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Michael Porter has obviously white hairs. But not because of his age, even if it’s been years since his “Porter’s forces theory”, but probably because of #Uber. His former theories with his famous “forces” theory matrix haunted lots of universities, students, consultants and companies, made a classic model to explain, draw and shape the main forces and links through modern strategy. I think every people, far from close, one day has been in trouble with this matrix, trying to adapt it to his personal business case. I mean in trouble, while searching clues and tips for his own industry, sector or product. This was a wise approach to put the things right, since the beginning. I never understood that since then, there was a scarcity of ambitious models that could tumble down the historic fundations built by M. Porter. Even since the run of digital revolution, in the mass effects, it seems the old rules could play again their guiding role in strategic planning. Even on Clayton Christensen’s disruptive innovation concept, Porter’s forces could function to describe a whole environment, a whole playground where different actors could grow or die, but still go on their economic destiny. Then there was Uber…

PorterUber

“Über alles”

We can at this point consider Uber as a perfect example of “disruptive” phenomena (I prefer not to use the term of innovation, as for me, the real innovation is in the “UX”). They re-invented an existing service, better (some say “far more”), at lower prices (and then at lower cost, forcing the whole chain through lower margins). We’re fed up with the “middle”: middle-class, middle management, middle-price, middle quality…middle of the value chain and intermediaries. High class or low cost seem to resume the economics. “Stuck in the middle” is so far the worst strategic planning situation for many reasons. The increasing and forced run for innovation creates and destroys, each day and the speed of cycles gears up. Time is up and now to “re-arrange” and update the old models to include disruptive brutal behaviours. While there’s still much competition, all we can say is that the customer centric era has begun and let himself as a king of the game. I tried here to start a reflexion of where and why, Porter’s forces may change on the impact of collaborative society.


The uber-matrix (from Porter’s forces)

Porter_UberMatrix

How’s competition so far? Fair, intense, rough or beginners’ field? As it’s the starting point of any strategic analysis, we may spend a while on this.


“The Competition, the customer and the supplier”

There’s no big innovation, I mean on the technology plan, in transforming the supply of transportation, like Uber did. They simply used the new principles of digital: always-on, connected things and people, lowering waste and waiting lines and optimizing the transportation offer. Less lose time, empty cars and…angry consumers. The big picture is in optimization, optimizing time and resources. And that means, a lot of money indeed! The next steps will simply optimize again: using transportation time and devices to transport anything: meats, packages, mail, services and so on. Optimizing again. The application will cover many versions, until you’re so much profiled, that they will be able to monetize your datas.
On the market plan, a very balanced market, with no dominant actor: drivers need consumers who need drivers and everybody needs Uber to get in contact and stay in touch. The very big star is the “platform”. We just entered in a world of platforms, which capture essential of the value chain and kill many intermediate actors. Here we go, like the web goes…Progress destroys at a speed that even Schumpeter could not imagine. We call it “uberization” of economy, a kind of “new born” of relations, interactions and business models. Anyone can be catched with no tomorrow. Anyone can  get stuck in a dead end. Something thrilling or fearing, depends on your risk attention.


“Where playground gets a new shape”

Uber now seeds a new way of doing business, and draws many actors with him. Under the influence of digitalization, customer experience grows up frankly to a new standard that calls for excellence. Nothing will ever be like before. The extreme focus on operation, delivery and accuracy calls for a new standard for customers. Where there seems to be no entry barriers, the ability to build a copycat is a longtime run. Not in technical aspects but in the delivering experience. Even the substitutes field must be a tough job to get the same level of result. The “platformization” of economy used to be the way of doing business, throwing away all useless midlevel actors. And even if it’s the sense of history with progress bulk modifications, legal watchover is live like never before: strikes, hard negociations, realtime bad influence on PR…While we lived many revolutions, the one that goes is far violent, quick and uncompromising. Any sector is concerned, soon or later and you’d better think of it and organize the answer, or other new comers or opportunist actors may do it without you.

Schrödinger’s cat dilemma: yes it’s technology, no it’s not”

The easy-to-use plenty offer of digital tools gets bigger every day so there’s some foolish feed of the whole ecosystem with techs. But technology wise speaking, nothing really complicated: localization, customization, smart UX, realtime traffic management, rating panel…A complete thinking of just “what it needs” to create a blue ocean, out of the box and disrupt the well ordered old world…Until then, it’s been a tipping point: using these new features opened an ocean for many industries to get closer and more efficient with their customers and value proposition.


“Innovation for change”

It changed the business model for a flat well known price, fixed cost with no surprise, flat prices for usual travels or recurrent ones. It changed for a more trusty model, trusty relation between industry and customers. It opened to many other solutions, in parallel markets, services or goods. It created many jobs, pushing the need beyond the natural demand. It played in a “winner takes it all” market, where speed is the key, to eliminate competition. The only limit (and mistake) for uber was no exit barriers, so competition could flurish, one time they understand the main principles and spread the word. The diverse moves to complete their main job, was to create and use transportation capabilities to transport anything else: “eats”, medecine, etc.

It changed the way it usually changes. Brutal and unexpected, many didn’t see the wave, nor the huge potential for many business. Who can say it as well from one’s own business? Who can say “well, I’m not concerned, it’s for others”? One day, soon or later, you’ll meet the beast, the wall of doubt, of uncertainty which may paralyze your brain and your usual skills, trained for mainstream. “Forewarned is forearmed”. Unfortunately, it may be not enough…

“Time for change, time for reboot”

We never knew anything so quick that this new “kind of thinking”, of doing business, and oftenly refer to “digital wave”. Not as a mean, but a way of setting new behaviors, in front of massive and settled competition. No recipe, no warning, like bootlegs invading the old world. Just a necessary reboot, from A to Z, bottom and up. A concrete and real disruption, where incremental innovation dressing doesn’t work anymore.

You can’t say not being warned until now…

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Facing a tricky situation? Having a choice or confronting a delicate solution to ride…? Don’t mess with a “yes/no” issue. Why?

  • the simple “two simple choices” solution is in fact a lazy way: you won’t take the chance to really discover the subject and fade into easiness
  • the yes option means you want to see after, and won’t take time to mesure the real impact of any kind of option
  • the no option makes you a coward, who doesn’t want to take a chance to improve the whole problem
  • there’s no questioning about what you do and what you could do more and better

In fact, only many iterates with a word like “why” will lead you further frontiers. It forces you to innovate in your mindset thinking, your process design and your search for disruptive orbit-shifting innovation.

yesno-game-the-big-challenge

Can you imagine stay in a consensus, a straight line where everybody fights in a red ocean? Can you figure out how many disruptions started with a complete interrogation: resources, capabilities, know-how, following stratégies…?
Only those who face real gravity and fight against it, can imagine the next designed solutions, according to principles:

  • detect a positive inflexion point in your business and analyze it
  • always imagine solutions for extreme conditions, not business as usual
  • be in the fear, with a threaten for your business
  • try to make exception the rule for usual business
  • recovering pride: to win, to recover podium and first class matters
  • refuse the consensus or medium solutions: stuck in gravity, you’re in comfort zone that blocks your brain
  • stare at adjacency causes of your business to fuel ordinary thoughts
  • study the theorical best instead of “best possible”: push you to borderlines will confront you to unknown and survivance tips
  • transform the input-output equation to a next level

You can  find some of these elements, largelly commented and challenged in the “good to great” book by Collins here. The non questioning on deepest elements drives you to a lazy dead-end answer. And your customers worth more, if you want to keep them by your side, before they leave you.

And you, as a manager or a CEO, will you dare the complete review or will you stay in your comfort zone?

