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Marketing's Next Act
April 28, 2015
Marketing continues to heat up as the next big thing in CRM. It's so big that I can see it splintering in multiple ways to accommodate all the permutations that are suddenly possible, thanks to big data, analytics, and a determination to get beyond using marketing technology as a glorified accounting system designed to limit "losses" due to marketing. You can't win by limiting your losses.
The Great Apple Watch Marketing Mystery
April 24, 2015
The day Apple initially picked to launch the Apple Watch was in some respects a dud. The device was not available for sale in Apple Stores on Friday as previously scheduled, although it was available at some high-end fashion boutiques. Confusion reigned over shipments, with Apple earlier having said deliveries would be pushed back to June, but later saying some preorders would be shipped early.
The Growing Robocall Menace
April 23, 2015
Automated telephone calls, also known as "robocalls," used to drive me crazy. Then they stopped, and life was quiet, peaceful and beautiful once again, but just for a few short years. Those disturbing calls have started once again, and now they are worse than ever. Why? And how can we stop them? Robocalls typically are for telemarketing purposes. The calls are placed by automated systems.
Sleek Ad Tailoring for Online Apparel Shoppers
April 21, 2015
Consumers are on board with the concept of buying apparel online. Especially in this era of free returns and nifty sizing tools, buying clothing and shoes off the Web has become mainstream. However, some advertisers have been slow to respond. While most of us have at some point been served ads displaying items we browsed the day before, dynamic creative has the power and potential to do much more.
Apple's Storm Clouds
April 13, 2015
An Apple shop recently dumped Apple for Dell following a surprising revelation. Over most of the last two decades, the only time I've seen a move like this was when some change in IT forced it, and a lot of staffers subsequently would quit. This move was largely user-driven. Then, last week, one of Apple's biggest fans actually panned an Apple product, effectively calling it pretty but stupid.
Oracle Modern Customer Experience
April 8, 2015
Oracle did some smart things at last week's Oracle Modern CX Conference and user meeting in Las Vegas. The company has been making strides in organizing its messaging and products around customer experience in the wake of its RightNow Technologies acquisition a few years ago. It's been taking on the CX mantra whole hog. Today, Oracle CX is a full-featured tactic.
Oracle Aims to Wring More Sales From Marketing Cloud
April 6, 2015
Oracle last week trumpeted a set of new Marketing Cloud features designed to improve the customer experience. Oracle ID Graph, Rapid Retargeter and AppCloud Connect aim to boost sales by aggregating data from multiple sources and reacting to it in near-realtime. However, they fall short of the cutting edge in CRM -- predictive analysis.
Microsoft's Novel Windows 10 Antipiracy Plan
March 23, 2015
Microsoft this summer will distribute Windows 10 to anyone running Windows 7, Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1, regardless of whether the existing OS is a genuine or pirated copy. Terry Myerson, head of Microsoft's operating systems unit, disclosed the marketing strategy last week at the WinHEC summit in China. Some 74 percent of all commercial software used in China is pirated, according to BSA.
5 Crafty Customer-Retention Strategies
March 23, 2015
Remember all those hours you spent at the mall just hanging out, not buying a thing? Well, a lot of us just never grew up. We just moved our hangout from the local mall to the Internet. We meet our friends online, we order food online, and we window-shop online. It's a good life. That is, it's good unless you are at the receiving end of this online voyeurism.
Talking Barbie Says Hello, Parents Say Goodbye
March 18, 2015
It's not so much Hello Barbie's talking -- it's her listening that has parents up in arms. Here's how Hello Barbie works: A kid presses on the doll's belt buckle and speaks into a microphone in the doll's necklace. An AI system processes and analyzes that speech in the cloud. Responses are then streamed back to the doll, who replies to the kid -- all over a secure WiFi connection to the Internet.
New Facebook Marketing Tool Chews Up Data, Spits It Out
March 17, 2015
Facebook has launched Topic Data, a new service that reveals to advertisers the subjects users discuss, the products they use, and the activities they follow. Marketers will be able to sift through data compilations of what users say about events, brands, subjects and activities. Data on all of Facebook's 1.3 billion users will be used -- anonymized and aggregated to protect their identities.
FTC Goes to Bat for Duped DirecTV Customers
March 16, 2015
The Federal Trade Commission last week charged DirecTV with deceptive advertising practices in a complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division. DirecTV, which has been in discussions over a potential merger with AT&T, currently has more than 20 million subscribers across the United States.
Just Showing Up Won't Capture Federal Cloud Business
March 3, 2015
The observation that "80 percent of life is just showing up," generally attributed to comedian Woody Allen, has morphed into the admonition that "80 percent of success is just showing up." However, it appears that vendors who just show up with a generalized approach to marketing cloud technology to federal government agencies likely won't attract much business.
