Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘digital media’ Category

Gladly Pay You Tuesday…

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We’re finally getting some rain in central Texas.  We’ll see how long it lasts!

And on the topic of rainmaking, this just in from our friends at Nucleus Research.

Nucleus conducted an analysis of 21 of IBM Smarter Commerce case studies and their ROI, and discovered that for every dollar spent, companies realized an average of U.S. $12.05 in returns.

According to the research, this payback occurred in an average of 9 months (with a high of 23 months, and a low of two).

The cases Nucleus analyzed included U.S. and European companies and government agencies which had deployed IBM Smarter Commerce technologies.

All the case studies were developed independently by Nucleus, following their standard ROI methodology, and IBM was privy to the results only after the research was completed.

In their analysis, Nucleus also observed some summary conclusions, finding that Smarter Commerce projects delivered both top-line and bottom-line benefits, with roughly 60 percent of returns coming from indirect benefits such as productivity, and the rest from direct savings such as reduced operational costs or hires avoided.

Specific key benefits included the following:

  • Increased productivity. In many cases companies were able to accomplish more work with fewer staff or avoid additional hires as they grew by automating previously manual processes and increasing employee productivity.
  • Reduced costs. Smarter Commerce customers experienced cost reductions in areas such as customer call handling costs, technology costs, and other costs associated with supply chain transactions.
  • Improved inventory management. Greater visibility into customer demand and inventory levels enabled Smarter Commerce customers to gain better control over their inventory, reducing inventory carrying costs and increasing inventory turns.
  • Improved decision making. Greater agility and rapid insight into data for decision making enabled companies using Smarter Commerce to more quickly make decisions and act on them with confidence.
  • Reduced customer churn and increased customer satisfaction. Companies using IBM Business Analytics were able to more rapidly understand customer satisfaction and retain more profitable customers by proactively addressing customers’ propensity to churn. For example, one telecommunications customer was able to reduce customer churn by 8 percent in the first year and 18 percent in the second year by further refining its churn analysis.

Customers Leverage Prepackaged Functionality

Nucleus indicated that the $12.05 average return from Smarter Commerce was at the high end of the range of returns Nucleus had seen from other assessments of deployments such as analytics and CRM, and many IBM Smarter Commerce clients indicated they had achieved high returns by taking advantage of the investments IBM has made in providing integrated solutions, more intuitive user interfaces, and prepackaged industry functionality.

By way of example:

  • Integrated solutions and prepackaged industry functionality accelerate time to deployment and time to value while reducing overall project risk.
  • Usability improvements drive more rapid adoption and make it easier for companies to drive adoption of technologies such as business analytics to casual and business users beyond the data expert specialists that have historically been the primary users of analytics.

Industry-specific functionality and expertise were particularly important in the success of customers adopting Smarter Commerce technologies in the government sector, such as social services agencies and police departments, where IT often has limited resources.

You can go here to download the full report.

Turbo To Speak @ WOMMA Summit: Organizing For Social Business

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Happy Monday.

I mentioned in a recent post that I’d be attending the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Summit next week in Las Vegas.

It’s going to be my first time attending a WOMMA event, and for that I’m most excited.  I’ll also be speaking at the event, and recently participated in an interview with WOMMA’s Jacob Hurwith to chat about some of the topics that would inevitably come up in my presentation, “Organizing For Social Business.” (Monday, Nov. 12, 4:30-5:15 PST)

The WOMMA Summit being held next week in Las Vegas will feature social media experts and word of mouth marketing practitioners from some of the leading brands and organizations around the world. I’ll also be speaking on the topic of “Organizing For Social Business,” and IBM’s Carolyn Baird will be sharing detailed results from IBM’s recent Chief Marketing Officer study.

The general theme of my session will center around the challenges and opportunities larger organizations face as they go about building their social strategies, sharing particular insights and experiences we’ve had inside IBM over the past number of years on this front.

