Partner of the Month – Oddcast

HOLDCOM’s partner, Oddcast, has been unlocking new and creative possibilities for social media and viral marketing campaigns since 1999.

Based in New York City, Oddcast has powered some of the Internet’s biggest hits, including CareerBuilder’s “Monk-e-Mail”, E*TRADE’s “BabyMail”, McDonald’s “Avatarize Yourself”, and groundbreaking and successful word-of-mouth campaigns for companies such as Coca-Cola, Disney, Ford, Kellogg, Procter & Gamble, Progressive, Purina, Verizon, and Volkswagen.

CEO Adi Sideman Introduces Oddcast

oddcast - adi

 

Oddcast By The Numbers

50
million+
Number of people who’ve used Careerbuilder’s Monk-e-Mail, an Oddcast-powered campaign.
90% Percentage of people who prefer characters in interactive sessions, according to Stanford University’s Center for the Study of Language and Information.
93% Percentage reduction in Vonage’s CPA (Cost per Acquisition) when using Oddcast-powered interactive advertising, compared to traditional rich media advertising.
20 Number of languages into which Nokia’s Music Almighty, an Oddcast-powered campaign, was translated for local use.

If you’re looking to get viral results from your marketing, we invite you to contact Oddcast today.  Check them out on-line at www.oddcast.com.  And remember, you can use your HOLDCOM voices with your Oddcast and Sitepal projects.

App of the Month – Wolfram Alpha

wolframalpha

The WolframAlpha app (and website) is a giant step forward toward web 3.0.  Just when you were getting settled into web 2.0, WolframAlpha jolts you into the next dimension of the web – or smart web.  Promoted as a computational engine, this search tool doesn’t just show you websites where your answer MAY be found, instead it gives you the answer.  It’s a data-cruncher in the palm of your hand.

From mathematical calculations to facts about current weather, WolframAlpha is like having the character Spock from StarTrek sitting by your side.  No matter what you type into the search bar, it will try to calculate it in some form or another.  Enter the word “Red” and it will return not only a sample swatch of the color red, but it will also give you hexadecimal code, the nearest pantone color code, and much more.

Enter your first name, and it will show you the history of that name, estimate how many people currently have that name, and the average age of a person with that name. Stuck on a crossword puzzle and only have a couple of the letters?  Just plug in what you have and WolframAlpha will give you every possible variation.  Wondering how many calories the Big Mac & Diet Coke you ate for lunch have?  Just type in “big mac+diet coke” and WolframAlpha will produce a nutritional chart with more information than you might want to read.

Beyond the fun and intrigue, WolframAlpha will give you the answers to your questions, not just a list of sites that might have the answers.  So, will we soon be saying, “Oh just ‘WolframAlpha’ it”?

Check out some examples or this video to learn more.

Eco-Friendly Travel Tips

Think Green (recycling symbol)

OK, the summer’s heat is upon us and you’re getting ready to pack your bags for your next getaway, so we wanted to pass along some great tips for your summer vacation that will, in turn, benefit the environment.

When planning your trip:

-Consider taking a bus or train, instead of flying.

-Also, consider traveling with a group.  Ask a travel agent about available group packages.

Before you leave the house, go through this simple, yet effective, check-list:

1) Make sure your water heater is on the lowest setting.

2) Turn off or lower your central air conditioning.

3) Unplug “energy hog” appliances.

And remember, if you’re staying in a hotel, reuse your towels, wash cloths, and bed linens as much as possible.  Having the housekeeping staff change them each day translates into unnecessary usage of water, soap, and energy.

Happy Traveling!

The Internet Has Crossed The Line

The internet has crossed the line. No longer can a user innocently “browse” or “surf” on gentle information waves; they are sucked into a hurricane of blogs, tweets, and streaming video; the “websurfer”, whenever logged on, becomes an unwilling participant in a web of economic stratagems. Google Chrome logs the time, date, and position of every mouse click or content search; ads target preferences listed on Facebook; and almost every business, large and small, must have their own website. In fact, government agencies such as the IRS or the copyright office prefer the use of the “easier, more manageable” online forms, and God forbid if you don’t have a Blackberry or iPhone (my condolences to the Palm).

The difference between the internet at the cusp of the millennium and the present is that businesses have caught up to the demands of its users. They have designed a “social media” strategy that can supply a service while generating profits, even in the face of torrents. And it harkens back to the basics of economic evolution.

Instead of trading three chickens for a goat, one can exchange a red pen for a house on Ebay or Craig’s List. Let’s say you pay in cash. But how do we make sure this trade is secure? Forget banks; Paypal is the way to go. How do we get more customers? Through freemium services: 97% of users can enjoy basic services for free, while the other 3% pay the premium fees and enjoy the luxury of being on the “inside”; maintaining, funding, and policing these sites out of a strange dedication bordering on obsession [Twitter, Wikipedia, Flickr].

