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Why I hate my Birthday ? and some marketing thoughts about it

September 9th, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted in article, emarketing, facebook

This year is special, thanks to Facebook and reminder of Skype, I had much more "happy birthday" than the previous years, which is always pretty cool, but only my very close friends know that I HATE CELEBRATING MY BIRTHDAY ! … actually not only my birthday, but also Xmas ( even if it is changing a little bit ), and the 1st of January. Why ? I will try to find some hidden reasons and share some thoughts about the birthday management and business on a professional point of view.

IMG_1901_copyLet’s start with the personal point of view

Family : I m a single son and from my own family I have only my mother left, it makes very few opportunities to receive the "happy birthday" or it doesn’t let the opportunity to make a real party

Friends : I m not that social, I have very few good friends, and at least they know they should make any surprise or party this day, it is too risky, as I could be deeply depressed and the even won’t be fun at all. Furthermore, I have especially geeks and maybe not the best organized one, if it wasn’t popped out by Facebook Calendar, Skype Birthday icons, they will probably not think about the date, exactly like me if I m not reminded by some electronic information system.

Me : and that’s the most important, except for 18 or 21, which is definitely the legal milestone, the day you can drive the car alone, drink alcohol, watch any movie in theater, I don’t see the point to remind yourself and everyone you are getting old… getting old for me, it is getting closer to the death day, not really a happy perspective. The second bad thing about the birthday / 1st of January, it is a fixed date to look at what you did the past year. The debrief day of what was good and bad. the 2009 to 2010 was especially difficult for me, the first medical depress of my all life due to the lost of control of my own company VSO-Software and the fight with my "future-ex-partner-in-business". If you look at the glass half-empty, I already lost a lot of money, and the control of my baby ( as I consider I have put more in this company than some other persons ). And I lost a good occasion to have an extra birthday cake for lunch with my co-workers. If you look at the glass half-fullhalf-full-glass, it is definitely a new milestone for me, Stanford was a great experience, but I still don’t know how the future will be for me, and if I should mount a new company, which products or service, or if I should take a longer break and accept to join a company as a regular employee for while. Hopefully I have the time and the luxury opportunity to not have to hurry to take the right decision. That’s definitely the part which makes me hating the birthday celebrations, the debrief of the past year, and the fear of failing in the projects defined for the next one.

Gift : I know some friends really excited by their birthday only for the gift part, the surprise, the gift they expect but they can’t afford it themself, the party. In this field I m blessed, as I have everything I need, or want already. Did you face the big question about what to offer to someone, just because you are not sure what she / he would like / appreciate, it is not fun for people who offer, but it is not fun either for the person who receive the gift. Sometimes you can be very uncomfortable, because the gift is too good and expensive, and you didn’t produce the same effort for your friend. but let’s face the truth too, you may receive a gift you don’t like, and it makes you very uncomfortable, that’s why the "no-gift" "no-party" can be a good strategy to avoid this situation. This year my gift will be a full parcel of ginger ale and root beer. It may not sound very exciting, but you need to know these products are not sold in France, and I had to give up a lot of cans in the airport because of the extra weight due to the Stanford reading list ( article to come ). My lovely girlfriend find the original idea to order some of these beverage online to make me the surprise, not very expensive gift, but the pleasure will be there ( so sorry guys…, I won’t drink champagne today, even if the look in the glass will be very similar )

the age : not all the birthday are the same, if you are turning to 36 like me today, ( I need to compute with my birth year as sometimes I m lost myself about how old I am ), it is not a strong number. Be sure the day I will turn 40 ! I will be very depressed to see how old I m … 36, 37, 38, it sounds all the same, and nothing very important to celebrate.

True opportunities for marketing with birthdays

Now, let’s back to serious discussion, how any company and marketers could use the birthday to create customers intimacy ? how to get the birthday information , how to manage it ? Facebook has been the most used in my personal case to get my birthday address,
Skype has a nice birthday notification, I m not sure MSN live messenger has one, and I have only a few of my contacts in Outlook with their respective birth date. Facebook announce the full next week calendar, which is good to be prepared, but if it is not very close friend, you can forget their birthday during the week.

Forums have been the most efficient to send me the "happy birthday" email, even at midnight + 1 minute.  It is quite positive, as it is a way to remember about some forums I don’t visit that often, so in their case, they just need to do the greetings and nothing more.

By snail mail, I receive a few offers, for the haircut, for clothes with a rebate coupon and that’s all.

By SMS , I receive only 1 offer, with a immediate discount for a haircut, I think it is too late, as if you want to use it for the birthday party I don’t do… I would prefer to use it a few days before.

By email, I got some emails from Air France, my ISP, but nothing specific to my birthday, nothing from Expedia or any luxury or leisure service which has probably my email…

Which companies have my Birthday information ? but first who is collecting the information anyway ? I don’t think any person would refuse to enter his birthday information, you guess how it can be used, but it is very disappointing to not see a lot of companies to use them. I remember I got a nice birthday cake waiting in my room in the Jumeirah Mina Al Salam in Dubai. Probably because they filled the information from my passport during checking. Nothing from Mercedes my car supplier…
I got also a free delivery voucher from Fnac.com, considering I am a VIP "One" customer, I would have probably bought something if they gave me a special discount for today.

Finally, I got an email from the account manager of one of my bank ( a very selective , high quality bank who surprised me when they used Viadeo to get information about me and my profile), but it wasn’t about my birthday, only a phone number update notification. Wait ! banks are one of the industry which have all the required information from their customer, their phone number, an dedicated account manager, and an email address… but none of my bank made a special mailing today. It could be a nice idea on my point of view. I don’t expect a discount or free "commission" for the day, but it could be a cheap marketing campaign, and I won’t think my bank is greedy ( hey, it’s a bank anyway !!!) if they just wish my birthday without any special offer.

Finally from a joke email about my humor of the day, it could be a very interesting topic to discuss about customer relationship strategy used by corporation, if you have any experience or comments, please share them with me, no need to say "happy birthday" as an introduction.

** UPDATE : I got a nice offer than I will use … a week of free premium access for Experteer.fr , a web site which claims to have the best job offer for high salary

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Reading list for marketers – Stanford SMM 2010 + mine

September 3rd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in article, ecommerce, emarketing

I was luckly to participate to the Strategic marketing management class in Stanford GSB in 2010. and from this program I discovered a lot of references from various books. Because a lot of participants were interesting in such reading information, a reading list has been compiled by Stanford faculties. In the same time, I m adding some books I have found potentially interesting or suggested by other participants of the program. Unfornutly I didn’t read all of them, and I can’t make a review of each book for the moment.

Books recommended by BABA SHIV

Digital Marketing









Suggested by JENNIFER AAKER






Suggested by Christian Wheeler

Suggested by Dan Thomas Author of

Books about Positioning and Influence






Books about Problem Solving



Books about Business Models



Books about Design Thinking


Books about Digital Marketing


Digital Marketing—Newsletters and Blogs – Written and compiled by Dan Thomas

There are literally hundreds of Electronic Newsletters and Blogs devoted to Digital Marketing. Here are just a few that may be useful to you, depending on your interests and type of business.

www.emarketer.com eMarketer provides a data rich update on developments in the use of emarketing tools. The company’s primary business is to sell an electronic database of marketing data on digital marketing to companies. If I remember correctly, it is about $30,000 per year.

www.mashable.com Mashable is the daily news feed about developments in the Digital Marketing world. It covers a wide range of topics and is a source that the people in the industry follow.

www.marketingsherpa.com Marketing Sherpa was one of the early entries in the field. They have a strong reputation and a broad set of resources on their web site. They do have a focus on B2B marketing.

www.marketo.com Marketo focuses on B2B applications for Digital Marketing. They have a marketing automation solution they sell. They also have a very good series of webinars that cover B2B topics.

www.marketingprofs.com Marketing profs started out as a group of marketing professors. It seems to have been going through a major transformation in the last year. The blog, however, is quite interesting, so you may want to take a look at it.

www.wdfm.com Larry Chase’s Web Digest for Marketers often has interesting articles and links to more complete data.

QuadraCentifiable : a new SEO experience

August 31st, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in article, emarketing, SEO

If you don’t know what is Quadracentiable, let’s say you are not the only one.
After graphic battle, logo contest, photograph review, please take a look at that SEO contest experience ( SEO is Search Engine Optimization ).
You can find everything you need to know about Quadracentiable if you click on the link of http://www.nzseochallenge.co.nz/articles/
Actually it is a great demonstration about how efficient SEO works, this web site has been built by Michael Brandon a NZ SEO Guru. I worked with him while I was in VSO-Software, and he brilliantly succeed to place the company in the first sport of Google for competitive keyword sentences such as “avi to dvd”

QuadraCentifiable is not only a cool word but a ridiculous good sample of what any web marketer should to optimize their visibility on internet.

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Avangate E-commerce reseller and Affiliate platform for software publishers

July 2nd, 2010 | No Comments | Posted in article, ecommerce, emarketing

Avangate is a e-commerce platform based in Europe and with Offices in USA and Asia. They provide solution for software publishers to register the products, so basically it is like a bank service but specialized in the software market. This way you can focus on the product and no waste any time to build a shopping cart, customer back office and database.
You will be able to support a lot of different paiment methods :

Visa , Mastercard, American Express, Paypal , Wire Transfer, Alipay ( Chinese method ), Solo , Trialpay .. all in one.

You can open a publisher account easily and it’s free, but you need to have a web site already done

Open Avangate publisher account

If you have any question please feel free to ask any question about it, I have worked with them as a publisher for VSO and as a consultant for other companies.

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New DVDFab web site, better navigation and release of v7 suite of software

April 21st, 2010 | 2 Comments | Posted in article, blu-ray, ecommerce, emarketing

dvdfab 7 web site DVDFab has published a new web site, with a lot of very good idea to make the update to the newest practice to promote your activity. The web site is using now lighter color, and navigation has been greatly improved so you can easily find the software you need. That’s new web version is also pushing public the new DVDFab v7 which has new engine to backup or rip DVD but also Blu-ray disc. That’s one of the most convenient software available to convert a Blu-ray to MKV, or to backup from a BD25 or BD50 to a BD9 ( a blu-ray / AVCDHD structure but burnt to a DVD9 or DVD5 ). In such case, I recommand to downscale to 720p the resolution, but it works and the quality is pretty good.

Visit the new http://www.dvdfab.com

Translation could be improved for French, I already mentioned it to the CEO of DVDFab ( as I m french I could easily see it wasn’t translated by native french person, or at least a person which could do the best optimisation for SEO and SEM with french search engine. At least, I can’t blame the update of the full web site, it was required, and I think it is already a good job.

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New ImgBurn version turns adware… so what is the problem ?

April 5th, 2010 | 7 Comments | Posted in article, ecommerce, emarketing

On my spare time, I was planning to write an in-deep article about if adding a sponsor ( toolbars, new browser, additionnal offers ) is a good or a bad thing to consider when you are a software publisher. It’s a very sensitive topic for me, because I left ( or have been fired depending on who is telling the story ) VSO-Software, because I dare to try to include the Ask and Conduit toolbar in ConvertXtoDVD, VSO Image Resizer…
When I read the articles about ImgBurn turning adware I was pretty shocked actually, and want to give another point of view, the small publishers one.

Articles sample :
Ghacks : http://www.ghacks.net/2010/03/17/dvd-burning-software-imgburn-updated-turns-adware/
http://www.48da.com/2010/03/19/dvd-burning-software-imgburn-updated-turns-adware.html

What is the deal ?
Several companies, such Google, Yahoo, Ask, EBay, Conduit and other search engines, contacts the popular software publishers to offer them commission in exchange of bundling their toolbar or link to services in the installation script of their product.
The same way some websites are including Google Adsense to get some extra cash ( and sometimes it’s their only source of revenue ), the software publishers are considered as a great source of prescription and diffusion for “Adwares”
Is a search engine toolbar an adware ? .. some providers abused, and indeed, you can always think getting your search information is a spy-mode, but dont be naive, you don’t need an extra tool installed to get a lot of information about your browsing habits. I m not a paranoid guy… it is maybe a problem and explanation about why I don’t see evil at every street corner.
The industry rules about defining an adware is : installation without consent of the user, unexplained activity and task description of the added tool, and difficult control on the uninstallation process. There are really strict rules to enter any big program, and when you see Adobe, Nero and some other bigs companies are bundling these too, you can wonder if they are stupid or not, and if they aren’t aware of what they are doing. Is anyone is posting a news to remind Apple is trying to promote Safari as a browser when you install Itunes ? no.. because it’s Apple !

Let’s come back to the ImgBurn case… is it a big company ? no … a single guy doing a great jobs since years and which deserve the loyalty of any ImgBurn users.
ImgBurn is a free software to burn files , iso images to CD / DVD / Blu-ray disc with a elegant a simple interface. It is a popular software and a reference as you can change a lot of options such hardware layer access. Up to know, I guess the only income of his author is the advertisement areas placed on his web site ( Alexa Ranking Top 15000 ), but as any software involving hardware and burning disc, it is a kind of investissement, you need to buy new burners, blank DVD, deals with a lot of support, and for something free as donation isn’t effective if you don’t force users to do that. Actually, most people are aware of what will happen, and I can certified that more than 90% of users will turn off the installation of the adware package, whatever if it is checked ON or OFF by default. the 10% ( actually it could be as low as 3% to 8% ) of people which accepts the toolbar or sponsor, are doing it by real choice or because they didn’t pay any attention of the additionnal step installing the extra program.

So stop blaming small software editor to try to make money, because I guess you are happy to have a monthly income for your work too… just my 2 cents.

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