This time, I will answer “I hope no”…

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I don’t know what’s your actual behavior and consumption of TV, but we can all say there’s probably the biggest revolution since Internet. We used to consider TV as « a whole set, environment of entertainment, emotion and information for the family.

Despite different revolutions like new consumption (VOD, OTT, catchup TV…), new wirings (DSL, DTH, DTT…), new quality (HD, 3D), TV remains a matter of contents. Believe me, as I worked for more than 10 years, in pay TV environments.

And, yes, it is still a question of content. To inform, entertain or turn upside down. It’s always contents that drive audience and make the money business. But since users started to generate contents (UGC) with social tools, the power between broadcasters, content producers and audience has been completely blended, from a steady flow, one at a time, to multi-producing anytime, anywhere, any device. And guess where we focus most of our time now?

Not on old TV formats, but the web. Web audience boosted since few years now, and consumption of any contents on mobile screens overtook the old devices.

The next big thing is this incredible second screen concept that shapes the exact new relation between:

  • audience, e.g. who becomes active/reactive and participating
  • content producers, e.g. who try to produce high potential contents and sustainable rights to engage in a longer lifetime, that is, more revenues
  • advertisers and brands (here there’s no change but the increasing need to hold revenues and efficiency, anytime!
  • broadcasters, e.g. whose job is keeping the light on overnight and increase revenue due to more audience from advertisers.

Fair game isn’t it? I’m probably writing a piece of this article on my laptop, while watching TV, sending twits
to engage with the actual TV show. And it’s not a question of the Y generation or being a millennial, as I’m neither.

 

SocialTV_ecoS

 

The fact is that, socialize relations, sectors, or industries, means tumble down the easy flow of former
relations because:

  • You won’t be able to know how many times and how long, the former viewer is now, while he can zap, play, change the content – with one finger
  • You won’t be able to value advertising and the guarantee for brands to invest in big channels, another effect of the long tail, created with the web
  • You probably will be obliged to change, quick and dirty, programming because of twitter #attacks, ongoing, throwing away all your programming strategy
  • The whole investments you do in long term programs is turned into a short formats of videos, soaps, viewed, reviewed, cached, and screened wherever but the TV

Think about how it’s changing the whole chain: skills, training, actors, eye-catching snaps, promotion, the relevance of a whole programming guide.

Where the web brought freedom and creativity, television lost traction moreover in youngest generation who nearly were born, without TV addiction. Many years ago, most of us believed that social TV was nothing more than bringing the web on TV screens and bloomed many connected TVs with new interfaces and web browsing.

Social means individualism because the essence of participating is the collaboration and the addition of multiple individual shares, talks, and debates. Soon (or already now?), you’ll be able to have an individual end for your favorite soap. The one you’ll choose, the one you’ll have, your end.

In some way, where technologies brought us the ubiquity of TV everywhere (DTH, Cable, xG Mobile, DTT, etc.), social brought us our network that awakes us more, engages us to participate, and allows us to be more aware of what’s going on.

In some way, we’re more actors than we think. We create the new content experience we finally want to see. What is more important in marketing than to have the choice to buy something we REALLY want?

Social TV is our choice, our experience, our chance to be more engaged than ever and keep the little flame for creation. Let’s light on.

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After ten years of two digit growth, e-business showed an awesome way for innovation, and promised another smart theme for the future with mobile web. Some smiled and some cried. New pure players found gold and the philosophical stone, brick and mortar stared as if fever was on, and some other retailers tried to play with web, finding a complementary way to mix retail and online. But before this maturity in mindset, pure players set up evil, in old traditional retail business…and drove to large layoffs in the industry. Not really sexy is it?

And the least all the e-business innovation could do, was feed another story for retail, increasing traffic, targeting, consumption, accuracy in needs and shopping and so on. It seems the time has come, with so many initiatives, web or mobile, to help retail in the “new shape” of modern business.

