Mainframe and Mobile Partner a Good Relationship

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An increasing number of people are using mobile devices to obtain information and request services over the Internet, and they expect to be able to gain access to up-to-date and accurate information, not time-delayed data.

In order to meet the expectations of today’s consumers, businesses have to make sure that their mobile applications can access and interact with their systems of record.

However, many businesses have already invested heavily in information technology systems, and they cannot afford to recreate those investments just so that they can reach consumers through a new channel.

As such, some of them are considering reinventing their mainframes to accommodate mobile technology.

Here is a look at how combining mainframe and mobile can impact your business….

Can the Mainframe be Relevant in the Mobile Era?

Over the years, the mainframe has been keeping up with changes in application systems and computing paradigms, including the web, Cloud computing and mobile technology. It is constantly being reinvented so that it can run the latest application server packages.

In January this year, IBM launched the first mainframe that is specially designed to accommodate mobile technology.

The z13 can address mobile workloads better simply by providing more processing power.

According to an article entitled “Mainframe, Meet Mobile. Mobile, Meet Mainframe“, this sleek-looking mainframe comes with a microprocessor that is twice as fast as an ordinary server processor, and it can process 2.5 billion transactions a day.

Businesses that have z12 mainframes can meet mobile demands by using z/OS Connect.

This connector technology facilitates the delivery of data from IMS, CICS and DB2 RESTfully with simple API calls. Introduced in 2014, it is regarded as a linchpin of mobile and Cloud enablement for mainframes.

Business Impact of Mainframe-Mobile Integration

Deliver More Services

By using the millions of lines of code found in mainframe applications and working processes, businesses can develop applications that are more strategic and competitive.

As they move from first-generation applications to the web, Cloud, and mobile channels, they will be able to deliver more services to their customers.

The emergence of Web and REST services has made mainframe transaction managers such as IMS, CICS and WebSphere Application Server great places for hosting processes and services that are invoked by mobile front-ends, enabling them to provide more information and business value.

Usually, such processes are already in existence, but now, they have to be linked to the new infrastructures available to the mobile platform.

Streamline Business Processes

Another benefit of combining mainframe and mobile is that it can help streamline your business processes.

For example, you can improve productivity by implementing a cross-platform mobile app for your employees that integrates into your mainframe back-end.

Also, you can create a mobile customer portal that leverages data from your mainframe to provide an easy and convenient way for your customers to gain information and assistance.

The mainframe is still very much relevant in today’s world.

It offers a reliable system of record that is always available and highly scalable, and it can be an even more valuable asset to your business if it is mobile-enabled.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

Mobile Marketing Can Be a Winner for Single Parents

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If you run a business, you’re probably looking for that niche to market to.

Many businesses know what that niche is ahead of time, but others kind of work as they go, and they may be at a point in their marketing life of trying to figure who to take a look at.

Usually parents are looking for some kind of money saving deal to fit into a budget, so marketing to parents is a great idea, especially through mobile marketing.

Marketers can narrow down this niche even more and market towards the single parent.

Convenience, time savers, good deals and discounts are popular in this market.

For instance, offering coupons accessible on a mobile device is a smart marketing tool.

Here are some other good ideas:

- Through mobile marketing, single parents can find what they need on their mobile device. They can look for a coupon or discount while they are on the go. It saves time and makes everything more convenient. For instance, if a restaurant offers a mobile special, it is okay if the family didn’t come in with a coupon, they can just get it off their phone. It offers a more spontaneous opportunity, which works well in our busy lifestyles.

- Kid-friendly business should be marketing on mobile devices. Parents like to support kid friendly business, from restaurants to stores, to medical needs to haircuts. So if a business that specializes in kids’ haircuts, for example, can offer deals on a mobile device, it’s a big plus to parents.

- Sharing information. Parents get a lot of their information from other parents. If your site lets you gain something by referring someone or naming a referral, you’ll pull business in. If you run a dance studio, for instance, on the registration form (which should be accessible by a mobile device) you should have a spot for “how did you hear of us?” Perhaps you can offer a discount if a specific person is named.

