Today's The Deadline To Enter The 2014 Forrester Groundswell Awards

We've already got dozens of great entries online for this year's Forrester Groundswell Awards  and we'd love to see your best social programs as well. Winners receive a nice shiny trophy, a winner’s badge for your website, a free pass to the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum in San Francisco, a chance to accept the award on stage, and lots of recognition in Forrester speeches and reports.

But you can't win unless you enter  and the deadline is midnight (ET) tonight. Get your entries in, and hopefully we'll see you in San Francisco this spring.

Oracle Buys BlueKai To Add Data Capabilities To Its Stack

On February 24, Oracle announced it was buying data management platform BlueKai for an estimated $350 million, to add to its enterprise marketing suite.

This acquisition is the latest in a string of big-ticket purchases that Oracle has made recently to further flesh out its marketing offerings. In 2012, it acquired Eloqua, a marketing automation firm, and in 2013, Oracle bought cross-channel marketer Responsys. There have been smaller acquisitions along the way, too. The combination is meant to position Oracle as a serious competitor to established enterprise-level marketers, specifically, salesforce.com and Adobe.

I think that marketers should take notice of this latest move by Oracle and ask themselves a few questions about it. More specifically:

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Broadcasters To Supreme Court: Save Our Business Model

This article in MediaPost summarizes the broadcasters' case against Aereo this way:

Calling Aereo a “direct assault” on the broadcast industry's business model, a coalition of TV companies indicated in court papers that Aereo's continued existence could mean the end of free over-the-air television.

In my reading of the Constitution, I see neither a right to free TV nor protections for an existing business model (snark over). 

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Samsung’s Galaxy S5: More Content, Software, & Services Needed To Truly Differentiate The Experience

Instead of launching their new flagship device at a separate event like last year, Samsung decided to leverage Mobile World Congress to cast a shadow on some other devices’ announcements. Expectations have been high in the past two weeks about what Samsung could announce. And while the atmosphere was not as crazy and irrational as for an Apple announcement, you could still feel today in Barcelona that expectations have been raised for the new smartphone sales leader.

As I pointed out in my post two weeks ago on what to expect at MWC, the Barcelona trade show is strongly biased on hardware specs. No exception to the rule here. The Samsung Galaxy S5 looks very promising on that front: faster, thinner, better battery and camera, etc. What’s more differentiating here is the positioning of the S5 as a fitness phone. It comes with a growing range of smart wearables, such as the Gear Fit – a fitness wristband with a curved screen – with a nice design. This is a way for Samsung to better engage users, especially when used in conjunction with new services like the enhanced S Health 3.0. It offers more tools to help people stay fit and well – providing a comprehensive personal fitness tracker to help users monitor and manage their behavior, along with additional tools including a pedometer, diet and exercise records, and a new, built-in heart rate monitor. Galaxy S5 users can further customize their experience with an enriched third-party app ecosystem and the ability to pair with next-generation Gear products for real-time fitness coaching.

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Facebook at MWC: The World Is Shifting Mobile

Together with Nokia X announcement this morning and Samsung Galaxy S5 later today, one of the most expected events of Day 1 at Mobile World Congress was Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote. He did not announce anything new and mostly shared his vision of the Internet.org coalition. Facebook wants to connect up to 3 billion people in the next five years.

Facebook already has numerous agreements with telecom operators worldwide – especially in emerging countries where the social media giant can be used to generate acquisitions of new customers. On the contrary, operators are a key distribution platform to help Facebook acquire its next billion customers.

This morning at MWC, WhatsApp’s CEO announced that the messaging app will enable voice within its app starting from Q2 2014. Services like WhatsApp are already cannibalizing SMS among smartphone owners as highlighted here by colleague Dan Bieler. What if WhatsApp does the same thing, further cannibalizing operators’ core voice revenues? This will for sure force operators to reinvent their business models and to embrace agile innovation and partnerships with OTT players. For example, Reliance in India and Mobily in Saudi Arabia have existing partnerships with WhatsApp.

However, Facebook’s CEO first keynote at MWC goes beyond the love-hate relationship with telcos.

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Agile Teams Are Critical For Social Marketing Success

I often ask marketing leaders how they organize their resources for social, and the responses are rarely the same. I hear everything from: "We have one person in PR who does social part-time" to "We have hundreds of full time social marketing managers across the globe." Despite this disparity, I find that marketers often share the same level of frustration when they try to advance their social marketing initiatives. Whether they have one social marketing manager or hundreds of social marketing managers, marketers claim that their existing resources are stretched.

Quantity does not equate to quality

Marketers tell us that a lack of dedicated employees is a big pain point. And if you dig a bit deeper, you will find that this is a daunting obstacle that prevents many organizations from scaling and optimizing their social marketing efforts. Marketers often feel that the only way to scale and optimize is to hire more social marketing managers. Yes, more dedicated headcount helps, but it is not the panacea. In order to be truly organized for social marketing success, you need a new perspective.

You must have agile teams 

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Join Us At Forrester's Forums For Marketing Leaders This Spring

One evening in early January, I was stuck at home, suffering through the second in what would become the string of bad winter storms that we’ve all been experiencing. I hadn’t been to the grocery store for the week, and dinnertime was sneaking up on me. I was contemplating the soup that had been in the cabinet for at least 18 months when I received this email from a local restaurant delivery service:

They were delivering! Dinner (plus leftovers) and avoiding the risk of botulism? I was sold.

Clearly this made an impression on me — I mean seriously, I saved a screenshot of an email — and thinking about it now, I know why. It’s because it spoke to me as both a customer and a marketer. This wasn’t part of a planned campaign. The company anticipated and fulfilled an immediate need I was experiencing with the kind of contextual responsiveness we’ve come to expect almost exclusively from social media programs. Delivery Now used the tools and insights already at their disposal to solve a customer problem. Opportunistic? Sure. But it got me what I needed in that moment, so why should I be bothered that they benefit, too?

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One week left to win a Forrester Groundswell Award

Every year, Forrester collects examples of outstanding social marketing efforts, focused on companies which have seen measurable results of their initiatives at each phase of the customer life cycle.  Our submission window for the 2014 entries closes February 28th, and I look forward to seeing your submission.  

To learn about the contest and see how to submit, check out:

 
And if you want to be inspired by last year's winners and finalists, check out:
 
 
Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your submissions.

Content Marketing Fortnight VII: The Pains And Joys Of Going Mainstream

What’s happening (that’s important) in the world of content marketing? This is your fortnightly round-up of the best of the best stuff online for marketers who think about content; for the previous “Fortnights”, go to the bottom of the post. (And for more information about what the Content Marketing Fortnight is, see my intro from the first one. Get this curated newsletter in your inbox every other week – send me a mail.)

NewsCred scores $25 million. Tech news: “What’s content marketing?”
It’s no $16 billion, but the $25 million Newscred raised to expand its content marketing cloud offering is no insignificant sum. The company is moving fast to help brands win relevance with content, boasting a unique weapon (licensing for premium content with thousands of top-shelf sites). Re-code – previously the Wall Street Journal’s tech team – was taken aback, asking, “What’s content marketing?” Percolate’s Noah Brier answered them.

Federated Media, a content marketing pioneer, backs out of content marketing

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Digital Is Selling More Soap Than It Gets Credit For: Nielsen Study

This headline comes from Ad Age today.

I'm glad to see more quantification of online ads' impact for branding. But I lament that this kind of story is still headline-worthy. Why is it still so surprising that online advertising is effective and helps sell products?

After all, I wrote about the first Cross Media Optimization Study (XMOS) that documented the brand impact of the lowly banner ad for Dove Nutrium . . . when was that . . . must have been about 2001. And scores more of these studies have come out since. In my research with marketing mix modeling vendors, I hear that digital is readily quantified and has an important role in the mix.

So can we get beyond nonsensical biases about "banner blindness" and acknowledge the reality that ads don't have to be a Cannes-winning video extravaganza to get the message across?

End of rant. I feel better now . . .