Category: Business and Marketing

4 Questions to Ask before You BYOD

“Bring Your Own Device,” or BYOD, is becoming a big trend in the workplace. More and more, employees are finding it preferable to use their own laptop, tablet and/or smartphone when it comes to accomplishing their day-to-day tasks. BYOD

That’s all well-and-good, and perfectly understandable from an employee perspective – why can’t I use the device I’m most familiar with to make it easier for me to get my job done? But BYOD does have implications beyond the device users. Fred in accounting wanting to use his Macbook while everyone else is using Dell laptops is going to cause problems for the IT staff that has to make it all work. Still, there’s value to be found in BYOD, so let’s see take a closer look at this new trend.

Device expenses. Obviously if our friend Fred in accounting is bringing his own laptop, the company doesn’t have to provide Fred with his own laptop. Just be aware that when Fred’s laptop stops working, the company may have to provide a stand-in until he gets a new one (or worse yet, will have to buy him a new one).

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Network vulnerability. Different devices from different people utilize different security software and protocols. You, and more likely your IT team, will need to make sure there aren’t any gaps in network protection. It may be in the company’s best interest to invest in security software for personal devices.

Communications. As the variety of devices utilized by individuals and companies grows, there will be more demand/need for a communications platform compatible with all of those devices. Companies will be under more pressure to implement a unified communications (UC) solution. This technology is on the rise anyway, so BYOD would merely be expediting its inclusion in the workplace.

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Support. If your company is utilizing Google for email and apps, or something similar that is supported externally, then BYOD probably won’t create as much of a strain on your IT department. If you’re still using Outlook and other non-cloud/web-based programs, then IT will have a much more difficult time operating at maximum efficiency.

Obviously this is just a quick overview of some of the questions companies will have to ask and answer as BYOD continues to grow in popularity. In order to know if there’s practicality and value in BYOD for your company, speak with your IT department and other employees throughout the organization. The pros – and cons – may be greater than you anticipated.

Throwaway Marketing – Why We Trash Some Of Our Best Ideas

IdeasWalking away from a good idea is difficult, but it’s often just as important as creating one in the process of making a concept come to life.

The agitation that flows from a poorly conceived idea can be endless…I recently told myself that I’d create a relevant and inventive post about the backlash issues regarding the Kony 2012 campaign. A week later I’m deleting drafts, accepting that I simply won’t be writing on that topic.

I had overindulged in information about the foundation, and even reached a point where I was researching tax law and angered with each new Google alert, convinced that everyone had somehow found out my idea and stolen it. This was the nod I needed that my idea was no different than any other marketing blogger and I needed to reevaluate.

Walking away from an idea is difficult. I had created a state of personal angst that I couldn’t complete a project I had assigned myself. I found myself wishing someone had said to me that it was a poor choice, that it would simply be Ideaswashed away with the flood of other bloggers pouring out similar ideas. Yet even then, if warned, would I have walked away from my own idea?

Learning to accept that what you had conceived is not the best, packing up the side notes, and saying goodbye can be one of the hardest things to do as a marketer. If you’re anything like me, there are at times, periods of grandeur where you can’t imagine the idea failing. It’s a great mark of confidence but an immediate set up for failure since you’re already convinced the concept will be hallowed by critics for ages, turning your small proposal into a best selling novel, and eventually leveraged for a high budget film.

…The Great Gatsby started out as a print ad, right?

On a personal level, this is why a team atmosphere is extremely important. We have that here at Star…a creative establishment where people can build elements, make suggestions, and when needed, nullify a long-standing idea that just isn’t going anywhere. Professionally, even in the branding process, we may divert to a line of thinking much Ideasdifferent from where we started. At the heart of it, getting rid of ideas can be just as important in the process of making a great concept come to life.

Ultimately, I found a way to express exactly what I had aimed to say about the Kony 2012 campaign. Not every idea can be the best, and if you can’t foresee multiple outcomes other than success for your work, you should look closer before you launch. When you have skeletons in the closet, at the very least, contemplate cleaning them up. When the negative aspects of your campaign become newsworthy there is often no one to blame but yourself. It may be time for people to start considering an advertising factor similar to karma. Never expect that even the tiniest pebble can’t cause the largest wave.

