Monday, April 29, 2019

US Household Spending Breakdown by Income Group

From Money magazine via Engaging Data


One of the key factors in the financial health of an individual or household is making sure that household spending is equal to or below household income. If your spending is higher than income, you will be drawing down your savings (if you have any) or borrowing money. If your spending is lower than your income, you will presumably be saving money which can provide flexibility in the future, fund your retirement (maybe even early) and generally give you peace of mind.

We can see that on average, those in the lowest quintiles may be borrowing or drawing down on savings to live, while those in the highest quintiles are saving money. This fairly high level of borrowing/drawing on savings from the lowest quintile households may be deceptive because it includes seniors who are drawing down savings that were built up specifically for this purpose, and college students who are borrowing to go to school. These groups generally don’t have significant incomes.

The main thing is to understand where your money is going. Once you’ve done this you can be more conscious of what you are spending your money on, and then decide if you are spending too much (or too little) in certain categories. Having context of what other people spend money on is helpful as well, and why it is useful to compare to these averages, even though the income level, regional cost of living, and household composition won’t look exactly the same as your household.

Friday, April 26, 2019

How to Hire for Diversity without Compromise

By Lou Adler
From LinkedIn

"When companies continue to use job descriptions listing skills and experiences surrounded by generic competencies and highfalutin statements about culture, diversity hiring implies making compromises."

I went on to say that this type of hiring process compromises more than diversity. It eliminates the most promising people from consideration before they even get a chance to be considered. These are the people who achieve more with a different mix of skills and experiences. These are people who get promoted more frequently.

These are the people who are assigned stretch projects early in their careers. These are the people who are assigned the toughest projects or volunteer for them at every stage of their career. These are people who are assigned to important multi-functional teams or volunteer to be part of them or are asked by other team members to join.

The sad part is that traditional job descriptions prevent these people from consideration unless they are referred or already known by the people making the hiring decisions.

However, there is one technique that opens up this diverse pool of high performing talent without making any compromises: Eliminate traditional job descriptions and shift to a performance-qualified approach for attracting and assessing talent.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Census Bureau Releases 2017 Census of Governments Data

The U.S. Census Bureau is releasing two products: the official count of state and local governments for the 2017 Census of Governments and the Individual State Descriptions report.
The 2017 Census of Governments release consists of data from the Organization component that reflects an enumeration of active, in-scope governments in the United States. These counts are presented by government type, state, population-size groups, function, and school systems.
The Individual State Descriptions report for the 2017 Census of Governments provides information about the legal organization of state and local governments. There is a separate summary for each state and the District of Columbia. The summaries cover authorized county, municipal, township, school district, and special district governments, as well as noteworthy state and local dependent governments.
The Census of Governments is a three-phased program that collects state and local government data every five years as a part of the Census of Governments in years ending in “2” and “7.” Between censuses, comparable employment and financial activity data are produced from intercensal quarterly and annual sample surveys.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

5 Things Startups Can Learn From Angel Investors

By Tim Berry
From Bplans

Startups and high-growth businesses can learn a lot from angel investors, regardless of whether you’re seeking funding to grow your business or not. And if you pitch and get turned down, their feedback can be really valuable in helping you think about what you need to do next to meet your funding goals.

I’ve seen this over and over in my dealings, both as an angel investor on my own and as a member of a local angel investment group. Most angel investors don’t just reject startups—we explain why. And we don’t just say yes either; we explain what else is needed...

Angel investors are individuals willing to invest their own money to fund new startups. Most of them have made money with startups; they’ve been through the wringer, they’ve succeeded, and they are in a position to share. They can teach you a lot. So if you’re a startup, always focus on listening first.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Are Advertisers Coming for Your Car?

By Anna Wells
From ThomasNet

There are some new car options that have been a little lumpy in their rollout – and none more so than the “infotainment system.” Car makers have been continuing their push towards the biggest and most functional dash screens, but a recent report in the Wall Street Journal asks us to pause and take stock of where we’re at with infotainment… and where we’re headed.

The Wall Street Journal is calling your car’s infotainment system “the last unconquered screen” and suggests a battle is brewing over how they can be used in the future to market new products and services.

Currently, this screen is considered to be the only one where advertisers can’t really reach out – but that, of course, is about to change. A January report on The Drive introduced us to Telenav, a wireless services provider, that’s launching a platform that can deliver location-based ads to a vehicle’s infotainment system. These can be tweaked based on time of day or route but might look like this: you’re approaching a fast food joint around lunchtime, and an ad with a coupon pops up.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Did 'Clicks' Really Surpass 'Bricks' for Share of US Retail Sales? Not Exactly

By Lucy Koch
From eMarketer

A couple weeks ago, headline after headline heralded the moment when US e-commerce (“clicks”) finally surpassed in-store sales (“bricks”), per slightly misconstrued data from the US Census Bureau.

This seemed to confirm what many perceive as reality: Brick-and-mortar stores struggle as e-commerce continues to grow at double-digit rates every year.

But the headlines didn’t tell the full story, and many people got the wrong impression as a result. What the stories should have clarified was that online sales across all categories accounted for 11.813% of retail spending in February, while sales from general merchandise retailers via their brick-and-mortar stores accounted for 11.807%.

(And while “general merchandise” sounds like it could account for everything, it actually represents a more specific segment of retail that excludes auto, food, beverage, apparel, and accessory sales.)

We forecast that retail e-commerce will account for 10.9% of total US retail spending across all merchants in 2019—about one-eighth the size of brick-and-mortar retail. Online sales will increase 14.8% year over year, compared with brick-and-mortar growth of 1.9%.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

How to Protect IP When Outsourcing Software Development

By Carly Klein
From Bplans

For a lot of non-technical founders—that is, entrepreneurs with a business idea but without technical expertise—sourcing software development talent is critical.

In many areas, however, the high demand for tech talent appears to be larger than the supply of qualified tech and software developers for hire.

As a result, a lot of founders are turning to international outsourcing. While this may be an innovative solution to your immediate need for tech talent needs, the question of how to protect your intellectual property when outsourcing software development has probably crossed your mind.

The last thing you want is to have simply handed your idea and your intellectual property over to a potential competitor. It’s a valid concern. The best thing you can do is create an IP protection strategy and document it in a business plan, so you’ve integrated it into your larger business strategy.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Good Local Business Listings Are Key

Written by Yext for eMarketing

Whether you own a local business or handle digital marketing for a brand which operates physical locations, the quality of your local business listings can either improve — or erode — your customer experience.

Local listings contain the public facts about each of your business locations, including store hours, contact information, holiday schedules, menu items, and people profiles, which are necessary for both search engines and consumers to make informed decisions about you.

Seventy-three-percent of high-intent consumers don't visit a brand’s website before making a decision, according to Yext research from April 2017. So even if the information on your website is accurate and up-to-date, any inconsistency across third-party services could prevent consumers from finding the information they’re looking for.

It might seem like the amount of facts about your business continually increases. It should! Specificity is critical when it comes to providing a good experience for searchers. But the number of AI-driven discovery services also continues to increase.

And though the effort to keep your business information up to date and consistent across all these maps, apps, search engines, voice assistants and chatbots can be time-consuming (at least, without the right tool to help you manage it all), it’s necessary work.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Is Everyone on Instagram an Influencer?

Article by Blake Droesch
From eMarketer

More than 500,000 active influencers are operating just on Instagram, according to a study by InfluencerDB.

That’s 39% of all Instagram accounts with more than 15,000 followers. And among this group of active Instagram influencers, 81% have followings between 15,000 and 100,000 users.

With so many options, marketers can find influencers who closely match their brand’s ethos. But it also means the influencer field is at risk of becoming oversaturated, which presents several challenges to marketers.

“While the increase has definitely led to more available influencers to work with, brands need to be careful,” said Jessica Dooley, US social practice lead at Mindshare.

“The emergence of influencer marketing into a scalable channel has increased a brand’s liability to fraud and potential controversy. Now more than ever, it is paramount that any influencer activation is rooted in a more rigorous evaluation process.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

New data reveals robocalls peak during tax season

From All Area Codes



The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes both daily and monthly data on the number of complaints consumers submit about telemarketers allegedly violating Do Not Call rules. In each of the past three years, complaints increase during the March and April tax season.

During the peak of the third week in April, the average daily complaints are 10% higher than the last week of March and more than 5 times the January daily average. Because April 15th sometimes falls on a weekend, tax day isn't always on the 15th. It was on the 18th in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, it was on the 17th. In 2019, April 15th falls on a Monday so it will be the tax deadline for most consumers.

For this tax season, consumers should be alert when answering calls related to their tax returns because they are likely scams. The IRS has stated repeatedly that they will not call consumers to demand immediate payment for taxes. Further, they will not call without first sending a bill in the mail, they will not ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone, and they will not threaten with the police or lawsuits.

The IRS urges consumers that if they suspect the call is a scam, hang up immediately without giving out any personal information and call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040. However, calling the IRS has proven difficult during the beginning of the year as the government shutdown has increased hold times and left many calls unanswered.

Monday, April 08, 2019

Why Business Credit Cards Require a Credit Check

by Ben Luthi
From NAV

If you’ve ever applied for a business credit card, you probably noticed that the application asked for a Social Security number, even if you have an employer identification number.

This is primarily because most business credit cards require a personal guarantee.

