CMO Insights

RIP CMO, viva CDO!

chief marketing officer vs chief digital officer

As the adoption of digital media and devices surges, digital is getting pushed towards the ‘most basic need’ in Maslow’s Pyramid.

Digital readiness is now looked upon as the key differentiator and also a success factor for any organisation’s future growth and competitiveness.

This elevates the importance of the chief marketing officer (CMO) as a strategist, a social innovator, and above all, a curator of advisory services and technology.

According to a C-level survey conducted by CMO.com, 76 per cent of CMOs believe that marketing has changed more in the last two years than it did in the last five decades.

Until now, the role of a CMO was leaning towards handling marketing communication and brand management. However, in the last few years, the digital industry’s growth has forced the organisational talent map to re-design the CMO’s role and tilt it more towards technology and data-driven marketing. So much so that companies are now even considering a dedicated Chief Digital Officer to drive this crucial mandate.

To get the maximum ROI from their digital efforts and also stay ahead on the innovation index, the CMO will have to become a ‘jack of all trades’ and wear multiple hats at the same time.

Due to the myriad digital devices, a consumer journey is no longer linear in any industry or type of business.

Technology is successfully delivering the end-user experience across multiple touch points in every purchase journey. As a CMO, keeping a hawk’s eye on the changing technology trends is indeed the new ‘marketing way of life’.

Modern-day data analytics has forced CMOs to stop making any hypothetical assumptions about the marketing process. In fact, CMOs will have to take data science as their biggest ally in marketing warfare. Focus on data insights would allow them to make scientific business decisions at every step of customer engagement.

As a CMO, digital transformation is the new mission critical which is a lot more complex than just running an integrated marketing campaign.

The real transformation journey never ends, and begins a lot earlier than campaign launch. It involves tying up all the loose ends in design, technology and data science, including cross device UI & UX, website SEO strategy for overall brand discoverability, defining audience targeting filters for laying down rules in the programmatic campaign, and so on.

For all this transformation to happen simultaneously, it is vital for any CMO to get their hands dirty with new emerging technologies, devices and marketing tools in order to understand the brand’s core target audience better and recommend any strategic changes from an organisation standpoint.

In the words of Leon C. Megginson:

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.”

It would not be an exaggeration to say that the role of a traditional Chief Marketing Officer in its current avatar may go several feet below to the dark soil. Only to be able to resurrect as a digital transformer.

And like brands have to now re-imagine their story and bond with the customer, the CMO too will have to morph quickly and surely into the CDO. And place the epitaph on their past with an RIP.

[The above article was first published in The Hindu Business Line]
Digital Agency, Digital Media Strategy

Digital Media Strategy – The Past, Present & Future

digital media strategy - past present future

Digital Media Strategy – The Past

Back in mid 2000’s, digital media strategy was just an excel crunching and data munching job. It was nothing more than a cost optimised ms-excel plan. Almost all the plans followed the same construct, lots of rich media innovations, roadblocks & tonnes of banner impressions.

Back then, even the clients had little expectations from the media planners. The term ‘Media Strategy’ was considered to be an oxymoron. Marketing folks were extremely selective while discussing their overall marketing strategy, leave alone the business strategy.

While the term performance marketing was existing, but then very few planners could show how the cross channel funnel works.

All the above points left a lot room for human bias and made the entire planning process highly dependent on the whims and fancy of media planning teams.

But guess what, times have changed.

Digital Media Strategy – The Present

With the rise of search, data analytics, biddable media, RTBs and programmatic buying platforms, complexion of media plans has changed.

Growth of RTB Programmatic in new age Digital Media Strategy
Growth of RTB Programmatic in new age Digital Media Strategy

The growth & adoption of programmatic is enormous in the western markets like the US (see above graph). More than four-fifths of agencies and brands already purchase display ads programmatically. And even greater proportion of publishers are pursuing programmatic channels as part of their sales strategies.

 

CMO queries on digital media strategy

Even the metrics for media planning have seen quite a lot of transformation. Today, most of the CMOs are more than interested in knowing how their digital activities are performing?

Discussions around basic web analytics (page views, bounce rates, etc.) have given way to more complex marketing analytics metrics.

The new marketing metrics include customer life time value (LTV), brand uplift, share of voice, engagement rates, conversion attribution etc.

With the rise of smart devices, cross device strategies became extremely crucial for all CMOs. As a result, marketing teams have understood the need of having a scientific, data driven wireframe for their digital media strategy.

These wireframes have clearly defined goals, metrics and attribution methodologies to create a comprehensive digital media approach.

The conversations in the marketing corridors are changing everyday. Digital agencies & digitalmedia planning teams have to learn to talk in the same language.

Digital Media Strategy – The Future

So what is the new language of digital media planning?

The answer is DATA!

In future, marketing teams would be more than eager to bring their digital media partner into a strategic roadmap discussion. Are media planning agencies ready to to drop their archaic hit and trial planning methods and focus on new age analytical approach?

