Mar 01

Launching a Website? Here Are 5 Common Intellectual Property Pitfalls to Avoid.

  •  Photo: Hero Images | Getty Images



Receiving a cease-and-desist letter or, worse, having a complaint filed against you in court, is never a welcome occurrence. Multiple resources must be diverted away from your business and toward resolving the dispute or rebranding. A modest investment in intellectual property (IP) diligence work before launching a website can help you avoid the following common pitfalls.

Pitfall No. 1: Infringing someone else’s trademark rights

The problem: You’ve selected a brand name for your new website or product and spent money developing content and promotional materials around the brand. Now you get a letter from Company A claiming you’re infringing its trademark rights and demand that you stop all use of the name. You face tough choices — do you rebrand or pay a lawyer to fight the demand?

Related: Low-Cost Patent Search Options for Inventors on a Budget

This dilemma is anything but uncommon. For example, changed its name after Joe Ricketts of NewMediaNews, owner of DCist, sent a cease and desist letter. And Christian clothing company Armor  Glory was sued by Under Armour for trademark infringement seeking it surrender its domain name using “Armor,” its products and profits.

How to avoid it: Before you are too invested in a name, pick several candidates and do some diligence. While there may be no such thing as a 100 percent safe trademark, there will likely be major differences in risk among various candidate marks. Run initial searches on the internet, the USPTO’s website and applicable foreign databases such as WIPO, EUIPO and the Canadian Trademarks Database to see if anyone is already using the same or a similar name for a related product or service. In running these searches, think about what you foresee your company doing in the next three years and make sure no one is occupying a similar space. If you don’t find someone else using a concerning mark, consult with a trademark attorney who has additional resources and expertise to identify and evaluate any risks. A couple thousand dollars now can save you vastly more down the road.

Related: 3 Ways to Slay the Risk of Bringing a New Product to Market

Pitfall No. 2: Choosing a name that cannot be protected

The problem: You’ve selected and are using your brand name, only to find that it cannot be registered, protected and/or enforced. For example, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board refused registration of ECONTEXT for, inter alia, “computerized market research services,” finding it to be merely descriptive of electronically delivered marketing strategy involving relevant situational circumstances. If you haven’t selected a protectable name and registered it as a trademark, you might have difficulty stopping Company B from using a confusingly similar mark or claiming certain kinds of damages.

How to avoid it: After selecting your name, file to register it as a trademark. A federal registration provides benefits that include a presumption of ownership and validity and the right to seek certain monetary damages. It also acts as a deterrent to others adopting a similar name. Make sure your application covers all of the products and services you hope to offer within the next few years. Apply in other countries where you expect to operate.

Once you own your mark, enforce your rights to it. If you see another company using a similar mark for a similar product, consult with your trademark lawyer about how to stop it.

Related: What Are They? Domain Names, Business Entity Names, Trademarks.

Pitfall No. 3: Failing to coordinate domain name registration and adoption of a trademark

The problem: You’ve selected and filed for a mark. But, when you go to register the corresponding domain name, it’s already taken. If the owner learns that you are intending to launch a web business with the same name, the owner will likely assume you are desperate for it and will pay a hefty sum to get it. Or, under another scenario, you pay a lot of money for a domain name only to find out that the trademark is not available in the United States or another important market for your business.

How to avoid it: Coordinate the timing of your trademark filings and any disclosure of your intended name with your purchase of domain names to ensure that both are available and affordable for the name you choose in the U.S. and any other countries where you plan to operate.

Related: A Business Name vs. a Trademark: Do You Know the Difference?

Pitfall No. 4: Using content that you don’t own

The problem: In designing your website, you use content from the internet. Now the owners of the copyrights in that content demand payment because you used material without their permission. Getty Images, for example, frequently send letters to people who they suspect have used their copyrighted images without permission and has filed suit when those letters were ignored.

