Archive for September, 2012

FountainBlue’s Momentum-Building Marketing Services

September 26, 2012

Over the past six and a half years, we have provided strategic marketing, communications, business development and other consulting services to Silicon-Valley-based serial technology entrepreneurs providing personalized services to an engaged, demanding and growing customer base. Whether we were directly consulting with clients to create and deliver scalable, tech-philic solutions which can sustainably meet the personalized needs of a demanding, growing and happy customer base, or whether we were tracking, documenting and reporting on business and technology trends so that we can better support the needs of our clients, or whether we were convening and connecting and connecting members of our community in order to stimulate conversations and knowledge about technology, business and leadership trends and build relationships and collaborations between stakeholders, we aspire to foster the age of personalization (see articles below) while also working with clients to build momentum for their companies.

FountainBlue’s Momentum-Building Marketing Consulting Services

FountainBlue’s Momentum-Building-Marketing consulting services recognizes that momentum is the heart of success for any business, and that creating momentum involves the integration of vision, strategy, and execution.

Long-Term Vision with Consideration for Market Trends and Company Leadership (Why):

  1. Understanding business trends and their implications for industries, organizations and people. Strategy for Delivering Solutions (What) to Specific Audiences (Who)
  2. Transitioning existing products and strategies to new markets and applications, based on current and anticipated business trends and feedback and input of current and expected customers.
  3. Aligning the corporate strategy with individual business initiatives and department objectives.
  4. Identifying classes of stakeholders and creating prioritized strategies to reach out to each class.

Execution to Deliver Measurable Results (How, With Whom):

5. Developing integrated marketing and communications plans to achieve milestone-based results.

6. Creating communication pieces reflecting the vision and strategy for the web, social media communities, media contacts, customers and prospects and other stakeholders to achieve specific objectives.

7. Providing introductions to the strategic partners and channels for specific mutually-rewarding purposes.

8. Facilitating collaborations between individual stakeholders and classes of stakeholders for mutual benefit.

9. Engaging communities of stakeholders and ambassadors through:

  • Ongoing Online Communications: blogs, tweets, wikis, e-mails, newsletters, webinars
  • Face-to-Face Gatherings: in-person events, tours, gatherings, celebrations
  • Access to Resources and Information: regular access to articles, interviews, best-practices, new research and findings, etc. tailored to the needs and interests of niche audiences

Integration of Vision/Strategy/Execution

10. Review goals, milestones, deliverables, strategy and results and revisit vision, strategy and execution based on review.

Top Ten Rules for Customer Engagement

September 26, 2012

Top Ten Rules for Customer Engagement

This post is part of our top ten secrets of marketing series.

Momentum. You can’t run a business without it. And in this age where technology and social media and mobile are the kings, and being in the silent majority the norm, businesses big and small need to find a way to convert lurkers to ambassadors, members to customers.

Rule Number One. Give them a purpose they can be passionate about.

Rule Number Two. Provide service, tool, feeling of sustainable value, easily communicated.

Rule Number Three. Communicate your passion and competence around that purpose and offering.

Rule Number Four. Beyond purpose, there must be an alignment of values. Act with honor and integrity and communicate with transparency from the top-down, and from the bottom-up.

Rule Number Five. Enlist a hero.

Rule Number Six. Empower all to be ambassadors.

Rule Number Seven. Enlist a community leader who will resolve conflicts quickly, fairly, transparently.

Rule Number Eight. Offer different ways for community members to participate and different levels of participation.

Rule Number Nine. Shift your offerings as the needs of the community and the market change.

Rule Number Ten. Celebrate successes, transitions and community.

Top Ten Rules for Marketing on a Shoestring

September 25, 2012

The entrepreneurial tech companies we work with are driving the next age into personalization. As effective entrepreneurs in an age where technology favors the nimble and decisive smaller company, they are adept at building momentum by marketing on a shoestring. Here are the top ten rules we follow when we serve them.

Rule Number One. Know your value proposition, what you do for whom and why.

Rule Number Two. Clearly and consistently communicate your value proposition, your message and your brand.

Rule Number Three. Understand the various stakeholders and message based on your understanding of their needs and objectives.

Rule Number Four. Develop communities of stakeholders and engage these communities in your activities.

Rule Number Five. Communicate to your communities through blogs, LinkedIn, FaceBook, and in-person events.

Rule Number Six. Forge win-win alliances with strategic partners.

Rule Number Seven. Leverage PR and media to spread the measure and grow your community and brand.

Rule Number Eight. Measure the results of your marketing efforts.

Rule Number Nine.  Pivot based on the results.

Rule Number Ten. Be proactive and transparent and collaborative in your communications and actions.

We invite your feedback, insights and stories about your marketing-on-a-shoestring successes.

  • E-mail us at info@FountainBlue.biz if you have your own suggestions on the top ten rules of customer engagement.
  • Nominate your own company, or other companies you respect and mention which rule above they profile well and why.
  • Volunteer to be interviewed to profile how your company is a great example of any of the rules above.
  • Ask us to help you with your own marketing-on-a-shoestring needs.
  • Other ideas, suggestions and thoughts you might have.

Embrace the Age of Personalization

September 25, 2012

AgePersonalizationIf the 60s brought on the decade of semiconductors, the 70s the era of the personal computer, the 80s, the prominence of networks, the 90s, the rise of the modern internet, and the 00s the prominence of social networks, what will the next decade bring? It’s that Age of Personalization, with the technology, data, sensors, hardware and software advances that come with it, serving the individualized needs of the customer. The companies who will dominate and succeed as we emerge from the Age of Information to the Age of Personalization have much in common.

  1. These companies are technology-driven, leveraging the hardware, software, networking and other advances to deliver personalized services to demanding users sustainably. They have followed and even led the evolution of the internet, and have applied the concepts and the technologies in delivering products and services to their customers. For more information, read our past blogs: The Evolution of the Web
  2. These companies are data-driven, and leverage data from applications, sensors, and volumes of information to better understand what their customers need so they can deliver and even predict precisely what they need, maybe before they even realize it themselves! Moreover, the data is integrated into the operational processes, to ensure the precise production, manufacturing and delivery of customized solutions, tailored to the needs of the customer. What’s Leading To Personalization for the Masses,
  3. These companies will be well positioned to take advantage of Google’s project on the Physical Web, announced in October 2014, envisions that people can walk up to any smart device, whether it’s a vending machine, a poster, a toy, a bus stop, a rental car, and support the search needs of the user without first the downloading of an application. The volumes of data from these integrated sensors will be astronomical, and the successful company will know how to leverage that data real-time to deliver real solutions to their customers. IoE = Integration of Sensors + Big Data + Supply Chain
  4. Companies with the edge will know how to process the information real-time, leverage that information to fuel internal and operational processes so that products and services can be efficiently customized and delivered to the door. The Tech, Logistical and Business Innovations of Internet 3.0
  5. The data and information handles the science side of the personalization, but integrating that data into what’s actually delivered to the door is no easy task. To-the-door delivery hurdles include security, scalability, manufacturing, standards, and many other factors. Serving the Last Mile
  6. Companies that are customer-focused in vision, strategy and action will have an edge. They partner with customers to understand and anticipate their needs. They develop communities to connect their stakeholders and keep them engaged. They tailor their offerings and features based on the feedback of customers. Being Customer-Centric
  7. Understanding the broader ecosystem of the business helps companies become more customer-focused. Working with a range of stakeholders across the value-chain, company leaders can understand better what customers want in the short term and long term, and develop win-win collaborations that help deliver personalized solutions to the door. Choosing Collaborations, An Ecosystem Approach to Engaging the Right Customers
  8. Key to the success of customer-oriented, collaborative programs is a sales mindset for everyone across the organization, no matter what their roles and responsibilities are. With that said, it’s not the old connotations around sales but someone who is more collaborative, more informed, and more tech-savvy. The New Sales Professionals
  9. Corporate leaders who facilitate innovation in words and actions will reward those that innovate, and attract those who want to be more innovative to join. But innovation is not just a way of thinking, it’s also a way of doing something well and something that makes a difference, embracing people, thoughts and ideas that *are* different. Innovation and Diversity: Two Sides of the Same Coin
  10. But the bottom line is that it, as always, comes down to leadership. Who can do the pivot from what’s worked before to what will work in the future? Who can inspire others to follow and lead in a new direction? Who can envision, strategize *and* execute? These will be your leaders. Next Generation Leadership

