The theme for my speech at Forrester’s marketing forum on April 23-24 in Orlando this year is that the down economy is actually the *right* time to catalyze marketing change.Instead of hunkering down and trying just to maintain marketing status quo, my assertion is that marketers should actually take risks during the recession.
One of the major themes this year has involved how to tap
international markets without spending a fortune. While spending on
international initiatives continues to grow - some 60% of US online businesses with a global presence plan to increase web spending in 2009 vs. just 42%
of those with only a domestic footprint - there is a renewed focus on how and where this spending is being allocated (see our report on Global Website Spending). Retailers in particular have looked for ways to be innovative
in overseas markets while keeping budgets in check. A few examples of cost-conscious
initiatives that have come up recently in conversations:
Last week, Jeremiah Owyang, an analyst on the Interactive Marketing team that I manage, caught flak for comments that he made on his personal blog about the community vendor Mzinga. As you might expect, we both have been communicating with Mzinga's Chairman Barry Libert and other members of his team. At the same time, Jeremiah has been reflecting on the conversation begun by the post. So have I.
Warning - This may be the most trivial thing I've ever blogged. Stop reading now if you're looking for insights into customer experience, business strategy or anything of value really.
A few months back I started to use Twitter in earnest. (Before that, I only ever tweeted that I was updating Twitter, but some serious people started to follow my tweets and the joke wore thin).
I have to confess, I still don't know why I should Tweet. I do it because I feel a need to be involved with new media and it's there and it doesn't take up much time. However, I don't derive great pleasure from it and it hasn't altered the way I behave... at least, nothing like as much as Digg, Facebook, Delicious, iGoogle and other social media did. Things got easier when I started to use Tweetdeck instead of Twitter's web interface. Pretty soon I intend to download a solution to my mobile device, so that I can take snaps, post them to Twitpic or Flickr and I guess it would be easier still if I used some software to automate Tweets like Guy Kawasaki and other ueber-Twitterers seem to, but that doesn't feel right to me.
More experienced Twitterers, like my colleague Jeremiah, have spent time to work out how firms can use the medium to engage with customers and promote their brands.
I recently had the opportunity to speak at the mobile 2.0 conference in Paris. There are lots of events of that kind but this one was all the more interesting as there was a European start-up contest, showcasing how innovative mobile is.
What stroke me is that all the themes and roundtables were focusing on online trends expanding in the mobile space. From social networking to widgets via m-commerce, this is all about web ideas being reinvented in the mobile space.
Definitions of web 2.0 vary quite a lot. For mobile 2.0, this is all the more difficult as I think it is the result of a constantly evolving process: the convergence between web and mobile.
The result is yet unknown as mobile is a new and complementary channel / media with its own specific rules.
There are no doubts though that this market is evolving quickly despite the economic crisis.
Forrester recently fielded a Technographics survey in Europe: Mobile Internet penetration now stands at 24% among Europe online users on a monthly basis. Forrester will soon publish a report with detailed analysis on how the European mobile Internet space is evolving.
You can continue to ignore mobile 2.0 but at your own risks. Not having a mobile presence nowadays is a bit like not having a web presence circa 1999 / 2000.
As regular readers of Forrester's blogs already know my colleagues Lisa Bradner, Shar VanBoskirk and I (Sucharita Mulpuru) were part of last week's Digital Hack Night at Procter and Gamble. (If you missed the story can read about the event in detail at Ad Age here ). In four hours digital experts and P&G employees were divided into teams and challenged to sell as many Tide shirts as possible using their social networks and digital skills. Proceeds of the Tide shirts benefit Tide's Loads of Hope charity. The objective of the event was to give a hands-on experience for traditional brand marketers at P&G the impact of social media. While debate about the event has raged online we thought it worthwhile to step back and take a look at the longer term lessons we observed from this event. These lessons aren't P&G specific-they're food for thought for every marketer trying to get smart in social media. So, what did we observe? For starters:
The results are in. And the collective effort of the four teams partipating in P&G's digital night sold 3,000 Loads of Hope t-shirts and raised $50,000 for charity. Tide actually matched the money raised, putting the total disaster relief donation to $100,000 for four hours of effort. Thank you to all who bought t-shirts!
So I'm in Cincinnati right now at P&G's self-described "Digital Hack Night" where the goal is twofold: to get their brand managers to understand a bit more about digital marketing strategies and to raise money for their "Loads of Hope" charity which is tied to Tide. For the next 2 hours, nearly 100 people--P&G brand managers, bloggers, Twitterers, authors and agency folks--are trying to use every social network--Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube--we have at our disposal with the ultimate objective of getting as many Loads of Hope tshirts sold on their eCommerce site as possible. We have a big leaderboard screen, QVC-style, that shows exactly how many unique visits we've received, what our conversion rate is and how many t-shirts we've sold (5,000+, 6% and 1,000+ by the way, respectively, at the moment). What a great way to get non-believers in the channel to see quickly, in real time, how rapidly an idea can radiate through a network and drive sales.
So I got a golden ticket to P&G's digital hack night -- a P&G party to bring together social media experts, P&G digital minds, and experienced interactive marketers to share ideas. The event is to test the strength of digital media to try to generate $100,000 for charity.
Please excuse this impersonal message: It seems to be the most efficient way to inform everyone that I am transferring to the Forrester Research London Research Centre. In London I will continue to work as a member of Forrester's Customer Experience research team, supporting Customer Experience professionals. I will be writing research with a European perspective, while keeping an eye on some Customer Experience trends in Japan.
Regarding my schedule - I'm traveling to London next week to find a place to live and set myself up in Forrester's London office. I'll return to Tokyo briefly in early April. And I'll be in London full time from late April. I apologize for not making an earlier announcement of this move.
I want to thank you for your support since I've been working in Japan. From establishing Forrester's presence in Tokyo to becoming an analyst and helping to introduce personas to Japanese companies, the last eight years have been filled with wonderful experiences and opportunities, I feel very lucky to have had the chance to work with so many brilliant and inspiring clients and partners in Japan.