Blockbuster Teams

Posted on December 06, 2007 by Kathryn Regina.


According to the book Blockbusters, it’s a company’s innovative product—not it’s price point, customer service or depreciation schedule—that creates value for customers. To discover the key practices required for developing “blockbuster” products, authors Gary S. Lynn, Ph.D. and Richard R. Reilly, Ph.D., conducted a two year study of “blockbuster” product development teams. Here’s what we thought of their findings:



Out of the five “best practices” for new product development, I thought the most interesting one was that successful teams always have senior management that is “intimately involved” with the project. This seems to run contrary to most management situations. It also raises the question as to how these managers have time to be both teammates and management. Nevertheless, the authors insist that “coming up with the ‘big idea’ is only the beginning,” and that when management merely pops in once in a while to check in on things it’s not only unhelpful, it often results in “hit and run” accidents. The authors observed that in successful teams, senior management played one of three roles: project leader, technical guru or coach.


The authors’ observation that successful teams were “not especially concerned about building friendships or even insisting that everyone like each other,” adds a harsh robotic-like element to what is otherwise a set of reasonable best practices. However, upon closer examination it seems like what the authors really observed from the successful teams was that friendships aren’t all that’s needed for a strong team, and that strong teams can exist even if not everyone gets along. That’s a lot different than saying that in order to be successful you have to be unconcerned about building friendships. Because that just sounds creepy, to be honest.


Keep it open.  Keep it clear.  Keep it consistent.  That seems to be the lesson from the book summary, “Blockbusters,”  which identifies the five necessary steps to lead a product development team.  When I say keep it open, I mean lines of communication, ideas and focus must be open to all possibilities.  It never serves people well to be forced down one unwavering path.  It is important to be clear about what your product is, what the competition provides, who your audience is and who your competitors are.  A clear idea of this allows the unique and alluring elements of your product strategy to flourish.  Lastly, maintaining consistent communication and problem-solving techniques between developers, managers and decision makers discourages the occurrence of mistakes, unfavorable relationships and unwanted surprises.


By reading specific accounts of real-life company sagas, it becomes clear that Lynn and Reilly's "5 keys to developing great new products" are vital steps to becoming successful.  The summary highlights Iomega's trip to success and teaches the reader that all 5 rules (Commitment of Senior Management, Clear and Stable Vision, Improvisation, Information Exchange, and Collaboration Under Pressure) are not simply step-by-step suggestions.  Rather, all 5 must be used tgether from start to finish in a balanced collaberation between all departments of the company.

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December 6, 2007 in award winning design, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Blogs, build credibility, business credibility, Business editorial, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, company magazine, company newsletter, Company newsletters, Company publication, corporate magazine, Corporate newsletter, Corporate publications | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The BI Marriage: Accuracy with Strategy

Posted on October 17, 2007 by Kevin G.

I was reading a great article today about setting up a solid BI system for mid-to-large sized companies. 

Garry Garis, author of the article notes, “You do not get a second chance to be wrong and these companies know that their credibility is vital to sustaining customer relationships and ultimately, profitability.”The foundations of a BI system must be solid if anything is able to be built upon it.  The accuracy of information is key. 

Being able to effectively leverage information to make better business decisions is a powerful strategy if done correctly.  Knowing where you get your information, how it is processed and to who it should go to is only half of the battle.  Garis offers some key points on how to ensure you have a solid strategy with your accurate information.

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October 17, 2007 in Brand enhancement, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, business credibility, Business editorial, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, company newsletter, company newsletter sample, Company newsletters, Company publication, Corporate Blogging, corporate magazine, Corporate newsletter, Corporate publications | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Not my beloved hyphens!

Posted on September 21, 2007 by Sarah Eaton.

In our world of word-squishing (thank you, the Internet), hyphens are gradually dropping off.  The Oxford English Dictionary axed 16,000 hyphens in its latest edition.  Some were rather antiquated (like cry-baby vs. crybaby); some I can't imagine ever using (logjam); some even I didn't realize had hyphens in them (lowlife).

You can read all about it here.

September 21, 2007 in award winning newsletter, Brand enhancement, build credibility, Corporate newsletter, Corporate publications, creating newsletter, how to publish and promote online, how to publish online, how to write and publish a paper, newsletter article, newsletter creation, Newsletter writers | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Six Productivity Tips

Posted on August 02, 2007 by Kathryn Regina.

