Next month will mark the (gulp) 20th year of my tenure in "digital strategy." I started working on projects back in 1994 using Mozilla, Usenet, and WebCrawler as my guides. The World (its 2006 website is still live at www.std.com) was my ISP. We were still more attentive to CD-ROMs than graphical websites. Hair was still on my head, my dogs were not yet born, and my career was still developing. It was also 20 years ago, in 1994, that the first web design agencies — what became USWeb, Agency.com, and others — started to emerge.
I mention this anniversary, because, like other industries that evolve quickly, the concept of a "digital agency" has become somewhat of an anachronism, if not categorized properly. Specialized agencies that deliver digital capabilities are common, as are the digital or interactive practices within tradition creative, media, and consulting firms. Because of this new and more complicated mix of participants, marketers have shifted their agency relationships to more project based work, at more types of agencies, and with less long term commitment to any one firm.
As we head into the fourth year of the age of the customer — a 20-year business cycle that began in 2010 in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers — focused marketing innovation programs are now table stakes to enter this new customer-controlled game.
My latest report on marketing innovation discusses how companies are creating and where they are locating marketing innovation labs and talent to meet aggressive goals to win in this new age of increasingly empowered customers — "The Costs And Benefits Of Marketing Innovation Labs" (paid subscriber access required). The primary goal of these labs is to create new customer experiences and brand engagement that take divergent and discontinuous leaps from previous efforts. Some of the labs are focused more on technology transfer back into the organization, while others are focused on changing the culture of the organization and laying the groundwork for an entirely new mindset to emerge. Whichever focus they choose for their innovation labs, these organizations know they now must invest in customer experience and brand engagement innovation just like they did during the age of information (1990-2010) in supply chain, logistics, manufacturing, and back-office systems innovation and talent.
I am very excited to announce my newest report on marketing innovation just published Friday, November 15, 2013: "Build A Marketing Innovation Engine And Team To Power Growth " (subscription required or fee for non-Forrester clients). The latest report in my series on marketing innovation focuses specifically on the talent required to successfully innovate. It also delivers a lean process that unencumbers this talent from the bureaucracy that typically slows it down. Here is a brief report summary.
Top CMOs are partnering with their CIO counterparts to integrate new technologies into their customer engagement, commercial, and brand building efforts as consumers rapidly adopt new behaviors and expectations in the age of the customer. Companies like Comcast, Ford Motor, and Chick-fil-A have created more streamlined innovation processes to navigate internal bureaucracies and politics, ideate, develop, and launch new marketing efforts faster in order to keep up. This report will provide 1) a model for continuous evaluation and selection of cutting-edge marketing innovations, and 2) information about the leadership and talent capabilities you will need to execute on these programs.
In addition, the report also includes valuable insights from Aetna and Wells Fargo on how to develop marketing innovation programs that have an impact on the business. Here are some of the key takeaways:
I published a report based on a Q2 2013 survey that benchmarked marketing innovation culture and indicated that most marketers are still not investing enough to accelerate their innovation efforts. Only 11% indicated that they are currently setting aside budget specifically for marketing innovation programs. Budget is both an indicator of intent and lifeblood for these programs to succeed. Today, Advertising Age published an article based on this report — "Most Brands Aren't Budgeting For Innovation." Below is the article Forrester submitted to Advertising Age.
Only 11% of marketers set aside a specific budget for marketing innovation efforts, and only 9% make marketing innovation a part of every marketer’s budget, according to a recent study of 45 marketing leaders. What’s more is that 95% of these marketers agreed, mostly agreed, or partially agreed that they are achieving positive ROI from their innovation programs. Why the difference? Mastering marketing innovation is getting harder and harder due to the ever-changing customer landscape caused by digital disruption, perpetually connected customers, and shifting customer expectations.
I had the privilege of attending the 2nd annual Procter & Gamble (P&G)Signal P&G event in Cincinnati yesterday, May 30, 2013. The event was created to inspire P&G marketers to accelerate digital, social, and mobile marketing innovation while not losing focus on core brand building fundamentals. Marc Pritchard, P&G CMO, stated several times that “understanding our consumers is core to anything we do in digital.”
The event MC was John Battelle, CEO of Federated Media, who did an excellent job keeping the speakers moving and on point. Stan Joosten, innovation manager, global eBusiness, of P&G played a pivotal role in managing the overall event under Marc Pritchard’s sponsorship and leadership. There were nearly 500 P&G and outside guest attendees as well as many more via webcast.
It was a packed day with 20 speakers and excellent insights. Here are but a few quotes and insights from the day.
Marc Pritchard started the day off with key themes:
“Speed is absolutely essential to winning brand building at speed of digital.”
Main Signal P&G themes for P&G marketers to soak in included: “speed, teamwork, and innovation based on P&G-proven business models, with brands being most important.”
“P&G must innovate by being productively paranoid.” Pritchard based this mantra on the book Good to Great by Jim Collins.
The follow-on report will focus on how to assess your organization’s current marketing innovation culture and what it takes to migrate from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow. Whether you have a risk-averse, pragmatic, experimenter, or customer-obsessed marketing innovation culture, your insights are critical to this research.
