The CMO's 2011 To-Do List — Preparing For The Next Digital Decade

I recently talked to Elaine Wong at Forbes about the top priorities for CMOs in 2011.

In the past, the CMO’s to-do list hadn’t changed much from year to year. Bob Liodice, president of the ANA, indicates that the top three or four issues have been pretty consistent over the past several years: strengthening the brand, improving integrated marketing communications, aligning the organization around innovation, and improving marketing's accountability.

But 2010 was a different kind of year: the year that digital became mainstream. This surge, or tipping point if you will, of digitally-enabled business models and consumer lifestyles is changing how CMOs are approaching their to-do list in 2011. After talking to several leading marketers, Bob Liodice of the ANA, and Nancy Hill of the 4As, here's what I learned:

CMOs Begin Preparing For The Next Digital Decade

Fast-follower CMOs want to get a horse in the digital race in 2011. Some are playing catch-up, but they all display a sense of urgency to make their move to remain relevant in the next digital decade. Our prediction is that 2011 will mark a year when many CMOs will remember making significant moves to leverage disruptive technology and emerging media to gain a long-term competitive advantage. Specifically, we identified three macro trends where CMOs will:

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Test Your Readiness For Marketing Innovation

Innovation is a top priority for CMOs in 2011 according to a recent Forrester/Advertising Age study. And it's a subject I've been regularly researching. 

If you'd like to find out where you stand in your readiness to innovate marketing, please take 15 minutes to complete our survey. It will score your company’s standing on 13 important drivers of marketing innovation: organization, culture, people management . . .

Once the survey is closed, we’ll send you the results for your personal use, including your personalized score, benchmarked relative to the rest of the respondents. Here’s the link to the questionnaire

I hope you find the questions interesting and that they spark some thought, and even some discussion. Can I suggest our online community as a good place to continue the conversation? 

And if you’d like to be involved further in my research on marketing innovation or would like to speak with us about how you’ve been able to enable innovation in your company, please connect. Look forward to reading you. 

Apple’s 30% And Google’s 10% Fees Are Too High

 

The most important outcome of this week’s emerging tussle between Apple and Google is that we are about to have an intense and financially difficult conversation about what a fair price is for delivering customers to developers, publishers, and producers. Economically, this is one of the most critical issues that has to be resolved for the future of electronic content. Very soon, a majority of consumer experiences (that which we used to refer to as the media) will be digital. But not until the people who will develop those experiences have unambiguous, market-clearing rules for how they can expect to profit from those experiences.

The question comes down to this: Is 30% a fair price for Apple to charge? I must be clear about my intentions here. I do not employ the word “fair” the way my children often do. I am not whining about Apple’s right to charge whatever it wants. Apple may do whatever is best for shareholders in the short- and long-run. I argued yesterday that Apple’s recent decision does not serve its shareholders in the long run. Google announced One Pass yesterday – hastily, I might add – in order to signal to Apple and its shareholders that monopoly power rarely lasts forever. But none of that questions the ultimate morality of Apple’s decision or its rights.

I use the word “fair” to refer to a state of economic efficiency. A fair price is one that maximizes not just individual revenue, but total revenue across all players. Such revenue maximization cannot be achieved without simultaneously satisfying the largest possible number of consumers with the greatest possible amount of innovation.

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Apple's Policy Harms Subscription Providers Today, Apple Tomorrow

 

Yesterday Apple announced its intention to tighten its hold on the payment for and the delivery of content through its successful iTunes platform. (I’ll leave off the I-told-you-so; oops, too late.) Apple will require that all content experiences that can be paid for in an Apple app must be purchasable inside the app, with Apple collecting its 30% fee. The app can no longer direct you to a browser or some other means for completing a transaction. Crucially, the in-app purchase offer must be extended at the same price as the same offer made elsewhere. Though the announcement of the subscription model was the triggering event, the policy extends to all paid content.

I do not believe this is where Apple will stop – I personally expect them to eventually deny the delivery of content paid for outside of the app without some kind of convenience charge. But my personal expectations are irrelevant here, because what Apple has done already is sufficient to make providers of content aggressively invest in alternative means to reach the market.

Subscription content services are the lifeblood of the content economy. A full 63% of the money consumers spend on content of all types comes through a renewable subscription (I’ll be publishing this data from a survey of 4,000 US online adults as part of a bigger analysis next month, hang tight). Most of that subscription revenue goes to pay-TV providers, but 17% of it goes to newspaper and magazine publishers, including their online or app content experiences.

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Recognize When Technology Can Raise The Bar Of Customer Engagement

CMOs need to be orchestrating the brand experience across channels, departments, and the customer life cycle, but it can be hard to keep up with emerging technologies that can enable significant improvements in how your firm engages customers. To help you do this, I've started a series of reports for B2B CMOs and marketing leaders to highlight technologies that they should have on their radar over the next 12 to 18 months.

We select technologies that meet the following criteria: 1) The technology can improve how companies engage prospects and customers at one or more points in the customer life cycle; 2) it is easy for the business to implement; 3) enterprise-scale companies have started to use it; and 4) it does not have enough hype to be on everyone’s radar.

The first installment focuses on four emerging technologies:

  • Online content curation to build thought leadership and authority relationships.
  • Listening platforms to monitor brand sentiment and gain customer insight.
  • Brand advocate platforms to energize word of mouth (WOM).
  • Appointment scheduling applications to engage people ready to buy.

Learn more about what these are and why they are important by reading the new report, "Emerging Technologies B2B CMOs Should Watch In 2011." And let me know about other emerging technologies you'd like to see profiled in the future or about experiences with these platforms.

Apple Clamps Down On Paid Content Delivered To iPhones And iPads

Today The New York Times is reporting that Apple is changing its policy for allowing apps to deliver content that was paid for somewhere other than in the app where Apple would get a cut. This came to light when Sony was forced to explain why its iPhone and iPad apps were not being released as promised. This is important to illustrate clearly because this is not just about Sony. In fact, it is expected that Apple will apply this same policy to existing apps over the coming months. The most obvious target is Amazon.com's Kindle store, but we have no reason to believe it will stop with eBook retailers; instead, this policy should also affect magazines, newspapers, even videos and games. 

This represents a shift for Apple. Going back to the iPod days, Apple only sold music because it helped sell iPods. When Apple added the iPhone app store, it allowed Amazon to add a Kindle app because it would only make iPhones more valuable to potential buyers. The same held true for the iPad. But now that the company has built such a powerful ecosystem of devices, content, and consumers, it appears Apple is eager to ensure it can collect any and all tolls along its proprietary highways. I note this with some irony because it was just three weeks ago that I praised Apple's surprising openness in a report explaining the iPad's rapid growth:

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Introducing Forrester's CMO And Marketing Leadership Online Community

Hot on the heels of our new blog platform, Forrester has launched The Forrester Community For CMO & Marketing Leadership Professionals focused on the key business challenges that senior marketer professionals face every day. The community is a place for marketing executives to exchange ideas, opinions, and real-world solutions with each other. Forrester analysts will also be part of the community, helping facilitate the discussions and sharing their views.

The community is open to all interactive marketers, whether you’re a Forrester client or not.

Here’s what you’ll find:

  • A simple platform on which you can pose your questions and get advice from peers who face the same business challenges.
  • Insight from our analysts, who weigh in frequently on the issues. 
  • Fresh perspective from peers, who share their real-world success stories and best practices.
  • Content on the latest technologies and trends affecting your business — from Forrester and other thought leaders.
     

I encourage you to become part of the community:

  • Ask a question about a complex business problem.
  • Start a discussion on an emerging trend that’s having an impact on your work.
  • Contribute to an existing discussion thread from a community member.
  • Suggest topics for upcoming Forrester research reports.
  • Create a community profile.
  • Share your perspective with others.
     

Click here to go to The Forrester Community For CMO & Marketing Leadership Professionals, and bookmark it for easy reference. See you in the community!