Contact Lenses- Computers of the Future

Now stay with me here……the future of computers may well be in contact lenses?! Yes, that picture above that you see is exactly what it seems.  Okay, I’ll explain.

A team from Washington University recently completed trials on a new generation of contact lenses that would project your emails directly onto your eyeballs. Circuits in the lenses are made from layers of metal only a few nanometres thick and feature light-emitting diodes measuring 1/3 of a millimeter across.

The next step is to incorporate hundreds of pixels into the lens. The team believes they can eventually produce complex holographic images and price comparison information just by looking at a specific product. Speculation that we’ll be able to stream web content using contact lenses is also on the table.

There are some major challenges however. One, they have to make the contacts as comfortable as normal ones currently on the market. That pretty much means they have to feel like nothing is in your eye. More challenges include powering these contacts. They are currently without a viable power source and the current prototype only works if it’s within centimeters of a wireless battery. Lastly, there may be uncertain long-term effects of wearing a lens made of electrical circuits that is touching the surface of your eye. Imagine wearing these contacts in the scorching heat?

Very interesting ambitions. I’m still kind of speechless to be quite honest. As a person that wears contact lenses all day, everday, I really haven’t the slightest interest at this point.

Generation Z, The New Consumers

I’m sure you have heard of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y. But have you heard of Generation Z yet? These are people born between 1992 and 2010. They have witnessed 9/11, an economic recession, wars in Iraq, a growing environmentally friendly conscience, the first African American President, and a world that changes everyday. Some categorized in this generation are just learning how to walk and talk but yet they changing the way products are bought, services are used, and how communication works. This generation is very interesting because they have never known a life without personal computers, mobile phones, MP3 players, and the Internet. These are the true people within the digital age that are very comfortable with technology and are used to it changing.

The way this generation communicates is intriguing. Their main way of communicating is through mobile devices and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. Marketing efforts via social media will be important in attracting this generation to become potential consumers of products and services. One thing marketers need to understand is that Generation Z’ers are not your typical consumers. They do not take well to branding initiatives, considering how everything around them changes so fast. They expect constant feedback and instant results, meaning marketers need to keep pace with these individuals. Creativity needs to be used to reach this generation. Marketers also need to be aware that one form of marketing to this generation will not be enough. They are notorious for being multi-taskers, which means they are checking multiple social network sites at once, or shopping online at more than one store. To reach these people, multiple outlets need to be used.

Generation Z will be a fun generation to market too. They already have a knack for technology, which will allow marketers to use creativity to attract this generation as potential consumers.

A Phone Call Can Make a Difference

Basically everything we do is online. The Internet is where we communicate, shop, watch videos, read the news, listen to music, and many other things. What you may not know under a business perspective, companies use the Internet to generate leads. They do this by setting up online queries for potential customers to get information. For successful interaction with these potential customers, some contacting needs to be done. Firms are not acting fast enough to follow up on leads.

In a study reported in the Harvard Business Review showed that 37% responded to a lead with in an hour, but 23% never responded at all. The issue here is that online leads go colder faster than any other type of lead. Since the Internet is a giant marketplace for anything imaginable, it is easy for a potential customer to go looking somewhere else. It was also found in the same study that U.S. firms who tried to contact potential customers within an hour of their online query were nearly 7 times as likely to have a meaningful conversation and create communication. This then can turn into a business relationship that could potentially turn into a sale.

The moral of this story is that companies need to focus on following up on online queries faster, otherwise the chance to communicate with a potential customer will vanish quickly. All it takes is one phone call with in an hour of the query to increase chances of qualifying a lead.

A History Lesson in Marketing

Marketing is an activity and process for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value. It is how products and services gain a voice for customers, clients, and businesses to know they exist. Marketing is an aspect of business that has been around for many years. Have you ever wondered how it all started though? Marketing is based on the technologies of the era, because those technologies is how marketing messages were pushed through channels. Technology has evolved rapidly and continues to change everyday. We have things like social media and Internet today that is a must use tool for marketers, but it didn’t start out that way.

