February 2014 | Outsourcing Blog | BPO Industry Updates and Articles
Boosting Marketing Efforts with Social Media
There are two types of social media accounts: personal and professional. This means that it is not uncommon to see companies broadcasting their products and services across social networking sites while engaging with their customers and followers.
From a personal angle, social media is a source of entertainment and distraction. From a professional point of view, however, social media is a place for establishing one’s brand by publishing information and having conversations with real people.
For business owners, social media branding is worth the time to gain fans and followers, and turn relevant engagements into conversions.
There are a lot of tips on how to establish your brand on social media, so here is a refreshing list of other ways in which your business can apply social media to your marketing efforts.
1. Use social media to raise funds.
Social media can be used to raise awareness and build hype about a crowd funding campaign which you can create through funding platforms like Kickstarter. Not only can you raise funds through these platforms, you can also come up with creative ways to present your products or services.
If you have a strong social media presence, it will be easier for you to launch a successful fundraising campaign because people will associate the name of your company to success and accomplishment.
2. Cite influencers in your industry.
Know the types of content your audience likes to boost your social sharing statistics and website traffic from social media. By publishing content that references big names from your industry, you are giving a positive impression towards your brand from your fans and followers.
Look up who the most influential companies of your industry are and simply retweet their tweets, or share their posts. As Groner said, "pair yourself up with the people who drive thought leadership in your field and beyond."
3. Offer a strong call to action in your social media posts.
When selling a product or service, you have to be directly straightforward with your target audience. Construct persuasive offers with a strong call to action at the end that will entice the user to click over to your company’s landing page.
Make sure to let your fans and followers feel that clicking through the link is useful to them. Otherwise, they’ll just be less interested in your offer.
4. Use social media for word of mouth advertising.
Social media is the easiest and most economical marketing platform to get referrals from your fans and followers. By setting the right tone and training your existing social audience, you can eventually show trust and encourage them to spread the message for you. Turn your fans and followers into brand advocates by offering discounts and prizes to those who will recommend your brand to their friends and share their experiences with your products or services.
Word of mouth is a great investment because a single person can influence a couple of people to become your followers as well. It is the best brand-building activity because the stories come from sources that people trust.
With the incessant and rapid advancement of technology over the past couple of years, business owners were found seeking new ways to uphold their edge in the world of commerce.
A blog entry posted at Harbinger-Systems.com explains that nowadays, IT outsourcing is no longer taboo and is considered as one of the most commoditized business solutions in the world. As it became the go-to tool in improving efficiency and competitiveness amongst business operations, IT outsourcing is now more recognized in strategies used across all the business units of a company.
IT outsourcing industry highlights
A lot has happened within the IT outsourcing industry since its inception. Here are some of the highlights:
Latest tech trends: cloud, big data, and mobility
Businesses are integrating new technologies to stay relevant in the cutthroat world of business, and the top three IT segments that CIOs are looking are cloud adoption, mobility, and big data. Strategies are being aligned with these trends to accommodate the growing demand. However, being able to maximize the benefits from the three trends has become quite a challenge for executives and IT outsourcing providers.
For executives, the decision-making process and initial investment talks are complex because they can only measure the results and make changes every so often. Providers, on the other hand, have to keep up with the demand by improving their assets and becoming more flexible and agile based on the requirements of their customers.
Pricing is based on results.
IT outsourcing is now expected to deliver more value to the business rather than play a supporting role in reducing cost. The goals have shifted and some of the common ones are market penetration, revenue generation, and resource optimization.
Smaller deals take center stage.
Smaller deals are rapidly gaining traction, but mega deals are still seen here and there. The volatile state of economies around the world and the fact that developed nations are having a hard time recovering are driving the growth of smaller deals.
Also, outsourcing buyers now prefer stacked operations where they can procure the services from several providers instead of just one provider. This enables outsourcing clients to customize their operations by utilizing only what they need, when they need it. In addition to that, long-term contracts are becoming a thing of the past as buyers are shifting to short-term ones.
Experts say this is not an indication that outsourcing is slowing down anytime soon; it’s just a way to accommodate new delivery models that reflect a healthy growth rate.
Small and start-up businesses strongly consider offshore outsourcing.
Offshore outsourcing has also become a way for small businesses in emerging segments such as healthcare IT, retail, and financial services to maximize operations and drive business value easily and swiftly. What this means for start-ups is a faster return on investment and reduced time spent on non-core processes.
Mid-sized companies are also considering outsourcing.
The introduction of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud made way for new outsourcing demands among mid-sized companies. Some of the factors that contribute to the growth of outsourcing in this segment are the lack of skills and manpower that their processes need.
This year, we see more and more brands investing time on developing great content. By great we mean quality content that is not only interesting but engaging as well. And with big brands going all out with content marketing, standing out from the competition has never been more challenging.
Content marketing tips for brand visibility
Here are techniques to help boost your brand visibility.
Magnetic, BuzzFeed-Style Headlines
You would have to be kidding if you said you haven’t heard of BuzzFeed or seen it in your Facebook stream. Because articles from the social news and entertaining website are shared by millions of users every day on the world’s most popular social network, it would be nearly impossible for you not to have chanced upon an article and clicked over to the site.
Traffic generated to BuzzFeed and other similar sites reaches over millions of unique visitors in a single month alone. The secret doesn’t lie in the shares - it’s the enticing headlines that make every user want to click through and eventually share those on their wall.
BuzzFeed offers these takeaway lessons about headline development:
- Curiosity = Clicks. To get clicks today, marketers and copywriters bank on the curiosity factor. Headlines that pique people’s curiosity get clicked like crazy.
- People read the entire headline, so make it great. According to Copyblogger, 80% of browsers will read headline copy, but only 20% will click and read the rest of the page, down to your call to action. Surprisingly, unconventionally long headlines capture the attention of a larger percentage of people. Since your audience tends to read the entire headline, it’s better to put more content in it as "click triggers".
- Don’t be afraid to write first person headlines. It serves as a good and convincing testimonial and therefore generates high readership.
Paid Content Amplification
The thing about "great content" is that sometimes, it is not enough. Even the most interesting articles need a little push to rise above the hubbub. This is where paid content amplification comes in. There are channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook that offer paid advertising services like promoted posts and targeted ads.
Write Only In-Depth, 1,500+ -Word Blog Posts
Metrics from Moz show the possible correlation between content length and links a post gains. Neil Patel found that 1,500-word posts generate more Facebook likes than shorter ones.
Longer posts do so well for the following reasons:
- Long content has a higher perceived value. Someone who sees a long post automatically thinks that a lot of work was put into writing it and that they need to share it. Posts with 300 words don’t have the same effect.
- You can create the definitive guide on a topic. Having the definitive guide to something on your blog speeds link development.
- More engagement and time on site. When someone has just read 1,500 words of pure gold, it sets them in a very appreciative mood and encourages them to share what they have just read.
Longer posts may require more work, but the ROI of one long post compared to a handful of short articles is definitely more rewarding. Peep Laja grew his blog from zero to 50,000 in one month and had this to say: "If I could offer you only one tip for the future, writing long, thorough blog posts would be it."
Design is More Important than Content
People are going to evaluate your content based on two factors: content length and design. The perceived value of well-designed content blows the average blog post out of the water.
Use Outreach to Get Results
The first four strategies may only get you part of the way towards your objective. Promoting your content via outreach - emailing people a personalized, non-pushy message about it - will help squeeze the most value out of your content.
Healthcare IT Outsourcing Market Outlook
recently covered the latest addition to ReportsnReports.com’s roster: Global Healthcare IT Outsourcing Market 2014-2018.
The report anticipates that for the period of 2013-2018, the global healthcare information technology outsourcing (ITO) market will post a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 7.62 percent. The growth of the market is said to be fuelled mainly by the demand to reduce operational time and cost. The market has also become more open to innovation as more and more buyers are adopting cloud-based services. However, some see the risks in cloud integration due to some operations that are unable to meet the buyer’s expectations.
Nonetheless, it was realized that adopting cloud-based IT outsourcing services enables healthcare providers to be more agile, have easy accessible data by those who are authorized to do so, improve business continuity, have scalable operations, and of course, reduce costs.
It was also found that one of the common challenges faced by healthcare providers when it comes to IT outsourcing is poor return on investment. Basically, revenues from outsourcing IT healthcare
processes fall short in matching the initial expenses.
The major players in the global healthcare ITO market are Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co, IBM Corp., and Accenture plc.
Data collected by ReportsnReports.com is based on a detailed market analysis from industry leaders and experts. It covers the APAC region, EMEA region, and the Americas. The report also touched on topics such as the state of the global healthcare IT outsourcing market, as well as future key development areas.
Global IT Outsourcing Sector Spending Less
Wall Street Journal, PC Week, KPMG, Forrester, Gartner, along with other credible sources, are anticipating a slow and steady spending activity for the information technology outsourcing (ITO) sector this 2014.
However, it was pointed out that the location and requirements of an operation generally dictate spending actions. Outsourcing is being highlighted by key trends such as agile development resources, reduced service delivery costs, social media processes, and mobile computing.
