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4 Trends In The Tech Industry You Can't Afford To Overlook

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It’s a given that no one person is able to keep track of every single tech trend shaping the world today. What was trending yesterday, however, may not hold much importance in the future. A study from Spiceworks found that more than a third of tech budget increases in 2021 will be influenced by Covid-19 related trends.
Over the last several months, priorities have shifted. The tech that scored big headlines and even bigger investments a year ago may not be relevant anymore. By doing some research and uncovering the latest in tech trends, you can stay one step ahead in the coming year and beyond. Here are some you need to know about:

It’s a given that no one person is able to keep track of every single tech trend shaping the world … [+] today.
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1. 5G
5G has gotten no shortage of free publicity, but how many business leaders are fully aware of what the implications of the new technology are? 5G doesn’t just mean quicker internet searches on your smartphone; it means a complete upheaval of the way that companies use and maintain their digital infrastructure. The uptick in fidelity and performance that accompany 5G will be so large that they’ll help level the playing field for small businesses who can’t currently compete with enterprise-level technology. 

The rise of 5G isn’t just a new era for smartphones, it’s the dawning of a whole new economy: according to Verizon, 5G will directly support as many as 22 million jobs globally by 2035. Businesses need to run, not walk, to embrace what 5G can do for them. Anything less will leave your company standing in the dust. 
2. Data-Driven Personalization for Smart Homes 
When businesspeople hear “personalization,” the first things that come to their mind likely include customized advertisements and products tailored to consumers’ wishes. The advent of Big Data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning means that personalization is now much deeper than it was before, allowing products and services to evolve in real time in order to best meet the needs of their customers.

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All across the tech industry, you can see examples of businesses racing to get in on this trend. Smart Home Services provider Plume recently acquired Walleye Networks, a Canadian data analytics company whose cyber-expertise will help Plume design B2B applications that help communications service providers use user data to offer customized and ever-evolving smart home experiences to their subscribers. 
Just a few months ago, Google unveiled its new Recommendations AI, a tool designed to help businesses anticipate the wants and needs of their customers. Industry titans are betting big on the next wave of personalization tech, and it’s time other companies do the same. 
3. Cloud-Based Gaming
For all the unabated growth that the gaming industry enjoys, it doesn’t undergo many seismic shifts: gaming technology is slow to advance, and the newest products are generally not so different from the ones that came before. This entire narrative changes with the recent introduction of cloud-based gaming.
Gaming powered by the cloud no longer requires users to purchase thousands of dollars worth of hardware in order to run the latest games. Instead, they simply pay for a bit of server space on an extremely powerful computer operating remotely and stream the display directly to their monitor. 
This allows cutting-edge games to run on middle-of-the-road hardware, allowing gamers to escape the rat race of constantly updating and buying new consoles. While cloud gaming might be off to a slow start, the coming years will see an explosion in its popularity. 
4. Automated Content Generation 
Like it or not, computers have been generating content for years now. The Associated Press and Washington Post use content bots in order to produce brief wire updates, and more and more word processors are incorporating tools that can finish sentences for you. As helpful as some of these tools may be, they hardly represent a paradigm shift for content creation — until now, that is.
With each passing year, content generators become increasingly advanced when it comes to mimicking a human style of writing. No one is getting put out of work by any of this; it simply increases the volume of content you’re able to produce by a huge factor. The more you can get potential customers to hear your message, the more customers will respond — high volumes of affordable content generated automatically can help you get there.
There’s no easy way to predict what the next big thing in tech will be. What is certain is that tech is always changing, and only those who embrace it will be able to take advantage of it.