- Blog and share it on social media where it can be accessed through a mobile device. As the following article looks at, offer budgeting tips for single parents or seasonal ideas for saving money.

- Use your social media. Whether your business is large or small, use social media to reach as many people as you can. Other moms will “like” you and their mom friends will probably end up “liking” you, too. It’s important for your marketing endeavors to be active on social media, especially if you are local and can gain a place in the “mom (or dad)” community.

Marketing to parents is an important niche to break into.

If you’re not already doing it, your business may be missing out.

It’s not too late, though, and you may be surprised at how much business is out there in the mom or dad world.

About the Author: Heather Legg writes on a variety of topics including social media, small business marketing and parenting.

Go to School on Mass Texting for Your Brand

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Text messaging is presently one of the most preferred communication mediums, especially among teenagers.

According to a report released by Pew Internet Project, about 75 percent of all teenagers text, and 63 percent of them use text messaging on a daily basis.

Many schools and universities are taking advantage of the popularity of SMS to improve communication with students, staff members and parents, something that business owners can take a lesson from.

Why Schools and Universities are Turning to SMS

In the past, schools and universities had to rely on time-consuming communication methods such as making phone calls and pamphleteering to communicate with their students and students’ parents.

Mass emailing can help them save substantial time and effort, but it has a comparatively low open rate and lacks immediacy. Now, many academic institutions are using SMS as one of their main communication tools.

Text messaging does not only enable them to communicate easier, faster and cheaper; it also ensures that their messages will be read by almost every recipient within a short time after delivery.

A study commissioned by SinglePoint found that SMS has an open rate of more than 99 percent, which is the highest among all forms of mass communication. It is the quickest and most effective way to inform a large group of people.

Three Ways Academic Institutions are Using Text Messaging

Improve Communication Processes

One of the main reasons why more and more academic institutions are adopting text messaging is because it can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their communication processes.

It allows them to send a wide array of information to students and parents with greater ease and speed, including tutoring information, class schedule changes, absenteeism, outstanding fees, parent/teacher meetings, sporting events and others.

According to an article entitled “3 Ways Schools and Universities are Using Mass Texting“, SMS can also be used to streamline administrative processes in academic institutions.

It can help them save time and money when they need to schedule staff meetings, after-school events and parent/teacher conferences.

Boost Enrollment

Many schools and universities are also using SMS as a marketing tool.

Through text messaging, they can make themselves visible to more prospective students; increase traffic to their websites; provide admission information such as admission requirements, tuition fees and deadlines, and send alerts for pre-admission events such as orientation, school tours and financial aid workshops.

Academic institutions that are holding or sponsoring local or online events can also use SMS to send invitations to prospective students.

Protect the Safety of Students

In Boston, public schools have introduced a two-way texting service called TipTxt to prevent bullying.

This program provides a confidential platform for students to report bullying incidents to school administrators, who will respond by checking on the welfare of the victims.

SMS is also widely used by academic institutions to warn students and staff members of potential extreme weather conditions, natural disasters and tragedies such as shootings and bombings.

Text messaging is not only beneficial to academic institutions; it can also be an invaluable tool for businesses.

Businesses can use SMS to improve communications both internally and externally, resulting in greater efficiency and productivity, as well as lower communication costs.

Also, using text messaging for marketing purposes can help them boost brand visibility, customer engagement and conversion rates.

So, are you ready to become a business leader who puts text messaging to work for your brand?

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

What Does a Modern Mobile Payment System Entail?

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According to the American Mobile Retail Association, the average startup cost for a mobile business runs from $20,000 to $30,000, and this includes the purchase of a vehicle or trailer. This is significantly less than the hundred grand that the typical brick-and-mortar business requires. One of the hardest parts of mobile retail is the payment and inventory system. In this Wi-Fi world, there are some bells and whistles to have in a mobile payment system.

Card Reader

Since less than one-fifth of the American population carries cash, a smart business needs to be able to accept credit cards anywhere and everywhere. There are numerous credit card readers on the market that will snap onto your phone or tablet. Some of them simply read the card and nothing else. You need to do all of the processing and accounting at the back end, when you get to your office. Others are apps that require no extra hardware to read the credit card. These card reading apps take a picture of the credit card, encrypt the data and then process it.

