Innovation – not talking drones – updated 6/24/15

I t is the innovation decade and sweetening of the e commerce value proposition continues. This time it is not drones.

Innovation often seems to emerge with a vengeance when outside forces encroach on industry revenue, as with legislation. There are few companies who see through this matrix and insert themselves early to solve, innovate and genuinely take a page out of Ideo’s book.

Digital innovation thankfully is not restricted by geography. With a billion plus strong users in China and plenty of capital influx there are some companies to closely watch, considered upstarts by some and frequently ignored by others. They are vehemently beginning to flex to connect the dots and making the experience simpler, nimbler and easing the customer journey.

Tencent, the 4th largest internet company behind Google, Amazon and eBay is attempting to marry messaging with Smart TV, along with a seamless payment solution; messaging to mobile to the living room with an integrated wallet solution. This brings social TV to a whole new genre; within one interface chat, watch and pay.

Can we put this on the watch list together? What would impress me is a purchase decision channeled by my brain wave (chip in my brain not an option); not to forget a confirm and accept prompt for my brain. I would not be pleased if my dreams were misread and during my morning jog I find a Lambo sitting in the driveway with a bow on it.

Keep me posted on efforts underway…I am optimistic.

Update July 2015

Close to a year ago I had written a post about Ten Cent, a messaging company in China.  There are a lot of Fin/Ins companies who have been behind the curve with social and digital transformation while a limited few finance & insurance companies have forged along  with  JV’s/partnerships and acquisitions type relationships

Close to a year ago I had written a post about Ten Cent, a messaging company in China.  There are a lot of Fin/Ins companies who have been behind the curve with social and digital transformation while a limited few finance & insurance companies have forged along  with  JV’s/partnerships and acquisitions type relationships.

Two observations from a year ago

  1. Ten Cent and like + (Socially & digitally transformed with mobile and tablet experiences in the cross hairs for millennials), these connected Fin/Ins companies’ are forming these collaborations and have begun to emerge in social and mobile. Kudos!!.
  2. Ten Cent is still a bull.

However it is an Alert! –  For global fin/ins companies to innovate with new demographically regional/state /country specific product designs which are uniquely positioned for the millennials. Innovation, Sales. Social + Digital Marketing + UX should have a  tighter bond.

Where is the ROI?, not the beef

I was going back in the time machine and recalling one of the jobs I had out of college with a degree in Commerce – working as a Cost accountant in manufacturing. It was a numbers oriented job working on the AOP, boring ledgers and keeping tabs on the monthly variances from paint to man hours. Development of the AOP meant precision. Every imaginable fixed and variable cost from power to man hours, from paint to parts would play a role into the projection. The past several years historical and cyclical trends and actuals would finally finesse the dreaded AOP. My presentation of the AOP to the boss blissfully matches the ‘woman sitting in the chair with the boss’ image accompanying this post. Notice the stiff arms? Well, that was me.

The following fiscal year would prove if the projection met the 0 to 60 in 4.3 seconds test. I would track the variances monthly and would have a beaming smile some months. End of the fiscal year a minimal $ true up was all that was needed. It felt good.

Ok, enough of this accounting conversation. I am really a marketing guy inside, which I thank a mysterious unscheduled meteor shower.

Fast forward the time machine ## years to the digital, search and social marketing world which I thoroughly and passionately enjoy. I sometimes hear a whisper in my ear gently reminding me how crucial the ROI component is to the meticulously and creatively developed marketing campaigns we endeavor to run all year, for the enterprise.

It is a stamp of approval to the thoughtfully planned fiscal year ‘marketing roadmap’ as well as the ‘marketing plan’; providing the confidence to the business, and perpetual smiles for the marketing group.

There are indeed market variables abundant in digital, search and especially in the very dynamic social media ecosystem. An ideal world – each digital and social channel pumping real time analytics to the analytics hub with built in campaign ROI assumptions. These efficiencies help make the MOR’s robust and very KPI oriented.

Result = serving, understanding and knowing the customer in this omni channel world.

Shhhh, it is about attribution and ROI, not ROO (return on objectives) which seem to breathe new life into the next fiscal marketing year.

Upselling and beyond, a balancing act

Was thinking about sending some food stuff (online seller name, intentionally left out) to my sister whom I have not seen in a long time and do my impulsive ‘family good’.

I did a ‘food stuff’ search for a deal and promptly landed via an affiliate link, on to a ‘major food site’.

Still intent on proceeding and encouraged by a $39 deal, I, in mechanical fashion moved through to ‘Add to cart’ to complete the transaction. To my not so shocking surprise I was presented with an upsell for $39 + $ 19.99. Still enthusiastic with a Czech pilsner comfortably urging me on, with finger flickering hesitation, I waved myself through – ‘Why not, I feel the love”. I clicked on “Add”. Yes, I felt good.

It was at that moment that things began to unravel – an ‘Upsell and Beyond” deal popped up for an additional $79 ‘food stuff’ combo”. I was perplexed and confused. I almost had it in my grasp. Almost.

Could we refrain, and not get carried away with the ‘Upsell and Beyond’ selling strategy?. The Pilsner only works for so long. I had it and I lost it. I hate it when that happens.

I know I have not been a customer before with this ‘major food seller’, so predictive analytics, even with cookies would not have kicked in, perpetuating this unfortunate eventuality.

All in a Sunday afternoon, where I wanted to do a little bit of good. Alas, it is unfortunately no more. I ‘xed’ out of the browser tab. The moment had elapsed and my attention had shifted.

eCommerce and Digital Marketing conflict

While I was thinking about this I decided I would pen this crucial divergence that often results in conflicting results for the digital marketing group.

The interplay between e-commerce and Digital Marketing came up in a conversation with Rob Swint, Director of Marketing @ Endeca, which by the way has a superb enterprise search product.

For example: there is a purchase decision to be made for an Enterprise Search product. By the way here is Gartner’s take on the picture if you are interested in learning more about Enterprise Search and more –

There is tremendous dependence on the eCommerce folks for technology which directly impacts Digital Marketing. More often than not, the purchase decision does not rest with Digital Marketing; digital marketing is the primary beneficiary.

For an effective solution that has true enterprise benefits, the Digital group may have to conduct its own research when seeking technology solutions which directly impact it. Perhaps, eCommerce may be more concerned with the ease of integration, ease of implementation and how the technology fits into the existing framework, integration with Sharepoint, etc. Conversely Digital marketing may consider how the technology results increase traffic, integrate with behavioral marketing analytics, other existing analytics packages, CRM tools, and reporting tools.

To optimize the purchase decision the ideal process solution would be if the research were done by the two individual business units (ecommerce and digital) separately and then converge upon a solution.
Digital Marketing is the resulting beneficiary of the action and its individual take and involvement in assessing the most viable option is paramount.