I love that Brazen Careerist. Really, I just love her title. But I think her article on productivity offers some helpful insights as well. If you want to get more done in less time--and who doesn't?--you should check it out. My favorite tip is "focus on outcome."

Six Productivity Tips to Put Time on Your Side

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August 2, 2007 in award winning blog, Blogs, build credibility, business credibility, Business editorial, business magazine, company blog, company newsletter, Corporate Blogging, corporate magazine, Corporate publications, create newsletter, Custom publisher, Custom publishing, E-Marketing, e-newsletter, e-zine, Email Marketing, email service, ezine, ezine marketing, grow relationships, how to publish online, magazine design, magazine outsourcing, marketing newsletter, newsletter design | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What Women Watch

Posted on April 02, 2007 by Kathryn Regina.

A recent eMarketer post reveals that though women comprise the majority of internet users, they make up a minority of online video watchers. Why don't ladies like YouTube? While the blog post doesn't speculate on reasons (I can think of a few...) it does provide a breakdown of the content that both men and women say they are most likely to watch.

His Tube?

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April 2, 2007 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Corporate publications, E-Marketing, Marketing Communication, marketing solutions, nurturing relationships, online marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, web publish | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Simple and Balanced for Perfection

Posted on March 21, 2007 by Kevin G.

I find that being organized and well-balanced is one of the best strategies to take to ensure a productive and satisfying work week.

Often times the week starts out as planned as we manage tasks and then mid-way through we find ourselves pulled in every direction to please the whole world.  Well, so it seems.

With custom publishing, it’s important to keep a balanced and fresh feel with each issue.  If you feel the content is too sales oriented, try adding a cartoon or survey to engage your audience.  If the publication engages the reader but fails to draw measurable results, try adding a sales incentive or response mechanism to monitor reception beyond open and click performance.

There are many different ways to balance the perfect publication.  By keeping it simple and direct its hard to leave not satisfied with your results.

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March 21, 2007 in audio publication, blog publish, Blogs, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Corporate publications, create email newsletter, how to publish online, inc magazine, online marketing, opt-in email, Opt-in Email Marketing, outsource magazine, publish online | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Sales 4.0: Not Your Kid Brother's Lemonade Stand

Posted on February 12, 2007 by Vinnie Lacey.

Call me a skeptic, but am I wrong to suspect technology has complicated--not streamlined--the sales processes?  My simple measuring stick: more information generally equals more headaches. We're swamped at home; we're swamped in the workplace.  Give me one more place to read information on a potential lead, track my calls, and network network network, and I just might transition into a promising career in ditch digging.

But don't call me a pessimist just yet.  I'm giving it a shot.  Diving in headfirst.  Enlighten me oh wondrous, endless information age.  Make me a fool for your coy clicks, a sucker for your blips and beeps and colorful images.  I'm ready for an electronic co-dependent relationship.

My guiding light?  A recent Inc. article entitled "Turning Sales into Science" which boasts, "Your bottom line may never be the same" in the era of  "Sales 2.0."  (Side note: In our line of business, I get the idea of effective branding, but isn't the "2.0" moniker getting a little tired?  I have no more patience for such vacuous naming and capricious numbering.  But if that's the game, then I'm playing by my own rules.  My blog is hereby dubbed Sales 4.0.  Take that.)

For the next two weeks I will be whisked away into the e-wonder that is the networking site LinkedIn (called MySpace for businesspeople, but apparently without the cute photos) and the business directory/lead generator Spoke.

Check in the next two months to track my adventures in Sales 4.0.  It's gonna be pretty crazy.  Umm...I mean...your blogging experience will never be the same.

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February 12, 2007 in award winning blog, award winning design, award winning magazine, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business editorial, Business relationships, CMO, company newsletter, Company publication, corporate magazine, Corporate publications | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Even Giants Can't Escape PR Rollercoaster

Posted on January 15, 2007 by Vinnie Lacey.

Wal-Mart.  Love it.  Hate it.  Or, like me, have a love/hate relationship with it.  But one thing you must respect is the retail giant's extraordinary commitment to health care for all its employees.

Yes, folks, a new year and the same old sarcasm.  But I'm just the messenger.

With the Mart often getting bad press from activists, I poked around online to see if I could find some other points of view.  The investigation quickly turned into an exploration of the company's PR machine, as I ran into this article from BusinessWeek's "Best and Worst of PR in 2006."  Mixed results.

