Friday, April 25, 2008

The Death of Pascal Sevran: When media goes too fast

One of the main attribute of the Internet as a new media & a new way of information circulation is its speed. It is consider as a great asset, but sometimes can cause real damages. Here is an example that happened this week in France, while French media (radio, TV, internet) announce an information that was false.

The Information
Pascal Sevran has been for decades a famous TV host in France, with shows dedicated to traditional French songs and dances. On April 21, in the morning, French Radio Europe 1 announces the death of Pascal Sevran, 62, due to a cancer.
Then, , to catch the train of this important news, the information is launched & most of the media starts to publish the information. In couple of hours, the information has spread:
  • Wikipedia
  • Yahoo News
  • Blogs
  • France 2 (French TV): On a pas tout dit: Because the host of France 2 TV show works at Europe 1, which announced the death, Laurent Ruquier says the news
  • Direct 8: Because France 2 says it, and it was the channel of Pascal Sevran, announce the death
The fact is that this information is false. The morale of this story is that because the information circulate so fast and on a wide range of medium/channels (TV, Internet, Radio), checking the information and announcing the source is very important.

Also, it jeopardize the credibility of traditional media. They are supposed to be professional and therefore, to make sure the information is true prior to announce it (something that on the Internet is not assured).

What do you think about it? Do you think information source and veracity might become one of the great issue in our information based society?
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Would the monkeys be ashamed of us?

Here is a very interesting picture found on
On the Sign: the Chimpanzee community refutes any ascendancies  with Humans.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Résultat des trophées SCOPS

Je vous avez déjà parlé de la remise des trophées SCOPS sur ce blog. La cérémonie s'est déroulée, et les gagnants ont été déterminés.

Rendez vous sur le blog de Nathalie Doan et sur pour avoir plus de détail.

Les trophées 2008 ont été décernés à :
• Trophée du meilleur Service 2007 : le bracelet RFID (radio-identification) aux urgences du CHU de Nice.
• Trophée du meilleur Concept 2007 : l’Avion d’Elysair, qui propose un service low-cost aux voyageurs d’affaires entre Paris et New York.
• Trophée de la meilleure Opération 2007 : la vente de Peugeot 1007 sur vente-privé, première vente privée d’automobiles sur Internet.
• Trophée du meilleur Programme relationnel 2007 : la carte client Darty, qui repose sur une offre de services personnalisés, en particulier la garantie électronique sur l’ensemble des produits détenus.
• Trophée de la meilleure Stratégie client 2007 : la Ferme du Sart, qui réinvente le rôle du distributeur de produits de la ferme à travers une stratégie forte de mise en relation des clients et des fournisseurs.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Are countries brands?

Chinese people are on the edge to boycott French companies implanted in China to protest against President Sarkozy's possible non participation to the Olympic Games opening ceremony. Thus, Chinese people are not boycotting companies like Carrefour because of their actions, but because of the fact that they are French companies.
That was the same scenario in the US during the memorable diplomatic crisis, when France was opposed to the war in Iraq. Some US customers decided to boycott French products because of French International diplomacy.

I don't have the intention to judge what is going on between China & France. This blog is not about politics, & it will never be. this is interesting to see Chinese customers' reactions & perceptions of this crisis. They consider France as a brand, that would be above French companies. As they would stop to by Unilever products because they don't respect environmental laws, they stop shopping in French retails.

Therefore I want to ask a question: Are countries brand? This is a very interesting issue. I already exposed my idea that Champagne could be assimilated as a brand, and I thought it would be nice to extend this thought to countries. One of the key question is to define what a brand is.

What is a brand?
According to
"A brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer."  I think it is quite a generic and accurate definition. Because it is vast, you can't limit brands to companies, because customers do not think like that.

A brand is the representation of oneself, whether it is an image (picture, icon, color...), or its values (skills, policy, mission statement...) or anything else. What is important, more than being a registered trade mark or to sell thousands of sport shoes, it is the image a customer has of something.

Examples of country's brand equity
Some countries, because of their specificities or the imaginary world linked to their name, have a certain image. Also let's not forget that some nationality are :
  • Cheap Chinese products
  • French fashion & style
  • Japanese good quality/price ration
Also, as some companies are assimilated to their products (the Iphone of Apple, Sony's Playstation...) some countries are known for their specialties:
  • Coffee of Kenya
  • Caviar of Russia
  • Salmon of Norway
In our mind, countries are already brands. We all have a perception, right or wrong, about what a country is about. Countries would be like humongous companies, that would have a CEO (president) elected by the employees (citizens while it is a democracy), with an organization (government), and of course a brand and some competencies.

When countries have brand equity issues
Above is the picture of a book I have always wanted to read about and that illustrates some countries know the same problems than corporate brands. This (French) book, edited in 2003, shows how the brand "Made in America" has been weakened by the US international diplomacy after the Irak war. This decision has impacted the brand America, and as a matter of fact US brands, in a bad way.

The problem
We have seen here some examples where governmental decision could  impact a country brand. The problem is that a company has no regard and no connections with a country foreign policy... And as we can see with what is going on in China, this is not LVMH's fault if Nicolas Sarkozy might not attend the Olympic ceremony.

That is why we can consider that a country is a brand, as it represents the value, the skills & an image of a country.
And a country's international politic influence somehow the equity of its exporting companies.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Digital Rift definition

This is a key concept to understand since this digital rift has become one of the main issue of some of the biggest high tech and Internet companies. Therefore, I will try to explain what this rift is about, and why it is important.

The social rift
To understand better the concept of digital rift, we should focus on the social rift. This is a concept invented by candidate Jacques Chirac while he was accessing French presidency in 1995. The fact is that at this time a social rift was emerging in France:
  • On one side, a population of rich people, benefiting of the economical growth, and of some tax relieves programs from the government.
  • A poor population, living thanks to governmental aid programs.
As a rift would do, the social pressure reaped the middleclass apart. The middle class population was either pulled to the poor side or was able to reach a certain status. The problem of this social rift is that the bigger the rift is, the more difficult it is to reach an upper social class (what in France we call the "social elevator", the opportunity to raise your social status), or to jump on the other side of the rift.

The digital rift
This is the same thing concerning high tech. A few part of the world owns phenomenal high tech skills, equipped with cell phones, easy to find & to use Wifi access, and powerful computers. On the other hand, you have a population which do not have access to the Internet because they lack of computers. Also, this very same population don't have access to mobility.

This rift has many dimensions. Within the US, the rift isn't that big as 75% of US Americans have access to the Internet. But on a worldwide scale, this is a real problem.
This is a big issue, as high tech technologies are developing & improving at a fast pace. This growth increases the digital rift. The issue is so important that the United Nations sent a warning to the Silicon Valley about this social rift.

Toward some solutions
Some solutions however seems to breakthrough.
  • Computers companies start offering low cost laptops & equipment: for less than 300 euros you can own now in France a laptop.
  • Thanks to open source, you have operating systems for cheap. Thanks to Lynus Solutions, or softwares like Open Office, you can nowadays get access to core functions of a computer for free.
    • Writting, editing document
    • Calculating
    • Internet browsing and email solution
    • Presentation, and brochure edition
  • Programs like Bill Gates' one aim to offer access to computing and Internet to third world countries.
  • New wiring  technologies like the WiMax or Internet by satellite allows some part of the world to be linked to the Internet

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hybrids sales take advantage of current Oil prices

The car industry has been hit hard by the current rise of gas prices. In 2007 car sales has decrease by 3% compared to 2006. But some companies take advantage of the crisis as always.
If Macy's and other Nordstorm have noticed a drop in their sales since the US economy slowed down its pace, companies like Ross have increase their revenue by proposing discount products.

This is the same in the car industry. Gas prices has impacted the decision making process of US drivers, and the MPG (miles per gallon) is nowadays a key factor of decision. Hybrids models' sales have rocketed +38% compared to 2006!

Here is a little table to illustrate how much you could save thanks to a hybrid

Hybrid Non Hybrid
MPG 34 25
$/Year $1,544 $2,100
Savings/year +556 -556

So what is the lesson?
  • Some companies know how to find opportunities while its competitors suffer.
  • In order to convert the mass to ecological products, we should focus on other aspects than "you'll help the planet". It could be better quality, saving money, or getting tax credits for example.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, April 18, 2008

Enterprise Feedback Management

I went on Friday April 11 to the Stanford's job fair where I found very interesting companies. I will talk about some of them within the next few days. Today, I wanted to focus on one of them which interested me, as a customer relationship management specialist.

Medallia is an enterprise feedback management company located in Menlo Park, California.

What is Enterprise feedback management?

Enterprise feedback management is an integrated approach to the management of all forms of feedback available to an organization. On a customer relationship point of view, acquiring new customers is becoming more and more difficult & expensive. The best way to increase its revenues is therefore to focus on your customers, and to enhance the customer experience you can provide. Over the past few years, companies have worked on offering more and more services to satisfy customers. The question is how can you improve the satisfaction.

The first step is to gather their feedback, to analyze it, and use the data to find ways to increase customers' satisfaction.

Thus, whenever the customer is in contact with the company (Internet, phone, retail visit), Medallia send afterward a survey to analyze the customer experience.

I invite you to visit Medallia's website. They expose some of the work they did for their clients.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Write the Winning Resume

writing a resume is like editing an advertisement: You are looking for selling a product, which is yourself. So who would be a better coach than one of the best French Marketer? Henri Kaufman proposes in this video 7 bullets to edit your resume, and to outstand the competition. As you have probably notice, most of the concepts introduced here are marketing concepts, which shows well the correlation between the two activities.

Here is the 7 keys:
  1. Sell yourself: As a marketer or a sales man, you need to sell yourself.
  2. Work on the tagline :You need to focus on the benefit you can provide to the employer. In one line, as a commercial tagline, you need to explain why you are better and different from the other candidates.
  3. Keep it light: Avoid long descriptions, keep it simple and strong, focus on the missions you undertook. The less you say, the better (this is a key concept in marketing).
  4. Select the picture: This is more for a French resume, because I don't think you should have a picture for your US one. Anyway, spend time finding the right picture. Don't be affraid of black& white. If other candidates use color, you should consider black & white to be different.
  5. Play with the Timeline : Organize your experiences through a timeline, starting with the latest one and finishing by the oldest one.
  6. Use the brand power : Of course, you must name the companies you worked for. But you should go on the Internet and to ad the logo of these companies. You leverage the brand equity to sell yourself.
  7. Initiate conversation. If you presented well your hobbies, it should allow you to start a conversation. Therefore, you need to find a way to present your hobby in order to stimulate the curiosity of the hiring manager. It will drive the will of the manager to speak with you.

For French Speakers, check the video, which will give you further information.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Remise des trophées SCOPS 2008 de l'Innovation commerciale

Le master distribution et relation client dont je suis diplômé a lancé l'année dernière un observatoire de l'innovation commerciale en France. L'objectif est de trouver et d'étudier les pratiques les plus innovantes en terme de marketing et de vente.

A l'issu de cette année de recherches, faîtes par les élèves du master et coordonnées par Pierre Volle, directeur du master et spécialiste de la relation client, un palmarès a été établit, et une remise de trophées à été programmée. Les lauréats ont été choisis parmi une trentaine de projet différents.

Voici la liste des trophées qui seront remis:
  • Services
  • Concepts
  • Opérations promotionnelles
  • Programmes de fidélisation
  • Stratégie de relation client

La remise des trophées aura lieu le 16 avril 2008 à 18h00 à Paris Dauphine, en Salle Raymond Aron (feu salle du conseil de l'OTAN). Si vous souhaitez assister à cet événement, vous pouvez trouver une invitation ici. N'oubliez pas de confirmer votre présence.

En tout cas, c'est une très bonne initiative. Il n'existe en effet que très peu d'outil de mesure et de récompense en terme d'innovation commerciale. J'y serai certainement allé si j'étais en France, je sais en tout cas que de nombreux de mes anciens amis de promo s'y rendront.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Blog de Nathalie Doan

Une petite promotion pour un nouveau blog qui vient de se créer la semaine dernière. C'est celui de Nathalie Doan, qui s'appelle Nath et la vie. Nathalie est étudiant au master distribution et relation client de l'université Paris Dauphine, le même que celui que j'ai fait l'année dernière.

Je souhaite bonne chance à ce blog, et j'espère que Nathalie connaîtra le même succès que moi.

Il est aussi à noté que je connais Nathalie via Viadéo, le réseau social professionnel de référence en France. Elle recherche en ce moment un stage de 6 mois en Chine, dans les domaines du marketing et de la relation client.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, April 11, 2008

Need help for your US resume, cover letter and job search?

Here is a great website I found, on the Stanford website. Try it out, they have great advices.

Good luck you are seeking for a job as I do!
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Commercial use of Twitter

I recently blogged about the use of Twitter for business purposes. And I saw that this practice has developped a lot. A lot of companies use Twitter to spread their promotional content to people that did not really request it.

I think this is wrong, and it is a real permissive marketing technique. The brand tries to get inside the personal sphere of friends of an individual. This is something that can't work.

However, I think we can imagine the use of Twitter some other ways for businesses. You can provide information, content, or even converse with clients thanks to this service.

Here are some uses that came through my mind quickly:

Product Information: We can imagine using Twitter to inform people that bought for example a concert ticket about the event. You could be informed if there is a problem with the transportation, if the band will be late, you could ask if you can bring some drinks, etc...

Added Value through content: We can think that customers of a brand could get some valuable information through Twitter. For example, could use it as a pipeline with inside information about stocks.

Customer Service: We can imagine a new type of customer service platform with Twitter. This would be some new forums that people would use to solve some technical problems for example. Also, if you have to repair your car, we can imagine that you will know in "almost real time" how the reparation advances.

All of these examples also imply you to have a team that will manage the content and the conversation with the users.

Do you have other ones? Feel free to leave some comments, and see how a business could potentially use Twitter.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Delta Airline and Customer Relationship Management

I went to New York last week end to visit my girlfriend's family and to attend the Sweet Sixteen party of her cousin. I wanted to give you the feedback on my experience with my flight.
The company was Delta Airline.

Food during the flight.
I already knew that airlines companies don't include meals in the fare for inside-US trips any longer. I still find that kind of rude for two reasons:
  • A San Francisco New York trip last around 6h30, which is roughly the time of a New York Paris flight. This is a long time, and therefore, it should be consider as an international flight. At least for coast to coast trips (Miami-Los Angeles, or Philadelphia-Seattle for example)
  • This service has become a standard over the years. It is the same thing for the 30 minutes Pizza delivery. This would not make sens a pizza restaurant would serve you in more than 30 minutes. This is a regression of the level of service provided by airline companies.

Anyways, I understand gas prices impacted a lot the benefits of airlines, and paying $8 for a meal is not that bad, especially that the menu seemed very nice.
The problem that occurred, is that I wanted to have a chicken sandwich and my girlfriend a chicken salad. While the flight attendant asked for what we wanted to order, we learned that they had neither of what we wanted, they were already sold-out. I find that very rude. Especially because we were not the last row of the plane (there was probably about 20 to 30 persons behind us). The airline must be able to provide food to all the customers, not the ones from the front seat.

Customer survey
There was also, available on the passangers' screens a survey, to get customer's feedback on their trip. I thought: "Great, this is a good idea as the customer has 1 the time to complete the survey and 2 they have at the top of their mind their opinion about the flight". Then I started completing the questionnaire. But I have been kind of deceived: nothing was concerning the service. The questions were about how clean the plain was (don't get me wrong, which is also important). How clean was the seat? How clean was the table? etc. But an airline's company added value (especially these days that price competition is so high) is the service. If companies such as Air France or Singapoure Airline have succeeded so well, it is by delivering a top of the line service.

So my recommandation would be to
  • To have enough stocks to provide the whole airplane with the menu.
  • keep this good idea, but to use it to evaluate the service on board.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Typologie du web 2.0

Très beau travail de Dominique Cardon, qui nous offre une typologie du web 2.0. On y voit un très joli travail de mapping, et on voit très bien la complexité du web 2.0, complexité portant spécialement sur l'analyse.

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Le capital risque connait des difficultés en france

Mauvais trimestre pour le capital risque français. Alors qu'on restait sur une très bonne année 2007, l'investissement en France semble avoir été touchée par la crise financière issue du Sub prime américain. Esperons que cela ne durera pas. En tout cas, on est loin de la capacité de financement de la Silicon Valley, dont je parlais la semaine dernière...
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Monday, April 07, 2008

Microsoft working on a new OS to replace Vista for next year

I have always been skeptical about Windows Vista since the first day I saw it, and I was probably right. Bill Gates announced his staff will be working on a new OS for next year, whereas if should not have been released before 2010 ( I would even have said later than that). The project is called Windows 7.

Windows users did not really like Windows Vista. The sales of the new operating systems did not meet expectations, and Microsoft has been forced to keep proposing Computers running with Microsoft XP until 2010. One of the main problem was that Vista required a lot of power from the processor, and therefore was pretty slow, and totally awkward compared to the main trend which is web technologies.

If Microsoft wants to succeed, they need to turn their strategy up side down. Instead of building an OS requiring a top processor, they need to keep it simple and light. I think that Bill Gates has understood the reason why Vista is not working and I wish he'll release therefore a good new OS for Windows users.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Friday, April 04, 2008

François Séguineau et les PC portables à 300€

Comme je le disais précédemment, Ce matin j'écoutais l'émission "de quoi je me mail" sur RMC (enfin, en podcast vu que je suis en Californie, vous m'aurez compris) du 29 mars 2008, programme que j'écoute régulièrement sur les nouvelles technologies et les noueautés Internet.
L'invité est le directeur général de l'informatique de Toshiba, François Séguineau, le sujet les ordinateurs à bas prix qui commencent à fleurir chez la plupart des constructeurs.

Ce qui m'a surpris, et ce dont je voulais parlé maintenant, c'est les critiques de François Séguineau sur le PC à 300€, annonçant plus ou moins un échec de l'entreprise. Voici son argumentaire (dans l'ordre chronologique), mais aussi mes commentaires:

Le PC à 300€ est à moitié prix, mais il fait beaucoup moins qu'un PC standard: Je suis d'accord avec lui. Je pense que je ne vais pas installer adobe creative suite sur un PC à 300€. Mais même moi qui suis un féru d'informatique, je n'utilise que très peu l'ensemble des capacités de mon PC. La plupart du temps, sur mon PC personnel, je surfe sur Internet, j'édite mon blog, à la limite édite du texte, mais je suis vraiment loin d'être gourmand en terme d'applications. Je pense que le PC à 300€ répond à ces utilisations limitées, mais fondamentales.

Vous ne regardez pas un film, car l'écran est 7 pouces: Bien sûr, je vais pas invité 10 amis pour voir un DVD sur un écran de 7 pouces. Mais pour mon usage personnelle, il n'y a vraiment pas de problème. On regarde bien des films sur une PSP ou un Iphone non? C'est sûr qu'on n'a pas le même confort, mais dans le train, cela a son charme.

On ne peut pas mettre de jeux vidéos: Je pense qu'en terme de population total possédant un ordinateur, la part de personnes jouant aux jeux vidéos sur un PC est tout de même limitée. Je pense surtout que cette fonction est aussi réservée à une population de fans, qui n'est pas du tout ciblé par une telle offre.

On ne peut pas avoir tout ses fichiers sur l'ordinateur: On est à l'air de la dématérialisation. On a des boîtes mail de 7GO avec Gmail, et des services tels que Citrix (mais il y en a bien d'autres) permettant d'accéder à ses fichiers partout dans le monde pour peu qu'on ait accès à Internet. Donc le fait d'avoir peut de capacités sur l'ordinateur, ce n'est pas forcément un gros problème, hormis si vous avez décidé de stocker la collection de films de James bond en haute définition (mais bon si vous êtes capable de payer 300€ dans une collection de DVD, je pense que vous pouvez vous payez un ordinateur haut de gamme, donc vous ne faites sûrement pas partie de la cible de cette offre).

C'est un ordinateur pour lire ces emails avec un confort d'écran qui n'est pas égal à un téléphone portable:  D'une part, le fait de lire ces mails et de naviguer sur Internet est pour moi comme je l'ai dit LA fonction essentiel d'un ordinateur aujourd'hui. Concernant le confort, l'écran est peut être peu lumineux, mais le fait d'avoir un réel ordinateur avec un clavier est tout de même bien plus confortable qu'un téléphone portable. Surfer deux minutes sur un Iphone pour vérifier ses mails et trouver un restaurant c'est bien, mais quand il s'agit de rechercher de l'information sur un sujet précis pendant plus d'une demi heure et cela va devenir difficile. De même, avec des abonnements à 60€ pour de la data vs 29€ pour haut débit illimité à la maison, je pense que l'on ne parle pas de la même chose.

IL y a le vélo, la mobilette et la voiture servent à se dépalcer, mais ce n'est pas le même usage: pour aller en voyage je prends la voiture:  Il est vrai, mais si là on parle d'Internet, un réseau ou les pages font quelques octets, ou l'information est vaste sans pour autant avoir besion d'avoir des capacités exceptionnelles. Avec un ordinateur de 1998 je suis très bien capable de répondre à 80% de mes besoins journaliers, et je pense de la plupart des utilisateurs du net. Donc là encore je ne suis pas forcément d'accord. Il est sûr que si vous voulez vous préparer au prochain tournoi mondial de world of warcraft, créer la prochaine publicité pour Nike ou encore faire du montage d'un film, vous allez avoir du mal. Mais là on parle d'une population qui a besoin à l'accès à l'information et à l'Internet. Et cette population est grande. 50% des français environ. Donc pour conclure, soyons écolo, roulons en vélo.

Et vous qu'en pensez vous? Est ce que cet ordinateur à un avenir?
Blogged with the Flock Browser

L'ordinateur à moins de 300€: vers une réduction de la fracture numérique

Ce matin j'écoutais l'émission "de quoi je me mail" sur RMC (enfin, en podcast vu que je suis en Californie, vous m'aurez compris) du 29 mars 2008, programme que j'écoute régulièrement sur les nouvelles technologies et les noueautés Internet.
L'invité est le directeur général de l'informatique de Toshiba, François Séguineau, le sujet les ordinateurs à bas prix qui commencent à fleurir chez la plupart des constructeurs.

On trouve ainsi un courant d'ordinateurs à moins de 300€, auxquels on annonce un avenir prometteur. Ces machines tournent sur Linux, et permettent principalement de naviguer sur Internet. Je pense que l'arrivée de ces ordinateurs à bas prix est une réelle avancée, et permettra de combler un peu plus la fameuse fracture numérique chère à Henri Kaufman.

Qu'est ce que la fracture numérique?
Un peu à l'instar de la fracture social, idée développée par Jacques Chirac lors des élections 1995, l'idée de fracture numérique découle d'un constat. Près de la moitié des ménages français n'avaient pas accès à Internet en 2006 (je suis désolé, mais je n'ai pas eu le temps de chercher des chiffres plus actualisés). Cela crée une fracture numérique:
  • D'un côté, une population de privilégiés, qui ont accès à un Internet haut débit, accédant ainsi à la masse d'information de l'Internet, mais aussi jouissant d'offres commerciales difficilement accessible sans Internet: Billet d'avions pas cher (Expedia), DVD discount (cdiscount), accéder en temps réel au relevé de banque (BNP en ligne par exemple), ou encore les fameuses ventes privées.
  • Et de l'autre une population qui a une information limitée, ne pouvant s'offrir d'une part un ordinateur, mais aussi ont certainement des appréhensions envers un medium qu'il connaisse mal.
Bien sûr, on ne peut pas comparer ces ordinateurs à 300€ avec des ordinateurs plus "standards": moins de capacité de stockage, impossibilité d'installer des logiciels trop gourmand en ressources, qualités de l'affichage vidéo bien moindre que les PC normaux.

Mais l'arrivée de ces modèles représentent une formidable opportunité pour combler cette facture, permettre d'équiper une grande partie de la population en informatique. De plus, avec des offres haut débit à 29€ par mois, cela permettra d'offrir l'accès au plus grand nombre à Internet, et donc diminuer les égalités envers l'accès à l'information et au savoir. Bien sûr, il faudra aussi ensuite éduquer cette partie de la population qui comprends très mal l'utilisation d'Internet.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Marketing & recession

How should you market during recession? Which impact has recession on marketing? Does recession mean you should cut your marketing budget?
Here are some of the questions some CEO and marketing directors might ask themselves as the United States' economy is on the edge of the "R" word. Most of the time, during difficult period of time, marketing is the first department of the company that will experience budget cuts.

To know more about the topic, you can download the report Marketing Sherpa edited. This report presents the effect expected and the decisions companies might take during this recession. Also, it gives to marketing people great tips to defend their budgets if it is en danger. Here are the main facts:
  • Customer relationship prospective: Two key points on this topic. First, sales cycles are lengthening. You will therefore have to spend more time and energy on customers in order to make them buy. That is why you should focus on the quality of your relationship, especially at this timerecession marketing. Secondly, you should keep investing in marketing. You need to continue communicating with your customers. If it doesn't buy today, that doesn't mean it won't buy tomorrow. Also, if customers notice you are communicating less, they will understand that you are in a bad situation, and will be more reluctant to buy your stuffs.
  • CFOs are considering the downturn as an opportunity: Most of CFOs think they should not cut back on marketing. First, when a company cuts on marketing, it is a bad sign for partners and customers that might think something goes wrong in your company. Therefore you are more likely to lose businesses and market shares. Most likely, weak actors of the market will have the same strategy, as growing companies and strong actors will increase marketing to increase dramatically market shares.  51.3% of CFOs are thinking about not changing anything or even to invest in marketing for this year. Also, CFOs love Internet & direct marketing, because it allows to show the efficiency of the campaigns and the revenues generated through the different campaigns.
  • Small businesses and large businesses respond differently to the recession: While large business are more likely to cut marketing budgets, small businesses are seeking for growth and are looking forward to winning market shares during the recession time. 60% of marketers at largers companies and 29% of medium sized firms are expected to cut marketing budgets, whereas 13% have cut or expected cuts of small businesses.
  • TV and radios media are likely to suffer, Internet and direct marketing campaigns will raise: TV and radios are really not adapted to recession marketing. Marketers are more likely to use Internet & direct marketing media, cheaper and also allowing to evaluate with more ease the results of the campaigns. 30% of survey respondents said they are increasing direct marketing investments this year in response to economic conditions
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Main reason why the Silicon Valley is such a great land for entrepreneurs

I had this feeling since I moved here in the Silicon Valley. Historically, the San Francisco bay area is a land of entrepreneurship, with a lot of start up blooming everywhere, taking advantage of the web 2.0 development. But why is the Silicon Valley so attractive for entrepreneurs from all around the world? Of course, you have the climate, which is great. Not too hot in summer, not too cold in winter, you are also located close to the see and the mountain (with the Lake Tahoe). You also have a great stimulation and entrepreneurship atmosphere, since start up are everywhere. You are at ten minutes from Google, Ebay, Facebook, LinkedIn or Microsoft for example.

But one of the key thing, and biggest difference with France, is the funding capacities of the Silicon Valley. I saw today some stats from a report by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, about the venture capital per capita here compared to some other countries and towns in the world. The Bay Area has way more venture capital per capita than any other places in the world.

Here in the valley, finding funds to finance your start up is not a problem at all. You will always find business angels and VCs to support your project, as long of course that it has a potential.

This is something that really misses in France in my opinion to develop entrepreneurship.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

What is Mortgage Planning? Definition

I am right now working on both Jerome Sierra and Yulin Lee's websites, editing some content for them. And one of the key thing we want to bold is the mortgage planning concept. A concept that is the base of our business, which differentiate us from most of our competitors. But what is mortgage planning? This is a concept very difficult to define. Therefore, I undertook some research and the project to write a complete definition and description of it. Let me know what you think about it.

Mortgage planning aims to incorporate your mortgage, debt, and home equity into your overall financial plan. This is why mortgage planning is very important. A CFO in a company always has to deal with debts, and liabilities. Financial planners are focusing on the assets and the income, but don't really manage the other side. A mortgage planner is dealing with the biggest debt a person will ever have: his mortgage. But managing debts is important. Being able to manage debt will help your company to boost its revenues (the famous multiplying factor), and also secure its financial status.

Mortgage planning aims to use mortgage as a leverage to create wealth both on a short term and a long term period. That is the first definition that comes to my mind while speaking about mortgage planning. Mortgage can turn into a very powerful tool to build wealth. You can use the equity in your house wisely and invest it in a diversified portfolio of stocks. You know by the way that 82% of millionaires in the US have built their fortune thanks to real estate? Think about it.

Mortgage planning aims to respond to your mortgage needs throughout your life. Planning your mortgage means to evaluate throughout your life your needs in terms of mortgage. Wether you are thinking about buying your first home, refinancing, buying a second house/investment properties or retiring,  a competent mortgage planner will guide you through these different steps.

I think that it responds properly to the definition of mortgage planning, even though it is more a description than a real definition.

Here are the services a mortgage planner can offer you
  • Mortgage strategy: Setting up a plan based on your financial profile in order to qualify for the mortgage program that will suit you the most.
  • Equity repositionning: A mortgage planner will be able to help you reposition wisely the equity you have in your house.
  • Asset optimization
  • Annual mortgage revue: This is a key service. Thanks to this annual review, you will be able to determine how your finances and credit score are doing and if you need to refinance, and if you have opportunities to buy whether a bigger house, a second house or a home property.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

DreamShake: secouez vos rêves, ou quand le web 2.0 permet de réaliser vos rêves

J'ai eu le plaisir de rencontrer François-Xavier Tanguy lors de son Geek's trip à San Francisco la semaine passée en compagnie de bloggeurs français tels qu' Henri Kaufman, Philippe Jeudy ou encore Pierre Philippe Cormeraie. François-Xavier est un entrepreneur qui vient de créer récemment (il y a à peu près un mois) sa nouvelle entreprise, appellée Dreamshake. Je tenais à en parler, car je trouve l'idée exceptionnellement novatrice, mais aussi épousant parfaitement les capacités des technologies du web 2.0.
Le concept est simple: ce site Internet va vous permettre de réaliser vos rêves, et/ou aider/participer à la réalisation du rêve de quelqu'un.

Ce qui est tout à fait singulier et original pour ce site Internet, c'est qu'il utilise parfaitement l'étendue des capacités du web 2.0. Les nouvelles technologies de l'Internet permettent de mettre les gens en réseaux. Vous pouvez échanger avec votre communauté, mais aussi savoir ce qu'elle fait, où et quand.
Cette idée repose sur le même principe, et permet d'activer ce réseau pour réaliser vos rêves. Qui n'a pas de rêve? Souvent, on se laisse emporter à rêver, et puis, réaliste (ou bien pessimiste?), on se dit que cette idée est irréalisable car il me manque X, Y ou Z. Pourtant, la première cause d'échec est souvent de ne pas avoir parler autour de soi de cette idée, obstruant ainsi tout conseils et aides potentiels.

Pour reprendre un concept qui est cher à Loic Lemeur, dans ce monde de l'Internet de la communication en général, il est important pour entreprendre (et la j'utilise le mot dans son sens le plus large, celui de passer à l'action), il est important de communiquer le plus possible auprès du plus grand nombre. Ce qui va permettre l'aboutissement du projet est la faculté d'une personne à utiliser son réseau (ou communauté) pour réaliser celui-ci. Ainsi, Loic utilise son précieux réseau pour trouver des idées, trouver des employés, financer son projet etc...

C'est la même démarche pour François-Xavier. Il considère que tout le monde est capable d'aider à un moment ou à un autre une autre personne pour réaliser son projet. Et Dreamshake a été crée avec cet objectif d'aider les "rêveurs" à formuler leurs rêves, exprimer leurs besoins pour y arriver, et de l'autre permettre à tout un chacun de contribuer à la réalisation de ce rêve.

Le rêve pas forcément inaccessible
Attention, le rêve n'est pas forcément quelque chose d'inaccessible. Je ne parle pas ici de voler, ou bien de se transformer en homme dauphine (même si il est rare que je rêve de ce genre de chose). Souvent les rêves exprimés sur ce site sont souvent bien plus réalisable que ce que le rêveur le croit. Par exemple, parler le chinois peut être chose aisée si vous rencontrez un chinois disposé à vous aider, c'est chose possible. Et ce site Internet montre bien que souvent, il suffit d'un rien pour faire avancer ses idées et envies.

Le medium Internet permet ainsi dans ce sens de réaliser ses rêves, de transformer un fantasme en réalité, grâce à sa communauté. Je trouve le concept très fort et très dans l'air du temps.

L'idée me paraît excellente, tout autant que la réalisation (je vous invite à visiter le site Dreamshake). Je vous invite à visiter ce site, surtout qu'il expose très bien les différents rêves de ses utilisateurs.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Le manque de représentativité de la publicité française

Prenez une seconde pour voir ces publicités qui passent fréquemment aux Etats-Unis. Y-a-t-il quelque chose d'inhabituel?

Le fait est que dans cette publicité les acteurs principaux sont de couleurs. J'aurai pu en mettre plus, mais je me suis concentré sur certaines des plus grosses entreprises américaines dans des secteurs différents (assurance, hi fi, restauration)
Et je dois bien avouer qu'en France, il est rare de voir des personnes de couleurs dans les publicités. J'irai même plus loin, en disant que je n'ai pas réellement de souvenir d'une en particulier. Pourtant la France est un pays pluri ethnique. Selon une étude menée conjointement par le groupe Aegis Média France et l’institut de sondage CSA, 62 % des résidents noirs estiment que la publicité ne représente pas la réalité sociétale française et 43 % des personnes résidant en France que « la publicité n’est pas à l’image de la société ».

Et pour être tout à fait hônnete, je suis plutôt d'accord avec eux. Je n'ai malheureusement jamais réussi à trouver de statistiques là dessus, mais je suis sûr qu'au minimum 1/4 de la population (soit environ 15 millions de personnes en France) ne sont pas "caucasians" comme on dit en français.

Qu'en pensez vous? Est-ce normal? Je pense que le fait d'incorporer des personnes de couleurs dans les publicités seraient une très bonne chose, surtout que ces consommateurs ont un certains pouvoir d'achat.
De plus, je suis aussi étonner ici aux Etats Unis du nombre de produit cosmétique adaptés aux populations noires et hispaniques, qui ont des peaux et des cheveux avec des charactéristiques bien éloignées de celle d'une femme blanche par exemple.
Blogged with the Flock Browser