How to avoid it: Make sure you have the right to use all the content on your website. Never copy and paste images or text from the internet without permission. Either develop your own content or obtain a license from the copyright owner. And don’t forget that showing faces or using names of people to promote your business may violate those persons’ rights of publicity. Make sure that you have adequate agreements in place with any third-party content providers. This includes having consultants or contractors hired to create work assign the copyright to you. Otherwise, the consultant or contractor will own the copyright.

Related: 7 Reasons Why Trademarks Are Important to Your Business

Pitfall No. 5: Making unsubstantiated advertising claims, especially in comparative advertising

The problem: In marketing your new product or service, you make claims on your website about it based on unsubstantiated or incomplete information. The claims might also compare your product to Company C’s product. Company C sees your marketing materials and files a complaint for false advertising. Or, you learn that the Federal Trade Commission is questioning your claims.

How to avoid it: Make sure any claims you make on your website (or in any other marketing materials) are true and backed by substantial and credible evidence obtained before you make those claims. Use a respected third party to conduct any scientific tests or analyses. Make sure you keep the supporting documents and materials. Remember to update claims if they’re no longer true.

Be particularly careful when making claims about competing products. While comparative advertising is not unlawful in the U.S., it must comply with advertising and trademark laws. And while comparative advertising can be very effective, it’s risky because it will be scrutinized by your competitors. Also, be careful about using your competitors’ and others’ trademarks. For example, avoid using their distinctive logos or using their names in any way that suggests an affiliation or association with you that doesn’t exist.

Spending some resources up front before launching a website can save you from these pitfalls and the serious business threats they can create down the road.

Launching a Website? Here Are 5 Common Intellectual Property Pitfalls to Avoid.
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Feb 28

3 Ways Your Online Side Gig Can Earn Customers’ Trust

Dorling Kindersley/Hayon Thapaliya/Getty Images

Building trust with customers can be challenging – that’s especially true online, and it’s especially true if you are trying to launch a new venture that doesn’t have an existing track record of success. If you’re trying to get your Internet-based side venture off the ground, how can you build trust right away?

In the course of researching my new book Entrepreneurial You, I discovered three strategies that allowed leading online marketers to build trusting, respect-based relationships with their customers. I was intrigued by these stories because Internet marketers are often derided by critics due to some practitioners’ scammy tactics. But the professionals I spoke with had learned to differentiate themselves from the snake oil salesmen, and establish the credibility necessary to build online businesses that endured. Their lessons can provide a useful framework for anyone trying to launch an Internet-based side hustle, and gain credibility — and earn real money — from it.

Embrace transparency. When Pat Flynn, who now runs a successful blog and podcast called Smart Passive Income, first started researching internet marketing, he told me, “I felt kind of disgusted by being on the other end of their emails. I felt like everybody was holding back some information; they wanted me to pay money to get the rest of it.” Unlike the hucksters he initially encountered, Flynn vowed to share everything he knew with his readers, without holding back the essential parts for paying customers.

Positing himself as the “crash-test dummy of internet marketing,” Flynn reveals in detail both his hits and misses. He pioneered the now-popular concept of publishing monthly income reports detailing his revenue and expenses, because “in order for me to really show people that this stuff actually worked, I needed to show people how much money I was making.” (He earned over $167,000 in December 2017 alone.)

That level of transparency has created a huge level of trust with his audience. When he surveyed his audience after the launch of his first product — a study guide for a green building exam, which bundled together in an easy-to-read form material that he was already sharing for free online — he discovered that “about 25% of the people who responded back told me they had already taken and passed the exam, but [buying the guide] was the first opportunity for them to pay me back for that information.” When customers are buying products they don’t need in order to thank you, that’s a powerful relationship.

Connect with those they already trust. Another way to build trust quickly with customers is to connect with, and win endorsements from, people they already respect. That was Derek Halpern’s strategy. In 2006, he launched a successful celebrity gossip site, but the field wasn’t his passion. So five years later, he built something he truly cared about: Social Triggers, a website devoted to marketing and psychology. He was a complete unknown, however, in both of those fields, so he had to find a way to be taken seriously. Halpern drew upon the online marketing experience he’d accrued in running his gossip site and reached out to prominent business bloggers who were already big names in the niche he now sought to inhabit.

“I approached people who ran blogs that had the audience I wanted to reach, and said, ‘Hey, you’re losing out on some conversions [of site visitors into subscribers]. I think I can help.’” Halpern then asked for a fifteen-minute video call in which he would offer the bloggers some free website-marketing advice. “I told them to record the video. If my advice worked for them, I asked them to post the video.” By essentially offering free consulting, Halpern got the chance to get his message out to the bloggers’ large audiences. The videos were a hit, both with the bloggers and their audiences.

Halpern was immediately branded as an expert, because he was not only shown associating with prominent figures, but they were listening to him and deferring to his recommendations. Within three months, he had garnered more than ten thousand email subscribers, who were driven to his site almost exclusively by the videos. “I’m still reaping the benefits from those videos,” he said. “I still get traffic.”

Co-create your products and services. Danny Iny, a Montreal-based online entrepreneur, launched his first online course in 2010 — and sold a depressing one copy. Vowing never to let that happen again, he developed an innovation that’s become standard in the online course development world: launching small pilot offerings first. For the new course he hoped to develop, Iny sent an email out to his list of a few thousand people, offering fifty slots in a pilot program. They could enter the course at a reduced price and receive more personal access to him, in exchange for providing detailed feedback as he developed the material in real time. “In hindsight, this actually is really brilliant marketing, but it’s not because I was cooking up a brilliant idea,” Iny says. “It was just trying to hedge my bets, so if nobody bought, I could walk away from it.”

The pilot for the new course, which had arisen from customer requests, sold out. And because he had such a close view on where participants were getting stuck, and which material they wanted more or less of, he felt confident that when he launched it more broadly, it would resonate with a wider audience. The course became a hit.

Online marketing is sometimes stereotyped as the land of get-rich-quick scams and Viagra hawkers. But those, of course, are the outliers. Their presence often obscures the smart innovations that many savvy online entrepreneurs have introduced, and which can have applications for any business — online or off — seeking to build trusting relationships with customers today.

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Feb 27

FreeWave Technologies CMO, Scott Allen, to Speak at Embedded World Conference 2018

NUREMBERG, Germany, Feb. 27, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — FreeWave Technologies, a leader in industrial, secure Machine-to-Machine (M2M) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) wireless networking solutions, today announced Chief Marketing Officer Scott Allen will speak at the Embedded World Conference 2018 in Nuremberg, Germany on February 28 at 11:00 a.m. CET. 

Scott will present, How to Massively Scale Wireless Computing, Command and Control, and Intelligent Applications Across Your Network, and explore how embedded wireless and application server technology for industrial use can be deployed at the edge in the most rugged environments with next-generation cloud services such as Amazon’s AWS platform.

Where: Exhibition Centre Nuremberg
When: Wednesday, February 28 at 11:00 a.m. CET
Who: Scott Allen, CMO, FreeWave Technologies

Please reach out to if you’re interested in speaking with Scott at the Embedded World Conference about deploying embedded technology in intelligent applications and the integration of cloud services.

About Scott Allen
Scott is an executive leader with more than 25 years of experience in product lifecycle management, product marketing, business development, and technology deployment. He offers a unique blend of start-up aggressiveness and established company executive leadership, with expertise in product delivery, demand generation, and global market expansion.

As CMO of FreeWave, Scott is responsible for product lifecycle/management, GTM execution, demand generation, and brand creation/expansion strategies. Prior to joining FreeWave, Scott held executive management positions at Fluke Networks (a Danaher Company), Network Associates (McAfee), and several start-ups including Mazu Networks and NEXVU Business Solutions. Scott earned his B.A. in Computer Information Systems from Weber University.

About FreeWave Technologies
FreeWave Technologies ( is a leading provider of wireless Machine to Machine (M2M) solutions that deliver reliable access to data for leading companies in the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) markets. As the #1 provider of wireless IIoT to the oil and gas industry, FreeWave’s fast, flexible and easy-to-deploy solutions streamline connectivity over long distances to also create significant operational efficiencies for government, defense and UAV/Drone contractors, agriculture equipment manufacturers, energy and smart grid networks, municipalities and more. With 20-plus years of experience in the M2M market and millions of radios deployed in the field, customers repeatedly turn to FreeWave to maximize their value in connecting M2M devices to optimize real-time decision making.

Media Contact
Kathleen See
10Fold Communications (For FreeWave Technologies)
(601) 757-2625

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Feb 26

Slack is the new place for marketers to network and find jobs

Slack, initially set up for internal collaboration at companies, has morphed into a tool for communicating outside of work. Marketers at brands, agencies and startups are using to Slack communities to get immediate answers to their most pressing questions as well as access to individuals they can connect with and possibly hire.

Much like forums in the early days of the internet, Slack communities are often created around niche topics. There’s #Launch, where marketers from brands including Uber, Salesforce and Apple connect with entrepreneurs and designers to discuss new product launches and feedback. Designer Hangout is a community for user experience designers, OpenBazaar convenes companies interested in building commerce around bitcoin and eCommTalk is for Shopify enthusiasts. There are also communities centered around women in tech, small businesses, freelancers and gaming.

Some of these groups have broader focuses. When Zach Schleien, analyst and business technology leader at Johnson Johnson, wanted to get feedback on a Facebook ad he made for his side business Lift Protein Muffins, he turned to Online Geniuses, a Slack community with more than 11,000 digital marketers.

“It was amazing. I instantly got five people who critiqued it,” said Schleien, who has used Online Geniuses daily for the past year and a half. Now, he is in the process of hiring one of the people who critiqued his ad to manage his company’s Facebook ads. He also brings whatever he learns in the group, whether it’s information about new technologies or best practices for Facebook analytics, back to Johnson Johnson. “It’s a great way to stay in the know on digital,” he said. “I can bring lessons I’ve learned to my business partners I support at JJ.”

David Markovich, CEO and co-founder of PR agency Jumping Squirrel, founded Online Geniuses in 2015 as a way to connect like-minded people across companies in the same industry. Today, more than 50,000 messages are shared a week, according to Markovich, in channels dedicated to specific topics such as #seo, #social and #paid. A #hiring channel also allows marketers to post job openings, and the community hosts about two guests a month for discussions where marketers such as VaynerMedia’s Gary Vaynerchuk and Allyson Davis, vp of integrated marketing at Red Bull, answer users’ questions.

Beyond quick help, the chance to build relationships with new people with different experiences draws marketers to these Slack communities.

“I don’t think I’d be able to have access to the same breadth of people otherwise,” said Jevin Maltais, president of BoomsLabs Ai, a Canadian startup that works with companies to deploy artificial intelligence platforms. “When I have questions about Google AdWords, or Facebook ads or PR, these people all have different experiences, and it’s easy to throw something out there in the channel and have a discussion around it.”

Not only are people connecting online, they are also taking their relationships into the real world. Maltais hired a person he met through Online Geniuses, and that person has become a close friend. “I was just playing video games with him,” Maltais said.


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Online Geniuses itself hosts 10 official meetups a month across the world, including Sweden; Barcelona, Spain; New York; and Atlanta. The next one is in Tunisia. Attendance at these meetups ranges from 10 to 500 people, Markovich said. Having a community wherever you are is one of the best things about joining a Slack community like Online Geniuses, he added. “Wherever I travel, even to random parts [of the world], and I have a half-hour to spare, I send out a message, and within 10 minutes, someone is there,” he said. “It’s that fast-paced.”

The number of spammers on other social sites, including LinkedIn and Facebook Groups, is a large reason why marketers prefer to communicate on Slack.

“They’re just very spammy,” said Schleien. “People are just trying to push their services. It’s not about conversation, and it’s low-quality.”

While the majority of Slack communities don’t require marketers to apply, Online Geniuses has a stringent application process, designed to keep out groups known to ultimately kill collaboration — namely, recruiters and salespeople. To apply, marketers must fill out a form at Out of the 20 people who work at Online Geniuses with Markovich, there are 15 moderators who make sure applicants work in marketing. Markovich said if the group accepts everyone, it would easily have around 60,000 members.

“Running a community for marketers is the hardest thing because we naturally want to spam — that’s what marketers do,” said Markovich. “But if you’re going to make the community annoying for other people, we don’t want you there.”

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Feb 25

Top 25 Social Media Tools For Marketers

Other than the big players, here’s some social media tools for marketers. Shutterstock

With today’s society becoming more connected and more reliant on the internet, business ties are increasing being forged online rather than in a boardroom. Nowadays, most brands have at least one online presence, and most have several.

Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are the new homes of conducting business, creating consumer bases and advertising products. However, the overwhelming presence of businesses on these platforms creates a good deal of pressure for companies trying to beat out their nearest competitors.

Fortunately, marketing teams don’t have to go it alone in their efforts to raise their brand to the top. A number of third-party apps exist that can enhance certain features of these social platforms and make social media marketing a more lucrative and intuitive experience. Here are 25 social media resources designed to help marketers advertise their brands more effectively.

1. SocialDrift

Used by McDonalds, Sprint and major industry influencers with millions of followers, SocialDrift is an Instagram marketer’s best friend. The platform automates Instagram interactions, which help to organically increase follower count. Users just need to provide SocialDrift with information about ideal Instagram followers, and the platform will use machine learning to engage users through likes, comments and follows. Because of this engagement, users will frequently follow accounts in return.

In time, SocialDrift can dramatically increase the number of high-quality Instagram followers through the platform’s Instagram bot, named Securebot.

2. Buffer

Buffer offers a swift solution for businesses swamped by the multiple social media accounts they must manage. The application innovates marketing by allowing individuals and businesses to queue posts for their various accounts. Buffer works for several third-party extensions, in addition to the regular line-up of social platforms.

Furthermore, the app boasts many powerful tools like photo editing, group collaboration and detailed data analytics about social media performance. Essentially, Buffer can take a jumble of social media accounts, organize them and in the process make marketing more manageable.

3. Sendible

Are you a team managing social media for a lot of different clients? Sendible is the tool for you. Sendible has unique inboxes for each brand, accessible by any member of your team, so communication is streamlined. They also offer a content engine that suggests new material based on the topics of your profiles and followers. In addition, calendars are fully interactive. Who said teamwork has to be hard?

4. MavSocial

MavSocial is a management tool that focuses on graphics and videos for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr. You can schedule or preview content to any or all of those platforms. And if you’ve run out of content, simply reschedule. MavSocial also has features for engagement analytics, collaboration, galleries, image database and campaign creation. Choose from their 5 plans to get what works best for you.


Snapchat’s introduction of Stories in 2013 has rapidly spread the feature across social media, with many other platforms joining the trend to reap some of its benefits. Storyheap is tailored for the Story feature, allowing brands to manage their Story straight from the web.

In addition, Storyheap offers in-depth analytics about the current and projected popularity of a brand’s Story. For now, the app is limited to Snapchat and Instagram, but support for other platforms is in the works.

6. Unsplash

Having high-quality content and images is crucial; after all, nothing drives away a follower like poor quality. Unsplash is a database of gorgeous, high-resolution, watermark-free images that are free for use. You can use the search engine, or browse collections like “Still Life” or “Photos for Parent Bloggers.”

Once you find an image you want to use, you can either download it or save it in your own collection for future use. Unsplash allows anyone to have high-quality, high-resolution images.

7. Canva

Photo and video are highly influential on popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Consequently, marketing teams are often pressured to produce beautiful visuals and graphics to get attention and increase brand visibility.

Canva contains plenty of design tools, tutorials, templates and more, so users have the materials to create almost anything they can conceive. With Canva, marketing teams with limited experience can still generate stunning content and gather a larger following.


Marketers may often feel at a loss when it comes to conjuring up fresh content, but third-party algorithms can always be of assistance. combines detailed data analytics with refined publishing and scheduling tools to ensure brands can consistently provide interesting content.

With compatibility across more than 20 platforms, the app monitors discussion of the brand, analyzes social media decisions and offers suggestions to increase audience engagement. acts as a social media multi-tool for businesses trying to revamp their marketing strategy.

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Feb 24

CloudGenix Receives 2018 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award

SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 23, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CloudGenix announced today that TMC, a global, integrated media company, has named CloudGenix AppFabric as a recipient of a 2018 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year Award.  

CloudGenix AppFabric uniquely couples the power of an Intel x86-based architecture with secure, performant, and flexible WAN connectivity for branch offices.  Unlike traditional WAN routers, CloudGenix AppFabric examines performance indicators from both the network and applications to enforce application-specific policies for performance, security, and compliance.  With CloudGenix AppFabric, businesses can connect remote office users with applications regardless of where they are deployed – in the data center, cloud, or SaaS – using a mix of WAN transports to ensure the best possible user experience.

“Companies across all verticals including finance, technology, manufacturing, and healthcare are realizing the benefits of elevating the WAN from a packet-centric platform to a business and application-centric platform”, said Joel Christner, Senior Director of Marketing at CloudGenix.  “AppFabric ensures the best user experience possible by being aware of not only network conditions, but also applications themselves.  Machine learning and self-healing allow AppFabric to provide the best user experience possible regardless of where apps are deployed – data center, cloud, or SaaS.”

“It gives me great pleasure to recognize CloudGenix with a 2018 Product of the Year Award for its commitment to excellence and innovation,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “In the opinion of our distinguished judges, CloudGenix AppFabric has proven to be among the best communications and technology solutions available on the market. I look forward to continued innovation from CloudGenix.

The winners of the 2018 INTERNET TELEPHONY Product of the Year will be featured in the 2018 March issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

For more information about TMC, please visit

About CloudGenix
CloudGenix ( is the software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) leader, revolutionizing networking by transforming legacy WANs into a radically simplified, secure, application-defined fabric and unified hybrid WAN. Enabling application-specific, service-level agreements (SLAs), CloudGenix controls network application performance based upon application-performance SLAs and business priority. CloudGenix ION (Instant-On Network) simplifies how WANs are designed and managed, enabling customers to build “networks without networking,” and achieve more than twice the performance at less than half the cost while extending data center-class security to the network edge. Founded in 2013 by a team that has delivered industry-leading products in networking, SDN, cloud, security and web-scale applications, CloudGenix serves world-class financial services, legal, retail and technology organizations. 

INTERNET TELEPHONY has been the IP Communications Authority since 1998™. Beginning with the first issue, INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine has been providing unbiased views of the complicated converged communications space.  For more information, please visit Follow INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine on Twitter or join our LinkedIn group. Subscribe or visit

About TMC
Global buyers rely on TMC’s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. This presents branding, thought leadership and lead generation opportunities for vendors/sellers. 

TMC’s Marketplaces: 

  • Unique, turnkey Online Communities boost search results, establish market validation, elevate brands and thought leadership, while minimizing ad-blocking.
  • Custom Lead Programs uncover sales opportunities and build databases. 
  • In-Person and Online Events boost brands, enhance thought leadership and generate leads. 
  • Publications, Display Advertising and Newsletters bolster brand reputations. 
  • Custom Content provides expertly ghost-crafted blogs, press releases, articles and marketing collateral to help with SEO, branding, and overall marketing efforts.
  • Comprehensive Event and Road Show Management Services help companies meet potential clients and generate leads face-to-face.

For more information about TMC and to learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals, please visit

CloudGenix Contact:

TMC Contact                                                                         
Rebecca Conyngham
Marketing Manager
203-852-6800, ext. 287

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Feb 23

Online Business Trends to Expect in 2018-2019

If I could predict the future, I’d be very busy polishing my crystal ball, charting the courses of the planets, picking winning lottery numbers and buying stock in companies you’ve never heard of. Instead, I’m writing this article and wondering if it will rain later, so there you have it. Still, a little educated guesswork can be very valuable in informing our personal and professional planning. Anyone who’s involved in e-commerce or digital marketing will recognize the following as things that are already happening to some extent but can be expected either to become best practices or start edging into the mainstream in the coming year. Barring a black swan event, we can foresee:

Massively Increased Use of Artificial Intelligence

Up until now, AI has largely been a curiosity rather than a commercial tool. We’re rapidly approaching a tipping point, though: not having an AI strategy today is a little like not having an internet strategy in 1995, and those who fall behind may well end up kicking themselves later.

According to Ralph Haupter, president of Microsoft Asia: “2018 is the year that [AI] will start to become mainstream, to begin to impact many aspects of our lives in a truly ubiquitous and meaningful way.” Three factors are currently converging, all of them related to networks and how these are used:

  • Big Data: Practically everything worth knowing now exists online. From which link a person clicks on to inner-city traffic patterns to real-time retail prices, more is now measured and stored than ever before. Companies that make use of this resource will soon be able to out-think and outperform their competitors handsomely.
  • Cloud Computing: Storage and processing power no longer necessarily requires you to purchase hardware. Instead, companies can lease as much computational ability as they need, when they need it.
  • Machine Learning: Software algorithms and the theory behind them continue to improve, allowing programs to identify patterns and optimize solutions in ways that human minds can’t.

In advertising, we can expect to see better chatbots and much more granular market segmentation leading to individualized content delivery; in daily life, virtual assistants will start to take over our more repetitive and routine tasks; and as far as product development goes, consumers will increasingly expect features such as voice and facial recognition.

Greatly Increased Emphasis on the Immediate and Interactive

With the rise of social media, companies’ branding mix has now expanded to include their “community” of evangelists, customers, and critics. By now, though, it seems that audiences have become a little jaded to social marketing techniques that were brand new only a few years ago, and the way forward seems to include a step back.

Tweeting and blogging will no longer be enough in 2018. Instead, building brand loyalty will increasingly require live, unmediated contact. There are degrees to this, of course: not every company can afford to shoot a car into orbit. For most businesses, though, it will soon become necessary to maintaining their credibility through events such as livestreamed Q A sessions with senior executives, in-person conferences, and trade shows.

Although there is undoubtedly an interplay with the previous trend, physical customer service reps may well prove to be more efficient at gaining conversions than even the most advanced bot. Companies that have been reducing their physical footprints in favor of call centers and online portals can be expected to slowly start reversing this trend as face-to-face communication gets seen as more concrete and valuable.

Digital Babies Come of Age

Consumers born in the internet age are now starting to enter the workforce and causing a demographic shift unlike those of previous decades. Just like all facets of business, and especially marketing, underwent a sea change when the primary market shifted from Baby Boomers to Millennials, we’re now looking at “Generation Z” becoming a major force in the next five years.

Smart managers will already be scoping out the implications. In particular, while Millennials tend to view technology as a tool, Gen Z’ers regard constant, instant connectivity as part of the natural order of things, if not a human right. This same familiarity with the web-world informs their attitude to finances, corporate responsibility, politics and everything else. Will they be willing to assume massive debt to gain an education in a world where job security is a thing of the past and the concept of a career has become somewhat amorphous? How will they respond to the “hooks” traditionally used in advertising? Will we see a social shift away from the paradigms based on the nuclear family?

