Archive for the ‘B2C’ Category

Professional photography tips with Thomas, who has a digital camera and a wide aperature.

Hello, my name is Thomas and I am a professional photographer because I bought a digital camera.

TIP 1 How to become a professional photographer
Buy a digital camera.

TIP 2  Tricks of the trade Have a look on the camera, somewhere, probably on the top or back or somewhere on the front or sides there will be a button or dial marked ‘A’, this does not stand for ‘Automatic’ as some amateurs think but ‘Awesome’. Leave it on this all the time.

TIP 3 Photography courses There is no need for even a basic photography course because once you buy a digital camera you will be a professional photographer like me. Not as good as me though.

TIP 4 Lighting You will need some light otherwise the photos will come out a bit too dark. Usually you can fix them in photoshop but some light to begin with is good.

TIP 5  Subject Matter Yes, it does. Dont take photos of girls leaving the high school from your car as the fine is $360.00 and a years probation.

Photo Gallery

Sunset from my rooftop.

Me on my rooftop.

View of city from my rooftop.

The plant on my rooftop.

Clouds over my rooftop.

Some people that once came to visit me on my rooftop.
Or my toes, I am unsure.

Now, you know we are kidding…RIGHT?

Our professional photography is here…1stopdesign.com
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Are you wondering how to use QR codes to enhance your marketing?

Keep reading to learn some tips for implementing 5 essential steps.

Why QR codes?

QR and other two-dimensional (2D) codes can be readily integrated into your current business marketing practices to bring your online content to a mobile audience in real time.

In North America, QR and 2D codes are still a novelty. For this reason, early adopters are eagerly putting them into practice to get to market first and capitalize on the trend. As a result, some embarrassing and costly mistakes are being made.

This article will help you learn from those mistakes and develop best practices for creating a favorable user experience that serves both you and your community well.

#1: Plan your QR code campaign strategy

To create a successful QR code campaign, it is essential to understand your target audience, have clear objectives and provide useful and valuable incentives to deliver a favorable user experience.

Here are some ideas and considerations to help you get started building your strategy.

Understand Your Target Audience:

  • Does he/she need instructions about the use of QR codes?
  • Does he/she need to use a specific type of code reader?
  • Will the codes be scanned indoors or outside?

Have Clear Objectives—Here are some possibilities:

  • Grow your email list
  • Increase Likes for your Facebook page
  • Increase your blog subscribers

Provide Useful and Valuable Incentives—Here are some options:

  • Enter a contest to win
  • Deliver a discount coupon
  • Download a free eBook
  • Talk to a live agent
  • Take a virtual tour
  • Demonstrate a product or service with video
  • Download a free mp3
  • Get VIP access

Are you trying to grow your email list or get more Likes for your Facebook page? Then you should always provide an incentive, especially when using scannable codes.

As more businesses fail to deliver value with their QR code campaigns, consumers in general will become more reluctant to scan them in the future. This will make it increasingly necessary to provide clear incentives and deliver on them.

#2: Create quality codes and test them

While there are numerous 2D code formats, the two most commonly used worldwide are QR codes and Microsoft (MS) tags. Both technologies are free, so your choice of which to use will largely depend upon your audience and other market factors.

iams
A customized MS tag for IAMS pet products.

apk
A customized QR code by Patrick Donnelly of 2ergo for American Parkour.

The owners of the QR code technology have elected to allow anyone free use of it. This gives QR codes the advantage of being in mainstream use around the world, and that awareness is currently working to their advantage.

The MS tag technology is proprietary, which allows for complete control over the entire user experience of generating, reading and tracking the tags. MS tags are also easily customized. One can embed images or logos into the codes using Microsoft PowerPoint.

The widespread use of the QR technology has attracted lots of developers who want to cash in on the trend. However, when technologies are open like this, there is always the risk that generally accepted standards will not be followed. QR code generators and scanners are only as good as the developers creating them, so you have to do your due diligence.

What happens if your QR codes do not work? For one thing, your reputation and brand are tarnished—just as it would be if a visitor to your website discovered multiple broken links.

I recently discovered one particular situation where a small business used QR codes in print ads in an annual publication. After trying several scanners, I could not get any of the QR codes to register. The investment of thousands of dollars on those print ads that will be in the market for a year was a costly mistake for that merchant. The lesson from this is clear—test your codes.

