In an interview with Crain's Chicago Business, entrepreneur and current Groupon Board Chairman Ted Leonsis explains how small businesses are in a prime position to innovate and grow with mobile platforms and other digital marketing opportunities.
Unlike big businesses and Fortune 500 companies, which Leonsis describes as “frozen,” small businesses are not beholden to quarterly earnings, which means they can more easily use their cash flow in creative ways.
Here are some of the ways Leonsis believes small businesses can gain the competitive advantage in 2014:
- Embrace mobile technology. Leonsis says that “the average connected consumer has a desktop, a laptop, an iPad, and a phone,” and believes it is extremely important that small businesses have a presence “on all of those screens.” This includes having apps for phones, videos for streaming, and big fan and follower bases on Facebook and Twitter.
- Think about crowdfunding. Leonsis believes that there are more ways than ever for small businesses to get the financing they need because crowdfunding allows them to ask fans, neighbors, and consumers to pitch in.
- Take advantage of big data. Big data is not exclusively the realm of big companies. Leonsis says that “big data is like oxygen, and everyone needs to get used to it.” Small businesses can learn to study big data and apply it to their marketing efforts in order to grow their business just as well as large companies can. Leonsis urges small businesses to use Facebook, Google, and Groupon campaigns to “collect their own data” and “develop one-to-one relationships” with the people they serve.
One of the biggest bonuses of social media and mobile technology is that it tends to be cost-effective – if you know how to use it.
Cyber Liability Risk, Mobile Technology, and Social Media Marketing.
Cyber Liability risk might not be the first thing you think of when designing a mobile marketing campaign, but it's something that must be considered. When you use web technologies, you open yourself up to a host of threats, including data breaches.
A data breach occurs any time an unauthorized individual gains access to sensitive information, such as your client's names and financial numbers. For some industries – including the restaurant and retail industries – many data breaches occur through unsecure point-of-sale systems. But as more and more people are honing their online presences, cyber criminals are taking advantage of the system. Take a look at some of the exposures associated with mobile technology and social media to get an idea of how you're exposed.
- Hacking. Did you know that hackers can use social media to steal log-in information from unsuspecting social media users? Last month, Mashable reported that 2 million social media accounts were compromised in a single wide-scale hack last year. Hackers can use these channels to install malware and spyware on your computer or phone, which can compromise your entire system. Other types of phishing and pharming schemes have been concealed beneath the “share” and “like” buttons on Facebook.
- Online scams. The FBI's Counterintelligence website warns that “humans are the weak link in cyber security.” Specialized hackers, sometimes called “social engineers” forge and manipulate online relationships until they are in a position to exploit them. Social engineers can be tricky and their ploys often seem legitimate. You might not know you're even dealing with a cyber criminal until it's too late.
- Oversharing. The FBI website explains that once information is posted via a social media channel, it is no longer private. You may not even realize you are posting information that could later be used against you or your colleagues. But the more information about your business you share, the more likely it is that someone could impersonate your business and trick customers and associates into giving them even more information.
A data breach does not come cheap. Besides your tarnished reputation, experts estimate that the per-record (per person) cost of a data breach is around $188. Multiply that by all your social media fans and followers, and you can see how it adds up. For more information on cyber threats, read the rest of the FBI webpage and check out our blog post “Using Facebook to Grow Your Business? Know the Risks & Exposures.”
And also know that Cyber Liability Insurance (sometimes called Cyber Risk or Data Breach Insurance) can protect your business from the high costs associated with data leaks and breaches. Read “4 Reasons Your Business Should Have Cyber Liability Insurance” on our blog to learn more.