Entries Tagged 'technology' ↓

What Apple is Doing to Beat Microsoft and Google

I’d like to share this fantastic presentation by French consulting firm faberNovel, a study on how Apple has maneuvered itself successfully in the market against Microsoft and Google.

Lead Scoring Best Practices

More and more B2B marketers are turning to lead scoring as a way of optimizing lead management. Many of us will remember when we used to process raw Excel lists, handing over hundreds of names with job titles and companies to our sales department, only to find that leads weren’t being followed up on. It wasn’t possible to know which leads were the most interested in your company, and wasn’t easy to see which matched your target buyer.

Recent advances in marketing automation and sales CRM software have made it easier to streamline the whole process. Marketing and sales professionals can apply lead scoring algorithms to leads, effectively sorting and prioritizing them for nurturing programs and sales follow-up.

In a recent episode of the weekly #B2Bchat on Twitter, we dug into questions surrounding lead scoring. Here is a summary of the questions and comments, compiled:

Q. What is lead scoring?

  • There are a lot of online resources on the topic lead scoring. We’ve posted a couple of articles on lead scoring including The 5 Basics of Lead Scoring on B2Bbloggers.com.
  • Here are a couple of definitions of lead scoring in 140 characters or less: Lead scoring is assigning a probability/weight to a lead based on its online behavior while interacting with your digital assets (via @joezuc) and Lead scoring is giving a rating system to prospects so more time spent with qualified leads (via @NuSparkMktg)

Q. What do you need in order to get started with lead scoring?

  • A marketing automation system. Vendors that were mentioned by name in the session included Marketo, Vtrenz, Eloqua, Genius, Marketbright and Silverpop. @jepc referred us to a comprehensive list of marketing automation systems that he has compiled.
  • You need a list of the possible paths/interactions a customer can have with your digital assets. This can be quite complex, depending on the type of product/service.
  • A target audience definition is needed, and an understanding of your buyer personas.
  • You need to understand your customer buying behavior. Talk to sales in order to learn buying behaviors, and look at previous activities associated with closed deals.
  • An agreement on the definition of a lead is essential. Sales and marketing need to come up with the definition together. Any discussion of lead scoring helps sales and marketing connect better with goals.
  • Executive buy-in from sales & marketing leadership is needed.

Q. What advice would you give to marketers that want to take lead scoring to the next level?

  • Normalize job titles to get better scoring, or restrict job titles to a pick list.
  • If possible, include consideration of offline activities as well.
  • The following high-value interactions should be weighted accordingly: E.g. “How We Help” page = higher score
  • The combo of product page w. case study or contact us page = bonus points
  • More visits from more people in one company within a shorter time frame = bonus points
  • Use negative scoring for certain job titles, e.g. consultant, student and assistant.
  • Review lead scores of closed sales to assess the validity of your scoring assumptions

This post appeared originally at b2bbloggers.com.

Get Ready for the iBoard

I saw this image as a blog post comment yesterday and unfortunately can’t remember where I found it. If you know the copyright owner, please let me know so I can attribute it accordingly. This was just too funny to not share.

The Top 10 iPad Apps

It was just over two months ago that Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the Apple iPad, the company’s new flagship product. As with the iPhone and iPod Touch, apps are going to be central to the iPad. Nearly all of Apple’s iPhone apps will run on the iPad, but there is also an emerging market for apps designed specifically for the iPad.

Here are the top 10 iPad apps available today, based on revenue:

  1. Things for iPad
    A task manager,  helping you keep track of to-do lists, due dates and projects.
  2. The Elements: A Visual Exploration
    The periodic table of elements, displayed intuitively and spectacularly on the iPad.
  3. OmniGraffle
    Turns the iPad into a canvas, white board or cocktail napkin.
  4. Flight Control HD
    The iPad version of the popular iPhone game which puts you in the role of a flight controller, with this version offering more space for landings and more airports.
  5. Plants vs. Zombies HD
    Based on the popular iPhone game – defend your home from a mob of zombies using plants to stop them in their tracks.
  6. N.O.V.A. – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance HD
    Fight for humanity`s survival in this immersive space opera, also previously available for the iPhone.
  7. At Bat 2010 for iPad
    MLB`s latest app is a live game simulation, plus allows subscribers to tune in to live MLB games.
  8. Real Racing HD
    One of the top racing games for the iPhone, now available for iPad.
  9. Civilization Revolution for iPad
    The popular strategy game redesigned for the iPad.
  10. Geometry Wars: Touch for iPad
    The successful arcade game, with enhanced graphics and additional game modes exclusive to the iPad version.

The apps in the top 10 list are all relatively high priced, with the lowest being Flight Control HD for $4.99. But there are some apps in the top 50 which are more economically priced, such as the $1.99 World Atlas HD app from the National Geographic Society.

Apple has an up-to-date view of the top grossing iPad apps here. And if you’re looking for a complete list of iPad apps available in the app store, you can find them here as well.

What is the new Apple iPad?

SteveJobs-iPad-small

Earlier today, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the much-anticipated Apple iPad. The internet has been buzzing with speculation over the past few weeks at the prospect of this announcement. Many were calling it the iTablet, some thought it would be the iSlate. The Wall Street Journal humorously noted that the “last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.”

But this morning it became official.

What is the new Applie iPad?

The iPad is a content consumption device that will likely pave the way to a new category of devices, something that fits in between the smart phone and the laptop.

Apple lists the full specs of the iPad on its site. In many ways it is like a giant iPod Touch, including WiFi and 3G internet access.

Here are five of my favorite iPad features:

– multi-touch interface
– sharp looking LED display
– 10 hrs battery life, a month of standby life
– maps that also include Google street view
– the iBookstore (ePub format)

There are some things that the iPad still can’t do, such as:

– play Flash
– multi-task, e.g. you can’t listen to Pandora while writing an email

One of the most talked about features of the iPad is the iBookstore. Apple already has several publisher deals in place, and many more will likely follow. So the question that follows is, will the iPad be a Kindle killer? What will it do to Sony’s eBook?

And with the iPad infringe on the netbook market?

The entry price for the iPad was a pleasant surprise and lower than expected, at $499. It looks like Apple has learned form its experience with the iPhone where it entered the market slightly higher than it should have.

iPhone and iPod Touch owners will still be able to play all of the apps (currently just over 140,000) that are available for those devices, on the iPad. And app developers will be able to design separate apps which utilize the full capabilities of the iPad’s superior graphics and touch screen.

What’s next for the iPad?

Well, first there’s the wait. According to today’s announcement, it will be available 60 days from now in the US.

Once available, it will be more than interesting to see how the market handles the iPad. And if it succeeds, this tablet device will likely be the first generation of many more to come.

Google’s Future including Real Time Search

If you’re interested in the future of Search and have got an hour and a half to spare, I highly recommend sitting down with your favorite beverage and watching this video.

In this video, Google presents their most significant product releases of the year, including real time search.

Marissa Mayer starts off by presenting four main areas of innovation at Google:

1. Modalities
How people search, e.g. mobile devices, voice search, search by taking a picture
2. Media
The types of media appearing in search results, e.g. maps, books, video, news
3. Language
Translation services which open up the world’s content to people of all languages
4. Personalization
Search results with higher relevance based on your location, social networks, etc.

Later in the talk, Google Fellow Amit Singhal talks about the huge relevancy challenges faced when delivering search results, especially now with real time search. He shared Google’s 4 pillars of search delivery:

Comprehensiveness,
Relevancy,
User Experience, and
Speed,

with relevancy becoming more and more difficult. The audience poses several important questions near the end of the presentation, including the question of whether Google uses the same algorithm to rank its general index as its real time results.

Real Time Search is being rolled out gradually for all users over the next few weeks. Whether these results appear or not will depend on the keyword used. There is a way to see real time search results right away, through Google Trends.

To see an example of Google’s Real Time Search in action, check out:
http://www.google.com/search?esrch=&tbs=rltm:1&tbo=u&hl=en&q=snow

What’s Next After Blu-Ray?

I was in a Sony store last night. Walking through the mall, I was lured in by the glossy TV screens and the idea of potentially making the move from DVD to Blu-Ray. I’ve never owned an Blu-Ray player and, to be honest, have been somewhat skeptical whether Blu-Ray will quickly replace the ubiquitous DVD format.

The sales rep. that chatted me up was, unsurprisingly, enthusiastic about the quality that Blu-Ray delivers. This same salesperson also told us that we should expect to pay $60 for an HDMI cable. Ouch.

Nevertheless, I didn’t walk home with a Blu-Ray player. But I did start doing some reading. Are retailers pushing Blu-Ray players on their customers to support the new format? Can an up-converting DVD player suffice for now? And the even bigger question: what’s next after Blu-Ray?

My intuition tells me that the USB Flash Drive format may be a viable alternative. We already have Flash Drives which can hold ample data. To put it in perspective, a standard DVD holds 4.7 GB of data, a Blu-Ray disk holds 25GB (or 50GD if dual-layer). USB Flash Drives have come down in price and gone up in capacity. If you really need the space, you can even get them as large as 256GB, more than five times the storage capacity of a double layer Blu-Ray disk. Optical disk readers, e.g. Blu-Ray, DVD and CD players, are inherently fragile and sensitive to heat, condensation, and dust. USB Flash is more robust, and certainly more portable.

So the question remains, what’s next after Blu-Ray? Will it be a new optical disk technology, such as Holographic Versatile Disk (HVD). Or will it be a type of card or portable thumb drive? And don’t forget, there’s also the possibility that we may soon just be downloading all of our data heavy content from the cloud, e.g. like renting movies via iTunes.

Any bets on the future of Blu-Ray?

What is Google Wave (2 minute video)

Google Wave has been the talk of the town over the past few days. Techies everywhere have been clamoring to the 100,000 invites which were sent out last week. It has been a trending topic on Twitter and the first reviews are coming in. As luck would have it, I`m not one of the fortunate 100,000 who received an invite, and can`t give my own opinion on it yet. But if you`re looking for a quick, simple explanation of how Wave may change the world as we know it, check out this video from EpipheoStudios.com.

And if you`re very patient, remember that there is still the original video: Google Wave Developer Preview at Google I/O 2009 which runs at just over 80 minutes.

Reviews of Google Wave to date have been mixed. Here are what some influential bloggers are saying:

It will be good for CMOs, but it won’t replace social media favorites among the masses. – Steve Rubel on Forbes.com

Google Wave crashes on beach of overhype – Robert Scoble on Scobleizer.com

…extremely stable and much faster than anticipated. For a “preview” release, Wave is very good, especially considering the complexity that is involved. – Louis Gray on louisgray.com

David Pogue on TED: Cool Phone Tricks

It’s been a while since I’ve written a full blog post, while looking down at my last couple of posts which have simply embedded videos. And when this latest idea came to me, I felt guilty for once again taking the “easy” route of just republishing information. But this one is too good to pass up.

At Enquiro, we have something called TED Tuesdays. We take our bagged lunches and sit down in our boardroom while watching the latest and greatest from …TED. This past week we watched David Pogue’s rant and rave on mobile phone technology. Pogue, a technology columnist for the New York Times, gives us a presentation that resonates with anyone who has ever owned a cell phone, and he delivers it his way, with humor and musical style.