Sometimes surveys bring out the final truth about the status in which chief marketing officers (CMOs) find themselves in. One of the latest reports by Accenture, titled “Turbulence for the CMO: Charting a Path to the Samless Customer Experience” was done with 405 senior marketers from 10 countries. It makes clear that almost 4 in 10 CMOs think they don’t have the right set up to manage their business challenges in front of them. They are missing the right tools, resources and people.
The annual survey shows a decline in 5% in preparedness compared to 2011. Especially, the digital transformation is lacking behind. Compared to 2011 10% find it challenging to improve their workforce’s responsiveness to digital shifts. Furthermore, CMOs also stated that they find it difficult to keep up the efficiency of marketing operations (8% increase!).
Some deeper findings indicate what CMOs main interest in the business will be. The most interesting observation in the results is that digital orientation has the biggest gap between importance and performance among the five marketing capabilities.
The top priority for them is profitable growth (87%) and operational efficiency (85%). The good point for agencies and consultants is that CMOs have this as a bigger objective that cutting their marketing budgets (58%). From a long-term perspective, consumer expectations for specific experiences have the biggest impact on marketing strategy (65%).
And I am sure, you will detect some more interesting findings in their infographic.
A recent eye-tracking study called “Benchmarking the Effectiveness of Native Ads” states that the visual attraction of native ads (52%) is more frequent than with traditional banner ads. The study which used eye-tracking tools was conducted by Sharethrough and the IPG Media Lab with the aim to identify the impact of banner ads of top brand on the web.
The main findings of the study were..
- 71% of respondents described native ads -based on the fact they had previously had a purchase intent- as “personally identify with”; this number stands against only 50% for banner ads
- 32% of respondents argued that a native ad “is an ad I would share with a friend or family member”. However, only 19% would do so with a banner ads
- 25% of respondents looked more on in-feed native ad placements than on banner ads
- Native ads achieve a 18% increase in purchase intent versus banner ads that get a 9% upside for brand affinity.
The interesting point about this study or me was that native ads and editorial content move closer to another. Almost the same percentage of respondents said they looked at native ads (26%) next to editorial content (24%). However, they potentially spend more time viewing the content still compared to native ads.
Is this another proof for the fact that content marketing is increasingly becoming important and moving in the spotlight of companies and brands? Maybe the infographic helps you find an answer to this question…
Are we not all awaiting the “Year of Mobile”? Obviously, tablets and smartphones have made it become more sophisticated. However, most marketers still do not know how to approach this evolution from a strategic perspective. Understanding the bigger picture seems to become a leadership task. Who is using mobile tools on a daily basis? What are mobile business goals? Why do our employees need mobile and BYOD? Why is there an opportunity in using mobile to speed up business processes?
A new study by Compete describes for example who “Primary mobile users” on Twitter are. 57% are less likely to log into Twitter from their desktop than the average Twitter user. They check their updates and tweets more frequently than most other users. With 86% they are more likely to be active on Twitter several times a day than the average user. Smartphone apps are their entry point. However, 15% of the Primary mobile users” work on Twitter via their tablets predominantly.
Furthermore, Mutual Mobile have created an interesting infographic which might offer some more insights, why enterprise mobility is essential for business development, where processes might get more impact through mobile, and how a company’s ROI might get the right boost with mobile.
Looking at the stats, it becomes obvious that the mobile priority increases with Chief Technology Officers (CTO), apart from dedicating greater resources to the mobile evolution when 94% of CTOs believe enterprise mobility will be important. Furthermore, 67% see mobile having more impact than the Internet did in the 1990s. Most important from an employees outlook is the fact that 65% understand more mobile support for employees as a critical priority.
Each and every business decision maker should see that mobile business leverages employees’ productivity (2X), quadruples margins and decreases customer churn by 20%. Private and business users are getting more and more engaged in mobile Internet activities. Mobile is maturing, the infographic states. Would you agree? And if so, do you have some more arguments why…?
Most professors might answer in a diplomatic manner: “There is always two sides of the coin!” Smart bloggers love to look into the future and prefer outlooks to reviews. However, those always rely on findings and insights which bring them to life in the end.
So, I have dared to head for an outlook in 2015, into the future of web strategy. As many managers are not quite familiar with the term “web strategy”, let me define it our way. In 2012, we have often realized that there is quite some misunderstanding what web strategy really means:
“Web Strategy translates the organisational targets and values in roadmaps for the top management and their teams in terms of all generated and doable business processes via the Web. Web Strategy creates a picture of the future of client communication which connects the networking trends of the Internet and the tools of modern web development with the individual business tactics of a cooperation in order to develop a superior company vision. ©The Strategy Web GmbH 2012″
Bearing this in mind, I have written a blog post that defines a futuristic view on some new job titles. It shall illustrate which old job roles might become critical as well as which new challenges arise in companies when changing or restructuring organisational frameworks in companies. So, let me define some new job roles that clever managers should be thinking about. Each top management should be thinking carefully whether or not they will need one of these job roles in their company. I am quite sure that these job roles will become important in the future on web strategy.
And don’t be surprised when I give those job roles kind of a hierarchy. The formula behind it is quite simple…Knowledge x Data x Content x Culture x Clients = Company Success
a.) Corporate Knowledge Officer
The main challenge for any HR department is to tie the pearls of the corporate value chain long-term. These employees are the knowledge of the company, the pillars of productivity. If one of those pillars leaves the company behind, the person takes the knowledge with them, and often all of their knowledge gets lost. But what if employees understand that the feeding hand of a company offers less pension protection by 2025? What if by 2020, Millennials, the generation that will make up almost 50% of the global workforce, will deny the traditional workplace mentality and start making their knowldge available more on a project basis? What if knowledge workers stop working for one company but prefer to share their knowldge in a “buy-my-brain” mode?
Leaders who believe in Social Business, those who want to secure knowledge and make it “always-on” available shall consider the position of a Corporate Knowledge Officer. They are game changers for analysts, market researchers and leading consulting corporations.
b.) Corporate Data Scientist
The world speaks Big Data. Buzzword or biz value? There were not many words you could hear in 2012 at web events, where “web stategy” still often is a foreign word. Why Big Data rules? Well, just look at how much data is being generated in 60-Minuten on the web, or how fast reactions and conversations evolve. That’s why data is becoming a challenge for the whole value chain of the company. However, which business is able to accomplish a job role which is said to become one of the sexiest in the future according to Harvard Business Review? Where is this person located in the excel sheets of businesses that unites the capabilities of a logician, explorer and mathematician in one person? There are not many avalaible yet. Corporate Data Scientists are those brains who know how to turn the process of 0 and 1 upside down in order to draw some conclusions for new content and values.
Leaders that don’t want to stop at data mining or business intelligence processes should figure out the value of the Corporate Data Scientist. They are challengers for PR and marketing decision makers who need to prove their credibility by showing facts to their CEOs.
c.) Corporate Content Officer
Content forms data. The problem? Content is the weakest production department of companies. In most cases PR experts or publishing houses have taken over the content production. Although most media companies are struggling themselves with unique content generation. But who is meant to do the content research? Who is able to write and schedule stories? Who can prioritize, aggregate and curate content? And where will companies find the publishing expertise to become a media company? If content marketing is the future, who will pioneer on the path from PR and marketing to the journalistic hybrid of corporate publishing and community management in the company?
Leaders who see conversations as an opportunity and understand the sense of integrated communities in websites will evaluate the position of Corporate Content Officers. They are the media coaches and editors-in-chief of businesses who bring all company departments to produce content for their special business area.
d.) Chief Culture Officer
The modern development in content and data generation as well as a new understatement for knowledge management is walking on the stage of change management. A stage that Grant McCracken featured in his book. Employees need to find the deeper sense in the evolution of new platforms in business processes. Employees need to understand the complete benefit of tools and tactics before they will be forced to make use of them. Especially, for those employees who do not like email communication but shall start working with communication streams and updates all of a sudden. Stream-Working is a culture of openness and transparency which is not everybody’s friend. And sometimes the best lighthouses might not embrace those changes.
Leaders who know about the challenges of working with multiple project platforms will appreciate the additional benefit of a Chief Culture Officer. This job role will be the prolonged arm of the management team, the “personified culture geek” and at the same time working very close with the HR team.
e.) Chief Customer Officer
Customer change the rules of the game via open communication, praise and critic. What was top-down is now bottom-up. Customers are kings. A sentence that made people cry some years ago. Today, the 3R’s of the social customer -Rating, Review, Recommendation- make managers and leaders start crying. They let whole revenue streams start shaking at times. Those managers who get their experience from digital conversations with customers, who appreciate when data becomes content, and who create a culture of cooperation and collaboration, then you live and breathe the values of empathy that customers are longing for. Then companies create the right fascination for brands, products and their own company.
Leaders who accept the community of customers as the ecosystem of perception, and who believe in brand advocates, critics and moaners as equal process partners will think about integrating a Chief Customer Officer as an institution that is meant to drive business growth. They will be game changers for sales people and customer service employees.
Never before have I spoken about and discussed so much about new job definitions and job roles in my life like in 2012. On congresses as a moderator, on B2B events as speaker, or as a rebellious start-up panelist.
Will one or some of these job roles become reality? You decide…
For most companies Social Media is still the main tool to leverage external communication in a modern world. it is seen to be the integral part of modern business playground. However, a study by FedEx and Ketchum called “From Social Media to Social Business” define the internal transformation that enterprises are going through with their internal communication.
The study asked 85 executives and communication “thought leaders”, people like Jeremiah Owyang or Brian Solis, and different executives from enterprises like AT&T, IBM, Bank of America, or G.E. among others. The executive came from large companies. Most of them (88%) have 2,000 or more employees, and the majority showed annual revenues of more than $2.5 billion.
It makes clear that the external versus internal divide in how Social Media is executed definitely exists. The external point of view shows that 69% of executives aim at increasing brand awareness among clients, and 68% said they aimed to increase brand awareness versus general public as their major business goal when using Social Media. And when, 51% think their companies foster Social Media best ways to improve relationships with customers, it shows the power execs expects to arise from online conversations.
The funny thing is that, although 88% monitor online conversations, 84% also doubt the effect that measurement offers. Still, they believe in it. The target executives are predominantly looking at is 84% engagement, 69% impressions, and 53% influence.
From an internal perspective, 85% of respondents find an increase in employee participation through Social Media in the last year. Sharing expertise and collaboration is for 44% the main aim, but also internal programs and initiatives get their boost for 38%. For 64% of executives Social Media changes the way companies’ communications, marketing, or HR teams is executed by their employees.
Although companies are not quite clear about the challenges (data privacy, transparency concerns or legal issues) that arise from Social Media engagement in both ways, internally and externally, many companies see the benefits. The study comes to the conclusion that “the impact, value and reach of social tools is expanding beyond the realm of consumer/brand management, and transforming organizations into social businesses. Social tools are increasingly being leveraged inside organizations, impacting internal interactions, culture and structure.”
Would you agree with that? Or what are the challenges that arise from fostering social business?
Interview: “Social Business = Creating a smarter workforce & a proven solution to business challenges”
One-on-one interview with Ed Brill
Ed Brill is Director, Social Business and Collaboration Solutions, at IBM. Brill is responsible for the product and market strategy for IBM’s messaging, collaboration, communications, and productivity products, including Lotus Notes and Domino, IBM SmartCloud Notes, IBM Sametime, Lotus Symphony, IBM Docs, and other related social business solutions. Brill’s focus is on extending and growing the success of these solutions through customer engagement, partner ecosystem development, and harnessing the breadth and depth of the IBM organization.
The Strategy Web spoke with him about the relevance and future of Social Business.
Why is Social Business not only a buzzword?
Leaders in every industry are leveraging Social Business technology to disrupt their industries and create competitive advantage. They are improving productivity and unleashing innovation by tapping into the collective intelligence inside and outside their organizations. With social, they’re creating a smarter workforce and proving that social business isn’t just a buzzword, it’s a proven solution to business challenges.
According to Forrester Research, the market opportunity for social enterprise apps is expected to grow at a rate of 61 percent through 2016. According to IBM’s CEO Study, today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years.
What does it take to make a business “social”?
Organizations have quickly learned that a Social Business is more than just having a Facebook page and a Twitter account. In a Social Business, every department in the organization has embedded social capabilities into their traditional business processes to fundamentally impact how work gets done to create business value. A Social Business utilizes social software technology to communicate with its rich ecosystem of clients, business partners and employees.
Social business is a strategic approach to shaping a business culture, highly dependent upon transparency and trust from executive leadership and corporate strategy, including business process design, risk management, leadership development, financial controls and use of business analytics. Becoming a Social Business can help an organization deepen customer relationships, generate new ideas and innovate faster, identify expertise, enable a more effective workforce and ultimately drive its bottom line.
