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7540772076?profile=RESIZE_400xWhat if, as a manufacturer, publisher or IT company, you could predict the future? You’d probably start off by predicting how much inventory you need to carry, followed closely by predicting the next products your customers are going to want to buy, so you can have them ready and waiting the next time they hit “search.”

 

Magic? Not really. Impossible? No. Mining the data you already have access to about your customers and web visitors can give you amazing insight into their future behavior and preferences – but only if you capture it and use it.

 

Case in point: Netflix cashes in on their own crystal ball

When Netflix went looking to produce its own TV show to compete with cable, they – like any other business – wanted to be as sure as possible it would be a big hit. But unlike a lot of other businesses, Netflix captures and mines enormously detailed data on their customers. That’s how they predicted that their new series “House of Cards” would be a huge success before they even taped

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7516680876?profile=RESIZE_400xBlack Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, so most manufacturers have 'checked out' on the holiday season.  If you walk around a manufacturer's or publisher's office this time of year, you wouldn't think it's the busiest time of the year. Most organizations are focused on 2016 budgets, new product plans, and 2016 forecasts, with the occasional glance at the POS reports. 

To quote one manufacturer: "all of our heavy activity is leading up to the holidays; our partners take it from there. We don't sell direct." That may have been true in years, past, but original manufacturers have a major impact on holiday sales - regardless of whether or not you sell direct.

A recent study of 5,000 shoppers found that 65% of have visited a manufacturer's website as part of researching a product over the last year. Not presenting your products in a clear, salable, format is just a mistake. Key things you can do this week to help sales include:

1. Polish the product details on your site:  Yeoman f

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3294932478?profile=RESIZE_480x480Sometimes even Big Data needs a hand. The latest release of Google analytics has added some great new options for data analysis that every manufacturer and publisher should configure.   For those living in the 80s Google analytics is the #1 web analysis tool used by almost every major manufacturer and ecommerce site.  The product is part of Google's 'suite' of 'free' products designed to bolster their paid search revenue; every tool makes it easier to spend on paid search...

The main benefit to every organization is Google makes this tool available no matter how small your paid search program is.  When properly configured web analytics is truly a window into the behavior of your online visitor.  If configured correctly it can even give statistically relevant insights into their offline behavior too.

The newest features to note:

  1. Custom Brand Term setup:  You can now segment out all of your brand names into their own bucket.  This will filter organic as well as paid search.  This is a
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7540808698?profile=RESIZE_400xGoogle has confirmed it - a Buy Button is “imminent.”  The button is expected to be rolled out on mobile devices, and will enable people who click on product ads in search results to buy those products without navigating to a third-party site.  The button, following similar moves by Facebook and Twitter, are a significant departure for the search giant, which has built its business based on ads that link to other websites.

"The rationale is to reduce friction for customers'" said Omid Kordestani, Google’s Chief Business Officer, "making it simpler to complete online purchases."  Trust us, there's another reason - Google is facing significant competition from Amazon and others when it comes to people searching for products and has been steadily moving to be more "direct."  Recent examples include:

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7516489873?profile=RESIZE_400x

Just Do It - living your motto.  Can a manufacturer sell direct and not kill their channel?  It's a question every manufacturer or publisher asks in every industry  You've heard all the objections:

It will cause too much conflict with our existing channel
We can't fulfill small orders
We won't be able to generate any sales
It will cost too much


Nike had the same questions too, but dug in and took their own logo to heart.  They started a 'direct model' a few years ago; combining online and a retail presence to engage customers directly.  Stores are hard; but online clothing is one of the toughest ecommerce transactions to support; size, color, and fit all require great data or you'll be swamped with massive returns.

How have they done?  How does a 50% increase in online sales sound?  And that's not 50% of 10 million. E-commerce sales surpassed the $1 billion mark last fiscal year.  In fact, their entire direct-to-consumer sales topped $6 billion this year—a full 20% of the company’s t

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3294932413?profile=RESIZE_480x480Any B2B manufacturer or publisher involved with public sector bidding and RFPs knows the model for finding these opportunities has dramatically changed over the last 5 years.  The traditional methods of 'formal' postings in local papers or state publications has vanished.  So too, has been the time honored tradition of keeping a 'bid list' to mail out formal documents.  

Blame the economy and the web.  All states now recognize a 'web posting' as a legitimate public posting that meets the fiduciary responsibilities of the city/town or state.   While this makes it simpler to get the bid out, it creates a mess for those trying to find and respond.

Federal bids have a standardized format and set process for posting, however, when you move down to the state and local level the wheels fall off.

Yeoman tracks over 50 different bid and RFP sites and all of them have slightly different formats for posting and  actively block deep Google crawling of their web.  For these sites, you can't just '

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Amazon Tries for B2B Again

7540497901?profile=RESIZE_400xIf at first you don’t succeed try, try, again…

Amazon this week announced its "new" Amazon business. The service offers B2B level ecommerce to any qualified business. If that's sounds vaguely familiar it is. Amazonsupply.com was launched back in 2006 after the acquisition of smallparts.com. That was Amazon’s initial entrance into the world of B2B ecommerce.

Unfortunately, the specialty site never really gained traction as a true B2B site when compared to its primary competitors, Grainger, ULine, Global Industrial, etc.

To put these numbers in context, Amazon.com had 2.4 billion visits during this same time period. Therein lies the problem.

