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Category: User Engagement

There are 5 posts published under User Engagement.

Keslow Camera Always Ready for “Action” with a Tablet Solution

Keslow Camera may not be a household name, but if you watch TV or go to the movies, you’ve seen our work. As one of the largest camera rental companies in the Los Angeles/Hollywood area, we have a long list of credits ranging from Lone Suvivor to Disney’s upcoming Tomorrowland, to popular television shows like Sleepy Hollow, Chicago Fire, Shameless, and many more.

Our success comes largely from a culture that always puts the customer first. This requires commitment, talent and very efficient business processes. That’s why Keslow Camera abandoned its old paper-based system for a custom FileMaker solution for iPad, iPhone, and Mac computers that we affectionately call Flawless. Today, the solution touches every aspect of our business, from managing contracts and bids to fulfilling orders, tracking equipment worldwide, invoicing, and forecasting sales.

After implementing Flawless, I’ve learned several ways to succeed with tablets.

  • Don’t get bogged down in paper: Instead of spending several minutes trying to locate an order or determine what’s in stock and what is already rented out, our team can now respond instantly to customers. This flexibility enables us to land important contracts with major media and entertainment companies.
  • Involve the entire staff: We now have over 50 employees across various offices around the U.S., all using Flawless running on Macs, iPads, iPod touches, and iPhones. The equipment puller, shipping & receiving team, and prep technicians all use iOS devices to accomplish their work.  Any time barcodes are being scanned in or out to build contracts; an iOS device comes into play.
  • Engage management: We’re using iPhones running Flawless remotely, either from home after hours or anytime we are out of the office to check availability of gear. This capability is especially handy throughout weekends when we get emergency calls.
  • Keep speed in mind: Production teams need to know in advance what equipment is available if they need additional gear shipped out. Flawless helps us submit bids faster than the competition so we are the first to respond to the customer.
  • Think paperless: We need to manage a large number of PDFs – purchase orders, contracts and invoices. With our custom solution, the company can maintain these documents externally to the solution in managed storage, while still being able to have instant access. 

Developer Scott Rose of ScottWorld developed Flawless. The database is hosted on a Mac Pro for easy access across Keslow Camera’s offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Santa Fe, and New Orleans. Managers and staff can tap into the information they need anytime, from anywhere, including via iPads and iPhones. The FileMaker Go app brings the full, rich application to Keslow’s iPad and iPhone users – it’s not just a slimmed-down version of the database.

Plus, unlike typical off-the-shelf software, it’s really easy to make updates and improvements to our solution, as our business grows – no waiting for months or years for new features. With our new solution, ScottWorld can constantly and quickly make improvements any time an employee has a good suggestion.

Keslow Camera is growing roughly 30 percent year over year, so having this kind of power and flexibility is essential. This blazing-fast solution, accessible to our staff nationwide, is really helping set us apart from our competition.



Are You Dating the Next Aaron Hernandez Online?

We’re all shocked.

Someone is not who he appeared to be.

(Insert sarcastic gasp.)

The Aaron Hernandez soap opera, which now includes blue bubblegum, once again reminds us that appearances can be deceiving. A person we once thought was worthy of respect now seems far from deserving any reverence.


Will these charges against Hernandez have all of us suspect those we idolize? Perhaps.  What we need to take from Hernandez’s story is that we must not take anyone at face value, whether in the real world or online. When meeting people in the real world, you can glean a certain amount about them through in-person interaction. The online world is a bit more secretive. I have created a roster of tips that will ensure that you trust the right people in your online interactions with strangers.


Your Roster for Safer Online Meetings


The QB – You’re the Quarterback. You call the shots and you are in control of your online transactions. If something seems too good to be true, like you’re a Wide Receiver being totally open, remember to check the Safety (pun intended). Remember, if someone is unwilling to provide the information you need to feel safe, whether that be a real name, a real address, or a photo, then keep on moving.


The Offensive Line – You want someone to cover your blindside. When using dating sites (Match, eHarmony, Zoosk, and Plenty of Fish), P2P Sites (Airbnb, Relayrides, and Flightcar), and Commerce Platforms (Craigslist,, and Angie’s List) you must make sure that they’re watching out for your best interest. Large platforms are the gatekeepers and have the ability to make the rules for what types of individuals they allow on their systems.


