Tag Archives: website

4CDesignWorks Maintains Excellence

The outstanding merits of the 4CDesignWorks team has made achievement the standard in the creative division of 4CTechnologies. 4CDesignWorks has yet again earned recognition from Graphic Design USA, the preeminent marketing publication and esteemed industry authority. In 2016 4CTechnologies is proud to accept the American Graphic Design Award for which it has been honored for 9 separate works produced this past year.

winners

 

Out of an impressive 10,000 entries, 4C is honored to have these 9 submissions a part of the top 15% selected for recognition. We at 4CTechnologies truly believe that continually accumulating awards such as these is a genuine reflection of our superior service and the distinguished quality of work that we consistently deliver to our valued clients.

 

Contributed by Patrick Donnelly, Marketing and Sales Intern
Along with his work at 4C, Patrick is a full-time marketing and digital media arts student at Duquesne University. Before Patrick joined the 4C team he was employed as a sales associate at Nordstrom since April of 2015. Outside of the office and classroom Patrick enjoys the outdoors, traveling, and kicking it on the soccer field.

After the Holidays Marketing How-To

The holiday season isn’t just an important time of year for the retail industry – it’s an excellent marketing opportunity for all businesses. Whether you’re looking to increase awareness about your brand, gain customers, or simply keep your current clients engaged – there are a few out-of-the-box ideas that can have people talking well into the summer months.

Host a holiday get together – after the holidays. Wait until the dust settles and invite clients and prospects to your office in mid- to late-January or even in February. Make it a winter themed event (think blue and silver), have a simple buffet, a few passed hors d’ oeuvres and a signature cocktail. Caterers may even be willing to work within a tighter budget to get business during an otherwise slow time of the year. The themes and possibilities are endless! Make this a relaxed social event, a networking opportunity – not a sales session. Show the customers you’ve been serving or courting all year that you appreciate them and want to continue to stay in contact through 2016 – and beyond.

Beautiful silver gift

Schedule an Account Review. A new year is a perfect opportunity to reflect on past challenges and future plans. Everyone is starting fresh after a long holiday break. Take advantage of this renewed energy and schedule an account review session with your clients!

Send “Happy New Year” cards. Holiday cards are great, but a card arriving in the first few weeks of January, wishing your clients and prospects a fruitful and successful year, won’t get overlooked in the excess of Christmas cheer. Use this vehicle to promote your brand and create awareness about what you do, all while sending best wishes for the coming year. And send real paper cards with a mailing address and a stamp!

happy new year gold

Take advantage of New Year’s resolutions. We all make them (or at least say we did) and rarely follow through. Target specific prospects with an email or phone call offering a free consultation to bring them back to discussions you had the previous year.

“So Jim, I’m thinking your New Year’s resolution should be to really get serious about your company’s outreach. Let me come in and talk to you about your marketing and public relations efforts. We can chat about updating your website and brand too, if time allows. Let’s set up 30 minutes, before the year gets away from us!”

Your goal for the New Year? Make a new marketing initiative commitment (I won’t call it a resolution) – and follow through. None of these options have to be expensive or complicated. With a little creativity and excitement you can do more than you think!

 

 

 

 

 

Where are You on the Analytics Value Chart?

This post is part of a series on how the 9 Laws of Data Mining from Tom Khabaza can be applied to analytics. You can find previous posts here.

Law #8: “Value Law” – The value of data mining results [and analytics] is not determined by the accuracy or stability of predictive models

In analytics, we evaluate accuracy by defining how often a model predicts values correctly.  Stability refers to the ability of a model to predict correctly on a consistent basis when the data sample is changed within a given population. If a model is stable, then the predictions will not change much when the data sample is changed for the same population.  Both accuracy and stability seem essential to the modeling process, so why does the 8th Law tell us that the value of data mining should not be determined by them?

The answer is that the value is not derived from the process, but from the end result. The 8th Law tells us that the value of the data mining process results from 1) the models ability to improve action (more effective business processes) and 2) the models ability to give insight that leads to an improved business strategy (better decisions).

A model that is overly complex may not have as much business value as a model that is less accurate.  The reason for this is that the cost associated with gathering the survey data for the calibration of the model could be very high; whereas a simpler model might lead us to the same business conclusion.  Khabaza encourages us to ask the question: “Is the model predicting the right thing, and for the right reasons?”  This relates back to Law #2 about business knowledge.  We can only determine whether a model is predicting the right thing for the right reasons if we know the context of the business problem that we are trying to solve. In addition, we can only determine the value of analytics if we think about value in terms of risk and reward.

Approach-to-Analytics-Spending---Line-Graph-WITHOUT_Title

The chart above encapsulates the goal of analytics investment in relation to the value (the desired net return) from the investment.  4CGeoWorks created this chart based on a discussion with Bill Huber, Owner/President of Quantitative Decisions.  Bill and I both strive to guide companies to make good business decisions that are based on good data and solid analytics.  We try to determine where a business falls along the curve and then how to get them to the optimum.

Some companies get lucky.  They spend a moderate amount on analytics and they reap huge rewards.  It is important to remember that there aren’t many companies in this category.  (The probability curve is not in your favor here.)  Getting value from analytics typically takes money and a lot of effort. If a company happens to be lucky in their analytics, then they probably don’t need our services (at least not until Law #9-the Law of Change-kicks in).

There are some companies (mostly very large businesses) that understand the value of analytics and they are willing to spend a lot of money to achieve their goals.  Those who have figured out how to make analytics work for their business have the enviable position of “Everybody Wins!”  Again, the percentage of businesses that fall into this category is likely to be very small.

A survey in 2012 indicated that only about 5% of businesses were using data analytics on a daily basis and considered it to be a core competency despite a majority of businesses using some form of data analytics.  Although that study is several years old, there is no indication that these percentages have changed dramatically. A smaller survey in 2015 of 316 executives of large, global companies found that only 8% of data scientists felt that their use of analytics was “best of breed” despite the fact that 90% of the large companies were using data analytics.

Other large businesses may spend a lot of money, but they don’t get a good return on their investment.  Most likely, they don’t follow the 9 Laws of Data Mining and ensure that the analytics are based upon business knowledge and objectives.  It could be a problem of hiring the wrong people or any number of internal accountability failures that cause the low return on investment.  For many of these companies, they don’t even know they have a problem, so it may be difficult for us to help them. If a company does recognize that they are not getting the best results from their analytics, we can assist in optimizing their approach.

Most small to midsize companies either do not invest in or spend very little on analytics because they don’t fully recognize the value that it could bring to their business.  By only spending a small amount on analytics, the company reduces the risk of a failed analytics project, but as a result they also are likely to derive fewer benefits which may put them at a competitive disadvantage. They could be missing out on returns that far outweigh their investment which would take their business to the next level. A consultant can provide real value for this company in educating them on the potential benefits from analytics and helping them establish best practices to ensure a good return while keeping investments closer to the optimum point.  So, where do you fall on the analytics value chart?

Tips to Increase your SEO

4CBlog_seoTips_IMG

One of the key factors we often look at when building or rebuilding a website is Search Engine Optimization. The term “Search Engine Optimization” is well known as “SEO” and has been a hot topic for the past several years. Ever since Google was just a twinkle in some tech-guys eye, back in the late ’90s.

SEO is one heckova buzzword that gets used extremely often. In many cases the demand from a company is “We want to be on the first page of results when we search” or “If we aren’t number 1, then why do we have a website?” – some may find this odd, but increasing SEO is no easy task. There are a number of activities that can be done to help increase your company searchability.

Continue reading Tips to Increase your SEO

Requirements Gathering and Selecting the Right Tool for the Job

Contributed by Technical Consultant, Matt Nicol

For most technology initiatives, there are many ways that a solution could be implemented. From a myriad of off-the-shelf products to a wide array of custom development solutions, there is no doubt that there is a way to successfully implement virtually any technology-based business application. In order for an initiative to be successful, however, many considerations must be made.

Above all, fully understanding the requirements of the business goal is key. Purchasing an off-the-shelf product or beginning development before the stakeholders have as detailed of an idea of how a system should operate as possible introduces unnecessary risks that can ultimately increase costs and reduce functionality. Gathering requirements is not always straightforward, however. Systems are typically used by many people, each with his or her own ideas for how to accomplish a given process.

right-tool-for-the-job-300x145

Before beginning to select a solution platform, it is often a good idea to organize the goals of a system into “need-to-have” and “nice-to-have” categories that are agreeable to stakeholders. To do this, it is also important to consider any broader business impacts the initiative may have. Answering questions like the following can help drive the best value that a system can provide: Will the system serve one specific need in isolation? Could any data, reports, or files produced by the system enhance or integrate any existing business process?

With a holistic idea of what an initiative should accomplish, it is now possible to begin considering how the system will be implemented. At this point, it is important for the parties driving the initiative to ascertain their own knowledge of the available solutions. Every person in an organization has his or her own areas of expertise, but those driving the initiative may not be subject matter experts on the inherent capabilities and limitations of various technology solutions. In such cases, the business and technological expertise offered by 4CTechnologies can be an invaluable resource for selecting and implementing an off-the-shelf or custom solution.