Friday, December 26, 2014

Customer Loyalty Again?

The popular topic of the century! Firstly, we gain customers and then try to make them happy as it’s the only way to boast having loyal customers. Loyalty in itself is much more than having best customers, it’s like having success in ones hands. Loyal customers will defeat your competitors in such a way that a company cannot. They will never let the product down.

Once again remembered “Apple loyals”, they can fight with you for hours if you say something negative about any Apple product. I have a colleague, who is a bright example of the mentioned; I call him an “Apple addict”. I don’t like this much of addiction, but at the same time I do realize the Apple “power” and I’m sure that most of Apple buyers become loyal to their products.

Loyalty in its turn can have different degrees. It can be light, it can be extreme. I myself never become so much addicted to any product or service. I may like it or dislike.

There are lots of “Starbucks” and “McDonald's” lovers. It’s said that loyal customers represent no more than 20 percent of the customer base.

Is loyalty emotional, or maybe intellectual?

Loyalty comes in different flavors. Sometimes it’s emotional, sometimes intellectual. The widely spread type is the emotional component. So creating strong emotional connection between the company and the customer is the key element in company’s success. 

Beyond Philosophy states that customer loyalty is “the result of consistently positive emotional experience, physical attribute-based satisfaction and perceived value of an experience, which includes the product or services.”

Customer Loyalty Measurement

One thing is having loyal customers and the other is loyalty measurement.  And how to do this? The easiest, but not the only way, is a short customer survey. Remember short! I like the “KISS” (Keep It Short, Stupid!)

In this busy world no one can afford answering endless questions. But when they see a few questions, they do it with pleasure.  It could look like this: 
  • How satisfied are you with the product?
  • How likely are you to continue using the product? 
  • How likely are you to recommend the product to others?

You can also offer enticements to your customers to take your survey. In fact, it works and it’s worth doing. Loyal customers are promoters of your product or service and the more you do for them, the more they will recommend you to others.

Friday, December 5, 2014

November Featured Acquisitions

The year of 2014 is coming to its end, but acquisitions don’t lessen. November was not the best deal month, though we can see some featured acquisitions from the world’s giants, such as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo.

It was a successful month for video, photo, analytics and more, but not a social month at all. Very soon I’ll bring to your attention the “acquisition winner” of 2014. I already guess who it can be, but let’s wait one more month.

And here we go with November deals:

AppDirect announced to acquire Leftronic, a data visualization startup that launched four years ago. Leftronic allows businesses to build custom dashboards visualizing important data. AppDirect co-CEO Daniel Saks told me that by integrating Leftronic’s visualizations, AppDirect can give its customers a dashboard for monitoring the status of their apps.

Yahoo announced a deal to acquire BrightRoll, a programmatic video-advertising platform, for $640 million in cash. The deal will combine Yahoo’s desktop and mobile video advertising inventory with BrightRoll’s platform and publisher relationships. BrightRoll’s net revenue is expected to exceed $100 million this year, and Yahoo said it expects the transaction to enhance its profitability. - the Russian internet giant with 100 million users of its mail, social networking and other web-based services - has made an acquisition that will start to bring navigation and location-based services into the mix. It has acquired Maps.Me, a maker of map apps and other navigation services based on OpenStreetMap data and with the ability to work offline.The company will be integrating Maps.Me into its platform.

Microsoft acquired Aorato, an Israel-based maker of security solutions co-founded by veterans of the Israeli defense forces, which only exited from stealth earlier this year. Aorato’s focus is on enterprise services in the cloud and in hybrid on-premise and cloud environments, using machine learning to detect suspicious patterns.

Groupon announced that it has acquired Swarm Mobile, a startup that helps businesses connect with and track their customers while in stores. This continues Groupon’s pattern of expanding its offerings for local businesses beyond daily deals. Earlier this year, for example, it launched individual business pages and announced an iPad-based point-of-sale service.

Customer relationship management company Merkle announced that it has acquired startup 500friends. The startup’s LoyaltyPlus platform allows businesses to run customer loyalty programs in stores, online, and on mobile. It also allows them to identify the customers that are likely to have the highest lifetime value.

Google has acquired RelativeWave, the team responsible for the popular iOS app prototyping software Form. Form is available for Mac and iOS, and allows designers and developers to create rich interactive app prototypes and run them on their iPhone or iPad. As part of the acquisition, RelativeWave has made Form available for free on the Mac App Store.

Yahoo acquired Cooliris – a photo app-maker, in order to build inspiring products, grow engagement, and ultimately revenue. Cooliris was founded back in 2006 and was initially known for creating a “3D wall” for navigating photos and other media content.

VigLink just announced that it is acquiring Boulder, Colo-based startup LinkSmart. The details of how the two products will be integrated is still being worked out, and for now, LinkSmart will continue to operate as a standalone service.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Inspiration – Necessary in Everyday Life!

Sometimes we all need a bit of inspiration to look differently into our lives, job, family. That’s why I decided to collect some important quotes of all the times and share them with my readers. In fact inspirations are necessary for everybody and every day, despite of your being “who”, “where“ or “when”. Just one sentence can change your mood making your day the most memorable one. Have you ever tried to change your mood? How?

Reading positive quotes is the easiest way to change not only your mood, but yourself, from inside out. So keep reading inspiring books, quotes all the time throughout your entire life and you’ll see the results very soon. Hope that after reading the list something will probably change in your life to the better.

Inspirational Quotes of all the Times 
  • Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better – Jim Rohn
  • Excellence is not a skill. It’s an attitude – Ralph Marston
  • Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough – Og Mandino
  • Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor – Brian Tracy
  • If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves – Thomas Edison
  • If we learn from losing, we become winners in the end – Anonymous
  • If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time – Zig Ziglar
  • If you don’t see yourself as a winner, then you cannot perform as a winner – Zig Ziglar
  • If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost - Zig Ziglar
  • Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all, other people can’t stop you. Only you can stop you – Jeffrey Gitomer
  • Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them – Ann Landers
  • Remember that failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night - Zig Ziglar
  • Some men see things as they are and ask why…I dream of things that never were and ask why not? – Robert Kennedy
  • Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm –Winston Churchill
  • Take risks.  If you win, you’ll be happy; if you lose, you’ll be wise – Anonymous
  • Today is always the most productive day of your week – Mark Hunter
  • Try not to become a person of success, but try to become a person of value –Albert Einstein
  • You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want – Zig Ziglar
  • You will never find time for anything. If you want time you must make it – Charles Robert Buxton

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

October Growth Strategy

October M&A success list came a bit later­, anyway some great deals took place in many companies. What I’m thinking about is - calling 2014 a “Google Year” for its acquisition-driven strategy. I’ve been tracking the most important technology acquisitions since January and can say that no other company had so many deals during almost a year.

All the deals are purpose-driven in their own way, but no one can prove their success with the new companies. Let’s hope that all the startups will find a better settlement and a better potential with the world’s giants. 

Here are my top picks from the last month:

Yahoo has acquired mobile messaging application MessageMe, a Whatsapp-like service with $11.9 million in reported outside funding. The company was largely able to raise such funds on the strength of its team and what appeared to be ever-quickening growth. Co-founders Arjun Sethi and Justin Rosenthal had extensive experience in social gaming prior to founding MessageMe. 

Luxoft Holding, announced that it has acquired Radius Inc., a US based solution provider focused on the growing Internet of Things (IoT) industry. Radius delivers modern enterprise solutions across mobile, cloud, data and application programming interface (API) technologies for select Fortune 500 clients to help them capture, manage, and gain value from their growing volume of enterprise data.

Microsoft has signed a letter of intent to acquire Israeli text-analysis startup Equivio, said a person familiar with the company’s plans, as the software maker bulks up products for analyzing data. Equivio makes software that uses machine learning to analyze legal documents and corporate information for use by law firms, corporations and government agencies. The company’s website lists the US Justice Department among its customers.

Google announced that it has acquired Firebase, a backend service that helps developers build realtime apps for iOS, Android and the web that can store and sync data instantly. Firebase currently has almost 110,000 registered developers on its platform and the Firebase team says that the service will continue to work as before and remain platform-agnostic. This is Google’s third major acquisition for its Cloud Platform this year.

Google has hired the founders of two Oxford University artificial intelligence start-ups and announced a partnership with the institution to further develop its DeepMind system. It is acqui-hiring the two academic teams of founders, seven people in all, behind Dark Blue Labs and Vision Factory, two deep learning startups based in the UK, and it is also partnering with Oxford University, which had spun out the two startups, to build out wider research efforts further in the area of AI.

Google announced it has acquired smart home hub startup – a Colorado-based Revolv which made a hardware hub with a bunch of radios packed inside to make all the various smart home devices talk to each other. Through the Revolv app, you could sync up smart home interactions. Revolv will work on Nest’s open API program called “Works with Nest” to “continue to unify the connected home".