Transformation is Everyone’s Job, not Just the CMO: “Will 2015 Be The Year Of Digital Transformation?”

CMO magazine predicts 2015 will be the year of “digital” transformation for most orgs. They asked a bunch of CMO/Marketing leaders to offer some predictions for the year.

These days digital transformation is top-of-mind for CMOs, and it reaches all corners of marketing. That includes devising new strategies to meet the expectations of omnichannel customers, capitalizing on what new technologies now enable (geotargeting, personalization, and automation, to name just a few), and changing the makeup of the modern-day marketing team to ensure the right skill set.

If you’re a CMO and you’re just getting to this, it might already be too late.

The real challenge to a “digital transformation” is that the CMO will only be a cheerleader (worst case) or one key leader in the executive suite (best case). The real transformation has to happen in organizations the CMO doesn’t always control.

Business Units – Short and long term incentives, promotional criteria and budget allocation all need to change. For example, digital transformation requires a ton of experimentation. Experimentation equals risk. Most good marketers have incentives that do not align with risk and change. Transformation requires, by definition, change.

IT – Systems, tools, incentives and budgeting will have to be changed. For instance, most capital budgeting requires some sort of ROI estimate. Most of the “digital transformation” investments will have, at best, a hazy ROI horizin. Yet, the investments need to be made to enable the transformation.

HR – The way organizations hire, develop, train and evaluate teams will have to change and the CMO rarely has direct influence over the group. For example, organizations will need to promote teams that have a high confidence in ambiguity, can lead through change, are resilient. Most importantly, business functions will need to reward true creativity.

I love the discussion of driving transformation. There’s a ton that’s needed. But, it’s not just the CMO’s job. It’s everybody’s job.

Why a Facebook cofounder’s magazine is crumbling, in two charts | VentureBeat | Media | by Gregory Ferenstein

This is an important concept:

Since online outlets started tracking “read depth,” we know that most readers get through about 50 percent of an article before leaving — and about a third never get past the headline. That makes news economics a volume game, both in terms of content produced and total readers needed, as publishers attempt to make up for their readers’ superficial attention by throwing more headlines and more content at them.

via Why a Facebook cofounder’s magazine is crumbling, in two charts | VentureBeat | Media | by Gregory Ferenstein.

CMO’s, Brands and Innovation: The Factory, The Lab & the Studio

It’s great to see smart brands investing in “Labs” as outlined in this recent Adweek article about pushing the frontiers of retail. You could also look at Kraft, Nike, Mondelez and even good old General Mills (but, their Marketing Lab is now defunct based on what i’ve heard recently). It’s easy to see why a big company would want to create a “Lab”:

  • Try out new technology (without committing to long term support and integration)
  • Try new approaches, methods and processes (without committing to roll them out across the rest of the company)
  • Try new partners (without having to form long term relationships)
  • Try new business models (without committing to long term capital)

And a bunch of other benefits.

I’ve been thinking about what a modern marketing team really needs, going forward. The forward thinking CMO’s will recognize that the “Lab” is a critical piece of a larger transformation effort. But, it’s not the only one. The CMO office will need to drive change through three pieces working together:

  • The Lab – The place to, literally, experiment. Try new things, new tools, new skills, etc. This is where real innovation is found and validated.
  • The Factory - This is where the content/marketing gets made at scale, efficiently with a core focus on delivering immediate impact, now. In general, this will be delivered by the current roster of agencies and other partners who are on the hook for content and brand building materials. CMO’s will need a way to inject the innovations created in the “Lab” into the Factory. Smart agencies will be actively looking for ways to translate what works in the lab into their everyday work.
  • The Studio – The Studio is about craft, art and excellence. Generally, this is the content that is small, well crafted, and focused on making more of a statement. If brand content has the possibility of being art, the studio will craft it. Where the Lab is all about the “new” and “better” and the Factory is all about the “Scale” and “Efficiency” and results, the “Studio” is about delivering the highest quality possible.

