A Personal Transition & Career Change

CrossroadsThumnail

I’m in the bittersweet process of transitioning out of my role as industry analyst at Altimeter Group. I plan to remain with the company until early summer, finishing obligations and projects for some wonderful clients, including research and strategy work, as well as public speaking.

Then I’ll strike out and do something new. What, exactly, is still TBD.

I’m sharing this news for two reasons. First, transparency. At Adobe Summit last week, it was awkward to meet old friends and new acquaintances and answer the “what do you do?” question. Yes, I’m still at Altimeter, but one foot is inching toward the door.

I also want to signal my availability. I’m pleased to be in talks with a diverse list of organizations: brands, analyst firms, and agencies. I’m considering a variety of options, from remaining an analyst to putting my practitioner hat back on in a senior marketing role. I am also taking on client projects (advisory and thought leadership), as well as booking speaking engagements.

I’ve also been asked to join a number of advisory boards, an exciting prospect (unless I remain an analyst, in which case that’s a non-starter). I’m energized, daunted, nostalgic and sometimes wake up in the middle of the night, my head swimming with possibilities. It’s all good, and still very open-ended. I’m figuring this out while juggling a full workload and all the while maintaining my elite level frequent flyer status.

Working at Altimeter is one of the best jobs I ever had. I’m very proud of having produced a significant body of research on content marketing – more than any other researcher or analyst in the field – as well as my work in converged media. I’ve shared that knowledge in literally hundreds of keynotes and speeches on three continents, from major conferences to private events.

I’m also proud of my advisory and thought-leadership work with clients ranging from major banks, healthcare organizations, big-box retailers, and government agencies, to start-ups and non-profits. Recent clients include Home Depot, Adobe, Nestlé, Facebook, Gannett, Honeywell, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Fidelity, Wells Fargo, Anthem, American Express, IAB, as well as major ad and PR agencies.

I’m also honored to be frequently tapped for commentary by media outlets such as National Public Radio, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the BBC when there’s breaking news about digital marketing or media.

And it will be my privilege to continue to contribute to the dialogue, the development, and the definitions of the disruptive technologies in marketing and media.

I’m also grateful. Charlene Li believed in me and took my career in an exciting new direction. Jeremiah Owyang supported me wholeheartedly and unconditionally as a fledgling analyst, and was an early co-author of a major piece of research. Brian Solis invited me to serve as editor of several of his reports, and to speak at his Pivot conference.  The brilliant and talented Susan Etlinger is another co-author and collaborator. We published new research together just last week.

I couldn’t ask you to name a smarter, more supportive or inspirational group of colleagues. The research team has also been exceptional. If I look good at Altimeter, so much of that credit is due to crack researchers Christine Tran, Jessica Groopman and Jaimy Syzmanski (so many names I’m omitting….)

What’s next? I’ll keep you posted. Rest assured I’ll continue to research, write and speak under my own banner in the long term.

Paid, Owned, Earned…Shared?

sharing

The convergence of paid, owned, and earned media has been an important discussion

for some time now. It was a topic of this column  on more than one occasion. The nagging question since the coinage of the POE acronym has been “What about shared media?”

When Jeremiah Owyang and I published research  on the convergence of paid, owned, and earned media, we noted that our colleague Brian Solis advocated adding “shared” to the mix. Lately, I’ve been having similar discussions with Ketchum’s partner and global director, Nicholas Scibetta, (disclosure: Ketchum is a client of my employer) about that same topic.

Ketchum has adopted not a POE model, but rather PESO (paid, earned, shared, and owned media), for the work it does for its clients.

Where does shared media sit in the paid, owned, and earned equation? What is sharedmedia, anyway? If shared is a goal, how is it achieved? Is all shared media of equal value? To know, you would need a system for measuring it. What would that be?

None of these questions are easy to answer, but here are some top line musings.

What is shared media and where does it sit in the paid/owned/earned equation?

Shared media is a subset of earned media and a form of amplification. Earned media generally tends have a point of view or an editorial bend. Examples might be a blog post or an article around a topic, a video of a product unboxing, or commentary (“I just saw this new movie and it’s really great/totally sucks,” or “This is what the Travon Martin verdict means for race relations in America”). Shared media, on the other hand, tends to be overwhelmingly duplicative. It’s a forward, a retweet, a pin, or (on Facebook) a literal “share.” Perhaps a word or comment is injected, but essentially it’s a pass-along of an essentially unaltered element of content.

It’s worth noting that you can even share shared media, which in a sense, is earning shared. Is your head spinning yet? Mine is!

Please read the rest of this post on iMedia Connection, where it originally published.

Image credit: TheAbundantArtist.com

Can the Collaborative Economy Really Scale?

City Bike - Day 5

I’m trying hard to be cautiously optimistic, but the pessimist in me may be winning.

New York City’s bike share program launched on Memorial Day. It’s the talk of the town, and the largest such program in the world. It’s also a sterling example of the Collaborative Economy, the topic of new and important research by my colleague, Jeremiah Owyang. He defines the movement as customers sharing goods and services rather than buying them, which redefines the buyer seller relationships while simultaneously disrupting and disintermediating longstanding business models.

From banking to labor, hospitality to fashion, transportation and real estate, his research lists over 200 digital platforms that have recently emerged to get you a ride to where you’re going, a place to lay your head when you get there, and even toys for your kids to play with that will be gone before they’re outgrown.

The sector is growing rapidly, yet so are forces opposing it: regulation (e.g. AirBnB is illegal in New York City), trust issues between buyers and sellers, and other uncertainty factors. Jeremiah’s advice for businesses is, in a nutshell, you won’t be able to beat them, so join them. Neiman Marcus could, for example, launch its own version of Rent the Runway (revenue aside, such a move could be worth its weight in data collection).

Where I question the growth potential of the collaborative economy is from the perspective of a resident of midtown Manhattan. Collaboration is built on a foundation comprised of common values, community standards and trust.

I’m no sociologist, but I’ve lived and traveled abroad enough to understand that (love ’em or hate ’em), community values are radically stronger, not to mention vigorously reinforced, when the communities in question are distinct, defined and undiluted. Multi-culti certainly has its advantages – that’s why I elect to live in the middle of Manhattan – but commonly held values and community standards are not one of our defining characteristics. Anyone who’s been here knows it’s not tidy like Switzerland. We don’t wait for the light to turn red before crossing the street, like everyone does in Germany. And no way, no how could you get the entire population of the five boroughs to wear a yellow shirt every single Monday (it’s like a site gag for the first-time Bangkok visitor).

My personal experience with the collaborative economy has always been as an enthusiastic early adopter, only to see that enthusiasm quashed as something tribal grows to global proportions. I was word-of-mouth cheerleader when Zipcar launched (I was such an early member customer service later thought my membership number lacked digits, it was so low). Fast-forward five years: the service goes wide, there’s mass advertising (as opposed to a constant reinforcement of consideration-for-the-next-user oriented rules), and pretty soon I’m picking up cars with empty gas tanks, or worse,  trying to pick up cars previous renters haven’t bothered to return.

Nice that they always cheerfully refunded my money – but what about that wedding I missed when I didn’t have wheels to get there? The day Avis bought Zipcar, I cancelled my membership.

Pictured above is a shiny new Citi Bike a mere four days after the service launched in Manhattan. It’s in a station a couple of blocks from my loft, facing a fast food joint. Half the bikes at that particular station are already receptacles for discarded cups, food wrappers and napkins. Likely some have yet to take their maiden voyage.

Enterprises and large corporations will participate in the collaborative economy. Citigroup, Avis – they already are. As the movement grows, this will present new challenges internally as well as externally. How will collaboration scale in communities like New York City, LA, or Chicago that just aren’t that…communal? And how can enterprises keep alive a spirit of entrepreneurship and looking out for the other guy, not just yourself?

Consumers won’t accept “just” a refund when collaboration and community erode. Betrayal of trust and community standards run much deeper, and will require innovations in the customer service aspect of the collaborative economy.

The next couple of years will be interesting indeed.

Link to the full Collaborative Economy report.

[slideshare id=22256657&doc=collabecon-draft16-130531132802-phpapp02&type=d]

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 

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.

Facebook Advertisers ‘Like’ Their ROI

What’s the ROI of a ‘like’ on Facebook?

For too many marketers, getting fans or ‘likes’ on Facebook is a goal unto itself. It’s about as legitimate a goal as measuring how many ‘hits’ a website got circa 1998. Just as those ‘hits weren’t translating into revenue in the early days of the commercial internet, so too are many Facebook advertisers and marketers having difficulty determining if their efforts are bearing fruit, and how to leverage fans and likes into actual revenue.

Others are being more methodical about it. Research published today by Facebook in conjunction with comScore reveals that of 60+ campaigns measured, 70 percent of major brands have seen 3X to 5X ROI – in many cases offline, in-store sales, as a result of combining paid media buys on Facebook with the earned media from fans and friends of those fans.

On a call yesterday, Brad Smallwood, Facebook’s head of measurement and insights, told me, “These are very healthy numbers. The vast majority of these campaigns had really, really positive ROI.”

The question now, of course, is dissecting, mapping and documenting why these campaigns worked. “Paid [media] for us is actually an amplification of earned,” Smallwood told me, a trend Jeremiah Owyang and I are learning in the process of our in-progress research on the confluence of paid, earned and owned media.

Earned media – how to get it at scale and how to leverage it effectively – is a brand new skill. Facebook’s new research (the report is entitled “The Power of Like 2″) demonstrates that there’s not just synergy in combining paid, earned and owned media, but there’s profit in it as well for brands such as Starbucks, Target, Applebee’s, Nutella and Best Western.

Yet doing so requires new alignments in vendors, creative, media, agency relationships and even the internal org chart. Stay tuned for lots more work on this important topic.

 

 

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