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FutureNow Interactive FZE | Dubai
FutureNow Interactive | Dubai | Online Advertising & Marketing | SEO | SEM | SM | Web Design & Development | E mail Marketing | Mobile marketing | Traditional Advertising & marketing Solutions
FutureNow Interactive | Dubai | Online Advertising & Marketing | SEO | SEM | SM | Web Design & Development | E mail Marketing | Mobile marketing | Traditional Advertising & marketing Solutions


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The effectiveness of using digital channels for CRM?
Most organizations are using CRM systems for more than a decade now and keeping customer as king and putting keeping him at the heart of the organization’s strategy has been the key to business success. However, it still remains an aspiration and ever elusive goal for many.Market surveys show that CRM systems which combined digital, social and mobile data along with traditional touch-points were more effective and successful as compared to those that didn’t. Giants such as Starbucks and Domino’s Pizza, were big brands who claim that they have cracked the customer service game thanks to their combined approach.
CRM is all about addressing the customer in a relevant way, on the right channel, at the right time and adding value to the customer’s life. Combining the online along with the offline channel has enabled companies such as Pizza Hut and Domino’s, to reach and identify individuals rather than just households. This, as well as harnessing social media channels such as face book and mobile data, means companies can create specific campaigns for specific target audience and give timely offerings to maximize conversions.Corporates recognize that for delivering best practice in joining up online and offline data to deliver value-added customer service.The art of CRM has not change, but has become more dynamic and the channel has diverted.
The benefits of joining up social, digital, mobile and offline CRM data:
Minimal duplication : Businesses that have built a fusion of all touch points into a single view CRM system. These are more effective as they are outperforming those that aren’t because they don’t have duplication of messages.
Increasing the relevance: Using mobile channels as a device to collect and harness data has allowed companies to create personalized, targeted and specific promotions and offerings – such as e-coupons etc.
Personalized conversations: Database contacts drawn from email, face book, linked in and other social media channels means large corporates now have an opportunity to have a personalized dialouge with their customers.
Dynamic and proactive customer service: Companies that have joind the social media bandwagon and not shied away have the edge and now respond to conversations with customers instantly. This decreases customer revert time and makes the whole process very effective.
Greater chances to personalize communication: By creating a fusion of offline and online activity organizations can personalize content and build a great customer experience, also they can offer the most satisfying service experience to the customer.
Effective follow up and tracking of consumers:Data created from e-payment from the digital wallet mobile payments and passbook technology allows you to track and follow the customer even after they’ve left your site, this can also give a better insight into customer behavior & preferences.

One of the major obstacles in implementing an effective CRM system is making the required changes is often seen as costly and a logistical nightmare and hence a lot of corporates  do not want to make the shift and embrace these changes. The corporate boards want to see ROI. One way of doing this shift could be: Marketers need to take 10% from each of their existing segments and run a trial by  Implementing a new CRM system, manage and track the improvements seen. Then present this evidence to the top management. Its note worthy that most corporates know the way to go, they just need to be convinced with appropriate justifications.
CRM is all about reaching out to the consumer and the digital platform is providing corporates with more channels to reach out to their customers with. 

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Are we relying too heavily on the FB ads?

FB ads are an immensely strong tool to connect with, engage and influence the target audience. This can certainly help build your presence, but just like Google PPC ads that are used for organic searches to bring in traffic- But experts believe  these just a stop gap measure and not 'the solution.' Facebook ads are definitely a big deal and can tilt the scales for most e-marketers, It is an important tool that is effective and powerful too with which one can get very much targeted and interested people on your FB Page. Studies prove once you have a reasonable base number of fans on your Facebook Page, you should engage them and work with them, give them some added value, entertain them and give them a reason for their like of your page.But, marketers are relying on them more than they should. Are we out of balance?

It makes good business sense to have high incoming traffic and likes etc. but using resources available on building out promotions and content  that will drive up the metrics organically is definitely better in the long term as those efforts are lasting and don't disappear as soon as someone clicks the ad. Not because there is anything inherently wrong with spending money on facebook advertising but because marketers nowadays seem to have thrown the budget vs returns balance out of control.

We see numerous brands spending millions of dollars in short span of time to generate fan base without doing a single social promotion to activate those fans.That does not make good business sense. Why bring in millions of new fans and not try to generate business out of them and to activate them? One does not always need to use Facebook apps, but we can drive new fans using promotions that encourage target audience to be your brand ambassadors and to generate awareness for your brand in some way. An added advantage is that  the space is being legitimized. Also when a brand does this, studies show that they can get almost a 20-45% jump in organic lift. Taking an example, on $1m in ad spend, that’s at least $200,000 in value and definitely an effective social promotion can be done within that amount.
A few other factors that are tipping the balance of spendings vs earnings from FB ads are:
Marketers are increasingly growing comfortable with ad spends: Research done in January 2013 shows that 64% of marketers are having plans to increase their social media ad spends and budgets in 2013. Only 2% plan to take a drop and decrease their budgets!Its noteworthy that now almost 10% of annual advertising spends are now being allocated for social media and out of that 13% is going to Twitter, 13% to Youtube and the lions share of  57% is going to Facebook.
Organic exposure is showing better performance than paid activities: If you want to get better business results, data shows that organic exposure connects better with buying patterns than paid exposure. It’s easy to buy impressions, but it’s clearly more effective to earn impressions if the goal is to generate more sales.Its noted that consumers who visit the website after organic exposure also research and visit 6x more websites and webpages than those who don’t look at the updates.
Don't ignore the power of promotions : As you plan your social budgets for the coming year, don’t forget to include promotions. Specially those which are mobile enabled. Highly shareable promotions must be made a routine part of your social media budget planning. 
To round it all up: If you are not focussing on of what would make your fans stay with you on your social media space in a promotion, the sensibility of spending money to run ads in the same space becomes even more questionable. 

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Is mobile set to take a lions share of e-commerce sales from retail.
Online shopping specifically on tablet devices is having a big impact on the e-commerce world, this trend is exerting a great influence on retail sales overall. It is expected that in 2013, 15% of online buy's will happen using mobile devices as compared to 11% in 2012. It is expected that in the next few years, the percentage will go up to 25%. It is expected that e-commerce sales specially in the US will go upto nearly $39 billion this year, a hike of almost 56.5% over the previous year, it is also almost triple the revenue spent in 2011(This includes services or products ordered online by the use of a mobile device.) 
Mobile devices such as tablets are the key channel for the bulk of this growth in spending patterns.  It is expected that 35% of e-commerce sales will be made on smartphone devices and by 2017,  reports show that tablets’ share of retail e-commerce sales will go up to 71.5%,  as compared to 27% for smartphones. The estimates of e-commerce sales for the number of online shoppers and buyers are based on the analysis of other research firms, estimated sales data of mobiles from lead retailers and weighing overall shopping trends of consumers. It is noteworthy that this increased spending is because smartphones and tablets have become an extremely easy and commonplace mode for online shopping.  Tablet users, studies reveal have a greater presence among buyers making online purchases. Most people having a tablet use it for buying and selling online.  
The tab ( as tablets are popularly known) is what the modern consumer reaches out for when in need of retail therapy, Its a thought that in the future shopping shopping on tablets could outpace shopping on smartphones and even computers. Mobile e-commerce sales are driven in two ways: It gives customers reasons to move from spending in stores to shopping online and it encourages incremental purchases that are mostly impulse buys. Tablets and smartphones promote e-commerce by extending the shopping day and untethering consumers from the desktop or the store. Studies show that even though just 9 % of shoppers own tablets, sales from tabs already account for 20% of mobile sales. Everyone believes that mobile commerce from mobile devices are the future of e-commerce but what studies show is  that it’s actually tablets not mobile devices such as phones that are causing this shift.
Tabs offer shoppers and retailers something that cellphones and computers don't, the feel of flipping through an online catalog, with large photos and vivid images and the added advantage of shorter load times than most Web sites. For retailers, such features is an opportunity to display products well instead of relying solely on price and also competing with dozens of other retailers accessible to the consumers at a click of the mouse. Online shopping is also a comfortable and leisurely experience which can be done in the comfort of ones own living room. 40% of tablet owners prefer to use their tablets instead of their PC's and even those people who are shopping on smartphones, use them mostly for receiving mobile coupons and comparing prices. 
Studies show that mobile commerce remains dynamic and robust, however, with higher growth rates are predicted for the future.

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Is the digital world set for another 'wow' product or are the  Google's glasses more than just a gimmick?

