The New Face of Marketing and Product Strategy

How Marketing has transcended the “4 Ps” concept in many ways

PART ONE: A retrospective look at the Four Ps

Years ago, Philip Kotler, PhD., wrote the seminal book on Marketing that has been used in colleges and business schools across the country. “Marketing Management” was my first introduction to Marketing at Rutgers Business School.

In it Dr. Kotler outlined the major foundational elements of marketing with the “4 Ps.” They consisted of:

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place
  • Promotion

They, of course, still remain the pillars of Marketing in a global business economy. However, I believe that as the world economy changes and new business challenges emerge there are at least three more elements we need to look at:

  • Positioning
  • Process & People
  • Partnering

Let’s take a look at these individually.

PRODUCT:

Millions of products have existed since the dawn of time across every civilization. Today, products can range from highly technical products for business-to-business (B2B) environments to almost anything for consumer (B2C) products. Who could have predicted the age of infomercials sixty or seventy years ago?

To have a successful product, you need to either answer the need of a prospect/customer or create a need that the prospect/customer has not seen but would be interested in.

Remember a true Sales Lead consist of the following:

  • Prospect has a problem
  • Prospect has shared the problem and has the desire to solve it
  • Prospect has a budget to solve the problem
  • You have a product to solve their problem

Some years ago, I read a blog post from Lynne d Johnson then at  www.fastcompany.com that looked at the situation in a different way. She outlined “The 4Cs Concept.”

  1. Customer’s wants and needs
  2. Cost to satisfy the customer
  3. Convenience
  4. Communication

Some interesting context…

“Marketing has changed. We’re in the age of one-to-one marketing, where the customer actually has a role in shaping the messaging for your brand. Social Media – blogs, Twitter, Facebook, wikis, user-generated tools – have given her all she needs to effect whether your products and services do well in the marketplace. Long gone are the 4Ps of marketing, these are the days of the 4Cs, a customer centric approach that includes the customer’s wants and needs; the cost to satisfy the customer; the convenience; and communication.”

Some great points but I still think the 4Ps and the others I intend to point out are very relevant.

PRICE:

In today’s market, it is essential to do some market research on who your target market is before considering price points. Look for analysts’ reports that might be available on pricing. Don’t be afraid to reach out to executives via LinkedIn for discussions on pricing and market conditions. You might be surprised at what you could find out. It gets harder if you have a new product entering a market where there are no competitive price points.

If you are creating a product where there are competitors then you may be able to get competitive pricing from target market executives who already use an existing product. Believe me, I’ve seen it done. Face-to-face meetings with executives can bring a wealth of information.

Lastly, you should be pinging your sales teams – direct and indirect – for competitive pricing if you are creating a product that already has competition in the field.

PLACE:

There are so many ways to promote products today that you will need to determine which one makes sense for your product and company. That would include:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) through Keywords, Search Engine Marketing (SEM), blogs, banner ads, Google ads, email, LinkedIn ads and targeted campaigns, print materials, YouTube, Twitter, SlideShare, Facebook, Instagram, and Google+.

This also goes back the previous comments on “The 4Cs.” The Internet has turned the world into a global market so be prepared to get up to speed on digital marketing. There are lots of digital marketing individuals, agencies, and groups who will do the nuts and bolts work for you. Remember though, outsourcing carries its’ own burden especially if you are thinking or using an international resource. Are they going to be in the same time zone as you? I once had to work with an agency from California while I was working in New Jersey. Their 9:00 AM was my Noon. Moreover, their 5:00 PM was my 8:00 PM. Think about it especially if you are working on a time sensitive project.

PROMOTION:

Again, there are many ways to promote products in today’s global and digital economy. Many could be a good thing or a risky thing if you have not fully thought out your promotion strategy. That would include online and offline. One of the top ways to promote a product is face-to-face at trade shows but it is very costly. That also depends on the product, market, and end-user customer. I have done many trade shows for a wide variety of products in both the B2B and B2C sectors. So, I saw the value of those face-to-face interactions.

Now, using the Internet there are opportunities for remote, virtual events where your team can participate. Presentations can be made to an online audience that can attract leads and interaction for your sales teams.

Regarding the previously mentioned online and offline options [see Place section], you will have to know what works best and what potential costs you will incur. One of the best sources for a breakdown of methods and costs comes from www.MarketingProfs.com Each year they publish their annual “B2B Content Marketing Report.” The report details Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends in North America from over 1,000 executive respondents. So, it’s a great resource to find out the best tools and returns on effort.

Here are some interesting points on promoting your products from Mike Moran, a Digital and Social Media Consultant [www.MikeMoran.com]. Mike teaches both the Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing and Mini-MBA in Social Media Marketing at Rutgers University School of Business. I attended the inaugural class for the Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing in July 2010. I then introduced Mike Moran to the Rutgers programs.

