11 New Technologies to impact our lives in 2011

welcome to the futureIn this first week end of a new year, just like making new resolutions on new year day, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight new technologies or innovations that will go to market or will get market acceptance in the next 12 months and will have a significant impact on the way we live, therefore here is a list of 11 new technologies to change our life in 2011:

1. 4G wireless technology: Succeeding to 2G & 3G, this fourth generation of cellular wireless standards offer speed at 100 Mbit/s for high mobility communication (in planes, trains and cars) and 1 Gbit/s for low mobility communication (walking or seating users). And provides secure all-IP based mobile broadband solution to smart-phones, laptops & any other mobile devices. Current Mobile-WiMAX and LTE as marketed by carriers as Verizon Wireless or Sprint may not fulfill all of the 4G requirements but still will provide fantastic improvement in speed and quality required for new rich content in mobile communications (3D video and 3D games as an example).

2. Mobile 3-D: In 2011 several smart phones manufacturers as LG, Samsung, Nokia,best phone MasterImage 3D etc, will introduce 3D mobile phones and tablets, and here is the best part this is 3D technology WITHOUT GLASSSES – Market adoption will be very quick for 3D glass-free mobile devices.. (I want one for my next Christmas!)

3. 3D TVs and Game Consoles: we can already find 3D TV and Game Consoles today, but in 2011 with more 3D broadcast programs, DVD and games, more competition and cheaper prices, market adoption will come and these devices will invade our homes. Unfortunately we will have to wait few more years to watch glass-free 3D TV in our living room.

gest recognition4. Gesture recognition for hands-free devices: interprets human gestures from faces or hands via mathematical algorithms to interface with the machine (Human Machine Interface) and interact naturally with a computer or machine without any mechanical devices, replacing traditional mouses, keyboards, touch-screens, game controllers and remote controls. To me this technology means FREEDOM.

5. Augmented Reality: this technology enable live view of a physical real-world augmented_realityenvironment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-generated sensory input such as sound, text, graphics or video to modify and enhance your perception of reality, by combining real and virtual elements, real time interactive functions and 3D technologies in devices as TV, computer screens, tablets, smart phones, touch screens kiosks, head displays in cars or planes, display in your glasses etc…and even retinal displays (Yes retinal !)

6. Text-to-Speech/Speech-to-Text: Technologies to convert text into MP3, WAV or VOX are already there, as well as Speech-Recognition has been there for some time but it is now reliable and will become common in 2011 and many of us will use it in many ways: listen to your emails and voice message while driving, send email and text message or instant message while driving, read (listen) an eBook, surf and read web pages etc.

hearing7. Real-time translation: By combining voice recognition, language text translation & text-to-speech technologies into a unified voice-to-voice translator system, this technology converts in real-time one language into another quickly enough to allow 2 speakers without a common language to communicate in real time. Which mean I can discuss over my cell phone with a customer, me being in Toronto speaking French, and him being in ShangHai speaking Chinese, the system will translate in real time, and we will understand each-other. Come to see me next month in the IBM stand at GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and I will show you a demo.

8. Radar technology in automobiles with front and rear detection to avoid collisions,audi radar adapt cruise control, monitor blind spot, line change detection and parking assistance. The technology is already there on high end luxury cars but it 2011 it will be included in a wider range of cheaper cars. That’s a short term step, but in the future this technology will take us to the driverless cars on highways.

mobile health9. Mobile Healthcare: after tele-healthcare, there is a now a series of new m-Health hardware and software solutions ready to go to market, and mHealth Regulatory Coalition, an industry group comprised of mobile health and IT companies, is working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to eventually regulate mobile healthcare hardware and software. Those new technologies and solution will improve our life by receiving diagnostic and treatments (including life threatening urgencies) more quickly and more comfortably, remotely in our home or on the move.

