And now a word from our sponsor

I’m taking some time off and I’m not one of those super hero types who blog when they are on vacation. I am spending time with my family, not the computer.

However, I’ve set-up some of my favorite blog posts from the past for you to view while I’m gone. If you’re new to {grow} I think you’ll enjoy them and if you’re familiar with the blog, well … you’ll probably be bored quite frankly, but I’m doing my best : )  See ya soon!

“Listening” graphics have a long way to go

blog world grafic

The big BlogWorld Expo was this week in Las Vegas and I was anxious to learn as much as I could about what was going on out there.

One of the outputs was the above image.  It’s supposed to tell us what conversations are going on and the relationships between the keywords.  I’m tiring of these ridiculous graphics.  Am I supposed to oooh and aaah that this graphically depicts that “Vegas” and “blogger” were the two key terms from this conference?  What insight does this chart really provide? And yet, I see more and more meaningless stuff like this every day.

I’ve been spending time studying the trends in social media monitoring and have been impressed with the rapid progress.  But there is still a lot of noise like this chart that really tells us nothing.  The fact is, the most meaningful keyword and sentiment analysis is all still being done MANUALLY.

For all the social media “listening” we’re supposed to be doing, we had better come up with better ways to show our company managment what’s going on.

Your chance to help a {grow} friend!

a-helping-handThe {grow} community is our little cyber salon where we can hang out, get to know each other, and hash out some issues together.  I also like to extend a hand and help readers where I can, and I hope you will, too.

Jamie Wallace (@suddenlyjamie) has been an important contributor to {grow} as a guest blogger and commenter. You might recall an article she wrote, “Why measuring social media ROI is like being a great bartender” which became  an Internet sensation!

She’s trying to secure a position as a blogger with NatureMade Vitamin Company and part of that process is an online voting competition. Let’s call it what it is: a vitamin-infused publicity stunt, and probably a good one!  She has to be one of the top 20 vote-getters to be considered for the job.

In any event, Jamie passionately wants this job and YOU have a chance to help her get it by voting for her.  That’s right. You can help one of our community members get a job!  Click here to help:

This is a chance to support Jamie and thank her for her contributions in this space. Thanks for making this community AMAZING by helping each other when we need it!

P.S.  Tweeting this article will help Jamie, too.

P.P.S.  Isn’t “The Jungle Book” a great movie?  I think it was the first film I ever saw in a theater.

Three reasons why Microsoft is cool again

PC and MAc

One of the points that differentiates me from other bloggers:  I’m old enough to remember when Microsoft was cool. They were the college drop-out geeks who conquered the world.  Then David turned into Goliath. And nobody likes Goliath.

But I just get this sense that Microsoft is recaputuring its mojo. Let’s see if you agree.

1) Those ads.  As a marketer, I loved the ninja move they put on Apple.  Apple’s ad campaign famously defined their competitor as a pasty-faced, clunky slug.  Instead of fighting this deeply embedded image, Microsoft incorporated it into its own ads and flipped the “Apple cart” by highlighting the breadth and depth of the Microsoft user base.  This was simply inspired marketing.

2)  Real service.  The last time I went to an Apple Store with a technical problem, they said “no.”  I never encountered that as a service option before or since.  They would not fix my product and would not even recommend somebody who could.  The only option was “you’ll have to buy a new one.”

I have had enough hair-pulling customer service disasters from both companies to make me repulsed by the thought of a service call. But my last experience with Microsoft was very different.  I got a live person on the first ring, which left me momentarily paralyzed.  The India-based technical leader took control of my computer and solved a debilitating problem in 10 minutes.  But when he sent me back to customer service for a refund on a purchase, I hit a stone wall. The technical leader, who had not abandoned the call, jumped in and asked if I could be put on hold while he addressed the problem. Thirty seconds later he came back on and explained that my money had been refunded.  I was impressed that the technician took accountability for the entire customer service experience and had enough authority to do the right thing on the spot. Well done.

3) The Bing Thing.  The best companies constantly re-invent themselves with Madonna-like regularlity.  But Bing out-Googled Google by upping the ante on search performance features. Consumers rewarded Microsoft’s  innovation by moving to Bing in droves. It’s no easy feat to grab share from a famous and entrenched market leader. Google will respond. Microsoft’s aggressive and innovative market entry will speed the evolution of the platform and benefit us all.

In a few days, Microsoft will release their latest operating system evolution.  Here’s hoping the Big Guy stays on a roll.  We need that.

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