As a digital media planner, one has to look into different data sources at all stages of strategy planning. These data points would cut across marketing and sales, online and offline, consumer and partners etc. Any sustainable digital media strategy must connect all these dots together.

Digital media planning would no longer be restricted to a few selected channels like display, social and search. On one side, number of channels are increasing and on the other side, the lines are continuously blurring between digital and media strategy.

Is your digital media planner ready for the future?

Data Analytics

Razorfish Announces COSMOS™ Data Intelligence Platform

Razorfish cosmos data intelligence platform

Razorfish, the world leader in helping global brands drive customer obsessed business transformation, has launched a new data intelligence platform, COSMOS™. COSMOS is the first-of-its-kind offering that uniquely combines cognitive algorithms, data intelligence and machine learning to create timely, relevant and seamless brand experiences across all touch points.

The data intelligence platform was debuted during Razorfish’s main stage seminar, titled “Cracking the Code of Creativity,” at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Monday, June 20. In partnership with Contagious Communications, the agency was given exclusive access to a 15-year archive of Cannes Lions awards submission data, which they analysed using COSMOS to devise a formula for creativity and demystify commonalities in award-winning work.

Powered by patent-pending artificial intelligence algorithms, COSMOS data intelligence solves the challenge of fragmented audiences, disparate customer data sources and siloed brand experiences. By mining behavioural data, and in turn predicting the needs, wants, and motivations across the entire customer journey, marketers are able to unlock new streams of revenue and create business impact.

“New business models are changing old paradigms and companies must now adapt to connect with consumers who are more empowered than previous generations, with more touch points than ever before,” said Shannon Denton, chief executive officer, Razorfish. “With COSMOS, we can now harness intelligence from online and offline data to create a single view of the customer, while at the same time creating experiences that will not only disrupt and drive growth for businesses but also improve the lives of their customers.”

COSMOS is modular, allowing organisations to either deploy the platform at scale or purchase need-based solutions that can be integrated with existing marketing and technology platforms. COSMOS learns, reasons and activates deep customer insights by introducing cognitive optimisations that drive loyalty, customer retention and experiences in a never-before-seen level of personalisation.

COSMOS includes the following modules:

  • COSMOS™ Consumer 360
  • COSMOS™ Audience Intelligence Hub
  • COSMOS™ Cognitive Intelligence-as-Service
  • COSMOS™ Universal Graph ID

“Relevance has always been key in marketing. The opportunities to be highly relevant have increased tremendously with the omniscience of mobile and programmatic media. By the same token, the difficulty in finding the right moment of interaction has also increased. Our digitally connected economy is forcing brands to fundamentally redefine the way in which they interact with consumers,” said Rishad Tobaccowala, chief strategist, Publicis Groupe. “COSMOS helps solve this problem, unlocking moment marketing opportunities by quickly delivering data and insights that can be activated in real time across channels.”

The COSMOS intellectual property was developed and is led by Razorfish Chief Intelligence Officer Samih Fadli and is fueled by more than 1,500 data consultants and 6,000 delivery resources across 21 countries globally.

For more information on COSMOS, contact cosmos@razorfish.com or watch the COSMOS video.

(Credits: above article was published in PR Newswire)

Digital Marketing Strategy, Digital Strategy, SEM Strategy

Search is the beginning, middle & end of every buying journey

Google ZMOT

More than a decade ago, when I started my digital marketing career, concepts like consumer journey were non-existent in the agency parlance. In fact, no marketer was even asking this question to their agency. Perhaps digital was not considered strategic enough.

But travel e-commerce players (like MMT, Yatra etc.) changed it all forever, when they showcased the true power of the digital world to all marketing folks. From that point, it truly opened a perennial chapter of gold rush in the advertising business.

Arguably, if there was one company who was in the middle of this (never ending) gold rush, it was Google. Google’s success in the online business compelled a lot of people to try their hand at creating disruptive online products, but most of them ended up failing miserably.

The Beginning

Over the years, humans appetite for information search has touched gigantic proportions. Mobile only added more fuel to this insane pace of growth. (see below image)

Mobile Users vs Desktop Internet Users

The journey which took desktop 20 years, mobile not just covered it in just 7 years but outpaced desktop in no time at all. And the result was quite apparent from there onwards. It triggered a never seen before surge in human appetite for information “search”. So much so that it became the penultimate lifeline in online discovery.

Consumer journey in search

By 2013, more than 48% of online audience were discovering products through search only in the automobile (42%), home and garden (41%), apparel & beauty (38%).  Mobile only accelerated this phenomenon further.

 

Over the years, Mobile (or rather Mobility) has not just amplified the overall searches across categories but also altered user’s path to discover new products & services.

consumer journey by devices
Source : Forbes

Over 75% of product discovery starts on a smartphone or tablets, whereas only 25% is happening on PCs. This phenomenon has forced the brand teams to re-look at their entire marketing funnel and create a mobile first strategic approach.

