Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Apple Becomes Number 2 On Smartphones Market

Apple has succesfully entered the smartphone market. Even though it has never been in the mobile phone market, thanks to its tactile interface and couple of innovate features, it became in no time one of the leader in this market. British Institute Canalys has recently published a study on the world smartphone market during the third quarter.

39,9 million smartphones has been sold last year in the world during this period. US market has nearly doubled whereas the Japanese market has decrease by 18%. The EMEA zone keeps a good growing pace with 21% of growth thanks to the Eastern Europe countries. Smartphones counts for 13% of the cell phone market, which is a 11% growth for this quarter.

If Nokia remains the leader with 15.5 million cell phones and 38% of marketshares, it is letting other companies like apple and RIM (Blackberry) narrowing down the gap (Nokia used to own 51% of the market last year). Actually, what is even more impressive is that Apple is now the second largest smartphone producers, with 17% of marketshares, thanks to its aggressive sales strategy for the Iphone. Blackberry owns 15% of the market.

Symbian's supremacy on the operating system market is plumetting, as it was representing more than 60% of the market last year and counts now for 46.6%. Of course, the success of the Iphone OS has hit hard Symbian, but we can also see that Lynux OS are doing great with 5% of the market at the moment. Probably Android will also change a lot the market for next year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fujitsu Siemens refuse de participer aux enchères inversées

Habib Bouchrara, directeur général de Fujitsu Siemens France, vient de décider que son entreprise ne participera plus désormais aux sessions d'enchères inversées lancées par les grands comptes.

En effet, le DG considère que cette technique a entraîné un dumping effréné, qui obligeait l'entreprise à vendre à perte. Il est donc préférable de sortir de ce système.

Est-ce la fin des enchères inversées? Je pense que le système possède plus que des avantages pour les centrales d'achat. De même, pour les fournisseurs, le procédé représente un canal de distribution efficace pour amortir l'outil de production, sachant que la plupart du temps que cette pratique est destinée à acheté de gros volume. Néanmoins, il existe, il est sûr une certaine perversité dans le système, ou dans le feu de l'action il est difficile de garder en tête les objectifs de marge alors que la compétition continue à renchérir. De plus, bien souvent, ce service se focalisant principalement sur le prix d'achat, il en résulte une baisse de la qualité du produit, vu que le fournisseur doit avoir des prix réduits pour rester compétitif.

Ce qui est intéressant, c'est que j'avais dans mes cartons depuis quelques semaines un article concernant les enchères inversés, et aussi dans quelle mesure cette technique pouvait être utilisé dans le cadre du Vendor Relationship Management.

Affaire à suivre...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sears Launches Its M-commerce site

Sears has recently launched its M-commerce site, in order to enhance its customer experience and thus its customers' satisfaction.

"In our continued effort to innovate and serve our customers as they adopt new technologies, Sears2go makes it easier than ever to cut out holiday shopping hassles and shop from the convenience of your mobile phone, says Ravi Acharya, director of e-commerce. More and more customers are using their mobile phones to shop online and Sears2go is completely geared for mobile devices with an emphasis on speed, usability and security."

"In our continued effort to innovate and serve our customers as they adopt new technologies, Sears2go makes it easier than ever to cut out holiday shopping hassles and shop from the convenience of your mobile phone, says Ravi Acharya, director of e-commerce. More and more customers are using their mobile phones to shop online and Sears2go is completely geared for mobile devices with an emphasis on speed, usability and security."

This is a concerte examle of a traditional retailer using new technologies, especially mobile technologies, to enhance its customer experience, and get a competitive advantage which will ensure its customer loyalty. In term of customer relationship management, m-commerce has a great potential, and some great companies start using it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

BtoB Marketing Will Resist The Crisis In 2009

Even though Forrester forecasted a dark future for BtoB marketing, B2B marketers seems to have a pretty positive mindset, as they are looking forward in majority to launch new ad campaigns in 2009.

In fact, BtoB marketing is also affected by the crisis, and whereas BtoB marketing departments are cutting their budget for next year (One-quarter of respondents said they planned to reduce their marketing budgets in 2009), they are expressing a larger and larger interest in Internet advertising, in order to control better their spendings.

Here is an overview of the budget evolution for 2009.

I believe this is good news for the Internet advertising industry. Internet and ebusiness companies will be impacted by the crisis no matter what, as the whole advertising market will plumet, but as Internet advertising enable a better control of spendings and return on investments, the crisis era will be a perfect time to win marketshares on other traditionnal media.

I believe BtoB marketing also will be important for companies next year as the crisis will still be unfolding, because a lot of underdogs and small competitors will suffer, and 2009 might be the perfect timing to earn marketshares once more, and stand out of the competition

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lack Of Human Dimension in Ebusiness

Shopping As A Key Social Activity

This is a fact, a lot of people, whether you agree or disagree, consider grocery shopping or shopping in general as a hobby. They like going to the mall on their spare time. Actually, we can consider that shopping is one of the key social activity a person has to do. Shopping malls and Marts are the places where you could meet the most people.

A lot of people considered that ebusiness will probably kill the mortar retails, because they would not be able to be as competitive in terms of service, quickness and, mainly, prices. Looking a little bit backward, we can see that Ebusiness has defenitely became a key part of retailing, but it hasn't really much affected traditional retails profitablity.

The Human Dimension In Retailing
One of the main strength retails will always have, and the main reason why they will always exist, is because of the human dimension. The human contact with a salesperson, cashier, or even with other customers is something valuable. Of course, the web 2.0 brought some kind of answers to this problem. You can create, share with, and animate a community. But this will never replace human contact. Therefore we can see now a lot of online companies starting opening some retails to complete their online services, especially in terms of after sale services.

Ebusiness must focus on customer relationsip
Ebusiness has though some great strengths and tools to build up a good customer relationship. You have some extensive access to customer data, which enables you to analyse shoper behavior, the bid, and your convertion rates. You also have some multemedia interfaces, some complete product descriptions, user reviews and so on. Therefore, I believe that one of the main focus in order to establish some sustainable success for an online retailer is to develop some kind of interaction with visitors, shoppers, and customers.

However, I also believe that traditional retails still have a bright future ahead of them, as long as they'll be able to keep their technology and information systems up to date, and keep a link with some Internet applications that will reinforce customer's experience.

Retail Marketing
Also, due to these facts, and in order to keep a high customer satisfaction rate, retailers must push their marketing effort, in order to insure a strong customer experience. This customer experience, based on the human dimension, is the base of the business, and retailers can not any longer focus only on their supply chain and product display, but think about what kind of service they can provide to customers in order to please them and make them come back.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Buzz Marketing: Ikea To Make Cars In Kit

Do you know about Ikea? Ikea is one of the world leading retailer in furnitures and home supplies. Actually, I am asking this question because there are very few Ikeas in the US, even though there is one in Palo Alto, California, and one nearby New York that I have visited and that experience much success.

Ikea has based its success on its ability to lower furniture prices. Indeed, they sell their products in kit, with a very well explained notice. Therefore, the customer don't need to pay for the manutention, as they will do it by themselves.

