Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Highly Recommended to Our Clients!

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

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You’ve gotta see this! Check out this site: go2web20.net. It’s a great source for inspiration and an excellent example of what contemporary sites are looking like. On the right side of the site there is a menu that you can browse to help you choose a category you’re interested in viewing sites from. The greatest thing about this website is that it showcases sites that target all different types of target audiences. You can also follow them on twitter by clicking HERE. So when you have some downtime, take a look and browse around. Not only are the sites fun to look at, but you may even discover something useful for yourself!

Twitter played a Major Role in This Year’s MTV VMA’s

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

2009 MTV VMA

This year, for the first time ever, the MTV music awards managed to triple Twitter’s average volume. The website became a way to vote for fans’ favorite nominees and even helped celebrities decide what to wear and how to style their hair for the events. Celebs were even twittering from the red carpet! People watching from home twittered in about their opinions of the show and some of the controversial events that took place. It’s become a great way for viewers to experience and feel connected with their entertainment even when watching TV from the comfort of their home! MTV even hired celebrity blogger, iJustine as their twitter correspondent along with brand new technology (THE TWITTER TRACKER) to display the most talked about topics on the site. Taylor Swift, the VMA award winning country singer was also seen video blogging and twittering in between rehearsals.

1.3 million VMA-related tweets were unleashed between the time the show started and when it ended on Sunday night. By Monday morning, the numbers had ballooned to 2 million. The numbers were unprecedented for Twitter. “During the VMAs, Twitter experienced three times our average volume of tweets,” Twitter’s Chloe Sladden said. “It was twice as many as during the news surrounding Michael Jackson this past summer.”

Twitter became a huge part of the show, as the tweet volume was instantaneous and fans and stars alike (many of whom were actually inside Radio City Music Hall) helped to narrate the evening.

“The unique level of viewer engagement MTV was able to inspire during the VMAs was impressive,” Sladden added. “We think Twitter can be the way television becomes more interactive, and MTV is showing us the way.”

CLICK HERE for more info on the MTV VMA “Twitter Tracker”…

Why we haven’t embraced Cloud Computing

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing is one of the most intriguing offerings in enterprise web hosting. Unlike traditional hosting where one or more dedicated servers are used to operate a website, cloud computing is essentially piggybacking off large-scale infrastructures such as Amazon EC2 and The Rackspace Cloud. The advantages of cloud computing are compelling; no longer is it necessary to ramp up servers for anticipated traffic spikes, manage the plethora of server security challenges or hassle with backup solutions. The downside is that cloud computing by and large has proprietary languages and databases which is not adaptable from platform to platform. While companies are scrambling to establish standards and some are creating adapters that make traditional sites compatible with cloud computing, there is still no good way to push an existing website to cloud based without extensive architecture changes.

In truth, the cloud concept is far superior than traditional server  hosting and simply porting websites over doesn’t utilize its true strength. One example is Amazon’s  SQS, a clever system that queues server requests so that if a server is running slow, the request waits until the resources are available. This eliminates many simultaneous processes from bringing down the servers and also solves the problem of interrupted connections, where a query is sent for processing and the connection is dropped before the query is returned. Traditional database queries drop the request if the connection is lost, where is SQS queues the request until the connection returns.

Here at Keylex we’re taking a wait and see approach. With all the advances of cloud computing, the stability is not up to par with our standards. Besides the intermittent downtime that is proving a lot less reliable than dedicated servers, the cloud environment is very restricting. We like to RDS into a server, tweak settings and have the flexibilty to pinpoint issues when they arise. Until such time as cloud computing fully matures, we prefer to keep our perfect record of uptime perfect.

“Google it”, a tongue twister?

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

bing

Bloggers and Forum dwellers alike have been buzzing about the “Bing.com commercial” and prophesizing about how “Bing is gonna be better than Google” and “Bing.com will kill Google.”

Ok, everyone relax. Microsoft’s latest “Bing” engine has not yet proved itself to be Google and might not be ready to compete just yet, but it’s a different taste of web search engine. Does it have potential? Sure, but at this point, to most people it’s something new with a catchy name, and that is exciting. (Somewhat of a deja vu of a certain election held this past November, perhaps?)

Bing is the young, fresh, sophisticated new kid on the block. Besides being easy to pronounce, Microsoft is marketing Bing as a “decision engine,” differentiating it from it’s competition. The commercials are straight forward and effective. So much so, that people have been quick to jump on the bing wagon (pun totally intended). All joking aside, we’re not so quick to dump our beloved Google for the flavor of the week. However, we will be trying out Bing and getting back to you soon with our thoughts.

A Microsoft search engine, huh? Let’s see if we can keep it from freezing and crashing the world wide web!

Take advantage of the economy’s “Step-Down” effect

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

The economy has created an “Economic Step-Down” where businesses and consumers are purchasing products and services at a level lower than they are accustomed to. Fortune 500 companies are stepping down from the Big Four accounting firms to the “Big 100″, end of lease Lexus owners are stepping down to Infiniti, and Starbucks junkies are convincing themselves that Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is just fine. Once look at Mercedes homepage message and you know they’re suffering from the wrong end of step down syndrome.

Mercedes homepage

Companies can take advantage of this trend by stepping up their client base to the step downers. Nearly every business in America is re-evaluating their vendor relationships and finding alternatives that offer the same or similar products at a lower cost. If you offer products or services that you know will save companies money, now is the time to pitch to them. Office supplies, insurance, IT and yes, even web development. So take this opportunity to step up to the plate (pun intented) and make a cold call to a company that can step down to your services. They may be surprised how they are actually stepping up!

Skittles: Twirlling the baton

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

It’s easy to see why Skittles would want to divert the attention from Twitter, because it is, as you can see, heavily abused by spammers, and a lot of the jokes are simply to tasteless for…well, anyone. That’s the ugly side of social media: a lot of it is completely uncensored and some users see this as an opportunity to get nasty or even vile.

“Skittles Swaps Homepage from Twitter Search to Facebook Page” by Stan Schroeder

skittles“Ugly side” of Social Media? Is there really such a thing, or are some folks too sensitive for the reality that people with varying opinions and social backgrounds are what makes up our country’s mainstream today? Walk down the street or catch a bus in any major U.S. city in 2009 and try to avoid opinionated banter with a little choice language. Do we take any of this to heart or base our buying decisions on the specifics of what these people say? It would be pretty sad to discover if we were this easily influenced. Instead, perhaps we should focus on why so many people feel it is their responsibility to voice their social and political opinions loud enough for others to hear.

As some of you may know (or not know) Skittles has changed its entire website at Skittles.com to a “social Media Hub” where web-savy surfers can access social outlets such as Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook. Here, they can sound off about their love (or hate) for Skittles. Now, all of us can see where this might cause some controversy, but is controversy really a bad thing? At the very least the stench surrounding the topic (including the stink that we are about to raise) is enough to genereate audience buzz alone!

Something that much of corporate America is still having trouble facing is the intelligence of today’s online audience. Smoke and mirrors no longer work like they used to in marketing and are easier for web savvy consumers to pick up on. Younger generations (like the demographic targeted by Skittles) don’t base their purchasing decisions on negative or positive comments and reviews of a product. They base it on how many people are talking about it. Popularity isn’t always defined by support.

Many of the posts on twitter regarding Skittles aren’t really about the user’s desire to get others to try or avoid the product; They’re about being part of the conversation. That’s the beauty of social media! Raw, uncensored, reality. This is what today’s young consumer responds to, not gobbledygook from the mouths of out-of-touch internal corporate marketing departments. In fact, they laugh at the old-fashioned, being “marketed at” approach. It undermines and insults their intelligence.

Skittles is allowing itself to be associated with its audience. Some people like Skittles, some do not, and some just want to be heard. It’s reality, and young consumers (Skittles’ target audience) understand, respect, and excuse that. While it may be controversial now, it’s the wave of the future in terms of Brand interaction for for the “internet generation”. What’s more powerful than allowing your consumers to represent your brand for you?

Ask yourself this question: Are my brand, products, and services unique and strong enough to stand up to the reality of a market flooded with old-fashioned teqhniques?

If the answer is anything but “100% positively”, consider Skittles the leader of the parade and get in line. A bold move? Yes, but as Apple’s mantra for the 21st century goes, if you want to have a successful brand you’ve got to “Think Different.”

You go, Skittles. Keylex approved!

A Highly Recommended Read: ZAG

Friday, February 27th, 2009

zagbookIn an age of me-too products and instant comminications, keeping up with the competition is no longer a winning strategy. Today you have to out-position, out maneuver, and out-design the competition. Author Marty Neumeier illustrates the number one strategy of high-performance brands—radical differentiation.

You can purchase the book on Amazon.com (click here) or check out the official ZAG website by clicking (here)

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What is Guerilla Marketing?

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Guerrilla marketing is an unconventional system of promotions that relies on time, energy and imagination rather than a big marketing budget. Typically, guerrilla marketing tactics are unexpected and unconventional; consumers are targeted in unexpected places, which can make the idea that’s being marketed memorable, generate buzz, and even spread virally.” -Wikipedia

Here are two quick slide shows with some fantastic examples of how these tactics are applied:

Did You Know?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

A video on the progression of information technology that highlights the growing importance of having a presence on the world wide web.

Social Media: Business time wasters or big time money makers?

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

“Have you heard about the newest Internet buzzword? It’s called Social Media and depending upon who you talk about it with you’ll get a differing definition that paints it as either the next big thing or the world’s greatest waste of time. I like to think of Social Media as nothing more than a means of connecting more regularly, inexpensively and efficiently to people or businesses you might not otherwise connect to.

Perhaps you’ve heard the cliche – “people like to do business with people just like them”. The use of these various Social Media tools allow you to interact with your customers and prospects on a more personal level than ever before.

There are dozens of ways to be active online with Social Media – some of the popular tools are MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as well as the use of blogs to self publish content. The question I hear over repeatedly from people who haven’t yet joined the online Social Media scene is – “what can I do with Social Media tools like Facebook ,etc” and “will social media help my business or is it just for high school kids”.

Rather than argue that all Social Media tools are awesome and worth spending hours of work time to use – I’ll explain how I use Social Media and what I believe its long term benefits are.
Why Social Media? It All Starts With Search

The goal most businesses have in mind when they think of “going online” is to increase the likelihood that their customers and prospects can easily find them in an online search. As you may have found, obtaining a much coveted high Google ranking is increasingly tougher as competitors employ professional search optimization consultants to craft pages tailored for higher search engine rankings. There are also some experts who predict that Google search will eventually become less dominant and give way to searches through other types of Social Media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

What can your company do when you lack the budget to hire an expensive search engine consultant and you lack the skill to do this search optimization yourself?

My answer to search optimization has been to ignore the tricks and fine tuning of web pages. These tweaks to rank a web page highly seem to change almost daily and keeping up with the latest tricks of the search trade is almost impossible unless it is your full time job. In my use of the Internet I’ve found that one type of page never seems to go out of style. Web pages that contain useful content instead of a sales pitch are increasingly prized by those customers and prospects doing their own searches on the web.

Blogging Is An Easy Way To Publish Fresh Content Online And More Helpful Content Equals More Visitors To Your Site. When people hear of blogging they sometimes think of a lone writer ranting endlessly about the local government or some other esoteric topic of interest to a small minority. At it’s core blogging means nothing more than writing an article and publishing it on the Internet.

The key to blogging is that once you write and publish an article – the words in that article become indexed by Internet search engines and eventually (hopefully soon) are discoverable by potential clients who in turn may contact you.

To be sure there are those types of blog web sites. However the way you use blogging for your company can also attract significant traffic to your web site. (Remember – more traffic reading quality articles equals the chance to contact more qualified web searchers).

During the course of a day (depending upon my schedule and whether there is any relevant news) I may publish 1 to as many as 6 articles. Do the math and you can see that by the end of the week if I published only the minimum that I’d have 5 new web pages for the search engines to index and for customers and prospects to find. Multiply that by 52 weeks in the year – and in the first year I’d have over 260 different web pages that all would be indexed and searchable on the web. There’s a good chance that out of the 260+ pages there will be some that are indexed highly by search engines – especially when I’ve taken care to make sure that I always use relevant keywords and write about topics that deliver value to clients and prospective clients.

Perhaps the best thing about blogging is that it costs nothing to start. I like to use this solution because I can update my site from any web browser without the need for added software. Once written the content is all properly formatted with graphics and fonts.

Remember – the more helpful content you have on your site (emphasis on the word helpful) the more likely a web visitor is to read it and contact you. The cost of creating this helpful content is only the time you spend writing (on average it takes me about 30 minutes to generate a typical online article including proof-reading). Once created these articles on your site live on forever.”

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Article Originally posted by: Wayne Shultz