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?

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 value workplace friendships but sacrifice them for their benefit

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Credits: Gerd Altmann  / pixelio.de

Credits: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de

A friendship is not a friendship, when it comes to moving on with your career – at least for millennials. A recent study published by LinkedIn this week shows that millennials believe in friendships at work boosting happiness, motivation, and productivity. However, friendship has an end and makes millennials competitive when it comes to career promotions.

The report states that 27% of the respondents think that workplace friendships boost their job performance. The negative part is that it also makes them more ambitious. Those millennials (68%) would even sacrifice a workplace friendship to get a promotion. The majority of millennials (3 in 5) believe that socializing with coworkers improves their workplace, and every third millennials thinks it will advance their career. Interestingly enough, almost every second millennial states that they would even discuss their salary with coworkers.

The results show quite a big difference to the Baby Boomers where almost the same percentage would never dare to have such a thought. From those workers at the age of 55-65, almost half of them even think a friendship with their coworkers had no effect on their professional performance in any way. Talking about salaries? Only 23% of baby boomers would think about it (and probably not do it).

The study shows that millennials are more open to talk about their very personal business situations like compensation and benefits with their millennial counterparts. Millennials are even heading for those informations instead of showing understatement and not disclosing any information about their personal salary conditions like the baby boomers do. Management should be coaching millennials here, and making sure that they give them insights in why it would be better not being too open with their coworkers.

Don’t limit conversations to only email or formal meetings. Take a walking meeting! Walking meetings are part of LinkedIn’s culture, and they are popular because people tend to relax during a walk, which allows for a more open and creative discussion. Plus, not having a phone or computer interrupt you every second, allows you to be more focused on the person you are talking to, and ultimately more connected.

Take an interest in the personal. While you may not want to give relationship advice, you should have an interest in your teammates as people. Take a few minutes during every one-on-one meeting to connect on a personal level. If your colleague always jets out with their yoga mat, ask them about it! Work is only a part of who we are; if you get to know people’s other passions, it may give you a glimpse into what motivates them.

Congratulate, share and like! A simple gesture on LinkedIn can do wonders for employee morale. Think how great it feels to get “a job well-done” email from your boss, and then imagine having the same recognition shared with your network. It feels great to get acknowledged for your hard work, and by sharing it publicly, you also help to build your professional brand.

The study shows that millennials are more open to talk about their very personal business situations like compensation and benefits with their millennial counterparts. Millennials are even heading for those informations instead of showing understatement and not disclosing any information about their personal salary conditions like the baby boomers do. Management should be coaching millennials here, and making sure that they give them insights in why it would be better not being too open with their coworkers.

How do you manage the millennial workforce in your company? Are they also as open as described in this study?

Relationships @ Work from LinkedIn

Book Review – Marketing in the Age of Google

19.11.2010 von  
Kategorie SEO

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When somebody used to work for Google there is a lot of knowedge to be shared. And I thought, I could learn more about SEO techniques and tactics. Vanessa Fox did work for Google (apart from inventing Webmaster Central), and so I thought, I need to read the book Marketing in the Age of Google. As a web-strategist I should know the secrets of ranking high on Google for my clients.

Getting Vanessa’s inside view on how Google and their search technology operates, gives an aggregated insight on the evolution of search topics. It is saving time and presumingly more efficient than following or reading many SEO experts thoughts. And then let’s help clients to optimize their site fropm a SEO point of view.

To write a review is a challenge. As I follow some of the most interesting SEO cracks, I knew some content topics already. But there is much more quality thoughts and knowledge in it that makes the book worth reading. If companies want to optimize their top rankings, the book offers good tactical approaches and a clear structure how to start and evolve your content strategy as well as how to conquer the top positions in Google. 

Having said this, the book is based on the theory of having a web-strategy in place that is aligned to the company’s business strategy. If your company has the consumer approach understanding the needs, desires and motivation why consumers go online to evaluate products and services, then the book is a must read.

The way people used search engines has changed in the last years as the web has become mature from an information platform to a consumer generated content base. It is not about what the company spreads but what the users are looking for and the content they share and create. People hear something about a person, a brand or a campaign and instandly start going to search for more information. Not seldomly they are finding consumer input. And often the initial search entry point starts with offline marketing, PR or customer service conversation – in print ads, TV commercials or an wallpapers.

Business that know how to connect offline and online efforts will succeed in the future. Happy that this was my main claim when I started this blog and thus gets now backed up by a Google specialist… Thanks Vanessa!
 
Spot On!
The amount of input the book Marketing in the Age of Google offers is probably only handable for a SEO specialist. And this person has to have the buy in from the C-level to manage the online strategy accordingly. A lot of the strategy is based on content creation and content framework which is a PR, marketing, HR, R&D and Customer Service topic in the future in my eyes. These departments need to learn how to place content effectively in the search world. It will affect the way peope perceive the business strategy of a company and the way the companies and brands interact with their clients, partners and employees. What I missed was the effect taxonomies and social tagging might have on search in the future but maybe this comes with the next update. 

Social Media study on digital natives released by Volkswagen and MTV

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The new international study „MePublic – A Global Study on Social Media Youth“ by Volkswagen and MTV Networks presents some interesting insight into media use and value ethics in the group of 14-to 29-year-olds (digital natives). No surprise that they will respond to one of the findings: Young people want to see networking apps extend to the car… and Volkswagen already works on that app.

„With just under 500,000 fans on Facebook and over ten million visitors on YouTube since the company profile was set up at the end of 2008, Volkswagen already has one of the largest fan communities in the automotive industry. And together with our fans we are breaking new ground in the social web – as confirmed by the recent “App my Ride” competition where we gave prizes to the best developments for applications in car infotainment systems.“ Luca de Meo, Group Marketing Head, Volkswagen AG.

The findings show the intensive use of new media and their commitment to brands by digital natives…
– 58% spend time on social networks on a daily basis
– 50% follow product recommendations in social networks
– 43% post their favorite brands on the social web

And the digital natives are well equipped to have best possible access to the new media.
– 94% have a mobile phone
– 92% have a TV set
– 75% an MP3 player

Obviously, there a country-specific differences as the “MePublic” the study lays open. In Japan 40% of the young people primarily use mobile access to their social network which already can be compared with some outlook on the mobile future. 57% of US digital natives use online sources prior to buying a car. In Japan it is only 38% as the young people tend to seek advice direct from the dealer.

The study „MePublic“ states six user types based on criteria such as frequency of use, motivation and goal. Amongst those the characters for a „pro-social“ world are i.e…
– Mediacs: most active and demanding, technically literate, strongly committed, always looking for something new
– Crewsers: social networks = place to meet up with friends
– Funatics: spectators = like to observe, but are not very active themselves

Spot On!
Generally speaking, the study shows that social networks have been added to digital natives perception of mobility. They want to be available when the are driving. When 60% of the 14-to 29-year-olds are convinced that the significance of mobile social networks will increase over the coming years, it speaks a clear language. If you fear the digital natives are „tweeting and driving“, Volkswagen takes the fear of you: „The driver’s safety remains the top priority.” This nice PR message comes along with the ambitious word about their next iPhone app called „Dieter App“. „The planned application assumes the role of the co-pilot and loyal companion and is in line with the wish for a personalized vehicle expressed by the young people“.

Is this a new approach to humanize a brand perception? Installation of apps that appear like human charaters? What do you think about the study findings?

Money, Money, Money – Facebook users follow brands for discounts, and Twitter for social badging

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Some days ago, we could read that Facebook is becoming kind of an outlet for brands to engage with their fans and which brands scored the best. A recent survey from ExactTarget and Co-Tweet now shows product discounts and „social badging“ are the main motivations for „liking“ brands on Facebook.

43% of Facebook users interviewed said they „like,“ or are fans of, at least one brand on Facebook. Among those, 40% admit that the reason for staying friends with the brands is to receive discounts and promotions. Interestingly enough for me is that already 39% state they do so to make their brand affiliations public versus 23% of interviewed people said they follow brands on Twitter for social-badging purposes.

Some more findings of the study is basically saying that marketers are „welcome as participants on social networks“ as long as it supports free enterprise, not because they seek out interactions with marketers on Facebook.

