5 Ways Windows 8 Will Benefit Businesses

The brand new Windows 8 is finally here after being released back in October 2012, and it will soon be the default operating system on all new laptops and PCs, as well as on Microsoft tablets such as the upcoming Surface tablet.

The changes to this new Windows OS and the differences compared to the most recent Windows operating systems have already been commented upon. However, it is the benefits that Windows 8 will bring to business users that has become one of the software’s biggest talking points.

So, what will Windows 8 bring to businesses? The following are 5 of the biggest advantages for companies of all sizes:

1.Better, faster booting.

New PCs installed with Windows 8 will be using Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), a brand new boot solution. UEFI, used instead of BIOS, promises to improve booting up and make it far faster, as well as requiring fewer restarts. This can save time for the IT department and significantly increase office productivity.

2.Support for tablets and desktops.

As well as having a classic desktop interface, Winsows 8 will also have an interface that has been optimised for touch screen tablets. Users can choose their preferred interface depending on their needs.

3.Windows To Go.

The new Windows to Go feature in Windows 8 allows you to install the software on a portable drive, so that you can take it away with you and boot it up on another PC. As well as being convenient and versatile, this new Windows to Go feature can also act as a good backup for corrupt or infected PCs.

4.Compatibility with existing hardware.

Windows 8 will apparently run on existing hardware, so that businesses don’t have to shell out to replace all their Windows 7-era hardware to use the new software. Microsoft has even suggested that the software may even run on some pre-Windows 7 machines.

5.New Windows 8 app store.

Microsoft is reportedly planning to make an app store available for Windows 8 when it is launched on general release, so that downloading and installing new applications is easier, especially for smaller businesses.

Whenever a new operating system is released by Windows, there is always a sense of excitement on what updates and new features have been introduced so many businesses will be taking an interest in this new operating system and if you’re not, you should be!

Christine Elderidge works for Cartridge Monkey Ltd, the UK’s leading supplier of cheap ink cartridges. Follow them on twitter @CartridgeMonkey

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Traditional Print Advertising versus Digital Online Marketing

INTRODUCTION

Digital © digitalcamertechnique.com

Digital © digitalcamertechnique.com

This blog post is written partly in a question and answer interview format. This step-by-step process is meant to make it easier to understand the transition from traditional (print) advertising to online (also known as digital) marketing.  It also emphasizes the importance of this evolutionary change. Since I know my own experiences intimately (what I have gone through as both a consumer and a business owner), I am using myself as both the interviewer and interviewee in the Q and A section.

WHAT IS HAPPENING AND WHY
The world as we know it is going through a major transition from printing everything to digital (paperless) technologies. There are several reasons for this change from print to pixel.

• First is the green reason. It involves using less paper, having less waste and conserving resources. In fact, some businesses have a green or paperless policy. They frown on the use of paper and go to great lengths to minimize its use altogether.

Reduce & Reuse Logo © Marketing Bytes

Reduce & Reuse Logo © Marketing Bytes

• Second is technology. The computer and the Internet have begun to make this possibility into a reality. But this transition is not seamless. One area where this is a road filled with uncertainties is in the marketing & advertising industry.

• There is still a great deal of paper used in this industry. Although it is decreasing and there are options to use paper or go paperless in many of our daily activities, it is my opinion that the case to continue in the less-paper direction with all due diligence is a crucial one.

• Unfortunately, one of the major obstacles to going paperless is the generation of adults, considered baby boomers and older, who grew up and became educated without this technology. The height of sophistication was slide rules and pocket calculators. Now there are the Inbound Boomers to help with this transition.

The Boomer Family © Marketing Bytes

The Boomer Family © Marketing Bytes http://www.facebook.com/TheInboundBoomers?v=wall

• The process of thinking is very different for those of us born before desktops, laptops, iPhones, iPads, iPods and I don’t know what other ‘i’ things there will be. We think on paper. Our reality is based on doing and learning things by reading from and writing on paper not from a computer screen, keypad and mouse (or touch pad). It takes a focused and concerted effort to change one’s thought processing beyond  ‘recycling one’s garbage’.

• None the less and for the reasons listed above, I think it is very important to have a discourse (this is where the Q and A format begins) to highlight where we are in the transition from print to pixel and the value of continuing as quickly as possible.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR CONSUMERS:
Q: Do you have any phone books in your home?
A: I admit that I still have a few local ones but none of the large, cumbersome ones.