4 Tips to Avoid Influencer Marketing Catastrophes

January 12, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Influencer marketing usually goes one of two ways, it either results in glowing successes where the returns are staggering or it results in epic fails where it takes the company months if not years to recover. As an entrepreneur in the digital marketing space, I have sat front-row-center to both of these outcomes pretty often.
A 2019 survey reported that in the year that about 17% of companies surveyed planned to spend 50% percent of their marketing budget on Influencers in 2020.   
The numbers do not lie, there is certainly a positive ROI trend that accompanies Influencer Marketing, and 90% of marketers find the results of Influencer Marketing better than or comparable to most other marketing channels. However, the problem occurs when Influencer Marketing is done wrongly. 
Related: 4 Influencer Marketing Secrets Entrepreneurs Need to Know
The mere fact that this system of marketing depends on the viral nature of social media content, means that a bad job can very easily kill a brand’s image at a startling speed. These tips are meant to guide marketers to get it right with Influencer Marketing. 
Outline your campaign goals
Your campaign goals are the clearest guidelines you can create when choosing to invest in Influencer Marketing. Your Campaign goal may be Gaining Brand Awareness, Gaining Social Media Followers, Content Creation, App Sales/Downloads, or Newsletter/Email Subscribers.  
If your goal is Content Creation, for instance, it is far more beneficial to go for an influencer with great content; design skills, photography skills, This is better than settling for influencers with average or poor content because you are seduced by their seemingly wide reach. The reason is simple; people will judge your content by the content regularly posted on the platform it is advertised on. 
If your goal is Brand Awareness, for instance, Reach becomes a very important metric to consider. However, how you define Reach and how you identify Relevant Reach is an entirely different conversation, one that you need to have to be able to choose the right influencer. 
Choose the right influencer
Kendall Jenner’s Pepsi Partnership ad in 2017 was an epic failure and highlights a few of the mistakes marketers make. The ad tried to promote diversity by presenting Pepsi as a symbol of diversity and lending support of the BLM movement. 
Their choice of Kendall, a white woman as the Heroine of their ad rightfully enraged a lot of people and caused Pepsi to take down the ad with apologies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Kendall, she just wasn’t the right fit.
The major metrics you must consider when choosing an Influencer are Reach, Engagement Rate, Relevance, Authenticity, Content Quality, Content Frequency, Reliability, Audience Quality, and The Influencer’s Values.
Reach speaks to the size of the audience that the influencer has in terms of their followerships, but the power of an Influencer’s reach is qualified by their engagement rate. 
Related: How Influencer Marketing Took Power, and What the Future Holds
A typical formula for calculating Engagement rate is to survey at least 10 posts, count the likes, shares, and comments on each,  divide the total with the number of followers and multiply by 100. The average percentage across 10 posts is the likely engagement rate and can help you decide if the reach is broad enough to you or not. 
An Influencer’s Relevance and Values are perhaps one of the most important metrics you should consider irrespective of your campaign goals.
It is better put in the Words of Alex Smetana, an Instagram Influencer and Marketing expert, “Just as bad as it would be for a vegan influencer to endorse your meat product, both Influencers and brands should ensure that their values align or risk a massive miscommunication that leads nowhere”
An Ideal Influencer is one that is perceived as an expert in a relevant niche, who has built trust and loyalty amongst their followers and above all, one who engages with their followers in replies, and reactions. 
Steer clear from influencer fraud
Many New Marketers to the Influencer Marketing Space are unaware of the rampant fraud that has held back the Influencer marketing Industry. Influencer Fraud is so subtle that in Alex Smetena’s words “It shows a semblance of success, excites you with noise, but delivers no real results”
Many of the smaller brands that utilize Influencer marketing cannot afford to run Ads with the Celebrity class. These small brands have to find relevant and lesser-known influencers who have enough reach and authenticity to help them with their campaign goals. This has led many marketers to encounter Influencer fraud and massively ineffective campaigns. 
Avoiding these kinds of situations is the key to succeeding in this space. One of the best ways to steer clear from Influencer Fraud is to try to figure out the reason for the influencer’s followership. If the Influencer has very few posts compared to their followership that is already a red flag. If the engagement rate is very low, this is a warning sign as well. 
Influencer Platforms like Buzzsumo, Pitchbox, and Ninja Outreach have also become like a saving grace for most marketers. These platforms work like “Matchmaking” sites where Marketers can meet Influencers by searching specifically for the categories and features they want. 
Many of these platforms do their due diligence and thereby reduce the potential for fraud. While the potential is not eliminated by some of these platforms, it sure whittles down the list for you and enables you to have more clarity in your decision.  
Make realistic offers
In 2018, Sunny Co clothing embarked on an Instagram marketing campaign to promote their Baywatch-themed swimsuit edition, The Pamela. Their promotional offer promised swimsuits to everyone who reposted and tagged their handle in the first 24 hours. They didn’t anticipate that the ad would go viral with over 30,000 people participating in a few hours!
Needless to say, they couldn’t back their offer up. They retracted it, declaring that they had the right to cap the offer. This led to what can rightly be defined as a marketing catastrophe for the brand, as customers raged and many mocked. 
While this was not an Influencer Marketing Campaign, brands are still known to make offers through Influencers when advertising via Influencer Marketing. Avoiding events like this is mandatory because they can scar your brand and limit your impact on future campaigns. It is safer to stick to promises you can deliver on.  
Influencer Marketing maybe the new fad, but like every shining object, it shouldn’t be taken at face value, it should be tested, scrutinized, and evaluated before any brand engages in it. New businesses have died on these streets, there is no reason not to tread carefully.