Women in Small Business: Why They Thrive

By Jennifer Jope

Women and business might just be the perfect match.

While we should applaud the recent growth in multi-million dollar female-owned organizations, women are also instrumental in bringing success to small businesses. An added perk? We’re gaining valuable experience at the same time. The best news? There are benefits both for the employers who employ women and for the women themselves.

For Employers: Women Are Good For Business

The numbers don’t lie. Women bring more money to the table.

According to the infographic, Women Rising: Women, Work and What’s Next, companies whose boards include the sustained representation of at least three women board directors outperform those with no female directors:

  • Return on sales: +42%
  • Return on invested capital: +66%
  • Return on equity: +53%

Today, women are better educated than men earning 60% of bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Despite having the smarts, they have faced an uphill battle in the workplace, but we’ve turned it into a positive. Faced with challenges, women are better than ever at strategic thinking and finding creative solutions.

And, any good business owner knows that women influence the economy. As a recent Forbes article points out, the majority of consumer spending is female-driven indicating that women know what makes a good product or service.

For Women: Small Business Gives You Experience

Forbes called 2014 a breakout year for female entrepreneurs and 2015 is looking the same way. Why? Women have proven they can build robust teams and problem-solve differently than men. We’re experts in a variety of industries, but perhaps most importantly, we support each other.

By doing this, we are going from unknown status to business mogul status.

Women in small business are seeing their visions come to fruition. Strong communication skills and great networking chops are often innate in us, but as small business leaders, we can hone these abilities even further. With a stronger skill set, you’ll be able to conquer larger challenges that come your way.

Running a small business forces you to fight for what you believe in, get scrappy when necessary and thoroughly understand the bottom line. Who doesn’t want to be good at that?

Tips to Succeed:

  • Ditch perfectionism: Failures will happen. Learn from them.
  • Be supportive: Empower, mentor and support fellow women. It will pay off.
  • Keep learning: No matter how high you climb, learning should never stop.
  • Keep your eye on the prize: Stay passionate and trust your instincts to stay focused.
  • Have a voice: Speak up to make a difference.

If your small business is ready to expand, hiring women for the development phase could be the smartest move you make.

Running a company will always have uncertainties, but one thing is crystal clear: Women have the power to learn new skills on the job and shape the next generation of business.

Featured image via Flickr CC: Steve wilson

Jennifer Jope is a content manager for AllBusinessSchools.com. She is a former banking and real estate reporter and personal finance writer.

What you need to know about the FTC disclosure guidelines

“Just like my Facebook page for a chance to win a Visa gift card.”

“Review my software application and I’ll give you a year of free service.”

“Tweet out ‘Product xyz is awesome’ for amazing prizes.”

Each of those is a no-no under the FTC’s expanded guidelines about disclosure.

As a brand, if you are soliciting endorsements, reviews, or other social media promotion from someone, you are responsible for making them aware of the disclosure rules. That means reminding them that promotional Tweets must have #ad or #sponsored or some other language that lets the reader know the Tweet was solicited. And no, the FTC doesn’t care that you only have 140 characters.

As a writer/reviewer, you need to be careful about telling your readers that you received something in exchange for any written review or endorsement. The disclosure needs to be clear, prominent, and honest. You cannot say you liked something if you never actually tried it. (One would think that doesn’t even need to be said, but hey.)

This doesn’t mean that brands can’t offer free samples, or send out books for review, or run contests. It means the brand has to find a way to tell the audience (in whatever format available) that there was an exchange.

The value of the item in question is also important. There’s a difference between a KitKat candy bar sample you got at the Mall, and the free use of a new car for a month.

If you are using an agency or another 3rd party to run your social media campaigns, you are still the one responsible for compliance. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on the disclosure instructions being passed on to your audience by the agency or contractor.

There’s a lot of buzz around activating employees on social media as well. The guidelines make it clear that having your employer listed in your profile isn’t enough to establish disclosure. If you are an employee endorsing or promoting the product your company makes, you need to note your relationship within the context of the promotional post or review. Employers must also make it clear to employees that disclosure is required.

If these guidelines affect your role as a marketer or business owner, I strongly recommend that you go read the entire document. The rules have been in place for a while now, but the example scenarios and questions that were recently added make it even more clear that we all need to be paying attention.

In summary: honesty is always the best policy.

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the Hoop.la community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

 

Use Podcasts to Enhance Your Business

My Apple Watch arrived a couple of weeks ago, and so far, it’’s been a wonderful tool for reminders, notifications, and fitness tracking. (Thanks for reminding me that I’’ve been parked at my desk for 2 hours!)

Unexpectedly, it’’s also helping me enjoy more podcasts, via the Overcast app. (The Apple Watch doesn’t currently support the native iPhone Podcast app, for some reason).

Podcasting is experiencing a resurgence over the last few years, having originated in the 1980’’s and dropped (mostly) from the public eye in the 1990’s. I always dabbled in podcast listening, but never really paid attention to the business possibilities until I discovered Christopher Penn and John Wall’’s Marketing Over Coffee several years ago. This was ““patient zero”” for my own podcast awakening.

In 2014, Edison Research noted that “podcasting is bigger than you think,” in its Share of Ear study. With the ever widening array of content, we are looking to audio as an easy to digest path to consumption.

Whether you’re interested in communications, marketing, PR, running a small business, or the latest crime documentary (you can slip in some Serial if you like), there is a podcast for you. Learn about anything, while working out, folding laundry, or flying to Chicago.

How do you discover new podcasts?

There is a new website built for podcast discovery: Convince & Convert’’s MarketingPodcasts.com. Type in your parameters and find the exact podcast you’’re seeking, by topic, by host name, or by popularity. It’’s basically podcast heaven.

Another great podcast resource is BlogTalkRadio, which categorizes shows, allows you to subscribe, and if you’’re feeling bold, start your own podcast. Podcasts hosted on BlogTalkRadio include a live chat feature, so that you can talk to other listeners as well.

If you’’d rather have an app for that, you can download Stitcher, which will learn your listening preferences over time and make recommendations for you. You can also use it to ““stitch”” together podcasts and shows to make your own personal radio station.

Some new podcasts to whet your appetite

If you’re ready to start listening, here are some of my favorite new podcasts. Smart people talking about business, life, taking risks, and doing it with guts.

Do you have a favorite new podcast? Are you considering hosting your own show? Please share with us!

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for Social Strata — makers of the Hoop.la community platform. Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee

 

Are you tapped into the Asian market?



This invitation comes courtesy of SOB community member Mitch Arnowitz. You can’t build a successful business without expanding your horizons beyond your front door. Consider the huge market opportunity presented in Asia:

Think Asia, Think Hong Kong – “the largest Hong Kong promotional event in North America“ is being held in Chicago on June 10th, 2015.

Produced by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, this free symposium is connecting businesses in the US and Canada with Asia’s markets. Programming includes a visiting technology mission, business-matching meetings and a panel of industry experts who will explore the developments and opportunities in using RMB for payment, investment and Financing.

Mission topics include new materials for industrial/manufacturing applications and start-ups for tech acquisition.

Interesting sessions are planned that include company execs revealing how they’re using technological advancement in manufacturing to foster long-term economic development.

Speakers include Mr. James Thompson, GBS (Chairman and Founder, Crown Worldwide Group), Mr. Gebhard Rainer (President and Chief Operating Officer, Coach, Inc.) and Mr. Howard Tullman (Chief Executive Officer, 1871).

At Think Asia, Think Hong Kong, Successful Blog readers will learn:

  • How to collaborate with Mainland China on technology and R&D
  • How to sell to China and Asia through Hong Kong
  • How to ride the Chinese outbound investment wave

Find out more and register at: Think Asia, Think Hong Kong

—–

Think Asia, Think Hong Kong promotes Hong Kong as Asia’s central business district, the first stop for overseas companies entering the Asian market, and the global gateway to China. Follow us on Twitter @TATHK_USA, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Are You Dialed-in to Telecommuting?

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Communications technology is making the notion of working from home or other remote locations commonplace in today’s business world.

If your business and its employees are missing out on the convenience of telecommuting, then it’s time to give the “work from anywhere” approach a shot.

