The Most Valuable Time To Build Relationships With Customers: Post-Sale

Shelly Kramer

When it comes to customers, are marketers better served focusing on acquisition or retention? And what’s the proper balance of each?

Any marketer worth his or her salt knows that the most valuable customers, and your biggest source of business growth, lies with your current customers. As such, the most valuable time to build relationships with your customers is post-sale. Think about it: A current customer has already said yes. They already trust you. They trusted you enough to buy, anyway. Focusing on those customers post-sale is without question, the most important part of developing an ongoing relationship with them, and it’s not at all hard to do. Let’s explore.

The case for customer retention

When it comes to customer retention, marketers are historically short-sighted, as are their counterparts on the sales team. While acquisition has traditionally dominated retention as it relates to marketing strategy focus, in fact the statistical evidence points firmly towards a solid retention strategy as delivering the best ROI. The fact that we’re still talking about this amazes me: I remember learning this in my earliest days in marketing—in fact, it’s pretty much Marketing 101. Yet we still see sales teams chasing new customers and marketing teams equally focused on acquisition as well.

Consider the stats laid out in this infographic from Retention Science:

Retention-Science-Infographic

As you can see, existing customers are the veritable foundation upon which you should build your business. They have the potential to create more sales and make a greater contribution to profits, all at a lower cost to the business than what you will spend attracting new prospects. What’s not to like about that? And why the heck aren’t more marketers concentrating on customer retention strategies? Here are three things that might explain why:

  • It’s easier (and more exciting) for both sales teams and marketers to focus on drumming up new business.
  • A customer retention strategy takes time to produce returns and marketing departments (and sales teams) are under constant pressure to produce short-term results.
  • The return on investment for customers over the long-term is harder to measure than new customer sales and, therefore, harder to justify.

The importance of understanding your customer lifetime value (CLV)

For those who understand the value of retention (or who want to), embracing a customer lifetime value (CLV) mindset is key. CLV is a model that takes a long-term view of customers, estimating the value of future cash flows, and not just historical sales. It’s a complex subject that I’m not going to get into here in detail, but if you want to explore this more fully, I highly recommend you read Avinash Kaushik’s Guide to Calculating Customer Lifetime Value. I love his blog, and his big brain, and once you read this guide, I predict you’ll be likewise enamored. More importantly, thinking about CLV as he breaks it down will help you as you create your own customer retention strategies.

The point is that while the majority of companies see value in CLV as a concept, only a minority report that they are able to put it into action. According to an Econsultancy study more than three-quarters of companies (76 percent) considered CLV to be important, but less than half (42 percent) actually said that they were able to measure it. Worse still, just 11 percent said that they “strongly agree” that they could measure CLV, meaning that a mere one in every ten companies would appear to have fully grasped the concept.

CLV chart Graphic source: econsultancy.com

Customer retention strategies: How to build post-sale relationships

So if I’ve managed to convince you about the importance of this, please know that an effective customer retention strategy does not mean sending random email blasts to your new customers focused solely on generating interest and more sales. You need a communication strategy with this customer base that delivers ongoing value post-sale and continues to build trust and credibility. You don’t need to constantly be selling them, but you do need to be touching them on a regular basis so that you don’t become just another commodity. There are myriad things you can do, including:

  • Provide memorable customer service. That means empowering your front line staff (online or off) with real time customer information, so that questions can be answered and issues resolved without delay. You want to be proactive, rather than reactive, and build good relationships by meeting—even exceeding, where possible—customer expectations.
  • Listen and learn. Encouraging feedback from customers, both positive and negative, is a great way to understand their likes and dislikes, as well as their needs and wants. Monitoring reviews and social commentary on your brand can provide invaluable insights into what customers are looking for.
  • Everybody likes attention. Feature your customers, and their stories in your eNewsletter and/or by way of short video interviews that can live on both your website and your YouTube channel.
  • Reward loyalty. Build strong loyalty programs that reward ongoing business. Customers may like patronizing your business, but they’ll like you even more if you reward them from time to time for being a great customer. This is easy to do, and can be very cost effective, yet go a long way toward establishing strong relationships.
  • Remember that referrals are a gift. A referral from a satisfied customer is the best kind of gift—don’t take that for granted. Don’t forget to establish referral programs that reward customers for sending you business.
  • Pay attention, pay it forward. Find and follow your customers in social media channels. Share their stories, support their marketing efforts, introduce them to your other customers. Relationships are a two-way street, so remembering that, and putting that into action can go a long way toward building customer relationships that are long and mutually beneficial. Social media makes that easy.

How to not be a commodity: Educate them about your other offerings

Once you’ve got the relationship-building part under control and in process, know that you do need to continue to touch and educate your customers about the other things you do and sell and how you might serve them. As an example, we once had a customer who sold aluminum bleachers to schools and community centers. When I asked about what happened after the sale, our client said that the last contact with a customer was a “your product has shipped” email notification, and that was that.

What they weren’t taking into consideration is that their clients largely found them online, and once the sale was over, they risked being forgotten by customers who might not remember where they purchased. Those same customers, however, might also need things like gym flooring, soccer goals, basketball goals and nets, or pool equipment. But they weren’t staying in touch in any way at all with those customers after their initial purchase, nor were they making any effort to let those customers know other ways they could be of service, thus making those other sales largely impossible. We changed that, and guess what? They sold more stuff as a result.

Whatever tools and tactics you use to develop a retention strategy, it should be built around one clear goal: Building a post-sale relationship with every single customer is the key to business growth and profitability. Court new customers for sure, but don’t ever lose sight of how valuable your existing customer base is. And make sure your marketing efforts are designed to keep those existing customers top-of-mind.

What loyalty and retention strategies do you employ for your business or for your clients? What do you have to add to the list above? I’d love to hear what’s working for you and any lessons you’ve learned along the way.

 

This article was originally seen on The MarketingScope.

The post The Most Valuable Time to Build Relationships With Customers: Post-Sale appeared first on Millennial CEO.

Photo Credit: Polycart via Compfight cc

Comments

5 Tips To Help Improve Your Local Search Marketing Campaign

Jonathan Long

Local search marketing should be a major focal point of every small businesses marketing woman creates local search marketing campaignstrategy. The number of mobile searches continues to increase at an alarming rate, making it extremely important that your business is easily found on mobile devices. Smartphones provide consumers with convenient access to information on the go, and the browsing speed on mobile devices now rival the speeds of home based internet connections.

The search engines are constantly releasing new updates and algorithm changes in order to deliver their users the most accurate and “useful” results related to the search. For example, if a consumer located in Dallas, Texas is looking for an accountant and types “Dallas accounting firm” into their mobile phone’s search engine it makes perfect sense that all of the results will be accountants located in Dallas, correct? An accountant located in Houston isn’t going to be much value to that consumer.

So, what can accountants in Dallas, and businesses all over the country do to position their company at the top of local search results? These 5 local search marketing tips can help a business improve their local search results:

1.  Onsite optimization and smart keyword research

Choosing the right keywords is a key part of the local SEO process. Every business needs to identify the keywords that will result in bringing the highest quality visitors to the website and then result in conversions.

Keyword research involves a lot of common sense. We can use the same local Dallas accounting firm above as an example. If they specialized in corporate and business tax then the keyword “Dallas personal accountant” is not a good keyword to target, as it will bring in clients looking for a personal accountant. You want to target keywords that are specific to the practice area(s) or related to the products and/or services that the business sells. Highly targeted website visitors have a greater chance of converting into a consultation, client, website action, or sale. Ultimately, the correct keyword selection can bring in a lot of revenue for the business when optimized correctly.

Once the best search terms and phrases are selected it is time to make sure that the website is optimized for those keywords. You always want to use keywords naturally in the title, description, header tags, and website content. Using the same example as above we will focus on the page title. An acceptable title tag that includes the main keyword would be “(Accounting Firm Name): Dallas Accounting Firm 1-800-XXX-XXXX,” as it uses the main keyword in a natural and non-spammy manner.

2.  Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local

Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local are the three most important local business directory listings. The information in a local listing is what appears at the top of the search results, referenced next to the maps. Every local business should strive to be listed at the top of the local listings. Several businesses do have their local page profiles created but they are not properly optimized, causing them to miss out of a large amount of organic website traffic.

It is important to fully complete all of these local listings, and as simple as it founds it is the number one reason businesses are not ranking as high as they could be locally. Complete all sections and make sure to upload videos and pictures to the listing. Complete a very thorough business description and make sure to include your keyword in the description in a non-spammy way. Confirm that all of the contact details are exactly like they appear on the website contact page. Something as simple as leaving off an office suite can impact the rankings. It is also important to verify the listings as well. Once completed a verification card will be sent to the business with a special pin code to input in order to complete the verification.

3.  Local SEO weight of “reviews” increasing

It was just announced that yahoo will now include Yelp reviews in their local listings, something that Bing recently started doing as well. Reviews are going to continue to have an increasing impact on local search results.

If your business provides great service then don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. The odds of them doing this are increased if you make it easy for them to find these review websites. It is a good idea to create a gateway page on your website with access to all of your local pages that allow reviews. It is very easy to set up a marketing campaign that follows up with customers and gives them the option to leave their reviews through a portal on your own website.

4.   Business directory listing’s NAP accuracy

If the search engines discover your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the internet on various business directory websites they will begin to assign more authority to that company. The name of the game is quality and not quantity. Several search marketing companies will blast the businesses NAP all over low quality directory listings and the search engines will consider that to be spammy and it can actually impact the rankings in a negative way.

Use the same exact format across every directory that you submit to, and only focus on the top listings such as Yelp, Bing, yahoo, Google, FourSquare, YP, etc. Paying attention to details such as address formatting are very important.

5.   Social signals and links

Building links is always going to be a factor when it comes to ranking high in search results, but it is important to remember that link building is not a numbers game anymore. The most effective link is a natural link, and creative content marketing is a great way to obtain natural links. Every business should have a blog on the site that is updated on a regular basis. Give your readers useful content and they will naturally share it for you. Sharing your blog posts across Facebook and Twitter creates valuable social signals that the search engines like to see.

These simple 5 tips can help your website increase its traffic. It takes time and the search engines reward high quality sites, so focus on quality and don’t be in a rush. Some businesses will concentrate on building a large amount of links to the website and end up getting their website penalized. Create a website for your visitors and use the above tips to further optimize it for the search engines.

Comments

5 Tips To Help Improve Your Local Search Marketing Campaign

Jonathan Long

Local search marketing should be a major focal point of every small businesses marketing woman creates local search marketing campaignstrategy. The number of mobile searches continues to increase at an alarming rate, making it extremely important that your business is easily found on mobile devices. Smartphones provide consumers with convenient access to information on the go, and the browsing speed on mobile devices now rival the speeds of home based internet connections.

The search engines are constantly releasing new updates and algorithm changes in order to deliver their users the most accurate and “useful” results related to the search. For example, if a consumer located in Dallas, Texas is looking for an accountant and types “Dallas accounting firm” into their mobile phone’s search engine it makes perfect sense that all of the results will be accountants located in Dallas, correct? An accountant located in Houston isn’t going to be much value to that consumer.

So, what can accountants in Dallas, and businesses all over the country do to position their company at the top of local search results? These 5 local search marketing tips can help a business improve their local search results:

1.  Onsite optimization and smart keyword research

Choosing the right keywords is a key part of the local SEO process. Every business needs to identify the keywords that will result in bringing the highest quality visitors to the website and then result in conversions.

Keyword research involves a lot of common sense. We can use the same local Dallas accounting firm above as an example. If they specialized in corporate and business tax then the keyword “Dallas personal accountant” is not a good keyword to target, as it will bring in clients looking for a personal accountant. You want to target keywords that are specific to the practice area(s) or related to the products and/or services that the business sells. Highly targeted website visitors have a greater chance of converting into a consultation, client, website action, or sale. Ultimately, the correct keyword selection can bring in a lot of revenue for the business when optimized correctly.

Once the best search terms and phrases are selected it is time to make sure that the website is optimized for those keywords. You always want to use keywords naturally in the title, description, header tags, and website content. Using the same example as above we will focus on the page title. An acceptable title tag that includes the main keyword would be “(Accounting Firm Name): Dallas Accounting Firm 1-800-XXX-XXXX,” as it uses the main keyword in a natural and non-spammy manner.

2.  Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local

Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local are the three most important local business directory listings. The information in a local listing is what appears at the top of the search results, referenced next to the maps. Every local business should strive to be listed at the top of the local listings. Several businesses do have their local page profiles created but they are not properly optimized, causing them to miss out of a large amount of organic website traffic.

It is important to fully complete all of these local listings, and as simple as it founds it is the number one reason businesses are not ranking as high as they could be locally. Complete all sections and make sure to upload videos and pictures to the listing. Complete a very thorough business description and make sure to include your keyword in the description in a non-spammy way. Confirm that all of the contact details are exactly like they appear on the website contact page. Something as simple as leaving off an office suite can impact the rankings. It is also important to verify the listings as well. Once completed a verification card will be sent to the business with a special pin code to input in order to complete the verification.

3.  Local SEO weight of “reviews” increasing

It was just announced that yahoo will now include Yelp reviews in their local listings, something that Bing recently started doing as well. Reviews are going to continue to have an increasing impact on local search results.

If your business provides great service then don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. The odds of them doing this are increased if you make it easy for them to find these review websites. It is a good idea to create a gateway page on your website with access to all of your local pages that allow reviews. It is very easy to set up a marketing campaign that follows up with customers and gives them the option to leave their reviews through a portal on your own website.

4.   Business directory listing’s NAP accuracy

If the search engines discover your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the internet on various business directory websites they will begin to assign more authority to that company. The name of the game is quality and not quantity. Several search marketing companies will blast the businesses NAP all over low quality directory listings and the search engines will consider that to be spammy and it can actually impact the rankings in a negative way.

Use the same exact format across every directory that you submit to, and only focus on the top listings such as Yelp, Bing, yahoo, Google, FourSquare, YP, etc. Paying attention to details such as address formatting are very important.

5.   Social signals and links

Building links is always going to be a factor when it comes to ranking high in search results, but it is important to remember that link building is not a numbers game anymore. The most effective link is a natural link, and creative content marketing is a great way to obtain natural links. Every business should have a blog on the site that is updated on a regular basis. Give your readers useful content and they will naturally share it for you. Sharing your blog posts across Facebook and Twitter creates valuable social signals that the search engines like to see.

These simple 5 tips can help your website increase its traffic. It takes time and the search engines reward high quality sites, so focus on quality and don’t be in a rush. Some businesses will concentrate on building a large amount of links to the website and end up getting their website penalized. Create a website for your visitors and use the above tips to further optimize it for the search engines.

Comments

5 Tips To Help Improve Your Local Search Marketing Campaign

Jonathan Long

Local search marketing should be a major focal point of every small businesses marketing woman creates local search marketing campaignstrategy. The number of mobile searches continues to increase at an alarming rate, making it extremely important that your business is easily found on mobile devices. Smartphones provide consumers with convenient access to information on the go, and the browsing speed on mobile devices now rival the speeds of home based internet connections.

The search engines are constantly releasing new updates and algorithm changes in order to deliver their users the most accurate and “useful” results related to the search. For example, if a consumer located in Dallas, Texas is looking for an accountant and types “Dallas accounting firm” into their mobile phone’s search engine it makes perfect sense that all of the results will be accountants located in Dallas, correct? An accountant located in Houston isn’t going to be much value to that consumer.

So, what can accountants in Dallas, and businesses all over the country do to position their company at the top of local search results? These 5 local search marketing tips can help a business improve their local search results:

1.  Onsite optimization and smart keyword research

Choosing the right keywords is a key part of the local SEO process. Every business needs to identify the keywords that will result in bringing the highest quality visitors to the website and then result in conversions.

Keyword research involves a lot of common sense. We can use the same local Dallas accounting firm above as an example. If they specialized in corporate and business tax then the keyword “Dallas personal accountant” is not a good keyword to target, as it will bring in clients looking for a personal accountant. You want to target keywords that are specific to the practice area(s) or related to the products and/or services that the business sells. Highly targeted website visitors have a greater chance of converting into a consultation, client, website action, or sale. Ultimately, the correct keyword selection can bring in a lot of revenue for the business when optimized correctly.

Once the best search terms and phrases are selected it is time to make sure that the website is optimized for those keywords. You always want to use keywords naturally in the title, description, header tags, and website content. Using the same example as above we will focus on the page title. An acceptable title tag that includes the main keyword would be “(Accounting Firm Name): Dallas Accounting Firm 1-800-XXX-XXXX,” as it uses the main keyword in a natural and non-spammy manner.

2.  Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local

Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local are the three most important local business directory listings. The information in a local listing is what appears at the top of the search results, referenced next to the maps. Every local business should strive to be listed at the top of the local listings. Several businesses do have their local page profiles created but they are not properly optimized, causing them to miss out of a large amount of organic website traffic.

It is important to fully complete all of these local listings, and as simple as it founds it is the number one reason businesses are not ranking as high as they could be locally. Complete all sections and make sure to upload videos and pictures to the listing. Complete a very thorough business description and make sure to include your keyword in the description in a non-spammy way. Confirm that all of the contact details are exactly like they appear on the website contact page. Something as simple as leaving off an office suite can impact the rankings. It is also important to verify the listings as well. Once completed a verification card will be sent to the business with a special pin code to input in order to complete the verification.

3.  Local SEO weight of “reviews” increasing

It was just announced that yahoo will now include Yelp reviews in their local listings, something that Bing recently started doing as well. Reviews are going to continue to have an increasing impact on local search results.

If your business provides great service then don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. The odds of them doing this are increased if you make it easy for them to find these review websites. It is a good idea to create a gateway page on your website with access to all of your local pages that allow reviews. It is very easy to set up a marketing campaign that follows up with customers and gives them the option to leave their reviews through a portal on your own website.

4.   Business directory listing’s NAP accuracy

If the search engines discover your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the internet on various business directory websites they will begin to assign more authority to that company. The name of the game is quality and not quantity. Several search marketing companies will blast the businesses NAP all over low quality directory listings and the search engines will consider that to be spammy and it can actually impact the rankings in a negative way.

Use the same exact format across every directory that you submit to, and only focus on the top listings such as Yelp, Bing, yahoo, Google, FourSquare, YP, etc. Paying attention to details such as address formatting are very important.

5.   Social signals and links

Building links is always going to be a factor when it comes to ranking high in search results, but it is important to remember that link building is not a numbers game anymore. The most effective link is a natural link, and creative content marketing is a great way to obtain natural links. Every business should have a blog on the site that is updated on a regular basis. Give your readers useful content and they will naturally share it for you. Sharing your blog posts across Facebook and Twitter creates valuable social signals that the search engines like to see.

These simple 5 tips can help your website increase its traffic. It takes time and the search engines reward high quality sites, so focus on quality and don’t be in a rush. Some businesses will concentrate on building a large amount of links to the website and end up getting their website penalized. Create a website for your visitors and use the above tips to further optimize it for the search engines.

Comments

Bhavya Kamaraj

About Bhavya Kamaraj

Bhavya Kamaraj is an Industry Value Advisor for SAP ANZ. She has over 6.5 years of work experience in Financial Services - as a Developer, Techno-Functional Banking Consultant and Industry Value Advisor. During this tenure in the Industry, she have gained rich experience in SAP Development, SAP Consulting, Management Consulting, Value Advisory, Enterprise Architecture, Design Thinking and Business Development.

5 Tips To Help Improve Your Local Search Marketing Campaign

Jonathan Long

Local search marketing should be a major focal point of every small businesses marketing woman creates local search marketing campaignstrategy. The number of mobile searches continues to increase at an alarming rate, making it extremely important that your business is easily found on mobile devices. Smartphones provide consumers with convenient access to information on the go, and the browsing speed on mobile devices now rival the speeds of home based internet connections.

The search engines are constantly releasing new updates and algorithm changes in order to deliver their users the most accurate and “useful” results related to the search. For example, if a consumer located in Dallas, Texas is looking for an accountant and types “Dallas accounting firm” into their mobile phone’s search engine it makes perfect sense that all of the results will be accountants located in Dallas, correct? An accountant located in Houston isn’t going to be much value to that consumer.

So, what can accountants in Dallas, and businesses all over the country do to position their company at the top of local search results? These 5 local search marketing tips can help a business improve their local search results:

1.  Onsite optimization and smart keyword research

Choosing the right keywords is a key part of the local SEO process. Every business needs to identify the keywords that will result in bringing the highest quality visitors to the website and then result in conversions.

Keyword research involves a lot of common sense. We can use the same local Dallas accounting firm above as an example. If they specialized in corporate and business tax then the keyword “Dallas personal accountant” is not a good keyword to target, as it will bring in clients looking for a personal accountant. You want to target keywords that are specific to the practice area(s) or related to the products and/or services that the business sells. Highly targeted website visitors have a greater chance of converting into a consultation, client, website action, or sale. Ultimately, the correct keyword selection can bring in a lot of revenue for the business when optimized correctly.

Once the best search terms and phrases are selected it is time to make sure that the website is optimized for those keywords. You always want to use keywords naturally in the title, description, header tags, and website content. Using the same example as above we will focus on the page title. An acceptable title tag that includes the main keyword would be “(Accounting Firm Name): Dallas Accounting Firm 1-800-XXX-XXXX,” as it uses the main keyword in a natural and non-spammy manner.

2.  Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local

Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local are the three most important local business directory listings. The information in a local listing is what appears at the top of the search results, referenced next to the maps. Every local business should strive to be listed at the top of the local listings. Several businesses do have their local page profiles created but they are not properly optimized, causing them to miss out of a large amount of organic website traffic.

It is important to fully complete all of these local listings, and as simple as it founds it is the number one reason businesses are not ranking as high as they could be locally. Complete all sections and make sure to upload videos and pictures to the listing. Complete a very thorough business description and make sure to include your keyword in the description in a non-spammy way. Confirm that all of the contact details are exactly like they appear on the website contact page. Something as simple as leaving off an office suite can impact the rankings. It is also important to verify the listings as well. Once completed a verification card will be sent to the business with a special pin code to input in order to complete the verification.

3.  Local SEO weight of “reviews” increasing

It was just announced that yahoo will now include Yelp reviews in their local listings, something that Bing recently started doing as well. Reviews are going to continue to have an increasing impact on local search results.

If your business provides great service then don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. The odds of them doing this are increased if you make it easy for them to find these review websites. It is a good idea to create a gateway page on your website with access to all of your local pages that allow reviews. It is very easy to set up a marketing campaign that follows up with customers and gives them the option to leave their reviews through a portal on your own website.

4.   Business directory listing’s NAP accuracy

If the search engines discover your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the internet on various business directory websites they will begin to assign more authority to that company. The name of the game is quality and not quantity. Several search marketing companies will blast the businesses NAP all over low quality directory listings and the search engines will consider that to be spammy and it can actually impact the rankings in a negative way.

Use the same exact format across every directory that you submit to, and only focus on the top listings such as Yelp, Bing, yahoo, Google, FourSquare, YP, etc. Paying attention to details such as address formatting are very important.

5.   Social signals and links

Building links is always going to be a factor when it comes to ranking high in search results, but it is important to remember that link building is not a numbers game anymore. The most effective link is a natural link, and creative content marketing is a great way to obtain natural links. Every business should have a blog on the site that is updated on a regular basis. Give your readers useful content and they will naturally share it for you. Sharing your blog posts across Facebook and Twitter creates valuable social signals that the search engines like to see.

These simple 5 tips can help your website increase its traffic. It takes time and the search engines reward high quality sites, so focus on quality and don’t be in a rush. Some businesses will concentrate on building a large amount of links to the website and end up getting their website penalized. Create a website for your visitors and use the above tips to further optimize it for the search engines.

Comments

Tony Klimas

About Tony Klimas

Tony Klimas, global finance practice leader with EY, LLP, is a member of EY’s Advisory Executive team with global responsibility for the Finance consulting practice. He is an experienced consultant with 20+ years of experience across a variety of industries. His areas of expertise include finance strategy and transformation, shared services/offshoring, and BPO advisory. Tony also has significant experience with finance and accounting systems and has traveled and worked extensively in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He spent most of his consulting career in the Southeast U.S. before moving to the greater New York City area in 2009.

5 Tips To Help Improve Your Local Search Marketing Campaign

Jonathan Long

Local search marketing should be a major focal point of every small businesses marketing woman creates local search marketing campaignstrategy. The number of mobile searches continues to increase at an alarming rate, making it extremely important that your business is easily found on mobile devices. Smartphones provide consumers with convenient access to information on the go, and the browsing speed on mobile devices now rival the speeds of home based internet connections.

The search engines are constantly releasing new updates and algorithm changes in order to deliver their users the most accurate and “useful” results related to the search. For example, if a consumer located in Dallas, Texas is looking for an accountant and types “Dallas accounting firm” into their mobile phone’s search engine it makes perfect sense that all of the results will be accountants located in Dallas, correct? An accountant located in Houston isn’t going to be much value to that consumer.

So, what can accountants in Dallas, and businesses all over the country do to position their company at the top of local search results? These 5 local search marketing tips can help a business improve their local search results:

1.  Onsite optimization and smart keyword research

Choosing the right keywords is a key part of the local SEO process. Every business needs to identify the keywords that will result in bringing the highest quality visitors to the website and then result in conversions.

Keyword research involves a lot of common sense. We can use the same local Dallas accounting firm above as an example. If they specialized in corporate and business tax then the keyword “Dallas personal accountant” is not a good keyword to target, as it will bring in clients looking for a personal accountant. You want to target keywords that are specific to the practice area(s) or related to the products and/or services that the business sells. Highly targeted website visitors have a greater chance of converting into a consultation, client, website action, or sale. Ultimately, the correct keyword selection can bring in a lot of revenue for the business when optimized correctly.

Once the best search terms and phrases are selected it is time to make sure that the website is optimized for those keywords. You always want to use keywords naturally in the title, description, header tags, and website content. Using the same example as above we will focus on the page title. An acceptable title tag that includes the main keyword would be “(Accounting Firm Name): Dallas Accounting Firm 1-800-XXX-XXXX,” as it uses the main keyword in a natural and non-spammy manner.

2.  Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local

Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local are the three most important local business directory listings. The information in a local listing is what appears at the top of the search results, referenced next to the maps. Every local business should strive to be listed at the top of the local listings. Several businesses do have their local page profiles created but they are not properly optimized, causing them to miss out of a large amount of organic website traffic.

It is important to fully complete all of these local listings, and as simple as it founds it is the number one reason businesses are not ranking as high as they could be locally. Complete all sections and make sure to upload videos and pictures to the listing. Complete a very thorough business description and make sure to include your keyword in the description in a non-spammy way. Confirm that all of the contact details are exactly like they appear on the website contact page. Something as simple as leaving off an office suite can impact the rankings. It is also important to verify the listings as well. Once completed a verification card will be sent to the business with a special pin code to input in order to complete the verification.

3.  Local SEO weight of “reviews” increasing

It was just announced that yahoo will now include Yelp reviews in their local listings, something that Bing recently started doing as well. Reviews are going to continue to have an increasing impact on local search results.

If your business provides great service then don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. The odds of them doing this are increased if you make it easy for them to find these review websites. It is a good idea to create a gateway page on your website with access to all of your local pages that allow reviews. It is very easy to set up a marketing campaign that follows up with customers and gives them the option to leave their reviews through a portal on your own website.

4.   Business directory listing’s NAP accuracy

If the search engines discover your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the internet on various business directory websites they will begin to assign more authority to that company. The name of the game is quality and not quantity. Several search marketing companies will blast the businesses NAP all over low quality directory listings and the search engines will consider that to be spammy and it can actually impact the rankings in a negative way.

Use the same exact format across every directory that you submit to, and only focus on the top listings such as Yelp, Bing, yahoo, Google, FourSquare, YP, etc. Paying attention to details such as address formatting are very important.

5.   Social signals and links

Building links is always going to be a factor when it comes to ranking high in search results, but it is important to remember that link building is not a numbers game anymore. The most effective link is a natural link, and creative content marketing is a great way to obtain natural links. Every business should have a blog on the site that is updated on a regular basis. Give your readers useful content and they will naturally share it for you. Sharing your blog posts across Facebook and Twitter creates valuable social signals that the search engines like to see.

These simple 5 tips can help your website increase its traffic. It takes time and the search engines reward high quality sites, so focus on quality and don’t be in a rush. Some businesses will concentrate on building a large amount of links to the website and end up getting their website penalized. Create a website for your visitors and use the above tips to further optimize it for the search engines.

Comments

About Joerg Koesters

Joerg Koesters is the Head of Retail Marketing and Communication at SAP. He is a Technology Marketing executive with 20 years of experience in Marketing, Sales and Consulting, Joerg has deep knowledge in retail and consumer products having worked both in the industry and in the technology sector.

5 Tips To Help Improve Your Local Search Marketing Campaign

Jonathan Long

Local search marketing should be a major focal point of every small businesses marketing woman creates local search marketing campaignstrategy. The number of mobile searches continues to increase at an alarming rate, making it extremely important that your business is easily found on mobile devices. Smartphones provide consumers with convenient access to information on the go, and the browsing speed on mobile devices now rival the speeds of home based internet connections.

The search engines are constantly releasing new updates and algorithm changes in order to deliver their users the most accurate and “useful” results related to the search. For example, if a consumer located in Dallas, Texas is looking for an accountant and types “Dallas accounting firm” into their mobile phone’s search engine it makes perfect sense that all of the results will be accountants located in Dallas, correct? An accountant located in Houston isn’t going to be much value to that consumer.

So, what can accountants in Dallas, and businesses all over the country do to position their company at the top of local search results? These 5 local search marketing tips can help a business improve their local search results:

1.  Onsite optimization and smart keyword research

Choosing the right keywords is a key part of the local SEO process. Every business needs to identify the keywords that will result in bringing the highest quality visitors to the website and then result in conversions.

Keyword research involves a lot of common sense. We can use the same local Dallas accounting firm above as an example. If they specialized in corporate and business tax then the keyword “Dallas personal accountant” is not a good keyword to target, as it will bring in clients looking for a personal accountant. You want to target keywords that are specific to the practice area(s) or related to the products and/or services that the business sells. Highly targeted website visitors have a greater chance of converting into a consultation, client, website action, or sale. Ultimately, the correct keyword selection can bring in a lot of revenue for the business when optimized correctly.

Once the best search terms and phrases are selected it is time to make sure that the website is optimized for those keywords. You always want to use keywords naturally in the title, description, header tags, and website content. Using the same example as above we will focus on the page title. An acceptable title tag that includes the main keyword would be “(Accounting Firm Name): Dallas Accounting Firm 1-800-XXX-XXXX,” as it uses the main keyword in a natural and non-spammy manner.

2.  Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local

Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local are the three most important local business directory listings. The information in a local listing is what appears at the top of the search results, referenced next to the maps. Every local business should strive to be listed at the top of the local listings. Several businesses do have their local page profiles created but they are not properly optimized, causing them to miss out of a large amount of organic website traffic.

It is important to fully complete all of these local listings, and as simple as it founds it is the number one reason businesses are not ranking as high as they could be locally. Complete all sections and make sure to upload videos and pictures to the listing. Complete a very thorough business description and make sure to include your keyword in the description in a non-spammy way. Confirm that all of the contact details are exactly like they appear on the website contact page. Something as simple as leaving off an office suite can impact the rankings. It is also important to verify the listings as well. Once completed a verification card will be sent to the business with a special pin code to input in order to complete the verification.

3.  Local SEO weight of “reviews” increasing

It was just announced that yahoo will now include Yelp reviews in their local listings, something that Bing recently started doing as well. Reviews are going to continue to have an increasing impact on local search results.

If your business provides great service then don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. The odds of them doing this are increased if you make it easy for them to find these review websites. It is a good idea to create a gateway page on your website with access to all of your local pages that allow reviews. It is very easy to set up a marketing campaign that follows up with customers and gives them the option to leave their reviews through a portal on your own website.

4.   Business directory listing’s NAP accuracy

If the search engines discover your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the internet on various business directory websites they will begin to assign more authority to that company. The name of the game is quality and not quantity. Several search marketing companies will blast the businesses NAP all over low quality directory listings and the search engines will consider that to be spammy and it can actually impact the rankings in a negative way.

Use the same exact format across every directory that you submit to, and only focus on the top listings such as Yelp, Bing, yahoo, Google, FourSquare, YP, etc. Paying attention to details such as address formatting are very important.

5.   Social signals and links

Building links is always going to be a factor when it comes to ranking high in search results, but it is important to remember that link building is not a numbers game anymore. The most effective link is a natural link, and creative content marketing is a great way to obtain natural links. Every business should have a blog on the site that is updated on a regular basis. Give your readers useful content and they will naturally share it for you. Sharing your blog posts across Facebook and Twitter creates valuable social signals that the search engines like to see.

These simple 5 tips can help your website increase its traffic. It takes time and the search engines reward high quality sites, so focus on quality and don’t be in a rush. Some businesses will concentrate on building a large amount of links to the website and end up getting their website penalized. Create a website for your visitors and use the above tips to further optimize it for the search engines.

Comments

Holger Tallowitz

About Holger Tallowitz

Holger Tallowitz is Director of Future Cities (Blockchain) at SAP. After finishing his studies in economics and foreign trade, he worked as a sales representative for a company in Berlin exporting electrical equipment and then joined SAP. Since 1990, Holger has been involved in various positions across SAP including a consultant for software implementation, manager for SAP R/3 basis and logistics solutions, account manager for a top 10 automotive customer, and a director of support for the Middle and Eastern Europe region.

5 Tips To Help Improve Your Local Search Marketing Campaign

Jonathan Long

Local search marketing should be a major focal point of every small businesses marketing woman creates local search marketing campaignstrategy. The number of mobile searches continues to increase at an alarming rate, making it extremely important that your business is easily found on mobile devices. Smartphones provide consumers with convenient access to information on the go, and the browsing speed on mobile devices now rival the speeds of home based internet connections.

The search engines are constantly releasing new updates and algorithm changes in order to deliver their users the most accurate and “useful” results related to the search. For example, if a consumer located in Dallas, Texas is looking for an accountant and types “Dallas accounting firm” into their mobile phone’s search engine it makes perfect sense that all of the results will be accountants located in Dallas, correct? An accountant located in Houston isn’t going to be much value to that consumer.

So, what can accountants in Dallas, and businesses all over the country do to position their company at the top of local search results? These 5 local search marketing tips can help a business improve their local search results:

1.  Onsite optimization and smart keyword research

Choosing the right keywords is a key part of the local SEO process. Every business needs to identify the keywords that will result in bringing the highest quality visitors to the website and then result in conversions.

Keyword research involves a lot of common sense. We can use the same local Dallas accounting firm above as an example. If they specialized in corporate and business tax then the keyword “Dallas personal accountant” is not a good keyword to target, as it will bring in clients looking for a personal accountant. You want to target keywords that are specific to the practice area(s) or related to the products and/or services that the business sells. Highly targeted website visitors have a greater chance of converting into a consultation, client, website action, or sale. Ultimately, the correct keyword selection can bring in a lot of revenue for the business when optimized correctly.

Once the best search terms and phrases are selected it is time to make sure that the website is optimized for those keywords. You always want to use keywords naturally in the title, description, header tags, and website content. Using the same example as above we will focus on the page title. An acceptable title tag that includes the main keyword would be “(Accounting Firm Name): Dallas Accounting Firm 1-800-XXX-XXXX,” as it uses the main keyword in a natural and non-spammy manner.

2.  Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local

Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local are the three most important local business directory listings. The information in a local listing is what appears at the top of the search results, referenced next to the maps. Every local business should strive to be listed at the top of the local listings. Several businesses do have their local page profiles created but they are not properly optimized, causing them to miss out of a large amount of organic website traffic.

It is important to fully complete all of these local listings, and as simple as it founds it is the number one reason businesses are not ranking as high as they could be locally. Complete all sections and make sure to upload videos and pictures to the listing. Complete a very thorough business description and make sure to include your keyword in the description in a non-spammy way. Confirm that all of the contact details are exactly like they appear on the website contact page. Something as simple as leaving off an office suite can impact the rankings. It is also important to verify the listings as well. Once completed a verification card will be sent to the business with a special pin code to input in order to complete the verification.

3.  Local SEO weight of “reviews” increasing

It was just announced that yahoo will now include Yelp reviews in their local listings, something that Bing recently started doing as well. Reviews are going to continue to have an increasing impact on local search results.

If your business provides great service then don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. The odds of them doing this are increased if you make it easy for them to find these review websites. It is a good idea to create a gateway page on your website with access to all of your local pages that allow reviews. It is very easy to set up a marketing campaign that follows up with customers and gives them the option to leave their reviews through a portal on your own website.

4.   Business directory listing’s NAP accuracy

If the search engines discover your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the internet on various business directory websites they will begin to assign more authority to that company. The name of the game is quality and not quantity. Several search marketing companies will blast the businesses NAP all over low quality directory listings and the search engines will consider that to be spammy and it can actually impact the rankings in a negative way.

Use the same exact format across every directory that you submit to, and only focus on the top listings such as Yelp, Bing, yahoo, Google, FourSquare, YP, etc. Paying attention to details such as address formatting are very important.

5.   Social signals and links

Building links is always going to be a factor when it comes to ranking high in search results, but it is important to remember that link building is not a numbers game anymore. The most effective link is a natural link, and creative content marketing is a great way to obtain natural links. Every business should have a blog on the site that is updated on a regular basis. Give your readers useful content and they will naturally share it for you. Sharing your blog posts across Facebook and Twitter creates valuable social signals that the search engines like to see.

These simple 5 tips can help your website increase its traffic. It takes time and the search engines reward high quality sites, so focus on quality and don’t be in a rush. Some businesses will concentrate on building a large amount of links to the website and end up getting their website penalized. Create a website for your visitors and use the above tips to further optimize it for the search engines.

Comments

Malcolm Woodfield

About Malcolm Woodfield

Malcolm Woodfield is the Global Vice President, Head of Industry Business Unit Education & Research, at SAP. He manages a global team accountable for the overall business, market, customer, and revenue success of the Higher Education / Public Services portfolio (including all Applications, Analytics, Mobile, HANA, and Cloud) globally.

5 Tips To Help Improve Your Local Search Marketing Campaign

Jonathan Long

Local search marketing should be a major focal point of every small businesses marketing woman creates local search marketing campaignstrategy. The number of mobile searches continues to increase at an alarming rate, making it extremely important that your business is easily found on mobile devices. Smartphones provide consumers with convenient access to information on the go, and the browsing speed on mobile devices now rival the speeds of home based internet connections.

The search engines are constantly releasing new updates and algorithm changes in order to deliver their users the most accurate and “useful” results related to the search. For example, if a consumer located in Dallas, Texas is looking for an accountant and types “Dallas accounting firm” into their mobile phone’s search engine it makes perfect sense that all of the results will be accountants located in Dallas, correct? An accountant located in Houston isn’t going to be much value to that consumer.

So, what can accountants in Dallas, and businesses all over the country do to position their company at the top of local search results? These 5 local search marketing tips can help a business improve their local search results:

1.  Onsite optimization and smart keyword research

Choosing the right keywords is a key part of the local SEO process. Every business needs to identify the keywords that will result in bringing the highest quality visitors to the website and then result in conversions.

Keyword research involves a lot of common sense. We can use the same local Dallas accounting firm above as an example. If they specialized in corporate and business tax then the keyword “Dallas personal accountant” is not a good keyword to target, as it will bring in clients looking for a personal accountant. You want to target keywords that are specific to the practice area(s) or related to the products and/or services that the business sells. Highly targeted website visitors have a greater chance of converting into a consultation, client, website action, or sale. Ultimately, the correct keyword selection can bring in a lot of revenue for the business when optimized correctly.

Once the best search terms and phrases are selected it is time to make sure that the website is optimized for those keywords. You always want to use keywords naturally in the title, description, header tags, and website content. Using the same example as above we will focus on the page title. An acceptable title tag that includes the main keyword would be “(Accounting Firm Name): Dallas Accounting Firm 1-800-XXX-XXXX,” as it uses the main keyword in a natural and non-spammy manner.

2.  Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local

Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local are the three most important local business directory listings. The information in a local listing is what appears at the top of the search results, referenced next to the maps. Every local business should strive to be listed at the top of the local listings. Several businesses do have their local page profiles created but they are not properly optimized, causing them to miss out of a large amount of organic website traffic.

It is important to fully complete all of these local listings, and as simple as it founds it is the number one reason businesses are not ranking as high as they could be locally. Complete all sections and make sure to upload videos and pictures to the listing. Complete a very thorough business description and make sure to include your keyword in the description in a non-spammy way. Confirm that all of the contact details are exactly like they appear on the website contact page. Something as simple as leaving off an office suite can impact the rankings. It is also important to verify the listings as well. Once completed a verification card will be sent to the business with a special pin code to input in order to complete the verification.

3.  Local SEO weight of “reviews” increasing

It was just announced that yahoo will now include Yelp reviews in their local listings, something that Bing recently started doing as well. Reviews are going to continue to have an increasing impact on local search results.

If your business provides great service then don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. The odds of them doing this are increased if you make it easy for them to find these review websites. It is a good idea to create a gateway page on your website with access to all of your local pages that allow reviews. It is very easy to set up a marketing campaign that follows up with customers and gives them the option to leave their reviews through a portal on your own website.

4.   Business directory listing’s NAP accuracy

If the search engines discover your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the internet on various business directory websites they will begin to assign more authority to that company. The name of the game is quality and not quantity. Several search marketing companies will blast the businesses NAP all over low quality directory listings and the search engines will consider that to be spammy and it can actually impact the rankings in a negative way.

Use the same exact format across every directory that you submit to, and only focus on the top listings such as Yelp, Bing, yahoo, Google, FourSquare, YP, etc. Paying attention to details such as address formatting are very important.

5.   Social signals and links

Building links is always going to be a factor when it comes to ranking high in search results, but it is important to remember that link building is not a numbers game anymore. The most effective link is a natural link, and creative content marketing is a great way to obtain natural links. Every business should have a blog on the site that is updated on a regular basis. Give your readers useful content and they will naturally share it for you. Sharing your blog posts across Facebook and Twitter creates valuable social signals that the search engines like to see.

These simple 5 tips can help your website increase its traffic. It takes time and the search engines reward high quality sites, so focus on quality and don’t be in a rush. Some businesses will concentrate on building a large amount of links to the website and end up getting their website penalized. Create a website for your visitors and use the above tips to further optimize it for the search engines.

Comments

Stefanie Haar

About Stefanie Haar

Stefanie Haar is Audience Marketing Manager at SAP Ariba. In her role, she drives market awareness and demand generation for source-to-settle solutions and business networks. She has almost 20 years of experience in marketing and business development in the procurement solutions space.

5 Tips To Help Improve Your Local Search Marketing Campaign

Jonathan Long

Local search marketing should be a major focal point of every small businesses marketing woman creates local search marketing campaignstrategy. The number of mobile searches continues to increase at an alarming rate, making it extremely important that your business is easily found on mobile devices. Smartphones provide consumers with convenient access to information on the go, and the browsing speed on mobile devices now rival the speeds of home based internet connections.

The search engines are constantly releasing new updates and algorithm changes in order to deliver their users the most accurate and “useful” results related to the search. For example, if a consumer located in Dallas, Texas is looking for an accountant and types “Dallas accounting firm” into their mobile phone’s search engine it makes perfect sense that all of the results will be accountants located in Dallas, correct? An accountant located in Houston isn’t going to be much value to that consumer.

So, what can accountants in Dallas, and businesses all over the country do to position their company at the top of local search results? These 5 local search marketing tips can help a business improve their local search results:

1.  Onsite optimization and smart keyword research

Choosing the right keywords is a key part of the local SEO process. Every business needs to identify the keywords that will result in bringing the highest quality visitors to the website and then result in conversions.

Keyword research involves a lot of common sense. We can use the same local Dallas accounting firm above as an example. If they specialized in corporate and business tax then the keyword “Dallas personal accountant” is not a good keyword to target, as it will bring in clients looking for a personal accountant. You want to target keywords that are specific to the practice area(s) or related to the products and/or services that the business sells. Highly targeted website visitors have a greater chance of converting into a consultation, client, website action, or sale. Ultimately, the correct keyword selection can bring in a lot of revenue for the business when optimized correctly.

Once the best search terms and phrases are selected it is time to make sure that the website is optimized for those keywords. You always want to use keywords naturally in the title, description, header tags, and website content. Using the same example as above we will focus on the page title. An acceptable title tag that includes the main keyword would be “(Accounting Firm Name): Dallas Accounting Firm 1-800-XXX-XXXX,” as it uses the main keyword in a natural and non-spammy manner.

2.  Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local

Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local are the three most important local business directory listings. The information in a local listing is what appears at the top of the search results, referenced next to the maps. Every local business should strive to be listed at the top of the local listings. Several businesses do have their local page profiles created but they are not properly optimized, causing them to miss out of a large amount of organic website traffic.

It is important to fully complete all of these local listings, and as simple as it founds it is the number one reason businesses are not ranking as high as they could be locally. Complete all sections and make sure to upload videos and pictures to the listing. Complete a very thorough business description and make sure to include your keyword in the description in a non-spammy way. Confirm that all of the contact details are exactly like they appear on the website contact page. Something as simple as leaving off an office suite can impact the rankings. It is also important to verify the listings as well. Once completed a verification card will be sent to the business with a special pin code to input in order to complete the verification.

3.  Local SEO weight of “reviews” increasing

It was just announced that yahoo will now include Yelp reviews in their local listings, something that Bing recently started doing as well. Reviews are going to continue to have an increasing impact on local search results.

If your business provides great service then don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. The odds of them doing this are increased if you make it easy for them to find these review websites. It is a good idea to create a gateway page on your website with access to all of your local pages that allow reviews. It is very easy to set up a marketing campaign that follows up with customers and gives them the option to leave their reviews through a portal on your own website.

4.   Business directory listing’s NAP accuracy

If the search engines discover your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the internet on various business directory websites they will begin to assign more authority to that company. The name of the game is quality and not quantity. Several search marketing companies will blast the businesses NAP all over low quality directory listings and the search engines will consider that to be spammy and it can actually impact the rankings in a negative way.

Use the same exact format across every directory that you submit to, and only focus on the top listings such as Yelp, Bing, yahoo, Google, FourSquare, YP, etc. Paying attention to details such as address formatting are very important.

5.   Social signals and links

Building links is always going to be a factor when it comes to ranking high in search results, but it is important to remember that link building is not a numbers game anymore. The most effective link is a natural link, and creative content marketing is a great way to obtain natural links. Every business should have a blog on the site that is updated on a regular basis. Give your readers useful content and they will naturally share it for you. Sharing your blog posts across Facebook and Twitter creates valuable social signals that the search engines like to see.

These simple 5 tips can help your website increase its traffic. It takes time and the search engines reward high quality sites, so focus on quality and don’t be in a rush. Some businesses will concentrate on building a large amount of links to the website and end up getting their website penalized. Create a website for your visitors and use the above tips to further optimize it for the search engines.

Comments

Ted Basile

About Ted Basile

Ted Basile is the senior director responsible for global marketing for SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. His charter spans messaging, positioning, and building customer-facing assets to support all marketing and sales activities. @teddybgame | LinkedIn

5 Tips To Help Improve Your Local Search Marketing Campaign

Jonathan Long

Local search marketing should be a major focal point of every small businesses marketing woman creates local search marketing campaignstrategy. The number of mobile searches continues to increase at an alarming rate, making it extremely important that your business is easily found on mobile devices. Smartphones provide consumers with convenient access to information on the go, and the browsing speed on mobile devices now rival the speeds of home based internet connections.

The search engines are constantly releasing new updates and algorithm changes in order to deliver their users the most accurate and “useful” results related to the search. For example, if a consumer located in Dallas, Texas is looking for an accountant and types “Dallas accounting firm” into their mobile phone’s search engine it makes perfect sense that all of the results will be accountants located in Dallas, correct? An accountant located in Houston isn’t going to be much value to that consumer.

So, what can accountants in Dallas, and businesses all over the country do to position their company at the top of local search results? These 5 local search marketing tips can help a business improve their local search results:

1.  Onsite optimization and smart keyword research

Choosing the right keywords is a key part of the local SEO process. Every business needs to identify the keywords that will result in bringing the highest quality visitors to the website and then result in conversions.

Keyword research involves a lot of common sense. We can use the same local Dallas accounting firm above as an example. If they specialized in corporate and business tax then the keyword “Dallas personal accountant” is not a good keyword to target, as it will bring in clients looking for a personal accountant. You want to target keywords that are specific to the practice area(s) or related to the products and/or services that the business sells. Highly targeted website visitors have a greater chance of converting into a consultation, client, website action, or sale. Ultimately, the correct keyword selection can bring in a lot of revenue for the business when optimized correctly.

Once the best search terms and phrases are selected it is time to make sure that the website is optimized for those keywords. You always want to use keywords naturally in the title, description, header tags, and website content. Using the same example as above we will focus on the page title. An acceptable title tag that includes the main keyword would be “(Accounting Firm Name): Dallas Accounting Firm 1-800-XXX-XXXX,” as it uses the main keyword in a natural and non-spammy manner.

2.  Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local

Google+ Business, Bing Places for Business, and Yahoo Local are the three most important local business directory listings. The information in a local listing is what appears at the top of the search results, referenced next to the maps. Every local business should strive to be listed at the top of the local listings. Several businesses do have their local page profiles created but they are not properly optimized, causing them to miss out of a large amount of organic website traffic.

It is important to fully complete all of these local listings, and as simple as it founds it is the number one reason businesses are not ranking as high as they could be locally. Complete all sections and make sure to upload videos and pictures to the listing. Complete a very thorough business description and make sure to include your keyword in the description in a non-spammy way. Confirm that all of the contact details are exactly like they appear on the website contact page. Something as simple as leaving off an office suite can impact the rankings. It is also important to verify the listings as well. Once completed a verification card will be sent to the business with a special pin code to input in order to complete the verification.

3.  Local SEO weight of “reviews” increasing

It was just announced that yahoo will now include Yelp reviews in their local listings, something that Bing recently started doing as well. Reviews are going to continue to have an increasing impact on local search results.

If your business provides great service then don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews. The odds of them doing this are increased if you make it easy for them to find these review websites. It is a good idea to create a gateway page on your website with access to all of your local pages that allow reviews. It is very easy to set up a marketing campaign that follows up with customers and gives them the option to leave their reviews through a portal on your own website.

4.   Business directory listing’s NAP accuracy

If the search engines discover your business name, address and phone number (NAP) across the internet on various business directory websites they will begin to assign more authority to that company. The name of the game is quality and not quantity. Several search marketing companies will blast the businesses NAP all over low quality directory listings and the search engines will consider that to be spammy and it can actually impact the rankings in a negative way.

Use the same exact format across every directory that you submit to, and only focus on the top listings such as Yelp, Bing, yahoo, Google, FourSquare, YP, etc. Paying attention to details such as address formatting are very important.

5.   Social signals and links

Building links is always going to be a factor when it comes to ranking high in search results, but it is important to remember that link building is not a numbers game anymore. The most effective link is a natural link, and creative content marketing is a great way to obtain natural links. Every business should have a blog on the site that is updated on a regular basis. Give your readers useful content and they will naturally share it for you. Sharing your blog posts across Facebook and Twitter creates valuable social signals that the search engines like to see.

These simple 5 tips can help your website increase its traffic. It takes time and the search engines reward high quality sites, so focus on quality and don’t be in a rush. Some businesses will concentrate on building a large amount of links to the website and end up getting their website penalized. Create a website for your visitors and use the above tips to further optimize it for the search engines.

Comments

Mukund Rao

About Mukund Rao

Mukund Rao is Director of the Automotive Business Unit at SAP. He has been a key contributor to the business unit for over 18 years, focusing on both OEMs and suppliers. Mukund earned his MBA from University of Michigan and M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University.

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Bhavya Kamaraj

About Bhavya Kamaraj

Bhavya Kamaraj is an Industry Value Advisor for SAP ANZ. She has over 6.5 years of work experience in Financial Services - as a Developer, Techno-Functional Banking Consultant and Industry Value Advisor. During this tenure in the Industry, she have gained rich experience in SAP Development, SAP Consulting, Management Consulting, Value Advisory, Enterprise Architecture, Design Thinking and Business Development.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Tony Klimas

About Tony Klimas

Tony Klimas, global finance practice leader with EY, LLP, is a member of EY’s Advisory Executive team with global responsibility for the Finance consulting practice. He is an experienced consultant with 20+ years of experience across a variety of industries. His areas of expertise include finance strategy and transformation, shared services/offshoring, and BPO advisory. Tony also has significant experience with finance and accounting systems and has traveled and worked extensively in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. He spent most of his consulting career in the Southeast U.S. before moving to the greater New York City area in 2009.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

About Joerg Koesters

Joerg Koesters is the Head of Retail Marketing and Communication at SAP. He is a Technology Marketing executive with 20 years of experience in Marketing, Sales and Consulting, Joerg has deep knowledge in retail and consumer products having worked both in the industry and in the technology sector.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Holger Tallowitz

About Holger Tallowitz

Holger Tallowitz is Director of Future Cities (Blockchain) at SAP. After finishing his studies in economics and foreign trade, he worked as a sales representative for a company in Berlin exporting electrical equipment and then joined SAP. Since 1990, Holger has been involved in various positions across SAP including a consultant for software implementation, manager for SAP R/3 basis and logistics solutions, account manager for a top 10 automotive customer, and a director of support for the Middle and Eastern Europe region.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Malcolm Woodfield

About Malcolm Woodfield

Malcolm Woodfield is the Global Vice President, Head of Industry Business Unit Education & Research, at SAP. He manages a global team accountable for the overall business, market, customer, and revenue success of the Higher Education / Public Services portfolio (including all Applications, Analytics, Mobile, HANA, and Cloud) globally.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Stefanie Haar

About Stefanie Haar

Stefanie Haar is Audience Marketing Manager at SAP Ariba. In her role, she drives market awareness and demand generation for source-to-settle solutions and business networks. She has almost 20 years of experience in marketing and business development in the procurement solutions space.

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Ted Basile

About Ted Basile

Ted Basile is the senior director responsible for global marketing for SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud. His charter spans messaging, positioning, and building customer-facing assets to support all marketing and sales activities. @teddybgame | LinkedIn

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awareness

Data Management and Retention Requirements

Irfan Khan

In his annual state of the union speech last month President Barack Obama made a passing reference to the need for the U.S. to train more people in data management to supply the needs of companies. A little later in the speech he talked about how some new, targeted government regulations would benefit honest businesses while rooting out the bad apples. Maybe he was thinking that those newly trained data managers would be able to help companies with the advanced data management techniques his undefined regulations would require.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against all regulations. And I’m certainly not opposed to giving tuition credits to students wanting to study the art of data management. But, as the politicians like to say, “let’s be perfectly clear”: modern government regulations require IT professionals to implement new data management policies to prove they are in compliance with changes in the law.

For example, in 2006 the European Union issued a directive to communications carriersforcing them to hold on to subscriber usage data for six to 24 months. That’s so the companies can quickly respond to legal authorities who need to access data for criminal investigations. While some operators may already keep the information, it’s often stored offline. In the case of the EU directive, the information must be able to be accessed without delay by authorities armed with a warrant.

The way the EU directive was written means that wire line, wireless, and ISP operators must retain 15 categories of data. And because the time periods vary, the amount of data to be stored is unpredictable. As you can imagine, the EU also imposed some hefty data security demands as well as unique access requirements. For example, some legal authorities may send their warrants by FAX, e-mail, or even letters via the postal service.

Needless to say, the regulations don’t spell out exactly how carriers should implement the data retention policy. They simply need to do so.

It’s not just the EU creating rules affecting corporate data management. Japan is now considering revising its strict data protection policyfor consumers. The U.S. is in a political battle between those that want tighter Internet controls for copyright holders. And many other nations are designing new laws that affect how companies manage their data.

As I’ve argued here before, having a chief data officer would give enterprises a huge competitive advantage by being able to anticipate the impact new regulations would have on an organization’s data management strategy. In fact, it is increasingly paramount for large multinational companies to have a C-level data officer. Without one, the enterprise lacks a critical resource to compete in today’s global markets.

I agree with President Obama. Data management is, indeed, an excellent career choice for young people. After all, companies need smart people who understand its strategic importance and know how to react quickly when the politicians change the rules on data management for business. Again. And again.

Comments

Mukund Rao

About Mukund Rao

Mukund Rao is Director of the Automotive Business Unit at SAP. He has been a key contributor to the business unit for over 18 years, focusing on both OEMs and suppliers. Mukund earned his MBA from University of Michigan and M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Oklahoma State University.

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awareness

The Blockchain Solution

By Gil Perez, Tom Raftery, Hans Thalbauer, Dan Wellers, and Fawn Fitter

In 2013, several UK supermarket chains discovered that products they were selling as beef were actually made at least partly—and in some cases, entirely—from horsemeat. The resulting uproar led to a series of product recalls, prompted stricter food testing, and spurred the European food industry to take a closer look at how unlabeled or mislabeled ingredients were finding their way into the food chain.

By 2020, a scandal like this will be eminently preventable.

The separation between bovine and equine will become immutable with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, which will track the provenance and identity of every animal from stall to store, adding the data to a blockchain that anyone can check but no one can alter.

Food processing companies will be able to use that blockchain to confirm and label the contents of their products accordingly—down to the specific farms and animals represented in every individual package. That level of detail may be too much information for shoppers, but they will at least be able to trust that their meatballs come from the appropriate species.

The Spine of Digitalization

Keeping food safer and more traceable is just the beginning, however. Improvements in the supply chain, which have been incremental for decades despite billions of dollars of technology investments, are about to go exponential. Emerging technologies are converging to transform the supply chain from tactical to strategic, from an easily replicable commodity to a new source of competitive differentiation.

You may already be thinking about how to take advantage of blockchain technology, which makes data and transactions immutable, transparent, and verifiable (see “What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?”). That will be a powerful tool to boost supply chain speed and efficiency—always a worthy goal, but hardly a disruptive one.

However, if you think of blockchain as the spine of digitalization and technologies such as AI, the IoT, 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, and drones as the limbs, you have a powerful supply chain body that can leapfrog ahead of its competition.

What Is Blockchain and How Does It Work?

Here’s why blockchain technology is critical to transforming the supply chain.

Blockchain is essentially a sequential, distributed ledger of transactions that is constantly updated on a global network of computers. The ownership and history of a transaction is embedded in the blockchain at the transaction’s earliest stages and verified at every subsequent stage.

A blockchain network uses vast amounts of computing power to encrypt the ledger as it’s being written. This makes it possible for every computer in the network to verify the transactions safely and transparently. The more organizations that participate in the ledger, the more complex and secure the encryption becomes, making it increasingly tamperproof.

Why does blockchain matter for the supply chain?

  • It enables the safe exchange of value without a central verifying partner, which makes transactions faster and less expensive.
  • It dramatically simplifies recordkeeping by establishing a single, authoritative view of the truth across all parties.
  • It builds a secure, immutable history and chain of custody as different parties handle the items being shipped, and it updates the relevant documentation.
  • By doing these things, blockchain allows companies to create smart contracts based on programmable business logic, which can execute themselves autonomously and thereby save time and money by reducing friction and intermediaries.

Hints of the Future

In the mid-1990s, when the World Wide Web was in its infancy, we had no idea that the internet would become so large and pervasive, nor that we’d find a way to carry it all in our pockets on small slabs of glass.

But we could tell that it had vast potential.

Today, with the combination of emerging technologies that promise to turbocharge digital transformation, we’re just beginning to see how we might turn the supply chain into a source of competitive advantage (see “What’s the Magic Combination?”).

What’s the Magic Combination?

Those who focus on blockchain in isolation will miss out on a much bigger supply chain opportunity.

Many experts believe emerging technologies will work with blockchain to digitalize the supply chain and create new business models:

  • Blockchain will provide the foundation of automated trust for all parties in the supply chain.
  • The IoT will link objects—from tiny devices to large machines—and generate data about status, locations, and transactions that will be recorded on the blockchain.
  • 3D printing will extend the supply chain to the customer’s doorstep with hyperlocal manufacturing of parts and products with IoT sensors built into the items and/or their packaging. Every manufactured object will be smart, connected, and able to communicate so that it can be tracked and traced as needed.
  • Big Data management tools will process all the information streaming in around the clock from IoT sensors.
  • AI and machine learning will analyze this enormous amount of data to reveal patterns and enable true predictability in every area of the supply chain.

Combining these technologies with powerful analytics tools to predict trends will make lack of visibility into the supply chain a thing of the past. Organizations will be able to examine a single machine across its entire lifecycle and identify areas where they can improve performance and increase return on investment. They’ll be able to follow and monitor every component of a product, from design through delivery and service. They’ll be able to trigger and track automated actions between and among partners and customers to provide customized transactions in real time based on real data.

After decades of talk about markets of one, companies will finally have the power to create them—at scale and profitably.

Amazon, for example, is becoming as much a logistics company as a retailer. Its ordering and delivery systems are so streamlined that its customers can launch and complete a same-day transaction with a push of a single IP-enabled button or a word to its ever-attentive AI device, Alexa. And this level of experimentation and innovation is bubbling up across industries.

Consider manufacturing, where the IoT is transforming automation inside already highly automated factories. Machine-to-machine communication is enabling robots to set up, provision, and unload equipment quickly and accurately with minimal human intervention. Meanwhile, sensors across the factory floor are already capable of gathering such information as how often each machine needs maintenance or how much raw material to order given current production trends.

Once they harvest enough data, businesses will be able to feed it through machine learning algorithms to identify trends that forecast future outcomes. At that point, the supply chain will start to become both automated and predictive. We’ll begin to see business models that include proactively scheduling maintenance, replacing parts just before they’re likely to break, and automatically ordering materials and initiating customer shipments.

Italian train operator Trenitalia, for example, has put IoT sensors on its locomotives and passenger cars and is using analytics and in-memory computing to gauge the health of its trains in real time, according to an article in Computer Weekly. “It is now possible to affordably collect huge amounts of data from hundreds of sensors in a single train, analyse that data in real time and detect problems before they actually happen,” Trenitalia’s CIO Danilo Gismondi told Computer Weekly.

Blockchain allows all the critical steps of the supply chain to go electronic and become irrefutably verifiable by all the critical parties within minutes: the seller and buyer, banks, logistics carriers, and import and export officials.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018, will change Trenitalia’s business model, allowing it to schedule more trips and make each one more profitable. The railway company will be able to better plan parts inventories and determine which lines are consistently performing poorly and need upgrades. The new system will save €100 million a year, according to ARC Advisory Group.

New business models continue to evolve as 3D printers become more sophisticated and affordable, making it possible to move the end of the supply chain closer to the customer. Companies can design parts and products in materials ranging from carbon fiber to chocolate and then print those items in their warehouse, at a conveniently located third-party vendor, or even on the client’s premises.

In addition to minimizing their shipping expenses and reducing fulfillment time, companies will be able to offer more personalized or customized items affordably in small quantities. For example, clothing retailer Ministry of Supply recently installed a 3D printer at its Boston store that enables it to make an article of clothing to a customer’s specifications in under 90 minutes, according to an article in Forbes.

This kind of highly distributed manufacturing has potential across many industries. It could even create a market for secure manufacturing for highly regulated sectors, allowing a manufacturer to transmit encrypted templates to printers in tightly protected locations, for example.

Meanwhile, organizations are investigating ways of using blockchain technology to authenticate, track and trace, automate, and otherwise manage transactions and interactions, both internally and within their vendor and customer networks. The ability to collect data, record it on the blockchain for immediate verification, and make that trustworthy data available for any application delivers indisputable value in any business context. The supply chain will be no exception.

Blockchain Is the Change Driver

The supply chain is configured as we know it today because it’s impossible to create a contract that accounts for every possible contingency. Consider cross-border financial transfers, which are so complex and must meet so many regulations that they require a tremendous number of intermediaries to plug the gaps: lawyers, accountants, customer service reps, warehouse operators, bankers, and more. By reducing that complexity, blockchain technology makes intermediaries less necessary—a transformation that is revolutionary even when measured only in cost savings.

“If you’re selling 100 items a minute, 24 hours a day, reducing the cost of the supply chain by just $1 per item saves you more than $52.5 million a year,” notes Dirk Lonser, SAP go-to-market leader at DXC Technology, an IT services company. “By replacing manual processes and multiple peer-to-peer connections through fax or e-mail with a single medium where everyone can exchange verified information instantaneously, blockchain will boost profit margins exponentially without raising prices or even increasing individual productivity.”

But the potential for blockchain extends far beyond cost cutting and streamlining, says Irfan Khan, CEO of supply chain management consulting and systems integration firm Bristlecone, a Mahindra Group company. It will give companies ways to differentiate.

“Blockchain will let enterprises more accurately trace faulty parts or products from end users back to factories for recalls,” Khan says. “It will streamline supplier onboarding, contracting, and management by creating an integrated platform that the company’s entire network can access in real time. It will give vendors secure, transparent visibility into inventory 24×7. And at a time when counterfeiting is a real concern in multiple industries, it will make it easy for both retailers and customers to check product authenticity.”

Blockchain allows all the critical steps of the supply chain to go electronic and become irrefutably verifiable by all the critical parties within minutes: the seller and buyer, banks, logistics carriers, and import and export officials. Although the key parts of the process remain the same as in today’s analog supply chain, performing them electronically with blockchain technology shortens each stage from hours or days to seconds while eliminating reams of wasteful paperwork. With goods moving that quickly, companies have ample room for designing new business models around manufacturing, service, and delivery.

Challenges on the Path to Adoption

For all this to work, however, the data on the blockchain must be correct from the beginning. The pills, produce, or parts on the delivery truck need to be the same as the items listed on the manifest at the loading dock. Every use case assumes that the data is accurate—and that will only happen when everything that’s manufactured is smart, connected, and able to self-verify automatically with the help of machine learning tuned to detect errors and potential fraud.

Companies are already seeing the possibilities of applying this bundle of emerging technologies to the supply chain. IDC projects that by 2021, at least 25% of Forbes Global 2000 (G2000) companies will use blockchain services as a foundation for digital trust at scale; 30% of top global manufacturers and retailers will do so by 2020. IDC also predicts that by 2020, up to 10% of pilot and production blockchain-distributed ledgers will incorporate data from IoT sensors.

Despite IDC’s optimism, though, the biggest barrier to adoption is the early stage level of enterprise use cases, particularly around blockchain. Currently, the sole significant enterprise blockchain production system is the virtual currency Bitcoin, which has unfortunately been tainted by its associations with speculation, dubious financial transactions, and the so-called dark web.

The technology is still in a sufficiently early stage that there’s significant uncertainty about its ability to handle the massive amounts of data a global enterprise supply chain generates daily. Never mind that it’s completely unregulated, with no global standard. There’s also a critical global shortage of experts who can explain emerging technologies like blockchain, the IoT, and machine learning to nontechnology industries and educate organizations in how the technologies can improve their supply chain processes. Finally, there is concern about how blockchain’s complex algorithms gobble computing power—and electricity (see “Blockchain Blackouts”).

Blockchain Blackouts

Blockchain is a power glutton. Can technology mediate the issue?

A major concern today is the enormous carbon footprint of the networks creating and solving the algorithmic problems that keep blockchains secure. Although virtual currency enthusiasts claim the problem is overstated, Michael Reed, head of blockchain technology for Intel, has been widely quoted as saying that the energy demands of blockchains are a significant drain on the world’s electricity resources.

Indeed, Wired magazine has estimated that by July 2019, the Bitcoin network alone will require more energy than the entire United States currently uses and that by February 2020 it will use as much electricity as the entire world does today.

Still, computing power is becoming more energy efficient by the day and sticking with paperwork will become too slow, so experts—Intel’s Reed among them—consider this a solvable problem.

“We don’t know yet what the market will adopt. In a decade, it might be status quo or best practice, or it could be the next Betamax, a great technology for which there was no demand,” Lonser says. “Even highly regulated industries that need greater transparency in the entire supply chain are moving fairly slowly.”

Blockchain will require acceptance by a critical mass of companies, governments, and other organizations before it displaces paper documentation. It’s a chicken-and-egg issue: multiple companies need to adopt these technologies at the same time so they can build a blockchain to exchange information, yet getting multiple companies to do anything simultaneously is a challenge. Some early initiatives are already underway, though:

  • A London-based startup called Everledger is using blockchain and IoT technology to track the provenance, ownership, and lifecycles of valuable assets. The company began by tracking diamonds from mine to jewelry using roughly 200 different characteristics, with a goal of stopping both the demand for and the supply of “conflict diamonds”—diamonds mined in war zones and sold to finance insurgencies. It has since expanded to cover wine, artwork, and other high-value items to prevent fraud and verify authenticity.
  • In September 2017, SAP announced the creation of its SAP Leonardo Blockchain Co-Innovation program, a group of 27 enterprise customers interested in co-innovating around blockchain and creating business buy-in. The diverse group of participants includes management and technology services companies Capgemini and Deloitte, cosmetics company Natura Cosméticos S.A., and Moog Inc., a manufacturer of precision motion control systems.
  • Two of Europe’s largest shipping ports—Rotterdam and Antwerp—are working on blockchain projects to streamline interaction with port customers. The Antwerp terminal authority says eliminating paperwork could cut the costs of container transport by as much as 50%.
  • The Chinese online shopping behemoth Alibaba is experimenting with blockchain to verify the authenticity of food products and catch counterfeits before they endanger people’s health and lives.
  • Technology and transportation executives have teamed up to create the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a forum for developing blockchain standards and education for the freight industry.

It’s likely that the first blockchain-based enterprise supply chain use case will emerge in the next year among companies that see it as an opportunity to bolster their legal compliance and improve business processes. Once that happens, expect others to follow.

Customers Will Expect Change

It’s only a matter of time before the supply chain becomes a competitive driver. The question for today’s enterprises is how to prepare for the shift. Customers are going to expect constant, granular visibility into their transactions and faster, more customized service every step of the way. Organizations will need to be ready to meet those expectations.

If organizations have manual business processes that could never be automated before, now is the time to see if it’s possible. Organizations that have made initial investments in emerging technologies are looking at how their pilot projects are paying off and where they might extend to the supply chain. They are starting to think creatively about how to combine technologies to offer a product, service, or business model not possible before.

A manufacturer will load a self-driving truck with a 3D printer capable of creating a customer’s ordered item en route to delivering it. A vendor will capture the market for a socially responsible product by allowing its customers to track the product’s production and verify that none of its subcontractors use slave labor. And a supermarket chain will win over customers by persuading them that their choice of supermarket is also a choice between being certain of what’s in their food and simply hoping that what’s on the label matches what’s inside.

At that point, a smart supply chain won’t just be a competitive edge. It will become a competitive necessity. D!


About the Authors

Gil Perez is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain, at SAP.

Tom Raftery is Global Vice President, Futurist, and Internet of Things Evangelist, at SAP.

Hans Thalbauer is Senior Vice President, Internet of Things and Digital Supply Chain, at SAP.

Dan Wellers is Global Lead, Digital Futures, at SAP.

Fawn Fitter is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology.

Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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Four Retail Technology Trends To Take Off In 2018

Shaily Kumar

Over the past few years, technology has seen a significant shift from cyclical, invention-led spending on point solutions to investments targeting customer-driven, end-to-end value. The next wave of disruption and productivity improvements is here, which means a huge opportunity for digital-focused enterprises – if you are following the right roadmap.

Technology trends have significant potential over the next few years. Establishing a digital platform will not only set the stage for business innovation to provide competitive advantage, but it will also create new business models that will change the way we do business. Technology trends in 2018 will lay the foundation for the maturity of innovative technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning and will prepare both businesses and shoppers to be ready for their consumption.

Like any other industry, retail is being disrupted. It is no longer enough to simply stock racks with alluring products and wait for customers to rush through the door. Technological innovation is changing the way we shop. Customers can find the lowest price for any product with just a few screen touches. They can read online reviews, have products sent to their home, try them, and return anything they don’t want – all for little or nothing out of pocket. If there are problems, they can use social networks to call out brands that come up short.

Retailers are making their products accessible from websites and mobile applications, with many running effective Internet business operations rather than brick-and-mortar stores. They convey merchandise to the customer’s front entry and are set up with web-based networking media if things turn out badly.

Smart retailers are striving to fulfill changing customer needs and working to guarantee top customer service regardless of how their customer interacts with them.

2017 saw the development of some progressive technology in retail, and 2018 will be another energizing year for the retail industry. Today’s informed customers expect a more engaging shopping experience, with a consistent mix of both online and in-store recommendations. The retail experience is poised to prosper throughout next couple of years – for retailers that are prepared to embrace technology.

Here are four areas of retail technology I predict will take off in 2018:

In-store GPS-driven shopping trolleys

Supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s now enable their customers to scan and pay for products using a mobile app instead of waiting in a checkout line. The next phase of this involves intelligent shopping trolleys, or grocery store GPS: Customers use a touch screen to load shopping lists, and the system helps them find the items in the store. Customers can then check off and pay for items as they go, directly on-screen. These shopping trolleys will make their way into stores around the last quarter of 2018.

Electronic rack edge names

Electronic rack edge names are not yet broadly utilized, but this could change in 2018 as more retailers adopt this technology. Currently, retail workers must physically select and update printed labels to reflect changes in price, promotions, etc. This technology makes the process more efficient by handling such changes electronically.

Reference point technology

Despite the fact that it’s been around since 2013, reference point technology hasn’t yet been utilized to its fullest potential. In the last few years, however, it’s started to pick up in industries like retail. It’s now being used by a few retailers for area-based promotions.

Some interesting uses I’ve observed: Retailers can send messages to customers when they’re nearby a store location, and in-store mannequins can offer information about the clothing and accessories they’re wearing. I anticipate that this innovation will take off throughout 2018 and into 2019.

Machine intelligence

The technological innovations describe above will also provide retailers with new data streams. These data sources, when merged with existing customer data, online, and ERP data, will lead to new opportunities. Recently Walmart announced it would begin utilizing rack examining robots to help review its stores. The machines will check stock, prices, and even help settle lost inventory. It will also help retailers learn more about changing customer behavior in real time, which will boost engagement.

Clearly, technology and digital transformation in retail have changed the way we live and shop. 2018 will see emerging technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence using structured and unstructured data to deliver innovation. As technology develops, it will continue to transform and enhance the retail experience.

For more insight on e-commerce, see Cognitive Commerce In The Digital World: Enhancing The Customer Journey.

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Shaily Kumar

About Shaily Kumar

Shailendra has been on a quest to help organisations make money out of data and has generated an incremental value of over one billion dollars through analytics and cognitive processes. With a global experience of more than two decades, Shailendra has worked with a myriad of Corporations, Consulting Services and Software Companies in various industries like Retail, Telecommunications, Financial Services and Travel - to help them realise incremental value hidden in zettabytes of data. He has published multiple articles in international journals about Analytics and Cognitive Solutions; and recently published “Making Money out of Data” which showcases five business stories from various industries on how successful companies make millions of dollars in incremental value using analytics. Prior to joining SAP, Shailendra was Partner / Analytics & Cognitive Leader, Asia at IBM where he drove the cognitive business across Asia. Before joining IBM, he was the Managing Director and Analytics Lead at Accenture delivering value to its clients across Australia and New Zealand. Coming from the industry, Shailendra held key Executive positions driving analytics at Woolworths and Coles in the past.