Is your data up in the clouds?

I first heard of cloud technology when apple launched iCloud along with their iOS 5 (operating system) on October 12, 2011 (Hendela, 2011). Instead of syncing your iOS devices with your computer every time you add new information, the information is stored wirelessly on their icloud service on the internet, which automatically syncs new information between the devices without having to manually connect the devices together. When I upgraded to the iOS5, I was extremely happy to see that every time I added a new contact, picture, music or appointment on my iphone, it magically appeared in my computer at home.  This post explains everything you need to know about Cloud Technology.

What is cloud technology?

Cloud technology allows companies to shift the location of their information technology (IT) infrastructure location to the internet (cloud network) to reduce costs associated with managing hardware and software resources (Skar, 2013). Skar explains that by doing so companies can take advantage of economies of scale to help drive down the cost of computing infrastructure. Furthermore other cost savings for companies including buying software and hardware services on a utility basis (pay-per-use) without the need for upfront costs and only for what they use, when they use it. Cloud computing enables convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of computing resources such as networks, servers, storage, applications and services that can be utilized with minimal management efforts or service provider interaction (Vuyyuru, Annapurna, Babu, & Ratnam, 2012).

In the figure below, you can compare a typical enterprise network setup versus a cloud computing network setup. On the left-side, you can see where the information is stored in a business server is connected to the internet through a router. In cloud computing, all the information is stored on the internet and can be accessed through multiple devices through the internet.


Figure 1 source:

In the enterprise network on the left, the internet represented by a blue cloud on the upper left hand corner and plays a small role in the overall enterprise network. The business server is the foundation of the enterprise’s network system which connects to other systems through cables and wires. On the right side, the cloud computing image shows that the internet can host the entire enterprise’s network and is completely wireless so it can be accessed through multiple devices simultaneously anywhere in the world with internet connection.

Clouds Networks Types

There are basically four different types of cloud networks: private, public, hybrid and community, which are summarized in the table below (Vuyyuru, Annapurna, Babu, & Ratnam, 2012):

Cloud Network Type Description
Public Third-party cloud providers made available to the public
Private Organizations use their own servers and data centers that are protected by their own security systems
Hybrid Uses both public for general computing and private for storage of sensitive data such as customer information and internal expertise
Community Used by distinct groups (“communities”) with shared concern over compliance and security using internal or third party suppliers

Cloud Services

Cloud technology basically provides three types of services: software services (SaaS) such as customer relationship management; platform services (PaaS) that allow for software development and deployment capabilities such as source code management, testing and deployment; and infrastructure services (IaaS) such as servers, network technology, storage and data center space (Singh & E., 2011).


Image source: (Singh & E., 2011)

Cloud Computing in Action

Software as a Service (SaaS) model is used in many applications. A popular CRM application is the use of where according to their website; it provides real-time updates and has the ability to link your contacts to their activities on popular social networking sites (Salesfore, 2015). The customer contacts can easy be accessed through the computer or smartphone over the internet. Salesforce stocks have risen from $12.97 in Aug. 31, 2009 to $62.85 on Feb. 2, 2015, which is almost an 80% increase of share price in six years (Yahoo Finance, 2015). This is an example of the increasing value of cloud computing and CRM software.

At my work, we are currently we are using CRM software that is only accessible through our computers, which is connected to our network. If we are offsite and need to access the database remotely we have to use another service that allows us to connect to the network via internet. There have been many complaints from the sales representatives that the database connection is extremely slow, it often crashes and is not user friendly. Because of these inconveniences our sales representatives despise  entering their sales activities. We only use the basic features of this database because there are not that many features available and requesting to have it configured to our needs is very costly and time consuming.

Platform as a service (PaaS) is described as “middleware… a set of services aimed at developers that helps them develop and tests apps without having the provisioning the servers, storage and backup associated with developing and launching an app.” (Butler, 2013). In other words, SaaS is the full service and PaaS doesn’t offer the software but the backend for companies to build software on without needing the backend end infrastructure.

Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the basic level where clients have direct access to the cloud’s server and storage. This way it allows companies and clients to outsource the need to maintain and secure servers to store information. The benefits of using IaaS are not having to physically place large servers on site and maintaining them. When you buy hardware you have to guess how much space you require and when you need more space, you need to add more servers. With cloud computing you can use as much as you need to use and it can be scaled infinitely (Skar, 2013).

Benefits of Cloud Computing:

  •  charges on a utility basis (pay-per-use) to reduce costs
  • simplifies hardware administration by giving access to large range of applications with having to download or install anything
  • reduces the need to purchase hardware by allowing companies to share resources in one place through the web
  • eases software deployment and upgrades
  • delivers products and services to market quickly
  • maintains availability (even when network failure or datacenter has gone offline)
  • gives access from any computer in the world through the internet
  • allows for scalability to support large databases with high request rates
  • adapts quickly to cope with changing applications

Sources: (Skar, 2013) (Vuyyuru, Annapurna, Babu, & Ratnam, 2012)

Challenges of Cloud Computing

The main concern about cloud services for organizations are giving up control over security, availability and quality of data (Boyd, J.D., & CIPP/US, 2014). Many celebrities have been victims of their smartphone data stored in cloud technology hacked and released to the public. Even when the data is deleted from the device, the cloud service may have created several backup copies stored to unknown locations (Janus & Chittley, 2014).

Other weaknesses include the lack of:

  • transparency to deal with fluctuation workloads;
  • ability to remove computing resources as necessary to release resources back to cloud provider in order to lower costs;
  • transaction support to undo/redo commands
  • ability to benchmark cloud performances, due to various usage scenarios, to provide stakeholders with meaningful information
  • knowledge when creating service level agreements between the host and customers due to the unpredictable workload volumes from various users and its effects on performance in underlying cloud resources

Source: (Skar, 2013)

Future Impacts on Businesses with Cloud Computing

Businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs and cloud computing can be solution for reducing IT expenses. Sakr says that cloud computing provides companies with a “Database-as-a-Service” solution where software applications are built on top of relational databases to alleviate the need of: purchasing hardware, upgrading software, hiring professionals for administrative and maintenance tasks. Because companies are essentially outsourcing how their data is being managed, the main risk is that they lose control over the security of the data.

Managers today need to understand how cloud computing will affect their data security with considerations of privacy laws and regulations that are relevant to their businesses. Managers not only have to think about the nature of the data such as employee records versus customer information but also the type of industry in which they operate in (Boyd, J.D., & CIPP/US, 2014). Stakeholders hold the companies accountable for protecting the privacy of information they collect and not the cloud service.

When selecting a cloud service provider, Boyd recommends that managers will have to do due diligence and carefully examine the cloud service provider’s:

  • financial condition;
  • insurance policies;
  • security coverage;
  • data center locations;
  • disaster recovery plan;
  • reputation; and
  • clientele

Lastly, cloud computing will have a major effect on IT roles, supply chain and performance management in the organization due to utilizing a new computing paradigm (Carlos Jr., Biancolino, & Maccari, 2013).  Companies will require knowledgeable staff and appropriate professionals to manage the business, services, and service contracts with the cloud host provider. Experts are predicting that over 80% of business will be using cloud services by 2025 (Boyd, J.D., & CIPP/US, 2014). If organizations are currently not utilizing cloud services, the challenges for managers would be to think about when and how they will transition to these services without putting their company’s valuable information at risk.

Exam Question:

What are some benefits of using cloud technology?


Boyd, B., J.D., & CIPP/US. (2014). Cloud Control. Information Management, 20-25.

Butler, B. (2013, February 11). Cloud Computing. Retrieved from Network World:–what-is-platform-as-a-service-and-why-does-it-matter-.html

Carlos Jr., A., Biancolino, C., & Maccari, E. (2013). Cloud Computing and Information Technology Strategy. Journal of Technology Management & Innovation, 178-188.

Hendela, T. (2011, October 4). Apple Press Info. Retrieved from

Janus, A., & Chittley, J. (2014, September 14). Celebrities hacked: Why you shouldn’t go looking for the nude pics. Retrieved from CTV News:

Salesfore. (2015, February 15). salesforce. Retrieved from Sales Cloud:

Singh, G., & E., A. (2011). Comparative Analysis of Various Cloud Technologies. International Journal of Computers & Technology, 23-27.

Skar, S. (2013). Cloud-hosted databases: technologies, challenges and opportunities. Cluster Comput, 487-502.

Vuyyuru, M., Annapurna, P., Babu, K. G., & Ratnam, A. (2012). Overview of Cloud Computing Technology. International Journal of Soft Computing and Engineering, 244-246.

Yahoo Finance. (2015, February 13). Retrieved from Yahoo Finance:

Feature image taken from:


From Marketing to Graphic Design

I’ve been teaching myself graphic design and watching videos. It’s totally worth it and for about $30/ month, you get to watch a variety of videos from professionals and instructors. I absolutely love it. I am now working as a Marketing Coordinator for a plastic manufacturing company in the Vancouver area. I am responsible for all the print and digital media. If you want to check out some of my website and graphic design, the “Flexible Packaging” portion is ALL me :).

Layfield Flexible Packaging:

To save our company hassle from getting permission to advertise our customer’s products and to give possible leads to our competitors, I just simply create our packaging. I have hired several designers from other countries through online crowd services such as Design Crowd and Odesk. I save 80% in design costs from using designers in India and Serbia and their work ethic is incredible because I usually get my designs within a few days. Whereas my other marketing colleagues usually have to wait a week or so to get their designs back.

Another way I save a lot of money is buying vector images from Shutterstock. This allows me to manipulate the graphics in Illustrator without having to start designing the graphics from scratch. This costs me between $7-10 per graphic which is a lot cheaper than me trying to spend a day in designing it myself. This is the kind of stuff they should be really teaching us in school. I hope you learned a thing or two about how to be more efficient in Marketing.

So far, my favorite has been designing make up packages and other consumer/retail products. See the samples I created below. My 3D designer did the package rendering with the spouts on it. We call it a spout pouch and it’s the new way to package liquids because it’s more efficient and uses less materials ( = better for the environment!).

Make Up 01

Beauty Spout Pouch 005Fabric Softener 02Shampoo_Conditioner002SunFlowerPackaging_SUP

Winner! BEST IMC Campaign for Brian Jessel BMW

Check out our winning campaign.

I created this video to show what we proposed to Marketing Manager.

I was responsible for coming up with the graphics/photos for the VIP cards, all the magazine ads, and social media/bus shelter campaign. My inspirations for the magazine ad was to take iconic locations in Vancouver and marry it with BMW’s luxurious cars. I hope you like it!

Value Propositions that Win Business

If you want to be successful in sales, you need to have a strategy on how to be desirable to prospects. This strategy can help make a cold call into a prospect if you are able to demonstrate that you are able to help them achieve their goals. You never want to start off a conversation on offering the lowest price because that doesn’t secure relationships especially if you work in a competitive environment. You need to offer more. The lowest price strategy can be a very weak position especially because some competitors will make sacrifices upfront to win the account. Also you need to make sure the selling price is high enough to cover all the expenses to acquire the account.

Your services should be worth something plus that means more money in your pockets. Your services are only valuable to the customer if you can demonstrate to them that you can help them achieve their goals successfully if they buy from you.

Steps in Developing a Value Proposition

According to R. Bagley, a contributor for Forbes magazine, there are 3 steps in developing a value proposition.  (Bagley, 2013)

  1. Identifying customer benefits
  2. Linking these benefits to mechanisms for delivering value
  3. Mapping the basis for differentiation or market play

When coming up with the customer benefits, you have to keep in mind the different goals that the purchaser, decision-maker and end-users desire. For instance the purchaser may want to achieve lowest costs; the decision maker wants a strategic partner that can handle capacity for future growth; and the end-user wants to ensure it’s compatible with operations. Try to develop a value proposition that relates to all the stakeholders.

Value propositions can be one or a combination of the following:

  • Price
  • Technology
  • Service
  • Quality

Tips for developing a value proposition.

  1. Keep it short and simple
  2. Provide tangible outcomes:
    • Improve revenue
    • Cost containment/reduction
    • Increase marketshare
    • Process speed and efficiency
  3. Include additional features outside of the actual product/service such as delivery, installation, or training

Sample Value Proposition

ABC company can improve its market share by a minimum of 4% points in a one-year period in the North American markets by upgrading your current product packaging to high definition printing capabilities and increase product sales at the retail level.


Works Cited

Bagley, R. (2013, April 9). How to Develop a Compelling Value Proposition. Retrieved from

Farber, B. (2009, March 15). Sell Value, Not Price. Retrieved from Entreprenuer:


IMC MRKT 4201 E-Portfolio

Print media – Lego’s Imagine Campaign

In 2012 Lego launched the “Imagine” campaign, created by German agency Jung Von Matt. This marketing campaign was to make parents recall the good times they had with Lego and share their creative building experience with their children. Jung Von Matt achieved this by showing popular “cult classic” childhood cartoon heros with Lego in a minimalistic way so the audience spends time with the ad to decipher what they are looking at. Cartoons used include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Simpsons, Duck Tales, South Park, Smurfs and more.

There is no message or text used in the print campaign, just the images themselves. The print ad itself is very effective and powerful in getting adults looking at it and thinking about how fun Lego can be.

Target audience: Parents with children (adults who are buying the Lego who will know the cartoons-not the kids)

Positioning strategy:  Lego is a product leader in the toy industry that has been around since the 1930’s. All their plastic pieces are made with engineering precision and high quality.

Message objectives: To build awareness and interest in product. Lego capture’s imagination.

Appeal techniques:

  • Emotional Appeal

o   Happiness

o   Family Bond


To get attention by creating recognizable characters with Lego building blocks

Evaluation Criteria:

Relevant –  4/5:

Not all ads were recognizable so if I came across a cartoon poster that I wasn’t familiar with, it was hard for me to connect. However if I was able to figure out the cartoon figurines, I was delighted ( the reaction Lego wanted me to have).

Creative/Original – 5/5:

I have not seen anything like this before. I think the ads are able to capture attention.

Credible – 5/5:

Lego has been around since the 1930’s and it’s hard not to find a person who has not ever played with Lego.

Wow Factor – 4/5:

I was very impressed with the overall creativity of this campaign, especially how they were

Television – Nissan Rogue


Watch video here:

In 2014 Nissan launched the “Winter Warrior” campaign, created by TBWA Toronto a Canadian Agency. This marketing campaign was to fresh way to dramatize the vehicles ability to navigate through winter conditions.

With the increasing popularity of gaming and evil characters (zombies and vampire) the commercial shows killer snowmen that are destroyed by a Nissan Rogue driver who saves a family at the end.

Target audience: Families that need a reliable sports utility vehicle.

Positioning strategy:  Nissan’s market position is product – creating a vehicle that excites. The company tries to be innovative with their product development but at an affordable price range.

Message objectives: To demonstrate that Nissan Rogue is engineered with an all-wheel-drive system capable of running over the worst winter weather.

Appeal techniques:

  • Emotional Appeal
  • Excitement
  • Protecting loved ones


To get attention by creating an effective tv spot that grabs attention and shows off the vehicle’s capabilities.


Relevant –  5/5:

The commercial showcased the vehicle being the hero and how it navigated through the difficult driving conditions effectively.

Creative/Original – 5/5:

For a car commercial, it was completely unpredictable, imaginative and exciting.

Credible – 4/5:

Nissan is a recognizable car manufacturer and showing that their cars can perform under extreme conditions is realistic. But the actual scenario is obviously fake where in real life there is no such thing as evil snowmen.

WOW Factor – 5/5:

The evil snowmen destroying the city capture your attention right away. I enjoy fun and creative advertisements so this type of commercial is very intriguing and interesting to me. Some audiences that do not appreciate animation or special effects  may not find this commercial appropriate.



M&M Prezel Face Book Campaign – Virtual Vending Machine


In 2010 Mars did a pre-launch marketing campaign for their new M&M pretzel product by starting their campaign on Facebook to increase initial awareness. To motivate customers to become fans of the site, Mars offered a free sample of this new product that was not launched yet through a virtual vending machine. The free product offering was a big hit and the offer was quickly shared with friends and family.  Mars had a goal of having 40,000 people sign up but ended up getting 120,000 people within 2 days.

