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Business Web Site of the Week – Gateway to Associations

If you sell a product or provide a service there is probably an association for your industry. The Gateway to Associations can help you find that association, but why should you put in the time?

Here’s one reason: Industry associations want businesses in their industry to succeed, and because of this will often give away highly valuable information. Take, for example, the National Restaurant Association or the American Veterinary Medical Association. They’re giving tons of statistics away.

Associations are a great source for highly-targeted industry research. See if you can learn something new about your industry by finding a relevant association – we think you will. Tip: From the above link, scroll down to find the association search box.

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American Media Trends 2007

The Nielsen Company recently released a series of top ten lists (pdf) based on different types of media. Learn more about top-selling movies, music, technology, books – and the metro areas most likely to buy them.

If this should happen to catch you up in a delightful pop culture romp, you won’t want to miss Time Magazine’s 50 Top Ten Lists – full of awkward moments, dubious fashion trends, and oddball news stories – plus some more or less serious science and business lists.

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Consumer Trends for 2008

In addition to perusing end-of-theyear lists that can provide some good summary insights on the year that was, now is the time to start looking out for the here’s-what’s-coming-next-year predictions. For example, this one: 8 Important Consumer Trends for 2008, from the market research firm trendwatching.com. Consider the 8:
Status Spheres – Status is pre-eminent in buying decisions, but what sphere of status is most important to your customers?
Premiumization – There is a high end in everything, from food products to toilet paper.
Snack Culture – The craving for instant gratification takes many forms.
Online Oxygen – The online presence — access, purchasing, service, identification — is as important as breathing.
Eco-Iconic – It’s not enough to be green. You’ve got to telegraph it with a unique style.
Brand Butlers – Giving is the new taking. Find a way to help your customers, and make the most of your product or brand.
MIY (Make It Yourself) – Can your customers create their own versions of your products? Because many of them may want to.
Crowd Mining – Those with shared interests will band together in a crowd anyway, so why not see if they can also solve one of your challenges?
Follow the link for fuller descriptions of these trends — and a lengthy list of specific examples of companies putting them to work. And at the very least, as the site says…
“…for now, take any of the eight trends above, sit down with your colleagues and/or clients, and figure out how, in 2008, to come up with at least one new premium product, one ‘snack’ version of an existing product, two or three major tweaks to your ecommerce presence, one eco-iconic innovation, two or three marketing campaigns that are about aiding consumers, not stalking them, introducing one MIY concept, and asking the rest of the world for help with at least one of your company’s major opportunities or challenges.”

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Biz Researchers Heart Census Bureau

Here at the Hill Library, we love the Census Bureau. It’s simply the best source to start with when conducting just about any kind of business research. Plus, it’s free. The Census Bureau counts almost every person in the U.S. and keeps statistics on virtually every industry.
Sometimes, though, when we send researchers to the Economic Census site for industry research, they come back all crestfallen because that actual data comes from 2002.
“2002,” they say incredulously, “that’s, like, totally ancient.”
Well, here’s a day-brightener for those gloomy searchers. The Census Bureau puts out much more current research on specific industry sectors, at sites like this one for the Service Industry.
Currently, one can find 2006 reports on these service industries:

…along with some 2007 quarterly updates, more 2006 service industry reports coming soon, and lots of 2005 reports now available.
If you’re instead looking for retail sector industry statistics (including food and accommodations), check out:Annual Retail Trade Survey, which includes 2005 data.
Or if you’re researching the manufacturing sector, try:Manufacturing Current Industrial Reports, with many 2006 reports along with selected 2007 quarterly updates.  
The Census Bureau is a powerful industry research resource, if you know where to look. Start with these sites – we think you’ll heart them.
p.s. You can find these links along with more free industry research sites on the BizToolkit, by selecting Industry Research from the drop-down menu.

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Large and in charge, but in a delightful sort of way

Doesn’t that remind you of Mr. T? Or is that just me?

Anyway. What I’m officially referring to is more end-of-year lists! Today’s lists highlight big companies, powerful business leaders, and delightful places to live. Let’s take a look.

Last week, BizJournals.com came out with America’s Fun Cities, a ranking based on food, shopping, and entertainment. Don’t feel too bad Memphis. After all, you could have been #51.

The Read/Write Web Blog announced their pick for the Best Big Web Company. (Note: it’s not Google. They’re number two.)

And Fortune Magazine came out with the 25 most powerful people in business.
Sorry, Mr. T – it’s strictly businesspeople.

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Business Web Site of the Week – Design of Desire

Why do people purchase the things they do? Is it neurological? Cultural? Social? American RadioWorks, public radio’s documentary unit, set out to find the answer.

What they came up with is this site: Design of Desire. It chronicles the biological impulses of purchase decisions (Tightwads and Spendthrifts), the ways in which retail design affects buyers (Buying the Tribe), and how branding gets personal online (A Brand of Me). 

If you’ve bought or sold anything recently – and we think you probably have – this site might shed some light on that purchase. Think of it as the “why” of buying. 

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Best Business Books of 2007

It’s hard to know what criteria to use in determining what is a good business book, but my favorite answer to the question comes from the publishing industry itself: “What makes a good business book?” asked Marion Maneker, editorial director at HarperCollins Business. “I don’t know. Something that sells.”

Spoken like a true business person.

In our ongoing series of year-end lists, here is BusinessWeek magazine’s attempt at listing the best business books of 2007. You’ll find management doctrinaires such as The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure (And What to Do About It) and The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. Also case studies such as Boeing Versus Airbus and The House of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty, the opines of former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan in The Age of Turbulence, and others.

And while it’s not a 2007 book, also consider picking up Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done, in anticipation of the Hill Library’s Business Book Club discussion set to take place in February.

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2007 Lists – Here they come!

The Web is positively churning these days with end of the year lists, touting the best and the brightest of 2007. We’ll bring you word of the big lists throughout December here on the Hill Library blog, but what can you do with them?

You can use these 2007 lists to make a guess about what 2008 will be like – because what’s leading edge today is commonplace tomorrow.

So when Oxford University Press lists top words of the year you might assume that these highlight new ideas working their way into our everyday vocabulary.

When Yahoo lists 2007 search trends and Google announces fastest growing search terms, you can discover the types of topics holding our collective attention.

The things that spark our interest today just might charge our credit cards tomorrow. Can you use these lists to plan strategically?

Stay tuned for more end-of-year lists!

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Business Web Site of the Week – Ethnic Events

Targeting your marketing message to a particular group of people can be a powerful strategy, but also a daunting task. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to get out into a community and just talk to folks, face-to-face?

With Ethnic Events you can find cultural events, festivals, and get-togethers in your area. Search by ethnicity, event date, and event location and then contact the event organizers and ask about sponsorship or the possibility of setting up a booth.

Multicultural marketing doesn’t have to involve a big advertising team and slick, expensive design elements. It can just be you, talking to people about how your product or service can help them. Ethnic Events can help you find those people.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE:

We are pleased to announce the completion of our elevator renovation at the James J. Hill Center. This project was financed in part with funds provided by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the Minnesota Historical Society and the F. R. Bigelow Foundation. It will greatly increase our ability to serve patrons with accessibility needs.

Please access our ground floor elevator entrance via Kellogg Ave at the back of the building. Please ring the doorbell on the right hand side of door and a Hill staff member will assist you. If you have questions or concerns please call 651.265.5500. We look forward to having you visit our brand new elevator!

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