French master of marketing and customer relationship genious Henri Kaufman discovered a new buzz marketing campaign designed by Ikea.

Ikea is selling cars in kit.

I think this is a very good idea, because it vehicles the principle of Ikea: Get your product in kit, and do it yourself, in order to lower the cost. Ikea has always been very ingenious with its communication for a retailer. What do you think about it? Would you buy your car in kit like this one?


This Ikea commercial you could see in France, which I have already talked about in my blog

Excellente campagne de buzz marketing pour Nespresso

a réussi à imposer sa marque en utilisant le personnage principal de ses publicités, le fameux acteur américain Georges Clooney, dans des situations décalés. Aujourd'hui, Nespresso a relancé une campagne de publicité télévisée avec un nouveau spot, mais aussi une petite innovation: le spot vous propose en fin de message de vous rendre sur le site Internet afin de découvrir 3 films inédits de la série, et de voter pour celui qui vous plaît le plus. Celui qui aura reçu le plus de suffrage deviendra ainsi le prochain message publicitaire.

Je trouve cette campagne de buzz marketing très bien faîte.
  • Elle permet de promouvoir le site Internet et ainsi la communication multi canal
  • D'un point de vue relation client, le client collabore à la création de l'entreprise, en participant activement au choix de la prochaine publicité. Cela permet d'affirmer la notion d'appartenance à la marque.
  • C'est une campagne d'acquisition. Elle permet de croître la taille du fichier de prospect, puisqu' afin de voter, le visiteur du site est invité à laissé son nom et son adresse email, ainsi qu'à envoyer le lien à ses contacts.
  • Il existe de plus un réel intérêt pour le visiteur de participer, puisqu'il va découvrir des publicités souvent créatives avant les autres.
Bref, cette campagne est très bien faîte. J'y ai participé, et je pense qu'elle apportera ses fruits. J'aimerai bien savoir l'agence qui a réalisé cette campagne.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

US Automaker embraces The Web For Advertising

US car manufacturers are experiencing much difficulties during this financial crisis, as they are facing bankruptcy. However, business has still to be done, and car companies seem to have much interest in the Internet medium to promote their vehicles.

Here is a good article on how Automakers give social Web sites a test-drive.

Actually, they are trying out all kinds of web commercials: videos, SEO, adwords, social platforms... What is also worth of interest, is the social communities interest.

Here is a very interesting abstract of this article.

"Social networking efforts by Dodge and Chrysler brands are in their “infancy,” Sullivan said. But as the sites attract older and more mainstream users, he said, “We are starting to build that out.”

Mark LaNeve, General Motors' vice president of North American marketing, said social networks extend word-of-mouth advertising to cyberspace.

“The most powerful thing in our business is the advocacy of one customer to the next,” LaNeve said. “These sites get that done digitally.”

This year, Chevrolet and MySpace developed a promotion that focused on conservation and alternative-fuel vehicles. A “tree widget” allowed MySpace users to plant virtual seeds on the site that grew into trees. As part of the promotion, Chevrolet and MySpace also agreed to plant as many as 225,000 real trees.

The program generated more than 8 million downloads and “millions of positive comments,” GM spokeswoman Kelly Cusinato said.

Toyota Motor Sales' youth-oriented Scion brand has appeared on social marketing sites for five years, said Adrian Si, Scion's interactive marketing manager.

In October, Scion launched a promotion on Kongregate, a social network for video-game developers and players. Users can modify a basic video game Scion has posted on the site. Visitors will vote for their favorite version.

Scion uses social networks primarily to “provide entertainment value” to users rather than generate traffic for its own Web site, Si says.

“We're not touting our cars,” he said. “We do things to get exposure to our brand and positive awareness of it.”

Jim Farley, Ford Motor Co.'s group vice president of marketing and communications, says companies such as his have not “really leveraged the opportunity” provided by social networking sites.

“It will be one of the most fundamental parts of our digital strategy going forward,” he said.

The marketing challenge, Farley said, is to provide content that will engage, rather than distract or annoy, users of networking sites.

“People come there for a very specific reason,” he said. “They don't want to be interrupted.”

But auto ads on social networks inevitably face user resistance, said Jon Schulz, a senior vice president at Specific Media, an online ad network in Irvine.

“Compared to other forms of advertising, social media do not drive the online behavior that leads to vehicle purchases,” said Schulz, who directed digital and direct marketing for Ford Motor before he left the company in May.

“You get a lot of eyeballs” at social networks, Schulz said. “But advertising is generally not well-received. The communities were launched without advertising. (Users) don't view it as a transactional space. It is a social space.”"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Video Games Market Attracts More And More Adults

The video games market is expanding at a very fast pace. Actually, this is the hypest entertaining market nowadays. What is great about video games is that it is very hard to counterfake, which limits the possibilities of illegal copies.

Emarketer published some good charts about how adults now love video games.

We can see that video games customers are a very heterogeneous population, with all type of social classes and ages. Actually, I believe that we can give a lot of credits to Nintendo for having expand the video games interest to the older and newer generation.

Maybe this is a good sign that with the lower interest for television and the segmentation of the media consumption, video games might rise as the next mass media! Who knows? Thus it confirms the reason why a lot of advertisers are willing to get some advertising spots in the most prestigious video games.

Here is an example from one of the master of marketing, Barrack Obama, that proved during the campaign his excellence in using new media to get exposure.

In matters of fact, this chart shows well that while households are looking after their spending budgets, video games seem to be less likely to experience budget cuts than other categories. If people are not going out anymore due to the recession, video games might gain marketshares upon other entertainment possibilities.

New Rules Of Marketing During The Crisis

The crisis we are experiencing is impacted most of businesses. In fact, one of the first budget companies are cutting while experiencing a downturn is commonly marketing. Therefore, marketers are in a very unstable situation, where they are asked to do more with less.
McKinsey's explain on its website some of The downturn’s new rules for marketers.

"In previous downturns, many marketers doubled down on large, historically profitable customers, geographies, and market segments. Today, this approach may prove ineffective because the world’s economic woes are affecting customers and markets in unexpected and extremely specific ways. Marketers should therefore toss out those historical expectations and focus on the emerging pockets of customer profitability."

Actually, new technologies and segmentations possibilities make it easier to target these niche markets, which are actually more profitable now than broadcasting a commercial message to the mass market. I believe that anyways marketers will have tough times for the next few months, as market potentials will decrease and they'll probably have budget cuts.

What do you think? How does the crisis has changed the way you market, or your company consider its marketing effort?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Free Business Models Are Dead

Do you know about Marc Simoncini, CEO of Meetic? He is one of the main person in the European web. He is the owner of Meetic, French leader of the dating websites market. He was one of the speaker of LeWeb 08, the famous Web conference in Paris that happened on December 9th and 10th. One of his main bullat was about business models based on "free".

Free As The Only Business Model Of The Web
This is actually the perfect timing to think about this issue. Indeed, the web 2.0 is starting to be affected by the crisis, and as it is still unfolding, start ups are experiencing much trouble in their expansion. As it is more and more difficult to get financing, VCs are seeking for financial stability and paying close attention to the ability of the new company to generate benefits as fast as possible.

For the longest time, the main examples of the Internet were companies developping an active community, where users could log in and use the service for free, and then set up an advertising platform for companies willing to sell products to this community. Thus, most of the companies weren't much interested in their business plan, and the way to monetize their idea first, as the concept was "if your service gets great exposure and a large audience, you'll find out anyways some way to benefit".

Meetic: a fee based business model
Meetic is probably one of the best success story of the European web. Meetic is the leader of its market, which it locked so well that world leader has never been able to compete with this service. Whereas most of other websties are free, you need to pay a fee in order to use the service.

Now, CEO Simoncini, is pretty happy of its choice, as it is experiencing great success. He also believes that for this troubled days, business models based on fees and subscriptions are more likely to be developped and to get profitable in the end than others.

I also believe that having a service you could make your users pay for is a more secure way to develop your business. If users are valuing the service, they'll accept to pay to get it. What do you think about it? Here is a video in French of Marc Simoncini.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

L'évolution de la grande distribution (4): le retour en grâce du supermarché

L'une des principales évolutions du monde de la grande distribution dans les prochaines années se fera par le développement du commerce de proximité. En effet, certains facteurs sont en train de favoriser les supermarchés et petit format de distribution alimentaire.

  • Le prix de l'essence: en effet, je sais que celui-ci a baissé ces derniers temps. Mais ne soyons pas dupe, à moyen terme, le prix de l'énergie va augmenter, avec une demande mondiale croissante due au développement économique de pays tels que l'Inde et la Chine avec des populations se comptant en milliard.
  • La saturation des axes de transports: Les axes de transports occidentaux dans les grandes agglomérations ont été construits il y a des dizaines d'années, et aujourd'hui n'est plus capable d'absorber les flux de plus en plus massif de véhicules. C'est pour cela que les temps de trajet augmente et qu'il y a de plus en plus de difficulté de circulation.
  • Le manque de temps: les consommateurs ont de moins en moins de temps, et considère les courses comme une corvée la plupart du temps. Le but du jeu est donc de gagner du temps. Il est rare désormais que les consommateurs désirent faire de la route et se perdre dans des hypermarchés.
C'est pour cela que l'on assiste à un regain de l'intérêt des français pour les supermarchés. Ceux-ci sont placés proche des consommateurs, et par leurs tailles modestes, permettent un gain de temps lors des courses.

L'avenir des hypermarchés
Il reste cependant un espoir pour les hypermarchés. En effet, ceux-ci conservent leurs grandes tailles, et possèdent la possibilité de se transformer, afin de proposer plus de choix, plus de théatralisation, et une meilleure qualité de service. C'est ainsi la démarche qui a été adopté par Auchan Vélizy, l'un des plus grands hypermarchés d'Europe. Celui-ci a décidé de rénnover totalement son magasin, afin de développer un concept d'hypermarché totalement nouveau, afin de contrer la progression des petits et moyens formats.

Auchan Vélizy a développé son nouveau concept autour de trois grands axes:
  • Reposer sur les points forts de l'hypermarché: un centre commercial attractif, le choix, les capacités de parking
  • Amener les services des commerçants locaux en hypermarché, en développant les métiers de bouche tels que la boucherie ou la charcuterie
  • Innover en terme de services, avec notamment un stand fruit et légume proposant des smoothies fait sur place, ainsi que des légumes bio de qualité. Ces nouveaux services et concepts ne peuvent être développer qu'en hypermarché, car ce sont les seuls types de formats permettant d'absorber les coûts de main d'oeuvre assorti à ceux-ci.

Cependant, on peut tout de même penser que les supermarchés, ainsi que de nouveaux concepts de distribution vont arriver, et limiter le rayonnement des hypermarchés sur le marché de la grande distribution en France.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Brozengo lance son application mobile

Connaissez vous Brozengo? C'est un moteur de recherche de commerce local. Ainsi, si vous habitez dans une région spécifique, le site le détecte, et vous proposera les bons plans des commerces affiliés au site.

Brozengo, c'est aussi une start up française en devenir, puisque celle-ci est présente au salon LeWeb 2008, le plus grand salon dédié à l'Internet en Europe, et probablement dans le top trois des événements mondiaux sur le sujet. De plus, elle a été lauréate de la 5ème édition du SFR Speed Starting Up.

L'Internet au service du local
J'aime particulièrement cette idée, car à l'heure où l'on parle énormément des monstres Google, Facebook ou Amazon, écrasant le monde de leur poids, l'Internet permet aussi de développer le commerce de proximité. De plus, l'utilisation du web se fait de plus en plus pour trouver de l'information locale.
D'ailleurs Google a sorti un service de Google Adword sur des zones géographiques spécifiques afin de développer la publicité pour le commerce de proximité sur sa plateforme. Aussi, beaucoup de TPE et PME tirent leur épingle du jeu en travaillant leur site Internet, leur référencement, ainsi que leur visibillité en général sur le web pour accroitre leur clientèle.
Ainsi Brozengo s'inscrit dans cette logique, puisqu'il permet de trouver des bonnes affaires dans la zone géographique de l'internaute. Ce site offre un réel service à l'utilisateur, qui peut trouver des offres intéressantes qu'il ne trouvera nul part ailleurs, et offrir un accès à la promotion via Internet à des commerces locaux.

Brozengo sur mobile
Aujourd'hui, Brozengo va plus loin et améliore son service en proposant une application mobile. Cette application mobile prend tout son sens, puisque ce service permet d'avoir des informations locales.

"Pour accéder au service mobile de BROZENGO, rien de plus simple :
- Saisir dans le navigateur de son mobile
- ou Taper BROZENGO dans Gallery
- ou Envoyer un SMS avec BROZENGO au 30 130 (coût d’un SMS non surtaxé)"

Le site prend ainsi une nouvelle dimension, et améliore son service client, puisqu'il se rapproche de son utilisation de tous les jours. Reste maintenant au site à développer de plus en plus de partenariat avec des commerces locaux, ce qui développera forcément le nombre d'utilisateur du site.

Je pense d'ailleurs que brozengo utilise ainsi parfaitement le potentiel du téléphone mobile en terme de services client. Pour en savoir plus sur le développement de Brozengo, vous pouvez visiter le blog de Jean Michel Maurer, son dynamique entrepreneur.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Leclerc: le visionnaire de la grande distribution

J'ai déjà parlé cette semaine de Leclerc sur ce blog, concernant leur campagne marketing actuelle portant sur la publicité comparative. Aujourd'hui, je souhaiterai allé plus loin, afin de rendre un genre d'hommage à Michel Edouard Leclerc, le président de l'enseigne. D'ailleurs je vous invite à visiter son blog, qui est souvent très riche en information.

Je ne suis pas forcément fan de Leclerc. Pour être honête, je ne vais jamais chez eux, et peut certainement compter sur les doigts de la main le nombre de fois où je suis rentré dans un de leur magasin. Je ne suis pas non plus contre l'enseigne, car je n'en ai pas vraiment proche de chez moi ou de mes lieux de plaisances.

Cependant, j'apprécie la créativité, la force d'innovation de cette enseigne, ainsi que de son dirigeant. Je considère ainsi Michel Edouard Leclerc comme étant le pionner des tendances dans la grande distribution, et un entrepreneur visionnaire. Ainsi, la plupart de ses partis pris, de ses innovations, ont ensuite été embrassé par la concurrence. Ainsi, à force de lancer de nouvelles tendances, et à toujours être en avance sur le marché, Leclerc a su tirer son épingle du jeu et assuré son succès sur le territoire national. En effet, un article du magazine Challenges explique "le système leclerc", ou bien comment l'enseigne a toujours réussi à innover et bouleverser le paysage de la grande distribution. Voici une liste des principales innovations qui ont été lancé par Leclerc et qui ont révolutionné le monde de la grande distribution.

  • Le ticket Leclerc: 1987, Le ticket Leclerc est la première initiative d'une enseigne de grande distribution afin de fidéliser ses clients. Ainsi, chaque client de Leclerc reçoit des promotions et des remises en fonction du montant de ces achats. Aujourd'hui la concurrence possède aussi des systèmes de fidélisations.

  • La parapharmacie: "En 1987, l'ordre des pharmaciens et le laboratoire américain Searle font condamner Leclerc pour la vente d'Aspartame dans ses magasins. Un an plus tard, l'enseigne obtient gain de cause devant la justice et ouvre sa première parapharmacie. Résultat : il en compte 113 aujourd'hui."

  • Les stations services: Aujourd'hui les stations services représentent l'une des principales sources de revenus des hypermarchés. Leclerc a été le premier a se lancé sur ce marcé, alors monopolisé par les grandes enseignes d pétrolières de type Esso, BP ou encore Total. Il l'a d'ailleurs fait en tout illégalité. Résultat, quelques années plus tard, l'état autorise les distributeurs à vendre de l'essence. Cette entrée sur le marché a été si important que l'un des leaders du marché, Elf, n'a pas réussi à y survivre.

  • Les sacs de caisse: Leclerc a été le premier, environ dix ans avant la concurrence, à ne plus donner de sacs de caisse à ses consommateurs pour des raisons de préservation de l'environement. A l'époque, et moi le premier, j'ai été le premier surpris de ce geste. Néanmoins, qu'on soit pour ou contre cette mesure, elle est a présent adopté par la grande majorité des enseignes de distribution, et l'état lui même vient d'instaurer une taxe sur le sac en plastique afin de préserver l'environement.

  • La publicité comparative: La publicité comparative est légale en France depuis quelques années, après une longue période d'interdiction. Cependant, personne n'a réellement été capable d'utiliser ce nouvel outil de communication, ayant peur de tomber dans le domaine de la publicité mensongère, du à un environement légal très restrictif. Leclecrc vient de lancer une publicité où il compare les prix de produits de grande consommation à ceux trouvés chez ses concurrents. Il est encore tôt pour dire si ce type de communication va devenir une tendance de fond, néanmoins je suis convaincu que l'on verra dans un futur proche se développer ce type de message commercial.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Leclerc se lance dans la publicité comparative

Pendant de longues années la publicité comparative a été interdite en France. La principale raison de cette interdiction était de contrôler le message des publicitaires, afin de ne pas duper le consommateur, en faisant des comparaisons hasardeuses. Ainsi, aux Etats-Unis, où la publicité comparative est permise depuis des années, des marques tels que Coca Cola et Pepsi n'hésitent pas à ce tirer la bourre, avec des spots amusants, ne reposant certainement pas sur les qualités des produits, mais plutôt sur le fait de se moquer du concurrent.

Cependant, la régulation a changé il y a quelques années en France. En effet, sous l'impulsion de l'Union Européenne, la publicité comparative est maintenant permises, afin d'appliquer une directive européenne. Cette publicité comparative reste néanmoins beaucoup plus contrôler qu'aux Etats-Unis, et la comparaison doit reposer sur des critères objectifs, qui sont la plupart du temps le prix ou bien les composants du produit de façon mesurable et vérifiable.

En tout cas, la publicité comparative en France, malgré le fait qu'elle soit permise depuis déjà plusieurs années, n'a jamais réellement été utilisé en France: face à une réglementation très contraignantes et les risques de condamnation pour publicité mensongère, aucune marque n'a réellement réussi à jouer ce crénau, qui pourtant en période de faible pouvoir d'achat pourrait permettre de gagner des parts de marché.

Cependant, il y a quelques semaines de cela, les consommateurs français peuvent visionner cette publicité sur leurs écrans de télévision:

Leclerc est ainsi, à ma connaissance, le premier distributeur a utilisé ce procédé de communication basé sur le prix le moins cher, alors que la plupart des distributeurs revendiquent leur prix bas en tant que principal axe de communication.

Ce qui est aussi très intéressant, c'est que pour la première fois une entreprise site les concurrents directs auquel il se compare. Vous vous souvenez souvent des comparaisons entre Ariel et la Lessive C, où on cachait systèmatiquement les produits auquels ont se réferrait. Leclerc s'implique et affirme qu'il est réellement moins cher, et donc il gagne en crédibilité sur ce bié.

Bien sûr, Leclerc n'est pas forcément moins cher que les marques qu'il épingle. Il a forcément choisi les produits où il connait ses forces, et aussi les hypermarchés les plus cher sur ce type de produit et sur des zones géographiques de CSP+. Il n'empêche, Leclerc ouvre les hostilités, et cette campagne est un bel exemple de l'intérêt d'une telle méthode de communication. Il suffit de voir les relais que font la presse de cette publicité, rien qu'en cherchant sur Google news...

Leclerc a toujours été visionnaire et pionner des nouvelles tendances de la grande distribution. J'écrirai d'ailleurs bientôt un article à ce sujet, inspiré de l'article de Challenges sur le "Système Leclerc" d'il y a quelques jours.

En tout cas, je pense que Leclerc encore une fois prouve qu'il est capable d'innover dans l'univers de la grande distribution, et je pense que le succès de cette campagne poussera d'autres enseignes, mais certainement aussi d'autres entreprises à tenter le pari de la publicité comparative.

Recherche bloggers pour film publicitaire

Dimanche prochain 7 décembre, l'agence H va tourner un film.
Annonceur : la Presse Quotidienne Régionale
Objectif : Annoncer la commercialisation d’une nouvelle offre commerciale de vente d’espace publicitaire.
Lieu du tournage : Clichy
Temps de tournage : 3 heures
Objet : un film interactif ... sonore (drôle !)
Médiatisation: plusieurs supports professionnels genre Stratégies

Nous avons besoin de 3 blogeurs(ses) qui seront figurant(e)s et qui relaieront le film sur leur blog. Si vous êtes intéressés par ce bon moment à passer ensemble, écrivez-moi :

Annonce a retrouver sur le blog d'Henri Kaufman

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Google In the TV Advertising Market?

Google is leading the advertising market in the Internet thanks to its technology that enables great targeting capabilities for companies. The Mountain View company is still expanding its business on the web, but is also seeking for new markets in order to establish itself as a leading company on other supports. That is one of the main reasons why they decided to launch the Android project, in order to enter the cell phone market, which is probably the soon to come most exciting market for the next few years.