Target audience: All demographics of all income levels were targeted.

Positioning strategy:  M&M’s uses the product strategy where their chocolate recipe is unique and highly desirable due to the right amount of sweetness which encourages snacking.

Message objectives: To create awareness for the new product and get more customers to become a fan on Facebook.

Appeal techniques:

  • Emotional Appeal
  • Happiness
  • Friendship


To increase web presence and product awareness through social media by creating a virtual vending machine on Facebook.


Relevant –  5/5:

The social media campaign was directly related to the new M&M pretzel product and fans got a free sample to try it.

Creative/Original – 4/5:

Credible – 5/5:

M&M’s is a classic chocolate treat that has been around since 1941.

WOW Factor – 3/5:

Although this was a very clever and effective strategy, I didn’t think it blew me away in terms of creativity.


Outdoor Signage:

Bus Shelter



In the summer of 2009, Fisch Franke Seafood Restaurant in Germany wanted to create awareness for their restaurant and promote the “freshness” of their food. What they came up with was an outdoor signage poster that was filled with fish swimming over a dinner plate! The marketing campaign was named, “The Living Poster.” People walking by the ad couldn’t resist looking at the live fish swimming all over the poster.

Target audience: Adults 20+

Positioning strategy: Fisch Franke Seafood Restaurant wanted to position their product as “fresh” and good tasting.

Message objectives: To create awareness and generate buzz (become “the talk of town”) for the restaurant.

Appeal techniques:

  • Emotional Appeal
  • Intrigue
  • Happiness


To create an outdoor advertising outside their restaurant that got people to look at it and talk about it.


Relevant – 5/5:

The restaurant serves seafood, so it’s completely relevant to display their products in the ad.

Creative/Original: 5/5

I have never seen a living poster before. It was very captivating and intriguing to watch the public’s reaction when they first noticed the ad.

Credible: 4/5

The seafood restaurant is located behind the living poster so the public can see the establishment and connect the ad with the company behind it.

WOW Factor: 5/5

This brings new meaning to doggy in the window! Animals tend to sell themselves on display but because in this instance, the animal is going to be served up as food it doesn’t quite have the same affect.  The ad did capture attention and there might be concerns about animal cruelty for having the fish swim around in such a tight space.


Guerrilla marketing:

DHL pranks UPS and other services

DHL prank

Video of prank:

Just recently last February, DHL played a prank on many of their competitors by arranging a package that reveals the message “DHL is faster” while the package is being delivered. To make matters worse, DHL arranged for deliveries at hard to find places so the delivery man was forced to carry around the DHL package longer.

Target audience: Businesses and Adults 20+

Positioning strategy: Product – DHL provides faster delivery service

Message objectives: To create awareness and generate interest for the company.

Appeal techniques:

Humor – DHL was able to get their competitors advertise for them in a clever and deceptive way!


Relevant  – 5/5:

DHL is in business to deliver packages and their message was promoted while being delivered.

Creative/Original: 5/5

It was very original to come up with a special ink that disappears once it warms up and reaches a certain temperature.

Credible: 5/5

DHL is a well-establish delivery company.

WOW Factor: 5/5


Managing the Communications Process

Communication is always evolving along with technology, people’s interest, experience, innovation and influential figures that contribute to the culture that we live in. Information has never been so easy to obtain – thanks to the internet and world wide web. At the same time all this information can be overwhelming where filtering, managing, coordinating and storing it all becomes an important skill. Self-expression and personal opinions can be published in an instant and become public property. Relationships with complete strangers can be created within minutes through a quick few pushes of buttons on a keyboard. The communication process has never been so complex and easy at the same time. I say it’s easy because it’s faster, with platforms and software that helps us become more efficient and effective. It is complex because there’s new norms being created such as using “hashtags” in Twitter to create trending topics, and using acronyms and emoticon to emphasize your feelings. If you never expose yourself to this kind of stuff, you start to be irrelevant and outdated.

