Brewing Disruption: Percolate’s Future of Retail

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When it first launched, Noah Brier’s Percolate was a daily filter of quality social media content delivered directly to your inbox. But there was a deeper, darker and stronger agenda lurking beneath the surface of the Percolate news – a marketing platform that seeks to become the system of record for marketing. Now boasting clients as diverse as GE, Unilever, Converse and Pandora, Percolate have begun to amass a big data warehouse that can yield up-to-date information across a range of industry categories.

In their Future of Retail report, the Percolate team have curated 50 charts that signal the changes that have occurred and that are projected into the near future. Broken into six sections – macro trends, industries, eCommerce deep dive, consumer behaviour, path to purchase and offline strikes back – there is plenty to think on for the traditional, hybrid and digital retailer alike.

You can register to download the report for free – but there are few charts that caught my attention and are worth a closer look.

Percolate-6 Price and Coupon Search Leads In-Store Phone Use:  Perhaps there is no great surprise here, but this research lends weight to anecdotal evidence and data analysis that suggests smartphone use in-store can play an important role in closing a sale.With 31% of respondents indicating that they use their phones for comparison shopping in-store, it’s clear that there is an opportunity to use technology to influence a sale with an almost immediate impact.Question for retailers: Have you invested in “right time” technologies that allow you to target, reach and engage shoppers who are in-location and ready to buy?
Percolate-1 eCommerce Growth Driven by Mobile: We’ve been saying this for a while, but it’s clear that transacting via smartphones is becoming commonplace. And when we read this chart in conjunction with the one above, the message for retail laggards is equally clear – disruption has arrived.This disruption has been made possible because of the gulf between customer expectation and the retailer’s ability to deliver.Question for retailers: What do your competitors look like? How do they approach eCommerce?
Percolate-5 Social Traffic Conversion Rates are Growing: For years it has been accepted that social media is more about brand building than about sales. But the data reveals some growth here. And as with anything digital, those experimenting and learning from their efforts now, will reap the benefits further down the track.Question for retailers: What are you learning from your social media eCommerce / conversion initiatives?
Percolate-4 Consumers Will Pay More for Sustainability: In all countries/regions, there has been a significant year-on-year rise in the percentage of consumers who will pay a premium for sustainable products and services. This puts social responsibility on the brand agenda precisely at a time where sustainability is under pressure from the political classes.Moreover, it has never been easier for consumers to determine the scale of a brand’s commitment to social responsibility.Question for retailers: Have you gone beyond “greenwashing” to make a true commitment to sustainability? How does this play out in other aspects of your business beyond the product?

You can download the full Future of Retail report and charts on the Percolate website.

Disrupting Retail: Three myths about digital and in-store shopping

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A couple of weeks back I had the opportunity to speak at the DiG Festival about the future of retail. The panel hosted by retail guru, Nancy Georges evolved very quickly away from a simple notion of retail to one augmented by digital technology, mobile connectivity and dominated by a focus on customer experience.

And while great strides have been made overseas in recent years, it seems that Australian retailers are only now starting to properly grapple with the challenges and opportunities afforded by digital. For many categories, this has left gaping holes in the retail experience, affording startups and more agile small players to enter and dominate parts of the Australian retail landscape. Just think of the way:

  • Zara swept into the country, catching Myer and David Jones completely off guard
  • Shoes of Prey have outflanked and reinvigorated the custom women’s footwear space
  • ASOS out-compete local retailers with reliable online shopping and speedy fulfilment

In many ways, this is symptomatic of a larger shift in consumer behaviour. We are now using our mobile phones and digital devices to fulfil our consumptive impulses, and Australian retailers have been caught with their pants down, having stubbornly under-invested in technology, innovation and customer experience for decades.

There is, however, an increasing body of evidence that retailers can rely upon to bust the entrenched, old-skool thinking that seems to dominate the boards and executive ranks of Australian retail. And this latest research from Google is a great starting point. Busting three myths about digital and its relationship to in-store purchase, the report shows:

Myth 1: Search results only send consumers to eCommerce sites

The research shows that far from creating a barrier to in-store shopping, quality search results can drive in-store traffic. However, this clearly means that retailers have to be actively managing and updating their web presence and product catalogues.