Efficiency and Buyer Experience

From a marketing perspective, the easier it is for a customer to pay, the better the customer’s buying experience. Quality items, reasonable price points and a positive consumer transaction is the recipe for a successful business. Use a system that will create an electronic receipt when you accept cash, checks or any other form of trade. Doing it this way also has the upside of gaining a customer’s email for your marketing database.

Accounting Integration

We would all be happier if we could just sell our stuff and not need to do anything else. Making, decorating and selling a cupcake is the fun part. Paying bills, balancing accounts and sending invoices is not. Make it easy and use a system that does everything for you so you are not doing double the work. When a receipt is created, make sure it drops right into your accounting software and that the inventory is debited one item. If not, you will need to do this manually.

Online Incorporation

Mobile businesses differ from traditional brick-and-mortar because people always know where to find a store-based business. Mobile companies use their Internet presence to let people know how to locate them. The consumer will purchase some things online and others will require hands on. According to the concepts of omni-channel marketing, a business needs to provide seamless, multiple opportunities for the consumer to purchase products. For a mobile business, this means that a person will be able to touch and experience the merchandise at the portable location then purchase the item online whenever they wish. Your mobile payment system needs to integrate the movable business and the e-commerce platform so that they work together.

Integrated Marketing Systems

Since you are capturing all of this data at the mobile site, combine it into one robust marketing platform. It needs to be able to send coupons along with the digital receipts. It should create your email database for you and you need to be able to data mine customer preferences from their purchases.

SMS Marketing Putting Your Mobile App on Top

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Consumers of every type are adopting a mobile lifestyle, which is why SMS marketing is so important.

If your business is trying to market its new mobile app, what better way to spread the word than with SMS?

Here are just a few handheld ways your business can use SMS marketing to put its mobile app on top:

Companies with the Best Mobile Apps

When it comes time to market your new mobile app, there’s a thing or two you can learn from some top companies.

Whether you’re in the retail business or you have a service to offer, SMS marketing can certainly help get the ball rolling with your app.

Just take it from these companies:

Starbucks: There’s a reason why the Starbucks app has been downloaded more than any other food and drink app: the marketing. The Starbucks app allows customers to pay for goods, create custom drinks, and track rewards all through one streamlined app. How did they first spread the word? They did it by heavily marketing the app through SMS text and social media.

MLB.com: Major League Baseball fans can rejoice because MLB.com now has the At Bat baseball app. The app allows fans to follow their favorite players and teams, check stats, and even watch games live. Before releasing the app, MLB.com marketed the well-rounded app via SMS advertisements.

CVS Pharmacy: MyCVS is an intuitive mobile app that makes it easy to find nearby stores, manage prescriptions and refills, transfer prescriptions to other locations, and collect points for in-store purchases. CVS encouraged customers to download the app via SMS campaigning.

As the following article looks at, if you want to find an audience for your business’s new app, here’s how SMS marketing can jumpstart your mobile app:

Increase Your Customer Outreach

The larger the audience, the more effective your app pitch is. With SMS marketing, you can quickly and easily reach a massive mobile audience. Whether you make a tutorial for your mobile app, create giveaways for customers who share your app, or tweet news surrounding the release of your app, SMS marketing can help.

In other words, SMS marketing allows your company to increase its customer outreach like never before. SMS marketing increases market penetration while putting your business’s marketing efforts directly on your customers’ mobile devices. This allows for unparalleled app exposure.

Surveying Price Points

Market research is an important part of the app marketing process. If your business is considering charging customers to download its new app, then SMS marketing can help your business decide on a price point as well.

With SMS marketing, your business can send text surveys to current and potential customers asking them what they’d pay for the type of app you’re developing. By finding the right price point the first time around, your business’s new app will have a better chance of succeeding.

Share App-Related Content

Chances are you’re already marketing your new app via Twitter, Google+, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other professional/social sites.

