Archive for the ‘product’ tag
Yahoo invited press today to a product event in New York saying only that it will “share something special” soon after reports that the company is going to buy blog platform Tumblr.
It seems Yahoo has been very product-focused in the months since Marissa Mayer both took the chief executive corner office and demanded that critical employees not work from home. It has done a lot on the mobile front, releasing apps for the weather as well as Yahoo mail, which VentureBeat’s Jolie O’Dell called gorgeous.
The company also recently integrated Summly, a content summarizing technology, to its mobile homepage, providing a summary of a story to help people decide if they want to read it.
In the past month Yahoo has also acquired a number a companies including GoPollGo and Milewise, a polling app and frequent flyer app respectively.
Yesterday, rumors broke out about what would be the biggest acquisition for Yahoo next — a $1 billion deal to buy Tumblr. We may hear more about this deal at the event, which is set for 5 p.m. Eastern on Monday.
Filed under: Media
There’s a lot of talk about promoting your stuff in social networks.
Then there’s the talk about the successful promotion of the stuff other people make.
There isn’t nearly as much conversation about making something worth promoting. (promotion of the writing you do about selling the stuff you have doesn’t count).
Then consider: where are your expectations? What does making it big mean to you?
Put specific edges on them, so you can work it.
Talking about promotion is much more exciting than working on your product.
The experience happens close to the product. That’s where differentiation meets value proposition — people come to you because you are the only one who meets certain criteria. They may even talk about their experience to everyone they know if you give them the opportunity to fill in their details and complete the story.
Does this story lead somewhere worth my time?
That’s where business increases its relevance. It’s where your relevance is higher, too.
[image courtesy of Seth Godin]
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For a single-product website, the homepage is often the landing page. Let’s look at a recent homepage test with a MECLABS Research Partner to see what lessons you can learn from it to improve your own testing and optimization efforts.
(Please Note: Research Partner name has been blurred to protect competitive advantage.)
The new homepage and cart resulted in a 58% lift. These results validated at a 99% level of confidence.
What You Need to Understand
The homepage was redesigned to follow the user’s thought sequence and to clearly state the value proposition. This added more credibility and value to the page, which resulted in a higher conversion rate.
Another important change, which isn’t readily apparent from the above creative samples, was the optimization of the cart process. A simplified process reduced friction and made it easier for users to buy the product.
There was a total reduction of six steps, with most of those steps being unnecessary and unneeded. The necessary steps were combined into one page on the cart. This created a better user experience and a higher rate of conversion.
If you need to upgrade or repair electronics, the iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit has enough driver bits, spudgers, and miscellaneous tools to open, disassemble, repair, and reassemble your phone, laptop, or most other electronic product. More »
BranchOut is known as one of the bigger success stories for startups building on top of Facebook. The company, which makes a professional social network that runs on Facebook, has raised nearly $50 million in venture capital and attracted 30 million users since it was founded back in July 2010. So it was great to have the chance to pull aside BranchOut CEO Rick Marini at the Facebook Ecosystem CrunchUp TechCrunch hosted last Friday to hear about the “dos and don’ts” he’s learned along the way.
Watch the video above to see our full interview, and below I’ve excerpted a couple of his insights:
Growth Is Sexy, But Product Is What Counts
One of the major things Marini said he’s learned in building BranchOut is that while the kind of blockbuster growth that Facebook can enable is tempting to constantly position your app to attract new users, it’s important to make sure that your actual product is compelling enough to foster loyalty and a returning audience.
“I think often people think there’s a silver bullet to getting traffic and getting viral. I think what we’ve learned is that there are times when you can get some spike of virality, but if you really want that long-term major user growth its got to start with a good product. So, something that we have at BranchOut [which has grown] from nothing to 30 million users in less than two years, which is great, but then we realized OK, now it’s time not only to get the user acquisition but we’ve got to really enhance the product and get users back every day. Don’t be an episodic utility, be a community. And now we’ve got to make that shift.
