Report on Messaging Apps: Comparison from WhatsApp to WeChat

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The popularity of messaging apps is increasing. Whether it is the Facebook Messenger where all companies hope for the latest secret sauce on messenger bot technology or Line and WeChat which already offer company profiles. It becomes very clear that messengers are different in terms of functionality, technology set-up as well as the value for brands and companies. Very often in seminar that we hold these days, messengers get mixed up with social networks, and the functionality is not very much clear to marketers. Understanding the differences and the opportunities for brands has become really challenging for them. And knowing which messenger apps are used in which countries and regions will make the lives of marketers easier.

Therefore, the team at Forrester has created a report called „The Future of Messaging Apps„. The report offers a simple overview of the most important facts around messaging apps, user figures and above all summarizes the opportunities for companies as Marketingland summarizes it. And although the world and marketers get mad around Snapchat, the overview states that seven out of ten leading apps got more users than the „yellow messenger“, and also Viber, Kik and Line get more ground and challenge other platforms like Skype which was leading not so many years ago.

The evolution of messengers for brands is interesting to have a closer look at. Unsurprisingly, Asian messengers are leading. WeChat already has got some 10 Mio. company profiles, and even Line has got 2 Mio. of those already. Although Line is not familiar to many brands, they have turned around 1,1 Mrd. USD already ($ 224 Mio. via Stickers which seems to be a good monetization strategy). The messengers Kik (also offering ad opportunities for brands) and Telegram started their own Messenger Bots. On the other side, we realize that WhatsApp is starting to approach companies these days to elaborate on business requirements. So, it will be interesting to see what kind of brand solutions they are coming up with in the future.

Please find the overview in a graphic as follows…

Forrester_Messaging_Apps-Messenger_Brands_Opportunities_User_Numbers_2016

Twitter Study: The value of influencers

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Some weeks ago in this post, we have tried to define an undefined social media species: Influencers. The feedback was very positive and many companies are still trying to find the secret sauce how to use and leverage the value of influencers for their brands and their sales funnel.

Now, a recent study by Twitter gives further evidence of the value of influencers, and on how they help positioning brands and in which way they might might upload the sales funnel. The first part of the study was meant to figure out amoung more than 300 users how they responded toward brand influencers.

The study conducted by Annalect, a data analytics company, in corporation with Twitter shows that almost 40% of the responding people stated to have purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on a social platform like Instagram, Twitter or YouTube. And another 40% stated that they are following brands on Twitter.

But influencers are not only valuable in terms of sales performance. They also make people share products they are using themselves. Almost one in five (20%) respondents claimed that they shared something they saw from an influencer. Amoung Millennials even one in three said they follow a social media influencer on Twitter or Vine.

The study comes like an extension of two former studies from Nielsen and Lithium making clear that Millennials trust different people in different ways. Interestingly enough, this study also states that influencers rival friends in trust building. Just 7% of respondents rely more on recommendations from friends (56%) than from influencers (49%).

„This is telling us is that you don’t have to be a mass media star or a household name to be influential and actually drive people to buy stuff.“ Jeffrey Graham, Vice President of Market Research and Insights, Twitter

The Twitter-owned talent agency Niche revealed that the pool of influencers available to brands has grown from 6,000 to over 25,000 in a year. Honestly, we would say there os probably more depending on what you value: reach or relevance.

Twitter_Infographic_Influencer_2016

Spot On!
The smartphone has become the modern sales acceleration technology. Social influencers put trendy or interesting products on their sites or streams while walking down the street or by getting them from brands for free, and people following them would purchase those products. Have you not experienced this yourself?

The only thing we wonder is, how much would brands pay influencers to write about their product and share a picture of the product via their social media accounts? The numbers we know from influencers vary but maybe there is someone in the market who might want to share some insights.

Report: IoT 2020 – Big expectations and cost savings

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Credit: © sdecoret – Fotolia.com

Credit: © sdecoret – Fotolia.com

Just recently, we summarized the findings of Goldman Sachs‘ on the Internet-of-Things (IoT) report, and what they think where IoT might lead us to in the future.

Now, another report from Schneider Electric called „IoT 2020 Business Report“ delivers some new findings on how large organisations will leverage Internet of Things technologies as a serious business tool by 2020. Their study is based on feedback by 3,000 business leaders from twelve countries.

According to their global survey, 75% of respondents were optimistic about the opportunities IoT presents this year. Almost every second out of three (63%) companies use IoT to improve their customer experience and analyze customer behaviour in 2016. They hope to solve problems faster, achieve better customer service and customer satisfaction ranking.

Furthermore, cost savings in automation seem to be high on the agenda, above all building (63%) and industrial automation (62%). As results showed the improvements in automation technologies almost half of the companies (42%) say they want to implement IoT-enabled building automation systems within the next two years.

The key driver for IoT is mobile for two out of three companies (67%). Thus, they plan to implement IoT via mobile applications this year, and 32% even in the next six months. Again, cost savings of up to 59% is the major driver for IoT implementation.

The confidence is the value of knowledge gathering and sharing already exists inside most companies surveyed. 81% feel that the data and/or information generated by the IoT is being shared effectively throughout the organisation. Fears are lower than expected. Only 41% of respondents connect cybersecurity threats with IoT business challenges.

„We’re past the point of questioning whether IoT will deliver value. Businesses now need to make informed decisions to position themselves to maximise IoT’s value in their organisation.“ Dr. Prith Banerjee, Chief Technology Officer, Schneider Electric

However, Schneider Electric does not only publish numbers of their study but also provides the following predictions that business leaders might take into consideration.

1. The next wave of digital transformation.
IoT will bring operational technology (OT) and IT together while fueling a mobile and digitally enabled workforce: As more companies both expand and deepen their digitisation programmes enterprise-wide, IoT will increasingly take centre stage. This new wave of transformation will be enabled by more affordable “connected” sensors, embedded intelligence and control, faster and more ubiquitous communications networks, cloud infrastructure, and advanced data-analytics capabilities.

2. Insightful data.
IoT will translate previously untapped data into insights that enable enterprises to take the customer experience to the next level: When thinking about the value proposition of IoT, most businesses point to efficiency and cost savings as the key benefits. Yet access to data – including previously untapped data – and the ability to translate it into actionable insights, the hallmark of IoT, will deliver greater customer-service transformation and new opportunities to build brand/service loyalty and satisfaction.

3. Premise-to-cloud confidence.
The IoT will promote an open, interoperable and hybrid computing approach, and it will foster industry and government collaboration on global architecture standards that address cybersecurity concerns: While cloud-based IoT solutions will grow in popularity, no single computing architecture will monopolise their delivery. IoT instead will flourish across systems, both at the edge and on premise, as part of private cloud or public cloud offerings. Making IoT available across heterogeneous computing environments will help end users adopt IoT solutions in the way that best suits their security and mission-critical needs while also offering entities with legacy technology infrastructures a logical and manageable path forward, allowing them to transform over time.

4. Innovations that leapfrog existing infrastructure.
IoT will function as a source of innovation, business model disruption and economic growth for businesses, governments and emerging economies: Just as the Industrial Revolution, birth of the Internet and mobile revolution have driven advancement, innovation and prosperity, so will IoT. Businesses and cities alike will deliver new IoT-enabled services; new business models will emerge; and, in particular emerging economies will have a significant opportunity to quickly leverage IoT without the constraint of legacy infrastructure, essentially leapfrogging old ways. In fact, McKinsey forecasts that 40 percent of the worldwide market for IoT solutions will be generated by developing countries.

5. A better planet.
IoT solutions will be leveraged to address major societal and environmental issues: IoT will help countries and their economies respond to the biggest challenges facing our planet, including global warming, water scarcity and pollution. In fact, survey respondents identified improved resource utilisation as the number one benefit of IoT to society as a whole. In concert with the private sector, local and national governments will embrace IoT to accelerate and optimise current initiatives to curtail greenhouse gas emissions in accord with the breakthrough COP21 climate agreement, whereby 196 countries pledged to keep global warming under the threshold of two degrees celsius.

Spot On!
The Internet of Things has been seen as the main revolution from a technology perspective. The hype seems to be at an all-time high. Real business value is not only saving money though. Customer service improvements, better process optimization and smarter work and life opportunities will have big potential to bring IoT business value to enterprises in the future.

What is your experience on the value of IoT for your business?

State of the Market Report: Internet of Things 2016

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IoT Coffee MachineThe Internet of Things is said to have a major impact on the business world according to Jared Newman. Goldman Sachs even thinks that IoT opportunity for industrials could amount to $2 trillion by 2020. Connected cars, connected utility, connected houses, connected vineyards, connected streets, connected everything – the opportunities seem incredable bearing in mind that with IoT everyting can be addressed in the future.

Now, a recent report called „State of the Market: Internet of Things 2016,“ shows that the Internet of Things (IoT) is already mainstream.

The motivation behind the high adoption rate is quite obvious: The opportunity for revenue growth drives many managers towards IoT adoption with data being the monetization engine behind it. Still, just 8% of the respondents make use of more than 25% of their IoT data these days.

Not suprisingly, the report also highlights that enterprises are turning to startups to help accelerate their IoT growth. In 2015, enterprise IoT startup companies outpaced funding for consumer startup companies by 75%.

Verizon’s experts think that IoT will continue to be a revenue driver for businesses both large and small due to the confluence of five macrotrends:

1. Consumer usage of smartphones.
High expectations to automation possibilities as of simplified interface. 81% of IoT adopters in the public sector believe that their citizens increasingly expect them to offer enhanced services from data and IoT.

2. Data monetization is wanted.
By 2018, almost 50% of businesses expect to be using more than 25%of their data. Descriptive data collection will become predictive and prescriptive data analytics. Paradigm shift from „big data“ to domain experts expected.

3. Regulatory landscape will bring right ecosystem partners together to drive industry standards.
In the US, with the Drug Supply Chain Act manufacturers until late 2017 will implement systems to electronically transfer and store transaction histories for their prescription drugs including shipment information across their distribution and supply chain. Result: Thwart counterfeiting drugs and savings of $75 billion annually according to the World Health Organization.

4. Democratization of innovation by network connectivity, low power devices and IoT platforms.
Businesses can scale their IoT deployments from millions to billions of connections more cost-efficiently. With the new 5G, autonomous solutions such as cars and robotics will become a reality and new categories of uses cases will evolve, such as virtual and augmented reality for IoT deployments.

5. Security experts keep up with the development of technology by looking to arising threat vectors
Some old, some new – that will impact IoT deployments and ongoing operations. Data privacy, protection and processing will remain the biggest challenge for security experts.

Spot On!
Sometimes reports do not look at the data challenge of the IoT development in my eyes. The interesting aspect is that IoT offers some incredible opportunities to improve our lives, simplify our ways of health tracking and be informed about the status of our cars and houses. However, most of the use cases are often based on some cloud services that people do not trust in as the generated data is stored in some unknown data center somewhere in the world. I sometimes wonder, why companies don’t start to save the data in a personal private cloud that can be added as an add-on service to the IoT business.

But hey, maybe I am asking for too much at this stage of the IoT status. Thoughts?

Five components of digital marketing operations (Infographic)

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According to some infographic from McKinsey&Company successful digital marketing can boost their marketing effectiveness by 15-25% if they use the following five components of marketing operations. So, if your company wants to beat the competition, you better follow the advice to implement these five important components.

Here is just some remarks from our consulting business to why those topics might be of relevance to your digital strategy…

1. Customer Insights
Many companies still have not yet implemented a real web analytics or a social media monitoring tool in order to understand the inner and outer impact of consumer demands and reactions.

2. Customer Experience
Market research and product marketing often pretends to know what needs to be build, produced or offered. However, reality shows that often consumer expectations and company opportunities lack the match. Often companies lack the alignment with sales and marketing.

3. KPIs and Measurement
Understanding what makes consumers, companies and decision makers purchase a product or service is aiming for predictive analysis and forecasting when focusing on ROI. Still, KPIs need to be realistic and often lacks the knowledge of what technology is capable of.

4. Marketing Technology Infrastructure
The real bottleneck of digital marketing these days. As of the big marketing technology landscape and a grown intern technology infrastructure, technology decisions are very often a shot in the dark.

5. Process & Governance
Generating real benefit from technology is depending on the right people who get the appropriate training und understanding for the tools‘ capabilities. And as people are often not used to those modern tools and how to use them, they want a (brand) governance (and compliance frameworks) which keeps them in their seats.

McKinsey-DMO-Infographic

Study: Trust is king – How, when and where consumers buy online

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Fair enough, it is only a US-based insight among some 2,000 online and mobile shoppers in July 2015. However, the message could be taken to any other market I guess these days…

The main factor for consumers to make a purchase decision, is trust. This is the finding from Amazon which conducted a study with Pymnts.com in order to understand, where consumers start their buying journey, why consumers buy from one site and leave the other one without making any purchase. Furthermore, the study states that price or ease of delivery are not the main features driving purchase decisions.

The US consumer needs trust in a site (23%) so that they purchase from some retailer. Oterh features that came in th next places were tailored promotions or rewards (16%), a good experience in the past (14%) or products being available in an acceptable time frame (13%).

Interestingly enough, other tactics like good shipping considerations (11%), preferred method of payment (8%), ease of use (6%), a site that recognizes me (4%), being a preferred customer (3%), being able to check out as a guest (1%) and store billing and shipping info (1%) came in much later in the ranking.

Pymnts 2015 - Why they buy

„You need a strategy that is about more than being present,“ he said. „You need a strategy that is about being present where your customers are because if you are not, then you are not being customer centric. There’s no such thing as a relationship without trust.“ (Patrick Gauthier, VP, Amazon Payments)

So, where does the consumer journey start? The study also found that almost every second out of three respondents (64%) start by searching for a product on a marketplace, followed by their favourite brand websites (48%), search engines (40%) and social media (29%).

Pymnts 2015 - Where they buy

„The ultimate digital destinations are driven by trust – trust that the sites have what they want to buy, trust that they will be given a fair price, trust that their goods will be delivered to them in a time frame that is relevant.“ Karen Webster, CEO, MPD

Just check your own habits and experience. What would you say makes you buy something from an online shop? We look forward to your comments…

Why influencer marketing is the future of content

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In many posts have we written about the relevance of influencer marketing and how it differs from the value of brand advocates. Today, many marketing organizations and brands have understood the power of influencer marketing and dedicate a significant amount of their budget to them. And there are good reason for it which we can see from one of the latest infographics in the market provided by the guys from The Shelf.

Shoppers trust in influencers and use them as their third-most-consulted consumer decision information source. Although brand and retail sites are still in the lead as an information source. Blogs already come in right after them, even ranking higher than well-trusted social networks like Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

Years ago, we have made clear that the 3 Rs of the social consumer will be leading the decision making process in the future: ratings, reviews and recommendations. The infographic is another proof for our thesis those days. These days, influencer are more trusted than brand content where recommendations have got the biggest power with 92% of consumers trusting in those. Reviews have become the second most trusted source (70%). People also try to stay on top of thought leaderwith blog content that is consulted by 47%.

Although the opportunities are there, only two out of three marketers (65%) invest in influencer marketing so far. and every second company separates their budgets for sponsored social content from other budgets (52%). Still, the amount of investment is not „nickles and dimes“ anymore for brands and companies. Every fourth company already spends over $500,000 already.

Spot On!
Why influencers play an important role inside your content strategy is obvious. They can explain products from various subjective and objective angles. They can play an important role in your community management when negative input needs tob e turned into positive arguments. They can have a big impact in your content production strategy in having an external view on your business and relevance in the market, and thus become your „search-engine-optimizers“. And, they will play a significant role in your sales approach if you take your time to think about it (or maybe talk to us if you don’t have an answer).

Have a look at the infographic and decide yourself if and how you would like to use influencer marketing in the future.

TheShelf-Influencer-Marketing-Infographic-2015

Hashtags: The what, how and why of success

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Even some years ago, I did not really detect the value of hashtags – however it was the days when only Twitter used hashtags. Nowadays, there are still not many people able to detect the secrets and the power of hashtags in the social web world. And probably the majority of marketers still wonders if they cannot leave out the hashtags in order to make the posts more readable.

Hashtags offer a lot of benefits if you use it properly – to be searchable, to be findable, to be categorizable, to follow, to monitor as a brand, a service or a person. Hashtags are not a Twitter thing any longer: Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Google search, and various other platforms also make use of the „computer-cross“ as one of our clients called it the other day in a workshop we did with them.

As (social) marketing campaigns are measured on engagements, it is fair to say that hashtags in campaigns are boosting engagement by up to 50%. Working with two hashtags seems to be the golden secret as more hashtags will kill the „boost-engine“. Still… Maybe not always though. Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags even showed the highest number of engagements. And on facebook you might also not use hashtags at all as those were most successful.

