It’s that time of year again (or another year has flown by more like it).Last week Mary Meeker presented once again her deep dive into tech trends. A whooping 197 slides this year, here are my main takeaways about the state of the internet world in 2015:
39% of the world population (or 2.8 billion people) are now on the internet. Getting the remaining 5 billion people connected is a huge business opportunity. We have seen Facebook (Internet.org) and Google (Project Loon) make inroads. Of course their hope is by giving people in developing countries access to the web, they will become loyal customers.
Not really new news: the top internet companies are actually platforms. Think Apple, Google, Alibaba, Facebook and Amazon.
Whereas we have already seen massive transformation in the consumer space, great potential for new business opportunities lie in healthcare, education and government.
If you live in the US and are an adult, then you spend over 5.6 hours a day on the internet and that mostly via your mobile device. In Europe we are seeing a similar trend. And of course as our attention span gets shorter, we prefer shorter, bite-sized content.
And very important for us marketers: while consumers spend most of their time on mobile, ad spend on this medium is not on par. Another huge revenue opening.
Video viewing is growing. 9.9 hours a day in the US. And interesting to see that more people watch video vertically than horizontally (think Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram…) – so for content creators this means rethinking how they shoot their videos.
Messaging is KING! 6 of the 10 top apps by usage are messaging apps. Another potential opportunity for businesses by offering additional services like taxi, payment or food delivery services (similar to what WeChat is already doing in China). New messaging apps will have a hard time penetrating the market as it will become hard convincing people to join a new network their friends and family are not on.
Generation Z is shifting from text to visual social media. Facebook and Twitter are being used less, Snapchat and Instagram more.
With technology we are moving more to “just in time” products and services. Think grocery or food delivery, driver services, package pickups. Traditional businesses will become more and more disrupted unless they can find a way to compete with convenience. But online market places as well as on demand services are creating “part time jobs”. AirBnB, Uber or Etsy allow for supplemental incomes to people’s “regular” jobs. A trend that will continue to grow no doubt.
Drones are the new cameras. Fact: There has been 167% year-over year increase in consumer drone sales. But we also need to consider their commercial use. They have the ability to save money for businesses by replacing planes amongst others and worse case could replace human jobs.
And finally – millennials are starting to drive the economy. Not only are they an important consumer group that marketers need to consider in their strategies, but also employers. Millennials have grown up connected to the internet and expect their working experience to offer that same flexibility.
Of course working a lot with clients in the financial industry, what is missing for me is more insight into how the finance and banking sector is and will continue to be affected by the internet. Think peer to peer lending, crowdsourcing, Bitcoin or even just simply how millennials will want to bank in the future.
Maybe Mary Meeker will include a slide in next year’s report.
Heineken made quite a few restructuring changes last week, amongst others announcing that the CMO and chief sales officer roles would now be combined under one new Chief Commercial Officer role. While Heineken says this and the other changes will allow them to focus more on growth opportunities and be more agile, it raises the question, is the role of the CMO becoming obsolete?
I have worked with and for a number of organizations where marketing and sales operate as separate entities, with different goals, processes and especially strategies. But what good is a strong marketing plan with no buy in from sales? And what good is a strong sales force with a weak marketing plan behind it? In today’s world it is all about customer engagement and while marketing and sales may not use the same channels, they now need to provide one common experience. That is why marketing and sales should not think twice about working together under one and the same strategy.
Does that mean the CMO no longer plays a role in the organization? Of course not. Marketers need to understand that just as businesses are moving more and more into the digital age so must our roles. This may just require that marketing and sales act as one with one strategy.
Bank of England’s Andrew Haldane caused quite a stir with his speech “Growing Fast and Slow” where he talked about the forces that underpin economic development. It is not about neoclassical growth theory or the role of education in the industrial revolution – rather he talks about how the internet and social media may be hindering economic growth. Is technology really undermining one of the key psychological prerequisites for economic growth: patience, and the willingness to put off current gratification for future gains? It is an interesting argument but one of which I am not completely convinced of yet. You can read the whole speech here.
Vox has published a very interesting map from the Oxford Internet Institute which shows where the world’s internet users live. Amazing to note how many countries (and continents) still have pretty low usage but we all know that this will change dramatically over the coming years.
Garner has published a Digital Business Development Path that examines different business models from before the web to today’s digital platforms to help businesses see where they are currently and help make a case to increase their digital business. According to Gartner, by 2020 75% of all businesses will be digital or on their way to become one. So where is your business on the development path?
The Accenture Interactive 2014 CMO-CIO Alignment survey – released this month – interviewed over 1,100 senior marketing and IT executives around the globe. The main result ? The desire for CMOs and CIOs to work together is strong. CMOs feel that marketing’s move to becoming more digital means the need for more technology, while CIOs see the opportunity of applying technology to marketing. All the more reason to collaborate more.
Brian Solis, Principle Analyst at Altimeter Group, posted this amazing “Wheel of Disruption” in a recent article. While it may be full of buzzwords, we cannot deny that digital technologies are impacting our customer’s behavior already today and even more so in the future. And businesses need to respond to these changes if they want to remain competitive. Brian interviewed over 20 strategists from leading global companies to find out how they are changing in light of this. Very interesting to hear that most felt that the way to adapt to this transformation was not only through investing in new technologies. But to adapting to the behaviours of customers and employees. At the end of the day is it about “creating a culture of adapation and innovation” in your business. And that is something us in marketing communications also have a large role to play in.
Mary Meeker’s State of the Internetpresentation gives us a great insight into the Future of Digital – albeit in a 164 page slideshow. Here are some takeaways that I find the most interesting:
Internet access growth may be slowing, but not on mobile.
Tablet shipments increased by 53% in 2013 – that is a faster pace than PCs ever had. And many consumers are leapfrogging the PC completely as we are living in an era of smartphones.
Mobile accounts for 25% of all web usage. That’s 14% increase from last year!
We spend 20% of our media time online. But there still is a huge opportunity for mobile ad spend growth.
We are using social networks to share more privately than broadcasting – just think of the rise of WhatsApp. This also accounts for photo sharing being up 50% over 2013 in just the first half of this year.
Mobile business since 2008 has exploded from $2 billion to $38 billion. This just shows how important it is for media companies to promote high-quality apps for their products and services.
Google and Apple are the future. While this may seem obvious we should remember that 8 years ago they had no phone business, today they rule our operating systems.
Video still is king. And YouTube cannot be underestimated. It creates stars and is getting huge monetization through ads.
And finally China. It is becoming a critical market with 80% of its internet user now on mobile. Plus China is not copying, it is innovating. So we need to keep an eye on that.
And to conclude: the future of the Internet, in one graph, showing screen time by screen type around the world.
I gave a presentation at the European University as part of the American Germany Business Club Exchange yesterday together with another marketing colleague of mine on “Marketing Strategy in the Digital Economy”. And I realized the 45 minutes we had to present just did not suffice. So much has changed since digital hit us and hit us in all industries and the way we need to do business now and will be doing business in the future.
Catching up on my reading this Sunday morning, I came across this interesting article in WIREDwhich is just one of the many examples of how changes are influencing our digital economy. Cheap smartphones are popping up everywhere. But don’t dismiss them. For many people around the globe it will be their first screen and their only screen. Their primary interface with the world. This means a huge array of new opportunities huge impact on both social and political issues.
Marketing into Asia one cannot ignore China and its 618 million Internet users (representing 45% of the country’s population!). With many home-grown platforms and a complex ecosystem here is an interesting presentation giving insight into China’s social, digital and mobile world.