But what happens when businesses give into the pressure? They begin to outsource. But this is not the “oh-that-is-so-2008″ outsourcing crisis: this is a proactive solution to the overflow of information, one that is wiser and less invasive than information hoarding.

For example, Mixxchannels (www.mixx.com) is a unique online service dedicated to online businesses [not the average user] that “give publishers an easy way to cut through the swirl of social media and create an engaging experience with their brand and design.” This website takes the physical language of “brand” and “design” and recontextualizes their function within the context of online advertising. This service, which of course, supplies “personalized quotes”, has a catchy slogan: “Gather the chatter”. It will use search engine technology, much like a census, to find all the social media websites, chat rooms, and message boards that talk about your brand or topic and organize them neatly onto one page.

Another example of outsourcing information is Rdio, which is in its infant status of being pre-launch. This service will supply “unlimited” access to music from your computer and mobile phone, even when you’re offline. The information is separated from its source, your home computer, which is further distanced from its original creator. In effect, the consumer is paying for information freedom.

Which brings us back to economics. Convince a consumer that your product is not only better than the rest, but also necessary, and you have a sale. But convince your consumer that your product is more than necessary – customizable, shareable, and personalized [Pandora allows users to create their own radio stations and stream it live to their friends] – and hopefully the consumer will become part of that 3% who are personally invested in the welfare of the company.

We are approaching the era of Open Source, where users actively engage with companies to “perfect” the product [website] through manipulating the computer code and submitting their ideas. Outsource your information to those who know best: the customers!

Pick Up The Phone

red phone in hand

According to a recent study by Nielsen Mobile researchers, “The average U.S. mobile phone subscriber now sends and receives more text messages than voice calls, with a typical U.S. teen sending and receiving over 1,700 text messages every month.”  For more fascinating statistics about phone vs. text usage, click here.

Since email, instant messaging, and “texting” have challenged the status of the telephone in our daily social and business activities, there is a growing tendency to underestimate the value of a simple and direct phone conversation, particularly in the context of commerce and customer interaction.  For over a century, the telephone has provided an effective means of mass communication unparalleled in the history of civilization, and although technology has provided (only recently, I might add) inexpensive alternatives via the Internet, a phone call conveys levels of meaning that are often lost in the two-dimensional world of texting.

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July 4th Fun Facts

July 4th is synonymous with fireworks, barbecues, and all sorts of summer fun. But did you ever stop to think WHY we celebrate on that particular day? Historians contend that the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4th, but not signed until August 2nd, 1776. To confuse things further, the document was voted in on July 2nd, but dated July 4th. In 1781, Massachusetts was the first colony to recognize “Independence Day”, but it wasn’t until 89 years later in 1870 that Congress made it an unpaid holiday for federal employees.

With that being said, HOLDCOM will be closed Monday, July 5th, in observance of the July 4th holiday. From all of us, we wish you a Happy Independence Day!

The Time! The Time! Who’s Got the Time?

pencil on white paper with eraser

When we reach out to our clients to remind them about updating their on-hold program, the most common reason clients cite as to why they don’t want to update is because they don’t have the time to modify the script.From local auto body shops to major hospitals, people find themselves with more to do, and unfortunately updating their Message-On-Hold script seems to move to the back burner… and often right out of the kitchen!

Well, I’m here to introduce you to your own personal time-saver: your Holdcom Script Consultant.Every client has one, and we’re the ones to help you get the job done. Need to review your current script?  Just contact your Script Consultant and we’ll quickly send you a copy via email or fax.  Already have some content changes in mind? Just call, email, or fax your desired changes to your Consultant. Remember, your ideas don’t have to be written in complete sentences – feel free to jot down some bullet points and we’ll be happy to rework them into the copy.You can also send us press releases to work from, or you can direct us to specific areas of your website.  Your Script Consultant can format any information you provide into a Message-On-Hold script.

Stumped on what to change in your script?  Ask your Script Consultant if they can provide any suggestions.  For example, are you promoting your website?  Have you recently joined Facebook or Twitter and would like your callers to know about it?  Has anything new and exciting happened to your business recently that your callers would be interested in?  These are all simple, yet effective, marketing tidbits that belong in your Message-On-Hold script.

So, that script updating project that you’re worried will cost you so much time and attention really won’t cost you much at all. Contact your Script Consultant today and we’ll get you on the fast track to having a brand-new Message-On-Hold program produced and live on your phone system.