The Middle

Usually, the discovery cycle for any product category is longer, take for example the automobile category.

Source : Google Insights

In automobile, any purchase consideration cycle can go up to 120+ days. And the reason is quite obvious, there are multiple layers to any purchase consideration and it can get extremely complex if the category is highly competitive:

  • Type of vehicle to purchase ( Sedan vs Hatchback vs Crossover vs SUV etc.)
  • Variant A vs Variant B (Petrol vs Diesel vs CNG )
  • Brands A vs Brand B ( Honda vs Hyundai )
  • Car Dealer A vs Car Dealer B ( Outskirts vs Suburb )
  • Color Preference ( Metallic vs Non Metallic )
  • Finance Company A vs Finance Company B

When beginning a new purchase journey, most consumers consider an average of 3 to 4 brands, if they are not already loyal to one in particular. During this stage it becomes vitally important for marketers to increase their brand visibility while consumers are developing their considerations sets.

The search allows the consumer to deep dive into various parameters that can assist them in decision making by comparing multiple complex options at ease.

The End

Customer Care Search Trends on Google
10 Years Customer Care Search Trends on Google ( Source : Google Trends)

Last 10 years Google search trends shows how customer care related queries have sky rocketed.

This shows that search does not stop at purchase, in fact it is a great tool for brands to engage with customers on ongoing basis by helping them find solutions to their problems. A lot of brands miss out on this opportunity to connect with their customers in the post sales phase.

 

Mobile First

How to approach Mobile Marketing Strategy as a CMO?

Mobile-marketing-strategy-for-cmo
Mobile-marketing-strategy-for-cmo

Let me tell you something, if you are a CMO who is creating the mobile strategy for the first time, then only god can help you.

Guess what, the fault is not yours. Mobile marketing space has become increasingly complex and confusing for even the best of digital professionals and building an integrated mobile marketing approach for the company is no child’s play.

As a CMO, the most important thing to do before building your mobile marketing framework, is to get the right facts on table so as to see the future strategy in the right perspective.

Here’s how a CMO can approach his mobile marketing strategy:

Mobile Marketing Strategy Framework

Curate the right Mobile Trends

Mobile is one of the hottest topics in the digital parlance, and it would continue to remain critical until AI takes over. Every platform owner (like Google & Facebook) or market research agencies (like KPMG & Nielsen) offer their biased point of views w.r.t mobile strategies.

The idea should be to hand pick the most relevant trends that suits your nature of business.

Also see : Mobile Marketing – A quick guide for chief marketing officer and digital agencies

Defining Consumer Journey in Mobile

Consumer Journey in Mobile
Consumer Journey in Mobile

 

The consumer journey of various categories can be different but what matters for a CMO is to ascertain the touch points that needs mobile first makeover and optimisation. Once you define your brand’s consumer journey in the digital space, keeping in mind the mobile trends, you must map your mobile objectives in that journey.

Deciding the platforms

Once the CMO has identified the mobile objectives, choosing the platforms would be an easy deal. But there are times when marketing teams fall in the trap of choosing between what adds value vs what adds vanity? For e.g. B2B business need not create a consume facing app just because apps are the flavour of the day.

Also read: How to choose between Mobile App vs Mobile WAP 

Choosing Marketing Channels

A combination of your chosen platforms and your end marketing objectives would further help in defining your mobile marketing channels. If you have taken the App route, you have to build an acquisition / App download strategy followed by an App usage strategy.

Most of the performance marketing companies or affiliates do not bother about the app usage. App usability is not even there as the last metric.

As a CMO, you must see it at all times that your digital agency and affiliates are not compromising on the user targeting so that the usage data does not go too diagonal.

If the focus is your responsive website, you must create a mobile first marketing plan across all channels including search, display & social.

Creating Mobile Content

Your brand’s content must resonate with your audience mobile usage. If the trends are in favour of social media content, you must create more liquid or shareable content to increase your organic reach and engagements.

Choosing your Mobile SEO keywords is perhaps the most difficult exercise and needs more intricate planning over a period of time. You have to depend a lot on your google analytics organic data for building the roadmap for Mobile SEO.

Short form video content is must-have for social ads as it increases your advertising ROI. ( Read : What type of content should you create? )

 

 

CMO Insights, Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing for CMOs – rocket science or a piece of cake?

digital marketing for cmo - rocket science or a piece of cake

In 2016, I completed a decade long career in the world of digital marketing and advertising. Over the years, I’ve seen the nature of client queries & problem statements changing quite dramatically. From a very simple one liner like “We want to do something in digital” to “How can we generate leads through digital?”, and the most recent one, “How can we do digital transformation of our business?”.