I have developed a short (5 to 10 minute), anonymoussurvey on assessing your marketing innovation culture. The more responses I receive, the more insightful and valuable the report will be for you. Everyone who takes the survey will receive a summary of the results if they choose to provide their email address at the end of the survey (optional).
Please take the survey today, and forward it to any of your colleagues or peers you feel could add insight into this topic.
Today, we published my first Forrester Research report on marketing innovation, "Culture Is Key To Marketing Innovation Velocity" (client access required). This is the first report in a series I will be writing on marketing innovation culture, innovation labs, and partnering to accelerate marketing innovation velocity.
Marketing innovation in the age of digital disruption, perpetually connected customers, and the customer life cycle is hard and getting harder. What separates the marketers who are leading their organizations to accelerate marketing innovation velocity is the organizational culture they have created. This report discusses the four marketing innovation cultures including: risk-averse, pragmatist, experimenters, and customer-obsessed. We also align the cultures based on whether they are internally or externally oriented or highly focused or highly flexible. For example, a customer-obsessed culture is more flexible and externally oriented in how it innovates and markets to its customers. Here is the marketing innovation cultures matrix:
If you’ve turned on reality television lately (and I’m sorry if you have), you have seen a lot of overconfident folks who think highly of their ability to cook, sing, model, dance -- whatever -- when in actual fact most of them stink. The spectacle of these shows comes from watching to see if these people ever accept the painful gap between their perceived and actual abilities.
From data we have just published today in a new Forrester report, Assess Your Digital Disruption Readiness Now (client access required), it turns out that digital disruption is like reality TV in at least this one way: There is a significant, even painful, gap between how ready some executives think they are to engage in digital disruption and the actual readiness of the enterprise.
This disparity rears its ugly head at a crucial time. As Forrester principal analyst James McQuivey has recently written in his book Digital Disruption, digital disruption is about to completely change how companies do business. Digital tools and digital platforms are driving the cost of innovation down to nearly zero, causing at least 10 times as many innovators to rush into your market while operating at one-tenth the cost that you do. Multiply that together and you face 100 times the innovation power you did just a few years ago under old-fashioned disruption (see figure).
I am excited to announce that after more than two decades as an executive and leader in digital marketing, eCommerce, social media marketing, and business technology, I have joined Forrester as a Vice President, Principal Analyst serving CMOs. One of the main reasons I decided to join Forrester was that I had been a client for more than nine years and had great experiences using Forrester reports and analyst interactions to achieve my business goals and objectives at Newell Rubbermaid and US Department of the Treasury, IRS. My relationship with Forrester goes even further back, as I briefed Forrester on my Intel and Dell products and technologies back in the 1990s. Also, it turned out that I knew more people at Forrester than any other firm . . . so as the old saying goes, I liked and respected the company so much as a client that I decided to join.
Another reason I joined Forrester, and the most important one, is to help CMOs and senior marketing executives solve problems in marketing to today’s consumers. In a world of digital disruption, ultra-connected consumers, and an ever-evolving customer life cycle, the challenge and complexity of marketing to consumers has never been greater. I believe that to overcome these challenges, CMOs are going to have to accelerate their innovation efforts and become digital disruptors in their target markets to succeed.
With that in mind, here are some questions I will be working on as I research CMO-led marketing innovation:
How do CMOs define marketing innovation, and what role are they playing in driving it?
How do CMOs drive innovation in different organizational cultures, ranging from experimental to risk-averse?
What models, processes, and frameworks are CMOs using to drive marketing innovation?
What are CMOs budgeting for innovation now, and how much do they expect to grow their innovation budget in the future?
Forrester’s CMO Group fielded a survey in December in partnership with Advertising Age, to get a handle on what CMOs and marketing leaders are making a strategic priority in 2011. The article appears in Advertising Age’s CMO Strategy column.
The results? Fifty-two percent of respondents said that effectively maximizing the marketing budget and developing a culture that fosters and supports marketing innovation rank at or near the top of their priority list. Thirty-eight percent said that optimizing the structure of the marketing organization to be adaptable will be important in 2011. These survey results reflect the fact that CMOs are scrambling to stay ahead of rapidly-changing consumer behavior, media, and technology but are also striving to achieve the accountability demanded in lean times. Consumers’ rapidly changing reality commands agility and speed, but business realities command investments that are grounded in data.
Why is innovation job No. 1 in 2011? Most CMOs realize the importance of being proactive in how they incorporate new ideas into their plans. Since marketing innovation is about identifying and capitalizing on new business opportunities, CMOs cannot just foster creativity — they must push for evolution across all four marketing P’s, especially distribution and pricing, where opportunities for innovation are often overlooked. Flagging innovation as a priority in this survey signals to us that CMOs are saying they want to know what new approaches they can take to satisfy their growth imperatives. Forrester’s research on this topic will focus on demonstrating exactly how CMOs successfully target new consumer groups and build new offerings for existing customers that are grounded in customer intelligence.