• May 15, 2012
  • We recently published a video research note on SugarCRM’s mobile technologies.  Please take a look.

    Published: 6 years ago

    Jamie Grenney, vice president of social media and online video at Salesforce is our latest interview subject.  In our discussion, Grenney talks about what makes great video for customer outreach and why it’s important.  Grenney also compares video with more conventional forms of communication such as documentation like white papers.  We’re seeing a lot of movement toward video and this interview is a good place to start especially for novices.  Also, see the Beagle Short Tale Awards and Salesforce’s winning entry.  It provides the hardest thing to find when considering usability of new technology — concrete information about efficacy and effectiveness.  Go to

    Published: 7 years ago

    Tablet vendors at the recently concluded Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas had a coming out party.  Driven by the wild success of the iPad, they introduced something like eighty — that’s 8-0h my goodness — tablet PCs to the world.  Now, by itself that’s significant, especially for CRM, and something hard to miss even if you’re a proverbial blind horse.  But let’s not stop there; to understand the significance for CRM we can analyze more information.

    For instance, it was widely reported last year that for the first time social media out-competed email for our attention.  Add to that the growing importance of video as a content medium and you can start to see a trend emerge.

    One thing I conclude immediately is that we’re increasingly mobile, hence the need for a form factor that is easy enough to carry and big enough to do things with.  But with this we are also becoming a bit more passive in our technology use.  Passive?  With all these devices and movement?  Perhaps.  And with social media’s impact picking up the volume of transmissions will likewise and the demand for better quality interactions will follow.

    Tablets, or at least the iPad, which so many vendors are trying to emulate, were developed as receiving devices, things used to surf the Internet and increasingly that means watching video content.  Granted you can use an array of screen-based and hardware oriented keyboards, but the primary use of these devices is to slurp information from the Web.  There was a report last week, surfaced by my friends at The Enterprise Irregulars, that Apple was removing the only button from the iPad for a future revision of the device.  That’s a direction keyboard enthusiasts should monitor.  TV is a passive medium and it would appear that our computing is becoming more TV-like.

    I’ve spoken to a variety of marketing people recently about video and its surging importance to CRM and I’ve written about it here.  The sense of these marketers is nearly universal that tablets are fine for watching videos and that means corporate videos.

    Graphics packages — Harvard Graphics and PowerPoint — were thought by many to be the killer applications for the laptop because sales people could take them anywhere and deliver a more or less standard pitch.

    Video will certainly become the killer application of the tablet and that will place more responsibility on the marketing group.  Video eliminates much of the need for a presenter and makes the viewer responsible not only for attention but for presenting as well.

    Thor Johnson tells me that business-to-business marketing is still by many accounts a PR and brochure business.  But increasingly tools from Eloqua, Marketo and others are turning marketing from art to science.  As marketers generate and analyze more customer data they become more astutely aware of real needs and they will have plenty of incentive to meet those needs through advanced communications, e.g. video.

    Already companies like BrainShark are delivering to market the infrastructure required to develop high quality videos that play anywhere — from the smallest screens to the most advanced tablets as well as desktops.

    The increased use of video will multiply the amount of data we push around the Web daily and drive demand for bigger networks with fatter pipes (or tubes if you are a member of the U.S. Senate).  And just as tools like PowerPoint gave everyone the ability to develop presentations, we must expect that before long we will all become experts at developing and delivering live or recorded full motion video.

    But increasing mobility might not pan out exactly the way many people see it.  The presumption now is that mobility means more face time and that’s probably right though we’ll certainly need to pick our spots more carefully as the cost of transport rises.  In such an environment mobility might become synonymous with remoteness, as in working at some locations not associated with your corporation.

    The transportation issue, which I have bored you with before, could become a serious drain on the economy.  It’s simple math, but if a gallon of regular goes from two-fifty to five bucks, your cost of transportation just took a sharp rise.  Transportation comes out of the SG&A (sales, general and administrative) line and eats into your margin like a worm through an apple.  At that point your choices all look iffy.  You could drive something smaller to your customer appointment but the cost of switching is not small.  Regardless, you can’t do much about the fuel economy of the jet that takes you to another city.  The alternative of not going is only supportable if there is a credible alternative.

    At that point, the benefits of mobile and video technology that right now look like a leap in efficiency that will flow directly to the bottom line, will become fixes that help you maintain your position, to tread water.  Economists have a term for this, it’s called consuming the dividend.  You could save the benefit, which is what happens when it really does hit the bottom line.  Or you could plow the benefit back into the business and that’s what I see happening with video and mobile technologies.  That’s why it’s so important to get on this bandwagon.  Eighty new tablet introductions is more than a straw in the wind.


    Published: 7 years ago

    Is video becoming a part of your sales, marketing or service outreach?  Many companies have begun producing interesting and entertaining video to communicate with their customers and prospects.  If your company is already participating in this growing trend we’d like to see what you’ve been up to.

