|Riggs Eckelberry's OF INTEREST|
This Blog is Closed
I'm keeping the posts in place for historical interest.
All my other posts are on TechTransform.
Thanks for reading,
Article: It's the Product, Stupid!
On 20 November 2006, a new product was launched. It attracted immediate attention in the press and with users, some of whom wrote in to tech support to thank the company for the product. Downloads of the product increased instantly more than ten-fold over the previous version. Revenue forecasts from the product quickly began to exceed expectations.
How did all this come about? What lessons came out of it? (more)
Role Definition: Product Management and Product Marketing
Don MacDonald, Product Manager on the early TechTransform team at CyberDefender, created this table in 2005. It answers the critical question: what's the difference between product management and product marketing? (more)
Much more to flesh out on this, but we are working with Expansion Plus to implement our "micro-SEO" strategy with all out clients - it's how to go after a crowded market segment with an optimized microsite approach.
Article: Some SEO Tips
Karina Kogan hasn't been with us long - and already she is contributing mightily! Here is a first dispatch, with a few (but not all!) of her Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tips.
Some SEO Tips
Article: The Popcorn-Popper
For the past year, I've described the modern customer acquisition process as a "Popcorn-Popper". It sounds funny but it makes sense. Slamming strangers into your website and hard-selling them works only when they are ready - what about the rest? You can't afford to waste the people who didn't happen to be ready to buy. Those hard, unpopped kernels need time and "heat" to pop them!
Article: Closed-Loop Marketing Systems
How do you make sure that you stay in touch with prospects and customers at all times? The key is the Closed-Loop Marketing process. Sure, you have systems - but it's not easy to integrate new campaigns - especially on a tight schedule.
Article: How Marketing Can Drive Revenue
Marketing can drive revenue through the following:
Article: A Technology Marketing Org Chart
Technology companies have unique needs. For example, product development must be driven by marketing to succeed. Here is an org chart that implements this and other classic requirements.
Article: An Online Marketing Prescription
In the ideal online marketing model, there is very little human “sales persuasion” going on. The system is doing it. Here is a prescription for setting up the "system" - simple, scalable and successful.
Article: Mistake-Based Marketing
I'm often asked if I conform to some formal process or other for product research and development. The answer is, yes and no. Yes, I strongly adhere to principles of quantitative market research and the proven positioning principles of Trout and Ries. But that alone doesn't do it. Here's the rest of the story, as I see it. (Includes a case study.)
Article: Web Sales Weapons
Internet hosting provider Rackspace claims that 50% of its new business comes from Web sales chats. Literally, web-based sales tools are Web Sales Weapons. But it's not just about web based sales chat. It's much more.
Of Interest: How's Your Digital Marketing?
How's your digital marketing? I'll be happy to help you evaluate it.
Digital marketing (e-marketing) is a powerful tool, but there's one big problem: there's so much of it to do!
Even the top marketers (see story) don't think their digital marketing efforts are all that great. What does that say for the rest of us?
You've got to do websites, newsletters, "hot" and "cool" email campaigns to both prospects and customers, affiliate networks, search engines (paid and unpaid), commerce optimization, online PR, product evaluation, weblogs, refer-a-friend, member management, paid advertising, distributed websites - the list goes on and on.
And what about managing all the content? You know what it takes to feed a newsletter. Are all your channels getting fresh, powerful content?
And then you have to hook it in with your offline work - magazines, direct mail, telemarketing, shows, collateral materials. There's always more to do and it's always changing these days.
So call or email me. I'll be happy to spend a few minutes discussing your own marketing, both digital and print, and giving you my thoughts and ideas. In this fast-changing market, that can be useful!
A lot of people are going to take me up on this, so email me quickly if you are interested.
And even if you're not, drop me a line and say hi!
Article: Narrative Marketing
"Forget traditional positioning and brand-centric approaches to marketing. We're now in the 'Age of the Narrative' where the biggest challenge facing companies is how to tell communicate their story in the most compelling, consistent and credible way possible -- both internally and externally." William Ryan, Founding Partner, Portola Strategies. So... we're now in the era of Narrative Marketing. What is that and what does it have to do with the problems VPs of Marketing face?
