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How best to use Google? Now, there's a playbook

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Dealers and their ad agencies have been asking Google for more transparency and guidance as they work to keep pace with the tech giant's growing portfolio of marketing tools. Google is responding.
Categories: Latest News

Mazda upgrading U.S. dealership network

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Mazda has embarked on a three-year dealership upgrade targeting more than 100 outlets across the United States as part of its push to polish its brand image and achieve 2 percent market share.
Categories: Latest News

Aston Martin moves beyond Bond, explores conventional marketing

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
As Aston Martin transforms itself from a low-volume builder of just a few grand touring models into a high-end purveyor of supercars, it's changing its marketing to match.
Categories: Latest News

Marketing for autonomous technology turns conservative

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Automakers continue to feed buzz about self-driving cars, but their marketing strategies are still very much hands-on.
Categories: Latest News

Marketing the digital storefront

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Dealerships that have adopted online purchase tools have also altered their marketing strategies to promote the shopping experience.
Categories: Latest News

How can dealers master Google? Google explains.

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Dealers and their ad agencies have been asking Google for more transparency and guidance as they work to keep pace with the tech giant's growing portfolio of marketing tools. Google is responding.
Categories: Latest News

Can Tesla propel Panasonic into top supplier ranks?

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Japanese electronics giant Panasonic believes its association with Tesla will help it leapfrog into the top 10 global auto suppliers in just five years.
Categories: Latest News

Cadillac's 'Let Go' campaign for Super Cruise pitches brand as pioneer

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Cadillac's CMO calls Super Cruise "the perfect product" for showcasing Cadillac's heritage as an innovator.
Categories: Latest News

Ford agency's new creative chief on bringing mobility to marketing

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Tito Melega, the new creative chief of Ford's agency plans to invoke the company's long and global legacy of moving people.
Categories: Latest News

Cadillac's New York move opens up new marketing world

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Cadillac's New York journey has taken it on helicopter rides to the Hamptons, virtual-reality expeditions at auto dealerships, and forays into the worlds of art and fashion.
Categories: Latest News

QandA with Volvo CMO Matt O'Rourke

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Ad agency Grey Group is taking advantage of Volvo's brand transformation to introduce ad campaigns built around unconventional storytelling. Matt O'Rourke, who leads the Volvo account at ad agency Grey Group, explains this new direction.
Categories: Latest News

Mercedes-Benz' Slaven says social marketing is people-intensive

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
Mercedes-Benz USA's Drew Slaven talks about the brand's shift of resources to social media.
Categories: Latest News

Kia CMO Saad Chehab sees power in brand's youth

AutoNews - Mon, 2017-09-18 01:01
After leaving FCA on a hot streak in 2015, Saad Chehab is back in the advertising game, this time as chief marketing officer for Kia Motors America. He'll have a lot on his plate.
Categories: Latest News

Shopify Introduces Shopcodes, QR Codes Connected Directly to eCommerce Items

Small Business Trends - Sun, 2017-09-17 18:00

The easier you make the checkout process for customers when they shop online, the more they are likely to buy from you — or so the people at Shopify believe. Shopify (NYSE:SHOP) recently introduced Shopcodes, a service taking customers to a product or cart in your Shopify store when they scan a QR code.

The choice to use QR code is in great part driven by Apple’s decision to finally add QR reading to its camera in June of 2017. Apple’s influence in the mobile segment is undeniable, and the company’s decision has prompted marketing platforms for brands, companies and developers to do the same.

Shopify took  a similar path, and with Shopify Shopcodes it wants to make mobile shopping much easier than before. What makes it different is the QR codes can only be generated within Shopify stores, and they are only used for shopping.

Creating and Using Shopify Shopcodes

Creating the QR codes is as simple as downloading the app and going to the dashboard in Shopify. When you create the code, you can customize it with links to a product’s page or the shopping cart page.

You can add discounts to the Shopcodes or make changes through the app dashboard with additional information or promotions. And each transaction can be tracked through your Shopify Analytics dashboard to see where the traffic and sales are coming from.

Once the codes are created, they can be used in the digital or physical world. You can download the codes, print them and place them on products, offline ads, or windows in your brick and mortar store. When customers scan them, they can find out more about your store, products or be directed to your Shopify store.

Shopcode is one more tool to make your small business more accessible to your customers. In highlighting one of its features, Corey Pollock, Product Manager at Shopify, said on the company blog, “Instead of manually typing in your website’s URL on their mobile devices, shoppers can be taken directly to the product in your Shopify store instantly.”

If you are a Shopify merchant, you can get the Shopcodes app for free through the Shopify App Store.

Image: Shopify

This article, "Shopify Introduces Shopcodes, QR Codes Connected Directly to eCommerce Items" was first published on Small Business Trends

City Tries to Improve Community with Small Business Training Program

Small Business Trends - Sun, 2017-09-17 15:00

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts is putting an emphasis on supporting its small business community with a new executive training program called RiseUp Springfield.

Riseup Springfield Small Business Training Program

The program, which is a collaboration between the City of Springfield, the Association of Black Business and Professionals and the city’s Chamber of Commerce, consists of courses held at the University of Massachusetts center in Springfield. The training program will offer knowledge, tools and networking opportunities to help small business owners support and grow their businesses.

Business owners don’t need a degree to participate in the program. But there are some basic eligibility requirements. For example, businesses must be located within the city of Springfield, must have an annual revenue of between $150,000 and $10 million, must be in at least the third year of business ownership and have at least one other full-time employee besides the owner or owners.

The city and its organizations take the growth of small businesses so seriously because of the huge impact these businesses can have on the local economy.

Chairman of the Association of Black Business and Professionals, Robert Jones, explained to 22News, “They tend to hire locally, and if you’re hiring somebody locally, and if you’re giving them an opportunity to earn an income to support their family, everybody benefits from that. The business, the families, thus, the communities.”

The program offers a great example of a city supporting its small business community. Training and education can provide small business owners with a major boost. But it’s not always easily attainable.

So if successful, RiseUp Springfield should increase the chances of its local small businesses growing enough to hire more employees, spend more capital locally and grow and sustain the local economy.

Springfield Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "City Tries to Improve Community with Small Business Training Program" was first published on Small Business Trends

Halo Burger gives special offer to customers on 94th anniversary

Topix - Sun, 2017-09-17 14:09

It's a big year for one of America's oldest fast food chains. Halo Burger is celebrating 94 years.

Categories: Today's Food News

Franchise Businesses Expected to Grow Faster Than the Economy This Year

Small Business Trends - Sun, 2017-09-17 12:00

Eighty percent of franchisors, 64 percent of franchisees, and 76 percent of suppliers expect their business to do better in the next 12 months. This is according to the Franchise Business Economic Outlook Report released by the International Franchise Association.

Franchise Business Economic Outlook for 2017

Prepared by IHS Markit Economics for the International Franchise Association’s Franchise Education and Research Foundation, the report goes on to say franchise businesses are expected to grow faster than the economy in 2017.

Why the Positive Outlook?

In assessing the indicators driving the positive outlook for franchises, IHS highlighted several points. It is basing the growth on solid gains in consumer spending, residential investment, business fixed investment and exports.

Consumer spending, which franchises rely on, is projected to increase by 2.6 to 2.7 percent annual rates during the final two quarters of 2017. This is based on increases in household finances with gains in employment, real incomes, stock prices and home values.

The public sector is also going to play a role with the release of federal funds for surface transportation projects as well as defense and security. 

Challenges

The biggest concerns for franchisees are joint employer, tax reform, minimum wage, and health care costs.

A joint employer ruling was enacted during the Obama administration, and the ruling was particularly burdensome for small businesses. But the Labor Department rescinded the ruling under the Trump administration, and the Save Local Business Act is gaining traction with bipartisan support.

Robert Cresanti, International Franchise Association President and CEO, is positive about the Trump administration as it applies to businesses. Cresanti said in a release, “We’ve seen positive steps toward a more business friendly environment, such as rolling back unnecessary regulations, but there is still much work to be done. With a burdensome tax code and a confusing joint employer standard, franchise businesses are still competing with one arm tied behind our back.” 

Additional Data Points from the Report

The number of franchises is set to increase to 745,000 in 2017, an increase of 1.6 percent or close to 12,000 new establishments. This of course will increase the employment rate, growing the sector by 3.1 percent, which is much better than the 1.7 percent of total private nonfarm employment.

In terms of monetary output, franchises will generate $711 billion in nominal dollars, an increase of 5.3 percent in 2017.

Franchise businesses across 10 broad business lines were surveyed. Commercial and Residential Services is expected to grow at 3.0 percent, while personal businesses will experience even higher at 6.1 percent.

Franchise growth also varies according to region, but the top five States in the survey were, Utah, Florida, South Carolina, Washington, and Wisconsin with growth of 7.6, 7.0, 7.0, 6.7, and 6.5 percent respectively.

Entrepreneur Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Franchise Businesses Expected to Grow Faster Than the Economy This Year" was first published on Small Business Trends

Eyes Wide Open: Empowering Tips From a Blind Businessman

Small Business Trends - Sun, 2017-09-17 09:00

Eyes Wide Open: Overcoming Obstacles and Recognizing Opportunities in a World That Can’t See Clearly offers a new way of seeing in business. The book was written by a man who needed to learn to “see” in new ways — literally. The brain doesn’t just record what people observe. It actively serves as director, commentator and producer of what they see. Author Isaac Lidsky didn’t appreciate this lesson until he received a rare medical diagnosis that altered his entire life. He was going blind. As Lidsky struggled to understand and live with blindness, he developed a new vision for his life. This vision, something he calls “eyes wide open”, is about breaking free of the “blind spots” in your own life.

What is Eyes Wide Open About?

“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision.”
– Helen Keller

As Lidsky shares in Eyes Wide Open, people take sight for granted. They naively assume that the world they see is an objective “fact”. They assume their boss’ request for a meeting means they’re getting fired or a coworker who ignores them was trying to be rude. They don’t accept that what they “see” is a feature of their brains, not just their eyes. Scientific experiments, however, demonstrate there is more to “sight” than the light that hits the retinas. It involves what people think they see. This subjective view of their vision is something few of them take the time to realize.

Eyes Wide Open shares how Lidsky learned this lesson. As a veteran child actor, Lidsky, landed a once-in-a-lifetime gig as “Weasel” on the TV show “Saved by the Bell: The New Class”. Life was good. He was in every teen magazine and was doing the TV promo rounds.  Then, Lidsky received the news that would alter his entire life. He had retinitis pigmentosa, a disease that leads to progressive blindness.

At first, Lidsky held on to simple hope in a cure or at least, a delay. Doctors didn’t know when his blindness would happen, so he ignored it. Then one day, he couldn’t hide anymore. Lidsky grappled with his new diagnosis for a while until he realized he had two choices. He could remain paralyzed by debilitating fear of his blindness or he could create a new vision for a new life.

Slowly, but surely, he decided to create a new vision for himself. When he chose a new vision, his life changed beyond what he could have imagined. This “vision” is what Lidsky wants readers to “see”. Your reality isn’t some objective “out there”. It starts within you. By changing your focus on what you “see”, you change what you believe. By changing what you believe, you create a whole new possibility for your life. You live with your eyes “wide open”

Lidsky, who played “Weasel” in “Saved By the Bell: The New Class” is a Harvard alum who graduated magna cum laude with a degree in math and computer science. Lidsky went on to become a law clerk for Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Ginsberg. He also started two companies, one which he sold for over $200 million. The other company, ODC Construction, was a struggling construction company later exceeding $70 million with his help. Lidsky also founded Hope for Vision, a non-profit for visually-impaired diseases.

What Was Best About Eyes Wide Open?

First of all, Lidsky’s entire book and life story are pure inspiration.

Second, Lidsky has a unique way of sharing his insights in an eclectic way. Unlike other self-help books which give straightforward biography with occasional insights, Lidsky prefers a different approach. In Eyes Wide Open, he presents a scene from his life and then dissects it and liberally peppers the book with these insights.  It’s like a TEDx, lecture hall event, and story time all wrapped into one. This makes Eyes Wide Open a fascinating read.

What Could Have Been Done Differently?

Eyes Wide Open isn’t focused on quick application. Readers will not find any bullet points, 10-step guides to success, or anything like it. Instead, readers will find a conversation with an inspirational man who practices the message he wants others to follow. Lidsky wants readers to think deeply about his words instead of  self-development “hacks”.

Why Read Eyes Wide Open?

Lidsky’s background spans many areas of expertise: entertainment, legal, business and now public speaking. The fact he was able to develop and refine his “eyes wide open” philosophy while working in all these careers suggests its adaptability. While he discusses the same topics as many self-help gurus might, Lidsky takes things from a different perspective.

Many self-help books focus on inspiring or motivating you to seize the day. Eyes Wide Open agrees with this philosophy. Lidsky might add that you need to address your perceptions first. If you don’t reflect and test your assumptions about life, you will remain in a self-fulfilling loop. That is great when things go well, but it hurts when things go wrong. If you or someone you know feels trapped in an uncomfortable circumstance, Eyes Wide Open can open your mind to transforming the way you view that obstacle.

This article, "Eyes Wide Open: Empowering Tips From a Blind Businessman" was first published on Small Business Trends

I ate my way through the secret menu items at Plymouth's McDonald's, Burger King and Starbucks

Topix - Sun, 2017-09-17 02:56

Here's the thing - there are giant, fast food chains offering the public the chance to eat from a secret menu that is entirely different to what you'll find advertised in-store. But you can't access these super special mouth-wateringly exclusive items unless you know what you're talking about.

Categories: Today's Food News

Mercedes spreads its wings at Falcons' new home

AutoNews - Sun, 2017-09-17 01:01
The stadium sponsorship will put the Mercedes brand in front of millions of football, soccer and music fans. Those fans include many younger consumers who may not realize the breadth of the brand's expanding lineup.
Categories: Latest News