What is Machine Learning? A definition

Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed. Machine learning focuses on the development of computer programs that can access data and use it learn for themselves.

The process of learning begins with observations or data, such as examples, direct experience, or instruction, in order to look for patterns in data and make better decisions in the future based on the examples that we provide. The primary aim is to allow the computers learn automatically without human intervention or assistance and adjust actions accordingly.

Some machine learning methods

  1. Machine learning algorithms are often categorized as supervised or unsupervised.
  2. Supervised machine learning algorithms can apply what has been learned in the past to new data using labeled examples to predict future events. Starting from the analysis of a known training dataset, the learning algorithm produces an inferred function to make predictions about the output values. The system is able to provide targets for any new input after sufficient training. The learning algorithm can also compare its output with the correct, intended output and find errors in order to modify the model accordingly.
  3. In contrast, unsupervised machine learning algorithms are used when the information used to train is neither classified nor labeled. Unsupervised learning studies how systems can infer a function to describe a hidden structure from unlabeled data. The system doesn’t figure out the right output, but it explores the data and can draw inferences from datasets to describe hidden structures from unlabeled data.
  4. Semi-supervised machine learning algorithms fall somewhere in between supervised and unsupervised learning, since they use both labeled and unlabeled data for training – typically a small amount of labeled data and a large amount of unlabeled data. The systems that use this method are able to considerably improve learning accuracy. Usually, semi-supervised learning is chosen when the acquired labeled data requires skilled and relevant resources in order to train it / learn from it. Otherwise, acquiringunlabeled data generally doesn’t require additional resources.
  5. Reinforcement machine learning algorithms is a learning method that interacts with its environment by producing actions and discovers errors or rewards. Trial and error search and delayed reward are the most relevant characteristics of reinforcement learning. This method allows machines and software agents to automatically determine the ideal behavior within a specific context in order to maximize its performance. Simple reward feedback is required for the agent to learn which action is best; this is known as the reinforcement signal.
  6. Machine learning enables analysis of massive quantities of data. While it generally delivers faster, more accurate results in order to identify profitable opportunities or dangerous risks, it may also require additional time and resources to train it properly. Combining machine learning with AI and cognitive technologies can make it even more effective in processing large volumes of information.

Employee Advocacy Helps in Increasing Brand Reach

Over the past few months, more people and publishers have shifted their focus to employee advocacy. Even online trading platforms such as Nasdaq are informing companies why employee advocacy matters. You might think of employee advocacy as a trend but is as old as the concept of social media marketing. Companies have realized that empowering employees to engage on social networking platforms is crucial to their success. Employee advocacy leans towards the aspect of social marketing. Beyond marketing, employee advocacy influences other aspects of the business as well. For example, a robust employee advocacy program can promote the growth of the back-end components of a company. Below are five ways advocacy builds brand reach.

ENABLE MEANINGFUL INTERACTION

Marketers often put faith in their social media marketing strategies because they trust the ideas, recommendations, and thoughts of their followers and peers. That’s what makes a social media marketing strategy so powerful. A brand message shared by employees is likely to reach more customers than when shared via the official brand social marketing platform. Beyond brand promotion, social networks are a great way to increase customer engagement. Social media platforms such as Facebook facilitates closer to face-to-face interaction through video links. Employees will probably perfect the art of customer engagement if allowed to harness the power of social media. Moreover, employees can use the same character that shines through in their social networking strategies to improve engagement with prospects. In fact, engaging employees on Twitter or Facebook is closer to one-on-one interaction with potential customers.

BUILD BRAND LOYALTY

Putting faith in your employees will empower them to become responsible and act on behalf of your brand. It’s crucial to give them an opportunity to engage with customers online. Employees feel valued when you allow them to share resources and third-party content on social media networks. Workers feel more connected to the company’s initiatives when given the trust and purpose of the brand. As employees become accountable for their social media engagement, they become more dedicated to your brand and efforts. Of course, this is a great way to drive your company’s productivity. Highly engaged employees are likely to increase your sales. Employees often feel enthusiastic and connected to a brand when allowed to share work-related content on social media. Customers value employee posts more than official social ad. Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook have created a new world of advocacy where brands can connect with tech-savvy workers.

Employees are among the top and most trusted brand ambassadors. In fact, employees are the key marketing assets that brands should tap to boost their social reach. Content shared by employees receives more attention than posts and tweets shared via official brand channel. As such, brands can take their social brand reach to a higher level using employee advocacy tools. You can empower employees to share brand content across their social networking platforms. That enables your engaged employees to create an online identity and reach out to more potential clients. That’s an excellent way to position them as thought leaders and encourage them to build their web presence. You can use an advocacy program to make your employees more trusted brand ambassadors.

REINFORCE THE VALUE OF YOUR COMPANY

Employees will need to incorporate your company’s value as they step up to become your brand ambassador. That’s a great way to make everyone aware of the value of your brand. Employee advocacy programs bring all the company’s leaders and employees to a centralized location. That facilitates internal sharing of the company’s values and goals. Employees no longer have to flip emails or look for information in handbooks to find company policies. Instead, employees have everything on a shareable platform. It’s also easier to contact leaders and communicate with everyone throughout the organization. As such, it’s crucial to involve everyone in the organization in employee advocacy. That helps build a unified company and keep everyone aware of what customers want. It’s also an excellent way to encourage employees to share content on behalf of the company.

BRING COMPANY GOALS TOGETHER

Sales and marketing departments can often miscommunicate. That can probably frustrate employees and have an adverse impact on the health of the company. You might be losing close to 10% of revenue every year due to misaligned communication between your marketing and sales technologies. However, you can bring different departments together through an employee advocacy program. That helps promote collaboration and ensure everyone is on the same page. Closer interaction often helps your social media strategy to thrive. Consequently, communication between employees and customers will improve considerably. One of the ways to improve workplace communication is to loop all aspects of your company including processes and departments. Organizations with a seamless connection are three times more likely to outperform their peers.

ENCOURAGE CREATIVITY

You must make your employees creative enough to deliver useful content and influential posts. Employees should be able to create attractive content and compelling articles and columns to find a niche in the ever-competitive marketplace. Allowing employees to voice their concerns encourages them to become thought leaders in their area of expertise. That not only creates an opportunity for employees to develop their career and knowledge but builds your brand’s online presence. Ultimately, that creates growth opportunities for everyone involved. An employee usually feels more connected and valued when you create career development opportunities and nurture their talents. More talents will want to join the company when they see how knowledgeable your employees are and active popularizing their brand.

The concept of employee advocacy has become crucial for marketing teams to implement over the past few months. Employees in tech-savvy firms are using social media to share content and engage customers online. In fact, employee advocacy has span beyond marketing to include other business aspects such as customer engagement. Employee advocacy helps take sales, HR, and employee engagement to a higher level. Top brands are investing a lot of resources and time on employee advocacy programs. Recognizable brands are looking for ways to build a thoroughly engaged workforce and increase results across the entire business.

 

The Need of Growth Managers for Startups

It’s a no-brainer that a disrupting idea or a category-defining product can not change the world until it reaches in front of the right audience.

While many start-ups and traditional businesses still place marketing in other/miscellaneous column of the balance sheet, they fail to account for the paradigm shift happening in the world. On average, an Indian is spending over 3.5 hours on apps every day, out of which 70 per cent accounts for social networks and entertainment.

At the same time, tech-savvy businesses have learned about the pulse of the generation and are spending billions of dollars on online marketing channels and digital transformation.

Hiring A Growth Manager

Hiring a growth manager rather than a digital marketer is best-suited to early stage start-ups who need massive growth in a short period of time on smaller budgets.

Andrew Chen introduced the term to a wider audience in an article, titled Growth Hacker is the new VP Marketing, in which he wrote growth hackers “are a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of ‘how do I get customers for my product?’ and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and open graph”.

How Growth Manager will Scale Your Business

Here are all the reasons why early stage start-ups should hire a growth manager.

Deriving product-market fit: A growth marketer helps in identifying early adopters of your product, putting your product in front of the right set of audience who will pay for the product/service. For the growth marketer, it’s not just about putting it in front of as many random people possible who might or might not pay. By gathering continuous feedback and using multiple iterations and significant revisions of the product, the aim of the growth hacker is to attain the stage where the product becomes a ‘must-have’. DropBox hacked its initial growth by providing additional storage to early adopters who referred friends; the ones who would refer for extra storage were the ones really looking for a product like theirs.

Rapidly testing persuasive copy, campaigns, viral strategies: Growth hacking is all about experimentation rather than a formula-based approach. Your growth hacker should be a master of writing persuasive copy. Running multiple simultaneous tests on the sales or ad-copy, running multiple campaigns at once to arrive at the best-performing ones is the job of your growth hacker. This will justify spending only on the best copy and the best campaigns.

Optimizing landing pages and campaigns: Your growth hacker is a UI/UX rockstar who will design highly engaging and converting landing pages. This is established by the ability to run multivariate A/B tests to optimise copy, images, email capture pop-ups, call-to-action, APIs and plug-ins. A white label SEO service company, The HOTH, tweaked their landing page to gain 844% increase in opt-in leads by optimising the value proposition and eliminating all unnecessary elements.

Udemy changed its course page design from a clunky three-column design to putting the headline, subheadline and promo video front and center, with a much more obvious CTA button to make the value proposition seemingly clear, which increased the click-through rate by 246%.

Qualified lead generation: A growth marketer will define the marketing funnel specific to your business by designing lead magnets that convert. Differentiating huge traffic from quality leads is the factor which helps lowering CPL (cost-per-lead). A growth marketer will be able to drive enormous traffic and generate qualified leads through a multi-channel strategy by integration of earned, owned, paid and shared media, in a way that optimizes costs.

AirBnB was able to drive major initial traffic by redirecting craigslist vacation rental traffic to their own site through a few Web hacks and setting up automated emails to visitors already looking for vacation rentals. The traffic and thereby booking conversion exploded when they ‘optimised’ their content by offering free photography services to listings.

Driving increased conversion rates: Traffic and leads become nothing but vanity metrics for your business, if they do not convert into a sale. A growth hacker will be able to nurture leads through email marketing or social, providing continuous value through case studies, webinars or even free consultation. A growth hacker is a conversion ninja who is able to use ‘retargeting’ to convert leads like a pro.

Marketing automation: Even the best funnels cannot explode growth at scale without marketing automation. A growth hacker will be able to design and implement viral loops which acquire leads through lead magnets, nurture them through conversational automated sequences with an end goal of making quality conversion with the prospect likely to retain.

Product design-marketing integration: The best growth marketers will design the marketing viral loop entwined with the very fabric of the product DNA. The product’s potential growth and the marketing funnel is built into the product’s features itself rather than building an infrastructure to do a lot of marketing. Growth marketers are expert in building product features that work as a marketing tool instead of ‘buying’ a customer.

Twitter’s ‘suggested users to follow’ feature is a quintessential example where the feature itself pushes the user to engage and hence retain (through data analysis, Twitter found out that a user is more likely to tweet and hence engage if she crosses a tipping point of following nine users).

You will see television advertisements and brand endorsements of Pepsi, Nike or Cadbury but a growth hacker will make you wonder, “Who does the marketing for Facebook, or Twitter or Airbnb?”

5 Mantras To Grow Your Startup In 2019 With Digital Marketing

In this fast-paced and influencing business industry, you need to take measures on establishing your brand name with a robust digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing is a powerful tool, can contribute powerfully to your online presence, and positively impact your bottom line.

Everything you do to build your digital presence counts toward your brand name getting known. When you are known by your target audience, it will start affecting your bottom line.

And one of the most effective ways to create a strong presence is by using digital media for your marketing needs.

1. User experience.

Your audience is what matters. Your audience must be able to engage with your brand name, your values, and your product, to build a lasting relationship and association with your company.

Similarly, the audience is now more reflective and receptive when brands offer them unique user experience and brand value.

Your digital marketing strategies must be designed carefully to appeal to the audience of your market. Delve into research and find out what works for your audience.

Build their interest and knowledge by providing them with content that informs and inspires. You will also be able to strengthen the brand voice by continuously engaging with your audience.

User experience can be made effective primarily through content, communication channels and intuitive UI.

The loading speed of your website; the intuitive menu navigation; chatbots that assist in communication; and simplicity and tone of your content is key to a great user experience.

In addition, you need to develop a client management strategy that helps you connect with your customers.

This strategy will walk you through query and complaint management. Moreover, it will collect feedback for improvement and make your clients feel part of the brand community.

For example, develop a series of simple FAQs and use them to respond to your audience and clients’ queries on social media, via email, on phone, etc.

2. Creative content.

You will need to invest in a solid content marketing strategy that engages your audience. Create content that is unique and fresh as it can have a strong impact o your target market.