So, to that end, here are some good considerations when choosing platforms:

  • Background Checks – Does your platform run them and in what capacity? If the person you’re communicating with online were coming to your house, wouldn’t you like to know if she has a long list of burglary offenses?
  • Social Media Verifications – Is your platform actually using OAuth to connect social media accounts, which you’ll rely on for information, or are they permitting users to just drop in URL’s, which could be someone else’s?
  • Photo Verification – Is there any sort of check and balance on the photo? Does it come from a semi-reliable source like LinkedIn?
  • Certificates and Seals – See what other’s are saying about your platform and if it’s been vetted by anyone.
  • Safety Policies - How does the platform vet its users (if at all), and what information does it allow users to share for transparency. In the NFL, you want the best watching your butt.  So demand the same of your online platforms.


The Receiver  - Deals get done when two parties connect, whether it’s for a date or the selling of a car.  You want the other party in the transaction to be on the same page as you. For online transactions, make sure that you both feel comfortable with each other and that no red flags arise.


Sample Red Flags

  • Online Dating - No picture or a picture that is obviously photoshopped should make you think twice.
  • Online Dating – Is s/he too hot for you? Like your parents always said, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
  • House Rental – Pay attention to questions that seem out of the ordinary – “Do you have a place off the street to “hide” my car?” should send you running for the hills.
  • House Rental –Hesitate if your prospective renter makes inquiries for someone else.  Do you want to be turning over your keys to someone other than the person you checked out online?
  • Craigslist – Just like with dating, you should be suspicious if the deal seems way too good to be true.  Extreme urgency and prices well below market value should really make you question the goods.


The Defensive Line – Online, just like in the real world, the best offense is a good defense.  You need to surround yourself with a barrier to prevent the other party from getting too much of your personal info. Just like you tell the guy you met on Craigslist to meet you at a public place, you want to have some semblance of control when translating the online relationship into a real world relationship.  Consider ways in which you may control the information with systems like REPP.


The Kicker – In the future, we will all be meeting increasing amounts of strangers online in ways and for reasons that we’ve never imagined. Unfortunately, what comes hand in hand with these new opportunities are new ways that unsavory individuals can take advantage of you.  So, remember to always watch out for those little guys both on and off the field, with one small action, they can send you home disappointed.


While it’s very unlikely that you’re communicating with someone who’s the center of three murder investigations, it’s better to know that now than to find yourself being interviewed by CNN later.  No longer can you just assume that if he’s on a dating, commerce, or networking site, he must be everything he appears.  You must be vigilant to make sure that your time, trust, and safety are in the right place.



How Black & Decker Questioned Success and Discovered a New Market

Like most industrial concerns at the time, Black & Decker became an integral part of the United States’ war effort during World War II, producing power tools used in the defense industry. Alonzo G. Decker, Jr., a Vice President of the company (as well as the son of one of the founders), noticed that a defense contractor was buying drills at an unusual rate:

“Are they breaking down?” Mr. Decker asked.
“No, they are disappearing. Women are taking them home in their lunch baskets,” he was told.
Mr. Decker said he replied, “When females are taking drills home, we ought to be making something just for the home.”

“Toolmaker innovator Decker Jr. dead at 94″ Baltimore Sun, 3/19/2002

Aside from the sexism (it was the 1940s), two things should stand out: Decker was proactively looking for anomalies (including orders that were “too good”) that might indicate problems and he was alert to new opportunities. With the end of the war, Black & Decker launched a line of power tools for the home market, selling their millionth drill in less than five years. After nearly seventy years, the market has grown to $14.5 billion, of which Stanley Black & Decker holds $5.2 billion. Imagine the difference it might have made had he ignored either the anomaly or the opportunity.

In my previous post, “Faster Horses – Henry Ford and Customer Development”, I pointed out the importance of understanding the problem space in terms of customer needs and wants. While listening to customers is a valuable technique, Decker’s story shows that observing them can be just as valuable, if not more so. Some people dislike confrontation, some people dislike complaining, but their actions will generally conform to their feelings.

While the latest Big Data techniques can potentially give great insight into a customer’s motivations, Decker’s experience proves that lower tech metrics can work as well. The key is determine what the needs are and then pay attention to how well those needs are being met using the best methods at your disposal. Detecting issues before the customer complains can pay dividends - Alonzo Decker was looking for a problem when he found a multi-billion dollar market segment.