Mobile Marketing Is King – Cyber Monday Mobile Marketing Sales Up 192% Over Last Year

For those marketers and advertisers still not sold on the power of mobile marketing and the need to engage their customers and prospects via a mobile website, a report issued by IBM showed that sales via a mobile phone/smartphone/tablet on Cyber Monday 2011 increased an incredible 192% over last year. And you can expect that number to only go higher next year.Marketing

The IBM report also showed that the number of people using their mobile phone/smartphone/tablet to just visit a retailer’s website increased 177% from last year to this year on Cyber Monday. Clearly boys and girls we are living in a mobile world, but you already knew that, right?

So riddle me, this Batman and Batgirl, why are so many retailers NOT engaging their customers and prospects via a mobile ready website?

From a post I wrote at the end of September Even More Proof Of The Importance Of Mobile Marketing And Mobile Advertising…

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Accoridng to a survey conducted by Brand Anywhere and Luth Research:

51% of consumers more likely to purchase from retailers that have mobile-specific websites
4.8% of U.S. retailers have mobile-specific websites
22.8% of the top retail websites (ranked by Alexa®) have mobile-specific websites
Web retailers could increase consumer engagement by 85% with a mobile-specific website
Take out the word “Web” in that last bullet for EVERY retailer – whether they also have bricks-and-mortar locations in addition to their “regular” website, should have… operative words “should have” an optimized mobile website.

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Among all Interactive Marketing platforms, Mobile Marketing is expected to grow 38% over the next five years with an estimated $8.2 billion being allocated to it by the year 2016.

That was the opening line of another post I wrote on mobile marketing, Mobile Marketing Spending To Have The Biggest Increase Over Next Five Years.

So let me see if I got this straight… Most marketers and advertisers see the need to spend money via mobile marketing, mobile advertising, etc., yet many – only 4.8% according to at least one study, do not see the need to engage consumers via a mobile website, even though the evidence is clear that more and more consumers are going online via their mobile phone/smartphone/tablet?

The Social Media Factor…

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One of the other key findings I wanted to share from the IBM report is this:

“Discussions on social media sites leading up to Cyber Monday increased in volume by 115 percent compared to 2010. Top areas of discussion focused on consumers sharing tips about using price comparison websites while avoiding cyber scams.”

Again, another opportunity for brand managers, product managers, marketers and advertisers of all shapes and sizes to engage their customers and prospects… that is if these same brand managers, product managers, marketers and advertisers of all shapes and sizes were monitoring what was being said on the social media sites then capitalizing where they could to converse and actively engage folks.

The Power Of Words In Brand Marketing

When crafting information on clients’ behalf, it’s important to make sure messaging is consistent while balancing the need to keep language fresh.

Words are powerful. As a public relations professional, I use them every day for a variety of purposes. Whether I’m writing a news release or editing a bylined article, I constantly need to be aware of the words I choose. According to the late, great author Ray Bradbury, “Digression is the soul of wit.” This may be true for authors, but in communications, being succinct is key. And as a recent article asserted, there are certain words and phrases we should avoid.The Power Of Words In Brand Marketing

When we’re crafting and disseminating information on our clients’ behalf, whether through articles, pitches, marketing material or tweets, we have to make sure messaging is consistent and reflective of the organization we’re representing. Balancing this with the need to keep language fresh and avoid repetition is always a challenge.

The Power Of Words In Brand Marketing

We’ve all been in meetings where people throw out adjectives like “revolutionary”, “innovative” and “proactive”. Some might even view them as “old friends” that provide the perfect description for an idea. Instead of succumbing to this clichéd communications jargon, take advantage of words such as streamlined, progressive and forward-looking. They allow you to convey the same idea without resigning to the old standbys.

The Power Of Words In Brand Marketing

In communications, creativity is paramount; it’s what separates one agency from another. Without distinct ideas and a fresh approach, the messages we communicate become stale and yield mediocre results. As an intelligent man once said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” So, use your words wisely.

