The CMO Dilemma continues: IBM’s 2011 Global CMO Study

IBM recently released “From Stretched to Strengthened: Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study”.

The executive summary is here. To obtain the full text, go to:  http://www935.ibm.com/services/us/cmo/cmostudy2011/cmo-registration.html .

The most compelling finding is the first: CMO Underpreparedness. Thematically, it fits a number of opinions expressed in the 4ScreensMedia online journal. Data, devices and social/digital media are three of the most challenging areas for a CMO to understand and leverage. This triad, if you will, is characterised by exponential growth, the shortest of product lifecycles and the problematic aspect of measurement.

 

I highly recommend you read the report especially as a marketing professional. Getting a perspective on what’s on the mind of the global CMO is extremely valuable when it comes from a large and respected firm such as IBM.

As much as technologists are shedding light on the marketing function, marketers ought to be doing some listening of their own and thinking like ‘marketing technologists’.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

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Brand Engagement – The Lee Valley Tools Experience

No doubt you have read countless articles about the importance of brand engagement on social media. To this end many brands have scrambled to check off their to do list with the lattest Twitter or Facebook account so as to make new ‘friends’ or be ‘liked’ through these new channels.

That’s fine as far as I’m concerned but true brand engagement happens at the Moments of Truth – those places where customer and brand come together and something gets done (or not). To put it another way, when there is a moment of truth, there is an opportunity to deliver a superior customer service experience that is memorable to the customer in a positive way. In turn, customers will be satisfied, maybe delighted and at best, generate some ‘earned media’ (word-of-mouth) for your brand, the most powerful kind of recommendation and form of advertising.

The grass can be greener on all sides.

In my particular case, I needed a replacement part for my Lee Valley push mower. The part was a bolt that fits into a knob that is used to adjust the height of the roller. When I called Lee Valley with the intent of getting a replacement part, I was served immediately by a gentlemen who volunteered the following:

– 2 replacement bolts, 4 day courier delivery via UPS, free of charge.

Indeed, the parts arrived in two days and I was back in business. Not only was I pleasantly surprised but even happier to own a Lee Valley product. From a customer perspective, this was a superior and most memorable experience worth writing about for others to read especially since Lee Valley knew that I hadn’t even paid for the lawnmower as it was given to me by a neighbour who was discarding it in favour of a power mower.

As a practitioner of CRM and social media strategy, this is a fine example of genuine customer engagement by a brand this is not contrived, driven by a campaign or planted by an influencer. The Lee Valley experience was simply part of their script, as in reflective of their customer service culture and  the way they do business. 

It is clear that Lee Valley Tools own their brand and product way beyond the point that it’s in the customer’s hands as the positive perception of the brand was augmented several steps away from the original point of purchase.

Not only was this was a fine customer experience, it was very engaging.

– Ted Morris 

The Marketing Technology Landscape

I’m not 100%  sure how to address the growing complexity of the marketing function, except to suggest that you take some time to re-evaluate and redefine what marketing is about. Consider layering in your technology mix along with your media and marketing mix. Then bring together a team of mobilists, technologists, data analysts and creative folks and you can get the ball rolling.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

The Zettabyte Era: A Brave New World of Devices

Cisco VNI 2011

 
Big Data is getting bigger. Here are some top findings from Cisco’s latest VNI – Visual Networking Index:
 
IP traffic will increase worldwide 4x by 2015, reaching 966 exabytes or just under 1 Zettabye (which is 10 to the 21st power).Factors that are driving this growth, include:
  • Video, as it is increasingly a part of nearly every networked experience.  By 2015, one million minutes of video – nearly two years worth – will cross the network every second.
  • More devices are connecting to the network – we forecast more than 15 billion will be on the network by 2015, making it on average more than two devices (whether it be a PC, phone, TV, or even machine-to-machine) per person for every person on earth (and if you’re like me, you’re an “overachiever” on this number, with well over a dozen devices connected to the network…by the way, just how many network connections are you responsible for?)
    • More people will be using the network – a total of 3 Billion people will be on the network in 2015, compared to 1.9 Billion estimated in 2010, due to increased broadband penetration – much of it mobile – and accessibility of lower cost devices.
    • Increased speed – overall connectivity speed doubled from 2009-2010 from 3.5 to 7Mbps and is expected to increase 4-fold to 28 Mbps by 2015.  This is relevant because when people can do more with the network, they tend to do so… video usage increases all the more which starts the cycle all over again.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

 

Cisco: Bigger than Big Data – Exadata

Cisco’s fifth-annual Visual Networking Index is stuffed with jaw-dropping predictions of what our world will experience by 2015, four short years from now. Among the jaw-droppingest predictions: 

  • network-connected devices will number 15 billion, outpacing the human population by a factor of two to one 
  • one million minutes of Internet video will be transmitted every second 
  • the total amount of global Internet traffic will quadruple by 2015 to 966 exabytes per year. 
  • the projected traffic increase alone between 2014 and 2015 is 200 exabytes, more than the total amount of Internet Protocol traffic generated globally in 2010 
  • Canada’s IP traffic in 2015 will be equivalent to 7 billion DVDs per year, 542 million DVDs per month or 742,898 DVDs per hour 
  • in 2015, the gigabyte equivalent of all movies ever made will cross Canada’s IP networks every three hours 
  • Canadian mobile data traffic will grow three times faster than Canadian fixed IP traffic from 2010 to 2015 
  • the Asia Pacific region will generate the most IP traffic (24.1 exabytes per month), surpassing last year’s leader, North America (22.3 exabytes per month), for the top spot.

