Sunday, September 30, 2007

Blogging future: leverage the long tail opportunity

I've been spending an interesting afternoon at Apple Expo in Paris yesterday with my dear friend Christophe Ginisty. Beside being Apple's PR, he's also renowned for his blogging activity. He organized a debate about blogging future. Asking candid, or was it, questions about whether blogging is just a fading trend or a ramping up attitude.

I tried to make a point there that I wanted to share with you. Blogging is to press media what video sharing (YouTube, DailyMotion) is to TV, and Music sharing (MySpace) is to Records. Blogs success in my opinion lies in the ability for anyone to publish articles without a financial equation supporting it and with very low barriers to entry. Blogging is free and easy (no web design skills required), to be compared with the press where audience must be as large as possible for advertising revenue to enable it, and where printing or broadcasting requires technical and financial muscle. The same is true for video and music production and distribution compared to the new free or close to free e-capabilities.

Blogging, publishing music and video on the net doesn't require a large audience either to be possible. It is enough to have a few hundred interested people and you can keep going. But adding up these very diverse communities of interest leads to a massive audience. This is the long tail opportunity that the net offers. To be compared to Business 2.0 magazine not publishing anymore, despite facebook community trying to rescue, by economic failure.

So to me, all these individual contributions to the blogosphere, videosphere, photosphere and musicsphere are here to stay, widen and provide a huge creativity and freedom expression area without a capitalistic equation attached.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

2007 major Marketing 2.0 trends

We're entering our last quarter of the year and we should be stepping back, before the final rush for '07 revenue, to analyze this amazing year and its trends. Marketing, Business and the Web -- Web 2.0 flavored of course -- have never been more inter-weaved. This is why I called this Marketing 2.0 trends.
Let me give you my list, you'll be able to hammer me in a few month when reading back all of this:

1. Eco-responsible: we've been talking about it for months if not years, but I guess '07 is the milestone year for eco-responsible attitude in business as much as in our day-to-day life

2. Rise of e-commerce: we've discussed the numbers earlier this year here on Marketing 2.0, and there's no doubt e-commerce is no longer a fantasy but accounts for a significant part of the business either B2B or B2C. You cannot ignore it or consider it secondary.

3. Transparency: consumers demand relationships with brands mirroring the relationships they have in the real world and above all they demand transparency. Whether they'll get this transparency from the brand directly or relying on user generated content to elaborate it, they'll get it. If it's the latter, your brand is in trouble. Remember: you don't want to get Dell'd.

4. Community consumption: no longer do consumers rely on the press and vendors to choose. They increasingly rely on community advices for guidance. It is your job to influence communities, transparently please, as well as build your own communities.

5. Intangible real value: on top of it, we do buy virtual products and services for real money. Did you notice how many e-economy firms got the highest market caps? This goes generally with a positive buzz vortex on the web. You can no longer ignore your brand e-attributes and pay attention to e-competition.

6. Meconomy: as the Time magazine cover once highlighted in designating the man of the year as "YOU", consumers are focused on 'me, myself and I'. Personalization, customization, customer centric are a must to succeed. And they'll be asking this question: "what makes me happy?". Yes, happiness has become a valued because increasingly out of sight.

7. Open for global business: there are no boundaries to memory anymore. You act local? We take it global. No one can anymore think its business strategy in isolation. The fast growing emerging economies (China, India, Brazil to name a few) unleashing new buying patterns and new global brands (Lenovo, Mittal, ...) are already changing your plans. You'll be selling there or be sold.

My fellow marketers, what a thrilling world! Feel free to comment and contribute, we'll be looking at this for the next few months.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Customer equity to drive your marketing ROI

During my Lotus years, I've been given the opportunity to meet Mike Zisman our CEO at the time. One of his statement stayed with me since then: "The purpose of any enterprise is to acquire new customers and retain existing ones. Product an services are only a means to that end." It sounded a bit simplistic initially, but my experience in several companies since then reinforced my conviction of the importance and truthfulness of this statement.

During my marketing journey, I discovered the notion of customer lifetime value (CLV), more complex to comprehend and so effective to coin what your marketing focus should be and furthermore how to present it to your team. It also allows to present to CEOs and shareholders the real value ($) of customer loyalty.

Here comes customer equity that definitely coins the term that best represent all of this. You now can think of CLV as an an additional equity to the shareholders or the brand ones.What if you could revise Marketing ROI and fine tune your marketing course of actions based on this equation coming from Roland T. Rust in Advertising Age : "The ROI is simply calculated as the projected increase in customer equity minus the discounted [marketing] investment divided by the investment."

But how do you calculate customer equity with real numbers? Now we're talking ;-)
Well, a number of tangible and intangible enters into this and I do not necessary agree with Roland Trust in his article. I'd refer you to Customer Equity Calculations dedicated site, and will come back on this later on. To approach it, just think of customer equity as the total of the discounted lifetime value of all of its customers. I know, not that intuitive.

To be continued ...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Enterprise 2.0 is here to stay

Fellow marketers, I've been away for quite some time, focusing on some quality time without a computer (can you believe that?). I'm back, energized and ready to roll!

I wanted to open it up to a new topic, here on Marketing 2.0, that is keeping my team busy for quite some time now: Enterprise 2.0.

I'm sure you heard the buzz word before and maybe took a more in depth look at it. But I guess for those working in the IT industry and already involved in the Web 2.0 phenomena it's the natural question to ask ourselves: what are the Web 2.0 attributes, social behaviors and underpinning technologies bringing to the enterprise? Is this only about taking blogs, wikis, RSS feeds and what have you, to your intranet? Or is it a more profound paradigm shift that will finally unleash the expected new enterprise species of the new millennium?

You bet some of our gurus have been writing and pitching about it as the yearly Enterprise 2.0 conference can attest. Let's hear some of the most visible. First of all, spend about 10mn to view this introductory video on ZDNet Web 2.0 for the enterprise.
You can then take the direct and simple view of Andrew McAfee's Enterprise 2.0 definition:
"Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers."
Of course what Andrew develops beyond that definition is more complex but is basically centered around a new stage in knowledge management. But I am more in sync with Don Tapscott's views about it. If you did not read at least one of Don's best sellers, I encourage to start with Wikinomics. To give you a feel for it:
"The rise of pervasive, networked IT is fostering new business strategies and designs that enable firms to create differentiated value, lower cost structures and therefore increase their competitive advantage. A new model of the firm is emerging – the Enterprise 2.0. Firms that embrace this model succeed and compete well. Those that do not decline."
If you're now thrilled and ready to spend 40mn or so, listen to Don's pitch at the Enteprise 2.0 conference. It's fun and enlightening.
Finally, and to close this first post about Enterprise 2.0, I found Fred Cavazza's in depth post What is Enterprise 2.0? about it very useful to provide a solid 360 view.
Stay tuned for more, Enterprise 2.0 is here to stay.