interlinkONE Recognized as a Silver Datacenter in Microsoft’s Partner Network

interlinkONE Recognized as a Silver Datacenter in Microsoft’s Partner Network for 15th Year

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Wilmington, MA, July 16, 2015) – interlinkONE Inc., an industry leading provider of innovative marketing software products, was recognized by the Microsoft Partner Network as a Silver Datacenter for 2015 for its commitment to creating and delivering innovative customer solutions, software and services based on Microsoft technologies and its dedication to excellence.

interlinkONE was first recognized as a Silver Datacenter in 1997. As a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, interlinkONE is able to provide its customers with outstanding software products and service, including access to sales, presales and technical support to help deliver quality infrastructure solutions to its customers.

Along with infrastructure solutions, being a member of the network allows interlinkONE to provide private cloud, management and virtualization deployment planning services, as well as enhance its consulting services for its customers.

“We’re very proud to be recognized as a Silver Datacenter here at interlinkONE,” said Adam Meixler, Director of IT. “We’ve been a Microsoft Certified vendor for 15 years and look forward to serving our customers with the implementation of Microsoft server platforms and management of these resources for years to come.”

Through its membership in the partner network, Microsoft works closely with interlinkONE to meet its solution and deployment needs, in turn, giving interlinkONE’s customers the best products possible and in a timely manner.

“Being a part of the Microsoft Partner Network is extremely beneficial for us and our customers,” said John Foley, Jr., President and CEO of interlinkONE, Inc. “Our partnership connects us with not only Microsoft, but other partners in the network, making it easier for us to develop products for our customers to install, customize and manage successfully.”

Membership in the partner network also gives interlinkONE access to technical training courtesy of Microsoft to offer new perspectives and differentiate its offerings for customers.

About interlinkONE

interlinkONE provides software to industry leading Fortune 50 financial services, insurance agencies, health care, hospitality organizations and other service providers.

ilinkONEpro, interlinkONE’s flagship distributed marketing platform, includes capabilities for customer communication management, online ordering and storefronts, sales and CRM, warehouse management, web-to-print and variable data printing.

interlinkONE has also created award winning mobile products, including QReate and Track and iFlyMobi. QReate and Track allows users to create, customize and measure QR Codes for marketing efforts while iFlyMobi gives users the capability to create mobile websites and ensure their content is optimized for the mobile audience.

5 Tips to Improve Your Mobile Marketing

Whether you’re in a large business or a small retail store, mobile marketing should play an important role in your marketing plan. With nearly 64% of American adults owning a smartphone of some kind, businesses are bound to take their marketing mobile. According to an eMarketer study, only five years ago, 2.1% of all digital search ad dollars were spent on mobile devices. That number increased to 22.1% in 2013, and is continually increasing, with expectations to be at 59% within the next two years. Making sure your business is up to date with the latest marketing trends is important, especially with the amount of competition in the marketplace. Below are five tips to help improve your mobile marketing.

  1. Responsive_Web_DesignMake sure your website is responsive. With the major increase in the use of smartphones over the last couples of years, making sure your website is accessible and responsive to the average user is necessary in the business world. With so many customers using smartphones to shop online, having a well-organized website results in more sales, increases your search engine optimization, and improves your company’s reputation.
  2. Don’t have irrelevant content. When customers visit your company’s website or social media page, they want to read information that’s engaging and relevant. When posting content, make sure that each time you have a purpose. Businesses need to make sure that they are creating and sharing content that is aligned with the customer’s needs. If you’re getting bored reading it, chances are, your customer will be too!
  3. Time your communication. When contacting anyone, especially a potential client, you need to make sure that you are sending information at an appropriate time. Notifying someone through a mobile device is great way to connect but it means nothing if they receive the message too late. Leave enough time in between when you actually send it and when you want the customer to make a move.
  4. Have a strong call-to-action. The purpose of having a mobile-friendly site is to make it easier and more accessible for the user. Having a designated spot on your site for someone to purchase a product, contact your company, or receive more information will make it more convenient. They need to be able to quickly press the CTA button, because the more time they spend looking for details, the less interested they become.
  5. Don’t forget about desktop! Though mobile marketing is continually growing, consumers are constantly switching between devices, making your desktop website just as important. Pay attention to all aspects when designing your site and content, as all laptops, mobile devices, and tablets play a key role in having a successful business.

The digital environment is continually growing, making marketing on any mobile device important in your company’s marketing plan. In order to reach your targeted audience, you have to adapt to their preferences, while delivering relevant content. By using these five tips to help guide you, your chances on becoming a more successful and well developed business will rise.

My Background with Business Transformation

Transforming a business is never easy. Whether it is a software business such as the one I run or printing business seeking to add products and services that meet new and different customer needs, there are many challenges to be faced. But it can be done, and it has been done by many companies. Transformation takes patience, perseverance and perspective, especially when introducing breakthrough offerings that are perhaps unexpected and ahead of their time in terms of mainstream and market acceptance.

When I first began calling on printers in the mid 1990s, I was offering a software solution that enabled them to deliver integrated multichannel marketing solutions. I suggested that there was an opportunity for them in offering more marketing-oriented services, and that I had a solution that could help them do so. That terminology and those ideas were much more foreign two decades ago than they are today. Perhaps not surprisingly, I got a number of reactions, none of which made me particularly happy or boded well for closing sales. There included:

  • I’m a printer. I don’t offer marketing services.
  • Why would I ever let a customer download their PDFs? I want to print them.
  • You don’t understand my business.
  • We print things and ship them out the door. Why would I want to get into email marketing?
  • And my favorite: The Internet is a fad—this from a fulfillment company that was well-known at the time.

iStock_000001817769LargeIt was not easy being thrown out the door time after time, but my team and I kept at it with patience and perseverance. I tried to keep a positive perspective, understanding that this transformation was a breakthrough idea and there would be many who would not understand. Oddly enough, we had some success in offering these solutions to enterprise customers—the customers of the printers—who see the value to their business. Had printers been offering these services, those enterprises may well have purchased them from the printer instead of directly from my company. We strongly believed that print service providers needed to diversify their businesses in order to stay competitive and profitable. In addition, these print service providers would become a sales channel to the enterprise for us. So we kept at it. We did not allow the negativity of naysayers to discourage us from continuing to build an offering that would allow a service provider to become a more valuable part of the enterprise marketing organization. We continued to try to educate the market about the value of moving up the marketing supply chain, locking customers into a long-term annuity business relationship that delivered new revenue streams for their businesses and new levels of productivity for them and their customers.

Trade show after trade show, “kicking the tires” printers would come to our booth and ask what we did. For many, it did not take long for their eyes to glaze over and for them to obviously begin seeking an escape from the discussion. It took a decade before we started seeing print service providers showing up in any meaningful numbers at our trade show booth or calling our offices saying, “I have a general understanding of why I should be offering integrated marketing services. Show me why I should use your solution.” These were knowledgeable and informed business owners who knew what they needed to do for their businesses and were sincerely seeking the best match. What a breakthrough! Many of these early adopter and innovative printers became our customers, and we are proud of the fact that we are able to continue to help them grow, supporting them with new ideas and solutions.

Today, we are successfully offering these web-based solutions to print service providers that enable their customers to build, manage, execute and measure their multichannel marketing efforts. This success is largely due to our patience and perseverance, and to not losing perspective. We had a vision and we kept working toward it, despite many setbacks. That’s our story in a nutshell. We were able to build a successful company and service a market need that we could clearly see. That’s not much different, really, than the challenge facing print service providers as they reposition themselves to provide leading-edge solutions to their customers.

By now, everyone in the printing industry knows, or should know, that this Internet is not a fad. The know that the printing business in the midst of extreme structural change that requires them to change their approach to the marketing—of if they don’t, they certainly should as they look at their P&L each month. They know that much of the work their customers used to send to them doesn’t even get printed anymore, or if it does, the run lengths get shorter and shorter and the delivery times continue to compress. And they should understand that if they don’t have the right infrastructure in place to accommodate emerging customer needs, they risk not only declining business from good, long-term customers, but losing them altogether. We see this being played out in the marketing place every single day.

Do you need help with your business transformation strategy? That’s what I’m here for! Reach out to me at JohnF@interlinkONE.com to learn more.

Join me at this year’s IPMA Conference!

As the print, mailing, and fulfillment industries continue to change, and budget cuts become more and more common, there’s no denying the severe threat of outsourcing that every in-plant faces.

At this year’s IPMA Conference, I’m excited and honored to be one of the keynote speakers, delivering my presentation, “Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for In-Plant Facilities.” During this session, I will guide you through your business transformation by demonstrating how to market your in-plant services internally and how to become responsive to your customers’ changing needs.

For in-plants looking to add value to their parent organizations, my keynote will address the new rules for marketing your in-plant, how to adapt your in-plant to current industry practices, and how to incorporate new offerings based on demand to your in-plant. When it comes down to it, there’s nothing more vital to your in-plant’s success than learning how to market your in-plant services internally and becoming responsive to your customers’ changing needs. So, if you’re ready to add value and increase profitability, it’s time to take the leap and embrace business transformation.

Business transformation is a topic that I am passionate about and can’t wait to share my insight at this year’s IPMA Conference. Be sure to catch my keynote on Monday, June 15th at 12:00PM. In addition, join Karen DeWolfe and me on Sunday, June 14th at 2:00PM for a Social Media Roundtable, join me on Monday, June 15th at 2:00PM as I moderate an Operations Track, “Business Transformation with Canon Customer Panel,” and on Tuesday, June 16th at 2:00PM, Samantha Lake and I will be leading a Management Track, “Making Your In-Plant Appealing to Millennials.” Looking forward to seeing many of you there!

To register for the conference, click here. Also, check out my video below for a special sneak peak into my presentation at the event.

Moving From Mobile Friendly to Mobile First: Part II

The following is an excerpt from my book, “Untethered Marketing: The Role of the Cloud and Mobile Communication.” To read the full book, please visit JohnFoleyJr.com/Bookstore.

Missed part I of this excerpt? Please click here to read my previous post!

Responsive web design is the concept of developing a website in a style that allows the layout to change based on the user’s screen resolution. It is a completely different approach from traditional web design. For example, if the user accesses a website from a PC, they might see a four-column design, while the same site accessed from a smartphone might be automatically simplified into two columns or even a single column. User choices can vary from PC to tablet to mobile.

iPhoneThis is a mobile-first approach. From the outset, the design assumes the site will be accessed by some type of mobile device, but also leaves the door open for desktop/laptop access, serving the specific needs of all of these users.

Keep in mind that smartphone users are averse to complex navigation paths.  In addition, Flash is still not supported on Apple devices, so web designers should stay away from Flash, giving the preference to HTML 5, JavaScript, and CSS. Pages should also load quickly, regardless of the device. Content consumers are an impatient lot – some experts suggest that even a one second delay in a site loading can result in a 7% reduction in conversion.

Mobile content should also be prioritized. Think about what your customers are most likely to do from a smartphone or a tablet, and organize content accordingly. Continuing with the restaurant example, perhaps the first choice the user sees is, “make a reservation,” the second choice might be “view our menu.” Directions to the establishment and any daily specials or offers should also be readily accessible.

Also keep in mind that mobile users, whether tablet or smartphone, are more in tune with touch-and-swipe, while desktop and laptop users are usually point-and-click oriented. Your designs must take these differences into consideration.

The bottom line: mobile first means providing a consistent experience and brand image across all platforms, and understanding that mobile browsing is rapidly overtaking desktop browsing as the way in which consumers choose to interact with your brand, your product, and your company.

I hope you enjoyed this two part mini series on how the role of mobile marketing is continuing to change and affect the way we market our products and services. Please check out the full book by clicking here!

Moving from Mobile Friendly to Mobile First: Part I

The following is an excerpt from my book, “Untethered Marketing: The Role of the Cloud and Mobile Communication.” To read the full book, please visit JohnFoleyJr.com/Bookstore.

In today’s technology-centered world, it is simply not acceptable to consumers to have to access a standard website from a mobile device. They expect websites these days to be mobile friendly. But for many marketers, even mobile friendly is not enough. Many are rapidly moving towards mobile first.

iPhoneWhat do I mean by mobile first? First, let’s refresh our thoughts on mobile friendly. For many companies, this meant “dumbing down” their regular website, removing and resizing content to make it fit the screen. But that approach does not offer the opportunity to focus on what mobile users really want from a site. Nor does it do a good job of facilitating engagement. Sure, the information is there for those who are looking. The key difference between PC users and mobile users is that mobile users are focused. PC users are generally multitasking between work, play, and casual research. Mobile users are on the go and want fast answers. They are also usually transaction-oriented. They may be looking to buy a specific item, compare prices, or find a location nearby that carries something they are interested in – and they are not willing to dig through layers of web content to get that information. If your site doesn’t offer what they are looking for, a competitor’s surely does!

And, you also can’t assume that something designed for a mobile phone will also be appropriate for a tablet. Tablet users fall somewhere in between PC and smartphone users. They are focused in the sense that they are focused on the tablet experience, and the depth of rich content they can get via that medium. They are likely not multitasking as much as a PC user would be. But they are willing to take more time and gain a broader experience than the average smartphone user. So, perhaps they would like to see a video of your product, or watch a video interview of one of your executives or customers. If you are a restaurant owner, they might want to peruse your menu or wine list and get details about other offerings. A smartphone user is more likely to want to make a reservation, look up directions, or take a quick – one could say superficial – look at the menu.

So, what steps do you need to take to make the move from mobile friendly to mobile first? Click here to read Part II to learn more!