Archive for May 22nd, 2012
Remember that team of blackjack-playing cohorts from MIT in the book (and, later, movie) “Bringing Down The House,” who fleeced a number of Vegas casinos before they were invited never to grace their gambling doors again?
Well, IBM executive and Unica co-founder Yuchung Lee was one of those who was asked not to come back. Permanently.
Which is okay by those of us at IBM, as we’re keeping him way too busy to bother with card counting.
Instead, Lee’s mathematical prowess is being applied to help companies improve their marketing capabilities, a key ingredient in the IBM Smarter Commerce soup.
Doubling Down On Enterprise Marketing Management
As Lee explained in his keynote session this afternoon here in Madrid, “this is the first time we’re bringing together Coremetrics and Unica.” He also highlighted the fact that out of the 1,700 participants here at the Summit, over 1,000 are marketeers!
Lee provided a broad overview of the Enterprise Marketing Management portfolio at IBM, explaining that “we’ve shared progress as a group within IBM over the past year,” sharing that also incorporates lessons learned from both the market and IBM customers.
“The pieces of our portfolio are better connected,” Lee explained, but also highlighted the fact that “We now have a more comprehensive suite for relevant and personalized offers across all channels, and social media,” a capability recently introduced in Unica 8.6
The social buildout also incorporates enterprise analytics, tag management, and full mobile and social market capabilities that tie more closely together the marketing automation experience with the social realm.
Acquisitions That Count
Lee also debriefed quickly on two recent acquisitions, DemandTec, which expands IBM’s EMM offerings with pricing, promotion, and product mix optimization, and Tealeaf, which rounds out IBM EMM solutions with customer experience management and analytics.
As Lee explained, “A picture’s worth a thousand words,” and that’s precisely what TeaLeaf provides, the ability to look at snapshots of individual user sessions to help determine where, exactly, it is that you’re driving them crazy with your convoluted web experience!
But where Lee really “hooked” the audience was in his observations about the Generation C customer, who is more connected and in control than ever! Did you know that 4 in 10 smartphone users search for an item in a store? Or that 77 percent of B2B buyers check with their peers before buying?
If you didn’t know that, then this is your reality check and maybe it’s time you get more focused in your own customer centricity. Marketing, Lee suggested, must “move beyond its silo and focus on business value.”
Which, he expanded, means that it must work more closely with other disciplines and functions, including merchandising, on- and offline sales, customer service, and even with IT.
Marketing must move that customer centricity beyond marketing as well, so that they understand and influence the entire customer experience, as well as “own the operational process to influence social conversations.”
But, Lee indicated, they can’t stop there. Marketing must also share customer insights with other parts of the business so that all functions can benefit from these insights.
Finally, they must extend that sharing of customer insights with other key stakeholders who can benefit: Partners, agencies, customer communities, and so forth.
Lee also explained that many organizations must adjust their marketing cultures to fully capitalize on the “Generation C” (“C” for “connected”) culture. They must build organizations that balance analytics and creative talents (easier said than done!), work with IT rather than around IT, and break down marketing siloes — digital and traditional marketing must consolidate and collaborate.
Finally, accept mistakes and learn from them, and be agile enough to iterate and improve upon them. As even Lee can explain, there are only so many opportunities to double down in blackjack, and in business.
The enterprise marketing management opportunity vis-a-vis IBM’s Smarter Commerce strategy is one of those rare opportunities.
Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: A Q&A With Mobile Startup Deja Mi CEO Justin Miller
The great thing about IBM events — other than the food and the building locations out in the middle of nowhere — are the exceptional people you meet.
Scott Laningham and I have been milling about, keeping an eye out for “smarter” folks (smarter than us, anyway) to chat with here in Madrid, and we found one in the form of one of our partners right here on the ground: Raleigh, NC-based Deja Mi, whose co-founder and CEO, Justin Miller, is here helping promote his mobile photo geolocation service as another way of conducting “Smarter Commerce.”
If you haven’t seen or heard of Deja Mi yet, believe me, you will. As Justin expressed it, they’re a mashup of one part Foursquare and one part Instagram — yeah, that little smartphone picture company Facebook just picked up for a cool billion dollars (You remember that line from “The Social Network,” where Napster co-founder Sean Parker tells Mark Zuckerberg that it’s a billion dollars, not a million, that’s cool!?)
Anyhow, Deja Mi takes the smartphone photography app one step further.
Let me set the scene: You’re in a location, your smartphone knows where you are, Deja Mi knows where you are, and suddenly, a shared experience in the real world becomes a shared experience through a photostream.
As I indicated to Justin in our interview and as the light bulbs went off (I’m slow that way, so sometimes it takes me awhile), Deja Mi is word of mouth being replaced by “picture of mouth.”
Or was that “word of eye?”
In any case, download it at the Apple App store or Google’s Play store to a mobile near you soon.
You don’t want to be the last one on this particular mobile phone bandwagon!
Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: Craig Hayman On Remembering Great Customer Experiences
At this afternoon’s opening general session at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit here in Madrid, the laughter was immediate, yet amazingly technologically relevant, as UK broadcast presenter Jon Briggs helped ring the conference opening bell….or was that cash register?
Briggs explained the critical importance of voice as commercial presence, highlighting the fact that the mood of a room can be dramatically altered as soon as we open our mouthes.
But we had no problem in listening to Mr. Briggs and his opening comments, whereupon he explained that his was the voice of the U.K. version of “Siri,” the intelligent agent for the iPhone 4S (which, in the U.S., has the voice of a female).
Customers Never Forget
Jokes about role reversal and artificial intelligence dating aside, Mr. Briggs, aka “UK Siri Dude,” also apologized in advance for being from the U.K. And NOT being a Chelsea fan, a head nod to Chelsea’s recent victory in the European Champions League final, and groans all around, of course, from the Germans in the audience (whose Bayern Munich team lost 4-3 to Chelsea last Saturday in penalty kicks).
It was then Craig Hayman’s turn to share his voice, and Craig hit the stage explaining that this was IBM’s first Smarter Commerce event in Europe, and that there were over 1,700 people in attendance, ranging from as far away as South Africa and Australia.
Hayman explained that the world was changing quickly, and that people and companies both were struggling with the amount of technology that has been thrust into their lives and/or operations, and that “the amount of information they [customers] have in their hands now surpasses what you have inside the four walls of your organization.”
Customers also expect their experiences to be seamless, and increasingly, for global brands, they must reach out across markets and multiple countries, but that the value of those truly global brands is instantaneously recognized.
Growth In Growth Markets
Hayman explained that one can see the importance of brand simply by visiting emerging markets — China, India, Brazil — where people will pay more for and perceive more value for brand.
And, in turn, global companies who wish to be global leaders in business are anticipating and delivering new models that facilitate this kind of “smarter commerce,” hence the conference and the discussions going on here in Madrid.
By way of example, Hayman explained we all knew LPs and CDs would eventually go the way of the do-do bird — but did we know they would be replaced by a service like Spotify, which gives us personalized music on the go?
IBM’s Smarter Customers’ Adoption Of Smarter Commerce
Or how about some of IBM’s smarter commerce customers, like SNS Bank, which realized a five percent lift in product sales its first year of intelligent targeted marketing. Or Wehkamp.nl, which used targeted promotions to to increase revenues by 30 percent.
Or countless others who are utilizing IBM smarter commerce technologies to create their own business advantage.
How we got here, to this stage, Hayman explained, was exactly this: We realized at IBM there’s something in common with all these customers around the world, and that when we put those customers at the center and keep an eye on the data that emerges, we’re able to choose the next best action for the customer before even they realize it, and that such capabilities improve growth models and provide cost reduction.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes, Hayman suggested. Think of the time when you’ve been treated well, or badly, as a consumer — you remember both those experiences, do you not? But wouldn’t you prefer to be remembered more for the great experiences than the bad?
I’m still here in Madrid…they told me I can’t leave until later in the week, that I’ll be chained to my laptop.
But, they don’t have to chain me, as I’m very excited about the opening day of the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit.
Being stuck here in a hotel on the outskirts of Madrid — and I do mean, the outskirts — there’s been a lot of time to focus and reflect on the conference tidings. I’m especially excited about today’s opening general session, which will transpire in the early afternoon Madrid time (way early for you U.S. East Coasters).
Craig Hayman, the general manager of IBM’s Industry Solutions group, will be providing the set up for the rest of the event in his keynote, “Smarter Commerce Engaging the Empowered Customer.”
As mentioned in my initial post yesterday, in the age of the empowered customer, the customer is the center of all interactions, and is driving many of the decisions companies are taking to accommodate changing consumer requirements.
We’re also going to hear from a couple of IBM customers, including ING CIO Ron van Kemenade, who will explain “Changing the Way Companies Interact With Customers Based on Mobile and Social Media.” A topic near and dear to my heart.
And Ruth Spencer, Boots UK’s Director of Insight, Loyalty, and Multi-Channel, who will discuss “Driving Customer Loyalty Across All Channels,” which will examine Boots’ strategy for segmenting and targeting customers based on deep insights.
I aspire to have a recap of some of this session later on today, but in the meantime, keep your eyes on the Twitter hashtag for the event, #IBMSCGS, as there will be lots of folks Tweeting real-time throughout the day.
In the meantime, if you’re following along with our bouncing ball virtually, you’ll want to go check out this white paper, which explains the opportunity and benefits of Smarter Commerce far better than I could.
I’ll also be leading a Tweetup at 12 PM Madrid time (6 AM EST), where I’ll be discussing the drivers and realities of using social media in social commerce. If you’re in the U.S. and can’t sleep, feel free to join us, again via the hashtag #IBMSCGS.