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Why Innovative Companies Recognize the Importance of Digital Marketing

A great marketing strategy is essential to businesses. Consequently, cutting-edge companies are wasting no time in positioning their brands online. Many brands have been slaying it online because they know the importance of digital marketing. For instance, Tesla is the third most mentioned car brand in Twitter, even surpassing classic brands such as Volkswagen, Chevrolet, and Mercedes Benz. Zappos, an e-commerce shoe company, is fast becoming a benchmark of online customer service. Their strategy was so customer-centric that their consumers are enthusiastically singing praises for the brand. Moreover, Uniqlo, a Japanese apparel company, wanted to position their brand as a technology company. Sending this message across was effectively done through a digital marketing campaign.

Here are the numbers to prove why going digital is a logical move. First, the rate of people moving towards the virtual and digital sphere has been steadily increasing. A survey conducted by USC Annenberg finds that 92% of Americans use the internet. This was from 67% in 2000 when the study was first started.

Additionally, the length of stay has also increased. Users spend a staggering 23.6 hours online per week. Consumer behavior online has changed dramatically as well. Eighty-three percent of respondents confirm that they made purchases online. In the year 2000, only 45% of the respondents confirmed making online purchases, and average monthly spending online is marked at $117 per month in 2016. Conversely, traditional purchases in retail stores were reduced to 75%. It is easy to see why physical retail stores are closing shop.

Digital + Social = New Normal

Consumers are turning to the internet for more information on products and services. A Nielsen report for 2015 shows active internet searches increased to 44% from 39% in 2012 and social media postings of product awareness moved from 15% in 2012 to 26% in 2015.

Simply put, a robust digital marketing strategy is a way to bring the brand closer to the market. However, one cannot just plunge into the digital marketing realm without proper planning. Here’s how your business can ace the digital marketing game:

  1. Be clear with your value proposition. Customers’ relationship with brands is determined by the value that they get with the price they pay. While this is generally the case, brands can take the driver seat in highlighting this value in the eyes of the customer. Take the case of Uber. Their value proposition – The Smartest Way To Get Around, succinctly underscores the brand’s key benefit, uber convenience.
  2. Content is king. The online sphere is an awesome space to let your consumers know about your product, your company’s core values, and mission-vision. Create content, articles, videos that are informative, engaging, wholesome and fun. TED Talks is a great example. Their mission to spread ideas has been their driving force in their online presence.
  3. Interact with your customers. Before the advent of the internet and digital technology, companies set up a customer service hotline or create focus group discussions to get feedback on products and services. Nowadays, the consumers have turned the tables around, customers speak and brands listen. Companies with stellar social media presence make use of these platforms to reach out to customers, hear feedback and engage in discussions. Brands even use social media to gather customer behaviors and spending habits to create a more effective marketing strategy. Take a look at Domino’s Pizza and their “Dom The Pizza Bot.”

Navigating the Social Media Waters

There are two ways to navigate the social media territory. One is to create a specialized team internally to focus on the company’s social media and digital marketing efforts. Enterprises and businesses with global reach are investing heavily on internet and social media presence to ensure that the brand can tap on the power of social media. Another route is to tap the expertise of highly-specialized firms to take care of the company’s digital marketing needs. While the business is focusing on strategies to grow, the business can leverage on the expertise of marketing firms to take care of customer interaction and engagement, optimizing brand searches, advertising and generating content that is in line with the company’s branding and core values.

production team working digital marketing and social media
Social media and digital marketing are said to be disrupting known business models.

Subsequently, this need for social media presence has generated new positions. Nowadays, there is a growing demand for creatives. Companies, therefore, are in search of writers and bloggers who can write informative and engaging copy to narrate the company’s brand identity. For video editors, web designers, graphic artists, and illustrators who can create compelling visual content for the product or service. Additionally, as businesses receive large amounts of data from social media and the web, the need for specialists to crunch on these numbers are increasing as well. Experts needed in this arena are Digital marketers, SEO Specialist, Business Managers, Data Engineers, and Scientists.

In conclusion, whether the business creates a team internally or engages a marketing firm to take care of the company’s social media efforts, the direction is clear. Social media and digital marketing will continue to create waves and disrupt known business models. Businesses must learn to ride the waves by upswelling trends.

Net Neutrality – A Bold Opinion

On December 14th, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, voted on whether or not to preserve Internet neutrality. The 3-2 FCC vote went along partisan lines in favor of eliminating existing rules for broadband Internet service providers. With that vote, net neutrality was relinquished. What once ensured open access to Internet content and parity in quality connections was no longer guaranteed. But the final word on Internet parity matters has yet to be made. Opposition to the FCC vote continues, and the ultimate outcome may be determined in a court of law. The following provides an overview of current net neutrality issues as well as a statement about why they matter.

Defining Net Neutrality Issues

Protect Internet Neutrality and net neutrality
Protect Internet Freedom

Prior FCC oversight required that Internet service providers supply comparable Internet services to all consumers. This meant individuals and businesses alike had access to equally fast Internet speeds, bandwidths, and content. In other words, Internet parity among users existed, and this came to be known as net neutrality. But with the removal of these FCC oversights, these safeguards are no longer in place. Broadband Internet service providers can preferentially provide some clients with faster services than others. Based on their own discretion, they can also determine if some content might be censored, blocked, or limited. With greater control in the hands of the large ISP corporations, net neutrality is no longer guaranteed.

Why Regulations Are Needed

In many instances, regulations and oversight can hinder markets and competition. But when it comes to Internet neutrality, this is not the case. The main issue stems from the fact that only a few telecommunications giants run the show. Corporations like Verizon, AT&T, Cox, and Comcast are often the only game in town for many wanting broadband Internet. Thus, the ability for competition to self-regulate Internet quality and services are limited. Likewise, knowing when services are being limited or censored is not always easy to tell. As a result, companies can get away with censorship or discriminatory practices without consumer awareness. Both of these issues concerning net neutrality require oversight and consumer protections.

Incentives to Undermine Net Neutrality

According to the FCC majority vote, the absence of oversight would not change anything. But this is highly unlikely. Major ISP corporations have tremendous incentives to undermine net neutrality. Certainly, profit motives exist where higher quality Internet services are provided to clients who will pay more for better services. This results in larger businesses with deeper pockets being able to take advantage of smaller businesses in their marketplaces. In addition, ISP corporations may choose to undermine net neutrality for their own advantage. Blocking damaging content, suppressing competitive offers, and hindering labor union communications are a few examples where net neutrality has been violated previously. Without regulations in place, these incentives go unchecked.

Opposition at Federal and State Levels

While the FCC is a federal agency with powers to regulate net neutrality issues, they are not completely without Congressional oversight. As part of the Congressional Review Act, Congress has the capacity to reverse agency regulation determinations. In May, the Senate voted to keep net neutrality, thus opposing the recent vote by the FCC. However, the chance that the House will support the Senate’s action is less likely. Hope still remains in this regard, however, as one way that Internet neutrality regulations could be reinstated.

The other federal level action, which is more likely, exists at the judicial level. In fact, twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have filed suit against the FCC vote. This decision remains at the level of the U.S. Appeals Court presently. Likewise, many states are actively pursuing state legislation to reintroduce net neutrality laws. Of course, major ISP corporations oppose this and are lobbying for the FCC’s capacity to preempt such state actions. But history is on the states’ side based on past judicial rulings. In fact, California will likely have such laws in place in the very near future.

Internet Neutrality and Business

Without question, a lack of oversight ensuring Internet neutrality poses threats to free speech and access to information. Likewise, the failure to regulate parity to information access invites discriminations and an uneven playing field in the market. These developments negatively affect consumers. But at the same time, they also have tremendous impacts on many businesses. Without equal access to information and Internet services, fair competition and organic market growth are handcuffed. In turn, this hinders creativity, innovation, and social advancement. For these reasons, net neutrality is essential for the health of the market and society. Ensuring its presence is one area where regulatory oversight is clearly needed to protect the common interests of all.