Andrew Bartels, Forrester Research Vice-president and Principal Analyst servicing CIOs, said 2014 will be a better year, but remains below average compared to the years it trailed. Data from the organization showed that even if IT outsourcing is the underdog this year, it will gain traction in 2015. The executive further explained that infrastructure-as-a-service will fuel the segment, and that the effect of the outsourcing deals signed in 2013 will only be realized in 2015.
Meanwhile, a press release from Gartner stated that the global IT outsourcing market will be valued at $288 billion in 2013, a 2.8 percent increase from the value posted in 2012. The organization also cited that currency-related factors affected the pace of growth, specifically in Western Europe and Asia-Pacific. However, emerging ITO markets in Asia-Pacific, Greater China, and Latin America were predicted to see a 13-percent growth in 2013 and 2014 due to expansion plans of global companies, which are likewise identified as new buyers of ITO.
With all of that considered, one thing’s for sure - CIOs will have to look elsewhere for affordable talent that will accommodate the requirements of a business. Innovation is also a pivotal factor for companies to spend, especially now that new processes such as mobility and the cloud are taking center stage, and clients are clamoring for them.
Technology will be a key factor for spending amongst businesses, amidst talks on other types of business tools such as outsourcing. As it evolves and as companies look to expand, spending will continue to grow.
Basic Guidelines for CIOs as Markets Remain Volatile
Info.isg-one.com recently posted an article which highlights the World Economic Outlook 2013 report created by the International Monetary Fund. It implied that it might take a while before markets all over the world experience a total upturn. Established markets such as the Europe and the US have stalled causing deterioration in global trade and instability in capital inflows. This in turn affects emerging economies that heavily rely on exports.
Since most of the CIOs are expected to drive efficiency, innovate ways to reinforce growth, and select the right investments to cater to expansion, they can keep these guidelines in mind to make the right business decision.
Utilize data properly. Put data you’ve collected over time to work. It gives you tangible facts that can help draw out conclusions, monitor problems, and predict what lies ahead.
Closely monitor revenue figures. The IT aspect of a company is the most susceptible to change. It is also the easiest to manipulate and adjust depending on the specifications of the revenue targets. For instance, rapid growth markets are using new trends, the IT department can deploy easy solutions to be able to expand and accommodate the changes in the market.
Be on the lookout for cost reduction solutions. New tools and solutions are being introduced every day, and each time, these are better versions. So, if new sustainable tools are introduced to a company’s process, they should look at the existing service levels and adjust accordingly to create a seamless integration.
Keep your finances in check. Any CIO will tell you that IT equipment and facilities are not the areas where you should put bulk of your budget on. Instead of shelling out big bucks on IT changes, outsource in increments or utilize the cloud so the processes are more flexible.
Segment IT strategies. See to it that your IT strategies are aligned to your corporate strategies and make sure that these are in line with the given time lines. You have short, mid-, and long-term goals - might as well incorporate your outsourced efforts to your internal plans to avoid additional overhead costs.
Outsourcing Activity Decline
Recently released data from technology insights and market research consultancy agency Information Services Group (ISG) showed that during the latter half of 2013, the number of signed outsourcing
deals in the Asia-Pacific region increased. However, the value of these deals remained flat which could be a sign that we’ll be seeing smaller deals. This is the current trend globally.
The Outsourcing Index for the Asia-Pacific region measures commercial contracts that have an annual contract value (ACV) of $5 million and up. 2013 posted an ACV of $2 billion, which is 80 percent lower than the remarkable performance in 2012.
In 2013, only 126 contracts were recorded, which is lower than the deals closed in 2012. It is more in line with the number of deals signed during the period of 2009-2011. During the second half of 2013, volume activity increased by seven percent compared to the first half.
The decrease in number of large-scale contracts in 2013 was caused by the substantial decline of ACV. In fact, for the deals belonging to the $40 million-$99 million bracket, only three were closed compared to 2012’s 12 deals.
A lot of the contracts closed in the Asia-Pacific region were profiled in the $5 million-$39 million range.
According to Sid Pai, Partner and President at ISG Asia-Pacific, 2012 was the best year for the outsourcing sector in the Asia-Pacific region. The executive added that although 2013 was a far cry from 2012’ performance, it banked on the long-term trend in the region. The value of deals below $40 million last year remains consistent with the five-year averages.
Pai noted that over the last 10 years, closed deals have increased by 50 percent, but ACV remained the same and added that with the increased competition, the value of deals is declining as multi-sourcing is slowly being adapted by business executives.