Get Your Apps Ready for the Holidays

The busiest season on the App Store is almost here. Make sure your apps are up-to-date and ready for the winter holidays. New apps and app updates will not be accepted December 23 to 27 (Pacific Time), so any releases should be submitted, approved, and scheduled in advance. Other iTunes Connect and developer account features will remain available.

Learn more about preparing apps for the App Store.

Knight Composites Hires New Director of Sales and Marketing

Knight Composites, a company that produces bike wheels, is fairly new on the scene. However, the company is looking to expand and grow its reach, the quicker the better. To do that, it has decided to take on Tyler Robertson as the new director of sales and marketing.

This hire is a smart move by Knight Composites because Robertson has over 15 years in the cycling industry under his belt. Over the years, he has learned about retail, manufacturing, agency and distribution, all within the cycling field.

The idea for Knight Composites was created on the back of a napkin in an airport by founders Jim and Beverly. The two knew a lot about the industry and believed that they could create a faster wheel. Now, with Robertson on their side, they’re gaining a team member who can bring even more knowledge to the team.

                    Image via Bigstock

Knowledge is power in that it results in effective marketing campaigns, which is perfect for a growing company like Knight Composites. In his new role, Robertson will direct sales team expansion and head up global marketing initiatives for the company. By combining his experience with Jim and Beverly’s, Robertson is sure to bring the company to the next level marketing-wise.

Beverly Lucas, Knight's CEO, commented on the company’s growth and the need for a new team member by saying, “Knight is quickly establishing itself in key global markets and we're not seeing any slowdown in terms of gaining traction with IBD's and consumers alike. We've been working nonstop over the last year or so and, to that end, we have some incredibly exciting product and partnership announcements to make over the course of the next couple of months.”She continued, “We're at a pivotal junction in our development and we're excited to have Tyler join us.”

Robertson, who worked as marketing director at Cyclone Bicycle Supply before this appointment, is excited to start anew within the industry that he loves. “Knight continues to expand, it presents a great opportunity for me to focus on building one of the most exciting new brands in the market today, as well as continuing to grow relationships with both new and current customers alike,” said Robertson. “I'll be supporting the sales team by reviewing our distribution strategies, providing a strong focus on key market segments and structured approach as we expand our presence across all categories and introduce new models and components in 2017.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Durham College Students Ride Zang Platform to Victory

Durham College Students Ride Zang Platform to Victory

November 23, 2016

The communications developer sandbox is chockfull of tolls today. From WebRTC and cloud to virtualization and beyond, today’s developer has a fully loaded arsenal at their disposal. Today, Zang announced that its applications-as-a-service and all-in-one-cloud communications platform powered the winning team from Ontario’s Durham College Society of Communication Technology Consultants (SCTS) Maker Challenge.

“We're proud of the students from Durham College for exhibiting the power, flexibility and usability of the Zang Cloud platform, and thank all the students for participating in this excellent initiative,” said Davide Petramala, executive vice president of Zang.

Applications were open to student teams from Ontario Colleges, and the winning team created an application that connects active directory users to Zang Cloud accounts via SMS. Three teams, made up of students from Durham and Centennial Colleges, were provided access to a technical engineer, SDK/API, test environment and enhancement to the UCaaS solution at hand (each team was utilizing different vendor tech).

Each team was given two weeks to turn idea into reality, and present their applications to a panel of judges on November 17. The wining solution solidified its status by demonstrating the ability to communicate with servers via text message without data while lounging in a tropical locale.

“With the vast majority of IT teams currently developing apps for customers, partners and employees, Zang Cloud offers easy to use drag and drop tools, pre-built applications and robust APIs that make it possible for anyone to leverage the best of the web to quickly build and deploy applications that communications-enable consumer or enterprise applications and services,” Petramala continued.

It’s certainly an exciting time for communications development, as the tools available allow for creativity to be your only limitation. Now, only time will tell if participants turn into the next generation of innovation, but from an industry awareness standpoint these types of events are invaluable. Regardless of what field they choose, the college students of today are the industry leaders of tomorrow.

Edited by Alicia Young

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Max Faingezicht Propel’d into Chief Technology Role

A great many of the American electorate were simply sick of business as usual. It was time for a “political outsider” to gain control of the helm, and in a few short months Donald Trump will be sitting behind the resolute desk. While career politicians have been taking a hit over recent years, in business it pays to know the in’s and out’s of your industry. It is for this reason that when Propel Marketing sought a new CTO, its journey came to an end when it met with, and decided to appoint ,Max Faingezicht.

