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Great articles roundup: Advocate armies, controversy, susceptibility, social media, startup ideas, and an Innovation Map

By Alexandra Reid

As a regular feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are Marketo, NextGen Journal, ReadWriteWeb, B2B Bliss, Ventureburn, and Montreal Tech Watch.

Building a B2B marketing brand advocate army

Great information on how to create a program to reward B2B brand champions, modelled after Marketo’s own champion program.

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Hard-cabled for success

By Jeff Campbell

I recently had a very refreshing day in terms of strategic marketing. I spent several hours with two entrepreneurs in Toronto who are building a great business. It is the way they are going about building the business that is so refreshing to me. It is a well-focused, pragmatic, and calculated strategic campaign to ultimately be the 800 lb. gorilla in a well-defined niche market. I am speaking of Shaun Ricci and Somen Mondal, co-founders of N4 Systems, and their safety and compliance service, Field ID. More about their success and future plans in a moment.

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What technology firms must get right to internationalize quickly

By Tony Bailetti

Conventional approaches call for a technology startup to gradually internationalize from local to home continent markets before entering the global market. Unfortunately, these conventional phased approaches take too long, cost too much, increase stakeholders’ risks, and waste the passion of many talented people who develop innovative products and services for startups.

While many founders talk about making their new technology firms global, they act as if the local market is the real home for their products and services. The reality is that only a few entrepreneurs invest in projects designed to use resources and sell products and services in multiple countries within the first three years of their technology firms’ life cycles.

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Why I like customer advisory boards

By Jesse Rodgers

Seeking out customer feedback and using it to build a great product is not a new concept. Great designers have been doing it for a long time as have great companies. The Lean Startup manual (or startup bible to many) talks about involving the customer while developing that minimum viable product (MVP): “The minimum viable product is that version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort.

Where that generally leads people is straight to building a simple application that might not be sexy in its design but it is functional or a landing page about a new product that might not exist yet. Using Google Analytics and collecting email addresses along with some “conversion” points becomes what you focus on. However, if you forget to actually talk to customers as well you could be wasting a lot of time. Especially when you are moving past your MVP or have a product that people are paying for.

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Managing perceptions and product at RIM like Apple did

By Jesse Rodgers

A tweet by Peter Mansbridge brought a lot of people’s attention to an article entitled Steve Jobs’ Lesson for RIM: Power of Perceptions, Turnaround 101, which focuses on how Steve Jobs changed the perception of Apple. That perception shift was driven a lot by product, and it wasn’t the iPod that did it. It was the other product — the Mac computer — and Apple’s ability to extend the life of a dead OS. Apple focused on revenue building and its “cult of mac” first.

The problem Steve Jobs faced with Apple’s OS going from the OS 8/9 to X and where RIM is now feels very similar. Apple extended the life of a dead OS while it built the OS for its future (OS X), the one that gave it the flexibility to build the iPod, the iPhone, and beyond. Did Jobs manage perceptions through how he spoke about Apple? Sure, but he also needed his product to deliver on the promise that Apple is innovative and cool.

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