PS: If you do not know how to use hashtags, maybe check out this latest advice from Terri Seymour.

Please find the latest insights put together in an infographic by Surepayroll.

effect-hashtag-infographic-2015

Influencer Trust and Recommendation – A real challenge for marketers (Infographic)

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Some years ago and in many seminars, we make clear that the 3Rs of social consumers will revolutionize the sales world: ratings, reviews and recommendations. However, the question arises what make people recommend brands and services? What is their intrinsic motivation or human driver that makes them push out more positive comments around a brand.

A recent infographic by Social Media Link pulled together the most important findings of a study that surveyed 24.000 social media consumers. Still, the best customer experience that leverages recommendations is „a positive experience with the brand“ (93%) and „receiving a free product or sample“ (79%). On the other hand, a poor customer experiences motivates sharing, too. 71% stated „a negative experience with a brand“ makes them write a review as well.

The survey respondents also mentioned that they are more likely to trust a product recommendation on Facebook than any other social network (71%), followed by Instagram with only 38%.

Not surprisingly, Facebook and retailer websites ist he place to discover new brands and services (53%). However, for purchasing the retailer becomes more important and after purchasing a product people use predominantly Facebook to share their buy (54%) – again Instagram comes in second place.

Spot On!
Now, when you think you just need to give a free product to someone, it makes them write a review or recommendation, you might be wrong. Although, 88% trust friends’ and family members’ reviews when these write about their give free product in exchange, the bloggers only come in at 78%. BUT: Is payment included in exchange for the review, trust-level goes down – especially at bloggers to 48%. Still, the best way ist o have apersonal story which is authentic, not animated and personal.

social-media-recommendations-infographic-2015

Study: Millennials do B2B purchase decisions differently

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Credits: Gerd Altmann  / pixelio.de

Credits: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

We all have heard that Millennials, those humans that are frequently connected, well-informed, tech-savvy, and always having an eye on efficiency. But do we know much about their buying habits, especially when it comes to B2B purchase decisions?

The Institute for Business Value at IBM conducted their next study on Millennial called „To buy or not to buy: How Millennials are reshaping B2B marketing“. The research was based on the opinions of 704 Millennial respondents in order to better evaluate their thoughts about
buying habits of those business decision makers oft he future. The respondents had to have at least some degree of purchases power of $10,000 or more. Then,IBM compared the responses of Millennials (1980-1993), Gen X (1965-1979) and Baby Boomers (1954-1964) to see how the strategic buying decisions vary to other generations.

One thing becomes clear, Millennials want simplicity in handling their partners. They value ease of doing business before industry expertise. Compared to Baby Boomers it shows that the later generation was more heading for fast response times from vendors than their attitude to collaborate.

However, cooperation means a lot in terms of buying-decisions for Millennials (56%) and Gen X (64%). These employees claim to make better decisions when involving more colleagues. In contrast, only 39% of Baby Boomers will ask their colleagues for buy-in or recommendations.

In days, when we are all talking about smart and big data, it also shows that Millennials make use of analytics more than their previous generation. Millennials (53%) and Gen X (63%) leverage data to make better business decisions, whereas Baby Boomersare not much keen on using data to drive better purchase value.

Furthermore, Millennials are looking for direct contact with vendors in the sales cycle. When researching for products or services, they tend to get in touch with vendor employees directly. It shows that the days oft he good old sales pitch is over for them. Millennials want authentic and personalized customer experience to establish a better trust basis for the later cooperation. Social Media, chat and instant message are essential for smart collaboration with vendors. However, they want to stay in the driver seat.

„Digital interaction is almost table stakes. The real differentiator is … experiential opportunities to work with vendors. They want a sense of, ‚What would it be like to partner with these guys? Do they have the same values?'“ Carolyn Baird, Global Research Leader, IBM Institute of Business Value

Spot on!
It becomes clear that companies and brands who aim to work with Millennial -by 2020 over 50% oft he global workforce- should prepare themselves for offering deep insights and analytics to speed up the business decision and buying process. What is definitely crucial is to be open for new collaboration habits and a culture of cooperation. Probably the most important insight suggested from the study is that vendor companies need to have a culture of open collaboration and easy access to all employees across the vendor organization when addressing B2B Millennial buyers.

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