Here is something that I believe is directly related to promotion that came from Mike Moran.

“The Three Rs Concept”

  1. Real:
    1. Are you thinking about a new way to talk about your business?
    2. Would you show customer reviews on your website?
    3. Would you show competitive pricing?
  2. Relevant:
    1. Personalize your offers
    2. Show demos on YouTube.com
  3. Responsive:
    1. Does your customer service reach out to customers?
    2. How far does your customer service reach out?
    3. Are you helping customers even when they don’t expect it? (Pro-Active)

PART TWO: The New Face of Marketing and Product Strategy

The New “Ps” for Marketing in a Global Economy

Now comes some additional Ps that I think need to be brought into the mix in this global economy. 

POSITIONING:

I keep bringing up a global economy that we are dealing with. Products can now be shipped all over the world and there are more competitors across the world than ever before. It’s critically important that you know your market and look for unaddressed needs among prospects (and customers).

How you position your product in this business environment may make or break the product’s success. Ideally, for an existing market you want to perform a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). See where your product stands and what are potential threats – physical, environmental, social, political. When you do that be sure to be open to self-criticism and out-of-the-box thinking. Better to be prepared than sorry you missed something.

The most important thing in positioning is your product’s Value Proposition. It has to be unique and should be cast is stone. I always joke that the third tablet that Moses carried down the mountain was a Value Proposition. That’s the one he dropped.

Value Proposition:

  • Who is/are your target market(s)?
  • What is your frame of reference to the market(s)? (Manufacturer, Value-Added Reseller, etc.)
  • What are your key product differentiators?
    • What does your product do that other products don’t or can’t?
  • What is the reason(s) to believe?
    • What proof points can you present a prospect with?

PROCESS & PEOPLE:

This goes to the heart of how you develop products and how your people interact with your processes. You definitely need a process. Once I worked at a mid-size telecom company where I attended Monday morning meetings with the Director of Product Management and about eight Product Managers. The Director asked a question one morning, “How would you take a product idea from a cup of coffee discussion in the cafeteria to out the door?”

No one answered. There was no process. Next thing I know is a couple of days later the Director is coming down the hall to me with thirteen product roadmaps in three-ring binders. “Dom, see if you can get some synergy out of these?”

So, I did my homework and talked with various staff throughout the company. I then developed a stage-gate process that could take an idea to production completion. The stage-gate process forced teams to work together and get “buy-in” on time, budget, and resources.

At Lucent Technologies, back in the days of 150,000 employees, I worked on another process problem. Seems that management had no way to improve sales of Professional Services Offers. Account Executives would sell a customer a PBX and maintenance agreement then walk out the door. The company was missing out on an enormous potential revenue stream. I worked with the then Director of Enterprise Marketing to scope out the problem. I was tasked with going throughout the then huge organization structure to find out all the professional services offers. I came up with 156 offers that were being missed by the sales teams. The existing offer documents were 50-pages long that no one really read. Working with my Director of Enterprise Marketing, we developed a system of customer needs that could be contrasted to existing offers. Then I went about paring all the offers into a 2-page format that concisely described what the offer actually did for the customer.

We than made a digital web tool that allowed the account executives to pick the customer needs. The digital process then displayed all the appropriate offers the account executive could discuss with the prospect. It essentially was creating a new sales framework for the sales teams.

Today, teams can work with Agile Development to instill speed into their development processes. It originates in the software development industry but could be adapted to other industries.

Agile development is a set of development methods in which requirements and solutions evolve through collaboration between self-organizing cross-functional teams. It promotes adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, continuous improvement, and encourages rapid and flexible response to change.

This is what can be achieved using Agile methods:

Focus, Commitment, and Motivation can be transitioned to…

The Agile Triad: Cooperation, Collaboration, and Cooperation

Scrum is an iterative (repeating) and incremental Agile development methodology for managing product development. It defines “a flexible holistic product development strategy where a development team works as a unit to reach a common goal.”

Think about looking into the many different methods of agile that are available to assist both production, and software development.

PARTNERING:

Again, we go back to that global economy we live and work in. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Plan out where you are going to sell and remember our earlier discussion on customer service. See if you can find existing partners who can help get your product to market faster. Speed is of the essence when working on product development but getting it right is most important. Who has skills that compliment your development team? Who has an existing sales and distribution networks? Who could extend your customer service capability?

I think you get the idea. Don’t try to be everything – be open to partnering.

In conclusion, I believe the 4Ps are still important, relevant, and must be addressed. However, Positioning, Process & People, and Partnering are essential in today’s challenging business environment.

 

Dominic J. Frúges

Dominic J. Frúges

Dominic J. Frúges is an experienced Product Marketer and Strategist across B2B, B2C, High Tech, and Services. He has worked on twelve product launches from inception to completion in both B2B and B2C industries. He also holds Scrum Product Owner Certified Credential from the Scrum Alliance. He has an MBA – Rutgers University, Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing – Rutgers University, and CloudMASTER® certification from NJIT University.

 

domfruges@gmail.com

Cell & Primary: 732-684-4029

Twitter: @DomFruges

www.LinkedIn.com/in/dfruges

 

PARR: Gateway for Your Career Search: Part B – A New Twist on PARR: Results By…

May 1, 2014

PARR: Gateway for Your Career Search

Assessing your skills before you write your resume

Part B: A NEW TWIST on PARR: Results By…

By

Dominic J. Frúges

www.LinkedIn.com/in/dfruges

A NEW TWIST ON PARR

In the last few years as the number of resumes submitted for jobs has grown the PARR format has come under some criticism for being too “verbose.”  Human Resources staffs have been trimmed and the remaining staffs handling positions are swamped with resumes from both qualified and unqualified candidates.

So, I read about a new format that was explained by a professional staffer from www.TheLadders.com

It allows you to still use the information from a PARR analysis but in a shortened way.

RESULTS BY…

So, now you can shorten the language but use the Results column along with the Resolution column to place a significant bullet that will attract the attention of three things or people:

  1. Resume Scanner
  2. Human Resources staff
  3. Hiring Manager

What this does is gets Results or Resolution up front for the reader’s eyes and minimizes the time explaining the problem.  So, let’s use our example from above that we placed in the PARR format:

  • IMPROVED CUSTOMER CREDIT and MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITY: Added $100,000 to company revenues through improved credit processes.  Improved collections by 15%, decreased charge-back investigations by 10%, and speeded up the credit approval process.  Accomplished this by taking responsibility for all credit-related issues and writing appropriate internal rules to address issues.

Well, that’s a view for a process that will help you get through “the forest and the trees” when starting or restarting your career.  I would urge you to try using PARR as an exercise before you write a resume.

Also, your PARR will become your “snippets” of information that you want to feed back to the hiring company.  The first few bullet points on your resume should directly address their specified need for the position.  If what you’ve done that is directly related to their need is on Page 3 of your resume then you won’t hit the mark.  You only have about 8 seconds to attract attention to your resume!  Get what the company wants on Page 1 of your resume.

Here’s where I preach some heresy to career coaches.  I use what I call a “Mini-Hybrid” resume.  So, I try to match the first four or five job requirements that the hiring company has specified to the first portion on Page 1 of the resume.  My bullets from my “snippets” list directly correspond to their needs.

A career coach has stated that you must answer the Requirements for the position not the Duties and Responsibilities.   That’s easier said than done since I could write the War & Peace version of how companies have forgotten or lost the ability to write a succinct job description.  I can tell you that Jason and the Argonauts are still looking for The Golden Fleece and a well written job description.

In any event, if the company states in their Requirements:

  • Need to improve customer credit processes, increase collections, and decrease charge-back investigations to speed up the credit approval process

Then your answer to solve their problem had better be on Page 1 of your resume, not on Page 2 or 3.  Remember, you have 8 seconds to get that in front of their eyes.

  • IMPROVED CUSTOMER CREDIT and MANAGEMENT RESPONSIBILITY: Added $100,000 to company revenues through improved credit processes.  Improved collections by 15%, decreased charge-back investigations by 10%, and speeded up the credit approval process.  Accomplished this by taking responsibility for all credit-related issues and writing appropriate internal rules to address issues.

If you comment in any LinkedIn Group, Facebook, or Twitter: please copy and post your reply on my original blog website: http://ImpalBizBuzz.wordpress.com

Good luck and don’t forget to pay it forward whenever you can.

Dominic J. Frúges

Dominic J. Frúges

www.LinkedIn.com/in/dfruges

Join me on LinkedIn via personal email: dfruges@yahoo.com

Opportunities email: DomFruges@gmail.com

Personal Blog: http://ImpalBizBuzz.wordpress.com

Dominic J. Frúges Bio

Marketing innovator and thought leader who uses strategic, market, and situational analysis to assess strengths or areas for improvement.  Expert at developing value propositions, strategic messaging, features & benefits that position products.  B2B, B2C, High Tech, Services, and sales experience.