But Google is still looking forward to get into the TV advertising market. Lately Google signed a partnership with Bloomberg Financial in order to sell inventory.

Let's not forget that Google already has some experience in selling commercials on a video support: They own Youtube and Google Video, which counts for 44% of the online video market.

Thus, Google is working on a TV ad platform technology, which will probably based on the Internet's one, that will provide more targeted and efficient campaigns to users.

Actually, there is a real convergence between TV and Internet, as TV companies broadcast their programs on the web, in order to respond to the online video websites threat.

This project might even get more attractive within the next few months as the crisis is still unfolding and marketing chief officers are seeking for more profitable and less risky ways to communicate. TV ad consumption by companies is expected to slow down for the next few months as marketing budgets are melting...

I actually believe that this new effort to enter the TV market is a great way for Google to expand its market by leveraging its know how and expertise. Also I think we can expect Google to be interested into buying a TV ad platform in order to do so, as they did for Youtube to enter the online video market, or with blogger to get into the blogging business.

To know more about Google TV's development, visit the emarketer article.

Monday, December 01, 2008

How I Would Really Innovate If I Were EA Sports

Do you know EA Sports?It has for many years run the successful FIFA, NBA Live and Madden's franchises. This can be considered as the leading company in the sport simulation industry.

But there is always the same problems with NBA Live's games, that I am of course a fan of: there is not much new things from a version to another. Indeed, except new rookies that got into the league, couple of new fun games which you get bothers in couple of minutes, and of course a few better graphism, nothing new. That is I believe one of the problem of Electronic Arts? How could I be sure to get my customers to renew their game version, instead of them renewing it every 2 or 3 years?

No real innovations
There is something also I don't like about this game: Players' and teams' stats. Indeed, the game is edited prior to the season's start. Therefore, stats of players and how good they are is determined by the previous year's results. But most of the time, what was true during the previous season is not true the next one. Players are getting better, or have injury problems, and so on. It is supposed to be more realistic, but actually, by only releasing one new version per year, the game is getting up to date very quickly as the NBA is full of trades, new players coming from Europe or D League, and unexpected talent.

My idea
Therefore the idea would be to get some accurate stats and team rosters by providing a subscription service. This service will help people to get accurate team rosters:
  • The video game would download the up to date rosters, including injured players, new signed and injured ones.
  • It will adjust players' ability to their monthly performance. It will take into consideration their teams results, but also their scoring, rebounding stats and so on.
  • It will create new players that were not in the league at the beginning of the year
This new feature would help players to keep an up to date stats. That would actually be a real innovation, will improve consumers' experiences, and also take the best out of a technology that is at this time already available.

What do you think about it? I believe anyway this will be implemented within the next few years, as it is getting more and more common to get new features through video games' hardwares that are now connected on the web.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Should I Keep My Website?

This question has remained in a corner of my head for the longest time. I own, since I believe 2006. First I wanted to get, which would be more international, as I am writting most of the time in English, and the majority of my audience don't come from France (I'd say it's about 50-50 between Europe and North America, with a growing Indian crowd, which I am very happy about).

The purpose of my website
When I created my website for the first time, I believed it would represent the best way to introduce myself to people that would have interest in contacting me, especially hiring staffs and recruiters. I wanted it to be an enhanced and complete resume, as it would encompass some of my thesis and academic works, some detailed information about my work experiences.

The purpose of my blog
I actually started my blog before my website. I think it has been running since 2005. But I knew very few about blogging. I had at this time never visited any blogs, and I didn't have a clear picture of what my blog should be about. Actually I did, but I was not able to write on a regular basis. It is actually Henri Kaufman, who was my 2.0 marketing professor at Paris Dauphine, that convinced me of the interest of this art. Thus, I have started writing a lot, meeting a lot of interesting people, and acquire a status of E marketing specialist.

I am still wondering about the website... A blog is great because it is in constant evolution. It is very easy to up date your blog, posts new things, and get great visibility on search engines. This is a more difficult task with a website. You need indeed to code, and pages are statiques. My website is therefore not up to dated at all. That is also a reason why I am not even advertising it.

I still own the extension, and I will keep it as long as possible. But know I believe it might be the time to delete my site, which has very few viewers, and to put my blog onto it. My only concern is that my website was still usefull as it was hosting my academic work, but I believe my blog is more important, and by placing my blog under, hopefully I will be able to generate even more traffic, discuss with more people, and get me interesting contacts for the future.

What do you think about it? Let me know if you have been in the same situation or if you believe a website might have an interest.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Crisis Drives US Online Retailers To Slash Prices

Here is a very interesting article on the New York Times.

The financial crisis is affecting household's budgets for Christmas and this starting holidays season. Due to this factor, retailers needs to cut their prices in order first to stay competitive, but also to convince consumers to keep consuming, despite the decrease of purchasing power.

If this statement is true for any retailers, it is way more evident on the web. Online retailers are waging price wars. That also means that some smaller retailers might not be able to stay competitive against this massive discount effort, and thus to disappear.

Maybe actually this crisis might be profitable to some consumers since it will contribute to the drop of some goods prices.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mobile Buzz Marketing Campaign By Citroen

Citroen is one of the leading French car manufacturers. In order to advertise its new car model, the C3 Picasso, Citroen set a mobile buzz marketing campaign, edited by Visualmobile, a French company speacilized in Iphone applications.

The French start up created an Iphone application where you could drive a Citroen C3 Picasso on your Iphone. The application gives you the image of the car, and it drives where ever you are pointing your Iphone at. All of that is added to the wheel that is moving while you are turning, the sound of the engine, and so on. Here are couple of pics:

This is a good example of mobile buzz marketing campaign, using the Iphone technology. This is actually probably the first mixed reality application ever on an Iphone. Hopefully we will see more and more of those type of marketing campaign in a near future.

I'd like to have the feedback of people that might have downloaded the app.

Thank you to PPC, on whose blog I have found the information. Here is the original article (in French).

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Le ton en communication aussi important que le message

En communication, parfois le message que l'on veut transmettre. Il existe ainsi différentes composantes dans la communication qui vont influencer la façon dont le message est perçu.
Par exemple le choix du média va être très important. Ainsi, une publicité télévisée permettra d'assurer la qualité graphique et l'appréciation de la marque, alors qu'un courrier signer assurera de la proximité.

Aussi, le ton de la communication. la tonalité que vous allez utilisé pour votre message va impacter la manière dont il sera perçu.

Voici un petit film qui illustre très bien comment le ton de la communication peut affecter grandement le message. Voici tout d'abord la bande annonce du fameux film "Bienvenue chez les Chtis", film comique qui a connu un grand succès l'année dernière.

Voici une adaptation trouvée sur le site de metro, le magazine gratuit. Celle-ci a été détournée, en jouant sur le ton de la communication: musique dramatique, les images au ralentit, un rythme lent...

Bienvenue Chez Les Chtis by VinzA
par vinza

Ainsi, afin d'assurer le succès de votre communication, il faut aussi prêter attention à la tonalité de celui-ci, afin de captiver l'attention de l'audience, mais aussi faciliter le passage de la bonne information. J'aime beaucoup ce petit film car il montre bien comment on peut changer le message par simplement changer le ton.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Les marques affrontent leurs déficits d'image: les cas BUT et Renault

Une marque représente l'imaginaire d'une société auprès des consommateurs. Le développement d'une marque est un art complexe, puisqu'il doit tenir compte d'une part la perception des consommateurs, les qualités réelles de l'entreprise, mais aussi l'aspiration de celle-ci. D'ailleurs l'apparition de l'Internet et le développement de communautés sur le web ont rendu le travail du brand marketer plus difficile: on ne peut plus mettre de côté l'opinion des consommateur ainsi que les défauts de l'entreprise (mauvais service client = publication sur les blogs et sites de consommateurs). Les manquements des entreprises sont mis sur la place publique, on ne peut les cacher.

Voici deux nouvelles publicités que vous pourrez trouver sur vos écrans en France. L'une pour le constructeur automobile Renault, l'autre pour le distributeur spécialisé But.

Ce qui change dans la communication, c'est que la marque assume son manque de popularité, en insistant sur le changement. La marque a compris qu'il y avait un problème, et aujourd'hui elle veut changer, et qu'elle change. C'est assez rare de voir ce type de communication. La plupart du temps, après un échec, les entreprises décident d'ignorer le produit ou le projet, et même d'effacer toute information possible pour celui-ci. C'est un peu le cas de Microsoft, qui a connu un revers avec Windows Vista, mais qui refuse de le reconnaître.

Ce qui est intéressant, c'est cet effort d'humilité de ces entreprises, reconnaissant les points négatifs du passé pour affirmer leur effort de changement.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nintendo Places Its Customers At The Center Of His Communication

Nintendo Struggling in the 2000s
Let's go back a little bit in time. In the late 90s', Nintendo was going in limbo. After having dominated the growing video game market in the 80s and the 90s, Nintendo had to face a new competitor arriving: Sony. Afterward, the Playstation started its expansion, and Nintendo was struggling to get back on track. The Nintendo 64 was released at least 3 years too late, and they were clearly two steps behind the other competitors.
Nintendo Lost The Challenge Of Technology
The Gamecube has never been able to be close to the performance of the Xbox or the Playstation 2. The gap seemed so large that a lot of specialist considered Nintendo doomed, as Sega had already give up a little bit earlier with the too small success of its Dreamcast.

However, Nintendo did not give up, and rather than keeping on trying to make as powerful systems as the competition, they decided to be different, and focus on what made their success: create fun and innovative games.

Be Different
That is the main reason why Nintendo had experienced great success with its two new systems, the Nintendo DS, and the Wii. Both hardwares are far away for the PSP's and Playstation 3's technologies, but they have focus on designing games and a gameplay you could never approach with other devices.

By providing a unique gameplay and a very different experience, they have been able to catch the attention of the audience.

Nintendo Commercials Are Focusing On The Customer Experience
This focus on the gameplay, the innovation and the gamer experience, you can notice it while watching some Nintendo's commercials. As you can see, and that is somehow a revolution in the video game industry, you are not focusing on famous labels like James Bond or King Kong, nor on the excellent and realistic design of the characters. Nintendo show you every day life people having fun like you would with your friends.

Because actually what people are looking for when playing a video game is not to see a movie, but to interract and to have fun.

Nintendo earned back its success because it focused its product development on the customer experience, more than on the technology ability of the product. This is a great example of a company that decided to be different, work on its customers' will, and experience great success.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Is Twittering Better Than Blogging?

I have already talked about this issue on this blog. This is actually a question that has been asked all over the blogosphere about 5 to 6 months ago. Nevertheless, I believe this is still accurate to speak about it, as I believe the hype around this new service is getting lower, and we can percieve better the actually use for the mass market.

Twitter adopted and plebiscited by bloggers
Some bloggers have limited their proficiency on their blog by adopting Twitter as their new way to communicate with the community. Indeed, Twitter was in the main trend of the Internet: Being connected with your network at all time, providing the most information as possible. A lot of people actually believed blogging was obsolete, since most of the blogosphere superstars cut dramatically their posting frequency.

The problems coming with Twitter's uses
But I don't really like Twitter, even though I am using it sometimes. Twitter, even if it is in the mainstream of the web 2.0, it has the problems. Twittering is time consuming. Also, Twitter is bringing you a massive information that it is impossible to get it all. I know that might not be the purpose of knowing everything that is going on, but because of the profusion of messages you might miss a lot of valuable information hidden by the mass.

Too much information is actually one of the problem of the web: This is great to have the opportunity to access it, but you need also to be efficient and get the information that matters to you fast.

Twitter's technical problems
Also, Twitter experienced for a long time technical issues that really turned me down. You couldn't see the oldest update, and you couldn't either post new ones. This was really annoying especially for a service that based its value on its reactivity.

Therefore, I am not really using Twitter. Does Twitter has a great future? I am still doubting about its mass market adoption, even though some new enhanced version, based on mobile technologies, might show up and be interesting. But I believe that blogs provide a more qualitative content, and that is the reason why I am sticking with it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Read & Go: Orange Working On The Next Generation Of Newspapers

FrenchTelecommunications operator Orange is investing on Read & Go, a new technology that aims to revolution the consumption of Newspapers. Indeed, the newspaper industry has been deeply hurt by the arrival of Internet and the profusion of free information on the web. Newspapers corporation are still struggling to adapt their business model, and some of them are still pursuing massive job cuts.

Information consumption on the Internet not the best solution
However, consuming information on the Internet has not all the advantages that the old fashion newspaper had. Indeed, reading on the computer is not as comfortable as reading on the paper would be. Also, because of the large amount of information proposed on the web, it is hard to get the big picture of what is going on. I am actually reading a book called "the paradox of choice: When more is less", where the theory is that in our modern society, the existence of a vast choice is overwhelming and counter productive.

I know RSS feeds exists and aggregators like Netvibes or Google Readers work great, but let's be honest, their use is still confidential and did not yet spread out on the mass market. Also, I believe their use has some limits, especially while not on the computer. I also feel we should not be forced to live in front of a computer, especially in order to consume information. Now that TV, videos, radios and news are on the Internet, we spend too much time in front of our machines, time that is not necessary.

Orange's Read & Go
The Read & Go device looks like a blank sheet. It is supported by the electronic paper technology which provides the same reading comfort than the regular paper, even in the sun and limit the battery consumption.
The device is equipped with Wifi and a 3G connection in order to get the information right when it is up. Actually, the device proposes a mix between the paper edition of the newspaper added to the RSS feed of the website, in order to get both the quality of analysis of the newspaper and the reactivity of the website.

My opinion
The device should be available by 2009, and I believe you'll need to subscribe to a specific plan (wether a 3G wireless connection or a plan with the magazine). I really like this idea because I am convinced that we haven't found yet a viable way to consume news on a daily basis, as the information on the web is way to much time consuming. Also, I really like the electronic paper technology that provides great comfort while reading for long periods (whether it is books or news).

Friday, November 14, 2008

The PSP Case Study: When The Technology Overwhelm You

You probably know about the PSP. The PSP is the "Playstation Portable" of Sony, a mobile video game hardware that was suppose to revolutionize the market. Actually, the first time I have seen the PSP in a commercial, I was very impressed. It was in the US, in 2005, and I was impressed by the technology improvement, compared for instance to the Game Boy advance, which owned the leading technology at this time. Moreover, not only you could play high quality video games, you could also use the PSP to listen to music, but (and I believe that was the main strength), you could watch movies on the go.

The technology overwhelmed the project: But in fact, the PSP is not really a success. First of all, it has been right away attacked by hackers, that would allow users to unlock their PSP to get free games on the web. Secondly, a part of the business model was based on the UMV movies you could buy. That was some kind of mini DVDs you could buy to watch thanks to the PSP. But actually the format was not that good, only supported by the PSP, and also it was very expensive to buy a UMV especially because you most of the time was watching it only once, and you didn't have such a quality that a DVD on a large screen could deliver.

The new mobile technology turned the PSP obsolete. Now don't get me wrong, the PSP is a great video game hardware. I own too of them. I play most of the time and I am happy with it. However, some new mobile technologies and apps appeared with the development of the cell phone market, and that deeply affected the interest in the Sony device. First of all, some new interfaces appeared. The Nintendo DS propose a little stick to play with, which improve the gameplay. Secondly, the Iphone has the tactile technology that is creating a great buzz, and a lot of developpers are now working on games for this cell phone.

Also, most of the new cell phones propose even more complete apps. Whereas the PSP offers you to play, watch movies, and also listen to music, most of the smart phones, Blackberry and Iphones proposes you on top of that phone option, already equiped GPS, and Internet navigation.

PSP is trying to catch up with the market, but the options are not build-in, meaning the interface is poor (especially to watch TV and surf on the web) and implies you hang around with adds on at all time.

I believe the PSP was indeed a revolution, but might have come too early on the market, and because of it, is now somehow obsolete.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

L'évolution de la grande distribution (5): les hard discounters

Après L'évolution de la grande distribution (1): les grands magasins
Après L'évolution de la grande distribution (2): L'exemple de Monoprix
Après L'évolution de la grande distribution (3): Les hypermarchés

Nous allons parlé de l'évolution du Hard Discount. En effet, le hard discount, comme je l'avais annoncé précédemment, est venu prendre des parts de marché aux hypermarchés, tout comme ces mêmes hypermarchés avait pris les parts de marché aux grands magasins.

Le concept de Hard Discount Le concept de hard discount est simple: Réduire les coûts de distribution à leur minimum, afin de casser les prix et devenir les enseignes de la grande distribution les plus compétitives.

Ainsi, un hard discounter peut se définir de la manière suivante:
  • Mise en rayon sur pallette: on ne déballe pas les palettes afin de limiter les frais de personnel. De même, il n'y a pas d'équipe de nettoyage, les employés s'en chargeront.
  • Un assortiment réduit. La plupart du temps il n'existe qu'une seule marque par produit. Cela permet d'acheter en gros et aussi de jouer sur la concurrence.
  • Pas de promotion: Une promotion signifie que le prix n'est pas au plus bas, qu'il y a de la marge pour faire des réductions. Dans le hard discount, les produits sont déjà proposés au plus bas, et donc il n'y a

Le hard discount s'embellit Cependant, on commence a appercevoir une plus grande sofistification dans le hard discount. On voit de plus en plus de marque. De même certaines enseignes, comme Lidl, font des promotions selon les jours de la semaine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What Are Free Customers Worth?

Harvard Business Review have recently published an article on what are free customers worth. The title is very eye catching, and I was wondering what was their definition of a free customer, but also, of course, what the article was about.

I have recently wrote a post on the 4 business models based on "Free". Indeed, on the Internet, most of the business model are based on free services, and get some indirect revenues. This article is thus speaking about one of the business model I was explaining in this previous article, where some people pay, subsidizing for free people. A large amount of people are using the service or obtaining the product at no cost, and the company is expecting to get their money back by earning from this exposure a clientele. This is actually very similar to the referral marketing concept, where you get new leads from managing your existing customer data base, at the exception that on a "by referral business", your clients offering you referrals have paid.

The idea of the article is to define an optimal way to manage this free customers portfolio, which will both gives you the most customers and limit the cost of your free customers.
I actually believe that it is a very risky situation to establish this kind of free customer business model. Having a great number of users shows your service is valuable, but it doesn't mean people are eager to pay for it. Therefore, it is interesting to study this business model, but also be aware of how dangerous it could get, especially out of the Internet sphere.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bluenity: Air France KLM Launches Its 2.0 Social Platform

Bluenity is the brand new 2.0 social website launched by Air France KLM. This social network is dedicated to airline users.

Here is the concept:
  • Discover other travelers on your trip
  • Take advantae of their travel tips
  • Meet them at any point.

The website is available in three languages, French, English and Dutch. The goal of the website will try to leverage the portfolio of 75 millions customers of both Air France and KLM, to create a viable community as fast as possible.

I think this is a great example on how setting up an online community can bring some added value to customers and therefore generate business out of it.

Now I think we should pay a close attention to this new website, because this is a great corporate social software initiative, and will give great indicators of how profitable such a project could be. Also, Bluenity will have to compete with leader, who has already established itself over the years as the leading community of globetrotters and frequent travelers.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Those Signs That Betrade You

Henri Kaufman and PPC delivered recently a new video on those signs and behaviors that betrade your thoughts. Indeed, a lot of your postures are showing what you are thinking about what you are paying attention to, wether it is someone speaking, a movie you are watching and so on. As a communication professional, sales manager or marketer, knowing how to understand those sings are very important, because it can help you read the other person's mind. Here is the video, and below, the English translation.

7 Signs that betrade you:
  • The thumb hidden in the palm: That means you are worried, stressed, and that you feel unsecured. This is someone that has problem to open himself to others.

  • The nose: There are many signs you could have when someone is playing with his nose:
  1. Clinton used to scratch his nose during the Lewinsky trial. This is a mark that you are lying.
  2. Also when you point your finger on your nose, that means you are thinking and focus on what the other person is saying.
  3. If you are pinching it, that means it stinks, meaning that you are not agree at all with what they other person is talking about.
  • The mouth:
  1. The index touching the bottom of your lip, caressing it: you are thinking, trying to figure out a solution.
  2. The index caressing the top lip: I am also thinking, but I am trying to get the point, and understand the meaning of something.
  3. Lips closed: You are not listening to, you are not agree with.
  4. Hand on the mouth, the palm turning on the speaker: I am agree, and I am looking for a solution.
  5. Hand on the mouth, the palm turning toward your mouth: I don't want to talk.
  • The Chin:
  1. The index tapping the chin: I made my decision.
  2. The fist, closed, placed under the chin: I am deeply focusing.
  • The cheek
  1. The hand placed on the cheek, and the index toward the ear: I am thinking
  2. The index caress the cheek, right under the eye: I'd like to have further details and know more.
  • The ears:
  1. scratching your ear: I am not listening too, it doesn't interest me, and I won't do it.
  2. You are caressing the top of your ear: I like what you are saying, and it flatters my ego.
  3. You are caressing the ear lobe: I am undecised.
  • Scratching the top of the occipult: I am in a deep thinking process.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gartner's Top Ten Strategic Technologies For 2009