You can share all of that great app-related content through SMS marketing too. By sharing other marketing content surrounding your app through SMS marketing, you can keep customers informed and interested in your new application.

When you’re ready to put your mobile app in the spotlight, keep in mind the SMS marketing routes above.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including social media and mobile technology.

Don’t Overlook the Social Component to Marketing

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Your marketing strategy likely has a number of tentacles such as that of an octopus. With that said, are you achieving all you want when it comes to marketing or are you coming up a little bit short time after time?

There are numerous keys to having a winning marketing plan, but it is essentials that all the keys fit like pieces of a puzzle. If one or more are missing, your plan will not always come together as you like.

Whether you are strictly a marketer or you own your own business and do some marketing, how would you define your success-failure rate when it comes to marketing?

Put the Pieces of the Puzzle Together

As previously mentioned – look at your marketing plan as having multiple components to it – one of which undoubtedly should be social media.

Now as you might hear from some marketing folks or business owners, there is question as to how much of a true return on investment (ROI) you can receive from social media. By all means, don’t let those thoughts stop you from incorporating social media (if you are not all already) into your marketing strategy.

In order to do social media the right way, remember these tips:

1. Strategy. Out of the gates, what is your social media strategy? Are you planning to be active on just the typical sites such as Facebook and Twitter or will you be a player on numerous social networks? The best thing is to not stretch yourself too thin. Better to be good on one or two sites than be mediocre on half-a-dozen or more networks;

2. Promotion. In the event you are promoting products and services, do it in a positive and yet subtle way. If you market communication products like https://www.vonagedeals.com/, make sure you run such keywords in relevant blog posts, tweets, shares, and pins and elsewhere tied to phone articles or how to market such products. Promoting such a keyword or ones similar to it in an article for health insurance won’t fly for several reasons, along with possibly leading to Google issues. You should also look to promote such a product via mobile marketing methods, especially in this day and age when millions of people are on their mobile devices at all hours of the day;

3. Consumers. One often-heard complaint from consumers is that they leave a question or comment on a site’s Facebook or Twitter page, yet they never receive a timely response or response at all. This is a big no-no in the world of customer relations. When a consumer goes to your social page or pages with comments or questions, you need to respond in a timely manner, not when you get around to it. Doing the latter sets a bad precedent, plus puts you in position to miss out on possible sales. Another gaffe to avoid is having a verbal tiff online with a consumer. Not only does it make you and your brand look immature, but it can spread like wildfire before long. The negative PR that can come from it could be damaging to your brand.

Your marketing strategy should always include a heavy dose of a social component.

If it doesn’t, you’re missing out on so many opportunities.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as marketing and finance.

Take Your Website Global

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In today’s Internet-driven world, your business website is more likely than ever to be visited by people who live thousands of miles away, possibly on the other side of the world.

No matter where the traffic comes from, your website can benefit by being linguistically accessible by those of foreign nations.

Clicks from Abroad Count as Clicks in Any Language

Search engines don’t distinguish “foreign clicks” from native language clicks.

So if your site for some reason is garnering interest from abroad, there’s ample reason to help it out. You may not ship your product internationally, but that doesn’t mean your blog can’t be a helpful source of information about your product to buyers in other countries.

When you do provide this information globally, you will gain traffic that our competitors might have ignored or deemed irrelevant, because those leads won’t convert.

But site visitors are worth more than purchase orders.

The more traffic you can generate, no matter the source, the higher your company site will rank.

Woo the Global Market with Translation Buttons

One easily recognizable way to woo global site visitors is to provide flag icons as buttons at the top of your site.

This is an internationally-known symbol for visitors to know that your site is available in their language.

To follow through, hire a specialist translator for each language you want to cater to. Though there are digital “translators” available, these are generally unreliable for important information. Anyone who’s ever used the “translate” button on Facebook posts can tell you how humorous and off base the translations usually are.

The same thing goes for Google’s page “translate this page” service.

So far, computer translation programs simply don’t pick up the nuances of language enough for serious use. Invest in a human translator so you know your results will be accurate.

