Marketing Provocations from We Are Social, Singapore

My Chernobyl Adventure part 2: Fallout Danger

The WeAreSocial team in Singapore consistently produce thought provoking research and showcase the powerhouse that is Asia. Their regular reports (available on Slideshare) aggregate data from across the web and make connections between the trends and the reality on the ground. And for those wanting to understand the shifts in marketing in Asia, they provide a great series of primers. (Of course, the best thing to do is to GO.)

The latest presentation by Simon Kemp, shifts this up a level, offering eight provocations on the future of marketing. No matter whether you are  client-side or work for an agency, these provocations offer a powerful challenge to the status quo of the way that we carry on the BUSINESS of MARKETING.

  1. Social equity drives brand value. Think participation rather than broadcast.
  2. Communities have more value than platforms. Think outside-in rather than inside-out.
  3. All marketing must add value – Think why rather than how.
  4. On the go is the way to go – Think mobile only rather than mobile first
  5. From big idea to leitmotivs – Think traction rather than blast
  6. From selective hearing to active listening – Think signal rather than noise
  7. Experiences are the new products – Think benefits rather than features
  8. CSR evolves into civic engagement – Think doing good as the price of doing well

Now, if these indeed are provocations, they are aimed precisely at the way that we marketers do our work, conceptualise it and execute on it. It becomes personal very quickly. So the question we must ask ourselves is – “which of these most impact me, my work and my customers – and what will I do about it”. I would love to know your thoughts!

Kickstart Your Campaign with Video

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The crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter, is a fascinating microcosm – it brings together all the elements and challenges of a business often before that business exists. So in many ways, a Kickstarter project is a pre-startup startup – and accordingly it faces many of the same immediate challenges. But where startups sprint towards product, Kickstarter forces a path towards market development. Those who can’t market, don’t win. And like current marketing trends indicate, video plays an increasingly important role in that process.

Research from MWP Digital Media shows that Kickstarter projects that have a video are 85% more likely to achieve their funding goals. This tends to match some of the trends we are seeing in broader marketing circles – with YouTube and Vimeo consumption continuing to rise – impacting not just brand and engagement metrics but also working at crucial junctures in the path to purchase.

Video, however, is a steep learning curve – so there are obvious benefits to outsourcing. But new features in familiar apps/platforms like Instagram and Twitter (via Vine) make it easy to experiment. And I have a feeling that the role of user (or brand) generated video content is only going to accelerate in the next 12-18 months. I have already begun testing this out for myself and with clients.

These days marketing never sleeps. I hope this shift isn’t catching you napping.

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Social Recommendation in Action

Jawbone Up

I like marketing and branding, but I have always been more interested in action. In movement. In change. And how we make decisions in a digitally connected world.

I like seeing the way that words, image (and sometimes) music, can set a ball rolling.

And this is precisely why social media is fascinating. Take today for example. I had been thinking recently about my lack of exercise and had been looking for a way to break my own personal deadlock. A random tweet on the subject resulted in a relatively quick outcome – I went from thinking about fitness and a solution like the Nike Fuel Band to the purchase of a Jawbone Up in hours.

How did this happen? Take a look at the Storify below to see.

Now tell me, do you make decisions this way? Are brands listening in? Do you think they care? They should.


Clearing the Marketing Cloud Fog – Adobe Completes Neolane Acquisition

The sunset factory

The sunset factoryWhen I began researching the marketing automation market late last year, it seemed like a crowded market. It seemed clear at the time that the competitive fog produced by the various marketing platforms was obscuring the very real benefits that technology delivers to marketers, and that the end result would be consolidation.

Yesterday, Adobe helped clear some of this fog by completing its acquisition of privately held marketing automation vendor, Neolane. What impact will this have? My news analysis can be found here – and the official release here.

From a platform point of view, Adobe is filling the gaps in marketing technology arsenal, with:

  • Analytics – the data and data crunching at your fingertips
  • Target – personalisation and targeting
  • Social – executing and measuring social marketing programs
  • Experience Manager – cross platform content digital asset management and optimisation
  • Media Optimizer – managing and optimising cross channel campaigns

And with Neolane joining the Marketing Cloud offering, Adobe is aiming to be the marketing technology partner of choice. Expect to see more activity in this crowded market.
Image: Creative Commons License Kevin Dooley via Compfight

Adobe Symposium Sydney – Sets the Eagles Amongst the Clouds

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Over the last few years, Adobe has been quietly acquiring companies, building and extending their enterprise focused suite of products and – to some surprise – integrating and consolidating their marketing software into a powerful “marketing cloud”.

At today’s digital marketing symposium, Adobe showcased much of this hard work – with products that are focused around their four pillars:

  • Listen
  • Predict
  • Assemble
  • Deliver

They have done the hard work of consolidating the various platforms into a cohesive and comprehensive offering built around marketing roles and functions. But of course, recent acquisitions like marketing automation platform Neolane takes all this to a new level. I fully expect to see a new pillar – “automate” – being added to the pillars in the next 12-18 months.

I will look to take a deeper dive into each of the aspects of the marketing cloud, but this Storify captures the events of the conference – from presentations to case studies and demos. I even tried out Vine as a way of capturing some of the demos.

But one thing is clear in amongst all the hype of the day and the power of the presentations – Adobe’s marketing cloud takes enterprise software to a new UI level. And the promise of the integrated offerings will have traditional marketers wanting to go digital and digital marketers needing to know more about traditional approaches.

Data-Driven Code of Practice Updated

Lighting sequence

Lighting sequence

There has been a great deal of change in marketing practice over the last decade. There are new channels like social and mobile, new technologies like apps and new ways to measure effectiveness.

To take account of the changes, ADMA is kicking off a consultation process to engage marketers with the aim of updating the ADMA Code of Practice by the end of the year. You can participate in a two minute survey on the code here.

Key points to remember:

  • ADMA’s existing Code was developed in the late 1990s to address issues around telemarketing and fair trading. The Code needs updating for the self-regulatory challenges facing marketers using new data-driven channels, techniques and technologies.
  • Data volumes are growing exponentially and this is giving rise to renewed privacy and data security challenges that can be addressed via the Code.
  • With new privacy laws about to come into effect (March 2014), a revised Code will enable ADMA to establish best practice under the new privacy regime and help members ensure they are meeting their legal requirements.
  • The revised Code will become an enabling tool for marketers and advertisers committed to excellence in customer data management in the era of “Big Data”.

Creative Commons License Kevin Dooley via Compfight

Don’t Market Like it’s 2003. Get With the Program

La Gustadera, G0! 1986. Diseño revista Vectores

Over the last six months or so, I have taken a deep dive into the world of Marketing Automation, Digital Disruption and Mobility and Marketing Trends. And with every report, I see evidence of the situation playing over and over again – there is a growing distance between business and customers. It’s not just a gap anymore – it’s a chasm:

In reality, we are not really dealing with a gap. It could be better described as a “mismatch” – after all, a “gap” would indicate some alignment. But the problem for brands is that the distance between the two sets of expectations [customers and businesses] is growing.

The pressure in this relationship rests firmly with the marketing team. Digital and social media has not only transformed the way that most marketers work, it has significantly added to the process of marketing. There’s so much more technology involved, more analytics, reporting and monitoring. There are more agencies to deal with and more relationships to manage. And targets. And budgets. And so on.

So the title of Mitch Joel’s new book struck a chord with me. Ctrl Alt Delete – we certainly need a reboot in the world of marketing. Let’s take a look at just a couple of the mind blowing stats he starts with:

  • 14% of businesses are not prepared to deal with the speed of today’s competitive landscape. Think about it. What happens to them? Do they just disappear Kodak-style? What happens to their customers and their employees?
  • 74% of businesses don’t have a plan to stay competitive in the mobile world. How many nimble competitors are already eyeing the potential markets that will become available?

The cost of entry to existing markets is so much lower than the cost of TRANSFORMATION. This is why new business models and disruptive competitors are able to quickly gain traction in YOUR markets. Here are a few ideas that you can use to help you cope:

  • Start a customer conversation: Who are your customers? I don’t mean “segments” or “personas” … I mean “real names”. Run a quick check over your records and identify 10 of your best customers and 10 of your worst. Reach out to them and ask them what they like and don’t like about you. See what you can fix and what you can do more of.
  • Run a poll on your website: Get feedback on one or two of your products by running a poll on your website. SurveyMonkey is great – or you could just use Twtpoll. You might be surprised about what you learn.
  • Dig into your website analytics: Don’t tell me you haven’t even installed Google Analytics on your website! If you haven’t, do so. It’s easy. And if you don’t know how, ask Twitter. Once you have stats coming through, look up “Traffic Sources” and learn about how your customers find you. Look at the search terms they use and the links they click to come to your site. Are you solving the right problems?
  • Make your website mobile friendly: “Responsive design” is a hot topic at the moment. But most of the robust content management systems have responsive design templates or plugins that can be easily added to your site. At the minimum, add responsive design templates/capabilities to your blog – after all, Google Analytics will show you that about 25% of traffic comes from mobiles.
  • Start or update your blog: What? Still no blog? That’s so 2003. If you haven’t started a blog, it’s never too late to do so. Start today (just check out IBM’s cool Tumblr as an easy-to-run example). Download WordPress and get going. And if you have a blog that hasn’t been updated for months, write a post and link to this article. Explain you are getting back on the bandwagon because you WANT to hear from your customers.
  • Go social: Whether you like it or not, social is here to stay. But you need to get your hands dirty. Setup an account on Twitter or on Facebook. Do a little stalking to find out what your customers are talking about. Connect and slowly build out a strategy. Be sure to own that strategy – and don’t delegate it to the intern. Make it part of your business and use it to learn more about your customers, partners, suppliers and even employees. CEOs all over the world are doing it, why can’t you?

Mid-Year Digital Marketing Trends 2013

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Report-2013trendsAs we begin to ramp up our efforts for the second half of 2013, it’s always worth taking a moment to reflect on what has emerged, what is emerging and the gaps that are becoming obvious in our marketing strategy and tactics.

For me, one of the things that has solidified is the notion that consumers are not only king, but the entire universe. As such they have become the centre of gravity around which brands now orbit.

Understanding and navigating this new “consumerverse” is a core requirement for any marketer.

My snapshot report on Succeeding in the New Consumerverse reveals four strategies to help marketers win in a state of disruption as usual:

  • The shift from participating to serving with purpose
  • Becoming connected and connectable
  • Realising that channels are dead
  • Embracing tech sector innovation

Register and download the report from the Constellation Research Inc website.

And if you would like to learn more about how this connects to real businesses, some of the interesting proof points that are emerging and how businesses can embrace disruption as a business imperative, take a look at my interview with Which-50’s Andrew Birmingham.

News Analysis: Adobe Acquires Cross Channel Marketing Expert Neolane For $600M

The NORAD of ABC in Austin

On June 27th, Adobe announced a letter of intent to acquire Neolane for $600M.  Neolane is a privately held, French-headquartered marketing automation software company with 47 of the top Fortune 500 companies as customers.

Marketers are thinking less about “digital marketing” and more about how to market in a world driven by digital engagement, interaction and commerce. The shift to digital has seen 20% of ad spending move to the digital domain, and is expected to reach over $50 billion in the US by 2015. And with 64% of advertisers planning to increase their paid social media ad budget and strong overall ad budget growth expected through 2015, the need for cross-channel analytics and automation is becoming pronounced.

For existing customers of Adobe, this has become a whole lot easier from today. With the announcement that Adobe is to acquire Marketing Automation leader, Neolane for $600 million in an all-cash transaction, real meat has been added to the Adobe marketing automation bone.

Forming part of the Adobe Marketing Cloud, integration plans will begin from today with the transaction expected to close in Q3 2013.

Marketers may not realize it yet, but the only way that they can deliver on their customers expectations is to begin investing not just spending. And a core part of this investment through 2015 is to establish scalable marketing platforms, that deliver right time insight, robust analytics and cross-channel capabilities.

What this means for Adobe

Powerful segmentation, cross-channel segmentation augments the Adobe Marketing Cloud.

The consumer master data record was one of the major benefits of the Neolane platform.  Combining anonymous and known data will connect the dots between customer data, activity in channel and behaviour which is where the Adobe Marketing Cloud’s sweet spot lays.

The fact that Neolane also operates from a single, unified code base has obvious integration appeal from Adobe’s point of view. This should allow a more rapid integration of the Neolane functionality into the Adobe platform.

Neolane’s strong client base also provides Adobe with a stronger route to market in EMEA. The Neolane team will continue to report into CEO Stefane Dehoche. Stefan will report into Brad Rencher.

What this means for Neolane

Neolane’s strong business performance in 2012 – with 40% consolidated growth – largely led by North American market push – will benefit from the acquisition. This deal extends the Neolane footprint providing access to the Adobe partner network. This will help the push into the large/enterprise segment and see the Adobe Marketing Cloud go head to head with Salesforce, IBM and Oracle.

What does this mean for customers?

In Constellation Research’s Scaling Up with Marketing Automation Software – market overview report, Neolane was consistently ranked among the leaders in the industry. The gaps in their offering dovetail neatly with the strengths offered in the Adobe Marketing Cloud and combined, they represent a powerful change in the industry landscape.

Combine this acquisition with the recent Marketo IPO and Oracle’s purchase of Eloqua, and it shows not only consolidation across the market but a strategic strengthening of the offerings in the marketing platform space. With this deepening will also come a maturing in the market both in terms of platform buying and process automation.

  • One record to rule them all. Connecting the dots between known and unknown customers delivers significant value not just to marketers but to a whole business. Bridging the various social, digital, customer service and sales profiles that are required by the modern enterprise has contributed to the fragmentation of roles and the wasting of budgets. The use of a customer master data record opens the door to the “whole of customer” view which is not just an aspiration – but is like the marketer’s ring of power.
  • Lead nurturing and scoring reduce funnel leakage. In complex sales cycles, the buyer’s journey can take months or even years. Reducing funnel leakage through automated scoring of prospects against customer segmentation data and audience profiling provides light touch marketing that can increase lead quality and improve yield on marketing campaign investment over time. The new Adobe Marketing Cloud – combining the strength of Neolane with Adobe Analytics – provides marketers with the decision-ready analytics that help optimize cross-channel marketing programs
  • Consistency of user experience drives adoption: Business users already familiar with the logic, systems and interface of the Adobe Marketing Cloud will be able to transition easily to the integrated suite. Existing internal supporters of the platform become change advocates and further spur internal adoption and rollout through enterprise marketing teams. This, in turn, will lead to accelerated ROI
  • Connecting the Creative and Marketing Clouds: The widespread use of Adobe Creative Cloud in the execution of marketing campaigns has the potential to make the job of marketing execution much more streamlined. And in a world of right time and near-real time marketing, combining the creative and marketing clouds could provide not only market leading responsiveness – but game changing competitive advantage
  • Accelerated return on investment: With change champions and wider acceptance within the user community, organizations see accelerated return on investment (ROI) as use cases proliferate and uptake is spurred.

What does this mean for consumers?

Today’s connected consumers don’t care about a business’ digital strategy. They don’t care about your mobile strategy. What they care about is the products and services that are delivered and the consumable experience that is packaged as part of that delivery. The promise of marketing platforms is that some of the clunkiness of branded experience will disappear – and that the experience will become seamless and ubiquitous. Removing the friction in the customer experience is transformative.

What else can we expect?

For some time we have been tracking the shift away from the B2B and B2C classifications of marketing to what is essentially peer-to-peer (P2P) marketing. While this is essentially an innovation driven by consumers, this kind of acquisition helps marketers to respond to that market demand.

Like all acquisitions, the success of this will be driven by the ability of Adobe to integrate the substantial benefits and features that Neolane offers. As the deal closes and new combined product roadmap begins to take shape, this combined offering represents significant upside not only for existing Adobe and Neolane customers, but for businesses seeking greater value from their marketing investments.

Full Press Release:  Adobe to Acquire Neolane

Blog from Adobe SVP, Brad Rencher, sharing his perspective on the announcement:   Advancing the Marketing Cloud with Neolane

Announcement FAQ:  Acquisition FAQ

The NORAD of ABC in Austin Trey Ratcliff via Compfight

Digital Ad Spend Grows But What About the Investment?

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When I look at infographics, I am looking not just at the facts and figures (boring) – I am looking a the underlying story. I want to understand what is taking place behind the numbers. I seek insight and connection between the sources of information, the behaviours of the industry and opportunities for the future.

So this infographic from Invesp, fired up my neurones.

Summarising the state of play for the digital advertising industry globally, it shows just how dominant Google remains in the face of challenges from social networks. A staggering 42.6% of ad spending finds its way into the search giant’s coffers, while Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft duke it out for less than half of that combined.

From an industry point of view, growth in digital advertising indicates a certain level of health. It shows that digital has firmly moved out of the experimental mode and is now a core part of a marketer’s arsenal. But it also raises significant questions – after all, if spending is increasing, are we also seeing a rise in investment? And by investment I mean:

  • Evaluating and implementing marketing platforms and technologies: Pumping more budget into digital is going to also shift the focus towards digital engagement. After all, a digital call to action can result in a click, a download, a sale and so on … and if that is the case, what investments are marketers making in terms of marketing platforms and systems of engagement? Which platforms are you evaluating for marketing automation or social media management? How are you tracking conversion, monitoring the velocity of online conversation and improving rates of conversion? CMOs should evaluate their marketing processes and look for automation opportunities.
  • Building the capacity and experience of your teams: The digital marketing skills gap continues to widen. For decades, marketers have been forced to do more with less – and now as the demand for digital skills accelerates, many CMOs find themselves responsible for teams who have transitioned from into “digital” from more “traditional” marketing fields. This has resulted in teams with limited or poor digital experience, basic skills and little time to build capacity. CMOs should carry out a Digital Skills Audit as a matter of priority.
  • Investing in customer engagement strategy: Much of our marketing strategy is built around maximising the value of channels. It’s time to stop this nonsense. We need to map customer journeys and then invest in engagement that adds value to the customer experience at key “moments of truth”. This means stepping away from the channel. Even if that channel is “digital first”. 

Have your say

What have I missed? What have I mis-read? What else needs to be improved?

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