Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holy Trinity of Marketing Automation Systems?

An old friend and fellow blogger Michael Fassnacht has an interesting blog post -- he advocates a concept of combining marketing resource management (MRM) systems with marketing analytics, the goal being optimization of marketing resource usage, in a fashion very similar to financial asset optimization.

While on surface, this may seem like a straight-up combination of MRM systems and marketing analytics systems, but a hidden yet crucial system to implement this concept is the one that does the marketing program execution. This is the system that uses different subset of marketing assets for each program and its various campaigns, and hopefully tracks the effectiveness of those assets in a full cycle, i.e. all the way to conversion (or non-conversion). In a typical marketing shop today, these are usually 3 different systems/vendors, with little or no integration between them.

Now, if you have a marketing program execution platform that is (a) in tune with all your assets in all different channels, and (b) tracks asset usage and effectiveness in different programs, and also publishes it to an analytics platform -- you are close to implementing the concept that Michael is advocating.

Is there a platform out there that does all this? Stay tuned :-) And I'll be also curious to hear your feedback on marketing automation platforms out there that come close to implementing this concept.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Multi-Lingual Keyboard - Lekhika 2007

I was very encouraged today to hear the announcement of Lekhika 2007 - a wordprocessing application that covers ten scripts and 3000 characters and supports Windows, MAC and Linux, with a unique way of converting regular keyboards into local language keyboards by creating a simulated keyboard on the bottom part of the screen. See a demo/clip here --

This summer when I was in Nepal, I was fortunate to connect with a group of people working on Open Learning Exchange Nepal (OLE Nepal) -- who are working to produce localized content and educational material aimed for OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project. OLE Nepal is putting a lot of effort to produce Nepali-based content, but the XO laptop's board is still US English-based -- which stresses that a key obstacle for a truly localized computer is not having a local language-based keyboard.

There have been keyboards that support multiple languages (Japanese keyboards comes to mind), but just like any business, they are meant for languages that have a sizable market that wants to buy and use computers. But what about languages like Nepali for example? Being a developing country with no computer manufacturing facility, where can Nepal expect to get laptops that have a Nepali keyboard? And likewise, I'm sure there are so many other students that will be able to get much more usage out of a computer if they had one in their language.

So I hope software like Lekhika paves the way for a new line of innovations that make it easy to enable localized keyboards, and a truly localized computing experience. Sure, because of its origins, the dual nature of keyboard (i.e. local language + English) will still be needed for some time. But if projects like OLPC are truly aiming to have a laptop for every child (regardless of what language they speak and where in the world they live) -- then they must incorporate a solution for 100% localization which includes the keyboard.