Practical Social Media for 2013 by Google Analyst Stephen E. Arnold

Information about social media for businesses is everywhere.

The surplus of ideas, suggestions, tips, tricks, and insider information confuses more than clarifies. But we cannot thrive without social media. So what should a business do with social media in the last six months of 2013? What are the practical actions that are “must have” status, not the “nice to have” ideas from the bleachers?

Let me run down the five most important actions based on our research for a major publisher who asked this question, “What do we have to do this year?”


Facebook. Check your Facebook page.

If you have one, is the content current? If you don’t have one, create a Facebook account, a Facebook page, and assign either yourself or a single individual to manage the content posted to that page. At set up time, consult a guide like Facebook’s at and follow the directions. Interestingly Facebook’s popularity among those over 40 is rising. The use of the system by those younger is decreasing.

Google Plus.

Get a Google Plus account and create a basic persona page. Monitor the content on groups germane to your business. You can find a listing of Google Plus at Our research indicates that Google Plus is growing in influence. Learn the hot buttons for Google Plus by exploring and observing. Jumping in without checking the temperature of the water in the pool can deliver quite a shock to a social media swimmer.


Create a company page and a persona page. The basic LinkedIn presence is free. Once you have posted basic information which LinkedIn will prompt you to provide each time you log in. Identify groups germane to your company’s interest. You can scan the list of groups at If you want to be noticed, you will need to post appropriate, factual comments to groups. Stick with facts and avoid blatant self promotion and marketing pitches. Take responsibility for these LinkedIn content pages or assign the task to a single person.


Twitter is an information culture. Accounts are free. Obvious functions like indexing tweets, figuring out how to track particular business topics, and crafting brief comments is tricky. You can send a tweet from almost any device connected to the network. Our research indicated that for a business, factual messages sidestepped some of the more inflammatory aspects of the service. Coordinating and managing company-centric tweets is a good idea.


Everyone wants to make a video. On the surface, a video is much easier to create than a business white paper or a content-rich essay for a Web log. Most videos on YouTube are not viewed. If you create a video, keep it short. Pay attention to quality. Once you have posted a video, you should have a marketing action in place to call your prospects’ and customers’ attention to the video. For some companies, a video can get a complex point across quickly. If you commit to a video, you will want to create a series of videos. One shots do not generate significant traction unless you are a master of viral marketing like Psy, the Gangnam style pop singer’s backers. Instead use multiple angles and cuts for a professional appearance.

Signing up and moving forward on these five touch point s is easy. There are some considerations which our research can maximize the payback from an organization’s social media activities in the last half of 2013.

What about launching a professional blog?

A casual blog is easy to roll out. Navigate to Tumblr, sign up, and go. An online publishing presence for business requires work, time, and money. A casual post or two every few weeks is unlikely to work unless the author is a high-profile figure. Our research suggests that blogs need to be planned and executed in a professional manner. Otherwise, don’t bother.

What about posting presentations on Slideshare?

Google once indexed PowerPoint presentations and PDF documents quickly and comprehensively. In the last year, the scope and timeliness of the indexing has, its seems to me, degraded. Slideshare is a LinkedIn service and allows registered users to posts PowerPoints. If you have a high-quality, content-rich presentation, post away. Keep in mind that findability of presentation content is a work in progress. You will have to hook the presentation into your marketing activities; for example, an email to key contacts, a reference and link on a Facebook page or a well-phrased comment and link on a LinkedIn page or in a LinkedIn group, tweets, and maybe a traditional news release will help get the talk noticed. A single presentation posted in the wilderness of Slideshare or a similar service is likely to be ignored.

What about posting pictures on Instagram, Pinterest, and other services? If you sell a product or can create an image that drives business to your door, think twice about firing off an image. Our research suggests that image services have a findability problem. You can post an image, but how does one find it. You will have to do the promotion and publicity yourself. Depending on your market, images might not cause your telephone to ring or your email to chime.

What’s the net net for the last six months of 2013?

Social media is not a solution to basic marketing challenges? Social media is not a single function like old-fashioned direct mail. If the message is off center and the quality below par, social media will at best yield zero results. Make an error and the Internet pit bulls will pounce.


Social media is not responsive to one-shot actions. Because “social” means “humans”, use of the identified channels requires sensitivity to the idiosyncrasies of each service and the users of that service. “One size fits all” is not found in the social media mall. To be effective, the basics of planning, execution, and follow up have to be figured out before pumping out content.


Social media is anchored in an individual who is providing information on behalf of him or herself, a persona, or an organization. Professional, responsible approaches to content, messaging, and interaction with others is essential. Those pit bulls rarely sleep.


Is there software which can make managing and producing social media content less of a hassle? Yes, but tools like Hootsuite at do not do the planning, writing, and interacting for an organization. Like most high-value business marketing opportunities, resources and consistency are necessary.


Social media is a low cost, ubiquitous feature of today’s connected world. As one US military professional said, “Focus on the front windshield, not the rearview mirror.” Just drive carefully across the social media landscape for the balance of 2013.


The 11 Commandments of Conversion for Online Stores

Effective user engagement is the Holy Grail for e-commerce, but how do you measure it?

A generally accepted view is that user engagement can be summed up in three key metrics: how much time a visitor is spending on your site, how often they visit your site and what they do while they are on your site. But this perspective misses out on the most important metric: conversions. User engagement can’t be an end in itself and conversions have to be the goal of any good user engagement model.

Conversions online stores are quite complex, because a few important factors are missing from the communication process: you can no longer see or hear a customer. To get a user to buy something, you first have to get them to see a product.  Doing this means you have to be relevant, but it doesn’t stop there.

What could you do?

Conversions work on the basis of understanding your users, using that understanding to provide relevant content, and then giving an extra push to get them to a point of purchase. There are a few approaches you could take to work towards a better conversion rate.

  • Page optimization: Optimizing your content to reflect what someone’s looking for can go a long way in helping with conversions. Some of the possibilities here would include:

    1. Optimizing Your HomePage: It is only logical that you list your top selling products right up where everyone can see them. You can also go one step further and list products that are most likely to sell, although you would need a really innovative analytical tool for that.

    2. The Checkout process: Ensure transparency. Allow guest logins. The checkout page should be free from distractions. Focus on giving information to the user that might inspire confidence such as a confirmation of purchase details, delivery info, or help information.

    3. Landing pages: Customize landing pages based on the customer source

  • Site design: “Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works.”
    1. Use breadcrumbs for navigation.

    2. Customers often have way too many user names to remember, let them use mail ids instead.

    3. Include a prominent help section.

    4. Ensure a contact number is always available, especially during the checkout.

    5. Include a search box on every page.

    6. Allow users to zoom in on images.

  • Copy writing: A lot of selling revolves around being able to tell a story well. Use your copy writers to write short, engaging product descriptions

  • Chat solutions: This is probably one of the easier ways to keep your users engaged. You get to chat with your customers in real time and actively influence their decisions. Chat based solutions typically work better with products that require a fair bit of explanation.

  • Recommendation Engines: Amazon got a runaway hit with in-site product recommendations and the model has since been replicated almost as a standard across most e-commerce firms. Recommendation engines come with the inherent risk of false positives compromising the customer’s experience.  A new way of looking at recommendations would be to exclude products that the user is almost surely going to dislike.

  • Faceted search: Faceted search tools are a great way of filtering out a lot of products and will enable your customers to find goods they actually want.  However, they can sometimes cause more problems than they solve. They can be extremely restrictive. Using ranges instead of hard numbers can help.

  • Using the right analytics tool: Data when used effectively can be a great tool to drive more conversions.   There are a dime-a-dozen tools out there that provide insights on user behavior online. Most of them provide url based insights (a different and more effective way would be make interpretations on product level data). Some of the possible improvements here could be better campaign management or inventory management.

  • Email personalization: Deliver relevant content to users via mail and then bring that content to the site for purchase.

  • Pre-purchase analytics: Insights from data that are collected while the customer is still in the store can help you make more informed decisions.

  • Knowledge based marketing: Choosing the right time to run a promotional scheme is half the battle. Choose your discounts, offers, and campaigns carefully and pick the right time to introduce them to your shoppers.

  • Shopping assistance: Assistance that is always available can be a key driver for offline conversions. Translating assistance to an online setup is a bit of a challenge but there are a select few tools that do it well. Offering your customers automated yet intelligent assistance during the shopping process will definitely improve their experience and boost conversions.