Know if Your Company Website Needs to Be Translated Immediately

There are certain industries and companies that absolutely need to be available in translation.

These include companies like ExxonMobile and BP, the global oil companies with presences around the globe. A quick survey of their U.S. site shows no such translation option, with is a telling public relations mistake that is indicative of both these company’s past failures.

As the following article looks at, if these companies are waiting to find out where in the world do they speak the most languages?, they need to stop waiting and start translating.

Other industries that cry out for website translation include organizations like PETA, humanitarian effort sites and any company or organization that wants to make a global difference.

How can a company expect to connect with individuals if they refuse to acknowledge the differences that make us unique?

Your company website can have a real global impact if you stop standing in its way. Be the one to take the leap in your organization.

Start the translation project, and then enlarge it to your company’s social media presence.

You’ll likely see results almost immediately.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.

Contracting a Solid Approach to Marketing

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According to Dodge Data and Analytics, it is estimated that the total construction starts in the United States will rise by about nine percent in 2015, a significantly larger gain compared to the five-percent increase recorded last year.

As the construction industry continues to prosper, construction firms are stepping up their marketing efforts to win more customers and increase their market shares.

They are using a wide array of tools and strategies to promote their brands, products and services, from traditional marketing methods such as vehicle advertising to trendier marketing mediums such as social media marketing.

Here is a look at some of the marketing strategies that are widely used by construction companies….

Social Media Marketing

A report released by the Construction Marketing Association in 2013 showed that 97 percent of professionals in the construction industry had incorporated social media into their marketing programs.

Their most preferred social media websites included LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and Pinterest. By investing in social media marketing, construction companies can make their brands known to potentially millions of consumers, drive more traffic to their websites, build communities to facilitate word-of-mouth advertising, increase customer loyalty and gain valuable customer insights.

As the following article shows, besides reaching out to consumers, some of them are also trying to attract top talent on social media by posting information about available employment opportunities, such as position responsibilities, salaries and benefits, requirements to be a contractor and others.

Examples of companies in the construction industry that have built a strong social media presence include Caterpillar, Kiewit Corporation, Clark Construction Group, Riggins Construction and Management, Burgin Construction and Therm-All.

Mobile Marketing

According to a Nielsen report, about 65 percent of Americans owned a smartphone in 2013, which was an 11-percent increase from 2011.

With mobile devices becoming an increasingly preferred communication medium, more and more construction companies are turning to mobile marketing to expand their marketing reach.

Mobile marketing is a great marketing option because it gives them round-the-clock access to their customers, enables them to send time-sensitive marketing messages with little or no delay, helps them interact with their customers on a more personal level and delivers high response rates.

Additionally, it is more cost-effective than most other forms of marketing.

There are a number of ways that construction firms can reach out to their target consumers through mobile marketing, including their websites and blogs, social media, text messaging and mobile advertising.

Other Marketing Methods

Besides social media and mobile marketing, construction companies are using many other marketing methods to attract and engage consumers.

These include TV and radio advertising, print advertising, vehicle advertising, telemarketing, local networking, direct mail marketing, referrals, Chamber of Commerce recommendations, Yellow Pages advertising and trade shows.

The construction market is becoming more competitive, and many construction companies are finding it increasingly difficult to land new clients.

In order to succeed and grow, they need to use a combination of effective marketing tools and strategies to set themselves apart from their competitors.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to small business.

From Batteries to Screens: How Nanotechnology Is Improving Smartphones

John Foley, Jr.
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Nanotechnology used to be the stuff of science fiction, but today more and more of our everyday items contain it in some form or another. Especially in the case of smartphones, nanotechnology has allowed us to get smaller, lighter, stronger and more efficient. Discover just a few ways nanotechnology has improved our smartphones.

Touch Screens

Back in the mid-2000s before phones were considered smart, we had tiny one-inch LCD screens. As the demand for larger screens increased, the harder plastics originally used became obsolete because the touch screens could not be made from them. However, regular glass is too brittle to be used in a device that needs to go through the rigors of everyday life.

