How will technology adoption change the way in which marketers reach and influence consumers in Asia-Pacific over the next decade? How is Microsoft evolving its marketing strategy to reflect these changes?
Good morning, my name is Andrew Pickup.It’s great to be here and to have the opportunity to share with you our thoughts on some of the key trends that we see taking place over the next decade and how technology will impact our ability to understand and engage consumers in Asia-Pacific.
With that in mind, today I would like to share with you 3 perspectives on this topic:Firstly, what are the key consumer trends we see taking place in this region over the next decade. These include economic, technological, changes in consumer behaviour, media consumption etc,Secondly, based on those trends, how is Microsoft’s marketing strategy evolving over time. At Microsoft, we invest over $1bn per year in marketing our products and services and, since our customers represent a significant volume of users - and are often early-adopters - of technology our own “digital journey” may offer an interesting and relevant perspective.Finally, to illustrate some of the key themes we will discuss by sharing with you how we launched Windows 7 here in Asia-Pacific.
To begin with, we need to recognize and appreciate that dramatic and fundamental changes are taking place in Asia Pacific at this time and these will continue over the next decade,Historically, dramatic changes rarely occur as a result of an isolated cause, more often when several powerful forces collide to shift collective perspectives. We have identified four of these disruptions that are currently altering Asia as we know it.They are Economic, Technological, changes in Consumer behavior and the evolving nature of Asian Brands.
Most independent experts, economists and financial analysts agree that the pendulum of economic gravity has been moving from the developed markets of the West towards the Emerging Markets of Asia over the last few years. What’s more, the recent economic downturn, including the growing debt burden of the developed markets, have served to accelerate this gradual shift in the centre of gravity towards Asia.Clearly, these are exciting times for our region; THIS is OUR decade.Just as Rome was the center of the world in Roman times, we are now on the brink of an era where we will witness Asia’s rise to power.
For many decades Asia has been associated with consumer electronics, but only as a low-cost manufacturing base. The majority of the output from the region was not for domestic consumption, rather for export to the developed markets of the West.Today, however, income-levels of the Emerging Markets of Asia are rising at twice the speed of the USA and Europe, leading to a burgeoning middle-class.As significant discretionary income becomes available to many Asians for the first time, the focus of consumer-electronics in Asia will change, from primarily a low-cost assembler of products/services to an increasingly rampant consumer of them.’By 2015, Asian’s middle-classes will have doubled to a billion and half of all the planet’s Internet users will be in this region. Make no mistake, this is our decade…
Technology is the second disruption that we have to recognize.
We see 5 key technological trends over the next decade..Computing Power & Storage – Moore’s Law, which was first proposed in 1965, has served the consumer electronics well for nearly half a century. It will certainly continue to do so over the next decade i.e. a computing power will double once every 2 years while prices remain constant or – alternatively – the same processing power will be delivered for half the cost, bringing millions of Asians into the digital era.Location Sensing – increasingly, consumer technology will embed location-based services in a natural, seamless and unobtrusive way that will enhance the consumer’s experience.Ubiquitous Connectivity – a combination of government policy, major telecommunication investments and industry competition will bring affordable “all-you-can-eat” broadband offerings to millions.Pervasive Displays – the cost of displays will continue to decline over the next decade. The cost of plasma screens has declined 90% over the last decade, whilst LED displays have reduced by over 40%. This trend will continue over the next decade and the diversity of displays will vary from the size of a watch to the size of a building. This will fundamentally change outdoor advertising, for example. Natural Interaction- perhaps the most fundamental change that will take place will be the way in which we interact with the device. For the last 30 years the primary input and navigational mechanism for the PC, for example, has been a combination of the keyboard and mouse. But, with tablet/slate computing, you are beginning to see the rudiments of touch, swiping, gesture, pinching as a means of instructions. This represents a far more organic and natural form of interaction. As a glimpse of the future, we need only witness the recent phenomenal success of the X-Box Kinect, which uses the entire body as an input device. This product is officially recognized the Guinness Book of Records as the Fastest-Selling Consumer Electronics device in history, selling 8 million units in its first 60 days of launch. The unprecedented popularity of this product demonstrates how increasing the level of natural interaction with technology expands the market for technology – bringing in both very young consumers and senior citizens for example – in a way that the traditional mouse/keyboard may not.Over the next decade, all of the above will become increasingly pervasive and extremely common.What I want you to take away is that the revolution of technology is way beyond the introduction of a new tablet, a new cell phone or a new website, it’s transformational in nature and will affect how we communicate, collaborate, interact, socialize and share information globally.