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Myth 2: Retailers lose the attention of in-store customers once they turn to their smartphones

With 42% of in-store shoppers searching for information online while in the store, an up-to-date website with integrated recommendation could deliver powerful cross-selling opportunities.

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Myth 3: Online research has relegated in-store experience to the transaction

In reality, consumers have higher customer experience expectations than ever before. For example, 85% of shoppers say they’d be more likely to shop in places that offer personalised coupons and exclusive offers in-store.

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You can download the full report here. But it is time for retailers to go beyond reading and to step out of the shadows of the Twentieth Century. It’s time to embrace the opportunities that come with disruptive technology and business models. Not to do so will open yet more doors to disruptive competitors – and no business can afford that.

Do CMOs Like to Play the Field?

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CMOs are a funny breed. They work with a constant tension – half living in the shadow of the former incumbent and half looking towards their own future vision. And with a tenure that lasts about 45 months, that means that there is about two years’ worth of clean air for the marketing chief to make their stamp on a business. It’s precious little when you think about it.

So, from an agency point of view, working with a CMO also has challenging ramifications. Is there alignment between the agency and the CMO? Is there a long term partnership? Or is there a whole new agenda at play?

The Agency Management Institute has released a study that looks under the hood at what truly drives the agency partnership by interviewing CMOs from across the US. It reveals three main style of CMO:

  • Looking for love: these are the CMOs who are in it for the long haul. They are looking for the one-stop-shop and see the agency as a partner in the business and brand building process
  • Playing the field: this is the CMO who hires best of breed. They want the expert know-how and will shake up the agency relationship to keep the blood pumping
  • Single and satisfied: these CMOs are firmly in control of their own destiny – they’ve got strong in-house teams and use agencies on a project by project basis.

Understanding the CMO you are dealing with can help you plan ahead. But there are some things that all the CMOs agreed upon – agencies need to stop being pushy and need to work on building trust levels. Easy to say, hard to do.

 

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Take the Australian Social Business Survey 2014

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To call out the term “social business” seems almost anachronistic in 2014. After all, aren’t we all now working in “social businesses”? Haven’t we all been part of the digital transformation sweeping every business?

Well, yes and no.

When I ran my first social business survey back in 2011, I was interested to gather some data on Australian-based businesses. After all, there was plenty of information available about the US – but anecdotal evidence suggested that we were behind that curve. Way behind. And again, in 2012, the survey revealed that there was a gap – not only between Australia and the US – but between businesses and the customers they served. It was what IBM called a “perception gap”.

These days, despite what we hear at conferences and read on news sites and blogs, it seems that social business, digital transformation and (dare I say it) innovation continues to struggle. Sure there are pockets of connectedness. Campaigns for transformation and change. And even some success stories. But what is the true picture?

Participate in the survey and receive the report for free

When you participate, you not only have the chance to share your perspective on the state of social business / digital transformation in Australia. You will also receive a copy of the report when it is complete. This will allow you to get a sense of where you and your business stand in relation to others.

Please take a few minutes to complete the survey. And if you already happen to have AskU on your smartphone, simply enter the Private Code social2014 [case sensitive]. And be sure to share it with others. The more responses we get, the better the report will be.

ADMA Experts – 56 Trends Shaping Australian Marketing

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Each couple of months, Association of Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) convenes their expert groups on a wide range of topics. Drawn from across the marketing landscape, these groups hash out important, practical topics and challenges that impact their daily work. There are groups that focus on multi-channel, and acquisition and lead generation through email, B2B, search and social media to data and analytics – and everything else between.

Having been a participant for the last two years, it can be a fascinating process to go through. It’s a chance to share your own business and marketing challenges and to learn from others.

Earlier this year, each member of every group was asked to put together a brief prediction for 2014. All of these have now been collated and published. And you can download the report for free. The report outlines 56 trends from data and privacy to wearable tech. It may be the most useful 22 page report you’ll read this year. It will, at the very least, challenge your plans and strategies for the months ahead – and hopefully validate your own work. Download it free here.

Pew Research’s Conrad Hackett Has a Beautiful Tweetstream

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Pew Research is the US-based, non-partisan “fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world”. It regularly makes a splash in social media by the regular release of research data on a wide variety of topics.

And as the Edelman Trust Barometer suggests, in a world saturated with information, we turn to brands like Pew that carry a sense of reputation and authority in order to make sense of the world. After all, it’s not more facts we need. It is insight. Analysis. Recommendation.

But how do we make sense of it all?

For those of us who look to research to help us make decisions, plan our strategies and execute our visions, Twitter has become an invaluable tool. If we organise our Twitter tools well – like TweetDeck or Hootsuite – we can curate a single, unique portal that delivers much of what we need – the content, context, filters and network for sharing. But you will also notice, as you scan the Tweetstreams, news feeds, hashtag chats and so on, they are very text heavy. My own included. But when you visit Pew demographer, Conrad Hackett’s stream, you are greeted by something altogether different. Dare I say, beautiful?

Brains and beauty are always a winning combination. Check it out.

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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

The Shift from Mobile First to Mobile Only

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Constellation Research - Digital Disruption Trend Report Every year the mobile marketing industry boldly announces that THIS will be the “year of mobile”.

In 2005, Sony Ericsson, O2 and Samsung added new features and capabilities to their mobile handsets, delivering 2Mb cameras and GPS to blur the lines between the personal digital assistant and the cellular phone. It was the year that BlackBerry conquered the world and the Apple iPhone was still two years away from it’s game changing launch.

Mobile Device Saturation Outflanks Marketers

Over the last seven years much has changed. But perhaps the most astounding change is the near saturation levels of mobile phone usage – not just in the US, Australia or Europe, but globally. The World Bank reported in July 2012, that mobile phone access now reaches 75% of the planet’s population. And Google Trends reveals an unprecedented surge in mobile marketing interest.

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And yet the question remains – how ready are enterprises for the demands of a mobile-ready world?

Marketers have been slow to adapt – first to the web and then to the mobile. Consumers (ie 75% of the global population), however, have not, embracing every new wave of mobile innovation with open palms. The World Bank report suggests that rather than petering out, the “mobile revolution is right at the start of its growth curve”.

Digital Disruption: Lessons from Asia Pacific’s Digital Trajectory

Asia Pacific is not just an economic juggernaut – it is also a petri dish showcasing the consumer behaviour and business impacts that are being wrought by the shift to digital. And while many enterprises have begun to respond with a “mobile first” strategy – designing customer experiences around the mobile device, our trend report on digital disruption suggests that this may not be enough. For many consumers, the future of digital may not involve a desktop computer at all. Mobile first may not be enough – it’s time to consider what it means to have a web experience that is mobile only.

For marketing leaders, there are five key lessons that can be drawn from Asia Pacific and applied to any market:

  1. The Internet experience is mobile with a social heart.
  2. Consumer adoption is disrupting patterns of media consumption and transforming the buyer’s journey.
  3. Digital adoption will drive marketers’ thirst for mobile solutions.
  4. Marketers will turn to marketing automation to scale execution.
  5. The shift to digital requires a re-casting of the marketing funnel.

Download a copy of the report to learn how mobile and social adoption will change your market strategy.

B2B Marketing Benchmarks and Trends + Two Insights for Content Marketers

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs today launched the 2013 edition of their B2B marketing benchmarks and trends report.

Based on a survey of over 1400 marketers in North America, the report reveals the trends impacting corporate marketers across the full spectrum of business size:

  • Content marketing remains a priority: With 90% of marketers using content marketing in some form, using up to 12 tactics to deliver on their programs
  • Social media leads the way for content marketing: With an 87% adoption rate, social media has become the #1 tactic for content marketers
  • Budgets will grow in 2013: Content marketing accounts for 33% of marketing budgets, and more than half of those surveyed indicate that budgets will increase in 2013.

While the trends are good news for content marketers, there are TWO revealing insights based on this report:

  1. Marketers will demand content performance analytics. While content marketing has the CONFIDENCE of marketers, there seems to be a gap between that confidence and hard figures around effectiveness. As budgets increase, so too will accountability. Marketers will demand performance-oriented analytics to justify budgets, prove channel and content effectiveness and optimize campaign performance
  2. Brands will turn to agile content producers. The survey indicates that the #1 challenge is producing ENOUGH content. While there has been a trend towards in-sourcing content (56%), we are also seeing the rise of agile content production agencies and sole traders (which is part of the Constellation Research business theme the Future of Work). Faced with increasing demand for content and supported by content performance analytics, content marketers will turn to agile content producers to fill the gap in their content marketing schedules