By 2015, world Internet traffic will reach almost one zettabyte, equal to a sextillion bytes, or a trillion gigabytes. This growth will be driven by four primary factors, according to Cisco. They are: 

  1. An increasing number of devices: The proliferation of tablets, mobile phones, connected appliances and other smart machines is driving up the demand for connectivity. 
  2. More Internet users: By 2015, there will be nearly three billion Internet users—more than 40 per cent of the world’s projected population. 
  3. Faster broadband speed: The average fixed broadband speed is expected to increase four-fold, from 7 megabits per second in 2010 to 28 Mbps in 2015. The average broadband speed has already doubled within the past year from 3.5 Mbps to 7 Mbps. 
  4. More video: By 2015, one million video minutes—the equivalent of 674 days—will traverse the Internet every second.

[via Backbone Magazine, Sept 2011]


–  Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

The Digital & Social Era: Unlocking Brand Value in a Nanosecond

 

Monopoly, Scrabble, Mr. Potato Head, G.I. Joe, Nerf, Little Pony, Transformers.  These are only a few of the brands we are all growing old with, and are also seeing our children grow up with. They are all household names that have an extensive legacy and franchise around the world. They’re all Hasbro brands.

While many brand managers often think of extending a brand in terms of new product in the physical sense, the digital and social era offers the opportunity to transform brands into new media properties in ways that unlock the brand’s legacy. The age of new media offers up the chance to pull brands literally “out of the vault” and make them fresh again by relaunching them in an entirely new format.

Hasbro is a company that not only manufactures and distributes toys and games; it is an entertainment company that now competes with the likes of Disney. For example, one of the largest and most successful movie franchises is Transformers. Introduced in the mid-1980s, Transformers was a toy line that featured parts that can be shifted to change from a vehicle into a robot action figure and back again. A number of spin-offs followed, including an animated television series.

In 2007, a live-action movie, under sponsorship of Steven Spielberg, was released, with the latest installment to be released this summer. Around the brand is a vast array of media, including video games, a website, online games, TV commercials, a Facebook community, books, gear and all sorts of toys. Yes, there are apps for iPhone – in 3D no less – that include puzzles.

Not only has Hasbro become a force in the movie industry, it also is a direct investor in television having recently launched The Hub channel in the U.S. in partnership with Discovery Channel whereby the Discovery Kids platform was renamed The Hub. In Canada, Corus Entertainment and Hasbro Studios have come together to distribute Hasbro brands across the various Corus kids television platforms, such as Treehouse, the TV home of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (with HD episodes available on iTunes).

What makes the discussion even more compelling is how Hasbro has been able to artfully blend instinct with formal management process. I say this because the toy business, like fashion, has for many years been built on having a nose for what’s hot and what’s not. In the age of digital, so much is in the moment that risk and reward take on much shorter cycles, thereby requiring a balance between management discipline and entrepreneurial behaviour. As Michael Hogg, President of Hasbro Canada, says: “The toy business is like packaged goods with your hair on fire,” in that much of the action is in the moment, about today. This makes me think of the phrase Carpe Diem – on steroids.

Underlying this “360 degree” approach to defining the media mix is the foundational belief that there is also a value chain with regard to the media platforms. In Hasbro’s case, TV is the anchor to build brand awareness in key segments, whereby other media take on a supporting promotional role to augment consumer engagement.

In the days of traditional media, there was much talk about unlocking ‘incremental brand value’ by building out line extensions and adding ancillary products. In the era of digital and social media, brand value can be unlocked in an exponential way by developing the optimal media mix and devising the right formats for each brand.

It also means sticking to the fundamental questions: what are the demographics, who are the buyers, what are the right media choices and how do we build the trust factor into everything we do? The latter is most important especially when engaging audiences of ‘mommy bloggers’ who have valuable opinions about product safety, play value and ideas for innovation.

It also requires a change in mindset since metrics are not always conveniently at hand. In fact, it may be advantageous by allowing managers to take risk by investing in more trials, seeing what works through iteration and then building metrics that support additional investments for a calculated payoff.

For Hasbro, one formula that continues to prove itself in effect leads the consumer through the channels. Television is the anchor for certain target segments for brand building; websites are ideal for promotional activity and driving consumers to the retail store.

So let me end with a few more Hasbro brands that you may well recognize: Twister, Battleship, Yahtzee, Risk, Tinker Toy, Play-Doh, Sorry! and Easy Bake. And yes, there are and will be more apps.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

 

Social Media: A “Head in the Sand” Moment

Seeing Your Brand With Eyes Wide Shut

It could not have come at a better or worse time – depending on whether  you are Google or Facebook. Or it may not matter at all given the continued high levels of adoption of “freemium” social media networking platforms. 

The recent survey by ASCI (American Customer Satisfaction Index) conducted by ForeSee Results,  yielded numbers worth considering.

For Facebook, it is basically ranked at the bottom of the deck by users when it comes to delivering on customer satisfaction – ergo, the user/customer exprience. Facebook is rated so low that it stands slightly above airlines and cable companies in general. Not surprising given that Facebook is really an Internet utility. Perhaps the only saving grace it that you don’t get a monthly bill.However, as a brand manager, you might want to ask yourself: “Do I really want to partner with a medium that is seen to deliver, in a measureable way, low customer value?”.  Even worse, some social networks may even dimish the value you are trying to deliver via your brand.

Not to worry, it looks like Facebook will be around for a awhile. Consumers or should I say “users” are as addicted to some forms of social media in a classic love/hate relationship. Things might be different however, if they had to actually pay to use this utility.

Pause for a moment.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia