Alternative Courses Of Action Information Technology Essay

Real Time Video Limited media is a social enterprise that as being in existence since 1984 with the aim of helping the socially excluded groups, socially deprived areas and risk group to voice their concerns and challenges they are faced with using participatory media. Real Time Video Limited is one of the few firms who received annual grant from council also, fund are being raised through renting out of equipment and funds received for specific projects from different agencies or body. This creates a level of steady inflow of fund to Real Time Video Limited. However, the council grant remains the major source of income for Real Time Video Limited. Real time works mostly with the councils and few project from other firm this due to the stiff completion with other profit making firm.

With the rapid increase in social enterprise or the third sector in UK we have seen many faced with challenges which as hampered their growth or force them to close down this rare. Some of the problem encounter includes improper management, inadequate funds, lack of strategic planning etc.

In recent years, with the globalization……………………………………..Companies of today must respond to change to survive the future. Change is inevitable-growth is optional. Change forces all business owners to adapt, adjust and be energetic in building their businesses. After all, there are only three things a company can do with change: ignore it, adapt to it or embrace it. By focusing on new ways of doing things, a company can revitalize their business.  In particular, marketing in new ways and with different strategies not only simulates new business, but also gives a company a new vision on productivity

The major problem faced by Real Time Video Limited is the failure to realise the importance of marketing and projecting what they do to wider audience. Through the use of every possible means rather they depend on referral and word of mouth, although referral are good and cost effective medium but, with the changes in technology and the world becoming smaller everyday other means should be explore to reach targeted audience.

Secondly, another problem is the inability to upgrade to the recent technology level due to the high prices of these equipments. This has left Real Time Video Limited to be about two to three year technology backward and this has a significant effect on the mode of operation but, Real Time Video Limited still produce top videos with the equipment at its disposal.

Others include Inadequate staff that possess the required skills in video and digital art, also they are faced with stiff competition with other profit making business, Sometimes the charges do not cover their entire cost due to long processes and participatory nature of their work, and sometimes having difficulty working with young people and meeting deadline

Analysis

Boschee. (2006), pointed out that every social enterprise his faced with two fundamental challenges: To do the right things (strategic marketing) and to do them right (operations). In fact, strategic marketing may be the only thing that holds a non-profit together in an increasingly competitive world. Marketing most times is perceived to be irrelevant and too costly, either financially or in terms of time (Foley and Green 1986). In addition, marketing is perceived to be a cost rather than an investment. Real Time Video Limited is not out left in making these assumptions. This has partly resulted in the shrinking of income as some of its major client/sponsor has pulled out and projects have reduced. The major challenges noted was the absent of marketing plans or budget, in these time and age the importance of marketing cannot be over emphasis to the success of any enterprise. Rather Real Time Video Limited depends on the word of mouth and referral from previous client. According to recent survey of 900 sales marketing professional it was said that small business should focus more on those who they know and have supported them. This experts ranks referrals as the most effective method for attracting new customers. But with the recent introduction of social media marketing where the word of mouth is now operated through different social media this can be an addition to help create awareness about the service of real time. In addition, real time has a web site but is it not fully utilized and it contents gives only little information about who they are, how they do it. This website has little videos that shows their past project, with numerous opportunity available through YouTube to share video to a wide audience at no cost, real time has no video on YouTube and that bothers me.

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Also real time does not adequately presenting itself to the public, these as resulted in losing potential sponsors and customer, reduction in the streams of funds and ultimately reduction in the number of projects. Sometime it affects the execution of a project i.e. not being able to cover the cost of some project or leads to the suspension of others. On visiting one of Real Time Video Limited shows event, which was basically showing different films to the public in and hoping to get volunteers or skilled people who are interested in video editing, production and other aspect of Real Time Video Limited. That was a great idea but to my surprise, it was not well manage or presented. on interviewing one of the first timer at the venue he seems confused and mistake the venue for a relaxing centre, on asking him about Real Time Video Limited i found out he had little or no knowledge of what Real Time Video Limited is all about. This problem can be said to be as a result of limited finance, and probably inadequate knowledge of marketing.