10. Mobile Shopping/Mobile Banking: I have been writing on this topics techn on this blog so I encourage to read it as this will definitively change the way we shop and the way we pay for our purchases and manage our finances in our daily life. “In Store Mobile Shopping will change the way we shop”.

11. The year of the tablets: Apple created the market for tablets by launching its iPad, there were tablets available for quite some time but nobody would buy it before, that is Steve Jobs/Apple’s Magic again at creating new markets. A lot of new tablets are now coming to market from several vendors (RIM, HP, Dell, Google, Sony, Motorola, Samsung etc) in different shapes and size and running different mobile operating systems (iOS, Android, Palm OS, Symbian, Microsoft), over 50Million tablets are expected to be sold in 2010, Apple remaining dominant, followed by RIM, Sony, Google, HP and others…(I want one for my Birthday !!!)

Bonus: Last but not least, as a Green bonus, I had to choose one among all the new Green technologies that will penetrate the market in 2011, here come the Electric Cars, with Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, or Neiborough Electric Vehicules (NEV) as the GEM, Dynasty, ZENN and as GM EN-V personal vehicule or many others ones finally available at your dealership. Still a hype but a radical turn for the future of the auto-industry, slowly but definitively moving to electric. Accelleration of adoption will come with new battery technologies in the work, and building of the infrastructure. In any case in 2011 most of us (Governments, Industries, Companies, Individuals) will demonstrate more Green conscience, saving on energy, whatever fuel, gaz or electricity, and so many green technologies and energy efficient devices, or recyclable materials will invade the market, visible or not, to help us reduce the damage on our planet. (Do you know that a Canadian company, Motive Industries, is building an electric car with Cannabis or hemp, replacing all plastic and carbon fibre parts including its body? Name of the car is Kestrel, look for it! Watch this video)

Do not be surprised if many of these technologies or innovations are relevant to the telecom or mobile communications field, that is because we are entering an age where everything is getting interconnected through wireless networks and through the internet (and because it is one of my areas of expertise), embedded hardware and software making these devices more intelligent and our planet smarter.

Few years from now we may have chips embedded in our body! But be reassured not in 2011 yet…

I have not been selecting social networks and social media because it has already project_natalgrown so much, Facebook growing from 500 to 650 million users in the last few months of 2010, and all major companies using it as a marketing tool, being sufficient proofs.

There is of course many others technologies and innovations, like nanotechnologies in the medical field just to name one, that will also change and improve our lives, and you are more than welcome to add some of yours to this blog.

Happy New Year 2011.

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Top 10 latest trends in Social Media Marketing.

social-media-peopleTo face Social Media exponential growth, or should I better say explosion, and to help keep up with so many new sites, services, apps coming-up every day, helping businesses connect and engage more directly with customers, I thought I will take a step back and try to point you to what’s in my view are the Top 10 latest trends in Social Media in a Marketing perspective.

1- Large Enterprise adoption of social media platform: America’s Fortune 500 havefortune 500 twitter accounts increased their participation in Twitter, from 35% in 2009 to 60% in 2010, and 56% have a Facebook page, according to a yearly report from the Center for Marketing Research.

2- SBM adoption of social media platform starts growing: according to research by Zoomerang and GrowBiz Media, 34% of SMB companies (less than 1,000 employees) use social media, 10% is allocating 30% of their marketing budget to social media, and 13% will spend more on social media next year.

social media growth3- Audience Growth: According to The Nielsen Company, global consumers spent more than five and half hours on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in December 2009, an 82% increase from year before. Teens and young adults spend more and more time on social media, and now older people (50 to 65 years old) represent the most growing population of social media users. Facebook already has over 500M users and growing exponentially everyday, and over 150M twitter users, and growing even faster. Social Media becomes more popular, and social business becomes a play that companies marketers can’t ignore anymore.

4- Corporate Policies: Result is many companies are now setting up official company  guidelines, policies and best practices for usage of social media tools and services, specially when representing the company via social media.

5- Like in Real estate social media is now about “Location, Location, Location” (see my blog on that topic) –With latest Facebook announcement  launching its new Geo-Location feature, “Facebook Places”, Facebook is moving from a basic Social Networking space for friends to a business-oriented tool for local businesses. Location-Based-Services once integrated via APIs to services as Facebook are going to change the Internet over-all, as the internet will become “less about the searching and more about the getting“, less about Search Engines and more about Apps.

6- Social Media becomes more and more Mobile: Facebook and Twitter access via mobile phones has grown by triple digits in the last year. social-media mobileAdvertising & Mobile advertising is becoming a major source of revenue and a BIG business for social media platforms. The detailed personal information they detain on their users coupled with location based services is a dream come true for any marketer and advertiser. Facebook advertising revenue forecast from advertising is around $1.3 billion in 2010, and $1.7 billion in 2011, and has not yet penetrated the Mobile Ad market, which they will do with “Places”.

7- Social Commerce & Mobile Payment is a growing trend in social media and social business world, offering the ability to make purchases and micro-transaction from mobile apps, mobile social media platforms and social gaming, embraced by major finance players as Visa, Paypal etc..

8- Email marketing is becoming more Social: Recent acquisitions like Constant Contact acquiring NetShellMail and Exact Target acquiring CoTweet are good examples of this new trend, merging email marketing with social media, and the emergence of a more interactive marketing platform to engage with customers..

9- Another new trend is Group Buying: Groups in a social network can get discounts or group rates on products or services. Social sites like Living Social and Groupon are focusing on this market, a new business model for retailers and local stores.

social-media-ad metrics10- Finally Analytics and Return on Investment measurement has become increasingly critical for marketers to analyse and justify their return on social media marketing investment. More and more tools are available and in the future the winning social media platform will be the ones with the best analytics tools.

There are of course others trends in Social Media, some more specifics to specific countries, population, industries, businesses, and this new area of marketing-Communication is evolving so rapidly, trying to predict the future is often more like guessing, so pragmatically, as a marketer take advantage of those latest trends to optimize your social media marketing strategy and tactics.

Who is going to win the Mobile OS battle?

We live in an interconnected world, and first we should mention that our communication world is changing in several ways:mobile_os_array_jan2010

– We are using more and more mobile devices,

– We are using phones less for voice and more for data and Apps, or phones are getting smarter,

– On internet, we are moving quickly from “searching” to “getting”, meaning from using a browser or search engine to using Apps.

Therefore mobile Apps are the future, and the impact is huge on the Operating Systems (OS) technologies and market as smart phones OS may be competing or threatening traditional OS.

A recent survey conducted by IDC and Appcelerator about the mobile device market reveals some very interesting facts and opinions, please note this is not about devices shipped but about Apps developers interest as Mobile OS platforms:IDC mobile OS platforms

– Today: Apple iOS leads the way as the platform of choice for Apps developers, followed by Android, and others rivals are far away that order: RIM Blackberry, Windows Phone7, WebOS, Symbian…see chart “Very interested”

– 88 percent believe that Apple offers the best app store

– 74 percent feel that iOS is the least fragmented platform

– Being an open platform is an advantage for Google Android vs Apple iOS (however being Open does seem to be such an advantage for Symbian!)

– Despite being presently the leader in shipping smart-phone units, Symbian OS generate very low interest for developers.

– It is also interesting to note the tight link between the Smartphone and Tablet OS perception and results for a same vendor.

– Recently: During the last six months, developer support for Android and iOS IDC mobile OS opportunityiPhone has been relatively stable, while interest in iOS iPAD has grown sharply, BlackBerry & Windows Phone 7 are recessing, Symbian is lagging.

– Tomorrow: Android appears as the OS with the best potential and is “best positioned to power a large number and variety of connected devices in the future,”

– Android is also leading the way beyond mobile smart-phones and tablets (i.e. home entertainment platform, Connected TV). See chart “Windows of opportunity”.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the smart-phone market and even more on the tablet market, as new products are being announced but not yet deployed, and new players may be emerging and therfore there is a lot of questions in the air:

1- With Apple and Google clearly leading the way, can RIM keep up the pace ?

With the launch of the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, the announcement of Blackberry Advertising Service, its future BlackBerry Messenger Social Platform, and a new web based platform for developers, not to forget RIM’s strong customer base on the large enterprise market, for its security and its integration to corporate applications and middleware, RIM is expanding its strategy but also expanding the battlefield on a mass-market ground, and it will be a hard and challenging fight.

2- Will Symbian survive ?

Once the Eldorado of the Open Source OS platform for mobile devices, attracting developers to develop on a common platform across multiple systems, Symbian Foundation seems to be on its way out, with Samsong and Sony-Ericsson abandoning the sinking ship, leaving only Nokia as a top tier vendor to support it.

One way to survive may be for Nokia to purchase it, which would be a win-win.

Meanwhile Google Android has the support of all major device manufacturers and is now the leading Open Source Mobile platform.

3- Do we want or need a facebook OS ?

With rumours floating around about Facebook working with INQ on the development of two smart-phones supposed to be running on the Android OS , but really customised to integrate closely with Facebook, the questions raise: does it really make sense for Facebook to launch its own smartphone and does the market really needs another mobile OS ?

Certainly developers do not want another mobile OS! And what about you, Facebook fans and me ?

As a Facebook user I can just open an app on my smart-phone and directly contact my friends and social network, and by the way, the more it goes the more I do that instead of calling or sending an email or an SMS…Times are indeed changing.

But in the future Facebook may want to compete with Google Voice, Apple and Microsoft on the Voice and Video over IP, and Location-Based-Services for mobile ads for a more complete offering…which is why they are investigating this option.

What plays in favour of Facebook is their 500Millions+ users (and growing quickly) and the incredibly rich profile information they have on their users as any information they share becomes a component of Facebook database which they can access, analyse and leverage, a dream come thru for any marketer. And that game is all about leveraging user information to target marketing campaigns and sell ads, right. But that’s another story.

Add-on Apps facetime4- Who is leading the “add-on apps” and usage?

A recent study from Zokem shows Android clearly leading the way with 42 minutes per day spent (or face time) on “add-on apps” as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Skype etc Please note Apple iOS was not part of the survey and user still spend more time on core apps than add on apps. See chart.

5- What are the most demanded APIs ?IDC mobile OS APIs

Based on IDC/Appcelerator study:

For Social Networks: Integration of mobile apps with Facebook is THE key priority (65%) , followed by Twitter (60%), way ahead of Foursquare (22%).

For Mobile Advertising: Apple iAd is dominant followed by Google AdMob (36%)

For Mobile payment: Apple iOS (49%) and Paypal (48%) payment are most supported as mobile commerce enablers.

Other trends: Geo Location based services are more demanded than Google Maps, and push notifications more than mobile web browsing.

In conclusion, based on developers feedback and on the way mobile device market is evolving, I see clearly AnMobile-OS-Logosdroid winning the mobile OS market.

However Apple iOS will remain strong, thanks to its loyal “fans” base and its innovative spirit, and RIM will survive, thanks to its enterprise customer base and technology driven culture. Symbian will be out of the race –except if took-over by a manufacturer as Nokia-, and others players as Microsoft, MeGoo, Kindle etc, and others Linux OS will have a hard time grabbing any significant market-share.

 There is no room for more than 3 mobile OS on a mature market.

The remaining question is When?  IDC predict Android will be #2 most popular mobile OS by 2013, I would guess #1 by 2013, but who am I ?

