Digital Marketing Role Models

You’ve seen it before: the hair stylist whose hair is consistently haywire, the accountant who mismanages his money. When you want advice on how to do something, you want to know those experts in their field practice what they preach. So when it comes to digital marketing, who is worthy of praise and credibility?

Digital Marketing Role Models

HubSpot

Well-known as the all-in-one-marketing software for businesses, HubSpot has a lot of hype to live up to. It promises functions like blogging to CMS to calls to action to marketing automation to analytics and everything in between. It’d be easy to point to specific examples of each of these, but the best proof of all is the company’s enormous success. When the company went public, its market valuation was $880 million. Not bad. HubSpot itself has mastered the arts of building a solid brand identity, blogs (the company has multiple blogs) and, of course, inbound marketing as a larger umbrella. If you’re looking for a pro to imitate in these arenas, look no further.

Marketo

Marketo has branded itself as a marketing automation software largely for midsize and enterprise companies. While the solution itself has a street reputation of being a bit complex (maybe even cumbersome), there’s no denying its efficacy. As a premier solution for the savvy, more advanced marketer, Marketo hits the mark in what it offers. Marketo provides endless resources to help with training and optimizing the use of the software. Its own use of email marketing and automated marketing methods is strategic and effective.

Unbounce

Unbounce prides itself on being a landing page extraordinaire, and with ammunition to back up its claim. If you’re looking for a solution that enables the layman to build, publish and test landing pages, this tool is your best friend. With a litany of case studies to peruse, as well as landing page examples, customers can see what they can expect before they ever make a commitment. One quick glance at the examples is all the evidence you need to know this is a company that understands the ins and outs of professional, successful landing pages.

WebDAM

Finally, what’s digital marketing without a strong brand presence? WebDAM should be the go-to guru for all things brand management. As the king of brand management software, the company delivers an easy way to keep your brand’s identity consistent, along with management of assets used in landing page creation. Check out the website and you’ll instantly see WebDAM’s credibility in action. With a distinct brand voice and imagery, the company’s marketing messages are aligned with its website messages. WebDAM was also featured in HubSpot as an example of top-notch landing page design, which corroborates its claim as expert of managing assets used in landing page creation.

These are a few companies that not only deliver what they promise to, but also take their own advice. Isn’t that both admirable and refreshing?

Is Windows 10 a good thing?

Windows has an official preview video. If you follow tech news, you find Windows is offering a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8 users. You just need to survey some recent articles:

And some articles like Trusted Reviews, are asking the question: Windows 10 vs Windows 7: Should you upgrade? They do offer some points I would consider:

  • “One of the least talked about improvements of Windows 8, and subsequently Windows 10, is that it does include a raft of performance upgrades.” I wonder how it will fair with third party software? I like to run high quality free and open source software. Will Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome run as fast as Windows explorer? Will Thunderbird be just as fast – if not faster – on Windows 10 then my current Windows 7?
  • “However, Windows 10 ups the ante by adding Windows Store apps and web search, as well as a much more organized results page.” Windows 7 search is not bad. In fact, I wasn’t sure how Microsoft could improve it.
  • “What’s more, it includes Cortana, the digital personal assistant.” Someday we may be able to talk to our computer, like we see in the Star Trek TV and movie series. But now is not that time. If I look at the Google and Bing language translators, they have a long ways to go. They do get things wrong, as I’m relearning French and Spanish, and learning Portuguese. How can they realize what I am saying and translate it into commands a machine can understand? Voice recognition is a long ways off, as far as perfection goes.
  • The other points the article considers is a better file management system. But it is a tab bit slower than Windows 7 on gaming. And the monitor is more customizable. All nice points to consider. But none of these is a show stopper.
  • “As such, if you’ve got a copy of Windows 7 you’d almost be foolish not to upgrade.” What about security? I haven’t seen a comparison of Windows 7 and Windows 10 security. Perhaps more articles will address this aspect in the future?

So how will Windows roll this out? Well, Network world said Microsoft will reportedly release Windows 10 RTM in June . Tech Republic thinks Microsoft for the enterprise is doing fine. This is reflected in A Microsoft we can actually believe.

What will I do? I plan to wait until the first official release is in place. Whether that is in June – or as I can guess – sometime a bit later. No early preview version for me. But I like what I see and it will extend the time I can use an operating system on Windows hardware – without purchasing a new upgrade. I hope Microsoft goes the way of Apple and Ubuntu and offers free operating system upgrades to existing users.

On another note, I will share an article I like by Seth Godin: Is Google making the web stupid?

Balancing Creativity and Group Sensitivities

This situation came up in LinkedIn, in my group for writers and copywriters. I’ve thought it would be nice to get input. Somebody posted a piece by a well know ad writer , who used profanity in an article. They quoted a part from the article, that used profanity, Should it be allowed?

Well, first and foremost, we operate under the LinkedIn company umbrella. If I were to take a guess, I would think they would not allow it.

I suggested to delete the article and remove any profanity from the linked to piece Instead, edit it to use simulated profanity (i.e. I don’t give a %$#&, like you see in newspaper comics or comic books).. And don’t use any profanity in the commentary regarding the article, unless it is simulated..,Then resubmit the article and commentary. Sound like a plan?

I know that books like Catcher in the Rye are full of cuss words. But you have to balance group sensitivities with using cuss words. Not that I’m a moralist in good writing, mind you. People who quote form Catcher in the Rye also use simulated cuss words in quoted book parts. People can do a Google or Bing search for the unedited piece.

Kind of like displaying the rated video of the song blurred lines by Robin Thicke. People who want the “unrated” version with nude dancing women can search for it and find it. Would you be offended if I published the video link with the nude dancing women in a LinkedIn group on music you belong to? Especially since the song video is full of sexual suggestions/ I would post the link to the rated version (i.e. fully clothed women), I would inform people there is an unrated version and might even give the keywords to conduct the search

My personal view is this. A few years ago, artists were doing crazy things. They might take a toilet or a board full of condoms and exhibit them at an art show – with their name on it, of course. Then folks would scratch their heads and ask: “is this art?” It really only shocked people the first time they saw it. But is it really art?

If a good ad writer (or good writer) needs to use profanity, then what is the point? The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger had a purpose for using profanity. It’s to capture the actual speech of youth, during the time he dated the work. But I fail to see the purpose an ad writer would achieve, unless it was to have “shock art.”

Let’s take the music video Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. I saw both the rated and unrated videos, after seeing him perform on Stephen Colbert. I personally like both video versions, but I won’t allow the unrated one to be directly linked to.

My take. If a clear majority wanted profanity and LinkedIn allowed it – so be it. In the meantime, simulated profanity (i.e. &4*#@), like you see in comic books and newspaper comic scripts, will be what I would go with. Reply it with symbols. Look at Correct usage of replacing cuss words with symbols at cuss word rules. Use the same notation they use in the comic books (i.e. point 3)

I would like input on balancing group sensitivities with creativity? Comments, suggestions or input?

Tech Surprises for 2015

Consider the computer of the early days: It took up a whole room! Computers have shrunk in size over the years — from the boxy, creaking IBMs of the 1980s, to the Pentium desktops of the ’90s, to the sliver-thin Macbook Air laptop computers available today. We’ve come a long way! Computer technology has paved the way for wearable, useful tech for the gadget-lover. Here are some exciting surprises for 2015.

2015

Satellite Phones

The satellite phone is not new technology. Satellite communication has been around since the space race in the 1960s. But personalized secure satcom from a mobile device is something that, once commercialized, could lead to a truly connected world. And one company is commercializing it: Roadpost.

With cell phones as a lifeline, we’re constantly using wireless tech to text, call, surf the Internet and give us directions. But we’re at the mercy of our service providers. If we need to use our GPS while out of service… well, we’re out of luck. Cell coverage in rural areas is spotty and Wi-Fi access tends to be hit and miss. That’s where satcom comes in. With coverage spanning the globe, network access trouble becomes a thing of the past.

But with the satellite phone, if you wanted to, you could phone your friends and family from the top of Mount Everest. The chances you will ever climb Everest are slim, but you get the idea. This is a truly mobile phone. Your coverage zone is the whole planet. The problem of being “out of range” is no longer.

iPad Mini 4

What’s not to love about the iPad Mini 4 due out this year? This new incarnation of iPad will be faster, smaller and feature-packed. If you’ve ever had an iPhone or an iPad, you know how great it is to be connected to the world at all times, and the hand-off feature means you always have your latest communications at your fingertips.

Google Glass

This one will set you back a pretty penny but it will also change the way you actually look at the world. Google Glass is wearable tech at its best — smart glasses meets tablet, and everything is voice controlled. It can take pictures, run searches, take notes, etc. all at a single voice command.

The tech goes one step further though and tries to predict what you want by analyzing what you are looking at. You can get a weather report simply by looking at the clouds, and access property details simply by looking at an address.

Oculus Rift

Gamers have been dreaming about this tech for years, and now it is here. Snap on the Oculus Rift headset and you’ll get a complete 360 degree view of any virtual world. The applications go beyond gaming, branching into education applications as well.

2015 looks set to be a very exciting year. What tech are you dying to get your hands on?

IP-PBX vs THE CLOUD

In any discussion about phone systems, there are always those points that seem to crop up again and again, aren’t there? If your office is anything like mine, odds are that one of those points is the old  cloud based versus on-premise system debate.

That’s one that won’t ever go away, will it? Not until everything is finally hosted in the cloud — or behind our ears, whichever comes first.

Theoretically speaking, the choice should be pretty easy. Look at the size of your enterprise, examine your usage requirements, scrutinize your security concerns, and once you distill all that information, you should have a relatively easy answer.

But what do you do if both of the options deliver nearly identical features? What if the answers you get are practically functionally identical, for all intents and purposes?

If both columns of the balance sheet are nearly equal, but you still feel it’s time to upgrade your phone system, then maybe you should consider a staged, or hybrid approach.

For instance, consider the hospitality vertical market. A hotel — or chain — wanting to upgrade their aging PSTN networks can install VoIP trunks to one or more of the sites in their network. They could keep the older systems active at the other sites, while enjoying the incredible savings that VoIP offers on regular recurring charges and operating costs on the upgraded sites. Then when they have the capital to upgrade the other sites, it’s easy to do.

A different option, again with the hospitality vertical, might be to replace only the voice mail system with one that also can handle automated attendant duties as well as wake-up call functions. The existing in-house PBX could still be used to process phone calls as usual. What this would do would be to place these crucial functions on an IP network so that they can be better monitored and administered. Not only that, when it comes time for the old PBX to be replaced with a VoIP switch, it’ll be an easier migration for everyone.

Hosted IP systems also work well when there are multiple sites being served by the same pool of SIP trunks or VoIP services. Any company that has more than one location would be able to pool their trunks and resources, since VoIP allows for shared minutes and data usage. This has the benefit of reducing recurring monthly charges, potentially by up to 60%.

One more option would be to leverage all the bandwidth that an enterprise needs and supply telephony using the same circuits that currently carry such data as corporate email accounts and PMS. This would also yield some standardization among the disparate sites, making it easier for employees to move from one to another. This consistency would take the form of dialing patterns, phone feature sets, and other such things.

Just keep in mind that if you are going to make a switch from one PBX manufacturer to another, or from an on-premises solution to a cloud-based one, it’s likely that you’ll have to replace all of your digital or proprietary phones. And it’s also likely that you’ll have to eat this cost. There is a hidden advantage, though, in that the new systems should work with any SIP-compliant phones. This gives a hotel, or any other vertical market, many options they can choose from. They won’t have to choose from simply the existing proprietary PBX phones.

Another thing to be well aware of, especially if you are in the hospitality vertical, is to ensure that the hosted PBX application is capable of lighting the message waiting lamps in your guestrooms. Surprisingly enough, some of them are incapable, and I’ve found out the hard way.

About The Author

Michelle Patterson is excited with the new technologies that are threatening to change the way we stay in touch and communicate, particular in business. She works with companies that are introducing these technologies to make understanding them easy for regular people.

Who is our audience?

This started with a forum I belong to. Someone introduced a fictitious proof of PI=4, on a forum NOT devoted to math. I responded with this video entitled Rhapsody on the proof of pi = 4:

Let’s call this person Babu Bhatt from “Seinfeld”. And we will call this forum the Nasrudin forum. Both the name and forum name are fictitious. Anyway, this person and others introduced both bogus and real proofs. And I responded with videos from this person, as well as scholarly links and discussion. Babu criticized these videos as wrong, from the deeper aspects of mathematics. Since my last sharing teaches some important points, I’ll share it hear:

“A wise man adapts himself to circumstances, as water shapes itself to the vessel that contains it.” — Chinese Proverb

There are three things I have learned in life and try to practice.

  • From philosophy it’s to define your terms first
  • From computer science, it’s the KISS philosophy – Keep it simple and stupid
  • From direct response copywriting (i.e. writing for business or advertising), is to know your audience.

What’s the key question here? Who is your audience?  In direct response copywriting, you learn these things:

  • Keep the conversation to a level of eight grade and below
  • People respond more to buying on emotion then on reason. Then they try to use reason, to justify their emotional based purchase
  • Talk to them like you’re conversing with a friend at the bar

Actually, if you can do these things well, you could become a millionaire on royalties – like Clayton Makepeace, Bob Bly or Ben Hart did. Can you use that info here? Sure! Ever see the Three Stooges short, where they are talking about Pig Latin? Moe says to Curly:

“I’ll explain it so even you can understand it.”

When you do that, you lose or pass over the “deeper” and correct aspects.

It comes back to who is our audience, which is something I brought up in another thread. Without being insulting to anyone, suppose Curly of the three stooges were part of our audience. We have to speak at his level “and above”. Unless you have statistical data and demographics on your target audience, you can’t assume anything.

You are right, Babu . The video does contain errors, just as the picture proof that Pi=4 contains errors. But if you are so concerned about what is “right and proper”, then why introduce something that “is not right and proper”, in the first place?

But who is your audience here, Babu, and who is my audience? Mine is both the amateur and the professional. If they want the “comic book” version, they watch the video. If they want the “scholarly journal” version, they go to the appropriate links I’ve provided.

And she should correctly define her terms before talking in the video. It’s something many folks here often fail to do also, in discussions of scripture, theology and philosophy. We might end up with something like this, from Abbot and Costello:

But who is her audience and who is our audience? She is from Khan Academy , which is a non-profit dedicated to teaching subjects up through high school free – as far as I understand their group. Or as Wiki says:

Khan Academy is a non-profit[4] educational organization created in 2006 by educator Salman Khan to provide “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere”

If someone posts a YouTube video and enables comments, the place to place criticisms is on the video YouTube comments section. And they should revise the video, based on feedback.

And who is our audience? Two professional mathematicians talking to each other? Or a group of forum lay people, who like to discuss theology, philosophy, scripture and other – sometimes fun – subjects?

If you want a good video presentation for the amateur, then watch her. If you want a good discussion among professional respondents, go to Quota (i.e.like I pointed to earlier at Why is 0.999… equal to 1? or some similar place.

Yes, she has some things wrong at a “deeper” level. But her audience is probably those struggling with math, who see these videos as fun and entertaining – just as many here would. What math videos have your contributed free, for the benefit of providing free education to all?

  • It’s up to her to enable comments on original YouTube postings.
  • It’s up to people like us, to provide professional feedback there.
  • And it is up to her to revise, based upon feedback.

In fact, given the scope and mission of Khan Academy, it’s probably the duty of every professional to provide video feedback. This way, they can preform their mission of free education better.

Yes, great direct response copywriters have much to teach us and command high fees. In fact, famous marketer Ed Dale just revealed today he paid legendary direct response copywriter Gary Halbert 20 K a month in High Fees  to coach  him.

And you know what? If you want to master the art of persuasion, then direct response copywriting will teach you that. Studying historical and contemporary philosophers for constructing Logical philosophical arguments are all well and good. Studying famous writers for engaging literary styles are all well and good. But in my book, direct response copywriters are masters at the art of persuasion and well worth studying how they compose their ads and selling stories.

Gaming PCs 101

The barrier of entry into PC gaming is lower now than it ever has been. Hardware prices are falling all the time and the ability to get top of the line equipment is getting easier.

One of the biggest advantages of PC gaming is the ability to buy hardware that fits your budget best. Have a limited budget? There are systems for that. Near unlimited? The PC space has that covered as well.

Man and Screen

Hardware

These are the components everyone thinks of when they want to build or buy a new PC. Gaming PCs generally exceed the hardware requirements of most other applications and therefore are not only able to run games but do pretty much anything else you could ever want your computer to do.

For gaming applications the first place to start is the CPU or processor. This is the heart of your computer and generally will not change unless you get a new system. For gaming, the Intel i-series is a very solid choice. An i7 based system is higher end but you will pay for the difference over Intel’s next lower step the i5. With clock speeds of 3.0 Ghz and above these will generally last you the life of the system.

Your graphics card or GPU is the next most important piece of equipment when building a gaming computer. One of the nice things about graphics cards is that the price is a fairly good guideline for the performance you will receive. A $200 graphics card will be a little bit better than a $150 card, but quite a bit lower in performance than a $500 card. Graphics cards in Nvidia’s 600 or 700 series will fit the needs of most beginner to semi-advanced gamers especially for their first system build.

RAM can be the oft forgotten component to a computer system but is extremely important to a smoothly running system. RAM is essentially how many things a system can do at once. That being said, with today’s prices and performance there isn’t a reason to have less than 8GB of RAM on a modern system. Having between 8GB and 16GB of RAM is a good starting point for a new gaming PC.

Software

Relatively recent developments in how games are distributed means full digital downloads of games are becoming more and more popular, eliminating the need to physically go to a store to buy your favorite games. Online platforms like Origin and Steam allow you to buy, download, install and play your games all from the comfort of your couch. Both services have a huge variety of genres available. Whether you are a casual gamer (Sims 4), sports gamer (FIFA), hardcore shooter gamer (Battlefield: Hardline), in-depth role playing gamer (Mass Effect) or racing gamer (Need for Speed), the software part of this project is perhaps the most fun.

Prices

Prices for systems like these can run between $500 and $800, which is a reasonable range for a solid system that will last far into your gaming career. The main thing to remember when building or buying a new system is keeping within your budget. Thankfully, because there is so much flexibility in the configurations of hardware, this is fairly simple. However, a major difference between consoles and PCs is the ability to upgrade hardware without buying a new system. If a new graphics card comes out or you need more RAM, adding these components is something you can do yourself. Remembering this, if your budget is tighter, it is generally better to buy the best CPU you can afford, since this is the component that is least likely to be replaced. RAM and graphics cards are the next easiest to upgrade.

Don’t be afraid to get into PC gaming. It is a vibrant community that you will be having fun in for years to come.

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