Further key findings on ExactTarget’s study Facebook X-Factors why people like brands on Facebook…
– 34% like brands in order to stay informed about company activities
– 33% want to get updates on future products
– 17% are more likely to buy after liking that brand on Facebook

Again we can see in this study that Facebook is definitely more a platform for women than for men to keep up relationships (63% vs. 54%), connecting with old friends (68% vs. 56%), and managing their social lives (41% vs. 34%).

As the top performing brands on Facebook are named…
Oreo (Nabisco): Top among deal seekers across all age groups (Facebook drivers: coupons and freebies).
Wal-Mart: Top among cost-savings opportunitiy seekers across all age and gender.
Victoria’s Secret: Top among especially Millennials as of new product offerings featured.
iTunes: Top among Millennials as of highlighting new movie and music releases.
Dove: Top among women based on their iinitial „Campaign for Real Beauty“.

The findings are based on a survey of 1,506 consumers age 15+ in April 2010 and consumer interviews among 44 people in March 2010.

The 3 types of social networkers that influence the buying process

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It’s been a rumour in the industry for quite a long time now: Facebook and Twitter are becoming indirect shopping platforms and their buttons can boost sales. A recent survey by the research firm Gartner Inc. discovered that most of the users appreciate and take suggestions from their friends through social networking sites before purchasing products. And furthermore, they rely on three types of social networking friends for their purchasing decision process.

The Gartner study asked nearly 4,000 consumers across 10 key markets. The interesting part is that people in the social networks are taking different positions inside the purchasing process when recommending products to people they are connected with. Gartner identifies three types of people and roups them into three categories: ‚Connectors‘, ‚Mavens‘ and ‚Salesmen‘.

So, how do they differentiate from each other?
The ‚Connectors‘ are defined as those who „perform a bridging function between disparate groups of people and enjoy introducing people to each other“. The ‚Mavens‘ are „knowledge exchangers or information brokers“, who are experts in particular area and people go to them for advice. But they are not people who wish to convince people to buy certain items; they are more interested in acquiring new knowledge, it said. The ‚Salesmen‘ are those, who have „extensive social connections“ and the personality trait that persuade people around them to „act on information in highly directed ways“.

„Our survey results showed that one-fifth of the consumer population is composed of Salesmen, Connectors and Mavens. These are three roles that are key influencers in the purchasing activities of 74 per cent of the population.“ (…) „Salesmen and Connectors are the most effective social network influencers and the most important groups for targeted marketing based on social network analysis.“ Nick Ingelbrecht, Research Director, Gartner

Gartner advises companies based on the findings of its survey to pro-actively engage with these different types of people on social networking sites. Not surprisingly, they define these categories of social media influencers as the „critical, but underutilised, aspect of the marketing process“ for the future.

„Companies attempting to use social networks should develop relationships with key customers over a period of time and progressively refine the social network profiles of those individuals.“ (…) „Retailers who run small shops have instinctively done this with their best customers for years with the intention that these ‚VIP‘ customers will not only buy the new products but recommend them to their friends.“ Nick Ingelbrecht, Research Director, Gartner

Spot On!
For me, there is a strange thing about this study. It causes a Deja-vu, I have never had before in my life. Two years ago, I published and explained -in German- in a long post the importance of these three types of people in business networks for business decision makers, and how businesses should focus on them when talking about their social media approaches. And guess what: Two years ago, I came to the same conclusion and refered to the same types of people. In these days, I have read the book „Tipping Point“ by Malcolm Gladwell for the second time. And in this book you will find the same categories of people, and you are told to rely on them and work with ‚Connectors‘, ‚Mavens‘ and ‚Salesmen‘.

The main question is now, how to address these social networking influencers? Can you call them up and talk to them directly? Send an email? Invite them for dinner or lunch? What is the best way to start the conversation with them?

Is customer-centric business the future?

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In the last 12 years, the credo of my business life was „Customer First!“. It surprises and disappoints me when I experience poor customer service. Or when I hear from unhappy friends, colleagues or relatives telling me stories about how companies treat the centre of their business: customers.

Last week, when I was thinking about how to leverage this to a higher level, I came across a modern business strategy vision by Ranjay Gulati, Harvard Business School professor and author of the book „Reorganize for Resilience: Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business„. In the following video Gulati tells us how to deliver what customers really want.

Reorienting vs. Reorganizing
Ranjay Gulati sees the fundamental changes appropriate for some movement in company processes. Customers have more information, more choices on products while companies are facing global competition. So, businesses have to think about their business (not only marketing or sales efforts!) and how it operates.

Redefining vs. Reinventing
The analysis of the customer base might show that the website is designed for male while the majority of the users might be female. So, we need to ask questions like „Who are my customers?“, „How do my customers shop?“, or „What do they really want?“.

Gulati explains with the latest success of Best Buy how women and men shop. At that point, he also hints to the upsale opportunity of recommendations.

Success for businesses, he believes, comes from „Inside-Out-Perspective“. Companies don’t have to produce everything themselves but need to make the client happy like Apple with the iPhone. 90% of the inputs are not made by Apple. The same occurs to the apps in the Apple store where Apple basically just orchestrates the customers wishes.

„Make this identity shift. I am not here to sell what I produce – I am here to solve a set of customer problems (…) and actually acting on that!“

How to get to a customer-centric business…
1. Shifting mindset: the intention to solve customer problems.
2. Sense of curiosity and humility: the wish to understand your customers.
3. Make a creative leap: the will to understand their needs.
4. Align the elements in the organization: the motivation to live the customer-centric business.

Spot On!
Interested to get your view on this modern business strategy. Let us know what you think about customer-centric business. Or do you think the social web will be leading us towards this business process anyway?

News Update – Best of the Day

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Content strategy becomes more and more important as customers approach companies and get engaged in company buzz. In order to be prepared companies should have a good content strategy in place. Shay Howe writes about the relevant tactical steps involved in developing a content strategy and offers great case studies with it.

Marketers want to get insight in what kind of advertising are seen and what is not being noticed o the web. The book „Eyetracking Web Usability“ offers some answers based on an eyetracking study. Only close to 36% notice ads on a web page. 52% look at purely textual ads, 52% view ads where image and text were separate, 51% of viewers noticed sponsored links on search engine pages. Ads carrying text on top of images is not very successful.

What is the formula of social media success? With Starbucks we have an interesting show case which was summarized by Ayelet Noff that highlight their powerful social media tactics and strategic motivation.

Study: How women use blogs and social networking…

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A recent study Women in Social Media from BlogHer, iVillage and Compass Partners, shows that the motivation of women using blogs and social networking differs. Blogs for women follow the purpose to find the right information while social networking platforms have the ‚mere‘ sense to connect.

The results state that US women are nearly twice as likely to use blogs than social networking sites. Blogs are seen especially valuable as a source of information (64%), advice and recommendations (43%), and opinion-sharing (55%). Social networking sites are more used to share their strong affinity to connect and to entertain themselves.

Women show much more interest and increase their activity in social media. So, women are turning to blogs (55%), social networks (75%) and online status updating (20%) to satisfy their interest.

The new study found that women spend less and less time engaging in traditional media activities like watching TV, listening to the radio, or reading magazines or newspapers.

And for women blogs are becoming more and more important as a trendsetting and purchase sources of information. Seeing the influence of blogs on purchase decisions, the study makes clear that women are more likely to buy a product after reading a customer post or reports about the item. 45% of survey respondents bought a product after reading about it on a blog.

“The scale of social media usage among US women continues to grow, and blogs remain the go-to resource for those who want to gather information, share ideas and get reliable advice,” said Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer co-founder and COO. “At a time when the economy is top-of-mind for more than 70% of these active social media participants, women who blog are turning to online resources, including blogs, to help them make their day-to-day purchasing decisions.”

Spot On!
The influence of blogs on purchase decisions shows the importance for companies to evaluate blogs as a new important part for their media plans. Reading about the habits and attitudes, the study revealed that half of the survey respondents participate in social media activity daily and weekly or more often. When we think of the 42 million women participating in social media weekly, 55% of women do some form of blogging activity; 75% participate in social networks (i.e. Facebook or MySpace) and 20% are using Twitter. The data provided shows the change in the media landscape. While traditional platform face a decrease of importance, social media is on an all time high. The time seems right to rethink traditional and digital media planning.

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