Thursday, July 31, 2008 en panne pendant 30 heures: cela arrive même aux meilleurs

voyages-sncf est le site Internet commercial le plus visité en France. Cependant, bien que son infrastructure soit de tout premier choix, il lui arrive de tomber en panne. En effet, entre mercredi et jeudi le site a connu de graves problèmes techniques empêchant toute commande en ligne. Une panne qui tombe mal, alors que la période juillet-aout est la période la plus chargée en départ en vacances.

Ceci nous montre que même lorsque la technologie est maitrisée, même lorsque la structure est solide, les problèmes techniques sont toujours possibles.

Seesmic and Search Engine Optimization: my advices

Seesmic Logo and Search OptimizationLoic Lemeur, French serial entrepreneur that I often quote in this blog, has posted today an article on his blog where he asks for help in order to optimize Seesmic, his online company, in Google. One of his main mistake was to use a 100% flash version of the website. This is the first advice I can give: Never use 100% flash version while creating your website. Flash might be an advanced technology to create website, it might be pretty, but it is a real handicap while trying to optimize your website. The only people that could use a 100% flash version of their website would be luxury brands, like Gucci or Hermes, that have a great brand equity and don't really need a great exposure on the web.

Google loves text: all its indexation is based on text. It does not analyze video nor pictures. This is why it is important to provide him text in order to help him understand what your website is about.

Anyway, Loic has understood his mistake, and in a great effort of modesty, he is asking his community to help him improve its SEO (which is actually a real "2.0" behavior).

Here would be my main recommandations:
- First you need to pick the main key words you want to optimize: You need to make a research thanks to Google ad, to identify which of the keywords are more seeked by Internet users. For example, let's check if "video community", or "video service" have a high volume of search. Sometimes you think that some keywords perfectly match your website, and you would like people that are seeking them to land on your website, but these keywords have a low volume of search. You need to identify these words that both people search and correspond to your site and focus on them.
-Once you have these words, you need to ad them as much as you can on your website. You need for instance to add them in the title of your site: instead of having "seesmic" in your title, it is far better to have "online video community", if these words are the proper terms to optimize. You also need to add these different words in your meta descriptions, and the pictures of the site.
-Custom all pages titles and meta. In order to have a good Google Pagerank, it is important to customize each pages of the website, and not to have the same page titles for all the pages. Each pages will then be taken into consideratiGoogle Search engine optimizationon by Google.
- As you have said, Flash is a great issue while trying to optimize your site. Try to give as much text information as possible: give a name and a description to alll your videos and pictures, try to add as much text as you can, tagg the videos and so on.

For such a big company as Seesmic, based on the web, I think they need to seek for an expert, that will help them set up their SEO strategies. But with these simple advices, Seesmic should be able to have a great pagerank.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Censure de l'Internet utilisé par les médias lors des JO

La Chine a décidé de censurer l'accès à l'Internet par les médias internationaux pendant les jeux Olympiques de Pékin. Certains sites Internet ne seront pas disponibles par les journalistes, alors que les chinois s'étaient engagés à ne pas censurer l'Internet lors des festivités.

On ne change pas de vieilles habitudes aussi facilement. En tout cas, c'est très dommage est montre bien les lacunes de cet état en terme de liberté individuel et d'expression.

source: AFP

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 : the google killer still needs some improvement

cuil.comOn Sunday, July 27 was released, a new web browser engineered by former Google managers Anna Patterson, Russell Power and Louis Monier, with Tom Costello (ex IBM) as a CEO.

The idea of is to create a better web browser than the Google solution. Indeed, the new website indexes 120 billion pages, which is the biggest indexation effort on the web. But the main idea of is to present the information in an improved way. You can see pictures and a summary of the web pages, instead of a brief description.

Still some available spots to compete with Google
Google is still dominating the market, thanks to its technological advantage. There is so far no other web browsers that can somehow give the same quality of results than Google. However, the Google algorythm, even though it is powerful, is far from being perfect. Therefore, there is room for a competitor that will be able to master another way to seek through the web.

My opinion
Is the one? I don't think so. Not so far. We can't expect the search engine to be perfect right after having been released. I have done couple of research, especially with my name, and I don't think the results were good quality wise. I don't think either the summary was effective. But I think cuil has some great ideas, and identified where they could propose an added value.
I wish them good luck in this very competitive market, hoping they will come up with a serious alternative to Google, which domination is not positive.

And you what do you think about Have you tested it?

Monday, July 28, 2008

new disqus try

new disqus try

Un blog sur l'actualité du droit des affaires et des NTIC

Il est toujours important, dans n'importe quelle industrie vous êtes, de garder des nouvelles de l'environement juridique. Je suis tombé un peu par hasard sur le blog d'Olivier Santivi, avocat au barreau de Paris.

Vous y trouverez les dernières nouvelles du cadre judiciaire de l'Internet et des technologies. Je vous conseille d'accord son article sur la légalisation de l'utilisation des portables en avion. Le blog n'est pas forcément tenu régulièrement à jour (environ un article par mois),  mais en tout cas il y a de la qualité.
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France about to lose its first place as wine producer in 2015

Wine marketingThe French wine industry is under siege. It has been many years French producers are experiencing difficulties to keep their leading spot in the wine market. Whereas new countries sprung up, France is struggling to develop a middle range production and to keep its sales figures. French production would drop from 52.9 million hl between 2000 and 2004, to 43.9 million hl in 2015, a 20% fall that will be a huge hit to this sector. As a matter of fact, Spain is expected to become the first wine producer in the world in 2015, according to French statistic institute CREDOC.

Here are the main reasons established by this study:
  • Lower consumption of wines. This decrease has started 4 years ago due to more and more health concerns and a new generation that is consuming less and less wine during lunch and diner time.
  • Exportations are expected to decrease of 1.1% per year between 2005 and 2015. The key problem here is the sales and marketing forces of other countries like the US or Australia.
My opinion
Wine marketingThe main issue of French producers is their lack of marketing and promotional effort. Due to historical reason, French wines have a great brand equity, which secure the standing in the premium market. But the sales are decreasing because their problems of competitiveness for the lower and mid range products: French wines are sometimes more expensive, and struggle because of the massive marketing effort of other producers (especially Australian's).

Is it totally out of question to rethink the way these wines are marketed and sold? Culturally, French producers found hard to believe they should innovate with their packaging and marketing, whereas French wine are still known to be the best of the world.

But as the world market has changed, especially with new importing actors from Asia, so did the way wine consumption is perceived. Therefore, the innovative spirit of new producers is highly appreciated. Let's not forget we can not sell wine in other countries as you would in France, a country with a great wine culture.

Here will be my main recommendations for French wine producers:
  • Keep the strong historical brand for top of the line wines: French wine are doing great on the premium market. Their product quality allied to their historical brands are some key. I believe the marketing strategies of these products is perfect and has not been affected by the competition.
  • Dare to innovate with middle range wines marketing. Let's use new media, new colors, new display systems in order to stand out of the competition. What Australian do, we can.
  • Find new ways to promote alternative way of consumption, in order to keep up with the trend. I know, it is very hard to think about it, but why not find new way to bottle wine, to promote wine consumption in night clubs, for instance.
Let's reinvent wine marketing in France!
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Saturday, July 26, 2008

Is Marketing Magic?

I was reading one of the latest blog posts of Guy Kawasaki, famous entrepreneur and VC of the Silicon Valley, where he explains how marketing and magic are alike.

Guy Kawasaki  explains that "For good or for bad, misdirection and illusion are probably principles of marketing too". I totally disagree with his point of view. Marketing is for sure not about misdirection nor illusion.

Marketing is not an illusion
Marketing might be about creating an image (positive if possible of course), but it is not about an illusion. As a marketer, you can't fool your client. If there is a gap between the image that you have created and the product you need to promote you have no chances of success. This is also why the job of marketer is difficult: you need to create an image that matches with your products. I don't know any cases where a marketing campaign have fooled the customers and meanwhile experienced success. Customers know marketing tricks, and they would not be fooled for long. The best a marketer can do is be fair in his way of communicating.

Marketing is not about entertainment
Marketing might seek for entertaining medium, but this is not what it is about. The entertainment is not the purpose but the medium, to communicate with the targeted audience. Magic is about entertainment. For the magician, the illusion is the product. A marketer will seek for entertainment in order to establish a contact with the audience.

The magic of marketing is not about the illusion skills, it is more about picturing customers' thoughts.

I still respect Guy as a great Internet industry professional, but sometimes I really struggle with his vision of marketing.

Anyways, for your entertainment, here is a marketing trick;)

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Une technologie 2.0 pour des process très conventionnel

digital memoPopuload Software vient de créer un nouveau service aux entreprises appelé Digital Memo. Alors que les technologies web 2.0 sont sensées facilités les communications entre les différentes niveaux hiérarchiques, "Certains chefs d'équipe et responsables ne voient en effet pas d'un très bon œil la possibilité pour leurs collaborateurs de pouvoir répondre en permanence. Pour leur permettre de communiquer de manière unilatérale sans abandonner le principe du 2.0, Popuload Software lance Digital Memo, un outil basé sur la messagerie instantanée Windows, et qui permet à la hiérarchie de publier des directives auxquelles il est impossible de répondre."

L'avantage de la démarche est bien sûr de pouvoir clarifier la communication du chef de service vers ses employés. Il permet pour une direction d'avoir un discours clair et rapidement consultable. Mais on peut tout de même s'interroger de l'efficacité de cette initiative, alors que le monde de l'entreprise se transforme avec l'arrivée de toutes ces technologies permettant d'améliorer le travail collaboratif en entreprise.

C'est en fait un genre de Twitter à sens unique, puisque les différents collaborateurs reçoivent l'information mais ne peuvent pas répondre. Le système me paraît très peu "2.0" en fait.
Alors que ces nouvelles technologies devraient faciliter l'échange aussi bien vertical qu'horizontal dans l'organisation, on utilise ici une technologie participative dans le but d'assoir son pouvoir une organisation hiérarchique traditionnelle.

Je ne suis pas vraiment sûr de l'intérêt de la manœuvre, bien que je comprenne l'utilité pour les directions désirant garder le contrôle sur les activités de leurs salariés. Et vous qu'en pensez-vous?
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Icons design 101: The New York Times New Iphone Icons

You should check this blog post: it shows how the New York Times designed the new icons for their Iphone application.
This is always a difficult work, between creativity, simplicity and clarity.

the front page
Today the iPhone/ nytimes app releases. I've drawn GUI before but this one was special. For my news of choice and another chance to work with renowned web wizard Khoi Vinh and designer Caryn Tutino.

Con go figure
Here is the secondary, ancillary pitstop where you configure out what you want most.

They had to work in old Grey Lady grey scale as well as black and white in 29X29 pixels. Once approved, the png art was integrated into the app (which is free btw).

icons in prog
GUI is an ugly process, but an interesting one. Pixel reduction is a nice diversion from drawing my linear crap. I mean "art".
here is a peek inside some of the process, which was considerably smooth.

morbid sketches
there were some interesting things (concessions?) that happened along the way. Most notably, and my favorite was the icon for Heller's favorite gig, that of the Obituary section. I went straight to the grave initially. "Too morbid" they said. Then we landed on a single flower in front of the gravestone. Done. But wait. A week later the editors came back; "still too morbid". So we went with a single flower. I am still curious if a flower denotes death. I guess we'll wait to see if anyone finds offense.

done and done
and here are the final "ready for prime time players". It was weird seeing them for the first time live on my iPhone. Would love to hear what you think of this often ignored form of information illustration.
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The blog of Carl Icahn

Do you know about Carl Icahn? If you are close to the Internet industry there is no way you could have missed the fight between this serial investor and Yahoo.

Indeed, Carl Icahn is favorable for the purchase of Yahoo by Microsoft, and has launched a great communication campaign in order to convince Yahoo's shareholders to help this deal.

Today I have just noticed on the Internet that Carl Icahn owns a blog, called the Icahn Report. I don't know if it is its true blog or somebody acting like him, but I found it very interesting.

The blog is mainly focus on investments and is very interesting. I recommend you to read his thoughts about golden parachutes.
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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Great Commercial for Travelers Insurance

Great commercial for an Insurance company: You have an easy and powerful message: don't count on luck, get a great insurance coverage.

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How the Telegraph and the Internet changed the Information industry (1)

The Victorian Internet

I am reading a fascinating book written by Tom Standage, called The Victorian Internet. This book explains in details the development of the telegraph and how it has changed the world at this era.

The book shows how the telegraph has been invented, and how it was improved throughout the time, to become an exceptional medium connecting continents as no technologies could before. What is even more impressive is how fast the network was set, weaving a web within 3 decades at most.

What I find particularly interesting, is how you can compare the development of both technologies and how it impacts our society. Especially, I wanted to share with you some thoughts about how the telegraph revolutionized the media (Newspaper) industry. Indeed, the metamorphose we are experiencing right now of the news industry is very similar to what happened two centuries ago.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Is the Long Tail Profitable?

Long TailThe long tail concept is probably the main economical new trend shaped by business on the Internet. Whereas for the longest time the Pareto law was ruling most of the industries, this new idea was that blockbusters were not as important as it used to be.

Laurent Flores, CEO of CRMmetrix and owner of the customer listening blog, share with us an article from Anita Elberse an Associate Professor at Harvard Business School. It discusses the profitability of business models based on the long tail concept.

Here is a long summary of the article, which gives 4 advices to producers and 4 to retailers willing to profit from the long tail.

Advice to Producers

1. Don't radically alter blockbuster resource-allocation or product-portfolio management strategies. A few winners will still go a long way, probably even further than before. It remains to be seen whether the new media environment will indeed make many previously unprofitable niche products profitable. In my most recent correspondence with managers at Nielsen SoundScan, I learned that of the 3.9 million digital tracks sold in 2007 (the large majority for 99 cents each through Apple iTunes), an astonishing 24% sold only one copy, and 91%, 3.6 million tracks, sold fewer than 100 copies.

2. When producing niche goods for the tail end of the distribution, keep costs as low as possible. Your odds of success aren't favorable here either, and they will probably become less so. The extremely low demand for the large array of products in the tail means that simply recovering the costs of producing them will be challenging.

3. When trying to strengthen your presence in digital channels, focus on marketing your most popular products. By definition, they reach the largest number of customers, and they are also appreciated more by those who consume them.

4. Leverage your scale to improve online exposure and demand for products across your product portfolio. HarvardThe long tail consists of a mixture of true niche products and old hits resulting from blockbuster-focused strategies. Such products can now live forever online, even if they have long been cleared from physical shelves; thus the old hits may present a real opportunity. Larger producers have an advantage in that they can use new releases to trigger demand for old ones, previous movies in which a cast member appeared, for example, or earlier recordings by an up-and-coming artist. Companies can benefit from finding ways to regularly remarket products in their back catalogs and from bundling old with newer products.

Advice to Retailers

1. If the goal is to cater to your heavy customers, broaden your assortment with more niche products. My research shows that even when online assortments of videos and music are enormous, and thus even the most frequent customers could easily satisfy their appetites with products in the top decile, those customers are disproportionately active in the tail. They want a wide assortment, so offering one helps attract and retain them, whether they pay by the product or for a subscription (frequent customers typically opt for more-expensive subscription plans).

2. Strictly manage the costs of offering products that will rarely sell. If possible, use online networks to construct creative models in which you incur no costs unless the customer actually initiates a transaction. Managing a large number of products that rarely or never sell could easily pose a problem. Long-tail products may offer more-attractive profit margins for retailers than hit products do, in part because the latter are often used as loss leaders. But extremely low demand for long-tail products, coupled with whatever it costs to make them available, presents difficulties in successfully executing a long-tail model.

3. Acquire and manage customers by using your most popular products. Precisely because hit products reach the greatest number of consumers and are appreciated most, their value as loss leaders in traditional channels will carry over into the digital realm. The seventh book in the Harry Potter series, introduced by Scholastic at a suggested retail price of $34.99 in the United States, was a blockbuster loss leader: It was sold at sharply reduced prices by Barnes & Noble ($20.99, a 40% discount) and Amazon ($17.99, a 49% discount) in an effort to stimulate other purchases.

Like producers, online retailers can benefit from bundling hit products with obscure or older products that are cheaper to acquire. Another, probably more common approach is to direct customers to the tail with recommendation engines. A third strategy worth considering is designing the flow of web pages so that consumers, even those searching for hit products, are naturally directed into the tail. The list of recommended titles can be manipulated, often instantly and cheaply, to spotlight higher-margin obscure items or to smooth demand for sought-after titles over time.

4. Even though obscure products may have a higher profit margin, resist the temptation to direct customers to the tail too often, or you'll risk their dissatisfaction. Finding a good marketing balance between obscure and popular products is critical. Online retailers cannot expect their customers to prefer long-tail products to hits, in fact, the opposite is more likely. They should take this into account when managing customer expectations and satisfaction, which, after all, lead to long-term profitability. The continued dominance of hit products and the natural shape of demand suggest that efforts to fatten the tail by spreading consumption more evenly across titles may be fruitless anyway.

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Choosing the entrepreneurial path, by Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn

Stanford university Nicolas Schriver Reid Hoffman StanfordI am fond of Utunes, podcasts released by the main US universities, including Stanford. Today, I was listening to one of these free classes, called "choosing the entrepreneurial path" (you can find it easilly on Utunes), which special guest was Reid Hoffman, founder of Linkedin, the famous business social networking site. As a former undergraduate student of the prestigious university, he explains the entrepreneurial path to students, from his experience and his point of view. Here are some of the key points, that I found interesting to share with you.
  • There is no sure bets: As Reid Hoffman explains, usually, entrepreneurship is highly risky. There is never a sure bet. An entrepreneur is "jumping off a cliff with some tools, and assembling the plains on the way down".

  • A MBA is not a good predictor of succesful entrepreneurship: From his prospective he says most of the time people owning a MBA do not really insure success as an entrepreneur. Owning a MBA is in fact pretty far from the entrepreneurship mindset. A MBA is designed to insure a certain salary, and therefore some certainty, something that do not exist while you create a business. It is a way to prepare the future, but that is not taking a risk.
  • Easy problem solver: You don't try to show that you can solve difficult problems. You try to solve problem once at a time.

  • Financial strategy is central: People usually thing that what is important for an entrepreneur is the product strategy. But to develop a great product is not the key factor of the success. Your strategy has to reflect what your financial status is. If you are under capitalized you are screwed. If you can't raise money, if you are not up to date with the financing world, you could die because you have inadequate financing.

  • In the Internet entrepreneurship world, the distribution strategy is crucial: the three keys are distribution, distribution, distribution: Team and technology are not valuable. If you did not acquire enough users to distribute your product, you are screwed. That is actually the whole idea of the business model of LinkedIn, where they have focused first of all on the number of users they had prior even picture a way to get money out of it. This is also an idea that drives Loic Lemeur with Seesmic: Prior to have defined any kind of business model, he is focusing on developing a community which will somehow develop the value of the business. In the corporate world, you don't notice how important it is because when you are in a big company, you already have a base of customers developed, which ease the game.

  • The birth of ebay: Reid Hofman was part of the founding team of Paypal, a successful online payment service. He explains how it started and also how the initial concept moved to something totally different from the original goal. A friend of his came to see him because he had the cool idea to start a business about encryption on cell phones. Reid found this idea terrible. Indeed, even though encryption on cell phones was a very valuable thing, because very hard to do, there was no business model: who is going to use it? Nevertheless he accepts to be part of the board. So he advised them to focus on cash on mobile phones, to start a business model, which drove them to market with Palm Pilots. Then eventually they found out that they will make a payment service. Now the problem was that none of them had banking experience. And they had to struggle to explain to the federal government that they were not a bank. The main lesson is that you should solve your problems one piece at a time. That is what helped Paypal to move from cellphone encryption to payment service online.

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Friday, July 18, 2008

What cost the Vista fiasco?

Is Windows Vista a success? This is what Microsoft's managers try to show, despite all the critiques and the apparent weaknesses of the operating system. Businessweek explains how much the Vista fiasco has cost so far to Microsoft.

Here are some of the evidences listed in this article:
  • Companies expect to install Vista on only about 10% of the PCs they already own, compared with estimates last year that they'd be able to do so on 27% of their machines.
  • "Dampening" adoption of Vista by corporate customers will shave $395 million in revenues and 2¢ a share in earnings from the company's financial results for the 2009 fiscal year.
  • companies expect just 26% of their PCs to be running Vista by the beginning of 2011, down from an estimate of nearly 68% of computers by respondents to a similar survey a year ago.
  • Sales of desktop Windows fell 2%, to $4.03 billion, and contributed to flat revenues (, 4/25/08) during Microsoft's third quarter, reported Apr. 24. Shares of Microsoft closed June 11 up 18¢, or 0.65%, to 27.89. The shares are down nearly 22% this year.
Windows persists to tell people Windows Vista is not a failure, but the launch of a new operating system version next year is a clear evidence Microsoft had to make changes. I understand that such a big company, with investors high interest on the stock exchange market, can't really admit a failure, especially that important (the operating system is the milk-cow of Microsoft).

I wish them to succeed with this new version though, and that they'll be able to make the proper changes.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

This is a try of Disqus

Try 1

Just installed Disqus

I have just installed Disqus on my blog. Indeed, I was not really happy with the comment system proposed by Blogger (the only downside of this blog platform in my opinion). I wish it will work fine, and I will give it a try for a few weeks.
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Decoy Marketing

Do you know about Decoy  marketing? This is a marketing technique, very easy to implement in retails, which could result in impressive sales result, at very low cost. I found this article about Decoy Marketing on the blog of


Here’s a real-world example. The last time I needed a can of shaving gel, I found myself staring at a shelf full of options. Gels and foamy creams, with variations like “Sensitive Skin,” “Aloe,” “Cleansing,” and many more, lined the shelves. As I stood there befuddled by the choices, I noticed a taller can of the “Advanced” gel amidst the forest of shave products. This can was identical to several other cans of “Advanced,” but was an inch or two taller and held a couple of ounces more of product. Best of all, it seemed to be the same price as the shorter cans. I studied them for another few seconds to be sure I wasn’t missing something. Nope, I wasn’t - same stuff, same package design, same price, but 20% more product. My confusion evaporated. I had no idea how shaving gel could be “Advanced,” or how that might compare with “Aloe,” but I grabbed the bigger can, rooted around and found one more in back, and headed for the checkout with both cans. How did buyer befuddlement turn into a larger-than-expected purchase so quickly? The answer: decoy marketing. In this case, the decoy was unintentional, but there are lots of ways that marketers can use the technique to steer customers toward a decision.

Decoy MarketingIn the shaving gel display, the inclusion of the extra-large shaving cream can was an accident - the store just had a few left from a previous promotion. But the principle worked just fine. In this case, the regular size cans were the decoys. As soon as I spotted a nearly identical product that was clearly a better value, that new find stood out as the right choice.

“Relativity” is the key element in decoy marketing. Our brains aren’t good at judging absolute values, but they are always ready to compare values and benefits. When used proactively by marketers, a decoy product or offer can be used to make another product look like a good value. Maybe even a no-brainer, so to speak. :) In Predictably Irrational (a fascinating read for those interested in neuromarketing and neuroeconomics), author Dan Ariely describes an experiment using magazine subscription offers. Like most of Ariely’s experiments, this one is deceptively simple. Two groups of subjects saw one or the other of these offers to subscribe to The Economist.

Offer A:

$59 - Internet Only Subscription (68 chose)

$125 - Internet and Print Subscription (32 chose)

Predicted Revenue - $8,012

Offer B:

$59 - Internet Only Subscription (16 chose)

$125 - Print Only Subscription (0 chose)

$125 - Internet and Print Subscription (84 chose)

Predicted Revenue - $11,444

Take a moment to look at this rather startling result. Both offers are the same, with the exception of including the “print only” subscription in Offer A. Despite the fact that not a single person chose that unattractive offer, its impact was dramatic - 62% more subjects chose the combined print and Internet offer, and predicted revenue jumped 43%. The print-only offer was the decoy, and served to make the combined offer look like a better value. While it’s true that Ariely’s test had the subjects make the choice without actually consummating the deal with a credit card, it’s clear that introducing the decoy made the combined offer look more attractive.

How Decoys Work

According to Ariely, decoys change behavior when a subject is choosing between alternatives that are more or less equally attractive. He gives an example of choosing between a
trip to Rome and a trip to Paris, both of which include free breakfasts. One might expect a slow decision making process with a more or less even split between the two alternatives. Ariely suggests that introducing a decoy, a trip to Rome with no breakfast, would make the original trip to Rome more attractive, and that given those options the trip to Rome with breakfast would handily beat the similar Paris trip.

So, jumping back to the shaving gel topic, if a drug store received a shipment of promotional cans with an extra 20% of product inside, their first reaction might be to remove the regular cans from the shelf until the promotional stock was gone. What customer would be dumb enough to buy the small can when the bigger cans were the same price? According to decoy marketing logic, however, the store would be well advised to leave a few of the small cans on the shelf with the bigger ones. As counterintuitive as it seems, the presence of some small cans so would likely boost sales of the larger promotional cans - perhaps even taking market share away from competing products that came in the larger size to begin with.

Decoys in Real Estate

It’s been a while since I’ve been home shopping, but in my experience real estate agents often set up a tour of several homes in the same price range, leaving the most desirable for last. This seems to me to be another form of decoy marketing, particularly when the next to last house is a particularly bad comparison with the one the agent hopes to sell you (e.g., the same price but in need of more repairs). Ariely suggests that this will be most effective when the comparison is between superficially similar homes, e.g., two-story colonial-style homes with the same number of bedrooms. Buying a house is a complex, risky, and expensive process, and getting a buyer to make a decision - even when he/she knows it’s necessary - can be difficult. Clever real estate agents learn that comparisons are a key part of the buyer’s process, and that selecting the right homes to visit is a key part of moving toward a decision.

Could a Decoy Help Your Sales?

I don’t advocate any techniques that push a customer into buying something he doesn’t need or want. But sometimes, customers have difficulty deciding between alternatives and, to get the product they need, require a small nudge in one direction or the other. For example, I was going to buy shaving gel in that store no matter what, but the unintentional decoy got me to the decision point and on my way more quickly than if I had I spent another few minutes considering the weighty issues of gel vs. foam, aloe vs. sensitive skin, cheaper small size vs. expensive big size, and so on.

When creating their product offerings, most companies try to come up with the best and most attractive offers they can - a practice I wholly endorse. But, sometimes adding a less attractive offer to the mix will close more deals on the better offers without disadvantaging the customer in any way. So, next time you are coming up with your “good, better, and best” packages, consider tossing in a “not so good” package that’s similar to (but not as good as) the one you’d like to drive the most traffic to. If that boosts sales of that item, you’ll know your decoy is working!"

My Opinion
From my prospective, I have already seen in the US some brands using this techniques (actually, it was Gilette, same example than previously). What is great with this technique is that you change the focus of the shopper while he is comparing the different product to keep it on your brands' product. This actually a great tool to boost your market shares.
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What I would do if I was the CEO of Seesmic

Do you know Seesmic? This is the new company started by Loic Lemeur, French entrepreneur and star of blogging. The service is a video on-line community. In one of his last blog entries, he asked to his community what it would do if it were the CEO of Seesmic.
I think Loic Lemeur has done a great job promoting his new company: the whole web was talking about it even though it was in its Alpha version.
Here would be my action plan:
  • Develop the communities: Not the community (sing), but many communities that user would create depending on their . This is the main challenge of Seesmic in order to get out of its "Beta" stage. Each online community has developped their own services to develop personal communities (groups on Facebook, hubs on Viadeo, communities on Youtube...). This is very important to incentive the creation of community, that could

  • Focus on the partnership with companies: Now that the service is operational, counting a large community already, it would be good to start focusing on how to monetize the business. I know Seesmic hired a person dedicated to this service. But as a CEO, this would be my priority N1. Will I be able to develop some focus groups via Seesmic, advertising programs? This is a large question that should be consider at this stage of the development of the company.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

marketing strategies & Twitter

I have already wrote in the past about potential commercial uses of Twitter. I wanted to translate a great article about how to use Twitter for marketing purposes. This blog gives us 8 potential uses of the micro-blogging platform to boost a marketing strategy. I reordered them, gathering some of them, to give you my version:

  • Customer care: companies could use Twitter to deal with customer complains or technical issues. This is a fast way to manage customer crisis. (example: Comcast)

  • Corporate communication: you could use Twitter as a way to communicate. The idea is to use Twitter for your corporate communication. This idea is mainly dedicated to newspapers corporation, but nevertheless, it could be used for some other companies with the need to communicate fast and with a large spectrum of information.
    As most of the bloggers own a Twitter account to complete their blog, some corporate blogs could use it the same way. This is somehow the same idea of micro-journalism: embrace the new medium to strengthen the company's communication.
    A good example, once again I would say, is the Barrack Obama campaign. This campaign is a great example of how to use the media Internet. Moreoever, Barrack Obama owns a Twitter, where you can be kept informed of the different activity of the Democrat's leader.

  • Promotion: The idea is to use Twitter to send promotional offers, or coupons to users. This could be a good idea, but I believe it would imply for the user to have a specific account dedicated to "promotional Twitter feeds". This use is actually in a great correlation with the Vendor marketing idea: the user decide to subscribe to a feed that will give him some discounts on brands he likes. But however, it is very not likely this use will spring up. (example: Dell)

  • Buzz marketing: You could use Twitter to start your buzz marketing campaign. A lot of people use it for that matters. It could be nice, but so far I did not see a creative example.

  • Advertising through Twitter: Twitter has not really set up its business model, and how it will cash in the product. Nevertheless we can expect some advertisement formats to spring up, to turn the website profitable. In that case, Twitter advertisement will become a way to support your marketing strategy. The question will be what kind of targeting tools Twitter will propose to marketing managers, and also where the commercials will be (banners, inside the feeds?)
As you can see, the magnificent potential of the platform could drive some marketers to use it in different ways to support their marketing strategies. I believe we are still in an obscure period of development for Twitter, which is still struggling with technical issues, and even though some success stories exist, there is still room to define the Twitter use for marketing purpose.
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Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Les secteurs qui attirent le plus les jeunes diplômés: le luxe, l'énergie, la banque, la grande consommation

TNS Sofres propose une étude sur les secteurs attirant le plus les jeunes diplômés en France en 2008. On y retrouve des habitués du classement, plus particulièrement les métiers de l'énergie pour les ingénieurs et les métiers de la banque, qui sont très en vogue dans les écoles de commerce, mais aussi les métiers du luxe. Cependant, ce qui a attiré mon attention, c'est que le secteur de la grande consommation attire énormément de jeunes diplômés. On trouve ainsi dans le top 5 du classement des entreprises les plus prisées Danone et Nestlé.