If we take a step way back to the Stone Age, messages were communicated by cave paintings and carvings. Since then, our lives started to evolve and stepping towards advancement. The Renaissance Era in the 15th century produced learning and research as we stepped out of the Dark Ages. We then entered the Age of Discovery, and in 1450 is when things started to change. The Gutenberg press was created, allowing for type to be movable, which is where mail order catalogs got their start. The Industrial Revolution in the 1800s increased demand for manufacturers to market their goods. The 1900s helped develop the marketing concept as science and technology started to change. Competition, communication, advertising, and branding become key factors in business. The focus on selling also grew. Direct marketing surfaced in the 1950s and telemarketing in the 1970s.

The 1990s were characterized by the boom of the Internet, which led to a vast amount of marketing platforms. The early 2000s sparked the launches of Wikipedia, Apple iTunes Store, and Gmail. YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter followed. Today we are in the midst of the social media and mobile era. How ironic is it that we started out writing on walls to communicate and now we continue to do just that only not literally this time. The future holds potential for more advances in technology, which will be interesting to see what will happen next.

Mobilizing Your Marketing Efforts

Mobile usage has drastically increased in the past few years and its future is looking brighter. In this day and age it seems like everyone owns a mobile device, most not being able to function without one. Mobile devices have become so advanced that they not only are used for calls and texts, but they now have Internet capabilities, cameras, navigation, email, and many more applications, literally making your mobile device smart. Over 4 billion people own a mobile phone, which is predicted to increase by 50% in 2015. Landlines and desktop computers will be a thing of the past in the coming future as new technologies are being invented everyday to make mobile devices better and more advanced. We have grown and been molded into a mobile society making mobile devices the perfect technology for our busy lifestyles.

The vast amounts of people who own a mobile phone gives marketers a wide array of opportunities to develop a mobile marketing plan. Two of the most widely uses of mobile devices are to socialize and surf the web. Social media networks, most popular being Facebook and Twitter, have developed mobile apps to make socializing easier and in the palm of user’s hands.

Marketers have a wealth of potential to attract customers to their brand, products, services, and their company. A mobile marketing campaign has an opportunity to attract a widespread market of people, a market consisting of an upwards of 4 billion people. This gives marketers room to experiment and try a variety of marketing ideas to cater to that group of people, with one major thing in common, they all own a mobile device.

Here are 5 steps to help mold a marketing plan to fit a mobile lifestyle:

1. Prioritize: A mobile marketing plan is something that will take time to develop and implement. Marketers should have goals and a time line set up before starting. This is not something that can be thrown together in one day. A detailed plan should be prepared for a mobile marketing plan.

2. Utilize: There is an extensive amount of information that is available, it just needs to be looked for. Take advantage of the knowledge others provide. A mobile marketing plan will be easier to create when you have information to help you along.

3. Recognize: Be aware of what others have done in the past and the present. If that information is obtainable, it will become a very useful tool to see what other have tried and if it worked or failed.

4. Characterize: A mobile marketing plan should be exciting, creative, and full of energy. If it is boring, no one will pay attention to it. The idea to keep in mind is to give a mobile marketing plan a personality so that users can feel like a company has a soul. Keep in mind that a company that portrays themselves as fun and refreshing will have a better chance of being seen and heard. Also remember that this marketing plan is being catered to a mobile device and if the campaign doesn’t catch the eye of users it will be quickly dismissed.

5. Initialize: After goals have been made, information has been collected, and a plan has been formed, it is now time to put that plan into action. This is the most exciting step because this is when you find out if your hard work and planning will produce results. A plan to track progress should be put into place at this time.

Libraries Utilize Social Networking Sites

Social networking Web sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, have been growing more and more everyday.  They have been expanding so much that not only are teens and 20-somethings using these sites, but they are also affecting the Baby Boomer generation.  Since these sites are growing so much in popularity, many libraries are seeing them as a tool to reach out to their patrons.

libraries-use-social-networking-facebookMichael Stephens, assistant professor of library and information science at Dominican University in River Forest, said “The best libraries will offer multiple venues for discussion.  You’ll have multiple channels to find your way to no longer [just] a Web site, but a Web presence.”  He also teaches a class called, “Library 2.0 and Social Networking Technologies,” and said that the number one group of people moving to social networks are ages 30 and up.

libraries-use-social-networking-twitter-logoIt is important for libraries to be proactive and stay current with the trends to stay effective, rather than become outdated.  These sites allow people to connect with each other, as well as allow libraries to connect with their patrons.  Amy Alessio, teen coordinator for the Schaumburg Township District Library said, “The library needs to keep its perception and its service current or we’re going to lose folks.”  She uses social networks, such as Twitter, to let people know about the various programs and services that they offer.  She found many adults and authors are following her library’s Twitter page and said, “I put something up on Twitter for a program that only has a few spaces left and I almost always get a call from a parent.”

libraries-use-social-networking-connect-together-ideasNot only do social networking sites inform patrons about their local library, but they also can bring libraries together to share ideas.  They can see what other libraries are doing and if that is something they could or want to start.  It is also a tool for passing along information about budget cuts and what is going on in the industry.  The North Suburban Library System said that they use Twitter and Facebook to communicate with its member libraries and professionals within the industry.

For libraries to continue to effectively reach out to their patrons, they need to stay current with the times by utilizing social networking sites and creating a Web presence.  Peggy Carlson, assistant director of the Geneva Public Library, said, “We think it’s the way of the future, and we’re going to be integrating it more and more into our service.”

Misspellings and Website Traffic

If you are like Sunrise Packaging, you have put a lot of work into search engine optimization (SEO) in order to further generate traffic to your Website. You have chosen keywords that make sense for your business and implanted them into your site. When a prospective customer goes to Google (or Yahoo! or any other search engine) and types in one of your keywords, you want your Website to pop up above your competitors’ sites.

misspellings-traffic-flow-search-engine-optimization-google-web-siteWhat if that prospective customer spells your keyword wrong? Will your site still show up number one? Will it even show up at all? If you’re clever, you will.

Take a look at your keyword and brainstorm the common ways they can be misspelled. As an example, “disc” could be typed in as “disk” or “business” could be misspelled as “busness”.

Find the best misspellings and create a doorway or portal page on your host with these misspelled words redirecting any searches to that page to your main Web site. By researching misspelled words and submitting a portal page to search engines, you can alleviate the problems caused by misspelled keyword searches and can generate more traffic to your site.

Related to search engine misspellings is “typo squatting:” a form of cyber squatting, which relies on misspellings of Web addresses when they are typed into a Web browser. If an internet user intended to visit Sunrise Packaging’s Web site (sunpack.com) and instead typed in sunpak.com, they could be led to an alternative Website operated by a cyber squatter.

If someone already has one of your misspelled domain names, is not an actual business competitor and is clearly exploiting your brand you can send a cease and desist letter to attempt to stop the activity or you can attempt to purchase the domain name from the offender, which may have been the offender’s aim all along.

Web-site-traffic-domain-nameThis exploitation of domain names can be avoided by purchasing common misspellings of your Web address and then rerouting users who type the misspelled Web addresses back to your actual site. Purchasing common misspellings of your Web address can be beneficial to you on another level. If potential customers are searching for your company by typing in your supposed domain name, they will be easily transferred to your site, increasing quality traffic.

Don’t fret over the possibility that your Web site is receiving less hits due to common spelling mistakes. Take advantage of those mistakes in a way that your competitors may not have thought of yet, and give yourself an edge in your market!

Public Libraries, Not Just for Books!

Recently the New York Public Library announced that they have opened another facility for wireless internet access in the Edna Barnes Salomon Room.

The Edna Barnes Salomon room is by far the most elegant.  You can bring your own wireless enabled laptop and some branches even have laptops available to borrow.

Public Libraries Offer Wireless Internet

All Chicago Public Library Branches have free wireless internet access available for use.  In California, both the Los Angeles Public Library and the San Francisco library offer free wi-fi.

Here in the heartland, all branches of the Minneapolis & Hennepin Public Libraries and Saint Paul Public Library offers free wireless internet access at all locations.

So no matter where you go take your laptop to the public library to surf the internet, check your e-mail, and stay in touch for free!