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ERP_Apr28_AMost businesses using an entry level accounting system or legacy ERP manage many of their processes outside of the system, usually with spreadsheets. These “workarounds” may even keep the business running pretty smoothly. They are easier than replacing the system and cheaper than a custom application.

The risk of spreadsheets

Workarounds may have become a comfortable way of doing business in your organization. Excel spreadsheets that hold customer and inventory information are stored in shared folders and carefully managed. But there are risks associated with those spreadsheets that put company assets in jeopardy. Questions to consider include:

  • Are all the folders housing spreadsheets backed up regularly?
  • If a salesperson was hired by a competitor, could he make a copy of the customer spreadsheet and take it with him?
  • Can you pass an audit by your industry regulatory agency based on your spreadsheets?
  • Are you sure that the equations in your calculated fields are correct?

As your business grows, the risks associated with unsecured and potentially corrupt data increase. Decisions that keep your business going are being made based on the information in those spreadsheets.

Centralize and secure data

Most workarounds exist either because the old system is too hard to use or it doesn’t provide the function at all. To get rid of workarounds, you need a system that is easy to use and works the way your business does. Today’s ERP systems have become far more user friendly and flexible than the solutions of the past.

Through standardized processes, ERP will improve employee productivity and the consistency of output – whether you create services or products. With all the company information in a central system, managers will be able to make decisions with complete data, without the extra spreadsheets to check.

To keep the foundation of your business strong, you need to centralize and secure corporate data.   Today’s ERP solutions are more affordable than you imagine. Cloud options put ERP in reach for every size business. Let’s talk about replacing those workaround spreadsheets to secure the future of your business.

SocialMedia_May06_CMarketing is an integral part of business operations and there are some useful strategies that can be employed, with one of the most effective being content marketing. This is creating your own branded content and sharing it on various platforms. When carried out successfully, businesses can see increased brand recognition and many more benefits. The question is how exactly a business can be successful with content marketing.

In a recent infographic published on LinkedIn, a number of interesting facts were highlighted about what the most successful content marketers have in common. Here are some of the findings from the infographic and the related reports it is based on.

What do successful content marketers have in common?

Regardless of the industry, the more successful content marketeers have the following four traits in common:

  1. They have a content marketing strategist – According to the statistics, almost 86% of the successful companies have a dedicated content marketing strategist.
  2. They have a strategy While not 100% necessary, over 66% of successful companies have a content strategy and plan, or roadmap, that dictates what content is produced and when.
  3. They spend a lot more of their marketing budget – It can be tough to split any budget, but the more successful companies spend nearly 40% of their marketing budget on content marketing, as opposed to the least successful who only spend up to 16%.
  4. They find creating content far easier – This one is kind of silly at first glance – of course it follows that whatever you find easier you will be more successful at. However, if you hire a strategist who knows what they are doing, creating content will be easier, and more likely more successful.

How exactly are they successful?

From the figures from the infographic it is easy to see what the successful content marketers have in common, but the question we really should be asking is, “What makes them so successful?”

1. Use lots of social media

The main thrust of content marketing is to get the word out in as many ways as possible. Social media is the best and most versatile way to do this, and that’s why over 87% of businesses use this platform. But for a truly successful strategy you need to use more than one site and in fact the most successful use seven sites at least to share their content.

This makes sense as the more platforms you use the higher the chance that your content will be viewed. So which platforms are the most popular? LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are the three most popular but other platforms like YouTube, Pinterest and Google+ can also prove effective.

2. Diversify your content

In many cases diversification of services or ideas can be one of the best ways of driving a business forward. This is especially true with regard to content marketing, where the best marketeers use an average of 13 different tactics. In descending order, the five most popular tactics are:

  1. Social media
  2. Articles on your website
  3. e-newsletters
  4. Blogs
  5. In-person events

Some other tactics used include, publishing books, ebooks, and branded content tools.

While 13 may seem like a large amount, especially for small businesses, the message is clear: To be successful with content marketing, you should diversify and utilize a number of different tactics as possible.

3. Have specific goals for your campaigns

As with most aspects of business, you need a clear direction in order to be successful. Without a goal there is a good chance that your content initiatives will be somewhat aimless and lacking in overall effectiveness. There are a near endless number of targets businesses can set for their content initiatives. The three most common are:

  1. Raising brand awareness
  2. Lead generation
  3. Customer acquisition

4. It’s not all digital

One interesting finding was that one of the most effective ways to drive a content marketing strategy was through face-to-face events. In fact, over 70% of content marketeers believe that these in-person approaches are effective.

What this indicates is that while digital strategies are useful, and can be a great way to reach a wide number of different customers, these can go hand-in-hand with traditional style marketing. As well as focusing on producing digital content you might want to integrate this with some good old fashioned physical collateral.

At the very least, you should be attending events that are relevant to your industry, as well as networking. By getting your name out in person, you can encourage other to connect to you on the Web where they can view your content on various platforms and interact with you online, increasing the overall effectiveness and reach of your content.

Looking to learn more about content marketing and how our various solutions can help you deliver? Contact us today.

Published on 28th March 2014 by Jeanne DeWitt.

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