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Internet Business Transactions near 450 Billion a Day

The Truth about Digital Universe

By D. Bruce Johnston, President and CEO, DBJ Associates

Commerce on the Internet continues to skyrocket.

Chad Levitt, author of the “New Sales Economy Blog,” recently wrote a post, “Sales Reps, Are You Ready for the Digital Universe?,” based on information he gleaned from a recently released IDC report on predictions for the year 2020.

Here are some of the major findings from the IDC report:

  • Between now and 2020, the amount of digital information created and replicated in the world will grow to an almost inconceivable 35 trillion gigabytes as all major forms of media – voice, TV, radio, print – will complete the journey from analog to digital.
  • Last year despite the global recession, the Digital Universe, set a record. It grew by 62% to nearly 800,000 petabytes. A petabytes is a million gigabytes. Picture a stack of DVDs reaching from the earth to the moon and back.
  • This explosive growth means that by 2020, our Digital Universe will be 44 times as big as it was in 2009. Our stack of DVD’s would now reach halfway to Mars.
  • Most of the digital universe begins with an action by a consumer – an email typed on a laptop, a digital photo taken at a wedding, a movie downloaded from Netflix. In fact more than 70% of the Digital Universe this year will be generated by users – individuals at home, work, and on the go.
  • The social media invasion has just begun. IDC estimates that by 2020, business transactions on the internet, B2B and B2C, will reach 450 billion a day.

While Chad asks, “How do sales reps rise to the top when the waves of information keep crashing on their heads,” I ask,  “How can advisors, money managers and distributors prepare themselves?”

Say it with content

Everyone needs a clearly articulated story that represents a big idea for what a firm represents. “Begin to create content so that you can get found in search engines, social search, and the blogosphere,” Chad wrote. “Do not get lost in the tsunami of digital information.”  I’ve noticed that most firms already have content, but have been slow to package it for different applications.  For instance, those comments from the Chief Investment Officer on the corporate website can be refreshed for corporate blogs, Twitter and Facebook.  The Holy Grail here is a firm’s key word recognition on Google page 1. Consistency, timeliness and relevance are all critical to  claiming one’s “social media turf.”

Thought leadership spoken here

Chad added, “Learn a thing or two about search engine optimization (SEO)…  to be a search engine and opportunity magnet.”  I’ve observed and mentioned before, SEO is the outgrowth of taking a strong thought leadership position.  For example,  Charles “Chuck” Steege, CFP® of SFG Wealth Planning Services, recently authored a white paper which discussed the merits of performance shares.  He quickly dominated Google page 1 rankings for keywords “performance shares executive compensation.” Individuals are hungry for such specialized  content and will engage with firms  that carve out their niche with keywords associated with their subject matter expertise.

Work the net

Chad pointed out the importance of daily digital networking. An interesting article about a company is a reason to reach out to that company’s CEO and other employees on Linkedin. Social networks beget digital conversations that can turn into a real relationship over time. Relationships turn into deals. Social Media Examiner recently pointed out that a significant 85% of all marketers indicated that their social media efforts have generated exposure for their businesses.  Improved traffic to their sites was the second major benefit, followed by building new partnerships.

Branding is a two-way street

The amount of content being created every day, Chad noted, is almost incomprehensible. The personal branders that are striving to solidify their personal brands now, will be the staples of their niche tomorrow. Asset management and wealth management firms that continue to sit on the sidelines are missing an important opportunity to win new customers now. We are discovering that major rebrands are not necessary.  Rather advisors and money managers are finding out they are able to evolve and grow their network with a “brand refresh”,  a more cost effective and efficient way to capitalize on the opportunity.

Find out more about the latest developments in social media for the highly regulated financial services industry on June 2, 2010. Sign up: brighttalk.com/webcast/20874 to join me and panelists from American Century, Fidelity and Socialware as we discuss:  “Social Media: Can Advisors Afford to Miss It?”

Click on Chad Levitt to access his full blog.

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More Stories By D. Bruce Johnston

D. Bruce Johnston, President | COO, CaptureTrackConvert is regarded as a high-energy, results-driven Financial Services Distribution Executive. His 30+-year career has been distinguished by an impressive record of accomplishments, contributions and winner of the Institutional Investor Fund Marketer of the Year award. CaptureTrackConvert (CTC) provides easy to use, powerful enterprise level marketing automation software to fast growing SMBs. CTC is dedicated to helping SMBs maximize their marketing resources, improve the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns and generating more sales ready prospects thus dramatically improving sales and the bottom-line.