To give you a better idea of how the telecommunications atmosphere works, here are just a few advantages of going the telecommuting route with your business:

Keeping up with the Trend

Businesses all across the country are adopting a telecommuting mindset and the trend is continuing to grow.

In fact, according to the Telework Research Network, nearly 30 million Americans from all walks of life telecommute on a regular basis.

In addition, the number of telecommuters in the U.S. is expected to increase by more than 50% in the five years.

If your business is looking for a convenient, effective work alternative to the 9 to 5, then telecommuting has a number of built-in benefits for both your company and its employees.

Cost Effectiveness

Sure, telecommuting saves your employees’ money in terms of lunches, office attire, and daily commuting costs, but it also saves your business money.

Not only are telecommunication systems affordable, but telecommuting employees also reduces your business’s overhead costs.

Telecommuting employees free up more space in your office, which means you’ll save money on leased square footage.

As the following article shows, in terms of “How business phone systems can make telecommuting work”, your business can also route calls directly to your employees’ home offices. This means each telecommuter will save you money on office energy costs and your clients won’t even know they’re dealing with someone outside of the office.

Improved Productivity

Ask anyone who works 9 to 5 and they’ll likely tell you the same: schedule flexibility leads to improved productivity.

Although it may not seem like it, working from the office comes with plenty of distractions, such as disruptive employees or an environment that’s not always conducive to continuous work.

But, telecommuting provides your employees the quiet comfort of working from their own home, which oftentimes improves productivity.

With the right home environment, telecommuters can work continuously and without interruption, which means tasks, projects, and daily assignments will be completed much faster.

Increased Availability

The schedule flexibility and improved productivity that telecommuting provides leads to an increase in availability.

Telecommuting employees are able to get work done faster and more efficiently, which means they’ll have the opportunity to increase their workload. Likewise, by working from home, your employees will have the opportunity to take on assignments at any time without any 9 to 5 constraints.

Setting up the Ground Rules

As with implementing any new protocol into your business, you will need to set up some telecommuting ground rules for your employees. These might include requiring your employees to have an adequate, dependable workspace in their home.

Additionally, you may have to require your telecommuting employees to check in with you or their supervisor at least once a day. This will cover any accountability issues that may arise with employees who might take advantage of their newfound freedom.

When it comes to workplace efficiency, it’s plain to see that telecommuting can improve your business and the lives of your employees.

Photo credit: Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including employee health and workplace productivity.

How Technology is Powering Success

By Teddy Hunt

The year was 1994. Katie Couric, Bryant Gumbel, and their guest sat around a quaint coffee table between NBC’s “Today” segments and pondered the pronunciation of the “@” symbol. “That little mark,” he said. “With the ‘a’ and then the ring around it. Couric said she thought it was ‘about.'” He went on to ask, “What is the Internet, anyway? Do you write to it, like mail?”

Just two decades ago, this was the reality, even among some of the most successful, high-profile people in our society. Now, the Internet and other forms of technology have become ingrained in our culture, and for good reason. Businesses and the people who run them depend on technology for success in many ways. 

technology to print on potato chip

Improving Efficiency

In today’s economy, a business has to squeeze out every ounce of productivity to remain competitive and successful, and technology provides us with many avenues to accomplish just that.

Efficiency serves as technology’s over-arching theme; it encompasses everything we’ve come to love and expect of the wonderful little gadgets we depend on. We can retrieve and share data in an instant, swipe a magical piece of plastic in exchange for goods and services, and tasks that we once performed by hand are now being streamlined by technology, void of human error.

Expanding Knowledge

Have you ever stopped to consider the sheer volume of information available to you on the Internet? Why not use that to your advantage? Except for encyclopedia salesmen, just about every other business person is reaping the benefits of unlimited amounts of knowledge with just the click of a button.

Internet searching brings you everything from interview dos and don’ts, to market trends, to tips on how to start your first business, all without ever having to leave your home. Even if you do leave your home, that same information is available to you on a smartphone or tablet. Technology is constantly reshaping the nature of knowledge, giving us the potential to be smarter and more efficient than ever before.