Achieves vision by extracting intelligence from market research sources, using situational analysis, and then applying it to positioning and marketing strategies.   Marketing efforts instrumental in a one year $51M revenue increase for a tech firm and generating a new revenue stream of $500K through a brand launch for a consumer products firm.  Ex-military officer who brings the discipline of situational analysis along with prior industry diversity in sales and marketing to identify market needs and solutions.  Three solution launches at Lucent Technologies, seven product launches at Adtran, Inc. (carrier telecom equipment). CloudMASTER® Certificate  – NJIT University,  Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing, and MBA – Rutgers University.

 

 

 

PARR: Gateway for Your Career Search — Part A of Two Parts

April 29, 2014

PARR: Gateway for Your Career Search

Assessing your skills before you write your resume

Part A: Creating Your PARR Tool for Your Career Search

Part A of a two-part series on PARR

By

Dominic J. Frúges

www.LinkedIn.com/in/dfruges 

 In today’s turbulent work environment people can find themselves in a few status stages:

  • Recent college grad or 20-Something Gen Y
  • Returning to Work after Child Rearing or Elder Care status
  • Over 45 – 65 and facing “long-term” unemployed status, skills not up to date, or age discrimination
  • Unemployed – suddenly laid off, downsized, right-sized, or job eliminated

Many people have a shock period with emotional lows, worries about family and economic issues, then an onset of reality.  At that point they sit down and immediately want to create a resume so they can start looking for a job.

As anyone knows who’s been through the myriad of career coaches, books, and webinars there are numerous ways to write a resume.  Many people will agree that if you line up 100 people to review your resume that you will get 100 different opinions.

Some years ago I invested nearly $500 dollars for a professional resume writer to prepare my resume.  The short story is that he in turn passed off the assignment to someone else “on his team”.  What I got back was a document with misspellings, incomplete sentences, and sentences that made no sense.  I had to reach back out to the original writer and express my dissatisfaction.  He then worked directly with me to create a new resume.

However, what I remembered about the entire process was the reams of paperwork that the writer demanded I prepare before a resume could be written.  Ironically, at that time I had a friend going through the same process with a different resume service.  We compared notes and essentially came to the conclusion: that the entire process was like walking over hot coals.

Years later, I acquired the services of a well known career coach in the New Jersey area.  He too had a process and one element he required was the same as the resume writer.  My career coach was quite surprised when I handed in my first draft of this requirement and he said, “You’ve got this done pretty well.”

It’s called PARR: Problem, Action, Resolution, Results

You may have heard the same expressed as PAR, CAR, SARB, and other acronyms.

Here’s why you want to use PARR before you start a resume especially if you are in any of the categories that I described above.

PARR takes you out of resume thinking mode and forces you into a deeper thinking mode.  It makes you reassess all of your experience throughout your entire career.  That could start at the local supermarket when you were a teen all the way up to your most recent position.  Precisely, that’s what it’s intended to do – detach you from resume writing mode to thinker and analyst mode.  You’re analyzing your own career in a way that you’ve probably never done before.

Here’s how it looks in reality.  Open up a new MS Word document and put it in landscape mode.  Then insert a table of four columns.  Add a series of rows for your input.  I would use MS Word here and not MS Excel because most of your input will be verbiage not numbers or equations.

PROBLEM

ACTION

RESOLUTION

RESULTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Add as many rows as you may need, it may be multiple pages.

Here’s a sample:

PROBLEM

ACTION

RESOLUTION

RESULT

Customer credit

The company had a problem with customer collections, charge-back investigations, and credit approvals.

Took responsibility for all credit-related issues and wrote appropriate internal rules to address issues.

This improved collections by 15%, decreased charge-back investigations by 10%, and speeded up the credit approval process.

The improved credit process added $100,000 to company revenues.

So, now you have defined a specific challenge / problem that you handled, the action you took, the resolution (that may or may not include a numeric value), and a result that should be numeric in value.

One of the major challenges that I have as a marketing person is that in the old classical marketing days there was often no feedback – either numeric or qualitative – on a given campaign.  Today, as I often half-jokingly say, “You can’t put a stamp on an envelope without a Return on Investment (ROI) on the campaign.”

That’s especially true in the digital marketing world and most of marketing in general.

Look for Part B on Thursday, May 1, 2014: A New Twist on PARR: Results by…

http://ImpalBizBuzz.wordpress.com

 

Good luck and don’t forget to pay it forward whenever you can.

Dominic J. Frúges

Dominic J. Frúges

www.LinkedIn.com/in/dfruges

Join me on LinkedIn via personal email: dfruges@yahoo.com

Opportunities email: DomFruges@gmail.com

Personal Blog: http://ImpalBizBuzz.wordpress.com

Dominic J. Frúges Bio

Marketing innovator and thought leader who uses strategic, market, and situational analysis to assess strengths or areas for improvement.  Expert at developing value propositions, strategic messaging, features & benefits that position products.  B2B, B2C, High Tech, Services, and sales experience. 

