Deloitte has just published its annual report on predictions for technology, media and telecoms. As you would expect, it offers some great insights into the forces we can expect to shape all three sectors in the year ahead and beyond.
One area that I think will be interesting to watch is the role that developing marketings have to play in shaping tech, media and telecoms trends in the coming years. The report notes that significant growth in the smartphone market is likely to come from developing countries over the next few years.
I expect the growth of their own domestic markets as the global economy gradually improves, and the increasing sophistication of consumers in their technology use will be a key factor is shaping global trends and the course of innovation.
Not me necessarily, but it’s certainly something a lot of us experience! I came across this interview with Ray Wang from Constellation Research the other day. It gives a view across the social business landscape today and makes some great observations about how social business is changing our work.
One point that struck me in particular was the idea of social media fatigue; the sheer volume of platforms and the challenge of keeping on top of them all as a user can become a chore, if not plain exhausting.
I think another factor at play is that we’re also making a gradual transition from linear forms of communication, like email, to more networked and collaborative forms of communication. In other words, social media. This takes effort and can create tensions and stresses, both for individuals and organisations. It means changing working patterns and communication styles, and rethinking how you manage your network of relationships. I think there are a number of layers to the transition, which I would summarise in three broad areas:
- Technical: Coming to grips with new tools, personally and from the point of view of the enterprise-wide implementation requirements.
- Behavioural: A networked approach requires a change in the way you communicate, from the content of the messages, tone and style, to the way you organise communication in and around your working day.
- Organisational: Of course, you as an individual can’t change in isolation, other people have to change too to make the new communication practices successful. At an organisational level this may require some form of framework to provide guidance for workers. What are the policy and procedure changes necessary? Are there implications for governance? How will the culture of the organisation change and what will be the implications of this for workers and teams? What are the implications and opportunities of greater collaboration?
These are questions that people at all levels in the organisation need to think about and play a role in solving. But by taking a collaborative approach the personal benefits and organisational value will be come much clearer. Maybe then fatigue is less likely to set in.
Marcel Proust said “The real voyage of discovery is not to seek new landscapes but to look upon the world with fresh eyes.”
I like to remind myself of this when we’re studying the family finances and realise we can’t afford to go on holiday.
This year though I’m interpreting it in a different way. Later this week I begin an MBA at the University of Warwick Business School. It’s a three-year course delivered via distance learning, so I’ll have the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other students from all over the world. The syllabus looks fascinating and formidable in equal measure; I’m looking forward to getting the course under way but I can’t deny a certain amount of trepidation, especially when it comes to balancing study with work and personal life. Still, anything worth having is worth working for.
One important theme of the course is that learning should be applied. Students are encouraged to think about how the concepts and ideas studied could be put into practice in daily work life, or take experiences from their own professional roles to provide context for the course. With this in mind and with the inspiration of Matt Cooling, a current Warwick student, I’m going to use this blog to talk about my experience on the course. Hopefully it will benefit my learning experience and be helpful for other people too. Here goes.
It’s that time of year when the predictions for 2014 begin to emerge. First up is Cloud Computing which promises to be an even more disruptive force next year (Software Insider).
For chief marketing officers, Forrester predicts that life-cycle management will become a major priority for the year ahead. I’ve talked about this area before in relation to the amount of information and understanding digital enables businesses to gather about their customers. It will be interesting to see how it develops in 2014 (Forrester blogs).
One technology that offers a tremendous amount of potential is iBeacon. For retailers in particular, it offers a great deal of potential (Business 2 Community). Meanwhile, ground-breaking marketing activities in 2013 point the way for other businesses in the year ahead. Here are 10 of the most progressive. (PSFK)
And finally, trying to find a way to make New Year’s resolutions stick? Here’s one answer (Steve Shapiro)
Brands now have to exist in a much more participative and social online environment. They’re expected to be more engaged with their audiences and customers online, more flexible in the way they create and share content and more responsive to the needs of the people they talk to.
Brands also have to contend with a more fragmented media environment and the greater plurality of sources from which people receive messages. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer research, people now need to hear a message between three to five times from different sources before they are willing to believe it:
Source: Edelman Trust Barometer 2013
These changes mean crafting a digital strategy demands more care and consideration than ever before, whether you’re a large organisation operating in several markets and countries, or a smaller business working to establish a profile. There are plenty of considerations to think about when developing a strategy; here are five that from experience I’ve found to be particularly important:
- Executive sponsorship: Support from senior leaders and their recognition of the value digital can deliver to the organisation is crucial to driving change. For digital to fulfil its potential, it needs to be considered an integral part of the business strategy. This means the digital strategy must be aligned with organisational goals and designed to deliver against key business objectives so that its value is quantifiable.
- Scalability: The digital landscape – and social media in particular – is evolving rapidly, in terms of technology and user behaviour. The strategy must be flexible enough to enable the organisation to adapt swiftly to change. It must also be capable of scaling with the business, enabling activity to be deploying quickly in new countries or markets with a roadmap in place to support this process.
- Organisation: Digital typically demands and encourages greater integration between organisational divisions to create content and manage interactions with audiences. As you plan the digital strategy, think about internal process or organisational changes that might also need to happen to make it work.
- Engagement: The strategy should give you the opportunity to conduct controlled pilots for digital campaigns and evaluate outcomes to determine how activity should be scaled across the business. In this way, you can increase your digital maturity in a safe and manageable way, extending programmes and service improvement ideas across the organisation based on the outcomes of the trials.
- Evaluation: The digital strategy must be founded upon a robust measurement framework that enables you to track the relationship between digital activities and outcomes relevant to the objectives of the business. This framework should underpin all digital pilot programmes and large scale initiatives so that everything can be evaluated according to a common set of criteria. Evaluation will not only allow you to measure the effectiveness of activities in reaching audiences and stakeholders, but also identify when changes can be made to improve future performance.
There are plenty more that could be added to the list, so please do add any that from your experience are particularly important.
One of the great virtues of the Internet is that it enables us to tell complex stories in an interactive, non-linear way. The Guardian’s Gabriel Dance explains the approach his company takes. (Nieman Journalism Lab)
Creating a culture of innovation in large companies can mean significant cultural change. The Silicon Valley Product Innovation Group offers some techniques. (SVPG blog)
Creative Commons have released a new set of licences designed to be clearer and easier to use than previous versions. (BoingBoing)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published its study on how well web companies encrypt the data you share. (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
This week I had the pleasure of speaking at the Social Media in the Defence & Military conference in London.
It was a great event and fascinating to hear about the role social media can play in a highly specialised area. I have some experience of working in the defence space, but met several people with rich and illustrious careers in the military. What was interest though, were the great number of parallels between the challenges military and defence organisations face in social media and the brands I work with in other sectors, from pharmaceuticals and finance to mobile technology and FMCG.
One parallel is the increasing demand for transparency and immediacy in the way organisations communicate with their customers and stakeholders. When delicate issues or sensitive information is involved the challenge becomes particularly tricky. I believe one important part of the solution is content and the way it is crafted to build a closer affinity between the brand and its communities. I spoke about this at the conference and you can take a look at my presentation here.