Arguably, brands in India have evolved significantly when it comes to their receptivity towards digital marketing. Still, there is a sense of fear about digital marketing practices in the minds of business owners and CXOs, majorly due to wrong perception and poor knowledge imparted by a series of small time vendors / consultants  & agencies they’ve met in the past.

I won’t say that the fear is completely out of context. Digital medium has indeed grown at a breakneck pace, both in terms of the audience adoption, the excessive use of tech in marketing and the massive data generated by digital devices.

digital-marketing-channels

This ‘never seen before pace of growth’ in the Digital world eventually turned the digital marketing landscape into a complex mesh of related and unrelated choices of tools, techniques, media channels, platforms, ad formats and marketing metrics.

Till now, a lot of brands were operating in a single, well defined template of producing one TVC, one print ad & one radio jingle in their entire marketing calendar. Their world was pretty straight forward (not taking anything away from the mainline agencies), until digital shook the entire landscape with its never ending options and opportunities.

Google-Algorithm-Upate-Timeline

Nothing seems to be at rest in the digital world. The biggest discovery platform – Google, changes its search algorithm almost 3-4 times in a year. If you are a marketer who understands SEO & SEM, you would perhaps know what that really means from a content creation standpoint.

With platforms like Facebook, Twitter & Instagram becoming a way of life, social media marketing suddenly became the most important priority for all marketers (big or small). Apparently, strategy for social media engagement is the most abused thing in our business. Not many brands actually know “why they are doing what they are doing?”.

Mobile further added a complex dimension of location & personalisation (UI & UX) to the digital marketing process. Customer experience on WAP & App is now looked upon as the biggest strategic project.

Programmatic Luma Landscape

Programmatic ad tech also added a tonne of new set of questions in the minds of already confused marketing teams. The number of 3rd party stakeholders involved (DMP, DSP, SSP, Exchange, Networks, Publishers) with their insanely complex terminology and even more complex execution process, programmatic has enough arsenal to scare a NASA scientist.

However, with all its complications, digital is still looked upon as the next big platform for innovation by many brands.

Simplifying Digital Marketing

I think there is a way in which you can simplify digital marketing strategy for your brand. As a CMO, here are some simple go-to steps that’ll get you going instantly in your digital marketing strategy because you would start asking the right questions to your agency:

Discoverability

  • Always check the status of your brands discoverability in the search engines.
  • Ensure your SEO vendor has deployed the SEO best practices.
  • Create as much content about your product/service/brand. This would ensure that you start getting the right audience on your website.

Analytics

  • Use the analytics data from your website to find out more about your audience.
  • Serve more content which is generating more audience visits and active visits on the website.
  • Find out the segments you should target in your future campaign based on organic search results.

Digital Marketing KPI

  • Your marketing KPIs would vary from business to business, and especially based on the type & stage of business you are.
  • Don’t just say that you want to “sell your products”, that is business goal.
  • Your marketing goal should be to reach out to the right targeting audience, ensure they spend as much time as possible with your brand and eventually leave their contact details to know more / transact online / visit your store. All these goals can be measured.
  • Type of digital metrics
    • Vanity Goals – Impressions, clicks, ctr
    • Performance Goals – CPC (cost per click), cost per visit (CPV), cost per active visit (CPAV), cost per acquisition (CPA)
    • Business Metrics – footfalls, final sales or lead conversion

Digital Media Mix

  • Here’s how you can match your primary goals with the relevant digital channel:
    • Branding : Banners, Rich Media & Video in Desktop & Mobile
    • Lead Generation : PPC, SEM, SEO, Native Ads, Email Marketing
    • Driving Footfall : Email, Mobile, Social Ads
    • Sales: PPC, Affiliate Marketing
    • Engagement: Content Marketing

There is no doubt, while the conventional media industry like Television, Print, Radio & Outdoor were living in their fool’s paradise, digital became the new poster boy of all marketers.

However, when it comes to the Indian market, despite their positive intent, most of the brand teams are still trying to adapt in the cutthroat world of digital marketing.

Digital Media Strategy

Here’s why Programmatic Media in India is in despicable state

programmatic media in india

While Programmatic media buying has been extremely popular in the Western markets like the US & UK for almost a decade, it is being used in India only since last couple of years. eMarketer forecasts US mobile programmatic ad spending will reach $9.33 billion this year and account for 60.5% of total US programmatic display ad spending.  At present, the programmatic buying industry is at a very nascent stage in India.

There are many companies which have started providing such services.

Key Players for Programmatic Media In India

  1. Global Leaders
    1. Publicis’s Vivaki – Audience on Demand (AOD)
    2. GroupM – Xaxis
    3. OMD-Accuen
    4. Dentsu Aegis – Amnet
    5. IPG – Cadreon
  2. DSPs & Trading Desks
    1. Sociomantic
    2. Vizury
  3. Ad Networks
    1. RevX by Komli
    2. Ybrant Digital
  4. Programmatic Ad-Tech Startups
    1. Rocketfuel
    2. Appier

Along with these, there are many US companies also which are operating remotely in India. But it still hasn’t picked up the way it should have been. It is still taking time for the marketers and agencies to understand the true benefit of DSPs and start replacing their traditional way of media buying with it.

