In Isaiah Berlin's most popular essay, “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” the famous Latvian-British social and political theorist quoted a fragment of ancient Greek: “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Since its publication in 1953, this concept has become an intellectual parlor game (something Berlin said himself) that those with a binary view of the universe have used to divide writers, politicians (Kennedy: fox; Nixon: hedgehog), and executives into two neat categories.
What’s forgotten is that Berlin used this ancient aphorism as a way to evaluate Leo Tolstoy. His conclusion? Tolstoy was actually a fox, despite many declarations that would indicate Tolstoy wanted to be a hedgehog. In short, Tolstoy was both — a fox by inclination, but a hedgehog by choice.
B2B marketers want sellers to know lots of things, and they use third-party data providers as part of that desire. At a recent Forrester event, I asked a marketer from a large financial services firm how may data providers they used; she casually replied: “77.” Seventy-seven separate data providers! If only a fraction of this data is provided to sellers, they must feel overwhelmed.
The consultative seller needs both the characteristics of the fox – knowing many things about the buyers, their companies, competition, and industry – and the hedgehog – knowing the one big thing (or maybe a few) that will lead to a sale.
Yesterday, the ANA released the findings from an eight month research study into the issue of transparency within the media agency industry. The findings are damning, but not surprising for those who have been following this issue. The phrase in the report that caught my eye was this: “evidence of a fundamental disconnect in the advertising industry regarding the basic nature of the advertiser-agency relationship.”
In other words, it’s the advertising-agency relationship that stinks.
Look past the rebates, the free cash disguised as “research and consulting” and the media mark ups and what you’ll see is the advertiser-agency relationship that has been under strain for years has finally completely collapsed. Three factors have driven the industry to this point:
Agency success metrics tied to an outdated approach. Clients expect high impression levels, high click volume – all at a low cost. This doesn’t allow a lot of room for media agencies to show additional value beyond scale and efficiency. The result is that agencies continue to look for opportunities to drive more impressions and lower CPMs without any accountability for real business and revenue impact.
Lead-to-revenue management automation player Marketo has certainly been in the news recently. First, in May, it held its annual Marketing Nation Summit in Las Vegas and announced plans to provide a marketing automation system, powered by a new architecture, which will enable marketers to engineer a great customer experience across the entire customer life cycle.
Clearly, this was a financially ambitious plan, reviving age-old speculation about a potential acquisition of the vendor. Candidate Marketo suitors included SAP, which has a glaring marketing automation hole in its portfolio as enterprises increasingly compete on customer experience, not operational excellence; Microsoft, which has a large base of CRM customers ready for the "prequel" of marketing automation; and even Google, which could boost its reach with midmarket business customers and enhance its overall cloud software and infrastructure business.
But Principal Analyst Lori Wizdo provided another point of view, saying: “Executing on that ambitious vision would take some investment. A private equity investment could provide the equity and the sight screen to enable that steep investment.”
Computing at the edge of the mobile network will frame your IoT-enabled customer experiences in the age of the customer. As products and services based on the internet of things (IoT) continue to thrive, so does the reliance on the underlying network infrastructures to drive business success. Most IoT assets will be connected via mobile infrastructure, and cloud services are central to many IoT initiatives to deliver real-time and context-based services.
However, data transmission costs and the latency limitations of mobile connectivity pose challenges to many of these IoT installations that rely on cloud computing. Mobile edge computing (MEC) is an important technology that enables businesses to deliver real-time and context-based mobile moments to users of IoT solutions, while managing the cost base for mobile infrastructure.
Cloud and IoT solutions are increasingly intertwined and improve IoT experiences. IoT solutions gain functionality through cloud services, which in turn open access to third-party expertise and up-to-date information.
Mobile connectivity can create challenges for cloud-enabled IoT environments. Latency affects user experiences, so poor mobile connectivity can limit cloud computing deployments in the IoT context.
MEC provides real-time network and context information, including location. MEC gives application developers and business leaders access to cloud computing capabilities and a cloud service environment that’s closer to their actual users.
Forrester’s Digital Transformation Europe 2016 Forum in London starts today, and our first industry speaker will be Blake Cahill, Head of Digital, at Royal Philips. Over the past 20 years, Blake has led a series of marketing, creative, client management, product innovation, and thought leadership projects for both Fortune 500 organizations and digital start-ups. At Philips, Blake is helping to lead the Dutch company’s international rebranding and expansion into new technologies and markets. In his presentation, he will talk about the role of digital marketing in the transformation of Philips into a global digital business, and in entering the Chinese market, providing key best practices and lessons learnt.
As I prepared for my role as Forum co-chair, together with Benjamin Ensor, I spoke to Blake about his views on the age of the customer and the impact of digital on companies like Royal Philips. Here is what Blake shared with me, and I hope you will enjoy his answers as much as I did. If you would like to attend Blake's presentation in person, there is still time to register!
