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.
March 16, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Today at 13:30 (Madrid) Julio Alonso (@JulioAlonso) founder and CEO of Weblogs will join our “Managing Tech Startup” Class with Enrique Dans (@edans). I will be liveblogging from the session via twitter #ietechstartup and see how it goes.
My own experience with blogs has been fascinating. Before I came to IE I did not understand what a Blog was and now, almost 10 months afterwards, I am an active blogger with over 3000 views so far. I also have changed my habits, for example, I am starting to read now more blogs than news website. Therefore my first question to Julio Alonso:
- If more and more journalist are becoming bloggers, when do you expect blogs to outpace traditional news corporations? What needs to happen for this to take place?
The thing I like about my blog is that it is very personalized channel I don’t need any intermediary (besides WordPress). I follow also famous bloggers because of this same feature. Additionally I follow Weblog-like blogs like TechCrunch, Engadget, etc. But there is a limit of blogs I can follow. I have already a queue of 1000 post in my google reader waiting for me =) (and growing!)
My second question goes more about the quality of the content of blogs. Reading TechCrunch I see more and more people complaining about the quality of the post. Some of them look sponsored blogs and based that bloggers are paid on the amount of blogs they write, quality issues are arising.
- How do you maintain bloggers happy and at the same time assure high-quality blogs?
A new feature was introduced by Facebook. Facebook Comments. TechCrunch is experimenting with it and they are some initial data that suggest that “trolls” (people trying to boycott the blogger with negative and offensive comments) have been reduced significantly. I am a pro Facebook authentication. Specially for blogs! Hence my third question:
- What do you think of Facebook Comments? Are they defining how we will interact in blogs and elsewhere in the future?
I look forward for this session to start. Follow the liveblog on twitter #ietechstartup
March 14, 2011 § 7 Comments
I am live from my first elective class “Managing Tech Startups” conducted by Enrique Dans. This is his first elective on the subject, so it will be fun to take part of this experiment.
As in my first class with Enrique, we are assigned to blog about all the topics discussed in class. So expect very interest post in the next weeks. Enrique will be bringing keynote speakers from the entrepeneurial community and I will do my best to liveblog from class and see how it goes.
Enrique expects us to interact with the entrepreneurial community in Spain or around the globe. So, if you have a question for Enrique or the class, please free to send me it per eMail or via this blog.
Update 15.03.2011 – Video discovered by Guilherme
February 24, 2011 § 3 Comments
Today I attended the IE Venture Lab event: “The Advantages of Failure” at Auditorio Rafael del Pino where very interesting people like Jose Maria Castillejo (Zinkia International – Pocoyo), Jesus Encinar (Idealista.com & 11870), Alberto Knapp (The Cocktail), Gustavo Garcia (Ex-CEO BuyVIP) and other interesting speakers shared their entrepreneurship experiences and what they have learned from failure.
Every time I am at a great entrepreneurship event like this I get the same messages: “if you want to become rich and you want to avoid suffering, risking all you have, flying economy class and eating cheap food…then you shouldn’t become an entrepreneur!”
I believe all this is true. On the other hand, if you don’t want a Boss telling you what to do or you want to be independent and have control of your destiny, create jobs and most of all, learn the great experience of creating something new by meeting extremely interesting and helpful people, then definitively you should become and entrepreneur!
I guess this is why it is called entrepreneurship “spirit”, because it is all about the spirit! If you just look for making money, then you will be better becoming a banker. You want perfection and solve problems, then better become an engineer. You like to talk to people and motivate them to buy your product, then you should become a marketer or a sales man. But, if you really like to get things done and create from scratch with a 99% uncertainty and knowing that most probably, and not matter what you do, you will fail, then you are an entrepreneur!
Entrepreneurship is about the journey. The more experience the better and failing is just part of the process. And this is why only people with a strong spirit can be entrepreneurs.
See below some interest quotes I gather from the event:
Jose Maria Castillejo (Board of Directors of Zinkia Entertainment SA, POCOYO)
- “When you are an entrepreneur you have to be ready for total failure in 60 days”
- “The most difficult part been an entrepreneur is to be able to pay the checks every month”
- “Focus on opportunities, not the problems”
Jose Encinares (Founder of idealista.com)
- “Investors give you money If they see you hungry”
- “The safe bet is to be an entrepreneur in the long-term but you have to start young”
- “The unthinkable always happen!”
- “Entrepreneurs are people that goes hunt with the resources they don’t have”
Alberto Knapp (CEO The Cocktail)
- “We start a company with technology we didn’t understand, with a business model we did not know how it would work.”
- “You have to be ready to suffer! Every day you have to deal with failure”
- “If you fail, you will have the opportunity to start something new.”
- “If you want to learn and not get rich, start an internet startup.”
- “In Internet you fail faster but lighter, so it’s not that painful. Buy you need a lot of money for Marketing to get your brand known”
- “Entrepreneurs have to ask themselves where do you see yourself in 3 years if the company fails”
- “Select your partners wisely! A divorse is easier that splitting from your company partner”
- “The challenge of Internet is building a brand! It can take 3-7 years to build a serious brand!”
Book recommendation: Delivering Happiness (Zappos)
Gustavo Garcia Brusilovksy (EX-CEO BuyVIP)
- “To do something big, you have to go out of Spain”
- “Be strict with the strategy and flexible with the details and execution. Don’t lose focus, because you don’t have the resources to do so”
- “You need someone to think other to execute”
Book Recommendation: Boo hoo a dot com story
Yaron Samid (Techaviv.com, register.com, Billguard)
- “If you are not careful, a VC can become your BOSS!”
- “The job of the VC is to fire the CEO when time is right. Entrepreneurs are good building stuff but not always maintaining them successful”
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!