I would now like to turn to changes in consumer behaviours over the next decade.
Consumers of today are adopting an increasingly digital lifestyle in which everyday tasks are executed digitally and devices and software are becoming part of the fundamental fabric of the way in which we communicate, collaborate, connect and entertain.At term has been created to describe how people – especially the younger generation – are using technology to optimizing their lives.The term being used is So Lo Mo.
So Lo Mo stands for Social, Local, Mobile.Moving forward, companies will increasingly be able to create value for their customers, differentiate themselves from the competition and charge a premium for their products and services by optimizing their offerings for a Social, Local and Mobile experience.Let me illustrate each of these trends and give you a couple of examples.
Thanks to a plethora of new tools and technologies, the consumers of today are more social than ever. Consumers use social platforms to Share experiences,Create community,Preserve memoriesOne example is X-Box, the world’s leading gaming platform. On it’s own, it’s an amazingly realistic, interactive and fun experience. But the experience can be enhanced by adding a social element to it, in this case, X-Box Live, our multi-gaming, Internet-enabled experience. This enables gamers from Buenos Aires to Barcelona to Bangkok to challenge one another at their favorite games. This has not only proven extremely popular – 35 million subscribers to date - it is also one of the ways we have differentiated ourselves from the competition – in this case Play Station – to win market share and become the #1 gaming platform in the world.Another example of the power of social is Bing. Bing is Microsoft’s search-engine offering, that competes with Google. As you can appreciate, taking on the 800lb gorilla in that market is tough. And you are unlikely to make progress unless you bring something truly new and compelling to the market. One of the ways we are seeking to differentiate ourselves is developing “social search” by integrating Facebook date with searches. In this example, a consumer is seeking information about hotels in Hawaii and in the third link you can see that two of the consumers friends recommend that particular hotel. Delivering that specific information within that contextual setting enhances the consumer experience and helps us to differentiate our product.
The reason why integrating social elements to your products & services is important is because Asia is widely-recognized as the most socially-engaged nation on earth. Whether you are looking at the absolute numbers, the % penetration of the % growth, Asian countries dominate the rankings of sites such as Facebook, Twitter etc.
Living Locally means consumers letting others know where they are in order to share and find information faster and better, not to mention earned social status and location-based rewards. Location has taken off in HUGE ways recently. Almost every application out there has some element of location in it, it seems. Take a photo, and tell people where you took it. Post a status update, and sharing your location immediately imbues it with so much more context. In short, location-based services are here to stay. The relevance that they lend to our interactions makes them so much more powerful.Today, services such as FourSquare, Facebook Places and Loopt offer a mechanism for doing this, but it is somewhat clunky. Moving forward, consumer electronics will embed this added-value technology in a totally seamless, integrated way.
“Living mobile” means no longer being tethered to our desks in order to remain connected. On the run, on the road, on our mobiles, we will all still remain wired into this much larger, global network of information and people. In the future, Mobile will transcend the device: Today, the limits of technology define the mobile computing experience, forcing us to adapt to the capabilities of the device or gadget we happen to have at hand. Tomorrow, technology will have the power, flexibility, and intelligence to adapt to you—location and context will determine the most natural interface for the environment you are in. Arrive at your hotel and your devices will automatically connect to your room’s display wall and audio system. As you attend meetings and walk around the city, technology will capture what is going on around you so you can recall what you saw, heard, and said. Mobile is particularly important in Asia where internet access is driven primarily on mobiles in the developing countries.
Mobile is particularly important in Asia where internet access is driven primarily on mobiles in the developing countries.Because of the relatively low-level of penetration of existing technology that exists in Asia-Pacific, the uptake of mobile will be more accelerated than in developed countries where Telcos (and consumers) have billions of $$ invested in fixed-line investments.
The final trend we will see relates to the value and nature of brands and, especially, how increasingly affluent Asian consumers will choose to spend their disposable income. Traditionally, Asia has produced relatively few global brands. Will the newly middle-class Asian choose to buy locally or will they select Western brands (as has happened in newly-rich Russia, for example)
Many of you will be familiar with the Smiling Curve concept.Originally proposed by Sam Shih, the founder and chairman of Taiwanese PC giant Acer, it describes the value-added potential offered at various stages of the consumer-electronics industry value chain. The highest value-add, and therefore, gross profits are offered at the edges of the curve, not in the middle. Companies need to either focus on innovation/patent technology (see Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola’s mobile business) or focus on building a direct relationship with consumers by developing brands.It will be interesting to see how Asian technology manufacturers seek to capture the growing Asian consumer dollar over the next decade. Many will need to navigate the tricky path from low-cost assembler of technologyOne Asian company that has successfully done this is Samsung. 20 years ago, Samsung – along with Korean companies generally - had a poor image and reputation in developed markets. They have improved their quality, innovation and design and made significant investments to create a brand that has enabled them to differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded market.
So those are the four disruptive forces that we see taking place today..
Now lets look at how Microsoft’s marketing has evolved – and will continue to evolve – to better reflect some of the trends we have just discussed.
For us, this has been an evolution.Our journey and evolution as a digital and interactivemarketing practioner has been interesting and sometimes challenging.We start with one significantadvantage. That is 94% of all PCs come pre-installed with our software and that the majority of those PCs are purchased in order to connect with the Internet. That is a major advantage over an primarily “offline” brand like Starbucks, BMW or Burger King, for example.So we should be leaders in this area. But 4years ago we were not. We did not have a strong strategy, infrastructure, tools,expertise or capability in this area.You can debate where we were on this evolutionary map, but we were certainly not at the vertically-orientated homo sapien end of the chart at that time
One of the key drivers of a shift in our thinking was changes in the consumer’s consumption of media.This started 4 years ago and here are the latest figures. The consumer is spending less and less time being exposed to the traditional media of print, TV and radio and more and more time on the Internet in its various forms (SEO< SEM, Social, Digital, Email). Is this is the average consumer, you can imagine what the numbers look like for a Microsoft customer or prospect – they are even more focused on Internet usage.
You might think that this is limited to just the developed markets, but when you look at the key markets (and metropolitan areas) of Asia, the same trend appears: consumers are spending less and less time on traditional media and more and more time on the Internet.
Part of making any cultural change is setting clear goals that provide a sock to the system and change perceptions and behaviours.This statement by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at an important industry eventwas an important one and, I am pleased to report,is a target we have met and exceeded.
Nowadays, when thinking about planning and executing a digital marketing campaign, we think in terms of 3 digitalnetworks:OWNED AND OPERATED MEDIA: This is the media we own. It might be as simple a newsletter list, a website, a blog or (in the case of Microsoft) can be a fully-fledged media network in its own right. PAID MEDIA. This is buying digital media space we buy on other organizations networks.EARNED MEDIA: This is media that is not paid for, but you “earn”. Wedo this by creating content of value e.g. a blog post, viral video etc that other choose to pass onto their social media community. Note the symbiotic relationship between the different types of media. The overall strategy is clearly to drive the paid and earned media audiences over to your owned and operated platforms.
Based on the changing dynamics, we have shifted the way we market or sell to our target audience. We recognize the need to listen, understand, cultivate, engage, share, integrate and ultimately drive advocacy among our audience.This is our relationship engine that we have used as a framework to drive our campaigns.
Finally, we needed to create a culture internally that encouraged employees to be active participants in the social-media revolution that was taking place.That means providing them with the necessary tools, systems, processes, education, training, policies and encouragement to play a role.An independent research company called NetProspex recently identified the top 50 companies in the world with the most socially-engaged employs, based on the volume and frequency of social interactions with the communities they serve. I am pleased to say that Microsoft came top of that study, achieving a score that was 50% higher than our nearest competitor.
Now let’s take some of those principles and demonstrate how we have applied them within a particular campaign, in this case the launch of Windows 7 in Asia-Pacific.
Windows 7 is the latest version of our market-leading operating system.
In launching Windows 7, we set 3 simple, but ambitious goals for the product.
We had a four-stage strategy in launching this new version. The key was, throughout each of these stages, we placed the user at the centre of our thinking. And the power of the Internet and, especially, digital and social media enabled us to do this.
The first thing that we wanted to do was to “find our voice”.Although, Windows is chosen by users 94 out of 100 times when selecting a personal computer, because we were the de facto standard our users were not always as vocal as Apple’s. We wanted to capture that.
Ironically, this notorious advertising campaign by Apple provided us with the inspiration for us finding our voice.
So this is the campaign we created.It was called “I’m a PC”, it featured real customers and illustrated the rich diversity of people, situations, scenarios, solutions and usages of a Windows-based PC user.Here is the TV execution…
We also asked the 1bn users to post their videos of how they were using Windows in their lives. Thousands of Windows users across the world did so. This was our first large-scale adventure into user-generated content.At last, we had found our “voice”
The second stage of the campaign was creating an emotional connection with the brand.Again, by focusing on the user, we knew from research that a typical Apple user was far more emotionally connected to the Apple brand. Part of this was the fact that they were in a minority of only 6% of all computer users. And there is a stronger emotional bond amongst the minority than being in the 94%, more obvious and generic choice.To create an emotional connection, we again used real consumers in real scenarios, But now added an extra element that most people can connect with and have empathy for – children.
The third component of the campaign was to reach out to the various communities prior to the actual launch and lever their passion and creativity to support our efforts.
Ourcommitment to placing the user at the centre of what we do, started before we even shipped the product. By far our largest community was the beta-testers who previewed the product and made a vital contribution to the finished version’s quality.Windows 7 is the most thoroughly-tested operating system in the history of computing withover 8 million downloading the free beta to try it. The largest every beta we had done before was 1 million.It is the power of the Internet and the increasing availability of always on, all-you-eat broadband that enabled us to do this.
In every subsidiary, we identified the most influential bloggers amongst IT users and reached out to educate them on the new product 6 months before it became available to the general public. We also encouraged them to create and post content about the new version and share it with their followers. On an ongoing basis, we established and developed a relationship with this influential group of core bloggers.
As you can appreciate, given the footprint of Windows in the market, the amount of blogging and online commentary activity being made at launch time is huge. One challenge we have is how to monitor, capture, aggregate and make sense of what is being said.One internal tool we have developed is Microsoft “Looking Glass” that captures commentary, taxonomizes and aggregates it and then enables us to respond to it, either individually or in a broader way.
We use Looking Glass to aggregate the issues and then to create content and publish them via our own “owned and operated” media.This is then picked up by our earned media, such as Facebook and Twitter followers and picked up by the social-media “echo chamber”This is something that any company can do and all companies must do moving forward i.e. listen, identify the issues, create their own content to address them and publish via their own media. The community will then ensure that content is retweeeted, favourited etc.
Finally, it was time to launch the new product…
The concept behind the launch campaign was that 1bn users helped us to design Windows 7. Again, this is all about placing the user at the centre of our marketing strategy.
Here is the TV campaign which ran in 22 countries across the globe, including localized versions here in Asia.
And here is what it looked like in posters, print ads and other TV executions.
Finally, one of the outcomes of Looking Glass implementation was that we were able to dedicate an entire site on Microsoft.com solely to what users were saying – NOT us – about the product.This is a perfect example of what I described at the beginning of this presentations i.e. the community is stronger than the brand.So what we chose to do was simply aggregate and host the 2.9m comments about Windows 7 across the key social media sites like Facebook, Twitter etc – and showcase that content.So much more powerful and credible than us simply saying “Windows 7 is great”
If you click into any user comment, you can go right to the actual tweet of Facebook comment.
This proved so popular, we took it beyond Microsoft.com and onto other social media and traditional media sites.Again, a good example of integrating paid, owned and operated and earned media.
Now, let’s go back and see if we were successful in our original goals.Here’s a reminder of what they were.Now, clearly we invest a lot tracking each of these in some detail and I am not in a position to share with this audience commercially sensitive information. But I can share with you key trends that are already well-documented and in the public domain.