    We’re looking for the best examples of front office corporate videos produced and deployed in 2010.  Our research is limited to videos with running times under six minutes and it doesn’t matter if the piece is a straight video or something done with animation.  Please send us links to your videos that meet these criteria.

    Any company that considers itself a front office or CRM software supplier or service provider is welcome to participate in this research.  Please send links only to this address:


    Published: 7 years ago

    Not long ago, well actually a couple of years ago, I began writing about the need for increased use of video in our communications.  I was mostly thinking vendor to customer communications.

    My logic was three fold, first the technology needed to create video is now available on the desk top.  On the Apple platform, which I am more familiar with, Garage Band for creating music loops, iMovie and iPhoto for movies and stills form the basis of a creative suite that enables a talented but not necessarily expert user to create engaging videos.  The Adobe Creative Suite is also powerful and runs on Windows and the Mac, but for my money is unnecessarily complex, but you need Adobe or something like it to do some of the more advanced graphics.  The challenge for the developer is to keep the video in a duration range of three to five minutes, and of course, to be engaging.

    The second reason is slideshow burnout.  There are now many books on the market about that attempt to upgrade average people’s slide presentation skills because those skills are deficient today.  PresentationZen by Garr Reynolds comes to mind and there are many more.  Sending someone a slide deck as if it was a fully articulated document or mock video, exposes the deficiencies of pictures only or pictures with too many bullet points on a single slide.  Information was getting into, but not out of, slides and something had to be done.

    The third reason that video creation is important involves transportation.  Slides were created as speaking aids in a live setting and while we make great efforts to use them via web conferences, something is inevitably lost.  But transportation is becoming difficult to justify, but fuel prices continue to rise and, in a recession, most organizations are in some ways restricting the frequency or type of employee travel.

    It’s important to note that the above discussion includes an important caveat—most of the video coming to market today, thankfully, does not involve untrained people in front of a camera.  Instead today’s video is largely animation and stills activated a la Ken Burns.  It works well.

    I have been impressed by a small crop of videos available on the Dreamforce website put there by Salesforce and some of its partners in anticipation of next month’s conference and I want to share them with you in case you haven’t been following.

    The first video is posted at The Var  It’s a straight up recording of an interview in June with Red Hat CEO, Jim Whitehurst titled Red Hat CEO: Cloud Can’t Exist Without Open Source.  It’s a good example of old style video that puts a person in front of the camera for three and a half minutes to make a few points.  Watching is faster than reading the attached Q&A but it lacks the engagement factor that I mentioned and it makes three and a half minutes seem like a long time.

    Next on the list is The State of Cloud Computing from  It’s all animation and looks like it was developed completely on a desktop; it is the type of video we should all aim at.  There are no people on screen but a narrator tells the story over a musical sound track that ducks whenever he speaks.  The piece gets its work done in only 3:09, an important criterion in an attention starved world.  Given Salesforce’s marketing budget, you can bet this was not inexpensive though I wonder how it compares to other things like white papers and webinars.  The video makes the case for cloud computing in all its forms and only brings in Salesforce and SaaS towards the end, placing it squarely in the larger context.  A good job.

    Eloqua offers a very good video, The Future of Revenue, which discusses the importance of new ideas in business.  Most of the 3:41 is table setting, intertwining the stories of several advancements in business over the last century before attempting to place Eloqua in the historical context as the next big thing.  The video is effective and I didn’t have trouble with attending to it because it draws you in as any good video should.

    The last in this list is by Jess3 titled The State of the Internet .  Like the previous two, it’s a desktop effort and it has a musical sound track but no narrator and none is needed.  It is a compilation of data about Internet use attractively presented.  And while the numbers are impressive, the video is nearing its first birthday so the data represents, if anything, lower values than today.  At five minutes, it’s on the outside edge of tolerability for this kind of thing but the information is so compelling and the video so fast paced that you forget about time.  My favorite statistics are 81% of email is spam and 84% of social networking sites have more women than men.  Reminds me of a book.  Hello, ladies!

    So this is a small smattering of videos but I think they point out a direction for the future.  As vendors continue to find ways to differentiate themselves in the minds of their customers, video that can entertainingly tell a story or provide step-by-step instructions for fixing a common problem, will become vital to most organizations.  The cost of production tools has dropped to the point of mass affordability, and distribution is layered on the Internet so it is free.

    There are easy ways to make video viral and the need for a sophisticated approach to content distribution in an information-overloaded world is abundantly clear.  Video plus social networking may be the thing we’ve lacked with simple text delivery in a social medium—regardless of how elegantly it has been presented.  And strange as it sounds, video just might be the killer app for social media and vice versa.


    Published: 7 years ago