 C'est une très bonne nouvelle pour le master distribution et relation client de Paris Dauphine, mon ancienne école, qui forme justement les prochains managers de ce secteur.
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Eric Blanche consacre un blog au CRM et services envers les seniors

CRM et services envers les seniorsEric Blanche est un professionnel de la relation client. Il a ouvert depuis un blog dédié au CRM et aux services envers les séniors. Une très bonne idée de développé des approches de relation client spécifiques pour ce marché en pleine expansion:
  • ils représentent ainsi 50 % du marché des produits de beauté, ils achètent la moitié des voitures neuves, et même 80 % des voitures haut de gamme ;
  • ils représentent 64 % des acheteurs de yaourts bio, 42 % des acheteurs de plats cuisinés allégés, 57 % des acheteurs de chocolat noir à croquer, 62,3 % de la consommation de vin, 61,2 % de la consommation d’huile d’olive, 51,2 % des cafés torréfiés….

 De plus, le services est souvent l'un des facteurs de décision d'achat clé pour les plus de 55 ans.

Je vous invite à visiter ce blog, que j'ai ajouté à mon Netvibes, car la qualité des articles est remarquable: tous les posts sont accompagnées de sources, fichiers audio et/ou vidéo d'experts.

Je vous recommande spécialement cet article sur les stratégies des marques envers les séniors.
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FInally connected to the Internet

After a wait of 3 weeks, I have finally received the Internet. I am pretty happy because I also can receive some foreign TV channels through my plans, especially CNN and CNBC. This will help me a lot and allow me to quick off officially my job seeks and the other projects I have talked to you about.
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Still don't have the Internet, but should get it soon

I still don't have the Internet, which explains why I am not able to right as often as I did on this blog. Nevertheless, I should get it next week. I have tons of things and projects that I am not able to take care of because I am not connected. This is weird to see how the Internet is vital nowadays for us. Anyways, my next main project that I will be working on next month:
  • Updating my Website: Still have couple of web pages that are not available at the moment. Also, I did not updated the French pages of the website.
  • Looking for a job: Because I don't have the Internet I am struggling with my job search, even though I did not dedicated much time on it so far. I have been busy with my move out, with the different subscription I had to get (cell phone, Internet, social security and so on).
  • Take care of the association of the master distribution et relation client: I would like to dedicate some time to move forward with the alumni association of my master. My short term goal would be to organize a reunion dinner the week after the new promotion will start classes, inviting former students of all promotions and professors.
I'll keep you update with my activities, and let you know also when I'll get the Internet.
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A solution to the subprime crisis: the "raplapla"

As you might know I have been working last year in the mortgage industry, which was affected by one of the biggest crisis the real estate market has ever experienced in the US.

I found a very interesting article in French magazine l'Expansion, issue number 728 of March 2008. It explains how France has been able to calm down a similar mortgage crisis that is affecting the American economy right now. 20 years before the American crisis, France have been able to avoid a subprime crisis, which helped thousands of French family to avoid foreclosures, whereas they were victims of "subprime-like" loans.

Indeed, le PAP, pret a l'accession a la propriete (loan to access ownership), was a specific program targeting low income households. This product was close to the subprime loans: they were paying interest only payments for two years, then progressively they were paying back the loan, with payments that were increasing constantly. This program also allowed 100% financing (something very rare in France). This program has created the very same effect than the one we can observe in the US, with a lot of houses on the edge of foreclosure.

The government then found a solution in 1991: The government decided to buy houses to transform them into HLM (social buildings owned by the government). Therefore the owners of the loans where not the owner of the house, but kept it. This plan was called the raplapla ( rachat des prets a l'accession a la propriete, or buyout of loans to access ownership).

What do you think about this idea? I know that this solution is pretty "social" and unfortunately I don't say it happening in the US...
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Presidency Key : prospective, gouvernance et développement durable

Marianne Seye et Agathe Philippart sont deux diplômés de l’IPAG Paris (promotion 2006). Elles ont participé il y a quelque temps de cela au lancement d'une nouvelle revue dédiée au développement durable. Cette revue s’adresse aux Institutions, aux Dirigeants des entreprises internationales, aux Chefs d’État et leaders d’opinion du monde entier, afin de les tenir informé des avancées dans ce domaine.

La revue se présente en trois parties :

·          Prospective et gouvernance : un laboratoire de pensée ouvert aux chercheurs, universitaires et autres. L’idée est de lancer des réflexions et des  idées dans les domaines de la prospective politique et économique.

·          Démocratie et bonnes pratiques : Portrait d’un dirigeant, politique ou d’entreprise, dont la vision et les bonnes pratiques seront mis à l’honneur.

·          Développement durable : Ce volet est destiné à promouvoir les initiatives qui contribuent à façonner le développement durable dans les domaines de l’économie, de l’action sociale et de l’environnement. Sous l’éclairage d’exemples concrets, petites et grandes initiatives solidaires provenant du monde entier, pourront être reprises aux quatre coins de la planète.

Vous pouvez vous rendre sur le site Internet, où vous trouverez plus d’information ainsi que les derniers articles de la fondation.

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Nouveau directeur général à L'IPAG: Guillaume Bigot

guillaume bigot Ipag Blog Je viens juste d'apprendre la nouvelle à travers le site Internet de l'Ipag: Guillaume Bigot vient d'être nommé nouveau directeur général de l'Ipag, mon ancienne école de commerce. Cette nomination fait suite aux mauvais résultats des inscrits pour le cycle en 5 ans de l'école.

Guillaume Bigot fut le DG du pôle Léonard de Vinci. Je ne sais pas encore très bien comment se compose le nouvel organigramme, notamment si cette arrivée implique un départ d'un autre DG.

Je souhaite bonne chance à Guillaume, en espérant qu'il continuera l'effort de modernisation de l'école, alors que la compétition des écoles de commerce devient de plus en plus féroce.
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Sunday, July 06, 2008

buzz marketing case study:

It is always great to have some buzz marketing case studies to illustrate the impact such a campaign could have, but it is most of the time difficult to find data about it. Therefore, I wanted to share with you the results of a French buzz marketing operation, thought by L'agence H (Havas Group), for Transavia, a low cost airlines company.

Buzz marketing case studyGoal: Improve the notoriety of the company (Transavia)
The idea:
Become the pilot of a plane
Book a plane with your friends (170 seats available, you included)
If your plane is picked in the lottery, you'll go with your friends for a day to Marrakesh, Morocco.
This buzz campaign was a success:
Number of invitations sent by the "pilots": 41 419
Number of plane created : 6 179
Number of plane totally booked, participating to the lottery: 69
Media plan: Web banner + a Facebook group
Supports : MSN, Facebook, Allociné, Daylimotion, AOL and Proxyrégie (social network)

What I like in particular with this campaign is the trigger: pack a flight and win a free round trip to Morocco:
  • The prize is related to the company's products, as it is a flight
  • It triggers the participants to share the information to its friends, and moreover, it triggers also to convince them to participate
This is a great example showing how a buzz marketing campaign can develop notoriety with limited budget.

Source: Henri Kaufman's blog
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Etude de cas buzz:

Un petit lien vers le blog marketing d'Henri Kaufman, qui nous fait part du succès d'une campagne de buzz de l'agence H, pour le compte de la compagnie low cost transavia.

"Le concours a été lancé sur internet par Marketing Viral, par l'Agence H.
Objectif : (mieux) faire connaître la compagnie low-cost Transavia.
L’idée :
- devenez pilote d’un avion
- remplissez le avec vos amis (il contient 170 places, vous compris
- si « votre » avion est tiré au sort, vous partirez, vous et vos amis pour une journée à Marrakech

Ce jeu a remporté un grand succès. Voici les principaux résultats de l’opération, sachant que le tirage au sort a eu lieu le 30 juin (et que mon avion, rempli très rapidement –merci les amis- n’a pas été tiré au sort, snifff, snifff) :
-    nombre d’invitations envoyées par les « pilotes » d’un avion : 41 419
-    nombre d’avions créés : 6 179
-    nombre d’avions remplis, participants au tirage au sort : 69
-    Une trentaine de blog ont relayé la campagne
Plan média : bannières classiques + un groupe Facebook
Supports : MSN, Facebook, Allociné, Daylimotion, AOL et le réseau Proxyrégie"

Merci à Henri pour nous faire partager les résultats de cette campagne. Il est toujours intéressant d'avoir ces retours sur expériences pour pouvoir mieux juger de l'attractivité de ce type de campagne.

Ce que j'apprécie particulièrement avec cette campagne de buzz, c'est la créativité du trigger: remplir un avion pour partir à Marrakech. Cela incite les personnes souhaitant participer à l'opération de faire passer l'information dans leur communauté. De plus le cadeaux est dans la ligne de produit du site, ce qui permet à Transavia de communiquer sur son offre.
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Saturday, July 05, 2008

Back in France: some news about my status

I am very sorry if I could not write any post last week. I flew back to France on June 28 from Newark having spent a week in Long Island, NY with my girlfriend's familly. I was actually supposed to take off on June 27, but I missed my flight due to some traffic Jam downtown New York. Anyways, I came back to France, and I moved back to my previous apartment. It took some time, to pack out, to buy some new furnitures, and to deal with the Jetlag... We also have to buy some new cell phones, subscribe to the Internet. Indeed, I don't have so far the Internet at my apartment, and that is one of the main reason why I could not keep you updated. I have a lot of posts I want to write, but right now I can not nor I have the time.

The next few weeks will be dedicated to keep going on with my move in, work on my spanish, help to enhance my master's alumni association and I'll start looking for a job. I have a lot of work to do, and will keep you updated thanks to this blog. By the way, if you are interested by my profile, feel free to contact me.

Once more, I apologize for my silence, and I will write more often as soon as I get the Internet.