Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Your opportunity to help shape the future

The San Jose Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant is staging community workshops for the public to voice their opinions in regard to the Plant Master Plan, the the future development of the 2,600 acres surrounding the plant. The largest, undeveloped region in the South Bay, the plan is not only looking at the upgrade and renovation of the treatment plant, but the development and integration of the natural habitat along with commercial, educational, recreational and industrial uses.

This development will have a critical and major impact on our community into the future.

Voice your opinion and come to a workshop.

Saturday, May 1 – 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Milpitas City Hall – 455 East Calaveras Blvd., Milpitas

Tuesday, May 4 – 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Santa Clara Library – 2635 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara

Saturday, May 8 – 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Roosevelt Community Center – 901 East Santa Clara St., San Jose

Wednesday, May 12 – 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Alviso Library – 5050 North 1st St., San Jose

Wednesday, May 19 – 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Cupertino Community Hall – 10350 Torre Ave., Cupertino

Monday, February 15, 2010

Success on the tradeshow floor-more than just sell sell sell

The challenges of business today is that it has become more and more impersonal. With the Internet as a prime channel of business to business marketing, we tend to lose that personal relationships we had with our customers, our vendors, and even our fellow co-workers. It is so easy to snap off an email and dispense with all the formalities that go along with meeting someone in person, or for that matter, talking on the phone. We think we know all about a company by checking their website and doing a Google search. But what we sometimes forget is that business is about relationships. People make the products. They provide the service. And we buy from people. Yes, the Internet makes doing business a lot easier in some ways. But the bottom line is, in the long run it's about relationships.

Meeting people, face-to-face. Find out what their challenges are. Issues. Concerns. Getting to know them. Understand them. And get them to know and understand you.

With that in mind, NEC Informatec Systems and the EMIStream Team fully know and understand that building relationships is key to building business. Their participation in key technology tradeshows such as the recent DesignCon ( is about getting to know the prospective customers and sharing a little about themselves. It's about team spirit. It's about reaching out. And it's about enjoying the time spent together. That's why the team created the SS NEC cruise theme and beckoned guest to "join them as they set sail for effortless PCB design". The infectious enthusiasm spread throughout the show and guests "jumped on board" and joined in the fun.

The bottomline, NEC continued to gather more leads than previous years, and recruited more attendees at their private seminar showcasing their products. The enthusiasm is growing and the team spirit is getting stronger. Build relationships. Win customers. Win business. And enjoy the cruise.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Marketing in the new mobile world Part 1

With the business world moving to a global 24/7 environment, we are no longer tied to our desktop computers to conduct business and communicate with our colleagues. Cell phones, PDAs, and other mobile devices are fast becoming the digital companion for the business person. At the same time, leaps in technology have empowered us far beyond the traditional email, scheduling and text messaging apps that have been the staple of our mobile existence. New apps are coming online daily that will continue to change how we work, play and interact with others.

A major challenge is the ability to find information quickly on your mobile device. The iPhone app world, with over 85,000 apps and counting is quickly becoming a cacophony of colors, images, words and graphics. Good design is a must to communicate functionality and for the ability stand out from the crowd. And a well designed app logo will not only stand out from the crowd with good visual design, but communicate its functionality as well.

Mobile enabled websites

It’s great that mobile devices can now display your company’s website on its browser. But wait. Can you read it? How combersome to have to zoom in and scroll around, then zoom out to find the information you need. Viewing websites on a mobile device can be extremely frustrating. That’s why mobile device friendly websites is perfect for the business person on the go. No more zooming in and out and scrolling around. The type is formated specifically for mobile devices in a simple easy-to-read layout. The best sites don’t just take the content of a website and reflow it, but edit the content specifically for reading on a very small screen. Only the essentials.

As this is a new but growing field, it will be interesting to see how websites will evolve to accomodate good copy and graphics that will be of value to the mobile warrior.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Is Social Media the New Marketing Tool for Small Business?