Q: If so, what do you use them for?
A: Primarily to gather dust but I hear they are good as pillows for high chairs, car seats if someone is short and can’t reach the petals or see above the dashboard and the latest designer furniture pictured here.

Phone Book fo'ever © ecojoes.com

Q: How many times have you opened a phone book in the last year to find a phone number or locate a local business?
A: Once, maybe twice.

Q: Do you read the advertising circulars and magazines that are delivered weekly to your home by the post office?
A: Never

Q: Or do you throw them away without reading them?
A: They are delivered by letter carrier between Wednesday and Friday and placed in our lobby. Within a day, they become  a messy pile. The building super throws them away on Sunday for Monday garbage pickup.

Newspaper ads © Marketing Bytes

Newspaper ads © Marketing Bytes

Q: Do you collect discount coupon books and cut out retail coupons?
A: I love coupon books. In fact, when they arrive, I take most if not all of them so they do not end up in the trash. I hand them out in my neighborhood. Everyone loves when I do that. I have no patience to clip coupons but I do hear about people that do.

Q: How many times have you left coupons home or misplaced them so you were not able to use them when you needed them?
A: I always misplace the book coupons or other discount papers I receive.

Q: Do you have the plastic ID key chain tags that retailers give out?
A: Someone could write my biography based on the number and variety of the ID tags I have. In fact, CVS Pharmacy gives one the option of printing out a coupon or placing their weekly discount information on their ID tag so one never has to worry about losing a coupon. Other retailers should adopt that system too. It is a great digital, paperless move.

QUESTIONS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS:

Q: What techniques do you use to promote your business?
A: All online, ‘attraction’ and Inbound Marketing.

Q: What is the primary way your customers find you?
A: Networking, recommendations and referrals online and in-person.

Q: Do you advertise with traditional print media, print ads, coupons, etc?
A: No. But I know plenty of local businesses that do and I am startled by how much money they willingly spend to do so.

Q: Do you know where the circulars and magazines that you spend your advertising budget on go when they are delivered to postal residents in your community?
A: I know they go right into the garbage.

Garbage truck © dreamstime.com

Garbage truck © dreamstime.com

Q: Do you believe that if you keep using traditional methods of print media advertising, including direct mailings, that it will eventually pay off again when the economy improves?
A: I know that is NOT the case. Technology is changing the way consumers shop and businesses need to advertise. But many of my local business colleagues do not seem to understand this yet. Some times I consider sending out a postcard for the fun of it but the cost of printing and postage cool my enthusiasm.

Q: Do you know what the cost is per new customer based upon the system of advertising you are using?
A: I admit that I don’t use this tool religiously but I know it works and I recommend that clients use it. I also know that online marketing is much more affordable and has a much wider reach than traditional advertising unless you can afford an advertising spot on the SuperBowl.

SuperBowl Ad © USA Today

SuperBowl Ad © USA Today

Q: Do you have a trackable method for learning how your new customers find you?
A: Yes, the new online marketing technology programs have amazing features to assist business owners in following and recording the progress of their marketing activities.

Q: Do you think it is easiest and cheapest to use direct mail (letters and postcards) to contact existing customers and attract new ones?
A: I cringe every time I get another postcard or even letter in the mail from one of my community business colleagues. I know they think this is a reasonable and inexpensive way to advertise. It worked in the past. If only they would take that leap into the 21st Century, the new economy and online marketing to at least give it a try for a little while. They can always continue with traditional media too and compare the results.

Q: Are you afraid of the computer, the Internet and the new advertising & marketing technology?
A: Personally, I embrace it and I am fascinated by what is going on. But there are so many business owners who are terrified of using the new technology. Some barely know how to use a computer.

Online Marketing © AuburnBusiness.com

Online Marketing © AuburnBusiness.com

Q: Do you know what online marketing is and how it differs from traditional advertising in content, cost and coverage?
A: Because marketing and advertising are my business, I started to learn about the new technology about a year and a half ago. It was very challenging but essential for me. Therefore, I am now well versed in what online marketing is. It is the use of the computer, the Internet and a whole host of new programs to help businesses attract new customers. Just as customers have changed the way they shop, business owners have to change the way they advertise to meet their customers’ searching needs.

