Businesses Planning For Big Year In Online Advertising

As internet usage figures continue to rise, the internet is becoming increasingly important as a marketing channel. eMarketer, a market research firm that monitors digital media and internet marketing data, announced that digital ad revenues exceeded $102 billion in 2012 with this number expected to increase in 2013 and beyond. 

Digital marketing budgets in 2013

Following impressive performance in 2012, many businesses are preparing to increase their online marketing budgets in 2013. 

Market research firm ‘C.I. Marketing’ recently released a report stating that 35.7% of marketing managers at a number of large and medium sized businesses are planning to increase their online marketing budgets in 2013 compared to 10.8% in 2012. 

Naom Raz, C.I. Marketing’s owner, also stated that marketing budget allocations are being moved from traditional forms of advertising to direct advertising on social networks and other online advertising channels.

Social media

2012 was the year that social networks made their mark as effective marketing channels. Youtube, Facebook and other social networking sites experienced unprecedented success with many businesses eschewing traditional advertising in favour of advertisements on these social networking sites.

In their report, C.I. Marketing stated that social network spends increased from 28% to 38% between 2010 and 2012, a trend that is unlikely to reverse any time soon. The report also stated that, of the 42 managers surveyed for the report, 28.6% will be increasing their social network budget for 2013.

Pay Per Click

Another key marketing channel in 2012 was pay per click advertising, or ‘PPC’ for short. According to C.I Marketing’s report, PPC advertising accounted for 32% of online advertising budgets in 2012 compared to 21% in 2010. It’s likely that PPC advertising will account for even higher percentages of online advertising budgets in 2013.

Rising digital ad budgets

Less than 20 years ago, digital ad media budgets were non-existent. Today, online advertising accounts for one fifth of all marketing dollars. 

eMarketer expects this meteoric growth to continue unabated with double digital percentage increases in digital ad spends until 2015, at least. By 2016, eMarketer believes that online advertising spends will account for one quarter of all marketing dollars.

Unsurprisingly, eMarketer believes that most online advertising will focus on North America and Western Europe. These two areas already command the lions share of online marketing dollars with $168 being spent to market to each North American internet user in 2012 and $112 being spent to market to each Western European internet user in 2012.

eMarketer expects digital marketing to surge in Asia and Latin America in the future, too, with Indonesia, Mexico and India, in particular, experiencing a great deal of growth.

2012 was the biggest year for online advertising yet. As internet usage figures continue to grow, this figure will, without a doubt, continue to rise as increasing numbers of businesses make use of the new opportunities afforded to them through online advertising on social network sites and PPC networks. 

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Researchers from the QMUL Cloud Legal Project at the University of London recently shared their findings on the top issues of contention between providers and customers of cloud computing engagements. As enterprises speed headlong into cloud migrations, many of the trickier and complicated contractual and legal obligations are still being worked out. Although cost may be a major consideration in choosing your cloud provider, responses to the following questions are also important.

1. Who’s liable for damages?
Interruptions in service usually entails the right to be compensated for lost business. On the cloud landscape, however, providers mostly refuse to accept liability. Even large corporate customers had problems getting a provider to accept any monetary liability, which often turned out to be “deal breakers” in the end.

2. What about SLAs?
Service Level Agreements commit a provider to availability and performance levels, and are often negotiable through adjustments in pricing; the more you are willing to pay, the better guaranteed performance.

3. Does availability extend to data?
Cloud providers often emphasise how redundant and fault-tolerant their clouds are, but often fail to extend their guarantees to data integrity, and will not accept liability for data loss.

4. Where is the physical data storage location?
The European Union’s Data Protection Directive prohibits storing of data outside of the EU. Some cloud providers are unwilling to disclose their data centre locations, and there are also technical difficulties verifying where the data processing occurs even if they do.

5. How can I avoid lock-ins and exit when needed?
Some cloud providers are asking for huge early termination penalty fees, no doubt in order to offset upfront capital costs spread over the term of the contract. There are also limited “notice windows” for non-automatic contract renewal, so make sure these are not missed before the contract rolls over into another term.

6. Who maintains data for legal and compliance issues?
There hasn’t been much discussion around the need to retain data for legally required purposes, but this will become increasingly important in the future. How much assistance (long term data storage and data format exchange) cloud providers are willing to provide may be a differentiating factor in the future.

7. What happens when service offerings change?
Standard contractual terms drafted by cloud providers often give them the option to change certain or all contractual terms unilaterally. This may cause difficulties in adapting to new provider specific application programming interfaces when things change.

8. How are intellectual property rights maintained?
When cloud providers with system integration capabilities develop applications for their customers, one customers may demand intellectual property rights to these enhancements and deny the improvements to other customers who may be potential competitors.

9. What are the reasons for service termination?
Non-payment usually results in direct service termination, but more complicated cases involving complaints of one user against another for breach of intellectual property rights can also lead to termination. Providers also stipulate termination may occur for breach of acceptable use policies and any form of material breach. 

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If you want to kick-start your career with a coveted job in an IT company of your choice, you need to do more than earning the required credentials for the job and drafting an impressive curriculum vitae. With a number of eligible candidates vying for the same position, you need to prepare for the interview process as well, so that you come across as the ideal candidate for the job. Doing so will not only help you be better prepared to face the interview panel but also aid you in re-evaluating your career choice and skills. Moreover, it will boost your confidence and create a good impression on the interview panel. 

