Tony Quin

Intro
“ SoDA has truly

become a global
organization made up
of the most respected
digital agencies and
creativ...
commitment to the highest standards of excellence has
produced a peer group that is different from any other
in the digita...
Angèle Beausoleil

Foreword
Welcome to our 2H 2013 edition of The SoDA Report.
For both marketers and agencies, we offer s...
The SoDA Report
Team & Partners
Content Development
Angèle Beausoleil

Editor-in-Chief of The SoDA Report,
Founder & Chief...
journalism, education and the international non-profit
world, the transition to lead SoDA has been a welcome
opportunity t...
other positions, he is an Executive Academy member of
IADAS, Executive Juror of the Webbys, and Grand Juror
of CRESTA.
Jea...
SapientNitro, teaches at the Institute of Design and
lives in Chicago. Zachary works with companies to
become successful i...
Partners
Cover Design

Organizational Sponsor

Content/Production

The SoDA Report
Production Team

Struck
www.struck.com
...
Industry Insider
Section Preface
The Digital Agency Paradox: Teaching Clients to Do What We Do
A Lesson from a “Learn Ever...
The

SoDAReport

Section 1 : Introduction

Traditionally, the digital agency has ruled the
technology and digital producti...
the shift in the way agencies are structuring their teams
- allowing for more innovation, shorter timelines, and
better pr...
The

SoDAReport

Section 1 : Industry Insider

David Maren, VP, Brand Strategy & Innovation, EffectiveUI

The Digital Agen...
“ It’s exceedingly

difficult to create
exceptional digital
experiences and
campaigns when
a barrier exists
between design...
“ Clients seeking to

bring great digital
experiences to life
without agency help
typically find that such
efforts often r...
“ When we educate

clients on the intricacies
of what we do, they end
up understanding the
value of our services
even more...
The

SoDAReport

Section 1 : Industry Insider

Kim Maida, Software Engineer, Enlighten

A lesson from a “Learn
Everything ...
“ Once you know your

craft, be willing to
explore the tools that
make that craft easier
and more efficient.

”

The “Lear...
“ It is critical to

understand when to
use tools, frameworks,
libraries and other
resources the
community has created
to ...
with their teams and establish workflows and tools
that best suit the project at hand. It is also beneficial to
share expe...
The

SoDAReport

Section 1 : Industry Insider

Interview with Scott Morris, Senior Marketing Director
at Adobe for Creativ...
from the planning and strategy teams prior to creative
concepting should be the true starting point.
MACPHEDRAN: How do yo...
of strides in this area, what new tools can we expect to
see?

“ We need to develop

a more responsive
and agile approach ...
like Basecamp or the Atlassian Suite are great at sharing
files and text documentation, but not at expressing
dynamic data...
The

SoDAReport

Section 1 : Industry Insider

Jack Skeels, CEO, Co-Founder, AgencyAgile

Brands: How to Get Agile
with Yo...
Understanding the “Two Guys and a
Bong” Agency Model

One of the largest dilemmas that agencies face is
growth. While a te...
“ One of the tragedies

of large brand-agency
relationships is the
distance between
the people who are
really doing the wo...
to date with them will not only put you ahead of your
peers, but will give you the knowledge and real-world
experiences of...
The

SoDAReport

Section 1 : Industry Insider

Research Insight

The Ever-Shrinking Purchase Window
Digital Empowerment Le...
Purchase Windows

Question: How comfortable do you feel making purchase
decisions for the following product and service ca...
SHOPPING
Shoppers are comfortable making quick purchase
decisions.
When asked how they felt about their product purchase
d...
Modern Marketers
Section Preface
The Six Signs of Analog Craving
Integrating Multiple Agencies into One Brand Team
Job Des...
The

SoDAReport

Section 2 : Modern Marketers

Some days I think psychopathy must be the route
to business success. Those ...
better talent intent on doing incredible things for
humans.
Here’s to fewer psychopaths in business – and fewer
psychopath...
The

SoDAReport

Section 2 : Modern Marketers

Jessica Elefante

The Six Signs of
Analog Craving
Jessica is a brand strate...
“ We are no longer

beating our competitors.
We are racing to beat
ourselves. Truth be
told: we are the media
clutter that...
As marketers we have been taught that we need to
“break-through the clutter,” “push the envelope” and
“disrupt.” Each adve...
4.	 o a double take before creating your “much
D
needed app” to check the mobile-friendly box
on your marketing strategy. ...
The

SoDAReport

Section 2 : Modern Marketers

Stacie Hoffmeister, Global Marketing Director,
Belvedere Vodka at LVMH Moet...
From one brand leader to another, here are
some ideas on how to reduce the time it takes
to get to high levels of team pro...
4.	 et to know the team on a personal level
G

“ When you hire a

best-in-class agency,
treat them that way.
Then they wil...
2.		 odel behaviors that build trust
M

“ Experience on

globally-dispersed
teams (13 years) and
in marriage (14 years)
ha...
5.	Allow natural leadership to supersede titles
and hierarchy
Adopt the attitude that teams are flat organizations.
While ...
The

SoDAReport

Section 2 : Modern Marketers

Josh Dean,
VP Brand Communications, Chobani, Inc.

Job Description: VP
of M...
successful (kudos Red Bull)? You need to provide that
challenge, ask the questions that nobody would ask,
and produce unex...
Tap sources of inspiration daily, if not hourly
Run and when in doubt, look no further than your
mobile. For this role you...
The

SoDAReport

Section 2 : Modern Marketers

Emily Schildt, Director of Digital Engagement,
Chobani, Inc.

Cultivating a...
“ We know that

modern consumers
make decisions based
on functional benefits
and price, but also
on participative and
emot...
of human resources, we believe our commitment is in
keeping this practice in-house – which we owe much of
our success to.
...
People Power
Section Preface
The Power of People through an Ethnographic Lens
Simple and Valuable Recruiting Advice
Focusi...
The

SoDAReport

Section 3 : Introduction

As technology becomes more sophisticated,
understanding its uses is critical. T...
Beswick, from Phenomblue, smartly uses the metaphor
of the rhizome to share her creative method adapted to
the complexitie...
The

SoDAReport

Section 3 : People Power

Tracy Pilar Johnson, PhD,
Director Ethnographic Research, Nurun

The Power of
P...
In more and more situations, businesses are turning to
ethnography for its ability to offer contextual insights
into how p...
“I believe that

businesses turn to
ethnography to
understand how people
use stuff – all those
products, services,
designs...
The

SoDAReport

Section 3 : People Power

Matt Paddock, Director of Engagement,
Grow Interactive

Simple and Valuable
Rec...
First, Know Thyself
None of us perform in a vacuum, so the best candidate
for one team may be a poor fit elsewhere. Too li...
“Predictably, many bad

hires originate with bad
interviews.

”

interviews. Skipping steps, asking weak questions and
fai...
The

SoDAReport

Section 3 : People Power

Julianne Beswick, Design Director,
UX & IxD, Phenomblue

Focusing the
Rhizome
J...
Now, imagine a piece of ginger: its multiplicity
of arms growing every which way. This
complicated biological structure, c...
“In the same way that

users consume media
with split attention,
products are often
designed with split
attention. Such pr...
utility, proving itself to be another unremarkable
tangent within the rhizome. Devoting sufficient
attention and time to d...
Tech Talk
Section Preface
The Personalization of Everything
The Rise of the Interest-Based Network
The Internet of Things:...
The

SoDAReport

Section 4 : Tech Talk

Zachary Paradis
Tech Talk Section Editor
Director of Innovation
Strategy, SapientN...
and more human, interactions between people and
brands. Stephen Foxworthy, Strategy Director at
Reactive, opens the sectio...
Create. Distribute. Monetize. Analyze.
Publish engaging tablet experiences with Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite,
used by l...
The

SoDAReport

Section 4 : Tech Talk

Stephen Foxworthy, Strategy Director, Reactive

The Personalization
of Everything
...
“ As Bill Gates once

famously quipped,
‘Content is King’ but
personalized content
will become the ÜberGalactic Emperor.

...
“ Collecting masses of

data on your customers
is fundamentally
useless, unless you know
what you want to find
out from it...
getting smarter by the minute. Hotels and retailers are
already using advanced techniques such as shopper
tracking, data m...
The

SoDAReport

Section 4 : Tech Talk

Samantha Afetian,
Social Community Strategist, Digitaria

The Rise of the
Interest...
over the social media scene, and brands that
get it stand to reap the benefits.
Interest-Based Networks Explode
There seem...
“ While it is true that

social media as a
whole works best when
brands engage in twoway communication,
interest-based net...
Go big, go niche, or go home: Some marketers will
say that your brand should be everywhere, on every
network, but if you d...
The

SoDAReport

Section 4 : Tech Talk

Tarah Feinberg, CMO & NY Managing Director, KITE

The Internet of Things:
Billions...
“ The possibilities are

actually endless, as
everything in our lives
becomes more connected
and we become more
comfortabl...
Withings creates smart products and apps to take care
of yourself and your loved ones through smart scales,
baby monitors,...
The

SoDAReport

Section 4 : Tech Talk

Interview with Mike
Kuniavsky, Principal
PARC Innovation
Services
Mike Kuniavsky i...
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SoDa Report H2 2013 (Marketing Trends)

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La segunda edición de "The SoDA Report" para el 2013 con información de tendencias y casos presentados por las mentes más influyentes del marketing digital.

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SoDa Report H2 2013 (Marketing Trends)

  1. 1. Tony Quin Intro “ SoDA has truly become a global organization made up of the most respected digital agencies and creative companies in the world. ” Thank you for viewing our second 2013 edition of The SoDA Report. We are delighted that The SoDA Report has become one of the most viewed digital trend publications in the world, with over 140,000 views per issue. In this latest issue, SoDA’s elite membership, partners and other industry leaders provide their latest insights into digital innovation and the blurring borders of digital marketing, customer service and product design. SoDA is gaining unprecedented momentum as the organization enters its seventh year of existence. From a base of 13 founding companies in 2006, the organization has grown to 75 handpicked member companies with 200+ offices worldwide. SoDA has truly become a global network made up of the most respected digital agencies and creative companies in the world. Getting into SoDA is not easy. Only 11% of the companies that applied over the past 12 months have been invited to become a member. It’s a rigorous process. A member must nominate candidate companies. Based on their HQ location, regional membership committees from North America, South America, Europe or Asia then review their work and culture. Those that pass go on to be reviewed by the board, which presents its recommendations to the entire membership for a vote. This direct democracy and
  2. 2. commitment to the highest standards of excellence has produced a peer group that is different from any other in the digital world. What makes SoDA truly unique though is the open and candid culture of the organization. SoDA members share a belief that we gain much more by collaborating than by operating in isolation. So we choose to help each other have better businesses and compete based on the quality of our ideas rather than the mechanics of our businesses. The result is an organization like no other. In the coming year, you will not only see more editions of The SoDA Report, but also SoDA’s expanded presence at SXSW, Cannes and other major industry events, in addition to our own event series. You will see a continuation of our Digital Marketing Roundtable webinars, many open to the public; the growth of our Peer Collaboration Groups that currently involve 800+ members spanning 15 disciplines and topic areas; more developments in our IP defense program; the continued growth of our benchmark studies, unique in our business, and other ambitious initiatives to be announced in the coming months. I hope you find this edition of The SoDA Report valuable and enjoyable. Take the time to explore our website at www.sodaspeaks.com, where you can also sign up for our mailing list and keep informed about upcoming SoDA events. Best wishes, Tony Quin Chairman of the Board, SoDA CEO, IQ Agency
  3. 3. Angèle Beausoleil Foreword Welcome to our 2H 2013 edition of The SoDA Report. For both marketers and agencies, we offer some “secret sauces” to help you navigate the current business climate, stay ahead of technology trends, deliver creative excellence and simplify some of life’s complexities. We entertain you with digital detox recommendations and suggest how agencies and brands can play on the same team. We also cast a spotlight on innovative ethnography techniques and employ the metaphor of a rhizome to help you better understand human behavior and improve your creativity quotient. The issue also presents some back-to-basics on how to operate and structure a successful creative or production company as well as an in-house creative team. For the geeks in all of us, we explore the user-friendliness of new mobile development tools, the effectiveness of creative workflow applications and the promise of wearable technology. Our human vs technology discussion continues with more future gazing into our relationship with technologies and how the Internet of Things is evolving. This volume closes with an exploration into the digital agency’s role as both a client and consumer advocate, and how we can facilitate and empower better dialogue between brands and consumers— and between agencies and clients. Enjoy! Angèle Beausoleil Editor-in-Chief
  4. 4. The SoDA Report Team & Partners Content Development Angèle Beausoleil Editor-in-Chief of The SoDA Report, Founder & Chief Innovation Officer of Agent Innovateur Inc. Angèle Beausoleil has spent the last two decades working with digital agencies, technology companies and consumer brands on identifying market trends, leading research and development projects through innovation labs and crafting strategic plans. Today, she balances her graduate studies (PhD in Applied Innovation) with teaching Thinking Strategies at UBC’s d.studio, and a strategic marketing consulting practice. Angèle is also the Editor-in-Chief for The SoDA Report and is an advisory board member for the Merging+Media Association, Vancouver International Film Festival, Kibooco (kids edutainment start-up) and the Digital Strategy Committee for the University of British Columbia (UBC). Angèle lives in Vancouver with her husband and son. Chris Buettner Managing Editor of The SoDA Report, SoDA Executive Director After a career on the digital agency and publisher side that spanned 15+ years, Chris Buettner now serves as Managing Editor of The SoDA Report. He is also the Executive Director of SoDA where he is charged with developing and executing the organization’s overall strategic vision and growth plan. And with roots in
  5. 5. journalism, education and the international non-profit world, the transition to lead SoDA has been a welcome opportunity to combine many of his talents and passions. After living in Brazil and Colombia for years, Chris is also fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and is an enthusiastic supporter of SoDA’s initiatives to increase its footprint in Latin America and around the world. Chris lives in Atlanta with his wife and two daughters. Editorial Team Sean MacPhedran Industry Insider, Group Planning Director, Fuel Industries Sean is Group Planning Director at Fuel Industries (based in Ottawa, Canada), where he currently works with clients including McDonald’s Europe, Nokia, Mattel and Lucasfilm. He specializes in youth marketing, entertainment & game development, and the incorporation of pirates into advertising campaigns for brands ranging from Jeep to Family Guy. Outside of Fuel, he is a co-founder of the Ottawa International Game Conference, managed the category-free Tomorrow Awards and spent a good deal of time in the Mojave Desert launching people into space at the X PRIZE Foundation. They all came back alive. Matt Griffin Advocacy, Founder/CEO, Deepend With over 15 years’ experience in design and interactive media, Matt was an active participant in the formative years of the digital communications industry, gaining valuable experience with Deepend in London, before setting up Deepend Sydney in 2000. An industry leader, Matt has been on many interactive panels and award juries both in Australia and internationally. Amongst
  6. 6. other positions, he is an Executive Academy member of IADAS, Executive Juror of the Webbys, and Grand Juror of CRESTA. Jean-Pascal Mathieu People Power, Chief Innovation Officer, Nurun As the chief innovation officer and director of the Nurun Lab, Jean-Pascal Mathieu is always looking for new digital solutions to solve consumer problems. Previously the vice president of strategy, Jean-Pascal has contributed to the design of new service offerings and has ensured the diffusion of innovative technological expertise throughout the company. A keen observer of the evolution of interactivity, he is a frequent contributor to industry publications. Mark Pollard Modern Marketer, VP Brand Strategy, Big Spaceship Mark is a brand planner who grew up digital. He built his first website in 1997 then published the first fullcolor hip hop magazine in the Southern Hemisphere, while working at dotcoms, digital agencies and advertising agencies. He is featured in the AdNews Top 40 under 40, and won a Gold Account Planning Group (APG) award for his McDonald’s ‘Name It Burger’ strategy. A New South Wales government initiative listed him as one of Sydney’s Top 100 Creative Catalysts. Mark is now VP of Brand Strategy at Big Spaceship in New York City. Zachary Jean Paradis Tech Talk, Director of Innovation Strategy, SapientNitro Zachary Jean Paradis is an innovation strategist, professor and author obsessed with transforming lives through customer experience. He works at
  7. 7. SapientNitro, teaches at the Institute of Design and lives in Chicago. Zachary works with companies to become successful innovators by utilizing “experience thinking” as a strategic asset manifested in better offerings, flexible process and open culture. He works with start-ups and Fortune 1000 companies as diverse as Chrysler Auto Group to Target, Hyatt Hotels to John Deere, M&S to McLaren, and SAP to Yahoo! evolving service and product experiences across digital and physical channels. Zachary recently relocated to Chicago from SapientNitro’s London office. Kate Richling SoDA Showcases, VP of Marketing, Phenomblue As Phenomblue’s Vice President of Marketing, Kate Richling oversees the agency’s marketing and social media outreach, as well as its inbound marketing efforts. Previously, Richling worked in public relations, creating and executing strategies for institutes of higher education and Blue Cross and Blue Shield, as well as providing social media counsel to various non-profit organizations. While at The Field Museum, Richling pitched and received media attention from national outlets including Good Morning America and the Chicago Tribune.
  8. 8. Partners Cover Design Organizational Sponsor Content/Production The SoDA Report Production Team Struck www.struck.com SoDA www.sodaspeaks.com Adobe www.adobe.com Natalie Smith, Head of Production Samantha Lynch, Production Designer The opinions and viewpoints expressed in the articles in this publication are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent or reflect the opinions or viewpoints of SoDA
  9. 9. Industry Insider Section Preface The Digital Agency Paradox: Teaching Clients to Do What We Do A Lesson from a “Learn Everything Yourself” Champion From 6 Months to Real-Time: Innovating Creative Workflow for Smarter Development Brands: How to Get Agile with Your Agency The Ever-Shrinking Purchase Window The SoDA Report 2013
  10. 10. The SoDAReport Section 1 : Introduction Traditionally, the digital agency has ruled the technology and digital production service arena, but as this expertise becomes more commoditized, the value provided by the digital agency has had to shift towards business strategy and creative innovation. Our fall issue takes a more nuts and bolts look at what’s happening inside agencies from an operational perspective during this shift. Sean MacPhedran Industry Insider Section Editor Group Planning Director, Fuel Some clients are now competing with their digital agencies by developing parallel expertise centers as their internal web development teams grow stronger. With the overarching strategy driven by clients, and their increasing ability to execute, how do agencies define their own “secret sauce” in the relationship? David Maren from EffectiveUI explains how his agency is navigating this trend. For developers, we explore the proliferation of off-theshelf tools. Microsoft recently launched a platform that makes core Windows Phone App development as user friendly as building a Lego set. Are templated tools a risk or an opportunity for agency developer teams? Enlighten’s Kim Maida makes the case for efficiency over 100% proprietary code. We then connect with Ray Velez, CTO of Razorfish, and Scott Morris, Senior Marketing Director for Adobe Creative Cloud and Creative Suite, to discuss the evolving nature of production within the studio, and the technologies that are making it easier to focus less on operations management and more on delivery of creative excellence. Lastly, we hear from Jack Skeels, CEO and Co-founder of AgencyAgile, who provides good news surrounding
  11. 11. the shift in the way agencies are structuring their teams - allowing for more innovation, shorter timelines, and better prices. Enjoy this edition of SoDA’s Industry Insider.
  12. 12. The SoDAReport Section 1 : Industry Insider David Maren, VP, Brand Strategy & Innovation, EffectiveUI The Digital Agency Paradox: Teaching Clients to Do What We Do An Oxford-educated brand strategist and innovation professional, David is currently focused on the creation of new digital products and services at EffectiveUI, where he also oversees the Outreach team and manages the Boeing account. There was a time companies only engaged us – the digital agencies of the world – to create something. Seeing the value in what we deliver, clients now want more from us. They want strategic guidance, employee training and mentoring. Clients want us to educate them — but why? Are clients looking to take the work in-house? If so, what is our implied responsibility to our clients and our shareholders? Do we teach our clients to do what we do?