What does it mean to change the culture of a company?
Changing an organizations culture to embrace social must start from the top. Senior leadership must buy in and promote a culture of sharing, transparency and trust. Recent studies by IBM see this shift, today’s C-Suite recognizes the potential of social. Consider this, according to IBM’s 2012 CEO Study, today only 16 percent of CEOs are using social business platforms to connect with customers, but that number is poised to spike to 57 percent within the next three to five years. Similarly. IBM’s 2011 CIO Survey of 3,000 global leaders indicated that more than 55% of companies identified social networking as having a strategic significance to their company’s growth. And finally, 2011 IBM CMO Study reports that CMOs are using social platforms to communicate with their customers, 56 percent view it as a key communication channel. These senior leaders are the key to social business adoption and there’s a real shift occurring, social business is now a business imperative.
What role is the flexible workspace playing in the process?
Companies are able to build virtual teams out of expertise and leadership, regardless of their physical location or title on the organization chart. Today’s workforce expects to be able to share, post, update and communicate with colleagues, customers, and ecosystem using social tools to get real work done. Through those tools, employees who work remotely, use flexible “hot desks” in company offices, or open floorplans can leverage tools for instant e-meetings, video and audio tools, and embedded applications to process knowledge and activities faster and deliver more value to the organization.
What’s your advice for companies to become a “social business”?
Companies around the world are now focused on becoming Social Businesses, Forrester Research estimates that the market opportunity for social software is expected to increase 60% annually. But perhaps the most daunting part of becoming a social business is how to start the journey. That’s where creating a Social Business Agenda plays a vital role. In order to become successful in social business, an organization needs to create its own personalized Agenda that addresses the company’s culture, trust
between management and employees and the organization and its constituencies, engagement behind and outside of the firewall, risk management, and of course, measurement. The sponsorship for such an activity can be driven by leadership, lines of business, or other organizational catalyst roles.
Whether you’re experimenting with online sales or have already run businesses in the past, when you are first creating an ecommerce website you’ll want to keep a few tips in mind. These can help you use today’s technology to find and retain a steady client base.
1. Use Simple Web Design
With such a high degree of competition out there, even for the most obscure products, you’re going to have to put some time and effort into your website to make it stand out from the crowd. You don’t have to have any web design experience to do this if you use an ecommerce software program with templates. These can usually be customized in terms of logo, font, and colour themes. Aside from this assistance, you’ll want to use your imagination and think of a catchy name for your business as well as an easy-to-navigate site.
2. Organize your Product Catalogue Using Categories
A big part of making your online store easily navigable for customers lies in how you organize your products. It’s easier for customers when you arrange your products into logical categories or collections, so that they can find what they’re looking for more easily. Adding a “sale” category can help customers feel that they’ve stumbled onto a bargain, so think about running promotions and sale items as a separate collection altogether. Be sure to include high quality pictures of the products along with descriptions.
3. Make Payment Easy for Customers
Once your customers have located the items that they wish to purchase, some ecommerce business owners feel that they have already sealed the deal. In actuality, this is where it can all go wrong if you make it hard for a customer to pay you. You’ll want a smooth and easy checkout system that offers multiple methods of payment. One example of this would be a Shopify ecommerce website, which provides a shopping cart and integrated payment system. You’ll want to look for a platform of this nature to help encourage the final sale. If you’re selling products internationally, it’s also helpful to include a currency converter. Be sure to provide a telephone number or email address for customer support for added security.
4. Create a Blog
There are numerous ways to market your online store, including using social media and email newsletters, among others. Yet one of the most effective ways to get in touch with a wide net of potential customers is through creating your own blog. This is also a good way to showcase your brand and personality, thus creating a valuable first impression.
5. Use Analytics to Track Customers
Although many online business owners use analytics tools to track what visitors end up purchasing on their website, you can make use of these tracking tools for a host of other purposes. For example, with analytics you can find out how your customers found you, which URL’s are referring customers to your online store, and what search terms they’re using. With this information, you can more tightly hone your marketing efforts to reach a wider audience.
This post is a guest post from Shopify.