I think that it sounds really sexy from the outside when you see our numbers or, you know, companies like us that take off, and people get excited. But if you’re building for the long term, like we are, you’ve gotta have a great product.”
Facebook Isn’t Bedrock — It’s ‘Shifting Sands’
Another lesson the folks at BranchOut have learned is when you build your company on top of Facebook, you have to think about it in a completely different way than you would for a more independently-based company — flexibility is key.
“Facebook innovates so quickly that for my growth team that I have in place [which] focuses on user acquisition and also now more on retention, it’s a different puzzle every day. So think of it, and this is what I tell my guys, think of it when you come in that you’ve got a different puzzle that you need to put together. And all these pieces change every day. And don’t get frustrated by it, look at it as an opportunity and a challenge. Beause most companies aren’t dedicated resources to growth and these analytics and solving this puzzle every day. The ones that do, the ones that can solve that puzzle, those are the ones that we’ve really seen excel.
… I think a lot of off-Facebook properties can build more on bedrock. And I think we are building more on shifting sands. But they’re really lucrative sands if you do well. And you know, for a company like us, for BranchOut, there’s no way we could have signed up 30 million users in two years outside of Facebook. so in spite of the shifting sands and the risks of building on someone else’s platform, the benefits for us are so big.”
Guitar-making is a noble and beautiful art and it’s high time luthiers started thinking about the web. MacKenzie & Marr is a tiny company in Quebec that designs and hand makes relatively inexpensive but amazingly handsome guitars. While they do outsource much of the manufacturing to China, there is not a single robot involved in the building of their cedar-top git-fiddles and guitarists can order their handsome axes with a few button-clicks.
Why did the boys go online? “The music business is the worst distribution channel imaginable. Factory to brand to warehouse to multiple distributors to dealers. High end guitars are almost always in small retailers,” said John Marr, co-founder. This allows them to cut 60% off of the price of hand-crafted guitars.
As an ecommerce play, instruments are a fairly benighted industry. They’re niche, so, like fine wristwatches and pens, there’s some tendency to focus on authorized dealers and networks. By eschewing this, the team saves a lot of hassle and money.
“I was looking for a product that could be sold on the web..had to be expensive (not interested in selling 25 cent widgets) had to evoke passion (word of mouth) and one day Jonathan asked if I had played any Chinese guitars. I said ‘Yes, total garbage,’” said Marr.
“Jon replied that I needed to go try one of the newer solid wood ones. I did and they were good and we knew how to make the better. Voila! The product I was looking for!” he said.
Marr went on to spend a week working in China in order to better understand the process. He said the lack of contract manufacturers and cost prevented him from building guitars with the same craftsmanship in Canada.
“Everyone said no musician would buy a guitar over the Internet. We knew they would.”
And they did. The company sold out of their first run fairly quickly after appearing on Canada’s Dragon’s Den, which is a sort of Shark Tank for the Great White North. You can obviously pick up Fenders and Martins at various online stores but this is the first factory-direct sales model I’ve seen in the guitar world.
They’re not quite ready to offer custom work just yet, but inlays may be on the horizon. “For most makers the quantities we produce would be laughable so even a huge production run by our standards is custom work for someone like Martin,” he said. The guitars start at about $1,000, but some “less than perfect” models can be had for $600.
Jon MacKenzie and Marr met in grade school and have been friends for over fifty years. Marr plays blues fingerpicking and Jon likes folk and Celtic. Marr describes himself as a real hack, but he knows how to build a mean axe.
One of the most talked about changes introduced by Google on May 31, 2012, is the launch of a paid program from Google Shopping based on Product Listing Ads (PLA). Since its announcement, we have seen a huge change in shopping results. Google Shopping listings replace the current Google Product…
Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.
New Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, well-known for her obsessive dedication to products like Google’s search and Gmail, isn’t wasting time on shaking up Yahoo’s complacent corporate attitude.
