58 posts categorized "Commentary"

The Benefits of SaaS & PaaS

July 23, 2014
Posted by John Fager at 10:44 AM

SaaS is a common acronym for "software as a service", while PaaS is "platform as a service". As new technology comes available so quickly, it should be no surprise that specialized tech companies with expertise in a specific area are able to develop robust, secure, stable offerings that cost less and offer more to their clients.

Companies that have traditionally supported their internal application development using in-house developers, SQL gurus and privately hosted servers are finding that the internal demands on their team often serve as a roadblock to making modern, time-saving, critical business tools available. Alternatively, companies will outsource to a "job shop". Both of these strategies leave an internal code set that must be maintained and starts decaying much faster than it can be reinvigorated.

Clients have frequently asked us to help with a solution that fits into the VDP Web product family when their internal development team had a few weaker members that weren’t performing in a timely manner. Often, in-house staff is simply not experienced enough to architect specialized processes with complex data, rules, and content management requirements.

There are several reasons that you may wish to consider using SaaS or PaaS solutions:

  • Lower cost
  • Richer features
  • 10-20 x faster to "go live"
  • Bypass issues with slow and overwhelmed internal staff
  • Regular upgrades to features and usability
  • Instantly scalable as your needs change

You can expect a better maintained solution with laser focus on key features. This saves tremendous amounts of valuable staff time. It keeps your internal team working to grow your business rather than managing technology to support existing business.

Buzz versus Performance in Marketing and Sales

October 09, 2013
Posted by JFM Concepts at 5:51 AM

I was at the mall last night and took a walk down the concourse, takin note of the advertising and traffic in the mall.  Some stores were packed, some were empty. Apple has ads everywhere.

The launch of the iPhone 5 sold a significant number of units.  According research by Canaccord Genuity published in Fortune, the Apple’s 5s model was the best seller at all major US Carriers.  The Galaxy S4 was in second place.  Now take a look at pictures from an upscale suburban mall taken last night. 

Here's a shot I took of the Microsoft store just last night followed by a shot moments later at the Apple store down the hall

Photo2

Nothin' but crickets and employees on the xbox

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Things are looking great over at Apple!

However…

It has been well documented recently that competitors to Apple, Inc’s  iPhone have been steadily gaining market share despite scenes like this.

The key to understanding this phenomenon is to look beyond appearance.  While on the surface (no pun intended), and from the popular media, everything looks like it’s going great, so how can Apple be in trouble? Products are selling and the stores are busy but the media coverage is coming from the same group evangelists and sales are coming from the same group of people.  Their is a media bias here towards their pet favorite.  Repeat purchases by existing customers make up most of iPhone’s sales and that spells big trouble down the road.

The simple fact of the matter is that smartphones are a global business and Apple is steadily losing market share.  In fact, they lost the lead in smartphone sales way back in 2012.  In the one year period from the second quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2013 they lost more than 4% market share.  In consumer products, drops of less than 1% are causes for panic.  While there has been a slight bump in share for Apple in the immediate past, they are still way behind in recapturing lost ground.   

When looking at the future of your market segment it is critical to look past the hype.  Being a media darling which dominates pop culture and rides a crest of positive free press can’t hurt, but that may not translate into long term business performance.

 

Easy to avoid email blunder

September 11, 2013
Posted by JFM Concepts at 8:38 AM

The following email arrived in my inbox today and reminds me of the juicy goofs that Heidi Tolliver-Negro frequently uncovers.

Edgemail

Lessons Learned:

  1. Proof on a small mail list before you send and have someone else check it over.  It’s too easy to miss details as the brain often sees what it expects to see, not what is actually there
  2. Use an email client like VDP Web® that allows you to preview your contents as it will go out, so that errors like this one in the merge field are glaringly obvious

On an editorial note, it still amazes me how many firms send spam.  Even if they are not based in the United States and are not subject to the CAN  SPAM Act of 2003, American marketers will get annoyed if you ignore these rules, and that can’t be good for business.

James is in the top 10% On LinkedIn. Does it matter?

February 14, 2013
Posted by JFM Concepts at 12:44 PM

The email at right came from LinkedIn today.10percent

It shows that even very modest investments in social and cross media marketing can yield results for both brands and individuals. In small and mid-sized firms, the traffic driven by a wide spider web of sources is an effective global salesman who is on the job 24/7.

The creation and maintenance of a social media web presence is time consuming and can be, frankly, a pain. For small cap businesses, it is often the reputation of key employees that drives sales by making the firm easy to find as customers do their initial research or conduct due diligence online.

When it is cost prohibitive to discover where prospects are in the sales cycle, a passive social media strategy can help.

Impossible Expectations: Why no one marketing channel is King of the Jungle

January 15, 2013
Posted by JFM Concepts at 9:05 AM

No one marketing channel is now, or ever will be king of the jungle.  One method may be better than others in any given circumstance, but no one channel will ever be best.  A report that recently went viral on the internet (so it must be true, right?) claimed that email was “king” in a sample of 35,000 prospects.  The data and response rates as referenced in the article follow:

Hbr-data-resized-600
Here are the issues:

1. No mention is made is made of the size of the data set that the 35,000 records were drawn from.  To get a 25% response rate, the respondents were cherry picked from a much larger pool.  How do I know?  Given one client’s data of 650,000 prospects with detailed sales and contact history we can universally pick a slice and get a fantastic response with targeted offers and specific channels.  With realistic constraints (such as not giving each respondent $100 gift card for simply visiting a link) the same cannot be said for 35,000 cold records.  Channel your inner Kirk here:  Not, going, to………
happen!

2. How did the firm in question get that many opted-in email leads?  Email is the end game of marketing efforts.  It is almost impossible to exponentially grow an email list from an email campaign, regardless how good the referral spiff is.  For email to be King, something else, such as social media, direct mail, experiential events, paid search, point of sale, or a mix of many methods is required, and usually at substantial cost. Speaking of which…

Email%20vs%20Direct%20Mail%20ROI%20Calculation-resized-600

3. For the ROI calculations in the article to be of any use, the cost of gathering the email opt-ins must be calculated.  Of course, the cost of direct mail is exponentially higher than email as a cost per piece.  To compare the two at face value is pointless.  The recipient of the sales lead, in this case email, must absorb a portion of the cost in generating the address as part of the return on investment calculation.  Throw those figures into the mix, and what happens to that massive ROI advantage claimed by email?

Marketing is a spider web, not a pyramid.  No one channel or strategy will ever be sufficient.  Like your portfolio, a diversified strategy will always be necessary.

Full disclosure: 

James Michelson is Founder of VDP Web® Cross Media Marketing which offers email marketing as part of a well-balanced marketing diet.  The entire article just lambasted can be found here.

VDP Web Judges at FFA National Convention and Expo

October 26, 2012
Posted by JFM Concepts at 12:15 PM

James Michelson, Founder of JFM Concepts and VDP Web served as a judge at the Future Farmers of America 2012 Marketing Plan contest on Thursday, a part of the FFA Annual Convention held this week in Indianapolis, IN.  The National FFA Convention & Expo is the organization’s premier gathering during which all FFA competitive events and programs are recognized nationally. The event brings FFA members together to learn, be inspired and celebrate their accomplishments in the organization.  More than 55,000 people attend the show annually and it is Indianapolis’s largest convention.

Ffa photo


The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education. Today, there are 557,318 FFA members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,498 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

New cross media webinar from VDP Web

May 07, 2012
Posted by JFM Concepts at 10:22 AM

JFM Concepts, the makers of industry leading cross media marketing package VDP Web, is proud to announce the “How To Bid Cross Media & Effective Sales Strategies” cross media marketing webinar part of the 2012 VDP Cross Media Webinar Series. Join John Fager, Principal of VDP Web® to discuss effective pricing strategies for cross media. Learn how to up-charge and price jobs without the dreaded "scope creep" and maintain a positive cash flow while showing value to your clients.

The webinar will be held twice, once on May 8th at 4:00 Eastern time and once on May 10th at 1:00 Eastern time. Register online at http://webinar1.vdpconcepts.com.

JFM Concepts is a full service cross media marketing technology firm featuring the VDP Complete® marketing system and VDP Web® Online software as a service. JFM specializes in creating variable data cross media marketing technologies with Personalized URLs, Email, SMS Text, QR Codes, Phone Tracking, Video, QR Codes, and more for commercial printers, agencies, and marketing departments of all sizes. The firm knows that technology development and marketing should come together to document both improved response rates and improved return on investment (ROI).

James Michelson on PIASC Choose Print Video Segment

March 09, 2012
Posted by JFM Concepts at 9:58 AM

JFM Concepts, the maker of VDP Web, is proud to announce that James Michelson has been featured in a video interview during the PODI AppForum by ChoosePrint.org a project of the Printing Industries Association, Inc. of Southern California (PIASC).   The featured segment is entitled “Print is…A Team Player” and can be seen in its entirety here.

 

More information of the topic can be found in James’s book, Cross Media Marketing 101: The concise guide to surviving in the C-suite published this year by Schooner Press. It is available online at amazon.com and other retailers or at https://www.createspace.com/3537914.

JFM Concepts is a full service cross media marketing technology firm featuring the VDP Complete® marketing system and VDP Web® Online software as a service. JFM specializes in creating variable data cross media marketing technologies with Personalized URLs, Email, SMS Text, QR Codes, Phone Tracking, Video, QR Codes, and more for commercial printers, agencies, and marketing departments of all sizes. The firm knows that technology development and marketing should come together to document both improved response rates and improved return on investment (ROI).

VDP Web Announces New Colorado Hire

March 06, 2012
Posted by JFM Concepts at 12:53 PM


JFM Concepts, the makers of VDP Web, is proud to announce that Brenda Eichelberger has joined the VDP Web Boulder, CO office as a Web Production Manager.  Brenda comes to VDP Web with seventeen years of experience as a software engineer an web developer.  She has worked for Qwest / US West and several boutique web development firms.  Her expertise includes web development using HTML, CSS, PHP, Javascript, Wordpress, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Bronto, and Tortoise SVN.  She is also an expert in Adobe’s Creative Suite.

Brenda is a graduate of the Colorado State University and enjoys the outdoors, hiking, biking, skiing, dancing, making jewelry and spending time with her teenage son and cocker spaniel.

Brenda Photo

Please joing us in giving Brenda a hearty "Welcome Aboard!"

JFM Concepts and VDP Web support Great Lakes Graphics Association in Cross Media Marketing effort

January 09, 2012
Posted by JFM Concepts at 4:54 AM

The marketing technology experts at JFM Concepts are proud to announce they have partnered with the Great Lakes Graphics Association, part of the Print Industries Association of America, to provide cross media marketing services.

JFM Concepts has used its industry leading VDP Web® cross media marketing platform to support the Great Lakes Graphics Association in membership development and retention efforts.  The campaign included a multi-channel distribution effort to current and former association members to conduct a highly complex and detailed survey.  The questions were designed to gather detailed feedback from the membership in order to improve services to boost both relevancy and values in a rapidly changing marketplace.

Glga_survey

Since 1886, the Great Lakes Graphics Association has represented the printing industry and its allied partners.  The GLGA is a professional trade association representing members in Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin that helps businesses achieve powerful results.  JFM Concepts and VDP Web are proud to assist the Association in developing industry leading cross media marketing tools and systems to accomplish their mission.

JFM Concepts is a full service cross media marketing technology firm featuring the VDP Complete® marketing system and VDP Web® Online software as a service. JFM specializes in creating variable data cross media marketing technologies with Personalized URLs, Email, SMS Text, QR Codes, Phone Tracking, Video, QR Codes, and more for commercial printers, agencies, and marketing departments of all sizes. The firm knows that technology development and marketing should come together to document both improved response rates and improved return on investment (ROI).

Special thanks to Steve Anzalone, COO of the Harding Poorman Group for his efforts in this project.

 

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JFM Concepts is a full service cross media marketing technology firm featuring the VDP Web® PURL and cross media marketing platform. JFM specializes in creating variable data cross media marketing technologies with Personalized URLs for commercial printers, marketing departments and agencies of all sizes.

Cross Media 101 Book

Cross Media Marketing 101, The concise guide to surviving in the C-Suite is the perfect guide for executives and managers looking to be sure that they have considered the major challenges facing them as traditional marketing methods are eclipsed and even supplanted by new channels. Taking a completely agnostic approach to the marketing mix, the author offers practical insight into the changing marketing world and how marketing leaders can beat the odds. Order Now

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