Businesses failing to cash in on blogs – IT Week

Link: Businesses failing to cash in on blogs – IT Week.

Nearly half of small and medium-sized firms understand the business benefits of corporate blogs, but only three percent have plans to start one, according to new research released today by web hosting firm Fasthosts.

The survey of over 2,000 SMBs found that firms understood that a good blog can drive traffic, attract customers to their goods and services, and provide a platform for interaction with business partners and other third parties. But many were put off by the practicalities of knowing what to say and how to say it, according to Fasthost’s Steve Holford.



Tom Foremski looks back on 2 years of blogging


The whole post is well worth a read – not least because it raises important questions about the future of journalism – and how we are to pay for it.

How technology is changing the manager’s brain

World Business carries this feature from Baroness Greenfield.

Two quotes from the piece stood out:

1. "Working on the screen is having a massive impact
on the way we think and process information. The screen culture is not
conducive to taking time to think – everything is instantly available.
The result is iconic thinking, quick fixes and short attention spans."

I agree with her that we are only just beginning to appreciate the implications of the tech-saturated environment we live in. The ability to focus and concentrate on things without distraction/interuption is becoming increasingly difficult. For example, developing a long term communications strategy needs time to be thought about and written – yet the expectation is that it can be delivered in hours rather than days or weeks. Strategy now seems be code for: "what are we going to do over the next week"  rather than months or years.

Instant responses and instant decision making are becoming the norm – but responding and deciding for the sake of it with no real basis for doing so is surely a recipie for failure? Nothing wrong with going with your gut instinct (pace Malcolm Gladwell), but relying on it in every situation might be a little risky.

2: "We assume that people want to work for other people – but that may
not be the case in the future. At the moment a lot of our pleasure is
derived from status, but I think soon that will be challenged – people
just won’t be motivated in that way. It’s just another arms race and I
think we’ll evolve to a point where people aren’t so status-obsessed."

This could spell the end for traditional, monolithic corporations,
she says. As the various rationale for forming large companies – for
example, to reduce the cost of gathering in materials – become less
important, smaller, more virtual units will emerge that are independent
but work through a variety of networks of other organisations, she

Nothing new here – small is beautiful, virtual teams, etc – but point about people not being so status obsessed has an air of truth about. More specifically, when people realise what they are expected to sacrifice in terms of life and health in order to "get to the top", I do think many more people will decide its not worth the effort.

Happy days at Ernst & Young!

Big thanks to Dennis Howlett for giving us all here at Object Towers a big belly laugh this morning.

You really have to watch this Ernst & Young video – presumably its intended to show what a great place E&Y is to work – and encourage recruitment. I leave it to you humble viewer to decided whether they have succeeded or not.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for HP….

HP CEO Allowed ‘Sting’ of Reporter –

The whole Post article is worth reading – you couldn’t make this up. But try this as a taster:

Though nine journalists were apparently targeted in HP’s leak investigation, one in particular drew the scrutiny of Dunn and Hurd, according to a series of internal e-mails. Dawn Kawamoto, a reporter for, wrote a fairly straightforward article on Jan. 23 outlining the firm’s long-term strategy after a board retreat.

Determined to ferret out the source’s identity, HP senior counsel Kevin Hunsaker, who led the HP investigation ordered by Dunn, and an HP colleague in Boston created a fictitious persona, "Jacob," who would pose as a disgruntled HP "senior level executive" and cultivate Kawamoto by saying he was "an avid reader of your columns."

The idea, evidently, was to induce Kawamoto to open an e-mail attachment with a "tracer" in it that would allow them to see who she forwarded it to. They hoped it would pinpoint board member Keyworth as her source, according to the documents."

In other words, HP adopted the tactics of a common or garden hacker-phisher (would be interesting to know what security software Kawamoto had on her PC).

And how does that square with this from HP’s own website:

HP’s mission is to deliver policy driven security management across the
enterprise IT infrastructure to prevent, detect, warn, log and heal the
effects of attacks, security policy violations and other threats.

Perhaps they also planted some malware to stop Dawn Kawamoto downloading this.

H.P. Said to Have Studied Infiltrating Newsrooms – New York Times

H.P. Said to Have Studied Infiltrating Newsrooms – New York Times.

Although it seems HP never actually did go ahead and plant spies in newsrooms, the fact it was being actively considered just adds to the company’s reputational woes.

The irony here is that HP was always regarded as a highly ethical business, not least of which because this culure emanated from the top via its founders.

Bill Hewlett and David Packard must be turning in their graves.

PR hits, misses, and hits and misses: Danny Bradbury

Link: � Blog Archive � PR hits, misses, and hits and misses.

A good post from the ever astute Danny Bradbury.

And kind words for moi as well 😉

PR professionals of the future benefit from Response Source university link

DWPub Sporadic: PR professionals of the future benefit from Response Source university link.

As Daryl says, PR students at the University of Gloucestershire’s new public relations degree course are going to have access to journalist requests through his Response Source Journalist Enquiries System: "This will give them real-world examples of the sort of requests journalists make so they can consider effective ways of pitching."

I guess one of the most important lessons the students could learn is to simply read the request properly – and respond accordingly.  The main beef you hear from journalists is the fact that many PRs – knowingly or otherwise – seem to pitch clients or stories that bear no relation to the original request. So anything that helps the next crop of PR grads do their jobs better is to be welcomed.

Aside from that, it is good to see at least one PR degree course doing something to bring the "real world" of PR to students.

Tech Marketing Investment Projected to Increase by 7.5% in 2006, The Fastest Rate of Increase in 5 Years, According to IDC

The full release below – would be interesting to see if they have a breakdown of where the spend is going – I suspect PR for example will still constitute a small part of overall marketing spend.

Tech Marketing Investment Projected to Increase by 7.5% in 2006, The Fastest Rate of Increase in 5 Years, According to IDC.

FRAMINGHAM, Mass. –(Business Wire)– Sept. 14, 2006 — The IDC CMO Advisory Service projects that IT vendor marketing budgets will increase by 7.5% for the full year 2006, the fastest rate of increase over the past five years. Along with overall increased investment, tech marketing productivity and efficiency indicators are also improving by several measures. IDC’s Marketing Staff Throughput Index measures program execution per marketing employee and has increased by about 10% over the past year to $301,400. The average tech vendor is also getting more leverage from its marketing staff as indicated by the IDC Program-to-People Ratio, which has expanded to 65:35 for 2006.

Richard Vancil, vice president of IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice noted some key trends in the tech marketing community. "Many senior marketers are making significant progress within the corporate pillar of marketing. IDC sees improvement in marketing’s contribution to the strategic planning processes, and in marketing’s ability to measure performance. However, there are still many challenge areas for the senior marketing team. This includes the need to improve alignment between corporate marketing and the product and field marketing disciplines. Also, our essential guidance to clients includes establishment of an overall marketing skill set inventory and improvement program; and an increased investment- up to 5% of marketing budget – that should be earmarked for IT and infrastructure for the marketing function.

The new insights and analysis are from IDC’s CMO Advisory Service, the tech industry’s most comprehensive benchmarking and advisory offering for tech marketing leadership. IDC’s fourth annual Technology Marketing Benchmarks Survey provides insight into the management techniques and investment strategies based on IDC’s unique access to the world’s largest and most influential technology marketing leaders.

In the study, Marketing Investment Planner 2007: Benchmarks and Key Performance Indicators (IDC #203212), IDC provides a comprehensive analysis of qualitative and quantitative marketing investment priorities, marketing-mix decisions, and operational and organization information for many of the world’s leading and most influential technology vendors. This study is based on 95 interviews conducted with senior marketing executives of the leading IT hardware, software, and services vendors, including Adobe, Cisco, HP, Intel, SAP, and Symantec, representing over $360 billion in IT revenues and over $12 billion in marketing spending.

The IDC CMO Advisory Practice provides marketing executives and their operations counterparts with critical insights and fact-based information to plan program and people investments, prepare marketing operations, mobilize resources, and measure results.

To purchase this document, call IDC’s sales hotline at 508-988-7988 or email

What is pretexting? We’re all about to know more about it

Cheatsheet: What is pretexting? – Valleywag.

In case you didn’t know, Wikipedia says: "Pretexting is the act of pretending to be someone who you are not by telling an untruth, or creating deception. The practice of pretexting typically involves tricking a telecom carrier into disclosing personal information of a customer, with the scammer pretending to be the customer."

According to Valleywag: "This isn’t the last scandal we’ll hear. The president of one security company says that heads of Fortune 500 Companies hire "fly-by-night organizations" to do their dirty investigative work all the time. Now that a pretexting scandal is front-page news, expect investigative journalists to hunt down similar stories."

And if the practice is so prevalent amongst US CEOs, what about UK chief execs?

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