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Rethinking the Customer Journey Map
June 22, 2016
If you talk to marketers for any amount of time about what they do, you are bound to hear the term "customer journey" at some point. The go-to exercise for marketers looking to up their lead generation games today is "journey mapping," the exercise by which you try to understand how a potential buyer navigates through content and other offers on the way to a closed deal.
Gadget Ogling: Pliable Phones, Clever Kicks, and Sumptuous Speakers
June 21, 2016
Lenovo has peeled back the curtain on a smartphone that you can wrap around your wrist, sporting a full-color screen. The "CPlus," as Lenovo calls the prototype, runs Android and has a 4.26-inch display. It will be available in 12 colors if and when it goes on sale. It's clear bendable smartphones will be a viable consumer product in the near future.
AI for President
June 20, 2016
Andy Rubin, Android's daddy, last week made some interesting comments about quantum computing and artificial intelligence. The part I agree with is it won't be long until most things we have are connected to an intelligent machine. However, when referring to something that will be far smarter than we are, the use of the term "artificial" would not just be inaccurate -- it would be rude.
Salesforce's TrailheaDX
June 17, 2016
Salesforce held TrailheaDX last week -- its first event just for software developers. It previously relied on special sessions at events such as Dreamforce to educate developers, but its declared intention to train up to 100 million of them in its Lightning development environment dictated taking additional action. Anyone should be able to learn development skills, Salesforce contends.
Redefining the Vendor-Customer Relationship in the IoT
June 17, 2016
The advent of a brave new world of connected products and services in the Internet of Things is forcing organizations of all sizes across nearly every industry to reconsider how they will interact with their customers in the future. As a consequence, a growing number of companies are thinking about how they have to redefine their businesses to better serve their customers going forward.
Can Huawei Overtake Apple and Samsung?
June 13, 2016
Huawei says it is working hard to overtake Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy line in the worldwide smartphone market. If you were to ask anyone over the last eight years if that were possible, you would have heard a resounding "no." The marketplace is changing, though, and anything is now possible. Today Apple, Google and Samsung are enormous, but the rate of smartphone growth has slowed.
The Marginal Customer
June 10, 2016
I start a lot of client engagements with a simple question: Who's the customer? It's amazing the answers that I get. Some people know the customer's demographic and business or personal needs, and they focus on those things. Others don't even grasp the difference between a customer and a consumer. You might expect this if you are working in the B2C rather than B2B space.
Creating the Right Business Culture for Success
June 6, 2016
In an era when technology is changing the ways people conduct every aspect of their lives, it's not a surprise that business leaders have come to depend on it as the lever that will elevate their sales and marketing performance to the next level. Productivity has increased because of technology, and the implementation of technological tools has had a direct effect on sales effectiveness.
Windows Holographic: Changing Our Perception of the World
June 6, 2016
There were a lot of interesting announcements last week, ranging from cool new devices to what was basically an Amazon Echo on wheels from Asus. Such is the nature of Computex -- arguably one of the most powerful technology shows in the world. However, one of the most fascinating was Windows Holographic, which goes far beyond Hololens to redefine the world as we perceive it.
Loyalty Failures
June 3, 2016
Software vendors and their business customers have tried many things to increase customer loyalty, but they have been disappointed more often than not. Rewards, delight, and daily deals were good ideas to help spur customer loyalty. Unfortunately, they weren't enough to move the loyalty needle in today's highly competitive markets. That's because rewards programs often reward the wrong thing.
What Will HPE Sell Next?
May 30, 2016
I joined a bunch of analysts in discussing Hewlett Packard Enterprise's next move at a secret conclave last week. The company had just announced the sale of its IT services, which basically undid much of Mark Hurd's work as CEO. It already had sold off PCs and printers, more than undoing Carly Fiorina's earlier efforts. Granted, HPE spun it like it was an acquisition.
Microsoft's Intolerable Windows 10 Aggression
May 27, 2016
Microsoft seems to have gone off the deep end with its tricks to get unwilling customers to upgrade from Windows 7 and Windows 8 to Windows 10. Doesn't the company realize this will hurt it? Does Microsoft think it can be abusive and win? Users are complaining loudly. Why doesn't Microsoft care about the disruption it is causing? A slice of the Microsoft marketplace wants to move to Windows 10. Fine. Many of them absolutely love it. That is not the problem.
The Traction Gap
May 26, 2016
My friend and a partner at Wildcat Venture Partners, Bruce Cleveland, along with his associates, has come up with an idea that helps explain why some early-stage companies thrive and thus raise more capital, while others die on the vine. As a venture capitalist, he is always trying to figure this out, trying to determine who gets another round of funding and who doesn't.
Using the Scientific Method to Pick the Best US President
May 23, 2016
I've been thinking a lot this week about what it takes to select a strong CEO and being annoyed by robocalls from the different campaigns. On one such call, when asked what I'd do if given the choice between Clinton and Trump, my response was "move to Canada." That apparently wasn't what they were looking for. Boards often have to select from a very small pool of CEO candidates, and they don't get the "move to Canada" option.
Gadget Ogling: Speedy Tortillas, Racing Robots, and Real-Time 3D
May 20, 2016
Flatev is a pod-based system for instant tortillas in the mold of a Keurig coffee maker. Insert a pod of fresh dough -- you have several choices, all organic -- then adjust settings for type of dough and desired crispiness, and 90 seconds later you'll have a fresh, warm tortilla. There's a heated drawer to keep your tortillas warm while you make as many as you need.