At IBM, our social business strategy has very much centered around one of our best market-facing emissaries, the IBMer! If you’ve kept pace with any of our marketing initiatives in recent times, you know that the IBMer is front and center in those communications, most notably in our TV advertising, but also extensively in the digital and social media as well.

But their participation doesn’t end there.

We’ve featured subject matter experts extensively across a wide range of topics and across a range of venues in the digital and social media space, as well as in other public and sometimes private venues (think conferences, events, customer meetings, etc.).

As I’ll note in my talk, this direction is very much in keeping with IBM’s high-touch sales heritage, but builds on that legacy by making our people more accessible via social venues as well.

That said, don’t think encouraging very busy professionals to participate in social venues doesn’t come without some challenges — organizational, economical, cultural — all of which are an integral part of the story that I also look forward to sharing with my fellow attendees in Las Vegas.

Speaking of which, another fellow IBMer, Carolyn Baird, is also going to be presenting at WOMMA.  Carolyn will be sharing insights from IBM’s global Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) study, one of the largest ever conducted of CMOs worldwide.

The study revealed that CMOs are under enormous pressure to manage a much broader range of responsibilities than ever before, and that underpinning this evolution is a growing dependency on technology that is reshaping CMOs’ strategies and priorities.

Carolyn’s session will share how CMOs are managing these shifts and the impact all of this is having on the CMO-CIO relationship (Carolyn’s session takes place Tuesday, Nov. 13th, from 11:45AM-12:30 PM).

Though I’m certainly excited to sharing IBM’s social story at such a distinguished convocation, I’m even more excited about hearing from my fellow social media enthusiasts. I took the names of all the organizations expected to be presenting at WOMMA, and you can see the vast breadth and diversity of companies and organizations represented in the Wordle cloud above.

If you’re going to be attending WOMMA, please look me up and introduce yourself. It’s the rare opportunity we social media practitioners have to get together in “meatspace” face to face, so I’m looking forward to meeting some new faces, and saying hello to some familiar ones, during my visit to Vegas (My fourth trip there this year!)

To follow the tidings on Twitter from the Summit, use the hashtag #WOMMASummit.

For my session, I’ll ask that folks use the hashtag #WOMMAturbo.

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Orlando: Twitter Editorial Director Karen Wickre On Effective Communication In 140 Characters Or Less

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Karen Wickre is Editorial Director at Twitter, where she shapes the way the company communicates publicly. She has worked the editorial side of publishing for 20+ years as an editor, author, columnist and content strategist. Previously, Karen worked at Google, for which she developed the company’s corporate content strategy, and built its blog and Twitter platforms into global channels.

Karen Wickre, currently the editorial director for Twitter, has been on the vanguard of digital and social media communications for over a decade.

During her nine-year stint at Google, she helped found the Google Corporate Blog, which paved the way for Google’s more aggressive embrace of blogging for not only corporate communications, but also knowledge sharing and Google product enablement.

More recently, she’s served as the editorial director for Twitter, helping Twitter employees and customers communicate as widely and engagingly as is possible in 140 characters or less.

During our interview at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Orlando last week, Karen and I chatted about the early days of social media, then worked our way forward to more cutting-edge concerns, including Twitter celebrity, Twitter’s key role in helping share the zeitgeist of live events, Twitter’s increasing international reach, and yes, even the ever-feared “DM Fail.”

Karen’s insights into both the philosophy and reality of effective social media communications can impact organizations everywhere looking to build their own smarter commerce strategies.

You can follow her on Twitter at @kvox.

Faster Media

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I indicated in a post recently that I had gotten rid of my HBO bundle through AT&T U-Verse’s system, with all due apologies to Bill Maher and the new show about news, “The Newsroom.”

But my underlying futility was really about the inability to buy or rent specific content “a la carte” (i.e., be able to buy specific channels of content without having to provide the financial overhead underwriting others) than it was about the quality of the content itself.

New models are of digital content development and management are emerging that can help challenge these legacy financial constructs. Today, at the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC), IBM announced it has helped Canal+ Group deliver and archive digital comment.