Does Your Business Have a Multi Cloud Strategy? Maybe It Should!

Using cloud-based services is not uncommon today. Nearly all businesses and most consumers take advantage of cloud computing technology. This is quite impressive since major cloud service providers have only been around a little more than a decade. Regardless, the cloud computing technology landscape is again changing. Rather than using a single cloud service provider, many businesses are pursuing a multi cloud strategy. In fact, roughly 85 percent of all technology firms employ a multi cloud strategy today. A variety of reasons account for these trends ranging from reduced costs to enhanced performance. And many firms are leveraging these benefits to gain competitive success in their markets. If your business has yet to adopt a multi cloud strategy, it might be time to reconsider.

Evolution of Cloud Computing Technology

Cloud Computing Stack Chart
Cloud Computing Stack

For a relatively recent industry, the cloud computing technology industry will soon exceed $500 billion. Amazon Web Services was among one of the first cloud service providers. Amazon was committed to providing a solid e-commerce platform as part of its primary business.

In doing so, Amazon repeatedly purchased larger and larger amounts of the computer infrastructure to support its growth. But rather than letting this infrastructure sit around idle while growth caught up, Amazon pursued a new venture. It began offering its infrastructure as a service to other businesses. This ushered in what is now the basis for modern-day cloud computing technology services.

In order to have a multi cloud strategy, one needs multiple cloud service providers. For a few years, Amazon was described as the best game in town. In fact, Amazon Web Services continues to dominate, owning about a third of the cloud services market. Based on its size, Amazon Web Services has provided quality cloud computing technology services for low cost. Their lower prices attract increasing numbers of customers to use their cloud computing services. Higher volumes of customers, and subsequently infrastructure purchases to support them, progressively drive down prices. As a result, Amazon Web Services has enjoyed a leadership position in the cloud computing technology market for some time. But this appears to be changing.

The Attraction of Cloud Computing Technology Services

Cloud-based services consist of three main options. The most basic services offered by cloud service providers are Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IaaS). Cloud computing technology providers provide networks, devices, and servers for businesses as part of its IaaS services. This contrasts with Platform-As-A-Service (PaaS0 where operating systems and databases are provided in the cloud. Likewise, this differs from Software-As-A-Service (SaaS), which provides applications and actual data services themselves. Many businesses utilize all three services, but this is not considered a multi cloud strategy. In these cases, businesses simply utilize a single cloud service provider to provide all the services needed.

Several reasons explained the popularity of using cloud-based services. Most notably, cloud computing technology services markedly lowered infrastructure costs for businesses. Instead of purchasing these systems, businesses can simply “rent” them through the cloud. In addition, cloud computing technology services accelerate the deployment of software applications for a business. And cloud services offer greater flexibility and adaptability in operations and strategies. All of these benefits of cloud computing technology services drive a growing industry.

The Growth of the Cloud Computing Technology Market

With growing competition in the cloud computing technology sector, the possibility for a multi cloud strategy has emerged. Over several years, many companies competed in cloud computing wars to gain greater market share. In addition to Amazon Web Services, other companies like IBM, SAP, and VMware made significant strides in the industry. But Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure have made the greatest impact as of late. In considering a multi cloud strategy, getting to know the major players in the industry can provide some necessary insights. All offer cloud computing technology services, but each is slightly different in their own way.

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft began offering cloud computing technology services in 2010 under the name Azure. Naturally, as the most powerful technology company in the world, Microsoft has tremendous infrastructure architecture. But Azure has approached cloud services in a different way from others. Azure has attracted businesses using hybrid cloud technologies. Hybrid cloud computing technology lets businesses enjoy the scalability of the public cloud. But at the same time, they may also choose to use private, local clouds. These hybrid cloud services are particularly attractive for businesses that need greater security and control.