Seven Marketing Lessons From 007 Villains

Much has been written about the simple mistakes that Bond villains make in allowing the nominal spy to escape and foil their evil plans. But along with recommendations to overcome previous superspy-killing bungles, there are marketing lessons to be learned.

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With the film franchise’s 50th anniversary and the new James Bond movie, Skyfall, out this week, there’s a lot of excitement around the legacy of everything Bond. Beyond the drinking, fighting, intrigue, women, gadgets, fast cars, and espionage, there are the villains. What purpose would Bond and MI6 have if it weren’t for the deviant masterminds of nuclear, drug-related and generally destructive plots?

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Aside from their schemes, these criminals are often successful entrepreneurs or high profile public figures who are bona fide geniuses. Much has been written about the simple mistakes that Bond villains make in allowing the nominal spy to escape and foil their evil plans. But along with recommendations to overcome previous superspy-killing bungles, there are marketing lessons to be learned.

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In that spirit, here are seven marketing tips from 007 bad guys that can apply to your brand.

  1. Don’t give away your secrets to the competition: The classic Bond villain mistake. Things seem like they’re going in your favor, so why not have a little loose talk including your plans, tactics and weaknesses? These days especially, “transparency” is a virtuous attribute for companies to have, but there is still a line between being transparent in your actions and engagements, and keeping certain things proprietary. Don’t be like Francisco Scaramanga in The Man with the Golden Gun; keep information about your “secret weapon” to yourself. A sense of mystery can positively provoke curiosity in your audience while guarding against being scooped by the competition.
  2. Stick to your core competencies: Too many Bond baddies stray from or manipulate the businesses that gave them their wealth. Had Elliot Carver stuck with his core competencies, he wouldn’t have incurred the wrath of 007 in Tomorrow Never Dies. It’s wise to stick with what you know – both on and off the screen.
  3. Never assume that everything will go according to plan…prepare for failures and setbacks: The hubris of Bond villains is often their greatest weakness. As detailed and focused as they are, it’s surprising that there are hardly ever any fallback plans. Gustav Graves didn’t plan on James Bond secretly boarding his cargo plan in Die Another Day, but perhaps he should have. If my colleagues in the public relations group always banked on getting a client in The New York Times without paying attention to hundreds of other worthy media outlets, their myopic approach wouldn’t benefit anyone.
  4. Keep up with trends and technology: Don’t get outsmarted by a competitor using tools that are ahead of the curve. Villains may have had billions for infrastructure, rockets, submarines and henchmen…but Bond had Q and the latest forward-thinking nimble gadgetry. He outwitted enemies because he took advantage of items that were essentially in “beta” testing. As Q states in the new film Skyfall, “Every now and then a trigger has to be pulled.” That new monitoring service, influencer algorithm-based database, or sweepstakes app could be the difference between drawing attention to your brand or being ignored.
  5. Go for strategies that are proven, rather than elaborate tactics: New, untested tools may be one thing, but there’s no substitute for sound strategy. There’s no need for something as convoluted as Goldfinger’s “Operation Grand Slam,” which involved killing members of the mafia, breaking into Fort Knox, nerve gas and a nuclear bomb. If your brand needs to engage with your audience, don’t create obstacles that they must “like” and “share” in order just to participate with you…act like a human and just have a conversation.
  6. Let situations play out/stay calm: The prime juxtaposition to any Bond villain’s tediousness in attempting to kill a superspy is their overzealousness in giving away their secret hideouts. Had Bond not been attacked by helicopters when near SPECTRE’s base in You Only Live Twice, perhaps it would not have been discovered. Not jumping the gun on social media has its benefits many times as well. Reputation management is crucial, but if someone posts a negative comment or opinion about your brand on your Facebook page, give your advocates a chance to respond on your behalf before getting defensive. What you may find is that your supporters will come to your aid before you even need to stick up for yourself.
  7. Make quality hiring/staffing decisions: You’re only as good as your team members, and if they are inept or can’t be trusted, like Kamal Khan in Octopussy, find a good headhunter ASAP.

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If you can learn from the mistakes of others, you won’t be crying bloody tears like Le Chiffre. The Bond franchise can teach us a lot about business and marketing, especially when you look at the characters’ failures along with the successes.

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