Women Making Their Own Rules

September 17, 2012

FountainBlue’s September 14 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event was on the topic of Women Making Their Own Rules, hosted by EMC. Below are notes from the conversation.

The rule-breaking women on the panel had many things in common. They had a wide breadth of interests, education and experience, and continue to stimulate themselves, and investigate opportunities for growth and change. They are multi-faceted women, with interests at work, in the community, at home, in the world. They are business-minded and entrepreneurial, focused in the technology sector, while also recognizing that it’s the people who drive the technology. They are brave enough to try many new things and stretch themselves, wise enough to learn from their mistakes, and generous enough to share their learnings and earnings with others. They are the women who will continue to challenge and instill new rules, and make the world a broader, more meaningful place for both women and men.

They offered the following advice to help others make their own rules, and take charge of their professional and personal lives:

  • Make the time to reflect, meditate and have conversations with yourself so that you can make this choice. Choose to live a values-based, authentic life, guided by your True North. Your authentic self will then live the values you espouse, provide the value you desire, empower the community and people who mean most to you.
  • Do not put artificial boundaries on where you can go, what you can do, how high you can make it, etc. They are blinders that limit what you can see and what you can do. So question your assumptions, your past, the word of others who put those boundaries on you.
  • Aim strategically, be prepared, then act with confidence even if you don’t quite feel it yet. If you act with confidence and passion, and believe that you can do something, you can focus on achieving small results, the low-hanging fruit, which would bring you closer to a larger goal. From there, you can build on your successes, achieve your shorter-term goals, gain credibility, then keep reaching for stars.
  • Adopt a perspective of no-regrets: more ‘I’m glad I did that’ (even if it doesn’t go ‘exactly’ your way as it rarely does), rather than ‘I wish that I had done it’. Be more the kind of person who makes things happen than those who watch what happens, or those who wonder what has happened.
  • Anticipate what’s around the corner and respond accordingly. Leverage your experience and instincts to both better anticipate and respond, and even to proactively address what’s next, in business, in technology, in life.
  • Dare to voice your opinion, ideas, and options, and brand yourself as someone who speaks wisely, acts knowledgeably, thinks strategically, and gets results.
  • Be politically-savvy, engaging in conversations with stakeholders to socialize ideas and projects, and brand yourself as someone who adopts challenging projects, engages others in the process, and succeeds despite immense obstacles.

In the end, with all that our panelists have done and continue to do, they know that the heart of success is to encourage, inform, empower, and otherwise enable women and men to continue to make their own rules, and define and create the type of no-regrets life they were meant to live. So in their honor, and for all those who stand along, before and with us, be intelligent, purposeful, and passionate about a cause, solution, product, company, etc., serving those who matter to you, making it easier for others to follow.

Resources:

  • First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (May 5, 1999)
  • Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking that Block Women’s Paths to Power by Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath and Mary Davis Holt (Sep 13, 2011)
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath (Feb 16, 2010)

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We would like to thank and acknowledge the speakers for FountainBlue’s September 14 When She Speaks, Women in Leadership Series event:

Facilitator Pat Obuchowski, Chief Empowerment Officer, InVisionaria

Panelist Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue

Panelist Nancy Long, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, Hitachi Data Systems

Panelist Preethy Padmanabhan, Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Cisco Video Security and Business Intelligence

Panelist Smiti Sharma, Principal Technologist, Office of the CTO, Greenplum EMC

Thank you also to our hosts at EMC.