A Big Deal for Content Marketing: Oracle Buys Compendium

oracleToday Oracle announced that it’s buying Compendium, a company that offers cloud-based content marketing workflow solutions.  Compendium will be integrated into the Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud.
     At Altimeter Group, I’m just now embarking on a research project to map the content vendor landscape (slated for publication in Q1 of 2014). There are literally dozens and dozens of companies on the scene, all offering solutions that address small niches of the very broad content workflow requirements. The first and most immediately apparent finding is that there will be many such mergers and acquisitions in the sector.
     Oracle’s acquisition of Compendium is indeed a watershed moment for content. It’s acknowledgement that content is the foundational element of marketing. Without content (and all that it necessitates: governance, workflow and strategy being paramount), there is no advertising, there is no social media, PR, or other forms of marketing. All are fed and nurtured by content,  the demands for which are increasing exponentially.
     There’s also a need to integrate the existing tools on the market that facilitate content marketing: workflow, process, measurement, production, distribution, aggregation and curation, etc. Expect not only more acquisitions by enterprise players, but also M&A activity among the smaller companies as content “stacks” begin to form that address marketers’ end-to-end content requirements.

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Four Disruption Themes for Business

By Altimeter Group’s Research Team

  • Analysts: Susan Etlinger, Charlene Li, Rebecca Lieb, Jeremiah Owyang, Chris Silva, Brian Solis
  • Consulting: Ed Terpening, Alan Webber
  • Researchers: Jon Cifuentes, Jessica Groopman, Andrew Jones, Jaimy Szymanski, Christine Tran

Over 30 Technologies Have Emerged, at a Faster Pace than Companies Can Digest.

If you think social was disruptive, it was really just the beginning. Altimeter’s research team recently convened for our annual research offsite and found over 30 disruptions and 15 trends that have emerged (see below for the full list in our Disruption Database). These disruptions and trends will affect consumers, business, government, the global economy; with accelerating speed, frequency and impact.

Altimeter's Business Disruption Themes

Four Major Business Disruptions Emerge – Business Leaders Must Prepare.

Out of these disruptions and trends, Altimeter identified four major themes that will be disruptive to business. Below is a preview of Altimeter’s four business disruption themes, with a definition and short description of each. In the coming weeks, we’ll publish a short report explaining these themes in more detail.

Everything Digital: An increasingly digital landscape – including data, devices, platforms and experiences – that will envelop consumers and businesses.

Everything Digital is the increasingly digital environment that depends on an evolving ecosystem of interoperable data, devices, platforms – experienced by people and business. It’s larger than the scope of Internet of Things, as it’s pervasive or ambient – not defined only by networked sensors and objects, but including capabilities such as airborne power grids or wireless power everywhere. Everything Digital serves as the backdrop for our next three themes.

Me-cosystem: The ecosystem that revolves around “me,” our data, and technologies that will deliver more relevant, useful, and engaging experiences using our data.

Wearable devices, near-field communications, or gesture-based recognition are just a few of the technologies that will make up an organic user interface for our lives, not just a single digital touchpoint. Digital experiences will be multiplied by new screen types, and virtual or augmented reality. Individuals who participate will benefit from contextualized digital experiences, in exchange for giving up personal data.

Digital Economies: New economic models caused by the digital democratization of production, distribution, and consumption.

Supply chains become consumption chains in this new economy as consumers become direct participants in production and distribution. Open source, social, and mobile platforms allow consumers to connect with each other, usurping traditional roles and relationships between buyers, sellers, and marketplaces. Do-it-yourself technologies such as 3D printing and replicators will accelerate this shift, while even currency becomes distributed and peer-to-peer-based. In this new economy, value shifts towards digital reputation and influence, digital goods and services; even data itself. The downside? An increasing divide between digital “haves” and the digital “have-nots.”

Dynamic Organization: In today’s digital landscape, dynamic organizations must develop new business models and ways of working to remain relevant, and viable.

