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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Ken Cuccinelli

January 27, 2012

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Categories: Business

A Value Proposition is the collection of reasons why a customer buys. Think of a value proposition not as a statement, but as a concept about why people buy something.

The collection of reasons why people buy typically fall into three major buckets that, in sum, form the value proposition:

  1. Potential buyers have to need what they’re buying. It has to resonate with them.
  2. Potential buyers have to see why you stand out from the other available options. You have to differentiate.
  3. Potential buyers have to believe that you’ll be able to deliver on your promises. You have to substantiate.
Value Proposition- Why People Buy

This is what happens when a leg of the value proposition stool is missing.

As you can see from the ”Three Legs of the Value Proposition Stool” graphic above, take any one of these away and it makes it much more difficult to sell.

Remove resonance and people just won’t buy what you’re selling.

Remove differentiation and they’ll pressure your price or attempt to get it someplace else.

Remove your ability to substantiate your claims and while clients may want what you sell (you resonate), and may perceive you to be the only people on the planet that do what you do (you differentiate), if they don’t believe you, they won’t risk working with you.

Joe Dineff

January 20, 2012

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Categories: Business

For those of you that have no idea what a project manager does, I will give you a brief overview.

Project management is a vital function that affects every aspect of a project from discovery to deployment. The project requirements based on client specifications are the driving force for accurately designing a plan that will not only meet the client’s needs but utilize company resources in the most efficient way possible. It is necessary for a project manager to have a balance of cost of project, scope of work and schedule to ensure that a quality product is the end result.

A Project Manager plays a vital role in web development and other aspects of interactive marketing.

Project management is a vital function that affects every aspect of a project from discovery to deployment.

Communication and collaboration at all levels of the organization is the only way to ensure the best solution has been chosen. Within our organization there are experts in their own field, the project manager is responsible for communicating the right information to each level.

Often, a certain level of creativity is needed in utilizing the budget and available resources in the best way possible to provide the client with the best solution. But sometimes when managing a web-based project, the best way to do something has already been done. So the dilemma is whether to use an existing wheel—such as Google analytics, maps or calendars—or totally recreate the wheel. Most people will buy the wheel and make it work, but in some cases recreating the wheel is the only way to guarantee an exact fit. This falls in line with utilizing your resources in the most efficient way possible. A good project manager will make these decisions and have facts to back that decision.

Commitment to a project is probably the number one requirement of a good project manager. Once a project has been approved and signed by the client, the project manager has to be totally committed to providing the end product based on the specifications. In some cases, the estimated budget ends up being less than the actual cost to do the project. Regardless, the project manager must make sure the project is completed to the specifications no matter what.

In the end, the quality of the completed product and the relationships created with the client are what count.

Paul Schrecongost

January 13, 2012

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Categories: Business

I once knew a guy who owned a video and film production house back in the ‘80s. Business was good; he was cranking out TV spots on a daily basis…literally. However, at the time there was also a newly emerging media – the Internet. This person always prided himself on having the foresight to see marketing trends and knew this Internet thing would be huge. In fact, he told me more than once that “traditional” media like television and billboards were heading down the path of the dinosaurs. “To be successful you must be able to quickly adapt.” And he did just that. He sold off his production facility, virtually overnight, and built a new studio dedicated to what he saw to be the only viable future in marketing: creating websites and banner ads. There was just one problem; the rest of the business world didn’t react so quickly. He was out of business within three years.

O.K., O.K., so the Internet boom eventually came to fruition. According to market research website eMarketer, the U.S. online ad spending is expected to grow pretty spectacularly from $29 billion this year to $46 billion in 2015. However, this Great Digital Age we’re now in appeared without killing off other forms of advertising. In fact, eMarketer also predicts that U.S. TV ad spending will account for over 39 percent of all major media dollars spent by advertisers in 2015!

So what we end up with is a gluttony of viable media options: Internet, social media, billboards, print, television, radio, direct mail, email, etc. “Great!,” we marketers cry. We can now fine-tune media plans and target any audience or groups with surgical precision. All these options are there for us to draw from, like arrows in a gigantic quiver. We can now align databases with audience preferences and create accurate, up-to-the-minute lists. ALL thanks to the wonderfully vast marketing mix at our disposal.

But wait just a media minute, mister. What if these options fall into the wrong hands… like unknowing clients’? Here’s a typical conversation about media choice these days:

Agency: So, why do you want to be on Facebook?

Client: Everybody’s doing it. It shows we’re at the forefront of our industry. Our message can potentially reach billions of people… on a personal level.

Agency: But you sell industrial limestone.

The bottom line: Just because the choice exists doesn’t mean it’s right.. And choosing the right media is more complex than ever before. That’s where the experience of a good marketing firm comes in handy. With practical knowhow, experience and a solid marketing plan, we can align your needs with the right media mix.

Of course another option might be to get rid of some of that media, maybe with a big sale…

OPEN ON A MAN IN A PLAID SUIT AND COWBOY HAT STANDING UNDER A STRING OF BANNERS FLAPPING IN THE WIND WITH THE WORDS, “Media Sale!”
SALESMAN: (SCREAMING TO CAMERA)
It’s our media blowout sale!! Yee-ha!!
We’re overstocked! We’ve got more inventory than we’ll ever use… Internet, social, television, radio, print, billboards… we’ve even got vinyl banners!!!
(POINTS TO BANNERS OVER HIS HEAD)
You pick. You choose. We’ve got one with your name on it.
Yeeee, ha!!

But then we’d have to decide where to run the commercials: national spot TV, cable, in an eBlast campaign, website video, viral marketing on YouTube…

Boyd Reed

January 6, 2012

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Categories: Business, Development

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” – Benjamin Franklin

It is no secret that finding and eliminating errors in any technical project is significantly cheaper for the developer if done pre-release than if done post-release. There are a number of ways to calculate the specific impact of releasing content with errors, depending on the parameters of the specific project. Johanna Rothman provides one easy-to-follow example that should illustrate this concept. It has been my observation that errors found after release cost three to five times as much to fix as errors found pre-release.

Quality Assurance for Development

Image from www.ghs.com

A strong quality assurance (QA) process can help a company’s developers find and eliminate errors in their projects. It’s a pro-active function that shows customers a firm commitment to releasing only high-quality, bug-free content. However, this is often made more difficult by what typically happens in a software development life cycle (SDLC).

In a standard SDLC, a project’s expected time in each stage is calculated. However, it is frequently the case that the development process takes longer than anticipated. Unfortunately, the deadline for project completion often cannot be moved, due to contractual obligation or other restrictions. So, whatever extra time is consumed by development is often subtracted from the quality assurance stage.

Needless to say, this can cause the QA process to be rushed, and ultimately compromised. This is unacceptable as well. Compounding this rush is that QA often gets a project released to it without prior knowledge of the specifics. This means that, in a typical SDLC, some of the already-reduced testing time will be further reduced by a need to read and comprehend the requirements before testing can even begin. So, the real question is: how do we avoid overloading the back end of the SDLC?

Quality Assurance

http://www.a1technology.com/

This is where an ounce of collaboration may be worth a pound of gold. The ideal SDLC should involve a QA presence from the very beginning – as far back as the first meeting between the company’s sales force and the client.

Agile development provides a good framework for doing this in larger companies, but it requires QA to be performed throughout the programming process. It also requires QA to be performed from both developers’ and end-users’ points of view, which usually means having two separate QA staffs. If your company doesn’t have a large QA staff, you may not be able to achieve “true” agile development. This does not mean, however, that you must sacrifice agility!

If you only have limited testing resources, QA probably cannot be involved throughout initial development. However, if QA is at least present when the project requirements are determined, that will give increased visibility to – and familiarity with – the project. Anyone involved with the QA process should be included on all communication related to programming requirements or client expectations. Of course, the QA staff is expected to have read the provided documentation on each project prior to testing.

This reveals another benefit of early QA involvement – questions can be raised about potential problem areas early in the process, which prevents future unpleasant surprises for everyone involved in the project.

When this process is properly implemented, a project released for testing after beta development can often go straight into formal testing. Since there is usually a time crunch when a project lands in QA, saving that time may well make the difference between a comprehensive testing run and a compromised testing run. The more thorough the testing, the less likely you are to release a product with bugs in it… which translates to more profit staying in your coffers.