Marketing planning has changed little in the past century. It's essentially a linear process built on the development of rigid 12-month plans built around brand and channel metrics. This approach is coming increasingly under strain as the combined effects of the growth of digital marketing platforms and a volatile economy demand marketing plans that deliver clear business outcomes and can adapt and improve to meet evolving market dynamics.
Over the past 12-18 months, we have come across several marketing organizations that have decided to do something about this situation and look for new ways to improve their approach to marketing planning by adopting some principles borrowed from a relatively new methodology originally conceived for software development efforts: agile development.
From the interviews that we did with marketers that are experimenting with this new approach, several of the key principles of "agile" development looked particularly relevant to innovating their approach to marketing planning:
A clear definition of business outcomes and associated business metrics
Today hybris announced its acquisition of iCongo in a creative deal which sees private equity firm Huntsman Gay convert its stake in iCongo into a significant stake in the newly combined companies. The deal combines complementary capabilities and customer bases, while also mitigating challenges each firm faced alone while strengthening a joint balance sheet for the combined $90-100 million in approximate revenues these firms will make up. The deal also changes a number of dynamics important to customers not only of hybris and iCongo, but also of Endeca and many services providers. A few key takeaways and thoughts:
When I first saw the video below of how Tesco’s Korean subsidiary Homeplus had tested a "virtual supermarket" in Seoul’s Hangangjin subway station I was impressed with the customer-centric use of mobile technology to innovate the shopping experience. The test included using basic posters with QR codes to enable the customer to create an order for delivery while on their way home.
Now we have learned that Homeplus is extending the trial to other Seoul subway stations next month with a view to rolling the format out across South Korea within two years.
What makes this possible? First and foremost an investment in a services-oriented architecture that Tesco began years ago, along with a consumer market well adapted to using mobile technology in their day-to-day life, and an operational capability to pick the items and faciliate delivery. It is intriguing to see how this test paints a future where physical displays – be they printed or digital – can be used to enhance the cross-touchpoint research, purchase, and service. Ideally these need to be highly integrated to the commerce platform to support real-time price, inventory availability, promotion, and content updates that enable full cross touch-point commerce, with this yet another interface to support shopping.
Have you been sitting on the mobile commerce fence? Ready to make the jump? Good for you, but you may not be prepared for the maze of solutions and vendors at hand to help you implement your mCommerce strategy. The number of vendors and diversity of solutions in the market is quite staggering, and the search for the right solution may feel like shopping in a busy Moroccan market, with an overwhelming choice of wares and vendors bargaining hard for your dollars. Leaving with the right purchase is a daunting task.
However, before you rush into evaluating solutions and signing contracts, eBusiness professionals must take a step back and look at the different implementation paths open to them for mobile commerce. These are:
Using technology from your existing eCommerce platform vendor.
Outsourcing to your interactive agency or systems integration firm.
Building it all in-house.
Leveraging a mobile commerce point solution.
In my latest report, a market overview of mobile commerce solutions for retail, I look at 14 established mobile commerce point solutions that have particular strengths and a proven record of accomplishment in the retail sector. These vendors between them empower the mobile commerce sites and apps for an exhaustive list of who’s who in US and European retail. The report focuses on the respective strengths of the solutions with respect to the needs of retailers. The vendors we looked at were: