BEST OF AUGUST – Customer Reviews, Surveys, and Top Social Media Listening Tools!

Well here we are…the unofficial End of Summer! Labor Day (in the U.S.), Back to School, and the business planning for 2018 is no longer avoidable!

There has been a lot of great information published this month, so here are the best articles I’ve read. I know you’ll find them worth the time, and packed with actionable goodies.

Social Media Listening

Social Media Listening

There are an ever growing number of social media listening tools (most also do other things, but the focus is on listening for this article) on the market. Some are free, some are “freemium” (free, but with some more functionality if you pay a bit more…), and others will cost you in a much bigger way. This article lists out 10 top tools in this category that won’t break your bank account. Be sure to assess carefully what you really need, and then add some extra headroom….you will ALWAYS end up needing them to do more than you think!

Continue reading

FOCUS: The Simple Obsession of Mindful Marketing

Mindfulness is a light of honesty within yourself that is fed by each moment that passes.

Mindfulness and “being in the moment” are ancient ideas found across cultures. This self-awareness is partly being truly aware of the moment, and partly acknowledging and letting go of the things and thoughts that cling to you or come flying back at you, only to be noticed and let go of again in that moment. It’s an enlightening and maddening place to be, for sure…

I read an article by Seth Godin recently about self-awareness and marketing that brought me to reconsider the role of marketing in my thought life and decision-making process, and in that of my customers and yours, too. To say that we are all relentlessly marketed to by just about everything and everyone is a statement of the obvious that we have become so numb to that we tend to ignore it.  We are in danger of losing the awareness that can allow us a margin of critical thinking.  Godin writes, “Mostly, marketing is what we call it when someone else is influenced by a marketer. When we’re influenced, though, it’s not marketing, it’s a smart choice.” In other words, it’s not “just marketing” when it influences me! I’m not as influenced by the marketing beast as “those other folks!”

Continue reading

The Forecast Myth

I’ve always associated the term “forecast” with the weather. Coming from the Midwest, I am culturally inclined to a near obsession with the weather. Few places have unchangeable weather, and living someplace where a tornado, a blizzard, a scorching heat wave or some other short or long term event can come slamming down on top of you makes you a bit skeptical of anyone’s ability to tell the future.  Granted, in the area of meteorology, science is improving, but sometimes it pays to just step outside for minute and look at the sky.

Continue reading

A Previously Unknown Definition of "Regular"

English: Illustration of "A Mad Tea Party...

English: Illustration of “A Mad Tea Party” in chapter in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in which Alice meets the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse. Text on Hatter’s hat reads “In this style 10/6”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just had a rather “Alice in Wonderland” experience.

I have pretty severe lower back problems and have a hard time finding exercises I can do that don’t further injure me.  I did some research and found that one thing I can do is work out on a recumbent stationary bike.  The only thing that hurts after a work out on that is my legs….

I did some online research and found a particularly well reviewed bike.  It was the same price on Amazon.com and at a local ‘big box’ sporting goods store, Dick’s Sporting Goods.  Since my workout room is on the second floor of my home (a long story…), I chose to shop at Dick’s, since they would not only deliver the bike but hoist it to my workout room and assemble it as well for no additional charge!  What a deal!

Continue reading

A Previously Unknown Definition of “Regular”

English: Illustration of "A Mad Tea Party...

English: Illustration of “A Mad Tea Party” in chapter in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in which Alice meets the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and the Dormouse. Text on Hatter’s hat reads “In this style 10/6”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just had a rather “Alice in Wonderland” experience.

I have pretty severe lower back problems and have a hard time finding exercises I can do that don’t further injure me.  I did some research and found that one thing I can do is work out on a recumbent stationary bike.  The only thing that hurts after a work out on that is my legs….

I did some online research and found a particularly well reviewed bike.  It was the same price on Amazon.com and at a local ‘big box’ sporting goods store, Dick’s Sporting Goods.  Since my workout room is on the second floor of my home (a long story…), I chose to shop at Dick’s, since they would not only deliver the bike but hoist it to my workout room and assemble it as well for no additional charge!  What a deal!

Continue reading

The other shoe drops – The Amazon Kindle SDK

Kindle DX and Kindle 2

Image via Wikipedia

Last week Amazon announced a Software Development Kit (SDK) for their Kindle e-reader.  They are calling it the Kindle Development Kit (KDK). According to Ian Freed, Vice President of the Kindle group, “We’ve heard from lots of developers over the past two years who are excited to build on top of Kindle.  The Kindle Development Kit opens many possibilities–we look forward to being surprised by what developers invent.” (full press release can be read here)

The KDK will be initially released in a limited beta.  The revenue split will be 70% to the developer and 30%, with an additional scheme for application delivery fees and ongoing delivery of any dynamic content or data.  Three pricing options have been announced (from the KDK page):

  • Free – Active content applications that are smaller than 1MB and use less than 100KB/user/month of wireless data may be offered at no charge to customers. Amazon will pay the wireless costs associated with delivery and maintenance.
  • One-time Purchase – Customers will be charged once when purchasing active content. Content must have nominal (less than 100KB/user/month) ongoing wireless usage.
  • Monthly Subscription – Customers will be charged once per month for active content.There are a few other restrictions/guidelines outlined on the KDK page as well.

    So what does this mean?  It means altering your perception of the Kindle.  If the creativity of the developers of mobile applications on other platforms is any indication (e.g.- Apple, Palm, Google, Microsoft Windows Mobile, Nokia, etc.), in the next year you will be able to do WAY more on your Kindle than read today’s New York Times and items from your Kindle library.  Kindle becomes an already accepted wireless mobile platform with a well-recognized name.  It is priced under the bulk of netbooks and many smartphones (admittedly, it also does NOT have touch or color, but I don’t think the designers at Amazon are standing still on those fronts…).

    This comes as a frontal challenge to the highly anticipated Apple tablet (side thought: if e-readers were THE gadget at CES this year, are tablets likely to be the hot item next year?).  As of today (January 25, 2010), it is not public just what the focus and capabilities of the Apple device will be.  Apple changed the whole idea of phone as mobile platform and enabled the developers for that device to stretch it and innovate in ways no one foresaw at the beginning (I’m reminded a little of the market for third party add-ons and ActiveX controls to Microsoft Visual Basic and early web development).  Apple’s good at drawing its established customer base into the “next big thing/flashy object” and expanding it.  I expect to see good sales of their device initially.  However, Kindle is likely to remain at a price advantage, even if the Kindle v.next has touch and color capabilities.  Apple has NEVER been afraid to charge top dollar for its products, and apparently a large portion of the consuming public is willing to pay.  However, the growing fuzziness over devices in this area (overlap in function, price, purpose, available applications, etc. for netbooks, e-readers, smartphones and all the ‘tweener’ devices….) may take some time to shake out.  Kindle has the advantage of being in the hands of a large number users today, and Amazon is just opening up the device to be enabled in other ways.  It’s shaping up to be a very interesting competition.

    Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
  • The other shoe drops – The Amazon Kindle SDK

    Kindle DX and Kindle 2

    Image via Wikipedia

    Last week Amazon announced a Software Development Kit (SDK) for their Kindle e-reader.  They are calling it the Kindle Development Kit (KDK). According to Ian Freed, Vice President of the Kindle group, “We’ve heard from lots of developers over the past two years who are excited to build on top of Kindle.  The Kindle Development Kit opens many possibilities–we look forward to being surprised by what developers invent.” (full press release can be read here)

    The KDK will be initially released in a limited beta.  The revenue split will be 70% to the developer and 30%, with an additional scheme for application delivery fees and ongoing delivery of any dynamic content or data.  Three pricing options have been announced (from the KDK page):

  • Free – Active content applications that are smaller than 1MB and use less than 100KB/user/month of wireless data may be offered at no charge to customers. Amazon will pay the wireless costs associated with delivery and maintenance.
  • One-time Purchase – Customers will be charged once when purchasing active content. Content must have nominal (less than 100KB/user/month) ongoing wireless usage.
  • Monthly Subscription – Customers will be charged once per month for active content.There are a few other restrictions/guidelines outlined on the KDK page as well.

    So what does this mean?  It means altering your perception of the Kindle.  If the creativity of the developers of mobile applications on other platforms is any indication (e.g.- Apple, Palm, Google, Microsoft Windows Mobile, Nokia, etc.), in the next year you will be able to do WAY more on your Kindle than read today’s New York Times and items from your Kindle library.  Kindle becomes an already accepted wireless mobile platform with a well-recognized name.  It is priced under the bulk of netbooks and many smartphones (admittedly, it also does NOT have touch or color, but I don’t think the designers at Amazon are standing still on those fronts…).

    This comes as a frontal challenge to the highly anticipated Apple tablet (side thought: if e-readers were THE gadget at CES this year, are tablets likely to be the hot item next year?).  As of today (January 25, 2010), it is not public just what the focus and capabilities of the Apple device will be.  Apple changed the whole idea of phone as mobile platform and enabled the developers for that device to stretch it and innovate in ways no one foresaw at the beginning (I’m reminded a little of the market for third party add-ons and ActiveX controls to Microsoft Visual Basic and early web development).  Apple’s good at drawing its established customer base into the “next big thing/flashy object” and expanding it.  I expect to see good sales of their device initially.  However, Kindle is likely to remain at a price advantage, even if the Kindle v.next has touch and color capabilities.  Apple has NEVER been afraid to charge top dollar for its products, and apparently a large portion of the consuming public is willing to pay.  However, the growing fuzziness over devices in this area (overlap in function, price, purpose, available applications, etc. for netbooks, e-readers, smartphones and all the ‘tweener’ devices….) may take some time to shake out.  Kindle has the advantage of being in the hands of a large number users today, and Amazon is just opening up the device to be enabled in other ways.  It’s shaping up to be a very interesting competition.

    Reblog this post [with Zemanta]