Tag Archives: IBM

The Delusion Gap

Some mornings as I’m writing this I feel like I’m Chevy Chase reading the news that Generalissmo Francisco Franco is still dead because so much of what crosses my digital desk as news is just so “duh.”  When I read about the latest report out of the folks at IBM and Econsultancy called The Consumer Conversation Report I really did say “and Franco is still dead” out loud.  Here is why.

There is a huge gap between marketers’ intentions and their customers‘ satisfaction.  As the report says:

A common theme throughout this research is that brands’ belief in the strength of their customer experience doesn’t line up with their customers’ reality.

For example:

  • Only one in three consumers believe that their favorite companies understand them.
  • Of those consumers who switched consumer services in the last year, most did so for reasons companies should be able to predict and prevent.
  • Of the nearly 50% of consumers with a significant service issue in the last 12 months, only 28% say that the company dealt with it very effectively.

That’s a pretty important point.  We can’t pat ourselves on the back in business.  Our partners and customers are only ones who can do that for us and in this case they’re telling us something very different.  When 90% of the responding companies felt they were able to resolve customer conflicts in a satisfactory manner and not even 60% of customers felt the same way, there is a problem.  Let’s call it the delusion gap – the space in between our beliefs and those of our customers.  We all know that anger and frustration lie in the gap between expectations and experiences.  I’d suggest that the delusion gap is a direct corollary to that difference.

We need to use all of the data we gather to develop honest answers.  They might not be the ones we want to hear but they’re the beacons that point us to serving our constituencies better.  If two-thirds of those groups believe we don’t understand them and we believe otherwise, someone is delusional.  You?

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You’re Already Behind

The IBM folks have been surveying Chief Marketing Officers for quite some time and the latest results of that survey have come out.

Image representing IBM as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

You can read the study yourself by clicking through but I’d like to point out one data point that really got my attention.  It was this:

It’s questionable whether CMOs are moving fast enough to keep up with the speed at which the commercial landscape is evolving, or whether they need something akin to a turbo boost…The situation is, if anything, worse than it was when we completed our last Global CMO Study.  In 2011, 71 percent of the CMOs we interviewed told us they felt underprepared to deal with the data explosion. Today, a full 82 percent feel that way. Two-thirds of all CMOs also report that they’re not ready to cope with social media, which is only marginally less than was the case three years ago.

This is scary.  It used to be that marketers would pay for tons of research better to understand their customers.  The dream was a 360 degree view of the customer’s purchasing and media habits.  Today, that dream is very viable – it’s within a marketers grasp – but only if the marketers have structured their organizations and daily routines to include analytics.  I’m not just talking about web analytics but also point of sale information, real-time data from social media, and any other font of information which can be integrated to round out that view.  That seems to me to be common sense and yet less than a fifth of CMO’s feel ready to deal with all of this.  Put that in the context of over two-thirds of them acknowledging that digital channels will play a bigger role in their interactions with customers in the next three to five years and one concludes that the vast majority of companies are far behind where they need to be.

I’m not sure why this is.  Maybe it’s an investment issue – it’s hard to find dollars to invest on new things in almost every organization.  It might be a priority issue but the folks in charge seem to acknowledge the need.  Maybe it’s the life-cycle of the CMO, which has always been one of the shortest tenured positions in the “C” suite.  No matter what it is, it’s a tremendous opportunity for anyone who can get their company’s stuff together and leap ahead of their competitors.  Will that be you?

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Filed under Consulting, digital media

Data, Data Everywhere (Part 2)

Yesterday I discussed finding a couple of articles that didn’t make sense in the context of one another.

Image representing IBM as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

The first was about a lack of data from digital media and how that medium needs to be more accountable.  Today’s article is about a study conducted by IBM.  As they said in their release:

The study, entitled “Stepping up to the challenge: How CMOs can start to close the aspirational gap,” is based on findings from face-to-face conversations with more than 500 CMOs from 56 countries and 19 industries worldwide. Conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value (IBV), the study reveals that 94 percent of CMOs believe advanced analytics will play a significant role in helping them reach their goals. However, an increased number of CMOs say their organizations are underprepared to capitalize on the data explosion – 82 percent compared to 71 percent three years before.

In other words, there is already too much information crossing the desks of the folks in marketing and the people in charge can’t make sense of what they have now.  It’s only going to get worse as the marketing information generated from mobile and social continue to grow.  Is digital media not accountable as claimed by the head of the ANA or is it TOO accountable and overwhelming as found by this study?

These two pieces taken together point out the reality of marketing these days.  We are awash in an ocean of data and it’s no longer about “do we have the information?” but “can we find the right information among all of the data we have?”  I’ve had clients who told me they had little transparency into what was going on with their customers but because they didn’t have a thorough understanding of data systems they already had in place – web analytics, social media measures, etc. – they were wrong.

The claim that digital isn’t accountable and lacks data is a negotiating position, similar in my mind to the dance that goes on each year before the networks begin to sell in their upfront season.  If anything, the fault with digital is that it’s still relatively new and old ways of thinking about media and data are changing (or should be).  So yes, to paraphrase the Rime Of The Ancient Mariner, there’s data data everywhere but I think there’s plenty to drink. Maybe even too much. What’s your take?

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Filed under digital media, Huh?

Marketing From A New Perspective

IBMconducts a survey of marketing professionals each year and the results are put out in a document called “The State Of Marketing.”

Image representing IBM as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

If you want to see a presentation about it, you can click through here to read 28 very interesting slides.  Generally, the document talks about how the role of marketing has expanded to let marketing take a lead role in the entirety of the customer experience but the part that I found most interesting was this:

More must be done to link insight to action for online visitor data…high performing companies leverage their online data in other channels.

Yet we still see the silos in place that are limiting the effectiveness of what activity is out there:

  • Only 22% currently run social tactics as part of integrated campaigns
  • 79% run social marketing in silos discretely and on an ad hoc basis
  • 51% marketers don’t use social media data to inform decision about marketing offers and messages.

The document goes on to talk about the need to integrate systems, budgets, and alignment.  Hard to argue with any of that and as companies change their marketing tactics from push to pull, they’re going to encounter another barrier:  time.  Whether we call it content marketing, inbound marketing, or something else, the purchase cycle is different for these types of messages and this kind of media.  The expansion of platforms from one main screen (the TV) to multiple screens (computers, mobile devices) is a huge contributor to the complexity of not just the message but also form factor.  As eMarketer stated in their summary of the report:

The continued fracturing of the media landscape has made it increasingly difficult for marketers to reach customers in large numbers. The poll found that the largest percentage of respondents, 41%, named the growth of marketing channels and devices as the top challenge to their company over the next few years.

It’s hard to change perspective, particularly when what we’re trying to hit is a changing and moving target.  This report is proof of that.  The thing we can all try to do as marketers is to keep an open mind, focus on the customer and not our own internal power bases, and look on this as a huge opportunity, not as a massive pain in the rear.  It’s a new perspective – I think those are always exciting.  You?

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A roll of punched tape

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When I was in high school, I learned BASIC programming.  We connected to a mainframe computer someplace by using a phone coupler and dialing in.  There was no monitor; every interaction with the computer was typed on a long sheet of paper.  Programs were written and submitted via punch-tape.  I know – ancient history.  But some of what I learned is applicable today and I want to discuss on bit of logic coders use all the time which has business implications (or might even be a best-practice): the “if-then” statement. Continue reading

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