Marketing Technology » Miscellaneous http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook Combining marketing and technology to develop new markets and grow existing ones Tue, 11 Jan 2011 16:47:54 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Helping executives get things done http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2009/05/25/helping-executives-get-things-done/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2009/05/25/helping-executives-get-things-done/#comments Mon, 25 May 2009 10:05:22 +0000 admin http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/?p=469 Over the last three weeks, I have had as many conversation with senior executives about how they can cope with the constant barrage of incoming information, mainly via email.

In various lengths of windedness, I tell them rather smugly that my inbox is empty 95% of the time. Not because no one ever sends me anything (although that may well be true) or that I just delete it, but because since January 2008 I’ve followed David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) system.

Now I don’t know why it works for me. Maybe it appeals to the left side of my brain, maybe I just like process, or maybe it just works. But I highly recommend it to any senior executive whose inboxes control them rather than the other way around. If they can get it working (and you do need to work at it for a couple of months) I can guarantee they will feel more productive, less stressed and more in control.

In fact, I think there’s such a big internal market for this I’m considering offering one-on-one coaching to H&K’s elite.

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Paxman does it again http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2009/03/11/paxman-does-it-again/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2009/03/11/paxman-does-it-again/#comments Wed, 11 Mar 2009 11:03:45 +0000 admin http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/?p=394 Newsnight: Paxman’s Dig at Banking Sector

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Obama’s Inauguration Address: How Did You Read It? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2009/01/21/obamas-inauguration-address-how-did-you-read-it/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2009/01/21/obamas-inauguration-address-how-did-you-read-it/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2009 15:31:00 +0000 admin http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/11625.aspx Following on from the time lapse analysis we conducted on the US Airways crash landing yesterday, today we turned our attention to President Obama’s inauguration speech.

There has already been some interesting analysis (like this Wordle image), so we dusted down an internal application built to score the readability of news articles and put Obama and some of his recent – and not so recent – predecessors through the mangle.

Here’s Obama’s result:

Let me explain the numbers (note that there may be a slight margin of error so please don’t write in if you get different values).

The Flesch Index is a measure of reading ease. Obama has hit “Plain English” spot on, with his text easily understood by 13-15 year old students at the minimum.

The Fog Index (or rather Gunning fog index) is an indication of the number of years formal education a person requires in order to easily understand a text on the first reading. Assuming you start school aged 4/5, again he hits the 14/15 year old minimum.

So how does he compare with previous Presidents’ inauguration addresses?

Slightly better than the guy he replaces, that’s for sure. George W Bush’s second address scores 58 on the Flesch Index and 11.5 on the Fog Index (his first was actually better: 62 Flesh and 10.1 Fog).

Daddy knows best, though, because George HW Bush’s speech came in with a Flesch score of 75 and a Fog score of 8.2.

Head back in time and you have to say that, considering language was generally more complex, Abe Lincoln did pretty well. His second inaugural address of 1865 gives him a highly respectable 57 on the Flesch scale and 12.8 for its Fog counterpart – only just shy of George W’s oratory.

The nation’s first chief executive, George Washington, set the ball rolling in 1789. I doubt he thought some blogger would turn his historic moment into two numbers 220 years later, but for what it’s worth those numbers are 16 and 23.4!

So there you go Mr President. One Bush behind you, but one still ahead.

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A brighter shade of green http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2008/05/30/a-brighter-shade-of-green/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2008/05/30/a-brighter-shade-of-green/#comments Fri, 30 May 2008 18:21:00 +0000 admin http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/10747.aspx The green movement is a little off-colour, according to research from pollster Ipsos Mori. In the UK at least, environmental concerns reached a peak in January 2007. A year on they have dropped by more than half, replaced by increasing concern over the economy.

Along a similar vein, the International Herald Tribune reports that the market for clean, green technology is showing signs of overheating, too. It must be the greenhouse effect.

At a time when I am actively doing more than I ever have before, this comes as quite a surprise to me. Maybe people are less concerned because they are now starting to do something about it?

>Whatever it is, I think the whole “green” space is now hotting up rather than overheating. It’s certainly in no danger of meltdown. And I think it’s down to the increasing influence of “bright” greens, the latest shade of green being used to categorise different types of “greens”.

Dark greens believe that environmental problems are part of industrialised capitalism that can only be solved by political action.

Light greens see protecting the environment as a personal responsibility, a lifestyle choice. (They are not to be confused with “lite green”, used to describe companies engaged in greenwashing – misleading consumers about the environmental practices of the company.)

But now we have the bright greens, who believe that better designs, technologies and social innovations are the means to make the required changes in society.

I’d like to think I’m sitting between the latter (and lighter) two at the moment. I don’t know what that’s called on the colour chart, but it sure is a good time to be green right now. And it’s a damn sight more interesting than worrying about an economy you can’t fix.

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You May Prefer to Give us a Call… Part 2 http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2008/03/28/you-may-prefer-to-give-us-a-call-part-2/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2008/03/28/you-may-prefer-to-give-us-a-call-part-2/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2008 10:41:16 +0000 admin http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/10468.aspx If you enjoyed my last post, you’ll love this one.

I’ve been trying to transfer my electricity supply to another supplier since I moved into my house last September. A catalogue of errors on the part of the incumbent supplier mean that it has only just happened – or so I thought (but that’s a different story involving an erroneous transfer – it is as painful as it sounds).

The situation is further complicated by the fact that I have two supplies at the same address – one for a self-contained annex next door. With the first transfer out of the way, I started the second. Online, of course, bound to be the quickest way right? Wrong!

Whilst trying to provide the supply number yesterday, I was informed by the new supplier (Scottish Power) that applications they receive online take around 7 days to enter their system. Yes, you heard right, 7 (seven) days. Apparently “they have to go through several departments”. And even then they are only flagged as “pending”.

However, if I call up and apply over the phone my account will be set up straight away!

So the moral of the story is that if you’re thinking of transferring your electricity supply to Scottish Power, you may prefer to give them a call. If, like me, you’ve already completed an online application within the last seven days, don’t worry. You can just apply over the phone instead and this will automatically cancel the “pending” online application when it eventually hits their systems!

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You May Prefer to Give us a Call… http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2008/03/25/you-may-prefer-to-give-us-a-call/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2008/03/25/you-may-prefer-to-give-us-a-call/#comments Tue, 25 Mar 2008 16:26:30 +0000 admin http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/10443.aspx I should have known better than to attempt to use public transport the first day after a bank holiday weekend. In the UK, they’re the times when demand is high yet supply decreases as a result of “engineering works”. Over Christmas there was an outcry when these engineering works overran (not an uncommon scenario), effectively leaving those who needed to get into work stranded. After that, the train operators vowed that “lessons will be learnt” and it wouldn’t happen again.

So it was with some trepidation that I braved the snow and ice on our road to drive to the station and pick up my usual train into London. After an hour I had made it one stop (usually a 15 minute hop), to be informed that just about everything into London was suspended. To cut a long story short, I ended up back at home.

What has all this got to do with marketing technology, I hear you ask (no, really I can).

Well, rather than spend an hour on hold trying to get the cost of my ticket refunded, I sent an email to their customer service address, only to get the following automated reply:

Thank you for contacting XXXX [removed to protect the innocent] Customer Services, we
have received your email and we aim to get back to you as soon as possible.

Good so far.

Our target is to answer 90% of our contacts within 6 working days.

Hmm. That’s over a week, but I guess they get busy.

However, if your contact is urgent you may prefer to give us a call on 0845
600 7245 mentioning that you have already sent an email.

Who writes these things? So what you’re saying is that you’re giving my email enquiry a lower priority than telephone calls and – having gone to the trouble of putting everything down in the email – I now have to spend an hour on hold just to tell someone that I’ve already sent an email?

I wonder what their response would be?

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Who do you trust most, Facebook or the Government? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2007/11/23/who-do-you-trust-most-facebook-or-the-government/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2007/11/23/who-do-you-trust-most-facebook-or-the-government/#comments Fri, 23 Nov 2007 09:32:20 +0000 admin http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/9875.aspx According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), young people could be putting themselves at risk of identity fraud because of the material they post on social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.

At least it’s information they control (the ICO has even developed a new website to help them out).

No word unfortunately on how they’re supposed to avoid identity fraud when HMRC loses the personal details of every child in the country.

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High-quality YouTube videos – a contradiction in terms? http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2007/11/15/high-quality-youtube-videos-a-contradiction-in-terms/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2007/11/15/high-quality-youtube-videos-a-contradiction-in-terms/#comments Thu, 15 Nov 2007 08:08:57 +0000 admin http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/9840.aspx At the NewTeeVee Live conference, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen announced that high-quality YouTube video streams are coming soon.

One assumes he is referring to quality in the technical, rather than the creative, sense.

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You Grumpy Old Blogger! http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2007/10/17/you-grumpy-old-blogger/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2007/10/17/you-grumpy-old-blogger/#comments Wed, 17 Oct 2007 17:21:12 +0000 admin http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/9605.aspx Is it me, or is all this social media making me grumpy?

Today I’ve had someone who sent me a message on Facebook in order to try and sell their creative design services as well as a researcher from one of the UK media databases wanting to list me as a blogger in their database so that PRs can spam me.

In these two instances, I think I have a good case for being grumpy. Firstly, it’s against Facebook’s Terms of Use to use the platform for unauthorised advertising. Secondly, I’d rather someone read my blog before spamming me (and notice that I actually work for one of the biggest PR firms in the world) rather than just get my details from a database.

I think it’s going to take an industry-wide effort to stamp out bad practice in blogger relations, rather than a single vendor adding bloggers to their databases. I’m waiting to hear what they intend to do to any of their customers who ignore bloggers’ preferences. I’d bet they won’t get their accounts cancelled.

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Think Tanks http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2007/09/04/think-tanks/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/2007/09/04/think-tanks/#comments Tue, 04 Sep 2007 17:57:40 +0000 admin http://blogs2.hillandknowlton.com/niallcook/9326.aspx Tonight I’m going to learn all about think tanks, those organisations that shape UK Government policy.

Despite the tube strikes, H&K are hosting an event to launch a piece of research "analysing the views of parliamentarians, civil servants, special advisers and the public affairs community".

Having little interest in politics or the machinations of how our countries get governed (or not), it’s somewhat out of my comfort zone, but if I experience any kind of epiphany I’ll be sure to blog it later.

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