 

It's important to note that Amazon has been successful growing B2B sales, just not Amazonsupply.com. Industrial and Business categories have grown double digit for the last several years.  Yeoman's B2B clients have seen doubling and tripling of sales over the last 5 years.

The reality is the sales of industrial and B2B goods are being done on Amazo

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3294932022?profile=RESIZE_320x320Join Yeoman's Mike Healey at the 2015 Chief Learning Officer Spring Symposium on April 12th for a review of the major digital trends impacting the education market.  The session is part of a pre-conference event sponsored by our higher education partner Mindmax.  This session is designed for high-ed execs looking to better understand the digital transformation that is impacting their enrollment and recruitment initiatives.  

Institutions continue to struggle with their online presence, often creating a silo'd series of sites that don't integrate with backend systems and ignore the critical 'offline' touches that occur as part of a student's enrollment journey.  The "web" is often dropped onto Marketing without any plans to coordinate activities with enrollment, admissions, or financial aid.  IT is often out of the loop intend to focus on back-end systems that need to be updated for the modern student.

The result?  A disjointed user experience that hinders enrollment.  But there is hope.

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7540900094?profile=RESIZE_400xMarch 20, 2015:  This week was a very rough one for manufacturers and their relationship with Amazon.  Amazon announced they will be ending the 'Amazon Webstore' service in July 2016.  Many people may not realize that Amazon offered a private label web hosting, but Yeoman estimates they host almost 2,000 sites.  Many of these sites are original manufacturers like Fiskars, Cuda, Black and Decker, Eclipse, Lacoste, Remmington, Sesame Street, and Isaac Mizrahi to name a few.

For a manufacturer, the appeal was clear:  A world class hosting platform that uses the exact same product data they have to create to be successful on Amazon.  Amazon leads B2B and B2C when it comes to product details online, an area that all manufacturers have struggled with since the internet evolution started.  They have to create high quality data to get on Amazon, why not leverage it for their own site.

A recent UK study found over 67% of buyers visit branded pages to find out information about a product BEFORE

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7540935458?profile=RESIZE_400xThis post was originally published 5 years ago.  Today JC Penney announced they were bringing back catalogs.  It took them almost 5 years to realize what Yeoman has always said; customers shop in a multi-channel way and can't be forced into 'online or offline' mode. 

Original Post: JC Penney may now join the list of retailers, manufacturers, and publishers who have mistakenly assumed they can go 'all in' online and abandon one of their traditional channels.  In this case, JC Penney has opted to exit the traditional catalog business to focus on e-commerce.

Big mistake for several reasons.  First, as all Yeoman customers know, the web is not an 'either or' type of situation.  There are multiple studies that prove all types of purchasers move seamlessly between online and offline purchasing options, often using the web or a catalog for research, then purchasing in completely different manner, whether its a sales rep or retail outlet.

Traditional sales tracking simply doesn't have the capa

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Who Owns The Web? Podcast July 7th

3294932577?profile=RESIZE_320x320 CIO Vs. CMO Vs. CTO: The Steel Cage Match For Your Company’s Digital Soul

Execs are battling to take the lead in digital transformation. Who's really in charge? IT? Sales? Marketing? You’d think this much focus would help us transform. In reality, it introduces organizational, architectural, security, even staffing challenges that can K.O. a digital plan. Join InformationWeek’s Lorna Garey and Mike Healey, president of Yeoman Technology Group, an engineering and research firm focused on maximizing technology investments, to discuss the right way to go digital.

This InformationWeek webinar is on Tuesday, July 8 at 2:00 p.m. EDT (11:00 a.m. PDT) for the interview and online chat. We’ll discuss the proper roles for C-level execs; IT’s place in product development and marketing; and what a modern, digital-ready IT architecture looks like.

Register at: http://www.informationweek.com/radio.asp?webinar_id=104


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7541128881?profile=RESIZE_400xJoin Yeoman's Mike Healey, IBM's Erin Burke and InformationWeek on Friday 3/28 at 1PM for a free webinar on how to rethink your digital presence from a 'users' point of view.

 

Improved platforms, standards, bandwidth rates and data models mean more IT shops are taking a “cloud-first” approach to new services, keeping only select jobs in house. Cost and ROI models support this stance. But what’s often left out of the calculus is the impact on the end user. Will they be more productive? Will it be easier for them to do their jobs, process data, and share information? This webinar takes a step back and looks at the impact on the employee base. We identify 7 major gaps that most organizations ignore in pursuit of the bigger vision.

Attend this webinar and:

  • Learn how to avoid getting a SaaS project dumped on IT
  • Help finance understand cloud CapEx versus OpEx
  • Identify why a SaaS app is underperforming
  • Avoid the pitfalls of cloud apps growing faster than your IT budget
  • Manage the eventual p
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Digital Strategy Workshop - Interop 2014

3294932248?profile=originalJoin Yeoman's Mike Healey at Interop 2014 in Las Vegas on Tuesday April 1st as he hosts an executive workshop on jumpstarting an organizations digital strategy.

You don't have to be Google, Amazon, or a cool startup to instill digital capabilities into your company. Digital Business isn't about changing code; it's about changing what legacy sales, distribution, customer service, and product groups do in the new digital age. We'll bring case studies from a variety of industries and data from InformationWeek's Digital Business Survey.

The workshop takes place at 2:30PM.  You must be registered at the InformationWeek/Interop event to attend.  More information at: http://informationweek.com/conference

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