These best practices will maximize your success with 2D codes:

  • Test your QR codes with multiple readers and devices.
  • Use link shorteners to create clean codes.
  • Avoid using colors that do not provide sufficient contrast—a potential problem with both QR codes and customized MS tags.
  • Make your codes at least 1″ x 1″—larger is better.
  • Provide a sufficient quiet zone around the code.
  • Avoid using 2D codes on highly reflective surfaces.
  • Consider where your codes will be scanned. One unfortunate application was in the New York City subway where there is not an Internet connection.
  • Use a quality QR code generator. My favorite is Kerem Erkan.
  • Use a quality scanner or reader. Two excellent choices are Qrafter and i-nigma. Qrafter is unique in that it is both a code generator and scanner in one app.

qrafter
Qrafter is a multi-feature QR code generator and reader.

#3: Link your codes to mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized sites

The most common mistake marketers make with QR codes is having them resolve to a standard web page that is not mobile-friendly. Worse yet is to have a code connect to a site with Flash video, which is not supported by the iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) that account for nearly 50% of the code readers in the world.

At a minimum, the page your code connects to should be mobile-friendly. For example, one of my codes resolves to the speaking page on my WordPress blog. A couple of taps on my iPhone enlarges it to fit nicely to my screen.

Mobile-optimized is better than mobile-friendly. According to Matthew Gallizzi of NotixTech, mobile sites are websites optimized specifically for smartphones. He suggests hosting these mobile sites on a subdomain or subdirectory of your main website, thereby giving you the SEO benefit of the traffic they bring.

Here are additional considerations when building a mobile site:

  • Build your site around the desired user experience.
  • Smaller images and solid colors load more quickly.
  • Size your links and buttons to be touch-friendly.
  • Use concise copy—sentences rather than paragraphs.
  • Use “fluid width” for horizontal and vertical orientation.
  • Test, test and test again—on iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms.

ramada
This mobile-optimized site emphasizes incentives.

mobile website examples
Three unique mobile sites featuring specific optimized content and actions.

The primary benefit of 2D codes is encouraging action. This can be accomplished by connecting to multimedia content such as video that shows a product or service in action. Other logical actions include activating a phone call or social share.

Here’s a list of the most requested features for mobile-optimized sites:

  • Tap to call links.
  • Tap to email links.
  • Tap to SMS (text).
  • Google maps integration.
  • Social sharing links.
  • Links to Yelp, Flickr and other mobile-optimized sites.
  • Links to YouTube and Vimeo (both mobile-optimized).

The cost of building a mobile-optimized site is comparable to a professionally designed and built WordPress site. If you are not ready to make that investment, there are a couple of services that allow you to create mobile sites hosted on their platforms: ShareSquare and Qraffiticodes.

#4: Track your scans with code management systems

QR codes and MS tags can presently track basic data, such as number of scans, with codes generated with bit.ly being just one example. However, if you use a QR code management system, you can gather even richer data.

The experts I interviewed for this article collectively agree that QR code management systems are in the early stages of their development cycle. According to Roger Smolski of 2d-code.co.uk, “There are new QR code management systems appearing every day, but there is not yet enough user experience of these systems for a consensus on their relative merits.”

Most of these services are free for limited used, with Delivr being one that presently offers an uncomplicated experience.

delivr
Delivr provides a variety of analytics, including scans by location and time.

According to Nick Martin of Microsoft, “MS tags have the capability to accurately determine the location of a scan and report that data in real time.” This creates a number of code management opportunities, such as delivering different content depending upon the location of the scan—directions to the store or a discount coupon for those in or near the store.

#5: Deliver value and a favorable user experience

Will QR codes gain more widespread use? When it comes to technology, or just about anything else, there will always be naysayers.

What is most relevant is that you as the marketer are the one who gives your codes value. They are just tools, and how you use the tool determines the value derived from it.

QR codes can serve a specific use for you, mostly as a lead generation tool. How are you doing your lead generation now? If you can use what is working for you now and make it better, more attractive or easier with QR codes, you are probably on the right track.

The video below shows how an ingenious use of QR codes helped a business in Korea to expand, and it all started with understanding the customers and building a QR code campaign strategy around their buying behaviors.

Ready to implement your QR Codes into your corporate collateral, website and marketing? Give us a call 781-938-3866 or email and we can get started today!

By Jeff Korhan
Published August 24, 2011

“It IS Easy Being Green”

There are many ways to create a greener workplace and make a strong impact on the environment. It is always good to start by taking some small steps to get a new plan into action. Here are a few ideas to get you going in the right direction.

Think About Your Commute

If your office is not within walking or biking, consider carpooling with two to three coworkers. Other alternatives are purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle or switching from an eight-hour workday, five days a week to a 10-hour workday, four days a week. This will cut your daily commute time by at least 20 percent.

