Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

Why Apple Really Kept the iPad2

October 29, 2012 Leave a comment

I’ve read several blog posts and news reports comparing the new iPad lineup and surmising why Apple kept the iPad 2. So far everyone has missed this little detail:

There is a wide range of hardware devices on the market today that were designed with an iPad dock. And I’m not just talking about consumer products.

Professional equipment made for specific industries have adopted the iPad to serve as the user interface to complex systems. For example, audio equipment maker Mackie is revolutionizing the world of mixing boards with its new line of iPad-based consoles. Gone are the mechanical faders, buttons, dials and switches. You snap an iPad into place on the board’s face and use a Mackie app for the UI. The board is useless without the iPad.

Check it out.

Professional devices like this are popping up all over the place. The medical device field is another huge example.

These professional devices have been designed around the 30-pin dock connector that we all know and used to love. Now, the iPad 2 is the lone Apple product that has one. The new Lightning connector is on everything else.

Apple had to keep a 30-pin iPad in production to give the professional device manufacturers time to revise their products for the Lightning connector. In other words, the iPad 2’s days are numbered. It’s only alive today to buy time for third-party equipment partners.


What if all advertising was negative like political ads?

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment

I live in Florida, where the upcoming presidential primary next week has our media jammed with political commercials. I got to thinking this morning: “What if all advertising was negative like political ads?”

Maybe something like this:

> Duracell was caught red-handed making batteries, and battery acid is used to make methamphetamine, and methamphetamine is very, very bad. Choose Energizer Batteries: “It keeps going and going and going.”

> FACT: American Airlines provided 50% of the jets used by terrorists on 9/11 to carry out the deadliest terror strike in U.S. history. “Fly the friendly skies of United.”

> In 2004, the film documentary Super Size Me revealed that eating at McDonalds causes you to gain 24.5 pounds in one month. Trust the Creepy King and “Have it your way.”

> According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, alcohol – just like the kind found in Heineken – depresses the nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing, heartbeat and your gag reflex, which keeps you from choking. Drinking too much alcohol can slow and, in some cases, shut down these functions. “Guinness is good for you.”

> MasterCard spends millions to make Americans grin with its “Priceless” ads, but they’re only telling you half of the story. Consumer debt in the U.S. topped $11.4 trillion in 2011, and 98% of revolving debt is on credit cards. Just like the ones in the Priceless ads. We don’t think that’s something to grin about. “VISA – It’s everywhere you want to be.”

The Death of Traditional Leads and the Rise of Relationship Scoring

December 5, 2011 Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I started sketching out a framework for something I tagged: “Relationship Scoring.” I think traditional lead scoring is dead in the water, and over the next month I’ll be developing the nuts-and-bolts details of how – looking forward — marketing and sales will rate the value of prospects in the connected age of relationship marketing.

In light of this project, I got fired up watching Mark Benioff kick off Cloudforce in New York a couple of days ago. He delivered a bet-the-farm keynote repositioning as a social media company. For two and a half hours, one of the founding fathers of SaaS  — backed up by his lieutenants, customers, and industry luminaries — caroled from the same sheet of music: “Social CRM is Coming is to Town.”


It wasn’t much of a surprise that Salesforce lit up the Javits Center like a container-load of fireworks with its Social CRM proclamation. Their acquisition of Radian6 (one of my “Best of Web Marketing” Picks two years ago) gave Saleforce solid-footing in the social media monitoring space. Chatter, their walled-garden social network solution for corporate and customer communications, has healthy roots. And don’t forget their 2007 acquisition of Kenlet that resulted in the launch of Salesforce Ideas, the model for community voice in product development.

If anyone can shepherd in a mass Social CRM movement, it’s Benioff and company.

But how does your sales organization feel about all this? Are they clamoring for marketing to tweet more? Do their eyes light up when you talk about nurturing relationships? Do they get fired up in pipeline meetings when they hear that some really important influencer appears to like your product?

Most sales people that I work with are still interested in one thing from marketing: Leads. Specifically, Hot Leads. Warm Leads? They’ll take ‘em (and do what with them is anybody’s guess.) But at the end of the day, they just want leads.