Attending KPU was one of the smartest decisions that I’ve ever made. I’m glad I’m taking Marketing there now because had I taken it five years ago, social media and internet marketing wouldn’t be as important back then as it is now. Since being at KPU full time for the past year, not only did I get up-to-date information about marketing, consumer behavior but also how to track, measure and analyze it.

The formal training at KPU has given me templates for success. Thanks to KPU I am working as a Marketing Coordinator at a large corporation. I’m still finishing my school but what I’m learning in class is completely applicable to my job now. I have created a marketing tool kit with “Managing the Communications Process” course which includes:

  • how to plan a marketing process
  • how to write a creative brief
  • how to plan and execute an integrated marketing campaign
  • how to maximum the return on investment
  • how to create and evaluate an  advertising campaign
  • what is the framework for content marketing
  • how to manage the complexity of marketing and consumer behaviour

As I finish the course, I am more aware of how to apply simple design techniques for maximum impact for certain conditions to enhance the message through words, graphics, patterns, white space or color.

More than ever, Marketing is all about planning. It’s important to establish the brand’s personality, tone and colors early because the more the message is kept consistent the more it will enhance the brand’s identity. It’s not safe to assume or go by secondary information for consumer insight but to really listen to the conversations that are taking place through social monitoring or primary sources.

I am confident that I can complete any Marketing challenge that I am presented with as I have the necessary tools to help guide me to success.

Ways to win buyers at ZMOT [Zero Moment of Truth]

Last week I was on the phone with a video/online marketing company to inquire about how much it would cost to produce a video.  I was shocked to hear that it can cost any where between $2500 to $3500 for a 60-90 second video!  I did introduce myself as an aspiring marketing student who was only getting this information for a report and not really in the market to buy.  The guy on the phone was super nice and started to talk about ZMOT and how it was important for me to google it and look into this.  I’m glad I did and I’m thankful to him for sharing his expertise with me.

evolution of a shopper

Internet has influenced how people buy and now a days they have multiple influences to help them decide what to purchase.  Before the internet, it was difficult to compare product specifications and prices so you would rely on salespeople or flyers to give you information.  Now a days you can quickly and easily compare this online.  Not only can you research before you buy but if you have a smart phone, you can quickly bring up information quickly in the palm of your hands.  Google Insights (which I talked about in my previous post), has a whole handbook on how to win shoppers.  This handbook can be downloaded for FREE.

The handbook contains several strategies on the following:

  • Showing up at the right place.  A study has be done to show that 90% of users go to multiple screens to achieve a goal.  That could be a combination of tv, smartphone, computer or laptop.  Popular athletic brands such as Reebok and Adidas found that running integrated campaigns across all digital screens resulted in 131% brand lift or 2 million views.  Consider affiliate marketing to gain leads for your website in exchange for a lead fee.  According to Google Insights study they report that 70% of undecided customers will buy if they can get a coupon. 
  • Show up more often.  Include generic words in your keywords for searches and not just your brand.  For instance customers maybe interested in buying cotton swabs instead of just typing in Q-tips.  Alan Green, VP of Marketing at The Search Agency, says, “To grow the size of the pie,  you have to go non-brand.
  • Show up with the right content. The ZMOT elements for the right content are loyal, convenience and speed!  This requires knowing your customers and what they buy.  Then target them with specials based on personal recommendations and past purchases.  Convenience is about making the purchase easy, which purchasing online is pretty straight forward and only takes seconds compared to driving, parking and shopping at a busy mall.  Offering an easy way to return an item should be part of this convenience strategy because no one likes being stuck with a product that they don’t like.  Speed is about helping the buyer get their products in a convenient manner such as getting it delivered to their door without driving.

Many companies have saw how their sales improved by implementing these strategies and it’s well worth the effort if you can invest some time to developing ZMOT in your marketing plans.

Get the ZMOT guide from Google Insights for FREE.  It’s a great read!  Or you can join them at

I hope you find this helpful in your online marketing journey.  This is my last post for this class.  I wish you all the best.


The ZMOT Handbook. Google Inc.  Retrieved on April 22, 2012 from