Of Interest: What's Coming in 2004
The first "Top Ten 2004 Business Trends" list has just come out and it's pretty cool. But a lot of it you already know... so, what's new in 2004? In my article at www.techtransform.com, you get to find out the rest of the story.
You'll also read about my eight-month engagement at Panda Software, which I just wrapped up with some nice words from the management. These guys are outstanding - they really deserve the success they'll get in 2004 in this market.
At the core of our success was a classic Gemini campaign. The word means doubles or twins, and in loyalty marketing it's about appealing to business buyers at a personal level. For instance, Frequent Flyer programs.
In our case, we made friends with the IT Managers who are the core buyers of anti-virus software. The overall theme was The Panda Challenge, and it helped to double the revenue range of the US subsidiary during the summer. Not too bad! I think we'll see a case study out of this one...
The technology market is doing great but it is highly competitive. I'd love to help you develop and execute your revenue growth campaign. It's not just about marketing. Drop me a line!
And may the coming year bring continued happiness and success to you and yours.
Article: What's The Real Story For 2004?
Mitchell Levy just came out with his CEOnetworking's Top Ten 2004 Business Trends and it's pretty cool. Of course, you already know these stories: virus attacks worsening, globalization continuing, wireless everywhere, internet phone calls, tech consolidations, tech market improving, e-commerce red-hot (as always). Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now tell me something useful. What's the real story for 2004?
Article: The Panda Rocket Ride
Panda Software - what a rocket ride. I engaged personally in February to expand US operations - and in 8 short months we doubled the revenues and created a new software player in the
Of Interest: The Web Services Wave
Have you noticed tech business is picking up lately? It seems real: we just doubled sales month over month at Panda USA; and last month TechTransform closed on funding for one of our projects.
This is a "stealth" project, meaning I can't tell you much, just yet - only that it's a wireless technology that will transform film and videogame production, with even greater impact in other areas. The investors came from the sector. I hope to be able to tell you more about this soon. Amazing stuff.
Our "convergence team" (meaning the convergence of technology and entertainment) has been working on this project since we did the business plan a year ago. I'd like to personally thank and congratulate team members Stefan Jacobs, Kevin O'Brien and Lynn Hirshfield! They have been working hard and brilliantly on this achievement.
Now a big part of the tech boom is the "networking of everything", and much of it comes is known as Web services. This innocent-sounding term will impact us all, and I've explored the good and the bad (from personal experience), in a new article called The Web Services Wave now posted at TechTransform.
On a personal note, Avis and I appreciate your many wishes on the passing of Avis' uncle, comedian and humanitarian Bob Hope. Bob lived a full life and had many more friends than anyone imagined.
Of Interest: Riggs at Panda SW
The whole family's great and we've moved a few blocks, still at the beach - look here for an aerial photo!
Did I tell you that I'm now running Spain's anti-virus software developer Panda Software, here in the USA?
I thought the anti-virus market was mature and not very interesting. Hah! Turns out virus protection drives a lot of business in these insecure times. I'd love to see how we could do something together .
And because you're on my list, the company wants you to have a free copy of its professional anti-virus and anti-snooping software, Platinum 7, one year's virus updates included. Just hit Reply and I will get you activated. Platinum's top-rated, too: see this latest review.
TechTransform is alive and well. We have three good projects with active teams running them, and I continue to help make them a success . As always, I am happy to help you or your project find new connections.
I'm also finding time to post new articles on the TechTransform website. Check out my front page report on Geoffrey Moore's new Provocation Selling seminar. Moore was all about hi-tech hypergrowth, so what's he got now? I'll send you the notes on request.
Coming soon: a Web services nightmare story, would you believe? Stay tuned...
And please - let me know how you're doing!
(links updated 14 March 2005)
Article: Provocation Selling
It doesn't take a high-powered seminar to understand that selling technology has
Article: How's Business?
In this market, the closer you are to the actual commerce of the internet, the more likely you are to make money - big money. But the farther away you are... the harder it will be to make a living. This explains why "The e-commerce sector is far from dead. In fact, it is booming", while "The environment will remain difficult for high-tech firms seeking capital infusions. Venture capitalists ...foresee little change through late 2004."
Article: Now That Google Dominates...
Now that Yahoo has renewed with Google, "the potential exists for about 70-80% of all web searches coming from a direct or indirect result of a Google listing." That's the message from search engine veteran Dave Kelly. He goes on to say... (with counterpoint by Scott Anderson of Shadow Marketing!)
Article: Best Practices in Wireless Security
Starting to use wireless to do business? What you don't know can seriously hurt you. Here's a must-read checklist from ZDNet Tech Update.
Article: Do-Or-Die Website Tips
Someone calls you to pitch a product or venture. Now tell me you're not instantly browsing their website to see what they're about! The truth is that there is nothing more important than your website. Period. In that spirit, here are some basic, basic tips from marketer Jim Daniels. Does your website apply these?
Article: Content Pays...Finally
What a difference a year makes.
Of Interest: Ryze Is Cool
Say, here's a networking thing that is actually working. Please join me on Ryze and take a look at who else you know on it! Ryze is definitely OK.
So... how are you these days? Take a look at the TechTransform website for new articles on the End of Email and The Commoditization of Everything. (Don't worry, email's not dead and not everything's commoditized!)
The tech rebirth I was predicting last year is starting to gather momentum. Of course, as one of our reseller friends said, "We're not seeing the $4MM contracts this year but lots of $100,000 contracts", but...that's a start. Read more about it in my new article on www.techtransform.com.
So... let me know how you're doing and what you think of the tech rebirth - and I'll see you on Ryze!
Article: Is Email Going Away?
Article: The Commoditization Of Everything
I hope you're doing well in this astonishing tech resurgence. Why is it astonishing? Because it's so uneven. The reason, I think, is commoditization. Technology is always vulnerable to commoditization (which means less branding value)... now more than ever. Here are just a few examples.
Article: The Internet's Great Step Forward
After the boom and the crash, here's a landmark event: according to a recent study, people are now spending less time on the Web looking for pornography and more time searching for business information!
Of Interest: Is On The Web!
My occasional "Of Interest" email dispatch now has a home on the web. Now we have an archive (minus most of my personal announcements) stretching back to the first email post in 97.
You can subscribe right here, on this page - just enter your email in the submit box to the left.
Of Interest: The Web Without The Wait
We at TechTransform are a virtual team, meeting only in noisy diners for mid-afternoon breakfasts. So we appreciate websites that are FAST, and really friendly to use.
That's why I like my friends at AdScience. They specialize in minimizing extra clicks and those deadly delays. They get awards for that. We get more time to go out for coffee.
These guys are so good they built a whole web-based software product from the ground up! Check out "Best Practice Now" from Itensil, an amazing system for sharing knowledge using a simple timeline format. And it lives on the web, and did I tell you it's FAST?
**The Riggs Connection Insider Offer**
AdScience will study your user experience (for your web site or software product) and make specific recommendations that you can use, with or without their help. Reply to this and I'll get you hooked up.Riggs
Article: Why Managed Networks?
What is this managed network thing, and why is it so different? In another article we discuss the details, this will introduce the concept. As always, I welcome your questions. Our program is about recruiting people who will refer business to us through e-commerce. They are commonly called affiliates. Amazon devised this program originally and they explain it well.
Article: The Free Model
There is one proven strategy that will help make your product a world standard and it doesn't rely on any one partner, and it is to make the full product license FREE for personal and educational use.
Of Interest: The Back To Basics Revolution
I trust the warming days find you well.
Say, have you noticed that the tech comeback is about reality in technology, companies, revenue, marketing?
It's back to basics, with a vengeance. The high-flying stuff is gone and discredited - but, quietly, much business is being done. A friend of a friend just signed a five MILLION dollar software development contract, and Stu Sjouwerman's Sunbelt Software is soaring on the Inc. 500. Go Stu!
So in tech marketing, what's real? Here's my list:
1. Affiliate networks. Guess what, you can now recruit and manage your partner network and even your resellers with an old-fashioned affiliate marketing system. Cool, huh? That's because they're on the internet, too. (Better do it right, though.)
What about us? You bet, we like the Real. We especially like those partner networks and those dialog-friendly websites.
Let me know what you think. This is turning into an interesting year!
Article: Bridging A High Tech Gap
At no time in technology history has there been such a gap between customer demand and the supply of technology and talent. Clearly, there is a need for a trusted intermediary to help bridge this gap.
Of Interest: Closing The E-Business Gap
OK, the holidays now fully behind us, what's in store for 2002? I'm tracking an astonishing trend in e-business*.
Consider this: a recent survey of a broad range of companies found 83% planning to begin new e-business projects in 2002.
That's a good thing, because most companies are waaaay behind.
For example, while 45% of online shoppers choose sites based on word-of-mouth recommendations, only 7% of companies are putting in tools
to allow them to support the recommenders.
So... 2002 will be about companies hurrying to close the e-business gap. The key, for both customers and vendors, will be to keep it easy and simple.
I'm reporting on this and other trends on the expanded TechTransform site.
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
*e-business: a range of online activities spanning procurement; supply-chain management; customer relationship management and sell-side e-commerce; business intelligence; Web services; enterprise resource planning; content management; and integration.
Article: Time For E-Business Tools?
It's a good thing that, by recent survey, 83% of businesses are planning to begin new e-business projects in 2002. Boy, do they need it!
Article: In Management, Weirdness Works
In Business 2.0's Barely Managing newsletter, editor Thomas Stewart spotlights a book by Robert Sutton (a teacher at Stanford's engineering school), called Weird Ideas That Work.
Article: Grassroots Marketing In 2002
We have noted the increasing importance of public relations and of reaching decision-makers directly. Sheree Johnson makes that point in excerpts from her talk with BtoB's Kate Maddox.
Article: Pain Killer Marketing
In today's issue of his Rapid Results Marketing Newsletter, author Joe Nicassio found a great way to revisit the pleasure/pain principle for marketing.
Article: The 16 Deadly Sins
Red Herring's interview today of Emory Winship, managing partner of the Conversus Group, included a tally of his "list of 16 deadly business sins committed by startups". It is excerpted here for reference.
Of Interest: Talkie Gets Funding
Here's some good news to report. Last Friday, September 28, Talkie banked its first investor funding since May 2000. TechTransform and its associates assisted by transforming the business model and assembling a funding package which permitted the founders to leverage funds from a pre-existing investor.
What's Talkie? Well, if you think about it, the best computer interface would be a person. And Talkie characters are astonishingly lively, helpful and 'real' - what I call "social creatures". Take a look at the demos.
Our job is done... on to the next! We wish Talkie the greatest fortune as they take their venture to the next stage.
By the way, our client roster is now posted - take a look!
Article: WTC Aftermath - What now?
I think after the shock has passed, we all want to know now: what's in store for
Article: Down But Not Out - and a VC P.S.
When Red Herring published an excellent set of guidelines to managing down rounds and other horrors, they included Mayfield general partner David Ladd's previously-published advice for struggling entrepreneurs facing tough times.
Article: How Startups Fail
...and if they do any of the above, they don't do it fast enough.
(Original date is approximate)
Of Interest: Funding Returns to High Tech
I started to think things might be looking up when I saw Mark Skiba's Storactive negotiate a major new round. Now I'm sure - funding is returning to high tech. More on this here.
Forget the VCs for the moment - the action is in bridge loans and small angel rounds. How do I know? Because TechTransform's clients are all in rounds or discussions. Quite a change from a couple of months ago.
In fact, it's changed TechTransform from an intervention firm to an intervention firm that can get funding! Which, of course, has transformed TechTransform's business, but that's another story.
I do want to say this: the only thing that could hold you or your company back in this new wave would be... baggage. 'Nuff said, do what you need to do. Don't fail to power into this new wave.
Finally, as you can see, "Of Interest" is back - my occasional dispatch on matters I find interesting in the high tech world. You're on the list - do let me know if that's not OK. To unsubscribe, simply reply with "remove" in the subject line or body.
So, anyway, let me know how it's going with you in this new environment - and if you agree with me that funding really has started to come back. (Read Posted Feedback)
Article: Building Revenues in Today's Environment
As an early stage technology company, it's more important than ever before to gain early customers and revenues from your products.
Article: The End of a Long Bottom?
On August 14, we wrote that funding appeared to be returning to the venture marketplace. Here's what we thought.
Article: A Tech Investment Turnaround?
We are once again seeing funding opportunities in the high tech landscape, apparently predicting the end of a long drought... Lots of reader feedback to this one - check it out!
Article: Winners Investing in Technology
In an Information Week article on smart cards in retail, Patrick Gauthier, Visa U.S.A.'s senior VP of smart-card applications, said that tech-savvy retailers are taking advantage of the slower economy to leap-frog competitors.
"Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France by relentlessly attacking his opponent not on a long, flat run, but in the mountains," Gauthier says. "It's on the tough terrain that you see the difference between leaders and followers." Companies that invest in IT during tough times will emerge as leaders, he says.
Article: The Planning Ghetto
Customers don't want to deal with new vendors right now; they are interested in getting more value out of what they have already purchased. The trick, then, is to become an existing vendor.
Article: A Targeted Approach To Rich-Media Marketing
Remember how hot banners were until about 97? This article discusses how to avoid the 'banner fate' for the new hot format: rich media.
Article: Evaluating Strategic Options
The following timetable for testing three business model options was developed by TechTransform consultant Steve Glovsky for a client company.
Of Interest: Are You Customer-Based?
David Siegel ordered me to buy his book, "Futurize Your Enterprise", and so I did.
Well, I'm only through the seventh chapter, and... I'm blown away. David has clearly shown us the future - and how to attain it today.
Very simply, he outlines a process by which any enterprise can achieve fierce and total audience loyalty.
It's not 'just' about marketing anymore, it's about a complete change in viewpoint - to a total, winning focus based entirely on enterprise-wide collaboration with each and every customer.
I highly, highly, highly recommend this book. Read it today.
Of Interest: The Power Of Personalization
Astonishing. the following promotional message to fans of Massive Attack took this unknown artist to number NINE in Amazon sales rankings! That's a testimonial to Amazon's tremendous market power, but even more so, to the power of personalization.
I trust you're doing well in this new phase of the Internet. For my latest, please click on this link.
From: Amazon.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Of Interest: Morality and the Internet
The Internet is clearly the largest public works program undertaken by private enterprise, and this quote helped explain to me why we're doing so well.
It comes down to the difference between Commercial and Guardian moralities.
"Commercial morality is employed by businesses and depends on continuing innovation and development of relationships: shun force, come to voluntary agreements, respect contracts, be optimistic and competitive. Anyone who hopes to do business with strangers must proceed with the assumption of competitive good faith.
"Guardian morality, on the other hand, employed by governments and not businesses, depends on secrecy and tradition: be obedient, respect hierarchy, take vengeance, be fatalistic and ostentatious."
I agree with the minimum Guardianship required to keep us all safe; beyond that, let's stay with the winning morality.
Of Interest: Complimentary Surfsaver
I asked askSam Systems' Phil Schnyder if my friends could have a complimentary personal copy of SurfSaver. He said yes!
This is a program they sell for $29, but it's yours by simply going to a special page on their site and downloading the full-featured product.
If you've ever tried to save browser pages with all the links and pictures, you'll know that you often lose those pictures and links. That makes those pages useless.
Surfsaver instantly saves any web page to a folder you designate, so that you can save, say, all the cool forms you admire, into a Forms folder. Retrieve anytime, send to a co-worker, you get the idea.
It's a very useful utility, it got the 5-start Editor's Pick from ZDNet, and it's yours with no strings attached, except that it's only for you.
Can others get this for free? If you'd like a friend or colleague to have this program, please ask them to send me mail with "subscribe" in the subject line.
Note: this page will only be open through Monday 25 January, after which you can still get the program, but you will need to go through a longer process to unlock it.
Of Interest: More On Diapers and Beer
The amazing thing about the high tech world is how small it is. Two of my correspondents had personal experience to add about this story... So here is the rest of it:
First, Peter Price:
"...last year we met the guy who along with his VP of Marketing invented the story for an advertising campaign when they were at NCR - he said it was the most successful campaign they ran!"
John Earle adds:
"I worked for Teradata and the man attributed with starting the myth. We had done a data discovery for Osco Drugs...looking for affinities between what items were purchased on a single ticket. Then we suggested tests for moving merchandise in the store to see how it affected affinities.
So, having completely exhausted this subject (I think), I wish you Happy Holidays and a great 1999!
Of Interest: Diapers and Beer Correlation
You may have heard the story about how someone figured out that both diapers and beer were being purchased in the same store visit, which caused the retailer to re-shelve them together... a win for data mining!
Only problem is, I've yet to SEE diapers and beer next to each other in stores, and, sure enough, here is the real story (thanks to Ed Rigdon for posting this to the Market-Electronic Research list):
Of Interest: The Internet's Core Audience
OK, so we all know that the Internet is hot, but occasionally I get someone who wonders if it isn't still a bit marginal. The info below should at least make it clear that 20 million marginals DO rely on the Internet, and my experience is that, while Net users may be a minority in your audience, nonetheless they are the most open to
change of any of your current or prospective customers.
In other words, the 20 million people who rely on the Internet represent the hottest portion of your audience, whether or not your product or service is "Internet".
What this means is that the Internet is your best chance to achieve major change in your market share.
It also means that if you don't do it, somebody else will. Look at Barnes & Noble: still trying to play catch-up to little upstart Amazon.com... think they ever will?
FIND/SVP: The Internet is indispensable to 20 million US netizensAug 14 1997: A survey conducted by The Emerging Technologies Research Group has concluded that the Internet has become a crucial part of over twenty million US netizens' lives. 9.3 million of those surveyed have logged on in the past year but do not consider themselves regular users and nearly half of all users believe the Internet is difficult to use and confusing. Half of all regular users and 60 percent of email users go online every day. Online shopping has increased from 19 percent in 1985 to 27 percent this year [a third of these shoppers came from ad-clicks]. The amount of women online has trebled in two years to 9.9 million. 55 million US non-users plan to go online in the next year. The Internet accounts for 20 percent of total news intake for regular users and use of TV, Magazine and Radio has drastically decreased for those users.This report comes to us courtesy of NUA Internet Surveys
Of Interest: The demise of ONLINE USER
The article which follows was forwarded to me by Gary Saxer.
This is the last gasp from ONLINE USER magazine.
The publisher says here that ONLINE USER's potential advertisers are promoting almost exclusively on the web, and they are investing in free information as the number one draw.
More evidence of the growing power of the online channel.
In this space over the past 18 months I have written about many new trends and exciting changes affecting the world of electronic research. Now I must report that this issue of ONLINE USER will be the last--at least for now.
Of Interest: Trial Edition Success
Quarterdeck went from a "tease" version of CleanSweep95 to a full-featured trial edition in its latest version 3.0 ... and just went to #1 download on C|Net's Download.com.
Kudos to Elissa Murphy, Quarterdeck's Director of Product Management for Business Utilities!
Of Interest: Information vs. Advertising
This message was posted on the "online-ads" discussion group.
It documents the effectiveness on the net of offering valuable information vs. advertising-type offers.
Of Interest: Internet Advertising Study
Forwarded by Howard Sobel in W U G*B Y T E S, February 25, 1997, the implications of this story are stunning.
These business executives report that: "Although 49 percent said that specialty business-to-business trade magazines would garner the bulk of their increased marketing budget in 1997, a full 40 percent reported that the Internet would be their advertising medium of choice."
General interest magazines lagged far behind at 8.2%.
****National Survey: Business Executives Discovering Internet Advertising A new survey of 400 business executives conducted in February by Chaners Business Confidence Index (CBCI) shows that businesses have increased marketing dollar expenditures in Internet advertising up 5.2% since last year. Investment in internet advertising is increasing overall.
Article: The Three Pillars of Interactive Marketing
As long as marketing could be done using well-established methods and distribution channels, it sometimes seemed as though all you had to do was aim a product right, and it would find its home among the audience. With the advent of interactive marketing, that idea is truly being put to rest. It is now no longer enough to push out something using a design and a message. You must do more. You must engage the potential buyer in an ongoing dialogue. That's interactive marketing. (article)