  13. 13. “ It’s exceedingly difficult to create exceptional digital experiences and campaigns when a barrier exists between design and development. ” The Conundrum We fear that if we teach our clients how to do what we do, they won’t need us anymore. Conversely, if we don’t cater to our clients’ needs, are we a good service partner? That question is amplified for any digital agency claiming to care about user or customer experience. Wouldn’t it be hypocritical not to give our clients the service and experience they seek? The Reality For clients looking to take work in-house, the rationale is typically stated as “This will save us money and make us smarter.” In reality, clients seeking to bring agency work in-house discover how difficult it is to do so successfully – even when shown the way – and come to appreciate our value even more. Structural and Cultural Roadblocks Large companies often have strong technical teams, and some also have strong design teams. But, unlike many agencies and production companies, these companies often have a wall between their design team and technical team creating separate groups, residing in separate buildings and operating with separate budgets. Agencies have learned that it’s exceedingly difficult to create exceptional digital experiences and campaigns when a barrier exists between design and development. There’s a great deal of overlap between the two disciplines, with a significant amount of design occurring within development. The high level of design/ development collaboration required is one of the primary reasons why bringing our services in-house — and getting great results — is so much harder than it seems. Creating digital experiences is not the core competency of most large enterprises. The organizational culture and processes in place at many of these companies
  14. 14. “ Clients seeking to bring great digital experiences to life without agency help typically find that such efforts often require breaking down existing silos and reengineering organizational structure, culture and processes beforehand. ” may be at odds with the beliefs that underlie humancentered design. Often, the customer comes into the creation of a digital experience at the end, rather than the beginning of the process and simply plays a validation role. Essentially, clients seeking to bring great digital experiences to life without agency help, must break down existing silos and reengineer their organizational structure, culture and processes. Finding and Keeping Talent When thinking about the best creative directors, designers, strategists and developers, the common trait is that they all have a strong desire to take on new challenges. This may prove more challenging in a client environment than at an agency. To replicate agency success in-house, recruiting and retaining great talent is yet another challenge facing clients who want to build a team of agency-types in-house. The Way Forward At EffectiveUI, our commitment to education gained momentum in 2010 when O’Reilly Media commissioned us to author a book (Effective UI) about what it takes to bring great digital experiences to life. Today we’re going all-in when it comes to teaching our clients how to do what we do. We are now engaged as creators as well as educators, strategists and embedded experts. Drawing from our experience, I can provide some suggestions for agency peers. Educational Services Consider offering a series of workshops to help nascent in-house UX/CX teams become more fully integrated within their larger organization. Focus different sessions around the classic pain points these teams face, for example: • Low amount of organizational knowledge and buy-in of UX
  15. 15. “ When we educate clients on the intricacies of what we do, they end up understanding the value of our services even more. ” • Many team members inexperienced with selling the value of UX • Weaving UX methods and values into organizational structure, culture and processes. Strategic Services In addition to presenting insightful and actionable reports, consider using these engagements to teach clients how to identify opportunities and solve problems through human-centered design. With so many companies today simply creating mobile versions of their desktop applications, there’s a great opportunity to show them an alternate, outside-in approach to going mobile that begins with uncovering the user needs. Embedded Services Listen for opportunities to embed talent that rises above ‘staff augmentation’, as in-house client teams are often looking for additional guidance and mentorship from their agency partner. Somewhere at this very moment, there’s an IT executive on the client-side looking for an outside expert to ensure that their in-house interaction designer, who lacks mobile experience, is following best practices in designing a sales enablement app. You may be wondering, does pursuing a commitment to educating clients mean that digital agencies will do a lot more teaching and a lot less creating in the future? It is doubtful. What it really means is that agencies will do a lot more teaching and a lot more creating. After all, when we educate clients on the intricacies of what we do, they end up understanding the value of our services even more.
  16. 16. The SoDAReport Section 1 : Industry Insider Kim Maida, Software Engineer, Enlighten A lesson from a “Learn Everything Yourself” champion Kim is a designer and front-end engineer with a passion for beautiful, clean things. She also dabbles with back-end development. She loves doing adaptive work that is friendly to the full spectrum of devices. When I was a fledgling web creative, I wanted to learn everything. I thought I should learn everything in its infinite detail because I believed it would make me smarter and more valuable to employers. After years of learning as much and as fast as I could, with too many technologies simultaneously, I discovered one simple lesson: you can be skilled and desirable without needing to know everything.
  17. 17. “ Once you know your craft, be willing to explore the tools that make that craft easier and more efficient. ” The “Learn Everything Yourself!” phase is necessary but should have an expiration date. Countless computer science students, programming interns and junior engineers are determined to learn and do everything from scratch “for the experience.” This is a solid approach for someone with an abundance of time and energy. It’s a necessary stage in the progression to full-fledged engineer. This was the phase during which many people (myself included) churned out oodles of inefficient code to do things that more experienced people had already figured out, tested, and developed into readily available tools, plugins, libraries and frameworks. The “Learn Everything Yourself!” phase is important, but it’s equally important to know when to begin utilizing the available resources. Otherwise, it’s easy to find yourself biting off more than you can chew in a competitive, fast-paced work environment. You don’t need to know everything, however you need to know what you need to know. It isn’t realistic for an engineer to master all of the countless web technologies down to their finest minutia. And you don’t need to. What you need is a solid knowledge base and a willingness to learn whatever you need in order to get the job done efficiently and professionally. Sometimes this doesn’t mean having every Git shell command or JavaScript cross-browser fix memorized. Instead, it might mean that you need a solid grasp of source control workflow and a good understanding of JavaScript libraries. Smart monkeys use tools. Once you know your craft, be willing to explore the tools that make that craft easier and more efficient. If you had a perfectly functioning dishwasher, chances are you
  18. 18. “ It is critical to understand when to use tools, frameworks, libraries and other resources the community has created to make all developers’ lives easier. ” would not volunteer to do the dishes by hand simply to preserve the integrity of your scrubbing technique. An oversimplified analogy, perhaps, but how about this one: for a long time, I resisted CSS preprocessors like SASS. I felt that they would lead me to write CSS as a bastardized presentation/programming hybrid, which just felt wrong. I felt like SASS (and similarly, CoffeeScript) was cheating. I was also resistant to installing more stuff (i.e. Ruby in this case) on all my computers or servers just to get a preprocessor to compile. Then I discovered CodeKit. It is a building tool that is capable of compiling a number of different languages, adding debug information, linting, concatenating, compressing, and returning resulting files that are as production-ready as you need them to be. There is no need to install additional software or languages or use the command line. Using SASS with CodeKit made my work more modular, efficient and manageable. When the “Learn Everything Yourself!” mode is dialed down and you’re ready to streamline your craft, remember that most of the time, someone out there has already solved your problem. You can benefit greatly from their experience. In fact, it’s critical to understand when to use the tools, frameworks, libraries and other resources the community has created to make all developers’ lives easier. Agencies can and should take advantage of the available tools to improve workflows and efficiency. Care should also be taken to allow engineers to work in the capacity they feel best maximizes their own productivity. The imposition of too many tools and rules can frustrate and hinder people. For example, if your company uses Git for source control, encourage individual team members to choose their own method, be it the command line or their favorite GUI. Engineering leads should consult
  19. 19. with their teams and establish workflows and tools that best suit the project at hand. It is also beneficial to share experiences within the department, highlighting successes and identifying pain points. When people are passionate about their methods, curiosity and interest level is kept high. Keep in mind that tools with a steep learning curve might not be the best way to introduce teams to their use. I recommend starting with tools like CodeKit, SCSS (the more CSS-like version of SASS), or TexturePacker (for CSS sprite management) to get teams up and running quickly. The more experience people gain and share with these types of resources, the more knowledge they will acquire and in the end, the management of projects will become much more streamlined.
  20. 20. The SoDAReport Section 1 : Industry Insider Interview with Scott Morris, Senior Marketing Director at Adobe for Creative Cloud and Creative Suite, and Ray Velez, Global Chief Technology Officer, Razorfish From 6 Months to RealTime: Innovating Creative Workflow for Smarter Development As Senior Marketing Director for Creative Cloud, Scott is responsible for driving the go-tomarket strategy for Adobe’s flagship applications as well as Adobe Creative Cloud. Scott joined Adobe in 2005 from its Macromedia acquisition, where he ran integrated marketing for vertical segments. Scott has been in marketing for over twenty years on both the consumer and business-tobusiness side. Digital creative tools — from Photoshop to Maya — have fundamentally changed the way advertising is made. The new area of opportunity lies in improving workflow — a circuitous process that doesn’t always move in a predictable direction. We connected with Ray Velez, CTO, Razorfish and Scott Morris, Senior Marketing Director, Creative Cloud and Creative Suite to get their perspective on how technology is going to impact creative workflow over the next year. MACPHEDRAN: Ray, how do you approach the creative workflow process with your clients? VELEZ: Increasingly, our agency is leading creative efforts for clients, with our technology teams driving the physical software implementation. The first step is aligning with the skills and approval processes of our clients. By approval, it’s about driving innovative collaborative sessions and working towards agreement of creative directions. Oftentimes when using the term workflow, we immediately think about visual identity as the first step. However, gathering inputs and insights
  21. 21. from the planning and strategy teams prior to creative concepting should be the true starting point. MACPHEDRAN: How do you see creative workflow evolving between client and agency over the next year? As the global chief technology officer for Razorfish, Ray manages the agency’s capabilities in Web technology strategy, architecture and development, overseeing all of the company’s technologists. Most recently, Ray was the startup CTO in Razorfish’s role as incubation partner for Bundle, a personal finance start-up. He previously worked at Cambridge Technology Partners and Scient, and has been in the industry for close to 20 years. Interview conducted by Sean MacPhedran, Industry Insider Section Editor and Group Planning Director at Fuel. MORRIS: In the past, digital agencies were brought into client projects by more traditional agencies to work specifically on the digital pieces of the campaign. Today, digital agencies are asked by their clients to take the lead on everything in the campaign. We expect this trend to continue, as clients ask not just for the creation of digital media, but for the analysis and optimization related to the performance of that media. We also expect that clients will also be sharing more of their creative assets with agencies and looking to have agencies leverage those assets across as many devices and screen sizes as possible. VELEZ: We would like to see more traction towards the creation of “real-time” responses. One example of our work that required real-time creative was a SmartUSA initiative where a tweet in the morning resulted in a fullscale response in the afternoon. Similarly, in a recent campaign for Axe Anarchy, creative was introduced by the Axe community and ended up in a graphic novel. This means we need to develop a more responsive and agile approach to client approvals than just scheduled creative reviews. Easy-to-use tools that can facilitate conversations outside of scheduled meetings, are critical. Just as critical is the ability to enable workflow that drives conversations around dynamic data-driven creative. The ability to dynamically assemble content and experiences for both client approval and alignment, along with legal approval, thankfully requires us to move away from static files. MACPHEDRAN: Adobe in particular is making a lot
  22. 22. of strides in this area, what new tools can we expect to see? “ We need to develop a more responsive and agile approach to client approvals than just scheduled creative reviews. — Ray Velez ” MORRIS: The file sharing capabilities in Creative Cloud will be key in helping ease these workflow challenges between agencies and clients. Today, agencies can share files with clients through Creative Cloud without requiring the clients to have programs such as Photoshop or InDesign installed. In fact, the client doesn’t even need to be a Creative Cloud member. The ability to “see” into the file is something only Adobe Creative Cloud is offering and it is a key differentiator from other file sharing services. We just introduced the ability to upload files directly from the program they are created in, and set restrictions on the files to control who can access them. These files are viewable by your clients within a browser, regardless of whether the browser is on a computer, tablet or even a smartphone. Clients can turn layers of a file on and off to review different design options, comment on the files, and view internal data such as the fonts and colors used – all without having the desktop apps installed on their system. And if they do have the apps, they can download files for editing in the desktop app. In the future, Creative Cloud will offer a visual history of files to allow a client to quickly review how a design has changed, with the option to go back to an earlier version. At Adobe, we are constantly looking at ways to help creatives and clients work together more easily by innovating right in the creative workflow itself. MACPHEDRAN: We still have a ways to go before we can lean on a single source for all tools. An agency might operate iteratively with a client using Basecamp, and another purely through a weekly status in a more formal presentation. What do you see as the major challenges remaining in workflow optimization? VELEZ: I think the remaining challenges are specific to dynamic data-driven experiences and creative. Tools
  23. 23. like Basecamp or the Atlassian Suite are great at sharing files and text documentation, but not at expressing dynamic data-driven components. For example, we need for tools that drive product recommendations to assemble dynamic text and visual identity permutations across 29,000 segments. That’s a real-world example from work we’ve done for Staples and it’s still a workflow challenge.
  24. 24. The SoDAReport Section 1 : Industry Insider Jack Skeels, CEO, Co-Founder, AgencyAgile Brands: How to Get Agile with Your Agency Jack leads AgencyAgile, the LA-based consultancy that helps agencies achieve better margins, faster delivery and happier clients and teams, using its proprietary Agile valuesbased methods, tools and training. He is a two-time Inc. 500 entrepreneur who previously led SapientNitro’s LA office, worked as a senior management systems analyst at RAND corporation, and ran his first web development project in 1996. Brands and marketers want deeper partnerships with their agencies…but realizing that goal can be elusive. The good news is that agencies are changing – many are shifting to a team-centric “Agile” model which speeds innovation cycles and can provide better results, faster, at a more competitive price. As a brand manager or marketer, you’ll want to shift your model slightly as well in order to better take advantage of these changes.
  25. 25. Understanding the “Two Guys and a Bong” Agency Model One of the largest dilemmas that agencies face is growth. While a ten-person agency can operate with its management functions as part-time roles, once an agency grows to twenty or so people, fulltime management roles (such as account, project management and discipline leadership) become the norm. At that point the agency’s effectiveness begins to decline. Almost every agency leader we speak with agrees that growing bigger has meant getting slower, less nimble and losing a bit of their “edge.” This is a huge concern for established agencies because starting up a new agency has never been easier than it is today. Top talent often leaves one day and competes the next day against their former agency. Being small, these start-ups compete on cost, for sure, but they also boast the ability to partner well and work closely with their marketer clients on a day-to-day basis. One agency executive recently lamented, “These days it seems that some of our toughest competition is from ‘two guys and a bong!’” The established agencies are responding to this by reorganizing into flatter, self-empowered teams of 8-20 cross-discipline roles – essentially creating multiple “Two Guys” agencies within the company. This approach is often labeled “Agile” both because of the methods involved, but also because these teams are more responsive to marketer’s needs, delivering results better, faster and leaving everyone much happier. Marketers get the best of both worlds: “Two Guys” style attention, focus and interaction, combined with the established agency’s depth, breadth and quality of talent, and its ability to scale and integrate larger, broader work. If you find yourself with the opportunity to work with this type of agency team, here are some changes you’ll need to get used to…and even enjoy.
  26. 26. “ One of the tragedies of large brand-agency relationships is the distance between the people who are really doing the work (the agency team) and the people in the brand marketing organization. ” You’ll Brief the Agency Team, not Agency Management The “Team” will consist of the people who actually build what you receive: creatives, strategists, analysts, developers, etc. When you tell your account person what you need, like the “telephone game,” information quality drops as it is passed along. The same is true for writing briefs, SOWs or change orders – nothing works better than people talking directly with each other. An Agile agency team will want to work directly with you – no middlemen. And chances are you’ll find it fun and empowering. We had one marketer tell us, “They [the agency] feel like my right hand now.” You’ll Meet Early and Often, and Need to Tolerate Incompleteness Collaboration means working together frequently, well before the deadline. You would do that with the “Two Guys” in order to make sure that they “got it,” right? Frequent (informal) reviews will boost quality and the Agile team’s engagement…and yours too. Make sure they know that you’re okay with looking at incomplete ideas and work. They’ll still try to crush it, but they’ll be grateful that you’re a friend, not foe, and you’ll be grateful that they’ve gotten some sleep and your comments aren’t life or death to them. You’ll Get Better at What You Do, Too Not only will your agency get better at working with you, but you’ll also get better at working with agencies – that’s a vital career skill for any marketer. One of the tragedies of large brand-agency relationships is the distance between the people who are really doing the work (the agency team) and the people in the brand marketing organization. In the Agile “Two Guys” model, as a marketer, you’ll learn new things every time you meet with your agency team – they are a hotbed of the latest, trending ideas and technologies. Keeping up
  27. 27. to date with them will not only put you ahead of your peers, but will give you the knowledge and real-world experiences of how to actually do this stuff.
  28. 28. The SoDAReport Section 1 : Industry Insider Research Insight The Ever-Shrinking Purchase Window Digital Empowerment Leads to Shorter Purchase Cycles Across Categories The research team at AOL, a SoDA partner, recently conducted a study on purchase window trends across a wide array of product categories. We are pleased to unveil key highlights from the study in this edition of The SoDA Report as AOL’s exclusive media partner for the distribution of the findings. INSIGHTS • Due in large part to the vast amount of information available on demand, shoppers are increasingly comfortable making major product purchase decisions in significantly shorter periods of time. • Most shoppers are comfortable deciding on products across a wide variety of categories — including technology, appliances, financial services and home décor — in either a single day or two weeks. • Smartphone users feel particularly empowered about making product purchase decisions across all categories of shopping – not just on those occasions where they use their phones for shopping.
  29. 29. Purchase Windows Question: How comfortable do you feel making purchase decisions for the following product and service categories within the specified periods of time?
  30. 30. SHOPPING Shoppers are comfortable making quick purchase decisions. When asked how they felt about their product purchase decisions, an overwhelming majority of shoppers were somewhat or very comfortable making a very quick decision. ENGAGEMENT Smartphone users feel especially empowered in their purchase decisions Shoppers with smartphones have internalized the benefits their devices provide. Even when not explicitly using their phones for shopping, they still feel more empowered than non-smartphone users. “Describes me somewhat or completely” 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
  31. 31. Modern Marketers Section Preface The Six Signs of Analog Craving Integrating Multiple Agencies into One Brand Team Job Description: VP of Marketing at ‘tlbt’ (thelatestbestthing) Cultivating a Brand, One Online Community at a Time The SoDA Report 2013
  32. 32. The SoDAReport Section 2 : Modern Marketers Some days I think psychopathy must be the route to business success. Those days typically involve meetings in which everyone else in the room grew up watching some 1980s power-business movie on repeat at a time when I was listening to rap music and watching kung fu flicks. Mark Pollard Modern Marketer Section Editor VP Brand Strategy, Big Spaceship You know the movie genre, where people are all business-like, very-detached, domineering, allknowing, jargon-spouting, expensive-car driving and shoulder-pad wearing. Today, you can find these characters in business-centric reality television shows. If, like me, you don’t understand why some people in business act like psychopaths — or possibly are psychopaths and are still successful — then the following articles are for you. Jessica Elefante points out little cultural corrections happening right now because of digital clutter and analog nostalgia. Stacie Hoffmeister from LVMH discusses how to get your agencies to work better together while Joshua Dean from Chobani writes a job description for you — literally, you — or the person who’ll replace you. The last piece comes from Emily Schildt, also from Chobani, a company who has utilized the consumer to make a name for themselves - without the use of traditional advertising. Humanity in business is on the rise. The concept of purpose continues to imprint itself on the business world. Pesky numbers people also known as economists have shown that businesses with a profit-only view of success underperform businesses driven by a specific point of view on how to serve humanity (not to be confused with Corporate Social Responsibility). Spoiler alert: these companies attract
  33. 33. better talent intent on doing incredible things for humans. Here’s to fewer psychopaths in business – and fewer psychopathic businesses. P.S. If we ever happen to work together on a piece of business (even if we’re at separate companies), can we just, like, hang out a little, get to know each other, maybe share a laugh, and then do the best work of our lives without all the bullshit? Because that would be awesome.
  34. 34. The SoDAReport Section 2 : Modern Marketers Jessica Elefante The Six Signs of Analog Craving Jessica is a brand strategy and communications consultant with a heavy inclination towards content, community and digital channels. She joined the brand GoGo SqueeZ as the Director of Digital Strategy & PR in 2011 and was a key player in helping it grow from $6 million in annual revenues to $100 million in just two years. For her work she was awarded Brand Innovators “40 Under 40.” With years steeped in brand building, influencer outreach, and public relations, she specializes in growing “emerging” brands in new categories. The natural form is making a comeback. What is analog in the way I am referencing it? Quite simply it’s the opposite of digital. Examples of things now deemed analog: books, music created sans computers, paper and pen, nature and whole foods. Bloggers are ahead of this trend. Many are concerned about the effects their tech usage has had on their families and they are making strides to correct it. Read their posts and words such as quit, blackout and detox are often referenced when sharing their challenges about their digital life. They are not alone. Do you suffer from these symptoms? 1. Camp Grounded: Operated by the Digital Detox, Camp Grounded recently gained coverage on BuzzFeed, NPR, CNN, Huff Post, NYT, PBS, Mashable and Inc. for the launch of their sleep-away camp where adults go to unplug. Campers had to trade in computers, cell phones, Instagrams, clocks, schedules and work-jargon for an off-the-grid weekend. http://campgrounded.org
  35. 35. “ We are no longer beating our competitors. We are racing to beat ourselves. Truth be told: we are the media clutter that we so often complain about. ” 2. keuomorphism: Defined as the pomp and gloss of S analog objects that are technically no longer needed. Examples are Apple’s “old” calendars with leather binding, yellow notepads and bookshelves with felt and wood veneers. Apple is ditching these for a simpler, less stylized design aesthetic. Users will enjoy a more “analog” user experience, digitally. Looks like flat is the new black. 3. logger Blackouts: Time spent offline to focus on B children, families and friends. Often referred to as hand-free as well. Meaning no phone in hand. 4. mail Bankruptcy: Deleting every email in an E inbox or closing your account altogether. Some opt for a second chance with an away message stating “you can now find me here” while others throw their arms up and succumb to the fact that Facebook messaging and text is better than 6,813 emails. A number of CEOs and high-level executives have been quoted as bankrupting their email to better spend their time. 5. Slow Living Summit: For the 2nd year in a row, the Summit took over Brattleboro, Vermont. Slow is the opposite of “fast” — fast food, fast money, fast living — and all of the negative consequences “fast” has had for the environment and for the health of people and societies. Slow Living is more time for family, community and self. 6. YC Restaurant, Edie & The Wolf: Observed in N the bathroom of the divinely decorated eatery were handwritten pieces of ripped cardboard reminding people to wash their hands. I noticed it because it was out of place. And it worked. I washed my hands. So what does this mean for you and digital marketing?
  36. 36. As marketers we have been taught that we need to “break-through the clutter,” “push the envelope” and “disrupt.” Each advertisement, post, application, email, website, promotion, and campaign we create is sexier, faster and glossier than the last. We are no longer beating our competitors, but racing to beat ourselves. Truth be told: WE ARE THE MEDIA CLUTTER that we so often complain about. Brands that realize this will have their finger on the pulse of their consumers. So what’s a digital marketer to do? 1. Think twice before sending an email. Is it necessary? If so, try sending an email that is not html coded. Think about it. Just a blank email with text from a brand. That would create a double take, don’t you think? 2. reate tangible things that people can touch C and feel. Instead of a customer service email full of niceties or apologies, how about a hand-drawn “I’m sorry?” Add stickers. Drive it back to your other properties with a fun hashtag and see if you turned your jaded fan into a superfan. 3. upport bloggers’ desires to simplify and S streamline. Don’t waste their time with blanket PR pitches and weekly mailers. Get to know them before reaching out to them. Be authentic. Consider if you could offer a way to partner on content around unplugging? Or better yet, send them to a conference about unplugging, on your brand’s behalf.
  37. 37. 4. o a double take before creating your “much D needed app” to check the mobile-friendly box on your marketing strategy. I’ve almost been guilty twice. Almost. Ask yourself and your team the following types of questions. What problem are you solving? What value are you providing to your consumer. And more importantly, how will you market it and with what percentage of your budget will you support it? After you answer these questions, you may end up creating one less app for the world, or the app we could not live without. 5. Open your arms up wide and wrap a big bear hug around nostalgia. With things moving too fast and everything feeling the same and unoriginal (hello every single new movie), people like to “remember when” and “look back” to the old days. Well, the old days weren’t that long ago. It was 2007 when the first iPhone was available — six years ago. Six whole years. Can you even remember what life was like before it? Nostalgia is a gold mine for content. Just look at what BuzzFeed has done. You have an entire generation out there that loves to reminisce as well as another that is up and coming in the ranks and needs to be educated on some pre-iPhone stuff before it becomes extinct. Case in point is the tweet from the 2012 Grammys: In a sea of digital trends don’t rush to be on the forefront of disruption. Taking one step back may be just what your brand, client or consumer needs to be in order to stand out in the crowd.
  38. 38. The SoDAReport Section 2 : Modern Marketers Stacie Hoffmeister, Global Marketing Director, Belvedere Vodka at LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton Integrating Multiple Agencies into One Brand Team Stacie Hoffmeister is branded for life as a luxury goods marketer. Her current passion is exploring ways to bring the power of digital and innovation to luxury brands. She currently works at Global Marketing Director at LVMH. Prior to that Stacie held various brand management positions at Coty Prestige and Unilever Cosmetics. She resides in New York with her husband and two children. Today, just as a lead surgeon relies on a team of doctors, nurses and professionals to perform a complex operation, a brand leader relies on a team of specialists to elaborate an idea into a tightly integrated plan. As a result, a new kind of workplace diversity is emerging: a brand team made up of external agencies. The key variable within the brand leader’s influence is the time it takes to get to higher levels of productivity, which is a difficult task in any team situation, let alone when the team consists of people from different companies.
  39. 39. From one brand leader to another, here are some ideas on how to reduce the time it takes to get to high levels of team productivity — and still manage to have some fun at the same time: 1. Work with the best For each marketing function that requires external expertise, hire best-in-class agencies. Don’t be seduced or intimidated by sexy client rosters or hefty price tags. Consider the agency’s unofficial reputation (I regret the times I disregarded a colleague’s warnings about an agency). Seek evidence that the brand has captured their curiosity. (I look for subtle, physical signs such as a sparkle in the eye, active listening behavior and wry smiles). 2. Agree on the brand team For each agency that you hire, identify 1-2 people to sit on your cross-functional brand team. Choosing people who play nicely with others will make team life easier. Document your expectations of the brand team member(s) in your service agreement with the agency. 3. Get to know the culture of each agency This can be accomplished efficiently by working out of the agency’s office for a day. There are invaluable cultural cues about the organization waiting for you to observe. For example, leaving a little thank you gift for the agency at the end of the visit generates good will (a flourless chocolate cake is my favorite leave-behind).
  40. 40. 4. et to know the team on a personal level G “ When you hire a best-in-class agency, treat them that way. Then they will move mountains for you. ” Go out for drinks and dinner as a team and one-onone. A “rite of passage” activity builds bonds quickly. Karaoke works wonders. Aha moments often come in casual and social settings. We are more open, trusting, calm and creative when we are having fun. 5. Treat agencies as partners, not contractors After years of doing it wrong, a valued mentor taught me to adopt a consultative approach with agencies. I began to ask questions instead of assuming answers. I learned to seek the agency’s input on decisions that affect them. When you hire a best-in-class agency, treat them that way. Then they will move mountains for you. Taking these five steps (ideally prior to the first team meeting) sets up the team for a faster move towards high productivity. The dynamics of the meeting room bring new challenges. The following five ideas are in-meeting behaviors that encourage high productivity: 1. Get everyone in the same room There should be an in-person team meeting once a month at a minimum. Put aside T+E for faraway team members to travel to these meetings. Experience on globally-dispersed teams (13 years) and in marriage (14 years) has convinced me that people need to see each other to trust each other. Lack of face time deters high productivity.
  41. 41. 2. odel behaviors that build trust M “ Experience on globally-dispersed teams (13 years) and in marriage (14 years) has convinced me that people need to see each other to trust each other. Lack of face time deters high productivity. ” I’m sure this never happens to you, but I am often tempted to behave in ways that are contrary to what I expect from others. As a team leader, I’ve been guilty of arriving late to meetings at times. If I continuously check my handy (i.e., cell phone) and then snap at a team member for not getting to the point quickly enough, I’ve effectively told the team that not listening and poor behavior are acceptable practices. An effective team environment is a place where people feel respected. That means that the leader models punctuality, preparedness, attentiveness and compassion, among other things. 3. repare yourself for weird science P We all know it. Brilliant people can be strange, so be open and tolerant to behaviors that you may find odd. A meeting may include a 3-minute meditation or a mid-day cocktail. (I’ve seen both). Stay in tune with the mood of the team and go with whatever it takes (within the law) to get creative juices flowing and people working together. 4. on’t go to bed angry D When you encounter behavior that erodes the team’s progress toward productivity, deal with it that day, with that person, one-on-one. Healthy team relationships allow for open discussion about difficult topics. If the work continues to suffer due to someone’s bad behavior, the offender should be swiftly replaced. The team will thank you for it.
  42. 42. 5. Allow natural leadership to supersede titles and hierarchy Adopt the attitude that teams are flat organizations. While there may be a team leader or facilitator, everyone must be treated as having an equal voice. Such an environment allows team members with the appropriate expertise to take a leadership role at the time the work demands their expertise. For example, the PR gal may have the most in-depth knowledge of the target consumer. Even though she is not the marketer, she should take leadership of a discussion or work stream that relies on consumer expertise. Being a brand leader at the helm of a multi-agency team requires a large measure of humility. Get used to being the unsung hero. When the teamwork is going well, your integration efforts may go unnoticed because all the broader organization sees is the good work. However, when agencies do not work well together it is certainly noticed because its ouput suffers. It’s the brand leader’s responsibility to keep everyone moving towards one goal — the success of the brand. This comes about when the team tasked with delivering the tools of success is a high performing team.
  43. 43. The SoDAReport Section 2 : Modern Marketers Josh Dean, VP Brand Communications, Chobani, Inc. Job Description: VP of Marketing at ‘tlbt’ (thelatestbestthing) Josh Dean is a recognized leader in brand development with 10 years’ experience in the UK and US. Josh has extensive experience working collaboratively with both traditional and digital agencies. He has helped bring an array of award-winning initiatives to fruition, most notably on Axe. He is a champion of enabling large organizations to embrace change and controversial ideas. Follow him @mrjoshuadean. Wanted: a constant questioner, one who has unparalleled insight, curiosity into the lives of people who love our brand, a champion of new and a disruptive thinker. He or she learns very quickly and is not afraid to fail. If that sounds exciting, read on. If that scares you, definitely read on. A strategist, psychologist, writer, artist and geek We are looking for someone to get their hands dirty in many disciplines. The many areas of marketing — PR, publishing and technology — are blurring, and that is a good thing because it is in this blurry space that we often find great ideas. You’ll need to recruit, lead and inspire a team of misfits, people who want to change the world with something new. An inner child At tlbt, we believe that every question is a good question. We like to challenge everything and leave nothing undisrupted. After all, who would have thought that taking the most popular soft drink in the world and doing the opposite (bad taste and expensive) would have been so
  44. 44. successful (kudos Red Bull)? You need to provide that challenge, ask the questions that nobody would ask, and produce unexpected solutions that surprise our customers and provide new sources of growth. A creator of a ‘story-room’ “ While we want you to relish logic and be great at analyzing data, you need the other side too... the human touch and the magic. You need the gut and the holistic POV to spot a great idea and help champion that idea within the business. ” To survive in the millennial world, this brand needs to be a story-telling powerhouse. Sometimes, this may entail more classic filmmaking, but increasingly we will need you to create everyday short stories that spark an emotional connection with and among our fans (like The Beauty Inside — a campaign created by SoDA member company Pereira & O’Dell). It’s about the quality of our content and the quality of our followers. A great cook who is both a masher and a baker Do you have the ability to mash products, ideas and technologies together? Like the Nest or like Red Tomato did with the fridge magnet? How can you open up your brand’s own API and look for ways to mash this with other technologies? We’re also looking for someone who can lead agencies to concoct an integrated idea that can live on multiple screens and spaces and have consumers be part of the conversation. An inspiring human engine for the brand While we want you to relish logic and be great at analyzing data, you need the other side too...the human touch and the magic. You need the gut and the holistic POV to spot a great idea and help champion that idea within the business. Sometimes you won’t be right or popular, yet to be remarkable you can’t please everyone and we don’t want you to. You need to be the catalyst that always moves the brand forward and you need to do as well as say. You have that energy that people want and magic is made from.
