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Solving the Digital Disconnect: A Study on Connecting with Corporate Buyers with Confidence

St. Louis, MO | Posted: 03/31/2017 | Author: April Koenig

Solving the Digital Disconnect: A Study on Connecting with Corporate Buyers with Confidence

A heavy focus on women businesses and advancement programs for women remains in top headlines of the news and political circles.

Creatives On Call was asked to collaborate on a research project with Slice Communications & Cogberry Creative to examine the obstacles and barriers of women-owned businesses.  The question that stirred the project was:

Why are women owning more business today than they were in 2007, and yet are still not acquiring equal shares of business opportunities proportionately?  

The research findings were release at the March 2017 WBE Summit & Salute Conference.  The research title Solving the WBE Digital Disconnect: Connect to Corporate Buyers with Confidence speaks to what we believe is a major hurdle for many women business owners.

The 19-page research document analyzes the business development endeavors of women from several angles, but most comprehensively from the digital marketing and social media perspective.  It speaks clearly to an unspoken truth that needs to be articulated to all women business owners who have not leverage the power of digital marketing & advertising as a major tool for advancing their businesses.  As a woman-owned & operated business that specializes in managing a network of over 15,000 talented creative individuals nationally within the practices of digital, design, advertising, marketing and social media, I heartily recommend this as a beginning to an exploration on the subject matter.  I was fortunate enough to have the advantage of owning a business that afforded me advance knowledge in this area (and steady mentorship from my husband that owed an interactive technology firm for over 17 years); not all women have this opportunity or access to understanding the importance of utilizing these tools for the advancements of their businesses.

As you read through this study you will see the overwhelming disconnect of information surrounding the adequate communication of women's businesses in the digital realm. It is a strong and compelling argument as to why women business are struggling (other factors are noted as well), despite having solid business acumen in every other aspect. The study also offers an underlining call to action message to both women business owners to take this seriously and as well as for corporate buyers to understand the value of performing comprehensive corporate buyer research beyond just imploring a digital presence as the primary source of validation.

The compelling take away from this document is for all women business owners:

    • We all need to take on the responsibility to educate ourselves on producing better digital communications for our businesses;

   • We all must make the necessary business decisions to drive compelling digital marketing & social media for our businesses;

(and finally for all those who already know how important this area is to the growth of our sister's businesses…)

    • We should stand up and offer a helping hand to other women businesses who need guidance on understanding how to close the gaps of their digital disconnect.

Please share this study with any woman-owned business owner you know and/or corporate purchasing agent.

www.creativesoncall.com www.wbedigitaldisconnect.com

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Visit Link: www.wbedigitaldisconnect.com

Women's Digital Disconnect Study Press Release

Posted: 03/10/2017 | Author: April L. Koenig

Women's Digital Disconnect Study Press Release

WBE DIGITAL DISCONNECT STUDY – PRESS RELEASE

New Study Reveals the Digital Disconnect Between Women-Owned Firms and Corporate Buyers

More than 2 out 3 women-owned firms do not have the right online presence to be competitive

A “digital disconnect” was uncovered between what women-owned firms are presenting in the digital space and how corporate buyers initiate and conduct supplier research. This is according to a new study conducted by Slice CommunicationsCogberry Creative, and Creatives On Call along with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. 

The study shows that out of almost 900 WBEs, approximately 64% of surveyed WBEs do not maintain a current or active social media presence.  In addition, 45% of the WBEs surveyed have a website that does not adequately communicate the products/service they offer. More than 270 of the 500 members of the S&P 500 publicly advertise supplier diversity and inclusion programs.  However, WBEs are not meeting those buyers’ marketing expectations. 

The intention of the study was to understand the reasons behind why WBEs were missing out on market share despite a climate of access in the supplier inclusion industry. The team combed through almost 900 women-owned businesses’ websites and social media accounts across 43 states uncovering a “digital disconnect” between what WBEs were presenting in the digital space and how corporate buyers typically initiate and conduct supplier research. 

“In today’s digital-driven society, it’s imperative that businesses keep up with the constant changes,” said Cass Bailey, CEO and Founder of Slice Communications. “Running a marketing agency that specializes in both social media and public relations, we see so many companies that barely have a social media presence. Conducting this study only solidified the current situation.  WBEs need to reevaluate their online presence in order to meet the expectations of corporate buyers.” 

As a result of this analysis, the team was able to create a weighted average system and resulting classification rubric to help organizations articulate next steps for implementing a successful social media strategy.  Businesses can take the test to see where they fall on a scale from 0-4, 4 being completely branded on each social platform. 

The full study will be released to the public as a resource on March 21, 2017, to help WBEs evaluate their marketing and scale their digital and social media best practices to meet buyer expectations.  An executive summary is now available online.

Slice Communications, Cogberry Creative, and Creatives on Call are all women-owned firms certified through the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).

About Slice Communications

Slice Communications is an integrated communications agency with fully dedicated public relations and social media teams that provide clients with actionable content and data-oriented approaches. Integrated public relations and social media efforts are vital to accomplishing business goals when looking to grow and expand awareness of a company. For clients in a wide variety of industries, such as technology, financial services, non-profit and food and beverage, Slice Communications executes a proprietary communications strategy: Targeted Audience + Compelling Content = Measurable Action.

About Cogberry Creative

Cogberry Creative is a content strategy firm assessing market impact, building brand equity, and engaging targeted audiences through powerful messaging.  Visit www.Cogberry.com for more information. 

About Creatives on Call

Creatives on Call is a national creative network that specializes in consulting, curating, managing and activating creative talent in advertising, marketing, communications, and digital and social media specialities.  For more information, visit CreativesOnCall.com

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Second-Tier Cities - Opportunities for Creatives.

Posted: 02/16/2017 | Author: April L. Koenig

Second-Tier Cities - Opportunities for Creatives.

It’s common opinion that the best jobs and top talent are highly concentrated in the "first-tier" urban centers like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta etc... Or not?

It used to be conventional wisdom that those entering the job market (or reentering) who desired top opportunities and pay had to locate to one of "those" first-tier locations...especially creatives.

First-tier cities have long been thought to be the best places to absorb and have total immersion of the cultural arts - anything outside these meccas- was just passe.

But the soil has been tilled and is now fertile in second-tier cities. Look around at the second tier cities and then look at the major urban hubs that are exhausting their best resources, humans.  The flight of first-tier living talent is drifting like dandelion seeds, parachuting onto the richer soils of second cities for personal enrichment and growth - especially in the Midwest’s backyard - a sanctuary of amazing second-tier cities.  The Digital Prairie has now become standard vernacular for creative and tech recruiters.

So what started this revolution?  As with all revolutions a beckoning call for justice and fair living standards.  The cost of living 2015 in first-tier cities outpaced salaries. In Los Angeles rent rose twice as fast as inflation and this year in San Francisco rent grew a wincing 15%; SF residents' purchasing power is shrinking, work days are increasing leaving little time or means to learn, enrich, share or explore – the talent is fatigued and getting bored.

So is it any wonder that the fastest growing cities in the past 10 years have included such "second-tier" locals as Nashville, Houston, Austin, Raleigh, Seattle, Denver, St. Louis and Cincinnati. It’s cheaper to live, combined with cleaner air, less traffic, desirable homes and more green space. All that is readily available and welcoming for new second-tier city dwellers; an individual can still work for a sizable company with an above average income by Midwest standards (but only average income by first-tier city standards).

Technology has made it easier for people to live in places other than the first-tier cities and still have access to jobs within the largest organizations in the country.  The use of tools like Slack,GoToMeeting, BlueJeans,Dropbox,Google Hangouts & Drive, Skype Meeting and many other key communication and sharing tools allow for efficient and disciplined remote workers to enter into the first-tier cities workforce daily and retain all the beloved benefits of the second-tier living.

Who do we see benefitting the most from within tier-two cities? Ta-dah - Creatives! (Just because we don’t like math doesn’t mean we aren’t smart!)  More creatives are moving to these second-tier cities and bringing with them their innovative ideas and technology.  Followed quickly by their BFF’s; the trend-setters, the artistically endowed, and the flag wavers of the new really-living cultural and political movements.  

Surveys by several freelance management platforms suggest that 1/3 of freelancers say they were able to move as a result of the flexibility that technology and freelancing offers them.

Inc. Magazine states that 70% of employees would switch jobs if it gave them more flexibility.  http://www.inc.com/will-yakowicz/your-employees-willing-to-quit-over-desk.html

To sweeten the movement for employers to consider remote employees in second-tier cities (make it a creative employee and you add a cherry on top) is the fact that employees are 65% more productive working outside the office.  The perk of reducing coastal time differences by even just an hour with the deployment of team members in the Midwest allows for corporate efficiencies that coast to coast corporations have to normally just “deal” with (or expect employees to be available after their work days should be over).  Companies now know that those crazy creatives living in the second-tier cities are working smarter, are just as culturally enriched, just as trend-setting, just as fashion forward, just as tech-loving and more cost effective.

Perfect reasons to love what second-tier cities have to offer.

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