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March 14, 2008 | Greg Ness: Scandalous Marketing Via Spitzer & Dupre

Two obvious business “beneficiaries” of all the attention the Spitzer scandal is generating are MySpace and Facebook. Publicity about Ashley Alexandra Dupre’s profile on both social networks has been plastered all over the media. Here’s just a few:

CNN
New York Times
MSNBC
Los Angeles Times

March 11, 2008 | Paul Bourdeaux: Reflections from SD West 2008

SD West, one of the nation’s premier software development conventions, just concluded SD West 2008.  Yours truly was fortunate enough to be able to attend, and for an entire fun filled week I got to embrace my inner geek and participate in tutorials on Agile Estimating and Planning, attend classes on Test Driven Development, and visit expo booths to play Guitar Hero (Hey - we may be developers, but we’re aren’t total nerds!).  I even managed to go on a Segway Tour of San Francisco.  OK, that last one was a little nerdy, but still pretty fun!

March 11, 2008 | Jason Gibb: Will IE8 “Break” the Web?

Last week Microsoft released a beta test version of their next generation Web browser, Internet Explorer 8. This new update offers one thing that will make Web developers cheer: considerably better standards compliance than previous versions. However, it has already generated considerable controversy because that very same standards compliance is breaking many Web sites that incorporate fixes or workarounds for problems in IE 6 and 7.

March 11, 2008 | Greg Ness: Building Better Customer Service With the Google “Sucks Index”

What is the Google “Sucks Index” (GSI)? Go to Google Search. Enter your company’s name followed by the word “sucks.” Hit return. Voilà! There before you in the results represents a summary of what you need to fix to provide better customer service.

This is the advice of Jeff Jarvis a professor at the City University of New York. According to Jarvis, the GSI for Wal-Mart turns up 165,000 results. Google itself has a GSI that totals 767,000.

March 10, 2008 | Greg Ness: Apple’s Design Secret: 10-3-1

imageMichael Lopp, senior engineering manager at Apple, delivered a presentation at the SXSW conference this last week in Austin, Texas that provided a glimpse into that company’s wildly successful design methodology. One of the insights he revealed was a 10 to 3 to 1 process that Apple designers must follow. Helen Walters is at SXSW blogging for Business Week’s Tech Beat and this is how she described 10 to 3 to 1:

“Apple designers come up with 10 entirely different mock ups of any new feature. Not, Lopp said, ‘seven in order to make three look good’, which seems to be a fairly standard practice elsewhere. They’ll take ten, and give themselves room to design without restriction. Later they whittle that number to three, spend more months on those three and then finally end up with one strong decision.”

March 08, 2008 | Greg Ness: What Technology Would It Be Hardest For You To Give Up?

imageA new Pew Internet study shows people would have a more difficult time giving up their cell phone than any other technology. As the table at right shows, cell phones are followed by the Internet, television, and landline telephones as the toughest to do without.

There are some big changes in the 2007 results. Cell phones have replaced landline phones at the top of the list and the Internet has moved ahead of television into second place. Landline phones have seen the most precipitous decline in the last five years, and Blackberries or other PDAs have seen the most significant rise in the chart.

March 04, 2008 | Sarah VanNevel: Mexican Import Bellies Up to the Web to Introduce “Activitdades de Pacificos”

While most companies these days have learned to take advantage of marketing opportunities on the World Wide Web, there aren’t many that are bold enough to leave traditional TV spots behind entirely to pursue a relatively low-budget magazine, billboard, and web campaign. Meet Pacifico, a Mexican import beer that has done just that.

A recent New York Times article highlighted the small beer company’s marketing tactics. Based in the Western United States, Pacifico has been looking to branch out for a while now. The company has a small market share (less than 1% of domestic giant Bud Light), but is growing rapidly. Sales volume has increased at a compound annual rate of 14.8%, and the brand is continuing to gain popularity across the nation.

March 03, 2008 | Greg Ness: Nearly 50% of Marketers Now Embrace Major Support for Social Media

imageSocial media has crossed the chasm. A new study by TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony shows that nearly 50 percent of worldwide senior marketing executives now believe social media “is a vital component of corporate communications that should be monitored at the executive level and allocated significant resources.” In the United States, support among marketing executives for social media is even higher (62 percent).

Here’s a snapshot of other interesting points from the study:

• 95% believe social media will grow significantly in the next five years
• 88% of U.S. respondents believe social media is an important insight tool to help business understand consumer perceptions
• Social media “revolutionaries” are pulling ahead of “wait-and-sees”

March 02, 2008 | Greg Ness: How To Launch A Marketing Campaign



While watching this recent TED presentation by Steve Jurvetson on amateur rocketry, I was struck by the similarity between launching a marketing campaign and launching a rocket. Both take passion, creativity, careful preparation, faith, know-how, and a spirit of adventure. Sometimes it flies; sometimes it doesn’t. When things go as planned there is exhilaration. However, after a crash, the important thing is to learn from the insight and data, so your next launch takes you to new heights.

Steve has some great photos on Flickr, too.

February 28, 2008 | Greg Ness: 10 Billion Online Videos Served

A recent comScore press release announced U.S. Internet users watched more than 10 billion online videos in December of 2007. The release said the average online video viewer watched a total of 72 videos in the month. Online video viewing grew a total of 34 percent in 2007.

As usual, Google shines when you break down the online video viewing share. Google sites (which includes YouTube) captured almost a third of the viewing with a 32.6 percent share. Their next closest rivals were Fox Interactive Media at 3.5 percent, and Yahoo at 3.4 percent.

February 27, 2008 | Jon Gilbertson: PR or Great Customer Experience?

Whether it’s simply great PR or an honest attempt to improve the customer experience, Starbucks’ decision to close over 7,000 company locations for 3 1/2 hours on Tuesday has the media and blog worlds buzzing, and it’s not from a jolt of java.

February 26, 2008 | Mark Sjurseth: Force.com Toolkit for Adobe AIR and Flex Announced

Adobe and Salesforce recently announced the new Force.com Toolkit for Adobe AIR and Flex. Although they’ve been working together for some time now, more official support for Flex within the Force.com platform is welcome. In this case, Salesforce addresses a common problem of intermittent connectivity. Like all SaaS platforms, with Salesforce.com you must have some connection to the internet for the application to work properly.  Although Salesforce.com data is accessible through APIs for use in third party applications built on Adobe Flex (among many other platforms), the data dependency still poses a considerable challenge to developers designing disconnected applications.  For example, a field representative might visit a facility in western North Dakota or some other remote location where internet connectivity is questionable. This is where the new Force.com Toolkit comes in handy.