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Dan's Blog

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    Dan's Blog: Communication has Incredible Consequences - 6 Tips to Improve Yours

    One of our traditional movies to watch around this time of year is the revered "White Christmas" starring Bing Crosby and friends. For those unfamiliar with the story, things begin to go wrong when the nosy housekeeper eavesdrops on a conversation but only hears 1 side of the message. She draws her own conclusions and sets off a string of events which produces the main tension in the storyline. Since it's a movie, it all ends well and they live happily ever after. But the movie has supremely good examples of all kinds of problematic communication:

    misunderstanding what the other person said

    misunderstanding what the other person didn't say

    beating around the bush

    talking about two different things and missing one another

    sarcasm

    deception

    bad assumptions

    and the list goes on …



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    Dan's Blog: eCommerce Platform Pitch at FIPP World Magazine Congress

    In October, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the FIPP World Congress in Toronto, Ontario. (FIPP is the Federation of International Periodical Publishers, in case you are not in this space.) This magazine congress is held every two years in a different country, and is attended by hundreds of magazine publishers from around the world.

    As one of the sponsors, AdvantageCS had the opportunity to provide a 100-second pitch of our product. This is a brilliant idea on the part of the FIPP team to allow sponsors to explain their product or service but to keep it brief. In fact, these 100-second pitches are placed between major presentations and become a bit of a game, which keeps the audience in their seats.

    Most publishers don't like to be "sold to" but the attendees can't resist …



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    Dan's Blog: Ad Blocking - Good for Advertisers?

    The current panic in the marketing world about ad blocking is being eclipsed by thoughts such as those found in this excellent piece.  As marketers, we at AdvantageCS have found native advertising to be a great vehicle for getting the word out about our products and services.

    What are your thoughts on this hot topic? 

    Dan



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    Dan's Blog: Smartphones Outsmart Us

    Is it just me, or is everyone experiencing more use of their smartphones? These "mobile moments" are becoming more frequent in my life, at least. A year ago I hadn't installed my bank's app and did all my banking on my laptop. Now I do all my deposits using my smartphone and find myself checking balances there more and more. A couple of years ago I thought I'd never use Facebook on my smartphone...but I almost never use it on my laptop now. Recently my wife was writing a long email on her smartphone and I asked why she doesn't use the desktop so she can edit more efficiently? Her answer was that the desktop was upstairs.  

    I guess that's what the word "mobile" means, after all: able to move. Our mobile phones can be with us all the time. I see more participants in meetings looking at …



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    Dan's Blog: Why do businesses "flock" to trendy technology, even when it doesn't meet their needs?

     On a recent trip to England, a group of us took a hike up a hill past a flock of sheep.  Sheep are so charming:  pleasant to see on the side of a hill, not terribly wild or boisterous, and very compliant when it is time to get their wool sheared.  At one point, the farmer pulled up to a corner of the very large field the sheep were occupying and they started bleating and running toward the truck.  They clearly were trained that this was feeding time, and responded with the enthusiasm of my 19-year-old son under similar circumstances.  This was, without meaning to sound too trite...so stick with me here...an example of when it's a good idea to follow the flock.  However, we all know that sheep are, in fact, too compliant for their own good, and can walk willingly to be slaughtered.  That' …



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    Dan's Blog: Multi-Product Brand Extension

    Americans can be some of the laziest language users on earth, creating nicknames and abbreviations for everything from celebrities to common phrases.  Texting can be blamed for some of this, certainly, but it doesn't explain our penchant for cutting syllables out of our speech.  Furthermore, there are people texting all over the world who still take the time and effort to use lots of words in their speech to make their thoughts clear.  Being married to a native speaker of another language has provided an at-home testing platform for my claim.  Many other languages seem to require more words to express something that an American will use fewer words to express.  Is it because American English is so rich that we have a word for everything?  I don't think so.  There are many words in Spanish …



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    Dan's Blog: The Gift of Criticism

    Recently, my wife needed to go back to a doctor's office where she'd had some minor surgery done some months earlier.  She was in pain and was concerned about infection.  She called the office to find out when they could see her but was met with the proverbial "please leave a message" announcement, rather than being answered by a human.  Instead of leaving a message and sitting by the phone for the rest of the morning, she decided to drive to the office and see them face-to-face and ask in person for a last-minute appointment.  I decided to join her so we could chat on the way.

    When we walked into the office, I knew we were going to have a less-than-pleasant customer service experience.  It was written all over the face of the receptionist.  She was cool, aloof, and lacking in compassion. …



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    Dan's Blog: Invite Us Over for Dinner and We'll Look at Your Leaky Faucet

       

    How many of us have ever dreamed of having a chiropractor in the family?  Or a carpenter?  Or a mechanic?  As it turns out that neither my wife nor I are any of these things, I have often mused at how nice it would be if one of our offspring would fall in love with such a person.  I can just imagine inviting the kids over for dinner and just mentioning a drippy faucet we have in a sink upstairs to the now-fed plumber and hearing those magical words, "Why don't I go and have a look?"

    Perhaps others of us wish we had a computer expert in the family.  Most of my colleagues with aging parents become the de facto helpdesk for their parents' computer issues.  When I go visit my father and watch him at his computer, I am sometimes amazed at the habits humans form which cause us to do …



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    Dan's Blog: Subscriptions eCommerce

    Back in the late 1990s, companies wanted to create their own websites with their own ideas about how the site would be structured, the user experience, and the branding.  When we introduced our API to our clients in 1999, we would typically provide some training and documentation to their web team and they would go away happily integrating their website with Advantage using the API.  Time marched on and the API became bigger and more comprehensive. 

    Then in the last couple of years we noticed a trend among our prospects and clients.  Companies were no longer content to take on an API with over 5,000 methods, which ours has.  They wanted a platform which was already integrated with Advantage through the API.  The platform would have built-in eCommerce functions, self-service capabilities, …



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    Dan's Blog: There's More Than One Way to Skin ... Digital Content (Part II)

    In my last post I talked about ways of going beyond or cutting across digital editions and even titles and allowing a user to access content by a certain author, or packaging content with other components such as membership dues, books, e-books, subscriptions, and the like.

    The segment of publishing which is waaaaaay ahead of the others are the scholarly publishers, such as the STM and academic publishers. These publishers started digitizing their content back in the late 1990s. Initially, the digital "version" of the journal issue was available to print subscribers as part of a package. Eventually, however, they found that more and more of their readers were only interested in the digital content access and didn't really want print journals cluttering up their offices. Institutional …



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