Instantaneous Communication

We’ve come a long way since the first mobile phone call in 1973. Communication on the go has become a necessity in the business world. Email and smartphones have changed the way we communicate with our peers and our customers by providing us with a variety of instantaneous connections. We can run our offices from the road if we have to, or instantly respond to customer inquiries after hours. No matter how personal you believe old-fashioned snail mail to be, the reality is that technology has taken over communication. Putting pen to paper puts you a step behind the competition. 

Promoting Open Mindedness 

As technology evolves, a successful person must learn to adapt. New developments keep us on our toes because we understand the importance of being up to speed when it comes to new technologies that could better our businesses.
This translates very well to being adaptive in general. All too often, we dig our heels in and resist change because our way of doing things works. Eventually, we must accept that it’s possible for something else to come along that works better. As technology grows, we should be willing to follow suit. 

Shrinking the World

Consider this scenario: A journalist on location in an unknown Middle Eastern village witnesses the beginnings of what could turn out to be a breaking news story. She pulls out her trusty 4G smartphone, snaps a few high resolution photos, and uses the phone to type a brief news blurb about what just took place. She can instantly upload all of that information to her news site. 

Technology eliminates boundaries. We can use it to manipulate the business world and in our professions in ways we couldn’t before. It brings everything to our fingertips so that we may, in turn, deliver it to someone else. 
Technology continues to redefine our culture as it grows. We should all be willing to use it to learn and become better at what we do because, without it, we would truly be in the dark.

Author’s Bio: Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.

Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Compfight cc

How money and love are related

Money doesn’t make the world go ’round. Although commerce is, in many ways, the physical manifestation of energy which the global civilization agrees upon as a unit of measure, money itself isn’t the force that propels the world forward.

The emotion behind the expenditure of money is.

Since money is a manifestation of energy, its ebbs and flows are also subject to physics. Stagnation begets atrophy; circulation, vibrancy. Investing in people, ideas and ingenuity brings growth.

“The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

This week’s installment is pretty esoteric. There are no solutions, only questions. I’m interested in your perspective more than I care about my own digital $.02. I’d rather your comments fill this space than my words. Over the past few months, I’ve been trying to comprehend the confluence of love and money, and finding that I’m coming up short.

As I am wont to say, I’ve run out of brain.

  • How do we make this a better world?
  • How do we invest in each other?
  • How does empowerment translate in the specific?
  • How is consensus built by disparate groups?

Using the analogy of water as money as an illustration, I sometimes see pennies as water drops that run down the windshield of a car that is moving through the rain. Smatterings and droplets become rivulets that build larger and larger drops (dollars) until the collective mass of the drop becomes so large that physics kicks in and the water rushes past toward a target.

  • What property of the “pennies” drives cohesion?
  • What propels the dollars forward?
  • At what point does money reach critical mass and drive action?
  • What is the symbiosis between money and intention?
  • What serves as the gravitational center that determines the money’s endpoint?
  • What does the shift between love and money resemble?

Will we recognize it when [as] it happens? Is it “impact investing“ Is it social capitalism? Is it social entrpreneurism? How do you reconcile the physical manifestation of your values? What does your money say?

———

Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” them on facebook.

4 Fundamental Workplace Changes of the Last 20 Years

By Teddy Hunt

Renovated, repurposed, and re-engineered. Today’s workplace has clearly changed over the past two decades. As people and politics evolve, it’s important to remember that, for better or worse, change happens. Here are four fundamental workplace changes that transpired over the last 20 years.

Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y

Baby Boomers, born roughly between the years of 1947-1966, still play an active role in today’s work force. Two younger generations now share center stage with them in the world of gainful employment: Generation X and Generation Y.

Gen X members were born roughly between 1965-1983; Gen Y members hail from the years 1984-2002. Although the two cohorts might share a workplace, they don’t necessarily share the same attitude toward work itself. Maureen Hoch of the Harvard Business Review reports that Gen X employees tend to focus more on their home life, shirking work responsibilities in favor of family time more often than their Gen Y counterparts. Gen Y folks tend to “merge their work and home lives” more than any other age group.

Members of Gen Y, sometimes labeled the “Me Generation,” are also more prone to “job hop” than members of Gen X. While this might be an inconvenience for HR departments, fickle Gen Y folks are more likely to settle down in the long run with a job that truly fulfills them.

Education: Higher and Higher

Graduation rates
Image via Flickr by Thirty30 Photography

Now more than ever, society views high school graduation as an essential step toward employment. Approximately 83 percent of Americans age 25 and up have graduated from high school. College grads account for nearly 25 percent of all people.

A person’s education directly impacts the amount of money they can expect to earn. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a person with a doctoral degree brings home a weekly income of $1,600 or more. A person with a Bachelor’s degree earns around $1,000 per week, while a person with a high school diploma receives a check for about $600 per week.

The demographics of employment landscape are making a shift in the recent years due to technological advancements in most work fields. Analysts predict the slow decline of manufacturing jobs and the rise of the service-oriented careers, including IT and finance jobs, but with all change comes evolution as well. New career fields are popping up, and whether you’re wanting to invest in a financial career or looking for a brand new career field, the time for change is now.

Policy Changes: FMLA

The Family Medical Leave Act of 1993 brought job security to new mothers, people with long-term illnesses, and family members of those deployed by the military. Employers must continue a person’s health coverage during job-protected medical leave, according to FMLA law. The benefits last for up to 12 weeks.

A caveat: The law applies only to companies that employ 50 people or more. According to a 2012 Labor Department survey, 17 percent of all workplaces in the U.S. fall into this category.

More than half of all FMLA leaves occur for personal health reasons, while about 20 percent result from maternity leave. Military FMLA is rare, accounting for only about 2 percent of all FMLA absences.

Lean Enterprise

In the late 1980s, Toyota unveiled a concept of business efficiency called “Lean Enterprise.” Today, the quest for efficiency, or “lean thinking,” drives business operations like never before.

In a nutshell, a lean enterprise strives to simultaneously maximize customer satisfaction and minimize waste.

A lean enterprise asks itself the following questions:

• How can we help customers in a way that grows our business?

• How can we streamline and optimize all processes used by our organization?

• How can we engage our employees for maximum product quality and efficiency?

• How can we work as a team to buoy our company to a higher level?

The surge in “lean thinking” over recent years is attributed, at least in part, to increased competition and fickle customer demand. Consumers today want a low-cost, high-quality product that provides immediate gratification. Companies seek to supply that product so their customers stay satisfied in today’s highly competitive business world.

The face of the modern workplace is changing. Employees hail from younger, more educated generations. They expect more from their employers, and their employers expect more from them. As education and innovation continue to blossom, more interesting changes surely await today’s working population.

Staying abreast of shifts and trends in the workplace, generational differences (and similarities), and regulatory changes is just one crucial component of being an informed leader.

Author’s Bio: Teddy Hunt is a freelance content writer with a focus on technology. When not behind a computer, Teddy spends the majority of his free time outdoors and resides in Tampa, Florida.

4 Ways To Make Your Blog More Newsworthy

By Kelly Gregorio

Business blogs are great; they can connect you with your audience, provide you with an outlet to interact and help in your ever-lasting effort to develop a positive brand image.

But as the popularity of business blogging has increased, so has its blandness. Hundreds upon hundreds of business blogs are out there, making it difficult for audience members to know which quality blogs are worth following.

One deciding factor is a blog’s newsworthiness. Now, no one is asking you to break hard news, but there are some steps you can take to position your blog as relevant and timely. Read on to discover 4 additions you can make to your blog while providing content that is relevant, relatable and on-trend.

1. Host an Interview

Even if you aren’t well-versed in the latest news within your industry, there other experts out there who have that expertise. Consider inviting a newsworthy person onto your blog’s pages in the form of an interview. Audience members will enjoy a fresh perspective and a twist in your normal content delivery.

Once more, even though it’s not you who is providing the “newsworthy” commentary, your effort to connect your audience with this type of information will still position you as a leader in your field. When prompting someone for an interview, point out ways in which you could cross-promote (perhaps they have an upcoming book or service they’re offering); your best bet for landing an awesome interview is to craft a win-win.

2. Comment on Current Events

When big news hits it seems like every news outlet is reporting on it (and based on the same passed-around press release, the same story easily gets recycled.) However, just because a hot story has been reported on doesn’t mean you can’t provide your own unique twist and angle, i.e., your own perspective.

