Monday, June 29, 2015

Mind the gap: information governance in the age of big data

"Many companies don't benefit from big data because of the gap between those who manage the data and those who apply it. The solution is information governance.

Sue Trombley, managing director of thought leadership at Iron Moutain, offered some perspective on the causes of this clarity gap.....

Going forward, Trombley asserts, businesses will have to adopt a new paradigm that enables each department to have direct access to the information it requires in order to extract value to meet its goals.  

Friday, June 26, 2015

The value of blogs for marketing: attraction, connection, and SEO

picture from

A few years ago, everyone seemed to think video was the way to go to capture attention for effective marketing. Now, people seem to realize that many people -- like me -- would prefer to read information in text form at their own pace rather than sit through a video that can take several minutes to get to a point they are truly interested in. 

Unless you have time to kill or really need to hear information to absorb it, why would you want to sit through something for 10, 15, sometimes even 45 minutes or more to get information you can read in less than 5 minutes? If you don't want to lose the attention of the people who feel that way, you need to reach out to them with articles. Smart marketers know this. That's why some are now getting writers to turn the information they had put into videos into articles. 

There are good reasons for brands to sponsor blogs.

Lots of blog readers out there
Most people, as many as 8 out of 10, according to  Content Marketing Institute consider themselves blog readers. People are also very receptive to communication from businesses in the form of blogs because of the insight they gain either from information about their field or about how the business operates without feeling like they are bombarded by ads.

 Blogs generate leads, build brand recognition, and boost SEO
Companies that blog generate 67% more leads each month than companies that don’t, according to Social Media B2B.  In addition to the blog building the brand recognition among those who read and share the content, it boosts SEO. For one thing, fresh content is a plus for Google rankings, and blogs add new content much more regularly than website updates do.

Blogs increases indexed pages and raise search engine rankings
As Content Plus explained, websites can gain 434% indexed pages and 97% more indexed links from their blogs. That increase in the indexing count translates into higher search engine rankings, which can drive a lot more browsers to a brand’s website. Indexed pages and indexed links translate into higher rankings with the search engines, which also contribute to higher rankings for a website. The effect can be even further enhanced when social media and mobile communication send out links to new content on a company blog.

No one denies that content is king, though this indicates that the power of the crown remains linked to the written word.

The science of empathy

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb in his skin and walk around in it," declares Atticus Finch in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Gaining that kind of empathic insight is helpful not only for fostering humanity, but for improving business results....

Ultimately, there is no magical question that will elicit what the C-suite and IT leaders need to know about their customers. In fact, some customers may not even be able to articulate exactly what caused them to feel less than satisfied. The solution to that problem is not magic, but science.

Even when people can't find words for what they are feeling, sensors can pick up on the signs of stress that, when combined with contextual data, can reveal the emotional triggers that define a customer's experience. That's where design consultant Elliot Hedman comes in. Experience designer at mPath, Hedman has developed a methodology that combines stress-testing sensors with traditional observational techniques.
Graph from mPath
Read more in 

Can Data Teach Us Empathy?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

It's all about the delivery
I planned to write on this topic before the Target incident. But once it happened, I felt its inclusion really highlights how getting shipping right is so essential for businesses today.

When was the last time you paid for shipping? Some would have to think a while for the answer because so many of us select the "free shipping" options available for online orders.  In truth, though, shipping services are never really free. Their cost can be quite significant, particularly for businesses that that operate in the supply chain.
Shipping is lifeblood of a supply chain business.....

We can see the difference in delivery services from retailers who optimize their shipping and those who don't in our own experience.  I ordered a few items on on May 28. The email confirmation gave a range for delivery for all the items of June 3 to 5. June 5 arrived, as did some of the items, but not all of them. The UPS tracking information provided still showed June 5 as the date of arrival, despite a notation of a delay on a truck, as confirmed by a Target representative on the phone.  The UPS man who delivered part of the order assured me that there was no way another shipment would come before Monday.

His prediction turned out to be correct, and that was the only insight I gained from UPS, which failed to give me a new arrival time despite my request for information via email.  (Note: Both Target and UPS claimed to want to help when I tweeted about it, but only Target offered some conciliation in the form of a $10 gift card.)

Read more in 

Logistics Don’t Always Deliver Joy Thanks to UPS for inspiring the title with its own tagline

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Robots are coming to warehouses

Today, we really do let our fingers do the shopping and click through to make our purchases that we want. Next day delivery has become standard for a host of consumer and business products. Keeping up with that expectation drives those in the business of logistics to press for greater efficiency in logistics. Robots can play a role in meeting that demand.

On April 29, Fetch Robotics unveiled new a robotic system made specifically for the logistics industry.  The system that consists of "Freight" and "Fetch" is based on ROS, the open source robot operating system. Freight refers to the mobile base, and Fetch to the mobile manipulator. In addition to working with each other, the robots are designed to work with people and with the warehouse software. 

Read more in 

Robots Improve Logistics in the Electronics Supply Chain

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The right words matter just as much as the right colors

I noticed that people who post interior decor shots started following me on Google+. I would guess they are doing so in response to the post in which I said this:

Anyone here connected to a paint company like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams? I have a whole new concept for packaging and marketing colors that can truly revolutionize the consumer experience. It's the solution to information overload in which all the colors meld into a blur, and one can't remember which is which any more.

 I really do have a groundbreaking idea and another really brilliant approach that can be coupled together or used separately. It would make colors accessible, memorable, and particularly shareable on social media in a whole new way.

But to return to the matter of the people following me, here's the thing: I'm a words person. As beautiful as some of the pictures are, I get thrown off by the formulaic and clueless way the descriptions are written. Every single one of them starts with an adjective that is not really appropriate. It sounds like the person writing doesn't really speak English and merely selected words at random from some list. We have descriptions like this:

  • Astonishing big black tolomeo floor lamp mixed with small green living room apartment wall paint color plus brown wooden seating area set

  • Appealing small brown living room apartment set with decorative table lamps also square crystal chandelier

  • Amazing small living room apartment set with red cushions plus round black acrylic table under flush mounted ceiling fan

  • Awesome sleek herringbone parquet floor mixed with small brown white living room apartment set plus pink floral window curtains

  • Miraculous attractive undulating pendant lamps mixed with small grey living room apartment plus red sectional sofa and white coffee table

  • Captivating comfy corner blue bean bag sofa with rainbow wall decal plus small white living room apartment set


  • Trust me, the images don't match, and really, nothing I've ever seen in interior design deserved the term "miraculous."