Microsoft Azure offers businesses advantages in other ways as well. While other cloud computing technology companies charge by the second, Microsoft charges by the minute. Why is this important? Because Microsoft “rounds down” usage rates for each minute. For cloud-based services that require long connection times, this can result in significant savings. When considering a multi cloud strategy, a business might, therefore, choose to utilize Microsoft for some services. This could help reduce cloud computing technology costs further or enhance the security of data through hybrid cloud models.

Google Cloud Platform

Despite being a latecomer to the party in 2013, Google Cloud Platform has seen tremendous growth in the last couple of years. In part, this is because Google has one of the fastest and most secure cloud computing technology services available. For companies looking for global content delivery, Google boasts strong performance with broad regional coverage. International companies that offer or analyze streamed data may want to consider Google as part of their multi cloud strategy. Spotify and Netflix are examples of major companies who utilize Google’s cloud computing technology services for this reason. Speed and performance are notable assets for Google’s cloud-based services.

While these are notable reasons to include Google in your multi cloud strategy, these are not the only ones. Google is investing heavily in related technologies that could take cloud computing technology services to the next level. For example, Google is pursuing artificial intelligence and machine learning to further enhance cloud services in the future. Additionally, Google expects to use these technologies in relation to the Internet-of-Things (IoT). Unlike Microsoft who combines public and private cloud services, Google is all about public clouds. The company predicts that with the IoT and other developments, the use of the public cloud will boom.

Amazon Web Services

Despite increasing competition, Amazon Web Services remains the dominant player in the cloud computing technology sector. In 2018, Amazon Web Services will likely exceed $25 billion in revenues all by itself. Likewise, with its experience, Amazon cloud computing technology services are safe, reliable and affordable. And Amazon now offers 140 cloud services in 19 different categories. So, why would you need a multi cloud strategy if Amazon has it all? It all depends on the type of business you have and the cloud-based services you require. You might use Amazon for some services, but you may adopt a multi cloud strategy to meet other specific needs.

In some cases, businesses may not want to use Amazon simply for competition reasons. For example, Walmart and Target may choose to avoid Amazon’s cloud services because of their competition with Amazon’s retail arm.

Some firms may have conflicts using an Amazon division by the nature of their business offerings. In other instances, Amazon Web Services may not be the most affordable or the fastest for specific cloud-based needs. And most importantly, Amazon may not keep up with developments in cloud computing technology services. Amazon is lagging in new patent applications and cloud company acquisitions when compared to its competitors. Thus, you may choose to include other cloud service providers in your multi cloud strategy to stay current.

Third-Party Cloud Tools – A Major Reason for a Multi Cloud Strategy

While differences among companies highlight why a multi cloud strategy might be useful, other developments also deserve consideration. Unlike in the past, many platforms and applications are composed on microservices. What are microservices? Imagine a platform that offers a secure login, a chat box, and a search tool. Each of these is part of the platform or the application, but each operates independently. Microservices are used to alter these specific components when changes are needed rather than changing the entire application. These microservices exist in “containers,” which interact with one another through interfaces. These interfaces also allow different containers, and therefore microservices, to interact with different cloud service providers.

What is noteworthy is that dozens of third-party cloud tools now exist to handle these microservices. Naturally, cloud service providers want to accommodate these third-party cloud tools to attract customers. But each cloud service provider may be better or worse when it comes to a specific third-party cloud operation. Because this is becoming increasingly common, a multi cloud strategy may offer a competitive advantage for your business. Third-party cloud tools can provide a variety of microservices. These include security, container management, data integration, as well as performance monitoring services. Based on their function, you may decide a multi cloud strategy gives you the best chance for success.

Don’t Be Behind the Curve – Consider a Multi Cloud Strategy

A recent survey of technical professionals found that four out of five had a multi cloud strategy. In addition, the average cloud services leveraged in their multi cloud strategy was nearly five. Without question, cloud computing technology services are rapidly evolving. Likewise, companies providing cloud computing technology services are also expanding. As the offerings become more refined and complex, a multi cloud strategy makes logical sense. Though every cloud may have a silver lining, a multi cloud strategy might just bring you gold.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Accelerating in China

Ground-breaking transportation innovations are on the horizon. In July, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) inked a deal to build a hyperloop track in China. The Tongren prefecture is the anticipated location for the HTT track, and it is a project that has massive ramifications for the country, as well as for the transportation industry across the globe.

The Details of the Deal

In our previous reporting on Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, we introduced how the company will build a track that combines magnetic levitation and reduced-pressure tubes for an initial distance of 10 kilometers. The deal does not specify any areas or landmarks that will be covered, at least not this early in the development. Since foreign companies cannot operate in the country without a local partner, HTT will pair up with the Tongren government. The American company will be responsible for the design and engineering of the structure. The Tongren prefecture will be in charge of certifications, regulations, and construction. Financing is split evenly between the two.

China Hyperloop - Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
China Hyperloop – Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

The project will be built in the Guiyang Economic and Technological Development Zone, which was created in 2000 to encourage tech companies to invest in the region. Since then, the area has attracted tech giants like Microsoft, Huawei, Tencent, Foxconn, Qualcomm, and Alibaba.

Tongren is also a perfect place to build a high-speed train. It has a unique topography that will help HTT refine its construction methods, especially for challenging terrains. It also gives HTT a strong foothold in China, a nation that has high government spending on infrastructure.

How Does Hyperloop Work?

Many people ask, what is hyperloop transportation?

Hyperloop is a mode of passenger or freight transportation that uses maglev and vacuum technology instead of standard railway technology, transporting passengers and cargo at speeds reaching up to 1,000 kph. This brings airplane speeds to ground level, turning long-distance travel times from hours to minutes. The train has capsules to transport people, and they float on a frictionless magnetic cushion in tubes, which uses less energy and makes transportation silent and emission-free.

The tube is an important feature of the track and functions much like tubes that transport documents in banks and supermarkets. The capsules within a run at controlled and consistent speeds without expending energy to fight drag forces, such as friction. These capsules are also impervious to weather conditions and earthquakes.

In BOLD’s Exclusive interview with Dirk Ahlborn at the Synapse Summit, the HTT founder elaborated its bold steps in building the first ever full-scale hyperloop in the world. “Because it has no resistance, it’s a capsule hovering and much of the air’s out, it can go much, much faster. Roughly 760 miles per hour, which means on the trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco, roughly 36 minutes. Now, this has a benefit that you’re from the city center to city center in a very short timeframe.”

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has also developed a new material for capsule safety called Vibranium, which is eight times stronger than aluminum and ten times stronger than steel alternatives while remaining lighter than either material. In addition, the capsules utilize sensors that read and transmit important information on stability, temperature, and structural integrity.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies Competition

There are currently three companies bearing the name Hyperloop. Besides HTT, there is Virgin Hyperloop One, which in February proposed a 12-minute link between Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It recently announced that it has signed an agreement with Spain to construct a testing center in the Andalusian region. This is their first expansion in Europe.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX also has its own Hyperloop technology. It holds Hyperloop competitions for testing the speed of prototype pods and includes participants from universities from all over the world. These competitions help develop the next versions of Hyperloop pods.

Recent HTT Developments

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has made great headway in their various initiatives. In February, HTT signed its first US feasibility study for a Cleveland-to-Chicago route. Two months later, it opened its first global innovation center for logistics in Brazil. In the same month, HTT’s first full-scale Hyperloop began construction in Toulouse, France. It also announced a commercial Hyperloop system in the United Arab Emirates. In June, HTT signed an agreement for a commercial system in Ukraine.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies focuses on exceeding traveler expectations and providing an innovative, fast, safe and comfortable travel option for the whole world. As it is still fairly recent news, the partnership between HTT and China has yet to yield a detailed plan. But based on recent developments within the company, there will be important updates in the coming months. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is creating a driver for growth in China and redefining traveling for millions of people worldwide.

And, interestingly enough, the company uses crowdsourcing to power its business.