Achieves vision by extracting intelligence from market research sources, using situational analysis, and then applying it to positioning and marketing strategies.   Marketing efforts instrumental in a one year $51M revenue increase for a tech firm and generating a new revenue stream of $500K through a brand launch for a consumer products firm.  Ex-military officer who brings the discipline of situational analysis along with prior industry diversity in sales and marketing to identify market needs and solutions.  Three solution launches at Lucent Technologies, seven product launches at Adtran, Inc. (carrier telecom equipment). CloudMASTER® Certificate  – NJIT University, Mini-MBA in Digital Marketing, and MBA – Rutgers University. 

Google’s New “Add-On” Features Store

On March 12, 2013, as reported by www.theVerge.com , Google announced that it is opening an online store where you can buy 3rd party applications that will work with Google Docs and Sheets.

http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/11/5496662/google-launches-add-on-store-for-docs-and-sheets 

This involves the ultimate argument of Google Docs vs Microsoft Office business applications and features.  MS Office has been the standard for most businesses from small through enterprise for documents, spreadsheets, presentation software, and calendar. However, Google has made a few inroads on getting some businesses to use their products.  Also, Google seems to have an edge in the generational gap. 

I have looked at the battle from a more strategic perspective: Is Google really trying to overtake Microsoft with Google Docs or is Google just trying to stay close to the leader of the pack?

Three questions immediately came to my mind:

  1. Will Google’s new “Add-ON” features store close the gap between Google Docs and MS 365? 
  2. Does this signal that Google is looking to expand Google Docs via 3rd party developers vs internal Google resources?
  3. What’s the best development source for Google Drive — internal or external 3rd party resources?

Perhaps the public will decide through their usage of either product as a favorite.  Perhaps time will tell.

I have stated that I thought Google would concentrate on its core business of search and advertising.  How much of their resources are they willing to put into a concerted effort to overtake Microsoft in the core business applications market?

I can tell you that I have at least two friends / business associates that feel Google has a strategy to take over the business applications business sector from Microsoft.

What are your thoughts?

Please post your replies back to this site so the conversation can keep going:  Http://ImpalBizBuzz.wordpress.com 

 

Carnival Cruise Lines: Why Carnival Should Be Saying, “We Are Carnival Cruise Lines”

Recently you’ve probably read or heard about the major incident on the Carnival Triumph ship.  Just the other day the US Coast Guard issued a report tying that problem to a leak in a fuel line aboard the Carnival Triumph.  It is one of the many ships that Carnival Cruise Lines owns around the world.  I went to the www.Carnival.com website and actually found a link http://www.worldsleadingcruiselines.com/ that shows how many lines Carnival actually owns.  Here they are:

  • Carnival Cruise Lines
  • Princess Cruise Lines
  • Cunard Line
  • Holland America Lines
  • Costa Cruises
  • Seabourn

It is quite an impressive list of cruise lines with global scope.  With the Costa Cruises incident involving Costa Concordia off Italy last year it might be easy to say that the company is plagued by disasters.  However, that would be a simplification given the scope of their worldwide operations.  Rather, in the light of the Triumph incident something came out that the company should be taking advantage of.

It seems to me that no matter how bad the situation became aboard the Carnival Triumph there was one shining light.  That was the performance of the crew during the incident.  Universally, every news video report that followed the incident showed passengers praising the performance of the crew.

Many passengers pointed to the efforts of the crew to make the situation on board the Triumph better.

http://tinyurl.com/acnkznh

When I check the www.Carnival.com site however I see some things that are missing and that are present.  These things speak to both what Carnival needs to do and who they are.

Firstly, one of the initial things that I do when I visit any new website is look at the “About Us” page.  That should give me a strong sense of the company mission and management.  In the case of Carnival both items are missing.  I have no idea who their management staff are, nor their mission and value statement.   When I went to their Investor Relations web page I did find some interesting information including more cruise lines that they own.  So, I’d highly recommend that their webmaster or digital media director update their website.  Here are the additional lines that they own:

  • P&O Cruises
  • P&O Cruises Australia
  • Aida Cruises
  • Ibero Cruceros

Secondly, I found something quite interesting.  Carnival Cruise has a tremendous sense of community.  They have two direct links on their website pointing to Carnival’s philanthropic efforts:

St Jude Children’s Research Hospital ®:

http://www.carnival.com/content/stjude.aspx?icid=CC_Footer_425

(that link needs to be shortened!)

In fact, they have reached $2.7 Million in contributions for their goal of $3.0 Million.

Carnival Foundation:

http://www.carnival.com/about-carnival/carnival-foundation.aspx?icid=CC_Footer_401    (link again!)

That webpage notes:

As one of South Florida’s largest employers, Carnival Cruise Lines believes that being a member of a community means giving something back. As such, the company and its employees support a variety of charitable and arts-related organizations.

Carnival’s support is coordinated through the Carnival Foundation, which oversees the company’s myriad of philanthropic efforts, as well as its employee-driven service group, the “Friends Uniting Neighbors (F.U.N.) Team.”

Although Carnival’s contributions are wide-ranging, the company primarily focuses on organizations that are based in South Florida, where the company is headquartered, and in its homeport communities throughout the U.S.

During times of crisis, Carnival works closely with various national and international relief organizations, coordinating corporate and employee donations for emergencies such as hurricanes in the U.S. and Caribbean.

Shipboard personnel also do their part to help our communities, participating in beach clean ups and donating their time and talent to orphanages and children’s charities throughout the Caribbean and other regions.

In the past five years alone, Carnival and its employees have contributed more than $30 million in financial contributions and in-kind donations to a variety of local and national charities. Following the example set forth by Carnival’s founder, the late Ted Arison, and continued by his son Micky, chairman and CEO of Carnival Cruise Lines’ parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, Carnival and its employees endeavor to make South Florida and its other homeport communities better places to live and work.

Thirdly, let’s get back to the Carnival crew on the Triumph.  If Carnival Cruise is planning there next media campaign it ought to be centered on their skilled crews.  Create an “interview” style commercial with a conversational tone and let the crews tell their story.  That type of ad campaign worked wonders for New York Presbyterian Hospital http://nyp.org/  with their ad campaign last year featuring patients telling their treatment stories.

http://nyp.org/amazingthings/index.html?WT.ac=AT_Pano_All

http://nyp.org/amazingthings/heatherm.html                  Story of young Heather McNamara

Perhaps Carnival might even be able to pair up a crew member with a guest for an uplifting story.

Fourth, Carnival is definitely going to have to come up with a better operations’ plan for the next ship borne incident.  Here are some things that they can do:

  1. Create a “standby” cruise ship that can be put to sea immediately in given regions where Carnival serves.  That may be costly but it could bring in valuable customer rapport from both past and prospective cruise clients.  Given the global scope of Carnival’s operations this is no small task but it may have to be an operational necessity.
  2. Create an operational system for every ship that can easily transport passengers from one ship to another with ease.  Again, an operational challenge given the varying ages and physical conditions of passengers.  Carnival Cruise should be engaging engineering consultants and specialized companies like www.BeumerGroup.com who have vast experience in creating mechanical systems.   Carnival needs to take a “can do” attitude and work with the right partner(s) to get this done.
  3. Create back up energy systems for critical areas of the ship like kitchen galleys, elevators, and medical rooms.  Look into solar energy options for each ship that can store energy and be ready to deliver on a moment’s notice.
  4. Look into purely hydraulic systems that can operate critical equipment in emergencies.

Fifth, I’d recommend moving the Carnival Cruise Video Center from the bottom of the Home Page to an actual video box on the top part of the Home Page – “above the fold”.  It seems like there are a healthy number of videos for the company but they are buried in the website.  I’d move them to the Home Page.  Currently, the upper portion of the Home Page seems very sales oriented; too much like an auto dealership.  There is a great opportunity to use the Carnival Home Page as an interface tool with past, current, and prospective passengers.  I believe that would create a richer experience for both Carnival and people.

Truth & Reality here:  I have never been on a cruise, do not work for Carnival Cruises, nor hold stock in the organization.

If you intend to leave a comment in any LinkedIn Group or Facebook, please copy and paste your comment to my original blog so we can keep the conversation going.

Regards – Dom

Dominic J. Frúges

http://ImpalBizBuzz.wordpress.com

@DomFruges

DomFruges@gmail.com

Cell & Primary: 732-684-4029

30-60-90 Day Private Industry Job Stimulus Plan

Given the less than enthusiastic job numbers that were released last week I decided to re-publish an old blog that I had written.

Some time ago I wrote this plan – I actually had a letter dated November 30, 2009 to President Obama.  At that time I also tried to gather some support by writing to various senators, congress people, and media representatives.  Unfortunately, it received little notice.  However, among the friends who read it I did get some interest and support.  I thought it might be a good time to restate the “30-60-90 Day Private Industry Job Stimulus Plan.”

I have also thought about this year being an election year.  It would be great if Congress would approve this plan now but the reality is that the election process will close down government until after the January 20th inauguration.

Here are some key points to remember when considering this plan:

  • Private Industry: this is a plan for private industry job creation – not government jobs.
  • Private Industry Jobs: this plan lets private industry determine what jobs and titles they need without interference from the Federal Government.
  • Job Creation Rewards: There are pay outs to the private industry owners and companies who create jobs under this plan.  However, there is no pay out before the one year point after the job has been created.   In essence the Federal Government collects taxes from newly hired employees for one full year.  It then pays out the reward to the company that hired the employees.  Hopefully, a good portion of the “reward” pay-out will come from the taxes generated from the newly hired employee.  Congress would have to set aside some money as a back-up provision and could easily do some math calculations to stop the program at perhaps $250,000,000 in pay out monies.  That number could be lower or higher but the three month length of the program helps to limit exposure and keep costs within a reasonable framework.   It also allows the program to be reevaluated after a three month trial.

Here is how the plan would work.

I. Simple plan based on salary– only three categories of jobs with a corresponding job title:

– $25,000 to 50,000

– $51,000 to 75,000

– $76,000 to 125,000

      II.  Three time frames:  30, 60, 90 days to create a job.

III.   ALL NEW JOBS MUST BE CREATED IN THE USA – no entitlement to offshore jobs; no H-1B Visa candidates; US Citizens only.

Example:

  1. Salary: $76,000 to $125,000

We start the program on February 1, 2013. Create a job from $76,000 to 125,000.

Mr. or Ms. Employer — you create a job with a salary of $76 – 125K and the position/job (not the same employee) MUST remain active for one year thereafter.

If you created the job in the period listed below you will get a check back from the US Government — not a tax credit — a check! The check will be received after the first year in the program.

  1. Salary: $76,000 to $125,000

February 1 – February 28: (first 28 days) $25,000 return check

March 1 – March 31: (it took you 60 days to create the job) $15,000 return check

April 1 – April 30: (it took you 90 days to create the job) $7,500 return check

  1. Salary: $51,000 to $75,000

February 1 – February 28: $10,000 return check

March 1 – March 31: $5,000 return check

April 1 – April 30: $2,500 return check

  1. Salary: $25,000 to $50,000

February 1 – February 28: $5,000 return check

March 1 – March 31: $2,500 return check

April 1 – April 30: $1,000 return check

The program would:

— Create incentives for private industry to create jobs that are sitting on paper in file cabinets or on laptops.

— Create incentives to do it QUICKLY!!!

— Create a one year financial build up of paid taxes from employees to the Federal Government that could help pay for the program.

— Provide stiff personal and company financial penalties for those employers who cheat on the system.  Perhaps, the fines would be $50,000 for the company and a $5,000 personal fine for the specific employer.

— Maintain all appropriate Federal and state laws regarding employment obligations and protections for both employers and employees.

— Use Offer Letters, fingerprints, and Driver’s Licenses as proof of employment. After one year the employer sends a copy of paperwork to the US Department of Commerce who verifies paperwork and payroll ID tax.

— If the employee is fired for cause then the company has 30 days to replace the employee and still be eligible for the program. Federal payout to employer would extend an extra 30 days to the 13th calendar month.  There would be a limit of three employee changes per calendar year in the program; therefore the maximum payout period for any employer could extend to 18 calendar months (3 months to look for the employee and then a month’s calendar extension for payout). The bottom line for employers is that they are “not stuck” with a specific employee.

— Employers could NOT reduce their total employee staff by more than 10% during the calendar period that they participate in the program.  Additionally, the employer can NOT “hire and fire” within the specific department where the new employee will work.  That would prevent “salary substitution”, i.e., hire a $50,000 employee but fire a $75,000 employee in the same department.

— The 30-60-90 Day Private Industry Job Stimulus Plan would be implemented on a trial basis for three (3) months with a maximum budget of $250,000,000 for employer payouts. So, as envisioned, the initial commitment by the Federal Government would be $250,000,000.

— Congress would appropriate the funds for administrative costs and review the program after its initial trial period.

People get real jobs at all salary levels up to $125,000. This would be a great boost for the lower and middle classes as well as small to mid-size employers.  However, I would also strongly urge significant Federal budget cuts accompany this program’s implementation.

NOTE: If you comment off of another networking group or blog where you saw this, please copy your comment here in the comments section to keep the conversation going.

Regards – Dom

Dominic J. Fruges

Cell: 732-684-4029

@DomFruges

DomFruges@gmail.com

http://ImpalBizBuzz.wordpress.com

What is this thing called Platform as a Service?