“It is with great pride that we recognize Max in his expanded role as CTO,” said Pete Cannone. “As a small business owner, Max brings the passion to drive our product strategy, recognizing and relating to the pain points SMB’s face in marketing and growing their business. With Max’s leadership, we will continue to design and deliver marketing solutions that customers can easily integrate into their digital strategy.”

Faingezicht brings with him years of industry experience. He was the CEO and co-founder of ThriveHive – that Propel later purchased, and is

Image via Pixabay

putting its marketing platform to use. Faingezicht has held various engineering roles in the automation industry as well as a stint as a product manager intern for the Kindle team at Amazon.

“With the ThriveHive Guided Marketing platform and the operational excellence that Propel has built, we are now uniquely positioned to be the dominant marketing force for SMBs, unlocking the largest opportunity that exists in digital marketing today,” said Max Faingezicht. “I aim to bring additional customer focus to the organization, supported by scalable technology, that allows us to impact more SMB’s by building great products that help them grow their businesses.”

The newly appointed Chief Technology Officer is well versed at what it takes to succeed in the highly competitive marketing space, and will be a key cog in engineering as well as product where he will be integrating the customer experience between marketing services and SaaS.

Edited by Alicia Young

Funny, Informative Earned Media Gives Brands Best Return

November 23, 2016

Figuring out just which media to use in an advertising mix can be a challenge. After all, with so many different types from print to television to online and social, that's a lot of different fronts to cover with no guarantee of success in any of them. A new report reveals that in some of the biggest markets on Earth, earned media—promotion that's gained through someone else's mention instead of something that's paid for—is still delivering a lot of value.

With 62 percent of Chinese respondents, 47 percent of U.S. respondents and 44 percent of UK respondents all coming out in favor of earned media, it's clear this approach should be front-of-mind for many marketers.

Moreover, what customers want in that marketing varies according to the need at the time. For instance, content that has an emotional impact like making someone laugh gives it a better chance to be shared. The UK shares funny content most readily at 31 percent, followed by the U.S. at 26 percent and China at 18 percent. Content that offers information is valuable as well, with 46 percent of U.S. respondents, 47 percent UK and 50 percent China all planning to share content with product information.

JMRConnect CEO Mostafa Razzak, meanwhile, commented, “Social media has changed both how, and from where stakeholders receive and consume news and information. For advocacy to be effective, messages must not only reach influencers, but must also resonate across multiple channels to impact opinions, influence and solidify long-term perceptions. These statistics reveal several factors of critical importance to corporate communications, PR, and influencer marketing teams who, in addition to securing organic results like earned media coverage, are also charged with amplifying its visibility across social media.”

Razzak further noted, “For B2B, this data underscores the importance of employee engagement and advocacy on LinkedIn. Company executives, sales teams, engineering business development team, and anyone else in the company that helps drive day-to-day operations, through their relationships and social media connections to prospects, customers, and partners, are viewed as trusted sources of information that are directly connected to your target audience. By sharing company news, case studies, whitepapers, etc., on social media, they increase the likelihood that brand messages reach the right people.”

This offers up a noteworthy picture of how to frame advertising. Funny seldom goes amiss, but the biggest bang may come from an informative ad. It's also important to take this information with a grain of salt, as the respondents in the study may have been unconsciously skewed in one direction. In the end, however, the key point remains: a funny ad that offers product information will likely be not only well received, but also shared. The power of sharing is important, but when the cost savings are considered—free advertising is generally worth it—that only makes it better from there.

Edited by Alicia Young

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Verizon and SOVA Introduce One Talk

November 23, 2016

The mobile workforce is growing, and technology companies need to grow with it if they want to stay relevant. More and more people are starting to work from home or on the go, yet technology doesn’t seem to be keeping pace. Workers on the road need to have the same convenient capabilities as those I the office and, until now, that wasn’t always an easy situation to set up.

SOVA, a Platinum Level Master Agent for Verizon telecom solutions, has just announced One Talk, Verizon’s 4G LTE-driven unified communications system, for agents, VARs and MSPs. The purpose of One Talk is to integrate mobile and landline solutions, thus making it easier for employees on the go to stay up to date with incoming calls.

Naturally, this is a great development for mobile workers. This type of employee will account for 75 percent of the U.S. population by 2020, and this group desperately needed some better technology. Right now, there are 39 million employees working in the small to mid-sized business space alone that could directly benefit from One Talk.

