Aislinn Mahon explains how The New Market Entrants Team is currently supporting some of Enterprise Ireland’s most exciting and forward thinking music technology start-ups.
The New Market Entrants Team in the UK office is running an exciting event to highlight the level of innovation present amongst the strong cluster of fast growth music technology start up companies in Ireland.
The Global Digital Music Industry
The global music industry is adapting to the digital age at an accelerated rate, and new models for creating, consuming and accessing music are constantly being introduced into new markets. This digital landscape provides both opportunities and challenges for record labels, producers and artists. The Internet makes the distribution of music faster and easier to access, but issues of piracy have risen here. There is a strong feeling in the industry that artists should be rewarded financially for their work in the digital environment, just as they have always been in the physical world.
Kevin Godley, Founder and John Holland, CEO of Whole World Band
The Innovation in Music Technology Showcaseis being run by The New Market Entrants Team at the end of May in Dublin. Leading UK music technology representatives from companies such as Mobile Roadie, MINT Digital and Music Ally will hear about the impact of digital technology on the future of the music industry and learn about new ways of driving revenue in their business in the surroundings of The Sugar Club, one of Dublin’s most creative music venues. Topics on the day will range from digital fan engagement strategies to collaborative content creation and music discovery to mobile festivals.
Cathal Furey, CEO of 45sound, pictured in the company’s brand new office on South William St, Dublin
Watch this Space!
In the UK, digital revenues stand at one third of music industry income – an important statistic when one considers that this surpasses those of other creative industries (e.g. film, books and newspapers). There is a mood of optimism in the UK music industry, and Enterprise Ireland sees this as an end market opportunity for our client companies to capitalise on.
Cloud services are reshaping the way companies manage their information and do business and open up tremendous opportunities for Irish companies. The Irish Internet Association, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and sponsored by Microsoft, is holding a series of Cloud Awareness and Adoption events for summer 2013 aimed at helping Irish SMEs (from all sectors) assess the potential of using cloud-based business models to support their export growth – the first event takes place in Galway on Thursday 30th May.
These Cloud Awareness Events are specifically designed to help companies to assess the benefits of cloud computing while managing any potential risks. The IIA Cloud Working Group developed the Swift10 Guide as a tool to help companies do this. Delegates will hear from other SMEs on how, why and what they moved to the cloud as well as from security and service contract experts who will guide delegates through the process.
Dates for events are as follows:
• 30th May – ClaytonHotel, Galway
• 5th June – NCI, Dublin
• 13th June – Cork (TBA)
• Sept/Oct event, (TBA) Dublin
EI clients who wish to drive competitiveness, operational effectiveness and efficiency within their companies using the Cloud and the Swift10 Report as a guide can receive funding under the Lean Start programme and should contact their Development Advisor for more information.
There is no charge for EI clients attending these events and they can register directly with the IIA at 01-5424154
We’re all inundated with the hype surrounding social networking, headlines like “how we made millions through social networking”, but can it really help you break into or grow new export markets for less exciting products or services like landfill consultancy, plastic moulding or collateral management software? The answer is yes, yes it can.
Decision makers in companies can now be influenced by social media at every stage of the buying process as social platforms become increasingly popular as sources of relevant informative content for businesses.
If you are a B2B company, social media offers a great opportunity to have a two way conversation with your customers/prospects without the need to explicitly sell. Instead of directly pitching your products/services, you can use social media platforms to publish links to relevant and interesting information that makes your target audiences more informed while at the same time positioning your company as experts. In essence, by providing consistent on-going valuable information to your target audiences, you increase the chances of being ultimately rewarded with their business and/or referrals.
However, to increase the probability of your target audience segments paying attention to you and the content you publish, you’re best adopting a structured and planned approach to social media:
As with any sales and marketing activity, knowing your specific audiences’ needs and problems is crucial. The more tailored the information you can deliver to specific audience segments, the more awareness and interest your information will receive. Often, the customer insights you need are already within your company, you just need to talk to the right people. Front line staff who deal with customers every day are great sources of inspiration for the type of information your target audiences would find valuable. Better still, talk to your customers and discover their challenges.
Use your findings to form the foundation of a cohesive social content strategy. Make sure your strategy gets inputs and buy-in from a cross section of internal business areas in your company, that it is aligned with your overall business objectives and that it has senior backing. Don’t consider social in isolation, look to align your social media strategy with your overall brand in terms of tone of voice and ensure it’s in sync with the general company approach to handling PR related matters (both positive and negative).
Create content that is written to specifically address the informational needs and solve known problems of your target segments. This type of content has a far greater chance of being read and shared. Avoid the ‘About Us’ type information that can often be mass broadcast by B2B companies (as it just doesn’t deliver a solution to a need or problem that your audience has).
Try and produce content that is written from a number of different perspectives and is of interest to the different types of targets you are trying to influence in a company (e.g. a procurement person in target company may react to content differently to someone in finance). Different forms of content could include opinion based content relating to recently released relevant research or a review of an industry trend you have spotted.
Devise a content creation calendar that plots activities a month or two out to ensure you have a consistent output of new content and that internal content authors are flagged well in advance. Use the calendar to mark important internal company milestones/news releases as well as relevant external events that you could provide opinion on.
Your objective is to create a consistent stream of fresh original content. The quality and relevancy of the content is essential. Take some time to find out who else in your company could produce good engaging content. Also, you’d be surprised how much great content is already in existence within the company and just needs to be reworked for external publishing. If it’s proving challenging to produce the content, consider external assistance, either to help you with copywriting or to provide training in best ways to write for social media and the web.
Using your Customer research, identify patterns of pre purchase behaviour amongst your target Customers and use this as a guide to deciding on the specific social platforms and tools that are best suited to your social media strategy be it Google+ Circles, targeted email marketing or Linkedin Groups.
While you want to reach out directly and influence your target audiences, don’t forget to also find out who else influences your audiences online. If you can get other influential people to positively talk about your product/service, you have the potential to create a hugely powerful advocate for your company. See an interesting post on Smart Insights by Janet Fouts on steps to find relevant influencers.
Promote social media across your company. Encourage a range of staff to engage in social media on behalf of the company but don’t forget to use some form of social media publishing guidelines to ensure consistency in the tone and approach.
Overall, don’t be afraid to just jump in and start publishing to, and engaging with your audiences via social media channels, especially if you’ve done your preparation and know who you want to engage and how.
4. Listen and engage
There is an array of tools to help you publish, monitor and evaluate your social media interactions. However, at a minimum just listen to what’s being said about your company and where. Encourage your marketing and sales teams to listen and develop a process for feeding the insights into improving your products/service, customer service, etc. When you get into conversations with audiences via social channels, just interact with them as you would through any other medium such as phone, by email or in person, it’s all about being helpful and building relationships.
So, in summary, can social media help you break into or grow new export markets? The answer is yes, yes it definitely can as long as you jump in with a plan and your eyes open.
If you are an export client company of Enterprise Ireland and are interested in getting more information on their export eMarketing Support Programme, please contact your Development Advisor.
Guest blog from Paula Connor, Digital Marketing Manager, Dara Creative.
Enterprise Ireland work with many clients who are exporting to develop and implement their digital marketing strategies to help them expand globally. One of the main methods that can be used is email marketing.
Recent research from the Marketing Institute of Ireland into email marketing revealed that 84% of businesses surveyed consider it an important or very important component of their overall marketing strategy. The study also revealed “80% of respondents expect that spend on email marketing will either stay the same (42.7%) or increase (37.1%) over the next 12 months. This reflects the positive sentiments being shown towards email by Irish marketers today”.
But why are these businesses so keen?
Let’s examine the benefits of email marketing for exporting your business and hear from Auxilion who recently worked with Dara Creative and are seeing great success from their email marketing campaigns.
Benefits of Email Marketing for Exporters:
It drives sales - pushing the customer to buy your product through strong calls to action. And you can send a message to a huge database of people all at once.
Showcases your brand powerfully – it builds brand awareness, maintains customer relationships and encourages loyalty as well as repeat business.
It will drive traffic to your website through strong calls to action and it nurtures leads (helps encourage prospects become customers).
Cost effective - there’s a great return on investment with the initial cost of sending a campaign only $5 and then 1 cent per recipient. Your company doesn’t need to have a local office to get in touch with prospects in any country.
Instantly trackable results - your email marketing software will allow you to see clicks from customers based all over the world in real time. Don’t forget email is also viral – it’s so easy for people to forward your message on to others, spreading your message further than you could alone.
Send in any timezone - Take full control over when your subscribers will receive your campaigns.
Integrates with your online marketing strategy - you can include links to your social media and blog posts. You can also offer your customers reasons to return to you as a trusted expert by prompting them to avail of white paper downloads. Don’t forget customers will often do research online before picking up the phone or coming into your business to buy in person and email marketing will trigger this process.
You can personalise the content you send out – The more information you collect, the more messages can be tailored and personalised. Email also has the ability to segment, meaning you can split people off into smaller targeted lists.
Likewise it’s easy to build up a strong database and keep your database up to date - manage your unsubscribes / bouncebacks. Opt in and Opt out facilities mean you will have a very targeted database, people who are genuinely interested in your offer.
You can run A/B Split testing - test different headlines and different email designs and content to see which is more effective for each market you are targeting. You don’t get to do that with a traditional print ad for example!
Export Client Success with Email Marketing
Auxilion is an Irish company delivering outsourced IT Support Services, Customer Support Services and Project Support Services for companies across Ireland, the UK and the globe. They are a cloud computing support spin-out from I.T. Alliance Group and have been using email marketing since the launch of their newly designed website with great success. Auxilion have initially targeted the Irish and UK markets and email marketing is helping them by driving traffic to their website and with their business development.
This email marketing campaign was particularly successful with a conversion rate of 10% into genuine leads that the sales team can exploit.
The team at Auxilion are delighted with the results they are seeing so far as a result of their email marketing efforts:
“With email marketing consultancy services from Dara Creative, we have generated a number of great sales leads into targeted accounts for our Virtual Service Desk and IT support service solutions. We have benefited from skills transfer from their team of email marketing experts, helping us to leverage this low-cost marketing tool to full effect in 2013.”
– John Paul O’Keeffe, Marketing Specialist, Auxilion
If you are a client company of Enterprise Ireland and are interested in getting more information on our eMarketing Support, please contact your Development Advisor.
Enterprise Ireland proud to have sponsored James Whelton as he started CoderDojo , and is proud to support the Mentor meetup as part of ItsHappeningHere, highlighting the thousands of available jobs in the tech industry.
People at client companies who want to share their tech skills and mentor at CoderDojo are enouraged to drop a line to email@example.com
Founded as a volunteer-led club for providing free and open learning in programming technology to young people, the global CoderDojo movement now has over 180 CoderDojos in 23 countries where kids can have fun learning to code in a safe environment. Mentors have taught over 16,000 children the joy of programming and coding.
The CoderDojo phenomenon relies on the voluntary work of mentors. DojoCon is the only international conference aimed at mentors and potential mentors. Now, in its second year DojoCon 2013 will provide mentors from across the globe the opportunity to exchange new ideas, explore cutting-edge technologies and share ideas on sustaining and strengthening the CoderDojo movement when the conference runs on April 12th.
James Whelton gets some practice in for DojoConf 2013 Slane
Bringing mentors together in one place is the aim of the conference organising team. As CoderDojo has come through an amazing growth phase , to make it sustainable, we need to share what works, while keeping the buzz that has made it so successful.
Diverse Keynote Speakers
This year, the conference has a number of distinguished keynote speakers. These include Ireland’s own Jerry Kennelly, an award-winning entrepreneur who started as a photojournalist in Co. Kerry and sold his company (Stockbyte) when it had grown to over 10 per cent of the market for Royalty free photo’s worldwide. Jerry will share his passion for IT in education and the work he is doing with schools country-wide.
Another keynote will be Bill Liao, co-founder of CoderDojo and an early investor in the social networking site XING. As Bill recently told the EU Parliament “The World has a shortage of Coders”. Bill will be speaking on how CoderDojo can help fix this, in the process inspiring a new generation of programmers to create apps and websites limited only by their imaginations.
A capstone talk will come from Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code. Flying in from the US, she will be sharing her experiences about gender balance in coding and discuss the sensation that is a complementary club to CoderDojo.
The Informative Schedule
This year’s schedule will feature more than 12 formal and 10 informal sessions with talks covering three main streams. The first stream is Education which will discus new techniques and how CoderDojo differs from the school approach. The second is Technology where mentors will learn about Advanced Scratch, robotics, gaming, audio and more. The third stream is Running a Dojo with tips and ideas on starting and sustaining a Dojo. In addition, there will be a number of panel discussions on mentoring and collaborating both locally and globally.
Ignite on Friday Night
New for 2013, DojoCon is kickstarting the conference on Friday night with a series of ‘Ignite talks’. These fast paced talks in an informal setting will set the scene for the weekend. Over a dozen thinkers, coders and educators will have 5 minutes to inspire fellow mentors.
Drogheda on the Boyne offers the perfect opening location for DojoCo. The river Boyne, where once the Salmon of Knowledge swam, provides the ideal backdrop of the venue for the Friday night Ignite talks. Inspiration and shared experienced will feature heavily in Bru Bar Bistro.
The conference is organised by a core group of volunteers from CoderDojo in Drogheda, Dundalk, Navan, and the Science Gallery, Dublin. The whole team of organisers are really excited about having Dojos from California to Belgium and New York City to Sweden in Drogheda for the weekend. We hope it will attract more software professionals in this area and in all towns around the country to volunteer or start a Dojo and help more kids learn how to code.
Extensive keyword research has helped asset protection firm Netwatch successfully expand its brand into new markets.
Taking a focused approach to its online marketing efforts, including detailed analysis of end-user search trends, has reaped rewards for rapidly growing Carlow company Netwatch, allowing it to enhance its brand recognition globally.
Online a key ingredient in the marketing mix Over the past year, with Netwatch expanding rapidly outside of its home market, online has become an increasingly important part of its marketing mix. A website re-design prompted the firm to think about how it portrayed itself online. Though the company was well known in Ireland, it needed to educate the UK and US markets and ensure its message was clear. “We knew we wanted to project our ethos as a customer-focused, high-level service for our new markets; it was important to us that our online presence reflected our growing company,” explains Therese Cullen, Communications Manager at Netwatch.
Keyword research drives success Google AdWords campaign Key for Netwatch is educating the marketplace on visual asset management and ensuring that people could find the company website. Conscious that its technology and service was relatively new on the market, Netwatch had to think carefully about how people would find its site online. “People weren’t typing in keywords specific to our service; in fact, the volume of searches for keywords in our area was low. So we had to be clever about our keywords,” says Therese. “We did extensive research into what areas we should be targeting and what people were actually searching for.”
Based on its research, Netwatch’s Google AdWords campaign focused on keywords related to what people would type in if they were looking for a new security service. “We were essentially intercepting people who were thinking about or researching alternative security systems,” explains Therese. Netwatch monitors and analyses its AdWords keywords regularly, allowing it to tweak the keywords if necessary to reflect searching trends.
Focus on content enhances organic SEO Netwatch also used this invaluable keyword research to shape its website content in order to improve its ranking in Google’s organic search results. “Sometimes we speak our own language, but through our research we realised the terminology or words we use were not what people were familiar with so we brought our web copy into language that people would be searching for,” explains Therese. “We have three websites: our Irish site, and sites focusing specifically on the UK and US markets. We’ve done a lot of work in terms of our messaging in these local markets, and as a result we’re ranking well in search results and increasing our site traffic.”
In September 2012, almost 2,500 people visited the Netwatch site, clocking up 7,950 pageviews, an average of 3.3 pages per visit. This represents a significant 35% increase in visitors from the same period in 2011.
Leading the conversation through social media In other efforts to boost its organic search ranking, Netwatch introduced an individual blog to its three sites. The blogs focus on key trends and developments in each of the markets. Importantly, Therese said management have bought in to the blog and it is regularly updated on each of the sites. “We’ve had great buy-in from our management team for our online strategy. We’ve even provided internal training to ensure everyone who needs to be is up to speed on online and developing our content strategy.”
The company’s online strategy also includes a well-developed social media presence. Having analysed the different social media platforms Netwatch decided to focus on Twitter and LinkedIn. “Our end users are predominantly business owners, so we see Twitter and LinkedIn as perfect mediums for us,” explains Therese.
Netwatch has a company page on LinkedIn where it posts status updates and lists available jobs. Netwatch employees also have individual LinkedIn profiles from where they interact with contacts and build up their network. The company also makes use of LinkedIn Groups, which Therese says is a useful way to keep up to date with what’s happening in their particular sector.
Netwatch primarily uses Twitter to interact with people. “We monitor searches and ‘mentions’ so we can identify if people are having conversations about Netwatch. If these conversations are happening we need to be there and get involved with the conversation,” says Therese.
Integrated campaigns pay dividends “We’ve developed a solid online marketing strategy that continues to evolve. Online fits in well with our overall marketing approach – and we’ve run some very successful integrated campaigns that involve billboard, direct mail, online competition, QR codes and a Google AdWords campaign – this approach ensures a broad reach. With online in the mix, the potential of what we could be doing is limitless.”
Aislinn Mahon explains how Enterprise Ireland can provide retailers in the UK, and across global markets, with access to emerging technologies from Irish companies with world class solutions for retail. Aislinn is a member of the New Market Entrants Team in Enterprise Ireland UK, and supports the Retailer Solutions Initiative. For more on Retailer Solutions, check out this short video. eTail, the practise of selling products to consumers over the Internet, is a key area for focus for retailers in the UK and across global markets. The UK is Europe’s leading eTail economy and, at £68.2bn in 2011, now accounts for 17% of all UK retail sales. According to IMRG (Interactive Media in Retail Group), eTail sales are expected to reach £77bn in 2012, and there are now 37m online shoppers in the UK.
Not so long ago, many of the most successful retailers across the UK had little more than transactional websites to offer customers. Nowadays with the prominence of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, customers expect personalised and interactive experiences across all channels, buying when, what, where and how they like.
Bricks and mortar retailing has evolved, and serving this multichannel customer is at the top of retailers priorities. The concept is relatively new in the retail industry, and investment is essential as retailers compete with each other to offer the best multichannel experience for customers. Irish suppliers offer a plenitude of innovative solutions to help retailers in their quest to stand out from the crowd.
Strength of Irish Companies
Every multichannel strategy is underpinned by an ecommerce solution, which enables retailers to optimise the online experience for consumers. Established Irish company Buy4Now, led by CEO Michael Veale, has been assisting major retailers to build this foundation since 2000, and is behind some of the fastest-growing and most successful eCommerce websites.
The 24/7 consumer is always switched on, with touch screen devices such as smart phones and tablets transforming the way consumers interact with brands and retailers. According to KPMG’s latest annual survey, willingness to compare prices and complete transactions on mobile devices has rocketed. Bricks-and-mortar retailers need to respond to this rapidly changing consumer behaviour by directly engaging with their customers using the mobile channel. Tony Burke of Actus Mobile, who have just launched an App for Dundrum Town Centre, Ireland’s largest premier retail location, agrees: “Branded mobile applications built on Actus Mobile’s “Mobishop” platform assist retailers in building customer engagement before, during and after their shopping experience, thus driving footfall and increasing revenue”.
The rate of adoption of tablet usage is on the rise, with retailers striving to optimise this new consumer buying experience, referred to as “couch commerce”. According to Amplience, who has developed a platform for creating and managing multi-channel retail experiences “The rise of tablets is placing demands on retailers and brand owners to create super-rich merchandising experiences in yet another medium, one that constitutes an entirely new channel, with new technology, customer journeys and content and production demands”.
In a world filled with choices, consumers look to their peers for guidance on what to buy online. Customer reviews play an important role in persuading consumers to part with their money. Conor O’Neill, CEO of LouderVoice, the customer reviews solution provider, points to the benefits of investing in this technology: “Reviews grow sales through confidence, feedback, search engine optimization and social media referrals”.
‘eTail at the Embassy’, one of the many activities run by Enterprise Ireland under the Retailer Solutions Initiative
While online sales are on the rise, retailers are still committed to the value they can derive from the traditional, bricks and mortar experience. Indeed the worlds of online and offline are constantly converging, with many stores now offering consumers experiences that are traditionally found online. Eoghan O’Sullivan, CEO of Von Bismark, confirms this; ‘We have developed The Von Bismark Wardrobe platform which allows consumers to physically try on digital clothing, create biometrics profiles and share their experiences via social networks. It allows retailers to lower costs and returns while increasing customer retention and ultimately sales’.
When it comes to paying, customers expect that their experience is fast, secure and convenient, paying how, when and where they like. Realex Payments, who process payments for some of the largest names in retail, help retailers manage international transactions across multiple channels. Consumer payment habits are fast evolving, and managing multiple sales channels is a key challenge area for any retailer.
Not only are consumers becoming more mobile, retailers are too. Worldnet TPS, a provider of multi-channel online payment solutions, has recently developed Payjack, a mobile solution that enables mobile devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets to accept payments. According to Will Byrne, CEO of Worldnet TPS: “This means that now all merchants no matter how big or small can accept credit card payments”.
Retail is a fast paced world, with customers dictating the pace of change. Enterprise Ireland client companies can assist retailers in staying ahead of the game, with a host of innovative solutions that can enhance customer experience and raise the level of innovation.
This is a guest post by Damien Joyce, of HP in Galway. Damien is working in conjunction with GMIT Galway to host the CloudBusting event on the 14th of September. For more news, follow @DamienJoyce on Twitter.
CloudBusting a FREE day-long tech conference hosted in association with ITAG ,GMIT and supported by HP will be held on the GMIT Galway campus (http://www.gmit.ie/), aims to tackle that question examining the technologies and services offered in the cloud.
Despite cloud computing’s growth in popularity, many IT professionals are still unsure of all the available benefits this platform offers.
This day will give attendees insight on essential cloud topics including available delivery models, market trends and benefits you can achieve by implementing a cloud solution.
Learn about Cloud offerings from Private, hybrid, to public cloud and understand the differences between IaaS, PaaS, SaaS .
Where ever you are on your journey to the cloud there should be something of interest for you across the day which features five distinct tracks (start-ups, web, social media, DevOps,music) and over twenty sessions that attendees can pick and choose content to fit their unique needs.
There will also be a chance to listen to and meet with some of the new exciting Irish start-up companies working in the cloud as they share their experiences.
The goal of this cross-over community day is that attendees leave understanding what is necessary for the different ways to architect, develop and deploy applications and IT solutions in the cloud.
Do you want to increase your tender win rates and win government contracts?
If so, then the two forthcoming InterTradeIreland “Upping Your Game” tendering events are for you. These free half-day events will highlight the new public procurement opportunities for SMEs in a changing economic environment. Companies will also benefit from practical advice and support from buyers and procurement experts on how to ‘up their game’ to win public sector contracts.
This is the first time that all the procurement and development agencies North and South will come together to make SMEs aware of the public procurement opportunities on the island.
Why should you attend?
Learn about public sector business opportunities from key buying organisations both North and South
Refine your tendering skills on the day – take part in interactive workshops and hear from other companies and their experiences. Find about the practical supports available from agencies across the island for companies seeking to win public sector contracts.
For the 2nd Year, I’m delighted that Enterprise Ireland is taking part in the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference. The 2012 WPC which takes place in Toronto from July 8th to 12th and provides one of the best forums for companies to connect with Microsoft channel partners and with Microsoft staff, and to learn about the latest Microsoft programs, strategies, and cutting-edge technologies.
You can visit Digital WPC to find everything you need to know about the event.
Twelve to Fifteen Enterprise Ireland client companies are being offered the opportunity to participate in an ‘Ireland @ WPC’ stand at Microsoft WPC 2012. This is the second Enterprise Ireland participation at WPC and we are keen to build on last year’s success.
The Enterprise Ireland subsidised cost of participation at Microsoft WPC 2012 is €2,450 + 23% VAT per company.
The competition for space on the Ireland Stand at this show will be intense so early registration is advised. Places will be allocated to qualified client companies on a first come, first served basis.