Blog archive - July 2012
Use the blog to discuss and comment on the latest industry insights provided by our analyst experts.
by Jannette Whippy 24 Jul 2012
| Add Comment
It’s rare for me to meet a Cabernet Sauvignon that I don’t like. My favorites are Cabs with backbone: big and full-bodied. I like my wines earthy (even a little herbaceous [taste and aroma of herbs]) with some tobacco flavor. And I love when the wine finishes dry. My wine preferences have matured and changed over the years (I have attended many, many tastings) I started off liking the more fruity, light reds and creamy, buttery chardonnay’s and now I really cannot abide either. My design skills have also matured and improved through the years. I have designed many pages, some good, some great, some forgettable, and some truly insightful. I find that my best designs are conceived when I have a few key principles in mind. When keeping proximity, similarity, and order (a few of the Gestalt principles of perception) top of mind I produce clean, easily navigable pages. Proximity occurs when elements are placed close together. While they are still separate objects they are perceived as unified because they are close to each other. Similarity occurs when objects look similar to one another; they are then perceived as a group or pattern. Repetition of colors or objects is pleasing and aids in fast comprehension. Order (or symmetry) occurs when the whole of a figure is perceived rather than the individual items that make it up. When designing to instruct, order and symmetry help the information to be consumed and comprehended quickly. There are more principles, but these three are the ones that help me the most when designing guidebooks. Chelsea Cappetta created this slideshow that showcases all the Gestalt Principles: Gestalt Laws and Design from chelsc Simplicity is beautiful, especially if your end goal is comprehension. Attending all those tastings allowed me to learn what I liked and didn’t like and have been the building blocks for me to be a more informed and happy wine drinker. The Gestalt Principles give me a great starting point when designing a page, as long as I know how things interrelate on the page, I can then design the page for maximum, full-bodied, consumption. Jannette is the Senior Graphic Design Artist for Growth Team Membership, a premier best practices research group within Frost & Sullivan. You can follow her on Twitter: @jwhippy.
by Holly Lyke Ho Gland 09 Jul 2012
| Add Comment
Marketers continue to be faced with the imperative tofind ways to appeal to specific customer needs, keep costs down, and drive higher ROI. This focus on the customer has marketers reassessing their value propositions and customer segments—to target the “right” audience with an engaging message. However, marketers are expected to take on this task with limited resources—budgets and staffing levels are expected to remain stagnant. To accomplish more with less, marketers are striving to improve the effectiveness of lead generation efforts and adoption rate collateral by Sales. More pointedly, marketers are striving to improve their channel strategies and collaborate closely with Sales on segmentation efforts. To examine these challenges in more depth, the survey asked respondents to “root cause” their top internal challenges; indicating if they stem from issues with staffing, process, technology/systems, or strategic alignment. Respondents attribute their challenges to two primary causes: limitations in staff and a lack of common objectives. When comparing Marketing’s 2012 resource allocations to forecasts made in 2011, the belief that budgets and staffing would remain static is inaccurate. In fact budgets have decreased since 2011. In regards to staffing, budgets have dropped by over a third. In contrast, marketers’ growing love affair with social media is readily apparent as social media activities are receiving twice the budget allocation they did last year. Additionally, marketers have allocated more budget to “content development”, which is critical for demand and lead generation activities. This year’s survey included examined Marketing’s demand generation capabilities. Overall marketers are satisfied with their demand generation effectiveness—most respondents ranked their effectiveness as “Above Average”. Marketers are also satisfied with their effectiveness at specific demand generation tactics—with the exception of social media and mobile marketing. Differentiating the Value Proposition: 2012 Asia Pacific Marketing Priorities Survey Report View more presentations from Frost & Sullivan Holly is the Research Lead for the Growth Team Membership, a best practices research group within Frost & Sullivan. Follow her on twitter at @hlykehogland.