Key Challenges for Programmatic Media In India

Revenue Forecast

Extremely difficult to project or forecast the market size for programmatic in India. A somewhat accurate guesstimate would be 10-20% of overall display spends and can go up to 50% of display by end of 2017-18.

Silo Approach By Ad Networks

Most of the companies in India providing programmatic services are currently operating in silos. The ad networks are providing very basic programmatic buys from ad exchanges, and claiming it as audience targeting. There are very few people (at both client’s and agency’s end) who actually understand audience targeting from a technology standpoint.

Limited Audience

With too many players trying to get their share in this small pie, the minimum bidding price (eCPM) in India can also go up for the same audience as not many brands are savvy reaching out to the audience outside major top 10 metros as the purchasing power or disposable income is linked to it.

Stubborn Media Planners

Programmatic’s basic DNA resides in data & technology, it is less of a media concept, and from execution standpoint, it needs more deeper understanding of technologies like Big Data Segmentation. Hence, any programmatic campaign requires handling a lot of data, analyse, create intelligent algorithms and provide meaningful insights to the advertisers. These technical experts will have to work hand in hand with the media planning teams. Media planning teams in India are too stubborn & resistant to change to this newer reality which would make the adoption for programmatic that much more difficult.

Less Confident Publishers

Major Indian publishers are often hesitant to sell their premium inventory in an open bidding process but are willing to work via private deals. Even if that requires a painful & rather long selling process of going from door to door.  Publishers have their own reasons to resist-losing control on their premium placements, earning less revenues due to RTB (real time bidding), integrating their premium inventories liked fixed buys or sponsorships.

Programmatic Rich Media

Currently, there is a massive demand for video based Rich media formats in India, whereas programmatic is still stuck on basic banner & pre-roll video based buys. Unless there is a massive upgrade in the programmatic tech, which would include the features like rich media, brand safety and premium placements, Indian brands won’t show interest in the programmatic buys.

 

Digital Agency

Here’s why digital agencies face high attrition rates

digital-agency-attrition

Lack of skilled digital marketing talent and high attrition rates of existing resources has literally choked the growth of digital agencies in India.  This trend remains consistent across independent local agencies and large global conglomerates. Based on my past discussions with few leading recruitment consultants, in managerial roles, the average attrition rate stands at around 10%, but the overall attrition rate in the advertising space is around ~30% and it remains in the same range for digital startups.

Although, global network agencies like the Publicis, WPP, IPG, Dentsu etc. face less challenge compared to their local counterparts due to their bigger bench strength and the number of opportunities within the group companies.

Human capital is the back bone of any service sector company, but poor human capital management makes digital agencies in India extremely vulnerable to the concept of attrition.

Why is attrition rate so high across digital agencies in India?

Agency work culture demands highly skilled & motivated employees which is a rarity in these times. Most of the people are working for fast career growth (financially or otherwise). While skilled employees have more than enough opportunities to choose from at any given point of time, exponential growth of digital advertising in the country has resulted in high demand and less supply of skilled manpower.

In my decade long experience as a digital marketing expert, I’ve worked with all type of digital organisations, from big agencies to large enterprise companies and the early stage startups, but when it comes to attrition, digital agencies are the most vulnerable lot.

Here are some of the key reasons for high attrition rates in digital agencies:

Dynamic digital projects

Over the years, digital projects have become more and more non-linear, courtesy the growth in the number of digital channels & platforms. There is so much to learn for digital professionals that nobody like sameness in their daily job.

Newer challenges

Employees in digital agencies are always looking for newer opportunities and would like to challenge themselves on a daily basis to increase their productivity and create innovative campaigns using unique ideas and technology. In agencies where the clients are more open to innovation and experimentation, get to retain a lot of their creative & servicing talent. And, that’s a fact!

No time for upgrade

With such enormous pressure of timelines and delivery, it is very difficult for the talent in digital agencies to upgrade their knowledge & skill. Most of the digital client servicing professionals have not done any specialised certification (like GA or Analytics), nor they intend to do it. There’s a time when everyone feels that they are hitting a dead end in their learning. At that very moment, they call it a quit.

Poor Appraisal Policies

There is no doubt that a lot of people (including myself) work in the digital marketing and media business for the sheer romance of it. But you cannot ignore the monetary compensation aspect, especially when majority of the workforce is hired on entry / junior level. I agree money is not the only motivating factor but, it definitely complements when the job satisfaction is high. A lot of agencies use operating income as an excuse for poor appraisal because they have signed high value clientele by compromising their profit margins, which lead to poor employee appraisals and eventually high attrition rate.