Go Digital

The greenest paper is no paper, and one of the most effective ways to be more eco-friendly in your office is to reduce paper waste. Keep things digital whenever possible. The more you do online, the less paper you need. Switch from a fax machine to a fax modem to send and receive paperless documents. Use electronic forms whenever possible, and e-mail letters and documents to be read online rather than printed out. (1-Stop Design provides electronic versions of letterhead to all our branding clients to promote a paperless office.) Have staff members take their laptops to meetings so they aren’t printing copy after copy of the same report. Make it a policy to post employee manuals and similar materials online, rather than distribute print copies. An added bonus: Storing files on your computer saves time, money and space. Don’t forget to backup regularly to an off-site data system or use compact flash drives.

Use Green Marketing Tools

In these tough economic times don’t stop marketing, think green marketing? Eblasts, Updating websites, social Media marketing, Search Engine Optimization are all examples of cost efficient marketing that are green too! Promote your company and do you part to save the environment. It is a win win solution!!!

Print Smarter

Think before you print. The average worker in the United States goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year. Make it a habit to print on both sides and use the back side of old documents for faxes, scrap paper, or drafts. Avoid color printing and print in draft mode whenever possible.

Use Green Materials

At 1-Stop Design we do our best to match our clients printing budget with solutions that utilize environmentally friendly paper products. Some paper use can’t be avoided, so use recycled paper and envelopes that have been processed and colored using eco-friendly methods.

Buy chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Also consider switching to a lighter stock of paper or alternatives made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton.  Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are better for the environment than disposable ones. Buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced, and reuse the shipping boxes. Recycling printer cartridges is often free, and recycled replacements are cheaper than new ones. According to Office Depot, each remanufactured toner cartridge “keeps approximately 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic out of landfills.

Green your PC.

Make your computer more efficient and environmentally friendly. Start by putting computers on “standby” or in “hibernation” mode when they haven’t been accessed for more than 10 minutes.  Turn them off when you’re finished working for the day. When replacing a computer, switch to a laptop for more efficiency.  Laptops use 80 percent less energy.

Get Others in on the Act.

Share eco-friendly tips with your coworkers. Ask the office manager to make sure everyone has a small recycling bin so that recycling is just as easy as throwing paper away.

All of these eco-friendly tips are simple and easy to implement today.  So, yes, it IS easy to be green.

by Chris Hennigan

Naymz: A Little too Much Info? Stalkers Welcome!

Naymz is an online provider of reputation/identity management and promotion services for people, groups, and businesses. Naymz provides a simple and user friendly experience for those who are concerned with promoting an accurate and positive picture of their personal or professional reputation and identity. Their slogan is, “Empowering Reputable Professionals.” It that appears to be going after something close to Linkedin.com’s market.

I discovered the site through an invite from a client and was immediately curious as to what the site did and could do. After working my way around it there was some surprising results.

There are some features for professionals such as the ability to endorse friends or use friends as online references that I can see as being useful. In today’s world of identity theft and having your personal information spread throughout the electronic world.

One goal of effective Social Media is to inter-link all your channels to each other.  Once I arrived on Naymz it asked me to Search for contacts in my other accounts:

  • LinkedIn
  • Gmail
  • Hotmail
  • Yahoo!
  • AOL
  • Plaxo
  • Outlook
  • Outlook Express
  • Other
  • Single Invite

Something told me to wait and find out more before opening up my world to this unknown site. Thank goodness I listened to myself (which I don’t always do!).

Moving past being spared from being put on their spam list along with all my contacts, there is one major concern that jumped out at me fairly quickly.  Stalking.

Naymz offers reporting about other Naymz users who have been viewing your profile. While at first I might be intrigued to know “who looked at me?” but, it doesn’t take long to realize, “Whoa! That means every person I visit can see that I was there!” At that point, I realized that this wasn’t for me.

You can pay for more stalking ability or to be stalked more. Depends on how you look at it. So by becoming a Premium Member you can find out more about who’s stalking you. Things like who was visiting my profile, what IP address they visited from (possibly telling me which company that worked for), what country, and the exact time they paid me a visit. If the referring link showed something like a company’s internal webmail, I would also assume that something was emailed, most likely about little old me!

Yet again this all information that might intrigue some or most of us…if we were doing it to someone else. But once you realize that the same reports and data that you’re seeing about your Naymz browsing are being shared with other site members, you might think twice.

Makes me wonder how quickly  Facebook users would rebel if Facebook started reporting who was looking at your profile at then telling everyone else who’s profiles you’ve been viewing?

And if that would kill Facebook, Naymz may be dead on arrival if they don’t pull the plug on their stalking reporting.

In all fairness I do have to say that Facebook has  an application FanChec which was originally called Stalker Check!! But Fan Check doesn’t mean that you checked their profile a lot. It counts how many times you’ve interacted with that person, wrote on their wall, commented on their pictures, liked their status, etc. ..It doesn’t count how many times you’ve visited their profile. You don’t have to even have visited their profile. For example; if you liked their status or commented on them recently, then you may be part of their ‘fan check’.

_ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ __ _ _ _

“The application has created some problems for Facebook users, causing their walls (and other portions of Facebook) not to display properly. Contrary to warnings like the one reproduced above, however, FanCheck is not a “virus” and it  does not download or install anything on users’ PCs, it does not harm computers, and it cannot be “caught” by visiting a Facebook page. As noted on the Facebook

FANCHECK IS NOT A VIRUS – IT’S JUST A BAD APPLICATION

The Fan Check application is NOT a virus. It does, however, mess up your ‘Wall’ and other parts of Facebook — not by destroying information, but because it doesn’t work properly your wall and other parts of Facebook won’t display correctly. It doesn’t do any damage itself.

The fix for the problems Fan Check [can] cause are simple — remove it, and everything will go back to normal.

The developer of FanCheck (formerly known as StalkerCheck) also denied that the application contained some form of virus or malware.” (from snopes.com)

Thanks to Scott Monty

Scott is the head of social media for Ford Motor Company. Scott shares his perspectives on social media – the convergence of marketing, advertising and PR on the Web – for marketers, agencies, the enterprise and the individual at:  http://www.scottmonty.com/

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From Entrepenuer Online

Cut through the advertising noise by marketing with meaning.

By Bob Gilbreath   |   October 05, 2009

Most discussions regarding the future of marketing tend to revolve around the technology that marketers will use to better target customers and grab their attention. We think of the use of brain imaging for advertising research (so called “neuromarketing”), and paint visions of Tom Cruise walking past holographic billboards in Minority Report.

These and many other high-tech tactics might become commonly used one day. But already we are witnessing a rebirth of the marketing profession that will ultimately guide what we do and how we use amazing new technologies. We stand at the beginning of the next evolution of marketing–one that has more in common with the past than it does the present.

It may have taken some time for broadband access to proliferate and for people to build digital habits into their everyday lives, but now consumers start many purchases online. They judge companies of every size according to the quality of their websites, and they search for reviews and ratings before completing even the smallest of purchases.

People have learned to ignore the 3,000 ad messages that they are bombarded with daily. Even if they do see your carefully crafted advertisement, they’re likely to doubt its claims–and defer instead to the wisdom of crowds online.

Brain scans and talking holograms will not save the ‘old guard,’ interruptive, advertising model. Going forward, businesses must succumb to the power of the consumer. Instead of interrupting their day with ads, advertisers must create something customers will choose to engage with. We must create marketing that adds value to people’s lives. I call this new model “marketing with meaning.”

The best starting point lies in delivering information and services that help customers make smarter buying decisions. Since they will most likely conduct research online anyway, you might as well offer your perspective. Examples that you can implement tomorrow include:

  • Allow customers to post ratings and reviews on your website without editing. Often a few negative reviews actually add credibility–and give you the chance to address an issue directly.
  • Create a “buying guide” for customers to help them make a smart decision about which of your products or services are best for them.
  • Provide ongoing training and tips after a purchase to help customers get the most out of their purchases–which will eventually turn them into repeat customers.

Some businesses are taking the idea of marketing with meaning a step further, purposely preventing customers from incurring high fees and bills. Imagine a local bank that teaches customers how to avoid fees, a golf shop that stops a customer from buying the expensive new driver that will worsen his slice or a videographer who dissuades a customer from producing an unnecessarily long video despite the chance for higher sales. By actively stopping poor buying decisions–especially at the risk of lost sales–these businesses build enormous trust, earn loyalty for life and generate positive word-of-mouth marketing both online and offline.

In many ways this shift is a trip back-to-the-future. It harkens back to a time when the local shopkeeper treated our grandparents like neighbors. In a way, the interconnected world resulting from the openness of the internet has forced business to revert to these positive social norms of old.

Businesses that behave like neighbors will win, and advertising will look a lot better than most of what we see today.

Bob Gilbreath is Chief Marketing Strategist of Bridge Worldwide, a WPP digital and relationship marketing agency, and author of the new book, The Next Evolution of Marketing: Connect with your Customers by Marketing with Meaning. The Next Evolution of Marketing can be applied to billion-dollar brands or small businesses, to consumer marketers and B2B firms, in both highly developed markets and developing nations around the world.

nytlogo152x23

By ERIC PFANNER

Published: June 29, 2009

CANNES, France — Advertising agencies and Internet companies once viewed each other as foes, but are now coming together to harness the potential for online advertising. Like many other segments, online ad spending has slowed from its previous breakneck pace during the deep recession, forcing companies to devise new ways to chase fewer dollars.