The former Google executive is pushing Yahoo to focus more on its products and users, a big shift from the business focused chief executives like Scott Thompson and Ross Levinsohn, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Mayer has previously said that she wouldn’t reveal any grand plans to fix Yahoo until she reviewed all of its businesses. But judging from the WSJ’s report, it sounds like Mayer hasn’t wasted much time in putting her touch on Yahoo. The philosophical shift is also particularly impressive considering she’s only been on the job for three weeks.
The report notes that Mayer has removed Yahoo’s stock ticker from its internal company website, a sign that employees should be more focused on Yahoo’s products instead of its finances. Mayer has also expressed interest in revamping Yahoo’s search experience (the underlying technology of which is powered by Microsoft’s Bing), as well as a plan to spread Yahoo’s content and ads throughout the web, sources tell the WSJ. Mayer is also now approving every new Yahoo hire, and she’s begun weekly “FYI meetings” to stay in touch with Yahoo employees.
For Yahoo, a company that has seemed like a black hole of innovation for the past decade, Mayer’s singular focus on products can only be a good thing. But it remains to be seen how much innovation Mayer can milk out of Yahoo’s existing products. The company could potentially buoy its products through acquisitions, but with only around $2 billion in cash on-hand, any purchases would have to be sure-fire successes to be worthwhile.
Photo JD Lasica/Flickr
Filed under: VentureBeat
Social responsibility is largely misunderstood and therefore typically mismanaged by brand marketers. Social responsibility is not something that brand marketers should do on behalf of a brand or market as a selling point for a brand. Social responsibility is a product in its own right, and as such puts to rest the central claim against it famously articulated by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman.
In a controversial, oft-cited essay published in the September 3, 1970 issue of The New York Times Magazine, Friedman argued that in a “free-enterprise, private-property system,” corporate managers are responsible to the shareholders who are the owners of the businesses that employ them, and the interests of these owners “generally will be to make as much money as possible while conforming to the basic rules of the society.” Hence the title of Friedman’s essay, a declaration that has been both celebrated and decried in the intervening decades: “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits.” That is to say, the responsibility of business is not to do good but to make money.
Nowadays, consumers (or most of them at least) couldn’t disagree more. Consumers have come to expect a lot more from companies than a just a good product or service. Indeed, this is even a source of leverage and power for many consumers, with 63 percent in The Futures Company 2012 U.S. MONITOR survey agreeing with the statement, “By choosing to do business with companies that are more socially responsible, I can make a difference in this world.”
Companies that limit their responsibilities to their own profitability, and to the satisfaction of customers with their products and services, find themselves at crosscurrents with the direction and demands of today’s marketplace. Simply put, consumers want companies to produce and deliver more than just a good consumer product. They want companies to produce and deliver a good social product, too.
The nuance here is fundamental. Consumers don’t just want a product that is affiliated in some way with social good. They want companies to deliver a product of social good in addition to a good consumer product. A company has to be in both businesses – the business of consumer goods and the business of social goods.
The confusing thing here, of course, is that consumers don’t, and in fact usually don’t want to, pay for a social good, nor, for the most part, can they do so even if they wanted to. So it’s hard for brand marketers to recognize it as a product in its own right. If it’s not something that consumers can buy, own, rent or use, then how can it be a product?
The answer harkens back to Friedman’s declaration, which is about what companies do, or to put it another way, about what products companies produce and deliver. Products are what companies do. If companies must now do more, then that means more products. Not old products in new ways, which is nothing but companies doing the same old thing with a new spin. Instead, it’s more products to satisfy new types of consumer demands and needs.
What companies do used to be a consumer good alone. But these days, consumers are demanding that companies do social good, too, and as something companies do, it is a product, even though it is not for sale in the consumer marketplace.
The importance of making this distinction is to emphasize that social responsibility is not merely a consumer product characteristic or attribute. Consumers are focused on social responsibility for its own sake not in terms of what it means for the appeal or value of a brand. Social responsibility is not subordinate to nor assessed relative to the dimensions and considerations that make up a consumer product. It must be managed independently.
Social responsibility is also much more important to the company as a whole than any particular consumer product characteristic or attribute. Poor gas mileage may hurt a car company’s sales, but it won’t bring the company’s reputation into disrepute. Poor cleaning power may hurt a laundry detergent’s sales, but it won’t cast doubt on the company’s commitment to the basic rules, ethics and customs of the community at large. Especially in the contemporary charged social environment, consumers look to social responsibility for clues they don’t expect to find from a consumer good.
This matters even more when companies find themselves unexpectedly caught up in a whirlwind of social controversy, such as Nike and third-world labor or Bain Capital and outsourcing or Apple and sustainability or Chick Fil-A and gay marriage. Management has to scramble (thereby taking its eye off the bottom-line ball) when the company lacks a solid record of producing and delivering social responsibility. Indeed, with social responsibility ever higher on consumer priority lists, these kinds of risks can no longer be disregarded or taken lightly. Crisis contingency plans built for product tampering or employee misconduct or management criminality must now include rows over social issues as well.
More and more of what consumers expect of companies, and of brand marketers, goes beyond the traditional single responsibility of producing and delivering a consumer good. Consumers now come to the marketplace with a broader sense of a company’s responsibilities.
Consumers are no longer satisfied with companies that define their purpose narrowly. The purpose expected of a business is not just to produce and deliver a consumer good. Consumers expect corporate purpose to include social responsibility, along with other increasingly important things like social relationships, social causes and social well-being. Companies and brand marketers can no longer get away with keeping their heads down to focus just on a consumer product. Social responsibility is a product, too, and must be managed and marketed in that way.
Contributed to Branding Strategy Insider by: J. Walker Smith, Executive Chairman, The Futures Company
Sponsored By: The Brand Positioning Workshop
Want a trail to growth and resources? Find out who’s hiring…welcome to On the Move!
Both the submissions on this job announcement board, as well as available social media positions at corporations continue to pour in. In this continued digest of job changes, I like to salute those that continue to join the industry in roles focused on social media, see the archives, which I’ve been tracking since Q4, 2007.
People on the Move in the Social Business Industry:
- While not a conventional ‘hire’, SHIFT communications (early social business player) rejiggers ownership and gifted to current and future employees with shares of company ownership (edit: I had incorrectly had indicated the shares were for purchase)
- Peter Kim departs Dachis Group to hang out his own shingle as a free agent, congrats Peter, we were former colleagues at Forrester.
- Tac Anderson leaves Waggener Edstrom and returning to the United States, after leading digital strategies in London, welcome back.
- Edelman Appoints Adam Hirsch SVP, Emerging Media and Technology, formerly of Mashable.
- Dave Peck joins PayPal as Lead Social Media Manager Lead PayPal’s Social Media Strategy, congrats Dave.
- Josh Pelz joins Engine Shop Agency as Vice President and Head of Digital Design and implement digital strategy across all clients.
- Cosmin Ghiurau joins RadioShack as Director Social Media Leading the Social Media practice at RadioShack. Responsible to provide thought leadership and social marketing strategy to 35K global team members in 27 countries. Directing the the multi-channel experience for customers in 6,000 global locations from an acquisition, engagement, retention, and advocacy.
- Chung Cheong joins 33 Across as VP of Product Management Chung will spearhead product strategy, vision, and development of new products for 33Across Chung will spearhead product strategy, vision, and development of new products for 33Across
- Neil Fried joins 33 Across as Vice President of Business Development Neil will lead 33Across’s business development efforts, just as he did at Yahoo!, where he was formerly Director of Business Development and led strategic advertising technology partnerships.
- Virginie Glaenzer joins LiveWorld as VP of Marketing Marketing
- Kasey Skala joins Mutual of Omaha as Social Media & Online Marketing Manager Managing social media and online marketing for consumer and Individual Financial Services.
- Wesley Clock joins ThoughtWorks Studios as Community Manager Facilitator of conversations on the community website and social channels.
- Valérie Vecchioni joins We Are Social France as Account Director Valerie joins us today to support the development of the agency, particularly following the gain in recent months of several new budgets, such as Renault France, Moet & Chandon, Pernod Ricard and Murat Paris
- Shail Khiyara joins Spigit as EVP & Chief Marketing Officer Leading world-wide marketing efforts
- Ian Robin joins HootSuite as Director of Sales – EMEA To improve the quantity, quality and service levels of our customers in Europe, Middle East and Africa.
