Zimana spotlight: broadAngle

This interview with Garrison Atkisson, founder of broadAngle, was conducted via online in 2012.  Portions were used as part of a post for Business Agility.  I met Garrison during my grad school days at Georgia Tech. Later we crossed paths, and More »

First Digital Marketing and Analytics Seminar a Success for #Chicago Incubator @Blue1647 and Zimana

Zimana has partnered with Blue 1647, a Chicago start up and entrepreneurship incubator in the Pilsen neighborhood. Founded by Emile Cambry, and co-managed with Antonio Rowry as Chief Operating Officer, Blue 1647 provides a working space for 32 companies and More »

Zimana Client Spotlight: Scientifically Speaking @business317 merges presentation skills with social media

Eric Anderson has been a driving force with his company Scientifically Speaking (nicknamed SciSpeak).  Based in Indianapolis, Scientifically Speaking provides social media and presentations coaching to technology professionals and small businesses.  The end result for the client is an improved More »

Zimana Client Spotlight: @SmallBizLady Melinda Emerson – Shining a big bright light on small business

You have to admire Melinda Emerson.  Her motto is to eliminate small business failure, and 2012 is shaping to be a great year for her to do so.  With her media site Succeed As Your Own Boss being seen by a More »

Zimana Client Spotlight: @smallbiztrends Small Business Trends unveils new design and Twitterchats – offers more news by and for small business owners

Small Business Trends, a media site for small business tips and information, has launched a redesigned look that showcases its recent navigation bar redesign. The design adds a new look to the logo, modified colored, highlighted quotes (typically appearing in the More »


The Value of Remarketing Campaigns

One aspect I notice with clients, be it small business owners or managers of an enterprise, is a hesitancy to deploy a new technique to their paid search campaigns.  They feel running digital ads is an empty exercise in marketing futility with an indiscriminate increase in spend.  Applying advanced techniques such as remarketing can make that spend more discreet and make the futility less likely.

Remarketing is one of the newest techniques in digital advertising. Remarketing is a strategy in which an ad appears after a website visit.  Its purpose is to provide site visitors a “reminder” to return to a site.  Many remarketing campaigns are created with adding a small snippet of analytics code to the intended site pages.

The advancement of remarketing reflects the dynamic environment consumers are in. With so many ways to discover a retailer online, providers of paid online ads have had reimaging their ads appearing somewhere other than alongside a search engine result.

The value of remarketing lies in providing additional engagement of visitor who fallout of a conversion path. Take a user for a beauty care product. That customer visits apage, but then remembers the need to pay a bill online to prevent a late fee.As a result, they leave your site to go pay a bill or perform some other related online task. As this same user navigates the internet, ads can appear on other visited sites, reminding the customer of thebeauty care product. The ad may even add an enticement – free shipping ora 10% discount if the customer “acts now”. The customer then recallsthat they wanted the beauty care product. The customer then clicks the ad to make the intended purchase.

One end result from this activity is an increase conversion rate. Conversions from an organic search can reach single digit percentages with the best effort; Remarketing campaigns focuses on the unconverted majority.

Another end result is to cause marketers to imagine a potential customers journey. Reviewing website navigation behavior can indicate ideas for where a remarketing campaign would best complement customer search for products and services. There are signs that remarketing campaigns are providing additional value.  An eMarketer post noted that marketers running social media alongside remarketing programs are seeing improve branding and direct purchase response.

Finally, issuing a remarketing plan can be an initial discussion on establishing a privacy policy. Google for example recommends that website indicate a privacy policy when updating its Google Analytics code for remarketing campaigns. Such discussions can rally an organization to understand what can breech consumer data management and ruin customer trust.

Remarketing is on the cusp of breaking out as an expected way to deploy digital advertising. Clickz noted remarketing as among the top 5 marketing trends for 2014.   With some imaginative planning, retailers can learn how to leverage remarketing as a personalization tool and not a shopping intrusion.


Predictive Analytics for Great Retail

Many retailers struggle with connecting with customers’ desires and needs. But instead of relying on sole instincts and trial-and-error tactics, retailers should develop their own predictive analytics models to find the right untapped opportunity. They should begin much sooner than later. Retailers in various markets are realizing the potential of their efforts, becoming significant competitors as a result.

Predictive analytics is the rollup analysis of data that determines an anticipated outcome. For retail, this means determining customer segment behaviors through evaluating data patterns related to that segment. Data for advanced predictive models can be from numerous platforms requiring a mix of software and programming to reveal insights. For example, the R programming language is a popular choice to combine with analytic packages to create predictive models for numerous business scenarios.

Demand for predictive analytics is increasing. O’Reilly noted in a Strata article that business analysts are increasing interested in more complex data modeling. And Gartner noted that by 2016, 70% of most business processes will incorporate real time predictive analytics to establish a competitive advantage.

Applying predictive analytics can lead to developing robust process controls that ensures an organization a better chance to choose the right investments or activities.

Price management is a prime example. IT can monitor tech costs associated with a price management campaign, from website maintenance to inventory-related systems. Thus IT teams impacted by predictive analytics can direct resources on tasks that will likely raise or lower costs. Furthermore, the ongoing nature of a price management campaigns can encourage better supply chain management. This can lead to further cost reductions and improved operations.

