digital

Social Media requires integration

Social media has not only had a major influence on society, but also on business, disrupting organizations for the past 10 years. Today, more and more companies have integrated social media into their marketing communications as a means of customer engagement. Now that the basics have been mastered, it no longer is about scaling social engagement but rather about focussing on partnering inwards as well as outwards.

Social media requires leadership

A social media strategy needs to work across the organization, across silos, support the company’s digital vision and requires new levels of employee engagement and advocacy. To be able to do this, strong leadership is needed to move social media beyond marketing communication and to create a true social business vision.

Altimeter has released a new analysis on “The 2015 State of Social Business: Priorities Shift from Scaling to Integrating” based on interviews with thought leaders, brands, technology vendors and a survey of 113 strategists (social, digital and/or heads of social) at companies with more than 250 employees.

Here are the most important findings in one infographic:

infografik-social-business-2015

 

 

Smartphone Jealousy

ChinaWe Are Social updated their annual Digital Statshot on China this week. And it does not look like the pace of digital adoption is slowing. Believe it or not – China now has more social media users than the US and Europe combined.

When I look at China’s digital landscape, I realize that we are not using our phones to their full potential. China’s great firewall may mean there is very limited access to services like Twitter, Facebook or Google but when you see how much messaging services like WeChat can do that sort of can become irrelevant. WeChat is not only a messaging service. It lets you play games, check into a flight, call a cab, make money transfers and soon also a stock trading function.

Not only is cheap technology an advantage in China but also with it being the largest internet culture (some 668 million wired people, 89% on phones alone!) make a great test market. And in China, mobile payments are much easier to use because it is more widely accepted. No need for merchant’s to have special terminals because they have accounts within social networks like WeChat. Imagine if you could pay for your pizza delivery in Europe using your WhatsApp service! And not to ignore giant Alibaba that has expanded their service for online cash for anything like paying your rent, bills etc. You can even earn better interest with them than with a regular bank and get a loan if you need it. Financial disruption at its best.

You can read the full report here:

The growth continues

Summer is in full swing and we have crossed the first half year mark. Time to look at some digital stats (kindly provided by We Are Social).

Facebook is still the dominating social media platform with almost 1.5 billion users. They are adding more users every day or impressively put ‘6 new users per second’. What is interesting is that what follows Facebook are messenger platforms like WhatsApp, WeChat or Messenger. This is particular interesting development in the mobile social world. People seem to prefer chats to the conventional social networks. Ads on WhatsApp soon?

socialmedia
What also fascinated me is that the statistics show that 225 million people around the world used the internet for the first time in the past 12 months. According to telecommunications giant Ericsson, cellular subscriptions will continue to grow to almost 8 billion active subscribers over the next 5 years. That’ll be more than the world population. And remember: not every world citizen is connected yet!

mobile vs people

What does that mean? As I have written here in the past, as marketers we really need to place more effort on smart mobile devices. Not only are they part of our everyday life, for many people around the world is it their “first screen”, their only device. And they use it for everything from communicating, browsing the web, watching TV to shopping. This is the place where brands need to make an impression because it is becoming more than just a channel.

Speaking of marketing, mobile and social, I really like Talenti’s new ‘Flavorize Me’ campaign that uses social media profiles to create a personalized ice cream flavour. An algorithm analyzes the key words you have in your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profiles, breaks those down into tastes and then into ingredients that match those. I ended up with “Marmalade Green Chili Biscuit”. Sounds very interesting. Talenti is only available in the US so unless they decide to take my personalized flavor and use it for actual production (which btw according to their website they will let me know by September 15), you will find me eating gelati in Italy this month.

gealti

 

Blockchain – a good financial disruptor

Blockchain is the financial industry latest disruptor. Many startups are using the digital-currency technology to tackle financial companies’ slow, antiquated back-office operations. For banks, the blockchain has the potential to become a technology model for a low-cost and transparent transaction infrastructure.But not only startups are embracing the revolutionary potential of the blockchain and other digital innovations, so are regulators like ESMA. They’ve just started a call to hear from all those involved, from existing financial institutions to startups and investors. Pretty cool.

Time to get inspired again

It has been a busy few weeks for me with lots of travel and deadlines to meet. But now that things are finally returning back to normal  over the summer (hopefully!) it is time to get inspired again by all the great innovation going on the world – and not only from a marketer’s perspective!

New technologies are turning the financial world upside down. The WSJ recently wrote “In five years, the biggest banks in the world won’t be banks, they’ll be tech companies.” And right they are. Big tech players in the internet industry like Google, Facebook or Apple are already working on developing alternative payment systems and other innovations for the financial industry. So time for existing financial institutions to get on the wagon. Barclays is a great example of the few players who are taking this trend seriously. For instance, they recently launched “Code Playground”  a website to teaches young people about coding as part of ongoing plans to increase digital skills among its customers. Ticktock on the clock for those who are not yet looking at the disruptive forces in banking.

And of course the Apple Watch. We all know it will have a big impact on marketing and we are seeing many early brand adopters. Like publishers. The New York Times, CNN and The Economist are all making a run to offer us “wrist sized” content. And right they are – while some of us are still wondering why one needs an Apple watch, others are realizing where the web moves to so must your business.

Want to up your  “customer loyalty”? Then  take a look at Marriott’s Mobile App. They have just launched a new feature where guests can make specific requests (as far as 72 hours in advance). Anything from that additional pillow to make you sleep better to getting an extra bottle of shampoo. There’s even a two-way chat feature in case you have a very “specific” request.

Of course we should not snub tweeting potholes or Google’s fragrance emission’s device (yes it’s a wearable that can tell you when you start to smell a bit in the armpitty region) – so if you want to feel inspired as well, take a look at WeAreSocial “Curiosity Stop” for some new impulses. I really have to give them kudos for having formed an internal Innovation Team who scour the world to spot new disruptive forces and seek out the latest innovations and then put it all into this great, little report.

Drones, Messaging and More: Some Insights from Mary Meeker’s 2015 Internet Trends Report

Screen-Shot-2015-05-27-at-11.30.33-AMIt’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.

No more CMO at Heineken. Is this the start of the demise of the Chief Marketing Officer?

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.

Inroads in social media marketing for financial services

Consumers have long moved on from just using the internet for information-gathering. Social networks are growing at an incredible pace. We all know that social media lower costs and optimizes marketing spending. Now is the time for financial services companies to move from just “being” on social media and start to truly “engage” with their customers. At the end of the day it is all about using social media tools to build personalized customer relationships.

There are many financial companies, like American Express or UBS, already optimizing their use of social media. Accenture has identified 11 social media tactics that can help achieve a specific outcome and that should ideally not just be used in isolation.

acc1

It is important to keep in mind, that social media marketing always needs to be fully integrated in your company’s digital and corporate strategy to achieve the best impact possible.

Here is a link to the full report.

Where are you on Gartner’s Digital Business Development Path?

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?

Digital-Business-Path-Forbes

 

Source: Forbes