Furthermore, inadequate volunteer there has being some volunteer in the past who being trained but most times they go to the university they don’t come back or their family relocates. This has left real time with only one volunteer who has the required skill and one of the founders who acts so many functions. Also the inability to upgrade to the current technology. Limited finance, rapid change in technology, changes in the environment are some of the factor that contribute to the challenges of real time.

Alternative courses of action

From the list of problem sighted in Real Time Video Limited the following solution are proposed. For the marketing problem which seems to be the main problem i will suggest the firm should carry out an awareness program reasons being that the firm has being around for long. This can be done through the printing of flyers, posters, and other hand held pamphlet, they can be easily created on most computers, which are low cost when printed by self or print one and take it to a copy shop to duplicate. These can be distributed at location where targeted audience will easily find them such as school, restaurants, other social enterprises, charity organizations, local council office and can be included in local newspapers note permission may be required in these case. These flyers should contain basic information, firstly who Real Time Video Limited, what they do, how they help build and influence the society, details of past projects, current projects and views of past participants.

Secondly, Articles are another simple and inexpensive way to get the word out about a business which can be use in Real Time Video Limited video. Article can be written on a weekly or monthly basis and place in various social enterprise magazines or local newspapers and other publications. For example having a write-up on how participatory video can be of benefit to the physically challenged or less privilege and other write-ups that gives insights and relevance of participatory in recent times or brief history of participatory video how they are being used in other country. In addition, these articles can be submitted to the top article directories like ezinearticles.com, isnare.com or ladypens.com and creating a link to your website in the resource box. In as much as writing an article might sound interesting but it requires a great skill and creativity. Writing about concept that is not well known might take time before it is accepted.

In addition, Participating in forums is another great way to spread the word about a business. This can be done by creating or locating a few social enterprise or conventional forums, blog, etc which is related to what you do and spend a little time each week answering questions. Direct advertisement of your services should be avoided, but posting a link back to your website might do the trick or use your website as your signature. The main aim of creating or locating a forum is to create a relationship with other forum participants and getting them to see you as someone who is an expert in that area which when done they will want to find more about you and possibly becomes a potential customer, volunteer or sponsor. Some of the implications of these is that it is time consuming which may affect the time giving to the overall projects because building a relationship requires time say six month depending on the time put in and involves some level of creativity. It might be difficult to be implemented as the founders age bracket does not seem to appeal to this.

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Furthermore, Building relationship with other social enterprise or charity organization that works with the same target audience or the same line of business thereby would learn from there experience where relevant. There are many other charity or social enterprise in reading such as, Berkshire County Blind Society, Disabilities Trust, Prospect For People With Learning Disabilities, and lots of others that fit into your target audience. In the case of other social enterprise in same industry, we have Media Community Network Ltd, Malt Films Ltd, Griffin Theatre Company, just to mention a few all of which are located in London, however their some conventional media partners. Smart partnering help expose a business to new groups of customers, or hard to reach audience. using a partners’ contacts and reputation can be a valuable way to get a foothold with new groups of customers or sponsor. Also the relationship sees the two business have a greater buying power than individual. It can result into having volunteer with the required skill

Also, Employing the services of a consultant or having a specialist in marketing will be helpful has it brings along with it wealth of experience. Marketing cannot be over emphasis as it is vital to the success of any business as it help to create awareness or inform on the existence of a particular service. Employing the services of a consultant to help in planning the marketing strategy of Real Time Video Limited would be a welcome idea as it brings along with a lots of benefit such as it save time as that aspect is being handled by a professional, also wealth of experience from acquired over year can be relevant and other advantages attached. However, with the benefit that come s with employing a consultant also cons the cost, the average cost of having a service of consultant is about £1070, which is much for Real Time Video Limited who has one only major sponsor. Example of a consultant that works with social enterprise is Eastside Consulting Ltd. The other opinion is to employ marketing personnel whose duties would be to plan and implement marketing strategies and working according along side with clive and other partners. This option is less expensive and members are involved in the planning, it allows for progressive update to the members.

