Lead411 Releases 2011′s Technology 200 List

And the wait is finally over… Lead411 has now released the much-anticipated list of  this year’s top performing companies – Technology 200! From an overwhelming number of 600 applications, the Lead411 team has narrowed it down to the cream of the crop, 200 companies that have manifested remarkable revenue growth, with at least $500,000 in income for the year 2010.

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Skype Takes On Advertising

Skype is the new generation’s greatest innovation on communication. It makes getting in touch with friends and family all over the world fast, convenient, and affordable.

And like with any other amazing online invention, change is inevitable. And this time, change for Skype includes advertising. So do not be surprised if you start seeing ads on your Skype tool’s home tab by next week.

This is how ads may look like in Skype for Windows. Source: http://blogs.skype.com/en/2011/03/advertising.html

These advertisements will initially be appearing in the US, UK, and Germany markets.  For those who are not really fans of pop-up ads, you don’t have to worry. Skype promised that their advertisements will not interrupt you from enjoying your Skype experience. They also ensure users that their homepage will not be bombarded with ads, as they initially plan to showcase one ad from one brand per day in each of the markets where advertising is being sold.

Relevance is also key to advertising on Skype. They have partnered with great advertisers like Visa, Groupon, and Universal Pictures, so you’re sure to find something you can relate to, and actually use.

They may also be using some non-personally identifiable demographic data from their users (e.g. location, gender and age), to ensure that the ads will be relevant. However, if you’re not comfortable in sharing these information to advertisers, you can opt out of it by making changes through your Privacy tab in Tools ▸ Options.

Skype has taken extensive measures to ensure that you still get the best out of this great communication tool even with the presence of ads.  Test ads from Rdio have actually been rolled out in the past couple of months, and improvements are continually being done.

You can learn more about Skype’s taking on advertisements through this blog post here.

Book Review: About Face

I like learning about how emotions tie in to marketing and advertising. It’s interesting stuff. So I was eager to read Dan Hill’s book, About Face: The Secrets of Emotionally Effective Advertising. In it, the author talks about how voice and facial expressions can have vastly different results when it comes to advertising.

I don’t “do” tv commercials or mainstream advertising, so I skipped through some of the book as it wasn’t pertinent to me, but most of the psychology stuff applies to anyone doing marketing.

No matter the platform, it’s all about engagement, says Hill: “…without engagement, there’s no sustained interest, little opportunity for retention and almost certainly no opportunity for consideration or persuasion.” Read More

Avoiding Cliches in Marketing

I was driving through town and saw a billboard for a local bank. It said, “They had me at hello.”

The Jerry Maguire reference left a bad taste in my mouth. Couldn’t this bank’s advertising team come up with anything more original than a 15-year-old overused cliche?

What does it say about a brand that uses cliches? To me, it says the bank wanted to ride on a phrase that had a great deal of popularity. To me, it speaks of a lack of creativity. I’d find a bank that was more original.

The “Got Milk?” campaign is another thats been copied by everyone from beer companies to insecticide. It’s cute, it’s clever, but it’s no longer creative.

Mainly I see these cliches in advertising, which is not my strong spot. If you’re not buying into print ads, commercials or billboards, it’s easier to come up with something unique. My advice to you is to focus on your product’s strong points:

  • What makes it better than the competition?
  • What are the benefits?
  • How can you say that in a new and engaging way?

It’s not hard to be original. All it takes is some brainstorming from your marketing team or marketing firm. Don’t be a statistic and give in to cliches. I know you “got brains!”