At Forrester we spend a lot of time analyzing the impact of digital disruption on business, technology and marketing. We even wrote a book on the subject. But don't just take our word for it. At Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders EMEA, MickePaqvalén, Founder, Chairman and Entrepreneur at Kiosked- a platform that turns any online content, images, videos and applications into interactive and viral storefronts - will present his view on what it takes to think, and act, like a (digital) disruptor. The below Q&A gives a summary of my conversation with Micke as a preview to his session on day two of our Forum, which takes place in London on May 21 - 22.
Q: You've founded and sold several successful start-ups. How do you tell the difference between real innovation opportunities and over-hyped ideas?
A: When I hear about new business ideas I always ask one question: How does it benefit everyone involved or which existing problem does it solve? That’s it. It’s a simple test, but if it fails the business will fail. If a business idea is not beneficial it is an over-hyped idea, which sadly happens too often as well. Hype is an important factor of business but I would rather create long-lasting impact.
In the run-up to Forrester’s Forum For Marketing Leaders EMEA next week, I also had a chance to connect with Arthur Calderwood, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Sales Operations at SITA, in advance of his Marketer Spotlight presentation one day one of our event. Arthur will be speaking about how at SITA he blends experiences, products, and messaging to achieve the brand vision. Check out a preview of Arthur’s session in the below Q&A, or join me in London, May 21-22, to hear SITA’s full story.
Q: Does content and thought leadership play a more important role in B2B branding today? At what stage in the customer lifecycle does content make the biggest impact?
A: Content is critical in building credibility and also as a way to differentiate versus your competitors. But from a B2B perspective you have to be sure you are or can be seen as a credible thought leader with the right expertise to deliver valuable content and opinion. Many companies end up writing pieces which are often too generic, do not deliver real value and unfortunately blend into the mass of other communication on the same topic. Strategically you need to carefully pick the topics you will address, possibly partner with another credible source on the topic, conduct some primary research and be willing to take a stand in the discussion. At SITA we have, for the air transport industry, run a series of annual trend surveys and reports (Airline IT Trends, Airport IT Trends, Baggage & Passenger Self Service trends). These provide us with a platform to write content, released through all channels, to engage the market. They are fortunately unique in our market and have established SITA as a credible source for this type of know-how.
It's just one more week before Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders EMEA (May 21st to 22nd) in London kicks off. Our analysts are excited to unveil the latest Forrester ideas such as the mobile mind shift in Europe, the database of affinity (in which we expect Google to win platform of choice over Facebook), and the latest in mobile marketing and engagement. Our analysts will combine forces with industry keynote speakers such as Frank Boulben, chief marketing officer at Blackberry; Markus Kramer, global marketing director at Aston Martin Lagonda; Pete Blackshaw, global head of digital and social media at Nestlé; Greg Williams, executive editor at Wired; Yannick Grecourt, COO, head of strategy and marketing at Deutsche Bank Belgium; and Micke Paqvalen, founder and chairman of the innovative startup Kiosked.
As we make our final preparations for the event, I caught up with Markus Kramer, global marketing director at Aston Martin Lagonda, about the opportunities and challenges specific to luxury brand marketing. Here's what he had to say:
Q: Based on your experiences at Aston Martin, and before that at Harley-Davidson, what in your view makes marketing for luxury brands different?
Engaging with perpetually connected customers is something you can't fake, and when you engage, you create expectations that need to be met. This is one of the key messages Yannick Grecourt, Head of Strategy and Marketing at Deutsche Bank Belgium, shared with me when I talked to him recently in preparation for his speech at our Forrester Forum for Marketing Leaders EMEA.
Q: How does Deutsche Bank Belgium prioritize the most important channels for reaching customers?
A: Confronted with remarks on why other banks were developing new initiatives and we were not, we were forced to share our direction with all the internal divisions explaining the prioritization process. We decided to divide all channels into two categories: the managed and integrated channels, and the ‘non-integrated’ channels, and we used the customer journey to define all possible touch points. For the integrated category, the most important elements are alignment and relevancy, whereas for the non-integrated the judgment call is made based on the impact to the integrated channels.
Q: How do digital channels improve the advisor/client relationship?
A: A key impact of the financial crisis was the increasing involvement of clients in the management of their portfolio. As a consequence, clients were in search of more frequent contact but in a more and more digitalized environment. The development of a new advisory approach included a new online platform that has allowed us to align the tools we provide to our clients with the tools we use internally. As a matter of fact, our clients are sharing the same tools and information as our advisors do. Over time, clients are also getting used to how important/urgent a message is depending on the channel.
This week I had a chance to catch up with Peter Horst, Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing at Capital One, in advance of his keynote later this month at Forrester’s Marketing Forum in LA. Peter will be speaking about how Capital One approached the integration and brand conversion of ING Direct, after the 2011 acquisition of the retail bank. Check out a preview of Peter’s session in the below Q&A, or join me in Los Angeles, April 18-19, to hear Capital One’s full story.
