Linked is one of the top leading social networking websites and platforms for professionals, job seekers, recruiters, and company’s trying to promote themselves, their products, and services. Most hiring managers find Linked provides credible information on job applicants and job applicants find Linked to have a range of resources to promote themselves compared to the traditional resume and hiring processes. Linked focuses exclusively on professional networking.
With the spread of tech oenology and emergence of a “global village,” Linked is a powerful tool for developing mutually beneficial irking relationships that possess the potential to impact the world for good. The company has managed to find its niche with the professional audience with 238 million members. With over 200 hundred million members, not all are utilizing Linden’s products and services to its full capacities. Linden’s primary’ marketing goal is to increase revenue from current customers by converting non-paying users to premium account members and increase business-to-business sales.
Linked will make use of inbound marketing to provide insightful and informative content that compels users to become paying subscribers. Pricing strategies will also include offering a 30-day free trial for the full range use of Linden’s products and services from their premium account. The second marketing goal is to acquire new customers amongst college students and other young professionals by gaining exposure through college sporting events and professional seminars/networking conferences.
Strategies include lowering the monthly cost of the premium account memberships, providing special product program for college students, and introducing “What Linked Can Do for You” video tutorials. Linked expects to convert 10% of non-paying users to premium account embers and increase business to business sales by 10% as well. Increased revenue will be assessed on a monthly basis to determine the improvement in sales and customer daily usage of products and services.
These statistics will be collected on a monthly basis to via their financial data analysis team. Situation Analysis The Internal Environment Current Performance The market capitalization of Linked is $32. 6 billion and has now passed potential competitor, Salesrooms, who stands at $29 billion (Linden, 2013). Linked has also taken recruitment dollars from competitors like Carbureted and Monster. In the first quarter of 201 3, Linked added approximately 1 , 700 corporate clients bringing the total to more than 18,000 (Fraud, 2013).
Some of these clients spend a large sum of money on Linden’s set-vices and have long-term contracts with the company, translating too promising future for Linked. Linden’s first day of trade in 201 1 opened at $45 per share and closed at $94. 25. According to Yahoo Finance, Linden’s stock holds at $244 per share, making it one of the best performers among numerous other Internet companies that have gone public in recent years (Apneas, 2013). Linden’s total revenue in December 012 increased by 45%, or $972. 31 million in 2012 compared to $522. 9 million in 2011. Net income increased from $11. 91 million in 2011 to $21. 61 million in 2012. Uncommon One, 2013″) Current and Anticipated Organizational Resources Linden’s Chief Executive Officer Jeff Winner, formally a Yahoo! Inc. Executive, joined the company in 2008. Under Winner’s leadership, Linden’s global platform has expanded vastly. Linden’s website is currently translated into 20 languages and has established 26 international offices outside of the U. S. The former founder and CEO, Reid Hoffman, is now the
Chairman of the Board and is actively involved in Linden’s growth and development (Linked, 2013). The company’s Vice President of Marketing, Nick Abbess, has 15 years of experience in business strategy, consumer marketing, and business-to-business marketing (Linked about Us, 2013). Like Winner, Abbess was previously employed at Yahoo! Inc. As the Senior Vice President of Marketing and also has been a consultant for some of the world’s leading consumer internet brands and start-up companies (Abbess, 2013).
Another key player at Linked is Deep Mishear, the Senior Vice President of Products and User Experience. Mishear manages several departments at Linked including product management, data science, user experience, web development, business development, and online sales. He is also a member of the Board of Directors for Power and most recently, Transistor (Mishear, 2013). Having such highly motivated, creative, and qualified leaders advising their talented employees, Linked has a competitive advantage compared to other internet companies on their road to success.
Organizational Culture and Structure Data scientist intern, Ninth Daisies, shared that Linden’s company is led in equal parts by engineers, product managers, designers, and data scientists, all who are really passionate about the company’s long-term vision of creating an economic graph mapping the global economy (Business Insider, 2012). Daisies adds that there is a sincere appreciation for each group’s respective contributions at Linked (Quorum, 2012). The working environment is very relaxed, from the dress code to the flexible work schedules.
Employees actively collaborate and take ownership of the products they are working on. A product is typically owned by a team of product managers, engineers, and there departmental employees depending on the need. As for office spaces, they are well-designed, neat, with “white board and couch” areas for informal meetings and collaboration sessions, as well as fully stocked kitchens. Twice a month, Linked hosts “India,” in which employees spend a three day period from Friday to Sunday working on internal hacks, new product features or building something completely new.
Projects are judged the following week. Another event is the “Speaker Series” where people from many walks of life such as entrepreneurs, investors, authors, and professors give seminars at Linked offices. There is also “All-Hand” which meets twice a month in which the company’s CEO, Jeff Winner, and other senior executives discuss growth, new products, and the direction that the company is going (Ideas, 2012). Linden’s current organizational culture and structure facilitates cross-disciplinary collaboration, innovation, and creativity, altogether making for a dynamic learning environment.
The Customer Environment Who are Linden’s current and potential customers? Linked has more educated professionals than any other social network. Linden’s current customer base is white collar, seasoned business refashions. Approximately 1 out of every 4 Linked user hold the title of Director, UP, or Chief Executive Officer (Conviction: The Internet Marketing Firm, 2012). Surveys conducted by Linked found Out 57. 9% Of Linked members were male while females only accounted for 42. 1%. Of the male and females, 25. % were be;en the ages 18 to 24, 34. 3% were between ages 25 to 34, 33. 4% between ages 35 to 54, and 6. 6 were age fifty four and above. When we look at Linked top ten customers based on geographic locations, the leading countries are The United States with 58. 5%, India with 13. 3%, United Kingdom with 8. 4%, Brazil 6. 8%, Canada 5. 1%, France 3. 2%, Netherlands 3. I Oh, Italy 2. 8%, Australia 2. 8% and Spain 2. 6%. (Linked Users, 2013). Potential customers include college students. A quarter of Linden’s current users are in the age bracket of 18-24.
By customizing a program specifically tailored to landing internships, writing resumes, and finding full time work upon graduation, Linked could convert non-paying users to premium account users. What do customers do with Linden’s products and why do they select Linden’s products? Customers use Linked for sales growth, search and recruitment, professional resource, products or services, and networking, (Fitzgerald, 2013). One out of three members access Linked for professional discussions and information gathering and 39% of members generate new business by using Linked.
Eighty-eight percent of users have ‘high confidence” in the information they receive from Linked. (Conviction: The Internet Marketing Firm, 2012) According to the data from Powerfully. Net, the top four features users find most helpful are the “Who has viewed your profile”, “People you may know’, groups, and direct messaging. Linked helps users conduct research on people and companies, reconnect with past business colleagues, and increase face-to-face networking effectiveness (Bombing, 2013) .
In a 2012 interview, recruiters stated that their first point of contact with potential job candidates was through Linked. “Using Linked, I can quickly figure out whether someone is worth speaking to, which save me a lot of time,” shares Michelle Ked, a partner at search firm On-Ramps (Chesterton, 2012). Linked is also an effective customer relationship management tool to help follow up with potential customers by allowing a member to tag and organize/group contacts and send a direct message to customers in particular tagged category. (Oval, 2013). Where and when do customers purchase Linden’s products?
Most of Linden’s products and services are free, however if a customer were to make a purchase they can do so by going online from anywhere that has an internet connection at any time of the day. Most people use Linked when looking for jobs, est. bliss ins business relations pips, and recur tit Eng employees. Why do potential customers not purchase Linden’s products? Customers in various career fields hesitate to use Linked because they are private individuals, their job is private, and/or they want to stay private (Chesterton, 2012). Many potential customers may avoid Linked because it lacks security awareness.
In June 2012, 6. 5 million Linked passwords were accessed and posted online. A popular alternative to Linked is King, a European professional network that Center on people, networks, and issues in Middle Europe. Those already active on King feel like it would be pointless and time-consuming to actively participate in a second professional network. Other popular alternatives to Linked are Video and Google Plus (Gross, 2012). Younger dad Its avoid joining Linked because they do not see the purpose or derive value in having a professional account. External Linked faces competition in all aspects of their business.
The market for online professional networks is new and rapidly developing. Other companies such as Backbone, Google Plus, Salesrooms, Twitter, and Microsoft’s Yammer are developing or hold the possibility of generating competing solutions (Linden, 2013). Some of these companies are already partnering with third arties to offer products and services that could compete with Linked. Smaller companies in the international market such as King in Germany and Video in France provide similar online professional networking solutions as well as Internet companies in the customer relationship management market (Linked Corporation, 2013).
Salesrooms. Com is probably one of the larger competitors, providing enterprise cloud computing solutions to various businesses and industries worldwide. One of their services called Marketing Cloud is for customers to listen to conversations taking place on public social outworks such as Backbone, Twitter, and blobs. Through their Service Cloud companies can connect with their customers and address service and support needs. Through their Sales Cloud they can grow their sales pipelines, close deals, improve sales productivity, and gain business insights.
The company also offers professional services, including consulting, deployment, and training services to its customers to facilitate the adoption of its social and mobile cloud solutions. Salesrooms. Com sells and markets its services on a subscription basis primarily through its direct sales force comprising of loophole sales personnel, as well as through global consulting firms, system integrators, and regional partners. The stock is now at $53 and with mobile applications on the rise compared to desktop usage. Yahoo Finance, 201 3) Yammer, an enterprise social noteworthiness used by companies to communicate privately within their organizations was recently sold to Microsoft for $1. 2 billion. The portal offers microbiology profile and group creation, document sharing, messaging, and content tagging services (Bloomberg Businesslike, 2013). All products through Yammer are free unlike Salesrooms and some products and services offered by Linked. Microsoft made a promise when it purchased Yammer – the business would continue to run as a startup, under the undivided leadership of its founding CEO.
However there have been disagreements in the handling of the integration inside and outside of the company which can affect the growth of Yammer. Economic Growth and Stability U. S. Businesses added 1 66,000 new jobs in September, according to the giant payroll firm EDP. The service industry led the job growth, contributing 149,000 new jobs and businesses with 49 or fewer employees added 74,000 bobs in the past month. Subsequently, EDP predicts small businesses will aid in leading the recovery. Mark Candid, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics said: “Job creation continues to be consistent with a slowly declining unemployment rate. Economists warn that federal budget and the government shutdown may threaten the recovery of the job market (Rusher, 2013). Legal and Regulatory Issues In recent months, Linked was sued by customers claiming the company appropriated their Identities for marketing purposes by hacking into their external e-mail accounts and downloading contacts’ addresses. The customers plan to lead a group suit to bar the company from repeating the alleged violations and to force it to return any revenue stemming from its use of their identities to promote the site to non-members. The company does not access customers’ e-mail accounts without their permission, nor does Linked ‘pretend’ to be a customer to gain access to the users e-mail account,” reassures Blake Latin, the company’s senior director of litigation. The customers blamed the use of their contacts on Linden’s strategy, which they quoted from a regulatory filing, to “pursue initiatives that promote the Arial growth of our member base. ” One of the plaintiffs alleged that Linked used all the names and e-mail addresses in his contacts, including his spouse, clients, opposing counsel, and ex-girlfriends, inviting them to connect with him on the site.
Linked told him and others he had not unchecked a default setting allowing it to use the e-mails. (Candler, 2013). Technological Advances Of the world’s 4 billion mobile phones in use, 1. 08 billion are smart phones. From 2012 to 2013 there has been a 78% increase of website trafficking coming from mobile devices. By 2014, mobile internet should take over stoop internet usage and as each year passes more and more users will access social media, review products and services, and make purchases from their phones compared to the current 43% (Conviction: Stardom Mediates Group, 2013).
While most businesses have a website, it is becoming increasingly important to have a mobile site. Not all websites work well on mobile devices. A site that is difficult to use on a mobile device will not only frustrate customers, but may very well drive customers into the hands of competition for the sake of ease and accessibility. Mobile usage is on the rise ND is therefore necessary to have a ‘thumb-friendly” mobile website (Conviction: Stardom Mediates Group, 2013). Coloratura Trends Currently, consumer-created reviews/ratings are the preferred source of information about product/service value, price, and product quality (Conviction).
A survey was given by Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey in April of 2009 that 90 percent of respondents trusted “completely” or “somewhat” recommendations from people they knew and 70% also trusted consumer opinions posted online, compared to the other choices such as brand sponsorships, TV, billboards, search engine results ads, and more Conviction). With 60% of social media users creating reviews of products and services, social network sharing on a global scale has become a powerful force to be reckoned with.
Consumers frequently trust the recommendations of their peers, making social media an ideal platform for influencing others and their purchasing decisions. STOW Analysis Strengths Linked focuses exclusively on professional nonworking. With the spread of technology and emergence of a “global village,” Linked is a powerful tool for developing mutually beneficial working relationships that possess the potential to impact the world for good. The company has managed to find its niche with the professional audience with 238 million users.
In this era Of instant gratification, Linked provides profile stats in real time to better manage ones online profile and presence. One is able to view how many people have perused their profile and top keywords that were used to get them there. Linked has a large customer base and diverse revenue streams. In 2010 alone, Hiring Solutions was used by 3,900 companies, with 69 of them being Fortune 100. Additionally, over 33,000 customers used Linden’s Marketing Solutions. (Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC], 201 1). Among recruiters, Linked has become the number one corporate recruiting portal.
Over 88 of Fortune 1 00 companies has licensed the software to help find and track potential candidates. Linked has experienced rapid growth January 9, 2013. Statistics show the network is growing by two members per second or 10-15 million members per quarter (Linked, 2013). Linked does not allow members to control or change any information on their contacts due to their customer relationship management tool, which protects their members from fraud (Alba, peg. 18). Weaknesses Consistently engaging the current subscriber/member base.
The challenge for Linked is establishing themselves as a daily resource for all things professional, not just a place for uploading one’s resume. Consumer awareness of Linked components such as Linked Today, Linked Alumni, Linked blob and Linked Influencer is slim to none. Therefore, people see Linked as mere career recruitment, not as a career resource to leverage. Linked has a closed communication system in which one needs to log-in to the website in order to get information or communicate with others on the site (Alba, 18).
Linked revenue is solely funded by companies and members archiving different premium accounts. Currently, the majority of Linked members are not aware of the perks of the different types of premium accounts offered. The lack of knowledge is hindering not only Linked profit but limiting current users from taking full advantage of the company’s product offerings. Opportunities Linked has the opportunity to turn companies’ million member profiles into the 21st century version of a “little black book” that no corporate recruiter can live without (Forbes, 2013).
High unemployment rates are driving people to search for jobs using social media sites. This is an opportunity for Linked to expand its market share and user base. Linked bought Crunched. Due to this acquisition, Linked has the opportunity to pull up existing profiles from each card and prompt people to connect via Linked (Forbes, 2013). Due to the coloratura trend of increasing mobile usage, Linked has the opportunity to improve and expand their mobile presence in the marketplace. Threats The rise of competitors who offer similar products and services with a greater niche target audience (ex.
Rally Point for military personnel and dewed for educators). Linked caters to all industries but the introduction of new bustiest that prove to be more specifically tailored to consumer needs holds the potential of weakening consumer base. Popular social networking sites offering a professional aspect to their online presence. For instance, another well known social media outlet, Mainstream, recently came out with an option to upload video which was previously Vine’s specialty. Mainstream expanded into a new market category squeezing out Vine’s previously held monopoly.
Likewise, if Backbone were to come out with a professional networking component, this would pose as a serious threat to not only Linden’s growth but maintenance. Hacking occurrences give the impression of being less credible and trusted with consumer information. Analysis of the STOW Matrix The competitive advantage is that Linked clearly has a monopoly on the professional marketplace as it relates to social media. The networking site provides users the availability to build an online professional presence, discover career opportunities, and connect with colleagues anytime, anywhere.
Linked has a specific advantage over other social .NET. ‘irking sites in that it allows consumers to create resumes from their professional information, apply for jobs, as well as have visibility to potential employers. Linked also has a competitive advantage in the social networking industry because it has Talent Solutions, which enables businesses and professional organizations to connect with the world’s best talent. Recruiters are able to find, contact, and hire highly qualified candidates through the network. Recruiters can see which profiles their colleagues have viewed or saved.
Linked provides a kind of “one stop shop” to meet all of their recruiting needs. With the high unemployment rates and current coloratura trend of increasing mobile usage, it’s imperative that Linked take the opportunity to improve and expand their mobile presence in the marketplace. By doing so, Linked will increase web traffic, engage the younger generation entering the workforce, and expand its user base even more. With the line between social media and corporate life becoming increasingly blurred, this will be of utmost importance in ensuring Linden’s continued success.
Marketing Goals and Objectives The primary objective set forth by Linked is to be the professional profile for every professional worldwide. The second objective is to be the leading resource for “relevant shared professional knowledge and data. ” Aligning with their goals and objectives, Linden’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals, enabling them to be more productive and successful (Linked, 2013). As we look forward, our goals and corresponding objectives are as follows: Goal: To increase revenue from current customers.
Objective: Convert 10% of non-paying users to premium account members in 12 months. Objective: Increase business-to-business sales by 10% in 24 months. Goal: To acquire new customers. Objective: 30% sales growth in college program enrollment in 24 months of aerogram launch. Objective: Gain exposure through 20 college sport sponsorships and professional seminars/ networking conferences by the end of 2014. Marketing Strategy Primary and Secondary Target Market Linden’s primary target market includes professional adult individuals, enterprises, and professional organizations.
Individual job seekers can create a free online profile, connect with colleagues, and discover breaking news and professional insights. Linked targets the job seeker by providing access to knowledge, insights, and opportunities. Linked also targets recruiters at reflections organizations by allowing them to find, contact, and manage potential candidates. A few of the benefits include the ability to post job openings, target career-related messaging to qualified candidates, and send messages directly to candidates to tell them more about their organization or any opportunities that are available.
Linden’s secondary target market is marketers and advertisers. One of Linden’s Marketing Solutions goals is to enable marketers and advertisers to reach and connect with the most relevant audience and get them in touch with the most relevant products and services. Another market that Linked could target is college students. College students are working towards a degree in order to obtain professional employment post-graduation. Linked could offer special business discounts and/or promotions to colleges in exchange for being a part of their workforce center.
Every student that comes into the work center will receive an information packet on Linked and will receive assistance in signing up for the professional networking program. This is one way Linked could reach the college age target market. Product Strategy Our product strategy is ever-evolving as Linked continues to grow. Currently, our strategy is to be the resource for all things professional, only aimed towards the younger generation coming into the workforce. This will be accomplished in two meaningful ways: 1) Decrease monthly membership costs so as to capture a larger consumer base.
Realistically, college students and those freshly graduated are not able to shell out a lot of money on their already meager incomes. Lowering monthly costs to $9. 99 will prove both affordable and worthwhile, delivering quality and value to the customer. 2) Special product programming geared towards college students to aide in internships and full-time work post-graduation. This will include the option of video introductions, verbal resumes, portfolio presentations, and interviews.
A free 30-day trial accompanied by a cyber site tour will educate new users on Linden’s uses, benefits, and distinctions in the marketplace. Improving upon our product will include teaming up with video conferencing companies for added corporate dimension. This will include the option of holding virtual interviews, one-on-ones, and hosting conference calls. Linked plans on creating brand awareness by “linking’ to other social media sites such as Backbone, Twitter, and Mainstream to leverage each other’s brand strengths. Linked will not only generate new customers but also utilize these sites as marketing hot spots.
To inform and educate, Linked will hold seminars, lectures, business conferences, and job fairs to spread product knowledge of how Linden’s premium accounts can work for them. Creating brand awareness and thereby increasing customer interaction on a daily basis will facilitate Linked being the preferred resource for all things professional. Pricing Strategy Linked offers free accounts as well as upgraded premium accounts available for purchase that provide networking opportunities, professional oriented articles and the ability to create a professional presence on the web.
Compared to its competitors, Linked services are a bit more expensive. There are three types of subscriptions: (1) Business, which costs $19. 99 per month, (2) Business Plus for $39. 95, and (3) Executive for $74. 95. (Linked About Us, 2013). Whereas, Google Plus’ basic service costs $5/month, while its business with vault costs $10/month. King, one of Linden’s major international competitors, goes for a mere $7. 50/month. Other competitors such as Backbone and Twitter are offered free of charge. To improve their pricing strategy, Linked should lower their monthly subscription prices. Currently a business membership costs $19. 9/month, which adds up to roughly $240 a year. For someone who has an executive membership it would cost at least $900 a year. (Gladstone, B). Linden’s new pricing strategy is to lower their prices from $19. 99/month to $9. 99/month. By reducing the amount of monthly subscriptions, Linked will increase their consumer base by both attracting new members as well as converting non- paying users to paying consumers. Offering a free 30-day trial on Linden’s premium services will attract new and non-paying users by making the site more broadly accessible and thereby more beneficial to the consumer.
Another Strategy is to offer coupons for current and former members. By doing so it will attract former members to renew their subscriptions and motivate current members to keep their current subscriptions. Distribution Strategy The overall career service/resource industry is offered through the following distribution channels: online sites such as Carbureted, Indeed, Linked; job sections in local newspaper or circulars; recruiting agencies; career reviser department in universities; job fairs or other organized professional events; and the human resource department within a company.