The MSU Product Center is pleased to announce the sixth annual Making It In Michigan Conference and Premier Specialty Food Show to be held Tuesday, November 12th from 7:30AM – 4:00PM at the Lansing Center.
“As this year also marks the 10th anniversary of the MSU Product Center, the theme of this year’s conference is ‘Celebrate Your Business’ – accelerating your achievement at every stage of your company,” states Matthew Birbeck, MSU Product Center’s High Impact Venture Action Team Project Manager. “It will be exciting for attendees to learn more about growing their own brands and making their businesses more efficient and profitable,” says Birbeck.
Tim McIntyre, Vice President of Communications for Domino’s Pizza, will deliver the conference keynote address. Mr. McIntyre will present the story of how Domino’s Pizza broke all of the rules of traditional marketing to reinvent its brand including airing consumer criticisms, showing bad product and exposing the secrets behind food commercial shoots.
The one-day event features morning educational sessions that will bring together leading Michigan experts to help guide attendees in refining and growing their businesses in the following areas:
• It’s about the product in the package: moving past the starter recipe into explosion, food safety and sourcing ingredients and selecting the appropriate co-packer at the right time
• Growing your specialty food business even further: alleviating the growing pains associated with accelerated business growth and strategizing your entry into retail sales
• Marketing Your Food Product: designing your product label and retail sales tools and minimizing confusion about your product packaging by correctly assessing your product needs
• Keeping the regulatory requirements in check: obtaining legal protection for your business and your product – essential vs. suggested elements including patents, trade secrets and trademarks and getting food product licensing by the State of Michigan – existing foodservice operation expansion or new food business launch
The $79 per person conference registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, and educational sessions, digital copies of all presentations and reference materials and admission to the Marketplace trade show.
The Marketplace trade show in the afternoon will feature over 150 new and existing businesses that will be showcasing their Michigan-made food and agricultural products to the general public and Michigan-based food buyers. The trade show is free to the general public.
Conference participants will also have time to network with the winners of this year’s MSU Product Center awards and learn from their success stories. Awards will be presented for the Best Barrier Buster, Start-up to Watch and Entrepreneur of the Year. MSU Product Center innovation counselors and staff members, Product Center clients, business consultants, regulatory officials and food and farming groups will also be available to provide in-depth information and counseling.
More information and conference registration is available at www.productcenter.msu.edu/miim/registration.
The American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) has released its annual look at the “e-business” sector, which consists of ratings for social media sites, portals and search engines, and online news and information sites. And this year the news isn’t good. The social media category saw its overall score fall a point to 68 on ACSI’s 100-point scale, a reading that puts it above only internet service providers (ISPs) and on par with the chronically low-rated TV service providers. And while search engines and portals scored higher, their aggregate reading saw a significant drop.
Turning first to social media sites, the study finds that the most popular continue to be the most poorly rated. Among the 7 sites measured, LinkedIn and Facebook shared the lowest rating of 62, with the former slipping by a point and the latter improving by a point from last year. Facebook appeared to fall victim to privacy concerns: asked to rate each site’s commitment to protecting personal information, visitors were more than twice as likely to hand Facebook ratings of 4 or less on a 10-point scale than any other social media site.
Topping the social media charts again this year was Wikipedia, unchanged with a score of 78. Leaving Wikipedia aside (its high scores are indicative of its utility, per the researchers), Pinterest rates highest among social networks, up 3 points to a score of 72. Close behind are Google+ and YouTube, each with a score of 71. But while those are above-average scores, they mark a big change from last year. In particular, the score for Google+ tumbled 7 points, from 78. YouTube’s change wasn’t as stark, but it was nevertheless down 2 points.
Finally, Twitter came in with a reading of 65, up a point from last year, but below the category average of 68. Twitter’s problems stem from “poor searchability and the perception that there is too much noise to filter through,” according to the researchers. Still, it managed to maintain a higher reading than both Facebook and LinkedIn.
Overall, the major search engines fared better than the largest social media sites in customer satisfaction, per the ACSI report. But, the trend is moving in the wrong direction for each of the portals and search engines tracked.
The bad news continues for Google – which saw declines in customer satisfaction ratings for Google+ and YouTube. Turning to its core business – search – Google experienced a 5-point drop to a score of 77, its lowest since the ACSI began tracking its ratings more than a decade ago.
On a more positive note for Google, it maintained its position as the highest-rated search engine or portal, as Bing also fell 5 points to a rating of 76, Yahoo slipped a couple of points to 76, MSN dropped 4 points to 74, and AOL declined by 3 points to 71. The aggregate of all others plummeted by 10 points, to 70.
The overall rating for portals and search engines – 76 – is the lowest since 2007. Customers were most frustrated by the quality of the ads and page loading speeds, per the study.
• The overall customer satisfaction score for online news and information sites remained flat at 73. FoxNews.com stayed on top despite dropping a couple of points to 82, with ABCNEWS.com and NBCNews.com the next-closest, each at 75. TheHuffingtonPost.com was the most poorly rated again, with a score of 69.
• The aggregate e-business score (comprised of the 3 categories mentioned above) stood at 71.3, its lowest since 2002.
– Source, Marketing Charts
If you are a small business owner, chances are you have no idea if your business is listed correctly in most of the online directories available. In a recent survey from SinglePlatform, a division of Constant Contact®, Inc., 49 percent of local businesses admitted having never updated their online listings, whether on a search engine, review site, or mobile app.
If you are a brick and mortar store, equate that to operating your business without any signage and hoping people will find you. It is just as crucial for small businesses to list their information, products, services, menus and payment methods online as more consumers use these directories and mobile apps to make purchase decisions. Like most small business owners, keeping your online information up to date is difficult due to time and resource constraints, however, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your listings properly reflect vital information such as your address, phone number, business hours and special promotions.
The first step is to assess how people are finding your business online by analyzing referrals in your site analytics. If you don’t have an analytics program, visit analytics.google.com and sign up for free. As soon as you create your business account, you can request the analytics code from Google and forward to your site administrator to place on your site. By looking at the referral sources to your site, you can see the driving sources where visitors have found you.
Next, review the top five to ten sources to see how your current listing appears. You’ll also be able to see if your business has been reviewed and what customers and visitors are saying about your business. Take the time to make any necessary updates and familiarize yourself with the process and time it takes to make the updates.
The third step is deciding who will continue to update your business listings. If you are not comfortable in doing this yourself because of time or technology restraints, consider other options including employees, an outside digital firm or freelancer or third-party paid provider such as SinglePlatform or yext that enable businesses to update listings from one place. Whatever you decide in either terms of time or investment, keeping your business listing up to date will pay off in terms of visibility and added marketing exposure.