Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A fabric of ink!

While business has taken me far afield for the past two months, I still found time to write and post to this and other blogs. For the NonStop community there’s now a body of work, frequently cross-referenced by other writers, which can be easily viewed no matter which media channel they prefer!

I will refrain this time from starting out this post by saying something like back again in Boulder as paging through the posts in this blog looking for a reference I noted that several posts had started out with this observation. But for more than eight weeks I have experienced, for yet one more time, what it is like to be a road warrior. The picture above was taken on a previous vacation aboard the cruising yacht, the Windstar’s Wind Spirit and while in Italy, only a few weeks ago, I had sampled the delights of life at sea with the Seabourn yacht, Spirit. The coincidence of being aboard vessels bearing the name Spirit wasn’t lost on me particularly as I headed for my first drink each evening!

However, there were more than spirits in common with these vessels as their respective owners made sure there were desks set aside to market future sailings. Common among all cruise lines, the effectiveness of onboard re-bookings turns out to be quite high – capturing a subset of the community at a time when they were clearly offering little resistance. And everywhere you turned, whether it was in common areas, bars or your own cabin there were brochures and pictures promoting ports of call you just had to visit! Extraordinary sites not on offer anywhere else and from your cruise line that has negotiated unique experiences that simply beckon to be sampled!

Cruise lines marketing future cruises to an audience already primed to be responsive isn’t unique to just this industry, and ensuring their message is communicated as widely as it is while you are their guests isn’t limited to just this industry. On a much smaller scale, every Friday I produce a brief commentary on something I observed during the week as a way of ensuring that my company, Pyalla Technologies, LLC ., remains in the consciousness of my clients as they head into the weekend and the responses I receive let me know that even on this scale my marketing efforts are not going unnoticed.

It’s all about producing “more ink” – finding as many channels as you can that can carry your message as you pursue marketing at its most basic. When I first posted to the blog I asked Randy Meyer, head of Product Management for the HP NonStop Enterprise Division (NED), of my intentions and his response has stayed with me through the years. “As long as you generate a buzz around NonStop and there’s more ink ‘out there’ on NonStop, then I foresee no issues,” was how I recall Randy responding. And for most of five years generating a buzz and producing more ink has become central to what I pursue these days in my business life.

Fortunately, I am not alone in this respect. Routinely, there’s new issues of the Availability Digest coming from Dr. Bill Highleyman, like me, a former ITUG Chairman, who has spent even more time working with the NonStop community. Each issue provides considerably insight into what is happening in various marketplaces and his tracking of outages, and the fallout from such outages, remains a “must read” for anyone running NonStop Systems. Likewise, very few of us miss reading the monthly edition of Tandemworld.net; Dave Barnes has worked so hard at ensuring it gets delivered to perhaps the largest NonStop audience of all.

The NonStop community’s The Connection magazine, too, is gradually stretching its legs and attracting a wider following and anyone who has not seen the most recent issue, November – December 2011 will have missed reading perhaps the largest issue I can recall ever having seen. With more than 50 pages on the topic of “Guarding your Data, Protecting your Business” this issue of The Connection most definitely tapped into a message that contributors were only too happy and willing to make public their own views and opinions!

It was while spending time with clients over the past couple of months that the topic of generating more ink for a product or company was raised, on more than one occasion. All vendors appreciate the value that comes through publicity and promotion and welcome every opportunity that arises. However, with the surge in interest in social media channels and the many new outlets that have been created, this time around the topic of more ink has developed further to embrace the concept of a fabric of ink. Simply expressed, this is the appearance of a related topic in many channels almost simultaneously, including many of the more traditional channels, including those referenced above.

Earlier this year I wrote a white paper for HP on NS SQL/MX. The paper, “NonStop SQL - The path to the always-on, easily administered, out-of-the-box clustered, database server!” available online, as a download from HP’s web site, was complemented with a post to this blog “It only requires a few steps!” as well as became the centerpiece of discussions started on a number of LinkedIn groups, including the groups Real Time View and NonStop SQL Professionals. In other words, the topic addressed in the white paper was marketed via many channels, so the potential touch points where the NonStop community may come in contact with the material was greatly amplified.

More recently, in the work undertaken for my client, Attunity, simultaneously with the appearance of a feature article in the November – December issue of The Connection, there was a white paper, “HP NonStop Data Replication” made available on Attunity’s web site, a complementary post to this blog “Reminiscing …”, as well as discussions started in several LinkedIn groups, including the group Attunity and Fools for NonStop, with a number of tweets blasted to the world. There were even links as to where to go to download the white paper provided by Attunity on Facebook!

For the NonStop community the benefits are clear – there’s little likelihood that they will miss out on anything. Whether in operations, development or a line of business executive, in their pursuit of information about NonStop Servers there will be articles and features about their favorite platform appearing in one media channel or another, whether it’s in more traditional publications or online. The fabric of ink in support of NonStop is turning the old adage of NonStop as a stealth technology on its head!

For vendors – middleware or solutions oriented - nothing of what I have covered here should come as a surprise. Marketing is a well understood discipline and as messages are crafted and promotion begins, there’s tried and true ways to inform an audience. However, in the past, there was never any simple manner by which we could be sure this audience really did see these messages. Social media, as a complementary marketing channel brings with it a far easier way to ensure our messages reach our audience, as well as encouraging follow-up via specific web landing pages.

A fabric of ink takes this even further to ensure all likely touch points whereby we intersect with audiences are covered and where we can be sure our message is seen. Today even products such as the HP NonStop Server can reach audiences that would have proved difficult to address only a decade ago, and for the NonStop community it is now a lot easier to find, and forward, relevant supporting information on just about any topic related to the essential mission-critical applications that drive our businesses.

For a community that for so long has been starved of concrete information about what others are doing, what new products have begun to ship and what marketplaces are warming to which solutions, seeing as much publicity today about the NonStop Server marks a positive turn that is welcomed by all who make a livelihood from a platform close on four decades old! As relevant today as it ever was, and as modern as anything else we care to consider! Watch for even more news on NonStop as we head into 2012 and keep checking what’s happening on your favorite blog or at your trusted online group!

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