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.
Mobile digital wallets are emerging and going beyond payment. New technologies, mixing QR codes, apps, personal financial management software, NFC, and many more, are combining to convert mobile handsets into digital wallets that combine not just payments but also receipts, vouchers, and loyalty. Beyond the convenience of using the phone for payment, consumers will benefit from post-transaction elements such as location-based coupons or enhanced product information at the point of sale (POS).
We’ve not seen a single day without a new product launch, start-up creation, or acquisition — or a new strategic alliance between banks, payment networks, Internet firms, or mobile operators.
So what’s new today? Telefonica 02 just announced the launch of O2 Wallet in the UK.
We believe that the O2 Wallet is, for now, the most comprehensive mobile payment solution in the UK – available to a majority of smartphone owners, whether they are O2 customers or not. The new product combines the following functions:
Money Message — This gives customers the ability to easily transfer money to any UK mobile phone number.
Adopting a social mindset requires a change in culture. Tough to accomplish. Now layer on top the added complexities of a B2B sales cycle, strict industry regulations, and dozens of regional markets. Welcome to the world of Clive Roach, Social Media Strategist at Philips Healthcare and keynote at our upcoming Forrester Interactive Marketing summit in London on May 23. Clive has managed through these complexities to create successful B2B influence marketing programs in customer communities like Philips NetForum and public communities like LinkedIn. I recently caught up with Clive to learn more about how he did it. I hope to see you in London where Clive will share the full story!
CO: What’s unique about nurturing influencers in a B2B environment?
CR: Building relationships is the key aspect of nurturing influencers in a B2B environment. In many B2B industries the sales cycle can be quite long, and much longer than in B2C situations. It is important to work towards long lasting relationships, where you can learn about the needs and interests of the influencers that you have identified and that you supply them with information and continue to have dialogue that is useful to them. In that way both parties have a win-win outcome. It is also possible to find out the channels within which they are most effective.
CO: You gained the buy-in of Philips board on your social media strategy proposal. What tips would you give to others to gain the support of the C-suite?
In 2007, Forrester published our first report on engagement. We defined it as "the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence that an individual has with a brand over time." Fast forward five years: marketers still prioritize engagement in both principle and practice. Why? Two reasons, really. First, it's the right aspiration. When a brand gets it right and earns a place in the ongoing dialogue, its customers become its fiercest advocates and a kind of outsourced marketing department. Second, it's hard to do. Today, we're talking about ongoing interactions that somehow manage to stay authentic and personal despite the explosion of devices and customer touchpoints. So, as marketers, I believe that we prioritize engagement because we enjoy the challenge (Solving it makes victory all the sweeter!).
On May 23 in London, I'm hosting our inaugural Interactive Marketing Summit on the topic of Mastering Digital Engagement. Our external keynotes include Debbie Weinstein, Senior Director of Global Media Innovation at Unilever; Clive Roach, Social Media Strategist at Philips Healthcare; and Jermaine Dupri, Grammy-award winning producer, CEO of So So Def Recordings, hip-hop artist, and songwriter. I'm a bit in awe of their fabulousness. You can expect our keynotes to address key points such as:
To gauge how far organizations have come with their mobile initiatives, Forrester conducted the Q4 2011 Global Mobile Maturity Online Survey among executives in charge of their companies’ mobile strategies.
Since 2010, fewer companies report not having a mobile strategy in place. Between Q3 2010 and Q4 2011, the percentage of companies we interviewed that have no mobile strategy or are at the early stage of defining one has significantly decreased, from 57% to 31%. C-level executives are increasingly in the driver’s seat, and mobile is moving away from a test-and-learn approach to fueling companies’ corporate goals. Mobile is primarily viewed as a way to improve customer engagement and satisfaction.
However, the majority of companies face organizational issues and struggle to allocate the right resources for mobile and to measure the success of their mobile consumer initiatives. The main obstacles they face are these:
■ Lack of measurable business goals clouds early success.
■ Limited investment, resources, and expertise slow progress.
■ Cross-functional and cross-geographical complexity cause inefficiency.
There are plenty of new disruptive platforms emerging from tablets, from game consoles to connected TVs, but mobile will be the primary platform for global product innovation. Only mobile phones can offer such a global reach.
To prepare for the accelerating pace of mobile disruption, product strategists should help other internal stakeholders rethink the life cycles of their mobile applications and services and drive innovation via smarter apps, richer data, and converging technologies.
I continue to believe that most consumers using an NFC device in 2012 will more likely use it for device-pairing or data-sharing purposes than for payments. Pairing NFC accessories and reading NFC smart tags will open up new opportunities. NFC will be a key technology for interacting with the world around you — and it is time to test it, as highlighted in this recent piece of research written by my colleague Anthony Mullen. There is an ongoing debate about bar codes’ potential replacement by NFC; I think both technologies serve different objectives and have different advantages but will continue to co-exist. Radio and optical technologies are converging, as highlighted by French startup Mobilead, which does a fantastic job of delivering a great branded experience mixing QR codes and NFC tags.
I've been hopscotching Europe this week, seeing clients and colleagues in London and Istanbul — but my thoughts have been in Los Angeles, where in a couple of weeks I'll be giving a speech called "Taking Social Media From Cool To Critical" at the 2012 Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum.
I chose that topic because it’s a concern I hear almost every day — and sure enough, I heard it from several clients on my travels this week. "We’ve put time and resources into social media marketing, because it seemed like we had to, but . . . it’s just not having much of a business impact." By comparison, four or five years into the era of search marketing, most companies were making a killing from their SEM programs. The same goes for email marketing. But here we are four or five years into the era of social media marketing — and for many companies, social media is still a curiosity, a sideshow that attracts lots of interest but adds little value. It's still cool, but at most firms, it's just not a critical part of the marketing plan.
I think the main reason marketers still struggle to make social pay is simple: They overestimate social media as a marketing tool. Let me be clear: I'm not bashing social's value for marketing; social media can have an enormous impact on the success of your marketing programs, as we’ve seen time and time again. The point I'm making is that it can’t create that success all on its own. You need to use it as merely one tool in your marketing tool kit.
Create socially enabled marketing campaigns. In his keynote address, Harry Gold, CEO of Boston’s digital marketing firm Overdrive Interactive, reminded us that you don’t need a million Facebook fans (in fact, most companies will never reach that number). To capitalize on the fans you do have, and in turn extend your reach to the people who orbit those fans, you need to integrate social media into your broader marketing mix, working across channels and allowing their successes to play off of and feed into one another and then measuring the results, of course.
Add clear calls to action. Prominently display “Like” or “Share” buttons in your emails or on your site’s most interesting, share-worthy content (perhaps a compelling graphic, article, or product). When someone presses Like on your site, they might not be a Facebook fan, but their action will still feed back into their Facebook newsfeed, thereby allowing you to tap into their network of friends and boosting your brand’s social presence. For example, Levi’s increased its Facebook traffic by 40% when it invited users to “like” content on its Website.
Last week’s announcement by P&G CMO Mark Pritchard that it intends to cut marketing costs in part by shifting money from TV to digital sounds like a possible revolution in the marketer’s traditional TV-centric approach. I agree with my colleague Tracy Stokes that this is not the end of TV.
Nor is it the beginning of a new drive for CPG brands to build digitally based one-to-one, CRM-style customer relationships.
But it is an opportunity for interactive marketers to increase their presence and impact on brand teams if they look ahead of the curve on how the increasing digitization of media, adoption of new devices, and impact of big data will have on TV advertising. Interactive marketers should position themselves to lead brands in the future by adding the tools and concepts of mass branding to their skill sets, then mapping their career path to these changes:
Today: Brands like Tide and Bounty still thrive with a brand strategy rooted in mass reach and emotive messaging. Now that is best delivered by TV, but Internet advertising has played the role of reach extender for years. The growth of online video should enhance this role but interactive marketers risk losing control of this medium unless they set aside their traditional action metrics and learn to speak mass media metrics with their colleagues.
Tomorrow: Digital will become more important as the Splinternet further fragments media consumption. But tablets and smartphones offer more than reach extension through complementary experiences that will key off the TV ad. Traditionally trained TV experts don’t have the conceptual framework to envision these opportunities; interactive marketers who can plan the reach and design the experiences will have an edge.
Once again, I've just spent a couple of days in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress (MWC). Year after year, the show is opening up to non-telecom players and going beyond mobile. Think about the rise of personal cloud-based services delivering consumer experiences across devices, Sony's marketing efforts to promote seamless entertainment across different screens, or the emergence of the "phablets" acronym (devices in between a phone and a tablet, such as Asus Padfone or LG Vu).
While it is difficult to summarize all the news and announcements, here are some thoughts on MWC 2012: