Then We Set His Hair on Fire
"Then We Set His Hair on Fire - Insights and Accidents from a Hall-of-Fame Career in Advertising" - a book by Phil Dusenberry.
Phil Dusenberry is the former Chairman of BBDO North America, one of the largest advertising firms in the US. While the author claims that the book is more about insights and ideas than about the advertising industry, I believe that most software developers will love reading about how the mega-companies make their ad-buying decisions.
The book title is a reference to BBDO's crafting of the Pepsi ad in which Michael Jackson had an unfortunate accident. And, in fact, some of the most fascinating stories in the book are about the negotiations between Michael Jackson and Pepsi. They're intriguing, not because of Michael Jackson's star value, but because of what they can teach us in the software industry about negotiations.
Pepsi and Michael Jackson apparently had no difficulty agreeing on his $5,000,000(US) fee. The first major problem - which didn't surface until after the contract was signed - was that Michael Jackson did not want his face to appear in the advertising video. He simply had strong feelings about the topic.
The Pepsi people never dreamed that Jackson would accept a huge payment, and not expect people to see who was featured in the video. But they compromised. They included flashes of Jackson's face - enough to make him recognizable to his millions of fans, but not enough to upset him about seeing himself pictured in the video.
The lesson for software authors is that you have to ask every question under the sun when you're negotiating. Don't assume anything about what's important to the people you're negotiating with.
The other big surprise for Pepsi surrounded the selection of the music for the video. Nobody was surprised that Michael Jackson did not care for the music that Pepsi created. But a lot of jaws dropped when Jackson said, "Why don't you use 'Billie Jean'?"
The people at Pepsi had assumed that using Jackson's two-time Grammy Award-winning song would be so expensive that it wasn't worth discussing during the negotiations. By contrast, Jackson thought that using "Billie Jean" in the video advertisement was no big deal.
Again, the lesson for business people in general, and software vendors in particular, is that you should never assume that you know what is important to the guy you're negotiating with.
This is a fun book, with wall-to-wall ideas that can help software publishers, shareware authors, and microISVs.
thumbnail - A tiny image that you can place on your home page or product page.
When the thumbnail image is clicked, you send your website visitor to a larger image. This technique is effective in offering screen shot information on your website.
title tag - An HTML tag that lets you describe your web page.
Each page on your site should have a short, descriptive, unique title. The title will show on your users' "favorites" lists when they bookmark your site. And many search engines use the title as the page description that they show users in the search engine results page (SERP).
To look at every web page on your site that has certain keywords, go to Google and use their site: and intitle: operators. For example, if your site is called www.my-web-site.com and you want to find every page that has the phrase "Sam Smith" in its title, you would type this into Google's search box:
site:www.my-web-site.com intitle:Sam Smith
Don't put spaces before or after the colons.
tombstone ad - A small, text-only newspaper or magazine display ad with a simple lined border.
Tombstone ads are usually the smallest display ads that you can buy from a newspaper or magazine. Some publications lay out pages with three columns, with each column containing ten ads.
Prices are generally very low. Response rates might not be terrific. But these ads are popular in trade and professional publications where people are looking for commoditized products or services.
If you decide to try this type of advertising, don't expect to be able to bargain with the publication's advertising manager. Newspapers and magazines make very little money from these ads, and they have very little incentive to negotiate price.
total cost of ownership
total cost of ownership - An estimate of all of the direct and indirect costs associated with owning a product or service.
Total cost of ownership (TCO) is a technique used in the sale of high-ticket items such as enterprise software. It is designed to minimize the feeling of sticker-shock that prospects have after learning how much they're going to be charged for an application.
TCO calculations usually include depreciation, tax benefits, and optimistic estimates about how long the prospect will keep using the product, as well as estimates about how the prospect team's productivity will increase by using the application.
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