From a customer satisfaction perspective, Windows 7 has been a tremendous success, enjoying the highest levels of customer satisfaction of any operating system we have shipped.Independent research shows 93% of users of Windows 7 are satisfied or very satisfied with the product. Intel, one of the early adopters of Windows 7, reported that of those employees using Windows 7 today 97% would recommend it to their fellow workers.The reason for these unprecedented satisfaction levels? The 8m beta-testers prior to launching the product made a highly-significant contribution.
In addition, AdWeek produces an annual survey of the most talked about brands online.In 2009, Microsoft was the most talked about brand online and the level of positive commentary was significantly higher than Apple.The survey specifically called out the launch of Windows 7 as a major contributory factor to Microsoft achieving this status.
Finally, lets look at customer adoption of Windows 7.It’s actually quite easy to monitor this as every time you visit a website, for example, it can record which OS you are using, so the data is very publicly and broadly available.In summary, Windows 7 is the fastest-selling operating system in computing history and is currently being adopted at twice the speed of its predecessor.
Overall, we are delighted with the launch of Windows 7, which has exceeded all our expectations.
In closing, let’s look at what is really happening to marketing today.25 years ago, marketing was very simple.Companies developed and manufactured a product and customers paid us for that product.To drive demand for the product, there were two forma of marketing – “advertising” (in its broadest sense, so including events, shows collateral etc) and PR (earned media in its broadest sense).The press had to maintain a good working relationship with the brand company because they relied upon them as the major source of their information. That is how the PR industry, and PR agencies, started.
The Connected-ConsumerCustomers can now share and access opinions – about your company, products, brands competitors, easily, instantly and globally.They don’t need the brand to “inform” them anymore. Brand are on the outside, looking into the conversation they once dominated.
So, if we return to our original diagram again, we can see a number of fundamental challenges to the traditional marketing model.Customers are now connected and organised and they are able to share their opinions with one another on a massive, global scale via blogs, social networks and ratings sites.This means that customers are becoming increasingly less susceptible to “advertising” (in its broadest sense) and value the opinion of strangers more than informative power of the brand.In addition, any journalist can access 1,000 different opinions/perspectives about your product or service simply by using a search engine that has indexed the sites were these opinions are posted.Net-net, from a marketers perspective there has been a fundamental shift in the balance of power and influence from brands to the power of the “community”And, my recommendation is to be successful moving forward marketers need to invest more of their , energy and dollars at the bottom of this slide than at the top.
1950-70’s – era of transaction marketing similar to the original diagram I showed you.1980-2000’s – era of “relationship marketing”. Customers were identified as individuals, profiled, targeted individually via direct mail, responses recorded and segmentation, target and messaging defined as a result.21st century – customers are connected to each other. They want to be part of the marketing process itself from design, targeting, distribution etc. Smart companies will participate in an active dialogue with them and their communities.
It’s all about listening and responding.Consumers are talking to us via electronic platforms each and every day. Are we listening?
“Asian economies will dominate the
list of the biggest economies by 2020. Now, more than ever, country selection will matter.”<br />Citi Group, Wall Street Journal, January 2011<br />Asia: The new centre of gravity<br />
Asia: The next billion<br />“The
middle-class in Asia, exc. Japan, will rise from 570m in 2010 to 945m in 2015. To put that in perspective, this will be nearly three times the population of the USA” <br /> Mr & Mrs Asia, Asia’s Middle-Class Revealed CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets Report.<br />
“Asia is the most socially
engaged region of the world on the web. This includes activities like blogging, social networking, social bookmarking and engaging in social chatter. They carry brands through their activities and peer-to-peer conversations.”<br />Source: Harvard Business Review 2010<br />
“While fewer than 20% of
Asia Pacific mobile users currently have smartphones, interest in upgrading is high: nearly half of consumers intend on buying a smartphone in 2011”<br />Nielsen Report, July 2011<br />MOBILE<br />MO<br />
“Over 50% of Microsoft’s marketing
communications will be delivered via digital channels by 2010”<br /> Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft<br /> 2007 Association of American Advertising Agencies Conference<br />