So here is where Relationship Scoring comes in. How will we measure sentiment, connectivity to our customers, activity, willingness to endorse, and ultimately recommend or buy Product X?

I’m at the point in this project where the initial scope is on paper. Now I’m looking around to make sure I’m not embarking on something that has already been done. I was kind of surprised when earlier today I found Eloqua — one of the major marketing automation software vendors — pitching a three and a half-year-old Aberdeen Group white paper on Lead Scoring.  Eloqua is buying a top spot on Adwords and baiting with this paper published in May 2008. 

I’m a big believer in evergreen content. But I don’t think this is evergreen material. The fact that the word “relationship” does not appear in the white paper once in the context of lead nurturing tells me that there’s work to do. 

Does Google Determine Where You Physically Are?

There’s no shortage of fuel for the Google / privacy fire. But then again, why not toss on another log?

Does Google tell you how to get from point A to point B? Does any device provide you with directions for your driving, biking walking or public transit routes? I’m personally a Google Maps fan.

In the wake of the latest location-based privacy expose’, I started thinking beyond the fact that gadget-makers like Apple and Google are recording our current coordinates. Carrying GPS-enabled devices around as our personal Atlas / destination calculator, we expose much more interesting data than that. Here’s a situation where your mobile map provider could actually know physical scenarios that you’ll be presented with before you do.

What Magellan blazed the trail for has explosive potential as networked portable computing goes mainstream.

Think about it. With our portable device in hand, we’re usually within 3 or 4 taps of a freshly published map from our current location to virtually anywhere. Should we choose to follow the device’s path, we could potentially be “checking in” with the map continuously, confirming we are on course. What lies ahead of us are 1s and 0s.

Which begs the question, would your mapping service provider consider routing you by a commercial business or two that was willing to pay for some cool location-based marketing? Would they be willing to pay a premium if it was 6 p.m. and they sold delicious bass? It sure wouldn’t be the first time some really smart web marketing geeks got off on “driving traffic.”

Next time your route brings you some extended windshield time, ponder this: Is it an invasion of your privacy if you don’t even know it yet?

Gotta go. I’m a mile from my destination.

Video Intersecting with Live Blogging

December 2, 2010 Leave a comment

(A really bright guy that I’ve worked with in the past recently emailed me with some questions about the direction I had in mind when deciding to include video with the presentation of an event-based live blog. (Check it out here: He specifically wanted to know how the video was being received. Here’s part of my response to him. You can read the full interview here.

I attended a performance of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” last month and couldn’t help but laugh out loud when Roger Waters delivered that desolate line about having “thirteen channels of [expletive deleted] on the TV to choose from.”

We’re just now seeing the beginning of the IP video explosion. Video will become pervasive and cross platform, and yes, it will certainly impact blogs and other established web publishing models.

The barriers to entry to produce and deliver digital video are now so low that it’s a natural move to incorporate it into live blogging. The analytics we get from video servers are incredibly insightful. We keep a very close eye on how people are interacting with video and continuously apply our findings to the next project. People are accepting it, and yes, we can see that we’re beginning to make a difference in how our messages are being consumed.

Stay tuned for more on this. As we capture enough user data, I’ll be happy to share our results.

Why We Belong to Communities

August 30, 2010 1 comment

We didn’t invent them.

Communities are more like lightning, hurricanes, or for that matter, mountains. They just occur, forming when people have something in common. Great things can happen when the right environmental conditions come together – at the right time – to form or strengthen a community.

Communities are generational. Millennials. Harley troubadours. Software users. Deadheads.

Some communities are congregational. These tend to engage us in more than one way. Within congregations, we interact in 1-to-1 relationships and we join groups. We have a place where we reserve ourselves to share in that common something.

Sometimes communities arise in a flash and then fade away. Others were deliberately constructed by the generation(s) before us, for whose original vision and dedication we have to be thankful. Deeply-rooted communities become cornerstones in our world.

So why do we belong to communities, anyway?

We all belong to at least one community. Whether it’s a bedroom community north of Dallas or a cluster of relief tents outside Port au Prince, where we reside is defined by some kind of physical place. These natural occurring communities exist in workplaces, within school districts, countries or world regions. We belong to natural occurring communities by default, and decide individually on our participation level.

Then there are the communities that we make a concerted effort to join. Purpose-driven communities form when people dedicate their time and attention to foster the growth of an organization. We make a conscious decision to affiliate with them, and when the right mix of timing, people and resources comes together, purpose-driven communities flourish.

Physical vs. Virtual Communities

Prior to electronic media, most communities were natural occurring and congregational in nature. Things like church or civic organizations, industry trade associations, alumni groups, a population of cigar rollers, etc.

Then along came radio and television, providing a common thing for people with common interests to gather around at precisely the same time. Citizens Band (CB) radios enabled an interactive community explosion that transcended geographies in the 1970s. Private and public online networks (like AOL, Compuserve, and freenets) emerged in the late 1980s enabling communities to form via modem-connected personal computers. And of course today we have a proliferation of social media networks that are accessible all the time by most of the free world.

No Shortage of Communities to Join

We are besieged by a tidal wave of communities as brand marketers embrace mobile and social technologies to engage us. Facebook alone presents a myriad of communities and causes that we could affiliate our digital identity with. In fact, a single click to “Like” something brings out an interactive behavior in many Facebook users unlike anything we’ve seen before. But does associating with more causes / communities improve our life?

I’ll argue that as a whole, we’ll be better off being more selective of the communities we join. And, I challenge you to take a close look at the communities you spend time on, both physical and virtual. Are you really making the best use of your time lurking among others who look nothing at all like you? Friending someone you haven’t seen since high school could be a great move if you are actively organizing a milestone class reunion. But could that casual, non-purpose driven click expose yourself – and your true friends – to a felon? An identity thief? Or worse, a yet-to-be-caught child molester?

Take some time out and ask yourself. Honestly. Which communities should you really be involved with? Do you have the right cornerstone communities in your life? How many communities are too many?

These are personal decisions each of us has to make. Here’s my take on some things to consider:

  • If you are a homeowner, take an active role in your neighborhood. If there is an association, join it. Neighborhood communities need a common voice.
  • If you even think you might be spiritual, find a church. Don’t get turned off by one visit. Try many until you find a congregation where you connect.
  • If you are passionate about your career or trade specialization, explore the various communities dedicated to your professional development.
  • If you rely on a product, company, service or technology for success in your work, find out if an active user community exists. If not, consider organizing one.
  • If you have hobbies or personal interests that help recharge your body and mind, connect to others that you can share with and learn from.

Joining a community should not be an involuntary response, like ducking a punch or blinking your eyes. Reconsider where you belong, and how you spend your time. Communities should make us stronger, more aware, and more fulfilled. If your community involvement doesn’t pass that litmus test, ask why.

Sensible Rules for Kids with Cell Phones

August 24, 2010 Leave a comment

Over the summer, our 10-year-old daughter lost her cell phone. Not lost as in: I can’t find it. But lost as in: You screwed up now you don’t have your cell phone for a month.

We collectively decided that before school started, we would all agree to a written set up rules for cell phone usage. Summer vacation crept to a close this week, and it was time to put my words to action. Before long, I had crafted multiple pages of restrictions. After all, I monitor cell phone (and Internet) usage very closely. I know how to write a Service Level Agreement. And I went overboard on my rules doc.

After careful thought, I trashed my work and asked my (now) 11-year-old daughter to write up her own rules. It took her less than five minutes. Here they are, word for word:


  • I will not text or call after 9 p.m.
  • I will not delete my texts.
  • I will keep my texts and calls to a minimum.
  • I will not text someone if they are right next to me.

    (I usually keep my phone @ home anyways when we are going on errands or to a restraunt or a get-together or aunt Ellen’s and places like that, so I got that covered : )

  • I will answer calls when mom & dad call. If I don’t, I will call right back.

With that, we now have cell phone rules posted and in force. We’ll continue to sit down together every month when our billing cycle closes and go through her text and voice usage, updating any new numbers in our address book that happen to show up. And now, we’ll draw the line on time limits.

How do you manage your kids’ cell phone usage?