The signs of the holidays are all around us: my teenagers have started listening to the local holiday music station, people are bundling up in anticipation of the snow that will soon be upon us, and theWall Street Journal is reporting on the expected sales of TVs at WalMart this Black Friday.
Aside from the economy, I'm following holiday shopping results because of the humble little devices we call connected TVs. CES 2009 featured many a promise from major TV makers – they assured us that connected TVs were finally ready to rock. Based on that, we estimated that a million of these TVs would be in US homes by the end of the year. In fact, if all the promises were kept, these million would be an easy sell because they would have fancy widget experiences just like the iPhone. Plus, we were assured the technology would get better every day so that accessing Internet content on the TV would feel as natural as switching from Dancing with the Stars to House (an activity I encourage).
This is not the time to go into my disappointment at the failure of some of those TVs to even arrive, much less the less-than-iPhone-like widget experiences they have delivered so far. Instead, in the spirit of technology denial, I’d rather focus on the fact that even if these TVs could do everything we hoped, somebody still has to sell them at retail. No, I'm not concerned we won't hit the million mark. Instead, I'm concerned that we'll have a million or more out there, but that fewer than 40% of them will actually connect to the Internet.
Thanksgiving is next week, and it marks the start of the mad dash to
the end of the year. As I look towards 2010, I see B2B marketers, in
the tech industry and elsewhere, face increasing pressure to reach
decision-makers, justify spending, and deliver high-quality leads to an
increasingly dissatisfied sales organization. Compounding these demands
is a lingering recession and increasing pressure from product
commoditization, new business models, functional outsourcing, and a social groundswell where buyers turn to peers to validate purchase decisions.
Certain events serve as wake-up calls. In the case of some, the anticipation of these events is enough to spark action or change behavior – maybe even spur technology investment. As technology marketers, we need to recognize the opportunity that these events provide. Obviously, we also need to be ready to exploit them.
Which events could be catalyzing events from a technology purchasing decision? It could be as simple as the approach of a new millennium: Y2K fears spurred major investment. New regulation is an easy one to identify: IT buyers scrambled to upgrade security and implement data archiving and discovery software after the passage of the EU Data Protection Act and subsequent country-level legislation, as was also the case following passage of HIPAA, SOX, Basel II and others. The events of 9/11 certainly spurred concerns about cyber and other types of security. More recently, following last week’s blackouts in Brazil, leaders issued new commitments to energy reform. Natural disaster, crime waves and other negative events also catalyze technology investments.
Allow me to add my voice to the chorus of those applauding the fall of the Berlin wall twenty years ago this month. It was this event that taught me firsthand why revolution is simultaneously impossible as well as inevitable. In 1986 I sat with other students from around the globe just blocks from the wall and debated whether it would ever come down. The naïve among us insisted freedom was imperative: It was inevitable. The others asked if we had stopped to think about the massive relocation of people, economic resources, and government structures that such a revolution would require: It was impossible.
Until it happened, just three years later.
The author, pictured left, photographed in front of the Brandenburg
Gate from what was then the East German side
It’s been a long time since I’ve updated this blog, and it’s been brought to my attention by many of you as we discuss the sales enablement topic at: conferences, meetings, over peaking duck Peking duck (wow, this is what happens when you trust Word too much in your edits and try to get something out too quickly over the voices of children who want you to go downstairs and play Wii with them), or during inquires. (NOTE: guys, if you add comments, I know you are reading!!)
Recent research undertaken by Forrester across Asia Pacific has indicated that while there is clearly a strong drive to improve the efficiency of IT systems, this will not often be through the implementation of process improvement systems, such as ITIL or CMM.
Major IT Management Themes In Asia Pacific
Source: Enterprise Global Technology Adoption Survey, Asia Pacific, Latin America, Middle East, And Africa, Q1 2009
So why has interest in these processes suddenly plummeted in Asia Pacific? While I have no strong evidence of the answer to the question, the many discussions I have had with IT leaders across the region leads me to believe that a number of factors have lead organizations to delay or put a stop to their ITIL process improvements and their broader ITSM initiatives.
Just this Monday Sarah Palin told Oprah she was "the queen of talk shows." Which might mean there's no better time to abdicate the throne than when you're clearly on top (and when the #2 talk show, Dr. Phil is produced by you).
But Oprah didn't just announce that when she wraps her 25th season in 2011 she will wrap the show for good. No, she announced that she would also begin the next chapter in her mega-successful life: she's going to move to cable. Her cable network, titled OWN, for Oprah Winfrey Network, was actually announced some time ago, so while that's not news, the fact that Ms. Winfrey is moving away from daytime television's most-watched show to build a fledgling cable network is an eyebrow-raiser.
Because cable TV is no safe haven away from the woes of broadcasters.
Audiences are fragmenting, cable TV is having a harder and harder time maintaining viewers in the face of the DVR and Hulu one-two punch. In fact, OWN was supposed to be up and running this winter but was postponed because of the challenging advertiser climate. It's a climate that's not going to get dramatically better even if our economy continues to improve. That's because advertisers have many alternatives for their advertising dollars, including the Internet, where more and more spending is shifting every day, reaching nearly $26 billion this year (see our July 2009 Interactive Marketing Forecast report for more detail).