As "everybody" is jumping on the bandwagon, Social Media and web 2.0 is all the rage in Silicon Valley. With Social Media gurus touting thousands of followers on Twitter, and thousands of friends on Facebook, one wonders if anybody out there is really doing any work, or are we busy thinking of things to tweat about (which no one really cares about). If Twitter gives us the up to date happenings of our "closest" friends or interested parties, how can one read the thousands of tweats a day let alone "learn from it" or enrichen our lives? Is it all about adding to the clutter? Throwing "mud" on the wall and see what sticks? Have we lost sight of what Social Media is really all about?

Building relationships, strengthening our community, sharing experiences. Fundamentally, these advance technological tools can enhance our lives. But along the way, we went overboard, got greedy, and over consumed like we always do.

Sometimes it's important to just stop. Set things aside. And re-evaluate. "Is it really making my life better? Is it adding value to my friendships? My relationships?"

How does it help my small business? Is it draining resources? Or is it adding value to business relationships? Am I learning from others? Is there a healthy exchange.

In the process of redesigning our own website, these are questions that we are going to have to ask ourselves. And design a process that will really add value... not just clutter.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Increase qualified leads at tradeshows

We all know that the goal of a trade show participation is generating new leads. Yet we almost treat the lead generating activity as a last minute low priority item. Much of our time is working on our "sales pitch", the new features of the product, how much it costs, etc. When it comes down to getting the lead (much less qualifying the lead), we ask for a card, or "can I scan your badge". If we took time to fill out the standard form on the lead scanner, it usually is a last minute guess at what information we are looking for.

What we don't do is plan ahead. When was the last time you had a "lead generation" work session? Asking the questions that a prospective customer may have? Role playing? Getting to know and understand the prospective customer, what the issues and hot buttons are?

• A good brainstorm session will bring up situations or questions that may have arisen at a previous show. It can give light to how to handle a situation. What to look for at the next show.

Many times, the visitor may not be the purchaser of a product. Or even the influencer.
• Asking leading questions to find out who the decision maker is and how to get to them is more valuable that doing your sales pitch on every visitor that comes by.

• Asking questions about their work environment, their team, and what their challenges are will help you determine if your product is the right solution for them. How can your product make their work easier, faster, more cost effective, etc.

It's not just about trying to "SELL" your product to every visitor that comes by, but really, trying to find the right customer that needs your product. Once you do that, your selling process will become much easier. For more tips on increasing your performance at a tradeshow, goto:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

SXSW 2009 Panel on Spec Work Comments

There was an interesting panel on Spec Work in regards to designers and the creative industry at the SXSW conference last week.
It is a very hot topic.

Spec work is neither good or evil. It's the motive behind it. Too often it's the buyer trying to get the cheapest price and is not considering the value added of a relationship. A good designer needs to understand the client in order to do their best work. I don't think the current model of spec work is a sustainable model as it does nothing to build relationships. It's oxymoronic to talk about "creative community" when these models destroy relationships and therefore community.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Small Businesses need to get on the bandwagon

The Obama administration has approved a $15B loan program targeting small businesses. Yes!!! But that alone is not going to "bail us out". It's a start. 

The cards are stacked against us. We don't have the depth of funding, or the legal/financial/technical  resources that guide and advise big business.  And with the increase of the sales tax, many of us are having to "re-engineer" their invoicing system without the help of an IT staff or programmer. We do it ourselves.

In order to sustain our business, it is imperative that we continue to build relationships with other small businesses. We're in the same boat. We face the same challenges and uncertainties. And we all  have limited resources. 

In marketing, we know we have to appeal to both the intellect and the emotion. And it challenging economic times, it is hard to not make rash decisions that are based on our emotions of fear and uncertainty. We not only need financial support, but we also need emotional support. Networks, coaching, seminars, and peer-to-peer discussion groups are vital in this topsy-turvy world today. And the occasional outlet of blogging helps to get our thoughts out to the market in the hopes that some other small business owner can relate and respond.