Let’s take a snapshot of the awesome changes and opportunities that could be offered to retail, with mobile innovations. Several parts of the value chain can be shifted as:

  • the battle for information: ability to check any product, scan online and find your personal shop, with relevance, perspicacity
  • the battle for loyalty with the incredible passion for virtual wallets, saving points from consuming, winning vouchers enforcing the loyalty of customers, from an online sign up to a loyalty program. A smart way to increase consumption in retail, directly from web sessions
  • the battle for promotion and traffic, boosted with the geolocalization of both, customer and offer, enhanced the purpose debate and lead customers back to retail
  • the incredible dilemma for choice, is turned into a game with the social shopping sessions that make fun with comparing, chatting and targeting together, for a focused “buying raid” to the most relevant retailer of the place
  • the whole noise before, while and after the buying act, that makes “buying” an event in itself: dealing with fashionistas, bloggers, influencers is a full win-win combination for pure pleasure

Right now, some players cope with the whole thing with talent, relevance and friendiness. I would suggest to take a look at some of them, while they are known to drive traffic and give back to retail what the Internet has probably hijacked for a moment. Check at sites like:

  • Shopsocially, Addoway, Blippy or Buy.com
  • Pikaba, Givvy, Shopcade, Shopwithit or Buyosphere
  • myShopanion

They bring new innovation in the sale surface, allowing customers to:

  • try before buy
  • socializing between other customers and vendors
  • while walking on sale surface, ability to know best promotions, comparing and prices, close around the shop
  • sometimes consulting a screen instead of using vendor’s service: more educated, self-skilled and well informed, the social media environment allows to bring more transparency to the whole chain
  • get in touch with crafts, completing the online experience of “colors” and chatting with vendors about products, new arrivals and “fitting”: social calls social. Sales and retail are definitely a social experience, moreover than online, probably more transactional than relational in fact.
  • Share, talk and guide until the good choice (place+price+promotion+offer): the experience, experienced by others

No need to say that screen invaded us more in the house than in retail first, but then the whole chain of “screening” is played before, while and getting to retailers’ places. The long tail for learning social media empowers all the actors for this new kind of capturing attention, figures and profiles, and raising loyalty in the end.

“Revenge” could be done if retailers integrate more and up, the screens and online features, in their communication strategy to bring new services and convince (at least), own customers to shift so. But means that vendors are trained and prepared to let these new tools sometimes help, sometimes replace few parts of their jobs. Diversity functions with humans and I guess with the hybrid ability to cope with machines too, bringing on the best for all and synergy back in between retail and web.

One thing is sure is that, despite equipment, we need to think and imagine all the best experiences for customer, and do it in our times. And our times are definitely wired, connected and social. As one said, “customer may be a media” now…

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Fairy, funny but no tale about the fact that no company exists without customers. And if sometimes, boss turnover seems to be a sporting challenge for shareholders, customer can’t wait. And may have the last word. It’s finally if you understand it, when you will make great deals, those called “win-win”, with the genuine relation between someone who has needs you can afford. And if sometimes your real boss tries to make it his own way, remind him that he can’t exist without customers…Everybody in his company might be confronted with this and face, hold and build the true relevant relation. Because, customer is the boss in fact, and the matter of anybody in the company. And it seems urgent to see, integrate and share the concept inside companies, to deliver different ways. Why does it seem so strange and how handle it?