A recent Forbes article highlights a few examples that analytics firm ForeSee has observed. Hickory Farms, Perry Ellis, and NFLshop.com all saw incremental increased sales through strategic usage of predictive analytics. And last year Chain Store Age noted how grocer Safeway achieved sales success with “Just For U”, a personalized pricing card program for shoppers. Personalized pricing is derived from predictive analytic measures.

To their best capabilities, predictive analytic models address the management of uncertain future outcomes within the organization. No one knows the future with a certainty. But a solid predictive model can provide an important indicator of what profitable activities are best pursued.

CEOWorld names Zimana’s Pierre DeBois one of the top Big Data experts to follow on Twitter

CEOWorld Top Big Data

CEOWorld named its Top Big Data experts to follow on Twitter…

Earlier in 2014, CEOWorld Magazine named @ZimanaAnalytics among the top Twitter accounts to follow for Big Data. Managed by Zimana founder Pierre DeBois, the Twitter account curates a number of topics on small business, big data, and analytics, as well as regular posts from Zimana Blog, an AllTop web analytics blog.  The @ZimanaAnalytics Twitter account was ranked Number 36.

CEOWorld Magazine is a global business and technology information media site. Created by Amarendra Bhushan in 2008, CEOWorld Magazine offers business news features for chief executive officers and senior executives.

Pierre DeBois

…and Zimana was named one of the top Twitter accounts to follow for Big Data and Analytics

CEO World Magazine

Zimana listed among the Top Big Data Experts to Follow, according to CEOWorld Magazine

“I am extremely pleased and thankful for CEOWorld to consider @ZimanaAnalytics among the top Twitter profiles that feature big data topics, ” said Pierre DeBois.  “By focusing on curating on analytics-related topics, the Zimana Twitter account has become a key resource for small and medium sized businesses that are working to increase their business intelligence knowledge and analytic capability. This acknowledgment from CEOWorld, along with a nod to the Zimana Facebook page being named one of the top Facebook pages to follow by Small Business Trends, encourages me to ensure that the Zimana social media platforms are of great value to clients, customers, and partners.”

Read more about the top Twitter list at the CEOWorld Magazine site .

Web Components: A Perspective by the Chicago Javascript Meetup

Justin McNally - Chicago JavaScript Meetup

Justin McNally explains the value of web components at the July meetup for the Chicago JavaScript Meetup group. (Picture: Chicago JavaScript Meetup)

The Chicago Javascript Meetup group gathered once again for a rousing discussion on web components.  Web components are essentially the elements in a a web page or document that interacts with the web browser. These elements indicate to the browser what should appear in the browser window.

Justin McNally prepared a presentation called Web Components: The Future is Now, one of two for the July meetup for The Chicago Javascript Meetup group.  The presentation offered some historical overview of client side development  as well as concepts that Justin had learned through his own experience as a web developer.

The function of tag elements are key for understanding the history of client side development. They were first used for annoying text appearances  - yes, those texts that would flash onscreen – and tagging images that appear in the browser.  Blinking tags were a popular design choice back in 1994, but that was enhanced with the advent of Javascript a year later. Javascript code used tag elements effectively without requiring calls to the server. It quickly became the programming choice for scrolling text and popup windows.

Another historical development was the spec for the Casscading Style Sheet (CSS). The spec was developed and updated by the W3C.  According to Justin, the CSS spec usually lagged behind the capability of mainstream browsers (IE, Firefox, Safari, and later Chrome). The browsers would come with advanced or different specs that developers would have to work towards in their website design, which made the W3C  specs ineffective in some instances.  A 1.0 Spec in 1996 meant to make the internet more prettier, but browsers came with features that were later incorporated into the 2.0 Spec.

The recent release of Google Chrome 36 makes a significant departure from the misconnect between browser capability and CSS spec. It represents the first time a browser supported all key components for a web component spec. The release also signals that browser updates will be less of an influence to build apps and sites with web components in mind.

Chicago JavaScript Meetup

Meetup members listened as Justin provided code examples of web components

Justin elaborated on the key building blocks of web components. These are:

  1. HTML import – can import fragments into a page, a one line tag, cleans up the DOM and componentizes the page
  2. Shadow DOM – a private DOM within your component
  3. Custom Elements – which eliminates the need for query bindings
  4. A Template element – which can be repeated used in code development

Justin explained what principles are essential in planning and developing a web component.

  • Functionality – is it worth doing?
  • Reusability – ability to be used repeated within a code
  • Interoperability – can external J/S interact with the component?
  • Configurability – what components should be the most useful for people
  • Programability / API – making the API part of an ecosystem and asking yourself “How could this be useful for other people?”
  • Composability

The historic developments of element tags have lead to the creation of Select tags. Select tags have been introduced as an alternate tag element to  divs.  Divs are meant to be containers of an object, whereas selects are sophisticated containers that permit more detailed properties.  The end result is an increase capacity for usages with object oriented languages and easier functionality when code is planned and created.

Justin wrapped up noting a few great tools that can be used with respect to Javascript.  The frameworks that are likely to drive web component  development are Polymer (Google) and X-Tags (Mozilla).  Both have received support and interest from the developer community.

You can check out Justin’s presentation via this Dropbox link. The presentation includes more detail on web components including code examples.


What does it take to be a modern marketer? Infographic via Salesforce and Paradot

What does it take to be a marketer these days – a sensibility of art and science, according to Saleforce and Paradot. Both companies have put together the following infographic which emphasizes the need to consider technological capabilities as well as creative media.  Review and comment on what is takes below.

The Modern Marketer: Part Artist - Part Scientist