The job of the Chief Digital Officer (or the CMO herself) would be to integrate the three really effectively to deliver the results any good marketer needs:

  • In Market results, now – The traditional results that marketers and business builders really need: Reach, frequency, depth, conversions, loyalty, advocacy.
  • Better consumer knowledge – Data about the consumer and their interaction with the brand and the insights that come from the combination of data analysis and good old fashioned intuition
  • Better operations – New ways of working, new techniques & tools to do the job better
  • A clearer sense of what’s coming next - Stronger intuition about how the marketer can better serve the consumer AND build a longer term advantage for her brand or her company

This is pretty much thinking out loud. I hope to come back and work on these ideas.

2015 Digital Marketing Predictions / I’ll Read Them So You Don’t Have To

Here’s a list of worthwhile articles that fall, roughly, under the heading of 2015 predictions. I’ll a lot of them, so you don’t have to. This is definitely not comprehensive and i’ll be updating this as i dig up more. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Hootsuite’s Predictions for 2015

These folks are right on the front edge of the whole transformation happening in marketing. They’re watching organizations take on “Digital transformations”. I think that’s definitely needed and will happen more and more in 2015.

21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2015

Top Rank Marketing has asked a bunch of friends/colleagues for their thoughts on what’s coming in 2015. It’s heavy on the importance of content and social, not surprisingly.

Forrester’s 2015 Predictions 

Forrester posted their 2015 predictions. Here’s the press release where they are all neatly organized. Also, they put their 2015 predictions on pinterest and in infographic format so their ready to share (smart!). Heavy on Mobile CEX, data,

Lobste.rs Has a Good Idea to Manage Spam: Invite Trees

Cool idea on how to manage spam and quality in small, focused communities from Lobste.rs, a new-to-me link aggregator that’s kind of like Hacker News: They use an invite “tree” to publicly show who invited who (whom?). That way, once a year, you can always see how someone got into the system. From their “about” section:

Not for exclusivity, but rather, invitations will be used as a spam-control mechanism. New users must be invited by a current member and invitations will be unlimited (unless scaling problems temporarily prevent new accounts). If spammers are invited to the site and banned, the user that invited them may also be banned, going up the chain of invitations as needed.

(Updated) Um, Facebook, This isn’t Great

Engagement with brand content is evidently dropping  pretty dramatically. As a guy that went all in on Facebook when i was in a seat to influence a lot of media spend, this is concerning. For brands, it’s obviously bad. For consumers, it’s probably a win of sorts.

These numbers are even more striking when you consider engagement is significantly down even though brands are almost certainly spending more money to promote their posts to combat plummeting organic reach. Facebook’s ad revenue reached $2.27 billion in Q1 2014, up 82 percent from Q1 2013.For brands on Facebook, these are dark days. They can choose to spend more money to reach fans they had already accumulated in the past, but Facebook will likely decrease branded reach even further.

But, this also speaks to challenges in the FB ad model from the brand perspective. It seems like Facebook is  resorting to limiting organic impression supply (by tweaking the algorythm to lessen brand reach), making it more important for brands to pay to get the exposure.  The main reason i believed Facebook was a great platform was the  combination of organic and efficient paid reach. With the constant tweaks to the organic reach black box, that mix (of organic and paid) gets less attractive and FB becomes just another paid ad platform.

UPDATE 6/18/14: I think i buried the lede here. The point i was REALLY trying to make is that it looks like Facebook is losing one of the aspects that made it so attractive in the first place: It enable brands to build deeper relationships (that’s good) while also building a more modern media mix, one that delivered a beneficial combination of owned and earned media and paid. The less organic reach a brand can generate, the more they have to pay to get the reach, the less attractive the original value proposition is.

via New Report Reveals Just How Drastically Brand Engagement is Plummeting on Facebook | The Content Strategist, by Contently.

This seems like magic: Aluminum-air battery

I hope my sons can figure stuff like this out:

Phinergy batteries use a porous  electrode with a large surface area that captures the oxygen from ambient air. The electrode also contains a silver-based catalyst that doesn’t let CO2 interact with it. This unique and proprietary catalyst solves a common problem in air-battery technology, carbonization caused by CO2 permeating the electrode.

via Aluminum-air battery demonstrates extended range for EVs..