A: I also know that online marketing is very cost effective. In fact, it is the only way that many start up businesses can afford to advertise on a zero dollar budget. Print advertising is VERY expensive and it requires constant repetition for recognition. With online marketing, once you are on, you’re on. But you do want to update and tweak information there too.

A: Online marketing’s coverage is so much broader than print media. There is NO comparison.

Local SEO © SEOcompany247.com

Local SEO © SEOcompany247.com

Q: Are you familiar with Local SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
A: Search Engine Optimization is something that Google has been using for years to help consumers find what they are looking for. Google also designed SEO so that if a business uses the right formula, keywords, etc. it will rank well (first place or at least the first page) when a consumer searches for what they want.

A: Local SEO is the latest and most exciting addition to the host of services and tools Google offers. Instead of a ‘global’ search where a customer is looking to purchase something by mail (for example) and it can come from anywhere, local SEO is community specific. It is designed for consumers to locate what they want in a specific community. It is for making local, face-to-face purchases.

Q: Do you know what ‘Google Places’ are as well as their significance in promoting your business?
A: Google has identified over 49,000,000 local businesses in the US. Only about 11% of these businesses have ‘claimed’ their Google Place. Claiming one’s Google Place is the first step in participating in local online marketing and broadening one’s reach better than any other technique.

Google Places-Marketing Bytes near Rockville Centre, NY

Google Places-Marketing Bytes near Rockville Centre, NY

Q: Have you claimed your Google Place? Is your business on the ‘seven pack’?
A:  Yes, my company has claimed its Google Place. In the business categories I am listed under, I rank in the first seven listed and on the first page. This is both for my industry and geographic area. This is what is called the ‘seven pack’. (No it is not a free can of beer when you buy a six pack).

Q: Have you heard of Local Online Business Directories?
A: Local Online Business Directories are similar to print directories but they are dynamic, interactive, and can have visual and verbal information changed at any time. They also have links and can take you to other places. One of their primary features is reviews. They are the most attractive advertising aspect.

MerchantCircle Village © MerchantCircle.com

MerchantCircle Village © MerchantCircle.com

Q: Are you listed on Local Online Business Directories?
A: I am listed on over 70 directories because someone did it for me as a favor and did no know it is unnecessary and even appropriate to be listed on so many.

Q: Do you know how to get recommendations and use word of mouth on line?
A: Yes, there are programs designed to help businesses get recommendations from their website, e-mail, blog, etc. These type of recommendations ARE word of mouth online.

Q: Do you know how to convert your current customers into your sales force?
A: On line recommendations from loyal customers are the best selling tool a business can have.

Q: Did you know that national and regional corporations sometimes need to be advertised as local businesses?
A: Yes, when they have a local retail presence like a Subway, Dunkin Donut, CVS, etc. They are all part of your community’s retail landscape.

SOURCES:
EcoJoes-Green Thinking for the Average Joe

MerchantCircle, one of my favorite Local Online Business Directories

Local SEO Online Business Directories

The Ultimate List: 50 Local Business Directories

Designing Traditional Print Advertising

Local Business Listings

Best SuperBowl ads

CVS Extra Care Card

About Alison Gilbert

Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.

Lessons I’ve Learned from Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs on the Cover of TIME © Cult of Mac

Steve Jobs on the Cover of TIME © Cult of Mac

INTRODUCTION
Steve Jobs was an icon of the personal computer industry. In my opinion, there is only one other living human being who could equal or rival his celebrity status. That person is Bill Gates.

Their lives had many similarities and some differences. They both were brilliant. They both started their businesses several years after leaving college. They did not consider a college education tantamount to their success. They both grew up on the West Coast. Jobs took a class in calligraphy at Reed College that he said inspired him later as the multiple fonts and word spacing (kerning) manifested themselves in the Macintosh.

Steve and Bill © Wikipedia

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates © Wikipedia

 

But there were also the differences between them. As extraordinary as they both were as showmen and business titans, Steve was all about perfection and aesthetics never compromising for profit. Bill Gates was very focused on profit and simplicity of code. He has since been able to relinquished his throne to go on to global-community service. He last wrote his last lines of code in 1989. Steve battled through a liver transplant and pancreatic cancer while holding aloft the mantle of the brand for his firm, relinquishing the stewardship of it only when his health failed him. It was no more than a matter of six weeks between his resignation and passing.

Because I am an author with the Digital Brand Marketing Education Blog, I would like to focus my lessons learned from Steve Jobs on these four topics, Digital, Branding, Marketing, and Education.

Apple Logos © Wikipedia

Apple Logos © Wikipedia

DIGITAL
Before the invention of the personal computer that Steve Jobs presented in his usual fanfare, pulling it by the handle out of a gym bag, mainframe computers took up entire rooms. The idea of a personal computer on every desk and in every home was viewed as preposterous if not impossible.

Apple I © Wikipedia

Apple I © Wikipedia

Steve acquired the original mouse technology from Xerox who could not commercialize on it but in an agreement let their engineers work with Apple in return for IPO offerings when it became commercial. The “GUI” (graphical user interface) allowed the development of graphics, images, and multiple fonts. It was the essential element that allowed the transition from a totally code and programmer based system to a user-friendly system. His team created the initial software and then other companies jumped on the bandwagon.

His leadership fostered a creative environment that let the team negotiate, innovate and create with a high standard.

The First Macintosh 1984 © Wikipedia

The First Macintosh 1984 © Wikipedia

Bill Gates was primarily a software man learning early on that he preferred more pedestrian, affordable PCs in contrast to the ‘elegant’ devices of Apple and then Macintosh. Bill’s goal was to mass-market software and for a while Microsoft was the proprietary software on all PCs. In contrast, Steve Jobs computers were and are geared to the connoisseurs in the industry.

BRANDING
Over time, the two companies did become more similar. With Windows, Microsoft adopted the more obvious mechanisms of the Mac, the mouse, and the programs in PC version and now Macs use the Intel processor. But Steve was the master of the brand. His mantra was perfection.

The Macintosh II © Wikipedia

The Macintosh II © Wikipedia

He would not let a product emerge from his laboratory into the public domain until he felt it had reached absolute perfection. The quality control with parts suppliers is one example. Perhaps this was a drain on his health compared to his, at least seemingly more laid back adversary, Mr. Gates. His interest was quantity over the level of quality that Jobs demanded without compromise. One wonders where Apple will be headed without Jobs. Microsoft seems unfettered by the resignation of Gates.

MARKETING
Jobs was a master at marketing. Just the mere rumor and then word of the emergence of a new or newer model of a product sent the Mac devotees to the stores where they would often camp out over night to be the first ‘kid on the block’ to have the latest version of whatever it was.

Apple Aficionados Wait in Line © Wikipedia

Apple Aficionados Wait in Line © Wikipedia

The presentations of his latest products were also impeccable examples of marketing and promotion. One year Ridley Scott, now a famed film and TV producer, was brought on board to create a memorable, even shocking Macintosh Super Bowl commercial. No one who has ever seen it will forget it.

When generations of the various Macs were born in irresistible, candy colored variations, potential consumers were tempted to not only purchase these mechanical wonders but agonized over which day-glow color to buy. That would be a major problem for me. I would want one in each color. Jobs combined perfection of design, streamlined elegance and hot colors.

1984, Superbowl XVIII Commercial  © Wikipedia

'1984' Superbowl XVIII Commercial © Wikipedia

EDUCATION
Have you ever wondered why school systems buy and use Macs? If one is a student, there are special reduced price versions of the programs available and discounts on the computers themselves. What does that say about the quality of a Mac over a PC? I feel there is no more evidence necessary that ‘the proof is in the pudding’. Educational systems throughout the country chose to have their students learn on Macs, not PCs. They may have had to settle for PCs when their families both them their own. But the educational system provided only the best and most reliable quality control.

The iMac G3 1998 © Wikipedia

The iMac G3 1998 © Wikipedia

Steve Jobs has left an indelible mark on the world of technology and design. Much has been written about him before and since his passing. This post is but a peek at one small part of the universe he occupied. For me, his example showed there are some valuable lessons to be learned in Digital Brand Marketing Education.

SOURCES

What I learned from Steve Jobs by Guy Kawasaki

This Week’s Issue Of Time Magazine Has Steve Jobs On The Cover And The Story Behind His Upcoming Bio

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: One Last Thing; R.I.P Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs on Wikipedia

Apple Computer on Wikipedia

Macintosh Computer on Wikipedia

Bill Gates on Wikipedia

The iMac 2007 © Wikipedia

The iMac 2007 © Wikipedia

About Alison Gilbert

Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.

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