Q. How is digital transforming Philips' business and, as a digital marketer, how are you collaborating with and/or advising your peers in other parts of the business on the transformation?
Business decision-makers take note: location-based context is critical for the future of application experiences and customer engagement. Understanding the location of customers and assets lets companies get closer to their customers and assets to drive better decisions (just to name a few: choosing the a site for a brick-and-mortar location, picking what offer to send to a customer, guiding passengers through airports, deciding where to focus your next marketing campaign, or pushing a greeting and sign-in to a patient as soon as she enters a hospital). The flood of spatial data generated by ubiquitous mobile and proliferating IoT devices offers developers new opportunities for user engagement, but choosing the right tools and services to ingest, analyze, and act upon this information can be vexing.
From comprehensive spatial analysis systems to decomposed location services solving specific problems, the landscape of spatial analysis vendors and offerings can be overwhelming and confusing. In our new report, Vendor Landscape: Spatial Analysis And Location Intelligence, Q2 2016, Forrester breaks down the market into six cohorts to help application developers, analysts, and business decision-makers choose the right technologies for their enterprise. Check out the full report at Forrester.com for more details and to view capabilities of dozens of vendors in these cohorts:
Informatica World wrapped up in San Francisco last week where almost 3,000 customers and partners gathered in the Moscone West conference center for four days packed with executive keynotes, customer and partner presentations. Based on my time there it’s clear that:
Informatica is pivoting to cater to a business audience. They recognize the business and their requirements have gained greater influence over technology purchasing decisions and are responding accordingly. Heralding what they call the age of data 3.0 they now want to leverage their leadership position in data management to build industry solutions on top of their data integration, data quality and data management tools. MDM solutions like MDM-Customer 360, MDM-Product 360, and MDM-Supplier 360 take aim at delivering mission critical insights to the business user. Their expanded partnership with Tableau will also continue to expose them to business audiences.
Promising new executives have their work cut out for them. Informatica has a 20 year track record of success in data management. But they are going in a new direction that is largely uncharted territory for them. Lou Attanasio, is the newly minted Chief Sales Officer who will need to transform an organization accustomed to speaking with IT to one that appeals to a business audience which will require a new sales model, training, and specialized sales talent that can speak to the client in terms of business value while also covering the technology at the right altitude. Jim Davis, who joined earlier this year as CMO from SAS, is leading the charge in positioning Informatica as not just a data management tool but a platform that is embracing cloud, mobile, social, big data, IoT and security.
Salesforce announced on June 1st its intent to acquire eCommerce software provider Demandware for $2.8 billion, augmenting its CRM platform with a capable and industry leading commerce solution. This move positions Salesforce as a direct competitor to enterprise software companies like Oracle, SAP, and IBM - all of which have formidable commerce software offerings. This acquisition has serious implications for both companies and the industry as a whole.
Salesforce and its clients get the lion’s share of benefits, but at a high price
With the premium price that Salesforce is paying for Demandware (12x annual revenue - likely due to another company bidding aggressively for the assets), the acquisition will:
Fill a major hole in the Salesforce offering. Until now, Salesforce customers had to use third party software tools to manage the buy phase of the customer lifecycle - arguably the most critical phase of the customer journey. With the addition of Demandware, Salesforce clients will be able to manage all customer interactions - including transactional interactions - from a single platform. All customer interaction data will live in one repository, allowing clients easy access to a more complete picture of customer data.
Provide greater access to the B2C market. In acquiring a leading B2C commerce suite, Salesforce gains access to nearly 350 clients and over $230 million in incremental revenue.
Huawei Technologies started out nearly 30 years ago as a small private company with 14 employees and 140,000 yuan in capital. By 2015, its total revenue exceeded $60 billion. Huawei is already a global company, but its globalization journey has been a difficult one since the very beginning. Despite its continuous business growth in other regions, Huawei has faced critical censorship in the US since Day One — and last week the US government put Huawei under the microscope yet again.
National security is important, but using “national security” as an excuse for allowing unfair competition will only harm customers. It’s time for the governments of both countries to trust each other more. I’ve recently published a report focusing on Huawei’s continuous progress toward becoming a key enabler of digital transformation in the telco and enterprise spaces. Some of the key takeaways:
Huawei has holistic strategies for digital transformation. Huawei’s broad vision of digital strategy — which focuses on cloud enablement and readiness, partner enablement, and open source co-creation — has helped the firm sustain strong business growth in the telco and enterprise markets. For example, its partnerships with T-Systems on the Open Telekom Cloud in Germany and with Telefónica on public cloud in the Americas have helped carriers in local markets give cloud users on-demand, all-online, self-service experiences.