Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Market Research

So Why Undertake a Market Research?

1. Understand your Market’s Dynamics

Understanding your market means being up to date with all the external factors that may affect your business directly or indirectly. It’s basic business intelligence any business must have. From the start-up to the established business, market research is not only a smart choice but an essential part of running any business from time to time. Several industry standards, economic, technological, and regulatory changes may occur over time. These result in changes not readily observable that can affect your business in the eventually. Knowing of these changes enables you to plan ahead and innovate in light of any resulting market opportunities. This is what basic business intelligence can do for your business. Undertaking a market research is the basic step towards gaining an understanding of your business environment. It keeps you ahead of your competition by giving you insightful information that you can use to develop your business’ marketing strategy uniquely designed for your situation. Further, you stay ahead by being able to develop solutions that your competitors have not yet looked into. It offers you information about who your customers are, who your competitors are, and any changes you need to put in place to remain competitive in our industry.

2. Test the Market

In order to make well informed business decisions, you may need to undertake a market research so you can have accurate, up-to-date information and market data. This will give you an insight about your potential customers, markets, and competitors. It gives you insightful information into various aspects about your business. You get to know; what works and what doesn't  how you can better deliver your service/product to serve your customers, the price potential customers are willing to pay for your service or product offering, the current market price average, external factors like your competitors, industry regulations and standard, economic or technological conditions that could affect your business in the long term or short term, further, it helps you understand who your customers are and who your competitors are so you can better analyse how you will get your customers.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Subscriptions, Feeds and Syndication

Subscriptions, feeds and alerts are ways that online users can get news right from the source instead of them going online to seek out news. The benefit is that users get to cut down on time they spend online. RSS feeds, Alerts, and other subscriptions enable the news you want to come to you directly in your mailbox when available.

All the user does is subscribe or click a link to join an emailing list and then all the news, articles and information that the user would normally seek out to come to them directly in their mailboxes. Basically, these tools change the way we view the internet further more. From you going online to look for information to you sitting back and having the information you want come to you!

Hosted Services

Hosted services refers to online services that users can use online using online software and network servers that are not their own. The social media tool, Facebook, is an example of a hosted service. The term “services” refers to existing websites that offer these tools and often hosts them on their own servers.

The major concern about hosted services is the security and safety of these services. How safe is the information shared on the net? It is such issues that really bring into question the costs and benefits of web 2.0 tools.

Group Productivity and Collaboration Tools

Group productivity and collaboration can be greatly enhanced using social media tools. Tasks such as managing, supervising, and group work can easily be done using many different tools available in social media. Among the most commonly used tools by individuals and organizations are email, instant messaging (IM), and blogs. All these are tools to help organizations work more efficiently and effectively. More tools exist that can help in project management and development. Tools such as wikis can be used for collaborative work by between two or more people in different locations.

All these tools enable work to be done across different locations. The common name used for these tools is the term ‘Groupware’. From the term itself, you get an understanding to say it has to do with groups working together, or simply, collaborating.

Current Issues and New Ideas

With this new tool that practically brings the world together, web 2.0 tools provide the world with massive opportunity and potential. Its possibilities are limitless and well unimaginable right now. Experts predict that users will influence how and where we go from here with regards to the web. In recent times, mobile phones and other mobile devices have been seen to influence a lot of innovations and designs. This trend is set to continue, and possibly grow as the numbers of mobile phone and mobile device users grow. The evolution of the web is in our hands and will eventually evolve in ways that perhaps we cannot even begin to imagine.

The influence of mobile devices has seen new concepts of designs, with concepts of such innovations like geo-tagging. This innovation enables users to locate one another using mobile devises such as mobile phones. With technology like this, users can now simply locate anyone in the world if they allow it. It is such new additions to the web that have resulted in the development of a concept called web 3.0. This idea represents the next dimension of web evolution. It suggests and brings into light some possible landmark innovations that will be used in the near future on the internet. Though not clearly defined, it gives us a feel of where we may be going with regards to web evolution.

Privacy, Intellectual Property and access to Social media

Wikipedia defines privacy the ability of an individual or group to keep their lives and personal affairs out of public view, or to control the flow of information about them. One huge issue that always comes into perspective is on how social media affects personal or organisational privacy. From concerns on the use of intellectual property to the general security concerns that arise when one shares content on the web, social media has its fair share of challenges.

Basically, if one is going to have their information on the internet, they need to be careful what they share, copyrighted information may be safer to share but they is no guarantee that everyone out there will respect that copyright. Therefore while, they may be many ways of getting your work licensed, there is no way of ensuring 100% that it is kept safe from plagiarism.

Another aspect that social media brings out is the inequality that exists in the world when it comes to internet access and the use of social media tools. It has been observed that while western countries and most parts of Asia have greatly benefited from social media tools, many other parts of the world, mostly in Africa still remain in the dark and are virtually non-existent. This lack of access to social media tools has caused a great disparity between those that are able to use these tools and those that are not.

Social Networking Sites and Communities

Social networking sites are a sub-group of social media tools that enable one to connect and network with far more people than would be possible without online social media. Social networking enables communication and networking even at an international level. With social media, we are able to put up our own personal or organisational profiles online. These can be made available for anyone to read from wherever they are in the world. With such tools available to us all, it has now become a necessity for everyone to have an online presence; if you are not online, it is safe to say, you simply do not exist in this technical era! This is how much social media tools like social networking sites have revolutionised the world.

Social networking sites are of different types; from the professional networking sites like LinkedIn, to the more general sites like Facebook. There is always something for every need, whether one is looking to simply network on a professional level, or it’s for a more personal social reason. The right sites for you will depend on what you intend to achieve by joining the social networking site. A wide variety of ways are used to communicate through social media, from blogs to vlogs, from chats to discussion forums; all these are made available on different social networking sites.

The basic benefit to an individual or an organisation is increased audience for what you do, who you are, etc. Without interaction, you’re limited as to what you may know or be able to do. Through social networking sites, individuals and organisations can get to have their own online presence and spread information about them. Further, organisations can also use this tool to get feedback on their services or products from customers, clients, and anyone who’d want to share their thoughts. This feedback can then be used to improve where needed or to simply get ideas for use in the organisation. Organisations may also use this platform to market themselves and their events. In a nutshell, social networking sites provide a new highly interactive medium for organisations to connect with their customers.

Challenges that come into play mainly involve issues to do with privacy concerns, and how much information is made available to the public. But, these can be controlled with just a little care on the part of the organisation in what information it is sharing with its audience.