March 18, 2011 § 7 Comments
The problem with technology skeptics like the many peers I met during my MBA, is that they fail to see that it is not only the changes on technology what is important, but the changes of business models and shifts on consumer behaviors. They just take it personally and refuse to accept changes just because of personal preferences and habits they refuse to change.
There is nothing more troublesome than to meet “dinosaurs” with 30 years old or less! People without a Facebook account because of unfounded privacy concerns, people fearing to blog or to reveal their name somehow online, etc. I wonder what this people have to hide. They don’t understand that is not about avoiding been online, but to learn how to have a positive and educated online presence.
I don’t expect people to know and handle all new tech evolved in almost light speed around us like I do. No! but I do expect them to at least be open to try things out and understand the implication technology has in business and society in general. I watch many of them trying, and those that see the big picture, get fascinated about all this changes as I do! (one year ago I didn’t know what a blog was!, so no, I am (was) not a “techy”!
To be more clear, let me put an example about my frustrations in class. Lets talk about eBooks for 2 minutes. Some classmates my age are worried about the growing trend of eBooks and the fear of not been able to reading on paper in the future. They focus on demonizing digital content distribution instead of seeing all the opportunities it brings. Besides all convenience and advantages that digital books have (there are of course also disadvantages) they fail to see that the digital revolution is not only about disrupting content consumption, but more importantly, about content production!. Authors have now the chance to difuse more their content through digital channels. Call it the “market of niches” or “the long tail”, etc. But even current famous authors like Seth Godin are giving books almost for free if shared via twitter about releases. Other savvy ones give their books for free for some limited time online in order to diffuse their content and they then earn from giving conferences.
By reducing intermediaries that are not providing value, production cost are shrinking enabling more authors to produce, specially those with hard access to current big publishing houses that are sometimes more focus on making money (delivering best hits) rather than distributing other good work. And we all know it happen very similar in the music industry and will continue happening to more industries where intermediaries used to provide value in the offline world, but don’t do the job any more in the digital world. Change is imminent, so lets discuss about how to embrace it and make the transition sustainable, rather than fighting against it. Specially if you are a top MBA candidate!
There was yesterday a fearly guy in class that first complained about the whole point of using facebook due privacy, bla bla bla, and later, when asked how Facebook should make money, he then simple responded that Facebook should sell the data to make more money. There is nothing worse than “offline” trolls! You can simply not deleted them that easily! :)
Blogged from my iPad! Sorry for any typo.
February 6, 2011 § 2 Comments
My first contact with Marketing was almost 4 years ago when I joined the Corporate Supply Chain Management at Siemens and was responsible for the global procurement strategy for marketing spend. My first mistake towards the word “marketing” was my association with “advertising”, which I consider not a challenging-enough task and was the reason why I rather studied engineering in the first place. Very soon I discover how wrong I was. I missed completely the fundamentals of marketing like understanding the market, creating a customer value proposition and developing a marketing strategy and plan. Advertising was just a minor part of the implementation part, in better words of marketing guru Seth Godin, “Marketing has to come before the product, not after”.
4 years later and some MBA classes afterwards, I think to know what Marketing really is. Or do I? Well, I better do, cause I am now co-founder of foodieSquare (an online marketplace that connect food lovers or “foodies” with unique and authentic european artisan producers) where I am leading the marketing silo. For this reason I desperately had to become a marketing expert in weeks and very soon I was able to identify that there was this old traditional Marketing or Marketing 1.0 (which I just couldn’t identify my self with) and there was the future of marketing, the new marketing or as I call it Marketing 2.0.
You should know more about me to understand why I I was asked to co-found foodieSquare to become the head of “new marketing”! My passion in life is technology and I do feel to understand it like no other by experiencing the impact of technology in my personal life. I just like to feel the way the new technology impacts me first, hence I try as much technologies as I can. This enables me to understand the effects of technology on consumer behavior and the consequences of new technologies on business and society in general. I am very grateful to had Enrique Dans as professor of Information Systems at IE Business School. I realize that I am not crazy to have this passion about technology and understood why I was the few of my class to see that things had changed. In my view, there is nothing greater than to see such big technological changes occur in such a short time and it fascinates me to think about all the new business opportunities around it! But there is a catch: You have to be willing to change yourself in order to lead change. Now, I can see more clearly how technology has become the main driver for marketing and how things have changed for marketers.
I liked to call this new marketing “Marketing 2.0” and there are some few people in the web that also use this concept even though it is not institutionalized yet. This is why it is important to describe it a little bit better. Lets start with what is not. Marketing 2.0 is not digital or online marketing (Please avoid the mistake I did when I thought marketing was advertising!). Yes, it’s true, the new marketing was triggered mainly by the creation of the internet and all the new technologies that had evolved since then (i.e. Social media). Things have changed, marketing is different now and technology has allowed us to pick and choose what messages we want to get and when we want to get them. No wonder why Internet is outpacing TV for time spend and this is because now more and more people are connected to the internet, and most recently, to social networks like Facebook. “We are going to see this huge shift where a lot of industries and products are just going to be remade to be social” (Mark Zuckerberg during an interview with 60 minutes, see minute 10:40”). And this is already happening. An HBR article from this december issue states that social technologies are helping—if not forcing—brands to form new kinds of relationships with customers. Other study says that Facebook is been used by 81% of Y-Gen users daily and there are studies that say that 63% use social media to engage with brands and more than 50% say that Facebook, blogs and brand videos affect their opinions about products.
So, if you are a traditional marketer, you are in a big trouble cause you are not going to reach your customers as you used to do. For me, the new marketing is about understanding how consumer behavior is shifting and hence, how the marketing approach has to change. We now know that marketing is not advertising, so Marketing 2.0 is not about creating online campaigns, digital banners or viral videos (Something being viral is not, in itself, viral marketing) either. Marketing 2.0 is more about adapting new ways of interacting with consumers that will result on a shift in the marketing process, culture, strategy and plan! It is now all about engaging communities by collecting more and better data and using it efficiently to add value to the community. Hence, the fundamentals of Marketing are still there (Creating Value, Capturing Value and Sustaining Value) but the way we now segment and target the market and how we do positioning has changed drastically. You cannot longer market to the anonymous masses, because they’re not anonymous and they’re not masses!
Not been part of the “Marketing 1.0” world has been a clear advantage for me, cause I am not biased. Patrick Spenner mentions for example that the problem of traditional brand-management models aren’t up to the current task is because they are designed for an outdated organization structure and depend on people with the wrong skill sets. If I had to describe Marketing 1.0 in a short sentence I would summarize it as the one way communication channel build by companies, not communities.
Challenges of Marketing 2.0
After some few weeks working for foodieSquare I have quickly realized all the challenges I am and will be facing as head of “new marketing” and will affect my marketing plan. But also established small and big companies are facing these! After some some research, here is what I think are the biggest challenges to face in this “new marketing” era:
Creating good content: you have to have something worth to talk about to your community that brings value. It doesn’t help to advertise your company in forums or send promotional emails. Probably they will be ended in the spam email folder or you will be removed from forums. Because only relevant and useful content will be shared by user of your community, focus in content is the prio 1 in the Marketing 2.0 world.
Bringing value to the community: Creating content that is valuable for the community is crucial and hard to do. You just don’t create a community but rather you participate in one. Hence, the first thing to do is to understand your community. You also have to understand the actual communication landscape in order to select the right tools to interact with your community. This can be for example: blogs, twitts, emails, advertising (online, offline), Facebook App, Interactive Ads, Semantic web, Tablet and Mobile Applications, etc.
Understanding customer behaviors: With so many changes going so fast, how customer behaviors change is the first thing you want to watch. In order to understand these changes, it is important that you, as an individual, are also willing to change. Kevin Colleran, Global Account Lead at Facebook and also considered Facebook’s employee #2 after Mark Zuckerberg, suggested during a digital natives debate to try to live a day in your customers’ new media mix: “For example, if your target customer spends five hours a day on Facebook; sends 120 text messages and half a dozen tweets a day from a smartphone and posts photos, videos, and blogs around the clock; “checks in” regularly using Foursquare at favorite retail locations to become “mayor”; relies on a plethora of mobile apps like Google Maps to get from one place to another, RedLaser to check prices on SKUs at Kroger or Best Buy, and Fashism to crowd-source advice from others while shopping; goes online at RueLaLa and GILT for flash sales just when the boutiques open; and subscribes to Groupon or LivingSocial for alerts on local deals, there’s a good chance you might want to know what it’s like to live a life like that.” “There’s an equally good chance that knowing what it’s like to live your customers’ media might change the way you use marketing and media to reach, influence, and interact with your customers. It might even change what you do radically.”
Shifting the Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ). David Edelman in his last HBR article comes to the point by defining the new consumer decision journey: consider, evaluate, buy, enjoy, advocate and bond. He mentions how for marketers, the old way of doing business is unsustainable and that why they need to realign their marketing strategy and budget with where consumers are actually spending their time.
Aligning the internal organization: It is a common mistake to think that technology has only revolutionized how companies and consumers interact and fail to recognize the internal organization implications for companies. As described by Patrick Spenner, in “Why you need a New-Media Ringmaster” traditional organization have several department in contact with the customer like customer support, corporate affairs, marketing, etc. In the current hyper connected world the chances of missing what customers really wants is high under such organization structures. Roland Smart, a Marketing 2.0 consultant, says it even clearer. “Marketing 2.0 is about opening your company to the community but also about opening windows between your organizational silos so they can talk to each other and share resources”. The latest article from the McKinsey Quarterly regarding Web 2.0 and networked enterprises also confirms, based on empirical analysis, the importance of pushing toward fully networked enterprises. They suggest companies to integrate Web 2.0 technologies into employees day-to-day activities, to break down the barriers of organizational change and finally and most important use technology to connect customers, business partners and employees! Clear winners are fully networked (internal & external) enterprises. The empirical evidence suggest a strong correlation between this companies and a greater market share.
Develop (or hire) the 2.0 skills: Reorganizing wont help much if the wrong people are designed the wrong marketing strategies and plans. Marketing 2.0 require people not only with digital savvyness but also those who can following skills mentioned by Patrick Spenser: integrative thinking, lean collaboration skills and high speed! Furthermore, it is crucial to develop a total new function within companies brought up to the media by Scott Brinker, marketing technologist blogger and President and CTO of ION Interactive. The new role is called the Chief Marketing Technologist (see slides from Scott here), a marketer who is also a technologist and act as a hybrid between Marketing, IT and reports directly to the Chief Marketing Officer. His/her mission is to “help the CMO translate strategy into technology (and vice versa), Choreograph data and technology across the marketing organization and fuse technology into the DNA of marketing practices, people and culture. Brinkers says, “Marketing most champion its own technology”.
So, for startups like the one I am founding it is clear that the role of marketing can only be found with the new marketing principles. At foodieSquare, acting as a Chief Marketing Officer and Technologist, my tasks will be to understand the implication of current and future technologies in the community and interact with them in the most efficient way in order to deliver a consistent message that is credible that will enable to build trust and loyalty with an emotional engaged community. For establishes enterprises the things to do are clear: reorganize, develop 2.0 skills, hire a CMT and make marketing own the technology, enable interaction within employees in order to better interact with customers. It is crucial also to focus on content and on delivering value to the community, gather as much data as possible and identify the right tools to use with you customers. Finally, get all this information and experience learned and put them in you marketing strategy and plan!
Scott Brinker predict that in the next 5 years we will see an explosion of marketing technology. I guess he is right when he says that Marketing must control its technological destiny! At foodieSquare, I will make sure we will!
December 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
If you are a fan of magic or just someone who loves to keep things in secret, then you are going to hate the links I am posting below. I just hope I don’t get arrested as Wikileaks founder did today!
Disappearing the Statue of Liberty by David Copperfield. (…and here the trick revealed!)
Actually you can find almost all magic tricks revealed in YouTube by now. So, if you are planing these days to make a living by keeping things secret, then think again.
Technology is changing the world directly and indirectly. It takes only one staff member from the David Copperfield team to upload a picture or video to the net to reveal the most precious secret! It takes only one employee to reveal the next iPhone before it reach the market. It only takes a soldier to reveal secret government information. And all without the need of a hacker, a spy, or any other kind of sabotage activity. The hardest truth comes from within, where it needs to come from and only when it needs to be revealed. There is no way of controlling information from within and it can not longer be kept secret forever.
So? what do? Fight against it? or better simply adapt to it and change behaviors to avoid exposure? Well, it is sad to see how people, companies, industries and even governments keep on thinking they can stop this trend and hence, continue to make the same mistakes, again and again. Take the US Government for example, trying to neutralize Wikileaks by shutting down their domains or by using all of their power to bring Julian Assange down. Do they really think these leaks can be stopped? Wikileaks or any of the 100 mirror pages, or even better, any new similar site to Wikileaks will continue as long as there is truth to be revelead.
So, as David Copperfield’s magic, there is no way to keep these secrets safe these days…is this necessary bad? What speaks against a transparent information society? Yes, we all like magic tricks, but we all know they are just that, magic tricks. When a government act in our behave in an non-transparent and unethical way, well, we should embrace platforms like Wikileaks. This is why Wikileaks is actually a good thing for the US, as Wired Magazine just published. And as Julian Assange said, don’t shoot the messenger!
Transparency 2.0, Welcome!
November 5, 2010 § Leave a Comment
During the last past months I have been learning lots of new stuff throughout this MBA experience. Since the start, I have set myself into an “experiment and try new stuff” mode. Now I see how I have already started to change behaviors.
Because of the new technologies that are enabling new business models (after disrupting old ones) and my willingness to adopt early to all these new trends, I am now doing things differently. This changes are making my life more efficient and convenient!
So far, there are three big things I have decided not longer to do:
1. Buying physical content. This means acquiring no more content stored in CDs, Blue-rays, DVDs, USBs which applies for all digital media like music, video, software, games and others. If is not digital delivered to my devices, I am not buying it! More important is the avoidance of all content produced on paper, which includes: printed magazines, newspapers, books and any other sources of printed information! I am sure that print media will never be completely dead, but will definitively lose the dominance vs all kind of digital formats in the near future.
2. Single source news reading. I was used to read news from one or two single newspaper only. Now I use Twitter and RSS to get my news. I get the info from more than dozen prestigious sources and other many dozens via blogs! I specially enjoy reading recommended articles from friends and professors. I use applications like Twitter, Facebook, Flipboard, Pulse, Reeder for the iPad and their equivalent for the iPhone. I avoid reading articles from my laptop because it is just like the old fashion way to consume digital media (no wonder print was still more dominant). I also continue listening to audio podcasts and watching video subscriptions from my TV and my other mobile devices.
3. Printing. Yes! you heard right! Lets be consistent here for once! If I don’t purchase physical content, why should I produce it? Hence, I have decided not to print again unless it is a life or death situation! So far I haven’t printed in about 6 months! How do I achieve this? specially as a student? I read all my PDFs and all stuff from my iPad. I am taking my notes digitally and I even decided to kill the printed version of my CV, which means, only online and personal contact for my application process. No more paper requires not only to change the format but also of how we see and do things. So, I guess I am leaving paper just for all those other physical needs :)
Some final thoughts. There is nothing greater than to see such big changes occur in such a short time. Imagine now all the new business opportunities! But there is a catch: To be able to come with new business ideas, you first have to live and understand (experience) how this technologies affect your daily life as a normal consumer. You have to be willing to change yourself in order to lead change. This is the only way to understand how customer behavior can change and by doing this, avoid all the mistake that traditional industries (music, publishing, telecoms, etc) are still making.
The world is changing, are you?