Che Guevara once said, ‘the revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall’.

So in digital, how many of us are catching apples as opposed to shaking trees?

So, I want to spend a few minutes today to encourage you to shake more tress.  Not so much in your day to day of digital or social media but more about, how you can shape and influence your environment so that your strategies and programs can have greater impact.

Ultimately, this is about changing the businesses we work in.  It’s about digitizing them.

So far, we have seen a lot of change in the last 10 years.  I won’t talk about the key trends in digital, as you already know them or anyway could find a brilliant infographic on your ipad whilst I speak.

What we’ve been doing for over 10 years as marketers have now been formalized.

So we know from McKinsey’s Consumer Decision Journey or Google’s ZMOT studies that the consumer has changed.  So we all have teams in search, web, social, mobile, e-commerce and analytics but to what extent have we fundamentally changed we run the business because of the digitization of consumers.  I’m not sure that this is the case especially in more established companies.

I know we are all spending more on digital, we are all recruiting digital marketers but to what extend are we truly changing the business at the core.

Why should you care?

Well do you have those days when you feel that your boss just doesn’t get your new resource plan for growing social or that your analogue marketing colleagues are paying lip-service to a new social strategy?  Or your agencies either get the digital part and not the bigger picture.   You need senior management, your colleagues, your agencies, your business to understand and embrace this digital revolution if you really want digital to fly in your business.

Why you and not the CEO or board?

Do you ever think about why you became a digital marketer?   Why you love it and why you are prepared to make the case for it every day, often with folk who may not really get it.

I think that one of the reasons we love what we do is because we love innovation.  Interesting to see that at a Forrester Digital Marketing Summit a few weeks ago, the day’s topics converged on the topic of digital innovation and our role to champion it

I think that digitizing business is a common cause for all us digital marketers and that we can help each other with shared experiences.  It’s as if some of the companies that we have worked for have figured out business the hardware and we need to make the software to works in a joined up way to serve the digitized consumer.

Is this making any sense yet?

Let me pull out my favourite example.

Anyone know what service Nike is launching at the end of the week?

A new basketball boot with performance analytics!

The new Nike Hyperdunk+ is the latest service from the digitizing business that is Nike.

Time for some digital eye-candy; take a look.

A couple of years ago, Stefan Olander global VP of digital at Nike and his colleagues pitched the plan to create a digital division to their CEO in Portland, Oregon.  The principles included:

–          Changing Nike into more of a software company and adopting the accompanying values (like you see in a Google or a Facebook)

–          Thinking service not products

–          Making sure products are connected

–          Big data is key – collecting it via product or smartphone and making it useful for consumers & business

–          Building community is critical

–          But it is all true to one of the company’s goals which is to help athlete’s improve their game

–          Ultimately, the data becomes performance analytics which becomes part of the consumers coaching system – a simple and powerful value proposition

Stefan produced a book that sums up digitization perfectly.  He wrote it with Ajaz Ahmed, Chairman of AKQA.  Its called Velocity and if you haven’t read, download it today.

So, how do we go about digitizing the companies we work for?

I think there are 5 key areas fundamental to business digitization:

  1. CEO/C-suite
    A while ago, I used to do a presentation to young marketers and I’d put up a slide with the question: what’s the definition of marketing?
    I’d invite answers from the audience and get the expected mix of answers.

Then I’d put up the next slide:

‘what-ever the CEO thinks it is’

After you’ve worked for a few companies you realize that all marketing is not created equal and clearly the same applies to digital.

CEO defines the culture; and that shapes how digital turns up in your business.

The extent to which the CEO prioritizes digital is key to our long term success.  For example,
Does he give digital to the marketing director or does he hire a digital director to sit on his board

i.      Does he leave digital to the marketers or visit Silicon Valley digital businesses himself

ii.      Examples from places I’ve worked:

  1. Unilever – first internet marketing manager 15 years ago; I know second-hand that the CMO, Keith Weed has personally spent time in Silicon Valley
  2. – Brent Hoberman is a digital native and obsessed with user-experience.  What was interesting was that analogue marketers like me took a long time to truly understand
  3. RIM – more cautious approach.  The websites were brochure-ware until 2008 and social media was slow.  In fact, there was some suggestion of RIM taking some legal action against bloggers.  In 2009, RIM appointed its first global VP of digital marketing and social media was accelerated because the VP was an employee of almost 10 years and had the CEO’s trust to grow social
  4. Philips – CEO is learning fast and so is the business.  Some business groups are more advanced than others.

iii.      Actions to take:

  1. Make sure the CEO is up to speed – directly or indirectly, eg., reverse mentoring
  2. Use senior management, agencies or key digital players like Google or Facebook
  3. Make sure that the C-suite commit to the same digital capability programs as all marketers
  4. Get them to talk about digital at conferences
  5. Cheat – get a digital NEC – I recently learnt that Apple’s CEO sits on the board of Nike
  6. Marketing Team – structure & responsibilities
    1. What digital responsibilities do they have?
    2. What is their level of understanding
    3. What’s the mix of talent in the marketing team and what’s the seniority?
    4. Most importantly, how do you structure a marketing team in the digital world?
      Story – during the last presidential election, a fundamental change was made in how the Obama team was structured.  Typically, in political campaigning it’s a linear hierarchy – campaigns head with a comms head, with a digital lead with an IT lead

i.      They changed it with all 3 reporting into the campaigns head

ii.      Suddenly, both digital and IT are one step away from the presidential candidate

iii.      If Digital is so important, is that reflected in your organization?

    1. You’ve got to have evolving digital capability programs
    2. You need smart ways of keeping up with the sheer speed of digital evolution
    3. Its more than just training

i.      That said, who’s had a digital course in the last 3 months?

ii.      Who’s marketing (non-digital) colleagues have completed the courses?

iii.      Other functions & senior management?

  1. It’s about creating a single language for digital across the business and a common way of working.  Ultimately, it will help create the new software culture you need for digitization.  By the way, it makes topics like governance even easier.
  2. At BlackBerry, we created courses across key digital touch-points for the team and I pitched it to as any marketing and commercial folk as I could.  We filled a class-room
  3. At Philips, we have put several hundred marketing, sales, IT & design folk through a digital capability program and encouraged teams to review, challenge, debate & improve the content. You could call it a social approach to digital capability.
  4. ACTIONS: digital capability audit, create an integrated program and take a social media approach to language, learning, process and sharing best practice
  5. IT for Marketing
    As part of digitization, we need to get our heads around the buzzwords of Big Data and Internet of Things.  IT is the backbone of digital marketing and as we all move to ‘always on’ marketing, a well thought IT infra-structure is critical.  As digital marketing investment has rocketed so has the marketing IT investment.  Most digital marketers don’t write code or deal with Apache servers yet Marketing IT shouldn’t be left to IT alone.

I’m not saying you need to have a CMTO, which have started to crop in the US, but you need really close collaboration between marketing and IT.  Really close.  There needs to be one IT joined up road-map for all aspects of digital: web, social, mobile, CRM etc

  1. Connected products & services
    As digital marketers working on brands, we’ve got quite good at leveraging the new consumer decision journey and ZMOT.  We’ll manage consumers at every relevant digital touchpoint but we then we sell them an analogue product.  As I said at the beginning, Nike are showing us the way with Nike Plus, the Fuel-band and now the Hyperdunk+.

Connected products make sense because of the penetration of smartphones & tablets and because of the technology works and is becoming affordable.  Eg., NFC chips have gone from $2 to 20c in 6 months.

Built in the right way, they add value to the consumer and help companies listen & learn.
Some of the themes you see are personalization & coaching.

A couple of examples.

One from Adidas as its still Euro 2012.  The boot with a brain.  Not sure if they help with penalities.

One from Fiat.  The Eco-drive helps you become a better driver and so you save money on fuel and help the environment.

At Philips, our approach is think about sensors, connectivity & data analytics.

i.      More than just apps, it’s about building ecosystems

ii.      The way we look at this is around 3 simple principles:

  1. Add sensors to a product
  2. Connect it to a primary device like a smartphone
  3. Collect and analyse data in a way that adds value to the consumer

                                                          iii.      At Philips we have several projects.  The details are all confidential but to illustrate.  Philips Sonicare.  We can take a toothbrush, add sensors, connect it to your smartphone and make it into an oral coaching device.  You can share your usage data with your dentist.

    Businesses need to digitize.  They must go beyond digital marketing and change at their core.

Digital marketers need to drive this and take ownership.
5 principles:


Marketing & Marketing team structure

DM Capability

IT for Marketing

Connected Products

You have to drive the digitization.  You have to shake the trees and be the revolutionary.