Getting a Healthy Diagnosis with Big Data

bigdata_lettersjpgBig data has already proven its value in business and marketing concerns.

Corporations are positively swimming in vast amounts of data that they are still trying to find ways to navigate. Even as more industries discover for the first time the possibilities of big data, it keeps coming.

The healthcare industry is the most recent area in which big data is proving useful.

As some healthcare providers have begun to see, big data can play a valuable role in bettering the future of healthcare in the country.

What is Big Data?

Big data is defined as very large vats of data that can be extrapolated and analyzed to reveal such things as patterns, projections, trends, and comparisons.

Big data is often put into spreadsheets so it can be viewed in administrative dashboards. It’s typically so vast that there is and endless stream that can be viewed in nearly limitless ways.

How Does Big Data Relate to Healthcare?

Big data doesn’t specifically relate to healthcare, but it is starting to be used by the healthcare industry.

When healthcare companies gather big data, they’re looking for things that relate to a person or group of people’s health and behavior.

To take one example, they might look at the behavioral data of a group of war veterans to look at how well they can transition back into peaceful society to determine who may still be suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

To get to these ends they might look at the frequency of alcohol purchases, the rates of suicide, reports of domestic violence, vehicular accidents, aptness to seek therapeutic counseling, and more.

As the following article looks at, with big data in use…healthcare, agencies will find a way to exploit it.

Where Does a Healthcare Agency Get Big Data?

There are a number of collectors of data in the world. Any time a person signs up for a consumer rewards card, their shopping patterns are willingly handed over to data collectors.

When physicians agree to hand over patient records on an anonymous basis, data collectors can mine the files for information. Credit card reward programs always come with terms of service that provide for the collection of spending habits data.

Even online viewing habits can be monitored, collected and sold to data collectors who in turn can sell the information to healthcare agencies. It may seem like Internet browsing is unrelated to healthcare, but the answers can be surprising. This is how trends are forecast.

When a celebrity like Joan Rivers dies from throat surgery, searches for throat polyps jump exponentially. If a soldier threatens civilians with harm and the AP wire picks it up, searches for PTSD spike.

Everything is related, and big data is just the net to collect it all.

Should Healthcare Agencies Be Able to Use Big Data?

The question is an ethical one that will need to be decided in the court of public opinion.

One thing is for sure, though; if the public doesn’t speak up, healthcare agencies will push ahead with utilizing big data, because there is a lot of good to come of it, as well as the bad.

About the Author: Kate Supino covers a broad range of modern health care issues relating to technology.

Put Some Spark in Your Database Marketing

dataDatabase marketing is at the heart of any successful customer outreach campaign. From online marketing to the management of your website to the content within, a stale database marketing game plan will result in lackluster campaigning.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to get your database marketing on the right track:

Database Marketing in a Nutshell

Many businesses rely on their databases to mine customer data that can then be used for marketing purposes. This is referred to as database marketing and it’s helping businesses of all kinds better target their customers.

Database marketing uses potential and current customer databases to generate and market personalized services and campaigns. This direct marketing format makes it easier for businesses to communicate with customers without having to go through other marketing channels.

If you’re business uses database marketing, there are a number of ways you can make sure you’re getting the most out of your marketing practices.

Avoid Database Stagnancy

The only way to take advantage of your database is by making sure it has a constant flow of data.

Although this seems like an easy task to accomplish, databases don’t keep collecting unique forms of data automatically – it’s up to you to add value to your database and your marketing practices.

As the following article looks at, along with the 6 reasons your database marketing isn’t working is database stagnancy.

Fortunately, you can avoid this issue by consistently finding new contacts and company lists to upload. By adding updated customer subscription lists and other business contacts to your internal database, you’ll increase your outreach and avoid stagnancy.

Segment Your Data

There’s a difference between good data and bad data. Good data will help your business optimize its marketing practices whereas bad data will bog down your database and throw your marketing off track. That’s why it’s important to segment your good data and eliminate your bad data.

You can do this by manually monitoring your database or using a program. Manual monitoring involves calling all customer phone numbers, verifing business contacts, and checking websites URLs for outdated information.

Although manually monitoring your database is effective, it’s also time-consuming, which is where monitoring programs come into play. A monitoring program will accomplish everything mentioned above quickly and automatically. Running automatic programs also takes human error out of the equation, but this type of software does come with some upfront costs.

Track Behaviors

If you truly want to take advantage of database marketing, then you need to start paying attention to the behavioral insights that your data provides.

Behavioral insights make it possible to use specific marketing channels to remarket your products and services, but only if you properly track those behaviors.

For example, if you run an online shoe store and a customer in your database searches for “sandals” while visiting your website, you can take advantage of that unique behavior. Instead of sending that person a generic marketing campaign, you can send them an email or text campaign that promotes your next sandal sale.

By keeping in mind the pointers above, you’ll really put some spark in your database marketing practices.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including database marketing and customer outreach.

Being Bilingual Can Be a Career Asset

internationalSome believe that within the next 10 years, half the American population will speak Spanish. North America’s proximity to the Mexican border is the main reason why being bilingual is touted as being a career asset.

As more Spanish speaking immigrants integrate themselves into American civilization, it’s more likely that employees and the companies they work for will want to sell to Spanish-speaking consumers.

Demand for Bilingual Applicants

Employers looking for competent employees who can satisfy employee needs are more inclined than ever to require that the candidate be bilingual.

Employers are simply seeking to offer services to those who may not speak English, and providing employees who can communicate with those customers is a boon to business.

As the following article looks at, it should come as no surprise why the future is so bright for bilingual cosmetologists.

Relationships with Cosmetology Clients

Cosmetologists have the unique opportunity to work on clients from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds. It doesn’t matter what language they speak, where they are from or where they are going. Everyone has a head of hair that needs to be groomed.

Cosmetologists who are bilingual can interact with clients on a personal level, and give the same kind of service to all of their clients, no matter if they speak English or not.

As such, bilingual cosmetologists are in hot demand, and for good reason.

Role of Bilingual in Admin

Being bilingual can be a career asset in any field, including administrative duties. As a receptionist or administrative assistant, an employee will be exposed to all kinds of different people, including those from other countries who don’t speak the English language.

Since a receptionist’s job is to receive workplace visitors, being able to communicate with those visitors in their native tongue can be a real asset.

Interview Potential of Being Bilingual

In addition to communicating with customers, being bilingual can help job seekers to find positions. More and more company supervisors are from another country originally.

It isn’t that an interview needs to be carried out in another language. It’s that the interviewee will stand out in the crowd of job candidates when they are able to state – and prove – that they can converse in.

We live in a culturally diverse now, in a global community. In a few decades, Spanish or another language will become at least, or as popular as English.

By ignoring other languages, you essentially ignore the opportunity in business growth in specific consumer sectors.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes extensively about best business practices.

Don’t Let a Workplace Accident Leave You in a Financial Hole

shutterstock_101312788Did you know that millions of personal injury lawsuits are filed yearly? According to affordable law experts Rocket Lawyer, Tort cases, where a civil wrong causes loss or suffering (such slip and fall injuries, employment discrimination and even wrongful death) account for 11 percent of the 20 million civil cases filed annually.

No one wants to think about getting sued in their business, but with statistics like that it’s clear that your chances of being sued may be greater than you think.

So what can you do to help prevent a personal injury lawsuit in your business?

Carry Out a Thorough Risk Assessment

A thorough risk assessment will help you to spot potential problems. Take your time and thoroughly assess every aspect of your business.

Steps to take include:

  • The premises itself – check from roof to basement to make sure everything is in good order;
  • Substances and equipment – from a hot coffee machine to a forklift truck, be aware of everything your employees or visitors handle on a daily basis;
  • Daily business tasks – from manufacturing to typing, take note of what your employees do on a daily basis, and whether they’re doing it in the safest way possible;
  • Unavoidable hazards – from steep stairs to blind corners, be on the lookout for unavoidable hazards, and plan what you can do to minimize them.

Minimize Risks Where You Can

Once you’ve carried out your risk assessment, turn your attention to finding ways to minimize the risks. There are many ways you can do this. For example, if you find certain areas prone to get slippery, invest in non-slip mats. If your premises have steep stairs, mark the edges with hazard tape, and so on.

Try to minimize the risks to your employees in carrying out their daily tasks. For example, make sure they have the best equipment for the job and are trained in how to use it properly.

Those who use computers a lot may benefit from ergonomic chairs and desks. If your employees have to operate machinery, provide appropriate safety wear.

Whatever your business, make sure your environment is as comfortable and well lit as possible, and that your employees are trained in good lifting and handling practices.

Maintain Your Business Inside and Out

As the article “If You Slip and Fall in a Parking Lot, Call Personal Injury Attorneys” points out, premises liability extends outside of a brick and mortar business and into the parking lot.

Make sure that from the moment they walk or drive onto your lot, employees and visitors will be subjected to as few risks as possible.

Keep all walkways and driving areas as clean and slip-free as possible, and be mindful of entrance ways and porches. Any potential hazards should be clearly posted via signage.

Inside your premises, be sure to schedule regular maintenance. From getting the boiler checked to dealing with a loose roof tile or threadbare carpet, make premises maintenance a regular business task.

Deal with Hazards as Soon as Possible

Any time a hazard gets left, there’s a greater chance of an injury, and potentially a lawsuit. Slips, trips and falls are common workplace accidents, and many of these can be prevented with prompt action.

Mop up spills straight away, treat icy parking lots and sidewalks, and deal with blown out light bulbs or trailing cables as soon as you spot them.

Workplace accidents cause a lot of stress for both the injured party, and the employer. Take as many steps as you can to reduce the risk of accidents, and don’t forget to keep your insurance up to date, just in case.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a variety of topics including social media, how to make the most of your small business, and how to prevent personal injury lawsuits.

Automakers Pull Forward with Better Marketing Tactics

social_carsWhen it comes to informing drivers about the latest model cars, automakers from every manufacturer are turning to marketing and social media to spread the word.

With the right social media marketing plan in place, automakers are reaching a larger audience than ever before.

Here are just a few ways the auto industry is putting social media marketing in the driver’s seat:

Automakers on Social Media

As social media continues to gain in popularity, entire industries are focusing their attention on social media – including the auto industry.

Some of the top automotive manufacturers in the world are using social media on a regular basis to reach out to customers and promote their brands.

For example, Ford stays connected with its customers by answering questions about its brand on Facebook. The company even promoted the new Ford Fusion with a combination of Facebook and primetime television advertising.

Volkswagen is also jumping on the social media bandwagon by posting videos and photos on Youtube and Pinterest. Likewise, Audi turns to Twitter regularly to increase customer engagement.

With social media, the marketing options are endless.

Showcasing New Models

Creating buzz about a new model release is a top marketing priority for every automaker out there. With social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, automakers can put their newest model cars, trucks, and SUVs in the spotlight well before their release dates.

As the following article looks at, whether automakers want to post an article on 5 new cars that offer great value via Facebook or they want to show sneak peeks of a brand new model SUV on Instagram, social media is the perfect place to grab some serious attention.

Answering Questions and Monitoring Comments

Much like the Ford example above, many automakers are using social media as a real-time FAQ page to answer questions about their brands. Automakers are encouraging their customers to reach out through Facebook and Twitter with any and all questions they might have.

In addition, automakers are also monitoring their social accounts for feedback about their brands. This helps the auto industry predict trends as well as search for possible quality control issues.

Social transparency like this helps automakers build a social presence, which is a big marketing advantage.

Promoting Upcoming Sales

When new inventory starts rolling off the assembly line, automakers have to make sure there’s room on the lot by offering discounts on current models. Social media is an effective way to promote sales events and discounts to a massive audience.

For example, automakers can post everything from year-end deals to price cuts to attractive lease and finance terms through their social accounts.

Creating Brand Loyalty

All of the social media marketing options mentioned above help automakers build brand loyalty. With the amount of competition there is in the auto industry, brand loyalty is more important than ever before.

By keeping up with posts, answering questions, responding to comments, and making social media a go-to communications resource, automakers can create long lasting relationships with their customers.

From Facebook to Twitter and every social stop in between, automakers are driving towards marketing success with social media.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including social media and the auto industry.

Blow Past the Competition with Winning Marketing Data

bus_intelligenceAt the end of the day, marketing is an essential element to business success. The problem, however, is that too few business owners understand what marketing is all about.

For many, marketing means sending out direct mailers, emails, and putting up billboards with little thought devoted to long-term strategy.

This can then result in wasted time and money, as well as company resources, in pursuit of nothing.

Data is the Key

In order to run any successful marketing campaign, data is the key.

Data refers to any information you may have regarding who the potential customer is, what he wants, what he fears about a possible transaction, what his pain points are, where he spends his time, etc.

Essentially, your market data needs to provide your company with a complete profile, or persona, of the potential customer on as many personal levels as possible.

In a nutshell, shooting in the dark or throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks will not get you very far in marketing.

Outsmarting Your Competition

In the article, “Outsmarting Your competition With Marketing Data,” the issue of providing information at the right time is important.

Working out your timing schedule in business is everything, and failing to target key consumers at the wrong times can be a serious detriment to your business.

For example, if your company produces running shoes, then the key times to market your products, as per market data, would be during the spring and summer months.

With this stated, it would also be a good idea to take a look at different marketing approaches during the fall and winter as those periods may be when consumers of footwear are training to gear up for the active seasons.

How to Get Marketing Data

While it may seem easy and convenient to purchase marketing data from third parties, this data may not pay off in the end.

Many companies that offer consumer data simply cull broad spectrums of information from multiple sources. Yes, you will receive a large amount of prospects, but in return, you’ll receive a large amount of people who aren’t and will never be interested in your products or services.

content_marketingOne sure bet, however, is to use content marketing across social media.

The people who like or follow your pages are more likely to be receptive to your company’s products or services, making them likely leads.

If you can produce regular, relevant content regarding your company to push through your social media channels, you’ll be more likely to achieve marketing success and blow past your competition.

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include marketing data and digital advertising.

Some Jobs Just Need the Human Touch

robotFrom a hotel in Japan with a robot receptionist to the promise of cars that can drive themselves, you would be forgiven for worrying that your job may go to a computer before long.

However, no matter how many leaps and bounds technology makes, there are some jobs that simply cannot be replaced by a computer or robot.

Some jobs will always need the human touch. So, what are some of those jobs?

Healthcare Practitioners

Advances in computer technology can certainly help healthcare practitioners in how they administer care to patients, but it can’t replace healthcare workers.

Think for example of a surgeon. Such delicate, close work really needs a human touch. It’s not just technical skill either; surgeons need to adapt to changing circumstances and make quick decisions that will have a long term impact on their patients.

Another aspect of healthcare that computers simply cannot replace is a good bedside manner. Sick patients really need the human touch to offer care, connection, a kind face and a gentle word.

Architects and Designers

The article “5 Reasons Why Computers Can’t Replace Architects” sums things up succinctly: Computers can’t think creatively. Architects and designers of all kinds rely on their creativity to be the best at their jobs.

Another thing computers can’t replicate is taste. Architects and designers need to understand their clients and their client’s taste. A machine is no match for good taste.

Translators

Have you ever tried to use a computer based translator? The chances are you’ll have been offered some entertaining, but ultimately unintelligible English.

Good translation requires so much more than knowing the equivalent for a word in another language.

Translators need to understand not only the language, but the context, the culture, and the readers or listeners.

Public Relations and Marketing Professionals

Public relations and marketing both rely on something computers cannot replicate: A true understanding of their audience.

From talking to the media to marketing a wonderful new products, some roles require empathy, understanding and psychological smarts that a computer can’t grasp.

The ability to get into the customer’s mindset and speak to them on their level needs human creativity and social intelligence.

CEOs and Managers

Computers can be used to automate many aspects of office life, from payroll to training, but they can never truly replace CEOs and managers.

Management requires a range of people skills, from negotiation to knowing how to bring out the best in a team.

Whether they are motivating their employees, dreaming up creative solutions to problems, or deciding on the future of the company, managers rely on their experience, knowledge and instinct to make the best decisions.

Managers also need the right kind of personality – passionate, determined, creative and dedicated. All these traits would be hard to find in a computer.

Teachers

Technology is getting more and more prevalent in the classroom, leading to some people asking if computers could ever replace teachers?

Perhaps computers could be used to give children things to learn, and test their progress, but computers can never replace good teachers.

A teacher does much more than impart knowledge.

Teachers need to know how to motivate their students to learn, how to cultivate a culture of excellence, and how to help each individual student make educational choices now that will have a positive impact on their future.

Technology is a useful tool, but a computer can’t empathize with people, show good taste, or use its creativity.

There’s a lot technology can do to revolutionize these particular jobs, but it can never replace the human touch.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a variety of topics including social media, SEO that works, and the role of technology in the workplace.

Could Your Business Fall Prey to VoIP Fraud?

VoIP2VoIP technology has enhanced the way companies do business by reducing phone costs and increasing efficiency. However, as with any good product, there is always a corresponding issue.

For VoIP, it is the danger of fraud. If you have never heard about VoIP fraud; you may not be aware of how costly it can be and how detrimental to your business.

Understanding VoIP Fraud

As the following article looks at, to protect your business, you must know what is VoIP fraud and how can it be stopped?

VoIP technology uses the internet for making phone calls, which increases the risk of hackers; just as with any other internet product or resource. Hackers can find their way into a business’ VoIP system and make phone calls from that network.

Hackers can charge up hundreds of dollars in phone calls in just a few days. This also ties up the lines on the network so that legitimate calls cannot go through or the system slows down.

This may not sound like a big deal until you understand that this is a business for the hackers. They don’t just make a few phone calls, but they sell the password information to others to give them illegal access to the network. The number of people who can tie up the network greatly increases.

Preventing Hackers

Preventing hackers with malicious intent from accessing the VoIP network is much the same as for any other internet-based activity.

Passwords should be strong and changed every so often. Users should always opt for longer, more complicated passwords that cannot be easily guessed by diligent hackers.

While many passwords are required to be at least 6 or 8 characters in length, experts recommend at least 12 to 15 characters instead.

Use a combination of letters and numbers with one or more special characters to add to the complexity of the password.

You Can Turn to Software

Fraud detection software is another method of protecting the system from hackers. It monitors the system use and provides alerts to any unusual or suspicious activity. Adding a firewall also enhances the level of protection for the system.

SSH encryption prevents unauthorized access to data when it is transferred over VoIP, which can improve confidentiality and lessen the threat of hackers.

When a business is considering moving to VoIP, it needs to look for a provider that offers these features.

Find out if VoIP fraud has been an issue for any of the businesses that are customers of the provider to determine if it is taking the necessary steps to protect its customer base.

At the same time, each business must take responsibility for its own safety from all kinds of fraud, including that which takes place over the VoIP network.

Only through diligent effort and ongoing monitoring can businesses protect themselves from hackers who would access their networks and cost them hundreds and thousands of dollars.

Companies must learn about VoIP fraud, but not let it scare them away from this technology.

Instead, the knowledge should arm them to protect their own networks while utilizing the technology to help the business grow.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including finance and technology.

Does Your Management Style Click with Employees?

managementManagement of employees is tricky business. One the one hand, your own personality, personal and professional experiences, and orders from higher-ups come into play.

On the other hand, there are many variations in employee personality, experience, and common sense that are also in the mix.

As a result, when you assume the role of manager, you’ll need to ensure that you are able to juggle many different responsibilities and approaches at once.