The Future is Bright for Linux

Linux, the new kid on the block of operating systems has been enjoying a steady growth and adoption in the Enterprise Servers segment for the last few years and especially in the Largest Enterprises, Fortune 1,000 and Government Agencies.

ibl linux tux imagesCAOQGB17 In the early days, few years ago, around 2002/2003, as I was a Product Marketing Manager and a Linux Advocate , part of the IBM Linux Technology Center, we were advocating and preaching the benefits of Linux to our customers, our ecosystems of partners, & developers, to Press & Media, in order to accelerate Linux adoption, and we had to overcome many obstacles; our programmers were developing codes in our Linux Labs to offer to the Linux Open Source Community; Our Linux Team was building integrated infrastructure offering for ISVs and customers to build their applications on top and we were collaborating with Industries Open Standards groups to create Industry Open Frameworks. We have been just a part of a much larger movement, but we had been embracing this new wave, and our involvement has modestly but certainly been helping the early adoption of this new OS in the Enterprise segment and I am glad to have been part of it.

Only few years later, today, it’s amazing to see how Linux has been evolving, growing and is widely recognised as an Enterprise level OS.

So from whom is Linux grabbing market share?

Originally Linux was mainly used by early adopters for tests, pilots and developers, and then it quickly started to replace UNIX in the Enterprise to migrate UNIX applications or deploy new Edge applications and by more and more developers to develop new applications.

In a second phase adoption went broader to more enterprises, migrating more and more UNIX applications, and moved to more mission-critical applications.

However lately Linux is also significantly grabbing market share from Microsoft and that is indeed a new trend.

-The latest report published by Linux Foundation End User Council (a non-profit organisation) and Yeoman Technology Group reveals some very interesting facts and numbers that I would summarise for you:

  • 76.4%of Big companies are planning to add more Linux servers in the nextLinux Adoption year,
  • 41.2% are planning to add Windows servers in the next year,
  • 43.6% are planning to decrease use of Windows servers in the next year,
  • 60% are planning to use Linux for more mission critical workloads,
  • 66% are deploying new applications on Linux,
  • 36% are migrating from Windows,
  • 31.4% are migrating from Unix to Linux,
  • CIOs see Linux as more strategic, and less as a way to just cut cost,
  • Features and technical superiority came in at 67.5% as the primary driver for adopting Linux,
  • 65.4% said lower TCO is a factor but not the first driver,
  • 50% said that ability to modify code was a reason to adopt Linux,
  • 45.8% said that long-term viability of the platform is a reason to adopt Linux,
  • 33% say that they test and submit bug reports,
  • 13.4% actively contribute code to Linux,
  • 70.3% are using Linux as their primary cloud platform,
  • 86.5% of respondents feel Linux continues to improve,
  • 60% of their CIO sees Linux as more strategic to the organization as compared to three years ago.

So in conclusion we can see some clear market trends:

Linux Unix_F – Linux continue to take market share from UNIX but now also grab market share from Windows.

– Large Enterprise plans to deploy more Linux servers than Windows servers in the next year and even more in the next 5 years.

– Linux adoption by large enterprises is accelerating and moving from edge to mission-critical workloads.

– Features, technical superiority, security and quality are the major drivers of adoption and not lower cost or better TCO anymore.

– Customer satisfaction is quite high.

– Linux is dominant for new developments and deployments on Cloud infrastructures and brand new “Greenfield” environment, which is the future.

The picture is not totally Pink, there is still a few obstacles on the road, the two top concerns about Linux adoption are hardware drivers and interoperability, and in third a lack of skilled resources –which is good news for the job market.

Interesting data came from another study done by Springboard Research in partnership with Spiceworks, in India, where small and mid-size businesses are increasingly favouring the Linux operating system, showing that between April 2009 and May 2010, overall Linux server OS adoption in India increased to 8.1 percent from just 7 percent and continues to rise.

This survey also revealed that Linux adoption in the Asia/Pacific region registered at almost 26 percent higher than in the U.S. and grew even faster than the global average.

So: Is Linux the UNIX Killer AND the Windows Killer?linux-wallpaper-006

For sure Linux has not been successfully yet on the desktop side, except for the unconditional love of many software developers and computers geeks, but its success on the server side has been demonstrated.