High work pressure

Being a part of service sector, advertising industry was always a high pressure affair. Words like ASAP are extremely popular in the client – agency parlance. There is no respite or escape for the execution teams including servicing, strategy, creative, media and social. Single creative resource is working across 2-3 live project at the same time, leaving him with little mind space to churn out ideas. The situation is a lot worse for client servicing teams who have to turn themselves into an octopus in order to manage multiple conflicting project timelines across multiple teams. The result is, only the tough hearted survive the onslaught, while the rest start looking for greener pastures.

Digtal Marketing Trends

Digital trends for multichannel retail

Multi Channel Retail and eRetail
Multi Channel Retail and eRetail

With the number of e-retail startups entering the landscape, soon retail brands would find it difficult to differentiate the value proposition. Though ecommerce would be driving incremental revenue, for complete business transformation, retail would be focussing on multichannel optimization in the coming years.

According to Neoworks – the ecommerce people:

The focus of retail multichannel improvement will be on people and services, rather than technology and processes. Retailers are asking “how are customers engaging with my brand?” and “how can we design services that will meet the needs of our customers?”. The answers to these questions come through research and data analysis.

Below are some of the Multichannel Retail Trends for 2016 that have dominated various conferences in the last 1 year:

Data storytelling through Business Intelligence

How can we narrate our brand story through data? In short, how can my current data help me take better decisions for my brand? In 2016 we should expect more investment in business intelligence tools and data mining.

Every brand is trying to make some sense of their business data which is piling up at the speed of light. A decision on which data is relevant and which data is just noise is the first step that companies need to take if they want to make sense of all the data that they are capturing.

Need for understanding customer journey during different buying stages

Research evidence has always helped business leaders to make better decisions. In 2016 more retailers will be investing in research to incorporate the voice of the customer in product development and service improvement.

Questions like ‘How should the brand behave in terms of range of products, price, supply chain and services?’ are common areas for voice of the customer analysis.

From a business perspective, the focus on understanding the customers by listening to them and then using the information to market differently, sell differently and support differently as well as redesign processes is becoming a key differentiator for retailers.

Change happens through people, not through technology or processes

Einstein once said:

I fear the day when technology will surpass human interaction, the world will have a generation of idiots.

And he was spot on right. Technology needs to address the pain only till the point it is not pain in itself.

More than technology, for an organization to drive change, they need vision, skills, incentives, resources and an action plan. If one of those elements is missing transformation is not possible.

Successful organisational change is an adaptive process that requires the coordinated efforts of a wide range of people at all levels of an organization that are collectively seeking the same positive outcome.

Integration of the high street with the online e-commerce businesses

Most retailers have a multichannel strategy but only a few are going above and beyond the basic services such as wifi, contactless payment and click and collect.

While Line busting which is a wonderful way to manage your POS (Point of sale) is yet to take off in a big way, clienteling and endless aisle are becoming increasingly visible on the high street around the globe.

Multichannel service design

Service design is an interdisciplinary approach that combines many different tools and disciplines. In 2016 more retailers will be developing humanised services designing customer journeys that are alive and interactive.

Companies that understand the opportunity will support customer needs more effectively. Offering a differentiated and consistent customer experience can strengthen loyalty and generate sustainable value.

Multichannel Reality for Small Business Retail

Traditional stores will certainly exist ten years from now, but they will not look the same as today. Many traditional retailers will disappear as competition remains fierce and input costs continue to rise. Others will fail because of an inability to adapt or to change their business model to a multichannel reality in which boundaries between the online and physical worlds disappear.

The future winners among today’s bricks-and-mortar retailers will be those that take the future seriously and are good at managing change.

Digtal Marketing Trends

Digital Trends for Travel Brands in 2016

travel trends 2015
travel trends 2015

Digital trends in the last one decade have shown a massive paradigm change in the entire value chain starting from the local travel operator to multi million dollar enterprise company. Travel is arguably the most evolved vertical in the eCommerce space. After all, it doesn’t take much time for a customer to swipe his credit / debit card once he is convinced about a travel offering.

On one side, Social Media rise has positioned itself as the biggest contributor in the net new revenue growth for travel business, newer platforms are taking scale & customer experience to a new level in the online travel space.

Here are some of the key trends that will impact travel industry.

Mobile and some more mobile

  • Within online travel sales, the mobile channel, including sales made through smartphones and tablets, is expected to see the fastest growth over the forecast period. Global mobile travel sales, including both sales made through intermediaries and direct sales, are expected to record a 40% CAGR between 2013 and 2018, reaching US$350 billion.
  • Behind this sharp growth is the rising trend among consumers to use smartphones and tablets not only for searching for travel products but also to book them. Over the forecast period, consumers will become increasingly accustomed to finalising bookings on smaller screens, while travel companies will make bookings and payments through smartphones more convenient, and average sizes of smartphone screens will increase.