- Shannon Paul joins Fifth Third Bancorp as Vice President, Social Media Develop and lead social media strategy for the enterprise
- Jenna Odett joins Unmetric as Manager, US Sales & Business Development Responsible for new business development across industries in the United States
- Tim Tulloch joins Hootsuite as Regional Director, Strategic Accounts, New York Responsible for growing HootSuite’s client base amongst strategic accounts in and around New York City.
- Dennis Jenders joins Laughlin Constable as VP, Digital + Communications Strategy In his role as VP of Digital + Communications Strategy, Jenders will provide strategic leadership and insights for integrated clients on a regional and national level.
- Matthew Brazil joins Conversocial as VP of Sales Matt will be leading our sales and marketing efforts as we continue our expansion to the United States.
- Brian Poulsen joins 7Summits as Front-End Developer Helping 7Summits deliver superior website creation, Poulsen has already delivered one major healthcare solution in the social business space and is poised to create more community-based solutions for 7Summits’ growing client base.
- Paul Jacobson joins 7Summits as Director of Front-End Development As Director of Front-End Development at 7Summits, Jacobson delivers on the agency’s promise of unique and advanced social business strategy with extensive experience in creative interactive solutions, rich user experiences, simple usability, user-centered design and smart development.
- Andre Malske joins 7Summits as Senior User Experience Designer At 7Summits, he champions user advocacy to deliver all solutions around user-centered design methodology, while preserving strong brand presence.
- Tim Mila joins 7Summits as Software Engineer As a software engineer, Mila develops integrated collaboration and community solutions inside and outside the experience.
- Naren Duvvuru joins Simplify360 as EVP and Head of Americas Drive Global Strategy and Sales
- Justin Kistner joins Spruce Media as Sr. Director of Product Head up product management and marketing
- Jeanette Gray joins HootSuite as Regional Director, Strategic Sales Asia Pacific Helping clients drive key business results using HootSuite
- Mark Yolton in promoted at SAP as SVP of SAP Digital, Social, Community In addition to responsibilities for SAP’s social media, communities, and tech events, added responsibility for all of SAP.com and country websites globally, plus online marketing
- Michael Agostino joins 33Across as Chief Technology Officer Michael will be responsible for 33Across’s technological vision, strategy, development, and technical operations.
- Miranda Man joins Bloom Worldwide as Social Business Strategist To deliver social business consulting to businesses
- Peter Wang joins adtivity by appssavvy as Senior Vice President of Engineering Development of the adtivity by appssavvy platform.
- Jeffrey Yang joins adtivity by appssavvy as Analytics Architect Analytics capabilities of the adtivity by appssavvy platform
- Bryan Valentini joins adtivity by appssavvy as Analytics Engineer Analytics capabilities of the adtivity by appssavvy platform
- Eli Daiches joins adtivity by appssavvy as Senior Platform Engineer Development of the adtivity by appssavvy platform
- Michael Kim joins adtivity by appssavvy as QA Engineer Quality assurance of the adtivity by appssavvy platform
- Derek Showerman joins Radian6 as Pricipal consultant Guiding fortune 5000′s through social media strategy
Submit a new hire:
Seeking a job?
- See the Web Strategy Job Board, which includes paid submissions from the top brands in the world.
- Social Media Jobs Facebook Group
- Social Media Jobs by Chris Heuer
- Social Media jobs, filtered by SimplyHired
- Social Media Job Network by James Durbin
- 25 places to find social media jobs by Deb Ng
- Community Manager Facebook Group
- Community Manager Appreciation Day (Every 4th Monday of Jan, yearly)
- List of corporate web strategists and community managers for 2010
- Social Media Headhunter: Career advice, job postings and services
- New Media Hire community by Jim Long and team
Please congratulate the new hires by leaving a comment below.