Nobody, as yet, has a convincing set of answers to questions such as these. Starting this year, we should keep a careful eye on developments that may indicate the start of some truly significant trends.

Affiliate Marketing 2.0

Spam is dead, piggybacking on others’ websites by seeding links is dead, flooding the internet with highly derivative content is (finally) dying. The affiliate mechanism, on the other hand, is alive and well within these new parameters.

As search engines become smarter and customers more discriminating, a great deal of chaff has been discarded from the affiliate game. Meanwhile, the mobile market keeps growing, more companies are becoming interested in going the affiliate route and the business model for online advertising is becoming ever more refined.

Going forward, we can expect the bar to be raised on affiliate marketing, with high-quality efforts driving out bad. Additionally, smart operators will shift their attention from trying to promote mass-market products, where margins are low and competition fierce, to selling in specialized markets where individual conversions are worth much more. Some of the top pay per lead affiliate programs are now taking the view that it’s better to pay well for high-quality referrals than to focus purely on volume.

Formalized Non-Hierarchical Teaching

Although it seems obvious, at least once somebody mentions it, the vast majority of practically valuable business information is transmitted not in organized seminars or briefings, but through casual encounters between two or more individuals. This applies not only to specific information but also skills and knowledge.

In fact, one study estimates that between 70% and 90% of learning takes place in this way. Some of the benefits of “social learning”, as it is called, are the temporary dissolution of organizational boundaries and higher levels of learner engagement.

Both online and offline courses already incorporate elements of social learning through informal interactions between students, public forums, and other means. In 2018, we can expect the theory and tools of social learning to develop well beyond what is currently available, including software intended specifically to facilitate it.

Just like “silo” became a dirty word when digital transformation came around, hoarding knowledge may soon be seen as the professional equivalent of refusing to pass the ball in team sports. As the methodology of social learning becomes more structured, companies that are willing to promote mentorships and lateral knowledge transfer can expect to see an improvement in efficiency similar to that which was achieved when databases started talking to each other.

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Feb 22

North Gyeongsang Province to Support 24 Export Marketing Projects This Year

North Gyeongsang Province has decided to move forward with the Export Marketing Strategy for 2018 International Trade Expansion after setting US$50 billion in exports and US$35 billion in trade surplus as the target of this year. In addition, this year, the province will implement a total of 24 export marketing projects, including an excellent product exhibition in Southeast Asia with a budget of 5.4 billion won (US$4.8 million).

Specifically, first of all, North Gyeongsang Province will dispatch trade missions to Russia, the CIS, and China four times and operate an exhibition and PR center in China.

In addition, the province will support 300 companies in Korean product fairs in Southeast Asia, participation in exhibitions, trade missions, the invitation of Southeast Asian buyers and business meetings with them, and internet marketing in connection with new export marketing for southern countries.

In order to expand emerging markets such as Latin America, Southeast Asia, India and the Middle East, North Gyeongsang Province will dispatch trade delegations to 160 places on 17 occasions this year including trade delegations which will be dispatched to Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines within February.

About 300 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to roughly 30 foreign exhibitions such as the 28th China East China Fair to be held in China in March and the Russia Textile Manufacturing Exhibition.

Besides, the local government is also planning to expand the support for translation and interpretation services after holding four export business meetings with invited foreign buyers in connection with Korean resident trade officials, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), the Korea International Trade Association, and overseas advisors.

In particular, North Gyeongsang Province will give financial support of 300 million won (US$270,000) for the participation in exhibitions and expositions by beginning and domestic demand companies and 200 million won (US$180,000) will be given for overseas branching and joint logistics support projects and expand support projects customized for what companies want such as business trips for overseas sales, overseas market research, export insurance premiums and the EMS service in order to turn beginning and domestic demand companies into exporters and foster SMEs.

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