In other words, if your business can’t repay the debt you incur on the card, you’ll be responsible as the guarantor to pay it with your personal assets. As such, even small business credit cards for bad and fair credit require a credit check, because the card issuer needs to know how likely you are to repay the debt if your business can’t.

In general, there’s only one type of business credit card that you can get without a personal credit check, and that’s a corporate credit card.

Friday, April 05, 2019

What Retailers Need to Know About Influencer Marketing

By yext
From eMarketing
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

A significant number of retailers in North America are now working with influencers as part of their marketing strategy. According to polling by Retail TouchPoints for referral marketing platform Extole, 31% of retailers said they have worked with brand advocates to become influencers, 30% used microinfluencers and 28% used paid celebrity influencers.

“Influencer marketing is important for businesses around the world, particularly those in retail, fashion, beauty and entertainment,” said eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson, author of our recent report, "Global Influencer Marketing 2019."

“Many consumers, particularly young people, get product recommendations from the influencers they follow. Retailers that collaborate with an influencer can bring new shoppers into stores and create buzz around their offerings.”

But influencer marketing can be more complex for retailers that sell a wide variety of products than it is for brand marketers who consistently target the same demographic. This is especially true when it comes to picking the right influencers on the right social platform.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Controversy Remains Over Shoplifting Prevention Technology

By Anna Wells
From ThomasNet

According to NBC News, a Japanese startup called Vaak is using artificial intelligence software to help retailers ferret out shoplifters before they leave the store … and perhaps even before they grab the goods.

The “Vaakeye” technology is designed to work with a standard surveillance system to help identify behaviors that may constitute “suspicious activity.” Vaak CEO Ryo Tanaka told NBC that this could include facial expressions, gestures, and movements — even clothing choices. If someone sets off an internal alert, the idea is for the store to dispatch personnel for a quick check-in.

And while Vaak says its tech reduced shoplifting incidents by 77% in tests, the idea of using technology to solve the problem is not without controversy. Sven Dietrich, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told NBC that these kinds of deep learning algorithms are only as good as the data used to train them and “might be extracting a certain bias.”

Monday, April 01, 2019

Economic Census Data Dictionary: those footnotes

From the US Census Bureau

A repository of information describing database attributes. The dictionary contains an identification section to describe record codes, geographic area codes, area characteristics, and special area codes, plus endnotes and a table (matrix) section.

Disclosure

In accordance with federal law governing census reports (Title 13 of the United States Code), no data are published that would disclose the operations of an individual establishment or business. In cases where the data must be withheld, the following symbol appears in place of the data:

D : Withheld to avoid disclosing data for individual companies; data are included in higher level totals

Employment Ranges

Used when the sales and other data must be withheld due to disclosure, but a range for the employment data can be shown. The following symbols are valid:

a : 0 to 19 employees
b : 20 to 99 employees
c : 100 to 249 employees
e : 250 to 499 employees
f : 500 to 999 employees
g : 1,000 to 2,499 employees
h : 2,500 to 4,999 employees
i : 5,000 to 9,999 employees
j : 10,000 to 24,999 employees
k : 25,000 to 49,999 employees
l : 50,000 to 99,999 employees
m : 100,000 employees or more

Receipt Ranges

Used when the sales data must be withheld due to disclosure, but a range for the sales data can be shown. The following symbols are valid:

B : Less than $1 million
I : $1 million to less than $5 million
K : $5 million to less than $15 million
L : $15 million to less than $50 million
M : $50 million to less than $75 million
O : $75 million to less than $150 million
R : $150 million to less than $500 million
T : $500 million to less than $1 billion
U : $1 billion to less than $5 billion
W : $5 billion or more

Data Quality

Used to identify data items with high imputation rate, high standard error, or other data quality concerns. The following symbols are valid:

* : Measure of sampling variability not shown since estimated data not published
- : Zero or rounds to zero
p : 10 to 19 percent estimated (represented as a superscript)
q : 20 to 29 percent estimated (represented as a superscript)
s : Sampling error exceeds 40 percent (represented as a superscript)
u : 80 to 89 percent reporting
v : 70 to 79 percent reporting
w : 60 to 69 percent reporting
t : 90 percent or more reporting
y : Less than 60 percent reporting
A : Standard error of 100 percent or more
Y : Disclosure withheld because of insufficient coverage of product lines
Z : Rounds to zero

Noise Infusion

A technique that marginally adjusts (perturbs) each respondent's data so that data for individual businesses can be camouflaged. This allows for the publication of cells that would otherwise have been suppressed. The following symbols are valid:

^ : Noise infusion range not applicable
G : Low noise infusion
H : Medium noise infusion

Other Symbols

r : Revised (represented as a superscript)
S : Withheld because estimate did not meet publication standards
N : Not available or not comparable
Q : Revenue not collected at this level of detail for multiestablishment firms
X : Not applicable