What is almost as important for business travelers as water and food? Smartphones and tablets. They are slowly placing themselves as top necessities. Being accessible at airports, at train stations, or on the tube is simply improving by mobile tools which make them the most connected power users of these tools. The question is whether mobile devices make them more effictient in their business efforts? I think they do…
The challenge for all B2B companies is to find the balance between inbound and outbound marketing today. And the main question is how to generate leads with Social Media. A new study conducted by Aberdeen Group sponsored by Silverpop and Eloqua, offers some insights in how Best-in-Class B2B companies generate leads through Social Media platforms.
The findings of the study “B2B Social Meeting Marketing: Are We There Yet” show that on average 17% of the Best-in-Class B2B companies generate their leads via Social Media channels. Compared to their peers, this is almost 230% more marketing-generated leads through Social Media than other companies (5%). 84% of the responding B2B companies were using social marketing in some form.
The study differentiates between Best-in-Class (top 20% of aggregate performers) versus the industry average (middle 50%) and laggard (bottom 30%) organizations by using the following metrics…
1. The average annual company revenue growth of 20%, compared with 8% for Industry Average and -3% for Laggard firms.
2. An increase of 10% year-over-year improvement of marketing leads in average resulting in closed business – versus 3% for the Industry Average and -1% for Laggard firms.
3. A lead pipeline of 44% in sales-forecast generated by marketing – versus 10% for Industry Average and 5% for Laggard firms.
4. A 73% annual customer retention rate – versus 27% for Industry Average and 7% for Laggard firms.
The Best-in-Class companies show an outstanding adoption of various social technologies…
- 51% use website social sharing tools, versus 36% of Industry-Average firms.
- 49% use keyword-based Social Media monitoring, versus 39% of Industry-Average firms.
- 21% use social sign-in, versus 8% of Industry-Average firms.
Best-in-Class companies have experienced the opportunity of utilizing Social Media for the sales funnel, and know how to generate leads through social engagement.
- 80% of Best-in-Class companies are more actively engaged in Social Media marketing – versus 73% of Industry-Average firms and 60% of Laggards
- 47% of Best-in-Class companies see expanding lead generation as their primary strategy with Social Media marketing, and 13% cite generating leads as their secondary strategy.
- 23% of Best-in-Class companies said developing clear business processes for social marketing as their top strategy, and 8% cite process development as a secondary strategy.
All-in-all, the study shows the challenge of creating the right Social Media strategy for business when you want to succeed with lead generation via Social Media. But it is not only strong engagement the company needs. It is also the clever combination of using Social Media alongside the right communication techniques like email and SEO, and how Best-in-Class companies succeed here. They are 27% times more likely to integrate email with Social Media than Industry-Average firms, and 33% more likely than Laggards to do so. And they are also 24% times more likely than Industry-Average firms to integrate SEO with social media (even 69% more likely than Laggards).
What is your experience in lead generation through Social Media? How did your company perform, and what else could you add? Looking forward to learning from you…
We all want to know how the future looks like? What are key trends? What is the next bid thing in technology or our industry? The challenge is… How can the future be foreseen? Well, maybe there is a way if collaboration succeeds as the new imperative of humanity…
A new European research project by the EU Commission is challenging the unforeseeable future. The platform iKnow Futures aims at interconnection knowledge via an “innovation, foresight and horizont scanning system”. And ideally it will help companies, societies, political systems, science but also individuals to identify upcoming risks and dangers as well as potential opportunities long before the next economical crisis, the next virus, or the next weather desaster.
The platform is meant to give insights in new tools and technologies which could change the future. It displays latests projects and research which could foresee trends in science. And it shows first signals via “weak signs” when there is some danger, threat or risk on the horizon that might affect a country, a county or a just some cities that already can be made out as critical.
The long-term EU project collects insights in academic research and collects data to make the world easier for interpretation and economical planning. Whether this is a new form of common knowledge that might revolutionize the world’s approach to common intelligence needs to be seen. Nevertheless, everyone of us can participate and help to make this place a better world with less unpleasant surprises.
Collaboration for a better world sounds somehow fantastic, and the project is definitely deserves a closer look. Imagine someone could have predicted 9/11 attacks with a Wild Card? And what if they become Weak Signals? Would this have saved the world from a nightmare, and would this have changed the ecosystem of planes and traines? How could collaboration platforms become the next “chaos prevention radar”?
PS: And let’s hope Apple won’t try to claim and aim for the name…