Canal+ Group is the leading pay-TV broadcaster in France, and now will be able to more easily launch and manage new channels and services such as on-demand, web-TV, and even mobile-TV.

Prior to its process and archiving overhaul, Canal+ often used separate and isolated systems to manage its services, often making the production process cumbersome, manually intensive and costly.

Today, the staff has access to an interactive portal that collates and manages over 170 hours of content per day or 8,000 programs per year, whether from tape, external files or post-production video.

The intuitive portal allows multimedia content to flow back and forth in real-time across business units such as programming, advertising, editorial, archiving, production, and distribution.

“This project has helped Canal+ undergo a major transformation, not just in terms of how we operate internally, but how we service our customers,” said Jo Guegan, executive vice president, Technology and Information Systems, Canal+ Group. “

“This new intelligent system ensures we have the tools to produce and process programs in a time frame that keeps us ahead of our competitors in France and globally. As a result, Canal+ has become one of the first organizations in the world to dynamically monitor its workflow processes.”

Written by turbotodd

September 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Breaking Bad Habits

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I recently gave up my HBO habit.

I was tired of paying the premium through my AT&T U-Verse subscription, and I’d been putting off for far too long giving some money to The New York Times digital edition, content from which I consume daily.

So far, it’s been a mostly fair trade.

Though I’m going to miss shows like “Game of Thrones” and “The Newsroom” and “True Blood,” as well as Bill Maher (especially during the political season), I figured being able to get all of the Times’ content on any of my digital devices (and I have many!) at any time was easy math: The digital paywall became more forbidding than the bundle became enticing.

No sooner do I make this move, than I read in Variety this morning that HBO is going to give the Nordic countries the opportunity to cut the chord by allowing folks to subscribe to HBO without having to have an HBO pay-TV subscription.

The Variety story dug deeper into the Nordic permafrost, indicating this was a competitive matching move, an announcement short on the heels of Netflix announcing its move into Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.

I laugh at this — I don’t live in a Nordic country, what good does this do me??!!

I did visit Stockholm once — could that qualify me for a subscription???

It’s no wonder more and more people are cutting the cord on cable TV.

Cable has a business model for offering content that is completely antiquated, and entirely out of line with the direction of more a la carte offerings in a digital world.

I only cut a small piece of the cord…this time around…but unless I’m giving more choices and flexibility in content soon, as opposed to their traditional bundling…well, HBO isn’t the only habit I can break.

Written by turbotodd

August 31, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Sewing Up The London Olympic Games

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The new Ralph Lauren-designed uniforms for U.S. Olympics athletes at the coming London Olympics games may look spiffy, but a number of U.S. politicians have come out recently to complain they were manufactured in China. Let the games begin!

Well, it seems that the London Olympic Games are only a couple of short weeks away now.

As we get closer and closer to the lighting of the London 2012 Olympic torch, we will also start to see lines get drawn in the digital and social sand, as this will likely be the most “social” Olympic Games ever.

There will be lots to juxtapose in this year’s games in London with those of Beijing in 2008.

Most notably, the fact that we won’t have a 12 hour delay by the broadcast networks. Instead, NBC has already indicated that they will show many of the events live.  American GDP could swoon to a new low in these London Olympic summer games!

If you’re looking for a place to follow the games, there will be no shortage of television and digital opportunities. Just this week, Facebook and NBC announced a collaboration for “transmedia” coverage of the London Olympic Games.

In that deal, data from Facebook will inform TV coverage on NBC and other channels that will carry portions of the Summer Games starting on July 27, according to The New York Times. The specific uses will vary, says the Times, but there will be a “Facebook Talk Meter”  occasionally shown on TV to reflect what is being said online.

Conversely, on Facebook the NBC Olympics page will get frequent updates with what the companies call “exclusive content” for fans only. Fans will then be able to share what videos and articles they’re perusing on the network’s Olympics website.

It’s hard to believe that in only 4 short years, Facebook has grown from 100 million users, the number they were at during the Beijing Olympic Games, to over 900 million.  There’s no question this will be a much more social Olympics, but let’s also not forget the projected TV audience is 4 billion (In Beijing, the global TV audience was estimated at 4.4 billion.)

Speaking of China, U.S. Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) castigated the U.S. Olympic Committee for its decision to have the U.S. Olympics team dressed in Ralph Lauren-designed berets, blazers and pants that were manufactured in China even as the U.S. textile industry struggles to keep U.S. workers at their sewing machines.

Maybe they should introduce sewing into the Olympics as an official sport and we can have ourselves a “sew-off?”

I recently did some Olympic scouting of my own, looking for Websites and mobile apps to help make sure I keep up with the Virtual Joneses during the London sports festouche.  Here’s a few of them I unearthed:

I also found an interesting app for the iPad, the “Ultimate Olympic Guide,” which cost me a whopping $.99 and provided some nice background and overviews of each of the Olympic sports.

Feel free to add any other useful London Olympics resources in the comments section below.

Shopping In The Great White North

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IBM recently announced a big win in its “smarter commerce” initiative. SHOP.CA, Canada’s largest online e-commerce marketplace, is using analytics software from IBM’s smarter commerce initiative to help engage increasingly empowered online consumers in a unique shopping experience, and build loyalty and sense of community.

A recent IBM survey of more than 2,000 Canadians showed friends and family are by far the most trusted influencers on purchasing decisions, but retailers are also gaining trust among shoppers here.

The same research also identified a growing movement among consumers to use social media to build communities with others who share their interests and tastes, and who consume the same. These strangers then help the consumer make more relevant discoveries and satisfying purchases.

SHOP.CA: One Stop Online Shopping

SHOP.CA’s online marketplace features millions of products across 26 categories and billions in multi-merchant inventory. Its website offers Canadians one-stop access to national and international brands, free shipping, free returns and no cross-border fees.

Also hosting a powerful loyalty program, SHOP.CA Rewards Dollars are offered for both purchases and online activities that generate a purchase, such as sharing a link to a favorite product with a friend, or posting written or video reviews to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

“With SHOP.CA, shopping will be forever changed in Canada,” says Don Tapscott, author and world leading business strategist. “It’s going to make shopping ‘social.’ People will become deeply engaged in the community. They’ll learn from each other. They’ll be able to collaborate, and because of the loyalty programs, they’re going to want to come back.”

SHOP.CA selected IBM’s technology as the e-commerce engine to power its consumer storefront, multi-merchant product catalog and SHOP.CA rewards program. IBM will also provide analytics on how site visitors behave and interact, as well as track their searching and buying histories. This data will get SHOP.CA insight on how, when and where to reach shoppers with content and offers personalized to their taste and preferences via mobile or social vehicles.

Smarter Commerce: A $20 Billion Software Market

Estimated at $20 billion for software alone, IBM has defined smarter commerce, a new, unfolding market driven by Web, social and mobile technologies which put more power in the hands of customers.

Today, 70 percent of the consumer’s first interaction with a product or service takes place online, and 64 percent of consumers make a first purchase because of a digital experience. Under the terms of the agreement, IBM is providing SHOP.CA with Coremetrics web analytics delivered through the cloud and IBM WebSphere Commerce Professional.

Go here to learn more about IBM “smarter commerce” solutions.

In the video below, Scott Laningham and I interview Don Tapscott at this year’s SXSW Interactive Festival about how digital technology is changing our world, detailing for us mere mortals its impact on business, education, children, and beyond.

Live @ IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit Madrid: OgilvyOne Chairman & CEO Brian Fetherstonhaugh Speaks About The CMO Hotseat

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Brian Fetherstonhaugh, as the chairman and CEO of OgilvyOne Worldwide, has a unique vantage point on how brands are built, how corporate cultures are created, and what happens as the world goes digital. In the course of the past 25 years, Brian has worked hands-on with many of the world’s leading brands including, IBM, American Express, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Motorola, Unilever, Nestlé, Kodak, and Yahoo! Today, Brian leads OgilvyOne Worldwide, the interactive marketing and consulting arm of the Ogilvy Group. With more than 4,000 staff in 50 countries, OgilvyOne is at the forefront of the digital revolution. In 2007 and 2009, the Forrester Report ranked Ogilvy as a leading U.S. interactive agency.

OgilvyOne Worldwide Chairman and CEO Brian Fetherstonhaugh started our Q&A today here at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Madrid by revealing who his favorite character on the 1960s-era AMC show about advertising, “Mad Men,” was.  Drum roll, please….It’s…JOAN.

Mainly, Brian explained, because Joan “gets things done.”

We then turned our discussion to the vast evolution IBM’s own marketing culture has endured the past two decades, and the opportunities and challenges presented by the changing marketing landscape for CMOs, whose tenures these days last an average 27 months.

Brian also discussed other key issues facing chief marketing officers during this time of great change, including the need for CMOs to focus on new talents and skills development. Before he jetted off to another city somewhere in the world, Brian left the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit, and you, with some valuable marketing advice.

And when you watch the video, never mind the Spanish waiter who entered the frame for just a moment: He was simply doing what we wish to see companies everywhere do best, servicing their customers!

No More Business As Usual: The Road To Smarter Commerce

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I mentioned in my last post that I must have been dreaming on the way over to Madrid. Or maybe it was just all these thoughts running through my head before I actually drifted off to some semblance of jet-engine-drone-induced slumber.

The English East India Company was an English and later (from 1707) British joint-stock company formed for pursuing trade with the East Indies but which ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent. The Company was granted a Royal Charter in 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies. Shares of the company were owned by wealthy merchants and aristocrats. The government owned no shares and had only indirect control. The Company operated its own large army with which it controlled major portions of India.

One of those thoughts reminded me of the guy in the YouTube video who reminded us all what an amazing time we live in. That we can climb into what essentially constitutes a rather large beer can and zoom a few thousand miles away in only a matter of hours. In a journey that, once upon a time, would have taken a Benjamin Franklin or a Thomas Jefferson weeks by sea, and likely would have been filled with seasickness, scurvy, or worse, when all they wanted to do was get there.

That was one of my thoughts: Then I fell asleep somewhere near Dallas and woke up somewhere over lovely Spain.

Be Amazed By This Amazing Opportunity

But I also dreamed of commerce. Of its history, and its evolution, and what an amazing time we live in terms of how we conduct business.

I went and looked up “commerce” on Wikipedia, curious as to what the “crowd” out there had to say. That, too, is another relatively new concept, to be able to “crowdsource” information from people around the globe.

Their definition goes something like this: Commerce is the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any country. Thus, commerce is a system or an environment that affects the business prospects of an economy or a nation-state.

First, there were barter economies, where trading was the principal “facility” in which peoples bartered for goods and services from one another.

Then, currency was introduced as a standardized money, which, facilitated a wider exchange of goods and services — everything from coins to lumps of precious metals to, today, even virtualized currency like “Bitcoin.”

But these days, as the Wikipedia entry observes, commere also includes a complex system of companies that try to maximize their profits by offering products and services to the market (consisting of both individuals and other companies) at the lowest production cost.

The Early Road To Smarter Commerce

So what did some of those early commerce scenarios look like? Imagine, for example, how the domestication of camels allowed Arabian nomads to control long distance trade in spices and silk from the Far East.

Or the “Silk Road,” which was established after the diplomatic travels of the Han Dynasty Chinese envoy Zhang Qian to Central Asia, which allowed Chinese goods to make their way to India, Persia, the Roman Empire — and vice versa.

The English East India Company was an English and, later (from 1707), British joint-stock company formed for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but which ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent. Shares of the company were owned by wealthy merchants and aristocrats. The government owned no shares and had only indirect control. The Company operated its own large army with which it controlled major portions of India.

