It’s been a while since my last post. As crazy as it may seem, I’ve been super busy lately. Ever since I was “downsized” from my full-time job last November, I’ve found boatloads of work to be done as a freelance programmer and writer. I’ve also managed to get deeply involved in two start-ups, both of which require my full-time attention to programming. The pay is not nearly as good as before – in fact, it’s next to nothing – but I’m having a truckload of fun. Makes me feel like I just graduated from college all over again.
Anyway, over the last couple months, I’ve managed to squeeze in enough time to read yet another technical book. In exchange for writing a review on this new book, the folks at Packt Publishing provided me a free copy! The book is called jQuery 2.0 Development Cookbook, written by Leon Revill. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it to be highly useful. For the record, Packt is one of my favorite publishers, as they provide a steady stream of technical books that satisfy my never-ending need for fresh technical content. And I like their policy of providing DRM-free PDF files, which works very nicely with my iPad. So I was disappointed to see a book that – in my opinion – failed to meet their normal standards.
My complete review appears below, but the bottom line is that I give this book 3 of 5 stars. You can still learn a little by reading it, but it simply fails to provide enough good material for experienced programmers, and at the same time, it’s just too advanced for beginners.
I hate to admit it, but I’m always looking for the shortcut. This is against the teaching in my formative years, when I was told that shortcuts not only cheat others but also cheats myself.
Sorry Mom and Dad, but I learned a few things since then. The business world encourages the copying of someone else’s work – especially when it can be done with no consequences. In fact, you can often get in trouble for wasting time doing things yourself when it’s faster to simply copy the fruits of someone else’s hard work.
January 14th, 2014
Comments Off on Open Source Software: “Free” as in “Salary”, Marketing Tools, by Dan Schaefer.
While shopping around for a good marketing software solution, you may be tempted by the free price tag of Open Source Software.
Free? Did you say free? Hey, who can beat that price?
Indeed, Open Source is “Free,” but keep in mind that the initial price tag is the only thing that’s free. The reality of the real price may hit you sometime later, as you struggle to install, configure and maintain the free software.
January 3rd, 2014
Comments Off on 10 Best Practices for Video, Best Practices, Video, by Dan Schaefer.
Video continues to grow in popularity as an online marketing tool. In a recent report, the Content Marketing Institute said that 73% of B2B marketing departments use online video. But there are a lot of online videos competing for a limited amount of viewer attention span. Consider that 30% of YouTube videos account for 99% of the views. The bottom line is that making and posting effective marketing videos takes more than simply aiming a webcam and turning on the recorder; it requires a degree of science in both production and distribution to make videos compelling enough to capture viewers.
December 31st, 2013
Comments Off on 10 Best Practices to Make Your Webinars Awesome, Webinars, by Dan Schaefer.
When used judiciously, webinars can be a highly useful marketing tool. In a report last July, MarketingSherpa listed webinars as having the highest level of effectiveness among B2B marketers. This is significant, considering that it ranked ahead of web pages, white papers and newsletters.
Yet if you read many of the comments about webinars, the general public has a decidedly different opinion on its effectiveness. The complaints go something like this: webinars are overrated; it’s easy to zone out or be distracted; presenters are self-absorbed; there is a gap between what is promised and what is delivered. Why is there a difference of opinion between marketers and the general public when it comes to webinars?
December 28th, 2013
Comments Off on How Retailers Market Online, Marketing Tools, by Dan Schaefer.
Retail sales for the 2013 holiday season in the U.S. are estimated to be slightly over $600 billion while e-commerce sites are estimated to see about $82 billion. It is interesting that e-commerce is up about 13% from last year, whereas retail was up 3.9%. Measured in gross receipts, e-commerce holiday sales are far less than retail, but it is maintaining more than three times its growth. This trend began several years ago and is likely to continue.
December 24th, 2013
Comments Off on Why Email is Still Relevant in 2014, Email, by Dan Schaefer.
Email is the oldest form of online social media, and it’s not going to disappear anytime soon. Though you may be tempted to marginalize email in your 2014 marketing campaigns and focus on social media instead, be warned: There are still over twice as many email user accounts than Facebook accounts. In fact, the number of email users is virtually the same as the number of Internet users. The bottom line is that email is here to stay for the foreseeable future, and it should still figure prominently in your 2014 marketing campaigns.
December 20th, 2013
Comments Off on Translate Your Marketing Material for International Sales, Marketing Tools, by Dan Schaefer.
Translating your marketing material to a different language may seem like a simple task: find a translator, submit documents, receive translated documents, and publish. But marketing material appeals to human emotions, and emotions are not easy to capture with words in your own language, let alone a language you don’t understand. The bottom line is that you’re not simply translating the words; you’re translating emotions, so a simple literal translation is almost always insufficient.
December 8th, 2013
Comments Off on Streamlined Email, Marketing Tools, by Dan Schaefer.
(Note: This article has been published on the Business 2 Community website)
Email is one of the oldest and most successful of all Internet applications. Over the course of the last two decades, email has virtually replaced snail-mail as a way for businesses to keep in touch with their customers. But email in-boxes are overstuffed, so it’s difficult for marketing messages to break through the noise. This article discusses a new email streamlining technique under development and suggests how marketing managers can take advantage of it.
December 4th, 2013
Comments Off on Marketing and the Promise of Big Data, Big Data, by Dan Schaefer.
(Note: This article has been published on the Business 2 Community website)
The integration of marketing and technology is changing many marketing departments’ modus operandi. Technology has brought a whole new way of thinking about marketing, as it creates a new thought paradigm motivated by the abundance of data and the ability to process it. Those that embrace this new paradigm are likely to make better, more efficient and productive marketing decisions. Contrarily, those that are slow to adopt will get caught flatfooted by their competitors.
This large abundance of data is what is commonly referred to as, “Big Data.” To quote Wikipedia, “Big data is the term for a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications.” From a marketing perspective, big data holds the promise of processing large amounts of data to facilitate intelligent decisions based on correlations discovered in customer behavior.
Some marketing managers may balk and hesitate to embrace the promise of big data. Their reasons may be based on the sense of being overwhelmed by the scope of the problem. For example, where do you get the data? And how do you differentiate the important data from the superfluous? And once you have the data, how do you analyze it? And finally, how should this analysis affect future marketing decisions?