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Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Fluid User Interface – The Competition Is On

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peoplesoft fluid user interface

Are you already using Fluid User Interface (Fluid UI)? Curious about the new interface? Check out Marc Weintraub’s recent blog announcing a competition called “First to Fluid”.

Why not reap all the great benefits of the new interface while gaining some fabulous prizes promised by competition.

Don’t forget about all the great information on www.peoplesoft92.com related to the Fluid User Interface.

In the meantime, please be sure to contact Larry Zagata if you have questions about any of the recent changes to PeopleSoft or ANY PeopleSoft questions.

A Brief Dissection of Apple’s New ‘Stickers’ MacBook Air TV Ad

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This is ‘Stickers’, the new TV ad for Apple’s MacBook Air. It’s interesting on several levels. Watch:

I watch and dissect all Apple ads, and this one jumped at me. Why?

  1. It breaks from their traditional style. Most Apple ads show what you can do with the product, not 30 seconds of the product itself from largely one angle.
  2. It shows Apple products in a modified state. This almost never happens. (Well, in ‘Powerful’ they showed the device in steadicam rigs and attached to instruments, but that’s not the same.) Here, modified means user-modified, which implies an affection for the product, a sense of personalization, a sense of use. One would only bother putting stickers on a product of which they were proud, or used every day to perform their daily work. You customize your car; you don’t customize your extra gas generator sitting in your garage.
  3. If you look at the MacBook Airs you see flashing through the ad, you’ll notice blemishes, scratches, maybe even minor dents – again, this implies use and a sense that the machine is an extension of someone, not just a product on a pedestal. Apple is in the business of creating experiences, not just devices. This is what makes Apple products appeal (or not) to certain people. (I’d even go out on a limb and say that the machines you see in ‘Stickers’ are actual, real-world user machines, but I’m just riffing here.)
  4. Showing stickers all over Apple’s vaunted industrial design is actually a bit self-deprecating: it shows Apple isn’t taking its naked design as the canonical style. There’s a bit of jauntiness here, a sense that Apple isn’t taking itself so seriously. This is a good thing.
  5. What’s the key value of a laptop computer? The screen. This ad shows not a single shot of the screen. Again, this isn’t about how the device gets used – everyone knows that by now.
  6. Finally, the iconic six-color Apple logo makes a brief, staccato appearance in the ad’s final frames. Great touch, and nice to see.

This entire ad is about self-expression, not a product. It’s almost as if the Beats marketing team created it, and I don’t think it’s any accident it’s airing alongside Apple’s back to school promo.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Blogging About Blogging

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We are fortunate – very fortunate actually – to have a very talented team of managers, consultants and sales professionals here at MIPRO.  Every day, you, our daily readers, have the opportunity to read something new, exciting (we hope) and in most cases of high value (we really hope), here on our blog.  And for those of you who visit us every day know that the real treat comes on Fridays when Jeff Ventura launches into a very entertaining, creative string of thoughts, opinions and links! (Ed. Note: Even though we let him do most of the writing here, we are well aware that Jeff Ventura is a strange person.) I cannot, nor will I try, to compete.

But, it does cause me to think about blogging and why it has become a very important tool of communication.  Has it replaced methods of communication?  Not sure.  But it certainly is a highly effective method of reaching a vast community of people with common interests.  Something we never could have done even just a few short years ago.   Think about how we used to reach our customers with an announcement.  It used to go something like this.  Sound familiar?

  1. We’d have an internal meeting about what ‘message’ we want to send.
  2. We’d hire a graphic artist and a tech writer to capture our ideas.
  3. They would have their own meeting to discuss what they heard in our meeting
  4. A follow up meeting in most cases would be necessary for clarification and follow up questions.
  5. Then, they would create a draft of the message for us to review.
  6. We would edit and send back.
  7. Final edits would be completed and sent back for final review.
  8. ACCEPTANCE!
  9. We’d go to print.
  10. We’d wait for print job to be completed (hopefully we weren’t too far down in the queue).
  11. Final print docs are returned.
  12. We’d mail and/or distribute to our customers.
  13. Profit?

And, that my friends, was the de facto way to get information to our clients back in ‘the day’ — to a very contained list of companies and contacts. Today, the process goes like this:

  1. We have an idea that we want to share.
  2. With editorial guidelines and a modicum of discretion in place, we publish our thoughts and news here on this blog every day; it’s there for countless visitors to read and, if they so choose, share.
  3. Profit!

In our case, what began as 10 readers a month grew to 5,000 in the space of a year and a half.

Blogs and blogging are just a bit mind boggling (pardon the alliteration!) if you really stop to think about it.  Content is king, but to stop on occasion and realize effectiveness of these new methods is worth the consideration.

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More links:

MIPRO Consulting main website.

MIPRO on Twitter and Facebook.

About this blog.

How Germany Got It Right on the Economy

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Harold Meyerson, writing a terrific — and educational (at least for yours truly) — op-ed piece about Germany’s economy in The Washington Post:

Germany’s economy is the strongest in the world. Its trade balance – the value of its exports over its imports – is second only to China’s, which is all the more remarkable since Germany is home to just 82 million people. Its 7.5 percent unemployment rate – two percentage points below ours – is lower than at any time since right after reunification. Growth is robust, and real wages are rising.

It’s quite a turnabout for an economy that American and British bankers and economists derided for years as the sick man of Europe. German banks, they insisted, were too cautious and locally focused, while the German economy needed to slim down its manufacturing sector and beef up finance.

Wisely, the Germans declined the advice. Manufacturing still accounts for nearly a quarter of the German economy; it is just 11 percent of the British and U.S. economies (one reason the United States and Britain are struggling to boost their exports).

(Via John Gruber)

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management) and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More business posts.

Business Has a Language Problem

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John Gruber points out the headline to Microsoft’s press release announcing Windows Phone 7 from a few days ago:

“Windows Phone 7: A Fresh Start for the Smartphone: The Phone Delivers a New User Experience by Integrating the Things Users Really Want to Do, Creating a Balance Between Getting Work Done and Having Fun”.

That’s title and sub-title.  It says quite a bit without saying much of anything, although to us marketing types know the intent is positive and well-meaning.

Then there’s the introductory quip from the release.

The goal for Microsoft’s latest smartphone is an ambitious one: to deliver a phone that truly integrates the things people really want to do, puts those things right in front of them, and either lets them get finished quickly or immerses them in the experience they were seeking.

This is worse.  I know it sounds perfectly suit-and-tie serious for shareholders and enterprise IT folks who will be asked to add WP7 to their smartphone whitelist, but this can be so much better.  Saying ‘deliver’ and ‘integrate’ and ‘immerses’ in the same sentence is way too wordsmithed to come out on the other side meaning much to potential customers, especially the tech-savvy and jaded smartphone crowd.

So many businesses don’t get this, but want to.  They want to connect with their customers, to have real conversations, to speak without needing that abstraction layer so many find necessary to lay atop normal speech.  In fact, if you ask a company marketing exec to explain an idea, they more often than not will do a great job verbally.  Ask the same exec to write down the idea, and out comes the B-school speak.  Why?  I don’t know, but it happens even when executives are actively trying to speak to their customers over social media — a conversational medium if there ever was one.

I don’t have the solution nailed down yet, but there is a problem.  And it’s a problem nobody wants to have — that’s the ironic thing.  Nobody says, ‘This paragraph is too crisp and clear.  Can we muck it up a bit with some business clichés?”

As Gruber notes, let’s go back to 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world.

Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone. And here it is.

Simple as that.  There’s nothing integrated, there’s no leveraging, nobody’s being immersed, and there’s absolutely zero alignment going on.  Here’s what we’re doing, here’s the product, and oh by the way it will do the talking from here on out.

Everyone wants that style, but so few get there.  And that’s a bummer, because it’s a fight worth fighting.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More business posts.

The First Windows Phone 7 Ads Emerge

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The first two Windows Phone 7 (WP7) ads have been released, and they are, in a word, excellent.

The first, called ‘Season of the Witch’, is set to Donovan’s song by the same name, depicts a post-apocalyptic scene of accidents caused by people with their heads buried in their phones. Very clever, and the music is a strong hook.

The second, called ‘Really?’ summons SNL’s Seth Meyers and is also pitch-perfect.

It’s funny because it’s true.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More business posts.

Insight: On Having Human Business Ideals

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Then he gave me some advice about teaching that’s stuck with me for more than three decades: “Just pretend you’re teaching you. How would you do that? What would you want to know? What did you dislike when you were taught? What stories would you tell to make it understandable? What would keep you interested and engaged?”

—Steve Blank in Teach Like You’re the Student

As a boutique/specialist consulting firm, one of the nice things about breaking the mold of big-box companies is that we have an opportunity to create our own culture.  A lot of that affects how our employees experience working for us (something we’re proud to say we’ve done pretty well), but also how our clients experience working with us.

One of the precepts we hold dear is candid conversation.  We’ve turned down available work because we’ve told a client what he needed to hear instead of what he wanted to hear (in this case, that he didn’t need our services for another application he was considering).  We’re not afraid of the difficult conversation in the name of championing a client’s best interest.  And we’re dramatically opposed to the opaque, buzzword-filled communications that infect so much of business, especially in the enterprise IT space.  Don’t believe us?  Check out our Twitter feed, Facebook page and this very blog to get a feel how we engage our clients.  (We even try to humanize our datasheets.)

A lot of what drives us to this idea is that we don’t like being talked at in a jargon-heavy style any more than most of our clients do.  We find the best way to help clients understand our value as a specialist firm is to speak openly and naturally with them. When we help clients with knowledge transfer, we teach them like we would want to be taught ourselves, because it’s stickier that way.  People remember not only what you’re helping them with, but also you as a company.

It’s not always easy to explain how a consulting firm can be different above and beyond the standard R&R: resumes and rates.  But in 2005 we founded our company on ideas that ran a bit counter to the norm, and our clients have noticed.  And that’s the most we can ask for.

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog. If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website. If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More business posts.

Great TiVo Ads

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Zach Golden, copywriter, has some really fantastic ads for TiVo:

tivo_1

tivo_2

tivo_3

Very clever.  And if you’re a TiVo user, you know they’re bang-on accurate.

(Via SvN)

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog.  If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website.  If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.

More marketing posts you should read.

Nike: Write the Future

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In anticipation of the 2010 World Cup (11 June – 11 July), Nike has released a promotional ad that mixes feature film, brand development and flat-out hype of an event that will captivate a good percentage of the world for a month.  The production value is absurd.

I’ve always said Nike is one of the best marketing companies in the world, and it’s the #1 sports brand globally.  CEO Phil Knight famously commented, “Business is war without bullets.”

The vision and dedication to production value are direct descendants of Nike’s ambition, aggressiveness and irreverence.  And for a company that crosses so many sporting chasms, every piece they make seems resonate with the insiders of any given sport.  Given the company’s size, this level of ‘getting it’ is pretty spectacular.

Can’t wait for June 11th.

©2017 MIPRO Unfiltered