Specializing in Marketing Services for the Learning and HR Solutions industries

Archive for September 2011

In A Slow Economy: Remember To Boost Marketing

by Ramon Ray

When customers are buying less from you and sales are down, you might want to ditch
your marketing person, throw out your PR consultant and reduce sales expenses. However, experts say that this is the wrong strategy. In a slow economy the one thing to
boost is sales and marketing – without sales and marketing your income will decrease as most customers will buy less and less from you and more and more from your competition. You might also want to communicate even stronger to customers. In particular if you’re in a business where customers are going to buy, but the question is just how much and from whom – make sure as much of their spending is with you and NOT with your competition. Technology does have a role to play.

If you’ve been giving proposals to clients on plain white paper and black text;
STOP. If you have not been sending a paper newsletter to your top customers; START.
These and other simple things can be done as a way to produce “do it yourself marketing”. Continuing in their push to help businesses create their own marketing materials, HP recently released a new line of printers to help businesses produce great looking marketing materials, right from within their own businesses. No Kinkos or local print shop needed. Printing does not always have to be in color. Internal documents can definitely be in black and white, but if you want to WOW your customers, it’s important that you add a little color to your hand out.

Having professional looking marketing material is only one part of marketing – especially in a slow economy. Today is one of the slowest days for the economy and my prayers are with those most affected by the failing economy.

Business Week writes 1. Research the customer. Instead of cutting the market research budget, you need to know more than ever how consumers are redefining value and responding to the recession. Price elasticity curves are changing. Consumers take more time searching for durable goods and negotiate harder at the point of sale. They are more willing to postpone purchases, trade down, or buy less. Must-have features of yesterday are today’s can-live-withouts. Trusted brands are especially valued and they can still launch new products successfully but interest in new brands and new categories fades. Conspicuous consumption becomes less prevalent.

http://smallbiztechnology.com/archive/2008/09/in-a-slow-economy-remember-to.html/

Marc My Words: The Greatest Mobile Learning App Ever

By Marc J. Rosenberg

November 9, 2010

“For mLearning, tags have huge possibilities. They add depth and vitality to content in ways that significantly enhance just-in-time access to information, and improve understanding and performance. In print-based materials, tags add a new dimension of richness and authenticity.”

I pride myself on not being too geeky. I know that technology does not, in and of itself, make for great learning. But every once in a while an innovation comes along that has such interesting potential, I just can’t help myself. I’m talking about two-dimensional barcodes, or tags, sometimes referred to as “2D tags” or “2D barcodes.”

No doubt you’ve seen these tags around. You can create them easily (more on this later), and they can hold a lot more information than traditional barcodes. Using your smartphone, you scan the tag and your phone quickly finds the associated content on the Web – from URLs, to maps, to contact information, to photos, videos, and more. Inexpensive scanners will also do the same for laptops and PCs.

Why is this exciting? Because almost any physical (non-Web) object can use tags to provide additional information, including multimedia content, precisely at the moment of need. In the travel industry, tags are sprouting up on maps and brochures, and near places of interest. At the Eifel Tower? Scan a tag and get a multimedia presentation on how they built the landmark. Going on a walking tour of a historic section of a city? Scan a tag to find local sights. Retailers are starting to use tags on in-store displays, showcasing product usage and customer testimonials. Print advertisers are inserting tags in ads to bring them to life and to link the reader with the product in more intimate ways. These are just some of the ways people are using tags. Contact information, phone numbers, and map coordinates are additional examples of information that one can embed in tags.

For mLearning, tags have huge possibilities. They add depth and vitality to content in ways that significantly enhance just-in-time access to information, and improve understanding and performance. In print-based materials, tags add a new dimension of richness and authenticity. By placing them in textbooks, user guides, and job aids, for example, you can easily provide users with significant – and updatable – learning enrichment, including additional resources, video-based demonstrations, expert presentations, and more. And no computer is necessary; just a smartphone.

On the job – in factories, stores, offices, warehouses, etc. – tags provide performance support. By placing them in locations where workers may need reinforcement, demonstrations, or special information, they can activate a tag to get content directly related to the current task.

So how do you do this?

Creating tags is easy (I know this because even I can do it). There are free and simple software apps that enable you to create tags on your computer, which you then save as images. You paste the images in or on your end product. There are also free and simple smartphone apps that read the tag. Two major tag formats are getting the most attention right now, and you can use both for mLearning: the QR tag format, and the Microsoft tag format.

Sure, you can still use lengthy URLs in your materials, but tags may do a better job in a more seamless and eloquent way. And, as smartphones become more dominant, access to tag readers will become widespread. Despite differing formats and the potential for another VHS/Betamax or Blu-ray/HDVD type war, people will be using tags more and more in many aspects of business. We will not leave learning behind.

http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/582/marc-my-words-the-greatest-mobile-learning-app-ever-until-the-next-one-comes-along

Backchannel Learning in an Organizational Setting

By Dave Kelly / August 2011 / eLearn Magazine

Social media tools are rapidly changing the “rules” that have historically been applied to learning environments. Learners are now pulling learning on their own—exercising more control over what they learn, when they learn, and how they learn. The advancements in mobile phone technology have made it possible to have access to just about everyone and everything from a device that can fit into your pocket. The influx of smart phones is only going to continue, so resistance only delays the inevitable. It is also shortsighted, as the usage of mobile devices during sessions is not a risk at all; it is an opportunity.  Simply put, learners are now walking into your session carrying the ultimate engagement tool right in their pocket.

One of the first demonstrations of using mobile phones and social media to enhance learning came, appropriately, from the learners themselves. Learners in classes and at conferences started informally sharing their learning experiences while it was happening via Twitter. More and more learners began interacting and sharing with each other. People not attending the learning session could follow and learn from the postings of those in attendance. This ability to break through the walls of a traditional learning environment and interact with the public at large is commonly referred to as “The Backchannel.”  Many stories of backchannel learning are focused on academia, and the traditional classroom environment. However there are a number of powerful ways in which corporate organizations can harness the power of the backchannel as well.

Conference Backchannels

One of the biggest arenas in which backchannels are in use is at conferences. Conference attendees routinely post updates from sessions they are attending, sharing key learning points. Attendees also add to the overall learning by sharing their own opinions and experiences.

Budget constraints usually limit the number of team members that can participate in
conferences. One or a few members of a team may be able to attend, and if the organization is lucky, they are able to bring some of what they learned back to share with their team. The Backchannel changes that equation. Non-attendees can learn from attendees in real time. They can interact with their counterpart in attendance, asking questions that delve deeper into the content being shared by the attendee. Through these interactions, a bridge is built that carries some of the learning from the conference to those who are not in attendance. The exciting part is that this opportunity of sharing between organizational employees in attendance and those back at the workplace is only the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the surface is the true power of the backchannel, which enhances and increases the learning potential for non-attendees exponentially. In addition to the content shared by those organizational employees in attendance, non-attendees can also learn from the content shared by everyone else attending the conference. For larger conferences, there could be hundreds of people sharing their learning via the backchannel.

It is in this open sharing that the true power of the backchannel emerges. You can definitely get an understanding of the themes, trends, and concepts being shared at a conference by reviewing the postings of attendees shared through the backchannel.  Is it as good as sending an entire team to attend a conference in person? Probably not, but it does have the potential to have your entire team engaged in conference learning in ways that was impossible in the past.

The backchannel isn’t something an organization can fully control, even if it wanted to. It exists organically, created and shaped by its participants. What organizations can do is search for ways to reinforce and harness the learning that takes place through the sharing.

It’s in that sharing that the backchannel becomes a great representation of social media being used as a tool to support social learning, which is a concept more and more organizations are placing focus on. For organizations that are looking to leverage technology to support their employees’ social learning, a backchannel is an excellent resource to consider.

South Korea’s school tablets – a test for all

Article by Andres Oppenheimer on South Korean eLearning:

By
Andres Oppenheimer

aoppenheimer@MiamiHerald.com

Tuesday, 09.20.11

South Korea’s announcement that it will ban all school paper textbooks and replace them with electronic tablets by 2014 should ring alarm bells in the United States, Europe
and Latin America — many of our children run the risk of being left even
farther behind their digital-savvy Asian counterparts.  Already, according to a new study by the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Korea is the top country in the world where 15-year-old students make the best use of
Internet-connected computers in schools.

South Korea is one of the world’s leading countries in student test scores. In the latest worldwide PISA test of 15-year-old students, it ranked No. 2 in students’ reading
comprehension, after Shanghai, China. The United States ranked 17th, Spain 33rd
and the highest-ranking Latin American country, Chile, 44th. Now, the learning
gap between South Korean students and those of most Western countries may widen
further.

The South Korean government said it will invest $2 billion over the next two years to provide all elementary school children with free electronic tablets connected to the
Internet, and — most importantly — with customized e-learning programs. The
plan is scheduled to be extended to all high school students by 2015.

The biggest significance of the South Korean plan is that its school tablets will use
exclusively custom-made e-learning programs, says Eugenio Severin, an Inter American
Development Bank specialist on digital education in Latin America and the
Caribbean.  “This means that they will no longer spend money in paper, printing and distribution,” Severin told me. “They will use multimedia technologies that make learning more fun, and more effective.”

Why This War For Talent Is Different

Posted by Jason Averbook Aug 18, 2011
This morning I will be delivering a keynote in Philadelphia entitled “The New Normal” in Talent Management. while the title may be familiar as the term “new normal” has been bantered around many times since the 2008-2009 recession that we “might” still be in; there is nothing familiar about this new ”War For Talent” and it has most people in HR shaking in their boots.
Now, for the record, when I say “shaking in their boots”; this doesn’t mean that CNN or Fox News (pick your political preference) will be at their doors this AM asking for an interview. What I mean is that more than ever, by a longshot, EVP’s and CHRO’s of HR are saying to themselves, and probably more importantly to their teams, our talent issues are getting worse and we must position ourselves for the future. What does position mean and what are some of the trends HR leaders are thinking about?
  • Outsourcing more of the benefits and payroll functions in their organization. HR leaders who have been staunchly against the “O” word are now considering it part of every solution out there. Outsourcing is not getting rid of the HR function, outsourcing is moving non-competitive edge transactions to people that can do them either more efficiently than you or with their precious headcount instead of yours
  • Rethinking all of the processes surrounding talent management and realizing that the performance “appraisal” process of old that we have been calling performance management will not cut it going forward. The goal of performance management is not to justify a merit increase, the goal of performance management is to serve as a tool to grow, develop and have visibility into the future of the workforce. A big departure from the old performance “appraisal” in MS Word that some are still using
All of this said, this is not our parents “War for Talent” when threats of baby boomers retiring, threats of people getting older and threats of graduation rates lowering were thought of as something for the next generation. This new “War for Talent” is here and what it will take to win are tactics we haven’t invented yet and for most, definitely do not have in practice. As you move into budgeting time for 2012, are you really going to focus on payroll centralization? Are you really going to focus on rolling out new employee self-service for people to change their address, or are you going to realize that it is now or never for your organization when it comes to the right talent for the future.
To read this entire article Posted by Jason Averbook Aug 18, 2011 check out the following link:
http://blog.knowledgeinfusion.com/