Is there anything more boring than raw data? Yes, a blog that spews forth raw data. So I'll keep this short and sweet.
When CEOs doubt the importance of technology in the economy, I pull out a home grown aphorism: Technology is changing your customer, and your customer will change your company. In other words, whether you like it or not, demand will ultimately morph supply. And it's the job of the CEO to have a firm grasp of that dynamic.
So in the spirit of keeping CEOs up-to-date on the changing customer (like my 92 year old mother, shown above reading from a Kindle), here's a super-condensed summary of Forrester's recent survey of U.S. consumers.
A.G. Lafley, Procter & Gamble's CEO (and now Chairman), penned an HBR article in May that I think best summarizes the job of the CEO. Get your assistant to buy it -- and you should read it -- very good stuff.
To give a taste, here's my summary, plus a few of my favorite quotes.
Lafley argues that because the CEO doesn't report to anyone within the enterprise, only he can truly advocate for customers and shareholders. As Peter Drucker, Lafley's guru, stated: "The CEO is the link between the Inside that is 'the organization' and the Outside of society, economy, technology, markets, and customers. Inside there are only costs. Results are only on the outside."
If you're the typical CEO, you are carrying a BlackBerry. But not for long. Once the iPhone is able, in a corporate setting, to replicate all aspects of Outlook (email, calendar, notes, and tasks) with high security, the iPhone floodgates will open and you will have a new device. Here's why:
1) User interface. Despite the annoyance of the glass keyboard, the iPhone interface is faster, more intuitive, more flexible, and more versatile. You can do more, with more content, less instruction, and faster speed.
2) Applications. iPhone has a massive head start in the battle for applications. It's possible that your company already has an iPhone application in the market -- servicing your customers. Don't you wish you could see it? And there may already be applications available that will make your job easier -- I predict that corporate dashboards for CEOs will be a small but influential segment of the iPhone apps portfolio. In some markets, it's changing how customers connect to companies -- here's an example around mobile banking. The application revolution has begun -- and it's not on BlackBerry.
3) iPhone will soon be available from more cell services providers -- starting first in Europe. Once the device breaks out of its AT&T cage, the multiplier effect will kick in -- and the flood waters will rise fast.
Forrester put out a report last week that showed that marketing budgets in large global companies are down 20% this year. Spending on TV, print, radio, magazines, and other branding and advertising is down a breathtaking 60%+. More contemporary channels like social computing and Web sites are seeing only modest cuts, with many companies reporting that they are actually increasing spending in those areas.
What should the CEO take away from this?
1) The report showed renewed focus on return on investment measures for marketing -- this is a healthy development that will help you post-recession. ROI analysis will eliminate, or at least minimize future marketing nonsense.
2) Social marketing is here to stay. It's time for you to understand it.
We’ll look back on this recession as much more than an ugly economic moment. History will view it as The Gateway — a portal connecting two very different eras.
When the economic clouds clear, many prevailing elites will have been swept away, organizational structures will have fallen, and many who were formerly in control will have lost power. Those who can speak digital will thrive, and those who cannot will finally get the message and retire.
The signs are everywhere. Post-Gateway players: Obama; Amazon; Zappos; Jet Blue; Twitter; Facebook; blogs; Craigslist; broadband; Wikipedia; DVRs and iTunes. Pre-Gateway: GM; The New York Times; the Republican party; shopping malls; print advertising; excessive executive pay; TV networks; boards of directors full of aging plutocrats; and the TV-centered Washington chattering classes. Like the US Civil War, which separated an agrarian society from an industrialized economy, or World War I — a death knell for many European elites — the Gateway Recession is exposing fundamental weaknesses in long-standing political, cultural, and economic institutions.
Here are the new challenges and rules that await CEOs on the other side of that door:
Quickly: The only way CEOs can understand social technologies is by using them.
Content: I've got bad news for you. You can't understand Twitter, Facebook, or blogging by reading an article in a magazine or a report from your CMO. Sure, they can tell you what they are, but you won't be able to truly understand how they could change your business unless you actually use them.
Social is like sex. It's fun to talk about and read about, but you can't truly comprehend unless you do it.
Allmans Dead E Street Band Doors Ramones Aerosmith Replacements Beach Boys Velvet Underground Phish Talking Heads The Band ZZ Top Metallica REM Nirvana Guns N' Roses Pearl Jam Eagles Black Crows Creedence CSN Foo Fighters Fugazi Jefferson Airplane Little Feat NRBQ Rush Stooges Tom Petty and Heartbreakers White Stripes Wilco Sonic Youth REM Crazy Horse (Neil Young) Clutch Chili Peppers Parliament/Funkadelic Toto The Byrds Widespread Panic
While this blog spent its first year as a place of general conversation, I am changing it to focus on CEOs. I am the CEO of a small public company but I often spend time with big company CEOs – the leaders of the organizations that Forrester advises. This blog will contain ideas, research, observations, and analysis pointed at increasing the success of CEOs. It will identify what CEOs must accomplish to improve the prospects for their organizations and increase their own personal effectiveness. It will help CEOs take unique approaches to their challenges – hence “The Counterintuitive CEO.” This is in keeping with Forrester’s role focus – the company goes to market helping 19 roles attain high performance.
To keep all of this from becoming too sterile and boring, I will also include some personal observations -- recommendations for books, articles, music, things I love and things I hate. My intention is to share information that may make you think counterintuitively…or simply take the edge off.
While I am targeting CEOs, all are welcome here…and I ask all to join in on the conversation. Ping me when I’m off-base and please add ideas and information to push the discussion to a more valuable plane. I’m honored to have you participate.