Selling Imagination in the IoT Era
May 19, 2016
If you love studying technology trends and imagining what they will do for your business, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that you have a vision of how things will be, while many of those you need to partner with to achieve that vision still are trying to master the reality of today. Congratulations -- you have a combination of curiosity, prescience and nerdiness that will serve you well.
Marketing and Loyalty
May 17, 2016
The CRM industry is shining a bright light on digital marketing, and it is a sign of how early we are in the digital marketing boom that few vendors are championing the idea of using marketing in any way other than for driving sales. Based on recent events by Oracle and Salesforce, it appears that the focus on driving more sales makes perfect sense for organizations just getting their feet wet.
Could the Next Disruptive Consumer Product Be a Flip Phone?
May 16, 2016
Smartphones appear to be losing their luster, and the king of smartphones -- Apple -- clearly is not having a good year. Suddenly, I'm hearing that there is an upswing in flip phones, making this feel a bit like a Game of Thrones episode, when a believed-dead king returns to seize the throne by surprise. Clearly, the market is looking for the next big thing.
The Why of Customers
May 13, 2016
SAS Institute introduced SAS Customer Intelligence 360 at its recent Global Forum meeting. Intelligence 360 has some good ideas baked in, though some of the messaging I heard wasn't up to the level of the product or at least its intention. I suspect that will come, and it's an easy fix. The product set is divided into two major components, Discover and Engage.
The Emergence of Managed IoT Services
May 13, 2016
With every market forecast predicting rapid growth of the overall Internet of Things, industry and investor focus shifts to specific market segments that will experience the quickest adoption. While most of the attention is on applications and technologies, managed IoT services will be one of the biggest market opportunities. One challenge to widespread IoT adoption is the lack of skills.
Warehouse Clubs Ignore Customer Relationships at Their Peril
May 13, 2016
Like many, I have a love-hate relationship with warehouse clubs like Costco, Sam's Club and BJ's. I've criticized them several times over the years, but it's worth noting that some of these clubs have been improving. Others not so much. I have some ideas about what these companies are doing right and wrong, and how they can fix things to improve customer relationships, sales and profits.
Bill Gates' Open Letter
May 10, 2016
It has been 40 years since Bill Gates wrote his open letter to the software industry complaining that computer hobbyists were stealing his BASIC program. That was so long ago that Wikipedia has a picture of the source code for "Micro-Soft" BASIC on paper tape. A lot of things have changed since then. In the 1970s when Microsoft was getting started, it was common for people to copy, swap or donate software simply because they could.
The Interesting Dell + EMC Stories You Haven't Heard
May 9, 2016
I spent last week at EMC World talking to customers and both Dell and EMC employees, on the lookout for interesting stories that others hadn't picked up. I got a bunch that I think are fascinating -- stories about women in technology, billions of dollars of currently untapped revenue, and why every EMC and Dell sales rep effectively will have a dartboard with Meg Whitman's picture on it.
Sliding Revenues
May 4, 2016
Apple's earnings disappointment thudded into view last week in the middle of briefings at Oracle's Modern Marketing Experience conference. It gave me a lot to think about -- especially the difference between a one-time earnings disappointment and something more serious. I have a feeling that Apple is only the most visible instance of the wheels beginning to wobble on the truck of tech.
Gadget Ogling: Digital Doodles, Magnetic Lighting, and Alexa Everywhere
May 4, 2016
Orée's Stylograph pen, which is made of copper, can transmit your scrawls and doodles to an iOS or Android device. It houses an accelerometer and a camera on the tip to capture what you're noting. You can get two days of use from an hour's charge, and if you're away from your smartphone or tablet as you're sketching or writing, you can store the data and transfer it later.
The Customer Experience Tipping Point
May 2, 2016
Sometimes, it takes something drastic to change a business' behavior. Standard procedures can remain in place long after they've become detrimental, but sometimes it takes a tipping point to drive home the fact that failing to change is the surest way to fail. For example, the Ford Pinto's easily ruptured fuel tank could have been remedied with changes that ranged in price from $11 to $1.
Under the Shadow of Steve Jobs: Why Trump May Be Unbeatable
May 2, 2016
One of the frustrating things for me during Steve Jobs' time was that most of the folks who watched Apple go from nearly dead to the most valuable company in the world didn't seem to see anything really unusual. It was more like they were watching a great tennis player and seemingly concluding, "damn, what luck!" However, it requires a particular set of skills to do what Jobs did.
Get Ready for the Mobile Pay Explosion
April 29, 2016
Who is leading the mobile payment race? There are several players competing today. PayPal started the revolution 15 years ago, and Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay have joined the fray. Many newcomers are entering this space on a regular basis. The traditional money space has undergone change with innovations like debit cards and ATM machines, although they took a while to catch on.
Gadget Ogling: Electric Nightmares, Cold Coffee, and a Smart Clothespin
April 28, 2016
I'm quite possibly the worst person in the world at waking up, without exaggeration. As a boy, I slept through a gas explosion that destroyed a home around 100 yards from my bedroom. All too often, I rely on my partner to shake me out of my slumber, as my own alarm clock rarely does the trick. I need something a little more forceful. The Shock Clock may be just up my alley.
App Dev Today
April 27, 2016
Last year, I researched the impact of the proliferation of cloud computing on business. I know it sounds like a dry topic, but if you are a CIO or an application development manager, the results can have serious meaning. Cloud computing has deeply penetrated the enterprise and SMB ranks, and 46.3 percent of respondents said they had four or more cloud applications in use.
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