Archive | October 2011

The End of Business as Usual…from Gaping Void

The End of Business as Usual

My good friend (and one of the brightest people I know), Brian Solis, has a new book out today: “The End of Business As Usual”.

As what has become a tradtion between us, I drew the cartoon above to celebrate the launch…

Solis believes, as many of us do, that it is time that the voice of the individual was acknowledged by organizations… and then he makes the case to show exactly why it matters, not only in principle, but in actuality.

The fact that this book launches the same week as the Occupy Wall Street crowd are grabbing global headlines I think, is more than just a happy coincidence, but a definite sign of the times we now live in. Black Swans meeting The Cluetrain. Exactly.

I hope you’ll check it out. Congratulations, Brian! Rock on.


In Case You Ever Wondered What The Last Decade Was About


“Data Explosion” and “Customer Collaboration and Influence” tops with CMO’s

“Data Explosion” rated by largest percentage of Global CMO’s as the number one issue in terms of “under-preparedness”, and “Customer Collaboration and Influence” rated number one in terms of “factors impacting marketing”

Top rated factors in terms of both impact on marketing and under-preparedness were:

-Data Explosion 

-Social media

-Growth of channel and device choices

-Shifting consumer demographic


The data explosion tops the list of headaches. More than 70 percent of the CMOs who think it’s important say they aren’t fully prepared to deal with its impact. ‘One of our biggest challenges is in data analysis. For the complexity and size of our organisation, we are way behind,’ a consumer products CMO in the United States admitted. 

He’s certainly not alone. ‘We’re drowning in data. What we lack are true insights,’ a life sciences CMO in Switzerland commented. An energy and utilities CMO in the Netherlands put the problem even more bluntly: ‘At this moment, I don’t know how our marketing department will cope with the expected data explosion.’ 

Social media and the growing number of channels and devices from which customers can choose, come a close second and third in terms of the anxiety they generate. ‘We need to manage the ‘open box’ of social media and the transparency it brings. Communication via social media is completely different from traditional communication tools or channels,’ a consumer products CMO in Poland said. 

Reflecting on the impact of social media, an aerospace and defence CMO in the United States warned, ‘The risk is huge, whether you touch it or not. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you reduce the risk by not trying to manage it.’

The changing characteristics of consumers also feature prominently among CMOs’ biggest concerns. Sixty-three percent believe shifting consumer demographics will have a significant impact on their marketing functions. However, only 37 percent feel substantially or fully prepared to deal with the shift. ‘A new generation with totally different needs and consumption habits is coming. Companies will have to adapt to this change in order to survive in the marketplace,’ an insurance CMO in Turkey observed


Indeed, the marketplace itself is fracturing, as several respondents pointed out. ‘Mass markets don’t exist anymore; they are splintered,’ an insurance CMO in Australia noted. A consumer products CMO in Singapore commented similarly, ‘The perfect solution is to serve each consumer individually. The problem? There are seven billion of them.’

The pressure is universal. To sum up, CMOs are stretched. Even those who work for the most successful organisations are struggling. In the course of our research, we asked respondents to assess their organisation’s position within the industry in which it competes. (We statistically corroborated their self-assessments using publicly available information. Further details are available on page 63 of the report) 

Our analysis shows CMOs in outperforming organisations are better prepared to manage some of the most critical pain points. Yet less than half of them feel completely ready. Those in underperforming organisations are even more uncertain of their ability to cope.


In fact, one of the most surprising findings to emerge from our study is the degree of consensus among the respondents. No matter where they work, their industry, or how large or successful their organisations are, CMOs are facing many of the same challenges and most feel underprepared to manage them.

This picture holds true even between CMOs working for business-to-consumer companies and business-to-business organisations, where we expected to see some variations in perspective. Of course, a growing number of manufacturers are selling directly to consumers, as well as through retailers, blurring the historical demarcation between the two business models. Yet that, alone, is insufficient to account for the similarity.

The common thread among the responses we received testifies, rather, to the magnitude of the changes now occurring in the marketplace – changes so momentous they have flattened out most differences. In the midst of this major shift, CMOs’ responses collectively point to three key areas in which they and their marketing staff need to improve. They must:

• Deliver value to empowered customers

• Foster lasting connections

• Capture value and measure the results of their efforts

Source: Full Report “From Stretched to Strengthened, Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officers Study”, October, 2011, IBM C-Suite Studies




Marketers face new tests – poll of 1734 CMO’s, 19 industries, 64 countries

NEW YORK: Marketers are becoming increasingly “stretched” thanks to the rise of new technologies and empowered consumers, and many also lack the tools to counter these trends, a study has found.

IBM, the business services firm, polled 1,734 chief marketing officers in 19 industries and 64 countries, a panel including executives representing 48 of the 100 most valuable brands listed by Interbrand.

It found that 79% agreed the situation will become more complex in the next five years. But just 48% felt ready to meet such challenges, leading to what was termed a capability “gap”.

A 71% share of contributors saw the contemporary data “explosion” as an obstacle, standing at 68% for social media, 65% regarding the proliferation of channels and devices and 63% discussing changing demographics.

Elsewhere, 59% cited financial limitations, 57% mentioned falling brand loyalty and 56% referred to tapping growth markets, customer collaboration and proving ROI. Privacy concerns logged 55% and global outsourcing scored 54%.

A majority of interviewees did not think they were prepared to tackle each of these matters, leaving regulatory issues and corporate transparency as the sole areas where confidence was higher.

Platforms attracting marketers included social media, with 82% of operators set to increase their activity going forward, coming in at 81% for analytics and CRM, 80% for mobile apps, 73% for content management and 72% for tablet apps.

When anticipating the measures which would be used to determine success in five years, 63% of companies believed ROI will be central, a role 58% afforded to the customer experience, 48% attributed to conversions and 45% handed to overall sales.

More broadly, IBM revealed 80% of marketers hold “significant influence” over promotional areas like advertising, communications and new media, but only 56% claimed the same status for product factors such as portfolio management and R&D.

Similarly, a modest 44% can shape “place” decisions, be it channel selection or supply chain management, matching the number that had a major say on pricing.

Another key difficulty relates to understanding shoppers. Over 80% of firms employ traditional strategies like market research and benchmarking while making decisions, and more than 60% monitor campaigns, brand metrics, customer service and sales.

However, focusing on the individual is less common: 74% of companies use consumer analytics, declining to 48% for tracking user reviews, 42% for keeping up with third-party ratings, 40% for listening to online buzz and 26% for capturing data from blogs.

“Approximately 90% of all the real-time information being created today is unstructured data,” Carolyn Heller Baird, of the IBM Institute for Business Value, said. “CMOs who successfully harness this new source of insight will be in a strong position.”

Data sourced from IBM; additional content by Warc, 12 October 2011