How Apple Will Sell a Watch That No One Really Needs
February 24, 2015
There has been a lot of discussion lately of where and how Apple will sell the Apple Watch -- through high-end luxury department stores in Paris, for example, or through special new displays inside of Apple Stores, guided into existence by fashion genius Angela Ahrendts. Finding new ways to present the watch is important, but how will Apple actually trigger a buy decision?
YouTube Targets the Mother Goose Set
February 23, 2015
Google on Monday announced YouTube Kids, a new mobile app designed to deliver family-friendly video content. The YouTube Kids app provides streaming content curated for families -- everything from do-it-yourself arts and crafts and elementary geometry clips to rugrat favorites like the Mother Goose Club and Minecraft, as well as lots and lots of train videos.
Xiaomi's One Shot at Success in the US
February 19, 2015
Xiaomi may soon take its first steps into the U.S. How will it do? I have some suggestions to offer. If it follows them, its chances of success will increase. If it doesn't, it may face the same problems that have dogged Microsoft, BlackBerry, Motorola, HTC and many others. Wireless in the U.S. is a booming business, but it's not easy to break into the space as a handset maker.
The Rhyme and Reason of Sales and Marketing Tech Adoption
February 18, 2015
For all the breakthroughs in technology and process, and for the vast amounts of money invested in making sales and marketing more productive and better aligned, we still face a staggering adoption problem. Sales and marketing pros answered a lot of questions in a recent survey. One of them was this simple query: How much of your sales team has adopted and regularly uses your current solution?
Revived View-Master Is a Virtual Reality
February 13, 2015
Remember the View-Master? You slotted a disc of slides called a 'reel' into the top, clicked the lever on the right, and were thrilled by the scenes before your eyes. Google and Mattel now are teaming up to revive and modernize the View-Master. Mattel on Friday announced a new version that works with Google Cardboard and Android smartphones. Mattel will offer the new View-Master and a sample experience reel this fall, for US$30.
Samsung Smart TV Owners Fume Over Sneaky Pop-Up Ads
February 11, 2015
Samsung Smart TV owners, already shaken by news earlier this week that their TVs can transmit voice commands and other private data to third parties, have been hit by another revelation -- that the devices sneak ads into movies they're watching, without the owner's knowledge or consent. A user on the Plex forum complained that a Pepsi ad popped up every 10 to 15 minutes while he was watching his Samsung TV.
Promoted Tweets Fly the Coop
February 4, 2015
With Wall Street breathing down its neck for growth, Twitter on Tuesday launched a new advertising initiative that aims to boost revenues and add to its more than 284 million members. The initiative aims to expand the reach of "Promoted Tweets" on Twitter. Promoted Tweets are ads that Twitter inserts into its members timelines. Now, the company wants them to be seen elsewhere, too.
YouTube Halftime Show Sets Stage for Cross-Channel Ads
February 3, 2015
On Sunday evening, as a record 114.4 million people watched Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott rock out during the Super Bowl's halftime show, another show was under way, as well. For the first time, Google's YouTube hosted its own version of halftime on Super Bowl Sunday during roughly the same time slot.
Tune Strikes a Chord With Investors
January 30, 2015
Mobile marketing company Tune has raised $27 million in funding, it announced Thursday. Icon Ventures partner Jeb Miller will join Tune's board. Icon led the funding round; Accel Partners and Performance Equity Management also participated. Tune will use the proceeds to grow its engineering team, introduce new products and generally invest in the services it offers.
Dish Network Gives Super Bowl Commercials Their Due
January 29, 2015
Dish Network has announced that subscribers to its satellite TV service can enable Reverse AutoHop for this Sunday's Super Bowl. This feature will enable viewers with the Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR to watch the commercials alone without having to fast-forward through the game. To utilize Reverse AutoHop, customers need only have the PrimeTime Anytime feature enabled for NBC prior to kickoff.
Microsoft's Windows Reboot Could Be Legendary
January 26, 2015
I was one of the launch analysts for Windows 95, and the launch of that product is widely held -- including by Bill Gates -- as the company's pinnacle. No launch before or since ever came close to that launch, and I remain amazed that no one, including Apple or Microsoft, has ever really attempted to duplicate that effort. Windows 10 has the potential to be even greater than Windows 95.

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Is Microsoft starting to get cool again?
Yes - thanks to Satya Nadella's vision.
Yes - but only in certain areas, like AI and VR.
Maybe - it doesn't seem as stodgy as before.
No - it never was.