Moreover, “Video advertising” is one of the fastest growing means of passing across messages to wide audience, with the advent of social website such as face book, YouTube, etc which allow sending and sharing of videos at no cost, and makes it easier to cover a wide rank of people. In recent time, statistics has showed that people do not have patience to read anymore and would rather watch a video that explains a concept. Over the years there has being an increase in the use of video to promote products and services amongst small businesses and this feature is added to their website. From the chart below in the fourth quarter of 2008 5.2% of small business had video on their web site, in the fourth quarter of 2009 the number increased to 19.2% almost four times as many.

From: http://www.reelseo.com/video-small-business-advertisers/

That’s the growth recorded within a year, and the growth is expected to increase over the years, as it is inexpensive and it is one of the ways to best engage and position your firm amongst the targeted audience that are seeking for your services via search. This area is the specialty of Real Time Video Limited because they make videos to promote other area of concern, i believe they should be able to make a video that shows what they do, how they do it and how it is affecting their society.

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Lastly, there is no denying that social media websites are the next destination for marketing on the web. The number of people who participate in social network website has increased and this as led to the increase in the investment in social media marketing. Some small businesses has incorporate social media marketing as strategies in achieving their goals. Some of such social network site include, twitter, Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. Social media marketing is word-of-mouth in an online environment and it has greater effect than “conventional word” of mouth as information moves faster with just a click. If you want to attract new visitors to your site then you have to actually participate and become involved in a community. The of the is to real is that it is easy to set up at no cost, Social media helps engages audience, increase your online visibility, it helps to create brand awareness, generate publicity (both good & bad). All these suggested solution are geared towards building relationship with real time video-targeted audience. (Relationship marketing) Dees et al (2001).

Recommendations

All the suggested recommended was based on the assumption that Real Time Video Limited has limited financial resources, has not maximize it potential and the latest trend of marketing effectiveness, requirement/nature of the target audience.

Firstly, I will recommend having a new employee against consulting a specialist in marketing reason being that a firm like Real Time Video Limited video have limited funds, also approaching a consultant is expensive and there is little control over their activities. However, since marketing is a cyclical and continuous process having someone responsible will allow for flexibility, daily monitoring of progress and low cost of running compare to consulting. It should be noted that the person employed might not have the wealth of experience compared to a consultant. Nevertheless, with training and different exposure there will be an improvement. The process for getting marketing personal is putting up job advertising and volunteer on the web site.

Furthermore, Also building a web site that is comprehensive that show what you do and how u do they, e.g. putting up videos, pictures, relevant links to support each project. E.g. the project on the land lord rent policy should be linked to various property agents, also the project on road to recovery and whats up doc can be linked to other social enterprise that works with recovering addict and those with learning disabilities. The social media networks should be linked with the website to allow for easier access by visitors. Most social enterprise are using this means as it i.e. cheap and easy to set up and it helps to build relationships. Relationship marketing is one the quiet means but the most effective as customer seek to establish relationship with its service provider. In implement this, according to Clive Real Time Video Limited video is building a new website all these suggested features can be added to the new website, as they are easy to set-up. In building the relationship over the social media, it takes 6 month or more depending on the creativity and time input.

Lastly, the printing of flyers and handbills showing and describing what real time video is all about, what they do, how they do it, and how it has affected the society. Also establishing symbiotic relationships with other social enterprise in the same target audience and other conventional business. This can proof difficult at first but over time and established trust between the parties they can learn from each other. Creating a strong network of business partnerships can be a valuable way to provide good customer service.  When you can’t meet a customer’s needs, a reference to a reliable business can be a relationship saver.  In turn, both the customer and the other business are happy, and may return the favour. Real Time Video Limited can ride on reading borough, council forums and publications as a means to create awareness of its services however, application must be made to this course.

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