When I stopped into an Apple Store in Palo Alto last summer, it was swarming with cute kids in hot pink tee shirts, logoed with the name of a local day camp. Okay, I figured what the heck, 8-year olds learning how Apple's stuff and software works is a cool way to kill a couple of hours.
Then I learned that my eight-year old daughter (self portrait below) was "super excited" to be going on a class field trip to the Apple Store in the local mall. The class of third graders would take the local bus to one side of town and pick up another local bus to the mall (itself an adventure in our car-centric town).
The goal was to learn iMovie, which the kids have access to at school, and to make a movie. Actually, it's a pretty good idea to outsource movie production class to someone else, especially someone passionate about making movies. Regardless of where they are. Smart guy, Mr. C. (her teacher).
But now I'm starting to think that this is a master plan coming from Cupertino, indoctrination through the school system. And it's something that HP and Dell and Microsoft can't replicate right now (though Best Buy could). So I asked my daughter to do some investigative reporting and ask how many school field trips the Apple Store has every month.
Yesterday morning, I came down at 6:30 as usual to let the dog out and empty the dishwasher. Unusually, the kitchen wasn't dark. My eight-year old was already up and ready to rock. "I couldn't go back to sleep, Dad. I was too excited," she bubbled. Ah, the Apple Store awaits.
For a new report I'm writing I'm looking into knowledge management and what this means for Market Research. Currently, in most market research department each survey is a standalone project and it's close to non-existent that results are analyzed across surveys or data sources for gathering insights and trends. On the other side of the house there are colleagues analyzing web statistics, DM and email marketing data, brand trackers, and CRM outcomes.
However, this set-up will no longer be acceptable in the future. Consumers connect with companies through different channels and leave their feedback about the company in different places. They expect companies to understand that and they dont want to be asked about things they already shared.
Questions From The Next-Gen EA Teleconference On October 23, 2009
Jeff Scott and I presented a teleconference entitled “Next-Generation Enterprise Architecture” last week. It was a lively session with a lot of material on our side and a lot of questions from attendees. We focused on the questions over the phone in the live session and decided it was best to handle the written questions that came in via the Webex chat in a blog post.
As a high school student I had to go through a Philosophy class, even though my curriculum was in sciences. Zeno's paradox, or the negation of movement, was one of the subjects of that class through which I suffered enormously. Years later, my daughter came back one day with some math homework: the subject was to explain why Zeno's paradox was wrong. And I suffered through it again. This familiarity with Zeno, which I really could have done without, lead me to apply it to IT and what I consider to be the ball and chain that slows IT progress. In Zeno's paradox a runner (Achilles) cannot catch a turtle which started a race earlier than him because each time the runner reaches the point where the turtle was, the turtle has of course moved forward. Repeating this reasoning leads to the conclusion that the interval will become very small, but that the runner will never catch the turtle. What's wrong with the reasoning is that it explains a continuous movement variation through a set of discrete events. But this is what we do in IT: we have a continuous progress of IT technology, hardware and software, and IT projects which are discrete events. When we decide to start an IT project, all hardware and software components are frozen for the duration, while technology continue to progress.
Pretty soon now, you will be noticing that I am no longer posting reports or blogs on the Vendor Strategy Professional pages. This does not mean that I have left the stage. It is just that I am assuming a new research focus and targeting my reports at a new role, one serviced within the Technology Product Marketing and Marketing pages. I will be building up research for one of my favorite marketing contributors, the Field Marketing Manager, that true marketing schizophrenic.
Today Roku launched two new players to complement the original $99 Roku player. Perhaps somewhat obviously, the two new players come in at $79 and $129, allowing Roku to test whether there's price elasticity in this market.
I'm not sure this was a necessary move. The cheaper box (called Roku SD), simply removes HD playback from the original Roku Player (now called Roku HD). The $129 version offers wireless-n wi-fi streaming to deliver dramatically better video quality. I don't personally need that since I hook up my Roku player -- which is in constant demand in my home -- via ethernet. (Yes, being a nerd has its advantages including a fully self-wired home that has over 24 ethernet ports in it.) So while I can see the value of the more expensive box for wi-fi users who have wireless-n routers (do you know if you do? betcha don't know), I think muddying the waters with 3 boxes instead of a maximum of 2 just feels like unnecessary complexity. A bit like Amazon announcing it would sell two versions of the Kindle in the US, one that's domestic only and one that can roam abroad, a decision doesn't appear likely to last very long.
In a world where users approach the Web with ever increasing expectations, a firm's Web site has become critical for building a company’s relationship with its customers. Today, the Web site is often the first, and sometimes only, place customers interact with a company. Unfortunately, many sties offer lackluster experiences that leave an emotional void.
Last week, the Customer Strategy Group is
held its inaugural summit on customer engagement – an intimate,
executive conference designed for B2B marketers who manage customer
reference programs, advisory boards, and the emerging area of online
communities. I spoke to about 75 marketers and sponsors about “Understanding the Value of Customer Engagement”.