Last week, Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, and Steven A. Ballmer, his counterpart at Microsoft, for the first time attended an annual advertising industry meeting, the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

With consumers spending more and more time online, analysts say Internet companies and ad agencies have no choice but to work together to develop ways to make money from digital media.

“There was an air of inevitability about it, because of the model not really working yet, and there’s so much content that will be dependent on it working,” said Paul Kemp-Robertson, editor of Contagious, an online magazine that tracks digital marketing trends.

Microsoft and Google, along with rivals like Yahoo and AOL, are looking for growth from new kinds of ads, including online video spots. But they need advertising agencies to persuade their clients to embrace these formats. Many companies are preferring to place ads linked to search engine results, whose effectiveness can be directly measured.

Microsoft made it clear that it wanted to cooperate, announcing partnerships with two leading advertising companies, WPP Group and Publicis Groupe. Yet Mr. Ballmer expressed skepticism about the extent to which advertising could be used to finance an explosion of online content.

Advertising agencies have long been big customers of Google, Microsoft and other Internet companies, shifting an increasing portion of ad budgets online. WPP Group, the largest ad agency owner, spends $850 million a year of its clients’ money with Google, according to Martin Sorrell, WPP’s chief executive. Ninety-eight percent of Google’s revenue comes from advertising, largely from “sponsored links” that appear alongside its search results.

Mr. Sorrell once called Google a “frenemy” of the ad industry, a characterization that reflected the Internet giant’s efforts to move into businesses like media buying, which in the past have been controlled by the likes of WPP. Agency executives also complained that Google remained aloof, spending hardly anything on advertising itself.

Asked during an onstage interview with Maurice Lévy, chief executive of Publicis, whether he even liked advertising, Mr. Schmidt insisted: “We love advertising.”

Microsoft, minus its chief executive, has been a prominent participant at the ad festival for several years, bringing hundreds of employees to the event. It is also a big advertiser, spending $700 million a year, according to Mr. Ballmer. But the breadth of its ambitions — in addition to buying and selling ads, the company owns an agency that creates them — has also caused alarm in some advertising quarters.

Analysts say the rivalry between Microsoft and Google may also play into their overtures to the ad industry. While Google has dominated the search business, Microsoft introduced a new search engine, Bing, last month. It has lifted Microsoft’s share of online searches in the United States to about 12 percent, according to ComScore, a research firm, from 8 percent for Microsoft’s previous engine.

Mr. Schmidt acknowledged that Google had, in recent months, found itself in the unfamiliar position of stumbling on certain projects, including efforts to develop systems for selling newspaper and radio advertising. He said marketers were also lowering their bids for keywords on Google’s search engine, where ads are sold through online auctions.

Google has also struggled to generate significant advertising from YouTube, its online video-sharing service. Mr. Schmidt said he had high hopes for new kinds of advertising formats on YouTube — some of which, he added, were developed through a partnership with Publicis.

That agreement, which has taken shape over the last year, represented the start of a thaw in the previously frosty relations between advertising companies and Internet giants.

Since then WPP has also struck a deal with Google to examine the future of digital advertising.

Last week in Cannes, WPP, whose agencies include Ogilvy & Mather and Grey, Young & Rubicam, announced a separate research deal with Microsoft.

Publicis, whose agencies include Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett, also moved to balance its partnership portfolio, announcing a broad agreement with Microsoft. The companies said they would jointly develop new kinds of digital advertising for a range of devices, including personal computers, mobile phones and Microsoft Xbox game consoles. They said they would also work on ways to send tailored advertising to individual television viewers’ sets.

Darren Huston, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s consumer and online businesses, described the linkup as “a major step forward in the relationship between our industries.”

In addition to generating new business, he said, Mr. Ballmer intended the partnership to send a signal to Microsoft employees about the benefits of working with the ad industry.

“It’s about the tone at the top,” Mr. Huston said. “What I’m saying, and what Steve is saying, is, ‘Here are some folks we’re going to work together with to crack some code.’ ”

Analysts say there may be another reason for the new friendliness between Microsoft and companies like Publicis and WPP. Microsoft has been trying to sell a digital ad agency, called Razorfish, which it acquired two years ago when it bought the agency’s parent company, aQuantive, for $6 billion.

WPP and Publicis have reportedly been among the potential buyers; both companies declined to comment.