From November 3 to 7, leading IT research corp Gartner, is organizinig ITxpo 2008 in Cannes, France. This is a great opportunity for the company to expose the main trends in information technologies They have identified 10 main strategic technologies for next year:

1. Virtualisation
Much of the current buzz is focused on server virtualisation, but virtualisation in storage and client devices is also moving rapidly. Virtualisation to eliminate duplicate copies of data on the real storage devices while maintaining the illusion to the accessing systems that the files are as originally stored (data deduplication) can significantly decrease the cost of storage devices and media to hold information. Hosted virtual images deliver a near-identical result to blade-based PCs but, instead of the motherboard function being located in the data centre as hardware, it is located there as a virtual machine bubble. However, despite ambitious deployment plans from many organisations, deployments of hosted virtual desktop capabilities will be adopted by fewer than 40% of target users by 2010.

2. Cloud computing
Cloud computing is a style of computing that characterises a model in which providers deliver a variety of IT-enabled capabilities to consumers. The key characteristics of cloud computing are:
  • delivery of capabilities ’as a service’,
  • delivery of services in a highly scalable and elastic fashion,
  • using Internet technologies and techniques to develop and deliver the services, and
  • designing for delivery to external customers. Although cost is a potential benefit for small companies, the biggest benefits are the built-in elasticity and scalability, which not only reduce barriers to entry, but also enable these companies to grow quickly. As certain IT functions are industrialising and becoming less customised, there are more possibilities for larger organisations to benefit from cloud computing.
3. Servers - beyond blades
Servers are evolving beyond the blade server stage that exists today. This evolution will simplify the provisioning of capacity to meet growing needs. The organisation tracks the various resource types, for example, memory, separately and replenishes only the type that is in short supply. This eliminates the need to pay for all three resource types to upgrade capacity. It also simplifies the inventory of systems, eliminating the need to track and purchase various sizes and configurations. The result will be higher utilisation because of lessened ’waste’ of resources that are in the wrong configuration, or that come along with the needed processors and memory in a fixed bundle.

4. Web-oriented architectures
The Internet is arguably the best example of an agile, interoperable and scalable service-oriented environment in existence. This level of flexibility is achieved because of key design principles inherent in the Internet/Web approach, as well as the emergence of Web-centric technologies and standards that promote these principles. The use of Web-centric models to build global-class solutions cannot address the full breadth of enterprise computing needs. However, Gartner expects that continued evolution of the Web-centric approach will enable its use in an ever-broadening set of corporate solutions during the next five years.

5. Corporate mashups
Organisations are now investigating taking mashups from cool web hobby to corporate-class systems to augment their models for delivering and managing applications. Through 2010, the corporate mashup product environment will experience significant flux and consolidation, and application architects and IT leaders should investigate this growing space for the significant and transformational potential it may offer their organisations.

6. Specialised systems
Appliances have been used to accomplish IT purposes, but only with a few classes of function have appliances prevailed.
Heterogeneous systems are an emerging trend in high-performance computing to address the requirements of the most demanding workloads, and this approach will eventually reach the general purpose computing market. Heterogeneous systems are also specialised systems with the same single-purpose imitations of appliances, but the heterogeneous system is a server system into which the owner installs software to accomplish its function.

7. Social software and social networking
Social software includes a broad range of technologies, such as social networking, social collaboration, social media and social validation. Organisations should consider adding a social dimension to a conventional Web site or application and should adopt a social platform sooner rather than later because the greatest risk lies in failure to engage and thereby, being left mute in a dialogue where your voice must be heard.

8. Unified communications
During the next five years, the number of communications vendors with which a typical organisation works with will be reduced by at least 50%. This change is driven by increases in the capability of application servers and the general shift of communications applications to common off-the-shelf server and operating systems. As this occurs, formerly distinct markets, each with distinct vendors, converge, resulting in massive consolidation in the communications industry.
Organisations must build careful, detailed plans for when each category of communications function is replaced or converged, coupling this step with the prior completion of appropriate administrative team convergence.

9. Business intelligence
Business intelligence (BI), the top technology priority in Gartner’s 2008 chief information officer (CIO) survey, can have a direct positive impact on a company’s business performance, dramatically improving its ability to accomplish its mission by making smarter decisions at every level of the business from corporate strategy to operational processes. BI is particularly strategic because it is directed toward business managers and knowledge workers who make up the pool of thinkers and decision-makers that are tasked with running, growing and transforming the business. Tools that let these users make faster, better and more-informed decisions are particularly valuable in a difficult business environment.

10. Green IT
Shifting to more-efficient products and approaches can allow for more equipment to fit within an energy footprint, or to fit into a previously filled centre. Regulations are multiplying and have the potential to seriously constrain companies in building data centres, as the effect of power grids, carbon emissions from increased use and other environmental impacts are under scrutiny. Organisations should consider regulations and have alternative plans for data centre and capacity growth. "A strategic technology may be an existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses," says Carl Claunch, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "It may also be an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years. Companies should evaluate these technologies and adjust based on their industry need, unique business needs, technology adoption model and other factors."

source: ICT world

Friday, November 07, 2008

Credit Is A Customer Relationship Tool

I know that talking about credit in a positive way might seem awkward during this credit crisis, but I believe actually it is a good thing to remind people why credit is good and important to our consumer society. Also, I would like to remind you meanwhile that if we are in such a great crisis, it shows how crucial the credit function is fundamental in our occidental countries.

The risks of credits
Most of the time, especially in France, credits are seen in a bad way: If you are getting a crisis to buy a product, whatever it is, that means you will pay more than what you are suppose to, meaning if you would buy it cash. Also, most of the time, people are considering that getting a credit is risky, because when someone is purchasing something with a credit, it often means he did not have enough money to afford it. Actually, a lot of people in the US are in trouble because of that: People are owning big cars and nice houses without a penny in their bank account. About half of US citizens lives from pay check to pay check. This life style is risky, because whatever happen, you lose your job, get sick or have to make an important purchase, you won't be able to face the situation.

Credit as a customer relationship tool
However, credit is most of the time a great customer relationship tool. Indeed, as a retailer, by offering a credit to your customers, you are allowing them to access some goods and products they would not have been able to get without a credit. You are accelerating the ability of someone to own products that will enhance his lifestyle. Retailers are hence delaying their benefits in order to help customers to purchase.

What retailers should be conscious of
However, providing credit possibilities to customers doesn't mean you should blind yourself about the risks your customers might take. A retailer should propose credits according to the financial status of their customers. That is actually one of the main reasons why credits are most of the time becoming bad. Retailers have big responsabilities when they allow their customers to pay big credits. They must take into consideration if the credit won't hurt personal finances.

I believe that credit is one of the main customer relationship tool: a company is helping a customer to access some products in an easy fashion. However, the retailer must make sure the credit won't hurt personal finances, and be responsible of their credit allowance policies.