to see which articles we published that were the most popular for our Norfolk readers. Last week’s top 5 Norfolk Inbound Marketing Agency blog articles focused on content marketing, SEO, small businesses, the Apple iPad2, the Kindle Fire, advertising on Twitter, social media influencers and big businesses finally realizing that Inbound Marketing works.

    1. Google Is Telling Us SEO Is Nothing Without Content Marketing – Is Your Small Business Finally Listening?
    2. Apple Loses 14% Of Tablet Market Share To Amazon – Which Tablet Do You Prefer?
    3. Are You Ready to Advertise on Twitter?
    4. Does Your Business Reward Social Media Influencers Who Promote Your Brand?
    5. Inbound Marketing Works – Big Business Is Finally Realizing What Has Kept Small Business Alive – Just Ask Proctor & Gamble

    I hope you enjoyed these articles and found value in them for your business. I love hearing feedback from our readers, so if you’d like to share your thoughts on these articles, please feel free to leave us a comment below.

  • Apple was first to market with a tablet and because of that, they never looked back. When the iPad2 debuted, sales continued to roll in; no matter what the competition threw at it Apple’s sales never wavered.

    But, a new report released by the research firm IHS shows that Amazon had a huge Q4 in 2011 in shipments with its Kindle Fire. Amazon gained 14% of market share quarter over quarter as Apple’s market share dropped from 64% to 57% in the same time period.

    Does this mean that Amazon has finally made a product to match the iPad?

    The unknown variable to this equation is the release of the iPad3. It is rumored to release in the early spring of 2012 and many analysts project that Apple will be able to recapture lost market share with the newest version of the iPad. In the mean time, the truth remains that Amazon has made a serious dent in the tablet market.

    What do you think of the Kindle Fire? What is the best tablet on the market? Will you buy an iPad3? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think. As always, please feel free to share this with friends.

    Kindle Fireimage credit: Brian Sawyer on flickr

  • This month’s high profile cloud outage is brought to you by (rolls the dice) Apple’s Siri. Siri is the voice recognition feature of the new iPhone. Though the technology does not quite know everything (for instance, asking it “who did Alabama play last week” did not give me an answer), it is still eerily similar to Star Trek.

    But as great as the technology is, it uses the internet to perform the voice recognition and answer users’ questions and so it is subject to the same problems we have seen from other cloud-based services.

    Some of the other high profile cloud outages or interruptions we have seen include:

    • Google Apps and Gmail have suffered a number of outages over the years, most recently in February 2011. In September 2009, they had two separate outages, following other service outages in February 2009 and August 2008. Some of these outages affected only a small percentage of users (for example, .02% were affected by the 2011 outage) and Google reported that for 2010, they had 99.984% uptime, or an average of seven minutes of downtime per month.
    • Amazon’s EC2 cloud service suffered service interruptions in April 2011 and August 2011, affecting Netflix, Reddit, Twitter, and Foursquare, among others.
    • Microsoft’s new Office 365 service was disrupted for three hours in August 2011. Other Microsoft services suffered an outage in September.
    • Research in Motion, the maker of BlackBerry smartphones, suffered a global outage in October 2011, affecting millions of users.

    Even if you have not intentionally set out to use a cloud service, more than likely, you own a device that uses one. What is your plan if you lose access to your hosted Exchange account? What is your plan if you lose access to your Google-based documents? The cloud is still a relatively new technology and failures will happen. The moral of this story is the Scout MottoBe Prepared.

    Photo Credit: Andreas Jankowsky

  • One of the questions now facing businesses and organizations of all sizes is, “what should our cloud strategy be”.  That is something of a broad question.  After all, if you have a smart phone or a Gmail account or a JASE Marketing Manager account, you are already using at least one cloud-based solution.

    The term cloud computing actually encompasses a number of different fields – it refers generally to software that is delivered as a service over the internet instead of as a disc or download to be locally installed.

    There are at least three common kinds of cloud services that may be of interest to a business:

    1. Email and other office documents.  Google Apps and Office 365 are the two most well-known services.  Google Apps offers users Gmail, the Google Calendar, Google documents, and Google’s entire host of other services.  Office 365 offers a hosted version of Microsoft Exchange and Sharepoint.
    2. Storage space.  A hosting company provides file space that can be accessed through its API.  Some services, such as Microsoft’s Azure, provide a database platform or a platform for executing custom applications.
    3. Hosted applications.  For example, a CRM solution such as JASE Marketing Manager or Salesforce.com runs the service provider’s own software, which fills a business need.

    If you are skeptical about trusting a third party to store your important data, you are not alone.  Both Google and Amazon have experienced high-profile outages.  Government agencies, despite a White House policy favoring cloud usage, are balking at the thought of placing secure data in cyberspace with a target on it.

    In fairness, your data may not be any less secure in a cloud-based environment.  In fact, if your primary business is not data security, having it hosted by someone whose primary business is data security may very well be a good thing.

    So when considering your cloud strategy, we suggest the following:

    1. Look beyond the marketing buzzword – just because a solution markets itself as “cloud-based” doesn’t mean it is a panacea for all of life’s woes.  You want to know what services you are actually receiving, not just how something is branded.
    2. Ask what is your plan for if an outage occurs.  If you are using your own internal Exchange instance, even if you lose your internet connection, you can still get to old emails.  If your Exchange server crashes, you restore last night’s backup.  But what is your plan if your hosted service goes down?  What is your plan if someone accidentally deletes the customer database?  Do you have to submit a restore request that will take a week to load?
    3. Develop internal password and other security standards for your organization.  Even if Gmail is safe and secure, if your employees use “password123” as their password, it can be compromised.

    Our eBusiness team has extensive experience in the cloud for both business and personal use. Let’s talk about how you can use cloud computing in your organization.

    Photo credit: John Nyberg

  • Amazon's Success In Creating Referral Traffic Does Not Always Translate Into Small Business Success

    I read an interesting article from AdAge recently regarding Facebook marketing and what companies are doing wrong when it comes to their marketing strategies. The first point illustrated and the one that I want to focus on, is that of businesses “failure to look at the right data” and how many of these businesses are unaware of referral traffic that is being generated from Facebook. The article goes on to say that several large companies have done extremely well in creating referral traffic directly to their website and have seen an increase in sales. Amazon is the primary example explained, speaking to their mastery of Facebook and how 8% of their total traffic to their website for the month of October 2010 was due to Facebook, a 328% increase over previous year, leading up to $25 million in sales for that month.

    HOW DOES MY SMALL BUSINESS BENEFIT FROM THIS INFORMATION?

    Unfortunately, small businesses are limited on the benefits of these statistics. While large companies like Amazon or Netflix benefit from the generation of referral traffic of Facebook due to their verticals and immense brand following, it does little to pave the way for small business. The truth is, even though a small business may be in an online retail vertical, similar to  Amazon, odds are the impact of fans creating referral traffic from Facebook are not nearly as successful. Why? Because the level of fan engagement is not as immense as larger companies, for the simple reason they just do not have as many fans to create referral traffic.

    WHAT IS THE PLAN OF ACTION FOR MY SMALL BUSINESS?

    For as little ROI that is achievable, it is hard to justify to a small business owner to invest so heavily into Facebook marketing. The best solution available to small business  owners is the one that we have preached, and will continue to drive home, since day one … BLOG. Blogging is the best online marketing tool available to small business owners. A well written blog, distributed along the right channels (including Facebook), can drive more referral traffic to a site than any singular Facebook post.

    What is your company’s success rate with Facebook? How many impressions do you generate and how many people actually click through to your website? Leave us a Facebook comment below and let us know.

    Also, stay tuned to the JDM Blog for more tips on how to grow your small business.

    image credit: soumit on flickr

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  • Amazon's Web Strategy Continues To Drive It's Success

    I read a great article from Brian Halligan of HubSpot the other day about Amazon and the web strategies they have employed to make them the #7 overall most visited site in the world. This list of the top 10 websites for unique visitors is compiled by complete.com and has all the usual suspects in its list: Google, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, Bing, just to name a few.

    Listed at #7 is Amazon and in Halligan’s article he goes on to list 3 reasons why Amazon has succeeded with its current web strategy.

    1. Use the Crowd to Create “Segments of One” – Amazon makes your visit specific  to you with recommendations based on your history

    2. Create Tons of Content – Amazon has over 248,000,000 pages in Google’s Index, all with keyword SEO

    3. White Space is Over-Rated – Web design is not the most important issue, being effective is

    WHAT DOES THAT MEAN FOR MY SMALL BUSINESS?

    Well unless your business focuses around online retail, it wouldn’t make much sense to copy Amazon’s plan verbatim, but its web strategy does transition to all segments of business.

    “SEGMENTS OF ONE” – Retail or not, your use of landing pages is how you can mimic what Amazon does with their shopper interactivity. Having landing pages designated for each segment of traffic specializes the level of interactivity with your website. For example, if your visitor is coming to your website from a pay per click ad, have a specially designed landing page for that ad. This process associates that your speaking to them and not just funneling traffic to one generic landing page.

    CREATE TONS OF CONTENT” – Blog, blog, blog, blog, blog. You can never generate too much content for your website. Each time you create a piece of web content , i.e. a blog, video, white paper, you create an opportunity for customers to find you. Amazon has 248 million pages, you probably cannot create that many pages, but you can create content specific to you laced with SEO based keywords.

    “WHITE SPACE IS OVER-RATED” – Your website has to be specific to who you are as a business. Sure there are guidelines to designing a website, but everyone does not fit into a cookie cutter mold. Your website has to be an effective tool for the segment you live in. If you are an artist, a graphic designer, or an interior decorator, balancing white space takes away from your effectiveness to illustrate your talents, by trying to design a website that would work for a Wall Street Broker.

    How you interpret your web strategy for your small business will directly impact the success you receive from your website. Research will show you who your consumers are and what they are looking for, adjusting your web strategy accordingly will lead them to you.

    Website design is a talent that we pride ourselves on. Give us a shout and let’s talk about how website design and effective inbound marketing strategies can help generate business for your organization.

    image credit: dsearls on flickr

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