  45. 45. Tap sources of inspiration daily, if not hourly Run and when in doubt, look no further than your mobile. For this role you will need to be light on your feet, to “move fast and break things” as Facebook says. Be prepared to change course and make things quickly. Here’s to the future So, if what you have just read inspires you (and makes you feel a little bit scared) we want to see you. You have what it takes to be a marketer at tlbt. We want you to come to work every day and to love your job. You have the opportunity to turn this brand into a powerhouse that can make a real difference to people’s lives while also having a lot of fun. We look forward to meeting you.
  46. 46. The SoDAReport Section 2 : Modern Marketers Emily Schildt, Director of Digital Engagement, Chobani, Inc. Cultivating a brand, one online community at a time A fervent foodie, born with the gift of gab, Emily Schildt has found a home with Chobani as their Director of Digital Engagement. Since joining the family in 2010, Emily has established highly engaged digital communities for the Chobani brands, securing its #1 position in America’s hearts. A Maryland native, Emily currently resides in New York City. In her free time, she enjoys reading (more) blogs, trying her hand at photography and perusing antique shops. What few companies are willing to admit is their greatest opportunity: the consumer defines your brand. With the saturation of social media today, the best planning and strategy in the world can’t account for the amplification of popular opinion. Smart companies leverage this with heavy emphasis on listening, adhering to consumer interests, behaviors and demands, and allowing insights to drive innovation, communication and marketing.
  47. 47. “ We know that modern consumers make decisions based on functional benefits and price, but also on participative and emotional benefits. ” Without any traditional advertising, Chobani Greek Yogurt rose at rapid speed to the top of its category. From the beginning, we made a conscious effort to focus on social media, investing in cultivating a passionate following to authentically influence others, all the way to the checkout lane. With communication standards matching the excellence of our products, and ‘giving back’ a core corporate value, no tweet and no Facebook post went unanswered without a human response. That was the simple start of it all — top-notch customer service. As Chobani’s popularity grew, so did its fan base — resulting in the pleasant surprise of an echo chamber of delight among vocalists online. The function of social media quickly advanced from customer service to proactive conversation. As we listened closely, key influencers weren’t just talking about our products — they were talking about our brand. Consumption was habitual, rooting Chobani in an everyday healthy lifestyle. It was associated with highs, lows, routine, milestones, emotions and hobbies. To propel conversation, our model evolved to organizing communities around these shared interests, and reaching like-minded audiences beyond the yogurt-enthused. Internally, we restructured to focus on these communities, developing everything from content to experiential activities. With a laser-focused team, we could capitalize on topic trends and platform-specific opportunities per community, and allow external agency talent to support larger campaigns, initiatives and fresh thinking. Many companies choose to put their community management efforts entirely in the hands of their external agency partners, often losing the speed, agility and intimacy necessary to sustain an ongoing drumbeat of conversation. While time-consuming and demanding
  48. 48. of human resources, we believe our commitment is in keeping this practice in-house – which we owe much of our success to. Apart from a steady share of voice, our social media engagement has allowed fans to play an active role in molding our brand into what it is today. The feedback loop has informed everything from product development to marketing and communication. Tweets line the halls of our offices across the globe. We know that modern consumers make decisions based on functional benefits and price, but also on participative and emotional benefits. Millennials seek brands with which they share values and a sense of ownership. With an overwhelming array of options in every aisle, each purchase is a statement of identity. And as we move forward as a company, we’ll continue to ensure we’re dedicated to listening and evolving our brand to excite, delight and collaborate with our core consumer base.
  49. 49. People Power Section Preface The Power of People through an Ethnographic Lens Simple and Valuable Recruiting Advice Focusing the Rhizome The SoDA Report 2013
  50. 50. The SoDAReport Section 3 : Introduction As technology becomes more sophisticated, understanding its uses is critical. The tensions between empowerment and intrusion, between the simplification and complexity of everyday life, between freedom and dependence, and between adoption and rejection are on the rise. Jean-Pascal Mathieu People Power Section Editor Chief Innovation Officer, Nurun Look at the example of Google Glass. What better source of inspiration for a section called People Power than a device that gives users the ability to discover things from angles never seen before, to augment reality with useful information and to have access to a computer at any time without even thinking about it? And yet, look around you. Half the people you talk to consider Glass to be a technical marvel and a dream come true, while the other half believes it foreshadows the worst possible future for humankind. This divisive example illustrates how difficult it is to draw conclusions about future trends when the reassuring rationalism of innovation does not produce a uniform, coherent reaction among people. Other scenarios involving the tension points mentioned above are even more nuanced. Where humans are concerned, situations are rarely black and white, but rather on a continuum with an almost infinite variety of greys. The ability to assume the emotional complexity of each human being, encapsulate that complexity to make it intelligible, and derive actionable models is a skill shared by the three contributors to this section. Tracy Johnson from Nurun explains how a rigorous ethnographic approach can help us understand why people act as they do. Matt Paddock from Grow Interactive suggests how to identify talent and make decisions fast enough to retain employees. And Julianne
  51. 51. Beswick, from Phenomblue, smartly uses the metaphor of the rhizome to share her creative method adapted to the complexities of our time. The last words of this introduction go to Antoine de Saint Exupery, “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
  52. 52. The SoDAReport Section 3 : People Power Tracy Pilar Johnson, PhD, Director Ethnographic Research, Nurun The Power of People through an Ethnographic Lens Tracy Pilar Johnson, PhD is an anthropologist who has been conducting marketfocused ethnographies for the past 10 years. Currently the Director of Ethnographic Research at Nurun, throughout her career she has worked with companies as varied as Google, Time Warner Cable, Target, The Associated Press, Sun Media, Kraft Foods, General Mills and Merck, Inc. People Power… people are powerful because they are complex. And because they are complex, their motivations and behaviors are not easily understood. Indeed in today’s world of rapidly changing and complex market environments, demonstrated ways of truly understanding people are in high demand.
  53. 53. In more and more situations, businesses are turning to ethnography for its ability to offer contextual insights into how people live. In particular, I believe that businesses look to ethnography to understand how people use stuff – all those products, services, designs and so on that the companies we work for produce – to make meaning in their lives. Arguably, the expectation is now set that businesses find some way of talking about how they use ethnography – or human-centered research, design research, etc. – to really understand their consumers. Within this context, how do we differentiate among all the practices that have assumed the mantle of ethnography? Such diverse techniques include everything from in-store interviews, to on-site observations, living with a consumer for an extended period, and ethnographies conducted online. Given the variety of these practices, what can we really say is going to achieve ethnography’s true goal: to describe and illuminate people’s lives – their behaviors, beliefs, motivations and habits – within the context of their culture? While certain techniques may lend themselves to particular consumer or market segments, the objective remains the same: to take all of that complexity, be true to it and translate it into ways that we and our clients can come to a deeper understanding of people, their lives and their culture. A critical way to understand whether the methods we have chosen and the context in which we are deploying them are on target to carry the mantle of “ethnography” is to think about whether it fits the “thick description” test. Take, for example, the situation of when someone winks at us. Without an apparent context, we don’t know what it means. It might mean the person is attracted to us, that they are trying to communicate secretly, that they understand what you mean, or really anything. As the context changes, the meaning of the wink changes.
  54. 54. “I believe that businesses turn to ethnography to understand how people use stuff – all those products, services, designs and so on that the companies we work for produce – to make meaning in their lives. ” ALL human behavior is like this – complex, contextually bound and culturally influenced. We therefore distinguish between a thin description, which describes only the wink itself, and a thick description, which explains the context of the wink within the norms and practices that form the backdrop of that particular culture or society. Accordingly, it is the task of an ethnographer to not simply rely on thin descriptions, but rather to provide “thick” descriptions that illuminate the complexity of people’s lives. Here’s an example that ties into a technology and cultural phenomenon more closely related to the digital marketing world – “always-on” connectedness. When working with a large media conglomerate in the United States, several participants brought up the ways in which their smart devices made them feel more “connected.” However, contrary to mainstream coverage in the media, this connectivity was not without its problems. While spending the day with a woman in her twenties, she shared a story with us about how she would leave her cell phone on a shelf outside the shower so that she could respond to texts while bathing. After recounting this story, she stopped for a moment to reflect that, in fact, she probably needed “an intervention.” This thick description – behavior set within the context of an individual’s life – gave us greater insight into the ways in which people struggle with connectivity, or perhaps intrusion would be a better word, of technology into their daily lives.
  55. 55. The SoDAReport Section 3 : People Power Matt Paddock, Director of Engagement, Grow Interactive Simple and Valuable Recruiting Advice Matt Paddock began his career in human resources and recruiting over 15 years ago, and has worked for both large and small technology firms in talent development, succession planning and training. He currently serves as director of engagement for Grow, a digital agency based in Norfolk, VA. Retaining good people is challenging, but finding them is one of the hardest tasks any leader will face. Being a good judge of talent is fine, but the hiring process can feel like a pageant where the contestants don’t show up or won’t cooperate. Even after attracting good people, there’s still the challenge of closing the deal. Every search is slightly different, and no system is perfect, but here are some immutable truths that can help improve your odds of success.
  56. 56. First, Know Thyself None of us perform in a vacuum, so the best candidate for one team may be a poor fit elsewhere. Too little context for your hire increases the potential for a bad match. Well-written job descriptions help, and a great question to ask during the first interview is, “What did you see in the posting that excited you, and that you felt matched up with your background and experience?” Speed, Spend and Skill Every hire comes down to these three elements, and a good general rule is that you can only prioritize two per search. • Speed: When you must hire quickly, know you’ll either pay more or compromise on skill. Hiring freelancers is an example of prioritizing speed and skill, occasionally to the detriment of your profit margin. • Spend: Hiring on a budget generally means searching longer, unless you’re targeting inexperienced talent. Interns are thrifty entry-level hires, but even here you can’t pay under market and expect top skills. • Skill: When you can’t compromise on skill, expect to spend either time or money. Finding superior talent on a shoestring budget under a tight deadline isn’t a good strategy, as many frustrated hiring managers learn. How It Starts Is How It Stays Early impressions you make on a candidate directly affect your hiring outcomes. If you think of the interviewer as a gatekeeper, remember that door swings both ways. Your firm is judged by your actions, down to the first email you send, whether you call on time for a scheduled interview, and how you describe the position. Predictably, many bad hires originate with bad