Business leaders grapple with an onslaught of new technologies that result in shifting customer and employee expectations. It’s not enough to keep pace with change. To succeed, dynamic organizations must cultivate a culture, mindset, and infrastructure that enables flexibility and adaptability; the most pioneering will act as adaptive, mutable “ad-hocracies.”

Altimeter’s Disruption Database

Below are the 30 digital disruptions and 15 digital trends, which were used as the starting ground of our analysis.

Disruptions Trends
3-D Printing and Replicators
App Economy
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Augmented Reality (Google Glass)
Automated Life (Cars, Homes, Driving, etc.)
Automated Robots
Bio-Engineering
Biometric Authentication (Voice/audio, fingerprint, body/eyescan, gesture, olfactory user interface Content Marketing
Digital/Social TV vs. “Second Screen”
Emerging Hand Held Devices / Platforms (Android, Tablet, Phablet)
Gamification
Gesture/Voice-Based Interface/Navigation / “Human as Interface”
Hacking/Social Engineering and Information Security
Haptic Surfaces (Slippery, wet, textured through electrical currents)
Healthcare – Data and Predictive Analytics
Human-Piloted Drones
Hyper-Local Technology / Mobile Location / Indoor Mapping
Internet of Nanoparticles (Embedded in bloodstream)
MicroMedia Video
Mobile Advertising
Mobile Payments
Native Advertising
Natural Language Processing
Near Field Communications
Open Source / Open Data / Open Innovation
Peer-Based Currency / Soical Currency (BitCoin)
Proximity Based Communications
Social Engagement Automation (Robots Respond on Twitter)
Social Network Analysis, Graphing, and Data Science
Social Technologies
Touch Permeates Digital/Surfaces: TVs, Touch Advertising
Virtual Reality / Immersive 3D Experiences
Wearable / Embedded Technology
Wireless Power / Electricity
Big Data
Collaborative Economy
Connected Workplace
Customer Experience Design/Architecture and Integration
Data Convergence/Customer Intelligence
Data vs Creative in the Org: New Decision Process
Digital Ethnography or Customer Journey Mapping
Digital Influence and Advocacy
Evolution of the Center of Excellence
Generation C
Hypertargeting
Internet of Things or Internet of Everything
Intrapreneurship, Innovation Culture, and Innovation Hubs
Pervasive Computing
Porous Workplace
Privacy: Standardization and Regulation (“Beware of Little Brother”)
Quantified Self or Human API
The Digital Journey and Understanding Digital Signals
The Maker Movement
The Neuroscience of Digital Interactions


Open Research: Please Share Your Comments and Insights with Us.

There’s more to come – we’ll be sharing additional insights such as 1) top questions for businesses to ask, 2) who’s disrupted and who benefits, and 3) enabling technologies.

In the meantime, we’re soliciting your comments as part of our Open Research model. Please share our themes with others, and help us answer these questions:

  • What other business disruptions or trends are you seeing? Please add to this Google form and we’ll provide proper attribution.
  • Which of these four business disruption themes impact your business now?
  • How is your business responding to these themes, or the related disruptions and trends?

Photos from Altimeter’s Research Offsite

Below are a couple illustrations that resulted from the discussions that took place at our research offsite:

Mock Up of Disruption Marketecture

Above Image:  Altimeter synthesized these disruptions and trends, which become broader themes. 

Graphic Illustration from Altimeter Research Offsite

Above Image: A graphic illustration of our synthesis. Thank you to Paula Hansen who was instrumental in visually capturing our discussions in real-time.

Reposted from the Altimeter Group blog 

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See You in Austin! Altimeter Group Analysts & Researchers at SXSW

That Time of Year is rapidly approaching:

“Will you be there?” “Are you speaking?” “When are you in town?”

The Altimeter Group analysts attending SXSW 2013 next month are Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Solis, Susan Etlinger, Chris Silva and me, Rebecca Lieb.

We’ll be accompanied by several invaluable members of our crack research team:  Jon Cifuentes, Jaimy Szysmanski and Jessica Groopman.

Where will you find us?  In company briefings (if you’re interested in requesting one, please do so here).  Also, at events and parties. Our calendars are filling up fast!

Analysts speaking engagements:

Saturday, March 9th

Sunday, March 10th

Monday, March 11th

  • Brian Solis interviews none other than Shaquille O’Neal, Long Center for the Performing Arts, 12:30PM
Tuesday, March 12th

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How to Measure Social Media ROI

Measuring digital advertising is relatively easy and

Owned and earned media? That’s a whole other story. The metrics and the methods for measuring digital marketing are less exact, the platforms are newer, while the old rules and models don’t apply.

It’s been easier to groan about “lack of analytics expertise and/or resources,” “poor tools,” “unreliable data,” or “inconsistent analytical approaches” than to roll up collective organizational sleeves and really tackle the social media measurement problem.  Yet with creativity, as well as hard metrics and defined business goals and strategies, organizations are not only measuring social media for ‘soft’ metrics such as brand sentiment, but also ‘hard’ data, such as revenue attribution.

My Altimeter Group colleague Susan Etlinger has been researching the topic and just published the result, “The Social Media ROI Cookbook: Six Ingredients Top Brands Use to Measure the Revenue Impact of Social Media” (available as a free download under the Open Research model).

While there’s admittedly no perfect measurement method, the study identifies no less than six models for measuring social media revenue impact, three “top-down,” and three “bottom-up.” The organizations that measure most effectively use a combination of these methods in concert, and the report provides a four-factor matrix to help determine which of the six methods apply, based on type of business, the product or service, media mix, and customer profile.

The media mix is of particular interest here, as my focus has been on the convergence of paid, owned, and earned media recently (the topic of my newest research report). Converged media models also require converging metrics, presenting the not inconsiderable challenge of applying findings and learnings from paid and owned, for example, into earned media. Or vice-versa, often in real or near-real time.

Like measuring social media ROI, these models are only just emerging. Measuring new media models is complex enough. The new necessity of measuring, learning, optimizing and applying data from one channel to another makes the challenge geometrically more formidable.

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The Converged Media Imperative

In the late 20th century, when the commercial internet was in its infancy, there was  no end to the griping about “silos.” Back then silos referred to That Which Is Digital and That Which Is Not Digital. The gripe (from the digital side of the equation) was that the not-digital team got all the budget, and didn’t even accord the digitals a place at the table.

So ingrained was the silo grudge that no one, but no one, grew to understand silos better than the digitals. In a scant decade, more digital silos emerged than you can shake a stick at: Search. Email. Display. Social. Analytics. Online video. CGM. CRM. Targeting. Retargeting.

The list goes on. Digital is, after all, highly technological and all these areas legitimately require high degrees of specialization. They still do, but now there’s a very compelling reason for digital to stop the Balkanization it so actively criticized just a few short years ago.

The reason? Media are converging. The new research report I publish today, together with co-author Jeremiah Owyang (we were ably assisted by Jessica Groopman and Chris Silva) reveals that consumers, who flit like so many butterflys between devices, screens, windows and channels, are making little distinction between media types.

Paid, owned, and earned media? It’s rapidly becoming all just…media. Ads, blog post, social interactions – either they’re interesting (or entertaining, or engaging, or helpful, etc.), or they’re not.  Brands must integrate paid, owned and earned channels now. It will not only make marketing more effective and efficient, but it will prepare them for the future. As traditional media becomes increasingly digital, this trends is beginning to occur offline, too.

Converged media is tough to wrap your arms around. Paid must inform owned which must inform earned, and vice versa, and sideways, too. It’s complicated, but it can pay off in much-improved optimization, reach, insights and above all, effectiveness. We like to think of it as a stool. Three legs (paid, owned and earned) provide a better foundation than one or two would.

To effectively commingle paid, owned and earned media, brands must get everyone around the table and make them play nice together – easier said than done. Ecosystem players such as software vendors and agencies have areas of specialization – not to mention revenue models – that rarely scope beyond one of these three channels.

Yet effectively converging media brings with it an advantage beyond more effective advertising and marketing.  Integrating teams, both internally and externally, will help smash the multitude of silos that litter the digital landscape.

Converged media is both a reality and an opportunity for better integration and collaboration across a myriad of digital specializations. Imagine the possibilities when we all start really collaborating with each other!

As with our other reports, The Converged Media Imperative is published under the Open Research model. Use it. Share it. And we’ll publish more.

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Webinar Replay – Content: The New Marketing Equation

If you missed Jeremiah and I presenting our webinar Content: Thee New Marketing Equation, based on our recently published research report, you can watch it here or on SlideShare. Please share the video, as it’s freely available as open research.

For those of you who were waiting for this post (several of you were kind enough to ask when it would appear), thanks for your patience. Our own technology was particularly disruptive the day of the actual webinar – the laptop recording the presentation went poof, then faded to black. The video above is, therefore, Altimeter Group’s first video “reenactment,” which is why the Q&A is missing at the end.

Cross-posted from the Altimeter Group blog

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Rebalancing for Content – The New Marketing Equation

There’s been a rash of news stories recently with headlines so misleading it’s hard to believe they passed editorial muster. Yet a quick search of Google News reveals no less than five articles with ledes very much like this one: “P&G to cut 1600 staff after CEO discovers digital media is free‎“.

Any serious marketer knows “free” is nonsense. As with SEO, content marketing shakes marketers loose from the expense of the media buy. But budgets, staffing, skill sets, education, agency relationships, investments in technology and shifting strategy to align content with other marketing initiatives (yes, even advertising) all require substantial investment, and require marketers to rebalance both strategies and tactics.

That’s what Content: The New Marketing Equation examines. Following on the heels of my book on content marketing, which looks at why content marketing matters, this research report examines how organizations are adapting to the challenges it presents: the need to think like a publisher rather than an advertiser; moving from episodic campaigns to sustained content initiatives; and creating a genuine culture of content throughout the organization because stories don’t reside in the marketing department.

The report identifies the five stages of maturity an organization can achieve as it becomes more proficient at content marketing, including a self-assessment tool to score your own level of content proficiency. We also look at the content channels marketers are using now, and those they say they will in the future. As they move away from text-based channels, e.g. articles and blogging, into more technologically sophisticated areas such as video, mobile and image-based information, it’s clear “free” does not enter into the equation.

For the report, we conducted 56 interviews with subject matter experts and companies as diverse as Coca-Cola, American Express, GE, IBM, Adobe, Ford Motor Company, Wells Fargo, and Intel. Below, the questions we asked each interview subject.

    • How are companies responding internally to the demands of content marketing?
    • How much of your/your clients’ content creation is outsourced vs created in house? (rough % question)
    • Have you run into any problems with outsourcing content creation to agencies?  Have they been able to effectively align the content they create with your brand ?
    • Can – and should – content marketing initiatives be reconciled and integrated with advertising?
    • What are the most effective types of content you’ve used to promote your brand?
    • How should organizations rebalance? How should internal and external resources be aligned? How do they integrate silos for more effective messaging and spend?
    • Have you needed to hire new employees or create new teams?  How many did you have to bring on?  Which teams did you have to create?  What drove you to the conclusion that this rebalancing was necessary?
    • Where are these new resources coming from? Should they be assigned to the same agency that handles advertising? Outsourced to PR firms, digital consultancies – or staffed in-house? Can they – and should they – be integrated with or otherwise reconciled with “classic” advertising?
    • How are internal staffing needs changing? How much content creation can realistically be outsourced – does this lead to a “clueless handler” situation?
    • How are determinations being made regarding when it’s better to buy vs. create or earn media?  Who ultimately makes that decision?
    • How do you determine the optimal mix between bought vs earned media?
    • What types of agencies (advertising, PR or new breed) can walk the walk and support content marketing initiatives? (Lord knows, everyone and their brother is talking the talk.)
    • What qualities do you look for when evaluating these agencies?
    • What are the most common ‘red flags’ you look for when deciding to work with an agency?
    • How do you get management buy-in and measure content marketing initiatives?
    • What new types of content do you anticipate adding to your arsenal in the next year?  Three years out?
    • Which types of content do you plan to phase out or found ineffective?
    • How is your organization adapting its structure to accommodate content marketing?
    • Are there any questions that you wish we had asked you/we should have asked? And who else do you think we should speak to for this research report?

Many thanks to the numerous people who tirelessly contributed their time, knowledge and expertise to making this research happen. We’d be delighted to hear your reactions and to provide direction or guidance on your own content marketing or strategy needs.

Cross-posted from the Altimeter Group blog

Thanks to the media and bloggers discussing this research:

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Mobile Strategies for Retailers (and Marketers)

There are three types of content marketing: the two types everyone immediately ‘gets’ (entertainment content and educational content), and #3, which generally takes a while to sink it. I call it utility content. It’s not narrative. It doesn’t tell a story or teach you how to do something. Instead, it does something for you.

Think online mortgage calculators, or those forms that figure out what you should weigh based on height, age and gender. They’re wonderful content for sites that sell financial instruments or diet-related products. Yet increasingly often, utility content is mobile. Apps help consumers find goods and services on the go, deposit a check in the bank, and perhaps first and foremost, to shop.

My colleague Chris Silva has just published a research report “Make An App For That: Mobile Strategies For Retailers” (embedded below). Marketers can learn a lot from reading it, too. Outlining successful mobile strategies from the likes of Best Buy, Starbucks and Zappos.

The report divides retail mobile app strategy into two umbrella channels; Enrich, or drive transactions; and Engage, to improve user interaction and brand affinity. It then walks readers through the strategy and development steps for turning a concept into an app.

If you’re a retailer, you need to read this report. If you’re a marketer working in, or considering mobile channels, you really ought to.

Make An App For That: Mobile Strategies For Retailers

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Facebook’s IPO: What Does It Mean For…?

Me, visiting Facebook HQ the week before their S-1 filing

Over 800 million active users – more than half of whom log in on any given day and interact with over 900 million “objects” (pages, groups, communities, etc.). Over 250 million photos uploaded every day, over 70 languages on the site. The stats go on and on, and any way you look at them, the numbers are huge.

How can Facebook grow bigger still? That’s what we’re waiting so see as the tech world – heck, the world at large – holds it breath for the biggest IPO since Google went public in 2004.

There’s practically consensus that Facebook will go public in June, meaning an announcement (and a prospectus) are almost imminently forthcoming. This has naturally sparked conversation among Altimeter Group analysts (notably Charlene Li, Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Solis and myself) as we discuss and debate the implications of the Big Event, and work to come up with clear answers to the many questions we’re being asked by journalists working on what, outside of the presidential election, will be one of the biggest stories of 2012.

Here are some of our answers to the many “will this happen?” and “what does it mean..?” questions we’ve been fielding from the media regarding Facebook’s IPO:

A Literal Facebook Wall

What does it mean….to Facebook employees? There will most certainly be retention issues. Some key employees will quit. They’ll travel, or buy houses and cars with newfound wealth.  It will also increase the already fierce talent war with tangible value. Facebook will attract different employees, while early innovators who value a start-up culture will go elsewhere.  Expect to see a Facebook Mafia of investors begin to emerge.  Still others will spin off and form new companies. This has big implications for future innovation. Facebook may face some short term losses, but the tech industry will see an infusion of new capital and new ideas.

What does it mean….for future IPOs? Will Twitter and [fill in the blank] go public right away? If Facebook’s IPO is successful, a rising tide will likely raise all boats. But Facebook has built a real business and has a solid advertising model. It’s already an enormous company. Twitter (and others) is at a very different phase in its lifecycle.

How is Facebook’s IPO different from Web 1.0 and the dot-come bubble? There are real business models here, with real revenues.  

How will Facebook’s IPO be influenced by recent, unspectacular IPOs, such as Groupon or Zynga? Facebook is an enormous, global company,  the proverbial 900-lb. gorilla. Facebook’s IPO is more analogous to Google going public and not at all comparable to smaller players in the tech space. It is, however, important to note that many, many smaller companies are part of a much larger Facebook ecosystem. This includes ad agencies, technology firms, analytics firms, mobile players, brand marketers, social commerce providers, media companies and a myriad of players (such as Zynga, itself a Facebook partner) with a business model directly coupled with Facebook’s API. When looking at Facebook’s revenues, it’s critical investors understand the difference between advertising revenues, that flow directly into Facebook’s coffers, and marketing spend that benefits the Facebook ecosystem, but not directly into Facebook itself.

What’s to stop Facebook from imploding, as MySpace did? MySpace remained static. Facebook continues to innovate, and to push audience beyond where they are comfortable, often to great success. Not so long ago members had to have a .edu address to join, remember? A hue and cry was raised when Facebook opened to everyone. In a conversation today at Facebook headquarters, spokesman Brandon McCormick said the more users complain about new features, the more data reveal they’re actually using those features more. “We’re a social network,” he said, “we have a natural feedback mechanism. People use our product to complain about our product. People hated the Newsfeed when we launched it, now it’s the core of how they use the product. If we changed everything the second they started complaining, we wouldn’t have the data.”

Courageous — and based on hard data. It’s never uninteresting to keep an eye on Facebook, no more so than now. We’ll continue to watch and to share our thoughts on Facebook’s IPO.

And we’re always happy to share our observations with the media. Get in touch with us at press[at]altimetergroup.com

Cross-posted from the Altimeter Group blog.

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Future of Media: Altimeter Group Pilot Event

Advertising: is it dying? In an ecosystem where rolling your own media has never been easier or cheaper, why would advertisers buy media from publishers to spread their messages? What’s the new model: advertorial; advertent (as one attendee dubbed it); content marketing? And hey, aren’t ads content, too?

Last night a group of advertisers and marketers from all sides of the equation (tech, buy-side, media and agency) got together at the Hangar to discuss these and other very topical issues around the future of media and advertising. As is traditional, we kicked off with a Wiki Wall to rev our brains. Questions included: “In what year will advertising die?” “What works better online, ads or content?” and “When do you build content versus buy media.”

There were passionate opinions, dissent, and even +1s.

Fueled with wine and lots of food, conversation began in earnest (ably facilitated by my colleague Jeremiah Owyang – also the event photographer). Some of the major points we touched on encompassed the following.

Advertising isn’t dying but…there are more options. Roll-your-own-media is a viable option, and one paying off handsomely for all types of advertisers and marketing, from the biggest CPG brands to B2B and even mom ‘n’ pop operations. Yet striking a balance between paid and non-paid (more about that below) media is complicated. It means new skill sets, budgets and resource allocations.

Media is changing, often painfully A point that really resonated with the group was the statement that the New York Times has more Twitter followers than it does print subscribers. Ouch. When should publishers throw up a paywall, follow a freemium model, or throw open the gates? It hasn’t been easy to monetize Google traffic. To make things more complex, publishers (not to mention media companies like Spotify) are playing in a Facebook world. That means lots of eyeballs, but scant tolerance for buy me/click here now-type messages. Some publishers, particularly in the magazine world, are establishing in-house agencies to provide advertorial for advertisers. But when advertisers begin content marketing initiative, publishers suddenly find themselves in a situation where clients are also competitors. Talk about disruption!

Content assumes multiple guises, resulting in a high level of complexity Where does content come from? Seemingly everywhere. It can be earned, owned, user-generated, aggregated or curated – or a combination of all of the above. Determining what to use, which goes where, how to integrate content with other marketing initiatives, governance, measurement and quality benchmarks is no mean feat. It requires new attitudes, resources and skill sets. Adding element such as targeting to the conversation, and addition channels such as mobile, only underscore how much there is to grasp…and balance.

The conversation was animated and lively – with a fantastic level of participation from the group. But it was the tip of the iceberg. Happily, it lay some solid foundations for my first Altimeter research report on how content marketing will impact the advertising and media ecosystem.

Missed the discussion? No you didn’t. We recorded the evening’s proceedings – watch the conversation here.

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