A local Product Marketing?

November 4, 2009

Yesterday evening I was talking with a friend – she is a sales in a well-known corporate data management software editor -no name right ;). This company is doing well, R&D is based in the states, they have sales office all around Europe and sell to large accounts with a lot of custom service.

To my surprise my friend was telling me that Europe teams had been asking for years for a Product Marketing (PM) to be based in Europe without any success. Seems the unofficial reason was this request was considered as a risk for the US based PM team – risk to loose their control over the product – hiring a subcontractor to localize the product material was good enough. They must be kidding, no? And what about these risks:

  • loosing contact with European customers by not collecting needs and evolution requests and thus opening a highway for smarter competition,
  • not taking in account the cultural specifics of European countries to fine tune sales messaging,
  • not building a caring relationship with chosen customers for beta testing,
  • not having a local resource to train your sales team and work with direct marketing.

Ok maybe this is just a communication problem: French have a tendency to take one English word for another in business: like using Product Manager instead of Product Marketing Manager. Here is the difference:

  • Product Manager: deals with product features and works with R&D -collecting, writing market requirements, following competition, driving road-maps. In short, the product manager deals with inbound tasks associated with the product development.
  • Product Marketing Manager: deals with the marketing, that is preparing the tools for the teams in charge of selling of the product. This includes many outbound tasks like writing market requirement documents, data-sheets, preparing PPTs, training sales team and also pricing and supporting local direct marketing teams.

Note:  check Wikipedia for an interesting comparison of the two profiles in high-tech companies.

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How to survive Social Media: my toolbox

November 2, 2009

Social Media tools ARE time consuming. This post list the tools I’m using to organize my Social Media activity and lists others sources and articles talking about time saving methods when using SM tools.
This is an open toolbox: feel free to add more content in comments.

Tools

  • Google RSS reader: used to subscribe to blogs and organize these subscriptions in folders. I will not explain how I organize them in more details. When you are subscribed to a fast growing list of 297 blogs, Google RSS reader is not very convenient to read so much content.  Google Reader has an interesting option to share a post you’ve read – John Jantshch has published a cool post “A Twitter sharing time saving tip” on how to combine this with TwitterFeed in order to publish automatically blog posts you like to Twitter.
  • Feedly: outstanding tool to read -even subscribe- your Google RSS reader content. Display is very natural in a news paper like style that allow fast reading, quick hiding or zoom, easy forward -to mail, to Twitter, to FaceBook (FB)- easy bookmarking -to Delicious and more-. Once you opened in a browser, you get a small toolbard, located at the bottom-right of your screen very convenient to forward links while you are browsing other pages.
  • TweetDeck: to organize tweetos by groups -I find it more convenient than Twitter lists-, follow direct mentions, follow on other specific words -brands, company, etc.- everything I want to follow on the long run. I read it from time to time.
    Tweetdeck supports multiple Twitter account and can also post your message to FB or post the same content to Twitter and FB.
  • An alternate choice for TweetDeck, HooSuite – it’s an online tool, for some reason search are easier than in TweetDeck, you prepare tweets to be sent at a later time and from multiple accounts.
  • For other searches, day long or just to check, I’m using an online tools Tweettabs – no user creation, fast to start. Once the search terms are tuned, you can use Tweetalert to automatize and receive tweets emails -check webworkerdaily’s blog post “Tweetalert-google-alerts-on-twitter” for a how to guide.
  • Twittertim: when I’ve been off for most of the day I use Twittertim to get in touch fast and see the links tweeted by friends and friends friends. An easy way to get an idea on what’s hot in my sphere.
  • Delicious.com: to organize my bookmarks as well as share them via Twitter -you can do both at the same time.
  • bit.ly – default tool to shorten URLs in Twitter tools like TweetDeck. Once you’ve created your own account you can easily follow stats -how many read and clicks- on links you’ve sent.

Links to related articles


Introduction to Mashups in 10 questions (with answers)

October 6, 2009

I wanted to get a clearer understanding about Mashup and came by in 9 questions with a better view of this fast growing niche market.

  • What are mashups?
    • Something that combine existing pieces to build a new item. The word is used in many contexts such as music, painting, etc. In IT, mashups are also called Web applications hybrids: the whole idea is to combine existing apps or services to quickly build new services without reinventing the wheel.
  • Where can they be found?
    • Mashups are available on the net, as web sites of web services or inside enterprises. Entreprise Mashups Applications are faster to build and test compared to traditional design because they integrate existing and proven services inside the enterprise. Using Mashup Platforms provide even faster results as for some applications, the design process can be driven directly by the end-user – check the “Executive Guide to Mashups in the Enterprise” by Dion Hinchcliffe for JackBe, one of the player in this field.
  • What are they used for?
    • Web Mashups: as a good sample is better than a long description, here are a few samples available on the Web:
      • coffeeseeker.com combines GoogleMaps with brands or end user entry to locate the nearest coffee shop,
      • Pixelpipe let you upload/publish multimedia content to many social platforms in one click,
      • a.placebetween.us that help find a place to meet with your friends.
    • Enterprise Mashups: Readwriteweb reports that Forrester identifies “three distinct flavors”. Here is an abstract of this article:
      • Presentation layer mashup. This is the most simple variety. Presentation layer mashups present content from disparate sources together in a unified view. A start page like Netvibes would be an example.
      • Data mashup. More complex than presentation layer mashups, data mashups “combine, manipulate, and tie together disparate data sources to present a unified view.” An example would be Twittervision.
      • Process mashup. Says Forrester: “The most complex of the three, process mashups allow users to mashup not just data sources but also business processes themselves, customizing process design and invoking business logic across multiple applications.”
  • What about this market?
    • In a recent report Business Insights sizes current and future enterprise mashup market:
      • The enterprise mashup market was worth around $161m in 2008, and is forecasted to grow to $1.74bn by 2013“. This market “will benefit from the increasing prevalence of software incorporating SOA. Worth $1.4bn in 2008, the SOA platform market will grow to $2.77bn in 2014“.
      • Earlier last year, Forrester analysts were foreseeing this market to reach $700 million by 2013. No doubt this niche market is heating and growing fast.
      • Gartner also listed it as one of the top 10 technologies to watch over for 2009 as reported by CMS Wire in late 2008: “Gartner believes that in 2009 enterprises may be taking mashups from Web 2.0 to Enterprise 2.0 levels“.
  • Any consortium?
    • As in any niche market: each player is offering his proprietary solution and his vision. From a customer point of view, it means  that there is no easy migration from one platform to the other: no doubt this is slowing enterprise mashup adoption.
    • A few days ago JackBe co-announced the Open Mashup Alliance (OMA) with Adobe, HP,  Capgemini, Intel, …, in a effort to establish an open language for mashup portability.
      Gartner’s analysts
      are pointing at the weak spot of the initiative:

      • “OMA is led by JackBe, whose future depends on enterprise adoption of mashups… The alliance does not include the “megavendors” — IBM, SAP, Oracle and Microsoft. While membership of at least one megavendor in a standards body does not guarantee success, the lack of megavendor support all but guarantees failure.
  • Is there a connection to SOA and web Services?
    • Mashups take advantage of Web Services and from an SOA initiative. Furthermore, it found a natural fit in the SOA as it offers non-developers the tools they need to enrich business processes.
  • What is Google doing in this field?
    • They had until mid August a Google Mashup Editor (Labs). The tool allowed to create mashups with Google services. Google has pushed it’s GME developer community to switch to App Engine.
    • If GME was an initiative targeting developers, Google Wave announced last June has muchbigger ambitions: I would describe it as the collaborative tool to rule them all 😉 – Well, more seriously, it’s at the same time a mail, an IM a collaborative platform to work at documents, a blog publishing tool, it has APIs for extension and is described as a platform to integrate mashups -see pic below-. Big G is trying to shape the way we work and to give it more structure. No doubt we’ll see in a nearby future how people and enterprises will react. – The pic on the side is taken from Dion Hinchcliffe’s articles “The enterprise implications of Google Wave“, a must read.
  • What is Microsoft doing in this field?
    • No surprise there, Entreprise Mashup are addressed by Sharepoint.
    • And on the Web side, MS is was proposing PopflyPopfly discontinuation was announced for end of August 2009 on a Microsoft blog. To quote Don Campbell -click on the pic to view his blog post – a “fun, easy way to build and share mashups, gadgets, Web pages, and applications.” Focus is was on communities – Live is not far. No doubt MS is preparing something new.
  • Where to read about mashup?

Let me know if you found this useful and do not hesitate to keep the ball rolling by adding links or comments.

Edited 7th of oct.: - Tibco added to the players
Edited 8th of oct.: - Popfly discontinuation + link to MS blog added
- Mention of Gartner's top 10 technologies to watch over for 2009
- Lixto Software added to the players

A Key difference between Twitter and (Facebook or Linkedin)

October 5, 2009

IMO, Computer world made an interesting point yesterday in their “The_Business_Sense_of_Twitter” article:

"It's not cool on Facebook or LinkedIn to
friend people you don't know at all. But
Twitter is about information, and "following"
people you don't know -- merely because of
the interesting things they might say -- is the rule."

FB and LI are oriented on the relation between people: you need to know someone a little to add it to your network and “listen” to him or her. Twitter is centered on hearing the message first. Definitely complementary tools.
Pointing the obvious? Well, so much noise made comparing the Twitter and Facebook, I think it does not hurt.

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Marketing in a recession and Measuring Social Media ROI

October 5, 2009

A quick note to share two presentations which I find accurate both in form and in content :

  • Marketing in a Recession” from Todd Defren – all the reasons why company should not cut on marketing in a recession and reorganize effort and budgets in order to be visible and conquer market shares.
  • Basics of Social Media ROI” by Olivier Blanchard – gives a good description of the difficulty marketing team faces to communicate SM results in a clear and measurable way. In addition to the message, slides are fun to watch with their 70’s UFO look. (BTW, you might want to check the vidao of Olivier doing this prez)



These two links are taken from Harik Hanson selection in a his post called “9 social media presentation for PR pros”.


“Facebook” is the top keyword searched by French people

May 5, 2009

As described today by LMI, a french IT online Newspaper – in french-, Mediametrics reports the top keyword queried by French people in March 2009 to be … (tadaaaam!)… “Facebook” (38.3 M.queries), way before eBay (13.8 M.q.), Orange (11.5 M.q) and YouTube (10.2 M.q).

Facebook is also ranked as the 9th site in term of visits (13.7 M. uniq visitors in march).

French web users are now 63% of the French population that is 33.9 M.
LMI is also commenting the fact that Facebook does not appear in the French TOP50 ranking sites based on advertisement and service offered, seing this as a “proof that the social network has found its public, but is still searching for a sound revenue model.”


Why are marketers daydreaming about social media?

April 6, 2009

The video says it all: through mobility, mass media and globalization the customer is overloaded and suffers from ads rejection – too much stimulation – too much information.

Marketers feels they have no easy reach to the customer and want to get back to a model where customer’s recommendations were balding brand confidence.

With its “power features”, accessibility and many-to-many recommendations, social media is marketer’s next Graal. Will customer interest survive social media noise and spamming? Time will tell. WDYT?


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