With OneTalk, employees are able to have one number, wherever they are. So, they can be reached at their desk, walking around the office, in the car, at home, etc. It doesn’t matter where they are or what device they’re using, the single number solution makes them reachable at all times and gets rid of the confusion associated with having multiple numbers and devices.

The One Talk single number solution has the potential to be revolutionary for mobile workers because it gets rid of missed opportunities, since customers are always able to reach employees; it’s cost-effective because this one service can power all business phones, both wireless and wireline; and employees have the benefits of landlines on their mobile phones.

Additionally, One Talk’s business number is compatible with any wireless carrier, making it possible for workers to add their One Talk business number directly to their personal smartphones. Customization is also easy thanks to an upgraded native dialer or mobile app. Finally, One Talk is great in all situations. Businesses cannot predict when something bad is going to happen, like a power outage or broadband outage. In a scenario like that, One Talk can route customer calls on the Verizon Wireless network.

“With Verizon One Talk and SOVA, organizations get the very significant advantages of working with a leading provider of telecom solutions and a top tier telecom Master Agent,” SOVA President Gene Esopi said. “Our agents, VARs, MSPs and their clients get the benefits of our Verizon expertise, seamless back office support, and impeccable reputation across the telecom industry.”

Specifically, some of these features are one number, call move, auto receptionist, extension dialing, line sharing, six-way conference, mobile call management, hunt group and video calling. Esopi is excited to help bring these great features to people, saying, “What One Talk delivers is an architecture that creates a single solution with some very innovative features…For example, with Call Move, you can seamlessly transition from a One Talk desk phone to a mobile device with just a push of one button, and no one will hear any click. It's a much more professional way to transfer from one device to another.”

Edited by Maurice Nagle

Spendgo Serving Up Next Generation Engagement & Loyalty

Customer engagement is mission critical in business. The ability to create a personalized experience leads to a loyal base, and in today’s omnichannel, always plugged-in, always on world, this is the name of the game – in a nutshell. Seamlessly addressing engagement in-store, online and on-mobile is crucial to success, and Spendgo is one of the players in the space making this a reality.

Spendgo integrates with apps and POS systems to create a unique experience for customers. As CEO and founder Ivan Matkovic joked at Editors Day Silicon Valley, “When you get a free smoothie at Jamba Juice, that’s my doing.” The POS agnostic solution easily integrates with your POS “to open closed marketing,” and is reporting 500 percent growth since its launch,

Once implemented, Spendgo can determine which interaction or engagement causes a purchase and can leverage that information for

Image via Pixabay

personalized specials for each customer. There is no app to download, no searching through your wallet for a rewards or loyalty card; everything is done through the POS. Companies can also integrate the solution into mobile apps, allowing customers the ability to earn “points” from in app as well as in store purchases.

Spendgo is currently in use at over 10,000 locations (including Jamba Juice, Coldstone & more), with five million people utilizing the loyalty features.

What’s funny is how Spendgo got started. Matkovic regaled on his college experience, as his parents required him to complete a monthly expense report. When he graduated, his roommate sold his car, a professor donated money, and off the company went with a focus on digital receipts. Recognizing the challenge in point of sale, Matkovic and his team came up with a solution, patented it and off Spendgo went to aid in the transformation of omnichannel loyalty.

Matkovic illustrated, “We’re trying to predict what you’d like to buy next...just because you like castles on Facebook, doesn’t mean you’re going to buy a castle.” He continued to explain how Spendgo builds customer profiles across brands, offering the example,  “I might go in and buy smoothies only when you give me double points but you may go in anytime,” heading in the direction AI, already doing email, SMS, and apps Spendgo will be able to literally tell you what you want. The goal is simple, providing “a better way to shop.”

“Sam [from Cheers] doesn’t scale, humans don’t always know what they want,” Matkovic explained. He continued to note that whenever data is collected, it is driven by the end shopper, as all data is first party data.

Recently, the firm partnered with Epson so the solution will be integrated in all of Epson’s receipt printers, offering an instant boost to an already burgeoning market presence.

A lot of firms have been burned by attempting the digital leap, so unfortunately many are trigger shy. This hesitance has resulted in Matkovic having the “you guys are socially awkward, if you weren’t a brand...,” conversation with far too many firms.

Loyalty is earned not built, and creating a personalized, unified experience is not just a step toward supporting our omnichannel world. It is a step toward the future of marketing and shopping. I wouldn’t mind “Sam” following me around from my favorite haunts – It’s nice when everybody knows your name.

Edited by Alicia Young