  57. 57. “Predictably, many bad hires originate with bad interviews. ” interviews. Skipping steps, asking weak questions and failing to check references all increase the odds you’ll hire the wrong person or miss hiring the right person. Your Recruiting Network = Your Recruiting Net Worth Most opportunity is at the top of the recruiting funnel, where people aren’t looking for a new job and may be unaware of your firm. Building and leveraging a strong network helps avoid sloppy, stressful and reactive recruiting. Complaints about job boards or recruiting agencies usually come from people who aren’t cultivating a network of potential candidates and referral sources. Delay Only Increases Risk, Never Reward Timely action is critical during a search, especially toward the end. Classic examples of bad behavior during the interview process include delays in responding to candidates, or failure — on the part of candidates — to respond back to potential employers in a timely fashion. A 24-hour wait for you or your candidate feels like 36 hours on the other side of the desk, especially when an update is due. You wouldn’t leave a client waiting on the line about an important deal, so treat your prospective new talent the same level of respect. Most of this advice boils down to combining thorough planning and process with good objective decisionmaking. These approaches are easy, and can make a huge positive impact on your firm’s talent strategy. The only hard part is the discipline required to consistently add these five elements to your hiring process.
  58. 58. The SoDAReport Section 3 : People Power Julianne Beswick, Design Director, UX & IxD, Phenomblue Focusing the Rhizome Julianne Beswick is a Design Director with a background in interaction, user experience and new media. She works with Phenomblue’s internal groups to define and implement innovative and effective UX solutions that communicate both highlevel design strategies and detailed user interactions. She earned her Master of Fine Arts from the Graduate Media Design Program at Art Center College of Design. Think of a tree: its internal root system sprouts from the ground and delivers nutrients and water to its branches and leaves. For years, this model shaped the way huge brands would traditionally influence consumer behavior. Here’s some tasty and affordable Colgate — and it only costs a dollar! We were hypnotized.
  59. 59. Now, imagine a piece of ginger: its multiplicity of arms growing every which way. This complicated biological structure, categorized as a rhizome, is much closer to the communication systems we work with now. Each twisted, snarled stem is effectively an independent bio-communication channel. Rhizomes hold an eerily close resemblance to media today. However, it was over 30 years ago that Deleuze and Guttari first began discussing this principle in their 1980 book, A Thousand Plateaus. In it, they compare modern modes of expression with the rhizomatic structure. It’s amazing how pertinent this foresight grew over time. Every single aspect of our world has grown in complexity. Today we find ourselves designing for a culture so extremely rhizomatic that it has created a true need for designer’s focus and skill. Designing with the Rhizome’s Characteristics in Mind We are continually reminded that capturing consumer attention is problematic. The challenge lies in the fact that our coping mechanism for dealing with this problem remains unclear. In eMarketer’s “Time Spent With Media: Consumer Behavior in the Age of Multitasking,” the challenge is measured in terms of how we consume and interact with content and platforms. For instance, 69% of consumers engage with personal email while watching TV, 57% visit social networks, 32% IM or chat with friends. This is a problem when it comes to design. How do you make focused decisions or compelling work in this rhizomatic environment? Brands are looking to agencies for guidance. Therefore, as agencies, it is imperative that we develop a clearly defined POV based on insights into how consumers are likely to interact with the brand and content in this multitasking milieu. While there may be an endless array of possibilities, it is
  60. 60. “In the same way that users consume media with split attention, products are often designed with split attention. Such products lack a strong, focused brand utility and prove to be another unremarkable tangent within the rhizome. ” impossible to execute on all of them well, so you need to choose wisely. Develop a Process Sticking to a set of loose guidelines yields a sense of control. Here are five ways for the project team to simplify and focus: 1. Determine whether to take a multi-pronged approach or to adopt the craft method. It’s a contradiction in terms to promise a product that is highly-crafted as well as all-encompassing. You honestly can’t do both (at least not well), so pick — A or B. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a limited direction. In fact, it’s a relief to unload that kind of pressure because as the scope of a project broadens and as its feature set grows, the more research, design, time and expertise are then required to put out a quality product. And from the consumer’s perspective, the broader the scope of utility, the less one can focus on any one tool set. Smaller, more focused concepts are more nimble, able to receive crafted attention and can be understood more readily by consumers. 2. Anticipation around the start of a project can materialize as excitement or anxiety. This is the hot mess that produces great work. Embrace uncertainty, do your research and sleep on it. Your subconscious mind will work on a solution and sort things out even when you’re unaware that it’s happening. 3. Establish a point of view. Define it and stand by it because weakness in voice inevitably leads to a weak product. It isn’t hard to do something halfway. In the same way that users consume media with split attention, products are often designed with split attention. This work finds its way into the marketplace, but lacks a strong, focused brand or
  61. 61. utility, proving itself to be another unremarkable tangent within the rhizome. Devoting sufficient attention and time to do good work has become a challenge (and a luxury), but it’s worthwhile nonetheless. 4. If you can define a few questions that need answering, use them to establish the borders of your new project. Find your competitors within those walls and determine what’s going to distinguish you from this group. 5. Temper. It feels really good to establish direction, but that should never be the end of ideation. Once your brain has switched into making mode, it’s tempting to let it off the hook. Instead, take continual steps back and be sure you’re happy with the path you’ve chosen. These words of advice may come across as common, obvious or insignificant, but they help untangle the mess. In the Field When designing for user experience (admittedly a vague expression), we should be crafting experiences around the complete life cycle of a product (an equally vague expression). So how do we reduce the vagueness to produce truly great work? Projects invariably take unpredictable paths. However, through persistent questioning and a willingness to put a stake in the ground and focus at major milestones, you can begin to craft an informed approach that yields quality products.
  62. 62. Tech Talk Section Preface The Personalization of Everything The Rise of the Interest-Based Network The Internet of Things: Billions of Marketing Opportunities Interview with Mike Kuniavsky, Principal PARC Innovation Services Marketers and Big Data The SoDA Report 2013
  63. 63. The SoDAReport Section 4 : Tech Talk Zachary Paradis Tech Talk Section Editor Director of Innovation Strategy, SapientNitro The intent of Tech Talk is to “future gaze on the technology developments and trends impacting the industry.” Given the state of marketing and the larger context of our world, just about everything we do is either being directly delivered or enabled by technology. This fact is more remarkable given the great majority of marketers likely never got into the business out of a love of technology. Ironically, marketers today can’t be successful without it. That said, technology should not feel foreign. While critics since the industrial revolution have introduced a “human versus technology” dynamic, it would seem to be a false opposition. In the end, humans — unlike the 99% of other species on our planet — naturally extend their capabilities through various technologies. We crafted that first spear to gain reach, the wheel to enhance mobility and eyeglasses to help us see clearly. That humans conceive and build technology is absolutely natural. Yet, all too often technology has resulted in a binary experience, hard and unforgiving. Perhaps the “versus” critics could not have imagined the future in which we now live. They could not imagine how organic and fluid it feels to take an iPhone – not really a “phone” but a More Personal Computer (MPC) – out of one’s pocket to book an appointment and put it back again. Connected thinking and the blending of science with the humanities can result in truly natural and useful communications, products and services. The hard edges of engineering can and should be softened by an understanding of people. Naturally, the articles in Tech Talk all introduce ways in which technology enables more effective
  64. 64. and more human, interactions between people and brands. Stephen Foxworthy, Strategy Director at Reactive, opens the section with an exposition on The Personalization of Everything — painting a world on the cusp of extending what we’ve come to expect online to the physical as well. Samantha Afetian, Social Strategist with Digitaria, explores the Rise of the Interest-Based Network, flipping the long assumed notion that the value of a network is primarily based on its number of nodes. Tarah Feinberg, CMO & NY Managing Director of KITE, provides a glimpse at the Internet of Things and the opportunities it provides. An interview with Mike Kuniavsky, author of Smart Things and Principal at PARC Innovation Services Group, predicts three technologies on the horizon which will radically change people’s lives. And the section ends with one of my colleagues at SapientNitro, Technical Architect Santhosh Subramani, helping tame the abstract concept of “Big Data” into an understandable and actionable focus area for brands. Beginning-to-end, each article highlights how technology can enable both people and the brands serving them. The purpose of technology is to extend what it means to be human. One could say the best technologists are, in fact, great humanists.
  65. 65. Create. Distribute. Monetize. Analyze. Publish engaging tablet experiences with Adobe® Digital Publishing Suite, used by leading publishers worldwide. www.adobe.com/go/publishing © 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved. Adobe and the Adobe logo are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other counties. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
  66. 66. The SoDAReport Section 4 : Tech Talk Stephen Foxworthy, Strategy Director, Reactive The Personalization of Everything Stephen has over 15 years’ experience in digital, with a focus on high performance online retail, customer experience management and multichannel marketing. With a strong belief in data-driven decision-making, Stephen is an evangelist for effective design, maximizing the measurable return on investment of online activity by enhancing the user experience. Find him on LinkedIn and Twitter. Remember the scene in the movie Minority Report when Tom Cruise is greeted as “Mr. Yakamoto” by a holographic apparition as he walks into a futuristic Gap store? This type of personalization via facial recognition, CRM and digital screen technology is already possible, but everyone who has seen the film knows just how creepy it was. While companies are collecting masses of
  67. 67. “ As Bill Gates once famously quipped, ‘Content is King’ but personalized content will become the ÜberGalactic Emperor. ” customer data, what most brands do with this data is not very impressive. This will change over the next few years, as the Personalization of Everything becomes a reality. Behavioral Analytics If another person says “Big Data,” I’ll scream. (Ahem, notwithstanding the excellent article on Big Data in this section, obviously!) Collecting masses of data on your customers is fundamentally useless, unless you know what you want to find out from it and how you’re going to adapt to it. Behavioral analysis tools are now maturing to the point where they can quite accurately predict what customers are likely to want next based on what they do and personalize their experience to match, even via salespeople, over the phone or in-store. Recommendation Engines Anybody who has ever shopped on Amazon knows just how good they are at recommending products to buy based on what you’ve looked at or bought, but every now and then, their recommendations can be quite random. We all want to be different, just like everybody else, but we’re still often more alike than we think. Now there are engines – driven by collaborative or taxonomy based filtering – that can be bolted onto most websites and ecommerce stores providing Amazonstyle recommendations on the fly. These systems are performing better and better, with suppliers like RichRelevance or Barilliance offering engines that automatically generate effective recommendations based on surprisingly limited user data.
