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IDG Ventures sell stakes in Flipkart

The Economic Times

BENGALURU: Investment firms Helion Venture Partners and IDG Ventures India have sold stakes in Flipkart in deals that value India’s largest online retailer at $12.5 billion (Rs 77,000 crore), according to two people involved in the deals.

Helion, which got a stake in the Bengaluru-based company by virtue of its investment in online electronics retailer LetsBuy that was acquired by Flipkart in 2012, has sold its entire stake of 0.2 per cent, estimated to be worth Rs 156 crore. IDG Ventures, which entered Flipkart through fashion portal Myntra that was bought last year, has shed a portion of its holding of 1 per cent by selling stake worth nearly Rs 940 crore last month. IDG still holds about 0.9 per cent stake in Flipkart.

ET could not independently ascertain the buyers in both these transactions. Last month, ET was the first to report that Flipkart was seeking a valuation of $15 billion as it prepares the ground for a fresh round of fund-raising led by its largest investor Tiger Global.

Helion declined comment on the developments while IDG Ventures and Flipkart did not respond to email queries.

Industry experts are of the view that the stake sales are happening at a time funding cycles are expected to taper off in India’s redhot ecommerce sector, where the top three firms mopped up nearly Rs 31,000 crore ($5 billion) of funding in 2014.

Flipkart, founded by former Amazon employees Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, saw its valuation leapfrog from Rs 16,120 crore ($2.6 billion) in May 2014 to about Rs 68,000 crore ($11 billion) by December when it raised $700 million led by Steadview Capital. It is now aiming to raise Rs 10,500 crore ($1.7 billion) through this year, with Tiger Global expected to lead the investment.

The company is aiming to sell goods worth $8 billion in 2014-15 and competes against Amazon and Snapdeal.

“Valuations aren’t going in those crazy multiples anymore,” said one person directly involved in the stake sale.

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Not All Social Media Platforms are Equal – How to Pick the Ones That Work for You

Soshable

Launching a new business? Or promoting an existing one? Either way, my guess is that social media figures pretty high on your priority list when it comes to marketing your brand.

Over 70% of all online adults in the United States have a Facebook account. For the first time ever, 56% of senior citizens are on social media. That figure stands at 89% for young ’uns, or users from 18 to 29 years of age. The millennial generation, consisting of young adults born between 1980 to 2000 and accounting for nearly 30% of the US population, see social media as their primary means of connecting with brands. Over half of them claim that “social opinions” directly influence their purchase decisions.

So we all agree that being on social media is unavoidable if you want to be relevant to today’s consumer.

With the explosion of social media platforms, the question now arises, “which social media platforms will give me actual results?” And this, my friends, is the most sensible place to begin your social media journey.

Research Your Options

The first step to social media success lies in being active on the right platforms and engaging with your target audience in the form that they prefer best. But before you make a choice of which platform would work for your business, you need to first figure out what each platform has to offer you and then proceed by eliminating the least attractive ones.

Before we analyze each platform’s pros and cons, let’s see where they all stand with respect to each other.

The data above clearly shows Facebook as the leader in terms of number of users, followed by LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter – in that order. This data also shows us how in a matter of a couple of years, Twitter has gone from being the third largest network to a lowly number five. At the same time, we see Facebook stagnating in its usage figures in the last year with a barely-there upward blip in 2013.

Let’s arm ourselves with some more facts about the top five social networks before we decide which ones work best for our business.

Facebook offers brands the widest possible reach – with 1.34 billion active users per month, Facebook is light-years ahead of competition. As a platform it is marginally more popular with women than men, it’s also more popular among Hispanics and Whites as compared to African Americans. A trend that has been accelerating in recent years is the exodus of teens from the site with 3 million teens dropping off in the last three years.

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5 innovative ideas for digital journalism from Build The News

Journalism.co.uk

The third edition of Build The News, a two-day hackathon organised by The Times and Sunday Times, took place last weekend at the News UK offices in London. Around a hundred talented developers and student journalists brought innovative ideas and prototypes to the table, competing for both the student and staff categories.

The three topics proposed by the organisers before the event were: interaction – if news organisations are getting rid of comments, how can readers be engaged?; social sources – how to ensure UGC is fairly credited; and context – how to explain to readers the wider situation and context around a certain story.

Participating teams tackled not only these categories, but many others. Here are five ideas developed and presented at Build The News:

Interactive Debate

May’s General Election is fast approaching and news organisations are looking for creative and interactive ways of engaging their audiences. The hackathon’s winning team developed a tool that can be easily applied to this particular event, but also to other types of video interviews.

Once given a video, the system generates a transcription, identifies the speakers and provides a written summary of the keywords and main topics discussed. Interactive Debate also uses natural language processing and sentiment analysis software to identify the emotional charge of the participants.

The tool can also serve journalists by providing an analytics dashboard of viewers’ engagement with the content, from most viewed to most shared or commented on.

“I have a long-standing interest in working with transcriptions”, said Pietro Passarelli, one of the team members and current MSc Computer Science student at University College London. “Having worked in the media industry on broadcast documentaries, I am always considering ways in which to make the process easier, faster and more insightful”.

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Amazon’s Dash Is The New Product You Need

Wall Street Journal

Amazon introduced a product on Tuesday so crazy we thought that it was an early April Fools’ joke. It’s the Dash Button, a plastic single-function controller the size of a pack of gum. Each button bears a different brightly colored product logo. Push the button, and soon that product arrives at your door.

In the video that accompanied Amazon’s announcement, there are Dash Buttons for Gatorade, Kraft mac and cheese, Glad trash bags, Gillette razors, Cottonelle toilet paper, Clorox Wipes, Huggies diapers and Tide detergent, and about a dozen other brands are also now partnered with Amazon. The online retailer expects that you’ll place the buttons around your home—in your pantry, on your washing machine and even inside of your fridge.

It might seem like a gag, but the Dash Button is not a hoax. Amazon is asking Amazon Prime subscribers to request an invite into the program. If accepted, you’d get to request a set of branded buttons at no added cost.

The buttons mount with an adhesive strip on the back, or fit into a plastic clip. You set up the buttons using the Amazon mobile shopping app, connecting them to your home Wi-Fi network and assigning the specific products and the quantities you’ll want to receive with each click. When the button is clicked, you get a smartphone notification, and you can cancel that order within a half hour. And if somebody in your house pushes the Gatorade button 15 times, you won’t get 15 orders—just one (or none, if an order is already on its way to you).

 

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Facebook’s New App That Will Make Video Content HUGE

Quartz

Facebook has rolled out a new app that lets friends (and subsequently their network of friends and so on) add clips to an ongoing video focused on a single topic—April Fool’s Day, for instance. It’s potentially a game-changer for advertisers on the social network, which eventually could use the app to engage directly with consumers. And it’s another example of Facebook’s growing emphasis on video.

It’s easy to envision how the new app, Riff, might have been used during last year’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which over the course of three months generated more than 17 million videos posted on Facebook while raising awareness and money to fight Lou Gehrig’s disease.

The video-driven campaign contributed to the huge increase in the number of video posts on Facebook last year—up 94% in the US and 75% globally. In January, the company said that video views on the social network had reached 3 billion a day. “If you go back five years ago, a lot of Facebook was primarily text, right, and a little bit of photos,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors. “Now, I think the primary mode that people are using to share is photos, and I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future that shifted more and more towards videos.”

Facebook’s challenge is getting users to see the value of Riff. The few companies that have ventured into this niche haven’t seen major success. JumpCam, for instance, ranks No. 1,346 in the App Store’s social networking category, according to App Annie. CompetitorsMixBitCollabraCam, and Vyclone haven’t fared much better in the rankings.

But Facebook is pressing on with its video efforts—at its developer conference last week it announced plans to bring immersive videos with 360° perspective to the social network and its virtual-reality platform, Oculus.

“What really matters is that consumers are using video on Facebook, because that gives us an opportunity, one, to provide a great consumer experience, but two, to have ads match that consumer experience,” chief operating office Sheryl Sandberg said on the company’s most recent quarterly earnings call. “If there wasn’t consumer video on Facebook, video ads in your news feed would be very jarring.”

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Join The IDG Contributor Network!

IDG Enterprise—the leading enterprise technology media company composed of CIO, Computerworld, CSO, DEMO, InfoWorld, ITworld and Network World—has accepted more than 100 technology experts into the IDG Contributor Network. Launched in June 2014, the IDG Contributor Network provides a platform for technology and security practitioners and experts to share their expertise on the most pressing technology topics—both broad and niche—with their peers through blog posts on IDG Enterprise’s branded sites.

Technology decision-makers often reference peers as a top source of information. This was reconfirmed in the 2014 IDG Enterprise Role & Influence study, highlighting that peers and technology content sites are the top information resources relied on by IT leaders to help them be effective in their role. The IDG Contributor Network unites these two tremendous resources and encourages individuals working in the IT trenches, analysts, researchers, authors, professors and other experts to share their knowledge.

“Technology is transforming business at a breakneck speed. By adding this opportunity for peer voices to our established sites, the IDG Contributor Network provides unique perspectives on technology and leadership issues. We have been very impressed with the blog posts shared by our contributors,” said Joyce Carpenter, director of the IDG Contributor Network, IDG US Media. “As we look to expand the number of contributors to make the IDG Contributor Network one of the largest and most robust communities of tech writers, we encourage individuals who have technology expertise to share to apply.”

 

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CMOs Focus More On Tech To Automate Media Decisions

MediaPost

Blake Cahill, global head of digital and social marketing at Philips, manages more than 70 marketing technologies.

He is one of a growing number of marketing heads becoming inundated with technology as media silos crumble and data integrates to support cross-channel and cross-device marketing and advertising.

“Just in the customer relationship management sector, we have three or four major pieces of technology, and then underneath another three or four to manage the customer data,” Cahill said. “In the social space, we have about seven or eight pieces of technology to help with social listening, publishing, and analytics.”

Cahill is looking at technology investments to better automate media decisions and ecommerce, because as the company builds more Internet-connected products, consumers will purchase service contracts from the brand, rather than third parties like Amazon. He is also looking at adding technology around affiliate and media marketing as it relates to the triangle between search engine optimization, social optimization, and ad-serving.

For years, Gartner has been touting the majority shift in spend on technology from CIOs to CMOs. Cahill references the research firm’s forecast, which suggests that within the next few years, marketing will see CMOs spend more on new digital technology than CIOs. Not at Philips, he said, admitting that it depends on the company.

“It may be true if you’re a start-up like Uber and the model is built around marketing and customer engagement, but if you’re a larger company with an established infrastructure, the statement isn’t necessarily true,” Cahill said. “Marketing departments are making massive investments in technology to drive customer relationships and media.”

Gartner estimates that the average B2C relies on more than 50 applications and technologies to support marketing. By 2018, CIOs who build strong relationships with CMOs will drive a 25% improvement in return on marketing technology investment.

 

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Amazon Goes After Dropbox, Google, Microsoft With Unlimited Cloud Drive Storage

TechCrunch

Last year, Amazon gave a boost to its Prime members when it launched a free, unlimited photo storage for them on Cloud Drive. Today, the company is expanding that service as a paid offering to cover other kinds of content, and to users outside of its loyalty program. Unlimited Cloud Storage will let users get either unlimited photo storage or “unlimited everything” — covering all kinds of media from videos and music through to PDF documents — respectively for $11.99 or $59.99 per year.

And those who want to test drive it can do so for free for three months.

The move is a clear attempt by Amazon to compete against the likes of Dropbox, Google, Microsoft and the many more in the crowded market for cloud-based storage services. It’s not the first to offer “unlimited” storage, but it looks like it’s the first to market this as a service to anyone who wants it. Dropbox, for example, offers unlimited storage as part of Dropbox for Business, Google also aims unlimited options currently at specific verticals, with its enterprise version, Drive for Work, its closest competitor; Microsoft also offers a business user-focused service for those who subscribe to Office 365.

The idea here is to tap into the average consumer who has started to reach a tipping point with the amount of digital media he or she now owns, potentially across a range of devices and in not a very organised fashion (hello, me).

“Most people have a lifetime of birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday moments stored across numerous devices. And, they don’t know how many gigabytes of storage they need to back all of them up,” said Josh Petersen, Director of Amazon Cloud Drive, in a statement. “With the two new plans we are introducing today, customers don’t need to worry about storage space–they now have an affordable, secure solution to store unlimited amounts of photos, videos, movies, music, and files in one convenient place.”

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What makes a top brand video on Facebook and YouTube

DIGIday

Brands are taking Facebook video as seriously as YouTube. But what performs well on each platform differs, according to new data from digital video analytics company Tubular.

For a second week running, Air France’s “France is in the air” video soared on YouTube, racking up more than 17.8 million views on the platform from March 14 to March 20. That makes the playful, 45-second spot the current top brand video on YouTube. On Facebook, meanwhile, a clip from Marvel’s upcoming “Avengers: Age of Ultron” film topped the charts, attracting 9.4 million views between its Thursday upload date and the end of Friday.

“There was obviously significant spend behind [the Air France video], because you see there was only a tiny amount of [likes, comments and shares],” said Allison Stern, vp of enterprise at Tubular Labs. More paid promotion leads to a lower engagement rate, she said.

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Top Tips On How To Prioritize Big Data

IDG Connect 0811 Top Tips On How To Prioritize Big Data

Nikhil Govindaraj is Vice President of Product at Moxie where he is responsible for all aspects of product management, product design and strategy. Nikhil has more than 15 years of experience in CRM, enterprise collaboration and multi-channel contact centres.

Nikhil shares his tips on how businesses can harness big data to enhance the customer experience.

For many companies, “big data” has become a must-have strategic tool to win more business and outsmart the competition. In particular, consumer retail businesses rely on the data they have collected about their customers to deliver everything from personalised advertising campaigns to new products that precisely target each individual’s interests.

Unfortunately, many companies make the mistake of using big data to solely focus on the “buy” side of the business, but the most successful retailers understand that the overall customer experience is just as important as the sale itself.  These companies leverage big data throughout the customer journey and during every engagement in an effort to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and, yes, purchases.

These are five key ways your company can harness big data to enhance the customer journey.

1. Deliver the In-Store “Human Touch” Online with Digital Cues

Physical stores have one great advantage: Sales staff and customers engage face-to-face. This gives sales associates the opportunity to “read” customers, using visual data cues to make judgments about how best to approach a customer, such as how long someone has been comparing two products. Armed with this information, sales associates tailor their treatment to customers’ needs to best assist them with purchases. And it works—conversion rates for stores range from 10 percent for apparel to 100 percent for groceries, outpacing Internet conversion rates of just 1-3 percent (Deloitte).

When it comes to online stores, companies have focused on driving prospects to their websites, but then letting them wander around the site without any assistance or guidance. It’s one of the main reasons conversion rates have remained abysmally low. Online brands need to emulate the in-store experience by using digital cues to identify when a customer would benefit from attention to complete a transaction. For example, did the customer get an error message when processing a payment? If so, immediately offer a live chat session with an agent to help the customer solve the problem and complete the purchase.

Read More Tips Here…