Then I came across this illuminating article on the Mart's new commitment to energy saving lightbulbs.  Oprah?  Now that's some powerful PR.

After this cursory glance, I give Wal-Mart high marks in the PR department for smart campaigns, access to inexpensive necessities, and admitting wrongdoing sooner rather than later.

Now if they could only halt this slow degradation of American culture.   

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January 15, 2007 in award winning blog, award winning design, blog publish, build credibility, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, company magazine, corporate magazine, Corporate newsletter, Corporate publications | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Time for Re-Design in 2007

Posted on January 05, 2007 by Jeff Sanchez.

It's a new year and as it has probably  been said many times already, out with the old and in with the new. A fresh year is always a great opportunity to revamp the designs of your publications. As a new year begins, many readers may expect to a see a new format in some of their subscriptions.

Take for instance the revamped Wall Street Journal. gives a taste of the new Journal, which I guess you can say has cut down the fat. It's now slimmed down with narrower columns and added splashes of color. Designer Mario Garcia, responsible for the Journal's new design, gives the eight principles followed for the redesign and many of them can easily be applied to a re-design of any  online or print publications:

1. Make it easier for readers to navigate the Journal.
The Journal long has been a pioneer in this
area, with its famous “What’s News” columns
on page one pointing to key stories inside the
paper. But we have introduced new, more visual
guideposts at the top of each section front, and
labeling on every page.

2. Create a hierarchy of stories, so readers know
the relative importance of news. The size of
headlines and the placement of stories within
the architecture of a page should make it clear
to readers what stories matter most, to help
them prioritize their reading.

3. Maintain the best visual traditions of the Journal.
Readers of The Wall Street Journal like the
paper’s traditions—the 70-year-old “What’s
News” columns, the serendipity of an offbeat
feature on the front page, the hand-drawn stipple
portraits. Readers should recognize their

4. Remember that Journal readers come to read,
not to look. We wanted to steer readers to the
strong content inside, with new display pages
inside the newspaper to showcase the authoritative,
long-form journalism that people expect
of the Journal.

5. Innovate graphically where improvements can
be made. Today’s Journal features a new, custom
typeface that is easier to read. We have
introduced more art elements throughout the
paper. We use color more to emphasize areas of
importance, but we stuck to a limited palette of
mostly pastel hues.

6. Don’t skimp on good journalism. In an era when
information is often truncated for fast digestion,
the Journal’s trademark Page One stories
are refreshing for their authority, depth and
completeness. We underscored the importance
of those stories by creating a new, daily space
for their continuations and graphics, just before
the opinion pages.

7. Balance long-form stories with secondary readings
and quick story summaries. You will see
new “In Brief” columns on some pages, as well
as what we’re calling “summary boxes,” to amplify
and highlight the main news events and
points of longer stories.

8. Guide readers to the Online Journal—but don’t
overdo it. A large number of the Journal’s print
readers also read the Journal online. But they
don’t want to feel they have to go online to get
“the rest” of a story.

Take a look at the new Journal here.

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January 5, 2007 in award winning newsletter, Blogging Tools, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business editorial, Business Marketing, Business relationships, company blog, company newsletter sample, Company publication, corporate magazine, Corporate publications, create a newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Social Search Engine

Posted on December 20, 2006 by Kevin G.

We all know that Google and Yahoo are the king and queen of internet search engines.  They continue to flourish while the competitors struggle to keep their heads above water.

I was conducting research on search engines and found a unique engine with an intriguing edge.  Though still in development, Decipho is a new engine that offers a personal aspect to searching.  Users can filter search results based on “Shop/Services” or “Research/Info” categories or they can create their own criteria and rank websites with a Social Meter.

Let’s say you did a search and found great website deep within your search results, around the 20th result page.  Normally it would be a pain to go through all of those results again to find the specific site and bookmarking websites is not always on peoples’ minds.  Users can categorize their searches and rank websites.  These results are saved and the website link appears in the right margin whenever that search term is entered.

I can tell there will be a lot more coming from this Social Search Engine.

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December 20, 2006 in award winning blog, award winning design, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, company newsletter sample, Company newsletters, Company publication, Corporate Blogging, corporate magazine, Corporate newsletter, Corporate publications, create a newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack