Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Social Media Platforms = Infrastructure?

The big social media sites, Facebook, LinkedIN, Twitter, et al, are now viewed as "platforms" .  Platforms whereby you can leverage them for business purposes.  They've clearly become platforms for Marketing (e.g., Branding, Lead Gen, etc).  Given this trend and momentum behind it, when, not if, will they become to be viewed as "infrastructure"?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Social Media and Websites: One or Two?

Today, social media and website are becoming more and more intertwined.  No longer is social media a “cute” thing to add to the business marketing mix they are a vital component of it.  If this continues, which I think it will, what is the long term value of the traditional website?  Facebook, Twitter and the others are more than website.  They are platforms bordering on infrastructure.  

Where a website "ends" and social media "begins" is a boundary will increasingly blur.  This trend will have a major impact on a wide range of technology providers in the web development, web hosting and content creation industries.

Apple, 10% Market Share in Smart Device. I've See this Movie Before

Is Apple destined for 10% market share in the smartphone & tablet markets? I’ve seen this movie before.  The big killer is looming.

Apple is great at innovating, branding and selling really cool products.  From its inception Apple has pushed the proverbial envelop over and over again.   The iPhone and iPad products have clearly been pioneers in the entire industry. 

However, like the Macintosh, the inherent forces in the technology universe will overcome them yet again.   The reasons are too numerous to mention.  A fundamental reason is the aggregate sum of R&D and Marketing budgets. 

By Apple’s own doing, there are ZERO competitive forces for iOS products.   Yet in the Android and Window markets there are many manufacturers fiercely competing both against Apple and against each other.   As big and profitable as Apple is they cannot compete over time against the aggregate sum of R&D and marketing dollars of an entire industry. 

One case in point is in semiconductor devices.  For any given common function in a phone or tablet there’s likely to be at least two semiconductor device manufactures competing fiercely for market share.  This in turn drives innovation and economics in that segment.  The same goes for glass, plastics, software and every common component.  If you add up the total R&D investment in the supply chain the problem gets worse for Apple.  Once the “non Apple” solutions start gaining market share, Apple’s slippery slope accelerates.  More R&D and marketing forces and more economy of scale create an unstoppable downward force on Apple. 

Then, the big killer sets in.  No longer do software vendors start with Apple and then migrate to Android then Windows.  They lead with Android and then decide “which one next” Apple or Windows? This too creates a competitive innovation engine that puts further downward pressure on Apple.

Yet, as in the previous “movie”, Apple will have its die-hard consumers to protect a lower market share and provide it profits to continue to innovate.  To their credit, Apple is leading the brand wars, at least in the U.S.  and among the under 25 year old demographic.   Perhaps this movie will have a different ending.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Vision vs. Roadmap

The term “vision” and “roadmap” tend to be used synonymously.  However, they are two distinct functions involved in marketing technologies.  Both are vital to short and long term success.  A vision paints a picture of how your customers’ and their customers’ world will look like in the future.  The vision addresses the future emotionally.   A roadmap list specific features and function that will be added in specified product releases.  The roadmap addresses the future logically.  Together they convince your customer that they should buy from you today and work with you for tomorrow.  

Future post will address how to create the vision and ensure the roadmaps are aligned with the vision.  

Give me a shout if you'd like to discuss in more detail to address your specific requirements.

Greg Whelan
978 992 2203

Monday, January 7, 2013

Energy Independence: Focus on Technology Strategy, not emotions

Energy independence is a political issue.  Certain groups loathe fossil fuels and will fight to prohibit drilling, fracking, anything associated with fossil fuels.  They are more concerned with the Elk in Alaska and some frog in west Texas than they are about the country and our people.  BTW, the elk and frogs are merely proxies in their loathing of fossil fuels.

Let's create an energy independence strategy with a short term goal to stop importing oil from our enemies and a long term goal to move beyond fossil fuels.   It's classic technology cycles, aka "S-curves" and "Crossing the Chasm" .  Fossil fuels will mature and alternatives will accelerate.  Subsidies can accelerate both, but they cannot create "Step functions" in these markets.

Cleantech: Into the Board Room

It seems to me the cleantech  or sustainability are turning a corner.  No longer is it about just Saving The Planet.  It’s about economics and business strategy.  Cleantech will become a real economic force because companies will be able to make money or save money or both.   With global economic turmoil and hyper-competition companies that have a sustainable cost advantage will thrive.  In markets with little differentiation brand power is paramount.   Real and provable eco-friendly branding will increase this power.   Now, these discussion need to move into the board room and become cornerstones of corporate strategy.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Solution Marketing -- Ensuring 1+1 > 2

The answer to Solution Marketing is captured eloquently in this model.

Solution marketing is getting more attention within tech companies these days.   With every market segment experiencing hyper competition, companies are looking for new ways to create sustainable competitive advantages.   The days of creating organizational silo’s based on individual products are going away.  Yet, most companies today are structured along product lines.  Each product line is measured with its own profit and loss (P&L).   Given this, not only is there a lack of incentive to collaborate there is in fact a dis-incentive to. 

A more detailed discussion will follow shortly.