Add in some commentary on relevant current events; see if you can get people sharing and debating certain ideas. Add a twist to a popular subject by posing “what if” scenarios to your audience. Use your imagination to spice up the contemplation of black and white facts.

3. Report on Personal Trends

While it may not be the top trending topic, within your own small business you break news and witness the emergence of new trends all of the time. Consider ways in which you could turn your own entrepreneurial experiences into relevant story lines. Not only will audience members get use out of your action-oriented advice, but by sharing your personal stories and situations, you are likely to increase loyalty and engagement by opening up and letting followers in.

4. Set Up “Google Alerts”

Based on your industry there are certain key words that float around your immediate atmosphere. Setting up a free and simple Google alert is one way to get a jump on new developments and reports.

Whether you end up reporting on the information your alerts deliver or not, an act like this is just good measure as it allows you to stay on top of what’s trending within your industry. In one way or another that engaged education will be reflected either in your blog or other areas of your business. Staying current and educated is everything – especially for the busy entrepreneur.

How newsworthy is your blog?

Author’s Bio: Kelly Gregorio writes about small business topics while working at Advantage Capital Funds, a provider of merchant cash advances. You can read her daily business blog here http://www.advantagecapitalfunds.com/blog/.

Book Review: Absolute Value, By Itamar Simonson & Emanuel Rosen

What happens when marketers get naked?

Absolute Value: What Really Influences Customers in the Age of (Nearly) Perfect Information, is the answer to that question.

Stripped of their exclusive access to broadcast media, stripped of their information monopoly, stripped of their banner ads, stripped of their SEO tricks, marketers in 2014 have awakened to a new reality. Consumers have access such a diverse array of data that they can (if they choose) make much more informed purchasing decisions.

This book explores how this state of affairs came to be, how consumers are dealing with their access, and how marketers might still be able to add their voice to the mix.

“In a world with improved access to high-quality information, more and more decisions will be based on absolute values, resulting in better choices overall.” Absolute Value, Simonson & Rosen

The Marketer is Being Stripped, Bit by Bit

Tools like positioning and persuasion are less effective because consumers can see behind the wizard curtain by reading blogs, talking to other consumers, and reading reviews.

The value of brand and loyalty is disappearing as consumers are able to rely on a huge amount of actual information from experts and weak-tie fellow consumers. Simonson & Rosen suggest that a consumer’s decision to buy is affected by a mix of three related sources: individual preferences, beliefs, and experiences (P); other people and information services (O); and marketers (M). Marketers need to be aware of where their audience lies on the POM continuum so that they can respond accordingly. Which information does your typical customer rely on most heavily?

The power of advertising has been undercut as well. There must be a shift away from random banner ads to get “top of mind” awareness, and toward ads that are closer to the decision point and provide actionable information to the person as they are about to buy. Top of mind ads are less effective because they get overwritten by other info that comes along in the noise stream.

Another tool in the marketing arsenal was the traditional funnel. There used to be a reliable, predictable path from awareness to action. The new consumer doesn’t care about the funnel. He/she will now often employ what Simonson & Rosen term “couch tracking,” accumulating lots of information over time, even before the need for a product is identified. Marketers need to focus more attention on the couch-trackers, who frequent online communities and forums as they have a certain product or brand “on their radar,” because they are likely to make a decision before marketers are even aware of them.

What Happens Now?

When power is taken away from the marketers, does it come at the expense of good business decisions? Will consumers use the big data available to them to support good decisions or will it lead to more irrationality as they choose the sources of data they want to use?

Will consumers with limited or no access to the additional data be more susceptible to manipulation because they don’t have access? Will marketers be hip to that and use it to their advantage?

Perhaps we will end up with “less sugar in our information diet” and “less sugarcoating” as real-world reviews and referrals take the place of rotating banner ads.

The release of this book could not be more timely. Within the conversations about big data, content shock, and influencer marketing, there must be a discussion of the absolute value proposition.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advance copy of this book free from Harper Business. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Author’s Bio: Rosemary O’Neill is an insightful spirit who works for social strata — a top ten company to work for on the Internet . Check out the Social Strata blog. You can find Rosemary on Google+ and on Twitter as @rhogroupee