When it came to promoting his fourteenth and final album under contract with RCA, Al Yankovic (better known by his stage name, “Weird” Al) killed it. His strategy: releasing songs exclusively on different websites, each tailored to that site’s audience. The result? Mandatory Fun, his first-ever Billboard #1 album (congrats!). Here’s how Weird Al rocketed to first place with some of the finest tailored content on the Internet today—and how you can make the same practice work for your own brand.
How many apps do you have open right now? How many bookmarks do you have saved? Likely, it’s too many to count. These tools are intended to make our lives easier, but many people are left feeling overwhelmed by all of this information. The new Windows Apportal breaks through that clutter, pulling in the data and apps you care about most, and places them front-and-center on the Windows 8 start screen.
Crowdsourcing isn't a new idea. But new brands are forming because of it—think Airbnb, Lyft, and Kickstarter—and established brands are recognizing a new way to solve old problems. Even the country of Iceland has turned to crowdsourcing for innovative ideas, and robots at the University of Washington are learning to seek help from the world when they're stumped.
We all know traditional advertising is alive and well, but brands continue to look for ways to cut through the noise and reach their customers on multiple levels. As your business looks to add content into its marketing mix, you may also want to consider product placements. Just as content provides value to the customer in a way that traditional ads do not, product placements also work to reach your customers in a more subtle way.
Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million new computer science jobs—but only 400,000 computer science students. Maybe your business has experienced the lack of qualified candidates yourself. The problem stems from the lack of exposure high school students have to these potential career paths. In many schools, even if classes in computer sciences or computer programming exist, students may not feel like they have a reason to take them—even if they're using cellphones, tablets, and other technology that exists because of programming.
Microsoft North America President Judson Althoff revealed details of our new Windows Apportal today during his keynote at the 2014 Worldwide Partner Conference. Evolving from the Sale Productivity Solution from a year ago, Windows Apportals are a customized solution that lives on a Windows 8 start screen, putting the most important data, resources, and Apps all in a single view. This functionality can create mini-Start screens for any role—essentially a “job in a box” that puts all the Apps, data, and resource you need to best get your work done.
Cloud solutions help your business save money by providing scalable storage, bandwidth, and processing power; improving your access to important files; and automates many IT tasks. The three cloud options—public, private, and hybrid clouds—each have advantages depending on your business’ needs. When compliance, flexibility, and savings are your primary requirements, a hybrid cloud solution may be for you. This is how each benefit can help your business:
At Microsoft we know that good business is all about good partnerships. With hundreds of thousands of partners, Microsoft has the largest partner ecosystem in the industry. For any business—large or small—strong, strategic partnerships are essential for disseminating its purpose effectively. Here’s why you should start building your own partner network today.
Smartphones are such an important part of our daily lives that we may not think about the elements that go into their construction. Some of the metals needed for smartphones are rare and nonrenewable, which means there’s a very real chance they could run out. The good news is that smartphones can be recycled and those elements saved—and your company can get in on it right now.
Collaborative workspaces are becoming increasingly popular in businesses, and many startups and new businesses are embracing these kinds of spaces for their benefits to productivity and the bottom line. Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprising the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs, offered their tips and ideas on designing collaborative workspaces—valuable for any business looking to increase employee interaction and happiness.
These days a brand has to be more valuable to the consumer beyond its product. When brands strategically use music as a business asset, customers start listening.
"It doesn't matter how big a business is," explains Eric Sheinkop, CEO of Music Dealers and author of Hit Brands: How Music Builds Value for the World's Smartest Brands. "It's not about sponsoring a tour. It's about adding a layer in the ways you're already communicating,” whether that communication is a commercial or a video on your website.
Behind any major web service is a principle called machine learning. This refers to algorithms used to generate online product recommendations, search engine results, and GPS traffic directions. When these kinds of programs have access to large amounts of data, they can “learn” through example and respond to a wider range of inputs. An online store, for example, can use historical data to better predict future customer behavior or trends. By taking complex programming tasks and simplifying them, machine learning can allow your company to make more accurate inferences on your business's own data sets.
Technology has come a long way since the ‘90s. And while we're thankful that we have the cloud instead of floppy disks, and Wi-Fi instead of dial-up, there are a few things we fondly remember about the decade of Ross and Rachel. Here are 10 things that only people who used Microsoft products in the ‘90s will remember:
Just as technology is helping companies of all sizes expand into new and bigger markets, it’s transforming the way social enterprises deliver on their social and environmental goals. We spoke with Sydney Alfonso, founder of Etkie, a local, social enterprise that operates in a global network and puts women in the forefront, about the impact of technology on her business. Not only is it helping Etkie carve out a space for itself in a highly competitive fashion industry, its empowering women to earn the wages they deserve. Here’s Sydney’s story:
As businesses make the tricky transition from traditional advertising to creating content that your customers choose to spend time with, videos need to play a key in your content mix. That's because 83% of human learning is visual. And while your audience may not have a passion for finance or insurance or whatever industry your business is in, they do have a passion for music, films, sports, and other topics your business can associate itself with.
Getting the right mix of apps on your smartphone is the key to an effective pocket office. Apps solve problems—sometimes problems you didn’t know you had. Here are seven challenges for mobile workers, and the apps you can load on your smartphone to create the perfect pocket office for you.
In the past year, it's become increasingly clear that mobile is a top priority at large enterprises and small businesses alike. A recent American Marketing Association webinar with Ensighten's Director of Product Marketing, Karen Wood, and senior product manager Jeremy Woska, noted that by 2018, mobile will make up 53% of e-commerce. It's space your customers are living in, so your business needs to live there too.
Finding the cloud solution that matches your business needs doesn’t have to be difficult. Understanding the differences between private and public cloud solutions—and the benefits of combining them in a hybrid model—can help clarify a complicated and potentially confusing landscape.
Suddenly it seems like every brand is a digital content publisher or, at least, believes it should become one. “Brand as publisher” is a mantra of the social media age and the once obscure term of “content marketing” now rings through the halls of companies and the agencies that support them.
But not every brand is the next Red Bull and viral hits like Oreo’s 2013 Super Bowl “Lights Out” tweet are few and far between. Publishing is not just hard work; it requires consistently solid content, distribution and the ability to land timely stories. To achieve and maintain these essential ingredients, successful publishers must establish a well-honed process.
In a world of big data, it's easy to forget about small data: those lower volume, more focused data sets. Using these smaller data sets can be just as relevant for your business as the insights gleaned from analyzing big data. For many of your business's day-to-day challenges, the insights gleaned from small data—or specifically the right data—are enough.
Many people talk about writing a children’s book, but few actually follow through. And of those who do complete one, fewer still find an audience for their work. Even the majority of children’s books backed by large publishers never catch on.
Are language barriers a thing of the past? Is there a way to avoid unreliable translation in international business meetings? This sci-fi future is now one step closer. When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced last week that near-real time translation software is coming from Skype as a Windows 8 beta app by the end of 2014, the futurists at Microsoft for Work did a backflip of joy: software that can translate any major language to any other, almost immediately, performed by software algorithm.
Hollywood is big business. Summertime is a competition between studios where the biggest explosions and craziest plots (now in 3D!) equal enormous profits. What about business in movies? Turns out, there are some awful business decisions being made not by the studios but by the characters in their films. To get you ready for a summer of superheroes and things going pew-pew-pew, here’s a look at 3 of the all-time worst business decisions made in films. Don’t forget the popcorn!
As the digital world expands, its need for careful governance grows. Policies need to be established that foster a secure and innovative space without restricting growth. As the world settles in to a digital reality, your business has the power to inform the policy that governs it—here’s how and why you should care.