  68. 68. “ Collecting masses of data on your customers is fundamentally useless, unless you know what you want to find out from it, and how you’re going to adapt to it. ” Dynamic Content & Flexible Content Management As Bill Gates once famously quipped, “Content is King,” but personalized content will become the Über-Galactic Emperor. One limiting factor of personalizing a customer’s online experience used to be the need to customize a website content management system to serve different versions of content to different audiences. Now, content management systems such as Adobe Experience Manager, SDL Tridion and Sitecore make it much simpler to define rules for personalization and to manage the content required to enable it. This wave of truly capable content management systems is making personalized multichannel experiences practical for every brand. Changing Consumer Attitudes on Privacy Companies such as Google and Facebook are already sitting on deep and valuable information about you that allows them to target you with far more relevant ads. Whenever we talk about personalization of the customer experience, the conversation almost immediately turns to privacy, identity protection and intrusion — not the benefits that personalization might bring. In truth, nearly every interaction we have online is already being tracked, adding to data profiles of who we are, what we do, and what we like. It is clear that our comfort, with less privacy, given a real benefit, is a new norm. What’s Next for Personalization? The technology driving the ability to deeply personalize the customer experience is now commonplace and
  69. 69. getting smarter by the minute. Hotels and retailers are already using advanced techniques such as shopper tracking, data mining and facial recognition to identify high-value customers. Soon, being welcomed by name as we enter a store won’t seem creepy anymore. It will just be the way business is done.
  70. 70. The SoDAReport Section 4 : Tech Talk Samantha Afetian, Social Community Strategist, Digitaria The Rise of the Interest-Based Network Samantha Afetian is a social community strategist at Digitaria in San Diego. She works with brands in the retail, tech, health and financial industries to create end-to-end social media strategies. Sam enjoys long scrolls through Pinterest, tweeting influencers, and assuming the identity of brands to build relationships with loyalists. Tweet her at @SamAfetian. Some may think that with monsters like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter eating up the social space, there isn’t much room left in the market for competitors—but they’d be wrong. Interest-based networks are becoming our go-to social spaces and most don’t even realize it. An interest-based network is exactly what it sounds like: a social network built around interests, using common threads to bring members of an audience together. Whether it is travel, food, fashion or cats (check out Catmoji), interest-based networks are taking
  71. 71. over the social media scene, and brands that get it stand to reap the benefits. Interest-Based Networks Explode There seems to be an infinite number of interestbased networks these days. Though they vary in size and quality, these networks are segmenting web users into niche audiences. Sites like IT Central Station (a platform for enterprise technology gossip), Sermo (one of the largest medical social hubs for physicians and scientists), or StyledOn (a worldwide network of fashion enthusiasts and trendsetters) are attracting users due to their specific offerings that cater to interests, hobbies or professions. As “Facebook fatigue” sets in, web and mobile users are turning to these niche networks for content that specifically appeals to them. As an industry, we definitely should not underestimate these communities. Just because they’re niche doesn’t mean they are small. Take for example that fairly new interest-based network that has a user-base of 70 million members worldwide. What’s it called again? Oh, yeah--Pinterest. Everyone’s favorite pinning site, with 11.7 million unique monthly visitors, is an interestbased network. With an experience concept that allows users to sort through and pin content to and from categorized pinboards, Pinterest is a shining example of the power of interests. With categories like weddings, travel, DIY, food and education, Pinterest has created a site where users can build an ecosystem based on their own interests, which others ultimately share and follow. But Pinterest isn’t the only “niche” site that has seen success. TripAdvisor, a network for travel enthusiasts built on user-submitted reviews, recently hit more than 200 million unique monthly visitors. A recommendation
  72. 72. “ While it is true that social media as a whole works best when brands engage in twoway communication, interest-based networks require extra effort. ” network catered to those researching their next trip, TravelAdvisor has amassed more than 100 million reviews of more than 2.5 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions. Big Gets Specific In fact, some big networks are finding cozy niches to settle down in, instead of playing to the masses. Even for Millennials, in our lifetimes, we have already witnessed the rise and fall of social media giants. While most of the platforms never managed to resurrect themselves (i.e. Livejournal), Myspace was lucky enough to rise from the ashes. Earlier this year, Myspace reemerged into the public eye, not as the one-size-fits-all social network of yesteryear, but as an interest-based network. With features aimed at connecting musicians, writers and other types of artists with their fans, coupled with a music-streaming function, Myspace has repositioned itself to become the premier network for the music industry—though it’s not there yet. As social networks peak in adoption, we will likely see more of them begin to turn over to interest-based experiences. Could Facebook reinvent itself into a network where we can connect with people from around the world to have conversations about one topic, while still holding on to its core functions? It sounds farfetched, but possibly. With the introduction of hashtags and the further integration of Graph Search into the system, we may very well see Facebook become more interest focused in the coming year. What To Do About It Regardless of the vertical your company or client falls within, there is likely a relevant interest-based network. Ready to harness the power of the niche? Here are three things to consider:
  73. 73. Go big, go niche, or go home: Some marketers will say that your brand should be everywhere, on every network, but if you do have a niche audience, your resources may be better spent on just a few. Consider the options, and prioritize networks aligned with your target market. Interest-based networks require authenticity: While it is true that social media as a whole works best when brands engage in two-way communication, interest-based networks require extra effort. Imagine walking into a book club and trying to discuss the plot without actually reading the novel—your fellow book club members will know almost immediately that you are faking it. That’s kind of how niche networks work. Continue Listening: Always keep an eye out for new networks. Regularly watch for content from industry trendsetters for information on new platforms and trends. Institute ongoing listening and search programs to watch for conversations about new social spaces for the industry. Interest-based networks are popping up daily. One of them may be the perfect place for your brand.
  74. 74. The SoDAReport Section 4 : Tech Talk Tarah Feinberg, CMO & NY Managing Director, KITE The Internet of Things: Billions of Marketing Opportunities Tarah Feinberg has 15+ years in entertainment and marketing as a translator, creator and ambassador for emerging technologies. He launched new divisions and practice areas, like the Digital Studio at NBC Universal and iCrossing’s social media and real-time content marketing group. As CMO and NY Managing Director at KITE, Tarah leads communications and customer development. As more of the objects we interact with every day begin to communicate and share data with the Internet, huge opportunities arise for marketers to learn about consumer behaviors, and how they can make their messages and products more relevant and timely. This linkage between physical objects to the Internet or virtual objects is often referred to as the “Internet of Things” (IoT). This term is not especially new, but the concept is now being realized in a variety of powerful ways, across a wide range of human life. The term IoT was invented by Kevin Ashton in 1999, co-founder of MIT’s Auto-ID Center, “which created a global standard system for RFID,” according to Wikipedia. Back then, IoT was mostly the stuff of science fiction; a Jetsons/Knight Rider/Bond dream of connected cars, robot maids and devices triggered by biometric monitors. However, RFID began to push the concept into reality and, over the last few years, innovation and advancement in this space has exploded. Bosch Software Innovations predicts that, by 2015, 6,593 billion IP-ready devices will be connected to the
  75. 75. “ The possibilities are actually endless, as everything in our lives becomes more connected and we become more comfortable sharing the minutiae of our daily activities with marketers. ” Internet and that about 75% of the world’s population will have online access. The distinctions between the “online” and “offline” worlds are shrinking fast. IoT covers an immensely broad range of tech, including wearables, “quantified self”, connected homes, Internetconnected automobiles, smart cities and the supply chain (the original motivation for Ashton and the development of RFID, who was working with P&G at the time). Marketers are beginning to tap into all of these, as they offer valuable insights and potential touchpoints to reach people in more powerful ways. Consider just a few of the remarkable business and marketing implications of this data, if harnessed effectively: • Send prescription reminders or automatically add food to shopping lists when supplies get low • Promote a new bathing suit line as a sunny weekend approaches • Entice runners with a nearby refreshing drink as they hit their fifth mile The possibilities are endless — as everything in our lives becomes more connected and we become more comfortable sharing the minutiae of our daily activities with marketers. At KITE, we have built a platform containing over 260,000 startups, across practically every area of emerging technology, platforms and media. Each week, we curate a different category and encourage our agency and consumers to rate and review the companies in that area. When we recently focused on IoT, these five companies rose to the top:
  76. 76. Withings creates smart products and apps to take care of yourself and your loved ones through smart scales, baby monitors, blood pressure monitors and activity trackers. Nest Labs is the creator of the world’s first Learning Thermostat, using your temperature adjustments to program itself to keep you comfortable and guide you to energy savings. MakerBot Industries is a Brooklyn-based company that creates affordable, open source 3D printers. Fitbit creates a suite of health/fitness data-tracking wearables that monitor and analyze your daily activity. Twine alerts you to small in-home problems before they become big problems. Tell a web app what to listen to with simple rules, and you’ll get notifications and peace of mind via email, SMS, Twitter and more. Company scores and descriptions powered by KITE The biggest challenges for marketers are to leverage IoT effectively by turning the massive amount of data into actionable insights, and learning to use this information in a way that doesn’t alienate consumers. Overall, as long as the computers don’t turn on us, the IoT movement is making the world a healthier, more efficient and safer place to live.
  77. 77. The SoDAReport Section 4 : Tech Talk Interview with Mike Kuniavsky, Principal PARC Innovation Services Mike Kuniavsky is a user experience designer, researcher and author. A twenty-year veteran of digital product development, Mike designs products, business processes and services at the leading edge of technological change. He specializes in multidevice interactions, cloudbased service design and the design of hardware products connected to cloud-based services. At PARC, his group helps companies invent the future using a mixture of ethnography, future scenario development, opportunity discovery and user experience design. Tech Talk Section Editor, Zachary Paradis recently sat down with Mike Kuniavsky, author of Smart Things and Principal at PARC Innovation Services Group, to discuss and predict three technologies on the horizon which will radically change people’s lives. PARADIS: So, we’re walking around with what was, not too long ago, considered a “supercomputer” in our pockets. This obviously had a massive impact on everyday life, especially now that we’re reaching mass penetration of these devices. If you had to select three technologies set to change people’s lives, what would they be? KUNIAVSKY: Predictive Analytics, drones and Collaborative Design Software. PARADIS: Why Predictive Analytics? KUNIAVSKY: It is what makes sense of the Internet of Things. We are in the process of injecting networked information process and technology into every possible

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