This changed with the introduction of the first generation iPhone that had a Gorilla Glass display developed by Corning. By immersing the glass in an alkaline salt bath, potassium ions can be incorporated into the structure, making it much more resistant to damage than a non-treated glass. Gorilla Glass has been so successful that the latest iPhone 6 uses Gorilla Glass 4 as well as most other smartphones.

Larger Batteries

As the devices get bigger and users require more powerful processors and streaming data, the demands of battery life has become one of the major limiting factors for smartphone development. Although many people want a better battery life, many companies also are looking at developing batteries with faster charging cycles.

Some manufacturers do this by carefully regulating how much power goes from the charger to the battery. They both monitor the battery and have variable voltage phones so they can charge more quickly. A more interesting technique, however, is StoreDot’s development of a charger and battery combination that can fully charge your phone in minutes instead of hours.

OLEDs

Another display technology to look out for in future smartphones is organic light emitting diodes, or OLEDs. What differentiates these from their non-organic cousin, the LED, is that they do not need a backlight. Because OLEDs don’t need a backlight and can be printed onto any surface, they are much thinner and energy efficient. This also means that manufacturers can develop screens with more contrast and technology that take up less space and uses less power. Furthermore, OLEDs can deliver a more true black, thus keeping images more accurate.

However, keeping these large screens free from dirt and fingerprints is a constant battle. To combat this problem, manufacturers like Apple coat their screens with oil-repelling materials to help keep their screens cleaner for longer.

CPUs

Maybe the least obvious way nanotechnology is used in our phones is through the CPUs. Modern technology allows phones to increasingly become smaller and energy efficient with better results. Plus, the processors are more powerful, allowing them to keep up with today’s data demands.

Nanotechnology is an integral component in every part of our smartphones. Better screens, longer battery life and faster processors are always going to be in demand, and developers are working hard to keep up with it.

Investing in Social Media and Mobile Marketing

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Social media and mobile marketing can bring attention to even the most practical topics like retirement plans. Investment companies can use these tools to increase attention to the products they offer.

People go online to do research about many different subjects.

It only makes sense that something as important as how they spend their money would use online tools to learn about investment tools, especially in a day and age when many individuals are ill-prepared to comfortably retire.

Provide the Latest Data

To encourage more people to invest, many companies use mobile marketing to provide current numbers on various investment products.

For instance, Fidelity has an app where you can monitor the products to see how they are moving.

While the app is aimed at current investors, it is also good for those who are considering investing to see how the market is performing. Users can look up specific stocks or just watch the top stocks.

Answer Questions

Vanguard does a great job of utilizing social media to introduce people to investing.

On their Facebook page, they answer questions. All people have to do is ask a question in the comments to see the answer.

This idea works for any company seeking to bring in people who are brand new to investing.

They may hesitate to get started or may not be sure which products are right for them. They go online to find answers to those questions because it is convenient and there is less pressure. When they find an expert that takes the time to answer those questions, they are more likely to remember them when they are ready to start investing.

Educate

Whether through quizzes, infographics, or links to other resources, top companies use social media to educate potential users about investing.

One way to do that is to follow Fidelity’s method. They provide links on their Facebook page to videos that tell more about investing.

Video is a great method of providing educational information. However, it is not the only way. As with Fidelity, you can switch it up with different options to appeal to a wider audience.

Develop Relationships

The goal of all marketing is to get a sale. However, it begins with developing a relationship.

While you want the customer to develop this relationship with you, it is also beneficial for the person to interact with other customers.

TD Ameritrade does it right by establishing a community where people can help each other out.

Establishing relationships can be accomplished through social networks or mobile applications. As the authority, you can be a presence. However, it is also a good idea to let users give advice or tips.

The common thread is that everyone is using your platform. As relationships develop, so does loyalty with the company that brought everyone together.

For example, the article, “5 Easy Investment Strategies That Build Wealth” says, it is important to diversify your portfolio.

For investors, they may wonder what types of products to look at. While you can provide that information, other investors that are successful with certain items in their portfolios can provide solid tips to the newbies.

Investment companies and brokers can enhance any marketing strategy by utilizing social media and mobile applications.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including business and marketing.