From communicating your brand’s message to engaging your customers with information, content is supreme as it gives something useful to your potential customers.

Great content can increase your organic traffic and can improve your search engine rankings.

Your audience is primarily looking for content that communicates value. Jeff Bulla says that you should use the 80/20 rule of creating and managing content.

Get to the point 80% of your content should not be about your product – no, it doesn’t backfire at all – and 20% of it could be focused on your online sales, giveaways, etc.

Messaging is also taking the industry by storm. Neil Patel shared how Facebook Messenger marketing campaign lends a bright inlet to effective digital marketing.

Your audience will be more likely to follow a link received in Facebook Messenger than they would through email marketing campaign. Again, the content you create and the medium you choose to employ will greatly affect your business’ growth.

3. Social media platforms.

Your online presence and identity begins with your website and social media platforms. So you can engage your audience, communicate your message with powerful content through a strong social media platform.

As a startup, one of the first things that you probably worked on was an active social media strategy.

You know that in this business industry, social media is the key to leveraging your brand awareness and value.

Apps like SnapChat and Instagram are becoming popular and engaging the audience with brand names.

Be consistent and regular in your social media strategy and maximize your growth. Good social media strategies can have a profound impact on lead generation and conversions, brand awareness and, of course, better search engine ranking.

And while social media platforms are effective and raging with success for startups and established brands, influencer marketing has seen a rise since 2016. This is like referrals that are convincing for the vast majority of social media users.

Keep a watchful eye on who could be your brand’s influencers. Get in touch with them and engage them in helping you build your brand’s visibility.

4. Video marketing is seeing an upward trend.

Videos are powerful tools to communicate extensively. Consider Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, and SnapChat stories to engage your audience.

You can hold webinars and live events for product launches, hold tutorials, and answer questions in real time. This gives a tangible feeling to your audience and helps them connect more closely with your brand and product.

5. Search engine optimization.

And most importantly, invest in a credible SEO solution. Conduct an SEO audit and find out how users are interacting with your website and social media platforms.

SEO will look into aspects of your website and page optimization, device optimization and credible link building for better visibility in search engine results.

For example, in one of Google’s highly important updates, the websites that are not responsive on various digital devices will not appear in search altogether, regardless of their SEO measures!

Once you understand the nature of association, outreach and impact of your brand’s SEO, rehash or redefine your digital marketing strategy accordingly.

Understand how SEO works and learn about the expectations and prospects of hiring SEO specialists. This will help your startup to grow quicker. Be consistent and regular in your digital marketing strategy.

Optimize growth

A good digital marketing strategy can act as a catalyst to business outreach, impact, and growth because it connects the audience with the business in real time, and hence, swifter than conventional marketing strategies.

Reluctantly, the conversion rates could be impacted positively as well. The consumer trend of trying new brands is growing if they are genuinely made to feel a connection with the brand values.

Maximize profit

In this digital era, you have every advantage to achieve your goals and boost your sales. Embracing digitalization and understanding your clients’ main priorities and their customers’ changing demands are equally crucial for growth and sustainability.

 

 

 

Best magazines that cover Entrepreneurship.

 

The essential requirements for success in startups are these Print and online publications that cater to small business owners help motivate and educate the self-employed.

Here are 6 Best Magazines for Entrepreneurs must read:

  1. Baby Boomer Magazine’s “Boomer Businesses” section is filled with stories and insights for folks born between 1946 and 1964. A growing number of people in this demographic are delaying retirement and considering career changes. Many boomers are researching business options and learning about Social Security, health and other pertinent topics.

 

  1. Entrepreneur: Been reading since I was 17! Thought provoking articles and inspirational stories.
  2. Garyvee – best for inspiration
  3. Foundr: Only read one of their issues but seems great.
  4. Success magazine is a favorite of many millennial small business owners who thrive on professional and personal development. Entrepreneurially-minded readers view such regular contributors as leadership expert John Maxwell as mentors.
  5. “Badassery” is a brand that publishes a magazine and online newsletter for emerging women entrepreneurs. “The global community of women living unapologetic lives” offers interviews and stories to inspire women to live with passion. Co-founders Samantha Parker and Kathy Rasmussen also co-host a podcast.

Time limitations are a concern for many franchisees. Magazines and online resources offer in-depth learning for busy professionals who may not have time to read books on a regular basis.