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Monday, September 21, 2009

New HP Printer Leaves the PC Behind, Almost

This week HP's new Photosmart Premium TouchSmart Web All-in-One printer (whew, that's a mouth full) becomes available, representing the first printer that can print directly from the web without being tethered to a PC.

But before you send your faithful PC to the recycling center you might want to take a closer look at the new printer. There is no actual browser capability available on the TouchSmart, rather users tap on widgets from about a dozen of HP's partners.

Users will be able to print out movie tickets from Fandango, maps and calendars from Google, coupons from and even select articles from USA Today. Not all capabilities are available immediately on the TouchSmart, however, so users will have to wait until later this month to print tickets from Fandango and even longer to print driving directions from Google Maps.

Still, this is an important step forward in the world of printing. It wasn't that long ago when printers weren't capable of true photo-quality images and all-in-one devices were clunky and slow. Today, we take those capabilities for granted in our printers.

Within a short time, HP and other digital imaging manufacturers will provide printers that enable us to connect, view and print directly from the web. Video on your printer screen is not that far off. These products will not only change the way we print, but will change the way we interact with our computers.

But for now, hang on to your PC.

Asia Social Media Evolution

The social media phenomenon is very much global with populations worldwide using technology to communicate and build communities. Marketers are faced with evolving variances from market to market as audiences gravitate to media channels most effective at providing the content they need and want. The challenge to marketers is determining the best communications channel to reach any particular audience to ensure the message is accessible and in the best context. Nowhere is this more so than Asia, with its vast variety of peoples, languages and cultures and a dynamic social media scene.To provide those interested in Asia a guide to the current state of digital marketing, the Asia Digital Marketing Association offers a free 2009 Yearbook , providing an indispensable resource in understanding the regions emerging social media scene.For marketers trying to grasp the regional differences in the use of digital marketing techniques, the 80-page Yearbook is full of facts and figures such as these summarized by ADMA Chairman, David Ketchum, whose day job is as CEO of leading regional consultancy UpstreamAsia.“Facebook, Twitter, Friendster, Bebo, MySpace and LinkedIn have built large-scale user bases in Asia Pacific but these global players don't dominate in every market. New patterns of usage and local behavior are emerging across the region, with clear distinctions from country to country where consumers spend time online, and how they behave.”China is number one in search, with 12.8 million searches performed in a month by nearly 150,000 searchers - that's 85 searches per searcher. Japan is the second largest search market, with 5.9 million searchers. However, Korea's searchers are most prolific, with 109 searches per searcher, Singapore not far behind with 106. Mobile continues to gain, both as a text messaging and voice call channel, but also for Internet access. Asia Pacific (ex Japan) has 97.6 million mobile online gamers, and 50% of them are in in China. There is 60% mobile phone penetration in the Philippines. Filipinos send the highest number of SMS messages per subscriber in the world. Mobile site page views grew 1120% YOY. 2008 Asia Pacificwide mobile data revenues topped US$65 billion, and an estimated 473 million handsets were sold.”Clearly 2009 presents an opportunity for marketers to explore and create new methods of interacting with their customers globally, along with the challenge of navigating the local dynamics of each individual market. By doing their homework and utilizing these evolving methods, marketers have the opportunity to deliver well thought out messages in ways that resonate most with their customers. The ADMA 2009 Yearbook is a great place to start.

What Really Matters in Business

Sep/21/09 08:50 While the promise of social media continues to create a frenzy, a growing number of industry thought leaders are sorting out the proper place in the marketing food chain for this exciting new form of communications. There is no doubt social media represents new and varied opportunities for brands to engage their customers. Those among us with a bit of gray in our hair recall that it isn’t the media itself that makes the story. Our friend Ted Simon posits that this discussion is too tactical in nature as media, social or traditional, are merely channels, and that the real discussion and value is in defining the message or story and ensuring it drives business objectives. Communications is best when it tells a story and that story reflects a brand’s true attributes and supports its business objectives as opposed to frivolous, ad hoc messages haphazardly distributed with the hope that they reach a friendly ear. The executive suite still assesses business not by the number of followers the company has, but by valuation, sales, revenue and operating income. It is crucial that communications support these metrics. Measuring by followers, media clips, impressions and press releases falls far short since they are all calculations of activity not bottom line impact. It is important to take an agnostic approach to media, evaluating the merits of all media channels and tools based on their ability to deliver the right message to the right audiences in the right context to achieve business goals. Social and traditional media intersect and interact, each contributing to the other. Marketers are wise to recognize this interdependence and embrace both, evaluating the efficacy of specific channels of communication as it relates to the business needs of the brand.