Archive for February, 2010

Know when it’s time to hit the reset button

Monday, February 15th, 2010

Nothing lasts forever.  Not even cash cows.

In the fast moving technology world, standing still with old technology is a sure recipe for failure. Or as an old boss used to say, you can put lipstick on the pig, but it’s still a pig.

Unfortunately, there are way too many examples of companies that once were on top but failed to realize, until it was too late, that technology had marched on and their once groundbreaking, industry leading technology had become obsolete.  The tech industry is littered with examples of computing giants that bit the dust by resting on their laurels.

One that impacted me was Digital Equipment Corp.  While the movement toward open operating systems and PCs was in full swing, DEC chairman Ken Olsen called Unix “snake oil” and derided PCs as little more than toys.  That was until PC maker Compaq swallowed him up and shut down the DEC brand. (more…)

Super Bowl XLIV Ads a Wise Investment

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Committing to buying a spot in the Super Bowl is always a big risk due to the vast sums of money at stake.  For those with the wherewithal to pull it off, a big splash around the Super Bowl may generate more buzz than a year’s worth of mediocrity.

The year’s game, featuring one of football’s biggest stars in Peyton Manning and the feel good story of the past year in the New Orleans Saints, was the most watched TV show in the United States ever with 106.5 million viewers.  With all the entertainment options people have now compared to when the previous record was set by the MASH finale in 1983, this is an amazing accomplishment.  (more…)

How accurate are industry analysts?

Monday, February 8th, 2010

One of the more important relationships tech firms needs to have is with industry analysts. It’s quite a symbiotic relationship. Industry analysts from the likes of Gartner, Forrester and AMR need to be kept up to date as to what new technology is being created or is available now in order to seem knowledgeable with their clients. At the same time tech vendors need to secure the air cover that analysts provide when a firm is announcing new products or new strategies. The relationship has to work both ways for each side to prosper.

However, while I hold many industry analysts in high regard, I’ve often chuckled at the thought of someone actually holding analysts accountable on industry predictions. On some level aren’t analysts just as bad about predictions as your local weatherman? (more…)

The Advertising Superbowl

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Ok, I know there’s a football game going on as well, but for me, it’s all about the commercials. Anyone remember the Bud Bowls of the late ‘80s-early 90’s? I see the unveiling of these multimillion commercials, that often represent an entire year’s worth of advertising budget, as the biggest event of the year. I love watching the commercials in real-time but I will also Tivo the Superbowl and then fast forward through the game to get to the commercials. I wonder if anyone else does that since it probably does seem to be a bit backward. Ok ok, “My name is Stephanie and I’m a total advertising/marketing nerd.”

When I started my PR career, I was taught to always ask the question…why? So… why are these companies investing in this type of advertising campaign now? Why did they choose the Superbowl? Why did they take this direction with their commercial? Why are the putting all their eggs in one basket with this huge multi-million dollar commercial? Why did the choose the spokesperson/actor they did? Why, Why Why?? And the after all the why’s…I’m dying to know…how are they going to follow this up? What’s their plan to leverage and continue the momentum started with this commercial? Will they engage social media strategies and if not…why? Yes, lots of questions! I know!!

So anyway, come Sunday…I’ll be eagerly watching the Superbowl…but I’ll be the only one getting snacks during the game, so I can be at full attention for the commercials!

Pitches and RFP’s…a match made in heaven

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

There’s inherent synergy between a company sales department and the PR team. I was recently reminded of how valuable it can for PR to stay tapped into what’s happening on the ground – and for PR to in turn contribute to the sales effort.

The obvious connection is with the new customers who buy a company’s solution and agree to be part of various PR activities. The sales team can then of course use articles in their sales materials.

There are other ways though that these two groups can work effectively together. On a recent conference call, I had a chance to speak with a few marketing folks who are in tight communication with their sales force. The purpose of the call was to go over upcoming editorial calendar opportunities for the target publications for the prioritized vertical markets.

As we were reviewing the topics, one of the marketing folks brought up that they had been working with the sales team on RFP’s that directly related to more than a few of the editorial calendar opportunities. Not only did these RFP’s directly address the editorial calendar topics but they were responding to real-world customer scenarios that were specific to the customer’s needs, giving us unique slants to use in our pitches. Wow! How cool!

We now have a monthly call with the sales team to review the upcoming editorial calendar topics, making sure to tap into each other’s pool of knowledge and the information gathered for pitches and for RFP’s.

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