The textbook definition from SearchCloudComputing.com and Tech Target as written by Margaret Rouse in August 2010 is as follows:

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is a way to rent hardware, operating systems, storage and network capacity over the Internet. The service delivery model allows the customer to rent virtualized servers and associated services for running existing applications or developing and testing new ones.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) is an outgrowth of Software as a Service (SaaS), a software distribution model in which hosted software applications are made available to customers over the Internet. PaaS has several advantages for developers. With PaaS, operating system features can be changed and upgraded frequently. Geographically distributed development teams can work together on software development projects. Services can be obtained from diverse sources that cross international boundaries. Initial and ongoing costs can be reduced by the use of infrastructure services from a single vendor rather than maintaining multiple hardware facilities that often perform duplicate functions or suffer from incompatibility problems. Overall expenses can also be minimized by unification of programming development efforts.

On the downside, PaaS involves some risk of “lock-in” if offerings require proprietary service interfaces or development languages. Another potential pitfall is that the flexibility of offerings may not meet the needs of some users whose requirements rapidly evolve.

Incredibly, there seems to be a lack of valuable discussions on PaaS that are recent or relevant.  When I did a Google search I was amazed at how little there was.

Let’s break down the points in the definition and examine them more closely.

  1. With PaaS, operating system features can be changed and upgraded frequently.

This would seem to be music to any CIO or IT Manager’s ears.  In today’s world of technology who would want to have their feet in cement.  Although operating systems don’t appear overnight it would make sense to leave all options open for your IT infrastructure.  I would think the key word would be “upgraded” – that’s where innovation and technology intersect.

2. Geographically distributed development teams can work together on software development projects.

Exactly.  If you’re in an enterprise or ISV environment then there are significant, real savings that can be made.

They would include:

  • People-power – real savings in costs related to personnel size.
  • Time – probably the most important element for enterprises or enterprise clients.  If you were an ISV or hosting company then the same could be said for any size client.  Small and medium size clients could have the need for quick service.
  • Hardware – no one would want spend extra capital dollars to supply dispersed offices/data centers.
  • Synergy – hard to measure “intangible” from company to company but you know when it’s there and when it’s not there.  This could be a real hidden powerful force if it’s coming through from your personnel.
  • Customization – two things come to mind here that could be at play.  First, local (meaning in-country) needs that can be best met and understood by local or nearby resources.  Second, an opportunity to “crowd source” your own personnel resources and come up with a truly customer-centric solution.
  1. Services can be obtained from diverse sources that cross international boundaries.

Pretty much what I outlined in #2 with geographically dispersed teams.  One of the biggest elements here would be the savings in time by continual operations around the clock.  However, I have a friend who worked for a software company and his development resource was in Eastern Europe.  He could never seem to make contact with the development manager and it cost him his job.  So, management has a duty to stay on top of those areas to make sure that performance and cohesion don’t suffer.

  1. Initial and ongoing costs can be reduced by the use of infrastructure services from a single vendor rather than maintaining multiple hardware facilities that often perform duplicate functions or suffer from incompatibility problems.

I’ve already touched on this but the statement is pretty self-explanatory.  Why duplicate hardware especially when you’re looking at capital expense budgets and “IT as a profit center” logic.  Then there’s that compatibility issue – what’s new today in the tech world can be old tomorrow.  Beta or VHS?

5. Overall expenses can also be minimized by unification of programming development efforts.

It would seem very true and logical.  Again, we could go back to the points about geographically dispersed teams, across borders, and time zones.  However, think of management like the stage coach driver.  It’s their job to pull or loosen the reins as needed to make it all work.

Now let’s look at those two items mentioned on the “downside” of PaaS.

A.) PaaS involves some risk of “lock-in” if offerings require proprietary service interfaces or development languages.

That’s very true.  XaaS is like a long-term engagement without the ring ceremony.  There is a contract between the client and the provider with the Service Level Agreement (SLA) spelled out.  It denotes not only what must be done for the client but what happens when and if the service provider doesn’t deliver.  However, proof is often in the eyes of the beholder.  That’s’ why reputation and references from a service provider are an essential for a prospective client.

B.) Another potential pitfall is that the flexibility of offerings may not meet the needs of some users whose requirements rapidly evolve.

So now we’ve past an engagement moved on to the marriage ceremony.  It’s time for a true heart-to-heart about needs vs. service.  If you’re a client whose development needs move that rapidly then maybe you need to take a second look at PaaS before committing.  Maybe you need to segment you entire IT operation and development process to see where the great divide between internal resources and PaaS can take place.

I think if you follow these guidelines and think diligently about PaaS before jumping in the water you will be well advised.

Lastly, someone had asked me from a previous blog if Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and PaaS were the same.  I think they might be cousins but not the same.  Perhaps the biggest difference would be the use of virtualization and application delivery.  This would be a great spot to ask for some feedback from you.

Please make sure to copy your response directly into my blog Comments section at:

http://ImpalBizBuzz.wordpress.com

Regards – Dom

Dominic J. Frúges

@DomFruges

DomFruges@gmail.com