Assessing the interview environment
The first thing that you need to do while preparing for an interview with a leading information technology company is do extensive research about the organization. This includes learning about the history of the company, its senior management, your job profile and how you plan to fulfill your job responsibilities if recruited. For example, if you are interested in joining CSC India, you need to log onto the official website of the company and check out the CSC careers section to get more insight about the position you are applying for in the company. 

More about IT jobs
Whether you are applying for the position of an engineer, a developer, a manager, or a consultant, learning about the job profile will help you be better prepared to answer any question that may pop up during the interview. Of all the job profiles mentioned above, managers are the highest paid professionals followed by developers and engineers.  Moreover, given the increasing reliance of people around the world on computers and IT, there are lots of job sites in India that one can apply for. these profiles come with a good scope of growth. 

Qualifications necessary for the job
Though a bachelor’s degree in a related field will suffice for you to enter the IT job market, you can expect your professional growth to multiply with a postgraduate degree. Furthermore, if you are gunning for an important managerial position in the company, you can get it much quicker if you have a master’s degree in business administration from a reputed institute. 
Preparing for the interview

If you want an upper hand in the interview process with an IT company, you should carefully review your CV and analyze your strengths and weaknesses. That apart, you should practice with your friends in a mock interview session where you can summarize your academic and professional achievements concisely. Furthermore, you should highlight your industry experience, career highs, skills, and key accomplishments for the benefit of the interview panel. This will emphasize how your experience and skills fit the job profile that you are being interviewed for at present. 

Researching the company
Thereafter, you should do your homework about the company, go through its financial report, and speak with friends, family members, or colleagues who have worked or are still working in that company. It is also recommended that you research the IT industry in general and read up latest news related to the vertical. 

Customer satisfaction refers to the degree to which customers are happy with a company’s services and products. Needless to say that increasing the levels of customer satisfaction is essential for any modern business as happy customers are much more likely to become dedicated buyers. 

Companies like Argos and Cadburys enjoy high levels of customer satisfaction, which is not surprising as these enterprises ground their business operation on thorough market research and analysis. Follow the lead. 

#1. Find out what the customer wants. Getting this valuable information is easy with free survey software available on the web. Using quality software allows creating simple customer-focused surveys without spending much time and money.

#2. Estimate levels of satisfaction. The starting point for any business improvement strategy is estimating the actual levels of customer satisfaction. Getting five points out of ten undoubtedly means that the customer will be looking for a new provider, while six to eight points mean that you should improve customer satisfaction factors. 

#3. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. Include the corresponding questions into the survey to determine what aspects of your business operation need to be improved. Remember that the speed of response to enquiries, lack of innovation, and product quality are the key drivers of overall customer satisfaction.

 #4. Respond to the customer’s needs. After carrying out a survey, respond to the customer’s feedback promptly to demonstrate your clients how much you care about their needs. Launch customer hotlines to ensure the most urgent issues are being dealt with immediately.

#5. Choose the right management. Keep in mind that the company’s management should participate in the increasing customer satisfaction programme.  The management involvement means that improved customer satisfaction is not just a new policy of a single person or group but the whole organisation’s new philosophy. It’s also important to put someone responsible in charge to ensure that the new business improvement plan is followed.

#6. Come up with the right goals. Ensure that each area of your customer satisfaction survey has its own goal, which makes it easier to track the results later. The final customer satisfaction goal should identify the level of impact in advance. For instance, try to plan how much customer satisfaction improvement you expect by the time the next survey is carried out. 

#7. Measure your success. Make sure that the programme brings results but avoid annoying customers with dozens of surveys. Experts advise carrying out global customer satisfaction surveys annually to be able to see the improvements. Thus, Suddenlink, a reputable cable company, runs an annual study on the overall customer satisfaction and experience at each point of contact.

All things considered, high levels of customer satisfaction are linked to your revenue. There are many factors that contribute to customer satisfaction but one thing is obvious – customers appreciate when they are made to feel special and valuable. 

As we move into 2013, Nintendo 3DS is likely to face challenging times. Having been around for about 2 years now, competitors of this console are multiplying in the form of ever-so popular smartphones, which support increasingly powerful processors and can now run all sorts of games. Nintendo’s answer will come the usual way: new games, and loads of them, too. Here’s some of our favourite titles to be released in the first few months of 2013.

With release date set for February 8th, Wreck It Ralph is the console’s big name for the second month of the year. Already a film based on videogame characters, Ralph’s cinematic success is likely to boost the sales of its Nintendo counterpart. This is a good old-fashioned platform game, the kind that Nintendo has been doing best since Mario’s heydays – a safe bet for all young players looking for some adventure.  
Talking of safe February bets, Sonic & All Stars Racing Transformed will bring the fastest blue hedgehog under the spotlight again, and will give you a chance to compete in some of the wackiest races of recent video gaming history.

On with more dangerous titles, we’d like to signal Castlevania: Mirror of Fate (March 8th). The game will see prodigal son Trevor Belmont come back to avenge his mother, who had been slayed by his father. But is his dad is not just anyone: he is in fact a vampire called Dracula…

Less scary, but just as adventurous are the realms of Naruto. In Naruto: Powerful Shippuden, which will also be released on March 8th, players will take part in ninja fighting with an anime twist, continuing the tradition of one of the most successful animation titles of recent years.

But the real star of the month of March is likely to be Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. Keeping Mario’s brother busy with ghosts and ghouls, this title picks up from the GameCube days and is set to be an eerie and thrilling experience with three haunted mansions to explore.

As the year goes on, there are more 3DS you’d better keep an eye on, from Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Quarter 2), to King of Pirates (release date TBC) and Professor Layton VS Phoenix Wright (also TBC). 

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