CDI Corporation

Planning business growth in the instant information era

Today’s senior business managers face not only traditional business planning tasks when driving growth within their organization, but also the need to understand new marketing challenges and opportunities presented by technologies that were not taught in business schools even five or ten years ago.

Key among those business planning elements are marketing and public relations planning that leverages the latest technologies to communicate your company’s mission, focus and differentiated, competitive advantages. Leaders also need to plan digital defenses against issues that can arise virtually overnight even as they deploy new marketing tools and techniques.

Here are some ways you can promote your business more effectively using the latest marketing and public relations techniques:

Stick to the 1 in 7 posting principle

A spin on the "Rule of Seven," which stipulates that a buyer should hear a marketing message at least seven times before buying, the 1 in 7 rule relates to social media. As noted by American Express, whenever you post something on Facebook, Twitter or other social media website, one out of every seven of the posts should promote your business. The other posts should be some piece of content that your customers will consider interesting or valuable. This balance helps your customers view your business as an industry thought leader.

Target your audience with search engine optimization

What are your customers searching for when they log on? What websites are they going to for information? Search engine optimization can help you decipher the type of questions your customers want answered and what key word terms they’re using to find them.

"Find out who’s talking about what, where they’re talking about it, and then start listening there," Amy Vernon, marketing consultant at Predictable.ly, told Fast Company.

Form a crisis management team

How would your company respond if an employee mistake or malware attack tarnished the organization’s image? Time is of the essence in today’s digital world where word travels fast, and the immediate strategy you employ determines how you’ll bounce back. You may want to appoint some of your existing employees to a serve as crisis managers. The team should consist of individuals who have a knack for staying cool under pressure and thrive at problem solving in a digital environment. Once the team is assembled, map out a process that can be followed should a crisis arise.

Connect with influencers

Influencers are the people who move the needle and whose endorsement of your product – or contribution to your blog – elicits more clicks. That’s the social media component of leveraging influencers. However, your association with influencers goes far beyond the online world. Connecting with industry influencers can lead to additional marketing opportunities, such as guest speaking at your corporate conferences or appearances in advertising content.

Influencers build their reputation on their knowledge and expertise in a particular arena. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate followings of engaged people who pay close attention to their views. They can create trends and encourage their followers to use your services if you establish a connection with them.

Establishing a solid brand and spreading the word about your company has never been easier, thanks to cost effective measures like social media, digital marketing and public relations. The key is striking the right balance between traditional and new marketing and public relations techniques that can propel your business to new heights.

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“Key among those business planning elements are marketing and public relations planning that leverages the latest technologies to communicate your company’s mission, focus and differentiated, competitive advantages.”

CDI Corporation

Employment Situation (U.S.)

August was a strong month for employers across most segments of the U.S. economy, particularly in the wake of a July performance that notably underperformed the expectations of economic analysts, businesses and governments alike. According to the latest Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, American nonfarm organizations in both the private and public sectors added 210,000 jobs to their workforces.

This figure stands well above the 147,000 new positions created in July (downwardly revised from an initial estimate of 157,000) and also exceeds the median prediction by Bloomberg-surveyed economists, who expected to see 190,000 jobs added during the month. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate held fast to its July figure of 3.9 percent (about 6.2 million unemployed persons actively looking for work) in August, and this did slightly fall behind the estimate of economic experts Reuters polled, who predicted a drop to 3.8 percent.

Michael Gapen, chief U.S. economist at Barclays, pointed out in an interview with The New York Times that figures such as these indicated some of the fears over international trade wars were, for now at least, somewhat overblown.

"What’s worth noting is that even though there still remains a lot of headline noise around politics and protectionism, underneath that, the U.S. economy – and that includes labor markets – is doing quite fine," Gapen told the newspaper.

Professional and business services remained the top performer in terms of employment creation among American industries, adding 53,000 jobs during August.

There were some notable differences between the August and July reports in terms of industries showing statistically significant increases or declines. Transportation and warehousing, which has not risen or fallen much throughout 2018, saw a big jump of 22,000 new positions created in August. Mining also added jobs this past month after showing no significant movement in July, although these almost all came from mining support services, as has been the case for many of the previously reported increases within that particular field over the past year.

The August BLS report also contained other significant positives. Wages grew by 0.4 percent when analyzed by average hourly earnings, rising 10 cents to reach $27.16. When looked at on a year-over-year basis, the gain is even more impressive – 2.9 percent between August 2017 and 2018.

Indications also exist of some trade tensions between the U.S. and other nations beginning to abate somewhat. CNN reported Aug. 28 that President Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto agreed on several adjustments to the North American Free Trade Agreement, most of them meant to ensure both nations were able to maintain strong involvement in auto manufacturing. Peña Nieto expressed hope that Canada would accept the revisions, which would further advance NAFTA renegotiation efforts. However, according to another Reuters report, Canada and America still remain at odds over several industries, most notably dairy, lumber, media and steel.

The full Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be downloaded by
clicking here.

Employment Situation (Canada)

Throughout 2018 there hasn’t been a dominant economic trend for Canada, which is likely the cause of frustration for Canadian business and government leaders, not to mention the everyday labourer. Consecutive months of job gains follow shortfalls stemming from highly specific industry circumstances, but then more contraction comes along the next month. That’s exactly what happened in August: Statistics Canada reported approximately 52,000 jobs lost during the month in its latest release of the Labour Force Survey, almost entirely eliminating the increases in employment that occurred during June and July.

Some of this most recent decline falls in line with trends that occur almost everywhere in the world around this time – namely, the loss of seasonal workers: Indeed, part-time employment accounted for 92,000 lost jobs, a drop offset only by a 40,400-person increase in full-time employment, which brought the overall decrease down. The unemployment rate also rose in August, edging up 0.2 per cent from July’s total to reach 6 per cent, and wage growth fell 2.9 per cent. Economists surveyed by Reuters expected a gain of 5,000 jobs alongside a smaller unemployment increase of just 0.1 per cent. While part-time jobs being shed are certainly a factor, declines occurred across too many industries for expected seasonal shifts to be the dominant reason.

Sal Guatieri, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, didn’t mince words in his characterization of the unfavourable employment data when speaking with Reuters on the topic.

"The Canadian numbers are a big disappointment, almost a full retracement of the prior month’s big gain," Guatieri told the news provider. "The only consolation is that the weakness is in part-time jobs, full time was up."

By sector, professional, scientific and technical services took the biggest hit, with 22,000 positions lost, but retail and wholesale trade wasn’t far behind, having shed 20,000 roles. Construction was the only other industry to see a five-figure dip in its nationwide payrolls during August, with more than 16,000 jobs gone.

Of the few Canadian economic sectors that saw job gains in August, only the uptick in business, building and other support services managed to hit the five-digit threshold, with approximately 10,400 positions created in that field. Outside of the services half of Canada’s economy, only utilities saw any increase in employment during August, gaining about 2,500 jobs.

The Globe and Mail reported Sept. 6 – barely 24 hours before the Labour Force Survey came out – that Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins expressed near-hawkish confidence in the nation’s economy and the national bank’s strategies during a speech in Regina, Saskatchewan, that day.

"The economy is adjusting well and can adapt to higher interest rates," Wilkins said. "The gradual approach we have been following is still appropriate."

While the Canadian jobs data reversed the brief surge in the Canadian dollar widely attributed to Wilkins’ remarks, it remains too early to tell whether the national bank’s second-in-command is wrong in her overall assessment of the nation’s direction. According to The Canadian Press, she addressed the issues caused by tensions over U.S. tariffs as well as renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement in her Regina speech, and still adhered to her generally positive (albeit subtly so) economic outlook.

Along those lines, business leaders and economists watching the Canadian markets domestically and globally seem confident another interest rate hike will occur at the BOC’s Oct. 24 session, with Andrew Kelvin of TD Securities telling Reuters his firm considered the employment data "just statistical noise." As of Sept. 10, a rate increase at that time appears 60 per cent likely, per the news provider.

Canadian ES Report:
Labour Force Survey, August 2018

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