Thursday, October 26, 2006

User generated content

Peter Coffee at eWeek has some interesting thoughts on UGC. I particularly love the description of the schoolkid entering a competition to design a web page for his class: "It's blank," his sister observes. "Well, duh," he replies. "This is the era of Web 2.0. Users get to generate their own content. Let's say you want to know what the latest news is. All you have to do is type it out in this box that says 'News' and then you can read it."

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Google - spreadsheet surprise

This should come as no surprise to anyone who's been following Google - they've created an online spreadsheet to complete their collection of Gmail, Writely and Google Calendar.

It will be interesting to see how popular it becomes, especially given the sweeping UI changes due with Office 2007.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Old school animated giffs

There's an interesting article on clickz about an AKQA designed advert for MSN Messenger. The ad that they've created is a single animated gif, with some very funky background music. Interesting to see that a technology that was innovative 10 years ago is making a comeback.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Windows Live slowly starts to make sense

If you've been as confused as I have about what Microsoft is trying to do with it's Live products, there are some interesting pointers in Redmondmag. The exciting thing is that MS really are creating a developer platform for the Live services. There's an example of this on Channel 9 - where they show some examples of applications built on the MSN Messenger API. During the interview they make reference to another interesting site - worlds best apps.

Interesting stuff - even if it isn't fully baked yet.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Net Promoter and Blogs

I've been thinking a bit more about the Guardian's Amazon Article. In particular I'm wondering how this links in with the work that we've been doing around the Net Promoter metric. The Net Promoter metric is based on a single question can (supposedly) tell you everything you need to know about your customers - " would you recommend us to a colleague". The idea is that word of mouth marketing can make or break a company - even in a B2B environment. It's not necesarily the word of mouth marketing that is causing the success, but it definitely acts as a barometer for the level of customer focus.

However, if blogging becomes as all pervasive as some think then it will definitely be the word of mouth marketing that is causing the success or, as Scoble points out, if your company isn't blogging then it will be seen with a level of suspicion.

Of course, it's still not the blogging that makes a company client focused, it's what the you do with the information that you learn - just the same with Net Promoter.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I think we can all see where this is going...

So I'm taking bets on the next application to be relased by Google. See if you can spot a trend - first there was Gmail (Web email), then they bought Writely (Web word processor) and now they launch Google Calendar. Anyone want to take a bet on numsum (online spreadsheet) being Google's next purchase?

I'm off to buy the domain name ;-)

Monday, February 27, 2006

Microsoft Origami - how to NOT do customer evidence

If any of you have been following the Microsoft Origami saga, this is a good example of how not to promote your customer work.

Microsoft are allegedly releasing a new product codenamed origami. They've put together a web site to create a buzz around the launch. In an unusual move for Microsoft they're trying to do this in a viral way - the actual announcement isn't happening until March 2, and the site isn't giving too much away. However, Digital Kitchen (a nu meeja shop) post examples of their client work on their web site - including a product video for the Origami product (a handheld device)!

Needless to say, DK took the video down pretty quickly, but not fast enough - it's now been captured by lots of other sites and it's doing the rounds of the blogs.

You've got to hope that this was a deliberate ploy by MS, otherwise someone at DK's going to be feeling pretty unhappy.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Measuring and demonstrating value

Much of the work that I carry out is focused on demonstrating the value of our clients' offerings - through customer advocacy, influencer engagement, or customer DM. An article in this month's HBR discusses the importance of backing up any of your claims with concrete evidence, obviously something that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone working on producing customer evidence!
"Customer value proposition" has become one of the most widely used terms in business markets in recent years. Yet there is no agreement as to what constitutes a customer value proposition-or what makes one persuasive. Moreover, we find that most value propositions make claims of savings and benefits to the customer without backing them up. An offering may actually provide superior value-but if the supplier doesn't demonstrate and document that claim, a customer manager will likely dismiss it as marketing puffery.

And no one wants to be accused of marketing puffery.

Thursday, February 2, 2006

Talking to clients, one by one

CMO magazine has a great article on why professional service companies shouldn't produce corporate brochures.

Our clients have a wide variety of complex problems that we help them to solve, or as CMO magazine puts it...

"It's not a refrigerator. ...with professional services. Ten clients who need tax help, for example, probably all need different types of help. The needs of professional-service clients vary too widely for generic marketing. So a critical guerrilla marketing principle applies: One size fits none."

I absolutely agree with this approach - especially within tech consulting. The key is not to talk, but to listen. I can then deliver a personal response that addresses their unique problems.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Microsoft spends $120 million to show it's not "huge"

You've gotta love the opening paragraph of this article in the PI:
Microsoft Corp., the world's biggest software maker, will spend $120 million a year on an advertising campaign to fight its image as "a huge American company."