Archive for the ‘ information retrieval ’ Category

Internet Killed the Salesperson?

In a day and age where an increasing amount of business is being conducted online, many industries are finding themselves unable to cope with the costs associated with implementing internet business strategies. The troubles have been clear for many industries including newspapers, textbook publishers, record companies, etc.

In a recent blog post mentioned by one of my professors, automakers have noted a decrease in the auto sales among Generation Y consumers. Some believe this drop has been caused by the popularity of social media, apparently creating an ease in friends’ connecting and carpooling to various locations together. They also note teens’ and twenty-somethings’ increased desire for electronics and other goods, which often tie up their income. Just as the rest of the nation, however, Generation Y is being hit hard by this “Great Recession.” With jobs being lost, hours being cut and tuition costs on the rise, many of us are being forced to cut back and simply cannot afford the costs associated with acquiring a car.

The internet does, however, create a new medium that sales personnel must utilize in order to maximize sales. Generation Y consumers are a unique segment. In order to create a lasting marketing campaign among this target it is essential to use cutting edge tools, such as those available through online and mobile APIs (Application Program Interface) that can be tied into brand value.

One of my personal favorites is Foursquare, a popular new app that combines GPS, reviews and ratings to provide you with a snapshot of what your friends are up to tonight. Upon arriving at a new destination, users can “check-in” to that location — be it a gas station, a restaurant, a theater, a nightclub and so on. Users can leave tips on this location’s home page, invite friends to attend, and post their check-ins to Facebook and Twitter. Upon checking into Sergio’s, for example, Luis E. would recommend you try the pollo empanizado! It’s free brand support such as this that is truly exciting in terms of marketing potential.

So while some industries might complain that the internet is driving away business, in reality I believe consumers are simply looking for more interactivity. For example, as newspapers are struggling to stay alive it’s not as if people simply don’t pay attention to the news anymore; they’re just going online to view it for free and at their own leisure from any computer, smart phone or laptop. The internet isn’t killing sales — it’s simply changing the way companies must approach it.

References:
“Carmakers’ next problem: Generation Y”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39970363/ns/business-autos

“E-Marketing for Sensible Folk”
http://e-marketingforsensiblefolk.blogspot.com

“Application Programming Interface”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Api

Foursquare
http://foursquare.com/about
http://foursquare.com/venue/11751

Image:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Texting.jpg

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Information, the Internet and Government

One of the primary topics I cover in this blog is the amazing change we can observe in information search and retrieval. We’ve only reached the tip of the iceberg in utilizing the internet for daily activities including studying, finding recipes, purchasing used furniture, contacting a friend in Hong Kong, donating to an orphanage in Moscow, and so on and so forth.

It’s these new advances in technology that are sending ripples throughout factors of our daily lives, simply because we are a society based upon information. The information we place — and have access to — online grows exponentially each year. It is with this surge in the availability of data that entire businesses have been designed to streamline the process: Google AdWords, Facebook, Amazon, etc. With this shift in power from manuscript to “140 characters or less,” even governments are taking action. Just this past summer, the United States Library of Congress announced it would be archiving all Tweets in order to record how our society is maintaining communication and interacting.

Stories such as these do raise some concerns, however. Namely, how much information do government entities have access to? How might this information be used in an unethical manner? These concerns are legitimate, and we need to take a close look at how information search and retrieval is changing in order to understand what troubles might lie ahead.

References:
“Library of Congress to Archive Your Tweets”
http://articles.cnn.com/2010-04-14/tech/library.congress.twitter_1_tweets-micro-blogging-twitter…

The "Digital Revolution" and Beyond

For many of us, the term “Digital Revolution” and its many iterations has become one of the most clichéd concepts we know. However, there is a great deal of truth behind the dilution of this term, as electronic media have forever changed the way individuals access information.

What we are experiencing — as students, teachers, consumers, business owners, and overall as information seekers — is a shift in how we perceive the world around us and the means through which we interact with it. In the last ten years alone, there has been a swift repositioning away from traditional media such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, magazines, direct mail and catalogs. In today’s marketplace, those channels simply do not get the job done in our fast pace, immediate gratification, “what have you done for me lately” society. Instead, information is sought through internet-based platforms such as Yahoo! and Wiki Answers, search engines, Wikipedia, blogs (just like this one!), smart-phone applications and social media to name a few.

In nearly all of these new communication platforms, people seek pertinent, focused and individualized answers that once took hours or even days to find. Many websites allow users to share answers to questions on topics they have expertise in; even the most humble folks can seek answers directly from an intelligent, dedicated individual who browses these site specifically to answer those questions he or she is able to address. This system is not without its flaws, as the open-source mentality leaves room for vandals to wreak havoc. However, the developers of these communities are getting smarter, and learning to combat the vandalism through community involvement. Those who post information and answers on these sites take pride in their work, as do those who gain from taking in the information. This motivates them to constantly check-in on their articles in the case that it’s necessary to “reboot” to the last update, before the vandalism was placed on the page.

So what does this mean for marketing and business in general? As companies adapt to social media, customers are able to discuss questions or concerns directly with company representatives, and join masses of other people who share the same viewpoints. Such a communication channel would not exist without this trend towards digital information. While “Digital Revolution” may be a term that has lost its clout, there is still no doubt that information search and retrieval is changing rapidly.

What does the future hold? That is a question we must begin understanding now that electronic media has taken the main stage as our primary information source. In my opinion, the future is “mobile”. As smart phones become a societal norm and data plans reach more affordable price points, such as AT&T’s recent $15 smart phone data plan, more and more consumers will have the power of the internet at the palm of their hand. Smart phones are so accessible now, in fact, that many experts predict they will overtake the World Wide Web as the primary source of Internet traffic.

References:
Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source

“AT&T’s New Smartphone Plans…”
http://www.businessinsider.com/atts-new-smartphone-plans-could-send-iphone-and-blackberry-sales…

“The Web Is A ‘Shrinking Minority’ Of Internet Traffic”
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129270704

Images:
Wikimedia Commons