Q. What was the biggest challenge around the ING Direct integration strategy?
The biggest overall challenge was what we called “protecting the butterfly.” It became obvious to us that the magic of ING Direct did not lie in something as simple as a piece of technology, or a specific body of expertise, or some financial asset. What made ING Direct such a unique franchise was a complete ecosystem whose parts all worked together to create an exceptional customer experience. These parts included a powerful sense of mission, a culture of simplicity, a passion for serving customers, products that were offered straightforward value, a brand voice that was friendly and humorous, and much more. We realized that we had to be very careful not to disturb this ecosystem as we integrated the business, and remained on high alert to any risk that we might be undermining the interaction of the parts. One area in particular that we were very focused on was ensuring that the associates remained engaged and excited for this next leg of their journey.
Q. How did you approach this integration differently from past brand conversions?
There's a growing group of people who are always online and use their devices to support nearly every activity, including making decisions about your products and services. We call them your perpetually connected customers. They will shake your marketing to the core, because they value service and utility – not ads buzzing in their pockets. To thrive, you need new tactics and a culture of innovation. In the run-up to our Forrester Forum for Marketing Leaders EMEA, I've been speaking about marketing innovation with one of our keynotes, Greg Williams, Executive Editor at WIRED. As an editor, speaker, and writer, Greg scouts the best glimpses of the future that exist in the here-and-now. Here are some of his thoughts.
Q: What's your favourite example of an application that merges the digital and physical?
Our Forum for Marketing Leadership Professionals in Los Angeles is just a few weeks away, and in preparation I’ve been talking with our industry keynoters about their sessions. Last week I had a chance to catch up with Richard Char, Global Head of Information Services, Global Enterprise Payments at Citi, in advance of his keynote at the event. We talked about how Citi is using customer data to market to customers at the right time, with the right messaging for connecting in the moment. Here are some of Richard’s thoughts.
Q: How is Citi using data to build a view of customers in a specific context?
A: In our soon-to-be-released digital wallet application, offers will be selected for each customer (who has opted in) depending on the customer’s indicated preferences and based on predicted relevancy of the offer. We use past transaction data and the customer’s prior interaction with offers in the digital wallet, as well as the customer’s current location and context (time of day, day of week, current weather, etc.), to select the next offer which will have the greatest predicted relevancy for the customer.
Q: Why should brands and merchants work with an intermediary like Citi for targeted promotions?
A: With respect to our soon-to-be-released digital wallet application, there are three reasons local merchants are working with Citi:
Look over there. See the guy in the queue flicking his mobile screen . . . tapping his phone on the reader, then walking out with his sandwich?
He's your new customer. Wow, is he demanding.
In 2011, Forrester first started to track this type of customer -- that is, someone with three or more connected devices who goes online multiple times a day from multiple locations. We found that 38% of US adults fit the description. That's an impressive debut, but the growth of this type of customer is even more staggering. We expect that by the end of 2013, nearly half of global online adults will be perpetually connected.
These people have new expectations. They don't want intrusive ads buzzing in their pockets. They want valuable content or service. They appreciate the soft sell. The needs and behaviors of these customers are so radical, so game-changing, that they subvert every rule of classic marketing.
At our upcoming Forrester Marketing Leadership Forums -- April 18-19 in Los Angeles and May 21-22 in London -- we'll help marketers embrace this change so you can continue to create relevance and market share with your perpetually connected customers. As the host and research champion of both events, I'm deep in content development with both our external speakers and Forrester analysts. Here are a few of my favorite nuggets from our content meetings so far:
Major events — political, natural, or economic — create a lot of eyeballs on a select set of media and stories. But as friends chimed in on Facebook, Twitter, and texts, they shared stories of who stood by them during the crisis. My colleague David Cooperstein and I were discussing what marketers did and should do during a crisis. Do your customers need to hear from you during Hurricane Sandy? We’ve seen a few best practices from companies that are handling communications in a helpful and dignified way. We hope they are useful to our readers in charge of customer communications, both this week and in general.
USAA's mobile app reduces angst. The USAA Mobile App allows customers to report a property or auto claim, submit photos, and view claims status. Storm-related tweets featured a link to the app so that customers knew how to find it and submit a claim. One friend of mine was able to submit a claim, including photos, in about 2 minutes, allowing him to focus on cleaning up the debris. Its relative ubiquity — available for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, and BlackBerry — means that any USAA customer with a smartphone can take advantage of these game-changing and life-managing services.
Celebrity and marketing go way back. That said, yesterday's celebrity endorsements are giving way to something more complex, sometimes complementary, and sometimes competitive -- witness classic alcohol brands fighting for shelf with Barrymore Pinot Grigio (Drew Barrymore), Mansinthe (Marilyn Manson), and 901 Tequila (Justin Timberlake). Celebrities are in familiar water with social networking, having long created content and acquired fans. Yet that relationship is changing too, as for some, setting up Facebook pages gives way to building their own communities in the same way they've built brands. The best example of this today is Jermaine Dupri and his new social networking community Global 14. Later this month to explore this initiative, I'll be sharing the stage with JD (never thought I'd type those words!). Here's a sample of what we'll discuss at the Forrester Interactive Marketing Summit in London:
CO: What made you decide to set up your own social network, as opposed to using public tools like Facebook?
JD: I wanted and needed to speak to the millions of people who have been listening to my music for the past 20 years. As I studied the power of the “celebrity follow,” I decided that Facebook didn’t sound like what I was looking for. I wanted my own community where I could tap into the power of the celebrity follow. The difference between creating your own community and finding friends on someone else’s network is like night and day. My own network is a place where being a member really matters – a place that is just as much yours as it is mine.