‘Connect and collect’ is biz mantra in 2011

Canadian companies that enable other businesses to connect with customers through social networks and mobile devices or firms that facilitate the gathering and measurement of customer and business data will prosper in the New Year, according to technology and SMB analysts.

“Never before has there been such an appetite for accessibility,” said Andy Woyzbun, lead analyst for London, Ont-based technology industry research firm Info-Tech.

Due to the boom in smartphone and tablet device adoption and the explosive growth of social media businesses of all sizes are clamouring to connect with prospective and existing customers now present in this area which has suddenly turned into a “giant marketplace,” Woyzbun explained.

“Unfortunately, or fortunately for many small and start-up companies offering the service, not everyone is pretty sure what will work,” he added.

This, according to the Info-Tech analyst is the golden opportunity for Canadian companies that offer social media services or develop mobile applications.

As more and more businesses venture into the social media and mobile space, Woyzbun added, these companies will realize the need for tools that help them measure metrics.

Measuring social media connections

Thousands of visitors to a Facebook page or followers to a Twitter account mean almost nothing if you’re not attracting the people that your business needs, according to Avinash Kaushik, an analytics expert with Google.

Kaushik, is an analytics evangelist for Google Inc. and author of the book Web Analytics 2.0. By focusing on producing quality tweets and aiming for retweets, an organization also ensures greater exposure, he said.

While Web analytics has done a lot for marketing, many marketers don’t have a clue about what numbers they should be focusing on, the Google expert said.

All too often, they present clients with metrics that have little value for the campaign.

“The main idea,” he said, “should be to gather data that resonates with the person at the other end and encourages them to act in a desired manner.”

Companies such as Syncapse, a Toronto-based outfit that enables businesses to build, manage and measure connections with consumers across various social media networks, will be in high demand in 2011, said Woyzbun.

“Many businesses thrive because they are experts in what they do. But not all these businesses have the time or resources to focus on social media. Companies like Syncapse can help them reach customers in that space,” he said.

For companies that are developing a Twitter presence, firms like HootSuite will become invaluable, Woyzbun said.

HootSuite markets itself as a “social media dashboard” for organizations using Twitter. The company offers tools that not only update posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites but also offers users the ability to track mentions, click-through stats and other metrics. The also helps social media teams collaborate efforts and delegate duties.

Mobile mania

The mobile space is still wide open, according to Krista Napier, senior analyst for competitive intelligence and emerging technology at IDC Canada.

She believes that businesses striving to use multimedia technology and interactive marketing either to offer a service or promote a brand will prosper in 2011.

Napier believes companies like Polar Mobile have a great future ahead of them.

Polar Mobile enables companies to deliver advertising content and messages across multiple smart phones. Its Mint Technology also provides custom brand, real-time news and information to BlackBerry handsets. Its clients include: the Toronto Maple Leafs, The Food Network, CBS Sports and Time.

Another firm to watch, Napier said is Adenyo. The Toronto-based marketing firm that enables clients to integrate a mobile channel into their advertising and marketing mix. Its clients include the Hudsons Bay Company, Air Canada, CIBC, Coca Cola, The Toronto Star, Pfizer and other companies.

Neuralitic Inc., another mobile app developer to watch, according to Woyzbun of Info-Tech.

This Montreal-based firm develops tools that offer marketers deeper insights into how consumers use mobile devices. Businesses can then use the data from Neuraltic to develop relevant messages that can be delivered to a strategically defined group at the right time.

Nestor Arellano is a Senior Writer at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and join the IT Business Facebook Page.

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