Travel in APAC

  • Asia Pacific is expected to drive global online travel retail growth in the 2013-2018 period, recording a 16% CAGR. Thanks to this rapid growth, Asia Pacific is expected to account for 24% of global online travel retail sales by 2018. Over the 2013-2018 period the penetration of the online channel in travel retail sales in the region is expected to increase from 24% to 38%.
  • Japan and China are by far the largest online travel retail markets in Asia Pacific, at US$15 billion and US$14 billion in 2013, respectively. India is the third largest market in the region, at US$7 billion in 2013, and is expected to record a 14% CAGR over the 2013-2018 period.

The rise of MTA’s ( Mobile Travel Agents )

  • The shift from desktop to mobile internet access is having a significant impact on the travel industry, making smartphones and tablets an important booking channel, as well as customer service tool. Always-connected travel consumers expect to receive customer service, and also the opportunity to make additional bookings, not only before the trip but also during the trip.
  • The rising importance of mobile devices means an increased focus for travel companies on the period after the booking and throughout the whole travel experience. This is expected to result in online travel agencies gradually changing their business model to become mobile travel agencies (MTAs).
SEM Strategy

Google right hand side ads are gone – what does it mean for brands?

google-adwords-right-hand-side-ads

Google AdWords, will soon display four ads above organic search results, no ads to the right of search results, and three additional ads below search results, according to The SEM Post. At the same time, the company says it may show an additional ad — four, not three — above the search results for what it calls “highly commercial queries”.  Google has also confirmed that this change is global and that it applies to all languages supported on Google Search. It’s expected this change will be rolled out to all Google Search users by February 22nd.

This is certainly a major shift by the search engine giant and would force brands and agencies to re-look at their search marketing strategies.

Here are some of the early observations based on the news stories trickling in:

Desktop Search Advertising going Native

The removal of ads in the right sidebar of the results means Google’s desktop search results pages will look a lot more like mobile search results pages, which are displayed in a single column for obvious reasons. Google is clearly moving in the direction of native search advertising where the line between paid and organic would actually disappear.

Also Read : On Google, Teens can’t tell the difference between sponsored links & organic listing

Making Search Advertising More Premium

Google Mobile Ads Revenue Per Click - Piyush Aggarwal

Google’s share of revenue per search ad has slid recently. For years, Google ran up to eight paid ads on the right side in desktop mode. While the total varies for each search, there will now probably be fewer paid spots for each result — and, therefore, a scramble by advertisers to bid more in Google’s auction.

What falls under highly commercial queries?

According to Search Engine Land, This would involve searches like “hotels in Mumbai” or “car insurance” and the like. There are also two exceptions to the right-side change:

  1. PLA boxes will be the only time ads will continue to show on the right side of the desktop search results page.
  2. Ads in Knowledge Panel

Poor search score might get penalised

Although the update is limited to desktop search results pages, so your brand’s desktop traffic may get affected. However, ads that appear beneath the third or fourth position may see a decline in click-through rates immediately. This means that google PPC campaign would require a lot more optimisation than ever before. This would also force the site owners to improve the overall content quality on their landing page to improve their search score and build more deeper relevance for the search engine.

Digital Marketing Jobs

Why job hopping is losing its negative stigma globally?

job hopping trends
job hopping trends

Before I say anything, let me first confess that I’ve been a job hopper in my career (only the first half of it), and this post is not written in self defence. Nor this is written to support job hopping in any manner.  I am just trying to present another view which  will help the recruiters to change their perspective (just a little bit) on this age old stigma.

According to a  new survey out from PayScale and Millennial Branding finds that 41% of baby boomers believe that people should stay in their jobs for at least five years before looking for a new role. Another 21% say between four and five years.

What is really interesting to note in that survey is that the people born between 1982 and 2002, a full 26% believe that you should start looking for something new before a year is up. Only 13% say more than five years.

Why the difference?

In one of the interviews given to F@st Company,  Lydia Frank, director of editorial and marketing at PayScale in Seattle said:

Young people tend to believe that loyalty is a two-way street. Especially in this economy, things that demonstrated loyalty from an employer to an employee are disappearing,

There’s just not this sense in the job market that your employer is necessarily going to take care of you.

As a result, people have become more focused on ensuring they’re making the best choices for their individual career

Pros of Job Hopping

Moving jobs early on in their careers has become a necessary evil for a lot of freshers. Not that they plan for it, or it is fashionable. The thing is, we are living in the times where only few people know what they want to be when they grow up these days. Trying different jobs—or even industries—early on can help you find the right fit.

Second, even if you do know what you want to do with your life, the global economy has been tepid for young people since the economic crash of 2008. Many teens in their early 20s have not been able to start out where they wished.

If a new opportunity comes along, the mind-set is this:

I don’t like what I’m doing;

I’m not being paid well for my skill set;

and if I’m not in a job that’s utilizing my training and education, why would I stay?

In the below video, Anne Krook, author of “Now What Do I Say?”: Practical Workplace Advice for Younger Women, explains how economic changes have prompted shifts in attitudes about company loyalty for Gen Y.

Interestingly, Forbes published an article early in this year ( ReadEmployees Who Stay In Companies Longer Than Two Years Get Paid 50% Less )  that touched upon this topic in much greater detail.

income-graph-people-who-leave-jobs-hopping
Graph comparison of salary growth of people who moved fast vs those who stayed in the same company

 

According to the article published in Forbes:

Why are people who jump ship rewarded, when loyal employees are punished for their dedication? The answer is simple. Recessions allow businesses to freeze their payroll and decrease salaries of the newly hired based on “market trends.” These reactions to the recession are understandable, but the problem is that these reactions were meant to be “temporary.” Instead they have become the “norm” in the marketplace. More importantly, we have all become used to hearing about “3% raises” and we’ve accepted it as the new “norm.”

Cons of Job Hopping

Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve been a job hopper myself, but after spending 9 years into the advertising & marketing business, I do not look back at what I did, nor I feel guilty or regretful about the choices I made. When it comes to your career, I believe it is all about making the decisions, right or wrong is not in your control. While the right ones reward you, the wrong ones make you a better professional.

There is a hidden fear in people who move too often, that sooner than later they would hit a dead end in their career, which is not entirely incorrect. Recruiters and HR start looking at your profile (and you) as if you’ve committed the most heinous crime on earth (what I do not understand is why they call such candidates for interview in first place, just to humiliate?).

The thing is, there are no “valid reasons” for why someone hopped in his career. As a hiring manager, even I would have apprehensions of hiring someone who has moved too fast too furious. But, what we are missing here is the fact that none of the organizations may have tried to retain this individual.

A research conducted by workopolis (see infographic) suggests two key things:

  1. 20% of the employee’s annual salary is actually the cost of replacing him.
  2. Most people leave their companies for reasons other than compensation

If we go by the above 2 reasons, I believe there is some serious thinking that is required by all employers and their HR in order to retain their employees. If the company really want to retain their key talent, they can very well pay them more or improve their policies in order to save themselves from the botheration & cost of hiring process.

 

I am also running a Twitter poll for this:

Digital Startups

Publicis Groupe Launches Publicis90 Startup Fund

Publicis 90 Startup Fund
Publicis 90 Startup Fund

Publicis Groupe celebrates its 90th anniversary by selecting 90 digital start-ups to mentor & fund

Publicis Groupe – which was founded by Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet in 1926 – is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. When it all started in a little Parisian apartment on Rue Montmartre, the founder’s only staff was his secretary. He would never have thought that, 90 years later, his Groupe would be one of the three largest in the world, with close to 80,000 employees.

Back then, Publicis Groupe began just like many of today’s start-ups. It is with its founder in mind, as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of so many of its employees around the world, that Publicis Groupe has chosen to celebrate its 90th anniversary by providing mentoring, support and funding to 90 entrepreneurial projects in the digital field.

To take part, projects can be submitted via the Publicis90 platform (www.publicis90.com) which will be available online as of January 18th. Whether you are a student, a new start-up, a successful entrepreneur or a Publicis Groupe employee anywhere in the world, you are welcome to put forward your idea and apply for support from the Groupe. Taking part is really easy. The goal is to provide entrepreneurs with the support they need to bring their projects to life, or to take it to the next level.

The Publicis90 platform (www.publicis90.com) will be open for submissions until February 28. Projects will be pre-selected by region (the Americas, Asia-Pacific, and Europe-Middle-East & Africa), with a first round of votes open to all Publicis Groupe employees (all projects submitted remain anonymous). A regional jury will then draw up a short-list from the pre-selected projects, before the final selection is made by a prestigious global jury that will pick the 90 most promising projects or start-ups.

The selected projects will be mentored by Publicis Groupe experts in marketing, communications, management and technology. They will also receive funding in the form of an investment ranging from 10,000 euros for projects about to be launched to 500,000 euros for start-ups that are already ramping up. As for selected projects submitted by Publicis Groupe employees, they will have the benefit of a special internal incubation scheme.

The holders of the 90 selected projects will be invited to participate to Viva Technology Paris (www.vivatechnologyparis.com), the first forum in France to bring together the people who matter most in digital throughout the world with over 5,000 start-ups. This event – created by Publicis Groupe and Groupe Les Echos – will be held from June 30 to July 2, 2016 at the Paris Expo Exhibition Centre at Porte de Versailles. The 90 selected projects will be honored at an awards ceremony held during Viva Technology Paris.

Maurice Lévy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, declared:

Publicis90 is very much in line with the philosophy of Publicis Groupe and its founder, Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet. The idea is to help young entrepreneurs achieve their goals. Not just through investment but also by putting Groupe resources at their disposal for a year. Rather than look back and pat ourselves on the back for 90 years of history, we have taken the forward-looking approach of extending a helping hand to young entrepreneurs.