The Google Glass is a device is that connects to the internet and display information on one of the lenses, the glasses have been sent out for testing and the best part is, the developers have been strictly told one thing is banned: showing advertising to wearers. It is an attempt to make wearable glasses that compute mainstream. The glasses are also very smart and come with an integrated heads-up display and a battery hidden inside the frame. Originally Project Glass was mooted for a release in 2014 at the earliest but the latest news on the Google Glass release date suggest it's beginning to look like we could get a christmas surprise and it could be released by end of 2013

Wearable computing is an idea which many creative digital minds have thought of, but Google's grabbed the idea first and their go-getter attitude means ensures that Project Glass could well be the first product to do significant numbers. News has it that Google has begun shipping its google glass wearable computing devices to its first users outside the company – and released guides so developers can write software for it. Although almost all of Google's revenue – and more than 98% of its profits – comes from advertising, the company plans to have a no-advertisements policy on the device. The glasses have an embedded screen in it that the company says provides resolution which is the equivalent of a 25in high definition screen being viewed from  a distance of approximately eight feet. The device is voice-controlled and is able to display information in the screen from the internet via a wireless connection to a smartphone. It also has the ability to take pictures and video using a front-facing camera.

The camera is said to have a five-megapixel resolution according to reports, while videos shot with the glasses will be 720p HD resolution. Audio feedback comes from a conduction device which rests on the ear and uses the sound-transmitting properties of the bone around the ear for better sound quality. Google is giving customers the assurance that the battery should last for a full day when in typical use – though it adds that features such as video recording  which is expected tol use up more battery. The core of Google Glass is its tiny prism display which sits little above the viewers eye line. You can view what is on the display by glancing up. The Google glasses also boast of  an embedded camera, microphone and GPS. The device can also be controlled with Voice control; you say 'ok glass' to get a range of options such as clicking pictures & videos, sending messages and text using the speech feature, and one can even get directions to reach specific destinations. You access these options by voicing them out loud. Most of these functions are self explanatory.  Google's video conferencing technology is called 'Hang out' and it allows you to talk to a people over web cam and one can also stream them simultaneously as you see them. The directions use Google Maps and the inbuilt GPS to help you find your way. The results are displayed on the prism - essentially putting data into your view like a head up display (HUD). The device promises to be incredibly handy. It's potential for automatic voice and speech recognition is another rather nifty feature. The first to receive and try out the device are the 4,000 "Glass Explorers" who won an online competition. They have been given the task to try them out and give their outsider's opinion about its usability.

Concerns about the potential for Glass wearers to be distracted while driving a vehicle have already led to discussions requesting their use to be banned in the same way as handling mobile phones while driving. There have also been concerns about privacy expressed by consumers and the queries such as the ownership rights to pictures taken by Glass users in semi-private settings such as restaurants etc.. But then the key concern for the fashion conscious is that it makes the wearer look like a 'dork'!

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Should Brands in the UAE try to have better control of their social media activities?

Social media has become one of the most important tool in the marketing mix for developing and implementing successful marketing plans. People in UAE is spending more and more time in social Media activities and this has become new life style. Social media if implemented strategically it can really get your brand total web domination cost effectively.

Managing a brand on social media can be tedious and daunting to a lot of companies, but a truly complete social media service should allow brands not only to easily distribute content on social media channels also gather insights about a business community online and help them understand how to manage their relationship with the audience in order to increase their level of engagement and therefore the return on that engagement. It also helps to collect diverse information depending on the department within the organization using the tool (marketing, communication, customer service, and R&D). Whether maximizing content production, optimizing customer service, increasing ROI, drive traffic or measuring performance, a social media tool or service should allow different departments to find and manage information useful to them.
Once a business has developed their social media pages such as Facebook page properly and have managed to gain a large number of fans and is regularly engaging with their community, the task of successful social media marketing becomes less daunting. The main focus of any social media campaign is:
• Optimizing conversation monitoring
• Increasing user engagement
Creating innovative social campaigns to drive user acquisition is made more effective by getting appropriate support and training for a business to optimize their use of the platform with the help of a customer service team or certified partner. A good social media consultant or service will support and educate their clients also.
The aim of your digital service provider is to create social media campaigns  increase the number of fans and more importantly to convert them into customers. These insights can be useful if you manage your social media in-house as well and also: Stay in tune with your business community, Empower all of your departments to benefit from social media, and educate your team on how to spread your message.
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