Choosing a Management Style

While there are many management styles that are clearly defined by scholars and industry experts, none of these can easily qualify the exact demands of a manager.

This is because there are various needs for different employees or departments. What works for one may not work for all.

For example, when managing a creative team, you may need to provide additional freedom for designers so that they can work uninhibited, but you may need to offer extra guidance or feedback for developers so that they can be assured that they are on the right track with the other members of the team.

Factoring in Company Culture

Another piece of the puzzle that must be considered when managing employees is company culture.

You were hired, so it’s likely that you already understand and fit in with the company’s culture, but this fit must be exemplified in your daily professional interactions.

If your company’s culture is centered on hard work, determination, and constant hard work, taking a laid back approach might not be appropriate.

Conversely, if your company’s culture revolves around imagination, creative freedom, and innovation, watching over employees like a hawk will typically end in disaster.

When Things Aren’t Working

In the article, “5 Signs Your FM Team Isn’t Responding to Your Management Style,” the issue of conflicting styles is discussed. Here, readers learn that it’s best to work with natural abilities from each team member.

It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone is you, not everyone has the experience that you do, and not everyone will approach work problems in the same way.

As such, treat each team member as an individual while trying to achieve the same goal.

Also, it would be a good idea as a manager to not only look for the best candidates for promotion, but also to take an interest in fostering growth potential with each employee. This will ultimately establish trust, a professional bond, and higher productivity among employees.

Failing to take notice of exemplary professional conduct may make your management style come across as cold, meaning employees will be less likely to engage you when it truly matters for the future of your company.

As a manager, what style is best for you in the workplace?

About the Author: Andrew Rusnak is an author who writes on topics that include facility management and business development.

Put Your Codes in Play for Better Texting Results

codesAlthough the marketing world is abuzz about short codes, your business shouldn’t overlook the advantages of using a long code service. Long codes are oftentimes a more effective way to market your business on a mobile level.

Here are just a few benefits of going the long code route:

Long Codes in a Nutshell

Simply put; longs codes are 10-digit mobile phone numbers used for texting and calling purposes. They are the same length as standard phone numbers, but because they are longer than short codes, which are usually four to six digits, they are referred to as long.

What does all of this mean for your business? Well, there are a number of long code texting services available that can help improve marketing and communications between your business and its customers.

The following is just a handful of the advantages that go along with choosing a long code texting service…

Familiar Messaging

If you’ve ever received a short code message from another business, the first thing that stands out is probably the format. Short codes are shorter than regular phone numbers that makes them, stand out in a bad way.

Short codes look like spam when compared to other standard numbers on your customers’ mobile call lists. This causes recipients to want to ignore or delete the short code messages they receive.

As the article, “The long and short of a long codes texting service” looks at, it is the fact your messages will have all 10 digits, which makes them much more familiar to recipients.

More Messaging Options

If you’re looking for mobile outreach that has the potential to reach all of your customers, then a long code service is the right choice.

For starters, all mobile carriers support long codes because they use ten digits. This type of outreach is not possible with short codes.

In addition, long codes also support voice. This allows your business to seamlessly switch between texting and calling when it comes to marketing and customer communications. Voice is something short codes simply can’t provide.

Customer Convenience

There’s nothing more irritating than receiving a text message from an unknown sender. With that said, short codes make it impossible for your customers to save and store your business’s number.

Long codes work just like standard phone numbers and are therefore storable on your customers’ mobile devices. This is not only convenient for your customers, but it also adds a level of trust to your mobile marketing and communications.

Not only that, most long code service providers also offer exclusive codes. This means you can use the same code over and over again with the same customer, which is great for your business’s long-term marketing endeavors.

Messaging Versatility

As mentioned above, long code text message services work with all mobile carriers. If that’s not enough of a reason to go the long code route, then consider this: long codes can be used internationally as well.

Additionally, both VoIP mobile devices and Google Voice are long-code friendly.

If you want to improve your business’s texting practices, then give long codes a chance as part of your marketing strategy.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including customer outreach and mobile marketing.