  • the customer rarely needs you, he has several others choices, in a single snap he can switch and forget you ever
  • the business is growing on average consumption with either, more customers, more loyalty or raising the level of engagement: in any case, you do need customers…any customer but customers!
  • loyalty is not a concept that you can organize in your corner, thinking (hoping?) it will work: ask customers first why/how he would be more loyal, and build the wrap around…
  • the customer knows much more you ever imagine about your market and your products, and value your service: don’t forget he compares live, all the offer of the market for you. If he gives you an advise, he’s probably less blind than you!
  • even if you think “customer doesn’t know what he wants or what is good for him”, his/her help would be precious, targeting the next big picture. If you build something with him for he’s already part of it, why won’t he buy then?
  • “the more he builds, the more he’s fan”: if he’s “part” of it, he’ll be the best ambassador/advocate for your values, products and services…
  • build the “customer Stockholm Syndrom“: make him part of your story where emotion takes part of your relation and make him kind of painful of your difficult story. In pain and need will grow innovation, together…
  • in some ways, as the customer says how much he is OK/able to pay for your different propositions, he’s quite establishing your salary level: and in this way too, he’s your boss…
  • If you can passion him/her with your own passion, brand and value, he’ll become your best ambassador and outcompete agent for virality: the new media we talk about, socially correct, truthly and trusty…
  • engage with your community and encourage and reward the “social search”. Because you trust more deeply ones you know
  • don’t be shy or afraid with any enpowerment of your customers: the energy they hit for you has no price for you, comparing with resources and money you should spend for the same result…
  • know how to reward: if your customers have to become your boss, give them their salary…
  • run your business, have a business but run and build it with your customers, because they have willingness and motivation to buy your products, speak about them and hold the direction ; like the real boss…
  • like Sam Walton saidThere is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else“. I guess Wal Mart knows how to cope with it, don’t you think?

Assets, partners, friends, loyalty heroes, anyway the name you give to customers, think about your own relation, your own “stunt show”, celebrate success with them like associates to your success. “No success in business without mess with your guests” could be your last quote for community with your best assets. Don’t miss any opportunity to raise satisfaction, happiness and loyalty with your customers, they represent a silent force (while I don’t know if we can say this anymore with social communities!) that can improve your market approach, your sales feeling and ability to shoot first, accurate and focused needs, which will save time and money. Money you’ll be able to invest in this brand new other relation with your new allies…a perfect circle of business, without thinking of business and having much fun and pleasure…

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Don’t look at me this way and probably because of you. Not the way that Marketing is a dead function, useless or released away, but the fact it all has changed…To be more focused on where, I’ve started a short list of assumptions that show in which range things have changed. You love or hate Marketing would not change that datas shifted in many parts, exploding audience, collaboration and brand footprint in the web marketplace. But let’s figure out how…:

  • connect to customers: i think it’s in the title…If you didn’t see the fact that customers want to be considered as a real people, with advice, voice and opinion, and not as number or a cash machine!
  • stop deafness: listening new insights and voices for brands shapes marketing of products and services…from the outside of the company
  • ability to make marketing accountable, with one of the “three dimensional” skills of CMO: quantitative methodic
  • staring at “where” are customers are (and “fish where the fish are”)
  • a temptation to make marketing a C-level role to strategic level
  • starting the socialization of customers with SCRM where systems are not owned by companies but fully controlled by customers
  • achieving the shift between manufacturing culture to consuming culture, with social stones
  • be “there”, after all: where are really the customers (the difficulty is the mobile era that boost the necessity of being ubiquitous for the brands)
  • “messages are bi-directional and morphing”, because brands must listen and stare at what’s going on now, from the valuable opinions all around social web
  • customers have a voice and know now, how to use it: being too much deaf would produce deaf services and products for empty market
  • “the monologue has passed away”. Try to sort of the noise confusion and get the smartest ideas from out of the box…
  • “embrace the challenge of new medias”: the abilities to “talk” to customers boosted in a multi-directional shape means using the tools where they talk, listen and take informations. The new platforms for audience…
  • reinvent marketers curiosity: more than ever curiosity is the most efficient skill to “open world” communities, and makes you “breath the trends”
  • “fail can become an option” for learning, experiment and grow the value purpose. Shorter cycles, decisions and experience samples and protos
  • customers, but employees, partners, audience, suppliers…do marketing for you too. Let’s party with them, and grow communities!
  • “like” the likers: be aside all who make effort to click and send love to you
  • identify virtual tellers and workers who shape their own opinion of your brand
  • know and learn or grow your new skills as: creativity, design but dealing with figures and datas. And if you hire, don’t hire a marketer but an artist, social inspired.
  • “marketing is experience”: make us free for customers and create the CEM for your brand (Customer Experience Management)
  • “marketing is experiences”: allow customers to share fails, tests, samples and experiences, even make them build their own with your brand/products. You can’t even imagine how fertile, collaborative and addict are your silent fans…and btw, they will shout it on the web!
  • “the customer is not an idiot, he’s your boss” ; live with it or die!
  • the new management paradigm: push/pull balance with innovation, customers, market. Marketing as a regulator, “community manager” more than the brand dictate

All lot of reason why marketing we knew has changed and is probably dead, for brands that didn’t realize it. The sum of research on the subject is huge, but always turned from the companies that stare markets, without really engaging with the customers, or doing it their way, but not on the control of who buys: the customer. Think of how you can be patient and demanding as a customer, but beyond your simple need: being considered. A best seller know as “cluetrain manifesto” lead us, 10 years ago, the frame of what’s now, concrete and operational. For those who didn’t read it, you’ll find a totally actual subject in these assumptions, with customers who were already fed up and felt upset of “bad” practices.

Renewal is king and the necessary “central” function, protected from “one to many” is dead. The fact is now to put it in the center of the debate: social platforms, everywhere, anytime of the consumer’s life, to improve experience, collaboration and efficiency, dealing with “markets” not as targets but “doers” and influencers.

Products, services, sales propositions, all are on the shelves, but on the “social shelves”, driven to success or death. It’s up to you to decide how you deal with it and which marketing you deserve. Or decide to set up, now, for your teams…

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First part of three set, including the changes triggered by the connected world in which we live. We’ll underline there all that is described by “way of doing”, now, considering things we can’t stop and have to cope with.

Did you ever live, the incredible speed of information spreading, as you first have an idea, start to tell to a friend…and what becomes next: the one tells to a friend, who tells to a friend…six degrees later world knows all about it. That shapes what is to be said: living in a connecting world allows us to save time, moments and whole phases in building innovation. You can now make work a huge diversity of people, around the clock, in a single project, getting insights from the best of them, challenging everything from seeds to concrete plan. And it changes the vision we have on anything is possible or not: speed of sourcing, evaluating and throwing an insight, our ability to get information on marketplaces, competitors or competition in a larger view. Branding or modeling prototypes and viewing them in “real” second world (3D, social games, virtual environments…). Thrilling isn’t it. Not at all but a strong opportunity.

And if it’s for us, it’s for competitors, too. Competition keeps us awake (must?), and dangers come faster than ever: from stakeholders to suppliers, or even closer partners, anyone can, without having it in mind, leak on important secrets. And for a time-based competition, connectivity might probably change the game: speed of renewal cycles, defining, correcting and sourcing make markets more demanding on the service level and innovation. Being faced in daily life to digital shift, consumers have to adopt, learn and make them, the opportunities of technology.

In production fields, the reduction of wastes, mistakes or return, driven by a more accurate forecast of volumes, needs and trends go directly on the bottom-line. Engineers can have a close feedback with marketers, for model design, duplication, customization…and on-the-go modifications. That’s an incredible change in the process, always wired, and the ability to evolve, on ongoing periods, and raise the sustainable facet of production: less wastes, less energy, less stress, as it takes part of the whole shipment way of delivering goods or services.

Don’t you know that in poor areas (like described in BOP markets with books like), 7% on the income of poors is dedicated to connectivity expenses, often before cleaning, safety water, health or food…? The only step for isolated zones to be linked, bankable and start a tiny commercial activity is to be…connected. Connectivity changed the way farmers for example, can set their prices for their crop, because they’re connected (e-choupal system) with bid marketplaces and stocks for the raws they have: they can choose quickly to do or not and with who, they are going to deal.

Hold on for the second part and “connectivity effects on resources”. Stay tuned, and meet the following part soon, here…

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