All this combined clearly shows that Linux is on the Rise and we can predict without risk a Bright Future for Linux.

MarCom-NeXt Pocket Guide: successfully engage in Social Media Marketing

social-media-mktg-plan

Social media originally started as a tool for friends and family to keep in touch, and has now moved also to the business community for Companies to engage discussions with their customers, partners and others organizations.

Large Enterprises, as well as SMB in a smaller scale, are adopting Social Media as a new wave of Marketing.

Based on recent reports and studies, the top benefits of Social Media Marketing are seen as (in this order):

– Branding: Generating exposure for the businessSocial Media Marketing Benefits report 2010

– Word-of-Mouth: Extending audience, raising awareness, increasing traffic

– Discussions: Engaging discussions & building relationship/partnership

– Revenue: Generating leads or sales

– Cost: reduce marketing expenses

Marketers have high expectation of Social Media, often and wrongly perceived as a free or low cost, easy to launch and deploy, not resource consuming tactic and they could be disappointed by the results and return in investment if they do not use best practices; It could even be a failure and damage your brand or business if not well executed and then abandoned after an unsuccessful try.

So, based on my own experience, here are few tips to successfully engage in Social Media Marketing:

1- Define a clear strategy

2- Secure executive sponsorship

3- Clarify Goals & Business Objectives: Talk or Listen, raise awareness, engage discussions, generate leads, drive sales & revenue, foster loyalty.

4- Integrate Social Media as one marketing tactic of your marketing mix

5- Document metrics

6- Target your audience: understand digital audience behaviour, develop social media map, identify and engage the influencers,

7- Define content, aligned with your objectives and aligned with corporate marketing messages

8- Select appropriate social networks, based on your goals and audiencSocial Media Marketing Tools Report2010e: Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, YouTube or others videos sites, Social Bookmarking sites etc… (see chart)

1- Select appropriate tools: management tools, short url tools, analytics tools, maximize digital assets distribution

2- Allocate dedicated assets and resource, experts to provide content, be the Voice and participate in relevant discussions,

3- Define and document some Social Media Guidelines for people participating to your social media activities, bloggers, and all employees,

4- Design your Social Media image, theme, tag line and main message: name, gravatar, banner, theme, colors, page

5- Launch and deploy your Social Media tactic and tools

6- Start Talking and empower consumer advocacy, tell the story, but also let the others tell the story about you

7- Listen to your Audience, monitor the market conversation

8- Engage discussions, be very responsive, show appreciation, gather market intelligence

9- Promote and advertise your Social media presence (via your web site, email marketing, newsletters, blog, webinar, print…)

10- Leverage your network: employees, partners, customers

11- Grow and maintain you LIST of friends, followers, Fans …

12- Maintain the relationship, keep the momentum, keep communicating regularly and intensively, keep on building and growing,

13- Tie all your Social Media and web presence all together and keep the Buzz growing,

14- Track and measure qualitative, quantitative and competitive results using analytics tools, document lessons learned and communicate monthly reports, understand the impact and do what it takes to improve your ROI.

social-media Social Media are platforms for interactions and relationships, not just a branding or advertising platform, it represent a fundamental shift on the way we communicate and make decision, so take advantage of it, build et develop new relationships and partnerships.

Jump on The Social Media Bandwagon, Start Talking & Listening, Start Engaging Discussions with Social Media.

Next-Gen Email Marketing Pocket Guide: 10 tips to optimize your email marketing.

email-marketing 2 Email Marketing seems to be easy but is actually a tricky and difficult tactic to implement fully effectively and successfully. It is a powerful tool but also a risky one that could damage your brand if used inappropriately.

In order to overcome the annoyance of spam, Email has become the most personal medium of marketing communication and advertising.