by Katherine Burns 03 Jul 2012
| Add Comment
I once read an article in the Wall Street Journal about how writing the pilot episode of a new series is usually easier than writing the second episode, which can be an excruciating process. Maybe it’s because writers use all their good material in the first attempt, and feel a bit empty for the second go-round. I hope this isn’t the case with me and this blog. I so enjoyed writing the first one – I hope you enjoy reading the second one as much. At least I teed up a few things to discuss in this one, so I’m not starting at ground zero. Wasn’t that savvy of me? For instance, I promised you all a list of my favorite detective stories. The “Professional Communicator” in me thinks that it would be a good idea to close with this, rather than lead with it…so scroll to the end if that’s why you’re here. I also promised to tell you more about something that I just wrote – a new growth process toolkit on technology strategy. There can’t be a more satisfying feeling in the world that finishing a large project, especially one that took a great deal of personal blood, sweat, and tears (and no, for a writer, that’s no exaggeration: writing is a blood sport, played sitting down). I love to finish writing something, and then not look at it for a few weeks. That way, when I read it again, I see it with fresh eyes. Sometimes this means I’m disappointed in something that I previously had thought was terrific—and other times, I feel nothing but pride in what has been produced. I’m happy to say that in this case, my re-reading of this toolkit produced the latter sentiment. Maybe it’s obnoxious of me to say that, but trust me – my standards are high, and this isn’t praise I would give myself, or anyone else, lightly. Furthermore, I think it’s probably a good thing for a writer to believe in her work. If you don’t, who will? And if I didn’t believe in it, I wouldn’t be blogging about it right now. I wouldn’t be telling you how I think there’s something in it that will strike a chord with many of you. As I mentioned in my previous posting, technology is such a complex, moving target that it’s nearly impossible for anyone to make sense of the chaos. Patterns are fleeting, and moments of normalcy or consistency even more so. What this toolkit is designed to do is to help you stay calm in the storm. To take a systematic approach to understanding your business, identifying market opportunities, and evaluating them. To nurture creativity within your organization, because without it, you’re a sitting duck. These are really important ideas—and perhaps not entirely new, but still meaningful, and difficult to execute. The toolkit’s purpose is to aid that execution to the greatest extent possible. If you’re interested in reading the entire thing, and you are a member of Growth Team Membership, you can click here. If you’re interested in reading the entire thing, but you’re not a member of Growth Team Membership, you can still read an excerpt by clicking here. Enough about that. I mentioned at the start of this blog that I would close with a list of my favorite detective stories. In the interest of brevity, because brevity is the soul of wit, I shall keep the list to five (starting with my favorite). 1) Some Buried Caesar, by Rex Stout 2) Black Orchids, by Rex Stout (I realize it would be more interesting not to repeat an author, but…my blog, my rules) 3) Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie 4) The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler (read this, and then watch the movie: Bogie and Bacall at their most snazzy) 5) The Maltese Falcon, by Dashielle Hammett (read this, and then watch the movie: Bogie at his most Bogie, sans Bacall) For a more in-depth book discussion, or to share your thoughts on technology strategy and its myriad challenges (none of which really existed in the lovely 1930s, “stuff dreams are made of” world I’ve just recommended for you), please take to the comments. As always, happy computing. Katherine Burns Katherine is the Director of Strategic Communications for Growth Team Membership, a premier best practices research group within Frost & Sullivan. You can follow her on Twitter: @KatherineSBurns.
by Holly Lyke Ho Gland 02 Jul 2012
| Add Comment
This year’s survey results indicate sales executives’ 2012 challenges are shaped by their need to increase productivity. Specifically, sales executives need to pinpoint the highest-value sales activities, streamline their sales processes to match, and invest in new tools and practices for team collaboration. The other prominent challenges are enhancing the ability to monitor the business environment for shifts in pricing pressures and customers’ purchasing behaviors and needs. To further explore this year’s challenges, respondents were asked to “root cause” their top challenges—whether they derive from issues with staffing, process, technology/systems, or strategic alignment. Sales executives attribute their challenges to the gamut of process, tools, and people. While respondents foresee little to no increase in staff, budgets are on the rise. Given social media’s increasing role in companies’ strategies and activities, the survey asked respondents about the sales force’s use of social media. An overwhelming majority (98%) of the respondents are using social media in their daily sales activities. Specifically, respondents employ social media to identify needs, build awareness, and nurture ongoing client relationships. Unsurprisingly, LinkedIn is the primary social media platform sales executives use—primarily joining special interest groups to enhance their understanding of customer needs. Fewer respondents are actively participating in or creating special interest groups, which forgoes opportunities to demonstrate topical expertise. Regarding the use of virtual and social media tools in sales activities, respondents employ tele-presence and/or live streaming video and predictive analytics—the analysis of customer behavioral data to identify patterns and insights for customer interactions. However, few respondents are using social media monitoring tools (e.g., Radian 6), dashboards (e.g., Hootsuite or MediaFunnel), or CRM systems (e.g., Nimble). Consequently, sales executives are not realizing the full benefits these tools offer for improving customer focus, collaboration, and productivity. 2012 Asia Pacific Sales Leadership Priorities Survey Report View more presentations from Frost & Sullivan Holly is the Research Lead for the Growth Team Membership, a best practices research group within Frost & Sullivan. Follow her on twitter at @hlykehogland.