In more recent times, we saw the introduction of 23 countries agreeing to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, in 1947, which attempted to rationalize trade among nations.

Going All In…For Your Customer

Today’s smart consumers expect to engage with companies when and how they want, through physical, digital, and mobile means, and they want a consistent experience across all channels. Because they are empowered and connected, they can compare notes, quickly, and they can champion a brand or sully a reputation with the click of a mouse or the stroke of their tablet computer.

Today, circa 2012, we find ourselves at another inflection point in the history of commerce, one which begins and ends with the customer. Today’s commerce environment features a customer who is dictating a new set of terms in the dynamic between buyers and sellers, and these are very smart consumers, ones empowered by technology, transparency, and an abundance of information.

Just simply walk through your closest local retailer or your nearest airport, and you’ll see signs of this new and smarter consumer. Via smartphones and other mobile devices, they are connected real-time to an absurd amount of information that empowers them as buyers, and, in turn, requires an accelerated sophistication on the part of sellers, no matter the product or service.

These consumers expect to engage with companies when and how they want, through physical, digital, and mobile means, and they want a consistent experience across all channels.

Because they are empowered and connected, they can compare notes, quickly, and they can champion a brand or sully a reputation with the click of a mouse or the stroke of their tablet computer.

No More Business As Usual

This ultimately means, of course, that there is no longer such a thing as “business as usual.” Empowered and connected consumers are deeply linked — to their friends, colleagues, and the world at large — and they evaluate and compare the quality of their experiences with those of others. And they are the ones who can reward, or penalize, the businesses that do, or do not, give them what they want.

This is new trading crossroads of the 21st Century, and it is those companies who are interested and compelled to act to enable and encourage this new consumer who are in attendance here at the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit here in Madrid this week.

To thrive in this new age of the customer, they recognize they must understand the motivations of each individual purchaser. They must predict, and not merely react to, customers’ needs and preferences.

They must understand not only what they buy and where, but also why and how they choose to buy it.

That’s what this new world demands. That we need not only a better system of doing business.

But, also, a “smarter commerce” environment, one that puts the customer at the center of all operations, and that helps companies better buy, market, sell and service their offerings accordingly.

A Billion Angry Birds Served…And Counting

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Remember that scene from the movie “The Social Network,” the one where Sean Parker is advising Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin over cocktails?

It goes something like this:

Sean Parker: You don’t even know what the thing is yet. How big it can get, how far it can go. This is no time to take your chips down. A million dollars isn’t cool, you know what’s cool?

Eduardo Saverin: You??

Eduardo Saverin: (As the scene shifts back to the deposition room): A billion dollars!

With the looming Facebook IPO, it seems that Parker was off only by a factor of 100, but a minor detail.

Well, it appears Facebook is not the only one reaching the upper echelons of the Internet stratosphere.

Overnight, TechCrunch reported that in Rovio’s newsletter this week, the company announced its own revenues had increased by more than tenfold in 2011, and that its “Angry Birds” gaming phenom had passed the one billion download mark.

I can see the big Angry Birds McDonald sign in the sky now, over 1 billion Angry Birds served!

What’s probably less well known is that Rovio has turned into a merchandising juggernaut, selling Angry Birds-stamped merchandise ranging from T-shirts to pencil eraser sets (of which I am now the proud owner of 2 — assembly required!).

Some 30 percent of all Rovio revenues came in last year via its massive merchandising efforts.

Could an Angry Birds movie be next? Well, perhaps not an entire movie, but certainly a spoof that pretends to be directed by Hollywood action auteur Michael Bay:

Such drama!

Of course, with all those “Angry Birds” game editions replicating like rabbits, you’re soon going to require a super-duper-bird-throwing-handheld-supercomputer to be able to keep up with all those pigs running around.

Good thing Apple’s allegedly now set to deliver a new version of the iPhone in September (this according to Apple Insider, although no details of the new iPhone have yet been released.)

One can only hope for some hopped up “Angry Birds”-optimized iPhone DRAM!

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