Email marketing can be used for multiple purpose and media: campaigns, newsletters, product launch, promotion or discount, invitation to an event, marketing collateral or technical paper, Press Release or Announcement, Customer or Partner success story, Industry Analysts studies, awards, contests, surveys, just to name a few.

Email marketing can be a very effective and profitable tool to: improve your brand, raise product awareness, engage contacts, build relationship, generate leads and to increase any type of business, as long as you use the best practices.

Email-Marketing-Services At MarCom-NeXt we focus on Next Generation Marketing, including Next Gen email marketing , and Therefore, here is a short summary of best practices and tips to help you optimise the results of your email marketing campaigns:

1- Strategy: define and document your strategy, goals and objectives

2- The List:

a- create and maintain a high quality list or database, possibly use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software; the more information, the better the list, the better the click-to-open rate, it is a simple as that.

b- Segment the list: No email blasting to the entire list, the more targeted message to the most relevant segment of your list, the better the click rate, this is The Key.

3- Permission: Make sure to send emails only to contacts who have been authorising you to do so, via opt-in or opt-out , subscribe or unsubscribe process.

email marketing integrated campaign 4- Integrated, multi-steps campaigns: Integrate your email marketing with your others marketing tactics – web site, advertising, SEM, events, etc- and build multi-step campaigns, not just a one shout email. And more specifically link your email campaign to your Social Media activities.

5- Content:

a-The Subject line is very important and has a huge impact on the click-to-open rate.

b- Personalised address: Address the recipient with its name, so it does look to much as mass marketing, and recipient feels respect and relationship.

c- Ensure the clarity and relevance of the message, make sure it is useful to the targeted audience.

d- Tone: set a positive, dynamic, inspiring tone, aligned with your brand or product, and use the KISSS rule “Keep it Simple, Short and Sexy”

e- I will not go into details of the classic tips as misspelling, acronyms, signs, triggers/spam words to avoid, abuse of capitals letters, colors etc as it is of course basic but also important.

f- Use the same font and size throughout all the email.

g- Include links to your web site, your blog and to your Social media accounts (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook…).

h- Include Multi-Media, Audio, Video, Flash, Interactive, Game… to make the message more attractive, entertaining and memorable.

i- Ensure links, logos, image etc display properly.

j- Propose to forward the email to friends and colleagues (and measure forward-to-click rates).

k- In the end, it must include a clear Call-to-Action.

l- Provide the contact information (email address) of someone to contact as return email address.

m- Include an opt-in / opt-out or subscribe/unsubscribe option.

n- Have the email signed by someone real, possibly an executive.

o- Email and html versions should be exactly the same.

p- Use a plain text editor like NotePad or EText Editor for PC, or TextEdit or TextMate ffor Mac, do not use tools like Word, FrontPage, DreamWaver etc.

q- Get the message tested and checked by several people before sending.

6- Consistency: keep a regular and consistent flow of email communication, without becoming annoying or overwhelming, but just enough to keep attention, be informative, be relevant, be helpful. Periodicity can be monthly, weekly or daily, depending on your audience.

7- Delivery: Optimize the delivery process of your email, eventually hire a professional email service provider as they have specialised tools for that.

8- Timing: do not send on week-end, holidays, not even a Friday, timing is everything

9- Follow-up: Create, document, implement and automate as much as possible a follow-up process, we call it –eNurtering, the quality of your follow-up is critical to your success.

email marketing profit 10- Results Tracking: Define metrics and track and analyse results, possible using analytics tool. Build reports, document lessons learned and share the value.

If well planned, integrated and executed, email marketing is a simple, easy, affordable, quick marketing tactic which will provide a Great Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI).

So now Go for it ! email me…

Pocket Guide: Improve your Return On Event Marketing Investment

Rise above the crowd

Times are changing, business people tend to limit travel, marketing budgets are often decreasing and/or shifting from traditional marketing tactics as events, Web, Printed and TV ads, to new marketing tactics as Digital Marketing, Mobile Advertising, Virtual events,  and Social Media, however in my view nothing can be more effective than a Face-to-Face contact, a real Live demonstration, an executive on site meeting to promote brand recognition, raise products awareness, generate leads and revenue and I do believe events still need to be part of an effective integrated marketing mix.

An Event is an expensive tactic and a lot of work but nothing can replace personal interaction and a high quality public exposure.

Based on my experience at leading and managing many events all over the world, conferences, trade shows, road-shows, customers meetings, users or partners conferences, experiential events, Press and Analysts briefings, Fundraising events etc, I thought I would share a few tips to improve branding, generate more leads, optimize results  and increase Return On Marketing Investment (ROMI).

Strategy & Planning Event Guide

1-      Document a detailed business plan, including Goals, objectives, tactics, metrics  and get executive management approval, sponsorship and support,

2-      Integrate the event in an integrated marketing mix/campaign,

3-      Build a detailed project plan, with every task, roles & responsibilities, deadlines, status and keep it updated,

4-      Define the strategic products, solutions or services to highlight or demonstrate at the event, aligned with targeted customers needs and challenges,

5-      Define the strategic messaging to convey at the event, aligned with strategic corporate branding and messaging,

6-      Document a detailed communication plan (external and internal).

Audience generation, prior to the event

7-      Advertize on the event communication, web site, guide, emails etc

8-      Leverage your web site to promote the event, increase awareness and generate registration

9-      Leverage Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to drive traffic to your web page promoting the event,

10-   Leverage Social Media to extend word-of-mouth, reach a larger audience, and engage discussions and generate registration

11-   Send series of emails to personally invite your customers, partners to attend your speaking sessions, visit your booth, register for a demonstrations, or schedule on site executive meetings,

12-   Offer free registration badges or incentive to selected targeted customers or prospects,

13-   Enable your direct and channel sales force to invite their customers and drive audience,

14-   Set up an effective  lead response management process, system and tools with a dedicated team to manage it.

At the event Brand experience

15-   Be visible, promote your corporate brand, use clear, clean, warm, sexy design, colors and materials, use large screens displays (Size does matter, the larger the better) and bright lighting,

16-   Train your team to be engaging, open and proactive, not forgetting to listen,

17-   Train your team to a clear strategic and integrated messaging, “One Voice”

18-   Offer promotions, incentives, draws, games, widgets, freebies to increase traffic and contacts

19-   Provide marketing material available for easy and self distribution (USB drives, DVD, Printed)

20-   Have very skilled and engaging hosts at a reception desk to help guide and inform visitors

21-   Leverage Social Media to raise awareness and drive audience to the booth or speaking sessions, i.e tweet and blog live from the event,

22-   Create the Buzz,

23-   Leverage Press and Media presence,

24-   Enter every contact and lead in the lead generation system (wireless badge scanners, business cards scanners, manual forms etc) with as much detailed information as possible to help the lead response team.

After the event

25-   Send a thank you email to all contacts, with an opt-out option to be included in your database and receive follow up emails,

26-   Enter all contacts who have opted-in (or did not opted-out) in your database for future communications, newsletters, campaigns, events, eNurtering tactics,

27-   Send a series of emails with relevant information following the event and engaging contacts to take actions,

28-   Track and measure results of your email marketing and eNurtering activities (click-through, forward, referrals, responses etc…),

29-   Engage contacts via Social Media (follow them on twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc),

30-   Track and measure results of your Social Media activity,

31-   Review all contacts and leads, prioritize and dispatch Hot Leads to appropriate sales force,

32-   Track and measure wins and revenue generated or influenced by the event in your CRM or Marketing systems,

33-   Gather feedback through a survey from internal and external audience,

34-   Document lessons learned for next event, there is always room for improvement.

Lights "On"

I hope this Event Marketing Pocket Guide will help, however it is a short summary version and you are welcome to add any tactic of yours in the comment section…

Now get on stage and Sell !